If Bay Ridge lacked any particular ethnic enclave, one can easily point out Sunset Park’s distinct neighborhood, two of them to be exact. On 5th Ave is the Latin American neighborhood. A few blocks to 8th Avenue is the Chinese community. I, of course, went to the Chinese part hankering for Cantonese food after spending way too much time in the Belt Parkway.
I’ve always wondered what life would be like I never immigrated to America and grew up in Hong Kong. Actually, I know it wouldn’t have turned out as well, America is that awesome. However, I do truly wonder if I were like the residents of Sunset Park and be able to grow up around my people as if I almost never left home.
Alas, instead of Chinatown I ended up growing up in suburban Central Jersey, being just the second Chinese kid in 1st grade. Fitting in was tough. Hell, even today I take pride in the fact I will never fit in anywhere completely (and be totally alone… subject of another post).
The question is, given who I am currently, would I be better off growing up in Sunset Park? It’s complicated, and I will probably never know.
Lunch was good. I packed up some leftovers and went straight home to Jersey; the place that made me who I am; the place that will make me who I want to be.