Tom Hogan is the grounds captain of the New York Tennis Club at 3081 Harding Ave. The club was first created in 1886 in Manhattan, when what is now Washington Heights was still farmland. It has moved quite a bit since that time, most recently to its current home on the edge of Silver Beach in 1950. Hogan has lived in the area since he was a kid.
Has Silver Beach changed at all over the years?
It's changed in that the area has gotten much more congested. The population density has increased. When I was a little kid in the '70s, there were a lot of empty lots, where there are now houses. Between the '70s and '90s, most of the empty lots had houses built on them, usually three-family houses, so that increased the population density of the area.
How would you describe the area to a newcomer?
This is middle-class, working-class, it's diverse. It's a great place to raise a family, and it's one of the better neighborhoods in New York City. It's a well-kept secret -- so don't publicize it too much!
What about it makes it so great to raise a family?
It's safe, and there are good schools.
Is the tennis club mostly locals?
Actually we have 68 members; of the 68, only 13 live in the Bronx. Among the others, they come from: Manhattan, Westchester, Queens, New Jersey, and Long Island. Less than one in five live in the Bronx, people come from all over the New York area to play here.
If there were something you could change or bring to the area, what would it be?
More police -- because it's a low crime precinct, we don't get a lot of attention by the police department, and our local precinct is understaffed.