The Rockaway Parkway Merchants Corridor is not exactly the place one would expect to be entertained with “An Evening of Culture” but that is exactly what happened on Thursday, September 1st, for Canarsie residents, shoppers along the corridor and commuters getting off the “L” train.
For a few hours that evening, a small crowd mingled on the plaza, at the corner of Rockaway Parkway and Glenwood Road, listened to music, danced and sampled a variety of finger foods and healthy, sugar-free sno-cones, all compliments of the Rockaway Parkway Merchants Association (RPMA). According to RPMA Executive Director Norine Medas, “It’s our way of giving back to our community. We want to say, ‘thank you’ for your support – for shopping local, eating local and staying local.”
Some of the merchants exhibited wares that ran the gamut from clothing and accessories to homemade soaps and candles. In her pop-up shop, “Grandma’s Hands,” Darnella displayed an assortment of specialty soaps she crafted using herbs, a skill she attributes to her grandma and great aunt. “My grandma was a fantastic cook and her sister enjoyed making soaps. I now make soaps, using sage, parsley and lemongrass (which I grow in my patio garden), oatmeal and even carrots, the same ingredients my grandma used in her cooking.”
A young lady named Jada displayed a tableful of candles she made for her company, “She Holds All Magnetic Energy” (SHAME), but her collection was nothing to be ashamed of. Sitting in a kiosk next to Desdemona, another young businesswoman who displayed handcrafted Afrocentric jewelry, the two budding entrepreneurs explained that their businesses, which started out as hobbies, took off during the pandemic when there was nothing else to do but create.
Medas, who also hosts Wellness Wednesdays along the corridor, is all for supporting local entrepreneurs. “This event, Thursdays on the Corridor, is another part of our Performance on the Plaza series. It is meant to show support for our merchants, in addition to being an inviting space where people, such as the after-work crowd getting off the train, could pause and have a relaxing, entertaining moment. We also want to present Rockaway Parkway as a destination, right here in Canarsie, where residents and visitors alike could take advantage of performances, plays and wellness.”
The Executive Director expressed special thanks to TriniJam, Golden Crust, Sylk Cove Cocktail Lounge, Cato’s Sno-Cones and DJ Fross for making the evening possible.