The South Bronx, and Unexpected Vacation Destination

Daniel Reynolds Riveiro point out in his article “A Visitor’s Guide to the South Bronx ” that the South Bronx is not a huge desired destination location. Honestly, i wouldn’t think too hard about taking a trip to South Bronx, it doesn’t seem to have that much to offer. But after reading this article you’ll feel differently the next time you plan a trip to the “real New York.”

This is for the Bronx that never makes the guidebooks. The South Bronx: the Bronx that burned, the cradle of hip-hop, the childhood playground of Colin Powell, Al Pacino and J-Lo. The northern half gets noticed often enough: guidebooks explain how to catch express buses from Manhattan to the rightly-acclaimed Bronx Zoo or sprawling New York Botanical Gardens, wheeled cocoons that shoot up nonstop before heading straight back.

The books encourage more intrepid travelers to visit the Bronx’s Little Italy, with its Zagat-rated restaurants and pizzerias. A select few explain how a quarter of the Bronx is parkland and recommend visiting the lakes of Van Cortland Park or the rolling hills of Woodlawn Cemetery, which holds the final resting places of Duke Ellington, Herman Melville and Joseph Pulitzer. But the South Bronx is usually given short-shrift. There are no chain hotels to stay in, no five (or four, or three, or two) star restaurants, no specific “sites” to see. What there is, though, is a slice of life unlike any in the world.

Funk, hip hop and salsa undulate out of windows. Joyous singing comes from outdoor churches, the parishioners sitting on steel folding chairs underneath faded striped tents. African men drum in parks.

Women tend communal gardens, old men play mancala and dominoes on tables made of plastic crates and scrap sheets of plywood and kids blow bubbles, ride bikes and toss tennis balls to one another across traffic-crowded streets. Life goes on everywhere: people shout news up to balconies, a fight breaks out between two drunk men near the grocery store and one ineffectually hits the other with a French loaf, a teenager practices his rap lyrics for hours, chanting them to himself as he circles the block again and again and again.