Bronx Tales II: Leaving Home at 16 - OZY | A Modern Media Company


Because sometimes the world gives us a better education than the classroom.

By Kevin O'Dowd

This is episode two of the OZY original video series Bronx Tales, featuring Editor-in-Chief Carlos Watson hitting the streets of New York’s most maligned borough to talk about success and failure, race and gentrification and, of course, love and hip-hop.

What do a movie theater ticket taker, an independent bookstore owner and a break-dancing banana have in common? A kick-ass work ethic, for one, and a name: Noëlle Santos. Noëlle, a Bronx native, says she moved out of her family home at age 16 — not to run the streets or join a band — but to find a place where she could focus and set her own terms.  

She completed high school early and despite juggling multiple part-time jobs, Noëlle made her way to college and eventually graduate school. Describing herself as a “born hustler” and devotee of social media marketing guru and serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, Noëlle still credits her grandmother, who ran a day care and after-school program, with giving her a nose for enterprise.

Now as founder of The Lit. Bar, an independent bookstore and wine bar coming soon to the Bronx, Noëlle says she is taking the opportunity to provide a much-needed service (and let’s be real, a fun new hangout spot) for her own community.

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