History of the Bronx

Also known referred to as ‘Uptown,’ ‘The BX,’ and ‘The Boogie Down Bronx,’ The Bronx is one of the five boroughs in New York City and home to some of the area’s best breweries and restaurants. While most people associate this place with hip-hop culture, not many are aware of its rich history. So, in this post, we’ll take a brief look into how The Bronx became the melting pot of culture that we know today.

Before the European Settlement

Before the Europeans settled in the Bronx in the early 1600s, natives referred to it as Ranachqua and Keskeskeck. What we now know as the Bronx River used to be called the Aquahung River. The whole area was named after Jonas Bronck who established a farm near Harlem River. English and Dutch settlers called the area “Bronck’s Land”. Over time, the name evolved to “Bronx”. When the amalgamated City of New York was established in 1898, The Bronx was officially included as one of its five boroughs.

After World War I

After the first World War, The Bronx witnessed rapid growth. The population increased along with the extensions built for the New York City subway. Residential construction boomed after thousands of immigrants flooded the area. Many Italians, Irish, and Jews established their lives in this area. Some of the famous Bronx settlers included tobacco merchant Pierre Lorillard, author Willa Cather, and inventor Jordan Mott. A lot of Polish, German, and French immigrants also moved into the borough. However, it was the Jewish population which notably increased around this time. This is also the reason why you’ll easily find synagogues throughout the borough.

The Prohibition

During the days of prohibition, gangs and bootleggers were rampant in the Bronx. At this time, a lot of Italian and Irish immigrants smuggled illegal whiskey. Unfortunately, during the 1920s, the Bronx became known for its high crime rate. A decade later, the Irish immigrant population looked for better living conditions in the suburbs and other states. In the 1940s, the German population followed suit, and so did many Jews and Italians.

Urban Renewal

The quality of life for residents went through a major facelift during the 1960s and 1970s. Historians and social scientist regard this change to various factors. For instance, the borough witnessed several urban renewal projects. Low-density neighborhoods gave way to roads. Over the years, a wave of arsons took place in the southern portion of the borough. However, in the 1990s, several infrastructure and housing developments transformed the area. The effects were felt throughout the entire borough.

In 1997, the National Civic League designated the Bronx an ‘All America City’. It signified the borough’s comeback from the decline it witnessed during the 1970s. In the 1980s, drawn curtains and photos of potted plants were placed in the windows of abandoned buildings.

However, a decade later, it became common for locals and tourists to see construction cranes everywhere. Indeed, the Bronx Tourism Council’s slogan, “The Bronx is Up,” is fitting for the area.

Wine and liquor have played an important role in the history and culture of the Bronx. What better way to celebrate this than popping a bottle? For the best wine and liquor in the area, don’t hesitate to contact Arthur Cantina!

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