2 Proud Daughters of the Bronx Share More Than a Name

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the actress Sonia Manzano went for a walk last month on the High Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Credit David Gonzalez/The New York Times

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the actress Sonia Manzano went for a walk last month on the High Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Credit David Gonzalez/The New York Times

David Gonzalez writes:

The sounds of summer drifted through the air on the Bronx side of the High Bridge, from the squeals of children running along sun-dappled paths to the slaps of flip-flops hitting the pavement as boys with towels slung over their shoulders walked to the public swimming pool on the Manhattan side. Two women chatting on a bench stopped midsentence as two other women, smiling and familiar looking, ambled past.

“Ay!” one of the women on the bench exclaimed. “Sonia! Que linda!”

For years, the two Sonias have headlined the Bronx Children’s Museum’s annual “Dream Big” event, a summer celebration for an institution that is set to finally move into a brick-and-mortar home in 2017. And while both women get more requests for public and charitable appearances than they could ever oblige, their dedication to the children of the Bronx is not charity, but a duty born of personal experience.

Justice Sotomayor likes to say that you can’t dream about what you don’t know exists. In her world — she grew up in the Bronxdale Houses, which now bear her name — she aspired to the law while watching “Perry Mason.” Now, she hopes to cast a similar spell on a few youngsters. After this year’s museum event, at Fordham University last month, she and Ms. Manzano headed to the High Bridge for a brief tour with the city engineers who helped to restore it.

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