Tue | Jun 19, 2018

'Town' is fun again

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Edna Manley's statue Negro Aroused on the Kingston waterfont. -Norman Grindley / Chief Photographer
The beautiful waterfront in downtown Kingston. - photos by Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer
Boys dive from a tree at the Kingston waterfront in downtown, Kingston. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Anyone who has been downtown recently will probably tell you that things are changing there, and quickly too. New shops and restaurants are popping up all over the place and, because of this, the atmosphere feels different than it did a few years ago.

This change is what I stood just outside the iconic Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street talking about, with Myrna, a slim middle-age woman who was waiting on a taxi to take her uptown.

"Everything start get more develop. It start get back to how things was once upon a time," she said.

Myrna told me she lives in Allman Town and has a neighbour who is thinking about opening her own pastry shop near the waterfront.

"Everybody start open place now, because more people start come downtown again. If she can get the likkle shop and start a ting, den mi know it will do well," said Myrna.

Beep! Beep! A white station wagon was approaching and Myrna stuck out her arm. The car screeched to a stop in front of us. "Anyhow, next time!" said Myrna. She got into the car and it drove off.

A bushy-haired man wearing lamentable short-pants walked over from across the road. I had noticed him standing there while Myrna and I were speaking.

"Big boss, mi hear yuh talking bout how town ah change," he said.

"Ef yuh go pon di waterfront yuh will see how di place nice up," he said. I asked him if he went there regularly. "Yeah man," he said, with wide eyes. "Is my likkle chill spot dat. More time mi will tek a walk and go hold a meds. Down there nice, man," he said.

"My grandmother used to live on Duke Street and di town what she tell mi bout is not like what we know town is. But di change and di improvement what we start see mek mi start know what she was really talking about now," the man said.

I told him I would head down to the waterfront to see what he was talking about.

Man napping

Close to 15 minutes later, I was sitting on a concrete bench looking out at the water. A man was napping on the grass not far to my right, while a woman and child walked hand in hand a few feet away.

There were some huge ships in the harbour and the water was very still. It was a breezy mid-morning and the sun was bearable, so it was quite comfortable. There was some movement on the ground near to me as the napping fellow stirred from seemingly blissful slumber. He was wearing dark sunglasses and, as he sat up, he looked in my direction. Not knowing really what else to do, I nodded and smiled. He took the glasses off and looked around.

"Ah when mi reach yah so?" he said, mainly to himself. I asked him how he could possibly not know that. He didn't respond, but rubbed his eyes with great energy.

I asked him what he was doing there, hoping that by now he had found his bearings.

"Mi just cooling out, yuh know," he said, putting the shades back over his eyes.

I told him of my earlier conversations and what people had said about the waterfront. He nodded.

"Is true. Mi always deh bout di place and mi like the runnings," the man said.

"Things start pick up, so yuh find more people coming out here fi relax. Is a good ting, man. Is really a good ting fi see."

Where should Robert go next? Let him know at robert.lalah@gleanerjm.com