Brooklyn Boro

Little Amal leaves NYC with spectacular sendoff

Performances moved inside to St. Ann’s Warehouse due to weather

October 3, 2022 Mary Frost
Share this:

DUMBO — Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall, lifelike puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, bid goodbye on Sunday to New York City after a whirlwind 19-day visit across all five boroughs.

As she walked across the city, Little Amal brought attention to the plight of refugees around the world.

Those who braved the weather for one last look at Amal (the festivities were moved indoors to St. Ann’s Warehouse due to the high wind and drizzle) were treated to an amazing spectacle, as the “friends” Amal met on her travels through the city sang, drummed and danced their farewells.

DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWS
News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Related Article: Little Amal visits Brooklyn, and residents fall in love

More than a dozen colorfully-costumed performance troupes — from a mariachi band to Colombian dancers — swept across the Warehouse floor one after another to perform, accompanied by their instruments, artistically tattered flags and an array of enchantments. Moving performances by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (led by Dianne Berkun Menaker), Palestinian singer Mona Miari and surprise guest Roseanne Cash, singing Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home,” brought home the meaning of Little Amal’s journey.

After numerous goodbyes, Little Amal, followed by hundreds of fans, gyrating dancers and musicians, walked to the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront, was ensconced in a motorboat, and sailed away, her hair blowing in the breeze (Original plans had called for her to depart via the boat at ONE15 Brooklyn Marina, but bad weather scuttled that idea).

Little Amal takes a last look at New York City from Brooklyn Bridge Park before departing.

Since July 2021, Little Amal has visited a dozen countries, symbolizing children fleeing disasters, violence and persecution. Little Amal came to New York City as a project called Little Amal Walks NYC, co-produced by DUMBO’s St. Ann’s Warehouse and The Walk Productions. It was one of the biggest public art projects in the city’s history.

“I have so many feelings,” Yazmany Arboleda told the Brooklyn Eagle. Arboleda, the creative producer of Little Amal’s New York visit, worked with Amir Nizar Zuabi, artistic director of The Walk Productions.

“It’s really beautiful to be in this moment, finishing her time in New York, and to be inviting so many of the communities she met along the way. To be here together, it’s incredibly emotional,” he said. “The idea of how we welcome people in New York has been made manifest through Little Amal’s journey. And there’s been so much beauty and so many miracles along the way. We’re deeply grateful to everyone who has made these dreams and these ideas to come forward.”

Susan Feldman, artistic director of St. Ann’s Warehouse, brought Little Amal to New York after seeing her in Paris and London,

“She’s been in our house, and she’s been with us now for two months. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye,” Feldman told the Eagle. “I’m really happy that we were able to move the event inside, into St. Ann’s. We can hold all the performers and — as she calls it, all the friends that she met when she was here. They can all come here and again express themselves for her with music, with dance, with beautiful objects. So, I’m sad but I’m also happy that we were able to pull it off.”

More than a dozen colorfully-costumed performance troupes — from a mariachi band to Colombian dancers — performed in a spectacular farewell to Little Amal at St. Ann’s Warehouse Sunday evening.

 

Feldman added, “It was a great experience for the whole city — and that the whole city was eager to open up its arms and let us do it was really fantastic. From the permitting, to the NYPD, to city officials, to all the partners that joined us from all the cultural institutions to the community-based organizations that wanted to be part of it, there were just so many people that participated. And she walked miles! That was rare for the city. So, I’m very proud and very happy that it happened.”

Performances by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, led by Dianne Berkun Menaker, were central to the event.
Members of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus took center stage.
Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle
As has happened all over the world, people fell in love with Little Amal and wanted to get close to her.
Surprise guest Roseanne Cash sang Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home” to Little Amal.
The floor of St. Ann’s Warehouse was awash with dancers, drummers and performers as New York City said goodbye to Little Amal.
Little Amal takes a last look at New York City from Brooklyn Bridge Park before departing.
The floor of St. Ann’s Warehouse was awash with dancers, drummers and performers as New York City said goodbye to Little Amal.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment