Brownsville

My Other Half

Someone said grief is like a mound of sand you carry with you everyday. As time passes you lose a bit of it as you move forward but all the sand never really goes away.

I feel like I’ve lost so much more than my brother. The word brother doesn’t seem good enough to encompass how much I loved him.

Goodbye Edo – every time my heart beats I’ll think of you!

Brownsville, Fearless Thoughts

Inside v. Outside

Sometimes I look out on Brownsville and all I see is beauty.  The word projects doesn’t seem to describe the buildings from the outside.  When I go other places I see buildings that are built the same with the same brick and the same number of floors but I know that those places are not projects because of the zip code.

When I walk through Brownsville these days I see shelter for families, communal areas for friends, people working and succeeding, kids going to school everyday and working towards their future.

On the inside people are not sitting around feeling sorry for themselves, hoping someone or something will come and save them.  On the inside people are relaxing, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.  A word will conjure an image but that is only one perspective.

Brownsville

Lifer

golden gate bridge

Someone asked me if I was a “lifer”.  I was caught a bit off guard until they said – “Are you going to live in NYC for the rest of your life?”

Sometimes I feel like there’s no better place than New York City and I don’t even want to go away on vacation.  I think of staycations and consider all the things I could do if I had some time off during the week in the city.

I know that NYC is not perfect.  There are plenty of things that could change for the better but I’m certain that NYC has all the things I need and want to sustain me to the end of my  days.

I feel like I’m a bit young to declare myself a “lifer” and I do love San Francisco almost as much as NYC but now as I look toward the second half of my life building a sustainable life in NYC doesn’t sound too bad.  Afterall, I am a native New Yorker, NYC is already apart of the fabric of my life.  It will always be my home.   If I leave it will never be for good.  So in some ways I feel like I’m already a “lifer”.  I’m proud of that fact.  I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

Brownsville

Real Improvement

a tree grows in brooklyn

The last time someone asked me where I grew up in Brooklyn and I told them Brownsville they asked me if I lived in the good part of Brownsville and I had to say that there really wasn’t a good part.

Now I feel comfortable saying that there is plenty of good going on in Brownsville.  The community is changing and there is significant improvement.  For one crime is down and people feel safe walking around at night as well as the day.

Even my dad, a fifty year resident, told me he noticed the difference.  He tells me it’s not as bad as it used to be.  He asks me if I remember what it was like when I was little and he assures me that it is different.  I take his word for it over any statistic.  He is apart of the fabric of the community and if he notices an improvement then to me it is real.

I hope the trend continues and perhaps long after the days of my dad a young child will tell someone that they live in Brownsville and the other person will say I hear it’s pretty nice there.  The positive change is slow but it is happening.

Brownsville, Facing Forward, Fearless Thoughts

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

mlk

This photo has hung in my dad’s apartment for as long as I can remember.  I’ve never asked him about it because it’s presence always seemed self explanatory.

Recently as I’ve been thinking of my aging parents and how they’ve lived through so much of the Black history I’ve studied, I pause when I think of Dr. King the man and Dr. King the leader.  He was quite exceptional at being both.

In my past few years in NYC I’ve learned that men should not be judged by their mistakes because there is no human being past present or future who can live without making them.  I see men in terms of the lives they touch in a positive way while they’re living and after they’ve past.

I wasn’t alive when Dr. King gave his I Have A Dream speech and like Jerrod Carmichael said the speech might be easier for people of my generation to remember if Pharrell had produced it.  But Dr. King continues to touch our lives in a positive way because at the beginning of every year we stop and remember his Dream and we’re reminded of all the work we have to do to fulfill it.

Brownsville

Through The Bars

pic from train station

The train stations in Brownsville have recently been remodeled but I can’t figure out the logic behind the remodel.  In the freezing temps people stand on a platform with metal seats and mesh windows that let the cold air blow onto the people standing on the platform.

It’s bad enough that the remodel of an elevated platform did not include an elevator or an escalator but seats that freeze and holes that let cold air hit you in both directions don’t make any sense.

Yes, the remodel is an improvement but is it too much to ask for a design that makes sense in every season?