Lower East Side By Will DeLince

🚶+ 🚲

We descended down into the train station. The A C E and L trains were down. The police officers were at the station. We then decided it would take too long. The lower East Side awaited our arrival.

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The fire truck caught our eyes but we didn’t see any fire. Just took in the moment and saw all the people looking up. The character of the lower east side showed as a man on a longboard was using cranes to push himself along.

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As we walked and walked and walked, as a team we began to bond. Our conversations became more lighthearted and more fun. We needed someone to interview, Vithan offered a family, I said no let’s not bother them. The classic New York bodega awaited our arrival as the shiny building caught our eye

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The sound of the lotto machine kept going off repeatedly. The cashier was with a customer so we stood there awkwardly. He was free! We all stood around him as if we were reporters. Anxiously we asked:

INTERVIEW

I was entranced by his tale and perspective. The quote that stuck out to me was “ Now people actually wait for their change.” That put many things into view for me about the implications of gentrification. I suggested that we ride Citi Bikes! After a couple minutes of technological issues we began our ride. Jasper and I began to have a mellow and free ride. Vithan was another story, he missed being on his bike so much we couldn’t keep up with him. Yelling at the top of my lungs, Vithan! He still could not hear me. I began to reminisce about the poem Subway by Bill Collins. We descended along the river and someone had paved a road for us to ride. That’s how I slowed down. We went around Manhattan as if we were wrapping it. I felt accomplished coming all the way back around to school. We had completed of journey with much to reflect on. See the tour!Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 9.09.35 AM

Big Trouble in Little China By Andreas Marinos

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What’s your name?: Terry.

How old are you?: 25

What do you do for work?: Uh, kind of like, contract services. We have a lot of contracts going on. At Garmin we uh, deal with a contract, we hold public hearings, that’s about it.

How long have you been doing that for?: Uh, half and a year.

Have you lived in the city your whole life?: No, I’m coming from China. Shandong province in China.

What’s the weirdest thing about the transition been coming from China to New York?: The people.

How so?: Well, in China they’re all Chinese, here it’s mixed.

Has that been strange for you?: It’s a little weird at first, but I’m getting used to it. It’s pretty cool.

Where are you going now?: Yeah, back to work. I think that’s all the time I have -laughs-

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What’s your name?: Walter.

How old are you?: -Unintelligible-

What are you doing here?: I’m a protester. From Brooklyn on 4th street.

Right now I’m bout to go to my probation notice here, because I had a problem.

What do you do for a living?: I work in horticulture from Riverside, greens keepers. I’m a member of central park. I contribute to the donation of Motown. I do sanitation, and plant, trim, and landscape, so I got a big job. There’s a lot of garbage in NYC so you gotta throw it out and try to keep it clean. New York should be clean, but it ain’t.

Got anything you’d like to say?: God bless you brother. I’m from Brooklyn, and raised in the Bronx. Ever heard of West Side Story? That’s me. Streets? Gangs? Yeah long time, it’s a big story, but it’s alright though. I’m proud of New York though that it came to a different world. I’ve been all around Manhattan and Brooklyn in my life, since I was 20 years old. I’ve been a messenger, worked in chicken stores (called Checkers) and got into the restaurant business. For Italians. So all my food is Italian. Alright god bless you.

Spotlight

The experience of trying to go out and achieve profiles of a neighborhood proved to be both difficult at times, but rewarding once our team got through the task of finding willing participants to engage in our mission. I actually had pretty high doubts of scoring good interviews in Chinatown, as my experience with the community on a whole seemed to be that most people had their own agendas to tend to, and that they wouldn’t be able to spare the time required to get a good profile of who they were. I was pleasantly surprised however to find a couple of people who wanted to participate and let me get immersed somewhat into their lives. My crew and I were able to convince a couple strangers to quickly drop what they were doing and squeeze some information about their lives and perspectives on the fly and their aspirations for the future. All said and done, it was a fulfilling experience to see completely fresh faces and to hear stories we would have never found at Lab.

Walking Down Main Street – Patricia Kuang

Even though Chinatown and Flushing mainly had Chinese residents, the feel of the two neighborhoods were different. I expected Flushing to feel familiar because it was the Chinatown of Flushing.

 

Flushing felt more busy. I thought walking in Chinatown was frustrating because it was crowded and people walked slowly, but it was slightly worse in Flushing because everyone was on Main Street. Everything was on Main Street. All the restaurants were on Main Street. All the stores were on Main Street. All the supermarkets were on Main Street.

 

The place seems to never take a break.

 

My favorite part about walking in Flushing was not Main Street, it was the blocks that weren’t on Main Street. After taking a right, the atmosphere was completely different. It was calm. There was more room on the sidewalk because there were less people. There was also less noise. In fact, the loudest thing on the block was my group. There were more trees and grass and the place looked sunnier. Those blocks were relaxing after being surrounded by loud crowds for the past two hours.

Main Street:

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Other Blocks:

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Interview:

Who are you? Leo

Where are you from? New Jersey

Where are you going? Exploring New York. Came to the New World Mall because he has heard about it.

