Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Ali El Sayed is an artist.
His canvas is a plate and his brush ranges from an eggplant to a beef shank.
El Sayed has owned and operated Kabab Café on Steinway Street in Queens for over 25 years. He believes that food, not diplomacy, is the key to attaining world peace. Despite mounting conflict in the Middle East, El Sayed, a self-proclaimed pacifist, remains hopeful about peace prospects.
“People are not going to solve their problems sitting in a court or at the U.N.” the Egyptian-born chef said. “I think they’ll solve their problems sitting in a restaurant and talking over food.”
Monday, December 10th, 2012
Ecuadorians are New York’s fourth largest Latino group, but as a byproduct of this immigrant influx, many Ecuadorian Americans feel that their traditions are in danger. In their adopted land, they fear future generations will lose out on the customs so highly valued by their ancestors.
Ayazamana Cultural Center hopes to change that. Jose Rivera, an Ecuadorian native who immigrated to Queens in 1990, founded the center and teaches traditional folkloric dances native to different regions of Ecuador, such as Saraguro, in the Province of Loja; Cayambe in Pichincha; Natabuela in Imbabura and Pujili in Cotopaxi. He’s joined by a volunteer staff, who put aside their day jobs as construction workers and cooks, to help sew costumes and make props for performances.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Abdulrauf Khan, 40, warns a group of volunteers to avoid stepping on errant nails in the kitchen of a small home on Brighton 8 Street in Brighton Beach. He’s surrounded by ripped up floorboards and industrial trash bags full of debris. His black felt hat is speckled with white dust.
During Hurricane Sandy, the basement and first floor of this home filled with water. Now the house is being gutted while the residents, a family of five, are in a shelter.
Khan is the assistant director of disaster relief for the Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA, a nonprofit relief and social services organization with headquarters in Jamaica, Queens. The responsibility to help those in need is informed by the Islamic faith, Khan says.
Monday, December 3rd, 2012
For decades, Russian has been the language most spoken in Brighton Beach. Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union found in the beachfront community of south Brooklyn – already populated by some 55,000 Holocaust survivors – a safe haven to start their new lives in America.
However, an influx of Pakistanis that started in the early 1990s is now poised to change the demographics of the neighborhood.