NORWOOD, Bronx

I have been promising my Bronx Forgotten Fans some new material, and the fulfillment starts now. In fall 2006 I walked through Norwood, a triangle-shaped Bronx neighborhood defined by Woodlawn Cemetery on the north, the New York Botanical Garden on the east, and Mosholu Parkway on the south; Reservoir Oval, delineating a former Williamsbridge Reservoir, approximately limns the center.

Norwood was originally part of the Varian family’s dairy farm. The Varians, who produced a New York City mayor, owned the oldest house in the area, which is still standing. The name either comes from “North Woods” or from Carlisle Norwood, a friend of Leonard Jerome, the grandfather of Winston Churchill who owned the nearby Jerome Park Race Track in the 1860s. The neighborhood was laid out in 1889 by entrepreneur Josiah Briggs.

For a couple of decades in the late 20th Century, Norwood and its immediate neighbor to the south, Bedford Park, were major Irish enclaves, after immigrants from Northern Island during the era of The Troubles fled the auld sod and settled here, in Woodlawn Heights to the north, and in Queens’ Woodside. For a time Norwood became known as “Little Belfast” and was a hotbed for supporters of the Irish Republican Army, which sought to sever Northern Ireland’s ties with the United Kingdom by violent means. Eventually the Irish influence in the area lessened, as many Irish returned home to participate in the homeland’s roaring economy in the 1990s and early 2000s. Traces of Little Belfast, though, can still be found along Bainbridge Avenue. Norwood was where the Irish-American band Black 47 first attracted notice. Today Norwood attracts Hispanics, Indians, Asians, and New Yorkers looking for apartment bargains: some are still available for three figures!

New York Sun visits Norwood
Village Voice Norwood close-up

 

 

Mosholu

Art Moderne apartment building, E. 204th near Mosholu Parkway

When I first became aware of Mosholu Parkway in the seventies, I saw its name on a map and immediately assumed it must be a Japanese name and Mr. Mosholu was a prominent Japanese American – a Bronxite that had been honored by a street name. Of course the reality is no less colorful; it’s among the many Native American place names that have been woven into the city’s fabric. Mo-sho-lu, or “smooth stones” was the Algonquin name of a rural brook running through the heart of what became the Bronx’ Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale neighborhoods. The land through which the brook ran was acquired by settler George Tippett in 1668, and the waterway was subsequently renamed Tibbett’s Brook, in a corruption of the spelling. Ultimately the brook was rerouted into the sewer system when the area was built up in the early 20th Century.

In Norwood, Mosholu Parkway was laid out as a true parkway…a relatively narrow carriage road lined with trees and foliage… along another former waterway, known to the Dutch as Schuil (anglicized as School) Brook. Mosholu Parkway originally ran only between Bronx and Van Cortlandt Parks, with through traffic running in the center and local and commercial traffic on the service roads. The general concept of the parkway system, devised by master urban architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1860s, was to extend large parks by making the roads that connected them into parks themselves. Olmsted’s vision can be seen in Brooklyn’s Ocean and Eastern Parkways, and in the Bronx’ Mosholu Parkway and Pelham Parkway (whose official name is the Bronx and Pelham Parkway because it connects Bronx and Pelham Bay Parks).

Mosholu Parkway was built in 1888 and was originally known as Middlebrook Road because of its route along School Brook. In its original stretch between Bronx and Van Cortlandt Parks, it ranks along with the other parkways built in the Olmsted vision among the country’s most beautiful roadways.

Rose’s Luncheon, East 204th near Mosholu Parkway

The parkway was somewhat compromised in the late 1930s when Robert Moses linked Mosholu Parkway with the Henry Hudson Parkway in Van Cortlandt Park in the northwest and the Bronx River Parkway at the east. Moses, however, was rebuffed in his efforts to make the Mosholu a controlled access road and sink it in a trench in its most gorgeous stretch.

The Parkway should not be confused with Mosholu Avenue, a few miles north in Riverdale. Since Mosholu Pakway is bisected by Jerome Avenue, which divides East and West Bronx streets, a rather confusing nomenclature is used for the service roads, North and South Mosholu Pakway. West of Jerome, they’re called West Mosholu Parkway North and West Mosholu Pakrway South, and east of Jerome, they’re East Mosholu Parkway North and East Mosholu Parkway South.

Alighting from the subway at Bedford Park Boulevard and the Grand Concourse, I photographed some scenes from northern Bedford Park before entering Norwood proper:

Above left: one of the many leftover ancient buildings still to be found in the area, Valentine Avenue and East 204 Street; at right, tiny Lisbon Place, running for a few feet between a curve in East 205th Street and Mosholu Parkway. In 1884 Lisbon Place was named by the original owner of the land through which it runs, George Opdycke, and he may have enjoyed traveling in Portugal since St. George’s is a famous castle in Lisbon; St. George’s Crescent is a couple of blocks away off the Grand Concourse.

 

Valentine

Though Brooklyn seems to have the lion’s share of pre-Revolutionary War houses, there is one in Norwood that qualifies, just barely. In 1758 blacksmith Isaac Valentine purchased property from the Dutch Reformed Church at today’s Bainbridge Avenue and Van Cortlandt Avenue East, and, depending on what account you read, built this fieldstone cottage either in the 1750s or as a successor to a previous home in 1775.

Like the Old Stone House in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, the Valentine cottage was the scene of a Revolutionary war battle, though nothing so major as what happened in Brooklyn. By 1777 the home was occupied by British and Hessians but was recaptured by General William Heath after a brief but fierce battle which left he house surprisingly intact.

By 1791 the house and land had been sold to an Isaac Varian, whose grandson, Isaac L. Varian, became NYC mayor between 1839 and 1841. After changing hands several times the house became home to the Bronx County Historical Society in 1965. The house was moved across the street from its original location the next year. It is open to the public, featuring historic and archeological exhibitions. Call (718) 881 8900 or surf bronxhistoricalsociety.org for details.

In June 1965 the Valentine-Varian House was moved from its previous location across Bainbridge Avenue to Reservoir Oval.

