Take a Tour: the South Bronx's Grand Concourse

Tours & Attractions

by nycgo.com staff, 04/03/2013

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Grand Concourse—a majestic Bronx thoroughfare designed by Louis Aloys Risse in 1890 and opened in 1909—is a worthy attraction for architecture, history and culture buffs. It runs from 138th Street all the way up to Mosholu Parkway, with extravagant facades and noteworthy structures dotted along its entire length, though the designated historic district is the perfectly walkable stretch between 153rd and 167th Streets.

Take the B or D train to 167th Street—other local stops include 161st St./Yankee Stadium (on the 4, B or D) and 149th St./Grand Concourse (the 2, 4 or 5)—and exit onto a wide boulevard that was intended to be New York's answer to Paris' Champs-Élysées. The street is lined with the nation's largest collection of art deco and art moderne apartment buildings, not to mention constructions in a variety of revivalist styles, including Tudor, Renaissance and colonial. One landmark to look out for is the Fish Building, at 1150 Grand Concourse, with its curved steel awning and colorful marine-life mosaics. Further south, take a respite by the graceful Lorelei Fountain, which honors German poet Heinrich Heine and highlights Joyce Kilmer Park (also paying homage to a poet), a welcome spot of green on the road.

After admiring the motorway and the architecture along it, take a bit of time to visit some of the destinations listed below.

Baseball
Even in the off-season, fans can visit Yankee Stadium—located just a few avenues from Grand Concourse—for a guided tour. The jaunt includes stops at Thurman Munson's old locker, in the on-site New York Yankees Museum, and the legendary Monument Park, where rooters can pay tribute to Yankee greats like Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth. Speaking of Yankees history, Heritage Field—located on the site of the original "House That Ruth Built," adjacent to the new park—gives young baseball players a chance to play ball on the same grounds where such legends as Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle once competed.

You can also hang out at NYY Steak—an eatery built right into the upscale ballpark—and grab a drink at the nearby Stan's Sports Bar or Yankee Tavern (the latter is not officially affiliated with the team).

To purchase tickets to Yankees games, visit ticketmaster.com.

History
The Bronx's legacy stretches far beyond Yankee Stadium's outfield walls. The Bronx Central Post Office (located at 558 Grand Concourse), which opened in 1937, is notable for the 13 large murals on its walls. The pieces, inspired by Walt Whitman's poem "I See America Working," depict everyday people doing the jobs that keep the City and country running. They were finished in 1939 by painter Ben Shahn and his wife, Bernarda; though the post office is for sale, the artwork will be preserved.

The Bronx Walk of Fame, which begins at 161st Street and moves south, pays tribute to some of the many notable personalities who have roots in the borough, a diverse group that includes Colin Powell, Fat Joe, Mary Higgins Clark and Ace Frehley. The stars are honored with plaques bearing their names on light posts.

Culture
The Bronx Museum of the Arts showcases art that shares its namesake borough's diversity. Admission is always free.

To see even more of the borough's creative offerings, hop aboard the free Bronx Culture Trolley, which departs from Hostos Community College's Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos on the first Wednesday of each month (except in January and September). The vehicle makes stops in the South Bronx Cultural Corridor, where you'll find theaters, galleries, museums and other art-related venues.

Another South Bronx Cultural Corridor establishment, BronxArtSpace—an institution managed and run by a collaboration of artists, curators and filmmakers—hosts a wide variety of programs including visual-art exhibitions, experimental-film screenings and dance, music and theater performances. Participating artists come from all around the globe, but include a sizable local contingent.

Still more performing arts are on offer at Pregones Theater—which presents an ever-changing lineup of original musical and theatrical productions with a focus on Puerto Rican and Latino artists and themes.

On the John Cardinal O'Connor campus of the College of New Rochelle, the Gordon A. Parks Gallery & Cultural Arts Center hosts more than its fair share of art exhibitions, poetry readings, musical performances and other cultural events.

The Bronx Documentary Center screens films, exhibits photographs and even offers educational programs as part of its ongoing mission to support journalists, teachers, filmmakers and others who have an important role in the local, national and global dialogue.

Dining/Shopping
The Grand Concourse area features abundant dining options as well. Court Deli, which dispenses reliable standbys like pastrami and corned beef, is popular with fans looking to grab a bite before Yankees games. The nearby Feeding Tree serves Jamaican dishes such as jerk chicken, oxtail and stewed beef. The focus at Molino Rojo, meanwhile, is on Puerto Rican– and Dominican-style food. Offerings include plantains, fried pork chunks and rice and beans. Charlie's Bar & Kitchen serves New American fare along with its wine and cocktails, and it stays open late. And at G-Bar, patrons can savor Italian (and other) flavors in a trendy downstairs lounge that many nights includes live bands or a DJ; it's beneath Giovanni, a proper restaurant run by the same folks. If you're looking to do some shopping in addition to grabbing a bite to eat, you may be interested in checking out Bronx Terminal Market, a mall that features a number of national retailers. During the summer, be on the lookout for Rooftop Films screenings at the venue.

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