Shelley Vidia Worrell knows her way around Flatbush's Caribbean scene.

"If I'm coming food shopping, I'll come down Nostrand," she said."If I'm going Island hopping, I'll go on any of the corridors."

What You Need To Know

  • Shelley Vidia Worrell founded caribBEING 11 years ago

  • CaribBEING leads walking tours and helps Caribbean craftmakers

  • Some of those products are sold in the organization's caribBEING House, a shipping container they take throughout the borough

  • CaribBEING advocated for Flatbush to be designated the "Little Caribbean"

"Island hopping" is how Worrell describes visiting all the different Caribbean businesses in the neighborhood. Her family hails from Trinidad & Tobago. Thousands in her community hail from the Islands.

"Being a child living here really impacted my entire life and of course now my work," Worrell said.

Worrell launched caribBEING eleven years ago. The organization advocates for all things Caribbean.

"Twenty percent of New York, of New Yorkers are of Caribbean descent," she said. "So I think that it's very important that we're seen, that we're centered and that those stories are being told."

Her team does that through art exhibits and workshops and walking tours. CaribBEING connects craft makers and food producers with vendors. They sell some of those items, like candles and notebooks, out of the caribBEING House. It's a shipping container the organization uses for pop-up shops throughout the borough.

"I think it's not only capital but I think it's just distribution and opportunity for exposure," she told us when we met up with her in December at the caribBEING House.

Worrell's team pushed for Flatbush to be designated a "Little Caribbean." Google Maps and other tech companies recently recognized the additional moniker.

CaribBeing, the Starrett Lehigh building and RXR Realty are hosting a number of Black History and other culture events this month. Worrell led this class cooking saltfish with provisions and cassava dumplings to celebrate.

"I hope it exposes them to something new, something that they have not tasted before," she said. "The legacy is that Caribbean culture and community and commerce continues to thrive in New York City, that it's sustainable for generations to come."

For helping to bring the warmth and culture of the Islands to the City, Shelley Vidia Worrell is our New Yorker of the Week.