The Grand Concourse( Mosholu Parkway to 138th Street.) (D train)
The Grand Concourse Boulevard is the elegant Blvd of the Bronx. It is a 180-foot wide tree lined through-way which includes elegant and art deco buildings, public art, civic buildings, parks and tons of history. The Blvd was designed by Louis Aloys Risse, who wanted to connect Northern Manhattan to the Bronx. It was model after Champs-Élysées in Paris. (The Bronx is the about the same size as Paris.)
The project started in 1894 from 161th St to Moshulu Parkway. It was completed in 1909. The road was divided into three sections and used trees as dividers. This ensure that some minor street did not cross through the Blvd. The cost was 14 Million at time, Almost $400 Million today.
By 1919, The Jerome subway lines made their way near the Grand Concourse and by the 1920s, elegant buildings were erected along the blvd. Many of the architectural styles were historic European such as Romansque, Renaissance, Tudor and Spanish Colonial. In 1923, Yankee Stadium opened near the Grand Concourse at 161st Street, down the hill from the Concourse Plaza Hotel.
South of Fordham Road, the palatial Loew’s Paradise theater, at one time the largest movie theater in New York City, was constructed in 1929. The Paradise’s auditorium was inspired by a 16th century Italian Baroque garden. You can also find the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage and park by Kingsbridge. The Andrew Freeman home also still stands on the Concourse. The Bronx Museum and Hostos College is located on the Grand Concourse as well.
By the mid-1930s, The Grand Concourse subway lines opened and started a new wave of three hundred apartment buildings. The buildings were even more elegant than the ones before with entrance courtyards bordered with grass and shrubs, many of them built in Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture. Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, “is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. It became popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It combined modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials.
During the 1920s and 1930s, it represented luxury and glamour. The Bronx court house opened in 1934 and exposes some of the best examples of Art Moderne Architecture. The Dollar Savings Bank opened in 1933 and the building was designed in the Art Deco style. It is clad in Texas pink Granite ashlar, red brick, and terra-cotta. The Fish building, which received its name from the aquatic mural on the entrance, is one of the best examples of Art Deco. If you are not convinced by the outside, step inside into the lobby of one of these beautiful buildings. By mid 1930s, The Grand Concourse was expanded south of 161th st to 138th St, replacing Mott Ave. Wealthy people desired the Grand Concourse Address.
By the 1970s and 80s, the Bronx is burning reshaped the buildings. Many fled the high raising crime of the Bronx. Thankfully, the Grand Concourse was partially affected. Graffiti ridden the once elegant buildings and the Eastern Europeans moved. The population was replaced with Blacks and Latinos. They knew of the importance of the Grand Concourse and pushed for a petition to preserve it. The Grand Concourse was declared a historical district from 167th street to 153rd St in 2011. The Grand Concourse underwent an $18 million restoration and landscaping to widen and landscape the medians; improve lighting; add new signage; and build pedestrian planters in the medians which was completed in 2008. In 2013, renovation began from 166th st to 171th st. The city is planning to continue these renovations for the rest of the Grand Concourse. The Grand Concourse always improving. Take a camera and take in the Art Deco architecture. Would you take a stroll on the Bronx Champs-Élysées?
GO FORTH, EXPLORE AND DISCOVER!