Welcome to Kensington, New York!
Yes, yes, we know most of the things you’ve heard about this grand metropolis include fancy skyscrapers, noisy and smelly subways, the irreplaceable 5th Avenue, Central Park, amongst other touristic attractions. But what most people don’t really emphasize is the overwhelming diversity contained within New York City. An example of such diversity is the neighborhood of Kensington in Brooklyn.
Once you leave New York this time, you’ll have learned so much more about the way cultural diversity has evolved and the way people have organized themselves into their own cultural clusters all around the city.
An example of such “cluster” is the prominent South Asian community in this particular area of Brooklyn. Below we’ve chosen some interesting places for you and your company to visit; after all, the only way you’ll EVER get to truly know a city is by walking its corners.
Thank you for letting us be part of your experience here in NYC! ________________________________________________________________________ For any further reference in regards to any of the topics presented above, please take advantage of the links below and/or our most relevant annotated bibliography:
“9 Places We Love in Kensington.” Brokelyn. N.p., 10 Jan. 2011. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.
10 things you may not know about ocean parkway. (2013, August 22). Retrieved from http://kensingtonbk.com/transportation/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-ocean-parkway
“A Bite of Bangladesh.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 19 July 2007. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.
“Bangladeshi in the New York Metro Area.” Unreachednewyork.com. All Peoples Initiative, Nov. 2009. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.
This webpage from 2009 provide great historical and demographic background information on the Bangladeshi population in New York City. Among the findings, South Asians comprise the largest proportion of cab drivers in New York City, with conservative estimates putting the figure at 38% of all yellow cab drivers, with 14% of those Bangladeshi. Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan once Pakistan was granted independence from India in the post WWII years. It as only in 1971 after much fighting that Bangladesh gained its independence. The civil war, and subsequent decade after were contributing push factors for Bangladeshi professionals and white collar workers to leave for New York. Around 95% of Bangladeshis in New York are Sunni Muslims. This page offers an insightful profile into New York’s Bangladeshi community, and as such is a valuable resource in understanding Kensington.
Bangladesh muslim center. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.salatomatic.com/d/Brooklyn 4714 Bangladesh-Muslim-Center
“Eating Along the G Line: Fort Hamilton Parkway Stop in Windsor Terrace .” NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
Gates, Moses. “All City New York: Little Bangledesh.” All City New York: Little Bangledesh. N.p., 28 Feb. 2009. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
This blog post by Moses Gates, an urban planner and licensed tour guide, details his thoughts on the neighborhood of Kensington. It provides background information on the ethnic groups that lived in and near Kensington, and their relative positions in the neighborhood, businesses, and buildings. He also incorporates personal anecdotes of the area, including one that took place shortly after the 9/11 attack.
“Kensington, Brooklyn.” Kensington, Brooklyn. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. “Kensington Library Local History.” Brooklyn Public Library. Brooklyn Public Library, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
This article discusses the history of the Kensignton branch of the Brooklyn Public Library ranging from its conception to its current position in the neighborhood. It describes the history of the different building that housed the branch and provides historical photos of those now closed building. It also discusses the reasons leading to the change of the buildings and the building of the current building.
Raymond, Williams. “Asian Indian and Pakistani Religions in the United States.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 558. (1998): 178-195. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
Immigration not only has increased the diversity of the United States, but in a way, it has also created its distinct religion. This migration of other ethnic groups has also affected the country’s society and culture. The number of Asian Indians and Pakistani’s doubled between the 1980s and 1990s. As a result of their large communities in the U.S, they have strived for the construction of their religious buildings, for the importation of many of their foods as well as clothing, and many services have also been created accommodating to the needs of their specific community. All of these factors put together have allowed these populations to feel as if they were home. Their belief systems have contributed to America’s religious landscape and have also demanded “new religious adaptations to pluralism in America.
” Maruoka, Etsuko. “Wearing “Our Sword”: Post-September 11 Activism Among South Asian Muslim Women Student Organizations in New York.” JSTOR. JSTOR, 2008. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.
This 2008 article from “Social Justice” offers commentary on the difficulties faced by the Muslim community in the political climate of post 9/11 America. Muslim women provide a unique perspective on this as the wearing of the Islamic headscarf (hijab) allows for a readily identifiable delineator from non-Muslim populations. The article discusses the methodology behind the study, in which two South-Asian Muslim groups from universities located within NY talking about their experiences facing prejudice and subsequent activism. The activism centers around a celebration of Muslim culture through solidarity and workshops aimed at portraying Muslim women as normal, unoppressed individuals partaking in normal activities, with specific intention to alleviate the tension between the two world from which they belong to: Islam and America. This article offers great insight into the experience of Muslim women after 9/11, with fantastic information to supplement our tour and further the discussion towards cross-cultural understanding.
Peer, Basharat. “A Walk in Little Pakistan.” New Statesmen 18 Dec. 2006: 49. EBSCO. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.
This 2007 article from the New Statesmen offers a look into the impact of post 9/11 public policy on the area along Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, known as “Little Pakistan.” The writer discusses how after the terrorist attack, hundreds of Pakistani immigrants were deported due to visa irregularities, with still many more taking flight from the area altogether. An interviewee states, “Before 9/11 this place used to be full of life. You saw people in shops long after midnight. It was like Lashore and Karachi. Now it is dying.” With estimates placing around 20,000 people having left the area, this article provides valuable insight into the characterization of the neighborhood, which first struck me as notably quiet and sparsely active.
Saini, A. (2013, December 2). The regional cuisine of south asia in nyc, part 1: Punjab and pakistan. Retrieved from http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/12/regional-cuisine-south-asia-pakistan-punjab.html
“Sending Money Overseas.” Consumer.gov. Federal Trade Commission, n.d. Web. 31 Mar.
This online guide about money transfers to foreign countries provides information on what a money transfer is, how to perform a money transfer, and techniques to practice when performing such transactions. One use of money transfers is to send money to family in a home country which is used as an example for the techniques they provide in the guide.
UTSA, RAY. “Eating ‘Modernity: Changing dietary practices in colonial Bengal.” Modern Asian Studies. 46.3 (2012): 703-730. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
Once Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971, its history began to emerge as one that attempted to modernize every aspect of its culture, including its gastronomical practices. These Bengali patriots have undergone a “colonial transformation” through the articulation of new set of prejudices, values, and culinary innovations. Although we must also consider the political and economic conditions of this newly-born nation, it is possible to understand their culture through the development of the Bengali cuisine. Throughout this volume we’ll find “new gastronomic possibilities”, but there will also be evident and unavoidable similarities with the pre-colonial times of the country. Overall it has evolved into a sophisticated yet traditional-Bengali cuisine.
Vivek, Bald. “Overlapping Diasporas, Multiracial Lives: South Asian Muslims in U.S Communities of Color, 1880-1950.” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture & Society.. 8.4 (2006): 3-18. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
This article reminds us of the idea that the U.S has been built thanks to constant immigration of people from all over the world, which means that no one can claim complete ownership of the American soil. Through these fifteen pages the author narrates that there were a few migration patterns specifically of Indian Muslim men—due to their employment on British merchant vessels—and their settlement near the port cities. These men soon married African American and Puerto Rican women. This led to the creation of new Diasporas, which combined the cultures of the Muslim and the colored communities of the U.S.