Place:Bronx, Bronx, New York, United States

Watchers
NameBronx
Alt namesThe Bronxsource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1988) p 181
TypeBorough
Coordinates40.85°N 73.867°W
Located inBronx, New York, United States     (1800 - )
Also located inNew York City, New York, United States    
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. It is south of Westchester County; northeast and east of Manhattan, across the Harlem River; and north of Queens, across the East River. Since 1914, the borough has had the same boundaries as Bronx County, the third-most densely populated county in the United States.[1]

The Bronx has a land area of and a population of 1,471,160 in 2017.[2] Of the five boroughs, it has the fourth-largest area, fourth-highest population, and third-highest population density. It is the only borough predominantly on the U.S. mainland.

The Bronx is divided by the Bronx River into a hillier section in the west, and a flatter eastern section. East and west street names are divided by Jerome Avenue—the continuation of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. The West Bronx was annexed to New York City in 1874, and the areas east of the Bronx River in 1895.[3] Bronx County was separated from New York County in 1914. About a quarter of the Bronx's area is open space,[4] 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. These open spaces are situated primarily on land deliberately reserved in the late 19th century as urban development progressed north and east from Manhattan.

The name "Bronx" originated with Jonas Bronck, who established the first settlement in the area as part of the New Netherland colony in 1639. The native Lenape were displaced after 1643 by settlers. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bronx received many immigrant and migrant groups as it was transformed into an urban community, first from various European countries (particularly Ireland, Germany, and Italy) and later from the Caribbean region (particularly Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic), as well as African American migrants from the southern United States. This cultural mix has made the Bronx a wellspring of Latin music, hip hop and rock.

The Bronx contains the poorest congressional district in the United States, the 15th, but its wide diversity also includes affluent, upper-income, and middle-income neighborhoods such as Riverdale, Fieldston, Spuyten Duyvil, Schuylerville, Pelham Bay, Pelham Gardens, Morris Park, and Country Club.[5][6] The Bronx, particularly the South Bronx, saw a sharp decline in population, livable housing, and the quality of life in the late 1960s and the 1970s, culminating in a wave of arson. Since then the communities have shown significant redevelopment starting in the late 1980s before picking up pace from the 1990s until today.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

European colonization of the Bronx began in 1639. The Bronx was originally part of Westchester County, but it was ceded to New York County in two major parts (West Bronx, 1874 and East Bronx, 1895) before it became Bronx County. Originally, the area was part of the Lenape's Lenapehoking territory inhabited by Siwanoy of the Wappinger Confederacy. Over time, European colonists converted the borough into farmlands.

Before 1914

The development of the Bronx is directly connected to its strategic location between New England and New York (Manhattan). Control over the bridges across the Harlem River plagued the period of British colonial rule. The King's Bridge, built in 1693 where Broadway reached the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, was a possession of Frederick Philipse, lord of Philipse Manor.[7] The tolls were resented by local farmers on both sides of the creek, and in 1759, Jacobus Dyckman and Benjamin Palmer led them into building a free bridge across the Harlem River. After the American Revolutionary War, the King's Bridge toll was abolished.

The territory now contained within Bronx County was originally part of Westchester County, one of the 12 original counties of the English Province of New York. The present Bronx County was contained in the town of Westchester and parts of the towns in Yonkers, Eastchester, and Pelham. In 1846, a new town was created by division of Westchester, called West Farms. The town of Morrisania was created, in turn, from West Farms in 1855. In 1873, the town of Kingsbridge was established within the former borders of Yonkers, roughly corresponding to the modern Bronx neighborhoods of Kingsbridge, Riverdale, and Woodlawn.

Among famous settlers in the Bronx during the 19th and early 20th centuries were author Willa Cather, tobacco merchant Pierre Lorillard, and inventor Jordan L. Mott, who established Mott Haven to house the workers at his iron works.

The consolidation of the Bronx into New York City proceeded in two stages. In 1873, the state legislature annexed Kingsbridge, West Farms, and Morrisania to New York, effective in 1874; the three towns were soon abolished in the process.

The whole territory east of the Bronx River was annexed to the city in 1895, three years before New York's consolidation with Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. This included the Town of Westchester (which had voted against consolidation in 1894) and portions of Eastchester and Pelham.[3][8] The nautical community of City Island voted to join the city in 1896.

On January 1, 1898, the consolidated City of New York was born, including the Bronx as one of the five distinct boroughs. (At the same time, the Bronx's territory moved from Westchester County into New York County, which already contained Manhattan and the rest of pre-1874 New York City.)

On April 19, 1912, those parts of New York County which had been annexed from Westchester County in the past decades were newly constituted as Bronx County, the 62nd and last county to be created by the state, effective in 1914.[8] Bronx County's courts opened for business on January 2, 1914 (the same day that John P. Mitchel started work as Mayor of New York City).[9] Marble Hill, Manhattan was now connected to the Bronx, but it did not become part of that county by a historical accident due to changes in waterways.

After 1914

The history of the Bronx during the 20th century may be divided into four periods: a boom period during 1900–29, with a population growth by a factor of six from 200,000 in 1900 to 1.3 million in 1930. The Great Depression and post World War II years saw a slowing of growth leading into an eventual decline. The mid to late century were hard times, as the Bronx declined 1950–85 from a predominantly moderate-income to a predominantly lower-income area with high rates of violent crime and poverty. The Bronx has experienced an economic and developmental resurgence starting in the late 1980s that continues into today.[10]

New York City expands

The Bronx was a mostly rural area for many generations, small farms supplying the city markets, but it grew into a railroad suburb in the late 19th century. Faster transportation enabled rapid population growth in the late 19th century, involving the move from horse-drawn street cars to elevated railways and the subway system, which linked to Manhattan in 1904.

