Indian NYC is NYC’s second biggest immigrant community. New York has many Little Indias. Indian culture in NYC tends to be Bollywood or Indipop which blends Classical Indian and European traditions.
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.
Indian NYC News
March 21, 2022
Classical Indian Music
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. 🇮🇳
The Bollywood Beats: Desi Saturdays party is at SOB’s in Hudson Square on Saturdays in March and April 2022 at 11pm. $35. 🇮🇳
September 21-October 2, 2022
NEW YORK CITY CENTER
Friday-Sunday, September 9-11, 2022
Hudson Yards, Manhattan
Monday, October 24, 2022
LITTLE INDIA, LITTLE TRINIDAD, LITTLE GUYANA, LITTLE SURINAME
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
August 13-19, 2022
ROBERT F. WAGNER PARK
Battery Park City
August 20, 2022
Financial District, Manhattan
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
LITTLE INDIA, NYC
Tap, Broadway, Classical, Flamenco, Gospel, Indian Classical Dance, Jazz, R&B, Rumba
July 20-31, 2022
Friday-Saturday, July 22-23, 2022
Sunday, July 24 & 31, 2022
Hudson River Park
Thu, June 9 – Sat, June 18, 2022
ALL OVER NYC
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Times Square Theater District
Fri, September 24 – October 10, 2021
FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER
Thursday-Saturday, August 12-14, 2021
ROBERT F. WAGNER PARK
Battery Park City
Sunday-Friday, August 15-20, 2021
August 11, 2021
Lower East Side
Wednesday-Sunday, August 11-15, 2021
MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
El Barrio, East Harlem
Thursday, August 12, 2021
August 16-31, 2021
Lakeside Brooklyn Skate Rink
LeFrak Center, Prospect Park
Sunday, June 20, 2021
June 10-19, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
CBS 🎵🏆 Sunday, March 14, 2021 🏆 Winners 🇺🇸🇦🇷🇨🇴🇨🇺🇭🇹🇮🇹🇲🇽🇳🇬🇵🇦🇵🇷🇻🇪
TO GO 🍽🎪 January 25 – EXTENDED to February 28, 2021
Friday, August 14-22, 2020
African, Indian, Middle Eastern, Romanian, French, Greek, Japanese, Women’s, LGBT, Indigenous, Mexican and Disability dance
ONLINE Through August 2, 2020
PREMIERE Sat, July 25 at 8pm
TALKS & WORKSHOPS
Wed-Sat, July 22-25, 2020
DTH SOCIAL CHANNELS
Previously in Indian NYC
Celebrate Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colors on Fri-Sat, Mar 18-19, 2022.
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.
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.