Please join the COA family in welcoming our newest writer, Erick Sierra! Erick’s bio is available on our ‘Our Roots‘ authors page.
In what part of New York City did you grow up?
I grew up in the fascinating Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. As I will explore in a piece on COA, the neighborhood transformed from a multi-ethnic working class haven into the global polestar of hipster cool. It was fascinating to experience the whole transition and to feel myself transforming along with the neighborhood. In many ways, I feel like some sort of embodied version of Willy-B, as it now teems with hipsters yet is still dotted throughout with Puerto Ricans—undying pulses of a former life.
Were you a nerd, jock, smoking-in-the-boys-room, or N/A in high school; and followup,
which would you have been in hindsight?
It’s interesting how this question connects to the first question. I was in high school in Williamsburg as the neighborhood was transforming. But I was also hanging out a lot with my homeboys in Greenwich Village (shout to Galex!), where I worked throughout my sophomore year at a Ben & Jerry’s on 6th Avenue. The Village was black, Puerto Rican, white; gay, straight, bi; sartorially and artistically explosive; a place where writers from the 60s (now much older) sat side-by-side Warhol at the café. This exhilarating eclecticism left its mark on me and my friends.
What inspired you to share your stories on the COA blog?
One thing the artist does is observe, and one thing we go to art for is observation—to observe the world through another’s eyes and, in the best of instances, to discover it there anew. As I explored the blog, it seemed to me a place filled with fascinating observations. I love to travel—in a very real way, I live to travel—and the blog seemed a wunderkammer of objects and places from across the US. My notebook is filled with such kinds of observations, and I wanted a place to share them.
Deep dish or thin crust? Be honest…
Deep dish and thin crust came together to make a baby: the Sicilian. Now that’s what
I’m talking about.