46. The World In A City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of New York City

by Joseph Berger
started 9/29/07 finished 10/16/07

I am a true city girl. I like being surrounded by all sorts of activity, whether I want to participate in it or not. What I loved about growing up in my Northeast Washington, DC neighborhood was the variety of people from all social strata. While we were almost an exclusively African-American community, just a short bus or train ride away you could travel to China, Latin America and if you went to one of the Smithsonian Museums, even back in time. I now live in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta and although it is by no means perfect, it is just as eclectic. Some days I can look out of the window of my apartment and see an aspiring rapper taking promo pictures in front of an abandoned building (they will get extra street cred for showing that they are at home in the hood; the day care center next door is probably cropped from the shot). This morning as I write this I can hear a parade on the next street over. I can’t see them, but from the flawless playing it sounds like it is the Homecoming parade for one of the colleges up the street. Happy Homecoming, Spelman, Morehouse, or Clark Atlanta (I don’t know which one)!

The World in A City is exactly what the title says: an exploration of the different people that inhabit the neighborhoods and the various countries and cultures they represent. This isn’t your standard soul food in Harlem, cheap shopping in Chinatown book. It is more about how the neighborhoods are changing due to gentrification, immigration, and more opportunities outside the city. Neighborhoods that were once predominately Greek are now morphing into Middle Eastern; historically Italian communities are now Korean. With crime down and median incomes up, these tales of old-timers holding out while their children flee to the suburbs, hopeful immigrants (legal & illegal) and young professionals moving in show why New York City is the only true melting pot that this country promises.

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