In 2014 The Bronx is celebrating two major anniversaries: The 375th anniversary of the first European settler — and our borough’s namesake Jonas Bronck, to call our great borough of the North home, and the 100th anniversary of the creation of Bronx County, New York State’s 62nd and last county created.
In the spirit of history, we’ve decided to compile a list of things you may not (or may) know about the Bronx.
1. The iron dome of the United States Capitol in Washington DC was made right here in the Bronx.
2. Oh and Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial in DC was carved right here too. (See #6 for more info)
3. The Bronx is the greenest borough with the highest percentage of land dedicated to parks.
4. Contrary to popular belief, Central Park is NOT the largest park in New York City. That honor goes to Pelham Bay Park. At 2,765 acres, Pelham Bay Park swallows up Central Park’s 843 acres and is more than 3x its size.
5. Speaking of parks, the Bronx has 3 of the largest parks in NYC while that other borough *cough Brooklyn cough* has one. Besides the aforementioned, Van Cortlandt Park is the 3rd largest in the city and Bronx Park at 7th.
6. Patience and Fortitude, the world famous and iconic lion statues standing guard at the New York Public Library’s main branch on 5h Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, were also made in the Bronx by the Piccirilli Brothers in Mott Haven. Did we mention that they also carved #2 on our list?
7. Calvin Klein? Born and raised and lived in the Bronx in Norwood at 3191 Rochambeau Avenue.
8. Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Livshitz and also raised in the same neighborhood in the Bronx. He also attended the same school, PS 80, as Calvin Klein did.
9. Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course is the nation’s oldest public golf course and was established in 1895.
10. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the legendary astrophysicist and current director of the Hayden Planetarium, was raised in the Bronx and attended schools in our borough including Bronx High School of Science.
11. While we’re on the subject of space, the final frontier, planetary scientist Carolyn Porco was born and raised in the Bronx attending Cardinal Spellman High School. Porco began her career in exploring the outer solar system with the voyager missions and currently leads the imaging team on the Cassini mission orbiting Saturn.
Stay tuned for more Bronx History!