Since I saw the Suicide concert I've had this burning desire to go to New York. And now that I've finished reading a biography about Jean Michel Basquiat this feeling has only grown stronger.
Funny though, because I went there in 1995 and I didn't like it that much. Too claustrophobic I thought, not a tree in sight between JFK Airport and the waterfront - except Central Park of course- and the only place I felt comfortable was East Village. That was a nice place though and going to Harlem was great too. In fact what impressed me the most about Harlem was the fact that music was coming at you from everywhere, from shops, cars driving by, people carrying ghetto blasters etc. And not just any music: this was hardcore political rap-music talking about black consciousness, black history etc. etc. During our visit my party and I went to a ladies clothes shop to look at some shoes (Harlem is a heaven for the shoe buyer, and they come relatively cheap too) It was the kind of shop you usually find in small towns all over the world, they sold ladies clothes for all ages from 0 to 103 and even in this shop the radio was turned up loud with a program telling the story of The Black Panther Party. Food for thought while we strolled down Malcolm X Boulevard carefully avoiding eye contact with the bypassing Ice-T look-alikes. Still there was nothing hostile about going to Harlem, and after we saw some white people who apparently lived there we relaxed and stayed there for a while, but Harlem will make one thing clear to you: this is the black neighbourhood. Off course I thought about going to The Bronx as well, given the stories about this really hard part of town, but after reading an official New York Bus planner which marked off safe places to get off in The Bronx, and hearing in the news that two 10-year olds were accidentally shot by gunmen riding BMX-bikes I decided I'd had my walk on the wild side. I was only there for five days and during that time there was one more shootout - a bank robbery that went wrong-, a plane crash, and the New York fish market burned down - Mob-involvement strongly suspected...
I'll be back.
[Posted by Lennard Grahn]