Tag Archive | "Former Featured"

Gas prices skyrocket in the Bronx

Gas prices skyrocket in the Bronx

By Olivia Damavandi

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Former Featured, Multimedia, Transportation, VideoComments (0)

The Bronx on the big—and small—screen

The Bronx on the big—and small—screen

Bronx Ink takes a look at how the borough’s tough iconic image has penetrated pop culture through the years, from movies about gangs, like “A Bronx Tale,” to the wise guy voice of Bugs Bunny.

By Olivia Damavandi

Off the top of your head, you can probably list at least three movies or television series that have been filmed in Manhattan. But quite a few have used the Bronx as their backdrop—probably more than you think. The borough’s trademark characteristics include its tough neighborhoods and its accent, used most notably in the voice of Bugs Bunny, both of which are well known around the world.

Some Bronx natives say the widespread urban decay in the Bronx in the early 1980s made it an idea production setting for several crime dramas. Fires ripped throughout the borough in the 1970s, devastating its infrastructure and causing a plummet in its population. At that point, the Bronx became an international image of urban decay and social chaos.

“Most of the movies set in the Bronx portray it as dangerous,” Bronx native Bernard L. Stein, a professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, said. “That’s a popular image of the borough: The Bronx is the ultimate example of urban disorder and decay on the world.”

Stein says the media has helped seal that image in the minds of people all over the globe.

“I had some Dutch students in my class visiting and I asked them what they thought of the Bronx and the answer was dirty rough and dangerous.”

He also recalls the last time he visited a post office in France and an employee watched him fill out his address.

“A guy saw me writing Bronx and he said, ‘You are not afraid to live in the Bronx?’”

Here’s a list of movies, some better known than others, which have used the Bronx as their backdrops.

Marty (1955)

This four-time Oscar winner stars Ernest Borgnine as the title role as a lonely and lovelorn Bronx butcher.

The Wanderers (1979)

This film, based on the novel with the same title by Richard Price, is about a group of youths growing up in the gang-filled Bronx during the 1960s. The film was shot in several Bronx neighborhoods as well as the armed forces recruiting center on the Fordham Road overpass above the Grand Concourse, and Krum’s ice cream parlor (a then-landmark) located on the Grand Concourse.

The Warriors (1979)

The gang meeting scene in this movie is widely believed to be shot in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, but it was actually shot in Riverside Park. In 2005 this film was made into a video game that featured levels called Pelham, Tremont and Gunhill, named after streets and neighborhoods in the Bronx.

Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981)

Starring Paul Newman, this movie, titled after the nickname for the 41st precinct and filmed on location in South Bronx, depicts the area as extremely dilapidated and gritty.

“Newman and the cast promised that at beginning of the movie they would have disclaimer saying that not everywhere in the Bronx is like what is depicted in the movie,” Bronx historian and author Lloyd Ultan said. “But the movie was so shocking that I doubt anyone remembered the disclaimer.”

Wolfen (1981)

The urban-decayed South Bronx was home to the werewolf type creatures in this horror movie, based on the 1978 novel “The Wolfen” by Whitley Strieber. Many scenes were shot at the intersection of Louis Nine Boulevard and Boston Road. The church in the opening scene of the movie was located at the intersection of East 172nd and Seabury Place. The New York Times reported that the church was built (and burned) especially for the film. Today, this community contains mostly suburban-style privately owned houses.

True Love (1989)

Bronx native Nancy Savoca’s “True Love” is the realistic love story of an Italian-American couple that lives in the Bronx before they get married. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival.

Awakenings (1990)

Nominated for several Oscars, this film, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, is based on psychiatric patients at Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx in 1973.

A Bronx Tale (1993)

This story, set in the 1960s, is about an Italian father (Robert De Niro) who becomes worried when a local gangster befriends his son.

I Like It Like That (1994)

This comedy-drama tells the story of a young Puerto Rican couple’s tumultuous relationship in poverty-stricken South Bronx.

Summer of Sam (1999)

Directed and produced by Spike Lee, this crime-drama is based on the Son of Sam serial murders. It was filmed mostly in the Country Club, Morris Park and Throggs Neck sections of the Bronx. Marie’s Beauty Lounge, the salon where Vincent works, is a real salon located on Morris Park Avenue, between Williamsbridge Road and Bronxdale Avenue.

Finding Forrester (2000)

Bronx housing projects from the 1990s were used as stock footage for different segments of this film. It stars Sean Connery and Rob Brown, who plays a 16-year-old gifted basketball player and aspiring writer from the Bronx.

Knights of the South Bronx (2005)

This television movie tells the true story of teacher David MacEnulty (played by Ted Danson) who taught under privileged, inner-city children at Bronx Community Elementary School 70 in South Bronx to play chess at competition level, eventually winning New York City and the New York State Chess Championships.

