Saturday, December 24, 2005

xmas eve on triple 1's

hum...where do we start? came to mind that the end of the year
was indeed a week coming and what this means is the major clean house...
it's like a spring cleaning except you're finishing up anything you should
have done two months ago in like two're putting up that curtain
that's been lying over the chair since august and you're trying to be
anti-holiday-ish but buying your mom's something cause it's really for her

...that xmas day i mean

so i got up....meditated, read some zen passages and went down
to the laundry. now since september, i've been having some serious
lower back problems...doc said yoga, physical therapist said yogam
chiropractor said yoga...

working crazy like i have equals no yoga...

what can i say? i'm not making an's just what's going
on in my life...i stretch and take it slow...

ok, xmas eve. triple 1's and the corner, the condo
developers have begun the scafolding.'s finally started.

you see...i live on the block of gentrification. 111th and lenox.
a block from the park...untouched land until last summer when
the topic of a twenty story condo schedule to break rock came
into the ears of folks.

i knew it was coming but how and when still pinched.

there were meetings no one knew about...there were community
board meetings i found out about later. i'll admit...i wasn't as
active as i could have been....but me and a neighborhood kept
tabs on the little info we knew and shared it. the first buisness
to leave was Joe's Bodega...

it was kinda sad too how it came to happen.

Joe, a old puerto rican from the neighborhood...I have known
since i was a kid eating spiced ham and cheese...wasn't going
to move. he was holding for some mega moola. he in fact was
the first who told me about the condo...said it was trump...'s the athena group...athena say they have nothing to do
with trump...but we'll see what goes down.

but joe was like fuck's the problem with that.
now joe was old school in the corner grocery sense...besides
selling groceries...he catered to other items in the neighborhood

no drugs but other things that a big time developer could
use to fuck with you. common sense would say chill that side
of the biz and get your money but what can i say?

joe is a cocky ass puerto rican who still thinks puerto rican food
is better than domincan food and you can't argur with a man
who hooks you up with a free breakfast and groceries when
you're broke as hell.

that was the beauty about joe...he could be an asshole to some...
but at the end of the day..if you needed some help in terms
of something he had at the shop...he'd let you slide.

so they got him...the cops he has relations with with could
not have his back...he caught violations and eventually
a padlock on his store.

it sucked to see it go down. it sucked to see one of the
reps from the developers...a bro who i felt was kinda cute,
to just be hard core and act like he ain't never played numbers
or was sent to the store to play them for his momma...

but that's the nature of the beast, the biz

that was a couple of months first, all the businesses
had to be out by May...but I guess there was a delay...
news got to me that the block to trying to fight it more...
I finally got to a community board meeting...that was surreal.
the condo was suppose to be on the agenda of topics....

but the community board just blew our block off...
a bunch of folks from the block was there and it was
really strange how they acted towards us...something was up
...something wasn't right...

then another developer was asking for approval for
a site on 119th and with a better plan for the community

andthis condo coming up on my corner? no leeways
no special items for the neighborhood...the parking
lot will have less room so you know who's it's going
to be for...

you're going to have be rich or flithy rich to live there

no subsidized condos what so ever.

but to witness a good number of folks from the block
at a meeting to discuss the project and witness
some mofos who are the community boars roll
thier eyes at them...strange

later a photographer who lives in the neighborhood
informed me that the community board was paid off
by the there proof?

who can say...

about two months ago i ran into one of the women
from the block. now i've known this woman since i was
a kid and honestly i know nothing about her.
I call her Miss Scott...Miss Scott is actually her mother's
name but i've never known her as any other thing than Miss Scott.

and even in 2005, the woman has yet to correct me

I went to elementary school with her son, a fucking brat
who now lives in the building where she and her mom live.
this building is one of the few buildings under the TIL program
where tenants took over and eventually were granted ownership
in the form of co-ops.

typically, not everyone buys their i'm always
asking about possiblities...but typically the answer i get from
her is that folks who live there now are making available
vacant apartments only to thier families...

we all know the deal....but this woman i have to say i funny
community active but insulting. probably the reason why there
are so little folks involved. upon talking to her about the community
board meeting and suggesting she talk to my neihgbor, she
commented that they no longer need any help and taking him
on would be like having an injured cat...

whoa! where the fuck is this coming? i replied that's an insult..
she sayes it's a figure of speech...i add she doesn't know
the man and that's still an insult...she goes "oh well." i know why my mom was never trying to fuck with you!

and what does this have to do with today?

several minutes after putting my whites in, i walked out to discover
3 gentlemen on their donor bikes aka motocycles in all their leather
road rider bling hanging in front of the scafold...what a surprise
to notice that one of them was the developer himself...

now the first time i met this dude, he took me out to lunch
in his audi...i had never been in an audi...i was actaully kinda silly
when i ask what type of car it was...weird right?

het, i'm not into cars...all i know is the mini cooper

they're all cars to me.

yeah...but weird. we ate. candy yams, coconut shrimp,
corn bread, rice and peas...he's not big on eating hs veggies...
never touch the greens.
talked about college and single moms, queens and harlem
and the condo...maybe he trying to figure me if i would be trouble
...probably so but to go back to Joe for a really irked me
that a dude coming from what sound like urban beginnings
would become a total bastard about running numbers...

that's me i guess....

so okay...the donor bikes. this dude has like an audi,
a suv and now, i'm learning he's a biker too...a biker
with degrees from Howard and Columbia and
a successful career with company that's finalizing
the gentrification of my block...

is this how pocahontas felt?

the irony of it all was here he was today, with his donor biker
dudes standing in front of what was the Black Unicorns
headquarters. In the 80's these were the first black bikers
I ever donor bikes then...strictly harley and black leather.

I was never to enter that place...if you were caught around that
corner, your ass got a whipping from the who ever saw you
before your momma.

I only knew of one girl who dared to enter there...she became
a bartender. It's was like this mystical place for most of us.
It was were these big black men kinda cautioned you with a glance
as you passed their bikes. The club was next door to a tire shop
which was next to a hole in the wall soul food spot...

the best peach cobbler in the one has blown me
over with a pech cobbler to top that...not even my mom.

Now, the wildest story I know of someone who hid in the
club one night was an bro discovering cunnilungus via
watching the only white kid from the block eat out
a line of strippers on top of the bar.

yeah...i never went in that place....

The funny thing a drug dealer name T-Bone started
a junior motorcycle club called the Bucaneers who had
their headquarters on the same block above street level.
There was a guy who use to take photographs of all
of them...I remember him taking pics of both in a couple
of Harlem day parades ending the day before sanitation
came through....

I saw him a month ago...he's either crackin
or has been institutionalized for a minute...he was right
...he didn't recognize me...
he was talking to himself...bitching at the air.

so yeah...they have no idea. I walked up...say hello
and tell him a brief story of the Black Unicorns.

They never knew.

I say I gotta take some pics...he ask for a copy of
the graffitti peice...

I kinda looked at him like..."you want a pic of a piece
you're getting ready to destroy?!"

I guess I'll give him a copy...i lost his buisness ages ago.
he's going to have contact me for a pic.

we end with happy holidays and a not so surprising note.

He has a fab time celebrating christmas with
the community board the night before...

I end with "yeah they're an interesting bunch."