Hailed in: Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Hails from: Bed-Stuy
New York has really changed, especially Brooklyn. All of Brooklyn has, hell, even Bed-Stuy. I remember it was so bad when I was a kid that one time I was walking around Park Slope and these police officers came up to me, asking why I was in that neighborhood when I was just walking around. I was a real fresh kid, so I said, “Because I want to be here!” and the cop told me that if he saw me around there again he would take me to jail and lock me up in a solitary cell. I was 13, so that must have been 1975. Things have gotten a lot better. (Doesn’t that kind of thing still happen, with things like stop-and-frisk?) Yes, but it isn’t nearly as bad as it was. Cops are a lot better than they were back then, when crime was so much worse.
Hailed in: Midtown
Hails from: Venezuela
I’ve only lived here a couple years, so I haven’t seen too many changes. My rent has gone up a lot, though. It feels like this city gets more expensive a lot faster than other cities do. I like living here more the longer I’m here, because you find your city within the city—your favorite places and bars and such. It feels different as it gets more familiar.
Hailed in: Gramercy Park
Hails from: Korea
I moved here the year before 9/11, so I saw that whole thing. I feel like there’s a lot more community here now, more of a united team spirit kind of thing. On 9/11 everyone did so much to help out, there wasn’t anyone who wasn’t impacted by that, and then when the economy broke you kind of saw it again. Friends helped each other out, neighbors did; a lot of people didn’t have jobs, no one had any money. There’s such a divide here between rich people and everyone else, that everyone who is “everyone else” has kind of bonded.
Hailed in: Port Authority
Hails from: Hell’s Kitchen
I’ve lived here my whole life, and the city is nothing like it was when I was growing up. So much of the character is gone, so much of the life. The city’s been given to rich people, and the rest of us are just living in it. It’s all so corporate and chain stores now. It used to be dangerous, and that was kind of a good thing. Although, this is coming from an old man. When I was your age I did a ton of drugs, went to punk rock shows, and lived on no money. I was young, in other words. Everything looks better when you’re young.