Monday, December 17, 2007

Home

The last time I saw the house I grew up in, which is located in the East Elmhurst section of Queens, N.Y. was about 10 years ago.

When was the last time you actually saw the house you grew up in?

11 comments:

clnmike said...

It's been a while since I have been to Flatbush Brooklyn. But considering what Brownstones are running at now up there I do not think they will let me within a mile of the place.

Ehav Ever said...

I visted Kansas City before I left the US. I drove by the house I grew up in. The people who live there now have turned into a real DUMP. In fact the people who moved into the neighborhood made the entire neighborhood a dump. After several families left, the downward slide began. I went to visit it when I was about graduate high school, and I almost cried when I saw how bad the neighborhood was. I thought then that it couldn't get any worse. I was wrong.

Mes Deux Cents said...

ClnMike,

Wow you’re from Flatbush. Wasn't Flatbush a mostly Jamaican-American neighborhood? I might be wrong about that. There was somewhere in Brooklyn that my friends and I used to go to get Jamaican food.

I didn't know that Flatbush has gentrified that much.



Ehav,

That's too bad. I'm sure it was painful to see your home like that. But you never know, it might turn around.

Don said...

'94, upon a visit to Milwaukee.

House, rooms and backyard looked so small compared to how I once remembered it.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Don,

I've visited a lot of cities, but I've never been to Milwaukee.

That's amazing how our minds remember houses and places of our youth as being bigger than they actually are.

Lisa said...

We stayed in one place until I was 13 - then, we started moving around again. But, I actually see that apartment everytime I go to my grandmother's apartment - cause she stays in the apartment right below the one we lived in. The apartment building still looks the same, but the people are drastically different.

clnmike said...

Flatbush is considered West Indian now if not out right Little Haiti last I heard.
I lived off Atlantic on Herkimer St across from P.S. 155. I have no idea what the area looks like now, but from what I understand the neighborhood is no longer the same.

Ehav Ever said...

Hey MDC,

I don't think that neighborhood is turning around any time within my lifetime. The houses looked like if you were to breath to hard they would fall apart. The first time I went back to vist the old neighborhood was in the 1990's and of course 2007 was the last time.

The entire area went downhill in a MAJOR way. Some of it was headed down that path years ago, but this was a complete fall off. The only way that it would turn around is if someone bull dozed the area and got new people in there. At that point though it is no longer the same thing at all.

In terms of Brooklyn, yes EVERYTHING in NYC is going up and up in price. Most of the people I know are going further out of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The other option that people often do is get room mates. Before I left NYC I lived with room mates I found off of Craig's List. The rent situation in NYC is INSANE. $3,000 per month in some places for a studio apartment.

Ehav Ever said...

I forgot to mention this. As you said it was painful the first time I went back. The reason was because I didn't want to leave that neighborhood. When we left I was completely unhappy with our new neighborhood because there was no community. When I was in high school I almost saw myself somehow moving back to our old neighborhood. When I got my driver's license and I went back that is when I saw what had become our house, and how the neighborhood was starting to go down hill.

When I went back in 2007 I wasn't expecting much, and therefore I wasn't disappointed in how much further it went. I was also on my way to moving to Israel, and I saw how Kansas City was not the city I was supposed to live in. It is hard to explain, but Kansas City was always lacking a certain something for me. The old neighborhood was the main thing that gave it meaning to me. When that fell apart, everything else didn't matter.

On some level I am romanticizing things a bit, but that is what happens when the Wheels of Destiny start to spin. Once it begins nothing stays the same.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Lisa,

That must give you a feeling a stability to live in the city you grew up in and to be able to see your old place often.





ClinMike,

Okay, I was wondering how the Jamaican community and other communities of color were handling gentrification?





Ehav,

I've been thinking about it and KC is a city I've never been to.

Did you live in Kansas City Missouri or Kansas?

Those prices in NYC don't surprise me it's just about as bad here. That's one of the reasons I want to move.

Have you ever thought about going back to try to save your old neighborhood?

Ehav Ever said...

Hey MDC,

The only Kansas City to really live in is the Missouri side. No joke. Many of the people I knew from Kansas City, KS would agree with that. There is a street called State Line that separates Kansas City, KS from Kansas City, MO.

In terms of going back to save my neighborhood 73rd and Norton. The answer to that is, NO! The neighborhood I grew up in no longer exists. It died out years ago. What made it a community was the people, not the location. All it is now is a location. Many of the things I remember about my youth in KC was about the people who made living there bearable. I always knew that I would one day leave KCMO and never look back. Many of friends were like that. We couldn't wait to leave, post 73rd and Norton.

The people I knew who were socially aware and active have either passed away or moved to other cities. When I went back during the summer I had not been to KC in about 9 years. When I went it was extremely boring because I didn't know hardly anyone. The two people I still knew there even said it was boring there. In fact those two people are married to each other. Also, my family was not originally from KC, and most of family has never lived there.

The other issue is KC is a VERY hard place to live in and remain Jewish. There are NO Kosher restaurants in KC. There is ONE grocery store in all of KCMO and KCKS with kosher food. The only Jewish community is in a suburb called Overland Park, and there is not much to shout about there in terms of Jewish diversity. There are no Yemenite, Sephardic, etc. synagogous there. Only the Ashkenazi (European Jews) types. When you live in NYC and move to a place like that you would go crazy.

Besides I live in my ancestral home of Israel. I can open up the Bible and pretty much travel to most of the places mentioned in it within about 4 hours. I can visit places that my family had been praying for years to see, and never did. Before my grandmother passed I told her of my plans to come to Israel. In a soft longing voice she said to me, I wish I could've done that. To see Jerusalem.

Nothing in KCMO can match what I have now. KCMO was predicated on the people who were there. Without them KCMO meant nothing to me. Yet, here what I have is based on God, the ancestors, the history, the spirituality, the good times, the bad times, and the hope for Israel and the world. KCMO can't hold a feather to that.

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron