Dancing in Spanish Harlem

So yesterday was my birthday 🙂

And I’ll tell you what…if there’s one thing I took away from the day, aside from how special friends and loved ones are, it’s how infinitely beautiful and diverse the culture is in NYC.

Indulge me for a moment.

Yesterday was one of those days that literally goes on forever. I kid you not, I think I saw just about every walk of life in one afternoon.

My friend and I went to The Cloisters – which is a monastery-turned MET art gallery way up in Washington Heights, where we heard probably 5 different languages from the myriad of European tourists taking in our *culture.*

The rest of the day consisted of a walk through The Bronx, getting lost in Spanish Harlem, happy hour at a Puerto Rican bar in Harlem, dinner at an uppity/cross-fit/health nut/vegan place downtown in Greenwich Village, drinks at a sports bar in midtown, and finally, a nightcap with a celebrity chef we randomly met from Spain at a speakeasy in the Financial District.

So. Much. Culture.

It’s safe to say that by the end of the day…my feet hurt.

But there was one moment yesterday that really stood out to me.

It happened when my friend and I were strolling through the Bronx. And for a girl who rarely goes above 14th Street in the Village, being up in 160’s/170’s was a far cry from home.

But one fun fact about me, is that during the first couple years that I lived in the city, I was the lead singer of a latin cover band.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “But…you’re not…”

I KNOW, people.

However, I have seven years of spanish under my belt, and I have an uncanny ear for accents. (Maybe it was all the practice I had as a kid doing weird accents around the house.)

But I digress.

Anywho – as a result of this little musical endeavor, I know all of the latin hits.

So walking through the Bronx yesterday, past all the open air hooka bars with sidewalk seating, blasting the latest latin hits; or the Barber shops and Beauty Parlors where there were groups of ladies or gentlemen congregated outside around a boom box, my ears were having a nostalgic field day.

And as we were walking by one of those barber shops, my all time favorite song came on, called Carnival.

I started singing it to myself, and did a little dance/walk/shoulder thing because…I am *that* cool.


And all of a sudden, this little old man, all of about 5’4″, comes over and starts dancing with me to this Latin hit, surprised that I knew the words. And he was smiling this big, toothy grin -albeit missing several teeth. But we just had this beautiful moment of joy, dancing to the same music. We didn’t speak the same language, but we did speak music. We did speak joy.

That connection was just so genuine and pure.

Riding the subway back down the 150 blocks or so — for 45 minutes — I couldn’t help but think about that frail, little old man.

And I know this sounds cheesy, but I kept thinking about God in him.

I hate to admit it, but from the outside, this man was not someone I would have typically sought out to interact with. I mean, his clothes were worn and dirty, I don’t think he had showered in a couple days. And I mean…I’m big on dental hygiene. But dancing with him – even for just that 8 second chorus – there was such a beautiful light that radiated from him.

That was God inside of him. That was the inherent worth and value and beauty that all of us possess, simply for being made in His image, reflecting His light.

But how many times have I missed opportunities like that, simply because I’ve been deterred by the outside packaging?

Sure, maybe not a spontaneous dance sequence that legit looked like it could have come out of a scene of some Spanish-version of Grease. But what kinds of meaningful connections have I passed by, simply because I was too focused on the outside, or too wrapped up in myself, or my iPhone?

God is all around us. Within us. Sometimes you just have to look past the rough exterior.

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429 responses to “Dancing in Spanish Harlem”

  1. Happy birthday!!!! 🥂🎉🎈

    And, as always, what a beautiful post you’ve shared!! For a minute there it actually felt as if I was walking the streets with you! Sounds like your birthday was phenomenal. Also, I agree with you that the little old man who danced with you had God in him. Amazing. Thanks for sharing!! ❤️❤️

    • thanks so much!! I think you’re right – that little man was brimming with the Spirit! 🙂 haha Yeah, i’m very grateful to have such wonderful friends. Thanks for stopping yb! Hugs and love xox

  2. I love that little story. It’s great and a lesson for us. It’s interesting that you were a singer, ever thought about taking it up again? 🙂

