Indian NYC is NYC’s second biggest immigrant community. New York has many Little Indias.
Most Indians don’t consider ourselves to be Latin, but in the English-speaking Caribbean we are. After abolition, we came as indentured servants. That’s where that all that good Caribbean curry comes from.
In Trinidad, Indian descent is the largest group, though not a majority. There is even a name for the Indian African mix, “Dougla.” It used to be an insult, but is now a mark of pride.
One branch of the family of New York Latin Culture Magazine Editor-in-Chief Keith Widyolar, lived in India for over 1,000 years. So even New York Latin Culture Magazine has Indian roots.
Indian culture in NYC tends to be Bollywood or Indipop which blends Classical Indian and European and American traditions.
Indian NYC News
“Jazz at the Joyce” Dormeshia Tap Collective, Michelle N. Gibson, Josette Wiggan 🇺🇸
Soles of Duende tap dance 🇺🇸 🇮🇳 🇪🇸
Dallas Black Dance Theatre contemporary 🇺🇸
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE African, Afro-Cuban, African American contemporary 🇺🇸 🇨🇺
Compagnie Hervé KOUBI contemporary 🇩🇿 🇫🇷
Music from the Sole tap, samba, house, carnival 🇧🇷
This festival of lights celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.
Sunday-Thursday, November 12-16, 2023
IT’S ALL OVER ~ Funny people come out of the woodwork from NYC and across America. 🇺🇸 🇧🇷 🇨🇺 🇩🇴 🇮🇳 🇮🇹 🇵🇭 🇵🇷 🇷🇼 🇻🇪
Big Band Holidays. 🇺🇸 🇩🇴
French Hot Club jazz. 🇺🇸 🇫🇷
Big Band Rhythms of India. 🇺🇸 🇮🇳
COLUMBUS CIRCLE, Manhattan
WILLIAMSBURG CINEMAS, Williamsburg, Brooklyn ~ One of New York City’s most diverse film festivals.
Wednesday-Sunday, October 25-29, 2023
🇺🇸 🇧🇷 🇪🇷 🇪🇹 🇮🇳 🇯🇲 🇱🇷 🇳🇬
Yasser Tejeda Afro-Dominican Alternative 🇩🇴 🇭🇹
Waterworks Emerging Artists Showcase 🇺🇸 🇨🇺
Sugar Hill Salon & Concert Artists Guild 🇺🇸 🇪🇨
Vijay Iyer & Friends play Andrew Hill 🇺🇸 🇮🇳
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company dance 🇺🇸
Nora Chipaumire dance 🇺🇸 🇿🇼
Camille A. Brown & Guests dance 🇺🇸
MANHATTANVILLE, West Harlem
Five programs of three international dance companies for $20 + fees at one of New York’s leading dance theaters.
NEW YORK CITY CENTER in Midtown, Manhattan
🇺🇸 🇧🇷 🇫🇷 🇮🇳 🇲🇽 🇪🇸
The 51st Dance on Camera Festival 2023 puts Latin dance on the big screen at Film at Lincoln Center from Friday-Monday, February 10-13, 2023. $17. 🇫🇷 🇮🇳 🇲🇽
Celebrate Diwali, the South Asian festival of lights and Hindu New Year, Sunday-Thursday, November 12-16, 2023. The peak is November 15. 🇮🇳
Celebrate Diwali, the West Indian and South Asian festival of lights and South Asian New Year, on the four or five days around Monday, October 24, 2022. 🇮🇳
The Bollywood Beats: Desi Saturdays party is at SOB’s in Hudson Square on Saturdays in April 2022 at 11pm. $35. 🇮🇳
Violinist, singer, composer L. Shankar, tabla master Abhijit Banerjee, and drummer Rohan Krishnamurthy play Classical Indian Music at Roulette Intermedium in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn on Sat, Apr 2 at 8pm. From $25. 🇮🇳
Celebrate Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colors on Fri-Sat, Mar 18-19, 2022.
