A Guide of The Bronx

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The Bronx is the northern-most borough of the five in New York City and the only one actually located on the mainland. With 14 colleges and universities, the infamous Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, the Grand Concourse, and one of the oldest natural forests in the New York Botanical Gardens, the Bronx is known for far more than its hip-hop and street art roots. Although this borough is often overlooked, a trip north of Manhattan is a unique experience well worth your time. With a distinctive art and cultural scene, authentic restaurants, genuine bars and great shopping destinations, the “Boogie Down Bronx” is sure to pleasantly surprise you. 

ART SCENE

(Photo: Harlem Spirituals)

The Bronx has one of the most underrated art scenes throughout New York City. A simple stroll down the Grand Concourse Boulevard to observe the graffiti-crowded walls and the Art Deco buildings of this historic neighborhood,  once home to famous American poet Joyce Kilmer, will open your eyes to this vibrant borough. Even the foliage in the area is rumored to have inspired his most renowned work titled “Trees.”  You will be able to find both the Bronx Museum of the Arts as well as the Andrew Freedman Home, which you will see on our Triboro Tour when touring the Bronx. Since the Bronx is relatively cheaper than other art-hubs of Manhattan, many artists flock to this borough for more affordable gallery venues. Therefore, the Bronx is a great area to search out some of the most exceptional yet prematurely-discovered artists. Check out the Kaleidoscope Gallery and the Focal Point Gallery and the Bronx Documentary Center to view thought-provoking pieces. Even the New York Botanical Garden goes much further than artistic landscapes of gardens, plants, and flowers, but you will find many seasonal events highlighting artists. The Lehman Center for Performing Arts also hosts several artists and performers including acrobatics, comedy, and gospel.

CULTURAL & HISTORIC HUBS

(Photo: Will Steacy/ NYC & Company)

Some breathtaking scenery will wipe away the city’s chaos at Wave Hill. Famous American novelist Mark Twain is said to have had an obsession with the squirrels populating this green oasis, not too far away from the concrete jungle. Some of the biggest Bronx institutions open their gates to the general public and are offering some free walking tours to celebrate the arts and cultures of the Northern Borough. From the magnificent Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum to the mystical Woodlawn Cemetery, or the Old Yankee Stadium, embark on a journey that will put a new spin on your New York City experience. To understand the history of New York’s maritime scene, head to the City Island Nautical Museum, in a 19th-century schoolhouse. Enjoy the mystery and macabre of Edgar Allen Poe?  The Bronx is also home to the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, a New York City and State landmark built in 1812. Think that’s old? The Van Cortlandt House Museum is the oldest building in all of the Bronx dating back to 1748. There are also many other historical landmarks throughout the borough, The Museum of the Bronx History a the Valentine will surely clear some questions, or head to the Bronx Children’s Museum with your kiddos. Head towards Arthur Avenue for the Belmont Public Library, where you will then find the Enrico Fermi Cultural Center dedicated to Italian-American heritage.

 

DINING OPTIONS

(Photo: Julienne Schaer/ NYC & Company)

Whether you are looking for a brunch, lunch, dinner or snack, the Bronx will provide you with several exciting options depending on the area that you are in. Especially if you are into world cuisine, the Bronx is the place to go! For the best of Sunday brunch, the Bronx offers options from unlimited mimosas and sangria at Havana Cafe, adding unlimited hookah at Mamajuana Cafe Bronx, or an everything but classic brunch buffet at Tosca, Giovanni, or The Black Whale.  If you are planning a Yankee game, you might want to eat before or after considering the extremely high prices inside the stadium. While the Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium may be a safe bet, try a more local spot such as Court Deli, a Bronx staple since 1936. Try Flavas International Grill for Carribean dishes, the Feeding Tree for specialized Jamaican, or a classic American Crown Diner Restaurant. Along the Grand Concourse, you will find Sam’s for authentic soul food and burgers, Papaye for African fare, or Great Wall for quick and delicious Chinese-American dishes. As a tourist, you may only know of Little Italy of Manhattan, but once you experience the far more authentic Little Italy in the Bronx called Belmont, you will soon realize the tourist trap that you almost fell guilty to. This is the home of Arthur Avenue Market, and a plethora of Italian restaurants, pizzerias, bakeries and pastry shops, influenced purely by Neapolitan and Sicilian cookery. And if you want a break from the city’s hustle-and-bustle, head a bit off the mainland to charming City Island where you will get the best of seafood as Johnny’s Reef, as seen above, and the best of ice cream at Lickity Split.

 

NIGHTLIFE & ENTERTAINMENT

(Photo: Julienne Schaer/ NYC & Company)

Forget all your prejudices and head safely to the Bronx for a great night out! There are many bars and nightlife destinations there, suited for all occasions. Beer lovers unite at The Bronx Beer Hall, American Idol wannabes circulate at Mott Haven Bar for karaoke nights and local DJ events, and pizza-party and cocktail lovers mingle at Michaelangelo’s Little Italy, where they can get part Italian restaurant, part Bronx bar, and part beer garden. Find live music, bands, open mic nights, comedy, poetry, and art exhibits at An Beal Bocht, and a great sports-bar vibe with even better beer and wings deals at the most favored dive bar, P&K Grille. If you’re looking to pregame, celebrate, or booze in your sorrows after a game at Yankee Stadium, grab a few at The Dugout, Stan’s Sports Bar, or G Bar. Lastly, if you are looking for a night of dancing, head to El Patron Night Club for Latin beats and live performances, Ibiza Lounge for a double-decker dance club, Gravity Lounge, Salsa y Sazon or The Living Room II.

SHOPPING

(Photo: JOE BUGLEWICZ/ NYC & Company)

Whether you are a local or a tourist, the shopping venues in the Bronx are both convenient and enjoyable. While Arthurs Avenue is home to the foodie’s favorite Arthur’s Market, you will also find clothing, gifts, and books all under the same roof at Arthur Avenue Retail Market.  For the best shopping variety, Fordham Road is the largest shopping district in the borough, from local boutiques to name brands such as The Gap Outlet, American Eagle, Best Buy and many more. The Hub shopping center is another area worth spending a few hours at. There is also the largest free public wifi hot-spot in the borough here. Scan Loehmann’s for designer deals or Alexander Antique Shop for the most authentic antiques. Go to the Bronx Mall on a cold, rainy or snowy day, as it is the only indoor shopping complex throughout the outer boroughs. The Bronx Terminal Market is also a great location for a day of shopping, providing everything you need from name-brand stores, restaurants and entertainment centers. Lastly, you may go to the African Center Mall for genuine African handcrafts, clothing, foods and decorative items, emphasizing the cultural diversity throughout the Bronx.

 

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The Bronx should not be ignored when visiting New York City. For a great overview of the the borough, book a Triboro tour through the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens today! If you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions, and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com or contact us at info@harlemspirituals.com.

 

 

 

 

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