Little Pakistan - Flatbush - Brooklyn, New York
The mile and a half long strip of Coney Island Avenue between Church Avenue and Avenue H has become a renowned home to Pakistani immigrants and visitors abroad. A once Jewish neighborhood, the area has converted to a home for followers of Islam emigrated from South East Asia from as early the 1980’s.Despite some persecution following the tragic 9/11 bombings, the neighborhood has gone on to be a refuge for the Pakistani community where first, second and third generation migrants continue to reside. The first thing which catches your eye as you walk through the neighborhood is the aroma. The abundance of restaurants floods the area with the spicy, savory smells of their indigenous foods, such as garlic naan and chicken tikka, as well as the sweet, mouthwatering smells of such desserts as Ras-Malai or Jalebi. Islaam is the official religion of Pakistan. Thus follows, the majority of the restaurants along this stretch of Coney Island Avenue serve halal food. There are also an abundance of markets and meat stores which sell halal meats. These markets have hours unusual to the typical 8am – 10pm of typical grocery stores. Particularly during the celebration of Eid, their shops can be open as late as 3 am, in order to cater to the dietary needs of the community. Aside from the food, there is also a myriad of beautifully decorated stores where native garb is manufactured, sometimes by hand, and sold. Men often wear simple salwar kameez, kurta, and headpieces, typically in varying shades of brown, white or black. The women on the other hand, while wearing clothing of similar names, wear much more elaborate colors, ranging from vibrant violets and luscious pinks to golds that reflect that outshine the sun. Along with their beautiful apparel, it is common for women to wear an abundance of gold. Hence, the necessity for and presence of several jewelry stores, Particularly during festivals, marriages, and other ceremonies, these stores are busy with customers searching for the perfect head piece, or nose ring, or the best bangles, which each store boasts to be in possession of.
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