Sunday in Brooklyn

It was a Sunday in Brooklyn. The fall leaves crinkled under our white Supergas as we strutted down Clinton Avenue. A crisp wind swept through the borough, and the sun luminesced over the Brooklyn Bridge. Crimson apples beat down the boulevard, having fallen from an unsuspecting biker’s basket. A tune from Nas’ Illmatic carried from inside a local coffee roasterie, creating the unrivaled sense of New York nostalgia.

It was our last day in the city; a quiet, and ironically calm day in a typically buzzing New York City. Our casual stride quickly shifted into to a hurry as we spotted a yellow cab. My friend, Lydia, and me had a reservation at Sarabeth’s in Manhattan and 22 minutes to make it there—we could not be late.


Zara bags snuggled in between our feet as we sat in the stuffy cab. Our drive through the bustling city was spent chattering about our aspirations.

“In Greenwich? Like Blair Waldorff.”

No, Somewhere in Brooklyn. Manhattan is dead.”


My unwarranted spiel of why absolutely no one should want to live in Manhattan continued as we ventured past the Williamsburg Bridge.

Williamsburg was a concoction of sorts. Once dominated by Jewish Orthodox shopkeepers, the up and coming borough is now drowned by the Manhattan 20 something’s who decided to be “oh so original” and move to Brooklyn. Deli markets and bagel shops painted in graffiti grace the one-way corners. Bearded men in Westerlind, reformed Feminists and vegans: Williamsburg.

I ordered the French toast encrusted with a bit too many almonds. Scents of pumpkin spice and sweet sangria infused the swarming brunch hour. We were seated in the highly coveted corner booth where we could contently see the Jets vs. Patriots game. My Aunt Shirley, and her good friend, Ms. Donna Stewart sporting a chic twill Isabel Marant sweatshirt, joined us.

Ms. Donna and my Aunt Shirley were regarded as Brooklyn royalty, and though they were more of my mother’s friends than mine, I was interested in almost anything they had to say—even if it was embellished for what my Aunt would like to call, “story-telling sake.”

As the waiter gracefully placed our food on the gleaming mahogany table, I began to map out the rest of Lydia’s and mine’s day. In my effort to show here ever little piece of the empire state, there was a stagnant time constraint of 2 hours, leaving us little to no time to explore the borough for ourselves. The weather was ideal for a bike ride down Willoughby; she would love to see downtown Brooklyn—street evangelists that preached with poetry, barbershops filled with laughter and “this stays inside of here,” stories or the popsicle stands with the oddly delectable flavors of paprika and miso. But there was only so much time left, and even more traffic. We stepped back into the cab, this time with our tummies happily full, and returned to Brooklyn.

The tempo of the borough seemed to have ceased while we were in the muddle of the brunch hour. Flyers advertising neighborhood to-dos filled the Fort Greene windows. The trees kissed as they arched above the street, the infamous brownstone nannies and their children played on the avenue.

Lydia and I and had just enough time to make one final run to a notorious neighborhood spot: The General Greene. We conversed over miso ice cream and lost time. Lydia, my best friend since the seventh grade, had moved back to Alabama that summer. To our parents, this was just a college visit: Princeton and New York University. But I wanted to show her New York—My New York. Not that corny “New York New York” Broadway type stuff you see in tourist magazine, but Brooklyn—the soul of the city.

Salty tears fell peacefully as I fetched one final cab. I grabbed a Greene Lemonade for the ride to LaGuardia. Goodbyes filled the crisp autumn sky. I wouldn’t see her until the following year where we would reconvene once again in this city. We were off to fair the woes of junior year, promising to call each other after a failed APUSH test or ACT Math section.

I wasn’t just leaving a city. As the driver of the yellow cab opened the trunk for me to place my bags, I motioned another taxi for Lydia. She was off to JFK, and me, LaGuardia. As we wheeled onto the turnpike, past Myrtle Avenue, I was reminded of the fabled Brooklyn Basement Parties, the elderly women doing Tai Chi in the mornings and the warm rocks under the morning haze of the Brooklyn Bridge. I wasn’t just leaving a city. I was leaving my home.