The Bollywood Beats: Desi Saturdays party is at SOB’s in Hudson Square on Saturdays in March 2022 at 11pm. $35. 🇮🇳
The New Museum 2021 Triennial: Soft Water Hard Stone opens in the Lower East Side on Oct 28, 2021 – Jan 23, 2022. 🇦🇷🇧🇷🇯🇲🇲🇽🇵🇪🇺🇸|🇨🇩🇿🇦|🇮🇳🇵🇭|🇫🇷
Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints: Revolution, Resistance, and Activism is at The Met Fifth Avenue in Central Park through Jan 17, 2022. 🇫🇷🇭🇹🇮🇳🇲🇽🇪🇸
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with the Hottest Desi Bollywood Beats at SOB’s in Hudson Square, Manhattan on Fri, Dec 31 at 10pm. $50. 🇮🇳
Celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights on Thu, Nov 4.
Cosmopolitan Mosaic, a live and digital dance and film performance inspired by NYC’s cultural blend, is at Anita’s Way in the Bank of America Tower in Times Square on Thu, Oct 28 from 3-6pm. FREE. chashama.org 🇵🇷🇮🇳🇺🇸
The 59th New York Film Festival is at Film at Lincoln Center, Fri, Sep 24 – Oct 10. 🇦🇴🇧🇴🇧🇷🇨🇦🇨🇴🇫🇷🇮🇳🇮🇹🇲🇽🇵🇹🇷🇴🇪🇸🇺🇸
Indian New York City
New York City has many Little Indias. There are two in Manhattan.
“Curry Row” is on East 6th St, between First & Second Ave. It’s fun to walk the 6th St at night with the smell of curry and the sound of the sitar wafting through the air. We love the row of restaurants with red chili lights on First Ave at the corner of 6th St.
Manhattan’s second Little India is on Lexington, between 27th & 29th St. It’s called “Curry Hill.” The spice shop Kalustyan’s is a neighborhood highlight at 123 Lexington Ave.
Nowadays we call Indian culture “South Asian” to avoid confusion with the incorrect labeling of Indigenous Americans as “Indians,” and to respect the fact that several countries and a lot of diverse people are part of the South Asian cultural complex. India has 121 languages. 22 of them are official. European languages are actually Indo-European, so we are closer than many of us think. Every country is unique, but we are all related.
South Asian culture is Latin through Flamenco, Mother Africa and the Caribbean, especially in Jamaica and Trinidad.
The Roma people, who created Spanish Flamenco in Andalusía, started their journey as traveling court musicians in Punjab, Northern India. They absorbed many cultures along the road, and it’s all in the Flamenco and the Spanish guitar that preceded it.
After abolition, many South Asians came to work in the English Caribbean as indentured labor and contributed to Caribbean culture. That’s why there is good curry at Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Parade, Labor Day Carnival. Trinidad Carnival is the Mother of Caribbean Carnival.
Dance Theatre of Harlem’s signature piece “Dougla,” is a Geoffrey Holder ballet set in an African Indian wedding in Trinidad. The Indian influences of Trinidad culture also reach Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Think Steel Pan with curry puffs.
India is a big, diverse country. The Indus River Valley (now in Pakistan) was home of one of the great ancient civilizations.
Arab traders used to follow the summer monsoons from East Africa to India, and the winter monsoons back. So there is a lot of Indian influence throughout East Africa. For example, we call our numbering system “Arabic Numerals” because we learned them from Arab traders, but they’re actually a Hindu number system.
Europe absorbed Indian culture through the colonial spice trade. In ancient times, this was the world’s richest region. English and other colonizers stole everything they could.
The Indo-Latin Connection
Flamenco originates with the Romani people of Northern India. You can hear the relation in melodic and rhythmic forms. You can see the relation in the fiery hands of flamenco and Indian classical dancers.
Indian people and culture mix into the Latin world through the Caribbean and the north coast of South America. In the Colonial Period, they came to the British, Dutch and French Caribbean as indentured workers. English-speaking Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados; Dutch-speaking Suriname; and French-speaking Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana have important Indian communities.
Dougla people are Afro-Indians of the West Indies. The Geoffrey Holder ballet “Dougla” is Dance Theatre of Harlem’s signature piece.
You can taste the good curry in West Indian food. It’s one of the joys of Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Parade.