How this Brooklyn Girl Got, Got

Being a born and raised black woman from Bedstuy, I like to think I can spot a scam from blocks away. I’ve seen people getting hustled for cash, phones, jewelry, etc for most of my natural life. So it came as nothing but a devastating blow to my ego (and funds) when I literally and figuratively got taken for a ride.

This adventure into how I got played like a fiddle started at my usual go-to for groceries in the “Stuy” aside from Mr. Kiwi’s, at Food Bazaar on Myrtle and Broadway. A standard market with plenty of aisles of sometimes hard to find goods that any millennial hipster resident is bound to be delighted over. This particular evening in the hood I hadn’t dressed for the frosty 30 feeling like 10-degree weather. I still found the adult in me fighting onward to finish my last errand of the day. After the intentionally speedy shopping trip and after the otherwise long day of adulting, my iPhone and I were running close to empty. This begins my harrowing experience of the night.

While shivering my hind off, I hastily try to procure a way home via my favorite ride-sharing apps. A rather risky situation, considering my misleading battery on 5% and was likely to shut down at any given moment. As I asked the security guard who was nearby opening up a locked gate, what the exact address was, he answers, excitedly “Why are you looking for a cab?” I nod “Yes!” without hesitation. He then rushes back indoors with the promise of assistance. Mere moments later a middle-age black man meets me near the exit and promises he’s been sent out to help me hail a cab from a nearby service. Nothing out of the ordinary as of yet, two older gentlemen one an employee from the store the other, a local clearly there to earn his stipend for helping. Within 10 minutes my ride was whisking me off to my not so near hood. The price, a smidge lower than what my apps displayed, it felt my night had gone off without a hitch. All was well up until my departure from the said vehicle.

How This Brooklyn Girl Got, Got You Me NYC

The driver, as I was exiting the vehicle to retrieve my groceries asked for his payment. I was a little taken aback but pushed on trusting the man’s East African accent and toothy smile. I give him the fare with tip and the second I closed the door and walked back towards the trunk of his car he sped off full force. As I mentioned before I was raised in Bedstuy so I’ve got quite the stamina and endurance for running. With nothing else to lose I start sprinting in my Ugg’s determined to stop the trifling grocery thief. I give it my all still freezing in my light leather jacket.  I am in arm’s length from the trunk as he yielded but decided not to stop as the traffic sign demanded, almost as if were to confirm this was no mere accident. I’d been had, if not by that man alone, then a ring of deceivingly helpful and gracious individuals.

Depleted, frustrated and seething with anger I make just about every single phone call possible. Starting with the man who so delightfully offered to help me in the first place, the security guard. After minutes of tracking the voice down, he agrees we’d spoken to each other prior but denies that he’d offered to help me find a cab because it’s specifically against the companies rules. He also refused the notion that he knew of anyone that’s assisted a shopper with transportation. My next stream of furious phone calls tackled every cab service in the surrounding zip codes, none of which dispatched a car to the store I was at or heading to my location. The next most final solution is one that is rarely considered and even more scarcely used, I called the police. Frantic and only remembering the ‘T’ on his license plate I describe my predicament to the dispatcher. Apologetic she inquired if I’d used any of those handy app’s to find my ride of the night which of course, I misguidedly had not. After a brief wait, I was alerted by the station that my partially documented experience (from the grocery store parking lot and traffic cams passed along the way) was simply not enough for a police report, therefore, leaving me empty-handed and helpless. With the finality of the dispatcher’s tone, it ultimately occurred that the scam I found myself on the losing side of, was pretty foolproof. The security, kindly gentlemen and pay-less driver could’ve very likely been in cahoots leaving me blindsided.

Conclusion

With that experience finished I take a few bits of lessons learned: always get your own cab, take notes of your driver’s license and TLC plates, and if the deal seems too good to be true, you can bet your bundle of groceries it is.

