Through a fence in Brooklyn, NY.
My sister took this photo in Brooklyn, New York and sent it to me last week since it made her think of me. Her capture fills me with inspiration, awe and just a touch of sadness. Though I am far away from some of the most important people in my life, it’s these moments that make me feel like I am right there with them, or wish that I was.
Growing up in Brooklyn in the late 80’s and early 90’s was quite the experience. Thankfully I had a twin sister to help share in the craziness of a childhood surrounded by brownstones, Mets baseball, and a burgeoning Hip Hop scene. We moved to the borough when we were eight from the Lower East Side (Delancey Street) and it was like a whole other world. It seemed like every kid on our block already knew each other and it was difficult learning the ropes of life in a borough of the city. We’d only ever known Manhattan but at least we were in it together.
Now I have a twelve year old son who loves to watch repeats of Everybody Hates Chris on TeenNick. Bedstuy (Chris Rock’s old neighborhood) was similar to Bushwick (my old neighborhood) in a lot of ways — many of the jokes and running gags about the people Chris Rock grew up around makes me smile because I can totally relate. My son asks me if my childhood was anything like Chris Rock’s and I have to laugh at that. My mother was old country – super Spanish as they come. I tell my son what my mother used to always say: “America stopped at the front door.” Once you crossed over into my mom’s house, you were officially in her country. I guess in some ways it was a lot like Chris Rock’s childhood (anyone who’s seen Rochelle on the show knows what I mean!).
Rochelle (Chris’ mother) on Everybody Hates Chris
Either way, this picture reminds me of a childhood spent reading on the stoop, playing in fire hydrants, eating icies, and going to watch movies in a theater that no longer exists today (though I have never had a better hot dog since). I miss my sister but these memories we share still inspire. I may be far from my hometown but Brooklyn (like sisters) stays in your heart forever.
This is a photo my sister took of a sunset in New York City. Her capture fills me with such inspiration and nostalgia, all I want to do is jump on my keyboard and write! It’s as if I can’t seem to get these thoughts out of head and onto my word document fast enough. I live in a Midwestern city now, but most days it doesn’t inspire me the way my old hometown does.
My view is more open spaces and less concrete now, but every time I look at this, I remember what it’s like to be home. There is an energy in New York that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. I am sure sunsets are breathtaking in New Mexico, California, Paris, and Australia (just to name a few places), but New York has a sunset all its own.
As the sun dips below tons of glass and concrete and the lights the city is known for beckon tourists and natives alike, the New York of my childhood comes to life – in my memory and in my imagination.
Nothing inspires me more.