Life in the Bronx: The misunderstood borough

‘I love the energy. I feel so comfortable in the Bronx because it’s my people’

Hunter College is a commuter school in which most students come from the five boroughs. It’s common for students to live at home or in their own apartments and make their way to Hunter for classes, clubs, meetings and everything else in between.

The Bronx is home to Hunterites like Melissa, a Sophomore who lives in Morris Heights. “It’s in-between Yankee Stadium and Fordham University.”

Throughout the week, she commutes thirty minutes to Hunter on the 4 train for classes and remains undecided on her major.

Melissa has lived all her life in the same six floor building, and like most neighborhoods Morris Heights has changed over the years.

“There have been more community programs to keep kids out of gangs. My neighborhood has changed but the people there are still Hispanics and Blacks, which I love. They’re my people. It’s been changing for the better.”

Coming from a Dominican background, Melissa can relate to the West Bronx community. “I love the energy. I feel so comfortable in the Bronx because it’s my people. Since I’ve lived there my whole life everyone knows me and I know everyone. It’s a family atmosphere.”

There are about 37,000 people who call Morris Heights home and have Dominican, Puerto Rican and African American heritage.

Throughout New York, there is a notion that the Bronx is a dangerous borough, but Melissa disagrees. She loves living in the Bronx but doesn’t like its reputation. “People say, ‘The Bronx is dangerous, you’re going get shot and robbed.’ You can get shot right here in Manhattan but the Bronx isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. It’s decent.”

Melissa doesn’t deny crime happens in the Bronx. She just knows it exists throughout New York. “It can happen in Queens, Brooklyn, anywhere — the borough doesn’t really matter . The West Bronx, where I’m from, just has a bad rep because everyone assumes it’s really dangerous but it’s not. I’ve never gotten robbed or hurt.”

There is gang activityIn the Morris Heights community, but the sense of family perseveres. “There was a shoot out the other day but the gang warned everyone to stay inside at certain times. And everyone stayed inside and no one got hurt. It’s only once in a blue moon.”

Home can mean different places to Hunterites, but it’s a universal understanding that home is where we always return despite its reputation.

Hunter College