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Written by Gabriela Bararata 
I wake up early in the morning, up at 5:00 AM, when the break of dawn is coming 
through my window. 
 I brush my teeth, fix my hair and do my morning prayers (I’m Buddhist), I put on my 
oversized headphones. On my way to the train station I pass Dunkin Donuts. There is 
always a line, no matter the time of the day. I take the 7 train to Midtown Manhattan, 
where I work as a hostess at a Greek Diner. I spend nine hours of my day, six days a 
week there, but I think about coming back to my neighborhood and how much I like it 
there almost all the time. 
On this particular morning I have a cup of coffee and read New York Magazine. I come 
across an article about the best neighborhoods in New York City. And there you are, 
Sunnyside! You are number three! 
Automatically my competitive side kicks in, and I start showing the article to my 
coworkers. Some of the waitresses are Greek and live in Astoria. They think their 
neighborhood is better than Sunnyside, even though Astoria only makes number eleven 
on the list.  
On my way back to Sunnyside I start making a list of things I have to do when I get 
home. One of them is doing my laundry, one of my most dreadful duties, but there is no 
escape. It’s either doing laundry today or buying new clothes tomorrow. When I get off 
the train, I see the “churro lady” (churros are pastries that look similar to cannolis from 
South and Central America). Across the street is the Taco truck. Yummy, me love some 
taco please! The fruit guy is also there. I say ‘hi’ and think about how these images of 
people on the street make Sunnyside familiar to me.  
On my way to the laundry, I walk through the park. Two ladies are looking at a tree, 
talking about some special bird that lives there and sings beautifully. (Well, maybe not 
that beautifully at 5:00 AM…). A couple of small children are playing with the colorful 
water hoses. The bigger kids are shooting hoops, and everybody seems to enjoy the 
pleasant spring afternoon. The fancy, renovated library is right across the park. It 
welcomes all residents. 
As I take my laundry out of the dryer, I notice that all the dryers are very old but still 
function very well. I was reading the ads on the board out of boredom, when I notice a 
flyer advertising “The Sunnyside Sound Project.” I take some pictures with my camera 
phone and decide to start writing about my day. I think about what makes a neighborhood 
good. There are many factors, but the most important one is its people. Its people make a 
neighborhood happy, pleasant and successful. While the buildings and the scenery of a 
city can be breathtaking, it is the people who make a neighborhood valuable. People who 
own small businesses and who don’t give up, despite the crazy economy and terrorist 

threats. People who are raising their family here, creating new value for the next 
I particularly love this neighborhood because it is my little piece of the world. It is where 
I come to relax after a hard day of work. 

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