First and foremost, I miss seeing, kissing and hugging my mom. My mom lives less than a mile away from me, in the same small apartment that I grew up in on Wadsworth Avenue, but because of the whole novel coronavirus thing I have not seen her in over 2 months. We Facetime every day but that is not same thing. This past Mother’s Day was the first in recent memory that I did not spend it in the living room of said apartment waiting for her to work her culinary magic in the kitchen. Mom insisted on not going out and instead making all of us a feast fit for kings. My mom throws down better than any restaurant in the world.
Speaking of restaurants, I miss El Lina on 207th Street. I have been going to that place for over 20 years, and it is my absolute favorite Dominican restaurant Uptown. Let’s hope they come back. I miss having The Birdhouse sandwich at Buddha Beer Bar. I would have that with 2, maybe 3, Narragansetts because they were only $6 bucks. I miss just chilling at a bar and watching sports with people. I don’t even have to know them. It was cool to just take it all in.
Speaking of bars, I miss going to Monkey Room for their awesome Happy Hour. At $3 beers, maybe the best Happy Hour Uptown. Plus. it is like a block away from my apartment. I miss having the shrimp and grits at Boulvard Bistro in their awesome new space on 116th. The good thing about that is that they are still open, and I can still hit them up for take-out. I miss going to the library. The Fort Washington Library on 179th Street is the library where I would find sanctuary in as a kid.
I miss going to panels, art events and restaurants openings. From the Schomburg Center in Harlem, to Word Up Books in the Heights, to Dyckman Park in Dyckman City, Uptown was always popping. I am seriously sad that the Harlem Eat Up Festival will not take place this year. For me, that was the highlight of an Uptown Spring. There is nothing quite like Harlem Eat Up. Just imagine all your favorite food and spirits in one place. Simply stated, foodie heaven in Harlem.
I miss the summer in advance. This is the first Uptown Summer in recent memory that is effectively cancelled. No Puerto Rican Day or Dominican Day Parades, the Uptown Arts Stroll has gone virtual and probably no Dyckman Basketball. Say it ain’t so.
Uptown Summers change lives. Well, at least they used to. I miss that old school Uptown energy. Quarantine has put a damper on that infectious vibrancy that makes Uptown so special in Spring and Summer. Let’s hope it’s not gone for good.
Pa’lante, Siempre Pa’lante!