About Me

I did not move to New York to live in the Bronx.

I came for Manhattan.

And I found it — a wee fifth floor walk-up at the top of a brownstone in the heart of Chelsea.
(and oh yes, it was rent stabilized) Restaurants and movie theatres galore and a bustling vibe well into the night and early morning — all just on the other side of my front door.

Then I found my prince charming and my garret apartment, with all its rustic charm was simply not accommodating for us to start a home…

But we found a new one, out and away from Manhattan. I came kicking and screaming over a bridge and across two rivers to get here.

Welcome to the Bronx Bohemian.

Here I will chip away at my preconceived notions about the Bronx. I will gradually cease to compare it to my old neighborhood and to all that I used to have and could have on a given whim. I can not keep threatening my darling husband that I’m moving back to Manhattan because our neighborhood grocery store closes at eight. The Bronx is a place with it’s own pace and energy and I’m here to find out what that rhythm is and who is here and how to keep time with it.

It’s a large borough, with a lot of ground to cover.
Stop by and stop by often.

56 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I remember 20 years ago driving out of Manhattan to Boston and passing through what I guess was the South Bronx (I am not American), and thinking it looked like a pretty edgy place. Of course I read Bonfire of the Vanities … Have been reading recently though about rejuvenation of the Grand Concourse. It always looked like a beautiful boulevard. The area doesn’t have a great reputation though, but it’s hard to get a realistic idea of how dangerous it really was/is. Just curious

  2. 54. Maria – January 6, 2012

    I came across this because of what a teacher was telling me about her relatives from that time period. So I looked up the term, Utopia in the Bronx and came across this. I moved to the Bronx in 1970 and live on Laconia and Allerton. So, I am familiar with the buildings in the picture but did not know about the history.

    One thing I want do, when I retire, is walk every block in the Bronx and take pictures for records.

    Thanks for this blog.

  3. I found your WORPRESS site through the FACEBOOK page
    MEMORIES OF THE BRONX and specifically the article on the Andrew Freedman home. I was a member of the Bronx County Hsitorical Society back in the 1980s, when I was an undergraduate student at Fordham University. I hope to re-join soon.

  4. Dear BB, thank you so much.
    We are on the case to turn this from an idea to a project!
    To be honest I could not find nr 12 and 15 with links…
    Best wishes from Susanne

    1. Sorry for the confusion…
      No links in nos 12 & 15, only further info.
      (you looked in the comments following the Andrew Freedman House post, yes?)
      I mentioned no 12 for the exact date of The New Yorker issue from 1933 — definitely worth checking out.

      BB

  5. Hey BB,
    what a wonderful blog- and all the responses to it! Great.
    I read your story of the Andrew Freedman home and I am wondering if you know of anyone who would have a list of these hundreds of residents of Mr Freedman. I would love to research their biographies and make an (art)project out of it!
    Susanne

    1. Hello Susanne,
      Thanx for your comments.
      Your project idea sounds super cool.
      love it!
      I do not know of such a list — someone did leave a previous comment (#15) to the Andrew Freedman post that a local high school student volunteer was compiling a file.
      I don’t know how far that student went with the research, but it seems a a file on each member was available.
      I’d start with the Bronx Historical Society — the librarian there is very good.
      Maybe she knows who was doing this project with the student.
      Also take a look at the New Yorker article about the Andrew Freedman Home. (see comment #12), which names some of the residents.
      Finding descendants of the members could also be done…
      Best of Luck.
      And please write back to let us know how you’re coming along.

      Best,
      BB

  6. Hello BB,
    I am also a Bronx-o-phile, working with non-profits and developing affordable housing. One of my hats is as a Board member of the New York Gauchos. We are looking for a venue for our annual Gala to be held in September 2011. Any ideas you have of cultural institutions that can accommodate 275 people would be welcome. (Already checking Hostos, Andrew Freedman, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Botanical Gardens)
    Thanks.

    1. Hello Andrea,
      what about Wave Hill, or somewhere in Fordham U, Lehman College or Bronx Community College (which has the renowned “Hall of Fame for Great Americans”, which I think is strictly outdoors). If your group # was smaller at 125 then the Bartow-Pell Mansion could accommodate you. Otherwise, looks like you’ve plugged into the appropriate venues. Nothing else comes to mind…best of luck!

      BB

  7. I found your blog by accident. I transplanted OUT of the Bronx twenty years go and mostly by ‘force’. I’ve made the best of it (though I was very adverse to my new surroundings in the beginning) but still wish, ALL THE TIME, that I could go back to the Bronx. My friends and acquaintances here can’t understand this desire and just think I’m crazy. I’m glad that you like the place. It’ll always represent ‘home’ to me.

