BARZ: The Bronx is Burning with Desire to Read

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you without a strong rhyme to step to ~Rakim

On January 7, 2017, I stood in front of a graffiti mural depicting Bronx excellence: KRS One, Justice Sonia Sotomayer, the 6 train, and a piragua cart.

Phill Hammond & crew, came out (for pennies) from Long Island on the coldest day of the year to film the pitch video for my crowdfunding campaign. I took a creative spin on it with a spoken word piece–you know, because everyone in the Bronx raps. I poured my heart out about my  literary revolution to bring the only bookstore to the Bronx. I even got Paul, my girlfriends, and their loves to make cameos.

This is not that video.

So what had happened was… I let my friends talk me into trying out false eyelashes (Paul was so annoyed, lol). The snow we thought would be a great effect kept accumulating on them and we had to shoot the whole thing over the following weekend. I was literally drowning and lost a few more pennies trying to be Beyoncé.

Anyway, check, check, check out my melody. I hope that it inspires you to join over 900 amazing people who have generously given over $57,000 to my Indiegogo campaign, Let’s Bring a Goddamn bookstore to the Bronx! Because with zero bookstores for over 1.4 million people, there has to be some atrocities God would make an exception for. Thank you for your continued support on my journey to The Lit. Bar.


“Lit.” like literature
“Lit” like drunk
Lit with passion to kill stigmas overdue to be debunked
and prove once again that the Bronx keeps creatin’ it
and that we are worthy
That we are more than just sneaker stores
and we support the arts
So I stand here today and ask you to open your hearts
to help us show the world
what many fail to see
that the Bronx is no longer burning… except with desire to read

And that we thrive
just like the indie bookseller that you were told died
The numbers don’t lie
Did you know indies grew over 30 percent since 2009?
with sales up 10 percent last year, outpacing book sales in general, nationwide

I’ve been accused of supporting gentrification because I stand to capitalize
No, I’m not the type to pick up a picket sign
I’m solution-oriented; I said “hello”, the developers, the bad guys
and went home to write my business plan on how I was going to ensure faces that look like mine
are represented in market rate districts in a few years time
I don’t have the answer for displacement
but Pride & Prejudice is only welcome in The Lit. Bar’s Classics section
The answer to inclusion isn’t to further divide
so-called Hippies too feel the rent is too damn high
and that Bronx culture matters along with our lives
we need each other to get this revolution televised
so I, will land The Lit. Bar on top
of our South Bronx, their Piano District or whatever… Plymouth Rock
so that present and future residents of our borough can harmonize… over a little Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay

I am Noëlle Santos from the block
Afro-Latina from Soundview, resident of Crotona Park
I was abandoned by our one big-box bookshop all the way up in Co-op that served my knowledge
Both my degrees are from the Bronx, Lehman College
I am a woman
I am a Millennial
I am you and it is my mission…
that with the power of literature, to restore kings & queens to their thrones
and help us cope
preach the importance of community & shop local
mend the gap between the young and old
recite John Lennon & J. Cole
I declare war on reality shows
that teach our children to aspire to Instagram follows
(follow us @thelitbar though, lol)
and likes
and to be Love & Wherever wives that ain’t really wives
I only promote black love and real life
starting with The Lit. Bar, a home to read and write
and blog and excite
with book & travel clubs, Kiddie Lit’r, poetry slams, girl’s, & date nights
We will not conform; we’ll expand horizons beyond pages
and pick up where curriculums failed to engaged us
take you back to the time of healthy socialization
and don’t forget the wine tasting

So help me bring The Lit. Bar
near the Bruckner
for wine and literature
you can bring your book club or e-reader wit’cha
to the spot to read, discuss and lounge and sip
talk arts & entrepreneurship
& all things the Bronx

We Lit!


  1. Hi! I’m a young adult librarian and i’m inspired by your story as a fellow bronxite! keep up the good work. side note- where did you get your hoodie? I’d love to purchase one.


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