The Bronx, often abbreviated as BX, and nicknamed The Boogie Down, with a population of 1,385,108 (2010 US Census), is the only New York City 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 is the only borough with “the” as part of its name. This is because in the early 1600s, a Dutch settler, Jonas Bronck, bought the land from the Native Americans who occupied the territory at the time. Whenever other land owners in the area wanted to travel to that area, they would call it “The Bronck’s Land.” At first, he planned to use the land to grow tobacco crops, but it was too hilly and had marshy terrain.
In time, The Bronx changed the spelling of its name, and flourished into an area with a vibrant and diverse culture.
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 are 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.
The Bronx is directly connected to Manhattan by the , , , , , , and subway lines. Further extensions of these (with the exception of the ) can be found in Brooklyn.
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.
Express buses run from Midtown Manhattan (except for the BxM18, which runs from lower Manhattan during rush hours) to various parts of the Bronx, and are a better bet than a taxi. 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 (including I-87, Bronx River Parkway, Hutchinson River Parkway, and I-95.
Taxis from Midtown or Lower Manhattan can be very expensive.
Pedestrians can cross any of the bridges that connect Manhattan with the Bronx.
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. Another option is Metro-North Railroad. It only serves limited sections of the Bronx, but those tend to be the areas without subway service. (There is the Hudson Line in the West Bronx, and the Harlem Line in the central section of the Bronx). The fares are higher than the subway, and the trains don't run as frequently, but they offer less crowding. (Plus, on the weekends, a "CityTicket", which allows a trip within the city boundaries, costs only $4.00. In general, with sufficient planning and time, you can enjoy the borough through a combination of subway and bus travel and walking. A bus map can be found here.
- Bronx Zoo (can be easily accessed from the & trains at West Farms Square/East Tremont Av., E 180th Street, or Pelham Parkway-White Plains Road), ☎ . A world-class zoo featuring over 6000 animals. As with any big city, there are occasional break-ins, so be careful with your car and stow or carry valuables with you to help avoid this possibility.
- New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road (can be accessed by the & trains at West Farms Square, E 180th Street, or Pelham Parkway-White Plains Road or by Metro-North at the Botanical Gardens station), ☎ . 48 magnificent gardens and plant collections on a 250-acre historic site.
- Wave Hill, 675 West 252 Street, ☎ . Public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River.
- Orchard Beach "The Bronx Riviera". 1.1 miles of artificial beach created in the 1930s. 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 from the Pelham Bay Park subway station.
- Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, Poe Park, Grand Concourse at Kingsbridge Road (served by the & trains at Kingsbridge Road), ☎ . 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.
- Woodlawn Cemetery, Webster Avenue & E. 233rd Street (Metro-North to Woodlawn or train to 233rd Street for Bx31 bus), ☎ . 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.
- Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, SUNY Maritime College, 6 Pennyfield Avenue (at the end of Pennyfield Ave under the Throgs Neck Bridge; can be accessed by the Bx40 along Tremont Avenue), ☎ . 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.
- Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th Street (accessible by the and subway trains), ☎ . Mon, Tues, and Wen closed/ Opened 11am-6pm Thu, Sat, and Sun, Fri 11am-8pm. The Museum highlights contemporary urban art, and focuses on different dynamic local artists. Suggested admission $5 adults/ $3 students and seniors.
- Valentine-Varian House (Museum of Bronx History), 3266 Bainbridge Avenue at East 208th Street, ☎ . Sa: 10am-4pm & Su: 1pm-5pm. It’s the last farmhouse in The Bronx from the mid 1700s. Exhibitions and public educational programs focus on the borough’s history. Adults $5, seniors and children $3.
- Hall of Fame for Great Americans, 2183 University Ave (Subway: Train to Burnside Ave.), ☎ . 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.
- Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, 895 Shore Road, ☎ . Wed, Sa, Su: 12pm- 4pm. Depicts the Pelham Bay Park as it once was centuries ago. The house is one of the only country estates left, and is now surrounded by urban scenery. $5 adults, $3 children, students, and seniors.
- Yankee Stadium, 161 St and River Ave (Subway: & at 161st Street-Yankee Stadium. Metro-North: 153rd Street-Yankee Stadium). Home of the New York Yankees baseball team. The old Yankee Stadium, "The House That Ruth Built", is no longer in use, and has been replaced by the new Yankee Stadium across the street. The site of the old stadium is now Heritage Park, a large baseball and softball field that has a few nods to the old ballpark, like markers in the sidewalk paying tribute to the history of the old stadium and a section of the frieze from the old park. The current stadium has strict security policies, and as such backpacks and camcorders are not allowed inside (only bags under 14" permitted). Monument Park behind center field pays homage to the great, Yankee legends of baseball; it officially closes 45 minutes before game time, but is oftentimes 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. Game tickets are expensive (many go for over $100) and should be bought far in advance. Stadium tours are also available for $20.
- Bronx Historic Districts. 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.
- City Island is an island in the Long Island Sound, part of Bronx County but with the feel of a New England fishing/boating village; you wouldn't believe you were still within the city limits of New York. The restaurants there are not noteworthy, but the atmosphere is.
