Friday, August 10, 2007

Concept: Exploring the South Bronx.

I had my camera, but since I mostly just take street shots anyway, and there are plenty online (for example, through the Bridge and Tunnel Club, I've tried just to walk and take in the scenery. I started out at Yankee Stadium, since the main reason I'd come up here was to exchange last years rained-out Tigers tickets for this years hopefully-sunny Tigers tickets.

I didn't get to see as much of the Bronx as I wanted; my original plan was to follow 161st street to Southern Blvd., take that north and poke around Crotona Park, then follow Third or Boston back to Melrose. But the Bronx is a bit more complicated than Manhattan, and after following 161st for almost two miles, I though I had passed Southern, and turned around and headed back. Most of what I saw on this stretch was, as I understand it, the boundary between Melrose and Morrisania.

The South Bronx was more hilly and craggy than what I've seen of the other burroughs, and this area was split between government buildings (to the west) and public housing (to the east), with some residential and commercial strips intersperced. It was very mysterious... probably a lot like historic parts of Detroit or Chicago where the urban wash has overpowered the gloss we're used to finding in historical plaques. This area developed very quickly in the 1930s, and then declined just as rapidly, and the Bronx has had the most troubled reputation of any of the burroughs. That said, the South Bronx specifically, was where hip hop was born (known by me in the form of Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five), and we all know what a driving cultural force that has become.

When I'd gotten back to Grand Concourse, which was just as grandiose as anything in Brooklyn or Manhattan, but on a more intimate scale, I continued onto Jerome street, where I found a tall serpentlike stairway climbing to some apartment buildings above.

I counted about 130 steps. There was a nice view up top.

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