Monday, May 24, 2004

my neighborhood — a fifth-grade essay i wrote today

This blog seems to be turning into a discussion of urban issues, but since that's what's interesting me at the moment, I'm going to keep going with it.

I guess today I'll do a little bragging. Not about me, but about my neighborhood. You see, I grew up in a small ag town in California and, despite its relative diversity, I am still sometimes bowled over by the day-to-day richness of where I live.

My block on the western edge of Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York has people from an amazing variety of ethnicities, races, and nationalities. My own incomplete recollections enumerate:
- Korean
- Egyptian
- Puerto Rican
- White Boy Mutt (that's me)

That's just in my three-apartment building. On the rest of the block there are also:
- Japanese
- African American
- Italian
- South Asian
- Yemeni

Okay, the Yemeni guys actually run the corner store. Which brings up the shops and restaurants in a one-block radius (i.e., less than a minute's walk away):
- the aforementioned corner store
- a fish and chips shop that also serves curry and is the inventor of the deep-fried Twinky.
- a Peruvian restaurant
- a Mexican restaurant
- a Thai restaurant
- an Italian restaurant
- an excellent deli
- a barbershop
- a grocery store
- a hardware store
- a big chain video store
- an odds-and-ends store
- a travel agency
- a furniture store
- a real estate agency
- a carpeting store
- some other stores I've forgotten

Walk another block in either direction and you'll find a greengrocer, a tattoo parlor, a comic shop, a fancy florist, my bank branch, a fried chicken place, etc., etc., etc.

My block is quite residential and the area around it has only in the last couple of years begun to come into its own. With all that's going on and available so close to me, the area is still human-scale, and walking around is a pleasure. I know a goodly number of my neighbors. The guys at the corner store would pull down prepaid calling cards as soon as I walked in when my girlfriend was away in India. Much as I still feel like a Californian, Brooklyn is New York City's saving grace, and my neighborhood is a very integral part of that.


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