A 'Brooklyn Zoo' Sketch Story
Brooklyn New Wave
Flipping the script on the famous question, "Where Brooklyn at?"... seriously, where is Brooklyn... at? Where we at yo'! Like a monster under the bed, lurking and waiting for an opportune time, has gentrification been to Brooklyn and its siblings. This unwanted beast, now boldly struttin' 'round every neighborhood, fat and happy on the souls of natives. Brooklyn keeps it a buck but this week's tale will tell of the gentrification story in a more digestible fashion. Enjoy your nibblies!
Remember that buffet spot on Fulton, and that poppin' Chinese restaurant on Smith? Remember the 99 cent stores sprinkled generously throughout Brooklyn and the rest of the City, constantly coming through in the clutch? Remember the piragua cart that stayed pullin' through yo' hood... where are they... where dey at? Where is the corner store that held your cellphone during school and gave you madd food for little money? Remember the pastelillos in the case next to the register? Where are they? Remember the home you grew up in... where is it? Where dem New York bagels, toasted wit cream cheese for $1.50 at tho? If you was really hungry, you got an everything bagel with butter, cheddar cheese and bacon for only $2.50 at Ziad's... for real tho, where our stuff at?
Gentrified but Never Spiced or Deep Fried
"People moving out, people moving in. Why, because of the color of their skin" Rachel mumbles, sitting in the dark, scarfin' down Ramen. "Having a roof over your head and eating is more important than being able to see in the dark, right? I mean... it's only night for a certain amount of hours... I don't need Wi-fi. Got my phone." Staring blankly at long shadows cast by street lights, Rachel finishes her dinner, flipping her Styrofoam bowl and chopsticks in the sink.
Myriam struggles to manage several shopping bags after doing compra. Her hips and arms swaying as she muscles the groceries. Out of breath, she clasps her inhaler. Bringing the pump to her mouth, Myriam presses down on the cannister. She inhales deep. The first of the month came and went and so did her Cash Assistance, and Food Stamps. This month's compra came by way of pawn. Her 9 to 5 and side-hustle of hairstyling ain't enough. Nearing home, she passes a slew of unfamiliar bars and eateries despite having lived in the neighborhood for years - foreign places, faces and smells. Transplants, refusing to move, deliberately block her way to enjoy rolled cigarettes. They stare with disgust and loathing. Wearied and longing for her evening café, Myriam avoids curbside patrons locked in empty banter, taking a short cut down a desolate block. Sunlight lay across vacant warehouses, conjuring strange shadows. Myriam navigates broken glass and used condoms nearing her block. She's greeted by freshly raised scaffolding, obscuring the skeletons of luxury apartments "Scheduled for Fall 2017". A soft voice, interwoven with chaotic drums, carried on a hiss calls out to Miriam from behind the façade. Startled, she inches away from the construction site, clutching her crucifix, muttering a saintly prayer. Crying out, the Unseen bellows, shaking the scaffolding and skeletal foundations. "Release me... for I have laid in darkness under this wretched debris and rubble for centuries! "Ay Dios" Miriam screams, dropping her groceries, running away from the construction site.
TaQuan stands at a window of a one bedroom that he shares with his mother, two younger siblings, and a cousin. Thoughts louder than thunder roar, "When is it my turn?" as he picks at chipped paint; roaches climbing the side of a dresser for remains of a Mayonnaise and cheese samich. "My dreams ain't matchin' my reality." Refusing to forsake hope, TaQuan peers outside, eyes searching for anything to refute his reality, focuses on roommates loading a moving truck across the street. His daydream, severed by his cousin, "aye... yo' moms want you in the kitchen." 24/7, and ain't no rest for the weary in this place. No room for self, no room for thoughts, or reflection... just worry and hustle in this captive wild.
A landlord turned slumlord, an unresolved infestation of rats and roaches, paired with no heat or hot water for months force Brandon and his three roommates to break their lease. The spacious loft was "love at first sight" for the four creatives. All was well until it wasn't! One then multiple unaddressed issues found the roommates in court against the landlord.
Brandon circles the U-Haul, carrying a medium-sized box with "fragile" written in big, bold letters. He loads it onto the truck. Tim grabs the box, schlepping it deeper into the U-Haul. The four continue to pack the truck until dusk. Collecting the keys from his roommates, Brandon plods to the residence, slipping them into the mailbox. Stressed, tired, and hungry, they cram into the U-Haul, and drive off, purposing to never encounter such an experience ever again.