The Arab American Heritage Festival

They began arriving in large numbers during the nineteenth century and today about 200,000 Arab Americans call New York City home. Despite the numbers, however, this community is largely unknown to outsiders.

The reason? Perhaps it is because these immigrants come from so many different nations in the Middle East and North Africa. It may be because they’ve never created a distinct neighborhood that caters to tourists, the Arab equivalent of a Little Italy or Chinatown. It might even be due to the fact that they don’t share a single faith.

Whatever the cause, in recent years they have been actively working to help New Yorkers know more about their Arab American neighbors.

Their efforts have led to the establishment of Arab American Heritage Week, which kicked off today with the third annual Arab American Heritage Festival in Prospect Park.

Hundreds came to Brooklyn’s largest park for traditional Arabic food, music, dance and caligraphy as well as the chance to be painted with henna, sip thick coffee, smoke a water pipe and experience more of the city’s diversity.

T-shirt for sale

Folk Dancers
Folk dancers

Poster recruiting teenagers for research study

At the Tagine Dining Gallery tent

A mom waiting at the bouncy castle

Singer on stage

The stage
The stage

Henna tattoo on hand

Smoking the nargile
Smoking the nargile (hookah)

Henna tattoo on upper arm

Arabic Calilgraphy
Arabic Calilgraphy

The diverse crowd

At a food tent

With the WellCare bear

Henna tattoo on lower back

Sitting on the grass
Women sitting on the grass

Little girl with Palestinian flag painted on her face

Alwan for the Arts
Arab-American Heritage Week
Arab-American Family Support Center
Arab American Association Of New York
Tagine Dining Gallery
Alwan: Arab Americans
Gotham Gazette: History Of Arabs New York
A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City

9 Responses to The Arab American Heritage Festival

  1. photowannabe says:

    A great tribute to the diversity of the City. You captured a real varity of people.


  2. Olivier says:

    superbe, cela me fait penser à la fete du Moussem de la semaine derniere à Evry. J’aime beaucoup les tatouages sur les mains

    superb, that makes me think of the festival of Moussem of last week with Evry. I like much tattooings on the hands


  3. moi says:

    Loved the henna tattoos….and am sure the food must have been great too. Loved all the pictures……


  4. Katia says:

    I would have loved to come to that. I used to teach arabic women English at the Arab-American Center on Court Street in Brooklyn. One of the more satisfying things I have ever done.


  5. Annie says:

    You could entitle this post, “why you should live in a large city” or “how to join the community of mankind”.

    It is a good thing to have opportunities to be among those who live with history and tradition different from ones own.


  6. […] It was a hot, busy day, and by the time I arrived in Prospect Park, this year’s Arab-American Heritage Festival was nearly over. I still had time, though, to hear some rousing music, rummage through the […]


  7. Lilia says:

    Hi, I went there and it was really fun. Anyway, did you get the henna’s artist contact? Thanks for sharing the pictures, they are great!


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