City Living: Kingsbridge
Ask those bustling in or out of Kingsbridges 231st Street subway station what they think of their tiny pocket of the northwest Bronx, and there is a good shot you will hear a lot of the same answers.
People most familiar with the 0.75-square-mile neighborhood use words like beautiful, booming, diverse and home to verbalize their Kingsbridge pride.
Kingsbridge revolves primarily around Broadway, where its many of its apartment buildings and businesses are located. Its outskirts, stretching from West 225th Street in the south to Van Cortlandt Park in the north, are home to more old-fashioned, single-family homes.
The area is known for its unique step streets -- or stairways as many as 160 steps high that connect different parts of the neighborhood.
State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who has represented Kingsbridge for 20 years, said the areas demographics may have diversified from primarily Irish to more Dominican, but its working-class character has remained consistent. He spoke about the future, noting the construction of several housing units, two new shopping malls, an ice-skating arena and other key development projects on the way.
In the past year, the city approved several proposals, including the $320 million project to turn the Kingsbridge Armory, between Jerome and Reservoir avenues, into a sports arena. It also green-lighted a new 133,000 square-foot indoor mall on the busy strip of Broadway Plaza, the areas main commercial corridor, as well as a new BJs Wholesale Club in the footprint of the former Stella Doro factory on West 238th Street.
Kingsbridge was named after The Kings Bridge, which was erected over the former Spuyten Duyvil Creek in 1693 and was previously a part of Yonkers. The city moved to annex the area, along with other parts of the Bronx, in 1874.
Filmmaker Thomas MacNamara grew up in Kingsbridge across the street from St. Johns Roman Catholic Church and remembers the area as a safe, blue-collar neighborhood. He goes into greater detail about his experiences growing up in his documentary, The Boys of Kingsbridge -- From Grammar School to Ground Zero, released on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
It was a very wonderful place to grow up in because of the people there, said MacNamara, who now lives in Los Angeles. Everybody looked out for everybody. We called it one large Irish extended family. It was very safe, and it still is a good, solid neighborhood.
Van Cortlandt Park
It has become a go-to spot for the people of Kingsbridge looking for some open space. Van Cortlandt Park’s more than 1,000 acres show it all, from steep ledges to fields of open air. Regular park-goers say it is easy to forget they are in New York City while perusing the landscape.
The smaller of the two parks in Kingsbridge, this dog-friendly attraction is known for its sloping hill, popular for sledding when it snows.
Uptown Sports Complex
This multi-purpose destination offers the people of Kingsbridge a handful of options including batting cages, gymnastics classes, dance programs and more.