Pook, from 1154 Stratford Ave (bet Watson/Westchester) here. Born and raised in the Bronx, lived in the same apt until I was 21 and we moved to Puerto Rico (’65-’87). Son of Sam used to live on my block as a kid. The summers were the best…lots of good memories as a kid, playing all the street games there were. The old Ward Theatre was where we’d go watch all the Bruce Lee flicks (it later became Roller World skating rink then a furniture outlet of some type). Carvel and Hebrew National deli was down the block on Westchester across from the original Yankees Pizza. Man, a slice with extra cheese and a Carvel shake???!!! That was heaven. Went to JHS 123 (or as we called it, “The Rikers Island Annex” heh heh). We’d all go check out Bambaataa at the Zulu Nation jams in Bronx River projects. Hanging out in front of the stoop with all my friends, rapping to all the girls or snapping on each other. I’d bring my box and we’d chill out listening to 98.7 Kiss/92 KTU/BLS. Red Alert/Chuck Chillout/Mr Magic. Then we’d get 25 cents and get a “piragua” down the block (or a “coquito”). It was cool ’til the mid 80’s when crack took over and messed EVERYTHING up. Before that, it was a cool place to live and grow up. After I left, i lost a few friends who were killed in front of my old building. I went back in ’98 and ’04 but everyone I knew (except for a few old ladies like my boy Pedro’s grandmother) was gone. Although a mural of one of my boys that was killed is still there (on Stratford, near Westchester). Very sad going back to the block. Sandra, you said it right, those were the days…peace.
Original author: Juan A. Vargas (pooktc5) [e-mail]