This past winter was especially forceful. The endless snow littered the city streets with ice, we all trudged through the elements to get to work, to make ends meet, to support our families.
Bushwick has a particular winter twilight. The winter felt like it lasted forever among the mixture of residencies and industrial buildings. Though oddly calming and silencing, the pavement draped everywhere was so, so dark. I’ve always loved this place. I love how community forms right on the sidewalks, the way the sky glows every evening, how quiet it is at night.
But the snow, the frigid temperatures, the season was hard on all of us. And living in an area of mass concrete has never been more trying. People who work long hours forced themselves onto trains on freezing platforms. We waited for the bus in the snow. The wind tunnels the industrial buildings create slapped us in the face at every corner. My good friend was injured, and lost work after not being able to commute in the conditions. She wasn’t the only one.
Bushwick has its parks like Maria Hernandez, but overall there’s not too many green spaces to enjoy things like sledding. So quickly the snow turns grey here. Of course, nature isn’t why people move here or why they stay. We’re here for other reasons: To live our dreams, to be with our community. For people. For each other.
But it doesn’t shake the fact that this place wasn’t built for the winter we had. Many of us don’t have the comfort of a car. Parents calmed their children as they helped them get on another pair of gloves before getting them off to school. The Bushwick Daily team walked through snowy streets late at night, after work and exercising, to meet in the back of bars to discuss the future.
Now things are different. We’ve all been pining for summer, and summer means the beach. The thing I’ve always loved about the beach, is that it’s a place for everyone. Friends, families, lovers, people who just want to spend a day relaxing. It’s free, it’s accessible by train. There’s endless things to do. The beach is one of those amazing places in New York where all walks of life gather, in order to enjoy themselves the way that they want.
Bushwick Daily’s Editor-in-Chief Katarina Hybenova and I needed a break from the concrete. We made it to the Rockaways mid-May, taking time out of Bushwick Open Studios prepping-madness so we could feel the warmth before the masses came, the ocean turned its temperatures, and many of the boardwalk-business opened. On the ride, we saw clouds overcasting Jamaica bay, potentially spoiling our first day at sea. As the rain hit the train window, we decided to ride it out. Perhaps the clouds would part on our arrival if we stayed hopeful, if we just stuck it out a little longer. We’ve already waited so long for summer–what’s another half hour?
And it worked! It was like a sign. The sky cleared as soon as we stepped off the A train. We walked along some homes to the beach. A house was missing its porch and front steps. A man in the yard told us that Sandy had taken it, it had drowned his house, but he recovered and restored almost everything through the months. We thought about how the winter was hard, but not nearly as detrimental as Sandy. Maybe we should all be a little more appreciative.
At the beach we talked about new projects, how cleansing it felt to sit in the sand and just look at the water, to feel the sun, to eat an amazing fish taco and how we could still enjoy peace and breeze three months out of the year, even in this concrete jungle. We left feeling full and relieved. Like all the snow of the earth had melted and was taken away with the sea.
So this summer, get to your favorite New York beach. Ask your neighbors to join you, your family, your friends, your significant other. And be sure to contribute to the local businesses while you’re there by eating and drinking. Pay back to these places that are shared with us each summer. This is what we’ve been waiting for. It’s what we need after such a grueling winter. It’s our three month reward, there for everybody.