Daphne R. 7CW
My neighborhood has changed a lot since I moved there in 2010 with my parents and eternally obnoxious older sister. Anyway, it’s not just the feel of the move that I want to talk about here; it’s the ancient, musty building just around the corner from my favorite restaurant. That’s where this story begins.
Said Building has been four different establishments in the past year and a half. That’s right, four. It started out as a grimy laundromat that only had two or three washing machines. Each one took up a ridiculous amount of space, and polluted twice as much air with the horrendous amount of noise it emitted. The machines were coated in a yellowed film that looked like it was on the brink of giving all of New York City some terrifying disease. Why would anyone do their laundry there, I thought. The awning, like many, was torn beyond recognition, and the first “a” in “laundromat” had been cut out. The laundromat was now a lundromat. In my opinion, the worst part about the lundromat was the tiny row of worn out gumball machines outside that didn’t even produce chewable gumballs; beyond disappointing. They were rocks in a bowl of taffy.
Like all the other establishments, the lundromat didn’t last very long, and it soon became the luxurious corner store deli that had the most spectacular ham and turkey sandwiches. Of course, when I say luxurious, I mean really strange smelling and overcrowded with rusty steel racks overflowing with bags of all sorts of horribly unhealthy (yet delicious) snacks. The man at the cash register was impossibly sweet and gave me a Three Musketeers bar when I forgot my wallet at home. I asked him when to pay him back, and he said, “No, no, keep candy, have fun. Bye little girl!” I think we’re friends…? Back to the point; that place didn’t last very long either for the most unfortunate reason. On one fateful day in April, the NYC Department of Health shut it down because they found that a family of possums had invaded the ham cooler. I know how it sounds, but it’s the truth. Sadly, the deli was closed after only a few months of business. It was like a tank had run through my heart when I saw the cashier leave. I suppose that explains the smell…
Next, The Building was a 99 cent store that, peculiarly, only sold brooms and Dora balloons with random celebratory messages like “Happy Birthday!” or “Feliz Navidad!”. They were the kind of balloons that occupied most of one’s living room with the exotic colors alone. The inside of the room wasn’t too pretty either; the plaster was peeling off the moldy walls, and the ceiling dripped right over the checkout counter. My cash got soggy twice. I could have used a dry bag of pink feathers for an art project. One time I went in there and there was a little old woman walking out of the store (with what must have been her granddaughter) carrying an assortment of said gigantic balloons displaying phrases of all kinds, most of which were terribly out of season; she was going to have to wait at least five more months until Christmas, given it was the middle of July. She seemed pleased though, so I left it at that. The funniest bit about the 99 cent store was that most New Yorkers had vacuums, or simply didn’t want a smiling giddy cartoon character filling their entire house.
The Building, which is now a Lutheran Church, has left a lasting impression on me ever since my move seven years back. The only consistent thing about The Building is the little green and pink pony ride thingy that has been sitting outside this whole time. One of the front legs broke off and the saddle is covered in bird droppings, but the pony still grins. The Building reminds me that, whatever changes or spontaneous moves across the country life throws at me, some things (like family and memories) never fade. Life never stops changing, and me and that little pony are just along for the ride.