Gabriela Barata, one of the participants in the Sound Project workshop at the Sunnyside Library

The view from Gabriela’s Sunnyside bedroom window

“And there you are, Sunnyside! You are number three!”

“I wake up early in the morning, up at 5:00 AM, when the break of dawn is coming through my window. I brush my teeth, fix my hair and do my morning prayers (I’m Buddhist), I put on my oversized headphones. On my way to the train station I pass Dunkin Donuts. There is always a line, no matter the time of the day. I take the 7 train to Midtown Manhattan, where I work as a hostess at a Greek Diner. I spend nine hours of my day, six days a week there, but I think about coming back to my neighborhood and how much I like it there almost all the time.

“On this particular morning I have a cup of coffee and read New York Magazine. I come across an article about the best neighborhoods in New York City. And there you are, Sunnyside! You are number three!

“Automatically my competitive side kicks in, and I start showing the article to my coworkers. Some of the waitresses are Greek and live in Astoria. They think their neighborhood is better than Sunnyside, even though Astoria only makes number eleven on the list.

“On my way back to Sunnyside I start making a list of things I have to do when I get home. One of them is doing my laundry, one of my most dreadful duties, but there is no escape. It’s either doing laundry today or buying new clothes tomorrow. When I get off the train, I see the “churro lady” (churros are pastries that look similar to cannolis from South and Central America). Across the street is the Taco truck. Yummy, me love some taco please! The fruit guy is also there. I say ‘hi’ and think about how these images of people on the street make Sunnyside familiar to me.

“As I take my laundry out of the dryer, I notice that all the dryers are very old but still function very well. I was reading the ads on the board out of boredom, when I notice a flyer advertising “The Sunnyside Sound Project.” I take some pictures with my camera phone and decide to start writing about my day. I think about what makes a neighborhood good. There are many factors, but the most important one is its people. Its people make a neighborhood happy, pleasant and successful. While the buildings and the scenery of a city can be breathtaking, it is the people who make a neighborhood valuable. People who own small businesses and who don’t give up, despite the crazy economy and terrorist threats. People who are raising their family here, creating new value for the next generation. I particularly love this neighborhood because it is my little piece of the world. It is where I come to relax after a hard day of work.”

by Gabriela Bararata

Gabriela was interviewed by Tristian Goik. She talks about her little “battle of neighborhoods” after a recent article in New York Magazine rated Sunnyside the third best place to live in New York.

Listen to Gabriela’s interview