Arlene Alda releases book about Bronxites

‘Just Kids From the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was’ by Arlene Alda.
Photo courtesy of Henry Holt & Company

If you were born and raised in the Bronx, then this book is for you.

On Tuesday, March 3, Bronx-bred author Arlene Alda, through Henry Holt & Company, released her new book, ‘Just Kids From the Bronx: Telling It the Way It Was’, which includes over 60 interviews from different borough-born and raised Bronxites that found their influences in the Bronx.

The book’s interviewees, which include New York Yankees’ play-by-play broadcaster Michael Kay, J. Crew’s CEO Millard ‘Mickey’ Drexler and Hip Hop pioneer Grandmaster Melle Mel, among others, recall their Bronx experiences growing up in the borough.

These success stories are sure to inspire many of its readers. They touch on Bronx-related topics such as food, music, politics, gangs and more.

In this book, the interviewees share their life experiences and successes in the Bronx with the critically acclaimed author, who also falls into the category of an individual who was born in the borough and flourished in her career.

Alda was born in the Bronx in 1933 in present day Williamsbridge, back when neighborhood identification was by subway stops and street names.

She lived in a large apartment building located at the intersection of Barnes and Arnow avenues, just one block from the Allerton Avenue subway stop of the IRT line.

She attended Evander Childs High School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hunter College, before receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to study clarinet in Germany, eventually becoming a clarinetist in the Houston Symphony. She married actor Alan Alda and moved from the Bronx in 1957.

Arlene is now the author of 17 books, including the best selling children’s book, ‘Sheep, Sheep Sheep, Help Me Fall Asleep’, which she released in 1992.

She was inspired to write this book when she went back to her old building after many years with Millard ‘Mikey’ Drexler, who had also lived there growing up.

While they were there, Alda realized how many more wonderful, talented, successful people hailed from the Bronx.

She then became interested in interviewing people of all different ages to create a picture of the Bronx from the stories told to her by accomplished Bronxites.

Arlene is confident her book will end any lingering negative stereotypes of the Bronx, especially after readers learn about all of the successful personalities the borough has shaped in recent years.

“The Bronx has gotten a bad rap over the years,” said Alda. “I’d like to change that picture and set the record straight with this new book. The Bronx is beautiful, interesting and is the place which nurtured and continues to nurture a lot of interesting, important and wonderful people.”

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at

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