Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I Dream of Queens

I can't describe it but I get a deep sensation of calm in the neighborhoods of Queens.  The rumblings of the 7 train down Roosevelt Avenue interrupts the habitual thought processes of my mind.  If I happen to be in a conversation I pause to take in the meaning of it all.  I exhale, listen, wait, as the train rides by.  Its but one of the numerous pleasures of Queens living.  That one can walk in the midst of immigrants, hardworking people with no pretensions is a huge relief from the hipster life of manhattan.  

Queens is what manhattan once was.  Home to neighborhood new york, filled with bustling vibrancy and the humility and joy of having little but having the city to fill your heart.  If you don't like or know Queens than you don't understand New York and probably never wanted to live here.  You prefer to live in a gigantic mall which is what Manhattan has become.  New York City has always been a city for immigrants and its vibrancy has come from their neighborhoods mixed with the bohemia it attracted.  El barrio, Lower east side, Harlem, all over-flowing with Jane Jacobian social capital.  Where everybody knew your name.

Even my mother's building in Queens is a constant door bell ringing children playing, recipe trading, tea drinking madhouse.  Filled with colombians, afghanis, pakistanis and the Koreans.  There is no peace, or better, there is peace in no peace.  

Now there are only contrived experiences.  Cute cafes and restaurants where you can meet your yuppie friends for sunday brunch.  There is little that is cutting edge in manhattan and even Brooklyn is now played out.  Queens and the Bronx are the final frontier for all those gentrifiers.

May they never win.  

I feel bad for them in their bubble experiences, alienation, high priced entertainment.  They move in from their horrific suburban lives to live essentially the same way in the midst of what they think is culture.  There is no creativity in their endeavors, if anything, they become refined consumers and define their sophistication by what they take in not what they provide.  They are those couples who live off netflix and are busy planning and organizing more than doing and being.  They have masters degrees, where plastic glasses and are busy talking about great restaurants.  They have succeeded in killing all excitement and spirit by pursuing success.  They have never lived a day in their lives with any risk.  

But I am not worried about New York.  It will be back, as it has constantly gone through its ups and downs.  It will always be some sort of cosmic force.  

In the meanwhile we have Queens.  Go to jackson heights, even long island city, parts of it, like "Local Project", filled with latin artists, korean drag queens and people who still believe , everyday, that the Dream is alive.  

See you on the 7 train.  


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Morticia of Mirth said...
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Morticia of Mirth said...

I couldn't agree more...Queens is it!...She may be a bit dusty, faded and obscure and not too much of thing to think about, but She's there all right. Her rythm and Her vibrancy is palpably felt by those who may feel..She is full of failing, not too picturesque, and in the end, comic with no great significance other than the fact that she exists..NY exists in spite of all the dire predictions, And is thriving, as life itself is thriving in this city of immigrants....
keep blogging!

soc said...
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