Southern Boulevard

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The Central American Independence Day Parade is being held tomorrow in Southern Boulevard/Crotona Park and is well worth attending. The best-represented nations at the parade are Honduras and Guatemala. El Salvador and Panama have their own festivities on different dates in Hempstead and Brooklyn, respectively. The heart of the parade, however, belongs to the Garifuna people. Descended from the Ibibio people of present-day Southeastern Nigeria who escaped from shipwrecked slave ships who married indigenous Carib people, the Garifuna successfully resisted slavery until they were deported by the British from the island of St. Vincent. The British separated Garifuna by their racial features, taking the ones who looked more African to the island of Roatan, Honduras. From there, the Garifuna moved to the coasts of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Many worked on ships and found their way to inner cities of the United States, settling in the South Bronx, Brownsville and East New York, South Central Los Angeles, Houston and New Orleans.

Wales Avenue

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Wales and Tinton Avenues are named for the Morris family, who were originally from Wales, once an independent nation and part of the United Kingdom for centuries. Immigrating from Wales to Barbados, the Morris family became owners of much of the South Bronx and what is now known as Morristown, New Jersey. Tinton Avenue is named for Tintern Abbey, a famous Welsh ruin and inspiration for a poem by Wiliam Wordsworth. If you are looking for Morris dancing around here, instead of English people dancing around a pole with strings, you’ll find residents getting down to salsa, bachata and cumbia because the blocks of Wales and Tinton have been home to Hispanic residents for decades.

PS: I was hoping the Welsh equivalent of “bodega” was a very Welsh multisyllabic word like Llanfair. It isn’t. It’s Selar.

 

Bathgate Avenue

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One of four murals recently painted in memory of Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz. A plant in a plastic vase stands at the base of this mural with a handwritten note reading ‘I can’t get out of my head what they did to you.’ Indeed, who can?
I teach ninth and tenth graders at a Bronx high school. Some are from Junior’s neighborhood. Some look like him. Some are in the NYPD Explorers, the same organization he was in. (This mural shows Junior in Explorer uniform.) I feel like Junior could have been one of my students. Condolences to his family and friends and to all who feel sorrow and anger at his loss.