CONCOURSE VILLAGE — Jury duty is hard work, but for the 3,000 men and women called to fulfill their civic obligation in Bronx County Court each month, there is a new guide to ease the civic burden.
The 161st Street Business Improvement District recently produced guides that point out 128 different places to eat, relax, shop and run errands around the neighborhood’s two county court buildings — which just happen to be steps from Yankee Stadium.
“People who come to a baseball game are in a pretty good mood,” said BID director Cary Goodman. “Whereas jury duty is not exactly the same psychological frame of mind.”
“But,” Goodman added, “We’re trying to help them have a good visit, too.”
Jurors can be summoned to the Bronx County Hall Of Justice, at 265 East 161st Street, or the Bronx Supreme Court, at the corner of 161st St. and the Grand Concourse.
Both sites, which are a couple blocks apart, are surrounded by dining and shopping options.
The Hall of Justice faces Concourse Plaza Mall, which boasts a movie theater, a food court, a CVS Pharmacy, even a leather store. Across Sheridan Avenue from the Hall of Justice is Sheridan Market, a new deli with some healthy options mixed in with the pizza and grilled paninis.
Not surprisingly, many attorneys have offices near the courthouse.
If that thought causes heart palpitations, fortunately, a cardiology clinic operates on the other side of the Grand Concourse, the guide showed.
The western side of the Concourse, where the Supreme Court building is located, is Yankee territory.
The colossal stadium rests at 161st Street and River Avenue, and the surrounding blocks are sprinkled with Yankee souvenir shops and sports bars.
Though Yankee Tavern, a twenties-era bar once frequented by Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, overflows with rowdy sports fans on game days, its dining room is spacious and peaceful during non-Yankee lunch hours.
Other notable eateries include Flavas International Grill, which serves a mix of Jamaican and soul food, Court Deli and, at the base of the stadium, Hard Rock Cafe.
Goodman says that if he were on recess from jury duty, he would pick up a veggie sandwich from FK Court Heroes on Gerard Avenue, eat it outside at Kilmer Park across from the Supreme Court building, then wander over to Petland at the Concourse Plaza Mall to pick up a treat for his rabbit.
“It’s a vibrant neighborhood,” Goodman said, “with its own economy.”
The BID printed 20,000 copies of the single-page map and guide, which the Bronx County Clerk’s office distributes to about 600 jurors each day.
For the next edition, Goodman said he may add coupons, company logos and maybe even QR codes for the tech-savvy juror.
Either way, he hopes it will solve a problem common to jurors on their first visit to Bronx County Court.
“At 10 o’clock this guy says, ‘See you at 2,’ and you go, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do?’”