Listen to some of the stories we've recorded...

7:00 - 8:30 pm on Wednesday, June 9th
LaunchPad - 721 Franklin Avenue
(Between Park Place and Sterling Place)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eunice Oden's First Subway Ride

Recently, I had to do an interview all by myself. I was unsure about how this conversation would go, but I left all of my insecurity at the door and went into Eunice Oden's house with confidence. This conversation lasted for about forty-five minutes and I got to ask all the questions I wanted to. I learned a lot about Crown Heights and about many other things that I was curious about.

Eunice Oden was born in North Carolina and moved to New York City at 19 years-old. She told me about the first time she took the subway and how scared she was. She could not wait to get out of the train! We talked about what city life was like when compared to living on a farm. She said that she would greet everyone that passed her way in the city, but would hardly get a response.

Eunice Oden and Treverlyn DeHaarte

Eunice told me that when she first moved here, her and her sister could not get a certain apartment because they were Black. She also said that a few years after moving here hospitals and other businesses were starting to close early because people weren’t utilizing them.

She told me that she thinks there is so much crime today because children aren’t been trained the right way parents. She said, "This generation of parents is trying to be their child's friend and that they should be their parents first." She told me about how some of the streets used to be 2 ways, like Nostrand Avenue. We talked about how the police system has improved a lot from when she first moved here. She now knows most of the police officers by name!

I learned a lot from her about Crown Heights and about everyday life. She told me not to ever start my day without thanking God and I plan not to. I enjoyed this conversation a lot .

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Handmade History

Frank Esquilin at the Franklin Avenue Flea Market
Photo courtesy of: Nostrand Park website

On April 26th, we interviewed Frank Esquilin. He moved from Harlem to Ozone Park and then, 16 years ago, he moved to our own beloved Crown Heights. Frank is funny, adventurous and such an inspiration; he’s actually one of many people in this project (so far) who have taught us how to be free, fight for our dreams, and enjoy life while it lasts.

He’s a huge contributor to the flea market on Franklin Ave. As a child growing up, Frank always found work for his idle hands. His mom had a sewing machine that he used to experiment with. Luckily, by doing that he found his talent and started making wallets. At first he had doubts about whether people would want to by his little wallets made by his experimenter’s hands, but on his first sale Frank overcame all doubts and moved on to other options like making book covers.

Floyya, Frank and Treverlyn at LaunchPad

With his gifted hands, he’s helping to develop and contribute to Crown Heights history. Frank is now retired and is touring the world. His journey is never ending, but in the end Crown Heights is “Home” for him.