Albany’s Lark St. is Talking, Are You Listening?
Tuesday afternoon, my phone started blowing up with text messages from people asking me if I had seen what they were painting on Lark Street. Somewhat embarrassed, I admitted that I hadn't. I live off of Lark Street in Albany, just a few blocks from where city workers were out in the heat since 9AM with boards, heavy machinery, and lots of blood, sweat and tears painting "Black Lives Matter" in big, bold, yellow letters on Lark from Lancaster to Hudson. I couldn't wait to take a walk down and check it out. As I made my way down, neighbors I hadn't seen in a while and many others were out on Lark Street to catch a glimpse. I often complain about life on Lark. It's loud, it's bumpy, it's unpredictable but in many ways, I really do love it; sometimes I just love to hate it. The endless fireworks, the ridiculous lack of parking, the morons on dirt bikes, the odd people out at all hours of the night and I could go on and on.
But when Lark Street gets it right, they get it right. And the the city of Albany - along with In Our Own Voices - didn't just get it right, they got it right when we needed it the most.
Lark Street is such a diverse and eclectic melting pot of people, businesses, strangers and community. On any given day you'll see people of all races, colors, and nationalities. All walks of life grabbing a slice of pizza, getting a coffee, walking their dogs, or just strolling the streets. Take a look around and you'll see legislators, skateboarders, hippies, community leaders, homeless guys, police officers, college students, bar owners, etc. talking to one another or just minding their own business.
The streets between Lancaster and Hudson on Lark aren't exactly the smoothest of paved Albany roads. Actually, they're quite imperfect and bumpy, just like we are.
But if you take a ride down to Lark to check out the streets, you'll see a fresh coat of paint on this old road. It's in big, bold, bright yellow letters that reads "Black Lives Matter."
I encourage you to not only look, but to listen as well. The streets between Lancaster and Hudson are telling you and me and everyone else something. And many people are listening in ways we've never listened before.
Are you? If not, perhaps it's time for a fresh coat of paint.