[Travel] Beaches + Brownstones Part II: NYC
Gabstamatic | On 16, Sep 2014
Initially I was only supposed to be away for 3 weeks, but why have a 2 hour layover in JFK when I be away from home for another week? Why experience one carnival when I could experience 2? You get the drift…Thenublk wasn’t about to turndown for anyone – not even for the snarky customs agent who took a keen interest in my Nigerian visa (I was itching to crack a 419 joke but refrained).
It felt good to be back and interestingly enough I found similar nuances between both Grenadian and Brooklyn neighbourhoods (there are more Grenadians in NYC than on the island). The same groups of elders playing dominoes on moonlight streets, the loud music and a sense that nobody was intending to rest any time soon.
Much of the familiarity was also due to the fact that the annual West Indian Labour Day parade was just around the corner. I was adamant that I was only going to attend to take photos – after all, this trip was about documenting right?
Clearly this was not meant to be as I find myself up at the crack of dawn preparing to participate in my second jouvert experience. “Can I sit on a truck? If I can then I’ll definitely come” – famous last words spoken to the designer of the band I ended up playing with – Pagwah, and my host who also happens to be founder of caribBEING. No pressure. none at all lol.
Pagwah’s theme was ‘De Weddin’ and it was a beautiful sight reaching the band – a sea of white against the backdrop of the dawn breaking…and countless marriage proposals. Adding to the joyous occasion was the large group of jab jabs in front of me. Going on just as bad as they were in Grenada – with TV’s, wheelchairs and even an oven. My crisp white t-shirt transformed into an interesting array colours as we walked through the crowd.
As you may have noticed, Thenublk is a big supporter of collaboration – and having hosted our first international event with TK in the AM in NYC last year, I was excited to finally be working with good friend and founder of caribBEING Shelly Worell. Shelley’s passion and determination for promoting Caribbean film through a variety of ways is something I have a huge amount of respect for, especially against the backdrop of the fast changing landscape of many of neighbourhoods in Brooklyn where many people of Caribbean heritage call home.
Their annual Flatbush Takeover which takes place on one of the busiest intersections in Brooklyn draws an interesting mix of locals and passers by to the steps of the beautiful Flatbush Reformed Church. Joining us on the day were artists Alexis Mena, Shakespeare Guilland and T-Shirt brand Tallawa. The rain came too but we held out and it eventually stopped just in time allowing us to put on a specially edited version of Dalton Narine’s ‘Masquerade’. Having put on such an astounding theatrical performance during jouvert, members of the Pagwah band provided the audience with a live action introduction to the film.
With only a few days left of my trip and with no other plans set in stone I had an memorable last few days surrounded by old friends and new. Full of fun and surprises it was finally time to return home.
Does it feel good to be back?
Ask me in a few weeks time, lol.
For more photos from the trip follow Thenublk’s instagram page.
*The featured image for this post was taken on the street where Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ was filmed. After #DTRT25 it felt like a must see!