The South Bronx was a manufacturing center for many years and was noted as a center of piano manufacturing in the early part of the 20th century. In 1919, the Bronx was the site of 63 piano factories employing more than 5,000 workers.

At the end of World War I, the Bronx hosted the rather small 1918 World's Fair at 177th Street and DeVoe Avenue.

The Bronx underwent rapid urban growth after World War I. Extensions of the New York City Subway contributed to the increase in population as thousands of immigrants came to the Bronx, resulting in a major boom in residential construction. Among these groups, many Irish Americans, Italian Americans, and especially Jewish Americans settled here. In addition, French, German, Polish, and other immigrants moved into the borough. The Jewish population also increased notably during this time. In 1937, 592,185 Jews lived in The Bronx (43.9% of the borough's population), while only 54,000 Jews lived in the borough in 2011. Many synagogues still stand in the Bronx, but most have been converted to other uses.

Decline

Bootleggers and gangs were active in the Bronx during Prohibition (1920–33). Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Polish gangs smuggled in most of the illegal whiskey, and the oldest sections of the borough became poverty-stricken.

Between 1930 and 1960, moderate and upper income Bronxites (predominantly non-Hispanic Whites) began to relocate from the southwestern neighborhoods of the borough. This migration has left a mostly poor African American and Hispanic (largely Puerto Rican) population in the West Bronx. One significant factor that shifted the racial and economic demographics was the construction of Co-op City, built with the intent of housing middle-class residents in family-sized apartments. The high-rise complex played a significant role in draining middle-class residents from older tenement buildings in the borough's southern and western fringes. Most predominantly non-Hispanic White communities today are located in the eastern and northwestern sections of the borough.

From the early 1960s to the early 1980s, the quality of life declined sharply for many Bronx residents. Historians and social scientists have suggested many factors, including the theory that Robert Moses' Cross Bronx Expressway destroyed existing residential neighborhoods and created instant slums, as put forward in Robert Caro's biography The Power Broker. Another factor in the Bronx's decline may have been the development of high-rise housing projects, particularly in the South Bronx. Yet another factor may have been a reduction in the real estate listings and property-related financial services offered in some areas of the Bronx, such as mortgage loans or insurance policies—a process known as redlining. Others have suggested a "planned shrinkage" of municipal services, such as fire-fighting. There was also much debate as to whether rent control laws had made it less profitable (or more costly) for landlords to maintain existing buildings with their existing tenants than to abandon or destroy those buildings.</blockquote>

In the 1970s, the Bronx was plagued by a wave of arson. The burning of buildings was predominantly in the poorest communities, such as the South Bronx. One explanation of what occurred was that landlords decided to burn their low property-value buildings and take the insurance money, as it was more lucrative to get insurance money than to refurbish or sell a building in a severely distressed area. The Bronx became identified with a high rate of poverty and unemployment, which was mainly a persistent problem in the South Bronx.

Out of 289 census tracts in the Bronx borough, 7 tracts lost more than 97% of their buildings to fire and abandonment between 1970 and 1980; another 44 tracts had more than 50% of their buildings meet the same fate. By the early 1980s, the South Bronx was considered one of the most blighted urban areas in the country, with a loss of 60% of the population and 40% of housing units. However, starting in the 1990s, many burned-out and run-down tenements were replaced by multi-unit housing.[11]

Revitalization

[[Wikipedia:File:Melrosebx1.JPG|thumb|Row houses on a location where there was once burnt rubble. The Bronx has seen an increase in revitalization in recent years.|alt=four-story houses along a city street]]

Since the late 1980s, significant development has occurred in the Bronx, first stimulated by the city's "Ten-Year Housing Plan" and community members working to rebuild the social, economic and environmental infrastructure by creating affordable housing. Groups affiliated with churches in the South Bronx erected the Nehemiah Homes with about 1,000 units. The grass roots organization Nos Quedamos' endeavor known as Melrose Commons began to rebuild areas in the South Bronx. The IRT White Plains Road Line (Template:NYCS trains) began to show an increase in riders. Chains such as Marshalls, Staples, and Target opened stores in the Bronx. More bank branches opened in the Bronx as a whole (rising from 106 in 1997 to 149 in 2007), although not primarily in poor or minority neighborhoods, while the Bronx still has fewer branches per person than other boroughs.

In 1997, the Bronx was designated an All America City by the National Civic League, acknowledging its comeback from the decline of the mid-century. In 2006, The New York Times reported that "construction cranes have become the borough's new visual metaphor, replacing the window decals of the 1980s in which pictures of potted plants and drawn curtains were placed in the windows of abandoned buildings." The borough has experienced substantial new building construction since 2002. Between 2002 and June 2007, 33,687 new units of housing were built or were under way and $4.8 billion has been invested in new housing. In the first six months of 2007 alone total investment in new residential development was $965 million and 5,187 residential units were scheduled to be completed. Much of the new development is springing up in formerly vacant lots across the South Bronx.

In addition, there is a revitalization of the existing housing market in areas such as Hunts Point, the Lower Concourse, and the neighborhoods surrounding the Third Avenue Bridge as people buy apartments and renovate them. Several boutique and chain hotels have opened in recent years in the South Bronx.

New developments are underway. The Bronx General Post Office on the corner of the Grand Concourse and East 149th Street is being converted into a market place, boutiques, restaurants and office space with a USPS concession. The Kingsbridge Armory, often cited as the largest armory in the world, is scheduled for redevelopment as the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

Under consideration for future development is the construction of a platform over the New York City Subway's Concourse Yard adjacent to Lehman College. The construction would permit approximately Template:Convert of development and would cost Template:US$.

Research Tips

External Links

  • Outstanding guide to Bronx County family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, town histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.
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