The Bronx is the fourth largest borough of New York City, with 41 square miles of space. For comparison, Queens is 121 sq.mi., Brooklyn is 71 sq.mi., Staten Island is 60 sq.mi., and Manhattan is 22 sq.mi. The Bronx has 1.4 million residents, or roughly 18% of the city's population.
The Bronx contains diverse housing markets, from the mansions of Riverdale and the cliffside beach enclaves of Silver Beach and Edgewater ______ to the lofts of Mott Haven. The Bronx contains beautiful parks, architecture, and landscape that ought to complement the other boroughs, but its reputation for _______ overshadows these and ___.
That said, there are many neighborhoods which have still not recovered from the redlining and racist housing policies of the 1950s-70s. The powerful but misguided planner Robert Moses cut highways through many Bronx neighborhoods, effectively destroying them, and demolished other historic neighborhoods in order to replace them with massive towers of public housing - an approach that has proven to be a massive mistake. As a result of these urban planning decisions, the Bronx has become synonymous with urban blight and drug-related street crime. Despite progress, the Bronx still lags the rest of the city. The unemployment rate, at 12%, is much higher than even Brooklyn, at ___. Almost a third of the households have incomes of less than $19,000. On the positive side: according to Crain's, almost 40% of Bronx businesses are owned by Hispanics, ranking the county fourth for Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States.
The Bronx offers, in general, _______ space, yards, and lower density ________. The market is ____% townhouses, ____% apartments (___% condo and ___% co-op), and ____% freestanding houses. [GET DATA FROM REAL DEAL DATEBOOK].
Prices range from highs of $_____/sq.ft or $____/sq.ft. in Fieldston, Riverdale, or Silver Beach or to as low as $____/sq.ft. in [troubled] areas such as __________, __________, __________, among others.
In order to understand the opportunities and issues in the Bronx today, it is necessary to understand what decisions led to the growth of the borough, the artificial decline in the 60s and 70s, and the current conditions.
The Bronx, unlike Brooklyn and Queens, was the organic extension of New York City’s development beyond Manhattan. Manhattan and the Bronx comprised the City of New York before the five-borough city was established. ... the continuity of street and house numbering from one to the other; the continuities of Broadway, Park Avenue, and Third Avenue between the boroughs. [During the 20s, 30s and 40s...] Indeed, with its wide streets, easy access to public transportation, and 25% of the borough designated for parkland, it became emblematic of the American Dream - the apartments were newer, more spacious, and surrounded by parks, tree-lined boulevards, and open land.
The economic decline in the Bronx in the 1960s and 70s was due to redlining, cutbacks to municipal services, and disinvestment.
Redlining (discriminating against minority borrowers, and against urban neighborhoods) in order to create incentives to move to the postwar suburbs. Redlining also set the stage for racial and ethnic segregation and the devaluation of properties in the cities. In tandem, there was a shift in investment from public transit into highways and suburban development. Third, urban planners falsely declared historic neighborhoods "slums" and replaced them with the high-rise public housing that became actual slums. The combination of these policies led to a mass exodus from the Bronx and parts of Brooklyn. The fiscal crisis of New York City during the 1970s led to budget restraints and a cutback of municipal services. Neighborhoods such as those in the South Bronx bore the brunt of these cuts in services - including to the fire department. [ADD BRONX IS BURNING LANGUAGE HERE]
The 1970's marked an extreme low point for the Bronx. As New York City itself almost went bankrupt by 1976, the housing situation in the Bronx was dire. As private apartment buildings suffered from wartime controls on rent and collection, the buildings deteriorated, and the landlords were unable to pay for taxes, repairs, and regular maintenance. As tenants eventually abandoned these uninhabitable conditions, addicts looking to pay for drugs scavenged the buildings for scrap. In the end, it was more profitable to destroy these buildings than to salvage them. The Bronx was plagued by arson and crime. Rent control laws made it more costly for landlords to maintain their buildings than to abandon them, and many owners committed arson to collect their property’s insurance value. When a fire broke out near Yankee Stadium during the 1977 World Series, an announcer stated, “There it is, ladies and gentlemen: the Bronx is burning.” This remark became a symbol of both New York City’s and the borough’s decline.
