Boroughs of New York

The Bronx

November 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the Grand Boulevard and Concourse, the Bronx’s crown jewel of urban planning, which stretches over four miles from 138th Street to the Mosholu Parkway. This famous roadway represents Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture at its grandest, including a cornucopia of apartment complexes, the Concourse Plaza Hotel, the Loews Paradise Theater, the Bronx County Courthouse, and, of course, Yankee Stadium. Modeled on the Champs-Élysées in Paris and described in the 1939 WPA Guide to New York as “the Park Avenue of the middle-class,” it offered residents amenities not seen before in the city, such as private bathrooms and central heating.Intersections: The Grand Concourse at 100 examines the rich history of the Bronx’s most famous thoroughfare through a fascinating collection of pieces–written by top-rate historians and contemporary museum curators, and accompanied by two original texts by Alsatian-born engineer Louis Risse, who designed and oversaw the construction of the Grand Concourse–on the context that informed its planning and construction, along with a vast and lush collection of photographs that bring this intoxicating period back to life.


Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx
by Constance Rosenblum

The Bronx’s Grand Concourse, with its Art Deco structures, is one of New York City’s architectural delights, and its political and social history is the worthy subject of this new book by New York Times staffer Rosenblum, who edited the paper’s now-defunct City section and now writes a column for its Sunday real estate section. Stretching over four-and-a-half miles, the thoroughfare designed by Louis Aloys Risse, an Alsatian immigrant, and modeled after Paris’s Champs Elysées—was completed in 1909 and saw the arrival of upwardly mobile Jews in the first five decades of the 20th century, followed by waves of Irish and Italian immigrants seeking to pursue their culture and careers in a safe environment. While Rosenblum explores various aspects of Jewish communal life near the boulevard, she also dissects the rivalry between West Bronx affluence and the working-class East Bronx, and the racial tensions that led to white suburban flight and the decline and neglect of the area. The author also draws attention to the many noteworthy characters who lived on or near the Concourse such as Edgar Allan Poe and fallen NBA star Jacob Louis Molinas. A seminal recounting of the rise, fall and current revival of a major landmark, this book, with many archival photos and drawings, is a must for those interested in the cultural history of the Bronx and New York City. — Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

“Life in the Bronx” Series




Coney Island


There are several Brooklyn neighborhood guides available from the Brooklyn Historical Society including:

Park Slope Neighborhood & Architectural History Guide
by Francis Morrone



Park Avenue: Street of Dreams
by James Trager

For luxury apartment houses, Park Avenue has few rivals. In this interesting historical and architectural survey of the famed thoroughfare, due attention is paid to the mystique–“more a state of mind”–of the prestigious address. Trager ( West of Fifth ) takes a reader on a tour of the avenue, noting its origin as a legacy of Commodore Vanderbilt and his railroad in the 1850s. Past and present grandeur and the great building boom of the 1920s that produced mansions for the robber barons are noted in a block-by-block travelogue studded with anecdotes of the prominent denizens of the neighborhood. The avenue’s less affluent extremities and commercial intrusions are noted, but it is the opulent residential enclave that provides spice. —Reed Business Information, Inc.

On Fifth Avenue: Then and Now
by Ronda Wist

A nostalgic tour of the area and its magnificent architecture, complete with rare and vintage photographs, On Fifth Avenue: Then and Now is a book that evokes a long-gone, but not forgotten era in the history of New York.

Times Square and 42nd Street



The Harlem Renaissance: Hub of African-American Culture, 1920-1930 (Circles of the Twentieth Century Series , No 1)
by Steven Watson

West of Fifth
by James Trager

Greenwich Village And How It Got That Way
by Terry Miller

Texture of Tribeca: An Illustrated History
by Andrew S. Dolkart


New York World’s Fairs


Staten Island


Irish Staten Island, NY (IMG) (Images of America)
by Margaret Lundrigan

Jewish Community of Staten Island, The (NY) (Images of America)
by Jenny Tango

Staten Island’s Greek Community (NY) (Images of America)
by Christine Victoria Charitis

Staten Island, Vol. 2: A Closer Look (Images of America: New York)
by Margaret Lundrigan, Tova Navarra


The Other Islands of New York


Governors Island (NY) (Images of America)
by Susan L. Glen

Governors Island: Photographs By Lisa Kereszi & Andrew Moore
by Anne Wehr (editor), Lisa Kereszi, Andrew Moore (photographers)

Statue of Liberty

Ellis Island