Emily's May Inspiration "There Goes The Hood"
It was more than a restaurant, it was a symbol. And in the past decade, the last man standing in a sea of homogeny brought on by outsiders visiting the East Village on the weekends; dabbling in the hip, artistic, and edgy. Fact is MAMA'S was the neighborhood. At ten dollars a plate with a choice of meat and three sides, MAMA's was the spot you went for down home comfort. Nestled on 3rd St btw A & B, I walked past this soul food spot daily back in the nineties, sometimes stopping in just for a side of mash potatoes when the city got rough. They had the best veggies too, and if you didn't want meat you could get an extra side with their mac and cheese rivaling no other.
I encourage my yoga students to embrace change, to accept the only constant in our lives is just that. But as my old street in Alphabet City morphs into more and more sameness - that chain store, homogenized look that plagues our country - I have to cry out, 'Why this hood!?' Why the spot where artists flocked to so they could be different and accepted? With the fortune tellers, druggies, and performance artists singing their tunes, graffiti walls and dive bars that embrace all kinds... Why must the demographic who desires sameness, who feels more comfortable in an OLIVE GARDEN than an authentic Italian dive invade the one place on the planet where we screwed the Man?
Those who infest the East Village on the weekends are in no way supporting the community and those who inhabit it. They leave and go back to their commutes and cubicles, and tell stories about how they had a 'crazy' weekend in the village. We lived there, many old-schoolers still do. It's our home, and place's like MAMA'S, or the old KING'S PHARMACY replaced by a DUANE READE were our pride, our joy and choice to remain original, authentic to ourselves. Most moved to the East Village against their society's wishes. To a far away land where parentals did not understand paying a thousand dollars a month for a shoebox apartment on Ave C, but we did and sacrificed to be there. The natives know the secret to Alphabet City is its character, its funkiness, and constant groove we so adore. With the closing of MAMA'S, I dare say...there goes the hood.