Well, a BoogieDowner reader, Doreen, left the following comment in response to one our our Mott Haven Listings of the Day that made BoogieDowner feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Comment on "Listing of the Day: Price Reduction in Mott Haven Rental"
Thank you for this post and for this blog! I just rented the apartment right above the one shown in the second photo of your post. Mind you, I was born and raised about ten blocks away from 37 Bruckner Boulevard, in the projects on 143rd Street between Third and Morris Avenues. Although I have always lived in the Bronx, I never thought I would go back to the "old neighborhood," but I'm about to and I'm thrilled!
I was able to send this post to several of my friends who were rather blown away by my decision to come back to the South Bronx. I went to school four blocks from this apartment. I attended St. Jerome's on 138th St. and Alexander Avenue for several years. Now, you BoogieDowners are all fairly young; I'm almost 48 years old so I was around when "the Bronx was burning" and I remember it all too well. When I walked into the area with my teenage son to meet up with the broker who was going to show us the apartment, I could not believe how different the neighborhood was. I had only seen it a few times from the windows of the express buses that got detoured off the Bruckner Expressway onto the Boulevard itself, but I was impressed with the changes. Now, actually standing on this street, at night, in a neighborhood that was once a danger to go near, was mind-blowing. And seeing this apartment, after recovering from the three flight hike upstairs, was another revelation. This was the nicest apartment I had seen during my relatively short apartment hunt. Everything was brand new, and I mean everything. The building itself was quiet and clean. And with only two apartments to each floor, hey, I was in heaven. The place was great, and it beat the hell out of the cold, drafty, really large (yet crappy) apartment in a private house I've been renting for the past six years. My son, who goes to Cardinal Hayes HS on the Grand Concourse, was sold even quicker than I was and is thrilled with the neighborhood. Both our commutes will now be cut in half (I work in midtown) and, for me, the thought of seeing an area that was once just industrial and/or wasted space become a "home place" where regular folks like me could live was a really good thing.
Rent prices are ridiculous no matter what borough you go to. Even places that haven't been cleaned up like the Mott Haven neighborhood I'm moving back to are asking crazy rents for places I wouldn't let my dog live in. I hear so much about regentrification ruining neighborhoods and raising rents and all that, but you know what? While some of that might be true, for the most part, it's a crock. If neighborhoods that were once so dangerous you weren't safe even in daytime are now cleaned up and habitable, then what exactly is the downside? Like I said, rents are nuts everywhere you go - it's just the unfortunate nature of the beast. But I just wanted to thank you for this post and others like it; for seeing the good stuff about the Bronx that I've been seeing (and hoping would happen) for the last 48 years.
Proud to be a lifelong BoogieDowner, Doreen