Turkish-Americans celebrate their heritage this month with a week of restaurant discounts at participating eateries, a parade and festival, and an event at Borough Hall.
The 32nd Turkish Day Parade and Festival kicks off on Saturday, May 18, at noon. Organized by the Federation of Turkish American Associations, the parade takes place in Manhattan, with participants gathering at 56th Street and Madison Avenue and marching down to Dag Hammarskjold Park on 47th Street and 1st Avenue, where they’ll join with the festival.
The festival features Turkish music, folk dancers and more.
Here in Brooklyn, the organizations will celebrate with a taste of Turkish culture during the Brooklyn Turkish Cultural Celebration at Borough Hall (188 Montague Street). There will be complimentary Turkish food prepared by local restaurants, along with more folk dancers and music, to be enjoyed by Borough President Marty Markowitz, other dignitaries, and neighbors. The event is Thursday, May 16, at 5 p.m.
But all week long this week – lasting until Sunday – locals can also enjoy a discount at participating Turkish restaurants, including four in Southern Brooklyn. Coupons and a full list of participating restaurants around the Tri-State area can be seen here.
A coalition of Turkish-American organizations forked over $40,000 yesterday to the Gerritsen Beach library (2808 Gerritsen Avenue) and Gerritsen Beach Elementary School (P.S. 277), institutions that have suffered in the five months since Superstorm Sandy rocked the community.
The donation came from Turkish-American groups, non-profits and businesses, spearheaded by Helping Hands Relief Foundation, Kimse Yokmu, Council of Turkic American Associations, Turkish Cultural Center and the Brooklyn Amity School.
Of the $40,000 donated yesterday, $30,000 is going to the Brooklyn Public Library’s Gerritsen Beach branch, one of two branches in the system that has been unable to reopen due to extensive damage. The checks were handed over during a ceremony in front of the branch. Prior to the ceremony, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke toured the facility, which has been gutted down to bare walls, floors and rafters.
“We believe that Brooklyn Public Library and P.S. 277 are invaluable resources for the community, where people of all ages will benefit tremendously in many different ways,” said Nevzat Yilmaz, president of Helping Hands Relief Foundation. “This is dedicated to building a better future for the children and families of our community, and leaves a footprint for the next generations of Turkish-Americans to take care of community facilities that serve the people.”
Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson was on-hand to receive the check, delivered by a cadre of Amity School students. She said the library would use the funds in part to rebuild the library with green technology and infrastructure.
P.S. 277 Principal Jeanne Fish said the school would use the funds to install new smartboards and laptops in classrooms.
A number of local cultural organizations have teamed up to produce an evening of movies that show the “shared past and common future” of Turkish and Russian-Jewish cultures, two ethnic groups that have planted deep roots in our community. All the information is in the flier below.
TCC's Executive Director Murat Kaval presents Istanbul's Mayor Kadir Topbas with a gift at the annual Friendship Dinner (Source: TCC)
The Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn hosted its 6th annual Friendship Dinner and Award Ceremony on April 24, bringing together leaders and neighbors from all over Brooklyn’s diverse landscape to celebrate unity and peace building.
The gathering promotes peace and harmony in society by recognizing leaders from a variety of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds for their friendship and goodwill to others.
The event drew guests including Istanbul’s Mayor Kadir Topbas, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Turkish Consul General Levent Bilgen, State Senators Eric Adams and Kevin Parker, Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz and Alec Brook Krasny – among many, many others.
Cymbrowitz was among those honored, as was Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay Y.
Ivy Director Zini presents Cymbrowitz with a plaque recognizing his commitment to the center.
Ivy Learning Center celebrated the grand opening last week of its Sheepshead Bay branch, the first and only in New York City.
The center took up residence in 2727 Coney Island Avenue – the former location of the Brooklyn Amity School, which still owns the property – serving K-12 students with tutoring, test preparation, essay coaching and summer enrichment programs. The local branch is partnered with the Amity School, but is itself a standalone business based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, since 2006, with locations in four states. Like Amity, it was founded by Turkish businessmen, though serves the broader community.
The event kicked off Friday afternoon with a speech from director Ufuk Zini touting the organization’s mission.
“At Ivy Learning we offer top-notch tutoring at affordable rates. We are also a supplemental education service provider. As a nonprofit organization, our ultimate goal is to give back to the community as much as possible,” Zini told the crowd. “I’m looking forward to embarking on this journey with all of you in the community.”
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz stopped by the event to welcome the new educational organization, noting that the area is experiencing a Turkish boom in business and population.
“Welcome to the heart of the Turkish community in Brooklyn, right here in the 45th Assembly District,” Cymbrowitz said. “It’s been a pleasure learning how much education is valued by the Turkish community.”
It’s really hard to keep track of what’s going on 2255 Emmons Avenue. In two years it has been home to three Turkish restaurants – and soon it’ll have a fourth.
Pera Cafe Lounge will soon open at the location, following the short-lived Deniz Restaurant (so short-lived that we’re not sure if they were ever even open). Before Deniz it was Lara Turkish Cuisine, which opened in April 2010, just months after the longer-lived Bay Shish Kebab closed.
We have not confirmed it yet, but we’ve heard that Pera will be operated by the owners of Deniz, and will be a hookah lounge – so there’s no change in ownership, just direction.
UPDATE (3/29/2012): The owner just chimed in in the comments section, noting that it will not be a hookah lounge. He wrote:
Hi you all my I am the owner of Pera cafe longe we will be open late of April and it just will be cafe lounnge with full bar we don’t do hookah thanks you all I look forward see soon with a taste of Rurkish culture at Pera cafe lounge
The Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn will present a free screening of the film “Rumi: The Dance of Love,” January 21, 7:30 p.m. at TCCB headquarters, 245 Avenue U in Gravesend.
Here is a synopsis of the film, from an email we received:
The documentary centers on Rumi, the great philosopher and poet revered and loved by the masses all over the world for his ideas on universal peace, humanism, brotherhood and love transcending the centuries. Narrating the universal thought of Mevlana, whose ideas reach us from the 13th century embracing humanity with their themes of love and humanism, with a poetic and dramatic style, the documentary explains Rumi and the light of his oeuvre with the help of the ideas of love, samah and ney. “Rumi: The Dance of Love” presents the light of love of Rumi spreading from Anatolia with animated scenes, visual animations and a poetic, narrative style.
Here’s the trailer:
According to a rep from TCCB, “Rumi’s life and transformation provide true testimony and proof that people of all religions and backgrounds can live together in peace and harmony.”
Locally-elected politicians, Borough President Marty Markowitz and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly were among those on hand at the Brooklyn Amity School’s grand opening in the former Golden Gate Inn – and all swooned over the community-boosting transformation.
The site at 3867 Shore Parkway was once a fixture of local lore, rumored to be a pay-per-hour motel that saw more johns than journeyers. But administrators of the Brooklyn Amity School took over the property early this year, and have spent the past several months making it a second home for students.