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Bronx, Features, History

Six things you didn’t know about Arthur Avenue and Bronx Little Italy

By Historic Districts Council, Mon, April 9, 2018

Photo by Chris Goldberg/Flickr

This post is part of a series by the Historic Districts Council, exploring the groups selected for their Six to Celebrate program, New York’s only targeted citywide list of preservation priorities.

The Bronx’s Belmont community can date its history all the way back to 1792, when French tobacconist Pierre Abraham Lorillard opened the Lorillard Snuff Mill as the first tobacco firm in the country, and possibly the world. European influences continued to proliferate in the area, and at the turn of the 19th century, flocks of Italian immigrants moved to Belmont to take jobs in the newly opened Botanical Gardens and Bronx Zoo. By 1913, the neighborhood was referred to as the Italian “colonies” in the Bronx.

Today, Belmont’s main artery, Arthur Avenue, still thrives as a bustling Italian center, with countless restaurants, pastry shops, butchers, and more. But there’s a lot more to Belmont than just spaghetti and cannoli. From the origins of a pasta shop’s sign that’s now featured on Broadway to a Neapolitan restaurant that was born in Cairo, Egypt, the Belmont BID shares six secrets of this saucy neighborhood.

Uncover the history ahead

Featured Story

Features, Financial District, History

Six things you didn’t know about the Lower West Side

By Historic Districts Council, Wed, February 14, 2018

59-81-Washington-Street ca. 1935, via NYPL

This post is part of a series by the Historic Districts Council, exploring the groups selected for their Six to Celebrate program, New York’s only targeted citywide list of preservation priorities.

The Lower West Side may not be a neighborhood name used by brokers, but for those involved with preservation efforts in the area, it’s a neighborhood very much unique from the surrounding Financial District. Encompassing the area west of Broadway from Liberty Street to Battery Place, it was originally home to Irish and German immigrants, followed by Little Syria, the nation’s first and largest Arabic settlement, from roughly the 1880s to 1940s. But the construction of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and World Trade Center “nearly wiped the neighborhood off the map.” There are still several buildings remaining that serve as a connection to the past, however, and Friends of the Lower West Side is working diligently to make sure this history is not lost, expanding its oral history program, offering walking tours of the area, and appealing to the Landmarks Commission to designate a small historic district.

Find out six little-known facts about this amazing district

Featured Story

Features, History, Prospect Heights

Photo courtesy of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

This post is part of a series by the Historic Districts Council, exploring the groups selected for their Six to Celebrate program, New York’s only targeted citywide list of preservation priorities.

Constructed on a lost fragment of the original footprint of Prospect Park, the Prospect Heights Apartment House District is a concentration of 82 apartment buildings dating from 1909-1929. This development was promoted by the Prospect Park Commissioners to attract high-quality construction to complement the nearby Park, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Public Library. The buildings, representative of a period in Brooklyn history when building patterns shifted to accommodate a rising middle class, remain exemplary for their architectural integrity and as housing stock for a diverse population.

As one of this year’s Six to Celebrate recipients, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and the Cultural Row Block Association on Eastern Parkway are working to garner local support and submit a proposal for historic district status from the LPC.

Find out six little-known facts about this handsome district

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