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Just a Kid from the Bronx

May 24, 2016

Arlene Alda’s Just Kids from the Bronx has short reminisces of growing up in the Bronx from about 65 people. Every one of the vignettes brought back cogent and pleasant memories of the way it was. As I read the book I was reliving my childhood. It also brought back some memories that weren’t in the book.

I noticed none of the people interviewed were from the High Bridge section where I grew up and which is currently experiencing a revival. I visited it last year on a walking tour with Ira and Diane Zuckerman. I met Ira in the fourth grade at P.S. 11, and we walked around our old school. The High Bridge was a block from our apartment houses and it reopened last year after being closed many years. For those interested Ira just wrote a history of the High Bridge for the recent Bronx County Historical Society Journal.

I lived within walking distance from Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. In the summers when we were eleven and twelve we would go to the 44th Precinct in the morning and for 10¢ the PAL gave us grandstand seat tickets to that day’s game. Afterwards we hung out at the club house entrances and would get the player’s autographs.

The neighborhood was a self-contained community with everyone knowing everyone. Every store keeper knew us all and we had some sort of tab our parents would then cover. My father was a CPA and he did the accounting for many of the shops, so I was always treated like I was special. When I became an accountant I took over some of those clients as a moonlighting start to my career.

As said by many in the book, our mothers sat by the window and watched all the activity in the street. When it was dinner time a mother would call out her son’s name. In my block there were many “Eddies” but everyone knew whose mother was calling and we always got the message.

All the kids participated in the street games with everyone getting chosen on a team. We played all the games described in the book; sometimes the school custodian would let two or three of us up on the roof and we filled our pockets with lost Spalding balls that ended up there.

Once when our children were young we took them to the Museum of the City of New York on Upper Fifth Avenue. I drove there from NJ and went up Madison Avenue and turned on to 105th Street. I parked in the street at the bottom of the hill just after I turned. My wife Ronnie asked me why I didn’t park nearer to Fifth Avenue. I told her “The kids are playing stick ball and I did not want to park on their field!”

Growing up in the Bronx was great. Reliving some of that joyful time through the book was a pleasure and I hope you enjoyed what I shared here. After all, I’m still just a kid from the Bronx.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 6hawthorne permalink
    May 24, 2016 11:39 am

    Hi Ed Nice article enjoyed reading bob nagler

  2. Marc Aaronson permalink
    May 24, 2016 12:16 pm

    Me too, Ed. I lived on 177th St between Morris Ave and Grand Concourse. I wish we had met back then.

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