- 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. Take the or trains to Fordham Road. Transfer outside of either station to the Bx12 bus to Arthur Avenue. Or you can take the Metro-North to Fordham for the Bx9, Bx12 local, Bx17 or Bx22 to Arthur Avenue.
The Bronx has many exciting events and celebrations that occur throughout the year.
- Sunday Market, 660 West 237th Street. Early Aug-Nov Su 9AM-2PM. This is a great place for gathering and shopping for the best quality and fresh grown products in the area.
- Bronx Culture Trolley, meet the first Wednesday of each month (except Sept and Jan) at Hostos Community College, this is a free tour of the most entertaining and delightful spots in the whole region. This includes when music festivals and street fairs are in progress.
- Tour De Bronx, usually in late October, it's New York States largest free bicycling event.
- Riverdale Festival of the Arts, in late October, West 256th Street (btwn Delafield and Mosholu Avenues). This day is dedicated to all sorts of live music from jazz to rock and will have street merchants and foods.
- Bronx Week Parade, in late May, marching up Mosholu Parkway, This give all Bronxites the opportunity to show their pride and at the parade it has marching bands, schools, student groups, sports teams and much more.
Parks and Gardens
The Bronx has over 75 parks including a few of the largest ones in all of New York State. One fifth of the borough's land is park space.
- Crotona Park, Fulton Avenue. This park contains the largest and deepest public swimming pool in New York City.
- Pelham Bay Park, Hutchinson River, Long Island Sound bet. Bronx County Line and Middletown Rd., Watt Ave.. The largest park in New York City (3 times the size of Central Park) offers numerous activities, including 13 miles of shoreline with swimming at Orchard Beach, horse trails, bike paths, tennis courts, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
- Van Cortlandt Park, Broadway, Jerome Avenue, City Line, Van Cortlandt Park South.
It is the fourth largest park in New York City and home of America's oldest golf course. The Van Cortlandt House is the Bronx's oldest building. The largest freshwater lake in all of NYC is in the park. It also has numerous sports fields and ball courts, children's playgrounds, running tracks, and the Riverdale Equestrian Center. During the summer time you’ll find the locals barbecuing and throwing parties in the park.
The Bronx is known to have the least expensive buys in all of New York City. Most of the areas are lively and noisy, but don’t let that stop you. Shopping at these places will give you the experience of The Bronx in a nutshell while saving money in your pockets. These areas are known for quality fashionable clothes and delicious food all at discount prices.
- Hunts Point Farmers Market, Mrs. del Valle Square Memorial Plaza, Southern Blvd and E 163rd St (take the train to Hunts Point Avenue or the or trains to Yankee Stadium. Transfer outside of either station for the Bx6 bus). Wednesday and Saturday, 8:30AM-5:00PM, June to November.
- New York Botanical Garden Farmers Market, inside the Garden at the Mosholu Gate off of Kazimioff Blvd (take the to Allerton Avenue for the Bx25/Bx26 buses or take the or trains to Bedford Park Boulevard for the Bx25/Bx26 buses). Wednesday, 10:00AM-3:00PM, June to November.
- Garden Gourmet, 5665 Broadway ( train to 231st station and BX7, BX9, BX10, BX20 buses), ☎ . Daily 7am-11pm. The best place in The Bronx for fresh produce, and is a neighborhood diamond in the ruff. They have a diverse selection of cheeses and fresh bread loaves. Homemade dips, salsas, hummus, sushi, and other hot prepared ethnic foods and soups. Organic food for extremely cheap.
- Mamma Rosa's Cucina & Salumeria, 1007 Allerton Avenue, ☎ . M-Sa: 7am-7pm, Su: 9am-2pm. One of the best delis in the Bronx area. Mamma Rosa knows how to bring Italian culture to the neighborhood. They give generous amount of meats on their sandwiches. Their special Pasta Sauces are always fresh and delicious, and different ones are made daily.
- The Candy Box & Gelato Shoppe, 5684 Riverdale Avenue, ☎ . Su: 11am-8pm, M-Th: 11am-7:30pm, F: 10:30am-4:30pm. This cutely decorated shop has various items like candy, dried fruit, nuts, sorbet, gelato, and frozen yogurt. The store hosts birthday parties and other special occasions. Plus the entire store is Kosher certified.
- 3 Floors Department Store, 350 E. Fordham Road (btwn Marion Avenue & Elm Place), ☎ . They have a range of different items, like clothes, home goods, watches and perfumes. The basement has designer shoes for as low as $5. That's including everything from sandals in the summer to boots in the winter.
- Webster's Close Out Center, 761 Lydig Avenue, ☎ . One can find a range of different objects to purchase here. Everything in the store is extremely inexpensive. They have racks of discounted clothing and bins of decor waiting outside for people to start rummaging through.
- Bay Plaza, Bartow Avenue & Baychester Avenue (off the Hutchinson Pkwy & I-95). One of the biggest shopping centers in the area, including over 45 stores and 9 anchor stores. They have a handful of restaurants, jewelry stores, electronics and a movie theater.
