Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Sunday Afternoon in Borough Park
I've written a lot lately about the diverse neighborhoods within walking distance of our apartment in Bay Ridge -- specifically Brooklyn's Chinatown and the Chinese community in Sunset Park. Now for something completely different, yet only a smidge further away than Chinatown: Borough Park, one of the biggest Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods outside of Israel (if Wikipedia is to be believed).
The closest corner of Borough Park is only about two miles from here; nevertheless, I've seen it only once or twice, and only briefly through a car window. But a couple of weekends ago a person Paul knows through work was holding a grand opening for his electronics and home goods store, so we decided to stop by.
First of all, many businesses owned and/or patronized by the Jewish community are closed on Saturday, the Sabbath. That's not just in Borough Park -- the hardware store closest to our apartment is closed on Saturdays for that reason, too. But Borough Park is pretty quiet on Saturdays, Paul has told me. So the grand opening was on Sunday.
Paul and I seemed to be the only ones there from outside the neighborhood, and we were certainly the only ones there in jeans. Everyone else was wearing the traditional, modest garb -- almost exclusively black or navy blue, with white shirts for the men and occasionally a striped shirt on a woman. Even the youngest girls wore skirts, and the older women -- that is, the ones around my age -- often paired them with a lovely well-tailored coat and a hat that could have come from the 1920s.
The store itself was interesting, as well. Most of the wares for sell was stuff you could find anywhere, but at times with a twist. At least two food processors highlighted their kugel blades.