Do I live in a Bad Neighborhood?
I live in the Bronx, the place where hip hop was born, aka the boogie down Bronx. New Yorkers only come to the Bronx to visit the Yankee Stadium or the Bronx Zoo. When you tell people that you live in the Bronx theirs faces make the expression of “how are you alive” or “they kill people in the Bronx”. One of my friends always says that his only hope is for me to change my zip code. Unfortunately, the Bronx has a very bad reputation but things are changing. The Bronx is the borough with the lowest income in NYC and the one with the worst health outcomes in the State.
Besides all that, the Bronx is welcoming. You feel sometimes that you are back home, over 50% of the residents in the Bronx are Hispanics, then you add, African American, West Indians, Italians, Jews and many others. We are a mixture of different cultures. We are all hard-working people. I used to live in Brooklyn and when I took a train overnight, it was basically empty. When I moved to the Bronx, the train was packed overnight, from all the people that work in the service industry. From restaurant workers, hotel workers, cleaning workers, parking attendants, you name it. They are there taking the train at night.
I know that they said that your tribe attracts your vibe. Sometimes you make your own vibe no matter where you live. The Bronx is not that bad because we have a mix of incomes and great places. We have little Italy with all the restaurants, stores and open market for a fraction of the price on what Manhattan offers and the same quality. Visit Arthur Ave and you will find out. Just try out Mike’s Deli, you will thank me later. There is a Spanish restaurant everywhere and you can eat for under $10 in those restaurants. My favorite Spanish restaurant is Brisas Del Caribe in Castle Hill. The restaurant is near the best Salsa dance studio in the Bronx Lorenz Latin Dance. Ask for Javier and tell him I sent you. They offer all levels of classes and dancing on Saturday. The studio is less of a school and more of a family.
The rents and housing are more affordable in the Bronx than other boroughs, for now. There are some neighborhoods that are good and you can get more bangs for your buck with space. There is the Throgs neck neighborhood where you can find great restaurants in a quiet neighborhood with water views to die for. We also have a beach and City Island. I love going to the beach. It may not be the prettiest but it is clean. You can’t miss Sundays at Orchard beach for the live Salsa in the summer. We also have City Island, a seafood destination for many. There are tons of restaurants in this beautiful Island in the Bronx. We have a beer brewery and their beers are excellent. We have the Bronx beer hall that I visit when they have Bomba (Puerto Rican music) nights. There are great restaurants and beautiful places to visit like the Botanical garden, Pelham Park (the biggest park in NYC), Lehman College for concerts and plays and their open beautiful campus, Fordham road shopping area or Baychester mall. We are a neighborhood filled with humble, hard-working people and a few wealthy ones. People make you feel at home. Not everything is perfect and we have a lot to improve as a Borough. There are days that I would like to be in a quieter and cleaner neighborhood, but there are some days that I’d not change it for the world.
Come over to my neighborhood and you will love it too