I was raised in Douglaston. My sister grew up on Long Island. My brother is from Queens. The funny thing is, we all lived in the same house. I was in my early twenties when I realized that we had different answers to the question “Where are you from?”…and technically we were all telling the truth. If you asked any of us now, I am pretty sure we would all have the same answer, we are from Queens. It is in our blood.
In Queens many worlds are interwoven. Whether one attended a NYC public or Catholic private high school…we all still hung out together on weekends. Street corners, forts made in swamps, row house basements, or spectacular homes where large screen tvs were projectors with red, green, and blue glowing lights transferring the images to the mounted screen on the wall…all were equally perfect places to gather. Transportation might be a skateboard, dad’s car, buses, subways, or the LIRR. One could pay the train fare, or skip it by hiding in the bathroom, saved funds used to buy a much needed album on St. Mark’s Place. One minute we might be shopping in vintage stores on lower Broadway…feeding my rhinestone necklace and 1950’s housewife dress obsession…the next running back to the car, hoping nobody had created a new “home” in the box in front of the illegally parked orange VW bus we traveled in, and if they had, strategically climbing over it through the sliding doors, for our escape back to tree-lined streets a block from the bay full of beautiful sailboats. When from Queens, you could switch it up on a dime.
A Queens girl can smell scam…and is able to turn the tables before the scammer figures out they have become the victim. Oh my, the poor junk remover boys in my driveway earlier today learned that the hard way. The company reached out to me… we had a deal, for x amount I would get xyz…but when the young innocent gave me the “on premises quote” of well over triple the agreed number, I just smiled. After repeating back his new quote, explaining he was trying to scam the wrong person, reworking the numbers with him…I ended up being charged $150 less than what I had offered to pay him 5 minutes earlier. I also gave him a lovely tip, complimented his shoelaces (they matched the company’s brand palette), and thanked him for sweeping up my driveway.
Girls from Queens know how to walk. A few days before our wedding we were meeting friends from Iowa at Wo Hop for dinner. As I weaved through the masses towards the restaurant, I noticed our best man looked a bit concerned. It seems he (an Iowan) had never seen a woman in NYC walking mode. At 5 feet I was the master of the bitch face…as all women had to be. Men could cat call, but depending on my mood their words and whistles might be returned with a death stare, a middle finger, a laugh, or completely ignored. As I reached the restaurant my demeanor changed…I became animated and full of life, I shared my glorious news, my boss had surprised me with a raise and a bonus, I was marrying the best guy ever…there was not a human on earth happier than I was. Our best man had witnessed the classic Queens transformation, scary to joyous…in less than a second. Swoon.
Someone just contacted me about doing an interview for a publication…they are writing about people who blog. She introduced herself as a fellow Queens girl. I am sure we will get along just fine. I am loving me my Queens feels…it feels like I am home.
To all my girls from Queens…love ya.