Characters of Life


One of the things I love most about NYC is you can be a hot mess and no one cares (unless you’re on the phone with your parents during a meltdown—they might care). I can cry by the subway station for any and all passerby to witness mascara tears dribbling down my face. I can have a shouting match (not that I ever do that) with my boyfriend because chances are there’s a couple on the next block doing the exact same thing. I can wear terrifying combinations of oversized sweatshirts, gym shorts, and snakeskin flats to CVS. NO ONE CARES. It is such a breath of fresh air compared to my tiny college campus and hometown.

That being said, allow me to introduce some of the more special people inhabiting these parts. Whenever I tell someone where I live, the conversation goes a little bit like this:

“Where do you live?”
“Jackson Heights, Queens.”
“Isn’t that like, a dangerous area?”

View from a recent run.

View from a recent run.

Don’t worry. I feel pretty safe in my neighborhood most of the time, except for when this happened. Let’s start with my third roommate. She is a Korean freshman college student who, despite going to high school in the States, had no idea how to boil water for noodles. Noodles, people. Another thing I might add about her is that, as many of you know, she had a tendency to smoke cigs in our bathroom. Obviously we caught on because we have noses, but she kept doing it. It was only after our landlord installed a smoke detector outside the bathroom and threatened to make her move out that she took her habit to the sidewalk. She is also very unsanitary for reasons that I can’t and don’t want to explain.

Next on the list are my upstairs neighbors. From the random sightings and sounds I gather, there is a mother, father, teenage son, elderly woman, and energetic pet living about us. When I say random sounds, what I really mean is that these people have the feet of elephants. Leanna and I often spend nights pondering what they could be doing to make that much noise. Are they rearranging their furniture nightly? Do they have a DIY bowling alley up there? Those are some of our best guesses. Whether it’s 5:30 AM or 11:00 PM, they are obnoxiously active. You may think I’m exaggerating. I am not. Wax earplugs are my best friends. While the parents engage in morning arguments daily, the teenage boy flits in and out with a skateboard under his arm, leaving a cloud of cheap cologne lingering in his wake. We have also spotted him with his arm around two different girls over the course of two weeks. Fun fact.

And then there is the Russian mafia. Back when we were going on nightly ice cream trips to Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, we discovered that the mafia congregates outside the apartment complex down the block. They are clearly the Russian mafia because they are a group of men standing suspiciously in a cluster while their daughters ride their tricycles in circles on the sidewalk at the same time each night. They have also been sighted carrying multiple cases of vodka into the building. The investigation continues.

Who are the most interesting characters inhabiting your ‘hood? I’d love the juicy details!


Author: Rachael

Book lover + editor, feminist, California soul + New York state of mind.

3 thoughts on “Characters of Life

  1. LOVE this. I am cracking up at work right now.

  2. Pingback: What NYC Taught Me |

  3. Pingback: Hello Again |

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