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Bronx

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Metro New York : New York City : Bronx
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The Bronx [1] is one of the five boroughs of New York.
Bronx Borough Courthouse


Understand

The Bronx is the only New York borough on the mainland of the United States. It was originally part of Westchester County but was gradually annexed by New York City. The Bronx was completely incorporated into New York City in 1898.

The Bronx has a strong character all its own. It is the birthplace of hip hop music and home to one of the country's most storied professional baseball teams, the New York Yankees, also known as the "Bronx Bombers." Many ethnic groups have called the Bronx home over the years. Arthur Avenue is still a center of Italian American culture in New York, and many claim it has a more authentic feel than Manhattan's Little Italy. The South Bronx is a center of Puerto Rican culture and life, with a growing Mexican community as well. University Heights and Morris Heights are largely Dominican neighborhoods, while Woodlawn maintains a large population of Irish immigrants.

While the southern and central Bronx is mostly comprised of apartment buildings and densely built, the physical environment of the Bronx is much more varied than what is normally portrayed in the popular media. For instance, Riverdale is a residential neighborhood of mostly detached single family homes located on bluffs overlooking the Hudson River. It looks more like a quiet suburb than the "big bad" Bronx. Bronx Park and Van Cortlandt Park are two large and notably tranquil green spaces. City Island, located in Long Island Sound but officially part of the Bronx reminds people more of a small New England fishing village and is worth a visit. And there is a traditional downtown area called "The Hub" at 149 St. and Third Avenue. While not as large or extensive as the downtowns of major American cities, many larger stores are in that area and it is more than just a neighborhood shopping district.

Geographically, the Bronx has a large number of hills. It is possible to stand on a street corner and look way down over a cliff toward the elevated train line that is itself 30 feet above ground. Many streets, especially in the West Bronx north of Yankee Stadium, have sections with steps instead of sidewalks and pavement, similar to San Francisco.

Get in

One can get into the Bronx from Manhattan and other boroughs (except Staten Island) easily by taking any of several subway lines (The 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, B, and D). The Harlem and Hudson Lines of the Metro North commuter railway, which originate in Grand Central Terminal and stop in Harlem at 125 St and Park Av, also traverse the Bronx, with various stops including Botanic Garden, next to the New York Botanic Garden, and Fordham (a tranfer point). Local MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) bus connections with Upper Manhattan and parts of Queens also exist. It is possible to drive across one of the many bridges from Manhattan or the three bridges from Queens, and points north are accessible via several highways. Note that taxis from Midtown or Lower Manhattan can be very expensive. Express buses run from Midtown Manhattan (except for the BxM18 from lower Manhattan during rush hours) to various parts of the Bronx. Finally, pedestrians can cross any of the bridges that connect Manhattan with the Bronx.

Get around

The Bronx has good subway coverage but all lines are mainly north to south, with the subway lines designed more for access to Manhattan than crosstown travel in the Bronx, and many of its bus lines are slow and overcrowded at times. Many people who need flexibility in getting across the Bronx drive; however, the notorious overcrowding on the Cross-Bronx Expressway sometimes reduces such crosstown travel to a standstill. In general, with sufficient planning and time, you can enjoy the borough through a combination of subway and bus travel and walking.

See

Bronx Zoo in New York City
  • Bronx Zoo, (718) 367-1010 [2]. A world-class zoo featuring over 4000 animals. Very frequent break-ins in the streets outside. Be careful with your car. However, It can be accessed by the 2 & 5 trains at West Farms Square, E 180th Street, or Pelham Parkway-White Plains Road.
  • New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road, (718) 817-8700[3]. 48 magnificent gardens and plant collections on a 250-acre historic site. It can be accessed by the 2 & 5 trains at West Farms Square, E 180th Street, or Pelham Parkway-White Plains Road.
  • Wave Hill, 675 West 252 Street, (718) 549-3200[4]. Public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River.
  • Orchard Beach "The Bronx Riviera". 1.1 miles of artificial beach created in the 1930's. Located in Pelham Bay Park at the western end of Long Island Sound. The Bx5 and Bx12 serve it during the summer.
  • City Island has a good nightlife and is served by the Bx29.
The Great Hall inside new Yankee Stadium
  • Edgar Allan Poe Cottage Poe Park, Grand Concourse at Kingsbridge Road, 718 881-8900, [5]. The small wooden farmhouse, built about 1812, once offered unobstructed views of the rolling Bronx hills, perhaps even to the shores of Long Island. It was Poe's home from 1846 to 1849, the last three years of his life. He wrote some of his most famous works, including "Annabel Lee" and "The Bells." Administered by the Bronx County Historical Society since 1975, the cottage is restored to its original appearance, with authentic period furnishings. There's a film presentation and guided tour. It is served by the B & D trains at Kingsbridge Road.
  • Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, SUNY Maritime College, 6 Pennyfield Avenue (the end of Pennyfield Ave; under the Throgs Neck Bridge), 718 409-7218. The main exhibit area encompasses the history of seafaring from the ancient Phoenicians to present day steamship and passenger ship lines. Exhibitions include paintings, models, tools and navigational instruments documenting progress from the earliest sailing vessels to modern technology. Lovely waterfront location too.
  • Yankee Stadium, 161 St and River Ave. Home of the New York Yankees baseball team [6]. The old Yankee Stadium, "The House That Ruth Built", is no longer in use, and is now replaced by the new Yankee Stadium next door. The Stadium has strict security policies, and as such backpacks and camcorders are not allowed inside (only bags under 14" permitted). Monument Park pays homage to the great, Yankee legends of baseball, and is located behind center field. Monument park officially closes 45 minutes before game time, but is often times closed sooner if the crowds are large enough. If visiting Monument park is a priority, best bet is to arrive close to when the gates open. It is served by the B, D & 4 at 161st Street-Yankee Stadium and the Metro-North Station at 153rd Street-Yankee Stadium.
  • Woodlawn Cemetery, Webster Avenue & E. 233rd Street, (718) 920-1470, [7]. This 400 acre cemetery opened in 1863 and is one of the largest cemeteries in the city. The final resting place of over 300,000, some of its more famous residents included Joseph Pulitzer, Herman Melville, David Farragut, Duke Ellington, and Frank Woolworth. Call for tour times, and a permit is required for photography.
  • Hall of Fame for Great Americans, 2183 University Ave (Subway: 4 Train to Burnside Ave.), (718) 289-5161, [8]. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Called the "original" Hall of Fame in the United States, this Hall of Fame, founded in 1900, honors Americans who significantly impacted the country's history. The site is home to about 100 bronze busts of its inductees, and is now a part of Bronx Community College. Free.

