Firsthand: Block Pride

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I live in Crown Heights in a six-floor brick apartment building. My block has a bad reputation, because some guys hang out in front of my building, and they look suspicious, so cops always are patrolling my block. And there are always some guys on the corner of the next block selling drugs or trying to sell drugs. Cops come around every half an hour or so because there is a lot of shooting going on around here. Sometimes guys go up on the roof and start shooting up there.

But my block isn’t all bad–it has its good points. When I was a little kid, all the kids in the neighborhood would come outside around noon in the summertime. We used to play all kinds of games, like pop up ball–that’s when you get a ball and bounce it on the ground and everybody tries to catch it. And we used to play super suicide–that’s when we get five or six balls and the person near the wall throws all the balls toward the other players. Whoever doesn’t catch any of the balls must run to the wall before the person at the wall grabs a ball and hits him with it.

But I stopped hanging out on my block when I was around 13 or 14, because some guys had a shootout in my building over some girls, and I started to think it was just too crazy for me to just chill around there.

The people in my building are friendly, and everyone knows everyone. They get along quite nicely at times, but other times they’re at war. A lot of nosy people live in my building, too. The lady right next door to me is so nosy that if anything happens in the building, she is the first one to know or want to know.

Most people on my block have lived there for their whole lives and don’t want to move. So there’s no room for newcomers to move in, and people on my block don’t take well to outsiders anyway. I don’t plan on living in my ‘hood all my life, though. I plan to live where it’s not too quiet but not too noisy, in a clean, healthy environment where nobody is in my business at all. I don’t want to be bothered with gossip. I don’t want the police to harass me every time I come out of my house. I want to live in the ‘burbs or in New Jersey somewhere. Somewhere I can have working water all the time, and people who are not trying to scam me, and no crazy tenants, and no supers who are not doing their jobs.