 

Reservoir

The Bronx and Byram Rivers water system was built between 1880 and 1889 to supply those sections of the Bronx not served by the Old Croton Aqueduct via pipeline from the Bronx River, which bisects the borough in two from north to south, and the upstate Kensico Reservoir. Water was stored in the Williamsbridge Receiving Reservoir, built in 1888, in Norwood northeast of Bainbridge Avenue and East 207th Street. By 1925, this reservoir was no longer needed, and it was drained and filled in. In 1937 NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses constructed a new playground and park in the space vacated by the reservoir, containing a running track, football and baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, a horseshoe pit, a large wading pool, a cinder running track, a field house, and two children’s playgrounds.

A dam, as well as one of the Bronx’ major colonial-era roads (Williamsbridge Road), a train station, and a major intersection, was named for a bridge operated by farmer John Williams crossing the Bronx River at today’s Gun Hill Road in the early 1700s (see below). The settlement that sprung up near the bridge became known as Williams Bridge, later spelled as one word.

The old reservoir is still described by the curving roadways, Reservoir Ovals East and West, which surprisingly interrupt the area’s rough grid. A huge Gothic apartment complex was built at Reservoir Oval West and Wayne Avenue.

 

Keeper

At Reservoir Oval and Putnam Place you will find the old reservoir keeper’s stone house, built in 1889. After the reservoir was drained, it became a private residence for five decades, and is now under the protection of the Mosholu Preservation Corporation.

 

Gun Hill

The original Gun Hill is still in the Bronx, in nearby Woodlawn Cemetery. According to signage along the road, in 1777 a small party of patriots dragged a small cannon to a hill west of the Bronx River and fired on the Brits from there.

Between Jerome Avenue and the Bronx River, East Gun Hill Road is dominated by large apartment buildings and on the south side, by the Montefiore Hospital complex, established in 1913. This ancient candy store sign I photographed in 2005 seems to have vanished, however.

The Henry and Lucy Moses Research facility, finished in 1966 by Philip Johnson, dominates the southeast corner of East Gun Hill Road at Bainbridge Avenue.

Three Bronx musicians who called themselves Gunhill Road briefly had a hit in 1973 with nostalgic anthem calledBack When My Hair Was Short, written and sung by Glen Leopold on Kama Sutra Records, produced by The Gambler himself, Kenny Rogers.

One of the casualties of the mp3 age is the 45RPM label. Kama Sutra’s, with its Adam and Eve theme, was a classic.Here’s a closer look.

 

BRPR

East Gun Hill Road, about 9 blocks east of Montefiore, crosses the Bronx River on a stone bridge marked with the letters “BRPR” and the date 1918. According to Bronx historian Bill Twomey, the letters stand for “Bronx River Parkway Reservation.” The Reservation parallels the Bronx River from the New York Botanical Gardens north to Kensico Dam, Valhalla, in Westchester County. It’s a 15.5-mile swath of parkland designed in the early years of the 20th century by the Bronx Parkway Commission.

Architect Charles Stoughton designed many of the bridges and other architectural elements, including this one.

 

Bronx River

The Bronx River, New York City’s only true river, begins as a trickle in Westchester County and empties into the East River (which is actually a tidal estuary). It formerly turned west and met the Hudson River, but a glacier impeded its progess there during the last Ice Age and the river was thereby diverted south. When Swedish pioneer Jonas Bronck settled in the area of the river in the mid-1600s, the river, which had gone by several Native American names, became known as “The Broncks’ River,” and the “the” has stubbornly remained as a prefix for Bronx borough, as well. Indistrialization of the 1800s and 1900s turned the water brackish and unsustainable for life, but groups such as Bronx River Restoration and Bronx River Alliance have helped bring it back. Kayakers can now regularly be seen there, and it looks as wild as it must ever have been on its course through the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden.

One of the Bronx’ major colonial-era roads (Williamsbridge Road), a train station, and a major intersection, were named for a bridge operated by farmer John Williams crossing the Bronx River at today’s Gun Hill Road in the early 1700s. The settlement that sprung up near the bridge became known as Williams Bridge, later spelled as one word.

 

Angles

Norwood’s street grid, modified by Mosholu Parkway, forces some streets to angle in irregular fashion and creates unusual intersections.

That forced architects to come up with novel solutions, like triangle-shaped buildings with rounded corners. A number of Bronx apartment buildings still sport their original brightly-colored porcelain signs indicating vacancies.

The named streets in this area bear names of foreigners who helped the patriots during the Revolution: DeKalb (Germany), Rochambeau (France), Steuben (Germany) and another, Lajos (Louis) Kossuth, the Hungarian revolutionary hero.

There was something so right, to steal Paul Simon’s phrase, about this apartment building at Tryon Avenue and West 211th, facing Woodlawn Cemetery, that I had to snap it. Apartment buildings, constructed in the 20s and 30s, their golden age, have a succinctness that modern Fedders specials can never hope to achieve.

Woodlawn Cemetery’s star power is staggering. Here you will find Herman Melville, who died in humble circumstances unaware of the resonance his fiction would acquire after his death; railroad tycoon and hotelier Austin Corbin, responsible in large part for the importance of the Long Island Rail Road in the lives of NYC commuters; and investigative reporter Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane), who blew open the doors to abuses in mental hospitals and prisons. Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World and a founding father of crusading journalism; Frank Woolworth, whose stores dominated the five and dime business for decades; and Robert Moses, whose ambitious programs over five decades redrew the map of New York City, all permanent residents of Woodlawn.

A through FNY look at Woodlawn Cemetery will be forthcoming sooner or later.

 

Wrong school?

A head-scratcher in the Bronx gazetteer might be little Kings College Place, running between zigzagging East 211th and East Gun Hill Road. You might be aware that colonial-era Kings College, founded 1754, later became Columbia University. But, the closest big school to Norwood is a mile or two south on Webster Avenue, Fordham University at Rose Hill. Why the Columbia reference? The aforementioned Tryon Avenue was named for Tory general William Tryon, whose HQ was at Kings College. Even the British loyalists are remembered in the Bronx street atlas.

 

Brendan

Perry Avenue, named for War of 1812 admiral Oliver Perry, has a few secrets of its own, such as the non-aluminum sided ancient dwelling opposite Holt Place and the clock-faced bank building at East 204th.

