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The Bronx

‘In The Bronx, the beat is especially bright and bold. History is alive in landmarks and historic districts; nature's beauty is bountiful in thousands of acres of parks, beaches and scenic waterfront; and artistic expression abounds in our ethnically diverse communities. Here you'll find world famous attractions like The Bronx Zoo, The New York Botanical Garden, Yankee Stadium, The Hall of Fame for Great Americans, City Island, Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, and much, much more!

‘Our 1.2 million residents represent every culture on the planet, and the food, fashions, trends, and celebrations are out of this world. Come visit us and you'll see why they say, “The Bronx Is Up!” Hon. Fernando Ferrer, Bronx Borough President.

Many Thriving Communities

The northernmost borough of New York City, the Bronx is the only borough that is actually part of the American mainland. Straddling the Bronx River, the borough is bounded on the north by Westchester County, on the east by Long Island Sound, on the South by the East River (across which is Manhattan Island), and on the west by Spuyten Duyvil Creek and the Harlem and Hudson rivers. It incorporates many islands into the collective ‘Bronx’ area, with North and South Brother islands in the East River, and Hart and City islands in Long Island Sound. These all have thriving communities, with pastimes that include boating and fishing – with many fine seafood restaurants!

The Bronx is mainly a residential area, with numerous apartments and housing complexes. Industry is concentrated in the south, and is diverse, ranging from food processing to garment manufacture – and yet still only makes up a small fraction of New York’s total output.

An Urban Jungle

You can find virtually any lifestyle in the Bronx. Some parts are well-established old neighbourhoods, such as Knightsbridge and Westchester Square, with others being more for up-and-coming families. The network of subways provides a lifeline of transportation to all parts of the city, with ten bridges crossing the Harlem River into Manhattan. The Triborough Bridge (built in 1936) provides access to both Manhattan and Queens, with the latter also connected by the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (1939) and the Throgs Neck Bridge (1961).

A large amount of the Bronx is made up of public parks, including the Bronx Park, which contains the New York Botanical Garden (1891) and the famous International Wildlife Conservation Park (commonly known as the Bronx Zoo). Pelham Bay Park includes Orchard Beach on Long Island Sound. There are also many famous landmarks to be visited, including Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees pro-baseball team.

Cultural Institutions

Some of the borough’s many institutions of higher education are Fordham University (established 1841), Manhattan College (1853), and College of Mount Saint Vincent (1911). Landmarks include the the Valentine-Varian House (1758), which houses the Bronx County Historical Society, the Edgar Allan Poe cottage, where the writer lived from 1846 to 1849, and the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. Also worthy of a visit are Wave Hill, which includes botanical gardens and an outdoor sculpture garden, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

History

In 1639, the Dutch West India Company acquired the area of the Bronx for white settlement. In the same year, Jonas Bronck - for whom the borough is named - established a farm. The next settlers were led by Anne Hutchinson, religious dissenter exiled by the Boston Puritans, and John Throckmorton, an outcast of the Anabaptists. Rich estates were established by New York merchants, such as Frederick Philipse, who in 1693 built the first toll bridge across the Harlem River to Manhattan. In 1776, during the American Revolution, the Bronx saw the Battle of Pell’s Point, where American troops delayed a British force under General William Howe, enabling George Washington and his army to withdraw to safety.

However, the Bronx remained part of Westchester County until the western part was annexed by New York City in 1874 (with the remainder following suit in 1895). It still remained an area of farms and small villages until the 1890s, when increasing subway and trolley lines were extended into the area, which allowed it to begin a rapid growth into a suburban community. In the 1840s, German and Irish railroad workers arrived, that were in turn displaced by other immigrants, including Italians, Poles, Jews, and Greeks.

The Bronx became a borough of New York in 1898, and by 1920 its population was more than 700,000. Its ethnic makeup changed after World War II, when many white families moved out of the borough and black and Puerto Rican populations increased. The borough remains one of the most densely populated and ethnically diverse areas in the nation. According to the 1990 census, blacks represent 37.3% of the population, people of Asian background 2.9%, Native Americans 0.05%%, and people of Hispanic background 43.5%. The population rose from 1,169,115 in 1980 to 1,203,789 in 1990, demonstrating the attraction and fluctuation of this growing suburb of New York City.


 

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