 

The Van Dam Diner

Long Island City is an area in Queens(for some reason people refuse to admit that it’s Queens),  still going through a major gentrification renovation.  I pass through this area of Queens quite a bit and on Van Dam St. the heart of Long Island City is the Van Dam Diner.  A classic eatery, with seats at the counter, a line of booths on one side and tables on the other.  Every inch of this restaurant screams nostalgia and I eat here as often as I can when I’m in this part of Queens.  Van Dam Diner You Me NYC

As soon as I walk in, the host who knows me for years, seats me at my usual spot, right by the window.  I love the window seats because they’re great for people watching, which is getting more interesting every year.  As I take my seat, I’m immediately accompanied by a cup of coffee from a server who is new to this stomping ground of mine.

Van Dam Diner You Me NYC

As I look at my phone to respond to a text message, my breakfast is sitting right in front of me as I look back.  Service is one of my most important determinants when it comes to recommending a place for my readers to enjoy.  Now I didn’t give my order to the server and yet there my breakfast is right in front of me.  The host knows what I want and puts the order in.  The server benefits from the gratuity I am about to leave after receiving excellent service.

My meal is always excellent when I come to the Van Dam Diner as it should be.  I have never been disappointed no matter what the meal is, hence why I am not going to elaborate as to what my meal was.  Dining establishments can have the best food which can always be ruined by sub-par service.  That is why I love Van Dam Diner, the service is great and on point.

Conclusion:

The Van Dam Diner is a pillar of the community and hasn’t changed all these years.  Gentrification has had no effect on this classic grill and I am absolutely sure it’s going to remain the same.  Gentrification causes change we are all aware of that, it’s places like Van Dam Diner that are resistant to change and keeps us optimistic about the future of New York City and its boroughs.

Transplant Nation

There really aren’t many of us left and that sounded super weird in my head and even more weird to admit on paper but its true. More times than not, I bet you are the only New Yorker in your group of friends or even at work.  You ever go somewhere with them and they try to tell you the best way to get somewhere when they weren’t here for tokens or 9/11? 

 It’s almost like starting High School and hoping you see a familiar face somewhere in the crowd. Forced and/or bought out of their homes to make room for people who are too scared to live in it themselves. “It’s not the best neighborhood but the rent is cheap and they just built a hotel, which means it will be really nice in 5 years! Haha, I definitely won’t be there by then.” Literally a real conversation!

Being ditched by your first yellow cab, eating dirty water dogs(hot dogs) and of course running for the train only to be in the lonely car with the homeless guy who carries his original fragrance. If they survive more than a year of that, people consider themselves Native. That’s the average day for a  New Yorker and that’s only the morning time. I need your public school to have a number in it. Did you take the regents? Ever go to school during a snowstorm? Can you double parallel park anything? Even then, you’re not valid. 

A big part of New York isn’t just about great shopping, pizza, skyscrapers and the sight-seeing. It’s about the people, which makes New York New York. It’s damn near a novelty and a raw form of respect that comes with it. We’re exposed to a lot so we’re open but could sniff bullshit before it hits our nostrils. I’ve heard a lot of transplants admit they couldn’t grow up here or even raise their kids here, a lot of our parents did both. Now a lot of people are either being pushed out or just tired and leave.

Conclusion

This is not to talk complete shit about transplants. I have many friends from the transplant community. You get to experience a place you’ve been your whole life in a completely different way. Take everything in! Admit-tingly, you end up doing things you would not have done and finding little things you walked past every day. Specialty shops that make eating fun and just happen to be vegan, gluten-free and sourced locally.  I know for a lot of people that come here, it’s about conquering fears and following dreams, New York is their Wizard of Oz. I just don’t want to look up one day and not be in Kansas anymore.

5 Ways To Prioritize During The Holidays

Tis the Season to be Jolly…. Bah Humbug! Are you looking forward to this holiday season? I know I am not…I used to love holidays, now I dislike them mainly because of the commercial aspect of it. I do love the spiritual side of it and what it means to be of service in the age of giving. There are so many people who are homeless this year. It hurts my heart that they don’t have a place to live and be free to celebrate in their own way. Do your best to give back to someone less fortunate than you. You will be surprised at how blessed you are.

Many of us are overwhelmed with trying to please family, friends and more. Now with so much going on in our daily lives, how do we have balance and not go into debt during this holiday season? Our rents and mortgages are extremely high, food prices have gone up and the kids are growing faster than a speeding bullet.