 

Belma

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Encounter: We came across a friendly old couple sitting at a table in Ukus. They kindly offered to give us their table to let all of us sit together but we chose not to bother them. But in the end we interviewed them. First we interviewed 63 year old Muzafer Radoncic, born in Gusinje but raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since I’m from Montenegro, this man reminded me a lot of my grandfather. His family, religion, health, and his philosophy of living life to the fullest is what reminded me most of my grandfather. It was amazing to hear Radoncic’s story and see how much it relates to the stories of my relatives who came to America. Muzafer told us about how he met his wife in Sarajevo and how they came to America where he managed to finish college, which many people who come to America, especially at an older age, never manage to do. I found it inspiring, that he wanted to make sure he had a good life even if it meant he had to work extra hard to get to the place that he’s in now. He told us he lives in New Jersey but comes to Astoria very frequently because he loves the culture, food and people in Astoria, and they can take him back to Bosnia and his culture. When we asked him where he was going in the future, he said work.

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Milestone #1:It has changed a lot-Shirley Chen

Interview:

Paula Lopez is an elderly woman who owns a little deli in Williamsburg. She is from Peru and has lived in Williamsburg for 30 years! Since she has lived here for so long, we decided to ask her about how Williamsburg has changed. She said, “This neighborhood has changed a lot”. She told us how it used to be all factories and now they are all gone. The only ones left are the sugar and paper factory. Instead, there are a lot of big buildings now.

We also asked her about rent increases. For her, since she owns the store, she isn’t worried about rent. But she said that if she was a renter, her store would’ve closed down long time ago. She told us a story about a man who opened another deli nearby and she had told him to not do a deli because he wouldn’t get much business. But he didn’t listen to her and his store closed down 4 months later. The rent, according to her, was $10,000 a month. He also had to pay for stock. At the end, she said that Williamsburg had changed for good because it used to be very dangerous in the past, even taxis wouldn’t drive to Williamsburg. When telling us about the construction of the big buildings, she told us that near the water, there was a building that was like 23 stories tall. She even demonstrated how the house we would live in is only a fraction of the new buildings. We decided to go investigate it after.

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I live in south Williamsburg, so when my group wanted to walk in Williamsburg, I thought that it wouldn’t be very hard because I already know the neighborhood. But I was wrong.

I knew of the construction and gentrification, but it wasn’t until I saw it with my own eyes that it really sunk in. I live in a small part of Williamsburg where every building looked like each other. It wasn’t very new nor was it old. When walking to the northern parts, and near the water, I slowly realized the gradual change from run down buildings to newly designed residentials. I was amazed at how new and beautiful it looked. But it also made me think of the people who used to live there, if not, what used to be there. In the first 2 pages of photos, there are old buildings with construction next to them. We can see that the buildings being constructed are very stylish and tall. This is a disruption to a lot of people in the neighborhood. Who knows what the owners did to acquire the land. As we get closer to the river, we can see a lot of glass a new looking buildings that are definitely very pretty. This is very a big sign of gentrification. I added some comparisons. One side of the picture is an old building while the other side are newer buildings. It was like stepping into a different world. At the end of the walk, I felt amazed and wowed. I never knew there was this side of Williamsburg.

Tourbuilder

Milestone #2- Bai Hao

A Walk with the Past Veterans

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A picture of the ground.

Spotlight

My impression of the walk was enjoyable and surprising. I liked spending my time at the cemetery because it was quiet and peaceful. It was a place where I was able to truly relax and not stress about school or anything else in life. I also liked observing the different sculptures and carvings throughout the cemetery because it was interesting to see the difference from one to another. Even if the original sculptures were the same, it was interesting to see how they have changed due to erosion and weathering.

This walk was surprising to me because of the conversation that I had with Charlie White. During the conversation, he taught me how to interpret the information on a tombstone to determine if the person was a veteran or not. Then, he brought me to his father’s tombstone and told me stories about his father’s involvement in World War II. I learned that his father fought in the Pacific theater during World War II and that he was involved in the invasion to regain the Pacific Islands taken by the Japanese. His father’s tombstone was a white spike with his father’s name, position, contribution, and colored rectangles that represented the medals he earned for his service to the country. When I asked him why he was in the cemetery on that day, he said he was sticking a United States flag in front of veteran’s tombstones for Memorial Day. For the whole day, he went around the cemetery hammering an American flag in front of all the veteran tombstones that he came across. He mentioned that he was doing this to honor our heroes who made sacrifices to protect our nation, yet seemed like they had been forgotten. At that moment, I realized that I am able to live in this country safely thanks to those willing to take the danger for me.

Interview

Name: Charlie White 

  • Where are you from? I came from Matawan, New Jersey
  • Where are you going? I am heading home after I put an American Flag in front of all the Veteran’s tombstone that I can find in this cemetery (to honor our heroes for Memorial Day)
  • Who are you? I am a retired Firefighter

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