Nasty Nash Had It Wrong

November 6th, 2011 § 0 comments

The master of light verse, Ogden Nash, summed up his feelings about HG’s home borough in a two word couplet: “The Bronx. No Thonx.”

Obviously, the poet had not sipped, supped and dined in The Bronx during its golden food days (which lasted into the early 60’s). Every east-west shopping street (Kingsbridge Road, Fordham Road, Mt. Eden Avenue, Burnside Avenue, etc.) was dotted with great Jewish delicatessens and bakeries, Italian fruit stands (very fresh produce from Long Island and New Jersey truck farmers); purveyors of superior smoked salmon and sturgeon (these were known as “appetizing stores”). Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section was the center of Italian cuisine. Tremont Avenue and Bathgate Avenue catered to Jewish tastes. The Irish population of The Bronx was not renowned for cuisine but ran many estimable taverns on Jerome Avenue. Well, times changed and by the 70s the Bronx became a symbol of urban decay and hopelessness.

But, don’t count the borough out. Tremont Avenue and Bathgate Avenue have changed or been obliterated. But, Arthur Avenue has expanded and retained its vitality (it is a must for every foodie visitor to New York). There are a lot of very good Puerto Rican restaurants in operation. Good African restaurants have opened on the Grand Concourse. SJ vouches for the Jamaican food on White Plains Avenue and Gun Hill Road. There’s both traditional Jewish delicatessen food in Riverdale and the world’s greatest carrot cake. Obviously, the ethnicities have changed but there’s still some sizzling tastes to sample in The Bronx. And, let’s hope the championship flags will be flying again soon at the new Yankee Stadium.

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