Growing up in Jersey always felt....incomplete. There was more out there, just had to get out of this town. A whole world awaits. Life didn't seem suited for the suburbs. The city was calling so making the move to Brooklyn was a no brainer. It immediately felt like home. It was home, and we never looked back. Days turned to weeks, weeks to years, years to.....well, we basically never left. Everything we loved or needed was all right here. Jersey will always be our first home filled with amazing childhood memories, lifelong friends, summers at the shore....but...Jersey was now just a short drive away. Fine with us. We had bigger and better things to conquer. We spent years exploring, learning, integrating, and loving city life. Everything about NYC is electrifying; the people, the pace, the vibe...and the history all around us.
After establishing Gotham Soul, we fell deep into a research rabbit hole. The more we read about the settlers, the more questions we had and the more we wanted to know. We were consumed with the stones, the stories they told, the carvers who etched these words and symbols on them. As we read, we learned that many of the carvers moved south after the English took lower Manhattan (then New Amsterdam) from the Dutch. They settled in new locations but continued to carve. Other researchers found a high concentration of their stones...in a graveyard...in the town that we grew up in?!?! Did I read that right?! The same cemetery that we attended girl scout meetings in at the church? The same cemetery that we drove through to see the living nativity before Christmas every year? How did we never notice these stones before? We had to get back there. Back to our hometown. Back to our roots.
And so, one weekend we were down visiting friends, we made a pit stop to the place we knew so well, and there they were. The stones!!!! More questions. More stories to be told. And so another connection was made. One that led directly to the very essence and founding of our brand. The importance of getting back to your roots and understanding the importance of where we all came from and appreciate all the people and things that made these cities and towns that we live in so amazing. Its something that needs to be honored, preserved, and respected. Its up to us to preserve these memories and do our part to make it a better place.
To quote a tombstone from the cemetery in our hometown "Behold and see as you pass by, as you are now so once was I, as I am now so must you be, Prepare for death and follow me". Very dark, but very true. The Dutch were very aware of the reality of death and so our time here must be appreciated and used wisely.
What will you do with your time?
Our research continues. There's so much to learn and so much to share.
This section of our blog will be dedicated to the amazing cities we collectively call home and the people that historically helped to build them into the amazing places that they are today. So join us as we venture back in time and bring you the stories of our totally awesome past.
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