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Grand Concourse Dominican Parade 7/18/1999
Photo Gallery: Secondary Road Scenes

A group of us were on a walking tour organized by Forgotten-NY's Kevin Walsh and had pretty much decided to wrap the tour up with a trek down to Yankee Stadium. We got down to just about this point in the low 170's, the stadium at 161st Street still about 12 blocks out of our reach. We were, of course, totally distracted by this Dominican community parade and stopped to take it in. Within minutes of having reached the parade, an incredible downpour splashed down upon us and the Dominican revelers, washing out what remained of the street fair and, we figured, whatever remained of the Yankee game.

We were wrong about the game. Three of us headed back to Bedford Park after the deluge ended and ducked into a cozy Irish bar. Sure enough, the bloody game had actually resumed after nearly an hour's delay and wouldn't you know, David Cone came back out to resume his mound work after such a long delay and went on to pitch an historic perfect game! Can't complain though. We were all suffering heat prostration when that rain hit. Never before had so many people enjoyed getting caught in a torrent like that. Many thanks to the poor, beset apartment house superintendant who allowed us, along with a huge contingent of parade goers, to hide out in his building's vestibule until the rain eased up. Despite enjoying the opportunity to get somewhat soaked, we didn't want to to get washed away!

One can get a good idea what a run of typical 1920's-1930's Bronx apartment houses looks like here. The Concourse has been the kingpin of Bronx residential streets for many decades, only eclipsed in stature perhaps by parts of Riverdale high on the bluffs to the west. Many of these buildings still retain majesty and dignity today. It's sadly become all too easy, commonplace and second nature for Non Latino white New Yorkers to think of this area and this street today as a quote-unquote "Bad Neighborhood" to be avoided. This outlook is just one article of this society's bagfull of dirty laundry. Well, to the masses of Dominican and Puerto Rican American residents living around this grand boulevard, this is no more a "bad neighborhood" than the Concourse's Queens cousin Queens Blvd is to it's residents. As a kid, I was personally both mugged and harassed within the precincts of good-ole Queens Blvd, as have been countless others, so the Grand Concourse and its neighborhoods have nothing to apologize for. Just as we thoroughly enjoyed an earlier walk and photo shoot through the mostly Puerto Rican precincts of Williamsburg, Brooklyn the month before, we had a great time up in the 170's at this festival, not to mention the gracious provision of shelter when the rain fell.

There are probably two types of guys who will view these pages. One type will oogle the lovely girls, the other will oogle the classic Volkswagens. Nobody is likely to oogle C-Town. It's one of the major supermarket chains in the New York City Metro area, but usually nests in more crampy, old-style storefronts, as opposed to the mega-superstore type. For some reason, they didn't think anyone would get the idea if they just wrote Town once. Never knew who the C in C Town was either. Two doors down is a Rite Aid Pharmacy. Unlike the rather provincial C Town, many Non-New Yorkers will be familiar with Rite Aid.
For those of you that want to see parts of NYC other than Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty (to which I've been exactly once) and the Empire State Building (also once), the Tremont, University Heights, Fordham and Bedford Park neighborhoods are just a short subway ride to the north of midtown on either the D or the 4 trains. Take in the food, the architecture, the geography and the New Yorkers; all the New Yorkers.

© 1999, Jeff Saltzman.