Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lovebirds Take on Taste of Africa on Governors Island

September just might be one of the best months to be in NYC. The fact that we're leaving right when I've started a new year of life is making me a bit nostalgic for the incredible collage of memories here. In between preparing for our move I'm trying to recap here on the blog all the amazing things we've been up to and places that I love. 

One of those is Governors Island.

I'm grateful that I was put onto it years ago and have enjoyed returning each year. It's one of those magical places where I wouldn't want to go too frequently as it's close but just far enough from the craziness of the city to feel like a special treat. While I missed my usual visit this year for the Jazz Age Lawn Party, going back there with Grayson and Mr. Lovebird in tow was extra special since it was our first time there as a family of 4. The last time we went was for my birthday last year where we experienced Fete Paradiso which resulted in one of my favorite video recaps!

We ventured there earlier this month for Taste of Africa's Annual Family Day Celebration produced by African Film Festival (I gave a preview here), and it was a perfect weather weekend to go. Nia braved the journey on her new birthday princess bike, and looking back it was kinda nuts that we let her do that given how far it was, but she thoroughly enjoyed herself! There are no cars on Governors Island, and it feels like a step back in time surrounded by the old army buildings.

It was easy to find the festivities off the ferry - we just followed the drumming! Nia quickly remembered the expanse of the island and wanted to explore for a bit, but we returned to the Celebration and she even joined in the dance lesson as the bigger girls helped welcome her into the circle. 

We caught the tail end of the Afro-Brazilian dance - I could listen to this rhythm over and over again!: 


The Senegalese dancer Babacar M'Baye who led the following segment was so energetic! It took all I could muster not to jump up and do my own dance interpretation. His choreography was intense and you could feel the pull he had on the crowd. Even the spectators got into it! Take a look (and notice the woman who jumps in!):

(You can also see Nia practicing M'Baye's choreography and performing here!)

Seeing the rainbow of people celebrating African culture was so uplifting. I get really emotional in moments like this thinking how this must be what heaven is like. Mr. Lovebird who was resting in the grass must've been reading my mind because he turned to me and said, "This is what it's all about" and gave me a kiss. LOVE him!

I was thrilled that Nia joined in without much prodding. I've been working with her to appreciate her heritage and I get a kick out of it when she tells people she's *from* "MY-geria." Of course I correct her and remind her that she's Nigerian but born in Harlem. She replies, "Ohhhh!" every time!

Next year will mark the 8th year of the Annual Family Day Celebration, and I highly recommend it. Be sure to follow African Film Festival on Facebook and Twitter to keep abreast of all their events!

Have you been to Governors Island? Where do you to go escape in your city?