7 Cool Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Bronx

Posted On Thu, July 17, 2014 By

Posted On Thu, July 17, 2014 By In Bronx

Image courtesy of Thomas X. Casey

The NY Yankees, Julia the Gorilla, and the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden all call the Bronx home, but as the borough named for Jonas Bronck (and affectionately called the Boogie Down) commemorates a centennial anniversary in 2014, there is much more to celebrate than Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Botanical Garden.

We’ve hunted down seven cool things about the Bronx that we bet you didn’t know. Read them all ahead, then venture northward to see them up close and personal.

#1: The Champs-Elysées of the Bronx

The Bronx's Grand Concourse

Photograph by Jeff Liao, courtesy of the Bronx Museum

Speaking of Yankee Stadium, did you know that one of the main roads leading to the House that Ruth Built was modeled after Paris’ most famous boulevard, the Champs-Elysées? Though considerably longer than its French counterpart, the Grand Concourse was originally designed with separate paths for horses, cyclists and pedestrians. For three days this summer, the full length of the heavily trafficked thoroughfare will be closed to all vehicle traffic as part of “Boogie on the Boulevard”, a recreational event featuring live performances, music, workshops and more.

#2: Outdoor Art Deco Museum

Bronx CourthouseBronx Courthouse. Image © Ken Lund

And what makes the Grand Concourse so grand? Many might argue it’s the gorgeous assembly of Art Deco and Art Moderne style architecture along those 4 miles – which just happens to be the largest collection of its kind in the whole United States!

#3: Bridges, Bridges and More Bridges

The High Bridge over the Harlem River

The High Bridge over the Harlem River. Image © Sandi Hemmerlein

The Bronx loves being connected to Manhattan…in fact, more bridges connect the Bronx to Manhattan than any other borough! And one of those bridges, the High Bridge over the Harlem River, is the oldest standing bridge in the city (1843) – yup, older than the Brooklyn Bridge. Built as an aqueduct for a water main (the bridge originally had 15 stone arches to resemble a Roman aqueduct), construction is underway to restore pedestrian access by the end of the year!

#4: Green with Envy

Pelham Bay Park, Bronx Victory Memorial

Central Park is an oasis in the middle of concrete and steel….but it doesn’t even come close to being the city’s largest park. With miles of bridle paths and hiking trails, two golf courses, a breathtaking saltwater shoreline that hugs the Long Island Sound, and a wide and diverse range of plant and animal life, Pelham Bay Park (over 3x bigger than Central Park) is one reason why the Bronx is the city’s greenest borough – with nearly 25% of its space devoted to parkland.

#5: Poetry in Motion

Poe Cottage the Bronx
Poe Cottage. Image via Wikimedia Commons

“Hear the sledges with the bells Silver bells! What a world of merriment their melody foretells! How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle”…(The Bells) .

Those beautiful words by none other than Edgar Allan Poe were written while he lived in a modest cottage in the Bronx from 1846 to 1849. You can still visit the home, aptly named Poe Cottage, and try to figure out the bells which may have inspired him.

#6: JFK Slept Here

5040 Independence Avenue, Riverdale Image via Wikimedia Commons

5040 Independence Avenue, Riverdale. Image via Wikimedia Commons

As a young boy our 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, called the Bronx his home in the late 1920s. The spectacular 20-room, three-story stucco mansion is located at 5040 Independence Avenue in the Riverdale section of Bronx – where JFK attended the elite Riverdale Country Day School and earned a C+ average on at least one report card.

Van Cortland Mansion

#7: George Washington Slept Here, Too

Built between 1748-49, the historic Van Cortlandt House is the oldest in the Bronx, and provided none other than our first president, George Washington, a place to rest his weary feet at least twice during the American Revolution. Apparently, it did him some good, since from here Washington led troops to take possession of New York City in the last act of the American Revolution!  

So the next time you’re looking for something new to do, check out the Bronx beyond Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Botanical Garden. You’ll find many reasons to celebrate the borough to the north.

[Written in collaboration with Welcome2TheBronx]

Lead image via Fordham University

Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

Neighborhoods : The Bronx

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • Philip Johnson’s Rockefeller Guest House, a ‘secret’ modernist gem on Manhattan’s east side

    Philip Johnson’s Rockefeller Guest House, a ‘secret’ modernist gem on Manhattan’s east side

    Just down the street from the now-closed modernist treasure trove and icon that was the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s east ...
  • Bioswales face backlash from city residents for being eyesores

    Bioswales face backlash from city residents for being eyesores

    While you may have never heard of the term “bioswale,” you have probably seen these curbside gardens throughout the city. ...
  • David Bowie’s former Central Park South condo lists for $6.5M with his personal piano included

    David Bowie’s former Central Park South condo lists for $6.5M with his personal piano included

    Sure, a piano is always a nice touch, especially in a classic Central Park South condo like this. But when ...
  • How elevators are adapting to supertall towers; Get Shake Shack delivered

    How elevators are adapting to supertall towers; Get Shake Shack delivered

    17th century Barberini tapestries now on view at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. [Untapped] Baseball commentator and former ...
  • Former Citicorp Center might lose Sasaki fountain as part of plaza redesign

    Former Citicorp Center might lose Sasaki fountain as part of plaza redesign

    Earlier this month, 6sqft revealed renderings of 601 Lexington Avenue‘s (the Midtown East skyscraper formerly known as the Citicorp Center) new ...
  • Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/23-3/29

    Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/23-3/29

    In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your ...
  • Iconic ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov buys Harlem condo for $1.4 million

    Iconic ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov buys Harlem condo for $1.4 million

    Mikhail Baryshnikov, who fled the Soviet Union in 1974 and landed in Canada is today considered one of the greatest ballet dancers ...
  • Starting Monday, three Brooklyn R train stations will shut down for six months

    Starting Monday, three Brooklyn R train stations will shut down for six months

    Last January, Governor Cuomo announced a massive undertaking to “modernize and fundamentally transform” the MTA and the subway by adding ...
  • Greta Garbo’s exclusive East Side co-op hits the market for the first time in 64 years, asking $6M

    Greta Garbo’s exclusive East Side co-op hits the market for the first time in 64 years, asking $6M

    For the first time in decades, an apartment in The Campanile, an exclusive co-op building in the Beekman/Sutton Place neighborhood, ...
  • The least affordable U.S. city for public transit isn’t NYC (and more fun facts about the cost of commuting)

    The least affordable U.S. city for public transit isn’t NYC (and more fun facts about the cost of commuting)

    In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks ...
  • For $675K this tiny West Village studio is big on rustic loft style

    For $675K this tiny West Village studio is big on rustic loft style

    This completely renovated loft-style studio co-op at 9 Barrow Street may be tiny with little more than 300 square feet of ...
  • Dreamy furnished studio with lots of greenery asks $3,200/month in the East Village

    Dreamy furnished studio with lots of greenery asks $3,200/month in the East Village

    This furnished rental at 527 East 12th Street in the East Village is downright dreamy. The exposed brick has been painted white ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.