Sara Kirschenbaum
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Bronx Walk!

Posted Tuesday, Apr 03rd, 2012 at 1:39pm

Last week, on March 29, 2012, I set out on my Bronx walk. Every time I am in NYC I like to explore a borough. I had been planning this Bronx walk for a while because my Aunt Frances had offered to take me around the neighborhood where she and my father grew up. I was excited.

I started out, as seems typical for me, under-prepared. I had no map. And no planned route. But I did have my iphone. I got off the #4 subway at 138th. St and the Grand Concourse, and started walking.

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The street, which my aunt said was fashioned after the Champs-Élysées in Paris, seemed a bit decrepit and deserted. I ran into these chickens going to slaughter.

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It was clear that some of the apartment buildings that lined the Grand Concourse were indeed quite grand in their day:

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Soon I passed the County Courthouse and was impressed with the muscular statues in the sunshine.

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And here the Bronx flag and the NYC flag.

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I like the behind the ear kiss in this next one!

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This beautiful woman walked by...No longer is the neighborhood predominently white Jews and Irish Catholics as it was when my father grew up here.

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I veered off of the Grand Concourse to head to Yankee stadium. I absolutely adore this collection of perfumes/potions. Many a poem could be made from these names...

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Yankee Stadium:

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An injured statue of liberty... Bronx12

A lovely fountain in a park along the Grand Concourse. Bronx13

A close-up of the creatures of the sea. Bronx14

A pigeon representing! Bronx15

A brief stop at the Bronx Museum of Art. Who knew?! Bronx16

The line going into the Bronx Housing Court. Ouch!

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Street art: Bronx18

I think this next photo shows the last decades of cultural change in the Bronx perfectly. Bronx18

The Cross Bronx Expressway. An engineering marvel credited with devastating low-income neighborhoods - a concept I am familiar with in my own Portland, Or.

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At last I made it to Loews Paradise at 187th and the Grand concourse.

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And there waiting for me was my beaming Aunt Frances. Bronx21

She proudly stated that her high school graduation took place in this very theater. And she proceeded to show me the old neighborhood.

Here is Poe Park where she and her family used to hang out on hot summer nights until it cooled off (no air conditioning).

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The park houses Edgar Allen Poe's last house of residence:

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We proceeded on to the apartment house where she and my father grew up.

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She marveled at how small the brick wall looked in front of the apartment house. We figured it must have been remodeled but it sure did look small compared to its giant size in her memory!

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Across the street was a catholic school and my aunt Frances remembered the kids who would come out of the school pointing at her and the other Jewish kids and saying, "Christ killer!"

We found her (and my father's) elementary school, PS 46.

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I couldn't help but notice that there was a NYC cop stationed in the lobby of the school.

Then aunt Frances intuitively walked straight to her grandparents' old synagog - where my father had his Bar Mitzvah. She was amazed at how readily she found it.

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After this marvelous tour I walked her back toward the subway. On the way we passed a sculpture that would have surprised the neighbors back in the day, "That certainly wasn't here!" said my aunt.

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I proceeded on my way to the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Here are some photos I took there:

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Misty:

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I like the reflections of the glass greenhouse roof in the water.

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Oddest flower ever...

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I love these purpley greens!

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I like this shot of people in the orchid show.

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I love the pink orange.

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I left the wonderful orchid show in the greenhouses and went to explore the outdoors.

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"Broken Don't Use"

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Redbud - One of my favorite flowers...

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Magnolia! Bronx56

Did you know that the Bronx Botanical Gardens has old growth forest? This is what NYC used to look like!

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"Wetland" formerly known as "swamp."

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And thus filled with all the natural beauty of the park I wandered back out onto the streets. I took a shortcut through Fordham University.

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And then back out onto the streets.

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With help from a stranger I found my way back to the #4 train to Manhattan. Here is a view from the raised train station.

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And here is a Manly advertisement for soup I saw on the subway home!

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And finally home sweet home to my Brooklyn Bridge train station!

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If you would like to see my precise route try this Link

59 comments

  1. Virginia Church Wrote on Wednesday, Apr 04th, 2012 at 5:40pm

    Thanks for a great virtual trip, Sara!

  2. Joe Wallace Wrote on Wednesday, Apr 04th, 2012 at 6:23pm

    I love this visit to a part of NYC I don't know well!

  3. cathy chisholm Wrote on Wednesday, Apr 04th, 2012 at 6:46pm

    Sara, what a beautiful walk with amazingly beautiful images, I so admire your vision and the comments along the way. I loved meeting Aunt Frances and getting to stroll along down memory lane with her and your new memories. What a lovely springtime place. Thanks soo much for sharing. Love, Cathycat

  4. Bob Grover Wrote on Thursday, Apr 05th, 2012 at 1:29am

    You are so talented my friend. You make even the mundane beautiful. Love all the pictures.

    Bob

  5. christina Wrote on Friday, Apr 06th, 2012 at 1:11pm

    wonderful, Sara! I love how you can find beautiful water pictures even in NYC! thank you for the link to your route! I agree that meeting Aunt Frances was a real treat. Chilling story about the kids from the Catholic school yelling at them. Horrible. Okay, I want the purple water photo in the botanical garden if it isn't too late.

  6. sherry Wrote on Wednesday, Apr 25th, 2012 at 9:04am

    Sara you have such a wonderful eye. And your pictures of water. Truly amazing. The depth and the beauty!

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