Depending on where a person is located determines their knowledge of or opinion of this very historical borough in New York City, called the Bronx. It is the only borough preceeded by the word “the” and one rich with culture, history and a style of it’s own. Many from out of town that have never visited here see it as a collage of many different things. Some recognize the Yankees as putting the Bronx on the may. Some believe that it is ridden with poverty, violence and failure. Some know that it is the birth place of hip-hop, which is where the term “Boogie Down Bronx” derived from. Too many more people, it is called home. A place where many cultures have lived, raised generations and never left before passing away. For others, it is home because it is the first place where families lived after arriving from international countries, ranging from Jamaica and Puerto Rico, to the Irish and Italians alike.
Depending on the neighborhood, the Bronx can be considered, at best, a melting pot representing differences blending into one culture. In the Melrose section of the Bronx, you can find busy streets. It is filled with many buses, apartment buildings, courts and shopping districts. Shopping districts offer restaraunts from McDonald’s to the Cuchifrito restaraunts where the food remind many residents of their Hispanic mother land. Travel north a bit and there is City Island, seafood galore. City ISland is very town like, busy in the summer and beautiful all year around. Houses reflect people who work hard, the water and water sports such as fishing almost afford an opportunity for people to forget where they are.
Travel a bit further north and reach Co-op City. It is just that, a small part of the Bronx, like a city of its own, filled with Co-op buildings. Here is where you find Bay Plaza, a mall that is and continues to be expanded which include many stores, restaraunts, a movie theatre and lots of parking to shop all day. It is an outdoor mall. Co-op City has many mini outdoor malls, doctors offices, huge parks and tall co-op buildings. The Wakefield area of the Bronx which is the most northern area of the Bronx, well known for the 2 and 5 trains. Uptown on 241st Street is steps away from Mt. Vernon, a city within the Westchester area of NY.
Highbridge is the western part of the South Bronx. Rich with Irish heritage many decades ago, it is now an enclave of people of various minority backgrounds, many of which have occupied this area for generations. This area is accessible by the 4 and D train. The Grand Concourse runs from 138th Street uptown to Van Courtlandt. On the Grand Concourse, you will find the msot historical buildings including The Bronx Museum of Art, Hostos Community College and The Edgar Allen Poe Park. Yes, Edgar Allen Poe, the poet, amongst many other buldings reflecting artistic architecture.
Fordham Road is known to many. It runs from far east to far west and encompasses many stores, modes of public transportation and street vendors as well as a state of the art library located on the far east side. Tremont Avenue is an avenue that runs a large distance also. Tremont runs from University Avenue in HIghbridge to Throggs Neck, yet another wealthy and residential area of the Bronx. Riding through Tremont Avenue, one will pass the Bronx Zoo as well as Parkchester. The Riverdale section of the Bronx, which was predominantly Jewish many years ago has buildings with doormen, private schools such as Fieldston where the tuition is over $30,000 annually. It is also the home of Van Courtlandt Park. Travel east of Riverdale and you will see an area called Kingsbridge. Kingsbridge encompasses a beautiful lanscape on the campus of Herbert H. Lehman College along with St. James Park which covers a large area of ground.
The Castle HIll section of the Bronx is both residential and commercial. It runs along the 6 train which also cover Pelham Bay and Longwood Avenue. Mosholu Parkway area is a small area where there are many buildings and shopping areas as well as very little parking. It is also where Montefiore Hospital and DeWitt Clinton High School is located. Botanical Garden, a park with surreal flowers and many activities is located within walking distance of Mosholu Parkway. Then there is the area called,”Little Italy”, a bit south of Fordham Road on the East side. This section was at one point a neighborhood only occupied by Italians. Today it is not that much different though many other cultures live there. The pizza shops in this area are still made in brick ovens and the apartment buildings have not been renovated to the point where the history has been totally devastated. A few blocks south of there in the Mt. Eden, Claremont section of the Bronx, while poor in socioeconomics, is rich in community and culture. This is where Bronx Lebanon Hospital is located as well as many community outreach programs to rehabilitate and restore the community.
There is so much history in the Bronx. Throughout the summer, fire hydrants blast to cool the people and the concrete. Ice cream trucks are out in the morning until after the sun goes down. On any given day, you may see a cart seeling coco icees or slushes. Cotton candy carts and people selling watermelon from the south or mango slices from the Caribbean are constantly stopping by. It is often called NYC’s best kept secret. The culture is rich in history and intellect. Many celebrities from Colin Powell and Luther Vandroos to Jennifer Lopez and Flavor Flav, to name a few, all started here. It would be amazing to visit and a place where lessons are countless.
See my blog titled, “Bronx Spots” for sightseeing locations as well as additional information on this beautiful city.