Monday, December 23, 2013
I wish I could say it was one of the nicest places I lived in, but it was quite the opposite. I had no idea what i was in for when I moved in; fresh faced from the suburbs and transferred from community college to complete my film degree at Hunter. If the drug busts, gang fights, crack vials, booming radios, cringing neighbors (especially the ones from other blocks who all wanted to quarantine the block from the rest of the neighborhood) weren't an indication, then certainly the rats were. These were rats that let you know that the stories you heard about New York City rats were not necessarily apocryphal.
I'm sure this street was one of the nicest places to live at a certain time in history, but these days it reflects a lot on what happened to the Bronx in general when the decay and withdrawal of industry (and jobs and the urban middle class in short order) ravaged the borough, leaving emotional scars across the board that lingered for generations.
I recently found out that an organization decided to build a facility to house and service folks who were both homeless and mentally ill. The link is to a PDF newsletter from Postgraduate Center for Mental Health introducing the new Lyvere Street Residence. The facility has (or will have, I haven't verified it's existence or completion yet) forty-eight units with many modern amenities and a courtyard that's said to be it's centerpiece; something the whole community will be drawn to.
It replaces the little shack that housed a big drug nest, as well as the green and white house my neighbor James, his wife and two kids lived in. I can still hear him calling out and asking if I need a MetroCard.
And to be honest, I don't really know how I feel. I can't help but sense some sort of irony in it all.