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A hot afternoon walk

July 22, 2011 am31 9:28 am

I went to work today yesterday… I agreed to come in to check up on/ assist my replacement (the new scheduler for our school). Around five I left; there were two hours until I needed to be home. And I was on foot. So I went for a hot July walk.

I started south, and then turned along the cabdrivers’ shortcut. Down the big hill, there was a hydrant wide open, huge one with a powerful spray, the flow running into the huge intersection. There was a crowd – not five, not fifty, but over one hundred watching and cheering as cars pulled into the strong spray – at least one intentionally for a high-pressure carwash.

The sun baked the asphalt, so I crossed to to the other side, with a little protection from the sun. I usually don’t go down the snake hill on the far side. I looked for the mango guy – but I wasn’t stopping for fruit. And I realized the school next to me was Ruben Brosbe’s. I looked, but he wasn’t there. I hadn’t realized that our schools are less than fifteen minutes walk apart.

An aside on Ruben, and it deserves a full post, but he is a teacher. Remember that. He’s being used by the editors of the Post and the News, by the Ivy Leaguers at Gotham Schools and in TfA. He’s humiliating himself, playing for approval from people who hold him in contempt. Feel sorry for him, but stop yelling at him. And now, back to the walk

The stores and sidewalks were throbbing with heat and bodies, vendors, commuters, shoppers. But I shuffled past, and crossed the bridge on the shady side.

Where to? My mind tried to place an ice cream store… and as this is the fringe of an upscale place, maybe, but, no… And then I saw the steps, and walked up the long flights of W215 St, carried up by the light breeze, the play of sun and shadow, and the earthy smell of the plantings on the side of the stairs.

I wandered empty streets for a few moments – so different from the regular places loaded with people out in the heat. I stopped at a stump and retied my shoes. The sweat was burning my eyes.

I made my way to the sunnier side of the bridge. “Stand clear of draw when gong sounds.” How many people walk by that sign, and never read it?  The crossing bar was “Z” shaped, and when deployed the main part would block traffic, and the tail end of the Z would block pedestrians. I entered the walk way, and half way down stepped to the middle of the path, and waved frantically at the bicyclist approaching me. I recognized the orange, the posture. My friend McRib was riding home from the Bronx to New Jersey. He was even more surprised. We chatted for five minutes.

A few blocks later, in need of water, instead an icy salesman appeared. He finished selling to a mom and kid, and I began to order, and he closed up! “Walk this way” and I followed as he relocated a hundred yards down, in front of a project where a summer play program was about to let out. By the time he was done serving me, there was a line, and kids yelling. Choices were coco, cherry, rainbow, and tamarindo. I like the slightly less sweet, slightly stronger flavor, and the slightly off-putting color.

Stopped in the fancy fruit store for some food for the evening, and for ten minutes of A/C and a little rest. Even after the icy the sweat was flowing.

And then back up the hill. I chose the detour with steps, it’s not really a big flight, and then I stopped by the first tower with the lawn, where the muskrat has been hanging out. But she wasn’t there.

At the Concourse I discovered a countdown Walk/Don’t Walk sign, which wasn’t there two days ago. Neat. I sprinted to make it across both main roadways, but got beeped on the service road. I kept walking. They beeped again. What? They needed directions to DeWitt Clinton. OK, three minutes ago there were middle schoolers and kids pouring in – a fair for the high school selection process. At least these guys managed to make it. How many parents don’t? Can’t? Why should the Bronx be plagued with 115 high schools, most mediocre/lousy? The poor kids aren’t even guaranteed a seat a reasonable distance from their home. They couldn’t do this in Manhattan or Queens, not like this, not badly.

The Parkway was cooler, with people on all the benches. The trees provided some protection from the sun, which was moving behind me. I got home, climbed the six flights, rinsed off, and was the first one down for the annoying meeting.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Chaz permalink
    July 22, 2011 am31 11:49 am 11:49 am

    I believe your defense of Ruben Brosbe was the aftereffects of the heat related stress you experienced on the ill-advised walk.

