I was born in a Manhattan hospital, but my mom took me home to 917 Sheridan Avenue on the corner of 163rd street in The Bronx. At the time she rented a studio apartment that was bigger in square footage than some one bedrooms for rent today. Besides a small foyer and iron stair rails that led you into the sunken living room/bedroom, my mother kept my new crib in a small room by the kitchen. Our windows faced the inner courtyard belonging to the Art-Deco building, gated to keep outsiders off the property and, eventually, it's tenants too.
It was 1977 and although most of the Jewish families who occupied these beautiful apartments with the huge casement windows, crown and chair molding and spacious rooms moved elsewhere, leaving the building to the Puerto Ricans and Blacks who now dominated the neighborhood, you can still see the Mezuzahs affixed on almost every door frame. The sunshine still illuminated the marbled floors of the lobby and the Otis elevators welcomed you in with their doors open wide.
Growing up in what was once considered opulent and wealthy accommodations, 917 Sheridan Avenue was a world in which I played in, made life-long friends that I still maintain til this day, went to school, learned to play the violin, played the best childhood games, discovered boys, enjoyed house parties and most of all experienced a youth in the mist of what I consider to be the best borough in New York.
For what I hope to be a long time, I 'd like to share poignant stories of my experience, good and bad regarding The Bronx. I also ask my fellow Bronxcites, whether you used to live here or still do, to share your stories as well. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the streets that raised me and that are now raising my children, this is our boogie down...The Boogie Down Bronx.