The World According to Keitho

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Tour de Bronx

Posted by keithosaunders on June 21, 2011

While I’m in New York City I’m staying at my friend Jeff’s house in the Bronx.  Some of my longtime readers may remember Jeff as an occasional guest poster.  He is a fellow sports fan and music aficionado.  It is a testament to our friendship that Jeff, the greatest Yankee fan of all time, could be best friends with the greatest Yankee hater of all time.  Believe me, I got the better part of the bargain.

The Bronx gets a bad rap.  When people think of the Bronx they think of an overhead shot of burning buildings in the South Bronx taken from the Goodyear Blimp during the 1977 World Series, with Howard Cosell’s overly dramatic intonation, “The Bronx is burning!”  Back then it was a dangerous place, but much of greater New York City was as well.  The city was broke, crime was rampant, and the real estate and stock market boom of the 80s was yet to arrive.

Today I helped Jeff run an errand to a part of the Bronx that Jeff was unfamiliar with.  We ended up taking a circuitous route, but this was right in my wheelhouse.  I love seeing different sections of New York, particularly in the outer boroughs.  It’s in these neighborhoods —  not chic, glossy, yupped out Manhattan —  where you can still get a whiff of old New York.

We set out from Jeff’s neighborhood, a verdant, tree-lined section of Pelham filled with old three-story red brick houses.  There are lots of flowering bushes, and by summertime the trees begin to form a shade canopy over the streets.

Pelham is in the East Bronx and we headed north and west via the Mosholu Parkway, cut over to Bedford Ave, and made a hard left onto the Grand Concourse and headed downtown.  The Concourse was designed and constructed in the late 1800s with the idea of providing access from Manhattan to the parkland in the northern Bronx.  It was lined with fashionable, deco-style apartments, most of which still exist today, although some are in ill repair.  I took a photo of one that I found particularly striking; a triangular building that reminded me of the Flat Iron building on 23rd street in Manhattan.

 

We passed 176th street, a mere ten blocks north of Yankee Stadium, and turned east onto Mount Eden Rd.  Here are some of the apartment buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

After a few more blocks we approached Crotona Park.  The Bronx is home to most parkland per capita in New York City.  Pelham Park, in the Northeast, is even larger than Central Park.  I was amazed to see this green oasis in the middle of a dense, urban area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a few more blocks I noticed a stand-alone, one-story house which was surrounded by pre-war apartment buildings.  Jeff then recalled that back in the ’70s Jimmy Carter had visited the Bronx, and decrying the urban blight, pushed for the construction of several affordable homes.  Sure enough we soon came to a block that had several of these homes. 

 

We reached our destination on 176th st, ran the errand, and turned north and east to go home.  We found ourselves on Boston Rd, which at this point, runs under the 2 train, which is part of the IRT subway line that runs express in Manhattan under 7th Ave, and continues into Brooklyn, ending in Flatbush.  For my final picture here is a shot under the el — a classic New York street scene if there ever was one.  

 

Now get out there and visit the Bronx!

 

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4 Responses to “Tour de Bronx”

  1. Maria Elena said

    Love the photos, especially the last one! Classic, indeed!

    I hope to visit New York in my lifetime. When I do, I shall certainly visit the Bronx! I’ll even give you a heads-up, so you can show me around. 😛

  2. I’m a big fan of NYC as well as being, as you know, a Mets fan. Thanks for the tour! I was stunned to learn from you that Pelham Park is even larger than Central Park. Who knew?
    Cool post,
    Bill

    • Yes, I just checked and found that it contains over 2,700 acres and extends partially into Westchester. It’s more than three times the size of Central Park. Some of the acres, however, are tidal and extend into the salt marches and Orchard Beach, which is the Long Island Sound.

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