Brooklyn: New York’s cultural hotspot and the place that rappers have to give shoutouts to 31 times in every hip hop record.

Step outside the subway station at Atlantic Avenue and immediately you get hit with crazy amounts of gentrification, including this huge shopping center.

Lucky for me, the place I need to go to is Masjid Al-Farooq. It’s about a block away from the subway and it’s a four story building nestled between these Islamic shops on Atlantic Avenue.

The first floor of the building are for bathrooms and wudhu, second floor is a school, men pray on the third floor and women pray on the fourth.The congregation is mostly Arabs and African Americans (I might have been the only desi person there).

I took the elevator to the third floor to break my fast. I thought I’d be late to the mosque because I had a meeting with a friend earlier today that ran long, but as soon as I walked in, they were getting ready to pray. Looks like they saved one date for me.

I wanted to take more pictures of the place, but someone there had asked me not to. I asked if it was ok if I kept the ones I already took and he said that was ok but he asked that I not take any more.

They didn’t provide dinner at the mosque. At first I was shocked, but then I quickly realized how much of a spoiled brat I sounded like with that kind of thinking. The fact that any place here in New York provides dinner during Ramadan is a blessing and it’s important for me to not lose sight of that.

After prayer, I headed out of the mosque to find this halal Chinese restaurant one of my boys was raving about. But I was quickly sidetracked by a halal steakhouse next to the mosque instead.

What did I order? Well, the chef took this lemon roasted lamb:

And shredded it on top of this cucumber and tomato salad.

EPIC WIN.

As I was eating, I realized that I had completed 1/3 of this 30 day journey. I’m not going to lie, this project is a lot more exhausting than I thought it would be. But my excitement for this project overwhelms that exhaustion. I’m discovering many intriguing places and meeting even more interesting people during this journey. I probably would have never seen most of these places or met these people unless I came up with that cracked out idea 10 days ago to step outside of my comfort bubble and try this project. For that, I am grateful, and tomorrow I eagerly begin the second third of my journey.