8th Annual Arab American Bazaar
On a sunny, windy Sunday morning, Middle Eastern Bay Ridgers of all ages began filing into Shore Road Park on 79th Street for the 8th Annual Arab American Bazaar. In the foreground, a stage exhibiting flags of all Arab nations sat on a stretch of greenery, surrounded by trees; in the background, a shimmering New York Bay paid homage to a bright, joyous summer festivity. By the afternoon, thousands of proud multinational Brooklynites filled the park—some smoking hookah and drinking strong Turkish coffee with their families, others surrounding the stage with friends as various performers entertained the crowd.
The annual Arab American Bazaar does not only offer a venue for leisure, but also aims to procure a collective sense of national pride, promote products and services from local businesses, and engage Arab Americans with their own community. This year, due to the ongoing crisis in Gaza and other crises in the Arab world, the Bazaar sought a less animated and more unifying tone. Entertainers were encouraged to perform uplifting and patriotic music, and the crowd reacted with great enthusiasm. Heads uniformly bobbed to Palestinian rapper Raffoul’s powerful message, young men leapt from the stage and into a Yemeni dance circle, and young Palestinian men and women joined hands for a large dabkeh.
There was no shortage of food and drink, either: from a neighborhood-favorite chicken-over-rice Halal Cart and vegetarian falafel and tabbouleh stands, to fresh-squeezed lemonade and replenishing fruit smoothies.
Elected officials such as Councilman Vincent Gentile, Councilman Carlos Menchaca, and Senator Marty Golden, and local community leaders also took to the stage, reiterating the importance of community-togetherness and encouraging residents of all ages and nationalities to remain fervent in pursuit of harmony and friendship; after all, that is the point of this annual gathering and others like it in communities across New York City. In the crowd, young volunteers from the Arab American Association engaged with fellow community members and registered them to vote.
When all was said and done, volunteers put on gloves, grabbed black garbage bags, and proceeded to assist the Park Alliance in picking up trash—a true show of solidarity, unity, and love for our neighborhood.
Of course, an event as large and successful as the annual Arab American Bazaar is not possible without generous sponsorship from some trusted names. We would like to give a special thanks to our presenting sponsor, Maimonides Medical Center, as well as to Kaplan, Money Gram, United Healthcare, Brooklyn Orthodontics, Lutheran Medical Center, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and the Qatar Foundation International. We would also like to thank our vendors, staff, volunteers, guests, and most importantly our community for making this event successful for the 8th year in a row!