Neighbors

After A Brother’s Death, Neighbor Marika Hughes Learns To Live Again In Ditmas Park

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Marika Hughes

What does it mean to be home? To know that the place where you live is more than a haphazard assortment of furniture – that, amidst the wooden floors and old photographs and even the dirty dishes breeding in the sink, it’s a place where you feel as though some piece of the world makes sense?

In The Moth’s latest podcastmusician and neighbor Marika Hughes tells the story of how she arrived in Ditmas Park – and, how, after a whirlwind of devastating events, including her brother’s death, she knew that the apartment nestled in an old Victorian was the place  where “I could breathe again.”

I won’t tell the entire story here, because it’s definitely worth listening to (you have to download it – but it’s free).  Suffice to say, it’s a story about a musician – a cellist, to be exact – who, after living in the parlor apartment of a brownstone in Harlem “realized I actually wanted to live in Brooklyn.”

First, Marika (who you have probably seen playing around the neighborhood,  from the Beverley concert series to Celebrate Brooklyn!) moved to a spot in Prospect Heights that “was what a realtor would call charming, but it was tiny.” There, for three years, she lived while touring and making records and falling in and out of love.

Then, after getting a phone call that her brother had died in England, Marika begins a search for a place where she could begin to heal.

While at “one of my favorite music events in the city – Celebrate Brooklyn,” Marika told a friend her plan:

“I’m going to find a full one bedroom apartment with good light, a cross breeze, a window in the bathroom, a bathtub, an eat-in kitchen in a nice building in a neighborhood I’d like to live in, near the train – and all on a musician’s salary,” she said.

And her friend laughed.

But, she found it. And when she did?

“I realized, yes, this is where I can live.”

We’d love to hear your stories about how you or your family came to Ditmas Park. When did you realize it was home? And what does it mean to you to be at home here?

Photo via Marika Hughes.

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