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Bronx, the

Bronx, the, borough of New York City, coextensive with Bronx co. (1990 pop. 1,203,789), land area 42 sq mi (106 sq km), SE N.Y. The name comes from Jonas Bronck, who purchased the land from Native Americans in 1639. New York City acquired the Bronx, which had been the lower portion of Westchester co., in two stages in 1874 and 1895. With the consolidation of New York City in 1898 it became a separate borough; the county was not organized until 1914. The only mainland borough of New York City, it comprises the southern part of a peninsula bordered on the W by the Hudson River, on the SW by the Harlem River (which separates it from Manhattan), on the S by the East River, and on the E by Long Island Sound. Among the many bridges linking the borough to Manhattan and Queens are the Henry Hudson, the Robert F. Kennedy (formerly Triborough), the Bronx-Whitestone, and the Throgs Neck. The borough is also connected to Manhattan by subway lines. With the extension of mass transit to the Bronx in the early 20th cent. the population of the sparsely settled area rapidly increased, becoming home to many immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. After World War II, African-American and Hispanic residents became the majority, and there are growing African and Caribbean communities. The declining local economy led to a deterioration of housing, and the term "South Bronx" became synonymous with urban blight. Attempts at renovation have been successful in many neighborhoods that had been abandoned for much of the 1970s and 1980s. Although the Bronx is no longer an extensive shipping, warehouse, and factory center, the Hunts Point Terminal Market is the major wholesale produce center for New York City. Large areas of the borough are set aside for parks, notably Bronx Park, with the New York Zoological Park (Bronx Zoo) and the New York Botanical Garden; Van Cortlandt Park, and Pelham Bay Park, with Orchard Beach on Long Island Sound. Among the institutions of higher learning in the Bronx are Fordham Univ., Manhattan College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva Univ., the New York State Maritime College, and Herbert H. Lehman College of the City Univ. of New York. Other points of interest are Yankee Stadium (1923) and the Edgar Allan Poe cottage (1812).

See L. Ultan, The Beautiful Bronx (1982); L. Ultan and G. Hermalyn, The Bronx in the Innocent Years (1985); E. Gonzalez et al., Building a Borough (1986).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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