Aug. 16, 2012 By Pat Dorfman
Chefs Kadir and Mustafa fed over 600 visitors Tuesday night at L/Cpl Thomas P. Noonan Park in Sunnyside, where the Turkish Cultural Center of Queens (TCC) set up a large tent to to celebrate the end of fasting for the month of the Islamic holiday Ramadan. The celebration continues this week, with Thursday and Friday dinner open to the public, beginning at 7:45pm. Muslims from other countries and groups also attended.
TCC’s local celebration is in its eighth year and this is the first year the event has been extended to four nights. Tuesday’s well-received menu was lentil soup, Turkish beef stew over rice, salad and baklava for dessert. A dozen TCC volunteers served the food and the line moved along quickly, running out of food as the last few diners arrived at 8:30.
Muslims are asked not to eat or drink anything during the day and may break their fasts at sundown. They eat again, an early breakfast, around 3:30am. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and the ill are exempt. Among other significance, Ramadan is a time of self-improvement.
“We enjoy very much hosting this event, and sharing food and the good feelings we have. It was great to see some visitors from past years and new people this year,” said TCC Queens VP, Oguzhan Turan. The group does not receive outside funds and exists through the donations of its membership, which numbers over 6,000 in Queens.
Many non-Muslims visitors attended this year, including Sunnyside/Woodsiders Ann Eagan, Luke Adams, Casey Concelmo, Angela Fabregas, Manny Gomez, Nemo Jantzen, Deidre Feerick, park employees, and Sunnyside library staffers. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended and addressed the crowd briefly.
Todd Reynolds, a noted composer who lives close by said, “I didn’t even know this was going on until tonight. I liked the food and the people.”