Overlapping New York

At the last street before the reach the east river stands a building, old and worn, but at the bottom of this building is a newly installed Shake-Shack. With it bright lights glancing from its over sized windows, it looks so modern and chic. Everything looks so clean. On the second floor, it isn’t as modern and bright. The red brick walls look like they have began to deteriorate. The red bricks looks like they are turning green and the fire escape looks like its on its last leg and waiting to fall. Its windows are dark, basic apartment windows that look like they have been untouched by time. You can hear construction happening everywhere , along with the horns and passing vehicles. Construction working eating in the shake-shack that they probably built months ago.

The appearance of the juxtaposed building was what was striking to me. It looked perfectly un-perfect. The old top level of the building looks so old and the new restaurant beneath so new. The building seems so perfectly juxtaposed. It tells the story of recreating what was already there. Transforming it into something new and up to date. The entire block was filled with juxtaposed buildings. Old building turned into new restaurants. The old, what looked abandoned building have been turning into new lively hot-spots.  This area in downtown Brooklyn looks untouched by the modernization happening around it. The streets are still cobble stones instead of the flat pavement that we are used to. Strangely enough the old and new in the area works, giving the area a different feel than the rest of Brooklyn. However , surely enough in time all those old worn down buildings will be gone and replaced with something new.

In Colson Whitehead’s “City Limit” , Whitehead says “Thousand of people pass that storefront everyday, each one haunting the streets of his or her own New York, not one of them seeing the same thing”. What about was there before that Shake-shack. People walk pass it everyday, some people never notice that it is even there, while others can’t help but to feel nostalgic every time they walk by.  New Yorkers, or people in general, have a hard time dealing with the fact that something that they loved , something that was a part of them, is now gone and they never got a chance to say goodbye.  When you walk into your favorite store , you never think that one day it might be gone, you simply think it will be there as long as your are.

For some people, this new location of Shake-shack is now a part of their New York, a new building in their skyline, on top of the rubble of what it used to be. Even though what used to be there is gone, someone else’s New York is now there. A building in one person skyline has fallen and another has risen in that very same spot belonging to someone else. However, the memory of what once stand there is forever with you. You experienced what was there and because of that it will still be there to you.

Who knows what was there before or what will be there after , but with each new store that is built in replace of the old, a new persons New York is created and another destroyed. As whitehead stated “You say, it happened overnight. But of course it didn’t.” The plans were set all before anyone was aware that their favorite store was days away from closing it’s doors forever.


Works Cited

Whitehead, Colson. “City Limits.” Introduction. Colossus of New York. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.


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