Monday, September 8, 2008

(Excerpts from a longer interview)

I’m 37 years old. I’ve lived here on S. Elliot 4 years. Before that I lived in Jersey City for 4 years. I’m originally from Kansas City, Missouri, where my family still lives in the home I grew up in.

How is Fort Greene different from Kansas City? In the suburbs we barely talked to our neighbors. Here it’s so different. People are friendly. People live close to each other and see each other over and over again on the street.

What do you do for recreation in Fort Greene? I love Fort Greene Park and use it a lot. I go to BAM for movies and shows. Last night I went to LIU to see the roller derby – they temporarily converted their basketball court into a ring!

What do you feel about all the development that’s going on?
I just wish all the development would slow down. Looking down Myrtle across from public housing, all those skyscraper apartment buildings are going up. Why are the new buildings going so high! Find another neighborhood, not here. It makes me nervous, because it feels like I’m not going to be able to afford to live here at some point.

What’s are your impressions about public housing?
It’s very different. It’s not as family….But what am I saying? There are families over there too. It just seems like a tougher area than where I live….Maybe it’s my upbringing. I don’t want to appear to be racist, but where I grew up we were always taught which were the “bad” scary parts of town. It was always where African Americans lived. It’s funny about living in New York. You chop down a lot of that because of actual contact with people. Riding daily on the subway has been a way to for me to really see African American families. On the train I see how people interact these people – listen to me saying “these people”! But it’s like any cultural society you haven’t been exposed to. I’m sure my Italian heritage was looked down upon at one time. Like, “Ughh! Never go into that neighborhood – they eat all that stinky garlicky food!” But yeah, it’s a beautiful thing too. You’re like, “Wait a minute! They are family, and they are close-knit, and they are good people.” Now I am in a neighborhood that’s predominately African Americans. At first I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m white.” I felt like I was living in someone else’s neighborhood. But I really enjoy living here and it’s become my neighborhood too. But back to public housing, visually, when I see public housing, I’m not seeing the people. I’m seeing the housing units and they are a little rundown. They could use a little more help in the common areas.

What is your dream job? To be a singer, but not to worry about when my next job is going to come. I sing now as a volunteer with the New York City Gay Man’s Chorus (
Lately when I’ve been at black events, I’ve heard people talking about black men on the “DL” or “down low”. The African American gay friends I have say, “Our community is not very accepting of the gay community”. But other communities aren’t either. Everyone’s community has a little bit of “DL” in them.

ANGELO’S FAVORITES: Quote: “Life is a banquet and most people are starving to death.” From “Auntie Mame” Song: “Moon River” by Henry Mancini / Movie: FINDING NEVERLAND / TV Program: Project Runway / Book: “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search Across Italy, India, & Indonesia” by Elizabeth Gilbert / Food: Mexican (except for Mom’s Italian) / Superhero: Superman / Article of Clothing: Leather Pants / Colors: Red and Green (Christmas!)

Click for full interview.

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