Do You Like Living in NYC?

Dawoud_Bey_A_Man_on_the_Corner_of_Lenox_Ave__125th_St_Harlem__3282_418

Ahm in New York, but New York ain’t in me. You understand? Ahm in New York, but New York ain’t in me. What do I mean? Listen. I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. Been in New York twenty-five years. I’m a New Yorker! Yuh understand? Naw, naw, yuh don’t get me. What do they do; take Lenox Avenue. Take Seventh Avenue; take Sugar Hill! Pimps. Numbers. Cheating those poor people out a whut they got. Shooting, cutting, backbiting, all them things. Yuh see? Yuh see what Ah mean? I’m in New York, but New York ain’t in me!

– An old man in Harlem responding to Ralph Ellison’s (during his tenure with the WPA) question “Do you like living in New York City?”

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