    • Thanks so much Simon! I actually still do a little singing now and then on different acting jobs 🙂 But i really do love it 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      • That’s good to know, to be able to express yourself like that is amazing and something that should be used. Always a pleasure to stop by 🙂
        Love and hugs back xox

      • aw thanks. Yeah, it’s actually my favorite way to pray too. I turn on worship music, and just sing my heart out — so long as no one is listening! haha 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  3. Happy Birthday Caralyn. God’s Blessings as you continue through this life spreading joy and God light.
    You are an amazing woman.
    Luv and BIG HUGS. ❤️🌹❤️

  4. I seldom comment, but I do enjoy your blog. Really appreciate your insights and your honesty. Happy Birthday and may you have many more happy ones. I’m certain I have missed many “God moments” because I was too wrapped up in my own inner world and some times too fearful of letting go and following His lead.

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much 🙂 That seriously means a lot to me that you would take the time to read my words. I can definitely relate to that fear of letting go. luckily He will never let us fall! 🙂 thanks again! Hugs and love xox

  5. What a blessing to have a birthday full of joy :):):) It’s a blessing for me because you answered a question, I asked on my blog, this weekend. It’s not like it’s long, you know me I post Bible verses. 🙂 The whole blog was a one sentence question, lol, and you answered it 😉 I don’t see that as a coincidence. It was joyous to read your answer. God used you to give me a hug :):) He just keeps on giving to us 🙂

    • aw thanks Margaret! It was definitely full of joy. I have a lot to be grateful for. Hahah oh good!! I don’t think so either 😉 thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      • Of course always stopping by, wouldn’t miss it 🙂 This was so warming because I don’t know how to word it like you did in your blog…hahaha…All I could come up with is, “do you look for God in every person you see?” LOL :):)It’s wonderful as always 🙂 God bless you 🙂 hugs and love xoxo

  6. Happy belated birthday!!! And we are in the same state! At least for now! Thank you for all of your positive posts. I’ve really been enjoying your blog!

  7. I love this! You are a wonderful storyteller. I could see it in my head and it made me smile. Happy belated birthday, keep shining your beautiful light! <3

  8. Happy Birthday, JD!

    “But how many times have I missed opportunities like that, simply because I’ve been deterred by the outside packaging?” We can all probably ask that same question of ourselves and discover that the answer is, “Too many times.”

    • Thanks so much Tony! My dear friend 🙂 I think you’re right – too many times indeed. thanks for stopping by! hope you’re having an awesome summer! Hugs and love xox

  9. You talked about tequila shots on my birthday in your last post. Now you’ve sung? That’s pretty cool. I’ve walked from Grand Central to Central Park to Battery Park one night. We, couldn’t figure out the…tube. Then, we napped on park benches until morning in Battery. I, wouldn’t suggest it now. Happy Birthday. It’s good to shake it on your birthday. I heard. I don’t shake, well.

  10. Happy Birthday!! I wish I’d known! So glad you had such a great day…sore feet and all. If they can manage a short walk over to Patreon, you’ll find my comments there.

    • Thanks Jeff! Yeah it was a a really great day with great people 🙂 yeah – I’m of the camp that hates birthdays and tries to let them sneak by unnoticed. Haha thanks 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  11. It was the worse rendition of “Amazing Grace” I had ever heard. I thought, oh God, how embarrassing! Then God whispered, I don’t hear the voice. I hear the heart. That is when I learned this valuable lesson. Happy Birthday! Don’t think of me being late in wishing you a Happy Birthday. Think of me being the first one to say it for your next birthday!

  12. Aww Happy Birthday Bella Senorita! How was that? My Spanish only gets used on vacation, meaning we need to take more vacations! 🙂

  13. Birthday blessings, pastor! Wonderful writing about a wonderful day! By the end of the day, no wonder your feet hurt! You have little feet for all that walking! Bueno birthdayo ! You are the best!!!

  14. It sounds like you had a great day! Finding God, in unexpected places is always a wonderful experience! 😄

  15. Happy Birthday! Sounds like an amazing time.

    I was a New Yorker for the last two and a half weeks of Bryon’s life. He was at NYP/Columbia so I could visualize when you said “Washington Heights.” Fascinating city but I am not sure when or if I can return.

