Welcome to The Bronx!
The Bronx could be considered a borough of extremes. Most noticeably, extreme heights— some of the wildest topographical variations in the city are located in this, the hilliest borough. Hence the famous stairwells that walkers use to climb and descend from block to block. But the Bronx is also home to extreme neighborhood variety.
This borough is home to the concrete jungle of the South Bronx, while areas closer to the Hudson River and Long Island Sound house some of the most opulent, palatial mansions in the city. In some parts you feel like you’re in NYC’s urban core and in others, a distant suburb.
Some areas need to be seen to be believed, like Co-Op City, a massive housing development rising out of a marsh with a population of almost 44,0000. Or City Island, which feels more like Cape Cod than the Big Apple. But for the average Bronx resident, the borough is simply a lively, leafy, car-friendly borough that they wouldn’t leave for the world.
These are some of the best neighborhoods The Bronx has to offer:
1. Riverdale & Spuyten Duyvil
Patiently waiting for Spring.
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— Omar Palacios (@omardpal) March 4, 2018
Perfect for: Professionals, Families
Riverdale is New York City’s country estate-within-the-city, and a quick stroll down any of its suburban avenues evokes a pastoral township in nearby Westchester County. Spuyten Duyvil, Riverdale’s southernmost corner, is an upper class enclave containing a treasure-trove of Tudor architecture, leafy streets, and riverfront views. The neighborhood also encompasses Fieldston, an exclusive grid of stone mansions abutting the woodsiest part of The Bronx’s biggest green space, Van Cortlandt Park. Riverdale is the sort of neighborhood where you can find your home in a towering high rise or a three-story Victorian. Families will note that Riverdale also has some of the most exclusive public and private schools in the New York City area, so it’s a great place to raise a kid headed to the Ivy Leagues.
A historically Jewish area for much of the 20th Century, Riverdale is home to a number of established Kosher eateries. Liebman’s Kosher Deli has serviced the neighborhood for over fifty years. But don’t sleep on newer offerings, like Bronx Burger House or the Michelin-rated Jake’s Steakhouse. There are a few ways to access Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil, and the Subway isn’t one of them. But there are three local Metro-North stops along the watery edge of the neighborhood that make travel to Midtown Manhattan quick and easy.
- Van Cortlandt Park
- Wave Hill Public Garden
- Gorgeous views of the Hudson River
2. South Bronx & Mott Haven
— Untapped Cities (@untappedcities) March 20, 2018
Perfect for: Millenials, Artists
The hipsters have arrived. The wave of gentrification that swept Harlem has finally made its way across the Third Avenue Bridge to Manhattan-adjacent pockets of The South Bronx. Cheap rents and ample loft space were what originally drew the burgeoning artist community to this area. But the South Bronx, most notably Mott Haven along the Harlem River and the areas around Yankee Stadium and Grand Concourse, have long been noted for their historic buildings, tight-knit communities, and bustling industry. None of this accounts for the vintage stores and gourmet restaurants popping up along the once-abandoned stretch of Bruckner Boulevard beneath the Major Deegan Expressway.
Mott Haven used to have the worst reputation of any neighborhood in the city; now it’s the best place to rent a one-bedroom in a converted former piano factory. The trendy offerings popping up in Mott Haven may currently seem sparse. But New Yorkers have learned that when neighborhoods start to change, the change tends to come at lightning speed. Whether you like it or not, don’t be surprised when it becomes the next Williamsburg.
- Yankees Stadium
- Bruckner Boulevard
3. Norwood & Jerome Park
— Donnie (@easygoer132) October 12, 2017
Perfect for: Families, Commuters
Subways are hard to come by in The Bronx, which is one of the many reasons why Norwood and Jerome Park are so appealing. The adjoining neighborhoods—urban, yet pleasantly green, and delightfully hilly—are smack dab in the middle of the borough, and they offer ample access to the 4 and D trains (The D terminates in Norwood).
But public transit aside, these neighborhoods are a breath of fresh air. They’re wedged between three massive green spaces— Van Cortlandt Park (The Bronx’s central park), the Jerome Park Reservoir, and the New York Botanical Garden (more on that later). Apartments are roomy and very affordable, and young families abound. In the summer, there’s always a cookout happening somewhere on the green space along Mosholu Parkway. And the campuses of Lehman College and Fordham keep the neighborhood feeling young.
As previously mentioned, Jerome Park offers access to the New York Botanical Garden (and a similarly named stop on the Metro-North train). It’s not just a spectacular botanical garden—it offers extras like mind-blowing art installations, kayaking down the Bronx River, and a farming initiative that aims to teach young children the ins and outs of gardening. A day in the Bronx is not complete without a visit to this verdant refuge.
- The New York Botanical Garden
- Van Cortlandt Park
- Mosholu Parkway
- Lehman College
Arthur Avenue, Bronx NYC. I love you. pic.twitter.com/azPpcUV6se
— Skeever Breath (@Skeeverbreath) March 3, 2018
Perfect for: College Students, Foodies, Young Families
Just southeast of The New York Botanical Garden is the busy neighborhood of Belmont. This is The Bronx’s Little Italy, making it one of the borough’s most famous attractions. The quarter-mile stretch of Arthur Avenue and its surrounding blocks boast the best Italian food in the city; pick up an overflowing cold cut sub at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, or head across the street to Dominick’s (the most popular restaurant in the neighborhood— expect to wait at least an hour) for an Italian meal so enticing that you (and your waistline) won’t soon forget.
For a more unique experience, check out Zero Otto Nove—behind its unassuming storefront is great food delivered in a dining room sculpted to look like an Italian piazza. The neighborhood also boasts a sizeable Albanian population, so be sure to check out Teuta Qebaptore for some expertly prepared meat platters. Belmont is also adjacent to Fordham University; the college has attracted a community of young residents and all of the amenities that come with that.
And what day out with the family is complete without a trip to the zoo? There’s one in every borough, but the Bronx Zoo takes the cake. It’s the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, and it’s only a ten-minute walk from Arthur Avenue down Fordham Road.
- The Bronx Zoo
- The Arthur Avenue Retail Market
- Fordham University