Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2011

The Bronx is Burning

Another wind of memory carried me to the steps of my aunt’s Bronx tenement building on University Avenue and Kingsbridge Road.             “Those bastards!” Auntie Esther shouted through the apartment door as I fumbled with her keys in the old lock. She wasn’t really my aunt but my grandmother’s sister so this made her my great-aunt. I squinted both eyes in the dim hall light and felt around for the lock. The sounds of Hawaii 5-0 reruns reverberated into the hallway of her old six story high dirt brown brick building. It was so loud I thought Jack Lord was standing next to me.
            Two Puerto Rican teenagers clumped down the hallway stairs in their heavy boots and thumped basketballs against the steps and walls. There were no elevators in her building, just two large stairwells at either side of the building that neighbors had climbed up and down for decades. I winced as bounces echoed off the walls but the boys ignored me in the shadows, another home attendant, they figured, comi…