But the undisputed king of Perry Avenue is St. Brendan, whose parish was established here in 1908 and spectacular, curved-facade church arrived in 1966. Most Irish know that St. Brendan (484-573) was the real “discoverer” of America (though it can’t be proven whether he sailed west to the Americas nearly 11 centuries before Columbus.) He is patron saint of navigators and indeed, the design by Belfatto and Pavarini was meant to evoke the curved prow of a ship.

 

Cops

It’s hard to get a good picture of the NYPD 52nd Precinct, at Webster Avenue and the Mosholu Parkway overpass. You have to get there in the morning, or on an overcast day, preferably in the winter when the vegetation isn’t obscuring it. One of the city’s great brick clock towers, ranking with Woodhaven’s Lalance and Grosjean’s kitchenware factory, can be found at this police station house at Webster Avenue and Mosholu Parkway. The clock is surrounded by colorful terra cotta. The tower’s design is based on Tuscan villas.

Nearby is Frisch Field, named for the baseball’s Frankie Frisch, the “Fordham Flash” who starred with the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals from 1919 to 1937.

 

Memorial

In the Mosholu Parkway median at Hull and Marion Avenues is the Bronx Victory Memorial, sculpted by Irish-born Jerome Connor, resting on a granite pillar craftedby Arthur George Waldreaon, commemorating Bedford Park and Norwood servicemen who perished in World War I. It was unveiled November 11, 1925.

erpietri@earthlink.net

©2006 Midnight Fish

 


Categorized in: Neighborhoods Tagged with:

81 Responses to NORWOOD, Bronx

  1. Having grown up on Putnam Place in Norwood (which we always thought of as Williamsbridge, no doubt owing to the Williamsbridge Oval) I am very grateful to you for this account.

    As a boy, my love for American history was such that I was always seeking out its remnants from among my Bronx surroundings. I first knew the Varian-Valentine Mansion as the ruin I had to pass each morning as I walked to school at Junior High School 80. I knew something of its involvement in the Revolution — and that fact combined with its crumbling fieldstone and timber made it seem all the more precious to me. In fact, the condition of the place so broke my 14-year-old heart, that a letter to the editor of the NY Herald Tribune written urging its preservation was the first thing I ever had published.

    I like to think that letter added a straw’s weight to its having been saved five years later.

    I hope you won’t think my gratitude for your contribution any the less if I offer one small correction: I think the “Gothic” apartment complex (which I well remember) on Reservoir Oval you identify above is actually Tudor.

    AW

    • Karen Gordon Marrinan says:

      Thanks so much for this information. Lived on Gun Hill Road and loved the area. Alan – I went to PS 94 with you..

      • James Richey says:

        Wow – just looking around the web on my day off.

        I lived at 3508 Kings college pl. – went to our lady of angels over by kingsbridge road – went to ps 94 right next to our apartment and also went to ps 80. small world. I worked at Murrays for a short time. I use to put the sunday paper together 🙂 worked for the oval pharmacy as a delivery boy. also worked at eddie’s deli and toney deli on bainbridge ave.

    • Janis Wital says:

      I went to PS 80 and PS 94 and the graduated from upper grade JHS 80 in the same building. The Bronx was beautiful. I remember gypsies camping across the street from Evander Childs HS on Gun Hill Rd before they built a housing complex there. I am happy to see these photos; private homes and apt buildings next to each other.. I lived on the corner of Gun Hill Rd and Kings College Place as well as De Kalb Ave and a tiny wandering street called 208th street..We played in the street until dusk. Living near Woodlawn Cemetery never bothered us except when our dog went under the fence and we had to climb over the fence to get him.. I loved the candy stores and my favorite deli on Jerome Ave. I hope someday the Bronx will return to those days when a young child could ride a bike anywhere, and not worry about gangs or other crime so prevalent there now. I am proud to say: I was born in THE Bronx. Sincerely, Janis Wital

      • Anonymous says:

        Remember Roy Drillik?

        • michael Blum says:

          If you mean Roy Drillich, I remember him well. He was a legend on the Parkway 1950-1954?
          He lived in Patricia Arms the same building Carl Reiner and Rob Reiner lived in. If you never traded punches in the arm with Roy then you were not a “mensch”. His life ended tragically around 1960.
          It is interesting that I recently shared a page from my JHS 80 autograph album that he signed. I graduated “80” 1953 . Went to DeWitt Clinton HS with Roy. I have many great memories from that era. Still play golf at “Vanny” and Mosholu Golf Course. I even wrote a screenplay called ” Miracle in The Bronx”. Have family in Woodlawn Cemetery. Was on a PAL baseball team from the 52nd Precinct on Webster Ave and we won the NYC Championship in 1954. Love your article on Norwood. I can still walk those streets in my sleep.

  2. Steven Springer says:

    Regarding the candy store on Gun Hill Road: the store, and its sign, still exist. If you’re able to access this link, this photo was taken on August 26, 2011: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150270723717253&set=o.163852283663669&type=3&theater

    I lived on Decatur Avenue between Gun Hill Road and 211th Street (the south end of Woodlawn Cemetery) and spent many a day at that candy store. Its official name was Kappy’s, but when I lived there, everyone knew it as Murray’s, for the guy who owned it at the time.

    • Charles Merson says:

      Steve,
      Murray’s was across the Street (Gun Hill Road), that was Larry’s. I used to catch the 15 bus to Clinton HS on the bricked up side. (0f course two block to the east was Moe’s, not known for his great temperament like Murray who was a really friendly guy and drove an Imperial). In between the triangle of these 3 stores existed a Barber Shop (Charlie’s), a deli Koenigsteins’. Several brik-a-brak stores. A little grocery store that sold barrel pickles and pickled tomatoes across GHR from another that sold fresh sliced rye breads and farmer cheese. Ah the good old days, with 15cent pizza toward you neck of the woods. Playing stickball in the PS94 schoolyard.
      By the way how are you doing Steve? Remember you shooting hoops with Errol and Steve Haimowitz. And we all ogled the Haines sisters, Denise and Debbie. Yep those were the days …….
      Chuck Merson

    • Dan says:

      Hello Steven
      A good friend of mine came across your comments and the article and forward it to me. I’m glad you enjoyed going to Kappy’s my fathers business. He had touch so many peoples lives there. Just want to say thank you.

