The New Bronx: From Brooklyn to the South Bronx

This is part of a series about New Yorkers who have recently relocated to the Bronx. It’s called The New Bronx.

Its been two months since Nina Whitaker, 27, moved to Walton Avenue and 167th Street in the South Bronx, and she’s still adjusting to her new life in the borough.


Born and raised in Coney Island, Whitaker moved to the Bronx after hearing apartment prices were more affordable. As Coney Island’s long-awaited revival has finally taken hold, rising rents have put longtime residents like Whitaker under pressure. Finally, she made the move.


“I moved because I thought it was cheaper for rooms,” she said. “It’s going OK. I live in an area not too far from Yankee Stadium.”


While living in Coney Island, Whitaker paid $500 per month plus around $150 for utilities, to live in a two-bedroom apartment with two roommates. She slept in the living room, with no privacy. When Whitaker found a three bedroom apartment in the Bronx for $600 a month, she was sold on the idea. Though she still has two roommates, utilities are included, and now she has her own room.


“In Brooklyn, everything was separate for living expenses,” said Whitaker. “It was highway robbery. Just paying $500 a month by itself wasn’t worth it to me anymore.”


Until recently, Whitaker worked at a daycare center in the Bronx as an assistant. Another reason she initially moved to the borough was to be closer to her job, as the daily commute from Coney Island to the Bronx had begun to take its toll. But the daycare center made cuts and because she was a fairly new employee, she was forced to find other work. Whitaker is now a security guard in Brooklyn at a rehabilitation center for men. So, the long commute to work continues, albeit in the opposite direction.


“At the daycare center I was making $10 an hour,” said Whitaker. “Now I’m making $8.75, my hours are from midnight until 8 a.m., the commute is about an hour and 17 minutes and I have to work weekends. But hey, it’s a job.”


It has taken Whitaker some time to get accustomed to her new neighborhood. Her social life is not the same.


“I miss Brooklyn because I was born and raised there and all of my family and friends are there. They’re not here in the Bronx.”


As Whitaker looks to the future, she doesn’t see herself staying in the Bronx longer than a year. She has already begun to think of other places where she could potentially move.


“I’ve heard Queens has a more suitable living situation, so I’ve got to investigate,” Whitaker said laughing. “What can I say, I like to change things up.”


Even though living in a new borough has its challenges, Whitaker doesn’t regret moving to the Bronx.


“Overall, I think I made the right decision to move here,” she said.


Whitaker believes she is in a transitional period of her life and the move is part of the experience. She believes staying positive gets her through the day-to-day hustle.


“At the end of the day, there is too much negativity. You have to withdraw yourself from that. It’s hard, but you have to,” she said. “I just want to relax, eat dinner, probably drink some wine and hey, that’s it.”