It looks like I will soon be working a new assignment, in a park rather than the mean streets of Brooklyn. Green! Summer! Lofty trees! Even a lake.
Yet I already feel nostalgic for this world of impressively staunch street trees, truck exhaust and rough-edged asphalt corners.
I’ve spent the last week on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, a neighborhood that is dominated by Carribbean customs and flavors. I walk around and everything is out of my wheelhouse, out of my comfort zone. It’s amazing.
The men on my job pour concrete sidewalks, and the inspectors deliberate over the quantity of water in the mix.
Meanwhile, without a tree to care for today, I roam. Salvation beckons on just about every corner.
What about the second born and third born? The gospel is tucked away sometimes.
I always want to get the names of the tabernacles down when I’m driving past and regret not being able to. I never knew so many existed.
I like watching how women go about their lives here. There are produce stands everywhere, some with edibles I know.
And some that baffle me. Some kind of space potato, maybe.
The ladies here comb the displays for the perfectly ripe mango or green coconut and select just that one, foregoing a bagful, whether out of economy or exacting taste I don’t know. I love that these markets have not been coopted, all saran wrapped like Shoprite. This is a foreign land where newcomers have retained their habits.
The offerings at Fish World just swam in this moning from the West Indies.
There are baby sharks, delicate porgies and orange striped fish that look like Nemo. Me and the other women get a stainless bowl and a plastic glove and lift the whole fish into the bowl to go to the register. I purchased a red snapper and baked it last night Veracruz style, it was delicious. There’s also a bin of heads and tails and shoppers have a field day with: soup fixings.
Every other store is a hair braiding joint or a nail salon. Women dress to impress, their aspirations indicated by this sign for a beauty shop.
Signage fascinates me, like this lamppost poster. A woman on a bucking bull in Brooklyn.
A very sexy rodeo. Really. Well, meat is a theme here, live or butchered, with some of the stores devoted to it (Meat Mart). You have to work your way through dank-smelling aisles to find the true gems, the items on sale today.
I’m going to miss this neighborhood, its mysteries concentrated in a six block radius. I’m turned inside out, almost levitated by the power of all I don’t know.