Welcome2TheBronx is happy to be part of Curbed’s first-ever Bronx Week Coverage which was launched today. The series takes a dive into our ever changing borough and what makes us tick. Thanks to the folks at Curbed for asking us to be a part of their launch!
Curbed decided to look at the state of the Bronx, we knew that talking to people who are actively involved in the fight for the borough’s future was a must—and who better to do that then some of the most passionate Bronxites around? Read on for interviews with notable Bronx boosters, including borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., to get a sense of what’s happening in the Bronx right now, and what the future holds for this rapidly changing borough.
Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Once upon a time, nobody wanted to come to the Bronx, and many of the folks who complain about it now were the same ones who complained that we didn’t have nice restaurants, that we didn’t have a pleasurable shopping experience, that the Bronx is full of crime. These are all the things I think are part of my responsibility—to build up the borough—and so with that, you’re going to see more and more interest, you’re going to see more and more development.
“Life isn’t perfect here, but I try to stay away from the negative and always speak of the positive accomplishments. [We’ve] been beaten down for so long that it almost seems like maybe the Bronxites don’t feel like they deserve any better. You know? So we’ve been changing the mindset, we’ve been changing the spirit of the people of the Bronx. People are feeling better about the borough, they want to live here.”
Nancy Biberman, co-founder and executive director, WHEDco
“I think the Bronx is moving in a great direction. It’s so vastly different than [it was] 25 years ago, where you really walked block after block and you’d see one abandoned home next to another and there was hardly any evidence of people on the street. You cannot say that today. The population has increased dramatically. There’s so many other measures we looked at to see improvements. There is improvement in the schools. The parks are continually being improved and people are using them, they’re safe, which is not something you could say even ten years ago.
“That’s the difference. People feel safer, they are safer. It’s prettier. I think there is a palpable feel and look to the place which is a community definitely moving in a positive direction.”
Ed García Conde, founder and editor, Welcome2TheBronx
“I don’t think development is necessarily a bad thing. My problem with development is when it turns into displacement, and what we’re seeing now is interest that will displace the current population. A lot of these developers don’t really care about the residents and they’re looking to turn profit. A lot of the questions about [new] developments are, “Is it for us? Is it for the majority of the people?” And it clearly isn’t.
‘The focus is no longer on keeping existing residents and growing families in the Bronx. It’s starting to bring a whole different demographic from the outside, which is really just the people who can no longer afford Manhattan or Brooklyn, and parts of Queens.”
Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear your stories too!