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The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. Coextensive with Bronx County, it was the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated. Located north of Manhattan and Queens, and south of Westchester County, the Bronx is the only borough that is located primarily on the mainland.
The Bronx is divided by the Bronx River into a hillier section in the west, closer to Manhattan, and the flatter eastern section, closer to Long Island. Technically, the West Bronx is divided from the East Bronx by Jerome Avenue the continuation of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue making the West Bronx roughly one-eighth the size of the East Bronx.
Although the Bronx is the third most densely populated county in the U.S., about a quarter of its area is open space, including Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo in the borough’s north and center. On land deliberately reserved in the late 19th century as urban, development progressed northwards and eastwards from Manhattan with the building of roads, bridges and railways.
Post 1643 the new settlers displaced the native Lenape. The West Bronx was annexed to New York City (then largely confined to Manhattan) in 1874, and the areas east of the Bronx River were annexed in 1895. The Bronx first assumed a distinct legal identity when it became a borough of Greater New York in 1898. Bronx County, with the same boundaries as the borough, was separated from New York County (afterwards coextensive with the Borough of Manhattan) as of January 1, 1914.
The Bronx received many Irish, German, Jewish and Italian immigrants as its once-rural population exploded between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. They were succeeded after 1945 by African Americans and Hispanic Americans from the Caribbean basin especially Puerto Rico and later the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Albania. In recent years, this cultural mix has made the Bronx a wellspring of both Latin music and hip hop.
COFFEE & COMMERCE
With an eccelectic selection of food choices from Carribean, Irish, and Latin American, Italian is the most densely populated restaurant type in the Bronx.
Specifically, Arthur Avenue, the Belmont section of the Bronx. Whether you call it Belmont, Little Italy of the Bronx or Arthur Avenue, the neighborhood beats its other rivals in the sheer number of establishments offering fine Italian-American foods, dining, house wares and other goods. The quality and values are tops – a recent ranking confirmed once again by critics like the Zagat Survey whose readers repeatedly give “Best Buy” status to more Arthur Avenue shops than any other neighborhood in New York City.
Another well known location is Casa Amadeo. This venerable store has stood on the same corner for half a century, fueled by owner Mike Amadeo’s love for—and knowledge of—music. Shoppers take note: this isn’t necessarily the spot to seek out the latest chart-toppers (reggaeton, for example, is strictly off-limits). It’s a place for classics—including tunes by artists like Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Cheo Feliciano, for whom Amadeo has composed.
The Fordham section of the Bronx is favored area for arts and recreation. There’s a lot more to Fordham than just the university: the charming neighborhood boasts cultural institutions like the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden and Edgar Allan Poe Cottage. Located north of Manhattan and bordering bustling Belmont, the district also offers ample shopping and dining opportunities.
Orchard Beach, Bronx’s sole public beach, was proclaimed “The Riviera of New York” when it was created in the 1930s. The 115-acre, 1.1-mile-long beach contains a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion, snack bars, food and souvenir carts, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball. Changing areas and showers are also available.
Surrounded by water, the Bronx is home to a wide array of cultures and ethnicities. This diversity makes the school system a wonderful mix of students and educators. The public schools in the Bronx are run by the renowned New York City Department of Education and are committed to producing respectful and well-educated students. Many schools in the Bronx have special programs and activities geared toward enrichment and making the students’ lives more culturally enhanced. Because of the amazingly diverse demography of Bronx County, its schools and universities are a springboard for acceptance, respect and caring. So much more than a borough in the city, the Bronx is a celebration of diversity, culture and the history of an important part of New York State.
There are six separate school districts within the Bronx that each contain their own number of schools ranging from elementary to high school.
Additional information regarding each section of the Bronx individually, can be found on their websites.