      Sincerely

      Dan Kappy Kaplan

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Dan My name is Peter I’m 66 I
        Worked in your dad and moms store in the 60s started out putting newspapers together then worked behind the counter . Made a mean Murry and Terry Special

      • Glen heinsohn says:

        Murray was a decent guy and I remember the “Murrays” special a cone with whipped cream and a cherry atop. We got a free one on our birthdays. In 1988 Murray got a reunion together my brother went but I did not but had one in 2011 but I think Murray was gone. I hung out there, the oval, moe’s candy store and “the momuments” Perry and GH Rd. I also hung at Max’s fish market because I had the key to clean the store. Made deliveries for all the stores, fish, Carmine the butcher, max, Re Nu cleaners and Harry Borowick’s kosher butcher on Jerome. If Murray is still with us tell him Glen Heinsohn says hello. Miss the good ole days

  3. Marshall Kanter says:

    The “Apartments Available” sign is on my childhood building at the triangular corner of East 208th and East 210th Streets (East 209th was blocks and blocks from here!). Even my bedroom was in the shape of a triangle….. Love looking at my old neighborhood.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anyone remember the candy store named Jerry’s by the oval? They hated that guy so much they cut his phone line so he couldn’t call the cops

  4. Nenita says:

    I really liked your post, I was looking for something similar and finally I found, I will share with several friends. Congratulations !!! Best regards.

  5. kevin connolly says:

    So many incredible memories of the old neighborhood. P.S. 94 was my sanctuary where I played stickball, (I remember once Eddie who lived across the street hit his first homerun on the roof of the apartment building across the street from P.S.94) . Eddie, was really pumped and there was a buzz in the schoolyard because that was rarely done. Murray’s, a heavy man who seemed to be a nice guy, candy store seemed unorganized but the rainbow ices were delicious. Larry’s, everybody hung out there, I remember when Mountain Dew came out had my first one at Larry’s. What a great neighborhood to grow up in ,so many incredible memories of P.S. 94 and the Oval. Now thinking its sad to grow old . Thanks for the incredible .Kevin Connolly

  6. June Levine says:

    Just found this site! I lived at 3307 Hull Ave. between 207th & Gun Hill rd. & went to PS 56/ I still remember our school song which began “On Norwood Hieghts a schoolhouse stands. Anyone remember the songs for PS 94 and 80?

    • “Let’s be the sort of child that 94 can boast about
      Let’s be the sort of child that it could never do without,
      Let’s be this child for evermore,*
      To glorify out 94,

      “Our own dear 94.

      “With standards high **
      And courage true,
      Our minds alert,
      To all things new.
      Inspiring all to do what’s right,
      All honor to the blue and white!

      “All honor to the blue and white!”

      * Really?
      ** Not sure about this line.

  7. David Becker says:

    Loved your info on my childhood home and neighborhood. I still admire my family apartment in a 6 story elevator building on the corner of DeKalb and Gun Hill. Please don’t forget the sprawling Van Cortland park and Mosholu golf course.

  8. Pat Magee says:

    David, I lived on the NW corner of Gun Hill & Dekalb Avenue (3511 Dekalb) from 1967 to 1974. My mom & brother left in 1979.

  9. Eddie says:

    anyone remember the name of the chinese restaurant on 204th between hull and perry, next to the 5&10, across from gristede’s?

  10. Barry Cash says:

    Thanks for the memories. I grew up on Bainbridge and 211th Street – next door to St. Ann’s rectory. Went to PS 94, JHS 80 and Bx. Science. Played little league in Mosholu – Jerome league, games at Harris Field and Holly Lane. All star game at Frisch field and later at the field on Bailey Avenue and 235th Street.
    Can’t forget Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, on corner of DeKalb and Gun Hill. Nathan Strauss Jewish Center on DeKalb Avenue. Remember night center at PS 94 to play basketball. Hanging out at reservoir oval – riding bikes on the track or on the upper cobblestone walkway…playing baseball, football. Hanging out in schoolyard at PS 94 – stickball was the big game, but also lots of baseball, football, basketball, slap ball, off the wall, errors, even roller hockey, etc. Lots hung out over on Knox and Gates – playing round up, or ringalivio!
    Candy sores? Hmmm. Morris owned the one on Bainbridge and Gun Hill. Best egg creams ever. Larry and Lore’s (Steinberg) luncheonette on Tryon and Gun Hill. Arties deli and Izzy’s on Gun Hill by Kings College. And Murrays on the corner of Hull and Gun Hill. Pizza – hmm. Pelicans on Gun Hill by Rochambeau (near Charlies barber shop and the dry cleaners, and Little Margies flowers!), Marconi on Wayne and Gun Hill, and Trios on Hull and Gun Hill. Capital Ice Cream on Jerome, along with Epsteins and Katz’s delis, the Thrift Stop (toy store), Olinksys supermarket, and the david marcus movie house. Hi Jinx sporting goods too! Jade Garden for Chinese – and on the corner of Jerome and Gun Hill – the Golf cafe for Italina food and the bar.
    So many more memories- stores, restaurants, people, schools, friends. What a neighborhood!

    • Lance Newman says:

      Anybody in contact with Julie Brito ? He was a great basketball coach at the MMCC. A real nice guy also.

    • James Richey says:

      Thanks for your post – It almost sounds as if I wrote it. I went to St. Anns for religious instructions and volunteered at the jewish nursing home. when the Yellow deli (think it was on tryon ave & Gun Hill) was busy, I would go to the bodega or the Deli next to the bar called the Recovery Room. The Oval was the place I grew up. Loads of memories there. I would meet up with my friends on the way to school -PS 80. we would also meet up on Perry because it was half way between Kings College and Decatur. I spent a good part on my youth in that park.

    • janet levine gorfain says:

      I lived at 3520 DeKalb Ave right next door to the Nathan Strauss Jewish Center – Attended Ps 94 – JHS 80 and Evander Childs – the candy store on the corner of Dekalb and gun hill road was Gray’s – so much more – those were great times

    • Harvey Thaler says:

      You just described (well over 2 yrs ago) my neighborhood! Middle of Knox Place bet. Mosholu Pkwy & Gun Hill. Went to PS 95 though, but jhs 80 and then Science. My dad was good friends with the owners of Epsteins for probably 40+ years even after they moved out of the Bronx. Always went to Jade Garden, Katz’s, Schwellers deli also. Hi Jinx, of course. And Frank’s Pizza (owned by John, for some reason) my first “job’ folding the pizza boxes and shredding the mozzarella cheese. 35 cents for a regular feature and UP TO 50 cents for a premium movie at David Marcus! Anyway, thanks for the memories.

