Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crown Heights...Prospect-Lefferts Garden...Wingate...

I have been living in between three separate neighborhoods in Brooklyn for the last 7 weeks. It is a much different area than any I have ever lived in before but that doesn't make it any less New York City. If you walk one direction the people are primarily Caribbean. Most restaurants and stores are Haitian or Jamaican.

Walk in the other direction, and you enter a very Hasidic Jewish neighborhood. Every sign is in both English and Hebrew, and all the shops are closed on Saturdays.

Living here has been quite an experience for me. I've really enjoyed the different cultures. Being surrounded by people with much different experiences than I have has been quite enlightening. It wasn't always fun and games. The first couple of weeks I was sort of nervous. I didn't feel comfortable walking down the streets. I didn't know what to expect.

As the weeks went on, however, I started to feel much more comfortable and began to really enjoy my daily walks around the neighborhood.

I stuck out like a sore thumb. I am neither black nor Jewish and it was pretty obvious. I got some funny looks every once in a while but in general nobody seemed to be bothered by my presence. Some nights, I would come walking home around 1 am and the church a block down the street would have crowds of people outside socializing.

Monday nights, the Wingate park half a block away hosted the Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series. Famous black artists came to the neighborhood and performed for huge crowds.

I never knew what to expect on my way home and I appreciated that.

I'm moving out tomorrow and heading back to Manhattan, the East Village to be precise. I'm looking forward to getting back to Manhattan. I really did miss it, but I will never forget the experience I had living deep in this Brooklyn neighborhood.

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