A section of McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood will forever be known as Little Bangladesh following an official co-naming ceremony that took place a few days ago.
Estimated to be the home of 35% of the city’s Bangladeshi population, the neighborhood is filled with restaurants and cafes that pay homage to the culture so it should come as no surprise that officials have found a way to pay tribute to the residents of the area.
“Nearly 40 years ago Shahid Ullah and the late Abdul Kashem opened Asian Oriental Grocery in Kensington, Brooklyn—this was the then very small but growing Bangladeshi community’s lifeline to halal meat, Deshi vegetables, our spices and more,” council member Shahana Hanif, who unveiled the street sign after proposing the co-naming back in April, wrote in an Instagram post following the ceremony. “This shop made it so that families no longer had to travel to Queens or elsewhere. It made Kensington the neighborhood for Bangladeshi working class families to build a family and community.”
The politician went on to write that the new street moniker empowers the community “to continue advocating and organizing for a dignified life—dignified housing, dignified workplaces and wages, and dignified education and more. It is to recognize the many struggles of those who arrived to Brooklyn 40 or so years ago, crossing harsh terrain from Sandwip, Noakhali, Chittagong and facing even harsher terrain here, and it is to celebrate our community’s accomplishments and resilience.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time that city officials opt to re-name a specific area to honor a portion of history. Back in August, for example, a street in Harlem was renamed after Althea Gibson, the first Black tennis player to win a Grand Slam title. A month later, a portion of 101st Street, between Third and Lexington Avenues in East Harlem, became Cicely Tyson Way, after the iconic actress. What’s more, the Cort Theatre on Broadway last year became the James Early Jones Theatre in an homage to the iconic Black stage and screen actor.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.