I am Queens Village, New York.
I’m three story house in Queens, NY. Two square patches of grass make up my front and back yards. Hip hop plays in my headphones. Dancehall and soca play in the house to the right. Ranchero plays in the house to the left. I’m a Diocese of Brooklyn kid. Incarnation “The Haitian Nation” kid who grew into a The Mary Louis Academy prep school girl.
Not the best with North and South, but I can tell you all you need to know about blocks and avenues. I’m Massive B Queens, La Mega Queens, Hot 97 “The Biggie Era” Queens. Trini flags and “Sak Pase” Queens. Gaby’s Pizza Queens. CitiField will always be Shea Stadium, Queens.
I’m Harlem, New York.
Greatgrandma scrubbed floors to put my Grandaunt through nursing school. Langston Hughes tutored my Granduncle, and they grew up in the age of gowns and decked out suits during the Harlem Renaissance. I’m 1950s Harlem, when Billie Holiday “Blessed the Child” that had his own and Miles Davis introduced us to “A Kind of Blue.” I’m 2009 charter school, Harlem. Where I hope to make the lives of kids a little better by inspiring them to achieve their own greatness, and by simply letting them know someone cares.
I’m the Bronx, New York.
My dad and my uncles grew up near Yankee Stadium. Grandpa was a Puerto Rican nationalist, but came to New York
so my family could have a better life. He didn’t want my uncles to forget their culture so they were never to speak English in the house. Abuelito, don’t worry, la bandera is still flying high, and always will in the Bronx. They rode bikes and went to school dances with family friend Sonia Sotomayor. I was taught that you can become anything with hard work and determination. Sonia was a District Attorney when I was born. Now she’s a member of the Supreme Court.
I’m from Anything is Possible, New York.
I’m Ellis Island.
Where the Bahamas, Honduras, and Puerto Rico embraced and created me, a kid with a funny name. I’m the browning of
I am East Village, New York.
NYU was home for four years. My heart bled when the towers fell. When I went to class the towers were in smoke. When I came out, the towers were gone. I saw my classmates come from Lower Manhattan to the gym covered in dust. I saw a man stand on the corner of University Place giving hugs, because there was nothing much else he could do, but he wanted to help. I saw an old woman smash a photographer’s camera on that day with no cloud
in the sky. She told him not to take advantage of her misery.
Forever blessed that Dad came home that day.
Eight years later, I’m Long Island City, New York. Hip hop still plays from my headphones, but now my room overlooks the Hudson River. The Empire State Building is my nightlight. My view spans from the Financial district all the way Uptown. Tonight it will be illuminated by two towering beacons of light, commemorating our towers that will forever be missed.
Everything’s calm from my side of the river. I often stare out and think about the city, how close I am too it, the time I spend there. I reflect on how I can someday impact it for the better. To pay homage to those who came before me, and to give back to a city that’s etched into my DNA. A love and pride woven in my heart and etched deep in my bones.
I am New York City.