I was, for all of that time, aware of the Bronx. It was up there -- and over there -- a vast, unexplored land you drove through to get to Yankee Stadium. I had been to Arthur Avenue. Visited friends from time to time. I'd driven the Cross Bronx Expressway -- whose very name tells you its purpose: to cross you through the Bronx without actually visiting it.
Once upon a time, it was considered funny if you were a Manhattanite, to claim you never crossed the bridges, never left the borough -- that you didn't "have a passport." A famous New Yorker cover reflects this attitude, one that has changed enormously since.
Anthony Bourdain discovers the coolest area of NYC. Tune in to "Parts Unknown," Sunday 9pm EST.
Now, you feel like a boob if you haven't explored Queens, if you are unaware of the many and fast-growing delights of Brooklyn. But the Bronx?
It hasn't been receiving a lot of love. While it's known very well and appreciated by its fiercely proud residents, many of us who live elsewhere still, unforgivably, see it as relatively unknown territory.
At risk of inspiring a trickle and then a gush of annoying foodies to invade pristine neighborhoods as yet untouched by hipster baristas, I thought I'd do my tiny part to correct this glaring omission.
The Bronx, as it turns out, is a paradise of delicious food. A sprawl -- like LA in the best possible sense -- where lots and lots of people from somewhere else came -- either recently, or a long time ago -- and brought their food and their culture with them.
We visited enclaves Honduran, old school Puerto Rican, Bangladeshi, Jamaican, Eastern European Jewish -- and explored the shameful delights of White Castle.
Along the way, I talked with Bronx cultural icons like Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Melle Mel, Futura 2000 and Handsome Dick Manitoba -- as well as the Master of Twitter, "Desus" (follow him @desusnice). It's a show about where we are, where we were -- and where many of the things we love and take for granted come from.
Anthony Bourdain explains to Anderson Cooper why he chose to feature the Bronx instead of Brooklyn for Parts Unknown.