Look Back At The Bronx — Exclusive Images from NYC’s Department of Records

We hope you enjoyed our epic three-part tour through the history of the Bronx. This was the first time we’ve ever tackled the story of a borough over the course of a few shows, and we really had to learn to think concisely and in big concepts, lest each episode be a couple hours long.

Here are the three shows in case you missed one:

The Bronx Is Born (1630-1874)

The Bronx Is Building (1875-1955)

The Bronx Was Burning (1955-today)

There are of course many aspects of Bronx history that we didn’t even get to properly cover — Fort Schuyler, Marble Hill, the Quakers of Hunts Point, the Bronx Terminal Market, the former amusements of Clason Point, Saint Raymond’s Cemetery, the Hub. That simply means we’ll be returning to the borough in future episodes.

But a special treat arrived in our mailbox this week from the NYC Department of Records. Archivist Alexandra Hilton curated a Bronx centennial exhibition a couple years ago featuring images from the deep trove of riches in the department’s collection. And she’s kindly offered to share some with us here!

Enjoy this look back through many era of the Bronx through perspectives you’ve perhaps never seen.

You’re not seeing things — this is a baseball game next to Woodlawn Cemetery, somewhere along the Bronx River Parkway, date unknown, but most certainly late 19th century.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

The auditorium of Morris High School, the first high school built in the Bronx. Picture is from November 1926,

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

The NY Catholic Protectory, an orphanage, in Parkchester, date unknown.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

A couple images of the Bronx River within Bronx Park and the New York Botanical Garden (which was contained within the confines of the park), from its early years, c. pre 20th century.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

The Haupt Conservatory within the botanic garden.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

Inside old Fort Schuyler at Throgs Neck in the late 1930s, as military operations are dismantled and the structure becomes New York State Merchant Marine Academy (now SUNY Maritime College).

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

The scene — St. Mary’s Park in Mott Haven. I believe this is the construction of a new playground, but the park has been through a lot of changes, so it may be something else. Date is April of 1934. Any guesses? Also, see the mansion in the background?

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

Bungalows develop near the location of Orchard Beach, April 1929.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

The beautiful Bronx County Courthouse, pictured here a bit after its completion in 1935.

wpa_257b.tif
wpa_257b.tif

The opening of Orchard Beach on July 25, 1936. Some extraordinary fashions on display here!

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

An overhead view of Orchard Beach, 1938

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

At the crypt of Lewis Morris at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Morrisania, c. 1930s.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

Kids living in a Bronx cooperative apartment building, 1938

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

Construction site for Hunter College, c. 1938, on the area of the former Jerome Park Racetrack (a portion of which was turned into Jerome Park Reservoir). Today this is the site of Lehman College.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

Robert Moses at the dedication of the Whitestone Bridge, May 25, 1939.

dpr_5-25-39.tif
NYC Department of Records

 

A blessing at the Shrine Church of St. Ann’s in Norwood, December 1939. Unfortunately the church closed last year.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

Keating Hall on the campus of Fordham University, c, 1935-1941

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

The Bronx NYU campus and the Hall of Fame of Great Americans, c. 1935-1941.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

This image perfectly captures the mix of housing styles and transportation infrastructure in the Bronx during the mid 20th century. This particular image, from 1938, is of 3477 Bronx Boulevard.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

FDR’s campaign headquarters in 1940, above some breathtaking neon signage.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

The scene at the Bronx Terminal Market in Hunts Point, 1941.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

Inside the Bronx Terminal Market, date unknown.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

The re-opening of the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad, May 15, 1941, with Mayor La Guardia cutting the ribbon. The railroad line had been a financial failure and was purchased by the city and converted into a subway line. (Today it’s part of the 2 and 5 lines to Wakefield.)

NYC Dept of Records
NYC Dept of Records

 

Marie LaGuardia speaks at the memorial service for her husband in Woodlawn Cemetery, September 1947.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

The scene at the St Mary’s Park playground, 1949

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

Illustration of that super wacky set of undulating highways and ramps along the Bronx River, October 1948.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

And an extraordinary artifact — an anti-Robert Moses flyer that would have been found in the Parkchester and Westchester neighborhoods, retaliating against plans to construct the Cross-Bronx Expressway.  “The needs of the people must not become a political football to be kicked back and forth….” Issued by the Communist Party of the Bronx!

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

Former Bronx borough president Fernando Ferrer joins in the Puerto Rican Parade, 1992

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

A South Bronx town hall meeting featuring David Dinkins in October 1993. He would lose the mayoral race the following month to Rudy Giuliani.

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records

 

Fernando Ferrer oversees some ‘helpful’ wall writing — DON’T DUMP ON THE BRONX. Date: 1994

NYC Department of Records
NYC Department of Records
  • Adelaide

    A wonderful trip down memory lane. Thank you for sharing.