Photo via Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Twitter
To celebrate the thousands of Haitian-Americans who have called Flatbush home for decades, city officials revealed last week plans to designate the “Little Haiti Business and Cultural District” in the Brooklyn neighborhood. The borough boasts one of the largest communities of Haitian-Americans in the country, with more than 90,000 individuals of Haitian descent living in Brooklyn. Once the City Council passes a resolution, an official Little Haiti district would be able to request funding earmarked for cultural initiatives, obtain permits easier, create a museum and build monuments, the Observer reported Monday. Marking the new district, lawmakers and locals on Friday unveiled a new street sign for Nostrand Avenue, where it meets Newkirk Avenue, which will now be co-named “Toussaint L’Ouverture Boulevard,” to honor a leader of the Haitian Revolution.
The proposed district is defined as the area bordered by Avenue H, Brooklyn Avenue, Parkside Avenue and East 16th Street, as well as Church Avenue between Brooklyn and Albany Avenues. Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, who represents Flatbush and was the first Haitian-American woman to be elected to office in New York, has pushed for months to designate the area.
“Little Haiti will be more than just a tourist destination,” Bichotte said Friday. “It will be a celebration of Haitian culture and recognition of Haitian contributions to this country.”
Because the area bounded by Flatbush, Church and Nostrand Avenues was designated last year as the Little Carribbean cultural district, some felt making another district was not necessary. But others, like City Council Member Jumaane Williams, who represents the neighborhood, said the creation of the district helps honor a country that was recently disparaged by President Donald Trump.
“If you look at what happened in just the past year or two, the communities were singled out and called shitholes by the president of the United States of America,” Williams said. “One of those countries was Haiti. When a community steps up and says we are gonna push back on the perception on us, we have to celebrate.”
In addition to the naming of Nostrand Avenue, parts of Rogers Avenue will be co-named after Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a Haitian Revolutionary leader. The proposed legislation will go before the City Council this summer and is expected to pass.
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Neighborhoods : Flatbush