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City Living: Bedford Park
If you’re in the market for a 24-hour, bustling neighborhood with restaurants that line streets, sibilant sounds of outdoor diners and a hotbed of nightlife activity, Bedford Park won’t do.
But for those seeking a relatively quiet neighborhood known for its schools, greenery and history, it is perfect.
The enclave, nestled among the Kingsbridge, Fordham and Norwood neighborhoods, is home to some of the Bronx’s oldest buildings.
The Bedford Park Congregational Church, the oldest church in the neighborhood, dating back to 1882, sits at the corner of Bainbridge Avenue and East 201st Street. It was given landmark status by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2000.
The neighborhood is also highly regarded for its educational institutions — including Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York on Goulden Avenue and Academy of Mount St. Ursula High School, an all-girls prep school that is the oldest Catholic high school for girls in New York State.
Bedford Park also is home to two specialized high schools: the Bronx High School of Science and the High School of American Studies at Lehman College.
According to Bronx Community Board 7, Winston Churchill’s grandfather Leonard Jerome owned much of Bedford Park in the mid-19th century.
Jerome built a racecourse there in 1866 that was later converted into the Jerome Park Reservoir.
Once heavily populated by Irish and Jewish residents who worked on the construction of the reservoir, Bedford Park’s demographics have changed radically in recent years. Now, blacks and Hispanics, including Mexicans and Dominicans, live alongside Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese and a Caribbean community.
“The neighborhood is always changing,” said Michael Prendergast Jr., the owner of the Jolly Tinker bar. “But that’s the interesting part of the pulse of the Bronx: The vibe is always changing.”
Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan says Bedford Park has an unusual combination of advantages, ranging from accessibility to cultural institutions and history.
“You have the D train, The New York Botanical Garden and Lehman College’s Center for Performing Arts as well as their art gallery,” he said, while also noting the area’s historical houses of worship and well-known schools.
“It’s relatively quiet. You don’t have the raucous sounds of midtown, but you do have all the advantages of midtown, and you can get there if you wanted to in 15 minutes,” he said.
Need to Know
Bedford Park is bounded on the west by Goulden Avenue/ Lehman College and on the east by Webster Avenue/New York Botanical Garden. It runs north to south from Mosholu Parkway to 194th Street/West Kingsbridge Road. More »
4 train to Bedford Park Boulevard station, Mosholu Parkway station and Kingsbridge Road. Metro-North trains at the Botanical Garden station. D train to Bedford Park Boulevard and Kingsbridge Road stations; B during designated hours. More »
Bx1; Bx2; Bx10; Bx22; Bx26; Bx28; Bx32; Bx34; BxM4 More »
The New York Public Library’s Bronx Library Center is a little past Bedford Park’s southern boundary at 310 E. Kingsbridge Rd. More »
USPS, 2549 Jerome Ave. 718-364-8432. More »
The 52nd Precinct, whose station is at 3016 Webster Ave., covers Bedford Park. Though relatively safe on the whole, the area experienced some violence recently. A 20-year-old man was shot at the corner of Bedford Park Boulevard and Webster Avenue on June 2, according to the local Norwood News newspaper. He is expected to live. So far, for 2013, the precinct has had four murders, according to its NYPD CompStat report. Historically, murders decreased here from 43 in 1993 to six in 2012. There were 545 robberies, 413 burglaries and 630 grand larcenies in 2012. More »
Bedford Café Restaurant
At this well-known Bedford Park spot, breakfast is served all day, along with gourmet sandwiches and wraps as well as steak and seafood entrees. It is open 24 hours a day.
Com Tam Ninh Kieu
This spot serves up traditional Vietnamese dishes such as bun rieu, a soup loaded with chunks of fish and vermicelli noodles, and pho, the popular Vietnamese street food.
Located right on the outskirts of The New York Botanical Garden, Webster Café offers convenience for visitors and locals, not to mention inexpensive dining. The unbeatable jumbo burgers are a hit, as well as their anytime omelet choices.
A favorite haunt for many local college students, it’s known for affordable drink specials (Tinker Tuesdays), karaoke Fridays and pool in the back room. But it’s still worth a visit for postcollegiate would-be patrons, since it is one of the oldest bars in the Bronx.
Madden’s Bedford Pub
This small watering hole is another late-night spot that offers a friendly community atmosphere.
Karina Restaurant and Bar
Conveniently located next to The New York Botanical Garden, residents can grab a bite to eat here and drink into the morning on weekends.
Steps away from the Mosholu Parkway boundary, this discount store specializes in menswear and offers everything from formal to casual clothing.
The Children’s Place
Part of the Fordham Shopping Center, the children’s clothing chain is known for its trendy selection of apparel and accessories for newborns and kids.
Known for affordable women’s fashions, Easy Pickins offers some of the latest styles for affordable prices. The store also sells shoes and accessories.
The New York Botanical Garden
Bedford Park is located right beside the 240-acre New York Botanical Garden, which provides a quick, convenient escape for residents of the area.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts
This local cultural center is a prime spot offering affordable fine art performances, from plays to musical acts. The next season starts Aug. 17 with salsa singer Ismael Miranda.
Mosholu Playground and Mosholu Parkway Greenway
On the weekend, residents of Bedford Park and nearby areas gather and relax on the green space that divides Mosholu Parkway South and Mosholu Parkway North. The Mosholu Playground, located on the parkway’s southern road between Briggs and Bainbridge avenues, is also a good place for families with children to enjoy the outdoors.