LATEST PAPER
34° Good Afternoon
34° Good Afternoon
Things to Do

Brazil in NYC: Experience culture right here through food, music and more

As the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are set to launch, New Yorkers (and the world) turn their sights to Brazil.

South America’s largest nation is a melting pot of people — African, European, Asian and indigenous — that presents a rich and colorful culture. While you may not be able to get a ticket down south, you can still have an authentic Brazilian experience right here in New York. Wander through Manhattan’s historic Little Brazil for a look into the expat community’s past, head to Queens for authentic food and dance to Brazilian beats in Brooklyn.

Ready, set, obá!

Manhattan's Brazilian block

For a country so large, it's almost ironic
Photo Credit: Emily Schienvar

For a country so large, it's almost ironic that New York's Little Brazil neighborhood takes up but one city block. On W. 46 St. between Fifth and Sixth Avenues you will find what remains of a once-thriving Brazilian expat neighborhood -- but the findings are still worthwhile.

Emporium Brasil

Restaurants like the white tablecloth Emporium Brasil proffer
Photo Credit: Emporium Brasil

Restaurants like the white tablecloth Emporium Brasil proffer traditional dishes like Bahia's moqueca de peixe com pirão (a coconut milk fish stew) and the hugely popular estrogonofe de carne (beef stroganoff). Pictured: mariscada, a seafood stew in a light tomato sauce. (15 W. 46th St., emporiumbrasil.com)

Via Brasil

If grilled meats whet your appetite, head to
Photo Credit: Emily Schienvar

If grilled meats whet your appetite, head to Via Brasil, opened in 1978, for churrasco -- skewered meats cooked over an open flame hailing from Brazil's southern regions. (34 W. 46 St., viabrasilrestaurant.com)

Brazilian cuisine in Astoria at Point Brazil

What Manhattan's Little Brazil lost of its heyday
Photo Credit: Emily Schienvar

What Manhattan's Little Brazil lost of its heyday past, Astoria gained in earnest. The up-and-coming neighborhood in Queens is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and here you will find the new face of New York's Brazilian community. At Point Brasil Restaurant, order the Bahia platter, which highlights African-influenced Brazilian comfort foods from the country's northeast, like acarajé (black-eyed pea fritters), vatapá (a sweet-and-savory paste made of shrimp, coconut and peanuts), stewed okra, and more. Or simply partake in the never-ending buffet of regional bites. (38-01 31st Ave., pointbrazilrestaurant.com)

Pão de Queijo

Then, satisfy your sweet tooth at Pão de
Photo Credit: Pão de Queijo

Then, satisfy your sweet tooth at Pão de Queijo with Brazil's ubiquitous treat: brigadeiros (pictured, chocolate balls made of sweetened condensed milk and rolled in sprinkles). Or if fresh fruit suits you better, delve into a Rio de Janeiro-style açai bowl, made with granola, guarana syrup and and assorted fruits. (31-90 30th St., newyorkpaodequeijo.com)

Arte Capoeira Center

Capoeira is one of Brazil's artistic claims to
Photo Credit: Arte Capoeira Center

Capoeira is one of Brazil's artistic claims to fame. With roots in Angola, where many of Brazil's colonial-era slaves came from, capoeira combines African dance traditions with acrobatic form and New World music.

At Arte Capoeira Center, there are classes for adults and children alike. Learn to move according to the tenets of defense, endurance and flexibility.

Instructor Muculù opened Arte Capoeira Center in 2003, with the goal of spreading the artform to New York. Perfect the art of fighting and dance in a way that is quintessentially Brazilian. Classes are available on both weekdays and weekends and easily fit into any busy New York schedule. (55 E. 25. St., artecapoeira.com)

Maracatu NY

Hailing from the Brazilian states of Pernambuco and
Photo Credit: Maracatu NY

Hailing from the Brazilian states of Pernambuco and Ceará, maracatu is an Afro-Brazilian music style that defines the melding of cultures that is so very Brazilian. Musical traditions from the early slaves were combined with Portuguese instruments to create batuque -- a word describing a beat sound.

Founder Scott Kettner started Maracatu NY after returning from his studies of folk music in Brazil. His music school combines traditional maracatu with Mardi Gras music and New Orleans Second Line brass band traditions for a result that's only available in Brooklyn. Head to Gowanus for classes and workshops on this exciting fusion of percussion-based musical expressions that is, at heart, both Brazilian and American. (maracatuny.com)

Miss Favela

A botequim is a small neighborhood bar very
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks

A botequim is a small neighborhood bar very typical of Rio de Janeiro. Luckily for New York denizens, such a bar exists in Williamsburg at Miss Favela. Close to the Williamsburg Bridge, on South Fifth Street, Miss Favela is a marriage of Brazilian cuisine (grab brunch, lunch or dinner) and Brazilian music.

Enjoy a plate of frango a milanesa (breaded chicken served with rice and beans) before hitting the dance floor. Forró Sundays amp up forró tunes from Brazil's northeast -- a music style that owes its origins to Festa Junina, a midsummer Catholic celebration, along with accordion-based sound. On Feijoada Sundays, delve into Brazil's national dish of sorts: feijoada -- a pork stew with beans and rice, dusted with farofa (toasted cassava flour) and slices of orange. (57 S 5th St, Brooklyn; missfavela.com)

Things to Do Photos & Videos