Celebrating the End of Summer in Bronx River with a Block Party

On a cloudy afternoon that cleared up to blue skies, residents in the Bronx River area gathered on Morrison Avenue for the Bronx Bible Church’s annual block party on Saturday, Sept. 22, bidding farewell to summer. Police set up barricades, one each at 172nd and 174th streets, leaving the avenue clear for children to play.

The party drew in more than 300 people from the neighborhood – many of whom came from the Bronx River Houses just around the corner on 174th Street. The public housing project, which was established in 1951, is home to more than 3000 residents.

The church has been throwing the party ever since it set up shop there on Morrison Avenue in 2000, said Larry Hendrix, worship leader at Bronx Bible Church.

The celebratory mood of the day reflected an ongoing shift in the community.

Adele Hodge, 61, who’s lived in the Bronx River Houses for 44 years, said that she feels the neighborhood has gotten much safer.

“There used to be many more stabbings and shootings,” Hodge said.

Though there has been a recent spike in crime within the last year, crime has overall decreased by 68.5 percent since 1993.

Some residents, like Patricia Akin, said the community has improved because of the presence of the two main churches in the area — Bronx Bible Church, the host of the party, and Infinity Church, which holds its services inside the Bronx River Houses.

“It is a change. It’s a nice change,” Akin said.

 

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