It used to be you couldn’t walk down Knickerbocker Avenue without hearing the lascivious utterances of the words “mami” or “papi.” Between overweight Dominican men getting aroused at anyone with a vag walking by and shouting “God bless you mami!” and curvaceous women wearing too-tight shirts purchased from nameless discount stores cooing, “Oye papi,” it was enough to make you feel like you were well outside the confines of New York.
But alas, the prevalence of white children in the area has aided in the ousting of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans alike, priced out of their shitty tenements by those willing to pay more for them. “I was like doin’ my own goddamn thing before these gringos and snowflakes came along. Now I gotta go back to the DR–and I ain’t talkin’ about Duane Reade,” seethed Manuel Gamundi, a 45-year-old who occasionally sells loosies on the street corner at Knickerbocker and Myrtle Avenue.
Other mamis formerly a presence on the street have also been relegated to outer-Bushwick areas like New Lots Avenue. Claudia Contreras, a 29-year-old frequenter of art exhibits at places like Little Skip’s spat, “Dees kids ain’t gonna hear ‘mami’ or ‘papi’ ever again. From now on, it’s just gon’ be mommy and papa. Mad bland.” As the disappearance of these words persists, it will be interesting to note what sort of pickup lines are bandied on the streets without these epithets to smooth the process along. We’re guessing phrases like, “Oooo, look at that sweet earner over there” and “Mm, check those Paige Denim Jeans hugging that cellulite-free posterior” to be potential replacements.
Written by Genna Rivieccio