All posts by Mickala

Reading Lucy: Summary and Reflection

In Jennifer Egan’s passage, “Reading Lucy” she tells her story of the friendship she shared with an optimistic woman named Lucy, and the events that would take place as the two wrote to each other. These letters helped carry Egan through the eyes of Lucy and what she was going though and the emotions she felt during the time she was writing. Even the finding of her death had almost made Egan feel as though she had passed away. From the letters Lucy wrote to Egan, to the ones she wrote to Alfred, Egan felt a strong connection with this woman.

White reading the passage I related heavily to Jennifer Egan as I began reminiscing of the friends that I was never able to stop thinking of. The friendship that the two women shared reminded me of the one my best friend and I share. We’d have times when we wouldn’t see each other for weeks but still felt the experience each of us went through as we would text each other every single detail we could possible type.

Reflection: A literary Visitor strolls in from the airport

Charles Mcgrath’s article on Will Self’s exploration of New York City from JFK airport to manhattan examines how often we really do not take the time to observe the city we live in. Considering Self’s past drug and drinking habits to know that for him walking has taken the place of these habits reflects on how other people deal with replacing their old habits. Will Self describes walking to give him a feeling even better than drugs and it shows a newfound appreciation for life that isn’t hidden behind an inebriated state. Self goes on his adventure and describes what he saw and how amazed he was at simple things such as two people from different backgrounds talking to each other. This amazement reminded me of times when i would walk from my school to my house or from downtown brooklyn into flatbush avenue and watch the shift in cultures and people.

Project #2: Reflection

While I was doing project #2 I worried the most about writing more of an agenda than relating my journey to Colson Whitehead’s ‘City Limits’. I was surprisingly happy to do this project. It made me actually look at the areas of downtown brooklyn. I got to observe the overlapping New Yorks and dug deeper into the history and dynamics of the area. Making up to 900 words was a bit of a struggle for me but nevertheless the more I wrote the essay the more I began to explore the juxtapositions of the New Yorks I was assigned to. I still believe there is a lot that I could work on and correct. For now I’m very happy that I was able to relate the culture of Fulton street and Court street to that of ‘City Limits’ and ‘Ways of Seeing’.

Project #2: Final

New York City  has a long and continuous history of different races, classes and cultures. Each individual is unique in their own way. In Colson Whitehead’s ‘City Limits’ he talks about overlapping ‘New York’s or lives these individuals live. He talks of the way these lifestyles co-exist and clash while including his opinion on the New York’s they live and the one he lives. This made me start thinking of the areas of New York I am familiar with and the history behind the certain streets of brooklyn. With this in mind I began observing the juxtaposition of both Fulton and Court street, two streets in downtown brooklyn that highly contrast socially and economically.

When I was fifteen years old my best friend introduced me to the downtown brooklyn area. We would walk down Fulton Street and head to the thrift store next to the McDonalds, and eat at the Burger King across the street. This is an example of my New York, while many of the people of color who spend time on that street have similar stories. Fulton Street has been known for the small businesses and affordable fashion for caribbean women and low-income residents. During my research I walked down Fulton Street and I saw old latina women sitting on the sidewalk benches, discussing gossip with their friends. I saw young black teenagers come out of a Jimmy Jazz with shopping bags and their friends suggesting where to go next. There were men at the corner of the streets trying to sell me cellphone plans and watches. All of this is what I am in familiar with when it comes to Fulton Street.

When I walked up to Court Street I observed the juxtaposition of the streets. Court Street gave more of a lower manhattan-esque impression. There were business women rushing into and out of the train station while business men would engage in heated discussions on their phones. I saw hipsters and frozen yogurt spots among various chain restaurants and stores. There was a starbucks within every two-block radius and for these people this was their New York. The hourly coffee and easy access to multiple train stations was the life that they’re used to as it contrasts completely from Fulton Street.

If I were to ask old residents of the downtown brooklyn area of the two streets, they would give me a detailed story behind the areas and how different they were ten years ago. In ‘City Limits’ Whitehead mentioned the nostalgia behind the buildings we are used to. He mentioned how the ‘Metlife’ building everyone is familiar with will always be the ‘Panam’ building to him. It made me question what the starbucks on Court street will always be to those elderly residents. As the economy of the area seemed to increase over the last few years, new stores arise while others are closed down and turn into those new stores. People who are new to the downtown brooklyn area may see this as always being there and not “This used to be…” as Whitehead expressed in his writing.

In John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing” the impact of what we hear or experience and how it affects us can relate to the two streets. What someone who had just moved into the area was told that there used to never be a starbucks or a sephora in this area? Just like in ‘Ways of Seeing” the viewpoint someone would have of these two streets would change. For a resident of Fulton Street, their New York might be going into their favorite small clothing store and finding cheap, comfortable clothing. They would meet up with a friend or socialize with other regular residents before heading on the train on the corner of Jay Street. For a resident of Court street, their average day might consist of just heading out of their law firm or building and heading out to lunch on some fancy restaurant on the corner of Montague. These New York’s may even overlap and both of these residents would sit on the sidewalk benches on Fulton Street and then head to the Trader Joe’s on Court street for groceries.