The highly publicized tours of presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan through the rubble that was once the thriving heart of the Bronx seared an image of desperation and devastation into the world's mind, and—fairly or not—the Bronx has been a symbol of urban blight ever since.
Redlining left a lasting and adverse legacy. Much of the intact fabric of historic neighborhoods was destroyed by arson or by neglect because of the lack of upside or liquidity as a result of the misguided banking practices. The lack of bank branches was filled by dozens of checks-cashed high-rate shops, pawn shops, and rent-to-own stores that systematically profited from the [poor] residents.
In 1975, Congress passed the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act which required banks to make public the data on all home loan applications, including race, income and neighborhood of the applicant, and whether the loan was approved or denied. Armed with this data which underscored the prevalence of redlining, advocates fought for and won the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977 which required banks to make loans in neighborhoods from which they took deposits. This, along with the City's decision to reinvest in housing under Mayor Ed Koch, was a watershed moment for the Bronx.
However, during the last real estate cycle (approx. 1999-2007 on the upside), the same population that was vulnerable to redlining was targeted again through the subprime and adjustable rate mortgages, resulting in _____one of the highest rates of foreclosure in NYC ____ [GET DATA ON THIS] The Bronx is the seventh-ranked county in the nation for foreclosure-related decreases in home values, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.
The best way to understand the borough is to divide it into the West Bronx, East Bronx, and the South Bronx.
NOTE: Check neighborhoods against this list & map:
The West Bronx
is hillier and closer to Manhattan. The northwest Bronx is affluent, and includes
Van Corlandt. However, it also contains tenement buildings, low-income housing complexes, and multifamily homes in its lower income areas such as ________ and ___________.
The East Bronx
, more densely populated, and home to Yankee Stadium and the entire South Bronx. MORE
The South Bronx
is the southwestern portion of The Bronx, between Fordham Road and the East River. VERIFY ... It includes the neighborhoods of Belmont, Downtown Bronx (Concourse Village), Mount Eden, Fordham, Mott Haven, Melrose, Morrisania, Hunts Point, Highbridge, Morris Heights, Tremont and East Tremont, University Heights, West Farms,
Hunts Point and
Port Morris along the East River waterfront and extends northward to Fordham Road.
Since mid-century, the South Bronx has been a low-income area with low property values, in part because of the poor air quality (five major expressways in and around the area, and some of the highest asthma rates in the country), and the strong industrial and manufacturing presence. The South Bronx has ongoing issues related to gangs, brownfields and other environmental disasters along the water, a continuing prostitution problem in Hunts Point, etc. The South Bronx will be one of the later stops of the redevelopment cycle, it is rising and will continue to. Proximity to transportation and to the emerging Harlem housing market just across the river suggests that gentrification in Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Port Morris. ... new parks, like Barretto Point, an embryonic hipster scene along Bruckner Blvd by the old antique shops, art shows at the Bronx Museum of Art,
Obesity is also a problem here due to the lack of safe public space for recreation. Community and nonprofit efforts, such as those by the group Sustainable South Bronx, are helping to revive the area with projects like the South Bronx Greenway, which will provide space for biking, walking and recreation.
The Bronx has the greatest amount of parkland relative to its size.
A quarter of the total land of the Bronx is designated for parkland. Pelham Bay Park in the East Bronx is the largest park in New York City (three times the size of Central Park), and Bronx Park contains the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden, and Van Cortlandt Park ___________.
Winding roads and step streets.
Part of the charm of the Bronx is that it does not follow the street grid imposed upon Manhattan. Colonial-era roads that pre-dated dynamite curve around natural rock formations, giving a more European charm to the roads of northern Manhattan and the Bronx. MORE ON STEP STREETS TOO
Art Deco buildings.
The Bronx has more examples of Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture than most cities on the planet. the Grand Concourse. In fact, the NYC Landmarks and Preservation Commission has turned its attention to designating a historic section of the Grand Concourse between 153rd and 167th streets. The Grand Concourse was built in 1909, designed by engineer Louis Risse to provide access from Manhattan to the large parks in the Bronx. Modeled on Paris’ Champs-Élysées, the original design had separate paths for horses, cyclists, and pedestrians, and underpasses at all major intersections. Unlike most of the South Bronx, none of the buildings along the Grand Concourse itself were destroyed, so the street looks much the same as it did 60 years ago.
