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You Can Go Home Again

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Sometimes…and sometimes just for a couple of hours. That’s what happened to me on Sunday when I attended a program about The Bronx. I co-organized it and it was well attended with Stephen Samtur, the co-publisher and editor of the Back in the Bronx magazine giving a view of how The Bronx I grew up in used to be.

The program was resplendent with hundreds of photos and comments that brought back many fond and pleasant memories. Steve told it as it was. I’ve been long gone except for periodic visits when I go to a Yankee game, a visit to an Italian ristorante on Arthur Avenue with stops at a dessert place and another to bring home extras, and a walking tour of my old neighborhood a few years ago. So maybe I am still somewhat connected. You know, you can take the kid out of The Bronx, but you can’t take The Bronx out of the kid.

Notice I say The Bronx. The original owner of the land was Jonas Bronck and when people went to visit him and his family, they said “I am going to The Broncks.” I grew up in the Highbridge section which is as far west as you can be in The Bronx right near the oldest bridge in New York called the High Bridge. The biggest street in The Bronx is the Grand Concourse fashioned after the Champs Èlysèes. Many people mistake that for the dividing line between the East and West Bronx, but the actual dividing line is Jerome Avenue which is near Yankee Stadium and a short hop from my old neighborhood. A bit of history and trivia is that Jerome Avenue is named after the financier Leonard W. Jerome. Jerome and August Belmont owned the Jerome Park Racetrack which organized the Belmont Stakes, the oldest of the Triple Crown races and named in honor of August Belmont. It was also the site of many other firsts including the first polo match held in the United States. When an abutting roadway was reconstructed it was renamed Jerome Avenue. Jerome’s daughter was Jennie Jerome and she married a British Lord named Randolph Churchill and became the mother of Sir Winston Churchill. The future King Edward VII introduced them. One minor blot is that Jennie grew up in Brooklyn, not The Bronx.

Anyway, I had a great time attending the ZOOM program and watching the photos. I intended to share many of the gems I heard and memories that were released that I was going to make extremely interesting to the unfortunate people that weren’t privileged to grow up in The Bronx. I took a ton of notes so I wouldn’t leave anything out, but I guess I’ll save them for another time.

If I was to suggest a point to this blog it is that we should not forget where we came from and it is good to have fond memories and to reflect on them occasionally, but so does everyone else and in all likelihood, they couldn’t care less about others’ memories. So keep your memories to yourself, unless you can intersperse some history trivia that you just know everyone would want to know. Another point is that I opened the ZOOM a half hour early and it gave some time to talk and connect with others that were attending the program, and it included some impromptu time with the speaker.

For Bronxites, here is a link to the speaker’s site: www.backinthebronx.com and you might consider subscribing to the magazine. Also here is a link to a previous posting by me about growing up in The Bronx.

If you have any business or financial issues you want to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me at emendlowitz@withum.com.

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