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The Bronx of the Past from the MC Perspective

At the beginning of this semester, The Quadrangle received an email from the daughter of an alumni. Her father, who graduated from the school in the early 50’s, had passed away a few years ago. But she had found some of his old copies of the newspaper and wanted to send them our way. 

When the package came in, it was a huge bin of yellowed pages, falling apart at the folds and pieces falling off at the edges. The important part, the articles, were still preserved and legible. The cigarette advertisements that were printed in The Quadrangle were also in pristine condition, a humorous juxtaposition. 

What better way to look back on our surrounding areas than to see it through the eyes of our own student newspaper from the 1950’s?

Three Faculty Members Die in Drill

What a headline, right? While this would be considered “clickbait” in today’s terminology, the article calls attention solely through five words even though they are completely false.

A city-wide air drill was held on a spring Wednesday during a time of political turmoil. Students and faculty participated in the drill, seeking refuge in nearby bomb shelters throughout the Riverdale area. 

“However, reports have come in from several of the Building Control Directors that if it had not been a mock attack at least 3 of the faculty and their entire classes would have been killed. Two other members of the faculty would have suffered severe radioactive burns,” said the article.

Luckily, no one actually died that day. Only in hypotheticals would there have been a major incident. 

Rams Threaten Jasper Supremacy

A very odd story takes place during the spring semester of 1951, in which men pledging for one of Manhattan’s “honorary engineering fraternities” traveled to Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx to ask women to be their dates for an upcoming dance.

Many articles in these old issues speak about the men of MC to invade local Bronx colleges to pester and bother the students there. The rivalries between these colleges stem from many things like basketball, education, popularity. But this article focused on a very important topic at the time: women.

“The serious nature of this situation can be seen in the statement of one of the girls that ‘we would like to see more of Manhattan but the boys had better get on the ball or Fordham will overrate them,’” said the article.

The reporter for this article compared this statement to the same feeling men have when they see distress in a “damsel’s eye”, which was the reason “men formally fought duels.”

Building Excavation Ends This Week; Release Construction Schedule Soon

The cliche of “history repeating itself” proves true in this article, which covers the groundbreaking ceremony for what is now known as Hayden Hall.

“Excavation and blasting for Manhattan’s new million-dollar Science Building, the first permanent addition to Manhattan’s facilities since the completion of Cardinal Hayes Library in 1937, will be competed about the end of this week,” said the lede of the article.

Now, nearly 60 years later, the college will be having the same kind of ceremony for the new Higgins Engineering and Science Center. 

Construction around the Bronx debilitates our day-to-day lives during the current time. It is hard to imagine what kind problems this construction caused. There was even a need for a road to be carved out in order to meet up with the current-day Manhattan College Parkway, which was originally called the Spuyten-Duyvil Parkway. 

For all of us, Manhattan College and the Bronx are synonymous. It held true back then and it still holds true today. While the Bronx around us keeps evolving, it is fascinating to look back at what it once was, especially with the help of The Quadrangle.

Editor’s Note: I would personally like to thank the women who sent us these papers and for sharing part of your father’s history. I believe you put it best: they are certainly “treasures.”

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