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17 Black-Owned Businesses to Support This Black History Month

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February 1, 2022 Rae Baker

February is Black History Month — a time to recognize and honor the people and events that shaped and contributed to our history. In honor of celebrating Black-owned businesses this month, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite spots along NYC Ferry routes that you can support, not only in February, but all year round.

📍Sunset Park

Ashya is a black women-owned brand that encourages minimalism through its purposeful designs. Before launching in 2017, their inspiration came from traveling the southern coast of India with belt bags. Cofounders Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece wanted to provide an elevated take on the bag that would represent their taste level and lifestyles.The brand was built around simplistic, gender-neutral leather accessories that provide function, especially for travelers, without ever compromising style.


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ASHYA – 51 35th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Brother Vellies
📍North Williamsburg

Brother Vellies was founded in 2013 by Aurora James with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices, and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs. The label specializes in sustainable luxury accessories that pay homage to African cultural history and timeless design through one-of-a-kind pieces that will remain part of your wardrobe forever.

Aurora James is also the creator of the 15 Percent Pledge – a campaign calling for retailers to commit 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.


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Brother Vellies – 73 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Gooey on the Inside
📍 Corlears Hook

Gooey on the Inside was created by a self-proclaimed emotional eater and foodie, Kafi Dublin from Canada via the Caribbean. The journey began from a tiny kitchen in a Chelsea apartment. Kafi dreamed of making the “perfect cookie,” one that was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. After a few rounds of trial and error, “Gooey on the Inside” cookie was born.

Kafi’s goal is to recreate time-honored classics and experiment with exciting flavors and different ingredients in order to offer a unique take on old favorites.

Gooey on the Inside – 163 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

Brooklyn Clay Industries
📍Brooklyn Navy Yard

Artist Reuben King, owner of the ceramics studio Brooklyn Clay Industries, got into pottery from a young age. A native of Dominica, he grew up with pottery-making being a time-honored tradition. Reuben eventually opened his own ceramics studio in 1995, and he’s still teaching the craft nearly 25 years later.

Brooklyn Clay Industries is located in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard where people of all ages and abilities are encouraged to develop their full creative potential through ceramics and its many techniques and applications. The studio is a fully equipped space with all the necessary tools, equipment, and supplies to creatively learn and nurture ones’ artistic abilities.

Brooklyn Clay Industries – 62 5th St Suite 306, Brooklyn, NY 11205


Beatrice Ajaero grew up on Roosevelt Island and always wanted to share the tastes of her childhood. Beatrice’s family is Nigerian and she studied the Nigerian language Igbo, African history and political science. She started with an African food and gift stall called Ibari at the Saturday Market, which she opened after obtaining a law degree and an M.B.A.

Her most recent venture, Nneji, in Astoria, Queens, means “mother” in Igbo. Nneji has a specially curated menu featuring West African red stew with chicken, peppery yassa with chicken, egusi melon seed and spinach soup with salmon, and a spinach and okra dish.


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Nneji – 32-20 34th Ave, Queens, NY 11106

CEA – LO Cafe

CEA-LO Cafe is a no-frills soul-food joint in the Bronx where fried chicken, collard greens, fried catfish, and their famous cornbread are among the favorites on the menu.


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CEA-LO Cafe – 1003 Soundview Ave, Bronx, NY 10472

Black Surfing Association

The Rockaway branch of the Black Surfing Association was started in 2016 by Lou Harris with the goal of giving local children a safe and welcoming space in the water. The non-profit organization gives free lessons to the children of Rockaway and surrounding areas. In 2020, Harris also led the paddle-outs for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Harris was born in Queens and grew up in Dix Hills, Long Island. He moved to the Rockaways in 2006, where he began teaching himself to surf and formed a deeper connection to the community.

Black Surfing Association – Rockaway

Whipped Urban Dessert Lab
📍Corlears Hook

Whipped Urban Dessert Lab is a Black women-owned company founded by Courtney Blagrove and Zan B.R. This health-conscience dessert shop serves dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free ice cream and claims to be the first company to solely feature oat-milk-based soft serve.

Get creative by building your own flavor mixture, or choose from one of the hand-selected fusions. Try the Coffee Waffle Crunch consisting of vanilla with bits of waffle cone and coffee sauce or the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel made with vanilla, pretzels, chocolate, and peanut butter sauce.

