The Final Photo
When I first moved to New Brunswick over two years ago, I rented an uncomfortably small studio apartment at 264 Townsend Street. When friends came to visit, they told me that I lived in the ghetto. This was news to me.
The only obvious distinction between the community I resided in and that of my friends was, as I could see it, the color of my neighbor’s skin. Townsend Street was no more or less glamorous than any other part of New Brunswick. As I spent more time in the city, I began to fall in love with my surroundings, and I began to pity those who, out of fear of what is different, ignored all the beauty of the expansive community south of George Street.
In fact, as more time passed, I found more to appreciate in everything else around me than what was to be found on Rutgers campus. Townsend Street was and still is beautiful. There are families everywhere, and there are children playing in the streets. There is history on every block, and people have the most incredible stories waiting to be heard. If you never stop to look or listen, though, you will never know.
And that’s the one lesson I can take away from my two years living in New Brunswick: stop, look, listen, and ask. It is easy to make assumptions based on the details we see on the surface, but rarely, if ever, are those beliefs accurate or complete. No history book or archive will ever capture all of wild, colorful stories strewn throughout these ignored streets. If you want the complete story, you have to seek it out yourself. Even today, historic events are happening right in the heart of New Brunswick. Occupy protests and unrest over police brutality are rattling the entire city. Understanding all the nuances from our past informs us of where we are in the present, and being active in the present empowers us to change where we are headed in the future.
I wish that I was able to catalog more stories and photographs for this project. There are many more stories to be heard, and I hardly scratched the surface. Unfortunately, I have now moved away from New Brunswick, so it is sadly time for The Healthcare City project to come to a close. I will be starting a new project for my new home in the coming months—and I would be humbled if you continued to follow my work—but for now, I will leave you with the final photo as a goodbye.
Thank you and warm regards,
February 20, 2012