Streets of East Harlem

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It was early last Saturday morning when I went back to visit a neighborhood I used to live in. Home was a room on the third floor of a brownstone on the corner of 116th and 1st Avenue. Its across the street from the funeral parlor and around the corner from the liquor store. My girlfriend was volunteering on East 125th St helping kids get their flu shots that Saturday. I dropped her off and walked in the rain down to a boisterous street full of first generation immigrant Mexican families. I remember eating quesadillas on the street for $3.00. As I approached the block I can see yellow tape and police cars past the produce market.

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Above the street Puerto Rican and Mexican flags are still tethered like a laundry line over parked cars and busy feet.

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Murals still attempt the inevitable need of equilibrium that always confronts any diaspora.

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The sky is gray and the signs are even more worn down than I remember…

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I see an old neighbor but he doesn’t recognize me anymore. We walk past one another. Many people have told me that New York is a world of nostalgia. An inevitable longing for a time past that is a constant notion of any city that moves as fast as this one. The now and again mention of subway tokens and days before Starbucks owned Manhattan always provide a nice moment for people to reminisce. So in the tradition of this city I bid farewell to one of the last authentic pockets in the five boroughs. Moving at the speed of light like so many I duck out of the rain and into the four train and head back to Brooklyn.

Learn more about East Harlem.
Learn more about the Zapatistas.

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Filed under art, New York Streets

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