Serenades in the Spanish ghetto and other tales of spontaneous end-of-the-summer activity

Ok, well maybe the trip to the barrio was not so spur of the moment. In fact, it was quite carefully planned and less interactive than the title might indicate.

Cooper– the aforementioned Stern rockstar– and I decided to celebrate the end of my internship by taking a trip to Broadway and playing the role of obnoxiously overly enthusiastic tourists experiencing the theater for the first time. We even took the requisite photo in front of the stage:

When New Yorkers play out-of-towners.

We opted for In the Heights, a tale of three store fronts in the ever popular Latino quarter of Manhattan– Washington Heights, which as some of you may remember, was also my humble abode this summer. Complete with the requisite corner store bodega and rusty red fire escapes, as well as continuous song and salsa, the show– and the neighborhood in which it was set–lived up to my every expectation.

It also reminded me that I could easily settle amidst the Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans, and not feel ethnically awkward. I admire their soul, their passion, and their natural ability to move their hips in an oh so rhythmic fashion. The Heights is the one part of New York, where despite my pastiness and high school level Spanish, I feel so completely at home and at ease.

Of particular importance: It’s a neighborhood in Manhattan where money is not the object or end goal. Instead family is a priority and coffee is a necessity. Even though I spent only a few short weeks in the Heights, I felt a significant loss when departing. The people, the familiar faces that rode the A train with me each morning soon became a distant memory, and I could do little except plot my inevitable return post-grad– with the Beloved Roommate, of course.

Now despite the fact that I currently find myself amidst dorm room furniture and assorted first-year t-shirts (remind me why our class color is yellow, and not my preferred black), I take comfort in knowing I have found a place. Perhaps not a permanent residency, but an area of the magical City I call home, where I can see my life unfolding, as I plunge further in the 20-somethings.

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