A Walk in the Bronx & the New Squeegee Men

Or the Return of the Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee.

Bronx Greenway Mosholu Pelham System
Bronx Greenway Mosholu Pelham System

So no Dauntless news in this post. No news is good news., just me on my soapbox.

Woke up this morning and realized that I needed some exercise.  In Waterford, I walk a few miles a day, up and down the hill to the butcher and the two bakeries, one for bread and the other for a cupcake or other tasty treat.

Living in Manhattan, I was able to park the car within a block or so of our apartment, now in the Bronx, a half mile away is becoming commonplace, but we don’t use the car as much.  So, I’m actually walking far less. I decided to walk the green space from the Bronx Zoo, past the Bronx Botanical Gardens, pass the Bronx River and up Mosholu Parkway towards Van Cortland Park.

My dear friend Samantha, a real Bronxite, had told me about this path and how it is possible to walk almost half way through the borough in this green space.  Very nice; a month earlier the fall foliage would have been much prettier.

The Bronx River
The Bronx River

So as I am ambling down the path, the first thing I notice is the guy with the pit bull letting his dog shit in the park and no way is he picking it up.  Then a few minutes later, in one of the places where I have to cross the street, with traffic backed up getting onto the Bronx River Parkway, who do I see, but the new squeegee men.  They don’t have squeegees anymore, they don’t need them, as they have figured out, panhandling is even more lucrative than the extortion of trying to clean someone’s windshield.  So by staking out some spot where cars are bumper to bumper they can make their hundred dollars a day with little effort.

The Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee
The Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee

Now they are far less annoying, than the panhandlers on the subway who have been multiplying like cockroaches the last couple years. Every train now seems have at least one or two. The new Mayor has made it clear by his actions that he doesn’t care about the quality of life issues that made this City livable again under Giuliani and Bloomberg.  The cop on the street is being put into a no win situation. We had a good 20 year run, but as someone who watched the decline in the late ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s, I’ve seen this picture before and it doesn’t end well.

What most people don’t realize is that the City declined because at best 20% of all City workers were actually working (except the Firemen, who as always had a lot of work and who attract those men and women who actually wanted to keep busy. And if you doubt that, just look at the events of 9/11 and the 380 poor souls who gave their lives just doing the jobs they have always done).

A Police Station
A Police Station

No, the City was dirty, mentally and physically.  Burned out cars in the hundreds or more littered every poor neighborhood.  Every year crime got worse, and the politicians, wrung their hands, beat their breasts and lamented that there was nothing they could do.  In the mid 1980’s a woman was raped on 6Th ave in midtown.  Just a few feet from the sidewalk, in front of an office building in Midtown.  Not even late at night, but in the evening.  Unimaginable now, but it was commonplace then.  Murders, rapes, mayhem; that was the City by 1992.  Finally Giuliani comes along and changes the game.  He made everyone do their job.  Police started arresting folks, garbage men started picking up garbage and he actually took the City back from the Hoodlums and their ilk who terrorized everyone, most of all in poor neighborhoods.

But it starts and ends with small things.  In the past year, It has become impossible to ride on the subway, without someone with a voice of an opera star telling everyone how hungry they are and while they really want food, they will take cash, but no credit cards, yet.

So, on my little walk this morning these were the thoughts crossing my mind.  The saddest part, is the Mayor obviously cares about image more than results.  Stop and Frisk made our poor neighborhoods safe.  Safe for whom, the 95% of the good, hardworking people who live there.  Ask them if they want to stop it; not those blowhards who pretend to speak for them, but could care less.

Enough, thank you for listening.  It’s been on my mind for quite a while and while I feel powerless, I feel sometimes we just can’t give up without at least saying something.

The Bronx has turned out to be a really interesting and nice place.  My friend Samantha had made it clears how much this was a borough full of interesting, wonderful neighborhoods.  When she told me this, I never believed I’d be living here myself one day, but I am.  Full of many very diverse neighborhoods.  In our neighborhood alone, we have Albanians, Russians, Hispanics from all over South and Central America, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, Bengalis, Pakistanis, Arabs, some southeast Asians, northwest Asians and southwest Asians. And of course, there are still the Italians, Irish and Jews who were the bulk of the Bronx for over a hundred years.

Mosholu Parkway
Mosholu Parkway

I walked 5 miles, it was a wonderful morning and the beginning of a great week.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

A Wallace Avenue Apt Building
A Wallace Avenue Apt Building
Lydig Avenue
Lydig Avenue

Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

One thought on “A Walk in the Bronx & the New Squeegee Men”

  1. Hi Richard, I just found your blog, great job with it. We have a lot in common. My wife and I are just starting our adventure. Yup probably know my good friend Mike Warren.

    I’m curious. Where is the roll data coming from on your boat? I’ve been looking for a program or device to capture this.

    I’ll look forward to following you on your adventures and will share ours when when we’re ready.

    All the Best,
    Bob & Dori
    O/A 54 “Liberdade”

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