Thu, 29 September 2016
The Bronx was burning. The Bronx is now rising.
In the third and final part of our Bronx history series, we tackle the most difficult period in the life of this borough -- the late 20th century and the days and nights of urban blight.
The focus of this show is the South Bronx, once the tranquil farmlands of the Morris family and the location of the first commuter towns, situated along the new railroad. By the 1950s, however, a great number of socio-economic forces and physical changes were conspiring to make life in this area very, very challenging.
Construction projects like the Cross Bronx Expressway and shifts in living arrangements (from new public housing to the promise of Co-Op City) had isolated those who still lived in the old tenements of the South Bronx. Poverty and high crime rendered the neighborhood so undesirable that buildings were abandoned and even burned.
Mainstream attention (from notable television broadcasts to visits by the President of the United States) did not seem to immediately change things here. It would be up to local neighborhood activists and wide-ranging city and state programs -- not to mention the purveyors of an energetic new musical force -- to begin to improve the fortunes of this seemingly doomed borough.
FEATURING an interview with Inside Out Tours founder and chief tour guide Stacey Toussaint about the new Bronx renaissance.
ALSO: Appearances by Howard Cosell, Sonia Sotomayor, Robert Moses, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Jimmy Carter!
Direct download: 214_Bronx_Trilogy_Part_Three_The_Bronx_Was_Burning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:03pm EDT
Thu, 15 September 2016
In the second part of the Bowery Boys' Bronx Trilogy -- recounting the entire history of New York City's northernmost borough -- we focus on the years between 1875 and 1945, a time of great evolution and growth for the former pastoral areas of Westchester County.
Thu, 1 September 2016
The story of the Bronx is so large, so spectacular, that we had to spread it out over three separate podcasts!
In Part One -- The Bronx Is Born -- we look at the land that is today's borough, back when it was a part of Westchester County, a natural expanse of heights, rivers and forests occasionally interrupted by farm-estates and modest villages. Settlers during the Dutch era faced grave turmoil. Those that came afterwards managed to tame the land with varying results. Speculators were everyone; City Island was born from the promise of a relationship with the city down south.
During the Revolutionary War, prominent families were faced with a dire choice -- stay with the English or side with George Washington's Continental Army? One prominent family would help shape the fate of the young nation and leave their name forever attached to one of the Bronx's oldest neighborhoods. Sadly that family's legacy is under-appreciated today.
By the 1840s, Westchester County was at last connected to New York via a new railroad line. It was a prosperous decade with the development of the area's first college, a row of elegant homes and some of its very first 'depot towns'. Two decades later, the future borough would even cater to the dead -- both the forgotten (at Hart Island) and the wealthy (Woodlawn Cemetery).
The year 1874 would mark a new chapter for a few quiet towns and begin the process of turning this area into the borough known as the Bronx.
FEATURING: Many places in the Bronx that you can visit today and experience this early history up close, including Wave Hill, Pelham Bay Park, Woodlawn Cemetery, City Island and more.
NOTE: Thanks to Angel Hernandez from the Bronx Historical Society, not (as per our slip of the tongue in an older version of this show) the Brooklyn Historical Society.
Our book Adventures In Old New York is now in bookstores and online, wherever books are sold!