An Open Letter To #WHIN

Washington Heights own Michael Diaz

Photo: Mike Fitelson

Dear #WHIN,

Our relationship got off to a quick start this year. I didn’t even get the opportunity to think about our connection, our bond. I just didn’t have time to let it marinate. We’ve been working side by side for some time now. You have inspired me, sheltered me and nurtured me in the last couple of years. 2011 was different; I didn’t even have a chance to thank you, so here it goes:

Yes, I had to share you with others, but you taught me how to be selfless. You inspired me and others and I think you brought out the best out of everyone this year, and I’m hoping for more. I’d say it all started this past December 2010 at APT78. I felt energy and a jolt of inspiration shared with others — a forewarning that the following year would be like no other.

#WHIN became a ticking time bomb that soon exploded showering us with creativity, success, and pride for our neighborhood.

You reassured us, letting us know it was the right time, and that failure was simply not an option.

We were able to surprise, shock, and make the rest of the City aware about you. You inspired us with your spirit, your landscape, your beauty, a combination no other place can boast, a combination impossible to compare.

The diversity in the arts and the faces that make up our community makes you priceless.

It was almost like for a time, a signal was shot in the air in the middle of night calling for all artists to come together—an artist bat signal if you will.

As the months went by, we took turns accomplishing things big and small all in the name of art.

It became clear that success was contagious in 2011.

Perhaps neighborhoods have their time, a time when they leave their mark in culture and art, a time when they get noticed and make strides. 2011 marked the beginning of an era.

No amount of artistry, talent, and success would have happened without the support of our local business owners, who provided their venues as stages, platforms, and performing spaces for a movement that was taking shape. Without them, neither you nor I can’t continue to progress in this generation of new voices and vision.

#WHIN, you inspired visionaries, Northern Manhattanites with ideas and the ability to execute them. You inspired journalists to find the heart of this community, to explore our personal drive, and tell the story of why we’re doing it. The story of our neighborhood.

Synergy is a collective force that intertwines the fine thread of society and the culture of a community. You gave us that this year.

#WHIN, as I reflect on my personal accomplishments of the year, I realize that I’m a part of a much bigger picture, one that illustrates you and is still taking shape. It’s a picture that after years of making drafts, adding color, angles and faces, appears ready to stand on its own. Let this be another incredible year, more inspiring, and full of success. Watch out 2012.

Yours Truly,

Michael Diaz aka  @JuanBago

Check out:

Uptown 2011 Movers & Shakers: Michael Diaz – The Strategist

Uptown 2011 Movers & Shakers: Ydanis Rodriguez – A Man of the People

Uptown 2011 Movers & Shakers: Mino Lora and Bob Braswell – Bringing Theater to The Heights

Uptown 2011 Movers & Shakers: Gloria Pazmiño – From Avena to Zuccotti in 12 easy months

Uptown 2011 Movers & Shakers: Jose Morales & A Year At The Apartment

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