Wild green Bronx
The Bronx is blooming - and bursting with gardens, birds, and parks.
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Despite its urban image, the Bronx has 7,000 acres of park land, about 25 percent of its total area. In addition to Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo, the borough’s green spaces include the New York Botanical Garden; a 19th century garden overlooking the Hudson River called Wave Hill; and Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay parks, where you can bird-watch, play golf and ride horses.
New York City is touting the Bronx’s green attractions in a new promotion.
“Most people don’t think of the Bronx like that. We want to open their eyes to the actual physical beauty of the Bronx,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s marketing and tourism organization.
It’s quite a turnaround for a place that once symbolized urban decay.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning,” sportscaster Howard Cosell famously said during a 1977 Yankees game, as footage aired of a building in flames near the stadium. An epidemic of arson plagued the city at the time.
New York is a different place now, billed as America’s safest big city and attracting a record 46 million tourists last year.
Many of those tourists are repeat visitors, and “their appetite for something other than Times Square and the Statue of Liberty is enormous,” said Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., who got an enthusiastic reception talking up the Bronx at a recent tourism conference in Berlin.
GREEN SPACES: Sure, the Bronx Zoo has wild animals from around the world, including a new exhibit called Madagascar.
But for native wildlife, check out the Bronx River, which runs alongside the zoo. Turtles sun themselves on rocks, a red-winged blackbird calls, geese march by the shore.
On a recent day, a wayward duckling hopped out of the water and drew a crowd, attracting more attention than a nearby buffalo exhibit.
You can walk along the river without paying admission to the zoo; the trail starts near the totem pole in the zoo parking lot.