January 29, 2014
I like our neighborhood. When we first moved to Harlem, I was circumspect - worried about commuting a bit further, being in a neighborhood that is changing rapidly (but still isn't loaded with the shops, conveniences that are well-established in other Manhattan neighborhoods), etc. But Hamilton Heights has proven to be such a gem. Not only was it the neighborhood in Manhattan with the greatest rise in real estate prices/value last year (nice investment work, Xavier), it is also the stewart of all sorts of architectural plums.
Now that I am less scared of splitting open now (a strange feeling to be sure) I have been exploring the neighborhood on long walks, camera in hand. I wrap little baby Romy in up to 6 blankets, creating what looks like an enormous papoose strapped to my front.
Harlem isn't like the rest of the city. People talk to you. I stood outside of the recently restored Bailey Mansion at 150th and St. Nicholas (featured here) and I heard a voice not far, "That is a brand new person, isn't it?" It was a sweet voice, subdued, and I loved the way she phrased the idea of a baby. I turned and confirmed and spoke to a woman who lived in transitional housing there next to the Bailey Mansion. Standing in the January sun with her hands on the railing of the house like a confident speaker at a pulpit she said, "I prayed to the Lord to bring me home and that is what he did. Sometimes you get what you need." She was a good spirit. There are people all over this neighborhood like that. Their pace is often different from the rest of the people in this city and when you have the time to soak it in, it is really refreshing.