Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is Riverdale really part of the Bronx?

In last week's issue, we ran a Person on the Street asking people if they thought Riverdale was really part of the Bronx. In the upcoming issue, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz responds in a letter to the editor.

This didn't make the paper, but here is an article our intern (who also does the Person on the Streets) wrote.


Is Riverdale really part of the Bronx?

It’s a long-standing question between Riverdalians and Bronxites. Geographically and politically speaking, the area of Riverdale is obviously part of the Bronx. But asking the people of Riverdale and the Bronx whether they considered Riverdale part of the northern borough, the answer would not always correlate with the geographically and politically accurate answer.

So where does the indiscretion come in? Why is it questionable about what “proper title” to use?

Jump below for the rest of the article.

Riverdale is the only community in the Bronx that marks ‘Riverdale, New York’ as their address; no other neighborhood does that, according to a Bronx postman.

“Riverdale is technically part of the Bronx, I guess, but I don’t view them as the Bronx,” United States Postal Worker Lee Kim of the Throggs Neck Branch said. “When there is outgoing or incoming mail for Riverdale it specifically says Riverdale on the mailing address; everywhere else in the Bronx says Bronx. Maybe once I’ve seen it done by any other Bronx town.”

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Thomas Conte, who has been a Riverdale resident his whole life and is proud to proclaim that he is from the Bronx. “I live in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, there’s no other way to put it.”

Riverdale’s assemblyman agrees.

“Do people really think that Riverdale isn’t part of the Bronx? If you do, you’re living in a fool’s paradise,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.

Dinowitz, who hasn’t always been a Riverdale resident, said he still thought it was as much of the Bronx as anywhere else while he grew up near the Jerome Park Reservoir.

“I thought it was part of the Bronx then, and I live in Riverdale and I think it’s still part of the Bronx.”
He added that Woodlawn has a similar small town type quality to it, which may be a factor of what people in the rest of the Bronx use to justify excluding it from the borough.

One real estate agent says the Riverdale name is something to be proud of.

“Neighborhoods convey different images. Riverdale is independent; it has outdoor activities, shopping, great schools, one of the lowest if not the lowest crime rate in the city, and its at a center point for a number of different communities,” Riverdale real estate agent Joseph Korff said. “The image Riverdale conveys is different than the image of what people may think of when they think of the Bronx.”

Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan not only believes Riverdale is most definitely the Bronx, but also that the shopping centers of Riverdale have similarities to what the Grand Concourse was like back in the mid-20th century.

But there is no set answer to the question of Riverdale or the Bronx; the matter of the fact is that the answer to this age-old question comes down to the individual.

Technically speaking, yes it does fall within the boundaries of the Bronx. But ask a variety of people from both Riverdale and other sections of the Bronx and every answer will be different.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in Riverdale but now live in San Francisco. Years ago I met someone out here in California who also grew up in Riverdale and he had a funny line: he said people who live in Riverdale psychologically live in Westchester and people who live in Inwood psychologically live in the Bronx..... a little affectionate Riverdale humor from two Californians