    • Francis permalink
      July 24, 2011 am31 10:49 am 10:49 am

      Sorry.Below is a corrected version of the previous email message.

      July 24, 2011 am31 10:42 am 10:42 am

      Hi Chaz,

      Perhaps you didn’t see the following commentary posted about Ruben Brosbe on gothamschools July 20, 2011 by another person who didn’t walk like Jonathan but had a similar comment which is inserted for you along with the URL below.

      A reader of the comments


      P.S Just a reminder of what Abraham Lincoln stated in part in his second inaugural address

      “…with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right…” *


      “From I noticed that…

      The Daily News will use Ruben Brosbe as the poster boy for all those probationary teachers who will be deemed by their principals “not ready”. Ruben’s own recognition of incompetence will be used by other principals to destroy the teaching career of other teachers by either giving them discontinuance or granting them an extension. Tenure will rarely be granted because of the “not ready” status.

      Ruben is sublimating his own underlying inadequacies that have nothing to do with education into the forum of the media as an exhibitionist who wants to “bare his soul”. Please stop exposing yourself to the media; you’re making a spectacle of yourself.”

      “Source URL:

  2. July 22, 2011 pm31 5:27 pm 5:27 pm

    It’s not defense; what he writes is largely indefensible. But let’s direct our anger at those responsible rather than this poor schlub.

    I’ll write something more substantial. (For now, I’m waiting for the sun to start dropping. Then I’ll walk by his school again. I know, I know, he’s not there)

  3. chaz permalink
    July 22, 2011 pm31 7:07 pm 7:07 pm

    I do know how you feel about E4E. I was just joking. Sometimes it doesn’t come out in the comment section.

    • July 22, 2011 pm31 8:08 pm 8:08 pm

      I wasn’t sure. But I have witnesses who saw me laugh at your comment.

  4. ASTRAKA permalink
    July 22, 2011 pm31 9:21 pm 9:21 pm


    I hope Ruben seeks and follows the advice of his parents, or true friends. I agree with you that he has been used by E$E, and by many of us who jump at him every time he writes something. I am not defending him, but I feel sorry for him.

  5. Bronx25 permalink
    July 23, 2011 am31 9:52 am 9:52 am

    What an amazing walk through from(I am assuming by your narrative) Washington Heights, down Ft. Washington through Inwood over the 225th st Bridge – up across Kingsbridge to the Grand Concourse…then Mosholu Parkway…….excellent. Was the fancy fruit store the one on Broadway near Stop and Shop…I call it the Russian Gourmet?
    Nice of you to go in on a summer day. Did you get per session at least?

    • July 23, 2011 am31 10:12 am 10:12 am

      I left a lot of clues. I think you missed the fifth paragraph (little one). There were two bridge crossings. You do have most of the pieces. I’ve e-mailed the course. Don’t open it if you enjoy the puzzle.

      Russian Gourmet? I think he’s Greek, but yeah, that’s the spot. I often use it as an excuse – slightly expensive salad or fruit, but it draws me in for an hour + walk.

      And yes, I punched for my 4 or so hours.

  6. Bronx25 permalink
    July 23, 2011 pm31 1:46 pm 1:46 pm

    Excellent! Enjoyed the map. hahaha ….The hill was Kingsbridge Road…..not Fort George. I went to St. Judes and spent a lot of my childhood looking at the 204th St Bridge.
    I also love the Garden Gourmet. Quite a journey on a hot day.
    ALWAYS punch in/out.

    • July 23, 2011 pm31 8:04 pm 8:04 pm

      I found old stuff once, maybe it was a “this day in history” in the Riverdale Press, that referred to the slope down Kingsbridge as “snake hill.” Maybe something about sledding? That would be a thrill.

  7. Salary permalink
    July 23, 2011 pm31 4:47 pm 4:47 pm

    Oh I hate this afternoon walk specially in summer days. you share very interesting post I so enjoyed this post.

  8. August 2, 2011 pm31 1:23 pm 1:23 pm

    I just happened to really like this little narrative :) I’m behind on this particular controversy and am shuddering as I dig in…


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