By Neia Mack.
I grew up in Manhattan. Harlem, specifically. And before all of you Bronx-born-raised-and-raisers start to shun me, wait a minute, because it’s about to get worst. For some reason, I have always avoided the Bronx. It was too far from downtown Manhattan, number one. I love hanging out in the Village, China Town, Midtown, Times Square, etc.
Secondly, every train ride out of the Bronx, into any other borough, will take you at least 45 minutes. Thirdly, how self-indulgent is it to call it THE Bronx. What’s the deal with the THE? No other city does that. Fourthly, actually there isn’t really a fourthly. I just didn’t want to bother with the Bronx.
Fortunately, I met a (not “the” just yet) love of my life. Unfortunately, she lives in the Bronx. Thus, now I live in the Bronx. And you know what? The Bronx is not so bad. In the city that never pays cheap rent, Bronx rent prices will save you money. You will pay a substantially lesser amount in rent, for a larger apartment, in exchange for a little more commute time from Manhattan (I know everyone wants to live in Manhattan…me too)? If you are interested in living a relatively suburban life, you can find it here, especially in the more Northern areas (Woodlawn, Pelham, Riverdale, Country Club, City Island).
Speaking of City Island, any who knows me know that I would marry seafood if it were legal. I am ecstatic that this quaint tiny town of fresh seafood and waterfront dining is only a hop, skip, and jump away. We are way luckier than Harlem in that respect. We have City Island!
And so Orchid Beach isn’t the greatest beach in the country, but still we have one. If you aren’t living in the outskirts of Brooklyn, then you won’t. Most Bx residents can travel to Orchid beach in less than 45 minutes via public transportation, and in less than 30 with a car.
Not to mention, Arthur Avenue. Take that Manhattan, we have our own “Little Italy”, complete with Italian restaurants and bakeries, and those little Italian flags hanging from the lamp posts.
Did I mention that we own the Bronx Zoo? And that it’s the largest metropolitan museum in the country?
I could go on and on, but I won’t because you would be here all day. Don’t cheat yourself out of experiences by excluding those experiences to Manhattan. There’s a lot going on out here. And no, it’s not full of muggers and thugs, despite what you see in all of those rap videos (insert eye-rolling here). I would suggest that you always lock your car doors though (but that would be a good general rule of thumb anywhere you go).
So does this mean that I love the Bronx now? No, not really. I won’t deny that I have grown pretty fond of it and I definitely have learned to appreciate it more. Everyone should. Especially since I’m here. Hmph.