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Mark Davis, 30Tenant, Son of Owner, Driver at Iyaho Social Services
Lives with: Mother, aunt, and daughter Amaya, age 1.
Before I was born, my grandmother used to live in a house, then into the projects. So they wanted to get back to that. They wanted that sense of ownership again. I wouldn’t mind staying here. [Amaya] is 1. Me and her mom rotate. Her mom lives in a rough neighborhood. She lives in Armstrong projects. Not to say that this block is not a rough neighborhood, but because it’s smaller than the projects, you get to know everybody. And it’s way more quiet. So for her to see more perspectives, the rough side and the not-so-rough side, I think that’s a good balance. And also, the fact that she sees that her father lives in a house, the other side of the family, we live in a house. Maybe someday, from her watching me, because I’m going to be the owner of the house, she’ll be like, “Okay, my father can get a house, I can get a house, I can have this sense of ownership someday.” So I think it’s good for her.
Daphne BooneCurrent Owner
Lives with: Her sister
Moved from: Marcy Houses in Williamsburg
I lived in Marcy Houses in Williamsburg before. I spent 30 years of my life there. My sister and I bought this house together. This was a good catch here. Compared to Williamsburg, it was quiet. There was a lot going on in Marcy — gunshots, gangs forming. It was getting rough, and I had a son that I had to think in terms of. He was about 10 at the time.
Mind you, when we moved on the block, we discovered that my sister knew most of the people from her job at the bank, which was on Grand Street. Everybody said: “I know you, Cynthia! I know you!” And they came over to welcome us.
At the time, my father was alive and his brothers, and they knew how to work on a house. They helped us along the way. He did this floor in the living room, a lot of plastering. What I love about this home is it still has its original details: the mantels, the moldings, stained-glass windows. Some of the doors are still original. People now, they buy these homes and make them look like a Long Island home — knock out walls and open everything up. Which is nice. I’ve been to quite a few brownstone tours, and the things that those people did to their homes — amazing. But this, I like to keep it traditional.
My father was a truck driver. He loved the fact that we bought a home. That was something he wanted to do in his life that he never got a chance to do. Me and Cyndi were the first ones in the family to buy a home. That was a big deal for my father. He was proud of us. The funny part—he thought we were gonna ask him for some money to get the house. He had it ready, the money part. I said, “We don’t need your money.” But he wanted to feel like he had something to do with it. We let him help us — do the floors, whatever he wanted to do. We allowed him to use the backyard for his farming. He grew everything under the sun. Oh boy, he grew collard greens, cabbage, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers. He built a shed back there, in the backyard. My father was from Virginia, and it would kinda take you back to the South — you know, the homemade sheds. It reminded him of home. That’s what he wanted. He missed the South. That’s where he’s buried now. He always said he wanted to go back home.