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The Bronx got its name from an early settler named Jonas Bronck. The 1800s brought railroad lines to the area, and by the turn of the 20th century the population was part of a newly consolidated New York City. Over the next few decades subway connections were built, a manufacturing sector thrived (including dozens of piano factories) and immigrants from across Europe flocked there. In 1918, the Bronx even hosted the World’s Fair.

That history is largely overshadowed by the perception of the Bronx as a place defined both by unsafe streets and a creative energy bursting through in hip-hop music, dance and street art. Although it was decades ago, popular culture remains obsessed with the crime-ridden summer of 1977 – chronicled in the book and documentary “The Bronx is Burning” and, more recently, in the Netflix series “The Get Down.”

In this special issue on the Bronx, we ask whether that era is still a legitimate reference point, explore what’s being done to bring the borough back and assess where it is today.

Bronx Articles

  • Governer Andrew Cuomo

    Rebranding the Bronx: Why do electeds keep bringing up the bad old days?

    By Sarina Trangle

    Standing behind a podium with a sign proclaiming “The Bronx is Back,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the crowd gathered in a new, 115,000-square-foot film studio last month to reflect decades into the borough’s past.

  • Kingsbridge Armory, Bronx, NY

    These 5 development projects could have the biggest economic impact on the Bronx

    By Frank G. Runyeon

    With New York’s highest unemployment rate, at 8 percent, and the unwelcome distinction as the one of the country’s poorest areas, few places are better candidates for economic development projects than the Bronx.

  • The Brook, Bronx, NY

    In a new age of rebuilding, Bronx housing nonprofits are still facing many challenges

    By Dan Rosenblum for New York Nonprofit Media

    When Derrick Lovett became head of MBD Community Housing Corporation in 2010, he took stock of the properties maintained by the nonprofit, which formed in 1974 as the Mid-Bronx Desperadoes. The organization, so named for its “desperate” activism in the face of widespread blight in the Bronx of the 1970s, acquired or renovated thousands of units in some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the arson and disinvestment of that era.

  • Ruben Diaz Jr.

    Why it should be called the “better-than-ever Bronx"

    By Ruben Diaz Jr.

    The considerable progress the Bronx has made today – on economic development, housing and the overall revitalization of the borough – is no accident. For decades, the Bronx stood out from its neighbors in the region for the notable lack of investment in the borough. Today, that is changing, thanks to the advocacy and activism of the elected officials, community leaders, nonprofits, businesses and everyday Bronxites who refused to take no for an answer. Together, we fought for these new amenities and improvements, and we deserve to take advantage of them.

  • Bronx Museum

    Holly from the Block: A Q&A with Holly Block, executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts

    By Jeff Coltin

    The new Yankee Stadium may not have the history of the original, but for the team and thousands of fans, it’s still home. Situated a few blocks north of the stadium, The Bronx Museum of the Arts is similar: despite several moves and renovations over its 45 year history, it’s still the premier home of art in the borough. A scholar of Cuban art, executive director Holly Block has led the institution since 2006. She talked to City & State’s Jeff Coltin about board troubles, gentrification and going free.

  • Visions of the Bronx's future

    By City & State

    To some outsiders, the Bronx is a place plagued by a history of poverty and crime. To others, it is remembered as the birthplace of hip-hop or a bastion of minorities and immigrants. To many, it has remained a foreign land, apart from occasional excursions to Yankee Stadium or perhaps a trip to the Bronx Zoo.