If there was any doubt that Diwali had become a well-entrenched event on New York City’s multicultural calendar, it was erased some time ago. For the sixth year in a row, city officials marked the day by suspending alternate side parking, perhaps the ultimate acknowledgement that your ethnic holiday has arrived. Around town recently, there were daylong street fairs, special menus at Indian restaurants and events for children.
By far this season’s largest was the Association of Indians in America 24th annual Diwali celebration at South Street Seaport on October 2. More than 200,000 people attended the event, which started at noon and had confetti of entertainment: two stages showcased performances, including Indian cultural and folk dances, and Bollywood dancing. Water Street was lined with 20 food vendors selling small plates of delicious Indian favorites like samosas and chole bature (curried chickpeas with fried puffy bread). The evening culminated with a 20-minute fireworks show. Local politicians stopped by to pay homage to the city’s Desi denizens.
The Asia Society had a Diwali Family Day on October 22. The three-hour event, in its ninth year, had more than 200 participants. Children made diyas (oil lamps lit on the holiday) and rangoli (folk art) and watched kathak dance performances.