If You Grew Up Playing In The Streets As A Kid You’ll Relate To At Least Half Of These

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.

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.

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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.

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Fire safety be damned – we’re hot, yo!

8. Then, of course, you had to blast it at everyone.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Summer, summer, summer-time!

READ: Get Ready To Feel The Nostalgia In This ’80s Remix Of Demi Lovato’s “Cool For The Summer”

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The Fake Fruit On The Kitchen Table Was The Cruelest Thing To A Cuban Child Growing Up


The Fake Fruit On The Kitchen Table Was The Cruelest Thing To A Cuban Child Growing Up

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez / @BananaCubana / Twitter

Cuban culture is very food heavy. From the delectable dish called ropa vieja to the delicious and mouth-watering moros. Since food is one of the most important parts of Cuban culture, it makes sense that we’d spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It also makes sense that some of the most iconic things we think of about our childhoods has to do with the kitchen. Here are 15 things you are guaranteed to find in a Cuban kitchen.

1. An old, beat up pressure cooker that is used to cook everything.

Legit, this thing looks so old that you think your abuela snuck it out of Cuba and even at 5 years old you questioned the safety of cooking with this thing. However, those moros always came out bomb af. ?

2. The fly swatter.

We all know it. We’ve all seen it. It was always the same fly swatter that hung there near the kitchen sink and was rarely used to discipline the flies. It was used to discipline you instead.

3. Mojo by ?? the ?? gallon. ??


Nothing made you more excited as a little Cuban kid than coming home (or going to abuela’s) and smelling the strong and distinct scent of this garlic, citrus marinade washing over all of your senses. To this day you probably have a gallon or two in the pantry and you put this stuff on everything.

4. More Jupiña sodas than you’d need to satisfy the army.

These were crack and we could never say no to them, especially on a hot summer day while listening to salsa music in the kitchen.

5. Guava paste for days.

CREDIT: Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez / mitú

This was something that was always stock-piled if you were a Cuban living outside of Miami because it was not easy to come by. It was so precious that when you did manage to find some, you’d clear out the shelf and hide it in the pantry.

*Note: This is actual footage from my present-day kitchen.

6. First Communion photos on the fridge.

CREDIT: mitú

Doesn’t matter if it was one month ago or 30 years ago. Mami y abuelita love showing all of their friends how preciosa you were when you took First Communion.

7. Keebler Export soda crackers and the big green tin that lived on the counter.

It lived on the counter because it was so bulky and big that it literally didn’t fit anywhere else in the house. But that was fine because you and your hermanos would clear a tin in two days tops. And, yes, they had to be Keebler or else they were trash.

And all those empty containers quickly became Tupperware for all the bulk items that needed storage like rice or beans.

CREDIT: mitú

And sometimes they would just be used to hold precious muñecas from your childhood that mami just couldn’t bear getting rid of.

8. You’d always see some freshly washed Ziploc bags drying out in the sink.

It wasn’t because you were #goingbroke, your family just believed in not wasting things that can be used again. Don’t lie. You’ve done this.

9. Random bottles of pickled fruits and vegetables that you were never going to eat.

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To this day, I have no idea who created this little fade and how long it’ll last. One thing was for sure, though. These were strictly decoration and they would be cycled out every year for the “newer” models.

10. An old-school cafetera that lived on the stove.

Much like the Mexican comal, this bad boy never left the stove unless it was either serving you cafecito or being washed.

11. Black beans on black beans on black beans.

It was never really clear if abuela just forgot that she already had 30 bags of black beans before going to the store or if she was preparing for a national state of emergency. Either way, she is the only person in the family that knows how to properly season the beans. It’s like she had some special santeria that made them taste so good.

12. There was always a map of Cuba.

Why? Who knows, but by the time you were 7 years old you knew the exact shape of the motherland.

13. A bowl of fake fruit that usually hung out on the kitchen counter.

It is a fact that the trust issue of many Cuban children stems from the first time they took a bit of an apple only to get a mouthful of wax or styrofoam. Then they’d get yelled at for trying to eat it. Who does that?

14. Pik-Nik shoestring potatoes were always on deck in case you got a hankering for salt.

You ate so many of these as a kid that you can still smell the cardboard used to make the packaging. Tbh, you just thought about buying some more right now.

15. A radio that blasts Celia Cruz all day and night because, why not?!

CREDIT: Christina Henderson / mitú

Only the queen of salsa can get a Cuban grooving and jiving in the kitchen. ?

READ: 21 Smells that Perfectly Sum Up Your Cuban Childhood

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