The Last Brownstone

This painting is close to my heart.

As a child the Bronx NYC was a very magic place.
I saw this photo in National Geographic, and it caught my attention.
The EL trains above the avenue, the small shops along the street under the EL
It all had a magic I guess enhanced by childhood.

The Bronx of my childhood was Italian and had the flavor of the old country.
The neighborhood was always kept clean by old Italian ladies who swept the street where they lived.
It saddens me to see it destroyed by drugs, fire and people who just don’t care.
I guess nothing stays the same; change is the way of life.

As a kid I spent my summers at my uncle Mike’s in Penn.
My cousins lived all over the north-east Bronx and we visited them all the time.
Uncle Mike was a doctor. He delivered my four Brothers.
He was married to my father’s older sister Ann.

Their home was deep in the woods.
It took 25 minutes to get to the house.
The driveway was just made of dirt and rock.
No running water, phone, or electric and it had an outhouse.

Every summer when I came home from Uncle Mikes’ my neighborhood changed.
Where there was a lot on the corner that was now a drug store.
Seems every year another lot was gone, and a building was there.

We moved to the suburbs NY when I was 10 or 11, I think.
But slowly the Bronx changed like everything else, only not for the good.
I still have great memories of it from my childhood and often draw on it for my paintings.
This lone Brownstone is the last holdout of that magic time.
Now it just lives in my mind, the Bronx of old.