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Legendary Hood Spot#2

May 21, 2008



197 St.James place is one of those buildings that can easily be over looked when walking around perusing the neighborhood.  There’s never much activity or foot traffic coming in or out but from my understanding and looking at the symbols below the “Orient Temple” sign, it indicates that it is a masonic temple. In the nineties there was a group of guys from the hood, who promoted parties under the moniker House of Power and this was one of their venues. It was here I attended my first “real” party as a teen…by real I mean it was not a party for my age demographic, it was moreso for the 18-24 year old age bracket. When your 14 or 15 years old, this is a MAJOR gap! I remember it like it was yesterday…


            My hands perspired profusely, while I clutched the five dollar bill which was the cost of admission to the party; I was anxious and nervous at the same time.  Upon entering with the smell of marijuana and cheap malt liquor permeating the air, I immediately surveyed my surroundings. To my delight the ratio of women to men was a good one, it was not what’s referred to in Brooklyn as a “sausage party”(you figure it out).  The partygoers ranged from thugs, gangsters, stick-up kids to college students, civil service workers, nine to fivers and everyone else in between. It seemed like I was being greeted by everyone…”BK, what’s up” …I never realized I knew so many people or that so many people knew me but it felt good, I felt “grown”. The vibe was jubilant, the atmospehere was festive, when DJ Disco Rick abruptly stopped the music. The crowd let out an “awwww” in unison, then a powering voice came through the speakers…”shout out to fulton street!“. Disco spun an instrumental and the artist to later be named Notorious B.I.G proceeded to rock the mic, to the crowds approval. I heard him rhyme before, but to be able to command a crowd, who did not come to see some no name rapper and were in the mist of getting there “party on” was impressive. This was 17 years ago and everytime I walk past The Orient Temple it evokes these memories. That night was a coming of age for me. And to people who complain about noise in the area now, man oh man to say you wouldnt have liked this period would be an understatement lol. After the party was the after-party either on this block or on Fulton street!! Now in hindsight I feel bad about depriving my fellow neigborhood folks of sleep…but I was young, it was fun and I can’t imagine my life being void of these experiences.




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