  11. Peter Piccininni says:

    Great Memories I lives 3536 Hull last building before the cemetery went to ps 94 kindergarten and st Ann grammar school worked in Murrys for couple of years his wife was Terry nice people Tonys Pizza pace next door a slice and small coke were 25 cents lol

  12. Dan says:

    Just want to say thank you to all the great comments about Kappys. All of this had brought back great memory’s for me. My father Murray and his wife Terri touch so many lives in this neighborhood for over 40 years.

    Sincerely Dan Kaplan
    oldest son of the infamous Murray Kaplan

    • Lynn Goodkin says:

      I loved Murray’s! Grew up on Decatur between Gunn Hil and 211th. Went to your fathers store every day pretty much. BEST memory – as a young girl I collected coins and was obsessed with the 1909 VDB coin. Your father saved ALL the old coins he got and gave them to me. I still have them. I remember everything – even the box of comics as you walked in to the left. PLEASE do you have any photos of the inside and outside???

    • Drew McElroy says:

      Dan,
      I fondly remember your parents, and the shop. Best egg creams and Lime Ricky’s anywhere. For me, even after all these years it’s still the gold standard…

      Drew

  13. steve Ispecky says:

    where was herbie schul, roy drillich’s “best” friend who roy almost killed in a fit of rage at pistones, billy sumpter, larry arms …

  14. Gloria says:

    After reading Arlene alda’s book, ” just kids from the Bronx ” I decided to check out my neighborbood on Google. To find ” my candy store” in one of the photos, was really thrilling. Hull ave and gun hill road. Great memories! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Sam Quinones says:

    I attended sixth grade at PS 56 in 1970-71, same year that Ali fought Frazier for the first time. we were from California, spending a year in NYC.

    Here’s my blog post on going back there recently:

    http://samquinones.com/reporters-blog/2016/04/08/going-home-to-the-bronx/

  16. Long Island Den says:

    What ever happened to Donald “Sak” from Rochambeau?

  17. Judy Wayne Kessler says:

    Has anybody ever seen a photo of Rochambeau Gardens from its glory days in the 30s and 40s ? I grew up there in the 60s and 70s and my father, who also grew up in the neighborhood, remembered how beautiful the Gardens were in their heyday but I’ve never been able to find a photo from that time period.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Even though I’m Italy I went to 2 Bamitzfas Jeffery Shipero and Roy Goldberg

  19. Glenn Spiller says:

    Does anyone remember the name of the candy/convenience store on NE corner of Gun Hill and Bainbridge across from St. Ann’s? I remember walking from PS 94 to Marconi’s for lunch with my school friends, then eating the pizza in the playground on the rooftop of the Montefiore doctors’ residence building across the street. Growing up on Rochambeau and 212th I would sneak through the original North building of Montefiore out the opposite side which was then the ER to get to JHS 80.

  20. Joey Medina says:

    Wow. Such memories. I remember all of these places like it was just yesterday. The neighborhood is still pretty good but nothing compares to the one I grew up in. I am still here (50 + years !) living in the same house on Perry Avenue just across from the Mosholu nursing home. And Murray (Kappy) made the best egg creams. Cannot find those around here anymore !

  21. norma weitzenkorn kahn says:

    absolutely amazing!!! i grew up in the ‘gothic/tudor’ building -3400 wayne ave. — attended both ps 94 and jhs 80. my parents owned erich’s meat market at 3405 jerome avenue – just up from mosholu parkway. so many memories – after the 1947 snowstorm, my friend and i crossed the street and climbed the reservoir oval fence – and almost got buried in the snow. in the back of the apartment building, we had ‘victory gardens’. my parents and their friends planted 1/2 the gardens with vegetables and planted grass on the other 1/2. we all called it ‘the country club’, had beach chairs and lots of fun! i’ve lived in many places, but no other place had the sentimental pull for me as my first 12 years in the bronx!

  22. Al says:

    Hi guy I would like to know what year was Marconis pizza on 181 e gun hill and Wayne ave open

    • Mike Mattes says:

      Not sure but before Marconi it was a dry cleaner. Next door was a Chinese laundry

    • William Gralitzer says:

      Pretty sure it was 1969 or 1970.Still there but they took over both locations that housedthe dry cleaner and the chineselaundry.

  23. Ronald Kushner says:

    I thought it was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in and I still have very warm feelings for it. I occasionally go back there and, even though the signs have changed and the people look different, the neighborhood as it was in the forties and early fifties comes alive in my head. Here’s where Lapin’s candy store used to be; this is where so and so lived; this is what the PS 94 school yard looked like before they added an annex and did away with the big yard where we played basketball and handball and stickball and softball. I still feel the rush of pride walking past the school as I remember when I hit a home run over the right field fence in a softball game when I was 14 years old.

    I tell my kids that it was like a village. You didn’t know everyone but you knew who most people were in a radius of a few blocks of where you lived. I grew up on Reservoir Oval between Putnam Place and Tryon Avenue. The sidewalk in front of our building was like a playground in its own right. Kids would gather and play all kinds of games in front of the building. It was the only level ground in front of a building on our square block – including Putnam Place, Tryon Avenue and Gun Hill Road – that didn’t have hedges or stores at street level, so it was the perfect place to play King (which people in other neighborhoods called Chinese Handball) – you could hit a spaldeen against the wall. It was also where we played potsy, stoop ball, box ball, ring-a-levee-o, hide and go seek, and I declare war, and the girls played jump rope or A My Name is Alice or jacks. If a car pulled up to interfere with the playing space, the driver would usually move it after we pleaded with him to, so that we could continue the game in the street. We had a curb ball field laid out in the middle of the street on Tryon Avenue. Every now and then, the grouchy guy whose window was at ground level would yell at us to “go play in the park.” He didn’t understand that you couldn’t play curb ball in the park and that Tryon Avenue was the only place in our few blocks where you could play curb ball and that curb ball was the only game that we could play at that particular time.

