I shove my metro card deeper into my pocket to make sure it doesn’t fall out. I turn off my iPod and listen to the music of Brooklyn. The wind in the trees, the cars trying to exhale, choking out of their exhaust pipes, the birds who haven’t found the time to migrate south, the children running out of the park, ready to go home and have dinner- these are the instruments. I pull the sleeves of my sweatshirt down to hide my hands from the cold. Waiting for the streetlight to change I jog across the street to reach the other side before it changes. I sit on an emerald green park bench, obviously neglected by the parks department, the paint is chipping. I look up at this majestic statue. The October chill cuts through my sweatshirt. I imagine what it must be like for the bronze men on horses sitting on top of the monument. Had they been real they would have felt the cold too and wouldn’t have been standing in a stance so strong and proud. The arch at the Grand Army Plaza has obviously been int ricately designed. From the detail you can see that the architect put their soul into this piece. For a split second I feel connected with the creator, observing his creation. While researching the monument before the trip I found that this architect would later go on to create the design for Grants Tomb. I was honored to have connected with his creation.
Focusing back on the street I realize that this is Brooklyn. When you sit down and just look you see it, that Brooklyn spirit. This monument was created to congratulate, commemorate and tell a story. It wasn’t just a plaque saying “Here lies John Doe”, it was a majestic monument reaching high into the sky. The plaza made me proud to be from Brooklyn. I’m lucky to live in a city that doesn’t just whisper but screams its story, saying, “Something great happened! You need to see this!”
Sitting on this wooden bench I realize that the monument is surrounded by cars, located on a concrete island in the middle. I get up to get a closer look, to feel what it’s like to be on the island. Cars speed past in every direction. The island seems much smaller when you’re trapped inside this busy intersection. I get a rush of adrenalin.
Watching the traffic a lyric comes to mind.
“As I get closer I notice that they showing each other sketches
Out of their notebooks, reminded me of my old roots
I walk pass with a nod and a reminisce
Swear to God hip hop and comic books was my Genesis
Respect the life and the fashions of the children
It’s the only culture I’ve got, exactly what we’ve been building”.
This spirit of Brooklyn does something to its people. I swear I’ve been breathing this stuff since birth. It’s the feeling that we can do anything. “…these alley ways and streetlights have seen my best days…” It’s the connection that we have to each and every street. The memories that are attached to every corner store and play ground. “…I ‘ve gotten love, I’ve gotten drunk, I’ve gotten beat up in that parking lot…”
I smudge some chapstick on my lips and head back home, walking confidently through the cold. “…But then the road became empty and the people disappeared …The clouds ran away, opened up the sky…And one by one I watched every constellation die”
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