The Zen Within
By Tanzania Hughie
Image by Tanzania Hughie.
All I need in this world of sin is just a little bit of zen within. Who else has been craving to keep that balance that was achieved in the “ Rona” alive and well? Don’t get me wrong I definitely ate my weight in carbs for two weeks. But, then I purposed my quarantine to be the space in which I gathered myself to be authentically me. Keeping that safe space has been hard to maintain since the city has opened back up but, I did a few things I think you can carry with you. If you want to ease your way back into the swing of things I suggest becoming more active.. It is really hard to find a bike nowadays but Tony’s Bike Shop on 23rd Ave might have a couple on hand. This Astoria staple has been a lifesaver during the pandemic and still gives you that old school neighborhood vibe when you walk in. Whether it’s getting your tires replaced or getting the latest gadget you’ll find yourself right at home when you enter the shop. The owner is personable and treats you like family which makes the service feel even more comfortable during these odd times.
Once you get your wheels, grab you a slice from Rosa’s on 21st Street, the family feel is always warm and inviting. Get that slice to go then bike over to Astoria Park. The bike lane at dusk is romantic and will take your breath away. It is one of New York’s few treasures that hasn’t been over marketed and marginalized by tourists.
Looking for a boozy convo then make your way up 30th Ave, here you can park and sip. Pull your bike up to The Grand restaurant and sit down and drink some froze.
After my bike ride and my slice I sat down in the midst of all that’s going on, I watched strong immigrant men listen to a strong Black man give his accounts on what it is like to be Black in America. As I began to digest everything around me, watching men being passionate, couples walking by in the street, and people beginning to resume their normal lives. At that moment I thought we were getting back to normal, our lives are beginning to reassemble. Civil unrest, people marching for one united cause for a purpose felt very overwhelming but justifying. This world went from destroying store aisles for toilet tissue to marching in aisles for freedom. I witnessed natives praying in their God given tongue blessing the ground we marched on as we came together in solidarity.
During the march for Stolen Lives and Looted Dreams the crowd was some of the most peaceful people I’ve seen in New York. As a New Yorker we experience the rude MTA seat hogger, the nosey neighbor, tailgating tourists and the ever so present rodents that live among us. Still we choose to call this concrete apple our home with joy and we often meet the best of the best. That is who showed up at the march. As the smoke from burning sage filled my nostrils my spirit was teleported to a tranquil place where my skin color didn’t matter. I felt one with everyone there. I felt present with my ancestors and those beings that sojourned before us fighting the same fight of freedom. As much of a connection, I felt disconnected because I had so many questions. Why are we still fighting these same fights? Why can’t humanity get along? Why can’t we see each other for the beautiful souls we are. I often think of what makes humanity great is it’s our ability to examine the human condition and exemplify empathy for one another. The march was all New Yorkers coming together to unite with that mindset radiating and beaming.
If only the whole world could see the beauty that is our little nook called Astoria… I wonder if we see it. As I reflect on the men and their passionate conversation, marches, and demonstrations. I realize we have lost our pride and dignity in our diversity. We have had this yearning to want to assimilate to a culture so bad forgetting that right here in Astoria New York we are rich in Culture. Where else in the world can you experience all of the world in one borough but Astoria. All types of food, music, art – we are one big melting pot of a diverse community, it’s Home. This diversity in culture is what makes America, America and losing our diversity is something this Black woman never wants to see happen to her beloved city.
Keep it thorough in every borough
The City and Me.
By Tanzania Hughie