    Montefiore Hospital now dominates the neighborhood. It is now a bustling major medical institution, but in my day it was a small sleepy little hospital that, I think, mainly had tuberculosis patients.

    The schools were terrific. PS 94 and JHS 80 were fine schools. I happened to go into JHS 80 one afternoon about a year ago while I was waiting for a relative to come out of surgery at Montefiore. There was a side door opened so I just went in, even though there was a guard sitting at the main entrance screening people coming into the building. School was over for the day so I walked around the halls, and most of it didn’t look familiar, although the auditorium and the gym did look familiar. I struck up a conversation with a guy who was sweeping the floors and he told me about how bad the school is now. It’s been on some sort of state watch list for schools that are in trouble and they had had ten principals in fourteen years. The basketball backboards are still up in the school yard, but all of the hoops have been taken off so that no one can play basketball there any more. The guy sweeping floors told me that they don’t allow kids to play in the school yard any more if school is not in session. It all seemed very sad to me.

    The Oval (Williamsbridge Oval was it’s official name) was a gem. There were football games all day long on Saturdays and Sundays during the fall – teams representing clubs or Catholic schools. They started at 10 in the morning and went until about 6 in the late afternoon. When you were older, it was a place to play basketball or softball or tennis. Every Sunday morning in the spring and summer a group of men would have a regular softball game on one of the two softball fields. There were places where the older men could toss horse shoes or play shuffle board or play chess or checkers and kids could play in a playground or play ping pong or go into the wading pool in the summer or ride their bikes around the cinder track (sometimes used for track meets) that surrounded the football field. Or you could just hang out with your friends and have a hideout in the forsythia bushes that covered the slope between the upper level of the park and the lower level. In the winter, the wading pool was an ice skating rink and the slope at one end of the oval was a great place to ride your sled after a snow storm. I went to a pre-school program in the park the year before I entered kindergarten and I remember that the main teacher’s name was Miss McGrath and the other teacher was Miss Wagner. On summer evenings, the park was filled with people. This was before people had air conditioning and television sets and relaxing in the park on a hot summer evening was a wonderful thing to do. All generations were there and neighbors spoke with neighbors about this and that and kids invented games on the spur of the moment.

    I could go on..

    I’m sure that I’ve idealized things in some way but, even taking that into account, I can confidently say that it was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in. The enthusiastic comments that others have posted here attest to that.

    • John Stam. says:

      Quick question: Milty’s Was on the corner of Tryon and Gun Hill Road. I️ lived in 215 East Gun Hill Road. I’m having a little disagreement about the kind of store Miltys was. I️ say he served food and my brother says NO food, just toys and odds and ends.
      Do you have any recollections Btw , GREAT post by you.

      • Ronald Kushner says:

        I don’t remember Milty’s. I remember that Barris’s candy store was on the northwest corner of Tryon Avenue and Gun Hill Road (in a corner of your building) and that Kaufman’s grocery store was two store in from Tryon Avenue on the east side of he intersection on your side of Gun Hill Road.

        Thanks for the compliment.

      • ART FADER says:

        I THINK YYOUR BROTHER KEN IS RIGHT, SORRY JOHN
        ARTIE

      • Glen heinsohn says:

        Milts was a candy store only to my recall-no food but I am 65 and left there in 1985 Milt was a large man and I’m not even sure that was his name. I remembered he walked through the blizzard of 1968 to open the store he had ripped his pants in a fall-now that is a good man, or crazy! lol

        He had good comics and candy, Moe had decent sandwichs, the Jewish deli had good eats but Murrays (Kappys) was my main hangout. We moved to 3291 Hull in 1966 crazy nabe but wonderful as well

      • William Gralitzer says:

        I grew up at215 E. Gun Hill rd. too. Apt3E. We moved to So Cal in 1971. Born into the bldg in1960.

        Milties was a dark sad candy store with an empty lunch counter. Miltie was not kid friendly.

        Didn’t you eat at Larry and Lori’s candy store,part of our building? NW cornerof Tryon and Gun Hill. Milties was SE corner.

        It was a perfect place to grow up.

        Billy Gralitzer

      • William Gralitzer says:

        We lived at215 E Gun HILL RD too. From1957 to1971.

        Milties had a lunch counterbut neversaw people eating in this very dark candy store. Miltie was not kid friendly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Milty’s was a candy store. He always got me root beer popsicles because I liked them. We waited in there for the bus to Evander.

    • Marsha Graubard Greenstein says:

      What a wonderful description of the neighborhood I lived in until I was 10! My grandparents owned a 4 family prewar brick house in the center of Tryon Avenue between Gun Hill and the cemetery. Louie’s Luncheonette was the corner candy store in the 50’s and Kauffman’s the small grocery across the street. In the “private houses” on my block I remember the Linders, the Aronsons, the Colangelos, the Pizons. I went to 94, moving in 1959 to the suburbs of New Jersey. I missed the Bronx so – it was a wonderfully warm, stimulating place to spend a childhood.

  24. john morrison says:

    this is john morrison born and raised 3325 perry ave in the 50s and 60s. hung out in the oval and parkway. come on nobody says anything about stubies or staubalms. adolph will be turning over in his grave. what about sam’s pool room. left the neiborhood info rockland county. still get together with danny hofer, vinnie coyne and carol mccarthy to name a few. great place to be raised.
    thanks john morrison
    united states marine corps 1964-68
    semper fi
    and
    god bless the bronx and america

    • Elizabetj Wilson says:

      Hi Johnny…I don’t know if you remember me…I’m Elizabeth Schepis. I’ve been married (last name is Wilson) for 38+ years, have four children and 5 (plus one on the way) grandchildren! We lived diagonally across the street from each other. I lived at 3336 Perry Avenue. Your sister, Elaine, and I always used to fight! We finally got over it when we were in our teens.
      Do you know the Pecar family. my best friend MaryAnne lived across the street from me. Her bother Steven was in my 8th grade class at St. Brendan’s… I’ve been trying to find her for a long time, but haven’t had any luck. Wishing you and yours well, and a New Year that’s filled with good health, much Love and everlasting happiness.

