Yesterday, I wrote about my commute from Manhattan back home each evening to bucolic Westchester… and how gorgeous it is, sunset and all…
Yet what I failed to mention was that my commute takes me through the Bronx and it’s a borough I don’t know much about….Here’s a pic that shows the view from the bridge near the train in the Bronx, just to give you a taste!
I appreciate the part of my commute that takes me to this most northern of the five NYC boroughs. The area in the Bronx where my train transfers from Westchester to Manhattan is mainly inhabited by Dominican immigrants. It’s so amazing since NYC is a place where you can feel like you’re in a different country, depending on which neighborhood you’re in.
Speaking of the Dominican Republic (D.R. as it’s usually called), I had the fortune of visiting this tropical Caribbean island in 2011 and one of my dear friends is also Dominican so I feel as if I’m an “honorary Dominican” of sorts.
Plus, the national dances in D.R. are bachata and merengue and I must say that I’ve pretty much perfected both! So much fun to dance them. You’ve gotta check them out! Super speedy rhythms and dizzying turns!
So needless to say, going through the Dominican part of the Bronx each day doesn’t feel foreign to me.
On my way home tonight, the streets are (as usual) full of people sitting on folding chairs, placed near their apartment stoops. These Bronx residents set up a card table and play dominos outside on the sidewalk. This exciting game takes place in a boisterous, playful setting while spicy salsa music wafts through the air. This musical accompaniment is courtesy of someone’s car parked with the windows rolled down and stereo cranked up!
And age makes no difference here in these impromptu block parties! Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly…all hanging out together and speaking a lightning-fast Spanish dialect. There’s usually even a dog or two in the mix, sitting lazily underneath the card table, watching it all take place.
While the card game heats up, delicious scents of fried fish or perhaps rice and beans cuts through the warm night air…something really rich and delicious is surely being prepared for supper! Alas, I’m not invited (yet!)
The apartment buildings around this Bronx neighborhood also reflect the celebratory atmosphere! People hang colorful Christmas lights on their windows that flash all year round. No need to wait for winter!
Others show their colors by proudly hanging Dominican red, white and blue flags outside their apartments windows like banners…or else even use them as curtains on the inside.
On the corner, there is a ‘bodega’ (‘deli’ in English), that sells many products from DR and other countries in Latin America. The name of this particular ‘bodega’ is ‘Garden of Eatin’ which I think is rather witty! Inside the bodega, besides interesting vegetables such as yucca and plantains, there are always yummy looking cookies or ice creams…many are coconut, mango, guava or papaya-flavored! I must admit I’ve yet to try them but I promise myself I will soon.
Even the dollar store there has a party going on…They have salsa or reggaeton music booming from speakers facing out to the street! Buying a roll of paper towels or a tube of toothpaste has never been so much fun!
Needless to say, this corner of the Bronx is definitely an exotic world, right in the heart of NYC!