City Living: Kingsbridge
Ask those bustling in or out of Kingsbridge’s 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 area’s 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 area’s main commercial corridor, as well as a new BJ’s Wholesale Club in the footprint of the former Stella D’oro factory on West 238th Street.
Kingsbridge was named after The King’s 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. John’s 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.”
NEED TO KNOW
Kingsbridge spans west to east from Irwin Avenue to Goulden Avenue, and north to south from Van Cortlandt Park to West 225th Street. More »
1 train to 231st Street; 4 train to Kingsbridge Road. Buses: Bx1, Bx7, Bx9, Bx10, Bx20, BxM1, BxM2, BxM18. More »
Kingsbridge Library, 291 West 231st St., 718-548-5656 More »
Kingsbridge USPS branch, 5517 Broadway, 718-549-6962 More »
Kingsbridge is served by the 50th Precinct at 3450 Kingsbridge Ave. Crime is down 81% since 1990 and just over 35% since 2001. More »
Taqueria Rancho Escondido
A local favorite and family-owned Mexican joint in the heart of Kingsbridge, the eatery has become known for its authentic items like burritos, tacos, quesadillas, chips and salsa and more.
This neighborhood bar and grille was named by several locals in Kingsbridge as the go-to for anything American -- especially burgers. Other favorites include wings, onion rings and more. They offer Sunday brunch deals.
For those with a serious sweet tooth, S&S is known for satisfying the urge. Customers passing through the storefront dared to call S&S the best cheesecake in the city.
An Beal Bocht Cafe
This pub and venue brings Kingsbridge back to its Irish roots with live music, great food and drink specials throughout the week.
The Punch Bowl
The old school, family-owned Punch Bowl is one of Kingsbridge’s go-to dive bars, especially on the weekends, with live music, and karaoke on select nights.
When it comes to beer options, the Bronx Alehouse is one-of-a-kind in Kingsbridge. This neighborhood favorite starts patrons off with some complimentary popcorn before filling them up with a seemingly endless row of beers on tap and plenty of bar snacks.
Kingsbridge-Riverdale Farmers Market
From mid-June to late November, the Church of the Mediator’s garden area is transformed into Kingsbridge’s own farmer’s market, showcasing the work of area farms including Goshen’s Fresh Radish and Hazlet, NJ’s Mi Ranchito.
Garden Gourmet Market
It isn’t your typical supermarket. Garden Gourmet’s fresh produce is only one of the features that keep Kingsbridge shoppers coming back. The prices also keep pace with those at more major grocery chains.
You don’t often hear people refer to a florist as a neighborhood institution, but one regular customer said just that. The shop has a large interior and plenty of its work already on display, making it much easier for that last-minute shopper to pick the perfect plants for their loved ones.
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.