Magical Places in The Bronx
Tucked away on the edge of the Bronx is this waterfront park with views of the skyline, Astoria, and the North & South Brother Islands. Check out the park's stone amphitheater and their seasonal floating pool, which dangles over the East River and was created from a decommissioned cargo barge. Nearby is the Tiffany Street Pier for fishing or watching the sunset. If you're feeling extra adventurous, take the ferry to Soundview Park, a neighboring, circle-shaped park along the Bronx coast, for crystal clear views of the Whitestone Bridge. To get here, take the 6 train to Longwood Ave and walk about 20 minutes.
The Bronx's last remaining 19th-century estate hosts guided tours of its mansion and the gardens, which include terraces, a fountain, and a stone carriage house. The mansion also showcases various art & history exhibitions, performances, and educational programs. It's named after English physician Thomas Pell, the original owner, and Robert Bartow, who restored the mansion after it had burned down during the American Revolution. Bartow-Pell is located within Pelham Bay Park; to reach it, take the 6 train to the last stop and transfer to the #45 bus and exit at Shore Rd & Bartow Pell Mansion. Tickets for tours range from $8-$10. The garden and grounds are free and open everyday to the public. While you're here, take the bus to City Island or explore Orchard Beach, the Bronx's only public beach.
3. City Island
New York City's local maritime island is full of seafood restaurants and harbor sights. It has a very lowkey, suburban energy and is home to a small population of less than 5,000. The island spans about 1.5 miles in length or a 34 minute walk from north to south, making everything accessible on foot. Most of the restaurants and attractions are found along City Island Ave, which runs through the center of the island. Explore the quaint neighborhoods and their street ends to find private points overlooking the Long Island Sound and Eastchester Bay. There are three parks worth visiting, two of which are Bridge Park near the City Island Bridge and Belden Point on the south end. There's also the Promenade on Fordham Street (found on Google Maps) that's located around the corner from 225 Fordham Pl. It's open to the public and is at the very end of the street on the right side just before the marina's private entrance. It's a dreamy, circular park with umbrellas and lampposts found behind houses. Fair warning: the island as a whole is highly residential and private so some of the best views are obscured behind mansion gates. To get here, take the 6 train to the end and transfer to the Bx29, which makes several stops on the island. Note: Public restrooms are available outside at Johnny's Reef restaurant.
This formerly abandoned industrial site was acquired by NYC Parks at the request of community groups and re-established with salt marshes, pedestrian greenways, a waterfront promenade, and a canoe/kayak launch. Subway tracks and the deserted Westchester station can be seen above the park while 6 train commuters can view the park below. The park, designed like a concrete plant, has red silos that were once used for producing concrete and also features bright white sidewalks and lounge chairs. The Bronx River Alliance named this park as a point of interest for launching canoes during their Estuary Paddle events. To get here, take the 6 train to Whitlock Avenue and walk around the corner to the gated entrance with a pedestrian and bike path.
An Italian-villa inspired subway station in the Bronx is distinct from other city stations. E. 180th St Station features a terracotta roof, entry courtyard, arches, balconies, and a clock beneath a plaque of Mercury, the Roman god of transportation. The interior includes a mezzanine passageway and mosaic panels around the station, all costing $66.5 million in its two-year renovation. Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects were awarded an Excelsior Award in 2014 for their outstanding design. This station has the 2 and the 5 trains and is located near the Bronx Zoo Aquarium.
The country's first hall of fame is located on the Bronx Community College campus, designed by renowned architect Stanford White. This colonnade is 630 feet long and lined with 96 portrait busts of influential Americans in history, from George Washington Carver to Edgar Allen Poe. It's found behind the dome-shaped Gould Memorial Library and overlooks University Woods, Harlem River, and upper Manhattan. For info on guided tours, check their website here. The colonnade is free and open to the public with valid photo I.D to gain access to the campus. Note: it's currently closed due to the library being under repairs as of January 2023.
An up-close view of one of the largest military armories in the world can be seen at the top platform of this subway station that services the 4 train. It resembles a large castle that seems out of place beside the train. The Kingsbridge Armory was built in 1917, serving as an active site during World War II. It has since been used as a temporary meeting place for the United Nations, a filming location for I Am Legend, and an emergency food depot during the pandemic. Several plans were proposed to use the Armory for school use, as an athletic center, and as a shopping mall complex. A plan was approved in 2013 to redevelop it into the world's largest indoor ice rink complex, but the contract fell through and the Armory remains vacant as it passes through another cycle of proposals. But while you can't explore the inside, you can admire the exterior! While you're here, might as well as exit the station and pay a visit to another Bronx castle at 2744 Kingsbridge Terrace.
Beneath the arches of the Hell Gate Bridge is a pedestrian walkway and bike lane extending from the south to north end of Randall's Island, known as the Hell Gate Pathway (#6 on the Manhattan page). At the north tip of the Island, the pathway becomes the Randall's Island Connector, which connects the Island to the south shore of The Bronx. The Connector is differentiated by its lower and flatter arches, while the Hell Gate Pathway arches rise up to 100 feet. The Connector itself is a little under half a mile and features a red bridge crossing over the Bronx Kill, a narrow strait. It's one of the most unique and largely unknown walkways in the city. To get here, you can walk the Hell Gate Pathway all the way down after exiting the RFK Bridge Walkway (#3 in Queens). To approach it from the Bronx side, exit the 6 train at Cypress Av and walk southbound.
This Italian-style villa with cliffside views of the Hudson River and the Palisades is found in the Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood of the Bronx. Collectively, there are 17 pre-war apartments ornamented with stone arches, balconies, railed stairways, gardens, and exteriors covered with ivy. The perfect symmetry of the homes against its posterior views attract both photographers and visitors. This villa can be spotted across the neighborhood creek at Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan. To get here, take the 1 train to 231st St. Station and walk 26 minutes. Alternatively, have a little fun and take the Metro-North Railroad to Spuyten Duyvil Station for actually breathtaking views of the river and the Henry Hudson Bridge. From there, you can take the train northbound to the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie! Note: If you're walking here, be cautious as there aren't any sidewalks in the neighborhood streets.
10. Wave Hill
This rare connection to nature in the city is a 28-acre horticultural garden located on a high ridge above the Hudson River. Wave Hill features its landmark pergola and overlook, four gardens filled with exotic & colorful plants, a conservatory, a terrace with plants from mountainous regions, and a woodland with trails. Additionally, Wave Hill hosts various events such as art workshops, yoga, talks, and live music. Tickets range from $4-$10 with free admission on Thursdays. To get here, take the 1 train to 242nd St and walk 26 minutes. For a more comfortable commute, take the Metro-North Railroad to Riverside and walk 11 minutes.
A curated list of underrated or unheard of places that spark a sense of wonder.
High Bridge Park, 1900.