The South Bronx Ghetto
A Breakdown of Bronx Neighborhoods
If someone would want to know about a legendary community then the South Bronx is it as this area pioneered a culture by the name of Hip Hop that would take over the world, while also building a very fierce reputation, and not just in New York City.
Even though the Bronx is one of the five boroughs of New York City, it is very easily to distinguish or separate the identity of the Bronx from the rest of city and its boroughs, mostly due to the fact that the vast majority of the area is within the city’s urban community.
Other than small sections around Morris Park, Pelham Bay and Riverdale, the Bronx is highly made up of a community with African Americans, West Indians, and Latinos, who account for more than fifty percent of the Bronx’s entire population with the influx of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans.
Since the 1970s, if not early, the Bronx became very reputable from the gangs, or the local cliques and neighborhood affiliations, to the legendary neighborhoods, preferably the many housing complexes like Mott Haven, Soundview, Patterson and many more.
What defines the South Bronx is a question that may vary from person to person, but in this article the South Bronx will be considered everything that is south of Interstate 95, while also discussion every other urban area of the Bronx.
While places like South Side Queens has regular family homes or some sections of Brooklyn there are rowhouses, the South Bronx is mostly made up of high-rise public housing complexes and apartment buildings with thousands of people living in a very dense and compacted area.
What was once predominantly populated by white families changed by the 1950s as many began to leave the various neighborhoods in the Bronx, beginning with communities in the South Bronx as this area became the first urban neighborhood of the borough.
With Latinos from Puerto Ricans and African Americans from Manhattan communities, which were destroyed by urban renewal, arriving into the borough, the South Bronx became the mecca and heart of the entire Bronx.
While Jewish families, along with European immigrants, were the first occupants of the Bronx borough, Puerto Ricans, followed Dominicans who came years after, would build a community that would later become the largest Puerto Rican neighborhood in the country.
An important fact on how the Bronx ghetto came about is during the 1940s the city’s rent control policy was introduced to keep rent from rising during World War II as many apartments were vacant due to the tenants fighting in the war.
Years later, the ability of not being able to raise the rent prevented landlords from profiting and having building repairs, which led to many apartment buildings to become rundown and later the practice of arson by tenants and building owners allowed many to receive insurance money and other benefits for the property being destroyed by fire.
This was the beginning of the decline to the South Bronx, which constantly make the local and national news headlines during the era between the 1970s and 1990s for the poverty and the crime that comes with it.
Eventually, the population grew out of the South Bronx by the 1970s and 1980s as the growth in the African American community and an influx of new West Indian arrivals helped the urban community of the Bronx expand into North Bronx, especially north of Pelham Parkway.
Moving into the 2000s, the streets of New York City saw a large decrease in its crime rate as the local laws of the city became much stricter as most sections have the borough have become much safer, at least compared to previous years.
Today’s main issue is the movement of gentrification that is slowly rising the rent of an area where the average income is of $35,000 has made up it unaffordable for some and leaving to a relocation out the community.
*Featured Image credit by Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
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Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.