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- Growing Up Bronx
Last night I had a series of weird dreams. The most prevalent though was a dream about my family moving back to my old neighborhood of the South Bronx. 1631 Walton avenue to be exact, one of the toughest areas I experienced growing up. Yes, my dreams still do portray as such.
I still remember the area quite vividly. Walton Avenue runs up the number streets, this area was just below the Grand Concourse.
On the D train the closest stop would be 174th&175th Street
and if taking the 4 train you’d get off at Mt Eden.
There is this huge overpass that gets you into the D train station, or takes you to the top of the concourse.
Should you go under the pass instead of into it a short walk later you would hit my elementary school, CES 70X.
A little further back from my old building there is a huge stairway that takes you up to the Concourse and some yellow colored projects where a makeshift basketball court sits atop of the stairs.
Bad place, lets say that if I’m walking through that area, I walk in the middle of the concourse.
Getting hit by a car poses less risk. Turn the corner from my old building and you’ll find a bodega, guys playing Dominoes, and some other shops.
If you continue walking down the hill here you will hit the entrance to a major highway a little further down by Jerome Avenue.
If you walked away and a bit back from this entrance, you would encounter a space that used to house a little park that me and my buddies used to hang out at when we cut Junior High School. Looking back, I cannot believe the risks that me and these idiots took by hanging out, cutting, at a park by a major highway. The location now houses a little park and a McDonald’s. LOL.
Then a little further up the street, by that dreaded first highway, I really hated, and still hate, crossing that street. It was so dangerous and scary to cross. In any case, there was another park there, one that my mom and dad used to take us, where I first learned how to ride a bike, where me and my little sister used to play. This was all before the weight of the world crushed my soul.
When you graduated in those days, you went to the park in your nice clothes and took pictures, that’s how we rolled, and what you gonna say about that? LOL…
Here I am on my first bike. This was a banana seat cow. You see them from time to time these days, mostly hipsters riding them, but I was rocking it when it was real. Yeah.
Here I am with my little sister at that Jerome park, overlooking a highway, taking a picture with our eyes clothes. Yeah…..
Yeah, so I still remember my old hood quite well. In my dream, when we arrived at the area, I was riding a bike, one of those skinny wheel, curled down handle bar, ugly racing bikes. The block was hot, kids were hanging out in front of the building and running around the streets, thugs were in the corners, and all their eyes were on us.
“Who are these strangers?”, some said as they were unaware that this was my home long before many of them were even a thought. I recognized one of the older guys, this guy named Derek. It’s weird, he was the older brother of a local bully in another one of my old neighborhoods, I’m not sure why he showed up in this dream sequence though. I will say this, “Dee” was always nice to me, unlike his brother who was a bully and a convict in training.
So I put my ugly bike against the wall for two seconds, I looked away for a single moment to take in the scene, and when I looked back my bike was gone. Impossible. I was right next to it, I barely turned and blinked and it was gone. POOF! At this point I was furious, I went off at my mom for bringing us back here. I said “We haven’t even moved in and we have already been robbed!” No way we could move back here!
Next we were in the building hallway. Immediately this young man came out of nowhere, he was wearing a stuffed fanny pack and when the others with me passed he came over to me. He throws something at me, I catch it, examine the bag contents and throw it back. He was selling me heroin? Seriously dude? He says to me, “I’m the man here, anything you need, I have it, if I don’t have it, I can get it”. I thanked him, gave him pound and said I wasn’t interested in any drugs.
At this point I woke up. I’m glad I did though, that is as far down memory lane as I care to go into the old 1631 Walton Avenue neighborhood. Lord knows what would have been waiting for us inside one of those apartments.
I hope you enjoyed my visual and written trip down memory lane. So, if you dreamed of your old neighborhood, what would your memories conjure up?
Growing Up Bronx