Love Letters to NYC

(Photo by Luca Bravo)

By Valeria Martinez

Every September, we reflect back on the events that occurred on 9/11. The libraries of New York decided to host writing workshops throughout the month called, Love Letters to NYC, as a way to honor those who lost their lives and those who were deeply affected. I went to one of these workshops to learn what exactly a love letter to New York is and to hear the experiences of other people during that time.

The library that I went to for the workshop was the Bronx Library Center, on 310 East Kingsbridge Road. This was actually my second time visiting this library and I was glad to hear that this workshop was their first in-person event since the pandemic started. The workshop was hosted by Ms. Beach, who is one of the librarians at that location, W. G ., who preferred to remain anonymous, and me.

The workshop started off with Ms. Beach explaining the different types of writing styles we can use to talk about New York. There was a method of poetry, writing out your favorite memories around the city, describing the things that you’ll miss if you were to leave, and writing about what you love in your neighborhood.

We each wrote in different styles and we talked about different things. W. G spoke about why she loves New York and her neighborhood. An excerpt from her writing is below:

I fell in love with New York because of the difference in ethnicities.

Black, white, yellow, or green,

We all want to be seen.

New York is fast-paced like me but also slows down for all to see.

My neighborhood, Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn or Queens,

It is all the same to me…

Harlem is like no other and not because I’m Black,

But the riches that have arisen from the ashes

To the pinnacle of society that is Harlem.

Ms. Beach wrote a letter about her experience coming to America and how she felt when she had to leave her family.

I wrote about my favorite spots in the city and what I would miss if I were to leave.

The cold winters in Central Park allow you to hold hands, share some hot chocolate, and maybe even a kiss. 

The subways will appear a bit wild to an outsider but it’s an everyday occurrence for New Yorkers. 

We enjoy the showtimes, the poets and the musicians.

The year comes to an end and we get to enjoy the wonders of New York once again.

Overall, this was a profound experience and it was a gift to hear other memories about that day, hearing about what others love about New York and what they hold close to their hearts.

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