Day twenty-four: Southwest on Ditmas/ Avenue D/ 18th Ave

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My routes these last week or so have been straight lines across the city walking through a range of neighborhoods.

Brownsville was my starting point yesterday. It was eerie in the rain, I saw few people and have no photos from this time because of my pace. A school bus on Bristol created an odd and irritating rhythm as the driver slammed on the brakes every two houses screeching on the wet pavement and honked twice. They repeated this for the duration of my time on the block. I’ll return to this area on a day with less rain.

Perhaps it was a repair person because farther along Ditmas I found a village of everything car related: repair, salvage, painting. Cars and vans were parked like trees in a dense jungle on the sidewalk and those moving in the street sounded their horns so often they seemed to be conversing.

The Wyckoff house is at the corner where Ditmas becomes Avenue D for a short time. The oldest building in New York, there is quite a contrast between the homestead and the land surrounding. As I tried to capture this juxtaposition, a man and his daughter of about four passed as he held her close and sang a sweet song loudly in a Caribbean accent I could not place. They smiled at me and she ate ice-cream not yet down to the cone.

As school let out through Flatbush, children in uniforms filled the sidewalks. Their accents were so beautiful to me, Caribbean and a hint of American. So much joy in the fluctuations of their voices.

Kensington or South Slope reminds me a charming Austin, Texas with dreamy trees and well preserved sprawling family homes from another time.

Ditmas becomes 18th Ave beyond Coney Island Parkway. Here, in Borough Park, Russian Orthodox Jewish families ran about their evening errands. One couple actually smiled at me, that interaction made me love this area so much. I acquired a walking partner for a short time while buying a Kinder egg. The smell of metabolizing vodka was apparent and I could not decipher his name, though it started with an M. The older gentleman did ask for my phone number but I told him instead to walk with me for a few blocks. His face was kind but the language barrier was too great for me to understand anything he shared. I’m fairly certain all he learned from me was that I’m half Filipino. A few blocks later I shook his hand and told him to go home and rest. He was still following awhile later but a stern glance made him disappear.

It began to pour when I reached Bensonhurst again. My feet were soggy again but finding the end of the road in Bath Beach was magical.

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