Fordham, Bronx

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Location of Fordham in New York City
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Fordham is a neighborhood geographically located in the west Bronx in New York City, United States. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 5. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: Fordham Road to the north, Webster Avenue to the east, East 183rd Street to the south, and Jerome Avenue to the west. Fordham Road is the primary thoroughfare through Fordham. The main subway through the area is the D line, operating along the Grand Concourse, with the Jerome Avenue line on its western border. ZIP codes include 10453, 10457, 10458 and 10468.

Contents

Demographics

Fordham has a population of 77,840 people. Its first growth was in the 1930s, when middle-class and working-class families from Manhattan flocked into the area, attracted by the then-modern housing and convenient subway access by Concourse and Jerome Avenue lines to business districts in Manhattan where they could work and shop. The demographics are 31.3% White, 23.2% African American, 1.3% Native American, 4.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 39.6% Hispanic or Latino majority being of Rican and Dominican descent.

46th Police Precinct

Land use and terrain

Fordham is dominated by 5 and 6-story apartment buildings, often set flush to the sidewalk. Many of the apartments on the Grand Concourse are taller.

The New York Botanical Garden and the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, both inside Bronx Park, collectively occupy dozens of acres of land within the neighborhood.

Fordham University maintains its historic original campus on much of the former Rose Hill Manor in the center of the neighborhood. It is one of the largest "green" campuses in New York City, and its traditional collegiate gothic architecture often serves as a backdrop for television and film productions.

The Fordham Road B.I.D. lines the northern border of the neighborhood. This retail district is the longest in the Bronx.

History

Fordham was a predominantly middle class Jewish neighborhood, from the 1930s through the 1970s, when many Jewish families moved to the suburbs or retired to Florida.[1] Belmont was formerly a portion of Fordham and South Fordham.

Old Fordham Village

"Old Fordham Village" is a section of Fordham that dates back to New England Colonial Days, when it was part of the Town of West Farms, Westchester County, New York. It is centered on the intersection of the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road. Fordham Village extends north to about 196th Street, south to about 187th Street, east to Southern Blvd., and west to Jerome Avenue.

The section's origins date back to about 1751, when "Fordham Manor" was built, on what was called "Rose Hill". Most of the estate is part of the Rose Hill Campus of Fordham University. Besides the main manor house and other side buildings on the campus, other historic buildings and noted homes still exist within Old Fordham Village. For example, American poet Edgar Allan Poe spent his final years with his wife Virginia in a cottage in Fordham which is still standing. The nearby Fordham University Church bell is named "old Edgar" and may have been the inspiration for his poem "The Bells".

In the 1700s, The Kings Road went through Old Fordham Village, an area of rural estates and small farms, linking Colonial New York and towns and villages north toward Boston. It was a minor rest stop for travelers and coaches alike, where many sweet springs fed "The Mill Brook" that crossed this road. During the American Revolution, it was a critical crossing point for Gen. George Washington's Continental Army retreating toward White Plains to safely escape from New York while being chased by the invading Colonial British and Hessian Forces. There were many "American Patriots" that lived in this area. After the revolution, the Kings Road was renamed "The Boston Post Road", becoming an important thoroughfare for a growing new nation.

In the 1800s, with the building of "The White Plains Line" of The New York Central Railroad, and a small station, Old Fordham Village began to grow. Local farmers and dairymen were now able to use the railroad to send their products to a growing New York City. North of the village, part of the Mill Brook was dammed up, and a large pond and ice house was built for shipping and cold storage. It provided fresh ice for the community and the railroad. It was during this time that wealthy merchant Robert Watts gave most of The Rose Hill Estate, east of the village, to a Roman Catholic order. It became known as "St. John's College and Hospital" and was the precursor of Fordham University. A small South-West-portion of the former Rose Hill Estate is known today as Rose Hill Park. West of the village, on the other side of "Fordham Hill", The Bathgate Estate was built; it was later acquired by wealthy stock speculator Leonard Jerome. He built the Jerome Park Racetrack, where the first Belmont Stakes was held, on his estate. West of the station in the village area, "The Fordham Hotel and Taverine" would provide basic needs for visitors for both The College and The Racetrack.

For the most part, Old Fordham Village remained rural until about 1900, when New York City began to expand. Early mass transit to the suburbs changed the area of what is presently Fordham today. Old Fordham Village and the surrounding area would become part of the borough of the Bronx within New York City. Many of the remaining farms and estates were sold to developers who built houses and sizable apartment buildings. The formerly quiet little village became a major business and transportation hub. In this area of Fordham, Boston Post Road was renamed Fordham Road, part of U.S. Route 1. The rebuilding of the railroad right of way at Fordham, and most of Webster Avenue, eliminated The Mill Brook and water pond. But on the main, side streets of Old Fordham Village remain a very active area.

Transportation

References

  1. Avery Corman, The Old Neighborhood., New York: Bantam Books, 1981. ISBN 9780553148916

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