      • john morrison says:

        elizabeth do i remember elizabeth schepis. is that the gorgeous looking girl who lived in the street level apartment of cookie joyce’s house. how could i forget her? i think my nephew richard got in touch with you. i told him to say hi maybe he didn’t. i have been married to my great wife for 49 years. i married her as soon as i got home from viet nam. we have 4 children and 6 grand children you are catching up. where do you live now. we live in valley cottage ny. that is just north of nyack. we have been here since 1971. i know steven pecar he was in our 8th grade class. i heard he passed away. i keep in touch with the mccallions. most of them have passed on also. jimmy died about 10 years ago. junie based last year. she was my first love. we always kept in touch. she got along great with my wife. i went to george cozzacreas wedding about 40 years ago. the were 6 people from our 8th grade class. me freddy amana, steve o’conner, tommy mcgardle, audry fanning and elizabeth seely. it is great to hear from you. let me know if you live or are ever around dockland county. maybe we can get together.

  25. Non lotman says:

    Lived on Rochambeau Ave from 52-60. I attended JHS 80 grades K thru 4. Our candy stores were Charlie’s and Mr. Levy’s, on 204th and Bainbridge. We got our novelties from the Cozy Book Shop. The train entrances allowed us to get there without having to cross the street. The Oval was the place to play and every kid I knew screamed at the top of their lungs going through the tunnel entrance. A great neighborhood to grow up in.

  26. Sally Dunford says:

    My mom grew up on Perry Ave. She and dad were married at St. Brendans in 1950, and though she and my dad raised us in upstate NY (near Albany). Nana still lived on Perry Ave between 209th and Gun Hill and so we spent a lot of time in the neighborhood. Later I got a scholarship to go to Fordham and lived with Nana because Fordham had just gone co-ed and there were not enough dorms for women. When Mike and I married, right out of college, we moved into out first apartment on Rochambeau near 207th St. When son #1 (eventually we had 4 sons) arrived we moved to a 3 bedroom on 208th & Bainbridge – where we still live.

    We’ve watched the neighborhood change from Jewish to Irish to Latino (Puerto Rican, Dominican, and most recently Mexican and Central American)to Bengali — but somethings have stayed the same — 90% of the folks are looking for a safe, clean apartment to raise their kids, while the other 10% create 90% of the problems.

    • john morrison says:

      sally here did your grandmother live and what was her name. i lived at 3325 perry ave from 1945 till 1971.

    • Mike Mattes says:

      There was a great soda fountain/ice cream parlor on East 204th Street. Was it Adolph’s?. I remember going there on a hot summer day and it being so dark and cool inside. Then the chocolate milk shake came. Ah the memories!

  27. Jennifer Luciano says:

    This was a great article, I grew up in the gothic/tudor building on Wayne Ave across from Tryon and Oval Park. I grew up playing in that park. I attended St Ann’s School. My parents lived in that building for 40 years and just moved in January 2017. I visited all the time and my kids spent many a day on Jerome Avenue and Bainbridge Avenue. We would walk to the Botanical Gardens and Bronx Zoo. That are holds such good memories.

    • William Gralitzer says:

      Did you know the Leon family? I grew up with Jonathan before moving away in1971.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds like you lived in the Leru – the only building in our neighborhood that had a door man when I was a kid in the forties. It was rumored that the name “Lenru” was a combination of the names of the couple that owned the building – Leonard and Ruth.

  28. Kathleen Hanley says:

    I was born and raised in this neighborhood. Lived on Decatur Av and 209th St until I was 12 then moved to 3356 Hull Av & Gun Hill Rd, went to St. Bredan then to Acad. Of Sacred Heart of Mary. It was an awesmoe neighborhood , we walked everywhere no worries, where we couldn’t walk to we took a bus or the subway or the EL..I also remember taking the “Trolly” to Fordham Rd.as a young child as well as Stubies & Sturbaum”s and Jahn”s Ice Cream Parlor. This article replayed my entire childhood like a movie in my head as I read it. Lest I forget the best Egg Creams ever at Murry’s. Than just s for the memories.

  29. Bennie says:

    Just a great place to grow up
    Fantastic memories
    Thanks for posting

    Bennie

  30. Mike Mattes says:

    Our kids will never know what it was like growing up in that beautiful neighborhood and they’re the poorer for it. I lived at 3544 Wayne Av until I was 30. The people in that building were closer to me than relatives! My fondest memories are of the delicious aromas in the halls. Florence Persily and Ceil Fable were fabulous Jewish Hungarian cooks and when they made something special like stuffed cabbage they sent up a huge pot to us! We communicated on the dumbwaiter. Banging a “code” on the kitchen steam pipe opening the door and talking. Sending up a jar of something on a string. As I look back it was amazing! Pot luck parties on the top floor! Ever family bringing a dish. Fireworks on the roof for the Fourth!
    We overlooked Woodlawn Cemetary. It was literally a botanical garden with incredible wildlife. I remember looking from my bedroom window seizing a Fox running amoungst the tombstones! And once with my father, seeing even a huge bird up in an ancient oak tree. I swear to this day it was an eagle
    Well thank you for all these memories guys!!

  31. William Gralitzer says:

    I’ve just relived my childhood thanks to this fantastic posting.

    Many families were moving out of this part of The Bronx after1970. Many to the suburbs north and northwest and many out of state. We moved to Encino,.ca. In late June,1971.

    Talk about culture shock! Five of us lived in a spacious2 bedroom,one bathroom apt at 215 E. Gun Hill Rd.We moved into a 4000 square foot home with a 40 by 20 foot heated swimming pool in Encino,.ca. In north LosAngeles County. Our new next door neighbors were Meredith McCrae,Michael Landon,Chad Everett,Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, Farrah Fawcet and Lee Majors,Robert Conrad,and half of the Brady Bunch kids. How crazy was that? Still, I missed Gun Hill Rd and all my friends. Missedthe Catskills too,wherewe spent our summers.

    California pizza was horrible.No Drakes products,no candy stores.No Nathan’s or Carvel.

    Still,life wasn’t so bad in so cal. We came back to the Bronx every summer to see family and friends.

