7 blocks in the Bronx

7 Blocks

April 30, 2012 7:39:22 AM PDT
The first stop in the journey is Gun Hill Road, located in the Bronx. When you step out into the neighborhood you walk out onto a newly renovated plaza, a strip of stores, and the public housing apartments called the Gun Hill Homes. But just 3 blocks away is the start of a long stretch of green, called Simply Bronx Park.

"This is like a hidden jewel in the Bronx," said Kenneth Simmons,a resident. "For the Bronx, this is a very good park. A lot of people don't know about this area in the Bronx."

A World War I monument on the North side of the park is where you will find an annual Memorial Day service.

7 blocks West is another park called the Williamsbridge Oval. It also has undergone a renovation. It features a new track, a new playground, and plenty of history. The park is built on the former site of a reservoir.

Also of note is Gun Hill Road itself. During the revolution, the road was an important artery over which the British and the colonists battled. The road got its name from when the colonists brought a cannon to the top of nearby hill and fired at the British.

Finally, a gem in the neighborhood can be found undergoing its own renovation. Construction crews are redoing dance studios and performance spaces that are at the heart of The Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center. For the last 25 years, the community-based organization has helped develop skills in a variety of art forms for children, teens, and adults while nurturing self-esteem.

"We go from Suzuki violin classes 3 year olds take with their parents, up to senior citizens taking viola, we have voice lessons, we have salsa, we have tap," Madaha Kinsey-Lamb, the founder of Mind-Builders explained.

The site is also in the running with other historic landmarks in the city to win a special grant to help with the costs of renovation. American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are holding an online vote letting New Yorkers decide which site on its list should be awarded 3 million dollars in grant money.

Historic sites, green parks and healthy escapes, and a busy shopping strip can all be found within the 7 blocks of the Gun Hill Road stop in the Bronx.

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