Saturday, April 2, 2011

(B) Bronx - in Literature and Film

Co-Op City
Stephen King mentions Co-op City in two of his novels. His first mention of it was in Running Man.
After hijacking an airplane, he purposely directs the craft into the Games* building in Co-Op City, giving his life to make his first and last political stand.
And in his Dark Tower series, Eddie is from Co-Op City. However, this is clearly not the New York of our own world, as Eddie lives in Co-Op City, Brooklyn, while the real Co-Op City is in the Bronx.
But regardless of the borough King places one of the largest apartment complex in the world in, it still is nice to see your hometown mentioned in a book. I lived in Co-Op City from the age of 4 until the age of 27. My mother still resides there.
* Games building is fictitious. No such building stands or has ever stood in Co-Op City.
The first time I've ever heard Parkchester mentioned in a book or movie was when I read/watched the movie Doubt. The movie was based on a play written by John Patrick Shanley. I saw the movie before I read the play. The book is almost a transcript of the movie.
How fun was it to see my current neighborhood on film. There was a part when Sister Aloysius walks with one of the students mother and they walk into Parkchester. The scene is across the field from my building. I pass it often. It was interesting to see how they transformed the small scene. There were awnings on the Main Floor apartments and no air conditioners were visible (Air conditioners were not allowed in Parkchester until 2001). However, they couldn't hide the Cable TV wires. Oh well, somethings you just have to overlook.
Another truism of the movie was that they made sure to let us know that the mother only WORKED in Parkchester. Parkchester didn't segregate until the late 1960s early 1970s.

St. Lawrence Avenue
Also in the movie Doubt the neighboring neighborhood of Parkchester was mentioned. The fictitious Catholic school was located in that area. Although they used a real school for the location which is actually located in another part of the Bronx (that school is St. Anthony Catholic School).
Buhre Avenue and Middletown Road
In the book PUSH by Sapphire she mentions being on the 6 train and getting off at either Middletown Road or Buhre Avenue. I can't recall which but I do believe they were both mentioned. And what struck me about it is that she mentioned it being a white neighborhood. No one, unless they've actually been there would know that. Most people think only minorities live in The Bronx, but it just isn't true. There are white people and there are alot of them. This part was not in the movie Precious.

Another fun fact about all of the above mentioned books or movie, other than that I read them all around the same time is that they are all a short distance from each other. Let's take a short subway ride on the #6 train.
We'll get on at St. Lawrence Avenue. Next stop Parkchester. We won't get off, we'll stay on until we get to Middleown Road which is four stops away, but we won't get off there either, we'll go one more stop to Buhre Avenue. Oh heck, let's just stay on until we get to Pelham Bay Park which is the closest stop to Co-Op City.


septembermom said...

Well, I'm a Bronx girl (even though I live in Westchester County now) at heart so I LOVED THIS POST!!! Go Bronx! I used to go to Parkchester all the time as a kid. Enjoy your day.

MiscMayzee said...

I love this post! I have looked at the movie Doubt so many times at my local library - if I would have known where it was set I would have check it out long ago.

I have never been to NYC or the boroughs, but seeing the good and the bad and the could be great if given half a chance parts of the city has always been a dream of mine. I'll be back for the letter C.

MiscMayzee said...

*checked (I need practice with my "c" words, apparently.)

Wall-to-wall books said...

Great post very interesting.
Not being from NYC but from upstate, I have a lot to learn!
I love learning about new places.