The Bronx is one of the five boroughs
of New York City. The city's northernmost borough, it is the
only one that is part of the mainland United States and not
situated on an island.
The borough of the Bronx is coterminous with Bronx County,
with a population of 1.35 million. While the official borough
name is The Bronx, the official county name is simply Bronx
County without the definite article.
Named for Jonas Bronck, a Swedish sea captain and 1641 resident
whose 500-acre (2 km²) farm between the Harlem River and
the Aquahung comprises part of the modern borough, the Bronx
is the fourth most populous of New York City's five boroughs.
Bronx county is the fifth most populous county in the New York
The Bronx was called Rananchqua by the Siwanoy Native Americans,
and was divided by the Aquahung River, now known as the Bronx
River. The land was first settled by Europeans in 1639, when Jonas
Bronck, for whom the area was later named, established a farm
along the Harlem River in the area now known as the Mott Haven
section. The Dutch and English settlers referred to the area as
The territory now contained within Bronx County was originally
part of Westchester County, an original county of New York state.
The present Bronx County was contained in four towns: Westchester,
Yonkers, Eastchester, and Pelham.
In 1846, a new town, West Farms, was created by secession from
Westchester; in turn, in 1855, the town of Morrisania seceded
from West Farms. In 1873, the town of Kingsbridge (roughly corresponding
to the modern Bronx neighborhoods of Kingsbridge, Riverdale,
and Woodlawn) seceded from Yonkers.
In 1874 the western portion of the present Bronx County, consisting
of the towns of Kingsbridge, West Farms, and Morrisania, was
transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the Town of Westchester
and portions of Eastchester and Pelham, were transferred to
New York County. City Island, known as New York City's only
nautical community, voted to secede from Westchester County
and join New York County in 1896. In 1898, New York City was
amalgamated with the Bronx as one of five boroughs (though still
within New York County). In 1914, those parts of the then New
York County which had been annexed from Westchester County were
constituted as the new Bronx County (while also keeping its
status as one of the five boroughs of the city).
The Bronx underwent rapid growth after World War I. Extensions
of the New York City Subway contributed to the increase in population
as thousands of immigrants flooded the Bronx, resulting in a
major boom in residential construction. Among these groups,
many Irish settled here. Author Willa Cather, Pierre Lorillard
who made a fortune on tobacco sales, and inventor Jordan Mott
were famous for settling the land. In addition, French, German,
and Polish immigrants moved into the borough. The Jewish population
also increased notably during this time and many synagogues
still exist throughout the borough, although many of these have
been converted to other uses.
In prohibition days, bootleggers and gangs ran rampant in the
Bronx. Mostly Polish and Italian immigrants smuggled in the
illegal whiskey. By 1926, the Bronx was noted for its high crime
rate and its many speakeasies. Mayor Jimmy Walker stated:
The Manhattan Polak is very different from the Bronx Polak.
The Manhattan Polak would smuggle in the illegal whiskey secretly
so as the cops aren't on 'em or don't see 'em a mile away. In
the Bronx, the Polaks don't give a lick if they spotted with
it. They'd pull out their guns as quick as lightning and the
cops would be dead men in less than a second.
After the 1930s, the Polish immigrant population in the Bronx
decreased as a result of better living conditions in other states.
The German population followed suit in the 1940s and so did
many Italians in the 1950s, leaving a thriving Hispanic (mostly
Puerto Rican and Dominican) and African-American population
which would continue to live in the Bronx to this day.
During the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, the Bronx went into
an era of sharp decline in quality of life. Many factors have
been put forward by historians and other social scientists.
They include the theory that urban renewal projects in the borough
(such as Robert Moses' Cross-Bronx Expressway) destroyed existing
low-density neighborhoods in favor of roads that produced urban
sprawl as well as high-density housing projects. Another factor
may have been the shift by insurance companies and banks to
stop offering financial services to the Bronx and other working-class
industrial areas (the "Rustbelt") in favor of the
booming suburbs in "the Sunbelt"—a process known
For a period, a wave of arson overtook the southern portion
of the borough's apartment buildings, with competing theories
as to why. Some point to the heavy traffic and use of illicit
drugs among the area's poor as causing them to be inclined to
scam the city's benefits for burn-out victims as well as the
Section 8 housing program. Others believe landlords decided
to burn their buildings before their insurance policies expired
and were not renewed. After the destruction of nearly half of
the buildings in the South Bronx, the arsons all but ended during
the tenure of Mayor Ed Koch with aftereffects still felt into
the early 1990s
Eastchester Bay is a protected body of water between City Island
and the mainland Bronx, New York.