- Fordham Road Center, Fordham Road. This is be the place to get trend setting products for discount prices. Fordham Road extends for over a mile with shops door to door. It has it all from cheap furniture to sneakers. Right next to Fordham University, and in the center of the birth of hip-hop, this is an upbeat area with lots to offer.
- The Hub, 3rd Avenue & 149th Street. This area is one of the older shopping centers in The Bronx. Street stands pack the sidewalks with discounted products to purchase. This is where bargaining skills would be encouraged and practiced. Music fills the air from the booming record stores that offer a wide selection of hip-hop, and Latin genres.
- Frank Bee, 3435 E. Tremont Avenue, ☎ . 9:00am-9:00pm M-Sa, 9:00am-6:00pm Su. Frank Bee's is one of the oldest costume shops in the New York area. Its old fashioned look give an authentic and vibrant feel. They sell costumes for all ages, all occasions, with many selections to choose from. Their merchandise is quality made with fair prices.
- City Girl Accessories, 247 W. 231st Street, ☎ . This store has unique gifts at discounted prices. Some of their sterling silver items can be as little as $12. The store has Mexican and Midwestern style art that is always up for purchase. They sell earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, headbands, figurines, etc.
As the birthplace 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.
- The Rambling House, 4292 Katonah Ave (take the Train to Woodlawn for the Bx34 bus). Serving the best Irish food in the Bronx.
- Mo Gridder's (in Hunt's Point), ☎ . 10AM-5PM M-Sa. 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 an auto repair shop next door.
- 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, 394 City Island Ave (take the train to Pelham Bay Park for the Bx29 bus). A good steak, seafood, and pasta place. Reasonable prices.
- Lollipops Gelato, 4120 Baychester Avenue (Wakefield/Baychester neighborhood), ☎ . 9am-10pm. Offers 36 flavors of fine gelato, many with Caribbean flavors. Free street parking and a parking lot next door. There's seating inside and out under a tiki umbrella. Very much an island feel. Extensive free tasting with guidance from the friendly staff to help you choose. $3 and up.
- Starving Artist Cafe & Gallery, 249 City Island Avenue, ☎ . Local artists and crafters sell their unique work here, and musicians and bands play live music at nighttime. This coffeehouse makes excellent fresh cappuccino.
- Days Inn Hotel: Yankee Stadium / Bronx, 997 Brook Ave, ☎ +1 718 993-6600.
- Howard Johnson Bronx NY, 1922 Boston Rd, ☎ , fax: +1 718 589-7718. One of the cheaper places to stay in the New York metro while having easy access to the City. However, there's some questionable activity outside the main doors, noise is not regulated and the "continental breakfast" leaves much to be desired.
- Best Western Bronx Inn, 1440 Sheridan Expressway, ☎ .
- Ramada, 1000 Baychester Ave, ☎ , fax: +1 718 862-3090.
The Bronx, especially the South Bronx, has a reputation as an area of rundown apartment buildings, prostitution, 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 70s and 80s), 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.
The New York Public Library, one of the largest public libraries in the world, offers free wifi at each location. In addition, you can use their computers free, but you must register beforehand. These are some of the locations in the Bronx:
Note: All locations are wheelchair accessible unless specified.
- Allerton Branch, 2740 Barnes Avenue, ☎ . Mon-Tue, Thu 10AM-6PM; Wed 11AM-7PM; Fri-Sat 10AM-5PM.
- Baychester Branch, 2049 Asch Loop North, ☎ . Mon, Wed 10AM-7PM; Tue 10AM-6PM; Fri-Sat 10AM-5PM.
- Belmont Branch (Enrico Fermi Cultural Center), 610 E. 186th Street, ☎ . Mon, Thu 10AM-7PM; Tue-Wed 10AM-6PM; Fri-Sat 10AM-5PM.
- Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road, ☎ . Mon-Sat 9AM-9PM; Sun 12PM-6PM. The Bronx Library Center is the main Bronx branch. As such, it is one of the only ones open early in the morning, late at night, and on Sundays.
- Castle Hill Branch, 947 Castle Hill Avenue, ☎ . Mon, Wed 10AM-7PM; Tue, Thu 10AM-6PM; Fri-Sat 10AM-5PM.
- City Island Branch, 320 City Island Avenue, ☎ . Mon, Thu 11AM-7PM; Thu-Wed 11AM-6PM; Fri-Sat 10AM-5PM.
|Routes through Bronx|
|Albany ← Yonkers ←||N S||→ END|
|New Haven ← New Rochelle ←||N S||→ Manhattan → Philadelphia|
|Rye Brook ← Mount Vernon ←||N S||→ Becomes → Queens|
|Brooklyn ← Queens ←||W E||→ Merges into N|
|New Haven ← New Rochelle ←||N S||→ Manhattan → Philadelphia|
|Albany ← Yonkers ←||N S||→ Manhattan → Cape May|
|END ←||N S||→ Harlem and Upper Manhattan → Theater District|
|END ←||N S||→ Harlem and Upper Manhattan → Midtown|
|END ←||N S||→ Harlem and Upper Manhattan → Theater District|