The East Bronx is that part of the New York City borough of the Bronx which lies east of the Bronx River; this roughly corresponds to the eastern half of the borough. Neighborhoods include: Harding Park, Soundview, Castle Hill, Parkchester, Westchester Square, Edgewater Park, Van Nest, Pelham Parkway, Morris Park, Throggs Neck, Country Club, City Island, Pelham Bay, Williamsbridge, Eastchester, Baychester, Edenwald, Wakefield, Bronx, and Co-op City.
The East Bronx is located farther from Manhattan than its western counterpart, and consequently it is less dense. While the West Bronx is older and very hilly, the East Bronx looks distinct in that it is not only somewhat newer and later-settled but also very flat and coastal, much like the nearby borough of Queens. The East Bronx is also distinct from the West Bronx in that the two were annexed by the City of New York at two separate times; the West Bronx seceded from Westchester County in 1874, while the East Bronx was part of Westchester until 1895.
Unlike the West Bronx, the East Bronx has few numbered streets. Its streets are largely designated to a handful of neighborhoods. Note that because the Bronx uses the same street numbering system as Manhattan, streets designated as "east" (e.g., East 161st Street) may actually be located west of the Bronx River. This is because the east-west divider is Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx (which is directly north of Fifth Avenue), and there is only a relatively small area in the Bronx west of Jerome Avenue. Thus while all numbered streets in the East Bronx are necessarily designated "east", an "east" street designation does not automatically mean that the area in question is part of the East Bronx.
The East Bronx has historically had a large Italian American population, and they still make up the biggest group in the neighborhoods of Morris Park, Pelham Bay, Pelham Gardens, Throggs Neck, Country Club, and City Island. The North East Bronx has a large Black Caribbean population, in particular in the neighborhoods of Wakefield, Baychester and Edenwald. Parkchester is home to a large Asian American population—in particular Bengalis, Pakistanis, and Chinese, although the Asian population at 13% is far surpassed by the Hispanic population, mostly Puerto Ricans. Throughout the East Bronx, Hispanic Americans—of Puerto Rican and Dominican heritage—can be found and they are majority populations in Soundview, Castle Hill, Parkchester, Westchester Square and Van Nest. Albanians are a presence throughout the East Bronx, in particular in Van Nest, Morris Park and Pelham Parkway.
However, the rather meaningful differences between the East and West Bronx go largely neglected today. Prior to the 1970s, New Yorkers generally saw the Bronx as being split into its eastern and western halves, as is historically and culturally accurate; however, with the urban decay that hit the southwestern Bronx starting in the 1960s, people began to see the borough as being fundamentally divided between the southwestern area (“The South Bronx”) and everywhere else. The notion of the “South Bronx” is arguably outdated considering that urban decay and high poverty rates have begun to subside comparatively to where they had been in the mid to late 1970s.
- Macy Jr., Harry. Before the Five-Borough City: The Old Cities, Towns and Villages That Came Together to Form “Greater New York”, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society from The NYG&B Newsletter, Winter 1998, accessed April 29, 2007. “In 1683, when the Province of New York was first divided into counties, the City of New York also became New York County... In 1874, to accommodate this growth, New York City and County annexed from Westchester County what is now the western Bronx... In 1895 New York City annexed the eastern Bronx”.
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