The front entrance of Cardinal Spellman High School.
Note lack of barbed wire and metal detectors.
Sotomayor, now nominated for the Supreme Court by President Obama, seemed to hit her stride at Spellman, a rigorous Catholic institution and educational oasis in a crime-stricken neighborhood of the Bronx.
And now, a word from someone who was Cardinal Spellman High School Class of '78: this is not quite true.
I know mainstream media reporters, many of whom came from backgrounds with no real experience in city life, would like to paint a picture of the Bronx as being pretty much on the same level as Beirut back in the 70's and 80's.
The Bronx is a big place. And the area around Spellman, off of Boston Post Road, was not some horrible ghetto. Maybe it is now, but at the time I went to Spellman, it was blue-collar, middle class for the most part.
There was no security when we came and went. The school had contracted with the city bus system to provide special busses that we called "specials" that brought us to and from the neighborhoods where we lived. The busses did not pull up to the door and we hustled under withering cross-fire to get in - we walked the couple of blocks and got on them, without an escort and without fear. If you had an extra-curricular activity after school, you stayed and then caught a regular city bus back home. My parents - who were concerned about my safety in all respects - had no issue with me taking a bus home from Spellman after dark. Hell, I have even walked from my home in Norwood to Spellman with no problems. In the mid-70's.
Sotomayor graduated from Spellman in '72, so she was there at a time when it actually "safer." The Bronx was "crime-stricken" in the sense that crime occurred but it simply was not at a level to make it the same as South Central or Bedford-Stuvesant or Eight Mile is today.