So, what can we do? I want to share with you five ways to prioritize during the holiday season! Here are few methods to get you through those holiday blues:

Step 1 – Pay all household bills first like Rent/Mortgage, telephone, utilities, and car & life insurance. Look for sales and start your shopping early like in July, (Back to School sales) August, and September (Labor Day sales).

5 Ways to Prioritise During the Holidays You Me NYC

Step 2 – Create a holiday budget. If you spent over $1500.00 last year, cut that in half and pick two items per child or person (get something they really want or need). Don’t spend excessively when you know you have bills to pay first. Bring in the New Year with a few dollars. Cha-ching $$$

5 Ways to Prioritise During the Holidays You Me NYC

Step 3 – Create a food budget, find fun new items to make with the family. Try baking holiday cookies or cupcakes. Do your home & holiday grocery shopping all in one. There are always plenty of sales on food during Thanksgiving week. Have your menu handy and focus on buying everything you need all at once. Tell your family and friends to bring a dish. Why should you be the only one cooking? Share the love.

5 Ways to Prioritise During the Holidays You Me NYC

Step 4 – Learn to shop at discount and department stores that have creative ideas for holiday decorations, games, toys and fun products. The following stores like Five Below, Marshalls, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar General are shops that have 25% to 75% sale offers. They usually start before the holidays, like Christmas in July. Don’t forget the stuff you bought last year that’s up in the closet. Get the family to design their own Christmas stockings and buy stocking stuffers. You can spend less than $10.00 per stocking. You can find quality items for as low as a $1.00 to fill those stockings like nail polish, cute combs, candy bars, “Hot Wheels” cars, gloves, hats, and gift cards.

5 Ways to Prioritise During the Holidays You Me NYC

Step 5 – Organize a few weeks before. Set up your holiday table. Have fun with the family, play Christmas movies or music. Get creative, let the kids make holiday decorations. This is a fun way to keep the family together. Remember do not go broke trying to impress people in order to show them you love them by spending excessively.

5 Ways to Prioritise During the Holidays You Me NYC

 

Tell Me A Story Please

As a child, my fondest memories of learning came from the stories my teachers told. I loved fables the most, there was always a common sense lesson to be had. I remember sitting on the edge of my seat, listening to their stories. All these years later, I remember those stories. They stayed with me, but more importantly, the lessons stuck. To this day, I love to listen to a good story.

John Ferreira says, “storytelling is what connects us to our humanity. It is what links us to our past, and provides a glimpse into our future.”

I recently had the pleasure of attending an evening of storytelling hosted by Tracey Segarra. Tracey is a storyteller, a Speaker and a Consultant. After listening to the Moth podcast. Tracey became interested in storytelling. She entered the Moth storytelling slam in 2016 and won. She’s been telling stories ever since.Tell Me a Story Please You Me NYC
Photo: Jason Falchook

Tracey feels passionate that stories make us laugh, make us cry and move us. Tracey has brought storytelling to Long Island. Like the Bards and Grios of old, telling stories to the community in order to entertain, educate and remind us of how we are connected.

During the evening of stories, I was moved and engaged. It was a delight to unplug, sit amongst a diverse group and listen to the personal stories of others. The entire room was still, silent and enraptured by each storyteller at the mic. The audience was getting what we all crave, a high touch, intimate experience, shared amongst a group. These types of experiences are few and far between, especially as we allow technology to invade our personal space and relationships and define how we communicate with each other.

A few days later, I sat down with Tracey to understand her passion for storytelling.

How did you get introduced to storytelling?

Well, it was actually my husband, he had been listening to the Moth radio hour on NPR. He turned me on to it. The Moth has people telling true stories about their lives. Some are funny, some are tragic, but they are all compelling because they are about important moments in peoples lives. Moments that changed them somehow, and so once I started listening to it I was instantly hooked. I am a former reporter and writer. So I used to write personal essays. Plus when I was younger I was an actress. I had dreams about being an actress. So when I heard this on the radio it married two things that I love, getting up in front of people and personal stories. So I thought OMG, I have to do this and I love this!

