South Bronx, New York

South Bronx, New York

thumb|250px|right|The Hub" is the retail heart of the South Bronx.The South Bronx is a region of the New York City borough of the Bronx. It strictly refers to the south"western" portion of the borough, and should not be confused with the "southern" Bronx. It is famous as the home of Yankee Stadium, birth place of hip hop music and culture.

The neighborhoods of Tremont and University Heights are often considered part of the South Bronx. Some argue that the Soundview section is part of the South Bronx, or even its eastern neighbor, Castle Hill. The northern limit of the South Bronx is commonly set at Fordham Road, which is closer to the north end of The Bronx than the south. Poverty is sometimes considered an indicator or part of the definition, and high poverty rates span as far north as Bedford Park Blvd before becoming more pocketed. There is no official boundary; over the decades the poverty area has only expanded. The South Bronx today is the poorest congressional district in the country.


The Bronx was once considered the "Jewish Borough," which at its peak in 1930 was 49% Jewish. [ [ :: Bronx County Clerks Office :: ] ] Jews in South Bronx numbered 364,000 or 57.1% of the total population in the area. [ [ Bronx Synagogues - Historical Survey ] ] The term was first coined in the 1940s by a group of social workers who identified the Bronx's first pocket of poverty, in the Port Morris section, the southernmost section of the Bronx. After World War II as white flight accelerated and migration of ethnic and racial minorities continued, South Bronx went from being 2/3 white in 1950 to being 2/3 black and Puerto Rican in 1960. [ [ The New Bronx: A Quick History of the Iconic Borough ] ] Originally denoting only Mott Haven and Melrose, the South Bronx extended up to the Cross Bronx Expressway by the 1960s, encompassing Hunts Point, Morrisania, and Highbridge. In the 1970s significant poverty reached as far north as Fordham Road. Around this time, the Bronx experienced some of its worst times ever. The resultant chaos as related by the media brought the term "South Bronx" into common parlance nationwide.


The South Bronx has been, historically, a place for working class families. It was not always synonymous with the image of a destroyed, drug and poverty riddled western city; this image came in the latter part of the 20th century. [] There are several causes to the decay of the South Bronx: white flight, landlord abandonment, changes in economic demographics and government indifference, and also the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway.]

The Cross Bronx Expressway, completed in 1963, was a part of Robert Moses’s urban renewal project for New York City. The expressway is ironically thought to be a factor in the extreme urban decay seen by the borough in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Cutting straight through the heart of South Bronx, the highway displaced thousands of residents from their homes, as well as several local businesses. The somewhat already poor and working-class neighborhoods were at another disadvantage: the decreased property value brought on by their proximity to the Cross Bronx Expressway. The neighborhood of East Tremont, in particular, was completely destroyed by the inception of the Cross Bronx Expressway. The combination of increasing vacancy rates and decreased property values created some rather unappealing neighborhoods, places where previous residents and new homeowners would essentially not want to live.

Construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway was not the only factor in the decay of South Bronx. In the late 1960’s, population began decreasing as a result of new policies demanding that, for racial balance in schools, children to be bussed into other districts. Parents who worried about their children attending school outside their district often relocated to the suburbs, where this was not a concern. The primary reason for the decline of many middle class neighborhoods in the 1950s and 1960's was the real estate policies enacted by New York City immediately after World War II, specifically rent control. Contributing to the decreasing population was the fact that New York City’s outdated policies regarding rent control gave building owners no motivation to keep up their properties. [ [ Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95, I-295 and US 1) ] ] Therefore, desirable housing options were scarce, and vacancies further increased. In the late 1960’s, by the time the city decided to consolidate welfare households in the South Bronx, the vacancy rate was already the highest of any place in the city

The phrase "The Bronx is burning" uttered by Howard Cosell during a Yankees World Series game in the 1977, refers to the arson epidemic in South Bronx during the 1970s. It was during this time that arson became popular because landlords would collect the insurance money for the building. Sometimes, prior to being set on fire, the building would be stripped of wiring, plumbing, metal fixtures, and anything else of value so as to retain some of the owner’s investments. Also, some fires in the South Bronx were simply caused because of deteriorating electrical systems or neglect on the landlord’s part as they still are today. The presence of several of these vacant, burnt-down buildings contributed to the atmosphere similar to that of a war-devastated country.

Since the late 1980s parts of the South Bronx have experienced urban renewal with rehabilitated and brand new residential structures, including both subsidized multifamily town homes and apartment buildings. Many of the newer residents are of the lower income strata who been displaced from other low income sections of the city, born in the South Bronx (Due to a higher birth rate), or from immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean (Primarily Dominican and Jamaican). This is because a significant percentage of New York City's affordable housing is being built in the South Bronx.

