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Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Birthday

There are microcosms of New York City that outsiders and even residents will likely never see. Most of these are cultural, revolving around ethnic enclaves. It is even possible to find cock-fighting within the five boroughs.

Perhaps more than any other place in the United States, New York City's tremendous diversity and tolerance allows for strong ethnic tradition expressed through food, dress, activities, music, festivals, and religious practice. Jackson Heights, Queens, is considered to be the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the world. Not only can vastly different groups coexist, but those with very distinctive dress and traditions can also easily thrive here unfettered and without fear of ostracism. Hasidic Jews, Islamic women, Indian women in saris - the list is endless in a city where, on any given day, it would be easy to think that one had happened upon an annual multicultural parade.

One of the biggest elements in any cultural milieu is, of course, food, and there is no more accessible window into the life of an ethnic group than restaurants catering to that group. Recently, I visited the New Corner restaurant in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with a friend, born and raised in Bay Ridge. This was a nostalgia event for her and a curiosity for me to eat in a place that felt like the exclusive territory of Italian Americans from Brooklyn. There was a very local crowd of patrons.

The restaurant has huge dining rooms, very conducive to large groups. The night I ate there, we were virtually besieged with one birthday celebration after another. The Colandrea New Corner Restaurant was celebrating its 75th year. Appropriately, the perfect place for a Happy Birthday :)

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Elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday, Brian. x

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to everyone at the New Corner... from you Rhode Island cousins... Leo & Lil