Posted on August 30, 2012

Bohemia Blog by Agent Lu Daley

by Lu Daley

I was born in Jamaica. No, not Queens but the Island of Jamaica. My family moved to New York when I was 7 years old. I grew up in Harlem, and after college I moved back to Harlem. My mom lives about 5 blocks away (hooray for hugs and home cooking) so life is good! At my mother’s house you can hear a continuous soundtrack of artists like Bob Marley, Elvis, Luther Vandross, and of course Michael Jackson. My mother has been my biggest cultural influence. She'd dance and sing around the house while she cooked (she still does) and I'd sit, waiting for her to leave the kitchen so that I could sneak a sample. My love of music led me into the music industry as a music producer and a DJ. I’m pretty sure this has something to do with the fact that people ALWAYS feed DJ's. As a producer, I find inspiration in the music I that I’ve heard in the many neighborhoods of Upper Manhattan, which I lovingly refer to as Uptown.

There is a joke in the U.S about Jamaicans having many jobs. My girlfriend says that I wear so many hats that I am single handedly keeping that joke alive. The funny thing is that creating music, DJing, & being a real estate agent have more in common than most people think. As a real estate agent I enjoy food & music on a daily basis (like DJing, haha). One of the obvious perks of my job is that I get to see beautiful homes everyday. However, a lesser-known bonus is the amount of music & culture that I get to experience. Whether it’s fresh corn & parmesan cheese in Inwood or salsa music & mangos in Washington Heights, Uptown’s neighborhoods are rich with culture and are more than willing to share. I have lunch at restaurants where I can't read the menu. I know the melodies of music that I don't even know the titles of…. my fading college glory days in Spanish 301 wouldn’t help with pronunciations anyway. 

I’ve lived in Manhattan for 20 non-consecutive years. I’ve watched my neighborhood change in many ways. What hasn’t changed is the fact that I am consistently finding little gems both vintage and new. Earlier this week, I noticed a young girl using chalk to draw on the sidewalk. Her father and I spoke about Jazz & art and the next thing I knew I was attending an art exhibit in the beautiful brownstone building the little girl was drawing in front of. I’ve walked by this building more times than I can remember but I never knew that it was regularly used for art shows. I listened to music by Miles Davis while talking to a Puerto Rican artist who splits his time between living Uptown and in Hong Kong.

To say that Uptown is diverse would be an understatement. Uptown isn’t only the Apollo Theatre. It isn’t just a collection of neighborhoods. Uptown is art, culture, music, food, and of course, home.