The Bronx Ghetto Story of NYC
The story of Bronx ghetto in the country’s largest city of New York, tells the story of the Bronx black history and the start of the Bronx Latino population within the Dominican and Puerto Rican community.
Long after the borough of the Bronx was created and began to develop, sometime during the late 1800s and early 1900s, many people, after World War II, began to leave their neighborhoods of the South and North Bronx for the suburbs and other boroughs.*
Slum clearance in nearby Manhattan helped black families, as well as Latinos who were mostly Puerto Rican, to eventually move into the communities of the South Bronx and later into the North Bronx.*
The Bronx streets that had once made nationwide headlines, has changed with the crime rate decreasing as the laws in New York City have become stricter.
Today’s problem of the neighborhoods in the Bronx is the rise in rent and mortgages, even though only 19% of the population has home ownership.
Gentrification, mostly in a section with an average income of $35,000 and a home value of well over the state’s average at $375,000, is slowly repeating history with black and Latino residents slowly moving out of their community.
An important fact on how the Bronx New York ghetto came about is during the 1940s, the city had a rent control policy that was introduced to keep rent from rising with many apartments being vacant, due to the soldiers that left to fight in World War II.*
Years later, the ability to not being able to raise the rent prevented landlords from having building repairs and led to many rundown apartment buildings. What the Bronx became historically known for was the number of arsons set by the tenants and the owners.*
For the building owners, they would receive insurance money, while the residents would use the city’s policy of being given public housing as well as money for their apartment catching on fire.*
Outside of places like Morris Park and the Riverdale area, most communities are home to New York City’s African-American, West Indian and Latino population.
Today, most of the black community is in the North Bronx, north of Gun Hill Road, in the northeastern section of the Bronx. Much of the South Bronx is mostly Latino, with many black families living throughout a number of South Bronx neighborhoods.
The northeastern section of the Bronx ghetto has areas like Gun Hill, White Plains Road, Co-Op City, Edenwald, Boston Secor, and Allerton, which has its own communities of Pelham Parkway, Eastchester Gardens, and Parkside Projects.
This part of the Bronx did not change until the 1960s and 70s with black residents from Harlem and people from the West Indies (Caribbeans) moving into the area, with most West Indians coming afterward during the 1980s.*
The heart of the East Bronx ghetto is mainly south of interstate 278, but communities go as far as Tremont Avenue. Some of New York City’s most legendary neighborhoods are in the East Bronx, like Soundview, Castle Hill, Throggs Neck, Bronxdale (now Sotomayer Houses), Sack Wern, and Bronx River.
The birthplace of Hip-Hop, South Bronx has influenced people from all walks of life, with the community’s reputation being one of the biggest in the country between the 1970s and 1990s.
The streets of today’s South Bronx ghetto have areas like, FlyBridge (Highbridge), Shiesty Ave (Sheridan Ave), MAG (Morris Ave), Dub City, and the projects from Patterson to the Morris Projects.
While in its beginning, the South Bronx was home to Jewish and European families, but later became one of the country’s largest Puerto Rican communities, together with a large Dominican population.
Unfortunately for some groups, the South Bronx ghetto is slowly going through a transformation, like many other neighborhoods that have a valuable location in any city across America, with the process of gentrification.
Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.
Images provided by All-Nite Images
*Past History of the Bronx: Jackson, Kenneth. Hermalyn, Gary D. Ultan, Lloyd. ”The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition”. New Haven. Yale University. 2010. pg 160-164