Little Senegal

Location: West 116th Street from Morningside Avenue to Fifth Avenue

“Get off the subway at West 116th and Frederick Douglass and you’ll know you’re in Little Senegal as soon as you hear the sound of lively conversation in French, the official language of Senegal since the days of French colonization, and Wolof, the national language of the country.

One of the biggest visual treats of any visit to the area is the sight of men and women in their boubous, Senegalese-style robes. While many Senegalese wear western dress, you can still see men wearing what is called the grand boubou, a tunic-like garment sewn from a single piece of fabric, usually monochromatic and worn over a matching shirt and pants. But, it’s the women whose boubous really dazzle. Theirs are made of brightly colored wax cloth prints imported from Senegal and worn with matching overwraps and elaborately-tied headscarves. Occasionally, you will see a woman wearing a particularly practical accessory—a cloth sling for carrying her baby on her back in the same print pattern.”


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