Since the late 90s the South Bronx has been home to a grassroots art scene. The arts scene that sprouted at the Fashion Moda Gallery, founded by a Viennese artist, Stefan Eins, helped ignite the careers of artists like Keith Haring and Jenny Holzer, and 1980's break dancers like the Rock Steady Crew. It generated enough enthusiasm in the mainstream media for a short while to draw the art world's attention. [ [ Hope Is Artists' Medium in a Bronx Neighborhood] New York Times, December 27, 2000] . Its population is increasing. [ [ The (South) Bronx is up: a neighborhood revives"] ] [ [ SOUTH BRONX RESURRECTION 27 May 2004] ] Modern Graffiti also calls the South Bronx home. The Bronx is home to many of the fathers of graffiti art such as Tats Cru. The Bronx has a very strong graffiti scene despite the city's crackdown on illegal graffiti. Graffiti has thrived in the gritty urban environment of the South Bronx.

The South Bronx in many ways is more a state of mind than an actual location. Also, a more notable dichotomy in the Bronx is that of the West Bronx vs. the East Bronx; the West Bronx is hillier, more densely populated, and located west of the Bronx River, while the East Bronx is flatter, less densely populated, and located east of the Bronx River.

A recent development in the community of the South Bronx is the ongoing construction of the new Yankee Stadium. There has been ongoing controversy over the plans, which, along with the new billion dollar field, include new athletic fields, tennis courts, bicycle and walking paths, stores, restaurants as well as a new Metro-North Railroad station, which during baseball season might help ease overcrowding on the subway.] There is hope that along these attractions will help to generate residential construction. However, the new park comes at a price: a total of 22 acres in Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks were sacrificed to build it. Developers say they have plans to create fields on top of parking lots and will replace the old stadium with new parks. The new stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2009 season. However, the expected completion date of the promised athletic fields and other green space have yet to be revealed. Many in the local community oppose the stadium due to its effects on pollution, traffic, and a massive loss of the community's limited green space. [ [ New Yankee stadium ] ]

Although strides have been made since the days of arson, the South Bronx is still a long way from a real recovery. It is the poorest congressional district in the country, and contains over half of the Bronx's housing projects. Almost 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. Drug trafficking, gang activity, and prostitution are all still common problems throughout the South Bronx. Its precincts record the highest violent crime rates in the city and are all NYPD "impact zones".

Transportation in South Bronx

Car: You can acess Maj Deegan Expwy (I-87), Bruckner Expwy (I-278), Triboro Br.

"'Subway:" You could access the subway at Westchester Avenue.

*Afrika Bambataa, current resident of Soundview
*Rapper A.G. of the duo Showbiz and A.G., raised in Mott Haven
*Rapper Armageddon, formerly of Terror Squad
*Al Pacino, raised in the South Bronx, Born in East Harlem
*Barry Wellman, raised in Fordham-Grand Concourse
*Bernard McGuirk, the former Imus in the Morning producer grew up in the South Bronx
*Rapper Big Pun of Terror Squad, raised in Soundview
*Bryan Callen
*Majora Carter, MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" and Founder of Sustainable South Bronx
*Colin Powell, raised in Hunts Point
*Rapper Cuban Link formerly of Terror Squad, born in Cuba, raised in the South Bronx
*Dolph Schayes, raised near East 180th Street and Grand Concourse
*Rapper Drag-On formerly of Ruff Ryders Entertainment, raised in Soundview
*Rapper Fat Joe of Terror Squad, raised in Morrisania
*Grandmaster Flash, current resident of Morrisania
*Harry Gibson
*Rapper Hell Rell of Dipset, raised in Tremont
*Musician Jimi Hazel of 24-7 Spyz, raised in Mitchell Projects, Mott Haven
*Jennifer Lopez, now the wealthiest Latin-American star in Hollywood.
*Rapper KRS-One, originally from Brooklyn, raised in both Mott Haven and Soundview
*Larry Davis, shot six New York City police officers on November 19, 1986 when they raided his sister's Bronx apartment
*Rapper Lord Tariq of the duo Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, raised in Soundview
*Murray Perahia, celebrated piano soloist, grew up in Walton Avenue
*Philip Zimbardo
*Rapper Remy Ma formerly of Terror Squad, raised in Castle Hill
*Scott La Rock
*Fr. Stan Fortuna
*Tim Dog
*Tom Leykis
*Tony Santiago, "Tony the Marine", editor of the Puerto Rican Military Channel, raised in Longwood [ [ Recognition to Tony Santiago from the Puerto Rican Senate] ] [ [ El Boricua] ] [ [ A medal, a debt, both of honor] ]
*R&B singer Tony Sunshine formerly of Terror Squad, raised in Soundview

See also

*The Hub, Bronx
*"Fort Apache, the Bronx" (film)
**Fort Apache (hostile place)


External links

* [ Blue Blood by NYPD Detective Edward Conlon]
* [ Walking tour of the Grand Concourse Boulevard-Cross Bronx Expy area]
* [ The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation]

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