The Overlooked Beauty of New York

New York is often seen as a city of brick and concrete; however, the city holds various wonderful sights.


Nehla Chowdhury

A photo taken from the highway of a few ferns growing against a metal fence.

Located on 75 West 205th Street, Bronx Science is a whopping 6 miles away from my house. My time before school is spent with my rapid awakening at 6:00 am, racing out of my house by 7:00 a.m. and finally having my moments of solace on my 35 minute commute to school. This is a common occurrence for many Bronx Science students, where a good many of them live miles upon miles away from Bronx Science. 

However exasperating these trips are, they also serve as a way to be reminded of the everyday beauty of New York. Racing to get to school on time allows me to take in various sights that I would not have bothered to see otherwise. 

One of the first things I notice as my father drives me to Bronx Science is the vibrant sunrise that washes the sky in tones of pink and blue. Without fail, I will always catch a glimpse of the sunrise between 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. in the morning, allowing me to indulge in the wonderful sight of the sky coming to life. It is around this time that the storefronts begin to open, so I take a few seconds to admire my city’s awakening. In my opinion, it serves as a calming experience as I wait for the bus. 

If you happen to be heading down the 8-E highway on your way to school, there’s a good chance that you’ll manage to catch the same wonderful view of the sunrise over various buildings that I do. This distant landscape is quite lovely to observe as I am still starting my day.

A photo of a brick wall that is covered with various different colors of graffiti.
(Nehla Chowdhury)

One thing that’s not considered as lovely is graffiti — and you’ll find a lot of it in my neighborhood. Graffiti tends to be splattered wherever you go, and if you don’t see it, it’s probably hidden somewhere. People don’t generally find graffiti to be beautiful. In fact, it’s often considered a stain on a building, which is a shame, since graffiti has the ability to enhance the character of a building, provided that it is surrounded by the right things. One such instance is a gray wall located on St. Raymond’s Avenue.  While the building’s graffiti hasn’t been kept in condition, the fading of its paint adds to its charms, while also adding to the building’s character. 

Here is a photo depicting the Kingsbridge Armory, which is surrounded by various vendors selling produce from stalls, surrounded by trees.
(Nehla Chowdhury )

Bronx Science is located in what is referred to as the “education mile,” due to the sheer number of schools located in the Kingsbridge Heights section of The Bronx. My drive to and from school through this neighborhood brings me past a variety of parks and intricately designed buildings. One of my favorite buildings is the Kingsbridge Armory. Built in the 1910’s from a design by Lewis Pilcher, it was used to house the New York National Guard’s Eight National Defense. The building is majestic, with nine stories made entirely out of red brick and a curved, sloping metal roof. It’s considered one of the city’s finest and most interesting armory buildings — or, for that matter, the most interesting armory building in the country — and it’s easy to see why. 

Since the armory is surrounded by various stores and apartment buildings, the streets around it are vibrant and full of life. Stalls are lined up outside the building, with various groups of people mingling around to buy and sell their products. Cars honk at each other as they fight to drive down the street, and people scurry towards their next destination. 

“While the rides to and from Bronx Science can be a bit hectic, they’re also pretty worthwhile in that it’s a very nice way to get to familiarize yourself with the area. You get to see sights you normally wouldn’t be able to,” said Eva Uddin ’24.

All in all, my commute to Bronx Science, while long, is a rewarding one. I am treated with seeing the not-so-hidden beauty of New York. And who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to find beauty around your own neighborhood.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to find beauty around your own neighborhood.