Do

  • Bronx Historic Districts, [9]. Almost all the historic districts of the Bronx are South of Fordham Rd. Check out the website address for a complete listing. Some highlights are the Bertine Block, the Mott Haven brownstones found along Alexander Ave and just east of Willis Ave. on 139th-141st Sts., and the Longwood Historic District.
  • The Bronx includes the "real Little Italy" in New York, centered around Arthur Av. near E. 187 St. Good shopping in Italian foodstuffs is to be had in that neighborhood.

Visit farm markets at:

  • Hunts Point Farmers Market Mrs. del Valle Square Memorial Plaza Southern Blvd and E 163rd St[10]. Wednesday and Saturday, 8:30AM-5:00PM, June to November. Produced by Community Markets. [11]
  • New York Botanical Garden Farmers Market- Inside the Garden at the Mosholu Gate off of Kazimioff Blvd[12]. Wednesday, 10:00AM-3:00PM, June to November. Produced by Community Markets. [13]

Buy

Records

As the birth place of hip-hop culture, the Bronx has numerous record stores. Though vinyl has disappeared from the shelves of regular record stores, many stores still sell used and new vinyl.

Eat

  • The Rambling House, 4292 Katonah Ave.[14] Serving the best Irish food in the Bronx.
  • Mo Gridder's, 718-991-3046 [15] in Hunt's Point is the best BBQ joint in the Bronx. Unfortunately, it is only open for lunch. Although it's outdoors, there is a dining area in the waiting area of auto repair shop next door. Hours: 10AM-5PM M-Sa.
  • Carifesta Restaurant, 4251 White Plains Road, 718-325-2261. Has great Caribbean food but recently closed the dining area and is take-out only.
  • Great Italian food can be found near Arthur Avenue.
  • Another fantastic hot spot for Italian food is a small neighborhood called Morris Park. The food is all authentic and reasonably priced.
  • Artie's, [16] 394 City Island Ave. A good steak, seafood, and pasta place. Reasonable prices.

Drink

Sleep

Stay Safe

The Bronx, especially the South Bronx, has a reputation as an area of rundown apartment buildings and high crime. In recent years, revitalization projects have dramatically reduced urban blight in the area south of the Cross-Bronx Expressway (the area hardest hit by arson and abandonment in the 70's and 80's), replacing empty lots and burnt-out tenements with low-density housing.

Some people like to focus on the crime of the South Bronx, but such characterizations are hyperbolic and don't reflect the experience of all of the travelers who have made many trips to the Bronx and walked through all of its neighborhoods. All forms of criminal activity have been reduced to a fraction of their early 90s rates. That said, crime is a fact of life in the South Bronx. But the most common victims by far are the people who live there, not visitors passing through.

To avoid problems, choose a destination or route beforehand so that you're not wandering around an area you're completely unfamiliar with looking lost and confused. The safest areas are the busiest ones, usually around main streets and avenues where residents congregate to shop, work and socialize. These are also the best places to experience the neighborhood and soak in the unique energy and ambiance that makes the Bronx special. To stay safe, avoid the inner courtyards of housing projects and desolate, deserted areas, and cross to the other side of the street or go into a shop if anyone makes you nervous. You may want to avoid large groups of young people congregating on the street if they make you feel uncomfortable, by crossing to the other side of the street. And of course, never get involved in drugs or any other criminal activity while you're in the Bronx.

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