New York City aka The Big Apple is one of the most popular cities in the world. The lights, the sights and the foods attract people from all over the world. However it’s not a big deal to people like me, who’ve been living here our whole lives. Time goes on and New York goes on. Downtown Brooklyn is an area I got to learn more about as I explored it. Living in Brooklyn has its pros and cons. There’s a Starbucks on like every corner and so much public transit you don’t need a car although some prefer to drive. Despite the dirty garbage smells on the street and loud noise (ex. traffic, helicopters, neighbor’s music, etc.) I live here, go to school here and New York today is my New York.
My walk was approximately ten to fifteen minutes. I walked down Fulton mall. When exiting the main building of city tech turn right and walk down Jay Street all the way to Fulton mall. Across the street from city tech is the Supreme and Family Court building. I notice there are lines sometimes that wrap around the building when I pass it on my way to school. While walking down Jay Street, I smell cigarette smoke from the surrounding passer byers as I do every day. It is also very windy on Jay Street between Tech place and Willoughby Street, especially that area in front the train station entrance where there are trees, seats and power outlets. Turn left onto Fulton mall on the block where the Duane Reade is and walk all the way down to Bond Street. There is nothing unusual down Fulton. The McDonald’s is crowded as always, the people are walking either really fast or really slow, and the sunshine doesn’t really hit that area. There was no visible construction down Fulton mall. While walking down Fulton towards Bond Street there are a lot of middle school and high school kids in the area and some of them were loud for no reason. There is also a lot of street marketing in Fulton mall. People handing out business cards and people advertising by mouth- that is announcing their business’s sales or whatever they can to attract customers. But there is a variety of stores and you can find anything you need downtown. If you see something you like but don’t like the price you can literally walk into another store in the area and get it for a much cheaper price. After that I turned left on Bond Street and made a right onto DeKalb and went into the train station. Walking home from the train station is different for me than walking to school from the train station. My neighborhood is quieter (although not completely quiet) and there are more trees. I don’t really stop and take the time to appreciate that beauty and simplicity that is a part of my New York to realize this place will go on without me and I’ll be replaced with someone else who will in the future live in my apartment and have to walk to that very train station.
Finding a juxtaposition downtown was hard for me so I walked that path again on another day but I found it- Chase bank. This bank, located on DeKalb Avenue and Fleet Street doesn’t look like regular chase banks. It’s a fairly old building which looks more like a cathedral. Its smack in the middle of all these fast food restaurants, shoe stores and clothing stores. Across from the Chase bank building is a new modernized looking building uniquely designed that said City Point, with an Armani Exchange store on the first floor and the building has a triangle shaped roof. That’s where I realized the juxtaposition of the two buildings. The Chase building is something from many people’s New York because it’s an old and/or historic building and is still here today while the City Point building contrasts it with its modernism. In a section of City Limits by Colson Whitehead, he uses the example of the Pan Am building – how people today view it as the MetLife stadium while he sees and will always see it as the Pan Am building. Tourists snap pictures today of what they see because it’s fascinating to them while I walk past these things every day and take it for granted. These things will most likely be different in the future and while these tourists will have photographs I will only have photographic memory. But everyone’s perspective of New York is different. I see the MetLife stadium while Whitehead sees the Pan Am building.
Everything I’ve seen that day is now a part of my New York. The trees? The train station? The crowded McDonalds? The numerous Starbucks? The short guy handing out copies of his mixtape? The Chase Bank building? It is a part of my New York so if they reconstruct it, replace it, or it disappears, part of my New York will be gone too. Like Whitehead said “Maybe we become New Yorkers the day we realize that New York will go on without us.” Things change over time. The sidewalks and roads get repaved after they’ve gotten rough, bumpy and/or worn out. Old buildings get constructed on and modernized. Subway stations get redone and expand. People die. New people are born. But the same sun still shines over New York City.