Holiday Crawls from Brooklyn to the Bronx

Participants in the annual Kwanzaa Crawl will visit black-owned businesses on Dec. 26, the first day of Kwanzaa, which is called Umoja, or “unity.” (Photo by Deneka Peniston via Brooklyn Paper)

Among the many holiday food events across the city is the Kwanzaa Crawl in Brooklyn and a food tour in the Bronx’s Little Italy for the Christmas season.

Thousands are set to turn out for the third Kwanzaa Crawl on Dec. 26, which will head to 25 Black-owned bars and restaurants from Park Slope to Bed-Stuy, with another group supporting Harlem businesses, reports Alexandra Simon in Brooklyn Paper. The reporter speaks to the two Caribbean-American sisters behind the crawl who “wanted to focus on black economic power on the first day of the pan-African holiday.”

“When companies or businesses like that nail salon or Starbucks mess up, that’s when we start to look for black-owned coffee shops and black-owned nail salons,” said Kerry Coddett. “With the Kwanzaa Crawl, I want black people to start becoming more active than reactive.”

The bar crawl also puts a positive focus on spots that are often the subject of negative stereotypes, she said.

“We don’t celebrate our businesses enough and say they have bad service, but this is a chance to go to all venues,” said Coddett. “They’re all so different — some are dive bars and some are fancy eateries.”

Danielle Oteri (left) shows tourists the history of Egidio Pastry Shop, which opened in 1912. (Photo by Schneps Community News Group/Alex Mitchell via Bronx Times)

There’s nothing like Arthur Avenue, also known as the Little Italy of the Bronx, during the Christmas season, Danielle Oteri tells Bronx Times‘ Alex Mitchell. She runs Arthur Avenue Food Tours, a taste-testing tour of the bakeries, delis and other shops in the Italian section of Belmont.

“This is the only place left in New York City that is still authentic in true Italian tradition, especially during the holiday season,” Oteri said, calling Manhattan’s Little Italy a “corporate Disneyworld-like bland mess,” with the exception of Di Palo’s Deli.

Since her family previously owned Vincent’s Meat Market on the famed avenue since World War I, her insight on the ‘real Little Italy’ has been passed from generations.

That’s in addition to her rigorous research and study of Italian culture in the Bronx.

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