The Guyanese Effect in New York City

Immigration is what has made America what it is today. In reality, there would be no America if not for immigration due to the fact that the United States is built on immigrants most people were immigrants or someone in their family was once an immigrant at one point. We all know that Native American lived here for thousands of years before Europeans ever arrived in the United States.

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So from the start of the United States, history immigration has played a large part in America’s history and it has been essential to America history. While some people may believe that Guyanese culture is not celebrated as other Caribbean culture, but due to Guyanese immigrants in New York culture that enables every Guyanese person to set up a home away from home within the confines of New York City. My main focus in this paper is to show how the Guyanese culture is alive in New York City due to migration. When you take the A train to Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill, Queens then you are in Little Guyana. I will be focusing on specific locations which are Richmond Hill, Queens, and Brooklyn, New York because these are locations in which the Guyanese cultural contribution are major. The Guyanese community stays together because it reminds them of where they came from and helps them never forget, Guyanese people have made major contributions in most of New York City. Some ways that Guyanese community has kept the Guyanese culture in New York is having a yearly Parades in New York like for example the Labor Day Parade and Guyana Independence Parade which are held in Brooklyn New York then another Guyanese event that is being held in Queens specifically Richmond Hill is called Phagwah Parade. Another way Guyanese have contributed to New York City is by having a business/restaurant that sells authentic Guyanese food, some restaurants are Sybil’s and German’s Soup which are the popular eating destination for Guyanese people.

The motherland is Guyana and now the Guyanese made Queens and some parts of Brooklyn their home and started to set up this amazing and rich community. The migration of Guyanese to the United States happened from the 1970s and 1980s, which was due to political and economic problems. While many other people left because they were looking for better opportunities and some other for educational reasoning. Thousands of Guyanese call the U.S. home, the majority of Guyanese live in New York City making them the fifth-largest foreign-born population in the city. Guyanese are the second largest immigrant group in Queens, NY. Other Guyanese populated areas in the U.S. are located in Flatbush, Brooklyn; Canarsie, Brooklyn; East Flatbush, Brooklyn. According to the data (New York City Department of City Planning data,2013) in Queens, NY – which has the largest amount of Indo-Caribbeans in the five boroughs – Guyanese represent the second largest foreign-born population with some 82,000. A high amount of Guyanese can be found in the neighborhoods of Richmond Hill and Ozone Park, Queens.

This graph below is about the Guyanese population who migrated to the United States by each decade since the year 1980. It appears that as the year increases, the total amount of Guyanese Migrates in the United States increase. I also did some additional research and I found out in Queens, New York more than half of the population are Guyanese immigrant. In Queens, which has the largest concentration of Caribbeans among the five boroughs, Guyanese represent the second largest foreign-born population.

Source – https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/immigrants-countries-birth-over-time?width=1000&height=850&iframe=true[image: Chart]

This bar graph is used to display proportions. In particular, this was useful for showing the relationship between independent which is the year and dependent variables which is the population of Guyanese immigrants in the United States, where the independent variables is a discrete category.From the year 1980 to the year, 2010 Guyanese immigrants migrated the most from Guyana to the United States. Due to fact that they came in large number that does not mean it was easy for them to fit into the society.Guyanese immigrant had to deal racial problems that would not allow blacks to break into the certain profession, many were not able to get positions in their trained professions. As a result, many Guyanese women took positions as caregivers and healthcare industries.

In New York City, Guyanese contributed their distinctive cultural experiences to help shape New York, but specifically Richmond Hill, Queen’s identity. The food in Guyana reflect that diversity is in its dishes, it has various cultural influences and flavors hence why there is so much Guyanese restaurant In Richmond Hill, Queens. On Liberty Avenue, Little Guyana is a mile long strip of Queens that runs from 104th to 130th Street. When you get off the A train that is heading to Ozone Park-Lefferts Boulevard and exist down to the train station you will hear a specific type of music which is called Chutney,it include a sound of up-tempo and has also have

a pulse beat,which is a type of music that revolves around Guyanese -Indian culture.

Liberty Ave is a Guyanese neighborhood and this is where you find the market with fresh fruits, vegetable, fish and lots of interesting restaurants. Guyana is a melting pot of culture, so you have the Portuguese’s, Dutch’s, Indians, Chinese and Africans, and so you have all this great flavor of food and textures. Dishes have been modified to Guyanese tastes, usually by the incorporation of herbs and spices. Also, Guyanese food reflects diversity in its dishes that have various cultural influences and flavor. According to the video (Eater,2018) a customer Raymond Mohan said he “has been coming to Sybil’s regularly for 30 years. He swears by just about everything on the menu”.The most original ‘Guyanese food in New York comes from Sybil’s in Richmond Hill the restaurant provides food that gives a unique blend of cultures. The restaurant has become a historic establishment for the Guyanese community in Queens. According to the video (Eater,2018) the Owner of Sybil’s Viburt Bernard said: “In Guyana, everybody eats each other’s foods, mostly”.The thing that makes Guyanese food stand out is the diversity of the dishes and the blend of flavors from several parts of the world, due to Guyana’s divergent population. There’s no simple way to describe Guyanese food as it’s a unique result of its shared population in South America, there are European, Asian, Indigenous and Caribbean heritage people in Guyana. The sound of piercing tuneful and rhythmic Tassa drums is heard in this normally quiet neighborhood in New York City. This exciting festivity signals Phagwah, which is an old Hindu celebration of Holi it signals the coming of the spring season. This exciting festivity signals Phagwah, which is a Hindu celebration of Holi it signals the coming of the spring season. Guyanese immigrants and other neighboring residents gather in the way that American families come together during the Christmas season. According to the article (Voices of NY,2016) Aftab Karimullah, who immigrated to South Queens in 1984, said that the first immigrants arrived 50 years ago said “Today, Hindu culture has become part of the great melting pot that is the world’s borough. Every spring thousands flock to Richmond Hill to be part to the Phagwah Parade, a celebration of the Hindu holiday Holi, which commemorates color coming back into the world after a dreary winter with the throwing of colorful abir powder. “It has become a signature event,”.It’s also known as the “Festival of Colors,” and traditionally people playfully toss rainbow-colored powder at each other.