The Moth has these story competitions called story slams in the city.
And so I went with my niece to one of them just to check it out. People put their names in a hat and they pick 10 names randomly. They have a theme, everybody tells one five minute story on that theme. I went to one just to listen. I was hooked. The next time one came up with a theme where I thought I had a story for it, I put my name in the hat, I got picked and I won that night. I was like ok, this is a message. I had no training, no nothing, I just told a story.

When they have ten people who have won story slams, they have a grand slam. In front of 500 people at the music hall in Brooklyn, the winners have to come up with a new story. You compete against nine other story slam winners. I told a story, I won that night. Now, I am like ok, ok, I am meant to do this. I can’t remember exactly how old I was at the time, 52 or 53, but I felt like I had finally found what I am meant to do with my life. This is it, this feels so right.

I am in marketing during the day. I put my marketing hat on and I thought, there is nothing like this on Long Island, why don’t I create this. That becomes my next thing. There is a huge storytelling scene in Manhattan. Any night of the week you can go to a storytelling. I knew we needed this on Long Island.

I have never heard of this.

I know its amazing how it’s such a well-kept secret, not that anyone wants to keep it a secret

I started my show out here at a small local bookstore in Rockville Centre and within a year, I outgrew the store. The store could only hold 50 people, and I outgrew the venue. I started booking bigger venues as more and more people started coming. Then Newsday did a story on me, The Long Island Business News and then the local Herald.
People then started asking me to teach storytelling. I started doing workshops and its grown from there.

Why do you think this is becoming popular, what is energizing this?

One thing, we have become a society of people constantly looking down at their phones every two seconds, however, as you saw last night when someone is telling a compelling, true story, they have your attention; and so as human beings, we crave the connections. It forms a real connection. This is not like stand up comedy, where we are like ok, make me laugh. You know this is like wow, let me in, let me feel what you are feeling. There is something very powerful in that. As society becomes more electronic and distant, we crave the connection. We are still human beings, we still need to connect with people. Storytelling fills that need.

As I was listening last night, I was thinking about how we used to pass on our history through storytelling

Exactly, that was the first thing we did to record history we told the stories to our children and told them to tell their children

And That was a community event

Right, yes, to come together as a community to hear each other stories, that’s why I love the live shows. The energy of the people in the room changes how the storyteller tells the story, we feed off each other

When you envision this, what is your vision for storytelling on Long Island

Well, I would love to book bigger venues and have more people tell stories. Two of the people in my show last night are not storytellers, they are just people with great stories and I want to magnify their voices. I worked with them on their stories to craft them into a narrative that works. They had something important to share, and it needed to be heard. I am so excited. I want to start a podcast. I am a former newspaper reporter, so I have a knack for finding good stories. I know that I will never run out of stories on Long Island. I want to start a podcast for LI stories. There are so many stories to be heard. I also want to consult with businesses on how to tell their Story. Storytelling for business especially non-profits is a power tool for messaging. Organizations realize that in order to cut through the clutter you have to have a compelling message and story. I am going to a conference in a few weeks. I will be working with people who work in communications for non-profits. I will be talking about the power of stories in business and especially with non-profits. To be successful you need a compelling story. People connect to stories and that in itself is a powerful tool.

As I think about last night, and the theme, Through the Eyes of A Child. We had these different people, from different walks of life, some diversity in the room, but the common thread was that we have all experienced a childhood, we have all experienced pain or trauma in our lives, growing pains, personal family angst, that’s what connects us. We are much more alike then we think we are, I was really fascinated by hearing the storytellers. Taking us on a journey back to their childhoods, this was my experience and this is who I am because of it. I am sharing this with you.

Exactly, there was also a vulnerability, that the storytellers showed last night which drew the audience in.

What is the impact that you want to have?

I am still trying to figure this out. I want to continue to teach storytelling and producing shows, helping others find their voices and helping them to be heard. I love finding the storytellers and helping them craft their message and having it touch people. I would love to do that for non-profit organizations

there is a quote by a poet I like, Sahib Naiah

“You can reject peoples politics, You can reject their religion but you cannot reject their stories”

That’s why I do not get political, this is about human to human connection and what we have in common, not what tears us apart. We hear enough about what tears us apart.

We have to focus on how we are connected. Every business can leverage storytelling.

