|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2014)|
Belmont is primarily a residential neighborhood geographically located in the west Bronx of New York City. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 6. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: Fordham Road to the north, Bronx Park to the east, East 183rd Street to the south, and the Third Avenue to the west. These boundaries give the neighborhood a crescent like shape. Arthur Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Belmont. Zip codes include 10458. The area is patrolled by the NYPD 48th Precinct located at 450 Cross-Bronx Expressway in East Tremont.
Belmont is a dense, urban neighborhood with a total residential population of 27,378 people. The neighborhood consist of a diverse mix of races, ethnic groups, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, and national origins. Traditionally the Italian heart of the Bronx, the neighborhood now contains a significant population of Latin Americans, Albanians, long standing Italians and more recent Italian immigrants. Like most neighborhoods in New York City the vast majority of households are renter occupied. Almost half of the population lives below the federal poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). However, there is significant income diversity on a block by block basis.
Land use and terrain
Belmont is dominated by 5 and 6-story elevator apartment buildings but the residential streets are lined with a vibrant blend of housing types including rowhouses and larger Art Deco and Tudor Style apartment buildings. In the last decade, construction of modern 2 and 3 unit row-houses and apartment buildings have increased the percentage of owners versus renters. The land area is roughly .3 a square mile. The terrain is relatively low laying and flat.
Belmont was once the province of the Lorillard family, for whom a street is named. After moving its tobacco operations to the Central Bronx from Lower Manhattan in the late 18th century, the family greatly expanded its property in the area, with its land known as the Belmont estate. But after the Lorillards decamped for New Jersey in 1870, the city acquired part of their land for Bronx Park; another section was divided into the streets that form Belmont today.
The neighborhood became very dense after the construction of the Third Ave El. With a strong pattern of Italian immigration, it was soon regarded as the Little Italy of the Bronx. Like many other neighborhoods in New York City, Belmont became disenfranchised starting in the mid-20th century. The Third Ave El was dismantled by the city at that time and the poor accessibility in comparison to other neighborhoods further accelerated the decline. Housing stock was lost to arson, some of it razed by the city in the late 1970s and 80s.
Starting in the mid-1990s into today, the neighborhood has experienced a construction boom. The community retains its reputation as the Bronx Little Italy despite its smaller Italian population. Albanians and Puerto Ricans have added to the mixture of businesses on Arthur Ave and East 187th Street. Still, the Italian presence is felt with a number of long Italian-owned small businesses including restaurants, bakeries, delis and other merchants.
Arthur Avenue at East 187th Street was once the heart of the Italian community in the Bronx. Although the historical and commercial center of "Little Italy" is Arthur Avenue itself, the area stretches across East 187th Street from Arthur Avenue to Prospect Avenue, and is similarly lined with delis, bakeries, cafés, and various Italian merchants.
- Bx9: to Riverdale or West Farms Square – East Tremont Avenue (via Kingsbridge Road and Broadway)
- Bx12 / Bx12 +Select Bus Service: to Bay Plaza Shopping Center or Inwood – 207th Street (via Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway)
- Bx17: to Port Morris (via Prospect and Crotona Ave)
- Bx19: to Riverbank State Park (via Southern Blvd and 149th Street)
- Bx22: to Bronx High School of Science or Castle Hill (via Castle Hill Avenue)
- BL60: to Fordham Plaza or White Plains (via US Route 1)
- BL61: to Fordham Plaza or Port Chester (via US Route 1)
- BL62 Express: to Fordham (Valentine Avenue) or White Plains (via US Route 1)