Here’s part 3 in a series of fun facts about the borough we love, The Bronx. This series is in celebration of our two major milestones: the 100th anniversary of the creation of Bronx County and the 375th anniversary of Jonas Bronck’s arrival to our borough.
1. The Bronx is home to the world’s largest collection of Art Deco architecture, mostly concentrated along the Grand Concourse but with many examples spread out through our borough.
2. Speaking of the Grand Concourse, did you know that it was designed by Frenchman Louis Risse who used the famous Champs-Elysées of Paris as the basis of his design for our beloved Boulevard of Dreams.
3. In 1813, a man by the name of Mathias Lopez published the first Bronx based newspaper called the Westchester Patriot (remember, back then the Bronx was still part of Westchester County and home to the county seat). 201 years later and the Bronx is now the most Latino borough in New York City.
4. The Bronx has always been home to so many various immigrant groups that have left their mark on our borough. Woodlawn is considered the Irish capital of New York City, Arthur Avenue in Belmont is the most authentic Little Italy in New York, and over the past decades, we’re home to more of the African diaspora than any other place in the city. At one point, we were also the most Jewish borough with over 50% of the population in that demographic. 70 years ago you were more likely to hear Yiddish rather than Spanish on the streets of the Bronx.
We’re home to most of the state’s 250,000 Albanians and also the first Albanian-American elected to state office, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj. Most Garinagu (the plural for Garifuna) are believed to live in the Bronx. Ok, so #4 on our list had a bit more than just one fact but overall it pretty much paints a picture of the Bronx that most outsiders really don’t know. It shows the ever changing face of the Bronx and that’s one of things that makes us such a vibrant place: our people.
5. More bridges connect the Bronx to Manhattan than any other borough. Thirteen bridges connect the Bronx to Manhattan (including 2 for rail) most of which are pedestrian friendly. No other borough comes even remotely close to that many connections to Manhattan.
6. Hart Island, aka Potter’s Field just off of City Island in the Long Island Sound is the “largest tax funded cemetery in the world”. Almost a million, poor, unfortunate souls are buried here, “…— the homeless, poor, stillborn and other unclaimed bodies — delivered by truck and ferry from all over New York City, for unceremonious interment.“
7. If the Bronx were its own city, it would be the 9th largest city in the United States.
8. George Washington Slept here. He stayed at the historic Van Cortlandt House (built between 1748-1749) at least twice during the American Revolution. Our country’s founding father led troops out from the house and headed over to take over New York City from the British in 1783 in one of the last acts of the American Revolution.
9. Did you know that President John F. Kennedy lived here for 2 years up in Riverdale?
So many interesting things you probably didn’t know about our wonderful borough!
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