  8. Please come and see our band. it is a South Bronx based youth band comprised of 18 very talented kids, and they have been doing FREE shows all over NYC. And their goal is to change the community 1 song at a time. And with the escalating violence takign place this summer, it would be nice to see youth finding creative ways to stop it.

  9. I just stumbled upon your site today. I’m glad that someone is finally dispelling the nasty reputation the Bronx has acquired. Perhaps you could do a post on Fordham University? Its a beautiful campus and definitely worth checking out!

  10. there is a west side to the bronx, btw, aka riverdale, which has an beal bacht cafe, irish music a few nights a week. we also have wave hill with its exhibits and palumbo’s cafe which also has branches i believe on arthur ave and on allerton ave.

    in terms of cool places, the bronx zoo of course has its cafe where you can bring your own; like wise the nybg. i realize these are not night spots, but hey you cant beat the flamingoes

  11. I’m an artist, returning to the Bronx, the place of my birth, after many decades of being away. I’m delighted to find Bronx Bohemian…to help welcome me back.
    Where is the coolest, most bohemian social spot-cafe in The Bronx? I need to connect and reconnect with other artists in our community.

    Thanks

    1. Hello SAM,
      and welcome back to the Bronx!
      You pose a very interesting question indeed…my search for the answer has been the very foundation of this blog.
      So, I’d offer up a couple of places and a few suggestions:
      Bruckner Bar & Grill in Mott Haven — cool & relaxed, paintings on exhibit by local artists, in the heart of the Bronx’s equivalent of Soho
      Starving Artist Cafe on City Island — small, cozy, bohemian cafe with live music
      The Bronx Trolley Nights — always events & art openings. I’ve met really cool Bronxites — painters, musicians, photographers, etc at these events.
      First Fridays at the Bronx Museum are also fun evenings — usually live music, sometimes dance performances.
      Get on the mailing lists for all these orgs, as well as Pregones Theatre, Bronx River Art Center, The Point. Pregones and The Point have very active email updates with events.

      And please if you do find a really cool spot, please let me know!
      All the best and thanx for your comments…

      BB

  12. hello
    Great Blog- so happy to see folks appreciating and exploring the Bronx.
    I am a Bronx native who has never left. (well I did for2 years to go to school in NJ)
    I now do tours of the Bronx and try to spread the word about its resources, quirkiness, sights etc.
    Look forward to hearing from others.

  13. Hi Bronxbohemian,

    I found your blog fascinating and filled with excellent tips. I used to live in the Bronx for a little while. I wanted to ask you for your permission to use one photograph in my doctoral dissertation, the one of the inside of Haven Arts Gallery. Please let me know.

    Cheers!

    1. Hello Juliana,
      I’m glad you found info in this blog to useful to your doctoral dissertation. This is the first such request I have had. Thank you for asking permission to use the photo of Haven Arts, which is, as you may know, unfortunately closed. Yes you may, as long as you credit the blog and Bronx Bohemian as photographer. What is the topic of your dissertation?

      All the best,
      BB

  14. This is an awesome site on the Bronx, I am glad I found it and thanks so much for taking time to share. Given that you know so much about the Bronx and the Grand Concourse, it would be great if you could share any information resources on buying a coop/condo in the area, including the great art deco buildings.

    1. Hello Solomon,
      I appreciate your comment. I am no expert and have no knowledge really on coop/condos in the Grand Concourse area. I would recommend visiting Boogie Downer. They regularly feature Bronx real estate listings…Maybe you’ll find there what you’re looking for…
      Good luck…

      BB

  15. Maybe too little too late, but there are yoga classes at the Ethical Culture building in the Bronx: http://www.yogaforbliss.net. — We out-of-towners all came to Manhattan and then, for personal or economic reasons, found our way to the Bronx. The borough could use more greenery, more movie theaters and a bookstore or two — but maybe the Internet and real estate prices have made such things obsolete. — Nice blog post here.

    1. Hello Modestine,
      Thank you for your reply. I did not know Ethical Culture had a Bronx location. The yoga space on their site looks beautiful…Riverdale, though, is a crosstown schlep from my Parkchester area nabe, it is quicker to just go into Manhattan. Thanx for the tip!

      BB

  16. Really enjoying your blog. Definitely fills a much needed void. I am glad that you are embracing the boogie down. I moved to NYC for Manhattan, Harlem preferably..but alas the BX is where I settled.