Technically, it is a sound, not a bay, since it is open to
larger bodies of water at both ends. The northern end connects
via a narrow channel to Pelham Bay (which is also really a sound,
since it, in turn, opens onto Long Island Sound). The southern
end has a broad mouth, opening onto the East River, Little Neck
Bay, and Long Island Sound. The Hutchinson River empties into
Eastchester Bay near the northern end.
Many yacht clubs and marinas line the bay on both sides, leading
to a high level of recreational boating traffic. Traffic is
particularly dense on weekends and Wednesday evenings in the
summer, when the various clubs run sailboat races.
There is also a high volume of commercial traffic. The bay
opens onto the main shipping channel into New York from Long
Island Sound. This channel is used by large commercial vessels,
high speed ferries, fishing boats, barges under tow, and all
manner of vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver. Barge
traffic transiting the length of the bay in and out of the Hutchinson
River is concentrated into a few hours a day, as is constrained
to times of high tide.
The bay also sees the occasional seaplane, visiting Evers Seaplane
Orchard Beach, New York
Orchard Beach is a public beach in the borough of The Bronx,
in the City of New York.
Orchard Beach is a man made beach in Pelham Bay Park on Long
It was created by Robert Moses by filling in one third of Pelham
Bay with rubbish and landfill and sand was also added. The landfill
was put between Rodman's Neck, Twin Island and Hunters Island
Pelham Bay is a small bay, between City Island and Orchard Beach
in the Bronx, New York.
Technically, it is a sound, not a bay, since it is open to
larger bodies of water at both ends. It connects to Eastchester
Bay at the south, and opens onto Long Island Sound and City
Island Harbor at the east.
Pelham Bay was originally larger than it is today. Approximately
one third of the original bay was filled in to create Orchard
Beach in the 1930s
City Island, Bronx, New York
City Island is a small island approximately 1.5 mi (2.4 km)
long by 0.5 mi (1 km) wide. It is part of the Bronx, and (as
of 2005) has a population of about 4500.
City Island is located at the extreme western end of Long Island
Sound, south of Pelham Bay and east of Eastchester Bay. The
body of water between City Island and the even smaller (and
uninhabited) Hart Island to the east is known as City Island
Harbor. The small island adjacent to the northeast is High Island.
Stepping Stones Lighthouse, marking the main shipping channel
into New York, is off the southern tip of the island, near the
Long Island shore.
The island has the look and feel of a small New England fishing
village, with no spot more than a few minutes walking distance
to the water. Most businesses are clustered along centrally-located
City Island Avenue. There are two small supermarkets, a gas
station, a pharmacy, and a bank, and a variety of other small
shops. The island is most famous for its numerous seafood restaurants
and antique stores which line both sides of the avenue.
There are two grade schools; P.S. 175, and St Mary Star of
the Sea (Catholic).
Government services include the City Island Station post office
(10464) and a FDNY firehouse (engine 70 & ladder 53). Police
presence (mostly traffic control on summer weekends) is provided
by the 45th Precinct, located in the mainland Bronx. The City
Island Branch is possibly the smallest of the New York Public
Library system, even after the recent expansion which doubled
the size of the building.
Houses of worship are Saint Mary Star of the Sea Holy Roman
Catholic Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, Grace Episcopal
Church, and the Temple Beth El.
A local paper, The Island Current is printed 10 times a year,
and chronicles mostly community issues and local news.
City Island was first established as an English settlement
in 1865 as a supply stop between Manhattan and northern ports.
It continued to be an important shipping and yachting center
throughout the 18th and 19 centuries. Since World War II, City
Island has been home to yacht clubs, boat makers, sail makers,
sailing schools, marinas, fishing boats, and marine supply and
repair shops. Today it continues to be a nautical community,
but also serves as an oasis of seafood cuisine and historic
buildings in Eastchester Bay.
The Bronx Zoo is a world-famous zoo in The Bronx, New York.
