The Complete Guide to Living in the Bronx
It’s not uncommon for people to associate living in New York with just Manhattan. This is, after all, the home of the National Monument, Central Park, Times Square, and the Empire State Building. What we see in the media, like the movies and TV shows of our past, is the extravagant life of Manhattan residents. From Carrie Bradshaw to the whole cast of Friends, living in Manhattan has become synonymous with prestige, acclaim, and success.
Living in New York on a Budget
On the other side of the flip coin, we have the Bronx. This underrated borough has often been misjudged with the rise of popular media. With very few good representations and many negative ones, this part of New York has become infamous and avoided. This is very unfortunate, as the Bronx has a lot to offer. Throughout history, many influential and talented people have lived, worked, and passed away there. This is the place where hip-hop as a genre gained its form and evolved, and the place where the New York Yankees came to be. Let’s give the Bronx a chance in this article and see if it’s worth living or settling down there, shall we?
The Truth About the Bronx
The Bronx is the largest borough in New York City. On top of that, it has a very high concentration of residents. It’s mostly low, to middle-class residential areas, with not many fancy neighborhoods. The Bronx is not as crowded as other parts of the city are. The prices are reasonable, and whatever you need to buy, it’s within walking distance from your home. There’s plenty of food options, drugstores, cool bars, and many green areas and parks. There are also lots of dog parks, so this neighborhood is quite pet-friendly. Living in the Bronx is easygoing and quiet, especially in the suburbs like Riverdale. It’s perfect for families with children and hard-working people that need peace and the right place to settle down.
There is a sense of elitism and a snobbish attitude that you can feel from the people of the other boroughs if you have a background in the Bronx. Rarely you will see someone from Manhattan come to visit a friend in the Bronx. Although the subway is literally the fastest to get to Manhattan from the Bronx than any other borough, few dare to come there. It’s all from the presumptions that the Bronx is overall dangerous, as well that it’s too far to reach and not worth the time.
Real Estate in the Bronx is the most affordable out of all the five boroughs. There are a bunch of low-income housing complexes available to struggling families. Besides the bad rap that comes from Bronx gangs and the “ghettos,” most of the Bronx residents are actually the working class. Truth is, this environment has long been neglected by the NYC Government. Some streets and buildings have been decaying for years, untouched and unfixed. The education system has failed its students, and crime and violence have naturally occurred as a direct consequence of that. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of living in the Bronx in the next few segments.
Is the Bronx Really That Bad?
The Bronx is the borough of change. It’s continually evolving and changing through its structure, population, and trends. It started out very badly as it is – with either run-down or underdeveloped places, it was nearly impossible to make a good living there. The other thing is that the Bronx is one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs. Out of the whole population, which is roughly 1.5 million people, most identify as non-white, and one-third of it came from outside the US. Each neighborhood in the Bronx can be a good representative of a foreign country or a nation.
There are some things that the Bronx doesn’t do well, especially in the South, where it’s the most densely populated. There’s too much trash, children don’t have public schools that are stimulating enough, nor enough after school activities. Safety of course, could be taken into account. Walking around at night in some areas can become scary. However – in those cases you have to take precautionary measures, just like in any other densely packed part of a city. Those types of crimes can happen anywhere from Manhattan to Brooklyn. There are crimes all around New York City. The Bronx just gets extra hate points for too many gangs that were most active in the ’80s and ’90s.
Today’s issues are socially and economically concerning, like the ongoing gentrification of some Bronx neighborhoods. This is not something the residents, especially the ones born and raised there, are too excited about. By increasing the real estate prices and rents, the working class and some other struggling population would have to move even further away to make more space for wealthy executives. This ugly image of the classes dividing further and further away is something that a lot of the Bronx people can relate to.
However, to answer the question truthfully, Bronx is an overall good place to live. There are affordable condos and apartments for rent in the Bronx that you can find. Many people move to Manhattan thinking they could go big – but then end up disappointed with the amount of money they have to spend on rent, utilities, transport, and even groceries. After that, they tend to move to other more affordable parts of New York City. The Bronx may not be their first choice, but it definitely is the most affordable one. A lot of suburban-like neighborhoods in the Bronx are quiet, suitable for families, and have good schools and lots of shops. There’s also an abundance of parks and museums/galleries. For any kind of cuisine of any nation, there’s a unique restaurant. This super ethnically diverse part of New York offers variety and opportunities for learning about new cultures. The Bronx also has a rich and incredible history. The Bronx neighborhoods are a close community – there’s a homey vibe there more than in Manhattan. However, the New York City “code” of minding your own business still applies. Finally, there are way fewer tourists in the Bronx than any other borough, especially Manhattan.
