Oy! The Bargains!
My boyfriend and I are both retired and on limited incomes, and were priced out of Manhattan long ago. The advantage of living in a poor area such as the northwest Bronx is that the cost of living is in exact opposition to Manhattan, where everything is as sky high as the landscape.
By contrast, most everything money can by is ridiculously cheap here: rents, clothing, food (though not as much as other items, but food stamps compensate for most folks), and any other items imaginable under the sun, many which can be found in the numerous 99 cent and up stores, which are virtually obsolete now in tony Manhattan. The commercial rents are much cheaper, so mom and pop shops still flourish. In addition, Fordham Road is a paradise for clothes shopping at rock bottom prices, fresh fruit and vegetable stands, ubiquitous cell phone outlets (even the poorest have these, along with a surprising number of cars), and an unparalleled library and cultural center. We became members of the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo, which has paid for itself many times over.
As middle class folks, we know all the cultural amenities many in this neighborhood of immigrants and poor do not. That is another advantage, along with quick access to Manhattan via two subway lines, or express bus.
So in short, we get a kick out of bargain hunting, anywhere from the local Rite Aid to the grocery stores, clothing stores, shoe outlets, 99 cent stores, and so on. It really is a rush to save money especially in these tough times, and a limited budget which has to stretch as much as possible. Living below one's means with some money in the bank for a rainy day is a good practice for anyone, from low to high income.
So let the naysayers warn about the dangers of the area. I say, "Viva la Bronx!"