Shades of Brooklyn
Whenever I was asked as to where I would be put up in New York City, people would often raise an eyebrow with an 'O' expression on hearing my reply. Yes, I am staying in Brooklyn - A suburb known for its notorious neighborhood. I was advised not to venture out alone at night, always watch my back and look at least 10 times left & right before unlocking the apartment doors. So even though I thought I could handle living there, I did have my apprehensions.
But once I got here, everything that had been feed to me was quite off tangent (so I felt). The apartment where my wonderful hosts live is on a quiet and neat residential block in Brooklyn. It is a beautiful red brick building with a tinge of ancient era in it. The neighboring buildings are quite unique from one another; some red and some beige, some with modern look and some with an antique one. And then there are some blocks which have same architectural buildings all across. Beautiful trees planted every where, side by side.
Yes, not all blocks are as rosy as the ones described above. There are the ones that I had been warned about, they simply stand apart. One doesn't need to know about them in order to point them out, your guts will simply start hammering once you are there. The urine sting, dis-oriented folks on the sidewalk, overfull garbage cans chained against the grilled staircases and a very intimidating feeling inside. It would sound crazy but it just feels as if the blue sky turns dark grayish matter in these allies. Everything here feels as if it's yelling out to you to 'get-out-of-here' cause you don't belong here.
On the sunnier side, Brooklyn has numerous play and walking parks. Some mostly for the kids with play-areas, swings, skateboarding/bicycling rings; basically the works and most defiantly a fun place to be even for the adults. And then you have (my favorite) walking parks like the Fort Greene Park which is for everyone, even your pet pooches. I spent good 45 minutes last evening there and I still couldn't get enough of it. Ahh!! I miss my doggies.
Another aspect of Brooklyn that stands is its restaurants and cafe shops. If you walk down Dekalb Avenue, you cannot miss the cities multiculturalism. Every corner of this stretch has an eating joint representing some other country - Middle Eastern food (with the hukka), Moroccan coffee shop, South Asian cuisines and of course the North Indian diners. Most of them are pretty authentic not only when it comes to the menu but also with regards to their appearance.
All in all to me Brooklyn is in many ways just like a miniature Mumbai City; a place where you can experience both Heaven and Hell. Every block, street, building, shops and restaurants has its own distinct character and presence. It's like as if everything here brings with itself its own doze of liveliness which adds more meaning to the phrase, "I Love Brooklyn".