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Prompted By My Hometown

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Kente Cloth

I live on Manhattan’s upper eastside across the street from Gracie Mansion,  the beautiful 1799 Federal- style house that overlooks the East River and is the residence of New York’s mayor and his family.

On any given day I might see cops,  TV cameras, and angry protesters in front of the Mansion,  or buses dropping off tourists,  or dignitaries arriving in limos.

And just as often I might see happy crowds,  dressed in their finery and leaving the Mansion after a gala event.   One evening some months ago it was the latter.

As I was walking home I saw dozens of people spilling out of the mansion,  many dressed in beautiful African garb – the women in caftans with matching head wraps and scarfs,  the men in colorful tunics and shirts and kufis.

Our city has the largest African community in the nation,  and I remembered this was the night the mayor had hosted an African Heritage Reception for 1,000 men and women from 50 countries.

The crowd was jubilant,  laughing and talking,  and I couldn’t help stopping one young man as he walked by.

”How was the reception?”,  I asked him.

It was marvelous,”  he said,  “there were people from so many countries,  and inspiring speakers,  and great music,  and excellent food –  you must come yourself next year!”

Thank you,”  I  said,  “but I’m not African”,

It’s no matter,”.   he said,  “it’s such a wonderful event,  you’d be most welcome!”

Did I tell you I ❤️  New York?

– Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: New York City, Gracie Mansion


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Excellent! How will you arrange an invitation? Yes, you do LOVE New York and you paint love letters to your city often. Thanks for sharing this one, Dana. Happy 4th to you and Danny!

    • Thanx Betsy, I do love New York!

      Altho I was born in Charleston and grew up in a Bronx neighborhood that was my real and beloved “home town”, I’ve lived in the same Manhattan apartment for 45 years!

      Happy 4th, stay safe!

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    What a lovely memory, Dana. You are so lucky to live where you do.

  3. I think hometown is also a state of mind, and you’ve got a New York state of mind. Thanks, Dee!

  4. Marian says:

    How fun to live in such an exciting neighborhood, Dana, and the textiles are absolutely beautiful. You can have an adventure just by looking out your window.

  5. Suzy says:

    Wow, across the street from Gracie Mansion. This oh-so-cool Jersey Girl is impressed! Gotta come to your place the next time I’m in the Big Apple. I’m looking forward to your Bronx Tale, but I hope it’s not like the one in the DeNiro movie!

  6. Risa Nye says:

    Never a dull moment in your nabe! Thanks for sharing this snapshot of life in the city. My family lived there for one year when I was in the first grade. I remember so much about that time. My dad was born in Far Rockaway, but grew up in San Francisco. His love for the theater took him back to NYC many times and I think he always felt connected in some way. It’s a wonderful town!

    • Thanx Risa, yes never a dull moment in the Big Apple, and boy do I miss the NY theatre scene since now they’re all shuttered!

      My mother was raised in Far Rockaway, and lived there until she married. Am sure she always thought of Rockaway as her hometown!

      An excellent swimmer, she said people who learn in swimming pools didn’t really know – you have to learn in the ocean to really swim!

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