Monday, August 25, 2008

Neighborhood, What Neighborhood?

The Bronx seems to hold the singular distinction of having very blurry lines when it comes to defining neighborhoods. Most of the time people will give you a street, rather than a neighborhood name as an answer to, "Where do you live?" You're much more likely to hear, "I live in Pelham Parkway," than I live in Williamsbridge or Allerton. A more common answer to a question of a Bronxite's neighborhood would be "On the Concourse," rather than Highbridge or Morris Heights.

This rant about indistinct neighborhoods and their boundaries was engendered by an NY Times article about the Bronx Borough historian, Lloyd Ultan, professor at Lehman College, and his search for what actually constitutes the North-Central Bronx hood of Williamsbridge. (photo courtesy of Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times)

Even my own home neighborhood has ambiguous borders. I consider Bedford Park to be its own neighborhood bordered to the north by Mosholu Parkway, the west by the Grand Concourse, the south by Bedford Park Blvd., and the east by Webster Ave. I've heard people say Bedford Park runs all the way down to 196th, some even further to 192nd. Some put the western border as as far as Goulden Ave near the Reservoir. I've even heard people say that Bedford Park doesn't exist as it's own neighborhood; it is Fordham-Bedford or North Fordham - I disagree with both assertions.
So Boogiedowner asks, what neighborhood do you live in, and what are the borders? Do you agree that the Bronx neighborhood borders are blurry? Let's get this straight.


Jordan Moss said...

Bedford Park is actually one of the more clearly defined neighborhoods and you gotta bump your western boundary over to at least Jerome Avenue -- the Norwood News considers even Lehman College, Scott Tower, Harris Park and Bronx Science to be in Bedford Park. The southern boundary is a little looser, but probably not further south than E. 198th St. It's harder to come up with a name for the neighborhood south of Bedford Park. Some call it Fordham Bedford, since the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition has long been active there and came up with names for neighborhoods that identified their northern and southern borders. We call it North Fordham, though I must admit, probably no one in that neighnborhood calls it that. Bronx residents tend to identify where they live by their block. I live in Bainbridge or Mosholu (two names for Norwood before Norwood stuck).
Just some thoughts. Always an interesting exercise to ask people what they call where they live.
Keep blogging.
Jordan Moss,Editor
Norwood News

Boogiedowner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boogiedowner said...

Thanks for the clarification! I still wonder why the Bronx has such indistinct neighborhoods...

Thanks for reading!