    • Thanks so much Kerry. Wow, it sounds like NYC will always hold a special spot in your heart. 🙂 Ah, yes, you know the area well then. Thanks for sharing that. sending big big hugs xo

  16. two thoughts..first Happy birthday! Oh to be twenty one again…secondly, quick story…in 2013 we came to the Big Apple the week before Christmas…we were strolling through Washington Square park and met Larry the Squirrel man and Paul, aka the bird man. We didn’t dance 🙂 but there was an instant connection between Larry and I… It was definitely a divine appointment. Here’s a short clip of Paul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTJcLs7x-aM Later! DM

  17. Wow, I’d love to have a birthday like that. And that old man must have been really cool. I love it when I meet someone and instantly we have this uncanny connection that would not have been obvious at first glance. I think maybe we come across someone and something happens that we both respond to and suddenly we are on the same wavelength, and it is beautiful. I imagine heaven will be like that. We’ll meet people we missed connections with on earth, the salsa music will play, and we will dance – or some equivalent. And it will be like we knew each other all our lives.

  18. Happy belated birthday! It was a beautiful day for a beautiful you. 🙂 I always loved the Cloisters when I lived on Staten Island. So much to see and do in NYC. Hugs to you 💛💛 xoxo

  19. I don’t know what it is, but God usually brings a verse to mind whenever I read your posts! Here is the latest. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2. I love your beautiful heart, Caralyn!

  20. Happy Birthday, Sweet One !! I am so glad you enjoyed every single second of the day !!! Good for you !!! What a special story about the dance with the little old man. I could see him through your description. I could feel the beat and see the joy in both of you !! God is indeed within us all !! You are filled with light, love, and God … and you are beautiful inside and out !! I just told your story to my husband. He said, “God bless her!”
    God has blessed you indeed. your friend, jan

    • Thank you so much Jan. Yeah I am so grateful for such a beautiful with good friends yesterday. God is good. And yes He is within all of us! That’s what makes the world a beautiful place. And wow! Gosh Jan I am so touched by that. Thank you with all my heart:) grateful for you. Hugs and love xox

  21. The Cloisters is a beautiful facility, and far enough off the “beaten path” that few New Yorkers get there. One of the other treats in Manhattan is the walking tours of lower Manhattan, usually led by grad students from NYU — you get to see aspects of the City most people never notice. A lot of fun, if you wear comfortable shoes.
    NY and NJ are the most diverse areas of the US. One school district in NJ has students who speak one or more of 38 different languages. Diversity gives a vitality that you just can’t find in much of the country anymore.

  22. First of all a belated Happy Birthday. You never fail to surprise me with your observations and view on life. I like your spirit of adventure and your wisdom.

  23. That sounds like so much fun!! Happy Belated Birthday!!

    When I first started reading your post it kind of made me think of church…. I know weird? These days when we are singing, the lights are low like in a concert or something. I feel like it separates people. I can remember years ago before the whole “experience” thing was going around, and I could make eye contact with people around me. We used to share in the singing of chorus’ and dance (albeit a tamer version). I miss it so much….. to be able to look at someone you don’t know and just “know” what they are feeling, because you are sharing in the moment.

  24. Interesting. I’ve only been to NYC about half a dozen times. Once on business in 1970’s, a couple of times to visit with my brother who now lives in Harlem. He used to live in upper East side. During one visit we did a matinee and evening performance at the Met. We saw Cav & Pag and Il Trovatore. Standing room only. Loved doing the opera. Harder for me to get back there these days.

  25. You definitely hit on one of the things I love about living in NYC (the culture/diversity), and one of the things I missed when I went off to college for four years. Oh…and happy birthday!

  26. Haha, sounds like quite a scene. I remember my mom introducing me to Celia Cruz. I never cared much for her music, but it reminds me of her.
    !Feliz Cumpleaños!

  27. Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:
    I have had a few birthdays. I know the routine. Decade ones are extra effort all round. In-betweenies are much the same – great fun and special (give or take a few giggles here and a few less giggles there).

    Bu I have never written this about any birthday:

    “We didn’t speak the same language, but we did speak music. We did speak joy.”

    BBB does. Even on her own very special day BBB connects with something that draws me in (and a big bunch of others!). So here is her birthday post. Why not see if she draws you in?

