A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 29, 2011
Little Panama (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)

Franklin Avenue, between Fulton Street and Empire Boulevard, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, has been called “Little Panama.” In 2010, an effort was made to rename part of Franklin Avenue “Panama Way,” but there were objections, with residents claiming that the area is ethnically mixed and rapidly changing. A Panamanian Day Parade is held every October.
The names “Little Panama” and “Panama Town” have been cited in print since at least 2009.
Wikipedia: Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Crown Heights is a neighborhood in the central portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The main thoroughfare through this neighborhood is Eastern Parkway, a tree-lined boulevard designed by Frederick Law Olmsted extending two miles (3 km) east-west.
Originally, the area was known as Crow Hill. It was a succession of hills running east and west from Utica Avenue to Classon Avenue, and south to Empire Boulevard and New York Avenue. The name was changed when Crown Street was cut through in 1916.
As of 1994, of the approximately 150,000 residents in Crown Heights, 90 percent were of African descent (70 percent from the Caribbean and 20 percent of American birth), 9 percent were Hasidic Jews, and less than 1 percent were Latino, Asian and other ethnic groups.
Reflecting the most varied population of Caribbean immigrants outside the West Indies, Crown Heights is known for its annual West Indian Carnival. The boisterous and colorful event is the West Indian Carnival Parade, also known as “The Labor Day Parade.” The vivid ostentation goes along Eastern Parkway, from Utica Avenue to Grand Army Plaza. According to the West Indian-American Day Carnival Association, over 3.5 million people participate in the colorful parade each year.
Nostrand Park
“Panama Town”
Posted by admin in Uncategorized on 07 15th, 2009
A few weeks back I overheard someone call Franklin Avenue “Panama town.”  Upon hearing this I made an offhand post on twitter, not thinking much of this, until a few seconds later a reply popped up area resident Karene Francis declaring that Franklin Avenue is indeed “Panama Town.”  What follows is a longer elaboration by Karene on the storied history of Panamanian residents in Crown Heights.

Panama Central
By Karene Francis
As some of you may know Brooklyn, NY has the highest number of Panamanians in the United States. Many of the Panamanians, especially of West Indian descent migrated to Brooklyn, NY for a variety of reasons, mostly to find more opportunities. Panamanians mostly reside in the neighborhoods of Flatbush, within the Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue area, and Crown Heights, on Franklin Avenue from Pacific Street to Empire Blvd, where they were able to blend in with West Indians.
Interactive Journalism
Franklin Ave. “Little Panama” in Brooklyn
Posted on 16. Oct, 2009 by Aaron Adler in Arts and Culture, Barbara Raab, International, Urban
This past Saturday on Franklin Ave. in Brooklyn, the air rang with the sounds of trumpets, tubas, drums and xylophones.  It was the annual Panamanian Parade in the heart of Crown Heights and it was loud!
I Love Franklin Ave.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Fighting For Franklin
The meeting ran an hour, they took a few questions, and things were about to wrap up, when an older man rose to introduce himself and invite everyone to attend the Panamanian Independence celebrations on October 9th, which will include their traditional parade up Franklin and finish with a street festival on Lincoln Place. Heads nodded in approval, and then he added that the Panamanian community is currently trying to get Franklin Avenue co-named “Panama Way,” and asked for our support.
Anonymous said…
Would make more sense if Franklin Ave was currently a big Panamanian neighborhood rather than historically. As he said, many of the Panamanians have moved away. While a few may be left I don’t think that it is considered a “little Panama”
Better to find another way to recognize the history of the area.
September 24, 2010 3:39 PM
New York (NY) Daily News
Neighborhood split over renaming part of Franklin Ave. ‘Panama Way’
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Panamanians in Crown Heights want to add their home country’s name to one of the neighborhood’s main drags - sparking controversy along the up-and-coming strip.

A Panamanian civic group is pushing to co-name Franklin Ave. between Empire Blvd. and Fulton St. “Panama Way,” citing its status as a historic enclave.
“Franklin Ave. is like a mecca for Panamanians,” said Guillermo Phillips, a Crown Heights resident and member of the street-naming committee at the Alliance of Panamanian Organizations in the United States of America.
The Panamanian population in the area has shrunk since its heyday between the 1950s and 1970s, but several Panamanian businesses still line the strip and the Panamanian Day Parade is held there every October.
WNYC—The Brian Lehrer Show
The New Littles: Explore The Data and Map
Check Out The Census Data and Map and Add Your Notes

Thursday, June 02, 2011 - 06:00 AM
By John Keefe / Jody Avirgan : Producer, Brian Lehrer Show and It’s A Free Country
Josh from Brooklyn
Tiny Panama on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights.
Little Indonesia and Thailand in Elmhurst
Little Pakistan in Brighton Beach
Little Guyana in Richmond Hill
Jun. 09 2011 10:51 AM
random notes: geographer-at-large
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The New “Littles”: Mapping ethnic enclaves in NYC
“Over the course of our New Littles project, we’ve identified some of New York’s overlooked ethnic communities.  Now, we want artists and illustrators to draw a new neighborhood map. Our favorites will be featured on the WNYC website and on-air during the Brian Lehrer Show. Upload your artwork directly below, or post a link in the comments page. Here are some of the neighborhoods you may want to include:
»» Little Colombia in Jackson Heights, Queens
»» Little Italy in Astoria, Queens
»» Little Pakistan in Coney Island, Brooklyn
»» Little Guyana in Richmond Hill, Queens
»» Little Thailand in Elmhurst, Queens
»» Little Panama in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • Thursday, September 29, 2011 • Permalink

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