From the botanical garden to the beach, passing through the famous zoo and the Yankees baseball stadium, a charming route through the New York neighborhood – Bronx.
Just to name this New York neighborhood located north of the city many will throw their hands in the head, but you have to get rid of prejudices and take a long walk in the Bronx to discover its charms, many of them in the open air. Here some of the essential stops in which is one of the five districts of the American city, separated from Manhattan by the Harlem River and where almost 1.5 million people live.
The Botanical Garden
As a coup to fall in love with this neighborhood you have to visit the botanical garden of New York, as much as possible on a sunny day. To get there, it’s best to get off at the Bedford Park Boulevard subway stop and walk for about 10 minutes. We will know that we are on the right track when we reach a hill on top of which is a monastery and its affiliated school, the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, whose sign indicates that they have been “educating young ladies since 1855”. Yes, in the Bronx, in the same neighborhood where great American culture was born, such as writer Edgar Allan Poe, director Stanley Kubrick or actress Ellen Barkin.
After the walk you can make a stop at Webster, a classic Latin diner where friendly Spanish-speaking workers offer a very long menu with unusual dishes like chicken with waffles. The café is a few meters from the New York Botanical Garden, a square kilometer that has its corresponding Victorian glass palace as a greenhouse. After visiting its more than 40 collections of plants and trees of different types (conifers, orchids, roses or maples, among many others), you can attend jazz concerts, biological food fairs, readings of poems and exhibitions of various kinds . Next to the botanist, on the west side, is the Jesuit University of Fordham, architecturally inspired by British learning temples such as Oxford or Cambridge, which is common in prestigious American campuses.
The Woodlawn Cemetery
Those who wish to make a pilgrimage to emblematic places where remembering celebrities such as Edgar Allan Poe have no doubt to go to the Woodlawn cemetery. Open since 1863, today it is part of the list of historical sites in the Bronx. In addition to the tomb of Poe, you can honor those of many musicians who put soundtrack to the city, such as Celia Cruz, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.
The Bronx Zoo
Here is also the main zoo of the five that has the city of New York. Far from being a sad house of beasts, the enclosure is an important educational and research center on animal species and, of course, a destination to go with children.
There the animals are in their habitat and live in open spaces in which to run and jump at ease. It is the visitors who go into the biosphere of different continents depending on which animals they approach. In the area dedicated to Africa we find zebras, giraffes, lions and a jungle of gorillas from the Congo. Madagascar also has its specific area, where there are lemurs, crocodiles and boas, and in other sectors are the bison and the fauna of the American continent.
Taste to Italy and Havana
Those who thought that Italian immigration only settled in the popular Little Italy of Manhattan will be pleasantly surprised to walk along Arthur Avenue, between 183 and 189 streets, not far from the zoo. Here is the Italian community of the Bronx, with its pizzerias, its meeting places where they probably serve the best coffee in the district and, above all, with its charming covered market Arthur Avenue Retail Market, where you can buy bread, pasta or sausages, and eat everything and in abundance. On the way to it we will be welcomed by balconies and shop windows adorned with virgins, flowers and numerous images of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, as the Albanian community is very present in the area.
Once inside the market we will suddenly feel like we are in Havana and not so much in Italy, as there are some gentlemen rolling tobacco leaves in a traditional way: they are employees of La Casa Grande Cigars, a shop specializing in the manufacture of cigars that also offers workshops to learn the technique. We will also find grocery stores with their preserves stacked impeccably until you reach the famous Mike’s Deli, a restaurant whose counters abound with creamy cheeses and, above them, strings of chorizo and fresh salamis.
The baseball temple
Another icon of the neighborhood, a lay sanctuary for many, is the Yankees baseball team stadium, at the 161st-Yankee Stadium subway stop. Although we do not understand the rules of that sport, it is worth visiting the limestone facilities, white and immaculate as those of a Mormon temple, of this new stadium inaugurated in 2009. Inside there is a wide range of food and drink, although The inescapable ritual is to eat a hot dog with ketchup and mustard.
Finally, those who visit the Bronx towards the end of May or in the middle of summer have to go to Orchard Beach, only open during the months of good weather. This public beach of almost two kilometers long was known as The Riviera of New York in the 1930s and it is possible to picnic, have a drink in its different bars and restaurants and, above all, walk along its promenade where it intersects with more than one peculiar character.