Doughboys (2008)

A family bakery established in 1921 is the fixture in the Bronx neighborhood of Morris Park, where this movie takes place. It is run by two brothers, Frank and Lou, who are in danger of losing the bakery due to Lou’s gambling problem.

Television Shows and Cartoon Characters

Becker (1998-2004)

This CBS television sitcom portrays the everyday life of a small businessman in the Bronx. It centers on the life of Dr. John Becker, played by Ted Danson, who runs a small practice and serves run-down parts of the Bronx.

Bugs Bunny

Mel Blanc, who created the voice of Bugs along with those of several other Looney Tunes characters, appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in the late 80s and revealed where the famous wise-cracking bunny’s accent originated.

“They show me a picture of the character, and then they show me a storyboard which shows what the character is going to do in the cartoon. From this I have to create the voice,” he responded. “Like, Bugs. They said was a ‘tough little stinker.’ So I thought, ‘Which is the toughest voice in this country? The Brooklyn or the Bronx?’ [speaking in Bugs Bunny voice] So I, uh, put the two of them together, and that’s how I got the voice of Bugs, doc!”

Editors note: The story previously reported in error that that the gang confab scene in the Warriors was shot in Van Cortlandt Park. It was actually shot in Riverside Park in Manhattan.

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[VIDEO] Bronx seniors go Wii

[VIDEO] Bronx seniors go Wii

By Ethan Frogget and Clara Martinez

Every Friday, a group of seniors gets together in the Bronx Library Center to bowl with the Nintendo Wii. The program is part of a citywide initiative launched by the New York Public Library system to bring new technologies to surrounding communities. Wii gaming is available in five other Bronx libraries and twelve centers in Manhattan and Staten Island.

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[VIDEO] Bronx blog links parents and connects kids

[VIDEO] Bronx blog links parents and connects kids

Nicole Perrino is the creator of BronxMama.com, a blog dedicated to informing parents about child-friendly activities taking place throughout the borough.

By Semhar Woldeyesus and Camilo H. Smith

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Protesters refuse to give up on Columbus High School

Protesters refuse to give up on Columbus High School

By Clara Martinez Turco

Mary Conway-Spiegel, founder of Partnership for Student Advocacy, asked the DOE to reconsider the conversion of Columbus High School as a charter (Photo Credit: Clara Martinez Turco)

Dozens of teachers and students of Christopher Columbus High School gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday night to oppose the Panel for Educational Policy’s decision to close the school. They were joined by several current and past public officials.

“It is critically important for Columbus High School to stay alive and to keeps its doors open,” said former New York Attorney General and former Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams while calling the Department of Education to reevaluate its decision.

The group also called authorities to reconsider an alternate plan to convert Columbus into a charter high school, a plan that was rejected in September by the State Education Department. Under the proposal, submitted by principal Lisa Fuentes in August, the school administration would take control and redesign the curriculum to better serve the needs of the community.

“We in the Bronx, more than in any other place, are impacted by schools that the Department of Education says they are failing,” said City Council Member and Columbus alumni James Vacca. Columbus, along with nine other schools in the Bronx, are set to phase out in September because of low performance in the past four years.

“The Department of Education has to look in the mirror… they have an opportunity to save a school whose tradition in the Pelham Parkway community and in the Bronx is without equal,” said Vacca. “Give us another look, we are worth saving and we want you  to save us.”

Representatives of the United Federation of Teachers, State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein and the Partnership for Student Advocacy group also expressed their support to the charter conversion plan.

As several students took the podium to oppose the school’s closure, 17-year-old senior Wendy Valladares said Columbus has always supported its students. “Many of us come from other countries, and Columbus has always welcomed us, even if we came in the middle of the school year,” she said.

According to DOE’s statistics, 69 percent of the 1,466 students who attended the school between 2008-2009 come from families whose yearly income is lower than $28,665. At least 20 percent of the students have limited English proficiency.

Columbus will be replaced by Bronxdale High School, which will open its doors in September. Although the new school is expected to serve the same community, it will be smaller and will only take 450 students.

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PDO welder

[VIDEO] The Bronx takes it to the world’s stage

Pook Diemont & Ohl designs and builds stage equipment for theaters and performance venues all over the world.

By Ethan Frogget

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Former Featured, Multimedia, VideoComments (0)

[VIDEO] At the speed of snow

[VIDEO] At the speed of snow

The weather has slowed down all forms of transportation in Kingsbridge, except for one.

By Ethan Frogget and Manuel Rueda

Posted in Former Featured, Multimedia, VideoComments (0)