Yesterday, my roommate and I went to Spanish Harlem (SpaHa) to grab some lunch. We'd been meaning to go to this place, Mesa Mexicana, all semester. Where can you find amazing $2 tacos at a sit-down place? Needless to say it was everything she had built it up to be.
What amazes me about places like SpaHa, Harlem, Chinatown, etc is that they are these enclaves in the middle of New York City, where culture still exists. English got us no where in SpaHa. The waitress spoke no English, and living in SpaHa, she really doesn't have to. She can function, exist, live a full life in SpaHa without any English. It's amazing. In these enclaves, life goes on, almost exclusively from the rest of America.
I love that places like this is the city exist. You walk down a street in Harlem or Spanish Harlem, and there's music. Such a simple thing. Music in the streets. People are sitting out on the street in lawn chairs, chatting, dancing, laughing, and living. It's such a different feel than touristy Midtown or stuffy shopping SoHo. It's real life, with real working people, who spend all week working 9-5, and then get a little time on a Sunday to sit out on their stoop and enjoy the view, the sounds, the feel of their neighborhood. I am immensly jealous.
As far as my travel plans go, I plan to first start on the Upper West Side, then move to Spanish Harlem, and end my trip in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Hopefully I will make it up to UWS before the weekend. Gotta get rolling.