There is neuroscientist Dr. Paul Zaks. He has studied the effects of storytelling on the brain. What he found is that when someone is telling a compelling true story, showing vulnerability and authenticity, keeping you on the edge of their seats, it activates a neurochemical in the brain, oxytocin. Once this chemical is released you start to feel what the storyteller is feeling and you are more apt to take the action the storyteller wants you to take, you start to develops trust. It is often called the love hormone, the trust hormone. Storytelling does that.

What impact has this had on you?

It has given me a voice, I was a drug addict and alcoholic in my youth. I am 56 now, Up to the age 25, I made a mess of my life. It took many years to repair that. For many years I was ashamed. They teach you in the program that you are not a bad person getting good, you are a sick person getting well. For a lot of years, I was ashamed and upset at what I had done. Once I got into storytelling, I was like Oh my God these are stories I can tell these. Once I had the advantage of time I can now see how these life events have shaped me today. It helped me get over the bad feelings and guilt.

Is it cathartic?

Very cathartic, also I am a performer, so when I feel that I have the audience in my hands, and I am bringing them on a journey through my life and they can relate, it is an incredible feeling. I feel that I can take them on a journey. That is a powerful experience.

Last night when you were telling your story, about summers at your grandmothers, with all of the characters, I was transported, I could see where you were, I could feel the way the air felt, I was there with you. For me it was a simple way to relax and enjoy, just listen. That in Itself was calming.

I think anytime I tell a story about something that affected me its always something that is universal. We all had fears and insecurities and issues with our mothers every one can relate to that and eventually finding a safe haven.

What I have I know, especially after attending the evening of storytelling, is that stories connect us, like a spun thread weaving between us all.

Tracey Segarra is a Storyteller, a Speaker and a Consultant. For information about Tracey’s upcoming storytelling events or seminars, go to traceysegarra.com.

Gorillaz Gone Ape In the Barclays

Closing in on the colossal stadium, in the now metropolitan, which is Fort Greene, lies the Barclay’s Center.  The Barclays Center is certainly a circus of lights, advertisement and a certain glint of “New York” spirit. Whether it is the most out of place Roc-A-Wear clothing store or extremely lit (with actual lights) subway entrance to guarantee that you’ve definitely made it to your destination the Brooklyn way. Making my way into the colosseum in the city there’s a brief halt to the glamour and glitter while being checked in through the short security section. The lobby area is nothing special, especially when comparing to the light show that’s going on outside. Once past all the meekness of entering the tunnel to get to your seat, lies vendor after vendor serving decadent meals and frosty cold beers. The homage train car near the exclusive “American Express” entryway isn’t lost on this New York however, it does serve as a cool separation for the haves and the people who are actually riding the train.

Gorillaz Gone Ape You Me NYC(Image Courtesy of New York City Theater)

The Internet was a sublime opener for those previously unaware of the group. With a cocktail mix of R&B, hip-hop, funk and electronic they served as the perfect amuse-bouche to the audience. Even though there were a number of seats still being filled in, the waiting crowd was vibing to the beats.

Anticipation wore heavy on me wondering with questions of what form the band would appear in for the show. Previously known for concealing their identity with some groovy animations or using their silhouettes, the band storms on stage with a wild energy. Their outfits matching the presence of their music, electrical and eclectic.  All except for the frontman of the band, David Albarn’s character 2-D, represents a similarly grungy, laid back, cigarette ashing on my washed out black T-Shirt vibe. The other members performing as the backup in some radical bright patterns and eye-catching colors, like the animated videos in the background showing the remaining animated members of the band.

Gorillaz Gone Ape You Me NYC(Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan)

The first song bringing the band on stage “M1 A1” screams out an ominous call for help, behind a building guitar riff which is reminiscent of early guitar hero strumming that breaks into an electrifying brit rock anthem. It was an excellent way to start and rile up the crowd after a comparatively calm band like The Internet.

Followed up by ‘Tranz’ a trancey toon with an animated video of the nonhuman portion performing, gives a feel of what some of the first songs put out by the band.  There is more of a rock influence backing the track.  ‘Last Living Souls’ was next up using a beat machine.  David Albarn introduces a tougher hip-hop beat while the song sings out questioning the humanity of people while alternating between beats and a country-like ballad.  This song shows how the band can seamlessly incorporate different genres.

