Saturday, April 12, 2014

Boulevard of Dreams by Constance Rosenblum

Before the Bronx was a Borough (1895) or a County (1915) it was part of Westchester County, one of 12 counties in NY State set up by the British.  Manhattan, hungry for new land began annexing lands surrounding in the 1890s, including ample Park space in modern day Pelham Bay Park, Bronx Park,  and Van Cortlandt Park.  Unfortunately, there was no simple access to those parks, until a "speedway" (for horses) was proposed in 1892 along a north-south ridge from the Harlem River to the Mosholu Pkwy.  The inspiration for a Bronx-style Champs Elysses was a French immigrant engineer Louis Risse.  Legislators approved the road in 1895, and took title to properties by 1898.  It was not completed until 1909.  It was the first urban thoroughfare to incorporate underpaasses.