An ode to Queens, NY
I love Queens. It sits so contentedly away from the City. It is bustling in a way that is entirely its own, and the people walking don't pretend to be pretentious, but simply breathe in and out with a quiet pride in their...Queensliness.
Oh, and sunsets here are not normal. They are a passionate battle cry against gentrification and the condescension of Manhattan. In fact, the only reminder of Manhattan is that hazy skyline that one might catch if she looks westward: there is the sharp needle-like tip of the Empire State Building, and a million other buildings filling in the empty spaces.
I love Queens for the thick layer of nostalgia seen in the old store fronts with large lettering, often misspelled in English, and written in another language directly beneath; in the gathering of men who stand outside, filling their lungs with smoke, and going on about days past in heavily accented dialogue; in the women who walk down the streets with smiles and children and wedding bands; in the group of sneaker-clad boys walking down the sidewalk as though they own it, admiring the girl who passes them by and leaves behind a flowery perfume hanging in the air.
I love Queens for its foreignness - for the cultures I don't understand and the chatter in languages unknown; for the smell of nameless spices and dishes that I can't pronounce; for the rows of homes that wave flags representing a heritage honored and traditions kept; for the quiet suspicion that reigns over intruders who might threaten what is, and always has been, home.
I love Queens. I get to step into different worlds like one would puddles after a storm, and every so often I feel the prying eyes of curiosity on me; and I think it's beautiful that though we all come from different fabrics, we make up a glorious patchwork quilt that is perfectly imperfect.