Monthly Archives: August 2011

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Ocean?

On occasion, the York Fairy pays a visit and brings to my attention the little pesky things Islanders do that somehow have been internalized as behavioral norms when expressing their beliefs about the City or in this case, the U.S.A. Of course, it is my job to act immediately not as a way to scrutinize, but more as a call to reflect on the reality of what is being voiced. Last week, I was forwarded these very fervent opinions, which were posted on the blog of a very talented graphic artist. The cities where our friend claimed to have lived in were deemed subpar by what I intuitively believe to be Island standards. Unless of course, our friend is royalty, then I stand corrected. Further below, I offer my modest responses.

New York

“Forget you’ll have to pay almost two grand to live in a place the size of a prison cell and have horrible service anyplace that’s ‘trendy’. The worst thing is all your city Facebook friends who won’t shut the fuck up saying how much they ‘love New York.’ As if their lives are so crappy that’s the only thing going on for them.”

Oh I see, because real estate on the Island is just so affordable. And I am sorry, but “servicio al cliente” is an on-paper concept that is reserved for either tourists or those with an “i” ending in their last name. It occurs to me that our friend was trippin’ while getting off the gravy train (See March 25, 2010). P.S. If New York is so bad, why would so many people want come here?

San Francisco

“Oh, the gorgeous, charming City by the Bay, right? Wait until you move there and get daily attacks by hordes of homeless guys, roaming the streets like zombies.”

Ummm…Which intersection in the capital is exactly free from the sponge-throw windshield cleaning, arms missing, abscess sporting, hernia showcasing guys that come up your window to beg for money?

Los Angeles

“I hope that you like your car, because that’s where you’re going to spend most of your life. It also applies to smaller cities I lived, like Austin, TX.”

Remind me again how does one get around on the Island?


“I only have two problems: September to May. Also, if you enjoy nightlife, forget weekdays.”

I am going to need some help on this one. But not since the days of Tom Collins at Don Pincho and Lunes de Café Atlántico did the Island see so much action on a weekday. Those days are over.

Word has it that our friend threw in the moleskin and moved back to the Island. Yes my comrade, surely the grass is greener on your side.

Sixteen Questions

By now, you all know that I am a pathological New Yorker. I love how I can imbibe at the Lenox Lounge where Billie Holiday once crooned her soulful stylings. I can sit in the same café where García Lorca’s ink flowed freely, or have a Dorothy Parker style soirée at The Algonquian. There is always a place to revisit or rediscover, and although it is always reinventing itself, more than being defined by the new, The City’s energy is undeniably fueled by its history. To call New York captivating is an absolute understatement. Which reminds me…I was finally able to make it to Delmonico’s just in time for Restaurant Week. An Art Nouveau lover’s paradise, I was able to catch a glimpse of the Mark Twain room, which is currently undergoing restoration. It was awe-inspiring to stand in the same room the laureate author once dined.

This brings me to the topic of historical legacy on the Island. On the eve of August 16th, the date that marks La Restauración de la República, the questions pertaining historical preservation loom. As the summer comes to an end, my York friends who are planning to travel to the Island contacted me in hopes that I can direct them to some the historical landmarks that reaffirm our identity as dominicanos. I gladly acquiesced, but when I suggested the places I already know, more questions about the common places that tell a story about the people emerge. For the first time, I am speechless perplexed. Aside from La Casa de Las Hermanas Mirabal in Salcedo, I honestly couldn’t produce a list of the everyday places or artifacts that speak to the pulse of a given historical moment. [1] As  I quietly sipped my rusty nail, I am reminded of the depressing eso ta’ quedao ethos of the Island, where that café that you absolutely love today, is gone tomorrow because it is no longer en boga.

It is why I wish to elicit some answers from of my fellow brethren Islanders:

  1. Is there a restaurant or tavern where Duarte met with the Trinitarios (and perhaps over a casual beer) plotted the independence of the Dominican Republic?
  2. In whose living room did María Trinidad Sánchez and Concepción Bona sew el Pabellón Tricolor
  3.  Where is the house where members of el Movimiento 14 de Junio first met?
  4.  Where is the original copy of Emilio Prud’homme’s and José Reyes’ musical composition of el Himno Nacional?
  5.  What happened to Trujillo’s Casa de Caoba?
  6.  What place marked the first slave revolt on the Island?
  7.  Where is Núñez de Cáceres’ house?
  8.  Who has the costumes used in La Feria de la Paz?
  9.  Where are Juan Bosch’s short story handwritten drafts?
  10.  Who is in possession of Balaguer’s library?
  11.  Is there a hand-drafted constitution written by the forefathers?
  12.  Where can one find the original manuscripts of Pedro Henríquez Ureña?
  13.  Does Salomé Ureña’s original school still exist?
  14.  Does anyone have a collection of turn of the century garments?
  15.  Who has a comprehensive photo and film library the captures the Islands historical vitality?
  16. Is there a person or a group who is starting a movimiento de conservación histórica nacional?

The historical fabric of a city is contingent upon the drive its inhabitants have to preserve it. Happy Día de la Restauración dominicana!

[1] Most of the historical documentation pertaining to the colonization is in Casa de las Indias in Seville and access to these documents is granted to scholars.