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Life in the Bronx

The Bronx, at the northernmost tip of the city, is the only borough attached to the North American mainland (Manhattan and Staten Island are islands, and both Queens and Brooklyn are part of Long Island). The Bronx also has more parkland than any of the other boroughs, a renowned botanical garden, a world-renowned zoo, its own Little Italy, beaches and even an island reminiscent of a New England fishing village.  Please read through some of the other attractions to learn about what makes the Bronx New York City's best borough.

Background and History

The Bronx is named for Swedish commercial sea captain Jonas Bronck, who in 1639 became the first European settler to establish himself in this area. During its golden age in the 1920s, the building of the elevated subway line increased the borough's population, Yankee Stadium was built and the mile-long Grand Concourse was fashioned as New York’s Champs-Elysees, lined with elaborate art deco buildings.


Van Cortlandt Park (Jerome Avenue–Broadway) covers nearly two square miles and offers boating, horseback riding, cricket, golf, picnicking and tennis. The oldest public golf course in America, 

Van Cortlandt Golf Club (Van Cortlandt South and Bailey Avenue, (718) 543-3114), celebrated its centennial in 1995 and features excellent greens, tight fairways, water hazards and a lakeside clubhouse.

The New York Botanical Garden (200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard, (718) 817-8700) spans 250 acres 
including specialty gardens and a prized 50-acre forest that is the largest remnant of the woodlands that once covered all of New York City. 

The mighty Hudson River and dramatic Palisades (cliffs on the west bank of the Hudson River) provide the backdrop for the neighborhood of Riverdale, a hilly enclave of estates. Among these is Wave Hill (675 West 252nd Street, (718) 549-3200), an acclaimed public garden and cultural institution.

Museums and Attractions

The Bronx is also home to one of the city's two major league ball clubs, the Yankees, who play at the famed Yankee Stadium (161st Street and River Avenue, (718) 293-4300). Catch a game or take a tour behind the scenes.

The Bronx Zoo (River Parkway and Fordham Road, (718) 367-1010) is the largest urban zoo in the country, with more than 4,000 animals representing more than 600 species. 

There are over 60 landmarks and historic districts in the Bronx, including the beautifully restored 19th-century Edgar Allan Poe Cottage (East Kingsbridge Road and 193rd Street, (718) 881-8900) on the Grand Concourse (the Bronx's main thoroughfare). Here the great writer penned many of his most enduring works. The borough is also home to the stately Van Cortlandt House Museum (Broadway at 246th Street, (718) 543-3344), the 18th-century plantation home of the Van Cortlandt family. 

The free Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse, (718) 
681-6000) exhibits contemporary art by mostly emerging and as-yet unrecognized artists.

Dining & Entertainment

The Bronx has its own Little Italy on Belmont and Arthur Avenues. With its markets of fruit and vegetables, salamis and sausages, homemade mozzarella, pastries, breads and more, the area is a veritable feast for the eyes and stomach.

Off the borough's northeast shore, City Island (east of Pelham Bay Park) looks and feels like a New England fishing village with its boatyards, sail-makers, antiques shops, art galleries and seafood restaurants. Across the way is Orchard Beach, a ribbon of white sand on the shore of Long Island Sound.

Tours & Activities

The Bronx Culture Trolley is a free program of the Bronx Council on the Arts ((718) 931-9500). It runs on the first Wednesday of each month (except January), providing travel in a replica of an early 20th-century trolley car. Stops include cultural attractions, restaurants and entertainment venues. 

Fordham Road ((718) 562-2104) is the largest shopping district in the Bronx. Choose from more than 300 specialty shops and chains. 

Harlem Spirituals ((212) 391-0900) leads gospel, jazz, heritage and ethnic tours. Four-hour tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays (April–October) take in the multicultural diversity of Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. The year-round, all-day TriboroTuesday tour includes the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan's Lower East Side. 

Hush Tours’ Hip-Hop Cultural Sightseeing Tour ((212) 714-3527) explores three decades of New York City’s hip-hop music scene. The three- to four-hour tours run every Saturday. Harlem and Bronx sites visited include the Graffiti Wall, the Apollo Theater and locations for movies such as New Jack City and Krush Groove

SusanSez NYC Walkabouts ((917) 509-3111) Their walking tours explore the Bronx Zoo, Botanical Garden, Wave Hill, City Island and Arthur Avenue. City Island tours run on Sundays once or twice a month; Arthur Avenue tours on most Mondays.

More information on the Bronx:

Bronx Tourism Council (718) 590-3518 
Bronx Historical Society (718) 881-8900
Bronx Council on the Arts (718) 931-9500 
South Bronx Initiative