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Neighborhood ‘welcome banners’ not so welcome

Bronx Times

By kirsten sanchez

These “Welcome to Schuylerville” signs, may not be so welcome.

The ten welcome banners hung from telephone poles along Jarvis Avenue between Bruckner Boulevard and Middletown Road have some area residents scratching their heads.

Pelham Bay resident Frances Arico is among them, questioning who was responsible for hanging them in her neighborhood, which she has always known as Pelham Bay, with a sub-stretch of it known as Waterbury LaSalle.

“Waterbury LaSalle is not Schuylerville, so I don’t know what they are doing.” Arico said. “Schuylerville is in Throggs Neck. Nowhere on Middletown Road and Jarvis is Schuylverville. That is Pelham Bay.”

Arico said she first noticed the signs about two weeks ago.

“I have lived here for 50 years in this area, and that was always Pelham Bay, and it is still Pelham Bay. I was concerned because it is my area, and it is wrong,” she said, adding that her local friends agree.”

But Mary Jane Musano, president of the Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, said she got the mapped borderlines from the city planning department, which designates the area Schuylerville.

Musano said the association decided about a year ago to install the signs to help instill community pride and help designate community borders.

“In my opinion it’s important to know where you live and the history of it,” she said. “I grew up in Country Club. You’ll find a lot of people that live in Spencer Estates say they live in Country Club – but they don’t.”

A spokesperson at city Planning said neighborhood names are not officially designated, but determined by conventional use. The department determined the area is called Schuylerville by a map of community district lines.

According to the map on the department’s website, the district lines for Schuylerville take in Roebling Ave., Zulette Ave., Edison Ave., Wellman Ave., Maitland Ave., Dudley Ave., Harrington Ave., Coddington Ave., LaSalle Ave., Waterbury Ave., Edwards Ave., Balcom Ave., Mayflower Ave., Bradford Ave., Paine St., Hobart Ave., and the sections of Hollywood Ave., Jarvis Ave. and Crosby Ave. between Middletown Road and Bruckner Boulevard.

Tom Vasti, vice president of the East Bronx History Forum, said that “officially” Schuylerville was an 1840 settlement around what is today Bruckner Boulevard and E. Tremont Avenue.

“The so-called Pelham Bay neighborhood seems to encompass a few separate and distinct neighborhoods: Middletown, Stintardtown, and parts of Westchester Village,” Vasti said. “Boundaries are vague, to say the least. However, the area around Jarvis and Middletown should be Middletown, as Schuylerville is further west.”

According to Vasti, the Pelham Bay designation came about when the No. 6 elevated subway stop was completed in the 1920’s.

Dorthea Poggi, owner of Apha Art Inc., the company that created the signs, said they have a lot of people questioning the neighborhood’s real name.

“I think this is a good time for a new map of boundaries to be drawn,” said Poggi. “You would be surprised how many people identify with the name of where they live.”

Poggi said she believes Musano and the Waterbury LaSalle Community Association represents that area, and that historically it was known as Schuylerville.

“I like the signs. I think they add to the pride of the neighborhood,” she said. “A lot of people ask about them and want them in their neighborhood. I’m not sure why anybody would make a fuss about them. When you drive into a neighborhood and see banners like that, you see that someone cares about it. It has an organization that cares about it.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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