I moved to New York last summer and took a month-long sublet in Bushwick, or as my striving neighbors liked to call it, East Williamsburg. It was August, and the city was experiencing record high temperatures. We all trudged through the heavy heat, wondering when the wave would end.
My temporary home was half of a faded duplex that I shared with two young actresses who were my age, but who made me feel much older. I rarely saw them; while I was at the office during the day, they slept off the previous night’s debauchery on the living room couch and floor, surrounded by empty beer and liquor bottles. When I got home in the evening, they were gone, out at their waitressing jobs until the early morning.
Our landlords, a boisterous Puerto Rican family, lived in the other half of the duplex. For the first weeks of my stay, I tried to resist greeting them with a “¿Como estan?” But in Bushwick, reminders of Mexico were thankfully everywhere: taco and torta counters run by short men in white aprons in the back of corner stores; girls in tight tank tops on the sidewalk gossiping in Spanish; thumping cumbia and reggaeton music snaking through my window.
Photo by Guillaume Gaudet