There’s coming to America, and then there’s becoming an American.
The Park Slope Y held a special event for newly minted citizens on Sept. 21, throwing a party to honor the neighborhood’s diversity that attendees said was a blast for everyone.
“It was very nice,” said Slope resident Rafael Vera, who moved from Mexico in 1989. “It was a good time.”
Attendees of the Y’s New American Welcome Center — where new immigrants can get help learning English, adjusting to American culture, and preparing for the citizenship test — shared their experiences of immigrating to the U.S. and overcoming challenges to become citizens. Vera said his wife studied to take the exam at the center.
Participants shared dishes from their homeland and explained how to prepare them, and busted out dance moves straight out of the old countries while a live band played.
The event was one of several throughout the city as part of the YMCA’s Welcoming Week, an annual series of events designed to celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees to their local communities.