East Coast Trippin’ Days 10 and 11: Built vs. Bought

6 Jun

This trip has been a game changer in so many ways. My definition of hospitality and generosity has broadened in some degree because of my time spent on the road. It is one thing when friends allow you access into their homes and lives, that is a natural result of knowing someone for so long that trust becomes preternatural. It is another thing to allow a stranger into your home, provide them with a key to get in whenever they need to, pick them up when they are lost in a strange neighborhood, cook them delicious meals, and introduce them to all of your friends Some people have not only given me directions, but physically taken me to the place where I needed to go–and without even asking my name. Almost everything I originally generalized about east coasters has been wrong. I am very happy to admit that.
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My good time continued as some old friends from Austin flew up for the Governor’s Ball Festival on Friday. Today we played pickup ball at the elementary where our buddy teaches at. We were able to use the gym and get some shots up. It was fun to have that leather ball in my hands again, but it was just as nice getting to hang out with my old Austin homies.

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The night before we tried unsuccessfully to get into the free show out at Prospect park. Everyone and their mom was out their trying to get their Janelle Monae on. It was a little insane. It felt like we were at free show at SXSW without a name badge. I ended up leaving and visiting a friend out at Crown Heights. We visited a little bit. I met her roommate and then split for Queens. On my way out I ran into a crap game with like 6 fairly fit black dudes. I was on my phone, and I could tell they were sizing me up. I was a little inebriated and was in no shape to run so if they were going to be beat my ass, the best I could do was make it difficult for them (at best). I just kept walking to the end of the block and tried not to look back at them. After I crossed Franklin Ave. I picked up my pace and then crossed to the other side of the street so I could sneak a peek behind me to see if anyone was following me.

Even if Brooklyn is safer than it used to be, I’ve lived in too many bad neighborhoods to know that all it takes is to slip up once, and that’s your ass. You’ll never catch me slipping like that. That is why I never sit with my back to the entrance of a restaurant, and I always hatch an escape plan at the movie theaters–shit happens, and people be tripping.

Once I was on the train again I allowed myself to relax and consider what it was like to live in New York during the early 90’s during what some think was the golden age of Hip Hop. You had the Beasties Boys back and forth between NY and Cali working on that “Ill Communication” album. Wu-Tang was beginning to take over the hip hop world. A Tribe Called Quest was representing. Nas dropped “Illmatic”, and De La Soul was throwing out some ill shit. The Rangers won the Stanley Cup, the Yankees were about to start their dynasty, and the Knickerbockers were competitive year in and year out.
I would like to sit down and talk with New Yorkers about this time period–it’s a conversation worth listening to. The world was changing and I was too young to even realize it.
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I’m really digging Queens though–especially the Woodside neighborhood. It feels like another country and is definitely the most diverse of the boroughs I’ve visited. The other Boroughs seem more socially segregated. In Williamsburg, you see the same types of people dressed the same way, having the same kind of tattoos. In Harlem there are mostly blacks. Manhattan seems more for the wealthy or the Chinese business owners. I feel like Queens is the most authentically New York spot right now, in terms of diversity. I dig it. If I were to move to New York in five or six years, Queens would probably be the spot for me.
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Tomorrow is the big day that I have been waiting for. Outkast and Phoenix are two groups that have been on my wish list for a long time. It’s going to be fun. Taking the ferry over to Randall’s Island and gonna drink a lot of water, and try to find an edible to enjoy for the show. I could be like “Rimjob Brown” for Grantland and have mammoth expectations, or I can just go, get fucked up, and have a really good time seeing music with some good friends. Now tell me, which option do you think is best?

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