I enjoy going to local events like the Giglio Feast in East Harlem. While there is plenty of food – Italian sausage sandwich, grilled corn, clams and zeppole (Italian doughnuts).the main event is the lifting of the Giglio.
On the platform of the Giglio sits a full band along with a singer playing live music. The Giglio tower & band are carried on the shoulders of 120 members and danced through the streets.
Established in 1908 in Italian East Harlem, once the largest Little Italy in America, it now continues the tradition on a smaller neighborhood scale.
While walking around the city, I sometimes run into a small event such as a parade or block party. These are the times when the city really shows off its diversity.
Many people are familiar with parades such as the West Indian, Puerto Rican and St. Patrick’s Day parade. Occasionally though, the smaller parades demonstrate the culture, history and music of unique nationalities. Sometimes, you can enjoy and maybe even move and dance to their music.
This past week, Nigeria celebrated its independence with a parade and participants wearing traditional and lively African costumes really enjoyed themselves – I did too!
I encourage you, when visiting NYC, to look for these small events that can add to your enjoyment of the city. Google to find events or festivals and street fairs – there are many sites to choose from.
ps: Many times there is geat food to be had as well!
I happened to be going through the upper east side and stopped at a street fair on East 116th Street. It had children rides, not often seen in the city, as well as food and some novelty items for sale.I was reminded that over the past few years I have written about street fairs. Here are links to my past articles. I hope they encourage you, while visiting NYC, to get out an enjoy at least one street experience.
This is a short piece just to remind us that there are still plenty of obscure things to find while visiting or re-visiting a city.
Looking at the photo below you immediately know you are in Chinatown.
Streets are filled with all kinds of imagery.
We have all heard that the sum of all the parts makes the whole thing. I guess that is why we can spend so much time looking at so many different items and objects.
Here is another photo that shows you how a regular street light can be outfitted to look more Chinese.
The lamp now has pagoda shades.
in 1965 several of them were outfitted with luminaries resembling traditional Chinese lanterns… the older ones can be seen on Mosco Street.
Another feature of, Chinatown, shopping is that you can see the same item in (almost) every shop. Here is an example:
I selected the “waving” kitten and wonder just how many there are of them – maybe not just in Chinatown?
Do you own one?
Many Chinatown shop owners have Buddhist statues in less visible parts of their stores like this red-faced Guan-Gong, sword in hand, who is supposed to protect a shop from evil.
Beyond the stalls selling steamed pork buns and knockoff handbags, the observant visitor to Chinatown can watch a telling ritual unfold. Look, in the crowded corners of shops and high on the shelves, for the little wooden red shrines, each containing a different Buddhist statue. Not meant to be seen, their presence is felt. More info here.
Taking the above seriously, it can interesting trying to find hidden Buddhas. Remember though to be discrete and above all, respectful.
This little gem may not be worth going out of your way to find. It is rundown and hardly visible but it is an important part of history.
The First Cemetery of Spanish and Portuguese synagogue is in southern Manhattan, above the first neighborhoods of New York City; it is the oldest Jewish cemetery in North America. The lot sits south of Chatham Square in Chinatown and is lined with the graves of, among others, 22 veterans of the American Revolution. There are actually three of these in the city. 11th and 21st Street are the other two locations.
Part of a NYC experience should include either a Street Fair or Festival (links at end of article). The month of May usually begins the season and it continues throughout the summer and early fall. The Festivals are quite colorful as they showcase music as well as performers. Of course, each festival will have the street lined with booths selling everything from clothing, folk art and food.
This past weekend I visited the Ukraine… actually the 39th Annual St. George Ukrainian Festival, on 7th Street between Second and Third Avenues. The festival celebrates the traditions of a culture that was once the largest demographic in the East Village.
This is a small event just one block long but it packed with all kinds of activities. Many of the children were in native costumes.
Most ethnic festivals are full of color and thing to buy, the Urkainian Festival was no exception
Almost every Festival has a stage and they present entertainment specific to their culture.
The parade. this year, due to threatening skies, had fewer participants and was smaller than in previous years. Though smaller in number they were never-the-less quite vocal and upbeat.
The following are some web sites that may be of interest to you. I am not recommending the restaurants as I have not been to many of them. My interest is to show you that you can eat well in NYC as a vegetarian or vegan. The city has many excellent vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and new ones are opening almost everyday.