All across the five boroughs, New Yorkers are reeling from the events they witnessed at this weekend’s protests seeking justice sparked by the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and countless past cases that have been pointed to as examples of police brutality stemming from racism.
Despite citizens being met with brute force from police in many instances, the protests also offered an opportunity to see an outpouring of love, solidarity and compassion: people blasted music and banged pots from their apartments as a sign of support while others joined in on peaceful protests. They also helped by passing out snacks, masks, hand sanitizer and water bottles.
Food has always been political, and we saw it once again the past few days. As the New York Times reported, restaurants have been at the center of the protests. In Minneapolis, a Bangladeshi family's restaurant burnt down, but owner Ruhel Islam said, "We can rebuild a building, but we cannot rebuild a human." In New York, small businesses such as Dimes, Raclette and B&H Dairy had their windows smashed over the weekend.
Now, New York restaurants—already hit financially hard by city-wide shutdowns due to the current crisis—are responding to the recent events: some with words, some raising money, and some handing out free food to keep New Yorkers nourished. It could be a turning point as consumers have the power to choose which restaurants they support (or don't). At a time when restaurant profit margins have already taken a significant hit, where people decide to eat could have an immense impact on which businesses are able to stay afloat. And whether your favorite restaurant has stayed silent or shared its thoughts on what’s happening across the country sends a message. More protests are planned for today and later this week.
Owner Yunha Moh spent this weekend preparing coconut pies and teas to pass out to New Yorkers at the protest.
Wildair and Contra
The East Village restaurant, one of the last remaining kosher dairy lunch counters in the city, had its windows smashed this weekend. The team put up a video about their experience and is asking people to donate to a GoFundMe.
Gabriel Stulman of Happy Cooking Hospitality (Fairfax, Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey's Grocery, Simon & the Whale, Bar Sardine, Fedora and The Jones)
Brooklyn Chop House
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