So- Let's talk Brooklyn.
I live next to Prospect Park, which is the biggest park in Brooklyn and has more flavor than uppity Central Park. It is in the heart of Prospect Lefferts Gardens the Caribbean neighborhood (YAY! Jerk Chicken all day erry day) and Park Slope the yuppie mom neighborhood (affectionately labeled hipsters with strollers).
My building is tan, brick and old. The elevators consistently smell like rubber and urine and the residents are 90% Caribbean and 10% poor white art kid type. Our super (for those of you who don't know what a super is like I didn't- he is like the property manager) is named Junior and has bug like eyes that pop even further from his head when he talks in his thick Trinidadian accent. Junior has always been really nice and memorized my name, which makes me feel really cool and local when he shouts to me from across the street.
But because the black Caribbean neighborhood is happy with their cheap rent and park side apts, white kids aren't always welcome. I represent the wealth that is pouring into Brooklyn from Manhattan and they know that it is a matter of time before the rent skyrockets and they will be priced out of their homes. I wouldn't say my building is mean to the white residents but they are annoyed by us. Saying hello to them often feels like you are the dorky lil' sister who is trying to tag along with an older sibling. They are kind of like "yeah yeah you high shorts wearin, red lipstick sportin, weirdo, don't talk to us"
However, I have some good news.
My 4th floor kitchen window opens up to an alley way that has another kitchen window directly across from it. We don't have air conditioning and the windows stay open all the time (which is totally another story). A couple of months ago I was cooking Top Ramen and heard a little voice say "hello? Hello you! Hi!" I looked across the alley to see a smiley Trinidadian young boy beaming and waving at me. I walked over to him and introduced myself;
M:"hi, I'm Mj- what's your name?"
J: "hello a em jaya, Imma Jayden n whatcha cookin' dere?
(each sentence goes up at the end..I can't even try to type how cute his thick accent is- )
We became instant friends and now every time I am in the kitchen Jayden runs to his window throws fruit snacks through my window sill and tells me about soccer camp, Trinidadian candies and how many cockroaches he saw in his apt. Ricardo and I made him a card for his 6th birthday and he brought me some of his ninja turtle birthday cake in return. Recently, while munching on window thrown candies and chilling on the floor of our separate but connected kitchens we have been keeping a running cockroach tab, if they are bigger than a quarter they are worth 2 points. He is so childlike and positive- it has been a delightful friendship for me.
However, what I didn't know when befriending Jayden is that many of his relatives live in my building and all hear about "Mj, Jaydens girlfriend". Now when I address the large group of residents chilling outside the front door it is like I just won a gold medal. The whole group will shout "goodbye a ema jay!" "Hello a ema jay you have a blessed day mah dear!!"
Things here in Brooklyn are warm and fuzzy, now if I could just warm up to the quarter sized cockroaches in my utensil drawer.