Jazz Funeral for Mehdi Kabbaj on Clinton Street [Video]
On January 11, the owner of upscale menswear shop 20 Peacocks was struck and killed on the FDR. Forty-five-year-old Mehdi Kabbaj needed a lift to his uptown home after a night of drinking on Avenue B, but lost patience in bumper-to-bumper traffic near 96th Street. Without warning he exited and darted across the southbound lane, but was quickly mowed down by an oncoming Toyota Sienna minivan. He landed fifty feet away, and was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital where he died of severe brain injuries.
Saturday afternoon, a brass band processional snaked its way through the Clinton Street environs, with no immediate indications as to its purpose. A steady stream of people followed the jazz troupe (complete with drum major) from its starting point at WD-50, westward onto Rivington, up to Stanton, and finally ending with a congregation at CULTUREfix. During the short memorial, the clamor echoed throughout the whole neighborhood, and attracted the iPhones and point-and-shoots alike.
After following much of the “parade” route, we learned that this was actually the Second Line funeral march for the boutique owner. One mourner informed us that, even though Kabbaj was Moroccan, he wanted to go out with the New Orleans bang. Amen. Rest in peace, dude.