Back in September, I ran a 10-mile New York Road Runners race in the Bronx, my third sanctioned race along the Grand Concourse.
Skirting around hills and Art Deco buildings sparked my interest, along with visits to New Yankee Stadium, Arthur Avenue, Bronx Botanical Garden, multiple running trips to Riverdale and Van Cortlandt Park.
My interest got piqued and finally I decided to explore a bit further.
I thought that I would share some takeaways on the current Bronx and what may be cooking in the next few years.
First, for those of you without a car, I would strongly encourage a trip on the 1 train to the end of the line.
Walk 5 minutes and you are in Van Cortlandt Park.
You can actually run all the way to Westchester along Rails to Trails paths, or wander in the backwoods.
Either way, it’s a marvelous escape from Manhattan and a change of pace from the well-traveled pathways in Central Park.
Second, go take a trip to Arthur Avenue.
While Zagat’s (free App in the Apple AppStore now) will offer reviews on each restaurant, I would tell you that as Little Italy continues to shrink in lower Manhattan, Arthur Avenue is going strong.
Its location, a bit away from subways, may help keep it special and isolated from Manhattan thrill-seekers, but it’s well worth the visit.
Third, the Grand Concourse.
Courtesy of my new friend Marshall Stevenson, who runs 2nd Day Tours– which offers a number of neat NYC-centered tours including a New York brewery/beer-tour- Kindly offered to show me and a friend around the parts of “his” Bronx- he is a Bronx resident- areas he thinks are on the way up, areas which could become the Next Big Thing.
Did you know that the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings anywhere in the country is in the Bronx?!?
Even the Manhattan-centric NY Times wrote a lovely piece about the Concourse.
Quickly poking our heads in various buildings along the Grand Concourse, one may see this is true.
The detail is stunning.
Styled after the Champs Elysees in Paris, the Grand Concourse from 161st going North clearly demonstrated something special.
While mostly cooperatives and rental buildings, well-priced condominiums could see wild success, given the incredibly convenience of living along the Concourse.
We were wowed by details, driving around into the Hub, which could be the major downtown center of another town.
Interested Hotels such as the Opera House , located in an actual historic Opera House,
have recently opened, and provide the budget-conscious traveler something much, much more than a Motel 6.
Shopping options continue to crop up.
As we scooted towards the East River, we cross the neighborhoods where I’ve run many
The Mott Haven Historic District offered gorgeous townhouses and distinct character as we headed towards the Industrial area that abuts Mott Haven, Port Morris.
You may read a bit more about the plans here.
If even one of these ideas is implemented, we will see the community that’s already in place really flourish.
All of this is easily accessible from the 4,5, and 6 train.
Some of the artists that fled Williamburg have landed in Port Morris and all along
the current waterfront.
As of now, there are cool new places popping up to provide alternatives to the true standard of the neighborhood, the Bruckner Bar, which have been in (almost) continuous use for 100 years.
What struck me as I traveled around the Bronx was how convenient it is to Manhattan, perhaps more so than many parts of Brooklyn.
While many areas are already incredibly dense with tall high-rises, the areas like Port Morris offer so much possibility.
I can only hope that our next administration in Bill DiBlasio gives the Bronx its due attention.
I’ll wrap up with one more thought.
Along 153rd street, just south of where the new Yankee Stadium is, there are plans for a new Pro Soccer Stadium, on the site of an unsuccessful parking garage- yet another sign that everyone takes the subway.
It is by no means a done deal, but I very much hope that New York will get professional soccer.
In the Bronx, perhaps the most diverse of all of our amazing boroughs, the site is particularly meaningful.
Here are some additional photos of the Fish Building.
The Bronx is well-worth exploration.
Email Marshall (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a tour!