The Bronx is the northernmost of the 5 boroughs of New York City. Bordered by the Harlem and East Rivers, it’s considered the only borough that is predominantly on the US mainland. The area contains the poorest congressional district in the USA and was known throughout the 20th century for its poverty and crime. However, it has since emerged as one of the most ethnically diverse and culturally rich boroughs in New York City.

It's predominantly known for being the birthplace of rap and hip-hop music and as the home of the famous professional baseball team, the New York Yankees. Despite these defining features, few visitors to New York make it to the Bronx. Those who do can visit notable landmarks such as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Bronx Zoo, and New York Botanical Garden.

The Bronx in New York - one of the highlights of 5 Boroughs of New York (Read all about New York here)

A brief history of the Bronx

The area known as the Bronx was inhabited by Native Indians until the Dutch West Indian Company colonised the region in the 1630s. In 1641, a Scandinavian man named Jonas Bronck purchased 500 acres in the borough and it’s thought that the name “The Bronx” was coined from his name. It was originally made part of Westchester county until it was formally incorporated into New York City in 1898.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the borough saw a massive influx of migrants from Europe and the Caribbean, as well as the USA's southern states. This cultural and ethnic mix is credited for bringing hip-hop, rap and rock music to life in New York. Today, certain parts of the Bronx are still associated with certain migrant groups. For example, the area around Arthur Avenue is considered the centre of Italian culture, while South Bronx is known for its Puerto Rican culture.

What are the highlights of the Bronx?

The Bronx has emerged as one of the most culturally interesting areas in New York City. It's considered the home of rap and hip-hop culture which can be visually seen in the street art around Whitlock Avenue and Hunts Point.

The Bronx has 3 standout attractions, namely the New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo and Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees are perhaps the most widely known professional baseball team, so sports fans often head to the stadium to catch a game during the season.

The New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo are family-friendly highlights of the borough. The forest in the Botanical Garden is the only remaining part of the original forest that covered the entire city before urban development. The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo by area in the whole country.

Good to know about the Bronx

Despite the somewhat less-than-perfect reputation the Bronx has had in the past, the borough is largely safe to visit and explore. It’s easily reachable from other areas of the city on the subway, particularly from Manhattan. The Bronx is over 42 square miles in size, so be sure to check the subway map carefully to know exactly where you want to go.

The Bronx has an underlying but vibrant culinary and bar scene. Arthur Avenue, with its authentic trattorias, is considered the more authentic version of Manhattan's "Little Italy". You can also find a range of local breweries in the Bronx, which seems to be carrying the weight of the city’s long beer-brewing history. A must-visit is the Bronx Brewery, which offers live music and hip-hop-inspired beer.

The Bronx in New York

Location: The Bronx, NY 10458, USA

Elisha Donkin | Contributing Writer