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Do You Remember?

"The Bronx Home News Delivered"


Former paper boy, John Robben, poses in Edgewater Park with 149-D in the background, a home he delivered the Bronx Home News to in his youth.

(Reprinted from the Bronx Times Reporter on November 24, 2005)

The initial edition of the Bronx Home News was released on January 26, 1907 as a weekly and was distributed free for at least the first three issues. Once it was accepted for the value it provided to the community, it was priced at three cents, a cost which would be increased as time passed and it became a daily paper.
 
Although it was available at newsstands, the chief means of distribution was home delivery. Most of the delivery boy’s income came in the form of tips although there was a small payment for each paper delivered. Compensation was sufficient that paper routes were generally coveted jobs for youngsters.

Recently I re-walked the paper route of an old friend named John Robben who grew up in Alden Park. His route included both the D and E Sections of Edgewater Park. There were 203 homes in that area and 100 or more were his customers. This says a lot about the popularity of the Bronx Home News at that time which would be circa 1944. He used the money he earned wisely as it was for his tuition at Fordham Prep, a school he could otherwise not afford to attend.

He picked up his papers in front of Harris’ Stationary Store in the center of the community as did the other two local route carriers. John began his rounds at 2-E adjacent to the garages weaving in and out of the streets in a westerly direction. He then moved on to D Section proceeding up and down each street, finishing his rounds at the waterfront. It took him about half an hour with his young agile legs. It took us ninety minutes with some stops along the way to check out the local color.
 
Part of the popularity of the paper was its attention to local sports. Television sets were rare in John’s youth so the paper was a chief means of entertainment as well as providing the news of the day. It covered all the local news and reported on almost every ball game played in the borough. Sooner or later every player had their name mentioned in the Bronx Home News and many a yellowed clipping can still be found in family albums expounding on the athletic feats of a family member. Everyone likes to read about their children or their next door neighbor and the publisher of this paper knew that. Their stories touched every neighborhood and mentioned as many names as it could squeeze into its articles. It did this with as much of a positive spin as possible making the paper enjoyable to read and almost indispensable to those wishing to be conversant on the latest news of the day. Many a tear was shed by both the paper boys and the readers when the paper was taken over by the New York Post in 1948. All good things shouldn’t come to an end.

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