Confessions of a Neighborhood Blogger

Boogiedowner: You may want to consider investing in the Bronx now

By Julie Inzanti  | September 25, 2013 - 9:12AM

Boogiedowner--a Bronx-based blog, and the subject of this edition of Confessions of a Neighborhood Blogger--covers local issues and goings-on in the boogie down Bronx. 

Originally founded by Erin and Lou Cicalese in the early 2000s, Boogiedowner was recently taken over by Desiree Joy Frias, a student and life-long Bronx resident. Frias currently lives in the Fleetwood section of the South Bronx.

1. What would you tell someone moving in?

Every neighborhood in the Bronx is different. When you start your search, check out a couple different neighborhoods and feel out their vibe. 

Looking for a suburbs, house with backyard? Check out Pelham Parkway in the North Bronx. 

An up-and-coming neighborhood for techies and artists? Check out the Clock Tower on Alexander Avenue in the South Bronx. 

2. Where are the best deals in the neighborhood in terms of real estate? What about in terms of dining/entertainment?

The best deals in the Bronx are co-ops. These buildings are almost all new or renovated and give individuals an opportunity to own in a borough that is facing a renaissance for the same price as renting in other parts of the city. 

The neighborhood of Alexander Avenue in the South Bronx also provides the newest in the restaurant scene with Ceetay, an Asian fusion restaurant. Tremont Avenue with the Havana Cafe also provides a taste of Cuban food with a world renowned chef.

3. What's the most coveted location within the Bronx to live?

Countless neighborhoods are changing in the Bronx and the coveted location differs from person to person. 

That said, with two new restaurants in the last year and a new Tapas bar rumored to be opening in a few months as well as a push for further development in the neighborhood's residential offerings, the Alexander Avenue neighborhood in the South Bronx is the place to be.

4. Is there a dream building in the borough?

There are a lot of new up and coming buildings in the Bronx including the Clock Tower.

5. Any buildings that feel out of place?

Each neighborhood has its own unique vibe and the buildings are an integral part of that.

The only thing that didn't fit into our neighborhood was when OTR Media decided to allow advertising for a Manhattan gentleman's club on a fifty foot billboard facing the residential homes of the Yankee Stadium neighborhood.

The community quickly responded with their discontent about the sign and it was changed.

6. Any real estate related controversy brewing or currently happening in the neighborhood?

Not right now! The only real controversy is the problem of 888 Grand Concourse. The landlord has refused to make repairs and the tenants were recently protesting his management of the building.

7. How has the neighborhood changed in the past 5 years? Any projections on how it will change in the next 5?

The Bronx is getting very experimental -- in a good way.
A beer garden in the Arthur Avenue market, an Asian Fusion restaurant on Alexander and 138th...and young entrepreneurs at businesses like Mainland Media promoting the borough as the place to be all create a new medium for expression through food and art.
Artists are having shows here, restaurants are opening and we are seeing a renaissance for the borough. I see a lot of good things for the future of the Bronx, including development of our greenspaces and definite increases in tourism.

8. Where do you think your "sister" neighborhoods might be?

Our sister neighborhoods are probably in Queens, with a similar residential profile and large amounts of small businesses.

9. Which neighborhood feels like the opposite?

Not sure, maybe Midtown Manhattan. You won't see towering sky scrapers here but you will find a genuine community of people living together.

10. Would you stay in this forever if you could?

I was born and raised in this neighborhood and after I came back from college [and a brief stint in Harlem], I moved back into the building I grew up in all my life. I can definitely picture anyone starting a family here, including myself.

Unless I'm 70 and retired on a horse ranch on the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques, I am and will always be from the Bronx. Can't imagine and don't need to live anywhere else. The future of New York City's restaurant, housing and economic development is happening around me. I don't want to miss a moment.

11. What is one of the biggest misconceptions?

 The biggest misconception about the Bronx is the levels of crime. Levels of crime in the Bronx are lower now than they were in 1968. In fact, we have less crime than Boston. These dated beliefs have kept real estate prices low but now as the perception shifts the prices will start to match those in other parts of new york city. Thus the best time to invest is now.

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