1930s and 1940s cars parked in the Bronx Zoo

1930s and 1940s cars parked in the Bronx Zoo (1947).

These vintage photos of the Bronx lend to its storied history, far before the days of the “Burning Bronx.” As New York City passed London for the most populous urban area in the world, growing by almost 25% from 1920 into the 1930s, the country entered the Great Depression. Bronx County was experiencing a demographic shift as middle to upper income families moved to the north and east of the borough, while Hispanic and African American populations displaced its predominantly Jewish residents in the south and west.

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‘Old’ Yankee Stadium and the Harlem River (1933). The newly built Bronx County Courthouse stands in the foreground.

The New York Yankees still played in the old Yankee Stadium–“The House that Ruth Built,” predecessor to the current building on 161st Street–winning a total of nine World Championships in the 30s and 40s.


Photo by William Roege (1930). Fordham Road is in the foreground looking northeast up Kingsbridge Road, a few blocks from the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage.

A popular landmark in the Bronx, Edgar Allen Poe Cottage, stood (and still stands) uninhabited after the death of the writer in the 19th century.

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Hunts Point and Westchester Avenue (1940). Before the Bruckner and Cross Bronx Expressways were built, this intersection was a main thoroughfare across the county.

Westchester Avenue (pictured above) had much more open air, before the elevated 6 train and Robert Moses’ expressways that criss-cross through this area today.


Ogden Avenue (1939)


Beginning stages of the construction of the Triboro Bridge, which has since been renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (1931)

Another of Robert Moses’ creations that changed the Bronx into what it is today is the Triboro Bridge. Its construction began in the 1930s, with a grim outlook as you can imagine (recall, Great Depression). Today it connects the Bronx to its East River neighbors (Manhattan, Queens, Randall’s Island, Ward’s Island) to the tune of approximately 200,000 vehicles per day.


A man lurks in a Tremont neighborhood (1947).

Stay tuned as we “untap” more history of the Bronx and other parts of the City with our Vintage Photo column. You can also see these and other photos from around the Tristate Area at Andy Blair’s Flickr page.

 Bronx, vintage photos

7 Responses
  1. Raymond Rand Reply

    Can I use these photos ancestry.com to support my own personal history or possibly in a self published book that I am the process of writing?

  2. paul hacker Reply

    i think the bridge you see is the view of Bruckner Boulevard. The elevated subway opened in 1919 on Westchester Avenue.

  3. Peter Reyes Reply

    Can I reproduce some of these pictures of the Bronx in a book I’m writing?

  4. My American grandfather was living in the Bronx from the 1920’s to the 1030’s.My grandmother was an immigrant.When a census was being conducted in the 1930’s my grandfather Jess Henderson was working in side a auto garage.They lived on Mohegan Avenue south of the Bronx Zoo Park. My grandmother Mary Henderson died on June 13,1926-17d in the Bronx.And I was wondering what does 17-d mean?

  5. These photos are lovely. Black and white makes everything look so clean and perfect. The 30s and 40s are my fave era. I wrote a “vintage” novel and blog with lots of jitterbug, WWII and lifestyle stuff: girlinthejitterbugdress.com. Will share on twitter 🙂

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