Thursday, June 25, 2015

BRONX PORTRAITS: People of the South Bronx



Many well-known people have either been born or lived in the Bronx.  They constitute a very long listing: scientists like Leonard Susskind and Neil deGrasse Tyson;  visual artists like Margaret Bourke-White and Larry Rivers;  authors like E. L. Doctorow and Edgar Allen Poe;  actors like Lauren Bacall and Al Pacino;  film directors like Stanley Kubrick and Woody Allen;  musicians like Roberta Peters and Robert Moog;  political figures like Bella Abzug and Colin Powell;  sports figures like Nate Archibald and Cus D'Amato;  and business leaders like B. Gerald Cantor and Collis Potter Huntington.




The Bronx Walk of Fame: Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Rock Steady Crew, Grand Concourse, The Bronx, NYC




The Bronx Walk of Fame: Valerie Capers, Joe Franklin, Grand Concourse, The Bronx, NYC

Some of these famous Bronxites also have joined a group of approximately 100 citizens through induction into the Bronx Walk of Fame, an annual recognition that began in 1997 and takes place during Bronx Week. 

Originally celebrated as Bronx Day, Bronx Week began in 1971. The Bronx Walk of Fame recipients have their name displayed on a streetpole on the Bronx's most famous thoroughfare, the Grand Concourse, as seen in the two photographs above.

Here we see Dr. Ruth Westheimer (sex therapist inducted in 2008) and Rock Steady Crew (hip hop and break dancing group inducted in 2008) in the top photo, and Valerie Capers (blind jazz pianist inducted in 2012) and Joe Franklin (radio and television host inducted in 1999) in the photo below. 

An average of five Bronx people are inducted each year into the Bronx Walk of Fame.  Only Dr. Ruth, so far, has neither lived nor been born in the Bronx; but she had so many connections with the Borough that she became an "honorary Bronxite."

Besides the famous (and the infamous), however, the Bronx, like every other place, boasts an enormous variety of interesting citizens and personalities. Their mere presence enhances the Borough's quality of life, and their activity and commitment to the Bronx, even if not (yet) broadly recognized, is something to be celebrated.

The photographs below do this; they celebrate a few of the people of the South Bronx whom I managed to capture candidly during my wanders over the past year. My captions give only first names and where the photograph was taken.





Mychal: Social Activist, 138th Street, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Afzal: Pharmacist, 138th Street, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Danny: Dry Cleaner, 138th Street, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Philip: Web Designer, Ryder Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Amir: Restaurateur, Alexander Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC





Edwin: Cinematographer, Bronx Documentary Center, Melrose, The Bronx, NYC




Kyle: Copwatcher, Alexander Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC





Joe: Photographer, Bronx Documentary Center, Melrose, The Bronx, NYC




Evelyn & Mark: Stepping Out, East 140th Street, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Carlos & Franklin: Stoop-Sitting, Alexander Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Reynaldo, Sean & Tony: Jamaican Corner, Alexander Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




David & Friends, 3rd Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Grandma Mary with Destiny/Nevah/Paris/Dante/Ariana, 3rd Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Climate Justice Meeting, Brook Park, 141st Street, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Three Men: Summer Stage, St. Mary's Park, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC




Dominoes, Gerard Avenue, Concourse, The Bronx, NYC





Eddie: Football Coach, Grand Concourse, Concourse, The Bronx, NYC




Water Seller, 145th Street Bridge, Mott Haven, The Bronx, NYC







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