New York/Bronx

Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New York New York New York/Bronx

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Introduction

The Bronx is one of the five boroughs of New York. Known for Yankee Stadium, the home field of the New York Yankees baseball team, the borough dates from 1899. The vast Bronx Zoo houses hundreds of species of animals. Nearby, the sprawling New York Botanical Garden features a landmark greenhouse with rainforest and cactus displays. By the Hudson River, Wave Hill is a landscaped public garden with wooded paths and a cultural center.

The Bronx, often abbreviated as BX, and nicknamed "The Boogie Down", with a population of 1,385,108 (2010 U.S. 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.

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 lot 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 (9m) 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.

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Sights and Activities

Bronx Zoo (can be easily accessed from the 2 & 5 trains at West Farms Square/E Tremont Av, E 180th St, or Pelham Pkwy-White Plains Rd), ☏ +1 718 367-1010. A world-class zoo featuring over 6000 animals. As with any big city, there are occasional break-ins, so be careful with your car and stow or carry valuables with you to help avoid this possibility.
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (can be accessed by the 2 & 5 trains at West Farms Square, E 180th St, or Pelham Pkwy-White Plains Rd or by Metro-North at the Botanical Gardens station), ☏ +1 718 817-8700. 48 magnificent gardens and plant collections on a 250-acre historic site. edit
Wave Hill, 675 W 252nd St, ☏ +1 718 549-3200. Public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River.
Orchard Beach. "The Bronx Riviera". 1.1 miles (1.7km) of artificial beach created in the 1930s. Located in Pelham Bay Park at the western end of Long Island Sound. The Bx5 and Bx12 serve it during the summer. Orchard Beach (Q7100176) on Wikidata Orchard Beach, Bronx on Wikipedia
City Island. Has a good nightlife and is served by the Bx29 from the Pelham Bay Park subway station.
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, Poe Park, Grand Concourse at Kingsbridge Road (served by the B & D trains at Kingsbridge Road), ☏ +1 718 881-8900. The small wooden farmhouse, built about 1812, once offered unobstructed views of the rolling Bronx hills, perhaps even to the shores of Long Island. It was Poe's home from 1846 to 1849, the last three years of his life. He wrote some of his most famous works, including "Annabel Lee" and "The Bells." Administered by the Bronx County Historical Society since 1975, the cottage is restored to its original appearance, with authentic period furnishings. There's a film presentation and guided tour. edit
Woodlawn Cemetery, Webster Ave & E 233rd St (Metro-North to Woodlawn or 2 train to 233rd St for Bx31 bus), ☏ +1 718 920-1470. This 400-acre (160-ha) cemetery opened in 1863 and is one of the largest cemeteries in the city. The final resting place of over 300,000, some of its more famous residents included Joseph Pulitzer, Herman Melville, David Farragut, Duke Ellington, and Frank Woolworth. Call for tour times, and a permit is required for photography.
Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, SUNY Maritime College, 6 Pennyfield Ave (at the end of Pennyfield Ave under the Throgs Neck Bridge; can be accessed by the Bx40 along Tremont Ave), ☏ +1 718 409-7218. The main exhibit area encompasses the history of seafaring from the ancient Phoenicians to present day steamship and passenger ship lines. Exhibitions include paintings, models, tools and navigational instruments documenting progress from the earliest sailing vessels to modern technology. Lovely waterfront location too.
Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St (accessible by the B D and 4 subway trains), ☏ +1 718 681-6000. Th Sa Su 11AM-6PM, F 11AM-8PM. The museum highlights contemporary urban art, and focuses on different dynamic local artists. Suggested admission $5 adults, $3 students and seniors.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

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 1 and 6 ) can be found in Brooklyn.

By Train

The Harlem, Hudson, and New Haven Lines of the Metro-North commuter railway, which originate in Grand Central Terminal make various stops in the Bronx.

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 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 Foot

Pedestrians can cross any of the bridges that connect Manhattan with the Bronx.

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Getting 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. 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.

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Eat

The Rambling House, 4292 Katonah Ave (take the 4 Train to Woodlawn for the Bx34 bus). Serving the best Irish food in the Bronx.
Mo Gridder's (in Hunt's Point), ☏ +1 718 991-3046. M-Sa 10AM-5PM. The best BBQ joint in the Bronx. Unfortunately, it is only open for lunch. Although it's outdoors, there is a dining area in the waiting area of an auto repair shop next door.
Great Italian food can be found near Arthur Avenue.
Another fantastic hot spot for Italian food is a small neighborhood called Morris Park. The food is all authentic and reasonably priced.
Artie's Steak & Seafood, 394 City Island Ave (take the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park for the Bx29 bus), ☏ +1 718-885-9885. A good steak, seafood, and pasta place. Reasonable prices. Try the clam chowder.
Lollipops Gelato, 4120 Baychester Ave (Wakefield/Baychester neighborhood), ☏ +1 718 994-8755. 9AM-10PM daily. Offers 36 flavors of fine gelato, many with Caribbean flavors. Free street parking and a parking lot next door. There's seating inside and out under a tiki umbrella. Very much an island feel. Extensive free tasting with guidance from the friendly staff to help you choose. $3 and up.
El Molcajete Mexican Restaurant, 1506-1508 Westchester Ave (take the 6 train to Elder Avenue), ☏ +1 917 688-1433. Good chorizo. Plenty of vegetarian options.

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Drink

Starving Artist Cafe & Gallery, 249 City Island Ave, ☏ +1 718 885-3779. Local artists and crafters sell their unique work here, and musicians and bands play live music at nighttime. This coffeehouse makes excellent fresh cappuccino.

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Sleep

Days Inn Hotel: Yankee Stadium / Bronx, 997 Brook Ave, ☏ +1 718 993-6600.
Howard Johnson Bronx NY, 1922 Boston Rd, ☏ +1 718 378-4686, fax: +1 718 589-7718. One of the cheaper places to stay in the New York metro while having easy access to the city. However, there's some questionable activity outside the main doors, noise is not regulated and the "continental breakfast" leaves much to be desired.
Best Western Bronx Inn, 1440 Sheridan Expwy, ☏ +1 718 861-6500.
Ramada, 1000 Baychester Ave, ☏ +1 718 862-2000, fax: +1 718 862-3090.

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Safety

During the 1970s and the 1980s, the Bronx experienced two of the toughest decades in American history, and was considered one of the most dangerous places in the USA. Now those days are far behind. The crime rate declined by 71% from 1993 to 2010 and New York City police and fire departments continue to protect the residents from criminal activity and fires.

Make sure you have a map or a destination in mind before heading out to explore the Bronx. Most of the neighborhoods in the Bronx are well-lit and safe and you can venture out to some of the best restaurants in New York City.

You can decrease your chances of trouble by following these tips:
Always remain in populated well-lit areas.
Don’t interact with anyone who appears mentally unstable or somewhat menacing.
Don’t leave important travel documents unsecured in hotel rooms.
Only use ATMs at reputable banks. When using ATMs outside, be very aware of surroundings and quickly put away cash. Avoid using independent, non-bank ATMs found in delis or stores.
During late nights, be wary of riding in empty subway cars, and select the car with a conductor present if possible.
Avoid buying tickets from anyone on the streets, unless you really know what you're doing, as many are counterfeit.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 13:50 on Sep 20, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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