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You Can Choose Your Friends, But You Can't Choose Your Neighbors

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Fordham University

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You Can Choose Your Friends, But You Can't Choose Your Neighbors

How Fordham Students Living Off-Campus Impact Quality of Life in the Belmont Area

Jake Shore

10.15.17

Lucia Martinez wakes up every day at five in the morning to get to work. She makes her money working as a waitress at a deli in Yonkers, so she has to get up early just to get there on time. But getting to bed early and staying asleep can be difficult when your apartment is sandwiched between The Blue Goose Tavern by 189th Street and a popular party house for students known as the “Yellow House” down the block.

“I can’t sleep. I sleep a little bit,” said Martinez. “The noise, it wakes you up.”

She has a seven year old daughter named Diana who goes to school nearby. Martinez has lived in that apartment on Hoffman Street for 17 years and in the Bronx her entire life. She said she has seen Fordham students come and go, but things are different this year.

“This year, they came very noisey,” said Martinez.

Martinez said the bar next to her apartment, the name shortened by some Fordham students to just “Goose,” is easily the loudest on the block. On one sleepless weeknight, she went to take a video of the bar and its patrons standing outside to show someone or report how loud Fordham students were being. She didn’t end up sending the video to anyone.

I asked Martinez if she has ever had a positive interaction with a Fordham student. She said, “Never.”

While Fordham students going out on weeknights has been a product of the neighborhood that Martinez and her family said they have been forced to accept, other Bronx neighbors have voiced their displeasure with their four-year neighbors in more overt ways.

Patrick Mahoney, GSB ‘18, received two letters from his neighbor during his first year living off-campus on Belmont. When it was warmer out last year, Mahoney said that they threw parties on their roof, which is shared with their neighbors. In the first letter, one of their neighbors told them wrote that they were “illegally trespassing” on her roof, that she had contacted the 48th police precinct and the university, and warned the students “You are not going to get away with this.”

The second letter, pictured below, repeated similar threats to the apartment. The neighbor did not respond to several requests for interview.


"We haven’t had any problems with our other neighbors… I honestly think she’s bored. I guarantee someone’s offered to buy out her place or something,” said Mahoney about his neighbor.

When it comes to that specific neighbor, Mahoney said she seems to have a feud with Fordham students in general. One apartment of Fordham students who live next door to her taped all the angry letters she had written to them onto one wall. They call them her “love letters.”

Mahoney said he tries to be considerate of his other neighbors.

“The neighbors out back, they’re like a real family with kids. They like to have barbeques in the backyard,” said Mahoney. “Sometimes I tell my roommates to keep their profanity down, especially when they’re all out there.”

A few blocks over, Brian Cannon recently moved into the Bronx into his new apartment. He learned pretty quickly that he now lived across the street from a party house made up of mainly student athletes.


“They’re loud as fuck,” stated Cannon, “but they quiet down real quick usually when the cops run through at around 10 o’clock. After that, it’s pretty quiet.”


Though he just moved in, Cannon said he does not mind the noise, especially because of how early in the night the police come by to turn the party down a notch.

“College kids are going to be college kids” said Cannon.


Jose Genáo shares Cannon’s assessment of Fordham students. He is from the Dominican Republic but has lived on Hoffman Street for three years. Currently working as a super in Arthur Avenue’s luxury apartment complex marketed for Fordham students, Artu Viale, Genáo said he has made friends with a lot of Fordham students while working there. As to some students in his building who party late into the night, Genáo offered, “It happens.”

Approximately 500 to 1,000 students leave Fordham housing to live in the Belmont area, according to Fordham University director of communications Bob Howe. For many students, living off-campus is a chance to be free from campus rules and live more independently.

Martinez, who has lived “off-campus” her whole life, said her message to Fordham students living in the Bronx is to be considerate and save the partying for the weekend.

She said if you are thinking about partying on the weekday and being loud, “Stop. Go to sleep. Let me sleep.”