Arthur Avenue streetscape
Location in New York City
|City||New York City|
|Community District||The Bronx 6|
|• Total||1.23 km2 (0.476 sq mi)|
|• Density||22,000/km2 (58,000/sq mi)|
|• Median income||$26,790|
|Area code||718, 347, 929, and 917|
Belmont is a primarily residential neighborhood geographically located in the Bronx in New York City. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise, are Fordham Road to the north, Bronx Park to the east, East 180th Street to the south, and Third Avenue to the west. These boundaries give the neighborhood a crescent-like shape. The neighborhood is noted for its "close-knit community" and "small town feel," and as a result of its cultural history and wide array of Italian businesses, is widely known as the "Little Italy of the Bronx."
Arthur Avenue, a street noted for its prominent local restaurants and markets, is the primary thoroughfare through Belmont. Zip codes include 10457, 10458 and 10460. The area is patrolled by the New York City Police Department 48th Precinct located at 450 Cross-Bronx Expressway in East Tremont. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 6.
During colonial times, the land that would become Belmont was covered in farmland, much like the rest of western Bronx, and it was the province of the Lorillard family, for whom a street is named. After moving its tobacco operations from Lower Manhattan to the central Bronx in the late-18th century, the family greatly expanded its property in the area, with its land known as the Belmont estate. After the Lorillards moved to New Jersey in 1870, the city acquired part of their land for Bronx Park; another part was divided into the streets that form Belmont today.
After the construction of the Bronx Zoo and the Jerome Park Reservoir at the turn of the 20th century, a large wave of Italian immigrants moved into the area. With a strong pattern of Italian immigration, Belmont was soon considered the Little Italy of the Bronx. This Little Italy was centered at Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street; 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. The neighborhood still holds an annual Ferragosto celebration on Arthur Avenue each September.
Like many other neighborhoods in New York City, Belmont became disenfranchised starting in the mid-20th century. The city dismantled the Third Ave Elevated in 1973, 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 1980s.
Starting in the mid-1990s, the neighborhood experienced a construction boom, despite the majority of its buildings were built before 1939. The neighborhood has also maintained its reputation as a thriving business area due to its abundant shops, restaurants, and markets. The community retains its reputation as the Bronx's Little Italy despite its smaller Italian population (prior to the millennium, the neighborhood was made up of over 50% Italian residents), and is often cited as New York City's "real Little Italy", in opposition to the Little Italy of Manhattan. Albanians and Puerto Ricans have added to the mixture of businesses on Arthur Avenue 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.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Belmont was 27,378, an increase of 1,411 (5.4%) from the 25,967 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 313.34 acres (126.80 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 87.4 inhabitants per acre (55,900/sq mi; 21,600/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 19.7% (5,381) White, 18.5% (5,059) African American, 0.1% (38) Native American, 2.3% (620) Asian, 0.1% (18) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (84) from other races, and 0.9% (249) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 58.2% (15,929) of the population.
The neighborhood's residents are 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 Hispanic and Latino Americans, Albanians, long standing Italians and more recent Italian immigrants. Many Mexican families have moved into the Belmont neighborhood, which hosts the annual Bronx Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Gradually, there have been more Hispanics and Latinos moving into the neighborhood. Hispanics and Latinos make up the largest ethnic group in the neighborhood as of the 2010 census.
Like most neighborhoods in New York City the vast majority of households are occupied by renters. Almost half of the population lives below the federal poverty line and receives public assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, 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 and walk-up 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. The majority of the architecture in the neighborhood dates before 1939, and exhibits pre-war architecture. 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 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), and the terrain is relatively low laying and flat.
Among the neighborhood's array of Italian restaurants and markets, there are multiple landmarks. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a Roman Catholic church located on E. 187th Street at the corner of Belmont Avenue. The church was constructed in 1906. The Arthur Avenue Retail Market, which extends the block between Arthur Avenue and Belmont Avenue, features an array of Italian meats, cheeses, and other market goods, as well as cigars, a bar, and dining area.
Parks in the area include the Ciccarone Playground, and the D'Auria Murphy Triangle located at 183rd Avenue, which features a Christopher Columbus monument. Theodore Roosevelt High School, a large public school opened in 1918, served the area. The Belmont Library and Enrico Fermi Cultural Center, operated by the New York Public Library, is located on 186th Street.
The Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden are also located at the northeastern edge of Belmont, and attract worldwide visitors. Adjacent to the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Garden is the campus of Fordham University, whose campus runs along the northern edge of Belmont, along Fordham Road. It is a private Roman Catholic university, originally established as St. John's College in 1841. The campus features Collegiate Gothic architecture and is frequently listed among the most scenic campuses in the country. The campus has been used as a filming location for a large number of movies, including A Beautiful Mind, Center Stage, and The Exorcist.
- Bx9: to Riverdale or West Farms Square–East Tremont Avenue (2 and 5 trains) via Kingsbridge Road and Broadway
- Bx12 and Bx12 Select Bus Service: to Bay Plaza Shopping Center or Inwood–207th Street (A train) via Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway
- Bx17: to Port Morris via Prospect and Crotona Avenues
- 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
Railroad service is provided by Metro-North's Harlem Line and New Haven Line at Fordham station. The closest New York City Subway station is about a mile west of Belmont, at Fordham Road, which is served by the B and D trains.
- Anne Bancroft (1931–2005), actress, born and raised in Belmont
- Don DeLillo (born 1936), author, raised in Belmont
- Lana Del Rey (born 1985), singer, lived in Belmont while in college
- Lesandro Guzman-Feliz (2002-2018), murder victim who was killed by members of the Dominican gang Trinitario.
- Christine Jorgenson (1926–1989), actress, first known trans woman to publicly undergo sex reassignment surgery
- Carlo Mastrangelo (1938–2016), vocalist from The Belmonts
- Fred Milano (1939–2012), vocalist from The Belmonts.
- Chazz Palminteri (born 1952), actor, raised in Belmont.
In popular culture
The film A Bronx Tale (1993) starring Robert De Niro was set in the neighborhood and the main character Sonny tells Calogero that he was attending the University of Belmont Avenue. The opening scene of 1955's Marty was shot on Arthur Avenue. Other films with scenes shot on location in Belmont include The Seven-Ups and The Incident. The character of Leonard in James Frey's novel A Million Little Pieces grew up in the neighborhood. See also the movie Death Wish 3.
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I would take the D train to Coney Island, take the D train back to the Bronx where I lived on Hughes Avenue.
- "Christine Jorgenson Biography". Biography.com. The Biography Channel. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
- Slotnik, Daniel E. "Carlo Mastrangelo, a Doo-Wop Voice for Dion and the Belmonts, Dies at 78", The New York Times, April 6, 2016. Accessed June 17, 2016. "They formed the Belmonts in the mid-1950s, taking the band name from the avenue where Mr. Milano lived. (The neighborhood is also called Belmont.)"
- Cunningham, Jennifer H. "Actor Chazz Palminteri stages a Bronx return to benefit his charity"], New York Daily News, October 3, 2013. Accessed June 17, 2016. " Bronx boy-turned-Hollywood star Chazz Palminteri is back on the block. The Belmont product has returned to the borough to perform his autobiographical one-man show, A Bronx Tale, on Oct. 17 at Lehman College."
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