Kay Rothman's MapSites -
Putting Lab School Writing on the Map

On 6th ave. by 10st. and the Jefferson Market library.

My Neiborhood

My neighborhood is on 6th ave. on 10th street always will seem noisy, busy, grey, and dirty. When I look down at the sidewalk, I am surprised that I see the grey cement at all, under the cigarette butts and black gum. The “gutter” is one part cement, and one part trash. There are plastic bags, candy wrappers, and newspaper all flying around the street in the wind. I almost slip on a discarded AOL 9.0 disk while walking across the street. When I walked, I had to navigate around the crowd. There is a loud buzzing of voices, yelling, shouting, barking, and honking all seeming to want their voice to triumph over all other distractions.

A lot of people look at each other, measuring the other person up, seeing if they were sane, and it was safe to pass them, but no one acted as though they notice it. All the stores were swarming with people. There was one person attempting to hand out flyers. There is a very high tower, with stained glass windows, the library. It was taller than any other building with many turrets and towers, reaching to the sky. It has all kinds of books, yet never any that hold the exact fact you need to know. Once I needed to find out exactly what mastodons ate, and all they had was a map that showed where the lived. There is a building next to our house that changes almost every three months. Now it is a store for lotions and shampoos. It used to be a bakery that would give free samples of chocolate bread until they decided they were well enough established. Next to that is an ice cream store, I never notice unless I'm with company. I never liked it, because it always listed the 50 flavors the company made, but only kept three on hand. They were usually chocolate, vanilla, and something new. I always get chocolate no matter how good the new one sounds. Once they had apple pie, but it tasted uncannily like vanilla.

There is a diner called EJ's on 10th street too. I always got chicken nuggets, in the shape of dinosaurs. We always eat there when we came back from a trip from Maine, or if my parents just didn't want to do the dishes. We always bargain: if I get chicken, not pasta, Can I have a coke? How about a non-caffeine soda? We met the owner's daughter, who goes to lab too. Down the street are people selling walkmans, gloves, and even belts to. They are always burning incense. I like the smell, but no one else seems to.

There is an old lady who lives in my building, who is retired and never goes 10 feet from the front of our building with her bichon fries dog (I don’t care what she says, it’s a poodle.) If I call the elevator and she is in it, I always say, “Oh sorry, don’t wait for me…” My baby-sitter swears he saw her get her mail, with her dog in pursuit. She didn’t even turn around and said, go wait over in the corner. The dog, its tail between its legs walked to the corner of the room and waited for her.

The story was posted on 2004-03-26