|A Bronx Tale|
|Written by Roy Mandina|
The debate is never-ending. Every New York kid is positive beyond the shadow of a doubt that theirs was the best possible childhood, in the greatest borough. The greasers in Brooklyn thought they were the toughest, the nerds in Queens thought they were the coolest, the gang in Manhattan’s Little Italy thought they had all the CONNECTIONS, and I have no idea what the foreigners out in Staten Island thought. And the crew in the only borough with a “the,” (or Da; depending on just how Bronxy you are) were just as certain as the rest.
Me, I am a Bronxite through and through. Raised at home by loving parents, and schooled on the streets of the Wakefield/Woodlawn area in the 60’s and 70’s. A time when we roamed the streets for miles and our parents didn’t have to worry about seeing us again. I can remember the nights of the summer, walking on 241st. and White Plains Rd, listening to the sounds coming from the Fantasy East; a tiny little club that boasted such greats as Dion and The Belmonts, the Four Tops, and the Drifters. I remember eating the greatest heros in the world at the Wedge Inn on Boston Rd., and watching the races there every Friday night, where the hottest cars in N.Y. gathered.
The place that I called my second home was 16 park on Matilda Ave.This was my sanctuary. Here I learned most of life’s lessons. I learned about loyalty, friendship, and sportsmanship. I learned how to fight, and how to forgive. I learned how to be tough, and I learned how to be tender. And yes, I even learned about love. The romantic love between a boy and a girl, and the love between friends.
Here was a place full of schoolyard legends. We had tough guy legends such as Jimmy Bone, and Lefty (Joe DiMeo), who when his left hand struck, you thought you got hit by a truck. We had sports legends like Roller Hockey wizard Mike Maffei, and basketball players like Dr. Richie Bobay, who floated through the air like Jordan before Jordan was born. We had song writing legend Vinny DiMirco whose song, “Up the Ladder to the Roof” earned him a Gold Record. And we had schoolyard singing sensations like Buster, (George Ennis) whose thundering hand on the guitar was complemented by his sensational vocals.
We all shared something special here in our section of the Bronx. And though the basketball courts have been ripped away, and the schoolyard no longer echos with those familiar voices and with the laughter, and the song, and we are now viewed as strangers on 241St., the magic that was our childhood is still alive in us. And I am more sure of that every timeI I read another post in the “Wakefield/Woodlawn Section” on Facebook. Sincerely, I thank each and everyone of you.
P.S. I don’t care what any of them chooches say. THE BRONX WAS THE BEST!