Here's Why Growing Up in the Bronx Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

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Recently, there have been many articles written about New York City and what it was like to grow up here.

It's been discussed on social media, time and time again, what it's been like for others who have moved here, and even what it's been like for some who would love to move out (but haven't yet... or won't).

New Yorkers can agree that growing up in this city is a very different experience from anywhere else in the entire country. But here's the real kicker: did you know that growing up in each borough is a very unique, very different experience in and of itself?

As a a white kid who was born and raised in the heart of the Bronx, I can tell you that my borough was and still is a very different experience from growing up in, let's say, Manhattan (that's obvious, right?).

And even though my hometown has the highest poverty rate in this city (in fact, it has the highest poverty rate of any county in the entire country), growing up in the Bronx was still the best thing that ever happened to me.

And here's why.

BBQs & block parties


To me, barbecue grills being handled by old Spanish men with their shirts off is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of growing up in the Bronx.

It never mattered what time of the day it was, you'd always find some Spanish dude with a reptile on his shoulder and cerveza in his hand, grilling up hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone on the block.

And when all was said and done, the folding chairs and small tables came out, so that the other Spanish guys from up the block could join in and play dominos until the wee hours of the night.

All summer long, there are people outside grilling, cooking, blasting salsa music (or maybe a lil' Big Pun), and having all sorts of fun.

During those dog days of summer, there was always a block party going down in the Bronx. But that's just how it was.

Playing in the street


For kids growing up in the Bronx, baseball, sewer-to-sewer wiffle ball, stickball, and manhunt were a hell of a lot more fun than staying inside and playing video games.

I can't even count on two hands the amount of broken windows my friends and I were responsible for... I'm talking car windows, house windows, apartment building windows. You name the window, and we broke it.

Or how many strangers' backyards and apartment building garbage rooms I've hidden in during a game of manhunt at 1 in the afternoon. Or even 1 in the morning. For me growing up in the Bronx, time didn't matter much.

But one thing definitely did: the sound of my dad screaming at the top of his lungs after I shattered yet another window.