The band coasts through “Rhinestone Eyes” a softer melody before getting into the far creepier “Saturn Barz” featuring Popcaan. The song is dark visually and linguistically.  Popcaan sings through some of the painful realities of his life growing up in Jamaica, to a contrastingly creepy electronic rhythm. The electronic presence of the group, likely wouldn’t have translated as well without the harmonious background cast of all black singers. There, a solo by a spectacular talent that was especially appreciated by the audience.

Other highlights of their epically extravagant set include a variety of guest stars including De La Soul, Peven Everett, Bootie Brown and a Brooklyn native Mos Def. The experience was a definite separation from a typical concert experience with well-choreographed animated videos, to bring clarity to the lyrics that are usually far more serious than their sometime’s pop-punky backtracks. Towards the end of the show, most of the sparsity in the crowd was filled with standing fans singing along. This being a more personable performance for the band, it only leaves us fans anticipating what the transformative group has ahead of them.

Crown Heights Brooklyn 25 MPH

Crown Heights has been known for a lot of controversy between certain demographics over the years and still has plenty of it.  If you’re a newbie to Brooklyn or New York City, do the research and you’ll discover how much there is.  I was walking up Brooklyn avenue towards Eastern Parkway earlier this morning and I witnessed another controversy, that affects all the  boroughs of New York City and the city itself.

The controversy I’m talking about is speeding.  Speeding is bad.  However, speeding down side streets, in residential neighborhoods, is just plain stupidity.  In our first image referenced below, we have the back of both vehicles that were involved in this traffic atrocity.  From behind it doesn’t look too bad.  What’s really ironic is that they are both the same type of car.  Both are Mercedes Benz E classes, same color and model of E class with similar years.
Crown Heights 25 MPH You Me NYC
The speed limit in New York City is 25 MPH(Miles Per Hour).  It’s 25 MPH for a reason.  Now I know we all grumble about this limit and I am one who has moaned and groaned about the fact the city is slow enough and the last thing we need is to slow it down even more.  However when you see an accident unfold and the aftermath, you kinda change your tune.

Ok, now here is the front one of the cars in the accident.  Now I am no crash expert, however, I can say that this car’s speed was definitely more than 25 MPH.  The victim on the stretcher, I say victim because he’s a pedestrian that got slammed by this vehicle.  There’s a second victim as well, the man’s young son who is not pictured.Crown Heights 25 MPH You Me NYCIf you drive in the city as much as I do or even drive in general, we all get annoyed at pedestrians.  They walk out into the middle of the street, on their cellphones, not paying attention to anything and just blindly cross the street.  This father and son did none of that.  They’re  pedestrians falling victim to the recklessness of someone else.  We as drivers have a responsibility to the pedestrian to be as cautious as possible and that didn’t happen today.

Conclusion

Now I don’t know the cause of this accident, other than the fact that I hear a horn, a loud bang and a father and son receiving the brunt of it.  All I know is I  am a witness to a controversy that affects us all.  People are always going to speed, we all know that.  However, speeding through a residential area is just ludicrous.  The next time you’re driving through a residential area and you need to make time because you are running late,  forget about it.  You’ll get there when you get there.  There is no point to save a few minutes at the cost of injuring or killing someone.

My First

This is my first “Really!!?” submission so please don’t judge me (yeah right, judge me all you want).  I’m a New Yorker all my life, “native” to some and “original” to others.  The fact that I live in the greatest city in the world has its challenges.

Challenges to me are the same as annoyances to others.  We are going to classify annoyances as challenges to be polite.  I am only going to discuss one challenge in this submission because too many challenges can be annoying, no pun intended.

Challenge:

Waiting for my luggage at JFK just pisses me off especially when it’s a small bag but not small enough so it needs to be checked.  Sitting next to annoying people on a flight pisses me off.  Now I know what you’re saying, theses challenges aggravate everyone.  This is very true, however, here comes the curveball.