The Upsides of Living in the Bronx
- Apartments and houses have lower rents, and real estate for sale is more affordable
- More green space, lots of parks and places for outdoor activities
- Attractions like the New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium, Wave Hill Gardens and Estate, Poe’s Cottage, Arthur Avenue
- It has the oldest bridge in New York City, High Bridge
- Well connected to Manhattan with the subway
- Well connected to Connecticut and New Jersey
- Various urban, suburban, and nautical communities
- Amenities close by, accessible by walking on foot
- A wide variety of restaurants and delicious food
Best Neighborhoods in the Bronx
This is a list of some of the most wanted neighborhoods in the Bronx, real estate wise. Granted, you can move in the Bronx wherever you want to, but these are, without a doubt, the safest neighborhoods, especially for families. Let’s take a look at some of them and see what they have to offer:
Riverdale is a residential neighbourhood in the northwest portion of the Bronx. It offers a great commute choice for those working in Midtown Manhattan or above. Travel time doesn’t take more than 25 minutes. The proximity to nature is excellent for people that love to take walks. Hiking trails are abundant in Van Cortlandt Park.
On the other hand, residents who like shopping and urban settings can get to Manhattan quickly. Riverdale has fine restaurants within walking distance. Apartments for rent in Riverdale that have a view of the Hudson River are especially prized. For those that can drive, there’s enough parking space. You can reach anywhere in the Bronx by car. House/co-op/condo prices are far lower than in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Bedford Park is a residential neighborhood in the northwest Bronx. It is not known as well as other neighborhoods, although it has a rich history. During the ’70s and ’80s, Bedford Park persevered and came out as a success story, thanks to a community that believed in its potential. Luckily, most of the neighborhood stayed intact from the mass destruction of property that occurred. Bedford Park is dominated by apartment buildings, most built in the housing development initiative. Residents love to hang out along Mosholu Parkway. Bedford Park is perfect for families and people that love peace and quiet.
Morris Park is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of the Bronx. It’s the home of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Morris Park has all the amenities that you might need. From doctors, pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants, to schools, salons, barbershops, laundromats, and a library. Morris Park is the safest Bronx neighborhood. It is patrolled by the 49th precinct. This precinct is the safest one in the Bronx. Morris Park is adjacent to the Bronx Zoo and River Park, so it’s perfect for families.
Fordham is a neighborhood in the Bronx with a very advantageous location. It’s close to the famous Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden. From Fordham, you can get to the Grand Central Station in 15 minutes by train, too. The historical university campus is at the center of this lovely neighborhood. The streets are lined with greenery, it’s quiet and less crowded than many areas. It’s a peaceful life here, but also convenient for commuters that work in Manhattan. Entertainment is plentiful with lots of restaurants, bars, and weekend events. Fordham also has one of the best shopping streets in the Bronx.
Pelham Bay Park is the largest public park in New York City, more than three times bigger than the size of Central Park. The surrounding neighborhood is a lovely middle-class residential area. Pelham Bay is one of the parts of New York City with the least annual crime rate, partly due to the 45th precinct. The community of Pelham Bay is very diverse and tolerant. There are many housing options, from apartments and condos to houses. Pelham Bay Park is unique because of its natural beauty. It has a beautiful landscape and houses a wildlife sanctuary. The public beach, Orchard Beach, is very appreciated by Pelham Bay residents, especially in the Summer.
When moving to New York City, there’s a lot of decisions to make. Choosing the right borough is tough enough. With crazy real estate prices in Manhattan, one would either have to compromise their privacy by renting a room with strangers or settle for “less,” like moving to the Bronx. We use the term “less” sarcastically because there are a lot of stigmas tied to living in the Bronx. In reality, this is a great way to save money by renting an apartment in the Bronx. Additionally, you could choose one of the Bronx’s pleasant neighborhoods as your place of retirement. Real estate in the Bronx is a lot more affordable, and living there is convenient, despite what you may think of living away from Manhattan.