    (as always, for reblogs, comments are closed here – BBB replies to every comment – no matter how many there are – thank you)

  28. Ok I LOVE that you we’re the lead singer in a Latin cover band. That alone *made* this post! You should never enter into another conversation with someone new, ever again, without leading with that! Quirky things like this are fantastic! Now my question is…was anyone Latin in Latin cover band?

  29. My dear friend

    Really nice story 🙂

    But first allow me to congratulate you for your Birthday you had yesterday – although it comes one day later:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY my friend – may God bless you and keep His protecting hand over you.

    Back to the story:
    The spontanious way of both you brought out the sparkle of love and light, of God in you both. – There are so many poor people who have to wear even dirty clothes, drink dirty water, have not even a tooth brush – but what they all have: God in them – and this light is shining sometimes when we have an open heart and greet us warmly from human being to human being, or from heart to heart – this was the language of your heart (his and yours) – often our mind does not allow such spontanious ways and our heart are closed then… God can appear to us in all forms and we are sometimes even testet…

    Big hugs and again for your yesterday’s birthday

    • Hi Didi! oh thank you so much! Yeah, yesterday was a really special day, and Im’ so grateful for that little interaction with that light-emitting man. What a powerful perspective. You’re right – all have God in them. thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  30. Beautiful Post 🙂
    Wish you a very happy birthday dear(belated)….and a very happy new year. I am sure that this year has hiding so many surprises for you…..have a blast and explore them all….
    May God Bless You
    Stay happy and Blessed 🙂

  31. Hey happy birthday to you! I love this post, I really got a lot from it, I’m going through a phase lately where I am really connecting with people on that level and it’s pretty awesome. I love your work, recovery is so astonishing, we learn so much about ourselves and life in general

  32. Happy Birthday sounds like an amazing day and one where a past talent emerged, who knows, this angel may have been sent to make you realise to let loose and have fun like you used to??

  33. Birthdays like this make aging wonderful. I think my favorite line was this one: “We didn’t speak the same language, but we did speak music. We did speak joy.” If only more people could speak joy.

  34. Although I am not a Spanish linguist by any stretch of the imagination, I am a Korean linguist and will just say “Sangil Chuka hamnida!” I hope your day resides in the forefront of your memories for a long time to come!

  35. First and foremost – Happy Birthday! (I’m not a new follower, but I just recreated myself, so to speak).

    And I found this post of yours to be a bit of an enlightenment and I can’t help but remember that his you discuss an ideal that I used to hold as a true principle – the ability to see goodness in everyone. It’s a nice reminder that treating people with kindness and joy and ignoring our human inkling towards judgment is so important, isn’t it?

  36. Happy belated birthday friend!!
    The punch line of your post hit me hard.
    How many times we look at the outside of the package instead of the inside.
    And because of that we miss opportunities to connect and impact!


  37. Belated Birthday greetings and thanks for sharing your happy moments specially the one with the spontaneous dancer….brings everything alive!!!

  38. August 6th, feast of the Transfiguration? What an appropriate birth day, many happy returns! 🙂 My second son was just born that afternoon too, so the joy is spreading!

  39. There you go again.

    Dancing is such a beautiful way of relating. All the words get out of the way, everything that we’ve been taught about God and our place in his creation, and we connect at the deepest level to the truth that we were designed to feel his love pulsing through us.

    When I used to go night-clubbing, the manager at my favorite spot would defend me against people that complained about the way I danced. He said “Brian, what I see is that wherever you are on the dance floor, that’s where the people gather.” An onlooker came up to me one night and said “You know, I took a video of you dancing and posted it on Facebook, and I got 5000 hits.” One night the lead singer of the band stopped between numbers to say “You know, sir, when you dance it’s like watching pure joy.”

    One of the owners came up one night and told me that he never wanted me to dance that way again. So I’ve never gone back.

    Someday maybe we’ll be in the same neck of the woods and go dancing together, Caralyn. I’d love that.


    • Thanks so much Brian! 5000 hits! wow! that’s so incredible. sounds like you’re a great dancer! I’m sorry the owner couldn’t see that. have a great day Brian! Hugs and love xox

      • It’s not how I dance, Caralyn, it’s why I dance. Music creates a shared vibration in the spirits of the listeners. I enter into that vibration and bend it towards love. That is my joy.

