The sound of bachata music brings me back to Bani. Bani is where the plantains are green and the mango is ripe- where children play.
Egleston reminds me of everyone gathered around a mango tree. The sense of community is impossible to ignore. As a Dominican girl who grew up in JP, I’ve seen a lot. My neighbors were so awesome! My aunt lived right in front of Mama’s house right on Ashley St. I got to play with my older cousins Suzie and Cindy all day every day. My other aunt lived right next to me (Crazy Tia Maira) I spent the days exploring Jackson and Mozart park with my cousins Ashley and Jaylen. Mama’s family friends lived down Ashley St. as well. We frequented Morena’s house where we had hot coffee with cream and sugar, and lots of goya crackers. If there’s one thing I loved the most about Ashley St, it was the barren piece of land in front of Mama’s house. It was dry dirt and covered in thousands of dandelion flowers. I loved running down Mama’s steps to blow all the seeds I could until Mama called me back in to eat dinner. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I loved that field. I will never forget the day that field of dandelions was covered with a very expensive looking house. For the first time ever, a white and black woman moved on Ashley St. Everything seemed cool until Tia Maira moved, and then Tia Mireya. Then Morena moved too. Mama and I were the only Latino’s left on Ashley St. No one could afford to live there anymore. I look around, and I can’t help but be so hurt by the amount of gentrification in JP. However Egleston gives me hope. Egleston brings me back to my childhood of pastellitos, yucca, and mangu.