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5 reasons to visit the Bronx

New York City Botanical Gardens

It’s the only New York City borough connected to the US mainland and it’s jam-packed with things to do and see. The annual Bronx Week is a 10-day series of events held every spring, so if you’re in New York at this time – or any other time – we say get yourselves up north to the Bronx, pronto. Here’s five reasons why…

The largest metropolitan zoo in the United States

The Bronx Zoo is one of New York’s most popular attractions, with more than 4,000 animals housed on its 265 acres. There’s an extensive daily schedule of feedings and demonstrations at exhibits like the Congo Gorilla Forest, Tiger Mountain, the Sea Lion Pool and recent addition Madagascar!, as well as plenty of extra-curricular events throughout the year.

The Brox Zoo is easily accessible by public transport.

The Yankee Stadium tour

Love ’em or loathe ’em, the Yankees are one of the most famous sports teams in the world. The new Yankees stadium opened in April 2009, and on a guided tour you’ll be able to witness the enormity of the most expensive baseball stadium ever built. You can also admire the ballpark from Monument Park – an open-air museum where the retired numbers and plaques honouring Yankee greats like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig are displayed.

Both individual and group tours are available.

Learn about hip hop with Hush Tours

The Bronx is the birthplace of hip hop culture and Hush Tours have been enlightening visitors since 2002, earning a reputation as the leading company to offer sightseeing and cultural tours in this area.

The 4-hour all-encompassing Birthplace of Hip Hop tour is led by genuine New York emcees and covers various historic clubs and video location sites in midtown Manhattan, Harlem and the Bronx, including the Graffiti Wall of Fame and the Apollo Theater.

Visit the New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is one of the most famous attractions in the Bronx, and there’s never a bad time to visit. In spring, see azaleas, crabapples, lilacs and flowering dogwoods in full bloom, or head to the seasonal three-acre rock garden bursting with alpine flowers and woodland plants. Other attractions include a 250-acre old-growth native forest with a broad range of resident and migratory birds, including nesting great horned owls and red-tailed hawks.

The Botanical Garden is easily accessible by public transport.

Explore Arthur Avenue – The Bronx’s own Little Italy

Just south of the Botanical Gardens, Arthur Avenue runs north to south through the Belmont neighbourhood of the Bronx. The area is known for the high quality and value of its Italian-American restaurants, delis and grocers, as well as pasta-makers, butchers, fish markets, bakeries, gourmet coffeehouses and other shops and services.

Author Don DiLillo was raised here, and it’s said that Joe Pesci began his acting career after being discovered by Robert De Niro when he was working at a local restaurant. The sheer number of stores, sights and smells makes it an ideal hotspot for lovers of Italian-American culture and cuisine, or simply for those looking for an alternative New York neighbourhood to explore.

by Maxine Sheppard