        I’ve got changes in my life that I need to manage, so I may not be active here for a while. If you need anything, drop me a note out at one of my blogs.

        Blessings and peace, Brian

  40. Happy birthday! I’m so happy you got to experience a little bit of salsa dancing with God’s beautiful light in another person. I bet the street was shining brightly. I love Celia btw and think it OH SO COOL you were a Latin singer! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post 💕

  41. Happy Birthday! My birthday was yesterday (The 7th) and I was born in Manhattan – Mount Sinai Hospital. I’m excited that we’re planning a trip there next summer for my 30th birthday. My husband has never been to the city! Since I was born at 25 weeks, my parents took me back to the hospital every year until I was 16. The last time I was in the city was when I was 18 and a senior in high school, and my high school orchestra had the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall. I have so many memories of visiting the city, and I cannot wait to show it all to my husband next year!

  42. Happy, happy, happy birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful day in that glorious city of NY (i used to leave there 🙂 ).

    That moment of dancing with the old man is glorious. Each of us is God within, so true! Funny, I just did a post similar to that. When my mom was murdered, I worked through a lot of forgiveness. One thing I had a tough time with was how we are ALL worthy of forgiveness, that it’s not about deserving – it’s about God’s love in each of us. Even her murderer. If you’d like to read it, here you go: https://forgivingconnects.com/2017/08/04/todays-forgiving-fridays-endless-compassion/

    Sending you love. About to go on a “offline” (yes!) retreat on peace with MSIA Spiritual Founder, John-Roger.
    Blessings and again, happy bday! Debbie

    • Aw thanks so much Debbie ! It really was a beautiful day. And that old man was so sweet. I’ll definitely have to check that out. Have a great retreat! Hugs and love xox

  43. I hope you had a great birthday. Birthdays are always special, celebrating a life.What a great day!

  44. Happy Birthday!!! Thank you for taking us, your readers, on this journey with you! What a beautiful glimpse of God you shared! Made me cry and inspired me to see the world around me with some fresh eyes today!

  45. Happy belated birthday! Sounds like you had such a wonderful day. And how cool is that about your history singing in a Latin band.

    And you’re right about finding God in people like the man you described. This is how Jesus saw people, connecting with them, and endearing them to His heavenly Father.

  46. I always love reading your blogs! Happy Birthday Gurly!!!! or belated rather…lol. You’re so right, I think we’re all at fault for judging the outward and not the heart of a person. I’m guilty as charged of it. But when you’re able to take notice of it, then we can change and see things totally different. I posted a post today on my FB page that said “Advice ToMyFutureSelf: Be known as the girl who sees the best in people, not the one with the pretty eye makeup.” This week on the page I’m talking about Self-Reflection, so I understand where you’re coming from. I loved the song too. Have a Wonderful Day my Friend! I wish you many more Birthdays and Self-Discoveries…xoxo

  47. Happy, Happy, Birthday, to YOU!!!!! How our eyes love to view the outside. It reminds me of what Mother Teresa said, “We must see Jesus in everyone.” You know there was a man in the gutter who was dying and maggot infested. She took him and cleaned him up. Put on him fresh clothes and gave him food and drink. Can you imagine a “maggot infested human being?” As he was dying he told her, “As I die I am looking at the face of an angel.” That is probably what that dear man was saying about you. That is what “joy” is, when we see a face of an angel on everyone. Again Happy Birthday. You know I love ya! God Bless, SR

  48. First – HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!

    Fun stuff. You got to do a cultural exchange. And it sounds like that’s what it was – 2 ways. I don’t know the Latin hits but you have an instant “in” with people since you do. That must be very fun but it’s also really powerful.

    A dental proverb – Ignore your teeth and they’ll go away.

    Actually they’ll turn some disgusting colors, smell horribly, then go away causing great pain in doing so. I remember a friend who only had one brown tooth left, one of his top incisors (front narrow teeth). I had only met him a few years before our ways parted, but I remember some of his friends from childhood saying “Remember when he had 2 teeth? Then the other one fell out?” and they laughed him to shame although he wasn’t present.

