Friday, May 14, 2010

Freewheelin' In The Bronx 1971 (v)

Before you reached the main intersection of White Plains Road and Pelham Parkway, where the local elevated station for the IRT train that took you into Manhattan was located, you passed a small movie theatre on your right that seemed to mainly show films like Russ Meyer’s Vixen in the early 1970s. I forget whether or not the neighborhood had another movie theatre around the corner on White Plains Road that showed all the mainstream movies that the Hollywood studios distributed. But since the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road area of the Bronx, which contained four movie theatres within a few blocks of each other that all showed mainstream movies as well as some foreign films, was only a 15 minute bus ride away from Pelham Parkway and White Plains Road, if you wanted to see a new movie, you didn’t have to travel very far from the neighborhood to get to a movie theatre.

On White Plains Road near Pelham Parkway in early 1971, there were still a lot of small businesses and restaurants that weren’t part of chains and there always seemed to be a lot of street life and people walking in and out of stores and up or down the elevated IRT subway station, at all times of days. Sometimes I would grab myself something to eat at one of the delicatessens around Pelham Parkway and White Plains Road, but I can’t recall ever speaking to anybody in the neighborhood for any length of time. There seemed to be a total absence of hippies or freaks walking around this neighborhood on weekday afternoons, or even on weekends, in the early 1970s. And it seemed to be a culturally straight, family-oriented neighborhood that had been pretty much untouched by the political and cultural turmoil of the 1960s, on the surface. (Although, I suspect that by this time some of the high school students living with their parents, even in this neighborhood, were probably finding ways to covertly smoke joints at home, when their culturally straight parents weren’t around the apartment.)