Lots of people move to the Bronx because it’s one of the most affordable places in all of NYC to live. While that means it may not have the same ritzy appeal as Manhattan with its lavish Fashion and Financial Districts, a whole lot of influential people either live there now or once called it home. If you’re setting up shop in the borough, there’s a good chance you might someday brush elbows with someone who is well-known, perhaps even an A-list celebrity. Here’s a quick look at a few who have had roots there.
1. J. Lo
Jennifer Lopez is arguably one of the best-known celebs to hail from the Bronx. Indeed, the Jenny from the Block singer got her start there and even goes back to visit her childhood home from time to time. Recently, she was involved in a financial literacy program in which kids from her old neighborhood received lessons from Harvard Business School associates.
2. Al Pacino
Actor and director Al Pacino was born in Harlem, though his mother took him to live with her parents in the Bronx when he was young and he spent most of his youth there. He speaks fondly of the tiny apartment he grew up in and wistfully recants stories of playing tag on the rooftops. These days, he’s seen more often around Manhattan, but one never knows when he might get a case of nostalgia and show up in his old digs.
3. Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren
“Ralph Lauren grew up in the same neighborhood,” Klein said in an interview of his childhood home in the Bronx. “And Ralph always dressed in a sort of peculiar way. I was the edgy one and wanted to look like some tough guy.” The designer acknowledges it was a little odd to grow up in the Bronx and be into art and design, while all the other boys were off playing baseball. Lauren differed from him in this respect too, happily playing basketball and stickball with his friends. In fact, Lauren recently threw the first pitch when the Bronx Bombers took on the Boston Red Sox. Klein has an estimated net worth of over $700 million at this point and Lauren has surpassed $7 billion, so clearly growing up in the Bronx did them some good, regardless of their interest in athletics.
4. General Colin Powell
Retired four-star general and Secretary of State from 2001-2005, Colin Powell also grew up in the Bronx. Though born in Harlem, his family moved to the Bronx when he was young, where he says he grew up with aunts, uncles and cousins all on his street in Hunts Point. “The Bronx is like a small town, where everyone knows everyone else and everyone else’s business,” he’s said. “I found that comforting. The neighborhood was warm and embracing with everything I cared about being within a few blocks of where I lived.”
5. Dominic Chianese and Vincent Pastore
If you were a fan of HBO’s Sopranos, you may recognize these names. Chianese played the role of Corrado Soprano aka “Uncle Junior” and was also in Godfather II, starring as Johnny Ola. He’s an accomplished musician too, and is involved in Joy Through Art, a program in which artists tour nursing homes to brighten the residents’ days. Pastore, on the other hand, played Salvatore Bonpensiero on the Sopranos. You may know his character by another name, which is arguably not fit to print. He’s been in a slew of mafia movies as well and has lent his voice to animated flicks like Zootopia and Shark Tale. These days he’s more active in theater and performed in “CHICAGO” and “Bullets over Broadway.” He grew up in the Bronx as well, but he’s one of the few who have stayed close to home. Pastore reportedly lives in City Island, a small neighborhood stretching little more than a mile, slightly east of other Bronx neighborhoods, in the western portion of the Atlantic’s Long Island Sound.
6. Tracy Morgan
Comedian and actor Tracy Morgan describes himself as “a Brooklyn guy with a Bronx heart.” Best known for his time on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, the star was born in the Bronx, but grew up in the Tompkins Houses of BedStuy in Brooklyn. His debilitating accident in 2014, in which his tour van was stuck by a fatigued big rig driver, took him away from his career for some time. However, by 2015, Morgan was reemerging and even announced that he had purchased the Bronx Zoo with some of his settlement money. The mention came on a piece done with Jimmy Kimmel Live, so the validity of the claim has been questioned, though no reputable source has either confirmed or denied it. In any case, it’s clear his heart still beats for the Bronx.
7. Cardi B
Music bad girl and reality star Cardi B moved to the Bronx from Manhattan when she was in elementary school. She speaks openly about how the challenges she faced shaped her. While she certainly coped with difficult times, she was also named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2018. Although Cardi B has allegedly settled down in Atlanta, she’s still got roots in NYC.
Get Help with Your Bronx Move
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