These everyday New York City images by Yoanne Lemoine are what my world looked like as a kid growing up in Queens.  It’s funny how this French chick is so into this stuff.  These photographs capture all the things that made me desperate to get away, but now feel kind of bittersweet.  Europeans are always obsessed with things like this.

She also made a bunch of videos about “young New Yorkers” – none of whom are from New York.  Not so into those.

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Clapping Queens


This is what my childhood looked and sounded like. I love this sound. So I looked into the history and cultural role of girls’ hand clapping games.

Apparently these girl-centric singalongs are an important part of oral culture. As I knew growing up, there are a variety of distinct families of games that were played in various versions, and were specific to different areas, classes, and ethnicities. The hand clapping games you grew up with are indicative of where you came from. The little Spanish girls I grew up with in Elmhurst and Jackson Heights all played Hello Operator, Aatchi Katchi, Miss Lucy, and a perverse version of “Oh Little Playmate.” I was the Hello Operator queen. I think the white girls must have played Pat-A-Cake and the clean “Oh Little Playmate” because I never even heard of either until I was about twelve and we moved to a nice neighborhood. Apparently there is no “correct” version of any game though everyone always fights over whose verses are “right” or “real”. That was half the fun.<br