Danny Chervoni

Daniel (Danny) Chervoni was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1956 and moved to Mott Haven in the mid-1960s. His parents were both from Puerto Rico, and he had ten brothers and sisters. He grew up playing in the rivers, backyards and playgrounds of Mott Haven, attending PS 49 and Alexander Burger Intermediate School, where he played trombone in the band and worked on the newspaper. His mother worked at Harlem Hospital and owned a grocery store on 141st Street and his father was a super and worked at a hotel in Manhattan.

He dropped out of school in 11th grade, served in the Marines for three years, and became involved with the drug trade when he came back to Mott Haven. He was imprisoned several times and was a heroin addict until he got sober in 1993. He is a DJ and was involved in the early days of South Bronx hip hop. Danny worked for a company that made antique reproductions for seventeen years, and then a company that made Christmas ornaments, until he recently retired. He has been with his wife, a social worker, since 1990, and has three children and four grandchildren. He runs Brook Park, a community garden known for its educational and alternative to incarceration programs, urban farming, and indigenous ceremonies. Brook Park is also a beloved play space for the newest generation of Mott Haven children, who love Danny’s stories about the old days.

You can hear Danny’s full interview here.  You can hear him remembering when the projects were built here, and telling about his adventures on Mott Haven’s waterfront here.