Posts Tagged ‘The Bronx’

Day Trip to the Bronx: Art, History, Eats and More

The Norwood section of the Bronx is not one that readily comes to mind for an outing in the city.  But if you hop the 4 train to the Mosholu Parkway station, the second to last stop on the line, you’ll discover a world filled with all the authenticity that is the Bronx of today and yesterday.

First stop:  Montefiore Hospital

Right now you’re thinking, start my touristic day at a hospital?  Yes, you should.  Montefiore Hospital is an integral part of the community and has created a setting and programs that invite the locals to share their love of the area.

credit: Meryl Pearlstein

The Montefiore ArtViews gallery at the hospital’s Moses campus in the Bronx is part of the hospital’s curated Fine Art Program and Collection, designed to show off, by theme, all that the Bronx offers.  Consisting of a rotating exhibition space inside the hospital, lined with art, photographs and other hand-crafted pieces, the gallery showcases art by local residents and is designed not only for patients and family members, but for all visitors to enjoy.

Map of the Bronx and Harlem River bridges – credit: Meryl Pearlstein

The current “Connecting People, Strengthening Communities: The Harlem River Bridges” exhibit by urban chronicler Duane Bailey-Castro is a line-up of 26 photographic masterpieces of the little-known bridges covering the Bronx. Some of the bridges, like the iconic High Bridge dating to 1848 which re-opened to pedestrians and bicyclists in 2015, are shown in daytime and evening settings.  Think Monet’s treatment of light over the course of the day with his lily pads or his haystacks.  The quality of the photography is crisp and breathtaking and captures a slice of this up-and-coming borough.  The use of bridges is symbolic as well as thematic.  In their placement along the corridor to the oncology department, one can’t help but think of the bridges that the hospital encourages, from sickness to health. In this case, the photographer’s personal journey from illness to wellness is reflected in his choice of subject matter.  The exhibit closes on April 4 but will be followed by “A Healthy Dose of Rock”, featuring current pediatric oncology patients at Montefiore who have been transformed by makeup and costumes into rock stars.  In June, Bronx photojournalist Marisol Diaz will exhibit from her current portfolio. 111 East 201st Street, Bronx.  Open 8am-5pm, daily.  For more information and scheduling details, visit http://www.montefiore.org/artprogram.

Bridge by Duane Bailey-Castro – credit: Meryl Pearlstein

Bridge by Duane Bailey-Castro – credit: Meryl Pearlstein

To enhance the experience, there are dining choices within the hospital, a health-oriented café with sushi, soups, sandwiches and the like to be enjoyed indoors or outdoors in the hospital’s garden area, which is also often decorated as an art gallery, with pieces connected to nature.  The nearby Norwood area shows off its Dominican flair with Latino restaurants tempting with the likes of mofongo, Cuban sandwiches, mamey shakes, and other South of the Border temptations.  Try El Presidente II at 4-10 East 208th Street, or for a Middle Eastern twist, Tasty Picks, 89 East Gun Hill Road.

Tasty Picks

Just down the street, one of the few remaining stone farmhouses that lined the Boston Post Road, the Valentine-Varian House house, built in 1758, currently serves as the Library for the Bronx County Historical Society and is open for visitors on Saturday and Sunday.  A standalone home, in a flower-filled park setting, the house is magnificent in its simplicity and construction.  Behind and through a tunnel, a surprising park offers a sanctuary in the middle of urbanity.  The Williamsbridge Oval recalls the simpler pleasures of outdoor sports and playgrounds, with a walking oval fitting perfectly into today’s fitness craze.

Valentine-Varian House. Credit Meryl Pearlstein

Fall and Winter Happenings in the Bronx

The Bronx, named after Jonas Bronck who settled there in 1639, is often overlooked as a destination for a day trip. Yet, it’s a pretty quick subway ride, with, perhaps an Uber connection if your feet get tired. And you can fill a day or two, easily, exploring the borough.

Bronx ZooNot Just for Kids: The Bronx Zoo has something for everyone no matter the season.  Go “Boo at the Zoo” in the fall, feed the penguins any time of the year, or duck into the World of Reptiles to escape the cold and marvel at the gigantic pythons and the tiny dart frogs. Other faves are Jungle World, an Asian-themed warm-climate space where otters, gibbons and 800 other animals roam; Tiger Mountain and the Congo Gorilla Forest.  General admission tickets are $16, with reduced rates for children. The park is open daily from 10am-5pm. 2300 Southern Boulevard, 718-220-5100; http://bronxzoo.com /

Botantical GardenssStop and Smell the Chrysanthemums: No trip to the Bronx is complete without a visit to The New York Botanical Gardens. Year-round exhibits and programs encompass more than 50 landscapes and gardens within the 250-acre space. With more than a million plants, the diverse collection draws large crowds at this time of year for the Holiday Train Show and the Orchid Show in February. Fall walks in the forests and gardens are particularly invigorating. Tuesday through Sunday, 10am–6pm. Check the website for ticket pricing. Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road, 718-817-8700; http://nybg.org/

SammysEat, Eat, Eat: A surprise to both NYC residents and visitors alike, City Island is a 1½- mile strip of land that offers a variety of seafood restaurants in a boat-friendly residential area. If you close your eyes, you just might think you’ve arrived in a New England fishing village. Well, almost. Try Sammy’s Fish Box Lobster House, a fixture since 1966, with a menu as large as the portions. 41 City Island Avenue, City Island 718-885-0920; https://sammysfishbox.com/

arthur_avenue_cafe_restaurantArthur Avenue is the real Italian neighborhood of New York City, a thriving hub of Italian food and culture. Distinctive from Manhattan’s Little Italy where Albanians and Chinese have taken over the formerly Italian residences and restaurants, this area is populated by generations of Italians with deep roots to the mother land. Arthur Avenue is considered more “authentic” throughout and the place where Italian restaurateurs and local families shop. Check out the many food stores and the indoor retail market building with vendors selling breads, pasta, gelato, sauces and fresh meats from Italy. Restaurants are family-friendly and serve copious portions Many, like the ever-popular Dominick’s, have no menus – just ask for your favorite dish or let the server surprise you with the evening’s specialty. A definite go-to is Mike’s Deli where you can stock up on items to prepare at home or put together a meal to eat on the spot with cured meats, sweets, olive oil and other Italian specialties. 2334 and 2344 Arthur Avenue, Bronx http://arthuravenue.com/

Holiday Activities from Trains to Dining — For the Whole Family

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show If your kids love trains or any type of transportation, this show is an absolute don’t-miss.  Model trains and trolleys travel along a landscape of scale models of more than 140 New York landmarks instantly recognizable to any NYC fan.  The kick is that these buildings are made of fruits, twigs, seeds and other materials.  You’ll see the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, Penn Station, among others, all in this twinkling wonderland. The New York Botanical Garden,  200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard, The Bronx. 718-817-8700. NYBG.org/Holiday-Train-Show.  Through January 13.  Tickets online or at the park.
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Enjoy the Bronx and a Baseball Fancation: Yankee Stadium – Part I

In this three-part article about how to turn a baseball game stop into a vacation, Fancation, we take you to the Bronx, Yankee Stadium, and the adjacent exciting borough of Manhattan.  Enjoy the ride!

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