Marc Hochberg was born 1949. He grew up with parents, both the children of immigrants, in a six story apartment building on Holland Avenue, off the south side of Pelham Parkway. The area is remembered as 90% Jewish, with one Italian friend from elementary school. He attended Castle Hill Junior High School in Parkchester, which still had few non-white students at the time, and the Bronx High School of Science. When he was in high school his parents moved to Grand Concourse and 165th Street. Bronx Science is remembered as a top education, and he would go to Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania before attending Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents moved to Riverdale in 1970.
Hochberg’s father was a furrier, and Hochberg himself was the first in his family to go to college. Education was the most important part of his upbringing. People he knew who didn’t go to college got drafted into the Vietnam War, while he got a deferment to attend medical school and had a high enough draft number amongst doctors to not get called up to service. He does not return to the Bronx since the passing of his parents, seeing no reason to. Hochberg was a New York Giants (baseball) fan, but would later attend Yankee games with student passes in the bleachers for 25 cents and would see the Knicks and Rangers at Madison Square Garden. He describes his neighborhood as safe, though he was mugged on the subway once coming back from the Garden. Hochberg explains, while he knows about the history of segregation in Baltimore now, he didn’t realize as a child that there were no people of color in his neighborhood, and how his exposure to diversity came first in going to school with Irish and Italian kids.
Hochberg’s family kept kosher at home, but would go out for Chinese food. Though he no longer keeps kosher, he still attends synagogue every Saturday. He describes the Jewish flight from the Bronx, along with the in-migration of Black and Hispanic people and the building of the Cross Bronx Expressway. Hochberg remembers a happy, nurturing yet insular childhood in the Bronx that left him unprepared for the larger world and different kinds of people.
Pelham Parkway, Lydig Avenue, Bronx High School of Science, Grand Concourse, Vietnam War, race, Jewish identity, white flight
Maier Garcia, Sophia, "Hochberg, Marc" (2023). Bronx Jewish History Project. 16.