Urban Dessert Lab – 95 Orchard St., New York, NY 10002

The Cradle NYC

The Cradle NYC is co-owned by Rockaway local Babajide Alao and Pesy Sikyala, who got their start selling West African food out of a food cart on Beach 74th Street. They decided to open the restaurant after noticing a lack of traditional African food in the area. Nigerian-born Alao and Central African Sikyala serve authentic West African food with a healthy spin. The Cradle’s most popular dish is the vegan Nigerian jollof rice with fresh tomatoes, onions, curry, peppers, and herbs.


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The Cradle NYC – 194 Beach 96th Street, Queens, NY 11693

📍N. Williamsburg

Inspired by the rich and exotic culture of the Caribbean, Ria and Kevol Graham opened KOKOMO in North Williamsburg in July of 2020. This new neighborhood spot serves flatbreads, comfort foods, and decadent desserts presented perfectly with vibrant plating.

Sail to KOKOMO’s on the weekend to experience the upbeat atmosphere with live DJ music and a bottomless brunch.


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KOKOMO – 65 Kent Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11249

Stuart Cinema
📍N. Williamsburg

After renting expensive film venues all over New York City for years, Emelyn Stuart transformed a Brooklyn warehouse into a cozy screening room and café in August of 2018. The cinema space is geared toward independent filmmakers, allowing them to control the distribution and marketing while also offering state-of-the-art technology, affordable resources, and friendly staff.

Whether you’re into independent or feature films, Stuart Cinema is a great date night spot to catch a movie and enjoy a delicious, homemade sweet treat.


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Stuart Cinema – 79 West Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Paint ‘N Pour
📍Corlears Hook

Tinesha Sharpe and Tyson Belgrave aren’t the first people to throw a paint party, but they’re the first to do it like this. This dynamic couple decided to give the average Paint ‘N Sip class a serious upgrade with food, fun, and an all-you-can-drink open bar. Sip on one of Paint ‘N Pour’s artistically-designed cocktails, like the Picasso Punch and Mona Lisa Margarita, as you create your masterpiece.

The first outpost, Paint ‘N Pour Harlem, was a major success and the couple has since expanded to a second location on the Lower East Side.


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Paint ‘N Pour – 53 Delancey St. New York, NY 10002

Scarr’s Pizza
📍Corlears Hook

Native New Yorker Scarr Pimentel had a mission to bring the magic back into NYC pizza. In 2016, he opened Scarr’s Pizza — a retro-style pizzeria with modern flair, vegan offerings, and organic wines. Scarr sources the freshest ingredients to create his one hundred percent organic pies.


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Scarr’s Pizza – 22 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Cheeky Sandwiches
📍Corlears Hook

Din Yates originally opened Cheeky Sandwiches as a hangout for friends on the Lower East Side, but the shop quickly gained popularity and a loyal following amongst locals. The friendly spot features a New Orleans-inspired spread of sandwiches from fried chicken to shrimp po’boys.

Din likes to refer to his food as “sandwiches with passion and love and greatness. It’s basically dinner on a plate.”


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Cheeky Sandwiches – 35 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

The Food Sermon
📍Brooklyn Navy Yard

Born on the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and raised in Brooklyn, Chef Rawlston Williams’ innovative approach features creative takes on traditional Caribbean standards. His cooking is inspired by an array of cultures, cuisines, and techniques.

At The Food Sermon, you’ll be able to customize your own meal. Choose from the tender braised lamb, chicken, fish, or vegetarian, served over a rice base with red beans or chickpeas. Select your favorite savory sauce, including options like coconut-ginger or spicy tomato.


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The Food Sermon – 141 Flushing Ave Building 77, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Pig & Butter
📍Corlears Hook

Pig & Butter on the Lower East Side serves all-day brunch every day of the week. With a firm belief that breakfast makes everything better, the restaurant serves up delicious dishes like bacon and banana topped waffles, fried chicken on cornbread, and a mouthwatering goat cheese omelet with Colombian aji.


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Pig & Butter – 134 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Blaze Jamaican Restaurant
📍St. George

Blaze Jamaican Restaurant is a Staten Island spot serving up authentic Jamaican cuisine. The restaurant serves flavorful dishes with fan favorites including the jerk chicken and the Rasta Pasta.

Blaze Jamaican Restaurant – 3 Corson Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301

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