Coming to Brooklyn
September 10, 2011 1:50 PM - InsertSnappyNameHere
It was the middle of August in 1996. I was young, impulsive and looking for a challenge. College was behind me and I was unsure of what lie ahead. I had previously applied to law schools in Washington, D.C. and New York and was accepted at both schools. But law? Really? I had put it all in the back of my mind. And it remained there until the middle of August 1996.

About ten days before classes began at the New York school, I decided I would in fact become a lawyer. Sitting at my parentís kitchen table, I turned to Papa Snappy and asked him for a ride to New York City. He laughed, and gave me his favorite one word response. Shiiiiiiiiiiit! After convincing him that I was serious, we shoved all my necessities into his car and planned to hit the road at 10pm the following evening. That next night, I hugged and kissed my mother goodbye. Grammy Snaps, who had been in town for a visit, held me tight and gave me a warning. ďBaby, those New York peoples are crazy. Watch who you talk to out there, you may mouth off to the wrong person and wake up dead!Ē

It was a short drive Ė having spent many years traveling to Louisiana and Mississippi by car with only one stop along the way, Pittsburgh to New York was quick. When we emerged from the Holland Tunnel, Papa Snappy and I were awestruck. It was 5am on a Saturday and the streets were packed. Having lived in Chicago and Pittsburgh, I was no country mouse, but this city was palpably different. Watching the people skitter around like ants, I could only remark ďI guess it really never sleeps.Ē

Crossing Canal Street took forever and a day, but we didnít complain. Papa Snappy and I were too busy taking it all in. The people, the lights, the traffic, the smells, the sounds Ė it was sensory overload. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time proved to be even more awe-inspiring than the trip across Canal Street. For the first time, I began to wonder just what the hell I was doing. Was I really about to start a life here? In this rat race? A small part of me wanted to tell Papa Snappy to turn back. Take me back to Pittsburgh. Take me back home. But as we took the Cadman Plaza exit, I looked around at Brooklyn and realized I was home.

It took a while to unpack my stuff. I think both Papa Snappy and I went slowly because it was hard to believe that Iíd be staying and heíd be leaving. Being a typical man who simply must Ďmake good time,í Papa Snappy handed me the last of my things, pressed $90 into my right hand, patted me on the back and told me to be careful. With that, he got back into his car and drove down Henry Street.

Just after Papa Snappy died last year, Mama Snappy told me that he had remarked, ďI didnít wanna leave her there. Leaving her there was the hardest thing Iíve ever done.ď

Iíve done many things in my life that I regret. I guess we all have. But for me, coming to New York isnít on that list. It may sound hokey, but New York changes a person and Iím no exception. There are good changes and not so good changes, but there are changes nonetheless. I donít know if Iíll stay here forever, but for now, Iím comfy. I like Saturdays like this one when I get to relax and just take in my surroundings. More often than not, I listen to what I call pretty good music while I stroll around the streets of Brooklyn. One of those songs is New Yorkís Not My Home by Jim Croce. Every time I hear that song, I think of Papa Snappy and I sitting in the car as we glided across the Brooklyn Bridge. Itís a nice memory for me, and I hope youíve enjoyed reading it.
New Yorkís Not My Home, by Jim Croce

Things were spinnin' 'round me
And all my thoughts were cloudy
And I had begun to doubt all the things that were me
Been in so many places, you know I've run so many races
Looked into the empty faces of the people of the night
Somethin' is just not right

'Cause I know that I've gotta get outta here
I'm so alone
Don't you know that I gotta get outta here
'Cause New York's not my home

Though all the streets are crowded
There's somethin' strange about it
I lived there 'bout a year and I never once felt at home
I thought I'd make the big time
I learned a lot of lessons awful quick
And now I'm tellin' you that they were not the nice kind
It's been so long since I have felt fine

That's the reason that I gotta get outta here
I'm so alone
Don't you know that I gotta get outta here
'Cause New York's not my home

That's the reason that I gotta get outta here
I'm so alone
Don't you know that I gotta get outta here
'Cause New York's not my home.

September 10, 2011 7:28 PM - MontroseMorris
Snappy, that was beautiful! (Sniff!)
Edited at September 11, 2011 2:51 PM
September 10, 2011 7:36 PM - cobblehiller
Thanks, Snaps, this is really wonderful! (pass the tissue box over here, MM!)
September 11, 2011 5:58 AM - gay smurf hoodlum
thanks for sharing that snappy! lol @ papa snappy hahahah. that's funny cuz my grandfather rode with my uncle who helped move my shit when i first moved to nyc on ludlow street on the LES in 2001 and he shook his head when he saw the tub in the kitchen and was like really!?!? he grew up on the bowery in the late 30s/early 40s so he was pretty chary of the area.

im always amazed when people make nyc their destination or come here for some reason. for me it was just the path of least resistence kinda thing. not knowing how to drive, being a tad eccentric, not liking people being all up in my business... i guess nyc makes the perfect sense.

if i had money tho, id be out of here in a heartbeat. as would many people. moonfaceifcation doesnt help much either.

in a few years i see myself living in jersey city or newark. JERSEY!!!! <3 new york blows chunks


Edited at September 11, 2011 5:58 AM
September 11, 2011 6:00 AM - gay smurf hoodlum
it blew my mind when i found out a few weeks ago that NY and NJ is NOT part of New England! gack. ive been feeling really uneasy since i found that out, so maybe i might not be moving to NJ, but maybe more upwards to real New England.


September 11, 2011 1:36 PM - denton
Very nice snappy, now just tell us how you got to the Brooklyn Bridge from Canal Street? lol...

September 11, 2011 1:43 PM - gay smurf hoodlum


September 11, 2011 2:20 PM - InsertSnappyNameHere
Ha! Lots of wrong turns and on-the-fly directions from scary looking people, Denton! And I do mean SCARY! :-)
Edited at September 11, 2011 2:20 PM
September 12, 2011 8:51 AM - BoerumHillScott
Thanks for sharing. The path that took me here was different and I have only been here a bit more than a year, but my thoughts are similar.
September 12, 2011 9:55 AM - Deleted
Nice write-up Snappy.
September 12, 2011 11:28 AM - GortFromPlanetX
Poignant and very touching Snappy NY is a better place having you here.
September 12, 2011 12:34 PM - Biff Champion
Goose bump inducing! That was a beautiful write up.
September 12, 2011 1:30 PM - Legion
Great reminiscence snappy.
Enjoyed reading your story.