Since the 1930s, West 46th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues has been the commercial Mecca of Brazilians living or visiting New York. It took New York City Hall some 65 years to note that fact. Finally, on September 7, 1995 Brazilian Independence Day New York City officially gave the title of "Little Brazil Street" to what Brazilians call Rua 46. Like Italians, Chinese, Puerto Ricans and other immigrants to New York, Brazilians now have an official claim to their chunk of the Big Apple. Most Brazilians who live in New York do not make their homes on 46th Street, or even in Manhattan. Instead, they usually reside in Astoria, a neighborhood of the borough of Queens. (Gallant, Kathryn)

Unfortunately, not all Brazilian immigrants to the US find what they are looking for in the land of Uncle Sam. "It's not worth it to live in illegality. We are really humiliated," Régis Ferreira, a 27 year old student, told the Brasília newspaper Correio Braziliense. Ferreira was an illegal alien in the US from 1989 to 1993. He washed dishes, delivered pizza, painted houses and mowed lawns. After two years of menial jobs, Ferreira gave $5000 to a lawyer who offered him a chance to get a green card. However, the lawyer disappeared with Ferreira's savings. Thwarted in his hopes to become a legal resident of the United States, Ferreira returned to Brazil. (Gallant, Kathryn)

Restaurants & Dining

Brasilia 7 W. 45th St (212) 869-9200.  There is a corner bar inside this restaurant and the bar has its own separate tile roof.  The food from the bar is light and not very costly.  

Cabana Carioca 123 W. 45th St (212) 581-8088. Frommer's Guide to New York from $75 a Day (Bettridge 1998:87) says that the restaurant is colorful, cherry, and cheap. "It's the best Brazilian food in the city."  The food served is Brazilian and Portuguese to tables that may seem too close for some.

Ipanema 13 W. 46th St (718) 730-5048.  The decor is highlighted by painting of the beach of Ipanema.  

Via Brazil 34 E. 46th St (212) 997-1158.  This restaurant serves the African-Brazilian dishes known as moquecas.  

Churrascaria plataforma 316 W. 49th Street, in the Theatre District, 212-245-0505.  This restaurant specializes in Brazilian bar-be-que.

Casa Brasil Restaurant and Churrascaria (authentic Brazilian and Portuguese cuisine) at 316 East 53rd Street.  

Coffee Shop.  29 Union Square W. (at 16th Street) 212-243-7969, in the Flatiron area.  The coffee shop has sidewalk tables that are popular.

Riodizio 417 Lafayette St. (near Astor Place), East Village, 212 529-1313.  It is located next to the public theatre.  It has an all you can eat rodizo for $21.95 dollars served in a spacious area. There is brunch on weekends.


Down on 46th Street the shops are mainly electronic stores.

Coisa Nossa 47 W. 46th St (212) 719-4779. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. this place sells Brazilian newspapers, magazines, music CDs, and videos.

Emporium Brasil 15 W. 46th St (212) 764-4646.  This is a luncheonette.  It has some Brazilian groceries and Brazilian newspapers, magazines, music CDs, and videos.


This is the website for the club called S.O.B.s S.O.B.'s -- or Sounds of Brazil, which does not mean just samba. There is reggae, jazz and on Sunday, tango lessons. But on Saturday night there is always samba. The night spot is located at 200 Varrick Street (at Houston Street) in New York City. The Frommer's Guide (Bettridge 1998:278) saysthat the singer Astrud Gilbert (of the girl from Ipanema) has been know to play here. The place is also know for reggae and ska music from Jamaica. Other musical styles include Calypso, Salsa, Samba, Zydeco, and African music. The decor is tropical and the bar specializes in hot weather drinks.

"Rio in Soho" by Mark Cardwell

at S.O.B.'s. The sound, which has African roots, was born in the Estacio neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro in 1928, and tonight is marked by a fast, often frenetic tempo, a heavy beat and complex modulations.

S.O.B.'s isn't the only place in New York to find samba on Saturday nights. There's Scala Brazil in Astoria, Chelsea's The Ballroom, Brazil 2000, Cabana Carioca and Indigo Blues. But the modest restaurant and club on Varick Street is the most famous.

Although the club serves a mix of Caribbean and Brazilian food -- "taste the world" is S.O.B.'s motto -- the food is mediocre. But if you are in the mood for a knockout tropical drink, the bartenders perform. Still, the real reason to pay the $16 cover charge is to get a wild musical workout. As one reviewer said in the Zagat New York City Restaurant Survey, this is the place to "dance your brains out."

Brazilian Press

Amy Olmstead (

The publishers of Brazilian magazines and newspapers in New York have very different ideas about how to serve the community and what is that community.  There are four publications originating from the city, and over a dozen publications from Brazil and around the U.S. available by subscription.  Topics covered include the arts, trade, politics, and gossip.

The two largest in the city, Tropical and The Brasilians, are led by distinctive editors both committed to forging links between their former and new-found homes. Teresa Pinto seeks to appeal to a wide audience with original content about Brazilian culture in New York. Edilberto 'Edi' Mendes wants to reach out with stories such as President Clinton's visit to Brazil that could have an impact in both countries.

Brazil Update Weekly provides the weekly fitas (the novela tapes); exclusive distributors of Rede Globo (Golbo Network).  They are located at 37 West 43rd Street.



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