Last week I’m waiting for my luggage at JFK and of course there are two tourists making their way through the crowd of people.  Two ladies excited because it’s their first time in New York City.  What I find amusing, is that they look at me as if I don’t belong here.  I look back at them and say “First time here”?  They both reply with an emphatic “yes”.  One lady asks “What about you”? “Oh, I’ve been here all my life.” I said.  I don’t know what I’m thinking and why I even asked, however, I figured I would have a little fun.

“You’re so lucky, I wish I could live here” she said.  I responded “Really, you’re standing in the middle of the airport, what are you basing it on?  Where are you from?” as I looked directly in her eyes.  “California!” was her response.  I smiled and then asked “What’s the first thing you plan on doing when you get settled”?  “Go for a run through Central Park.” was her response.

There’s the challenge.  The most exciting city in the world, with everything at your fingertips and you are going to go for a run through “Central Park”.  Really!!?  Not bad for my first one, I welcome the feedback.

Last Butterflies in Bedstuy

Dwindling in population steadily over the last two decades, more significantly within this past decade, is a colorful, diverse and growing extinct species.  However, they have an amazing ability to migrate and leave many dazzled by their ability to move through spaces designed specifically against them. Wonderful beings, dying out by the haphazard misguidings of the authorities and communities meant to protect them. People of color deserve far more.

Once the majority of the ghettos we were once segregated to, slowly but surely a large shift in the neighborhoods once deemed “unsafe” by the people who now inhabit them. Either grown tired, evicted from or displaced, the numbers of the black and brown natives are exceptionally low. The faces of those who built up the oh so cultured neighborhoods are now more commonly seen with goofily smiling faces on street murals, as if in a happy memorial of oneself.

Last Butterflies in BedStuy You Me NYC

Even though there aren’t many things more discomforting than seeing the faces get paler closer to the final or ‘hood’ stops on the train. The thought of the young pupils growing further and further away from the mosaic of mothers shouting down shopping lists from the second floor, the quick sentiment of “borrowing” a jump from the pig tailed double dutchers disappearing or the barbecues that started on Friday and ended the week after fading away, is a striking one.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

The chickens have come home to roost and I love every minute of it.  We all know, the “Yellow Cab” industry had quite the monopoly in New York City for years and now it is crumbling.  It was almost impossible to get a cab to take you out of the city a few years ago.  Hailing a cab and taking it to Harlem was out of the question.  The farthest I would get is east 96th street, along with a constant scrutinizing eye on me, from the cab driver, as we made our trek uptown.  Let’s not forget the appalling treatment of the African American and other minority communities as well.Chickens Coming Home to Roost You Me NYCThe chickens have come home to roost now that the rideshare game is in full force.  What amazes me more than anything else, is that instead of coming up with an innovative way to combat the rideshare industry, the medallion owners cry “foul”.  What a bunch of crap, they went and cried to mommy(New York City Council), that they can’t compete.  So what does mommy do, they cap the number of rideshare vehicles for one year and require that drivers be paid a minimum wage as well.

I am all for drivers getting paid a consistent wage and getting paid more.  Driving on the road 8-12 hours a day is a tough gig.  “Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.  I couldn’t disagree more with this statement.  What does ride-share have to do with driving working “New Yorkers” into poverty.  Funny, I thought “Gentrification” is what is driving working “New Yorkers” into poverty.

Gridlock, rideshare is the cause of that too, according to our mayor.  Forget about the fact that almost every street in the city is under construction with lane closures.  What about everywhere you look there is a new luxury building going up?  How many more glass atrocities do we need in the city?

Conclusion

What’s funny about rideshare is that we have already been doing it.  Brooklyn, and all the other boroughs established the “Dollar Van”.  I can’t speak for Staten Island, I have no clue what they did or how they take a cab to that borough.  The “Dollar Van” has been and currently is the equalizer to the “Yellow Cab” industry.

I was in a “Yellow Cab” this morning and it was the usual.  The cab stunk, the driver had a piss-poor attitude and of course he didn’t want to leave the city.  He better remember something, Uber and Lyft drivers have no problem leaving the city.  I have no problem replacing the “Yellow Cab” with a nice, comfortable and enjoyable ride with one of the many rideshare apps at my disposal.  “Yellow Cabs” are a part of New York City history, however it’s a part I don’t mind saying goodby too.