The candy store, pizza shop, the other (first) candy store, the candy store with sandwiches and video games, the shoe shop, supermarket, bakery, pharmacy that sold handballs and wiffleballs, the Chinese food spot; there were more in those two blocks and way more a few blocks away, but the neighborhood had it all. Friends and I roamed those few blocks with rarely a care other than making plans to meet up as soon as possible and do it all over again.
It was in no way idealistic; there weren’t any illusions about where we were. The A-train came to its screeching stop right outside our bedroom window. NYC in the ‘80s was what it was and Queens was not Manhattan. The twin towers were visible from the subway platform, always a reminder of something almost otherworldly out there and Manhattan, for a lot of folks from that neighborhood, might as well have been on another planet. But the nostalgia for the neighborhood lingers; that sense of wanting that which you can’t ever actually go back to, and just like with any other memory, what you dream of going back to will be filtered for the here and now. So rather than pine for that which is unattainable, why not create our own neighborhood, here, now? And that’s really what Nalini always envisioned, a space where we can find all the things that bring us little joys. Our marketplace brings together all those things we would love to be able to walk out our door and find down the block. And like so many neighborhoods in big cities, the range of cultures and places represented is both surprising and welcome. Here, however, we’re not constrained by actual geography. We source beautiful things from all over the globe.
But a neighborhood isn’t a neighborhood without connection. And that’s what this space is for: a lingering thought, a messy question, a good chat between friends. It’s where we might get into a bit of a debate but still have a laugh afterwards and look forward to sharing more laughs again. It’s where we might actually learn a thing or two; there’s always an elder around willing to share some knowledge whether or not we ask for their advice.
And a neighborhood is simply a place where we can always remember we have people who share in the same things that put smiles on your face, create laughter in your belly, and offers you lots of things to fill your belly, too.
Every now and then, we’re reminded that neighborhoods are also places where we look out for one another. As a company, we hope to remember that. The folks we work alongside, the partners we join up with, and the people who labor to create the beautiful things we enjoy; these are our neighbors, and we hope to do right by them.
In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more from us here at Adya, about our different nostalgic recollections of neighborhoods we’ve enjoyed or neighborhoods we wished we had, and so much more. Looking forward to seeing you around...