For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Bronxites

Only In The Bronx

by Mel Moskowitz


n the early 1950s, I attended Thomas Knowlton Junior High School 52, located onKelly Street between St. John and Leggett Avenues. It was a beautiful sunny day and I couldn't wait for dismissal. Finally, the three o'clock bell rang and I left the school and headed home.

My usual two-and-a- half-block walk was to head to St. John Avenue, make a left, and go two blocks east and then make a left on Fox Street. My building, 627 Fox Street, was the corner building with a courtyard. This day would be different from my usual routine. As I turned onto St. John, I heard "bang bang bang!" and then heard it again when I saw the police across the street, chasing a group of young men who suddenly stopped and turned around and fired at the police. The police shot back at the young men who then ran into a building with the police right behind them. I saw them running up the staircase, shooting at the police who were continuing to return their fire. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. One of the policemen clutched at his face where he had just been shot!

I headed home, briskly walking past the two story home on St. John. I crossed Beck Street, passing Rausch's candy store. That day, I wasn't going to stop and get my usual Hershey bar or Mary Janes... Something better was going on.

From Beck Street to Fox Street was a long walk but I was making good time. I always remember this side of Avenue St.John as being sunny and bright. I passed the plaque which was put on the wall of the building to honor all those who lived in the neighborhood and had fought in World War II . I was wondering what to tell my mother who was probably preparing dinner at this time, which in the Bronx we called "supper".

I finally reached the courtyard where I lived and where I played many different games, such as stoopball, box ball, card games, flipping baseball cards and many others. I ran up the two flights of stairs and made a left into the hallway to my apartment. When I went inside, I put my books down and told my mother I was going back downstairs. She said I should stay upstairs and watch TV. I told her that there was a better show going on downstairs and promptly returned where the action was.

Only in the Bronx could you witness something like this.

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