Arturo’s Revenge

The Promised Land

“Living well is the best revenge.” – George Herbert

I’m just starting to get to the last half or so of the unpacking process at the new apartment. It’s in the northeastern section of Bensonhurst that the maps call Mapleton. The day I moved in I felt immediately comfortable and at home.

When I moved into my old place in Windsor Terrace two years earlier, I remember it taking me a couple of weeks to get used to the smells of the run-down, seen-better-days building. The apartment was large, with high ceilings but the few attempts at renovation were done on the cheap. The hallways above the first floor were covered in dust, grime and the occasional dead cockroach. The neighbors my own age were guarded; more polite than nice. Only the old people seemed interested in conversation and I resented the fact that they reaped the benefits of rent stabilization while the rest of us worked like tenant farmers in the deep south. The rent, like the ceilings, rose far above my head.

Now, I have a decent sized space with new walls in an eat-off-the-floor clean building. I get off the McDonald Avenue el and turn the corner to hear the sounds of laughing children. Who says New York City street games are a thing of the past? I see neighborhood children: a mix of Italian, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Russian and Polish playing an old game I remember from Marine Park; street hockey with a crushed beer can. I hear their quick and clever little wise-ass remarks. There are no play dates in this neighborhood; just real, organic play. The apartment costs a reasonable sum. I pay the same rent as the other tenants. The commute is a whole 10 minutes further on the F train from my job in Manhattan than my old place; not a bad trade-off for around half the price.

New fiction coming soon, people! Plus, my first South Brooklyn restaurant review should be out some time this week. Get ready!



Filed under Kvetch

2 responses to “Arturo’s Revenge

  1. Colleen

    I can think of only two things that are as great as feeling immediately comfortable in a new place, meeting someone new where the connection on any level is immediate and the first bite of your favorite food prepared by your mom.

    They all leave you with a nostalgic feeling and a calmness parelled by nothing else. You have an overwhelming feeling that you belong in that exact place at that exact moment.

    Enjoy your new home!

    • Thanks, Colleen. That’s exactly how I feel encountering these once familiar streets of South Brooklyn. There’s the nostalgia of childhood memories but also the vitality and from all the new faces I see and languages I hear. I feel a calmness and familiarity with a more recognizable mother Brooklyn but at the same time a creative fire that I never felt up in the brownstone belt. In the recent, very relevant words of Patti Smith “New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling.” This is true for the NYC that’s under the media spotlight and in the NY Times Real Estate section. I feel this much less true for the great South Brooklyn, truly one of the last pieces of old New York still left.

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