For this activity, both our group (group 3) and the other group we were assigned to work with one another and were to take each other on a trip the other group is not familiar with.
The other group’s leader was familiar with the St. Marks village area because she had lived there her entire life. We had all met up at Astor place and walked straight down from there. I was already familiar with the area but being around someone who have lived there their entire life made me open my eyes to it more than. St. Marks is known for its artsy style and diversity. She had taken us around the block and shared what she personally knew about the area. It’s different when someone has personal memories of a certain place.
While we were walking and talking about it, we passed several tattoo and piercing shops, clothing stores you wouldn’t find anywhere else (once of which is Trash Vaudville, a personal favorite of mine), restaurants, and so much more. Even the people of the area seemed like they belonged there. It was something about the atmosphere that made it all the more different. We then walked down further to the dog park and around the East village a bit more- passing places of the night life, that are dead during that time of the day. We walked around the and then continued back up towards out starting point. Along the way, we passed a small community garden, where some of the group members took pictures (we actually spent some time in front of the garden, trying to figure out if it was public or not- it was). As we kept walking, we passed the only Polish church in the area. It was interesting to learn that it was the only one there. After our walk, we decided we were all going to stop for something to eat at Tahini’s, a Middle Eastern restaurant. I enjoyed the food, but it wasn’t anything special to me because I’m used to eating Middle Eastern food on a daily basis, being of Syrian decent. After having lunch with everyone, we ended our first trip by walking up to the train station to head towards the Brooklyn Bridge, where our second trip would begin.
We took the 6 train going downtown, to the last stop, to take us to the starting destination of our group’s trip, the Brooklyn Bridge. It was my job to lead both groups around the area and share some history about the bridge and the area, DUMBO. I learned a lot of new facts while doing some research. The most interesting ones was that people used to suspend themselves from the bridge as a sport until they realized how dangerous it was, and that a majority of the buildings used to be factories and had been transformed to lofts. The walk across the bridge was amazing. It made me feel like I was in two places at once when I had arrived at the middle. Once we reached the end, I we realized there was a significant differences between both areas of St. Marks and DUMBO. DUMBO was more quiet, and things seemed to be kept to themselves. Some parts of it were being renovated, and others were left astray. The alley ways between the buildings were my favorite part of the walk. The cobble stone streets and empty buildings looked like they were pulled out of a black and white photograph. We realized as we became closer to the pier there were more people. The area by the water and the park was filled with people at the time. Once we reached the pier, we stopped for some ice cream at Brooklyn’s Ice Cream factory- it was a twenty minute wait on the line, but it was all worth it in the end.
It was pretty clear that St. Marks was more diverse, and DUMBO was a bit more low key. This trip showed the differences in the area. All in all, I enjoyed it, it was fun.