Troubles in Van Nest

By Khemilla Kedarnath

Patrolled by the 49th police precinct, and located in the east Bronx, Van Nest is dominantly a working-class neighborhood. With many businesses located here, such as Anthony’s Pizzas, Van Nest’s Hardware Store, and several Delis, Van Nest’s residents have much to enjoy.

However, the community is dealing with the loss of Saint Dominic School. After the 59 year-old building closed, the community reacted in various ways. They also shared their thoughts and concerns about Van Nest’s growing crime rate.

An employee of Deli Grill explains that the closing of Saint Dominic School had no effect on his business. Although he wished for his name to remain anonymous, he said that the diversity in this area was great. When asked about safety, he said that working in Van Nest is safe “for the most part.” “I got no problems,” he said, “Van Nest is a good area.” When he spoke about the business, this employee explained that it was fair, “we have good and bad days” he said.

van nest

The school’s closure, however, had a negative effect on Anthony’s Pizzeria. Employee, Roberto Salgado explained that the closing of the school was not beneficial to his job. He felt that when it was open, the school brought “more people” to his restaurant. When asked about safety, he told that it was “convenient” to work not too far from a police precinct and a fire station.

An employee of Van Nest’s Hardware Store, Jason, who did not wish to share his surname, gives insight about the local community. He tells that, “the people are nice”, and the neighborhood is “very diverse”. Jason tells that he likes to see “new faces and new people.” He also tells that the crime rate has increased a little since he began working there. Although the school’s closing had no effect for this business, Jason was curious to learn what will happen with the old building.

As she sips on her latte, Geeta Seepersaud, a long-time resident of Van Nest, gives us her thoughts about the school closure and living in Van Nest. She tells that the closing of Saint Dominic School did not affect her very much, but that she was sad because she went there when she was younger.

She says that the crime rate has “definitely increased”. As for details on the increasing crime rate, she tells that there has been gang activity, drug dealing, and robberies. She thinks that the fact that residents have access to several different transportation methods is very convenient.

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