Not only is Queens is populated with Guyanese immigrants, but also in Brooklyn, New York. Most area in Brooklyn, New York that is highly populated with Guyanese immigrants according to the data from (New York City Department of City Planning Data,2013) on page 400 it states that Foreign-born by Country of Birth for Selected Neighborhoods Brooklyn from the year 2007–2011. There were 4,021 Guyanese immigrants in Crown Height, Brooklyn NY, in East New York, Brooklyn NY there were 5,401 Guyanese immigrants, in Canarsie, Brooklyn NY there were 3,571 Guyanese and also East Flatbush, Brooklyn NY there were 3,554 Guyanese. Across Brooklyn, there is a branch and diverse chain of high Guyanese immigrant neighborhoods. Since there was a large population of Guyanese people. There is a lot of Guyanese restaurants. Like for example another Guyanese restaurant, which is located in Brooklyn, New York is called German’s Soup. The restaurant makes a traditional Guyanese soup, which is a popular favorite is the famous cow heel soup, which is created with cow heel and ground provisions. The owner of German’s Soup in Brooklyn, New York. Clinton Urling said: “We are happy to reach and serve our diaspora customers and to contribute to the export and exposure of Guyanese cuisine and culture to others around the world” (Leonhardt,2018). Traditional dishes like Cow Heel Soup, Pepper Pot and other Guyanese dishes are so important to the Guyanese tradition because these are the chosen official national cuisine. Over time food from the Guyanese/Caribbean has progressed into accountability through which our culture has been highlighted.

Each Year since June 2016, which celebrated Guyana 50th anniversary since they became independent. In Guyana, each year during the month of February celebrate Mashramani, which is a yearly event that celebrates Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970. Each year in late May or early June in New York, the Parade (mashramani) in New York affords the Guyanese immigrant’s get an opportunity to enjoy “Mash” carnival-like scene comes together to celebrate. During this parade, it gives Guyanese in New York a chance to feel connected to their culture. According to the video on (News 12 Brooklyn,2018), the Counsel General of Guyana to New York Barbara Atherly said: “The parade showcase the unity among the Guyanese community, it means celebrating our 52nd anniversary being independent”.Bringing that parade and tradition to the states, Guyanese show how important the cultural event is in New York compare to similar style back home in Guyana. Another important Guyanese culture and also other Caribbean culture event is the Labor Day Parade, which is a yearly event that occurs on the first Monday in the month of September in Crown Height, Brooklyn. According to the article (as cited in Gannon,2018) states “Thousands of participants dance down Eastern Parkway or travel via float wearing unbelievably elaborate costumes, decorated with rhinestones and feathers. The vivid costumes are prepared months in advance”.This huge parade is a captivating force that attracting, one million onlookers every year, it is a massive celebration of Caribbean culture and heritage. The Carnival is an assurance of the Caribbean culture, bringing together people from different island under one place and demonstrate the liveliness of the peoples of the Caribbean. Diversity is at the heart of this parade and also Guyanese people living in New York are diverse, and that is because Guyana itself is diverse. During Carnival, there are also Caribbean/Carnival themed parties that are held across the area, better known to our community as Fetes. Carnival is the time when people let go of themselves and parade with the enjoyment of the various Caribbean music and dances. Which I personally enjoyed doing myself, because it reminds me of my culture back home in Guyana and also during Labor Day weekend in New York.

Brooklyn and Richmond Hill are the epicenters of Guyanese and or Guyanese-American life. You can eat at Guyanese restaurants or shop at stores selling foods and items from Guyana. Guyanese immigration continues to populate New York and other places in the U.S, although immigrants may not have always been accepted in the U.S society and although immigration laws continue to change, New York is still and has always been home to many immigrants and the land of opportunity. Most Guyanese restaurants have remained a staple to the Guyanese community in Queens and Brooklyn. Like Sybil’s and German’s Soup. Then big events like the Labor Day Parade, Guyana Independence Parade and Phagwah Parade. Guyanese immigrants brought an entrepreneurial spirit and the traditions of home to New York City and also Guyanese immigrants in New York have greatly contributed to the culture of New York, through their food and big festivity/events.

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