On The Fordham Bubble

Nestled comfortably into the center of the Bronx exists a tree-lined oasis, cut off from the rest of the world. A place where those inside get to enjoy the sounds of birds and church bells instead of cars honking. A place populated by spoiled college students, most of which are unwilling to venture outside its imposing iron gates. This place is none other than Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus.

I’ve been lucky to be a student at Fordham for the past two years, where I’ve been able to take advantage of its beautiful campus and vibrant student life: a plethora of clubs spanning the arts, administration, publishing, academics, and more. There’s plenty to do on campus; I will commend the university for that. However, it would be a disservice to remain behind campus gates. Nicknamed “the Fordham Bubble,” the phenomena causes many students to pathologically stay inside Fordham’s campus, and if they do leave, limit themselves into Lower Manhattan rather than exploring the city. Contrary to the beliefs of many Fordham students, not all of New York is like SoHo or Bushwick or Astoria, neighborhoods frequented by young people in similar demographics to Fordham students: namely, people “escaping” suburbia to enjoy the fast-paced life of the city.

More specifically, Fordham is located in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. Whenever I tell someone I go to school in the Bronx, I usually get this response (especially from older people): “The Bronx is very dangerous. You should really be careful.” Not only is this phrase insulting, it’s also extremely diminutive and completely disregards the diversity of neighborhoods throughout New York City. Even so, while some neighborhoods in the Bronx may be considered “rough” by outsiders, such is not the case for the majority of the Bronx, least of all Belmont. In fact, the area is populated mostly by families because of the many schools nearby: MS 45, PS 74, Theodore Roosevelt High School, and more. A building on Fordham Road even houses 6 specialized schools!

As such, I believe that Fordham’s location in Belmont provides the perfect introduction to New York City. Belmont is home to large Dominican, Italian, and Albanian populations, which allows for incredible food options. Arthur Avenue, arguably the crown jewel of Belmont and the self-professed “real Little Italy,” packs a whopping 29 restaurants into 4 blocks. And that’s not even counting the restaurants on the cross streets! Each restaurant offers a unique experience, even if they’re offering similar food. While many Fordham students do take advantage of community staples like Enzo’s, many businesses in the Bronx don’t get enough love from the students who spend four years adjacent to them. This is why it’s necessary to “pop the Fordham bubble”: expanding our palettes in more ways than one is an excellent way to support local businesses and to engage with our community in a meaningful way, rather than just existing alongside it.

For Fordham students, the D’s Fordham Road station is a community staple as much as any local restaurant.
Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45036064995610335/

In this series, we’ll attack this problem, offering the means to pop the “Fordham bubble” by bringing attention to restaurants, parks, markets, and events that show what not only Belmont but the entire Bronx has to offer. We’re going to learn from the best by dialoguing with members of the Belmont community and hearing about their favorite things to do in the place they call home. We’re going to do a deep-dive into what Arthur Ave is famous for, and we’re going to explore some places that should be famous, too. Belmont is one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of New York because of its ability to offer a bite-sized portion of city life while still maintaining the feeling of a tight-knit community. Without the exhausting hustle-and-bustle of Manhattan, without the finance bros clogging the subways, without the influencers taking selfies in the middle of the street, one can truly appreciate what is, in my opinion, is the most underrated borough in New York City: the Bronx.

Get off campus for a bit and head uptown for delicious hot pot at XW Spicy Hot Pot!

In short, one not only needs to step outside of their comfort zone, they need to reassess the reasons for said comfort zone. This goes for any college student living in an urban area that furrows the brows of their close-minded friends and family: the city is what you make of it, and you’ll never find your new favorite spot if you don’t pop the bubble!

by Mia Crocco

Mia is a rising junior at Fordham University – Rose Hill studying English and theology. In her free time, Mia enjoys cooking, collaging, and playing the piano and guitar.

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