Thursday, November 10, 1977

Psalm 14
Day 30.2

Got up medium. Dressed. No flow yet. Cleaned our bag-room. Ate breakfast. Did my record while Pop told us about his family line. Then all four of us went to Con Ed. Then went downtown. We passed the Gramercy Park hotel, said hello to Johnny. Then went to La Marqueta. Came back. Mom cooked. I helped. Ate, put on pj's. Went to bag. Thank you, Mr. O. PS. After eating, Aunt Sinah came.

I ate:
  • Breakfast: 1 bowl of wheatina porridge + honey
  • Lunch: peanuts, walnuts, 6 figs, 1 bubble gum, 1 sweetie, 1/2 beef stick
  • Dinner: rice, beef+seasoning burger+celery+cabbage+carrot sauce.
  • Dessert: pear, peanuts, 1/4 pineapple danish, tangerine
"The record" is what I called my diary back then. I wonder why we went to Con Ed... especially after buying the camping stove.

La Marqueta... parts of it are still there over on 116th street and Park Avenue under the el tracks, but it's not nearly as extensive as it used to be. There aren't as many people.

Jamaica had a mix of a lot of different shades of people, but not a whole lot of Spanish-speaking people and so La Marqueta was a WHOLE different world to me. I have to ask Poppy how he knew about it... though its been around for a long long time, and I'm betting his grandmother would have told him about it, or taken him there. Her husband, my great-grandfather, was from Ponce, Puerto Rico. (Poppy always jokes that he's pretty sure that he doesn't have any Indian in him, but now I'm not sure sure... they just unearthed a large ancient Taino site in Ponce...)

Anyway. I remember being awed by La Marqueta. Except for the fact that I knew I had some Puerto Rican blood running through my veins it would have been completely foreign. I didn't understand the language. The Puerto Rican community was a lot tighter than my new neighborhood was, and it was pretty tight as we came to find out. The music was saucy. The smell was unbelievable, especially in the butcher section. But in an odd way, it reminded me of Coronation Market in Kingston, because underneath all the music the feeling was the same... people coming together to buy or sell food, a place where families were.

Here's a link to some other East Harlem landmarks. Many of them are in and around the neighborhood of La Marqueta and the Sun's school. The link is worth checking out as many of these landmarks won't be around much longer, thanks to The Borg.

"We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile." -- The Borg, Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

When we first got to Harlem, and made exploratory walks into El Barrio, it was alive. We'd walk through Marcus Garvey Park to 120th, cross over to Park Avenue where the prostitutes hung out under the MetroNorth tracks, and walk south down to 116th street. There was music everywhere, and the Cosmo movie theater, and cuchifrito places. Now, it's mostly Mexican, but not for long. The Borg are assimilating every thing they see.


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