Copyright Vivian R. Carter 2009
When I first arrived in NYC in 1979, I began to learn the wonders of Yiddish from this “nice Jewish boy” I had planned to marry. Although that union never occurred, I decided to stay in the city and so, Yiddish expressions have become a part of my vernacular. Oy vey says so much. It says: “what was I thinking?” It shouts: “you must be kidding!” And who could resist the rhyme of “Oy Vey, Rockaway?”
The Rockaway Peninsula is a lovely, fascinating, frustrating place to live. Buy a house, become a block captain of the homeowner’s association, bear some children, join the PTA, and before you know it, you’re in the thick of it. Oy vey, Rockaway!
There is beauty, even splendor, in Rockaway’s natural world, but there is also dysfunction in many important aspects of civic life. Getting to know and understand this place is like peeling an onion. After 20 years, I feel like I’ve only gotten down to two or three layers of the onion. Oy vey, indeed!