Bronx

The Bronx is one of the five boroughs of New York.

Understand

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.

The Bronx River divides the borough into east and west halves

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 149th Street 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

By subway

The Bronx is directly connected to Manhattan by the 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, B, and D subway lines. Further extensions of these (with the exception of the 6) can be found in Brooklyn.

By rail

The Harlem and Hudson Lines of the Metro North commuter railway, which originate in Grand Central Terminal and stop in Harlem at 125th St and Park Av, also traverse the Bronx.

By bus

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.

By car

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.

By taxi

Taxis from Midtown or Lower Manhattan can be very expensive.

By foot

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.

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.

Separated bikeways connect Pelham Bay Park in the east through Bronx Park in the central Bronx and Van Cortlandt Park in the west. Street bike lanes go most everywhere.

See

Bronx Zoo

Museums

Do

Sports

The Great Hall inside the new Yankee Stadium

Notable neighborhoods

Events

The Bronx has many exciting events and celebrations that occur throughout the year.

Parks and Gardens

Van Cortlandt House, built in 1748 and currently operating as a museum

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.

Buy

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.

Markets

Food stores

Clothing stores

Shopping centers

Other

Records

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.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Stay safe

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.

Connect

The New York Public Library, one of the largest public libraries in the world, offers free Wi-Fi at each location. In addition, you can use their computers free, but you must register beforehand. These are the locations in the Bronx:

Note: All locations are wheelchair accessible unless specified.

Go next

Routes through Bronx (by car)

Albany Yonkers  N  S  END
New Haven New Rochelle  N  S  Manhattan Philadelphia
Brooklyn Queens  W  E  Merges into N
Katonah Yonkers ← becomes  N  S  Manhattan END
Rye Brook Mount Vernon  N  S  Becomes Queens
New Haven New Rochelle  N  S  Manhattan Philadelphia
Albany Yonkers  N  S  Manhattan Cape May


Routes through Bronx (by public transit)

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
White Plains Mount Vernon  N  S  Manhattan END
Croton-on-Hudson Yonkers  N  S  Manhattan END
END Manhattan  SW  NE  Mount Vernon Stamford


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 30, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.