Mo’ Language

 

 

The white collar set will always have a fascination with “urban” America. But living in Harlem, I’m always astounded by some of the non-brown and non-Dominican faces I see strutting up the street (more hurriedly after it gets dark). “This land is your land,” is required singing in kindergarten, no?  The new mantra for 2011 midwest suburban migration to the hood.

That’s maybe what made the Urban Dictionary so popular. People started moving to the hood because rent was too high in the normal “friendly” places and they wanted to be able to feel like they belonged. The biggest point to assimilating into any culture is getting past the language barrier. But I find  Aaron Peckham’s Urban Dictionary (above is a page from the 2007: Mo’ Urban Dictionary) as a tool that serves the initiated and the uninitiated. I’m able to explain better to my journalism peers what the hell I’m talking about, and the squarest of the bunch can seem cool when they rattle stuff off like “word is born”. Thank you, Internest.

 

Harlem World, Circa 2010

I live in the birthplace of the Harlem Renaissance, now. As much as I love L.A., nothing compares to N.Y., especially in the hot, sticky summertime. I live on a block that 10 years ago was something like a battle zone. Funny how gentrification makes things all safe for Ivy leaguers. This is the new Harlem World.

That mix of old and new. The crumbling and the rebuilt, all exist in N.Y.C.

Of course there are some things that I think Harlem could do without. Scientology. Really? Saw enough of these kinds of outposts in Mexico City.

There’s a (brand new) special Target shuttle bus that stops along Lexington, and carries New Yorkers from all over the city to the East Harlem store. Here, happy shoppers get off the shuttle and hop on the subway back home. Reminds me. I need some housewares.