    I have found tons to do btwn the shows at BAAD, The Point, Books in the Hood, The BX Museum & Rebel Diaz Arts Collective. I have also started my own weekly open mic SoulSWEET Sanctuary. 1st, 3rd & 4th Saturdays. Every 2nd Friday is Fresh Fantastic a youth Open mic. I would love if you would drop by sometimes, check out the atmosphere and maybe even blog about it. (smile)

    I figure, If you don’t have what you need in the neighborhood, why not start it yourself. Looking forward to meeting you again. check out my site..Z

    1. Zera!
      So glad you stopped by.
      You make several great points and listed a few Bronx spots I had to google…
      The work you are doing with young women here in the Bronx is COMMENDABLE!
      Keep shining the light!
      I do plan to stop by for an open mic.
      I will be in touch…and thanx for keeping me in the loop!

      BB

  17. Brava Bronx Bohemian!

    I am delighted to find your blog and I especially enjoyed your interview with Prof. Ultan. I always had a love for Bronx history and LLoyd’s passion for it was a great inspiration for mine.

  18. Hi!

    Just discovered your blog and wanted to say I think its great. I am also someone who came to the Bronx because of my significant other and have embraced it. I am the creator of the site BronxMama.com and would love to link to your site and wondered if you could do the same. Check it out when you can, its a resource site for Bronx parents.

    Thanks!

    Nicole Perrino

    1. Hi Nicole,
      I would be happy to add a link to BronxMama.com.
      You have a great site, and from what I can see, the only one in the Bronx with a focus on family and kids in our borough.
      (kind of astounding!)
      Thank you for reaching out!

      BB

  19. Hi there,

    I’m writing to let you know about an exciting, free screening event that Rooftop Films is hosting in the Bronx on Saturday, August 29th, in hopes that you could help us spread the word to your readers and friends. I’ve listed all relevant information below. Hope to see you at the screening!
    SATURDAY, AUGUST 29, 6pm
    BRONX PRINCESS AND NORA
    FREE SHOW!
    A free screening of two films about strong-willed women surviving, learning and dancing in their journeys between New York and Africa.

    Venue:On the lawn of Mullaly Park in the Bronx
    Address: The park is bordered by Jerome Ave, McClellan St, River Ave, and E 164 St
    Directions: Take the 4, B or D train to 167th street, walk west to Cromwell Ave, make a left, and walk south one block to the park.
    Rain: Rain Date TBA
    6:00PM: Live music by Kewulay Kamara, Blitz the Ambassador, Mamarazzi and others.
    9:00PM: Films
    10:30PM: Filmmaker Q & A
    Admission: FREE
    Presented in partnership with: POV, Cinereach, New York magazine and Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo

  20. Hi BB. I am glad you are giving the Boogie Down a chance to grow on you. Although I am in DC and have never lived in the Bronx, I have many fond memories from the late 80s and 90s. I fell in love with the Boogie Down while dating 2 Bronx brothaloves. It is a special place. Orchard Beach is one of my favorite spots. I also just like walking down Fordham Hill Road. Keep sharing about the Bronx. We need it.

  21. Hi I recently stumbled on your wonderful blog. I was born in the Allerton Coops, and then my family moved to Pelham Parkway near White Plains Road. As I got older I moved to City Island and then to Co op City. I am really glad I came across your blog. There are some good things happening in the boro. A lot of good people are moving here (in addition to the many wonderful people who currently reside here). The thing we really need is positive press. I recently saw a show on HGTV (I think it was called DIY or something) about two women who fixed up the kitchen of their apartment on 167th Street and The Grand Concourse. I was pretty surprised that they didn’t mention that it was in “The Bronx” they only kept mentioning “New York City” and I’m not sure why. We need to let more people know that we are a good boro with a lot of potential to improve on what we already have. Keep up the good posting 🙂

    1. Miss Jessie,
      thank for your wonderful comments.
      Did you see “At Home In Utopia”? I enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot.
      I’d passed by the Coops many times without knowing any of the buildings’ history.
      And you’re absolutely right about so much that’s great going on in the Bronx.
      I come by sites and people of interest all the time, but not enough hours in the day for me to cover all the stories that I’d like!
      Thanx for stopping by.

      Best,
      BB

  22. What a wonderful Blog about the Bronx!!! Congratulations!!!

    As a “Global Wonderer” I am wondering where I could satisfy my keen yearning for a taste of the caribbean in the Bronx – any good (no GREAT/IRIE) Caribbean Restaurants in the Bronx? By the way is sports fishing allowed in the Bronx River? Show me the way wise sage (or sagette).

    1. well you won’t find many sit down restaurants anymore (a few I know closed for different reasons such as owners retiring) but there is plenty of Caribbean/West Indian/Jamaican food anywhere from between Boston Rd. and White Plains Rd. above Gun Hill Road (though in the White Plains Rd. area you can go south as far as Allerton)

      If Caribbean you mean Dominican and Puerto Rican… then just about any other place in the borough.

