Tag Archives: Robert Moses

Believe It Or Not This Was The Bronx In 1897 – Part 3

The Bronx In 1897 and Its Beautiful Homes – They Gave Way For Progress

Concert in a Bronx Park 1897

Concert in a Bronx Park 1897

Concluding our series on the Bronx from 1897 we look at the final set of photographs excerpted from the 1897 book The Great North Side.

The editors stated purpose in publishing the book was “to attract population, capital, and business enterprise to the Borough of the Bronx.  It is not issued in any narrow sense with the desire of building up this borough at the expense of the other boroughs, for the reader will observe that the writers evidence an equal pride in advantages distinctively the possession of the Borough of Manhattan. We are first of all New Yorkers — citizens of no mean city — and proud of the fact. But our particular field of activity is the Borough of the Bronx, and we know that whatever tends to the upbuilding of this borough redounds to the credit, prestige, and glory of our common city.”

Fred Ringer residence Sedgwick Avenue Bronx 1897

Fred Ringer residence Sedgwick Avenue Fordham Heights Bronx 1897

The editors of The Great North Side really never saw the realization of their goals. The population increased and the borough was developed, but not in the way they envisioned.

What was once a roomy  borough with splendid homes and wide open spaces became overdeveloped. The construction of the subway in the early part of the 20th century brought land development, a building boom and hundreds of thousands of people to the Bronx.

Samuel W. Fairchild residence Sedgwick Avenue Bronx 1897

Samuel W. Fairchild residence Sedgwick Avenue Bronx 1897

By the 1930s many of the fine old homes had been demolished and large parcels of land were subdivided and developed with apartment buildings.

John Bush residence Webster Avenue and Tremont Bronx 1897

John S. Bush residence Webster Avenue and Tremont Bronx 1897

In the 1950s Robert Moses cut the Bronx’s jugular. Moses’ Cross Bronx Expressway bulldozed a wide swath of the Bronx destroying thriving neighborhoods and essentially splitting the Bronx in two halves.

Hoskins residence Fordham Bronx 1897

Hoskins residence Fordham Bronx 1897

Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #18

Henry Hudson Parkway and Riverside Park December 6, 1937

Photo © Ben Heller (Underwood & Underwood)

Looking north from 72nd Street on December 6 , 1937 we see the newly opened stretch of The Henry Hudson Parkway.

Headed by Robert Moses, the West Side Improvement project was built between 1934 and 1937. One of the main parts of the improvement, was the connection of The West Side Express Highway to The Henry Hudson Parkway.

The 6.7 mile parkway stretch from 72nd to Dyckman Streets cost $23,340,000, and was opened to the public on October 12, 1937.  This portion of roadway connected to the 4.5 miles of the parkway from Dyckman Street in Manhattan to near Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx that was opened on December 12, 1936.

A motorist could now drive uninterrupted from Canal Street on the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan through the Henry Hudson Parkway, all the way to the city line at Westchester to the Saw Mill River Parkway in about twenty minutes.  As you can see, traffic was not a problem then, as few New Yorker’s owned automobiles.

The city also created 78 acres of play area with children’s playgrounds, ball fields and tennis courts.  A total of 132 acres of new park land was created by filling land under water and covering railroad tracks.

In the photograph, you can see the boat basin at 79th Street is under construction. In the background is the single-decked George Washington Bridge. The lower level of the bridge was added in 1962.