Spending the first 21 years of my life in New York City gave me an experience that I now know is unique. BK, all day, y’heard? My favorite part of growing up Brooklyn? Summertime. Long days. No school. Smelling like outside at the end of the day when mami was yelling at me to make it home before the street lamps came on. Man, summer was the shit. Here are 15 of the summer things that defined my NYC summers.
1. Those frozen 25¢ ices in the sharp plastic wrapper that gave you mouth-paper-cuts.
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The only thing that could relieve the pain was another ice.
2. Tired of having a sore mouth? The Piragua Cart Man was there for you.
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Sticky hands be damned. This guy knows his stuff.
3. But when the ice cream truck song played, you’d lose it.
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Even though you only had enough for a cone with no sprinkles.
4. Man, Mr. Softee Ice Cream trucks had everyone wildin’ out.
There were other brands, but Mr. Softee was the only one you really trusted.
5. But by the end of summer, the ice cream man knew to run from you and your pre-teen crew.
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When you didn’t have enough money, you’d haggle for better prices. At the end of the summer he even let y’all inside to make your own cones for free. You were basically ice cream pirates. Argh.
6. You’d wait all summer for the block party.
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Blocking off the street, grilling on the sidewalk, arroz con gandules, speakers blasting Big Pun and turning up without anybody calling the cops. It was glorious.
7. The fire hydrant was on all day long. In some neighborhoods that meant 24/7.
Fire safety be damned – we’re hot, yo!
8. Then, of course, you had to blast it at everyone.
And give out “free carwashes” to any vehicle passing by.
9. Everyone had to run out of the public pool during a poop sighting.
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Then you’d have to wait for an hour for them to clean the pool. Come on Marvin! I know it was you, it’s always you.
10. Then illegally diving into the pool one last time after the final whistle for everyone to get out.
We’d get banned for weeks, but come back the next day with disguises on. ? ? ?
11. Waiting in the heat of the subway tunnel for your train.
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Five minutes feels like an eternity in there – unless you’re at the back of the platform on the Union Square L station, where the fan is literally a life saver.
12. Feeling that sweet kiss of air conditioning when you finally get on.
13. Seeing the Wonder Wheel pop up over the Coney Island horizon.
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The lights were so bright you thought you’d died and gone to Times Square.
14. Fireworks all summer long.
And you’re like “Damn, Tito, I got work tomorrow… Can you tone it down?” And he’s like “Oh, sure, no problem…”
15. And you immediately regret complaining about it…
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Because that’s when Tito would whip out the biggest fireworks ever to teach you a lesson about complaining about the block. Don’t.
What shaped your childhood memories of summer? Share in the comments below!
Summer, summer, summer-time!