In the next two or three years, there may be more chain stores, more business people and hipsters and more Court Street than Fulton Street. It could also be reversed and there’s more small business’s with caribbean-american shoppers and old latina women sitting on the benches at Court Street. The future of these two areas are something only fate and probably some rich company can decide. As Whitehead talked about, New York will change whether “we want it to or not”. The Fulton street that I am used to may become a part of the Court street someone else is used to. As more big businesses and companies move in, many small businesses are pushed out. With this comes gentrification and a loss of certain demographics. What this also brings is a repair of certain roads and buildings, parks, as well as an abundance of people all over the city coming to these areas for these new stores and features. I personally don’t favor seeing these small businesses being replaced with big ones and the property value of certain areas dramatically increasing. Nevertheless, the New York that I was used to is being replaced with someone else’s New York. Their experience with Fulton and Court Street will be just as valid as mine and the next person’s as this is what keeps New York City as a whole thriving.

Works Cited:

Colson Whitehead “City Limits”

John Berger “Ways of Seeing”

Project #2: Why I chose this location

My choice to compare Fulton St and Court St relates to my social justice views on the issue of gentrification and how much it’s beginning to truly divide New York City. I’ve been familiar with the downtown Brooklyn area for 3+ years and I’m beginning to see the economic shift that’s been taking place in the area. What stuck out to me is the way that people are not (or refuse to) notice this taking place as time moves by. What I want to know more about it downtown Brooklyn in the older days. I want to find out how the area was like before the Starbucks and Sephoras. In Colson Whitehead’s ‘City Limits’ He talks about how each person has a different New York. I want to find out the life of the woman of color sitting down on the sidewalk bench on Fulton St  versus the rich white business woman speed-walking to the train station on Court St. Whitehead also talks about how buildings change over time. When he refers to the ‘Metlife’ building as the ‘PanAm’ building it inspired me to try to go out and ask the local elders of Fulton St what Court St used to be. I want to get a primary source of what both these streets were like 5 or 6 years ago and what came before the chain stores.

Project #2 Research: Location

For my project I went with a group of fellow classmates around the City Tech area. Our initial objective was to explore around the DUMBO area but in the interest of time we decided to head to Court St instead. As we passed by the court houses I saw the divide of Fulton St and Court St and how different both of these areas are and what experiences I have with each of them. It made me reflect back to Colson Whitehead’s “City Limits” where he talks about everyone having a different life in New York City and how the area affects those lives. I began thinking of the ‘New Yorks” that the people of Fulton St experience and the ones that the ones on Court St do. From observation and a familiarity with the streets, Fulton St has more small businesses, fast food restaurants and a couple shopping areas. Court Street has more upper middle class stores and business people, as well as hipsters due to the Cobble Hill neighborhood being a few blocks down. The contrast of these streets made me think of the socio-economic differences between the two areas.IMG_4398

Field Trip!


Last week Monday, our class field trip to the Center for Book Arts gave me an insight into the art or zines and print making. I was awestruck at all the illustrations I saw on the walls and on display. A lot of the zines came with personal stories that I was actually able to relate to. In the above image, the narrator talks about her experience going back to their old hometown and dealing with the harsh reality of gentrification.  This made me reflect on my own experiences with gentrification and I felt as though my feelings relatedly wholly to the narrator when they expressed anger towards themselves, and the situation going on.

After the Center for Book arts, we went to the Ruben museum to view the artwork of Francisco Cervelli. A lot of his works were a struggle for me to interpret as some images would be duplicated and have their colors swapped. For one piece, there were birds with arrows. When the color scheme was blue and gold, I felt as though it reprinted a death of pride. When the color scheme was red and white, I found elements of innocence. This just shows me how much detail goes into a piece to affect the viewers mind.

Project #1: Reflection

For my first english project my task was writing a four-paragraph bio on my eportfolio profile. I had to give my portfolio an avatar that represents me and my aesthetic. One of my tasks was to put into consideration what my classmates would interpret from looking at my avatar. I had to think about what kind of image they would configure about me and what interest I have from my avatar and what my profile tells differently. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard finding an avatar to represent me.

I went on my personal blog and began looking up pictures I had liked. I found this cute pastel-themed picture of a pink and blue shower head. The water ducts were little red hearts which struck me as the cutest thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I felt like it was such a simple concept and design. I’m proud of how much I feel like I found an image that actually does represent my personality and aesthetic. As I began writing my bio I started thinking about how much the image really tied to my general interests and style both artistically and personally. I think I do still need work on briefly explaining what kind of person I am. I feel as though in some areas I give too much information and in other areas I need to elaborate.

I spent about two hours trying to construct this bio. I thought this would be easy for me, considering how on social networks always ask you to explain yourself and your general hobbies. I began to cut down and tried to type less like how I speak and still be able to convey myself in this bio of myself. I believe next time I’ll start from a way earlier date and begin to separate my ideas and organize them first before my writing.

Project #1: Critique

When creating my enlarged thumbnails I wanted to ensure that I had my ambiguous and stable thumbnails. Cutting out the black paper was an issue since I focused heavily on having correct measurements and making it fit within the space. The exact knife was a little confusing for me but I eventually learned how to use it properly and it became a very big help to me. When it was posted on the wall in class I felt very proud of my work and how it came out in the end. When I received critique I realized that I should’ve focused a little more on it’s neatness and detail. All in all I was able to complete the objective and I was very proud of myself for it.