This is Harlem in NY as I knew it in the mid 1990’s.
Now its so, gentrified. My friends from upper Harlem (145th Street) are my family in the US. I am no citizen or Green card holder of the US. Hopefully, I will get my Social Security that I paid into with 3 H1B Visa Employment. I am not holding my breath for another 3 years.
With my wife Chandra Wimalasiri (RIP, 2018; we separated in 2004) in Stony Brook, NY, 1991. USD 600 for the 1975 Ford LTD station wagon with 150K miles. Went to Louisiana, and another time to Florida.
Then got Chevy Celebrity for free (Prof Akira Akubo thank you) with 160K and crossed the US three times. Life and reminisces are great
I am 3/4ths Sri Lankan (Jaffna) Tamil, 1/8th Sinhalese and 1/8th Irish; a proper mutt.
Maternal: Grandfather a Govt Surveyor married my grandmother of Sinhalese/Irish descent from the deep south, in the early 1900’s. They lived in the deep South, are generally considered Sinhalese and look Eurasian (common among upper class Sinhalese). They were Anglicans (Church of England), became Evangelical Christians (AOG) in 1940's, and built the first Evangelical church in the South.
Paternal: Sri Lanka (Jaffna Tamil). Paternal ancestors converted to Catholicism during Portuguese rule (1500's), went back to being Hindu and then became Methodists (and Anglicans) around 1850 (ggfather). They were Administrators and translators to the British, poets and writers in Tamil and English. Grandfathers sister was the first female Tamil novelist of modern times
I was brought up as an Evangelical even attending Bible study till about the age of 13. Agnostic and later atheist.
I studied in Sinhala, did a Bachelor in Chemistry and Physics in Sri Lanka. Then did Oceanography graduate stuff and research in the US.
I am about 60 years old, no kids, widower. Sri Lankan citizen (no dual) and been back in SL since 2012. Live in small village near a National Park, run a very small budget guest house and try to do some agriculture that can survive the Elephants, monkeys and wild boar incursions.
I am not really anonymous, a little digging and you can find my identity.
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7 thoughts on “Harlem (NY) as I knew in mid 1990’s”
aah, memories. My first job in the US was a phlebotomist at a clinic on 125th street. Nearby was the office of the “New Alliance Party” and one of their leaders Dr Massad. We somehow connected and I went to a couple of their party events (a Hudson river cruise and the party’s 1988 Presidential nomination convention. I was on my way when my dad called to say General Zia had died in a plane crash, so i got to go up on the stage and make that announcement (i said something hyperbolic like “another dictator has fallen out of the sky”, lots of applause from the left wing audience).. Fun times 🙂
Prefer to be compared to mixed breed Aus Aborigine.
125th Street, pre Guliani (1995 ish). Was quite rough then. I am impressed, lots of Street cred to run a Medical center on 125th Street. Any street photos of the area,
I was only working there, not running it 🙂 .
It was quite safe in the daytime (I took the 1, 2, 3 trains). The closest I ever came to losing anything was when I left my wallet on the subway token booth window and crossed the turnstile before I realized what I had done.. a young man picked it up and handed it to me, for which I remain grateful.. but at the very last moment, his expression changed and I firmly believe that the thought that crossed his mind was “I could have just taken this wallet and run”, but by then I had it in my hands. i.e. he was not a criminal, but crime was common and he realized a bit late that running away with it would have been a perfectly normal event..
Not necessary in the post proper: but some thoughts for you young people.
I have lived a life on the edge.
I wish I could blame it on my parents, whom I could not ever recall using abusive language (4 letter words). My parents fought each other, but it was never about who should do what. My mother was the go getter in many ways, and did not give a damn about social structure. However, my mother wanted that from a position of privilege. I understand that bcos I have the same attitude.
My mother. Peace BeeBee (unhappily not very Shudra in appearances)
The 80’s & 90’s were an interesting decade for sure!
Hi Sereno, you look like a samurai from Kurosawa films.
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