Macombs Rd., Bronx, by Phil Stanziola, NY World Telegram & Sun, ca. 1964, via Library of Congress A scene near Riva Apartments, one of the buildings profiled.By the 1970s, however, the “South Bronx” had become synonymous with urban decay in its most acute form, with poverty, crime, and countless building fires. Among other things, the fires destroyed many pre-war apartment houses. During the 1970s and 1980s, the City took ownership of thousands of buildings, including some profiled here, due to non-payment of taxes by property owners through a process called In Rem foreclosure Fortunately, the story of of the South Bronx did not end there. The City resold the In Rem properties to new owners and the area has been experiencing a revival in recent years. Many old buildings have been renovated and vacant lots have been redeveloped with new buildings. The designs of the some of the new buildings have payed homage to the pre-war architectural styles. With relatively little fanfare, government, non-profits, and increasingly the private sector, have reinvested in the South Bronx and brought it back from a downward spiral.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by Julia Manzerova
Locations of the featured apartment houses. Map courtesy of Michael CurleyThis list covers several sections of the South Bronx but has skipped one street in particular – the Grand Concourse, which is the part of the Bronx most strongly associated with pre-war apartment houses. We decided to omit the Grand Concourse to show that outstanding pre-war apartment houses can be found throughout the South Bronx, although the Grand Concourse should not be overlooked for those wishing to see the Bronx’s pre-war architecture–and we have a guide to it already. Here is our list of ten pre-war apartment house gems of the South Bronx.