Thursday, January 18, 2007

Let Me Tell You About My Neighborhood

My neighborhood, which is a part of the larger fiefdom of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is enclosed by Kingsland Avenue and Woodpoint Road, to the east; Grand Street, to the south; and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, or the BQE, which crosses Grand at the southwest corner and Kingsland at the northeast corner, forming a lumpy scalene triangle.

The primary thoroughfares in this neighborhood, which for the sake of argument let’s call the Kingsland Territories, are Graham and Metropolitan avenues, which form a cross that is inscribed within this triangle.

Now that you’re oriented, I’ll begin.

The Lettuce Factory

The Lettuce Factory, on the corner of Kingsland Avenue and Beadel Street, is not really a factory; however, a great quantity of lettuce and other fruits and vegetables are ferried daily into and out of it. The lettuce arrives via big trucks in the early morning, and is stored at the factory until other smaller trucks or vans take it away, which happens throughout the day, but most frenetically in, again, the early morning.

Workforce-wise, the Lettuce Factory is staffed by, according to my rough count, equal numbers of Mexicans and Asians. Each group seems to have their own boss, and neither mixes with the other. The Asians keep much more to themselves at the Factory, but I’ve become friends with a few of the Mexicans—most notably their leader, a jolly, somewhat rotund fellow with black hair and a black mustache who, every morning when I pass the Factory on my way to work, says to me, “Hello, my friend!” And I answer back similarly, usually accompanied by a salute. He’s begun to salute back. On weekends, when we both have a bit more time to kill (the Lettuce Factory is open seven days a week, and my friend, the Leader of the Mexicans, seems to be there for each one of them), I stop and we chat for awhile about this and that. I’ve told him of my love for tacos, and once he told me he wanted to take me up into Queens, where he lives, for really good tacos. This has yet to happen, but I remain optimistic that it may yet.

I said above that the Mexicans and Asians seem to not associate much, and to work more next to each other than with each other (which, I dunno, could be true; it could be two Lettuce Factories in one, for all I know). That’s true, but once it wasn’t. This summer, during the World Cup, I would walk by the Lettuce Factory in the hot afternoon, and the Mexicans and Asians would all be gathered—arms folded, gaze intent—in the dark and cool of the Factory interior, which is open to the street via a big bay door, and through which one can often see boxes of veggies and fruits stacked to the ceiling, watching soccer on a small, rabbit-eared television.

That’s the story of the Lettuce Factory. Tune in soon for my neighborhood’s next room.

1 comment:

ClatieK said...

Kingsland and Woodpoint on the east? Not Morgan?? You cut out the park and the old hospital with those boundaries, not to mention the wonderfully-named Grandparents Ave.