  23. Beautiful blog! I wanted to make sure you knew about the national PBS broadcast of “At Home in Utopia” on Independent Lens the week of April 28, 2009. The film is about the radical garment workers who built housing cooperatives in the Bronx in the 1920s. If you need a screener to review for your blog, let me know!

    Here is some info for your readers:

    “At times the mixture of courage and naivete is enough to break your heart.”
    Ty Burr, Boston Globe

    “This beautiful film … reminds us what is possible when we organize.
    Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: the Black Radical Imagination

    Check for local listings at
    http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/athomeinutopia

    Buy the DVD with 60 minutes of addtional scenes at
    http://www.filmmakerscollab.org/films/at-home-in-utopia

    Become a fan on facebook. See our fanpage under “At HOme in Utopia”

    Thanks, Ellen Brodsky, Co-producer

  24. Hey there,
    Great blog. I really enjoyed the audio with Professor Ultan. I’d love to get in touch with him about a project I’m working on…do you know his contact information? Thanks!!

  25. Love this blog! I was wondering if you knew about any great yoga classes in the Bronx? I always have to venture out to Harlem.

    Thanks!

    1. Hello CS,
      thanx for the compliment!
      I have not found a yoga home here in the Bronx.
      I was faithful to Integral Yoga when I lived in Chelsea.
      But I’ve resorted to doing yoga in my living room, which is actually a treat because I didn’t have a living room before moving here.
      Anyway, a couple of suggestions:
      Castle Hill YMCA,
      and also, the South Bronx Coop recently added classes — see this at Boogie Downer.
      Also, I get Continuing Ed schedules from Hostos which include yoga.
      I imagine Bronx Community College and Lehman may have similar offerings. I prefer a studio type environment, where I can just drop in. But I haven’t yet found that option.

      Hope this helps…
      Please let me know what you find!

      BB

  26. Thanks for writing beautifully about the deservedly-beloved Bronx, a borough too long taking it on the chin. So many of the buildings and neighborhoods near the Freedman Home are terrific, and just the kind of places I’d move to if I was still a young person of modest means.

  27. Anita over at Bx Underground sent me a link to your site – love it! Can’t believe we didn’t know about it until now. We’ll add you to our Blogroll, and would love if you’d do the same.
    By the way, you should upload your site map to Google, that way people searching for resources in the Bronx will be able to find your blog.
    Good luck!
    Erin & Lou
    http://www.boogiedowner.blogspot.com

    1. Erin & Lou,
      Thanx for the link! (I will surely thank Anita separately)
      BoogieDowner is a great site.
      And I’m happy to reciprocate here.
      Great tip re the site map to Google, I thought WordPress.com took care of this automatically.
      I will look into this toot sweet!

      Thanx Much,
      BB

  28. Hi Whitney,
    Thanx for stopping by.
    Roberts House!!
    I must know you!
    What a place that was. (I will send you a PM!)
    I always refer to it as the Convent. Remember the Beau Room? And no phone calls after 10pm? And the midnight curfew? It was downright Victorian…But I know my parents were able to sleep at night because I lived there.

    The Bronx has a human scale also — not nearly as many tall buildings. As a result, the sun shines brighter up here.

  29. we too got “voted off the island” of ‘The Hat’ and sadly moved to Brooklyn. Though I miss Manhattan life terrible I appreciate your effort to get to know your new adopted burough. I taught in the Bronx for a year and saw it’s potential – it wa however ruined by the BQE like much of NYC but it does have some highlights.
    anyway, I saw you lived in Robert’s House. I was there, on the 2nd floor from 1990-1992. didn’t appreciate it enough at the time but looking back it was a great option and wish there were still places like this for people that need it. After there, I moved downtown and it’s the scale that I feel most comfortable with – the lowbuilding scale which you only find downtown and in parts of Brooklyn is human to me but that’s NY – you find what works! good luck.

  30. Hi,

    Thank you for showing some new pictures of the writers bench on your blog. I´m very interested in the writing subculture of New York in the 60`s – 80s.

  31. Hi Melissa,
    Thanx for your comment. The Bronx is incredibly diverse and while we do miss Manhattan terribly, we find our dollars stretch further, we are closer to our neighbors and we see sunlight more here in the Bronx. I hope you find a neighborhood up here that you can call home.

    Bronx Bohemian

  32. I’m looking at places too, and must admit, they rents are driving me out of Brooklyn an Manhattan…so the Bronx, here I come.

    I look forward to reading the rest of your blog!

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