November 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
Tuesday was Election Day but, my God, go past Canal Street and you could never tell, just in the exact same way Halloween came and went completely treatless. Wall Street and the financial district was an odd mix of lonely, suited cuff link men and legions of orange-vested workers trying to make everything look normal again. A few delis were open, some pubs too, with “CASH ONLY” signs on every window. After thirty minutes my fingers were numb and I started hallucinating that I was in a post-apocalyptic New York eternally stuck in January with all AT&T stores with completely ruined merchandise.
On all those winding streets down there Manhattan really does start to look like the stereotypical cardboard Hollywood set, the kind used for movies or sitcoms. Things still look old if you focus on just a few buildings. Like it could be the dirty old Great Depression New York.
The day went on and I covered the election uptown with my classmates. It still didn’t feel quite like the election—I kept waiting for that chaos that came from 2008, when one minute I was sitting in the GW screening party and the next minute there were people crying poetically, others screaming, others banging stuff, others staring vacantly at CNN in disbelief, and others already halfway to the White House where they would learn to play tuba in celebration.
Washington Heights is a blue neighborhood, and the bar I went to with a classmate was packed—especially crowded after factoring in everyone’s bulk of coats and scarves. The place had eight televisions, a few on CNN, a few on MSNBC, and one sad one on ESPN. MSNBC announced Obama’s projected win first. I was facing a stranger who sat at a table with her friends and suddenly she just pointed up at the screen and started screaming. Then the rest of the bar started screaming. It was still restless though—no announcement from CNN—so the bar relived the screaming once again when they finally strolled on in with their projections.
After that, though, everything stayed about the same. A few people trickled out to call others. A few people went home. We went back to school to file our story and the streets were deserted. The subway was quiet. Campus was mostly vacant. The newsroom wasn’t particularly loud but that was mostly because of fatigue and deadlines.
Here was the end product:
October 31, 2012 § Leave a comment
THEME FOR ENGLISH B
By Langston Hughes
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you—
Then, it will be true.
I wonder if it’s that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:
It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York too.) Me—who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn’t make me NOT like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?
Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white—
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that’s true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me—
although you’re older—and white—
and somewhat more free.
This is my page for English B.
Don’t worry, I know I am hardly Langston Hughes, nor am I “twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.” I’m twenty-three, white, born in Philadelphia, but I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life. I hear New York constantly but only notice when I try to listen.
October 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
A weekend visit home to Bryn Mawr has turned into a four-day hiding place while waiting for Sandy to subside and let me go back to New York. I’ve been trying to take photos of the damage here but everything is so quiet–even a trip to the grocery store on Sunday was surprisingly calm.
In the meantime, I’ve finally started this blog. This will be a way to share all the goings on with my work and studies. So, to start things off, some pieces recently published for my reporting class on our site, TheUptowner.org. The site covers northern Manhattan, from Harlem northward, to the very end of the island.
Article about students at the City College of New York rallying against tuition increases: http://bitly.com/Shzu2A
Article covering the second presidential debate in uptown neighborhoods (a fun group effort): http://bitly.com/QTBwTi
And, an article about a Washington Heights bookstore called Word Up, which is looking for a new home: http://bitly.com/XjG7Si
I’ll be adding more photos later as I get situated around here and figure out exactly what this is going to be. For now, here’s the newest addition to my mother’s household I discovered while home. A little abandoned cat named, appropriately, Sablée (Sandy). What better way to inaugurate my blog than with a cat picture? See, this is working already.