  32. Ronald Kushner says:

    Herb Wender, a classmate of mine at JHS 80 brought this article from the NY Post to my attention about how terrible JHS 80 has become in recent years:

    ‘Struggling’ Bronx school is a hellhole, teachers say
    By Susan Edelman and Sara Dorn
    January 6, 2018 | 7:26pm | Updated

    JHS 80 in the Bronx
    J.C. Rice
    It’s been labeled “persistently struggling,” “out-of-time,” a “Renewal” and now a “Rise” school.
    But to teachers, JHS 80 in the Bronx is an educational hellhole.
    Despite receiving millions in extra dollars and services, the 655-student Norwood school suffers from out-of-control students, filthy, unsafe conditions and thuggish administrators who try to keep the horrors under wraps, insiders have told authorities.

    JHS 80 principal Emmanuel Polanco
    When the city Department of Education recently announced it would close or merge 14 low-performing schools in its “Renewal Program,” which has spent $582 million in three years, JHS 80 escaped the ax. Instead, the DOE named it one of 21 “Rise” schools that have improved enough to leave the Renewal program in June. Yet only 20 percent of JHS 80 students passed the state English exams and 15 percent passed math last year — both well below the citywide average.
    Beleaguered staffers cite a litany of woes under principal Emmanuel Polanco that belie the DOE’s claims of success:
    Violence and fighting are rampant;  unqualified cronies — including a paraprofessional who has acted as a dean — serve in key positions; disruptive students face few consequences; textbooks have been replaced by laptops, which allow students to e-mail each other, play Minecraft, and view sex sites during class; and mold, rusty pipes, peeling paint and grime abound in the rat-infested building.
    “It’s an ugly school,” said a parent, Leslie Cruz, whose daughter told The Post she was assaulted in an altercation with Polanco.
    In what teachers call a cover-up, Miguel Benitez, a teacher Polanco named dean last month, warned the faculty about posting reports of student misconduct and disturbances on Skedula, a DOE online system.
    The reports are read not only by the principal, but “the chancellor’s office” and superintendent, Benitez said at a staff meeting which a teacher videotaped and shared with The Post.
    The higher-ups will “come after” the school’s management, and question teachers’ performance, with reason to say “gotcha,” Benitez warned.
    Writing his cellphone number on a board, he said, “Please do me a favor, before you write anything online, let me know.”
    Benitez, reached on his phone, angrily denied making the statements.
    “That’s a lie,” he said.

    A student’s confiscated laptop
    The worst incidents include a horrific attack and alleged cover-up.
    The DOE says it is investigating a November incident in which two eighth-grade boys allegedly lifted a sixth-grader by his arms and legs, and dropped him on his head, causing him to pass out and convulse.
    A staff member told the FBI and the DOE that administrators delayed calling an ambulance, then forced the eighth-graders and a teacher who witnessed the cruelty to give statements calling it an accident.
    “They lied to the parents,” the distraught staffer told an FBI hotline. “Someone’s child is going to die if nothing is done.”
    Kids have cut themselves and others — during class, source said.
    “Look, I’m bleeding,” a girl told her stunned teacher in February, showing a cut with blood running down her hand, a report says. She and other students said a boy had slashed her with a pencil-sharpener blade.
    Teachers are routinely cursed and assaulted. During a science class in November, a paraprofessional was helping a special-needs student when a classmate picked up a plastic tweezer, and pinched her nipple, a staffer reported. The students also threatened to pinch the aide’s butt.
    And discipline is often mishandled.
    Polanco appointed his close friend, teacher’s aide John “Chucky” Perez, to act as a dean for nearly three years. Deans must be certified teachers, preferably with guidance expertise.
    Last year, Polanco, an underling and a security guard “slammed” then-seventh-grader Hailey Lopez, who is Cruz’s daughter, on the ground, she and her mother claim.
    A teacher who witnessed the brawl reported it to DOE investigators.
    Lopez told The Post she was waiting for her mother after school when they brutally wrestled her to take her cellphone from her purse. Polanco has banned cellphones, and staffers constantly seize them.
    “[They] threw me on the ground,” she said. “I was crying the whole time.”
    Cruz said when she threatened to sue, the school said Hailey had to repeat the seventh grade. The family refused, and Hailey spent a month in a holding room for misbehaving kids.
    “They wanted to cover it up. That’s how bad it was,” Cruz fumed. The DOE said, “We are looking into it.”

    JHS 80 students get no textbooks. They stare at laptops from 8 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. each day. Glitches and crashes often occur because the building is not properly equipped for technology, staffers say.

    Teachers try to police the screens, catching kids who use Google Chat, listen to music, play games, download photos of scantily clad women, and look up answers on the Internet.
    Classrooms can get so noisy and unruly it drowns out teachers’ voices, said seventh-grader Adriana Alvarez.
    “It’s hard for some of the teachers to project their voices when the microphone doesn’t work,” she said. “It’s not easy for [learning] to happen.”
    In winter, steam-spewing classroom heaters are surrounded by electric wires plugged into extension cords. After hours last February, teachers were surprised when workers showed up for asbestos repairs, saying staff and parents were never notified.
    The school’s $11.2 million budget has been padded for three years with Renewal funds. Last year alone, it received an extra $763,690, the Independent Budget Office said. The DOE has also paid ex-Superintendent Sandy Kase $1,400 a day as a “leadership coach” at JHS 80.
    In addition, the DOE awarded a $1.2 million, two-year contract to Aspira of New York to provide mental-health services, plus academic and arts programs. Raki Barlow, a former Aspira director, told The Post that Polanco wanted the group to spend nearly all the money on a certain vendor, and had Aspira abruptly dismissed Dec. 31. The DOE said another community group took over.
    Several teachers have begged for help from union, city, state and federal officials, calling Polanco — who starred in a seedy 2014 rap video as “El Siki” — a bully who boasts of friendship with Chancellor Carmen Fariña and instills fear in his faculty.

  33. I think that everything said was very reasonable. But, think on this,
    suppose you were to write a awesome headline? I mean,I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, however suppose
    you added a title that makes people want more? I mean NORWOOD, Bronx – Forgotten New York is kinda boring.

    You ought to glance at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they write news titles to grab viewers to click.
    You might try adding a video or a pic or two to grab
    people excited about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it
    might bring your posts a little bit more interesting.

  34. Knox nut says:

    I think that last comment was howie bee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.