Survey No. 11: WHEN, WHERE AND WHY,
|Bronx Park East||81||1.95%|
How old were you when you left the Bronx?
|Age||Count||Younger than 12
||12 - 20
||21 - 30
||31 - 40
||41 - 50
||51 - 60
||Older than 60
What were the reasons you left the Bronx?
(Multiple responses were allowed, so the sum of the percentages exceeds 100.)
|A Better Life||1,195||29%|
|Crime/Lack of Safety||652||16%|
|Educational Opportunities (i.e. better schools)||264||6%|
|Family Obligations (parents/marriage/divorce/etc.)||1,055||25%|
|General Deterioration of the Neighborhood||760||18%|
|Hated City Life||78||2%|
|Just Needed A Change||326||8%|
*Most of the reasons cited for a choice of "Other" could have been applied to one or more of the available choices. The dozens of "Parents moved" or "Family moved" should have been posted to "Family Obligations". Similarly, "Bought a House" should have been "Housing Opportunities", and many write-ins related to jobs (or a lack of them) should have been "Employment Opportunities". It seems that ex-Bronxites have an aversion to being pigeon-holed.
One respondent wrote that his reason for moving from the Bronx was "parents moved to Co-Op City." Is there another Co-Op City somewhere besides the Bronx? Another mentioned "taxes" as a reason for leaving, the first time we've heard of this in all the iterations of this survey. Finally, over a dozen people wrote in responses revealing that they never left the Bronx ("still in the Bronx", "I will never leave", "never left", etc...). This resulted in their entire response set to be discarded, since this survey was intended only for ex-Bronxites.
When you left the Bronx, were you sure that you'd never live there again?
When you left the Bronx, did you leave behind any family?
Which, if any, of the following expressions would be closest to describing the feeling you had on the day you finally left the Bronx for good?
||It's been a long time coming!
||So long, I hate to have to leave ya!
||I'll be back...
||I'll never love anyplace more than this...
||None of the above
Do you think that those who currently live in the Bronx will feel the same as you did if and when they move away?
This was the first time we posed this question. Judging by the low percentage of "Yes" responses, most ex-Bronxites harbor very proprietary feelings about "their" Bronx. Apparently, they question whether the current residents could love the place as much as they did. This issue could probably fill many books. Does every generation beget its own share of nostalgia? Or is it limited only to those from a select slice of time?
Other than family and friends, what was the one (and only one) thing that was hardest to leave behind when you left the Bronx?
The neighborhood, the food, and the shopping. Who would've expected otherwise? These were the overwhelming facets of life in the Bronx that so many of us took for granted and missed so much upon leaving. Almost two-thirds of all the responses fell into these three categories.
When it came to responses that mentioned a specific venue, Yankee Stadium was the most ubiquitous, while The Bronx Zoo was strangely low in number. Alexander's Department Store was fairly well represented.
Among the types of stores mentioned, bakeries were far and away the most popular.
For types of food, the most frequently spoken of was pizza.
Many people also mentioned transportation, whether via the subways, elevated trains, buses, or by foot. "All of our needs within walking distance" and similar statements was almost as commonly cited as "The world available via one token."
"Friends" showed up in many responses, another example of ex-Bronxites' refusal to read or abide by the instructions.
Many mentioned schools and schoolyards. One person actually mentioned the Police Department as the aspect of the Bronx hardest to leave. Another listed "the Super."
Unusual for their absence from the responses were movie theaters! Not a single person mentioned The Paradise, The Valentine, the Earl, the Kent, the Luxor, or any of the dozens of theaters that were a staple of Bronx life. This was a surprise.
Also strangely low in number were mentions of houses of worship. Fewer than a dozen mentioned their church, synagogue, or parish.
Some unique (and in some cases, bizarre) responses:
Thanks again to those who participated. Once again, true to their Bronx heritage, more than a quarter of all the respondents refused to let us put words in their mouths, based on the response to the question about how they felt upon leaving. We wonder what these folks really wanted to say...
While enormously larger in the number of responses, this survey - for the most part - only substantiated the results of its previous versions. Some categories showed slight shifts in percentages, but most remained within the trends already established by prior audiences of The Bronx Board. What do 99.5% of all the respondents have in common? We lived in the Bronx, we left the Bronx, and we miss the Bronx.