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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Buckley returns to the “hood.”’

Mott Haven neighborhood in the South Bronx today. This is Alexander Avenue, home of antique shops and cafes. These row houses are from the 1870's. It was the "hood" when Ken lived there. PG (Internet photo)

Grover Goes Home to His Old-New South Bronx Neighborhood 

By Kennedy Buckley

I grew up in the South Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood attending St. Jerome elementary school from ’37 to ’45.  The area was mostly a mix of Irish, Italian, and German. It started to change during WW II when Puerto Ricans came; then big public housing projects replaced tenements. After two kids, my family became part of the “white flight” to New Jersey in ’62.  It’s now mostly Mexican, with a smattering of those who never left.

A former classmate contacted me to attend a 50th reunion. The  original old neighborhood school, built in 1871, was well maintained: no graffiti, no broken glass in those old wooden windows, and still graduating students. A tour of the classrooms showed assignments proudly displayed, with enthusiastic students and teachers there, anxious to explain it all. The spirit of achievement was obvious as we toured familiar floors of classrooms and a well equipped computer facility.

The Ursuline Sisters have been long replaced by Mexican nuns and mostly male teachers. Our day included a hot meal in the old basement gym, now the lunchroom, manned by volunteers. In the old days everyone went home for lunch, but now all the parents work.

Despite all the area’s changes, it has remained a viable productive neighborhood that has evolved, but it works. The Pastor has even decorated the church alter with strings of colored lights to make the new parishioners feel at home in their new “South Bronx neighborhood.”

Soundtrack:  From “On the Town” the MGM film from 1944.  You know, “The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down.”  Click on “watch on YouTube”

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