Thousands attend Brighton’s annual 45th anniversary • Brooklyn Paper

Thousands of people flocked to Brighton Beach Avenue on Sunday August 28 to take part in the thoroughfare’s namesake street festival – the Brighton Jubilee.

This year marked the 45th edition of the fair, which its founder says serves as a celebration of Brighton Beach’s reputation as a “cultural melting pot”.

“[Former New York City Mayor David] Dinkins said years ago that “the city is a mosaic”, [but] the mosaic is cracked and we can draw lines around each community and stay separate,” said Pat Singer, president of the Brighton Beach Neighborhood Association and founder of the Brighton Jubilee. “It’s an event that really brings us all together, and I like it, I’m proud of it.”

Each year, jubilant Jubilee-goers are invited to shop, try new dishes and listen to live music, all while enjoying the rich cultural fabric of South Brooklyn. Organized each year by the Singer Association, the Brighton Jubilee pays tribute to the inhabitants of the district from all over the world, the majority of whom are from the former Soviet Union, several Spanish-speaking countries and Pakistan.

Meat for gyros, a Greek sandwich, roasted at Brighton’s 45th annual Jubilee.Photo by Erica Price

On Sunday, Brighton Beach Avenue transformed into a global bazaar, with discount shopping, ethnic cuisines, musical entertainment and games for the whole family.

Stages were set up on Coney Island Avenue, West 12th and West 14th Streets, where a variety of musical acts performed throughout the day, including bands from the Bay Ridge rock and roll scene, entertainers Russians hosted by local radio station Freedom FM and a Singer fan favorite: a group of Peruvian flautists.

Music is a fundamental part of the street fair because it’s the universal language, Singer said.

“A group of musicians who come every year to play the flute, which I love, it’s a beautiful sound,” Singer said. “We had music everywhere because it’s the international language, everyone understands music.”

Thousands of people flocked to the thoroughfare to enjoy the sights, sounds and shopping that come with Brighton’s annual Jubilee.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

People flock to the festival all day, often as early as 8.30am – an hour and a half before the festivities technically start. One year, Singer said, a New York Police Department helicopter counted nearly 125,000 people crossing Brighton Beach Avenue during Jubilee.

“The crowd is constant,” she said, “and it’s constant from early morning.”

Despite all the work that goes into putting on the annual street fair, Singer said it’s been worth it when she sees families having fun and people talking to each other who might not have been. without the Jubilee.

“I love that people like it, it’s quite wonderful, it warms my heart. All the pain goes away when you enjoy it like that,” she said. “I like the fact that it’s multicultural and multi-ethnic. This is one of the few fairs where you see everyone coming from different corners of the community.

A colorful assortment of magnets was on sale.Photo by Erica Price
And some preserved creatures too.Photo by Erica Price

Many other street fairs in the Peninsular District no longer exist, Singer said, and she is happy to carry on this tradition for her neighbors as it serves as an escape from everyday life. Coming together for Brighton’s Jubilee was particularly important this year, she added, following the coronavirus pandemic, which canceled the event in 2020 and resulted in a smaller, scaled-down version in 2021.

“People miss those things, a lot of the festivals we had in the past don’t happen anymore,” Singer said. “We’ve all had a tough few years with COVID and everything. I think people are looking for that escape to have fun, laugh and feel good about life.

The long-time community leader said she thinks what makes Brighton’s Jubilee so special is its personal nature – and that the charity goes to great lengths to ensure visitors are welcome. comfortable and that families are entertained.

“I don’t know what it is, I think it’s just because we give it a personal touch,” Singer said. “There’s a nice feel, like an old-time state fair.”

There’s always fun for the whole family at the Brighton Jubilee!Photo by Erica Price

The singer says she started the Brighton Jubilee in 1977 to tackle soaring crime and rampant quality of life issues in the neighborhood at the time. She hoped to foster an event that showcased Brighton Beach’s good qualities, with the ultimate goal of helping to overthrow it.

“We had the idea to fight back because Brighton Beach was going down,” she said. “Crime was bad and boarding houses turned into drug houses, there was prostitution on Ocean View. positive thing.

The singer told the Brooklyn Paper that she is very grateful to her Brighton Neighborhood Association staff and family who come to help and make the Brighton Jubilee possible year after year.

“It’s a family affair for all of us,” Singer said. ” It was not easy. It was hard work.

She also applauded the 60th Ward police officers and Sanitation Department employees who responded quickly to the association’s concerns during – and in the days leading up to – the Jubilee, such as cleaning streets and towing vehicles that have ignored no-parking signs for that day.

Adorable knitted dolls were among the many goods for sale at this year’s Jubilee.Photo by Erica Price

“I think the police have done a really good job this year, I think the sanitation has done an outstanding job,” Singer said. “We certainly had problems at first because the streets were dirty, but the sanitation came and cleaned up some of the commercial trash that was left.”

Now that this year’s Jubilee is over, the Brighton Neighborhood Association is tackling its next task: finding a new disabled-accessible office space to operate in. Earlier this year, Singer said, Chase Bank asked the association to vacate office space it had occupied for 45 years, previously donated by the lender.

“I’m looking for office space to conduct our operations,” Singer said, adding that she hopes a local family business could donate some of their space so Jubilee has a suitable place to plan for years to come. . “The rents are so high, it’s crazy. We hope to find someone who will help us and give us the space. This is our next project.

After that, he’s back to planning in January, Singer said.

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