You are currently browsing the stories about the Bronx neighborhood

Happy Father’s Day

by 06/15/2019
Neighborhood: Bronx, New Jersey

The phone call came on a steamy summer morning, while I was stuck in traffic on the Central Park transverse, the Met’s Temple of Dendur off to my right. A nurse from my father’s hospital equivocated her way through the call. He had been in failing health. “Where are you now?” she finally asked, with […]

From The New Plantation

by 05/12/2019
Neighborhood: Rikers Island

Lessons from Rikers Island That first morning, I was stopped by the correction officers just before the bridge that leads to the 413-acre, liver-shaped island in the middle of the East River between Queens and the Bronx.  I was struck by how bored the COs acted. It was as if they were telling me there […]

Memories of a Bronx Childhood

by 01/20/2019
Neighborhood: Bronx, Tremont

  I have reached that age where childhood memories have become as vivid as my adult ones. It’s not that my 1940s childhood was full of drama. I had few traumatic experiences, though I do remember, as an innocent, uncomprehending five year old, a queasy encounter with an insidious stranger who wanted to buy me […]

Summer of ’68

by 09/30/2018
Neighborhood: Castle Hill, Lower Manhattan, South Ferry

As the 6 train chugged past grimy buildings in dicey neighborhoods, I felt I was being safely transited through vast danger zones. In those days before air conditioning, the train’s windows were kept open, so the amplified sound of screeching brakes and rumbling wheels was a constant assault. Mature ladies fanned their dripping faces with […]

The Therapist Who Was Always Late

by 09/24/2018
Neighborhood: Bronx, Chelsea, Co-op City, Upper West Side, Washington Heights

As a young man in my mid-twenties in the late ‘70s, I was in a precarious state. I had just failed miserably at an attempt to work at a job on the west coast and was back with my parents in Co-op City. I was on the list for a civil service job at the […]

My Pelham Parkway—an Old Friend Fades Away

by 06/17/2016
Neighborhood: Bronx

My first encounter with the Pelham Parkway neighborhood took place in my mid-teens, around 1970, when my grandparents moved to a building at Lydig and Wallace. Most of the Jews in the Bronx were moving to Co-op City or the suburbs, but Pelham Parkway was very likely the last of the old-fashioned Jewish immigrant neighborhoods […]

An Unsentimental Education

by 12/09/2014
Neighborhood: Bronx

In a school full of hard cases, Theresa Fulife was the hardest. She looked like the oldest kid in the eighth grade because at 16 she was. Her scarred, nearly six-foot muscular frame looked like it had been tattooed by a drunken sailor. Her face resembled the pitted surface of some foreign planet. Her hair […]

Jews Playing Basketball

by 11/06/2014
Neighborhood: All Over, Bronx, Brooklyn, Lower East Side

New Yorkers of a certain age who dig hoops can tell you that there is a lot of Jewish DNA in the city game. Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, an instructor at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, but the game’s popularity really took off early in the 20th century in the settlement […]

First Steps

by 07/18/2014
Neighborhood: Bronx

“Mommy—Don’t go to work,” said my two-year-old daughter said, who’d just started speaking in sentences. As I put on my jacket, she began to cry. I kissed her cheek, and said, “I’ll be home later.” The babysitter fed her, and I closed the door. I heard her sobbing as I charged down the hallway. I […]

Uninvited Guest

by 05/28/2014
Neighborhood: Bronx

We were living in a tenement apartment building in the Bronx, and it was full of all things common to such. I was doing the breakfast dishes one Saturday morning when I felt something feathery run over my bare foot. Of course, I already knew what it was, but I screamed anyway. Ahhh!!!!!!!!!!!! My four-year-old […]

Vesuvius Ave.

by 05/08/2014
Neighborhood: All Over, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island

May and the city rejoices in spring, in light and color, in the sheer goodness of life and its improvements. Spring shows us that things do indeed get better; it’s not all decline — old buildings sparkle, trees quiver in green, mundane streets are remade as pageants. However, let’s not get carried away. Sure, it’s […]

What’s in a Name

by 05/06/2013
Neighborhood: Bronx, Midtown

Sitting in the second row of the balcony at the New York City Center ballet, I, sixteen, entranced by the melodies of Swan Lake, watched a tall, muscular sun-god pirouetting and jeteing on the stage. As he soared, I gasped at the height of his jumps and his sure-footed landings. But I had not come […]