    Teeth are prominent; and they tell a story. Thank you for hearing that man’s story with compassion instead of revulsion. You were (and are) in that God’s hand extended. Loving the unlovely. You teach us all.


  49. Wow…this is one of the most uplifting articles I have read. And literally, I had a similar experience but missed God in moment (sad). Thank you for writing and thank you above all for continually reading my posts. One more thing – HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANA! FOR THIS YEAR, I WISH YOU NOTHING SHORT OF LOVE, LIFE, LAUGHTER, GOOD HEALTH AND PROSPERITY. MAY OPPORTUNITIES STREAM TO YOU AS A RIVER FLOWING FREE AND MAY YOU HAVE A SUPERB LIFE MOVING FORWARD. May Our Lord and Savior bless you, keep you, and give you peace. Amen!

  50. Awesome and wonderful eventful lovely day you have shared with us. That truly was an amazing time with your day being packaged with a bundle of blessings all that time for you; a fun gift from God. I truly appreciate that you have shared this testimony with us. 🙂 Your testimony is a prime example of how God’s blessings can happen in life. There are infinite and countless of ways that God didn’t have to make things happen in a specific kind of way. Example: From you hearing your favorite melody play to the random guy that enjoyed dancing with you, and so on. If he was smiling and having fun also, yes, I agree with you. It could’ve only been God who could make the most awesome days be THAT much brighter. 🙂

    This makes me recall a moment that happened for my grandmother’s 70th birthday. She wanted to go to the casino and just enjoy her day and have a good time. We all have, but not more than my grandmother had. Not only did she receive a birthday gift from the casino, but whatever song the band on stage nearby was singing and playing, my grandmother was dancing and she even danced with a guy that just so happened to be entering into the casino with his family. We, my mother and I, told the family how old she turned that day and we were surprised to see he, too, didn’t mind dancing with her for the few seconds of time. 🙂

    Great to hear that you enjoyed your outing and your blessed Gift from God that was full of events, laughter, and many, many, SMILES! 🙂 There’s no telling what else He has in store for you in your future, friend. 🙂

  51. This was a GREAT read!! I’m still learning about how all this works as I am only a few days in! I’d rather someone tell me I was the naked dancing halftime entertainment at the super bowl than write a blog. One thing i do know is seeing how successful you are and reading this blog post how talented you are at written communication, I’m rediculously humbled that you took your valuable time to read and like my “date her forever” blog. Sincerely, THANK YOU, I needed that!!

  52. Happy belated birthday! Great post. If we all realized that the Lord is in us all we’d have a much better world. We all struggle with ouside packaging.

  53. What a beautiful encounter (:
    I find the more I know Love, the more I experience Love and allow Love to be alive in me–the more I know the value in Father’s work…. the more I see His face in his children. There’s a beautiful song by Nic and Rachael Billman called Fathers Eyes and it’s so simple and so profound, the final chorus goes, “I look like my Papa; I look like my Papa…” it breaks me apart just thinking about it again because it’s one thing to see Papa in people, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to see Papa in this old peice of work..
    All I want to do is see Papa in you, to see Papa in people–to see Papa in his people, in his children. And to hold up a mirror and say “You look like your Papa.”

    (Gee whirlackers where did that come from? I’m making myself all choked up up on your comments section)

    Happy Wednesday, Caralyn! I’d wish you a happy and blessed new year but I know Papa’s already got you covered on that one (:

  54. Sounds like your birthday was a culturally diverse blessing. Thanks for the reminder to look beyond the exterior and into the windows of the soul. Possibly you were dancing with Jesus.

  55. Yes, it would be so nice if most people saw each other as God truly sees us. God knows our hearts and doesn’t judge us by our appearances. The heart ❤️ is what is so deceitful. Great post!