It opened on November 8, 1899, with 22 exhibits and 843 animals
and with the goal to "advance the study of zoology, protect
wildlife, and educate the public." Its original permanent
buildings, designed by Heins & LaFarge, are a series of
Beaux-Arts pavilions grouped around the large circular sea lion
The Bronx Zoo was one of the first zoos in North America to
move animals from cages—often organized by families in
Linnaean classification—to more naturalistic environments
(e.g. "The African Plains") which would mix species
and attempt to replicate the region the species arrived from.
There would still be barriers so that predators and prey would
be physically separated by devices such as moats, though the
barriers might not be apparent to viewers. It is especially
known for its 'Wild Asia' tramway, where spectators can witness
Asian animals up front (in a monorail), and Jungleworld, an
indoor exhibit on plants and animals from tropical rain forests.
The zoo also boasts the Congo Gorilla Forest, which is the largest
man-made rainforest in the world at 6.5 acres, and focuses on
conservation; your entry fee goes right back out to help save
the species within the exhibit.
The Bronx Zoo is owned and operated by the Wildlife Conservation
Society, formerly known as the New York Zoological Society.
WCS also operates the following parks in New York City:
Central Park Zoo
Prospect Park Zoo
New York Aquarium
Throgs Neck Bridge
The Throgs Neck Bridge is a suspension bridge opened on January
11, 1961 that carries Interstate 295 and connects the Throgs
Neck section of the Bronx with the Bayside section of Queens.
It is the newest bridge across the East River and was built
to relieve traffic on the adjacent Whitestone Bridge.
The span is 1800 feet (549 m) long, with an anchorage to anchorage
total length of 2910 feet (887 m).
As of March 13, 2005, the crossing charge for a two-axle passenger
vehicle is $4.50 charged in each direction, with a $.50 discount
for E-ZPass users.
The Throgs Neck Bridge is owned by the City of New York and
operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, an affiliate
agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York).
The City Island Nautical Museum
The City Island Nautical Museum display maritime artifacts
and antiques. It is located at 190 Fordham Street and is open
only on Sunday afternoons (other times by appointment). Admission
is free, and there is a small gift shop
City Island is a small community at the edge of New York City
located just beyond Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and surrounded
by the waters of western Long Island Sound and Eastchester Bay.
With Execution Light to the northeast and Stepping Stones Lighthouse
to the south, City Island has a rich nautical history, much
of it preserved by the Historical Society and Nautical Museum.
Originally inhabited by the Siwanoy Indians, who lived during
the summer on the plentiful clams, oysters and fish they found
here, City Island was first established as an English settlement
in 1685. The English crown granted Thomas Pell ownership of
the island and parts of Westchester County, which lasted until
1749, when ownership passed to other individuals. During the
1700s, many of the island’s residents were either oystermen
or Hellgate pilots who helped navigate ships down the East River
to New York Harbor. Ideally situated to service schooners traveling
between New York and points north and south, the island became
an important shipbuilding and yachting center during the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries.
The two world wars brought about a conversion from yacht building
to the construction of submarine chasers, tugboats, Vosper-style
P.T. boats, landing craft, and minesweepers for the United States
government. After World War II, yachting returned and with it
the building of 12-meter sloops that successfully defended the
America’s Cup. Today the presence of yacht clubs, sailing
schools, marinas, sailmakers, fishing and lobster boats, as
well as marine supply and repair shops, reflect City Island’s
role as a nautical community.
The City Island Historical Society is a not-for-profit organization
dedicated to the collection, preservation, and display of artifacts
in the Nautical Museum, which is housed in one of the area’s
most picturesque buildings, the old Public School 17, built
in 1897 on one of the highest points on the island. The school
continued in use until 1975, when P. S. 175 was built on City
Island Avenue. When the old school building was sold in 1986,
the city reserved space for use by the City Island Historical
Society and the Community Center. Several old classrooms now
serve as galleries for the museum.
City Island battles fire - and vandals
Huntington Free Library & Reading Room
Huntington Free Library & Reading
9 Westchester Square, Bronx, NY 10461
Stepping into the Huntington Free Library is like stepping
back into the late 19th century. The ca. 1883 building still
contains much of its original furniture, and historic items
placed throughout the library - such as vintace typewriters,
a 1901 wood sculpture of the library and a 1917 Tiffany grandfather's
clock - only add to its charm. The library's collections consist
of a general reading room focusing on Bronx History, open Monday
- Friday, 1:30 - 4:30, and a famous Native American collection
of research materials, open only by appointment. The library
also offers performances and lectures on borough history and
Native American cultures.