Flip Flop Flying

The 4th

with 4 comments

I don’t know how other non-natives feel when they’re in the States on the 4th of July, but for me, having been here for the past two Independence Days, I seem to self-define my role at celebrations as the jokey redcoat, still holding onto the idea that one day, we Brits will reclaim the colonies. Not something I believe in, of course, but, what other reaction is there when someone says “Happy fourth!” to me? The U.K. seems to lack a day of celebration like this. I guess that’s what we get for bombing around the world and taking all the good stuff back in the day.

My friend Jennifer and I went to a backyard party in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Nice do. Friendly people. Beer. We all went up onto the roof via the treacherously dangerous fire escape stairs and watched the firework show that was going on over the Husdon River, the other side of Manhattan. Seems a bit odd to me that the New York City fireworks were entertaining a bunch of people in New Jersey rather than one of the other boroughs of New York City, but there you go. It was pretty. And some folks on the street below got out their less-impressive fireworks and their incredible loud firecrackers for all to enjoy, too.

There was one moment, though, that captured the evening beautifully; a moment that made me a little sad that I’ll be leaving this wonderful country on Tuesday. I went to the bodega on the corner of the street to buy another six-pack. As I walked along the street, I passed a family sat in their front yard, listening to the loud Mexican music playing on their parked car’s stereo, and as I got closer to the store, that music blended into “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

That song was coming from a sound system outside the bodega. All manner of people were gathered outside in this traditionally Polish neighbourhood, drinking out of brown paper bags, and dancing arm-in-arm to a Stevie Wonder song. There’s no tangible reason why it felt like this, but it felt like such a perfectly American moment, probably a perfectly New York moment. I’m really gonna miss it here.

Written by Craig

July 5th, 2009 at 11:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses to 'The 4th'

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  1. As another Alien Brit I feel exactly the same about the 4th. I too joke to myself and other Brit aliens that it's time for the US to abandon the independency experiment and come back to the motherland. But I think the best attitude is that if you can't beat them, join them and love or hate our hosts they do know how to throw a party. They are also gracious enough not to tar and feather us every year on this day. Happy 4th Craig!

    David R

    5 Jul 09 at 19:10

  2. We are going to miss you too.


    5 Jul 09 at 20:43

  3. Dude…we miss you. Come back soon.


    5 Jul 09 at 20:57

  4. Next time a party just a tad to the left of centre takes over the Empire Upon Which The Sun Never Sets. . .a party who would say "Help you take Iraq? Not on yer life, Mate!", y'all do a Falklands number and you can have it back. Lynne Truss for PM! She could appoint you Lord Mayor of New York.

    In the meantime, have you thought of selling some of the incredible pix you've been giving us? Seriously?

    Do come back, though. Remember, there are no Kinkajous here. . .


    6 Jul 09 at 03:25

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