I walked today from the neighborhood I have lived in for more than 50 years to the neighborhood my husband and I lived in when we first moved to New York City.
I was ostensibly checking out a restaurant some friends are planning to meet for lunch next week. But because it was my old neighborhood, I tried to remember what remained and what was new.
Almost everything was new. The area has gentrified considerably. Restaurants that didn’t exist then line Columbus Avenue. Joe’s Seafood Restaurant, really a classic New York coffee shop, is gone; where it stood is a string of storefronts under construction, the building above them for sale. The Cuban deli on our corner is now a fancy hair salon. What had been the Sloan’s supermarket is now Gristede’s; the two chains appear to have been part of a series of mergers, according to a Google search. What had been a seedy, even dangerous bar called Donohue’s is now a trendy café, with lots of pandemic-generated outdoor tables.
What remains the same? The Spanish-language Mision Bethel still has its sign, but the building is for sale or rent. The elementary school on 83rd Street and the high school on 85th remain. That’s about it.
I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 13 of the 31-day challenge. It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about. Join in!