  56. I heard one time that there is a law against saying that you don’t speak Spanish while also having been lead singer of a Spanish-language band. I heard that somewhere. Was it my mother? No. My father? No. My sister? No. My dog? No. My teacher? No. The prophets? No. Oh, I remember. It was the aliens!!! No…

  57. God Bless you so for going where you went!!! OK now I know I’m talking wayyyyyyyy out, but next year (June or July whenever it ends up), I would LOVE to show you the places I love to go in El Barrio for food and the music I buy. I know thats so far off!! Its wonderful you went up there. I just hope they can survive. There is so much gentrification of neighborhoods losing their vibe going on, its ridiculous. Its all becoming Starbucks and Dunkin and other chains, CHAINS THAT IN MANY CASES NYC DIDN’T USED TO HAVE OR NEED!! Yes NYC had the big stores (Macy’s, Saks, Lord/Taylor) but those stores “branched out” to the burbs. Now you have burb chains coming in and taking over the buildings that once held so many of the indy businesses that NYC was unique for. The song “Lullaby of Broadway” talks about going to Maxy’s and etc.. for latenight drinks etc.. The Maxy’s and all celebrated in that song are disappearing. You live in NYC trying as many have for decades, to make it and are trying to experience the city. Many now are coming, whose “mommies and daddies are loaded”, who bought them their trendy little lofts in places where its not $$$$$ and trendy to live (Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, The Village, Bronx, Brooklyn, etc..) and wanting NOTHING to do with the culture or the vibe. They complain to city leaders if a place has their music up too high during the day outside their store, because they want it like the burbs, with no vibe and the same ol same ol as they knew it where they came from. I’m not saying NYC should go back to days of crummy crimey horrible neighborhood conditions (in so many of those) but there should be a balance. OK, enough from me. I love that you went where you went and that you loved it all!! Next year!! Even if you bring a friend, or if theres a sig other in your life by then, bring them along!! xoxoxoxo

    • Thanks Miguel! yeah, it’s so sad how those iconically new york institutions are quickly being bought out and driven out of there! I nearly cried when FAO schwartz closed. And gosh, what a kind offer! that would be so fun if I’m still here! big hugs to you friend xox

      • Yes, I remember going there on my 1st trip to NYC when I was 12 in 1981. Back then NYC was different. It was a city of business, and many people of many cultures. Tourism was there but it was different. Things were more rugged. Those who DID bring their kids to NYC took them to certain places, like FAO or to the top of The Empire State, or Macy’s/Gimballs etc. They took the Circle Line that went all the way around Manhattan. Now even going to a Yankee game is more dominated by the tourists. Real NYers don’t hardly go, but to Mets or Brooklyn Cyclones etc.. YES, LETS KEEP THAT IN MIND FOR NEXT YEAR!!! TOTALLY!!! XOXOXO

  58. I have a number of similar stories–unexpected encounters with the beauty of humanity beneath the surface–and yet I still forget (daily!) those lessons. Thanks for sharing!

  59. This post really hits the spot! I had a very similar moment in Costa Rica to the tune of “Suave” merengue. So joyous, so spontaneous, so beautiful. I hope you have more moments like this one in the future.

  60. Great post! I love that music is a universal language that we can all share, and I totally agree with you about overlooking the things that matter by being too involved in details and our phones etc. I’m guilty of the same thing!

  61. You NEVER cease to amaze me lady! Happy birthday!!

    Seriously though?? an uppity/cross-fit/health nut/vegan place ??? I am glad you did something MUCH more fun than that!!! (Just kidding, glad it was a great day!)

  62. This was such a cool post!! It’s shifted my perspective of the whole day in front of me. 🙂 also makes me want to visit NYC even more!

  63. Happy Birthday! I’ve enjoyed following your blog. I can relate with so much of your writing, because I had an ed when I was a teen/young adult. That’s why I noticed your blog at first, but I love your candidness when you write! I always pray for certain people when the Lord brings them to my heart, and you’re one of them! 💕

    • Aw thanks Valeria! I’m so sorry that we have that in our pasts that connect us, but I’m so glad that we’re both living in freedom! Thank you for your prayers. I means the world 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  64. First off, I LOVE LA CARNIVAL! It’s my fave salsa song! And it gets me so excited to move and dance and express myself! Second! You are so right! God is in everyone and everything!!! Whether people are so called Christian or of any other faith, they are infused with God. It is like this: the idea of a ship sunken in the depths of the ocean: while the ship contains the water and the water contains the ship, the ship only contains a fraction of the water while the water contains the whole of the ship. This is a Pete Rollins idea. We are the ship and God is the ocean. Beautiful post 🙂