Most buildings lining the Grand Concourse were built in the 1920s and 30s during the height of the City Beautiful movement, which was premised on the idea that a neighborhood’s architecture influences the community’s functionality and humanity. Today, the Grand Concourse hosts the largest collection of Art Deco and Art Moderne style buildings in America. The buildings were – and still are – grand, with elaborate ornamentation, large lobbies, beautiful painted murals, courtyards, elevators, large windows and many amenities that older Manhattan apartments lacked.
The Bronx has several natural waterfalls. and Bronx likely has more waterfalls than any place in New York City. Bronx River Alliance ... The water mills powered by these Bronx River falls were major manufacturing hubs and many early settlements branched out of these mill sites. Apparently as many as twelve mills from the mid 1700s, producing flour, pottery, snuff and narrow woven tapes dotted the river’s edge.
BAD THINGS ABOUT THE BRONX:
The Bronx has one of the lowest ratios of banks to population in the nation.
There are very few opportunities for safe recreation in the South Bronx, limited green space, and few safe routes for bicyclists and pedestrians
— all of which contributes to higher obesity rates among residents there. South Bronx Greenway is a planned series of bicycle and pedestrian pathways that will allow residents to safely travel among the neighborhoods in the South Bronx. Enveloped by greenery, the pathway will function as a protected park even without formal park space. The first segments will run through Port Morris and link to the Hunts Point Landing, a popular fishing spot on the East River. The project has been spearheaded by Sustainable South Bronx.
Air quality issues from highways and industry contribute to highest asthma rates in New York City
Five freeways (the Cross-Bronx Expwy., the Bruckner Expwy., the Major Deegan Expwy., the Sheridan Expwy. and the Hutchinson River Pkwy.) run through and around the South Bronx. Three of these meet at the massive Bruckner Interchange, which sits just east of the South Bronx. These heavily traveled zones are the primary source of dangerous air pollution levels that have led to high asthma rates, especially among children attending schools near expressways. In addition, industries in the South Bronx generate some of the heaviest diesel truck traffic in the state.
This pollution has put South Bronx residents at higher-than-average risk for asthma and other respiratory diseases. Rates of death from asthma in the Bronx are about three times higher than the national average. Hospitalization rates are about five times higher. In some neighborhoods in the Bronx it is estimated that 20% of the children have asthma. Within New York City the disparity in asthma hospitalization rates is very pronounced. According to a study, hospitalization rates for asthma in Bronx County and East Harlem are 21 times higher than those of affluent parts of the city. (Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "Poor Fight Baffling Surge in Asthma." The New York Times. October 18, 1999).
Freeway infrastructure is also a major obstacle to biking and walking. One wonders whether the South Bronx can ever be a livable area without the removal of one or more of these freeways - the sheer number of motor vehicles traveling through Bronx neighborhoods every day. The Sheridan Expressway, which connects the Bruckner Expressway and the Cross-Bronx Expressway, is considered a prime candidate for highway removal. MORE
International Agency on Cancer Research, a branch of the World Health Organization, is warning that outdoor air pollution causes cancer. This new research underscores what many residents have known for years; that the busy highways, truck routes and industrial facilities that interlace the South Bronx have a devastating effect on public health. In the South Bronx, highways are inescapable, It’s surrounded by highways. If you start walking away from one, you’re heading towards another. Last year the rates of asthma in the Bronx were nearly twice what they were in other boroughs, according to the annual community health survey conducted by city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In Mott Haven and the rest of the South Bronx more than 10 percent of neighborhood residents reported having an asthma attack in 2012, the most recorded since 2003.
The South Bronx also holds 24% of the city’s 63 solid waste transfer stations.
Garbage trucks run frequently to and from these centers. The concentration of garbage transfer stations in the South Bronx (as well as in parts of
Williamsburg, means a daily influx of polluting truck traffic directly into these communities. According to a 2006
study by the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems, the Bronx has some of the highest rates of asthma in the country.
Bronx County - www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/cfch/pbronx.htm;