5. Marble Hill

Historically, Marble Hill formed the northernmost part of the Island of Manhattan. In 1895, the Army Corps of Engineers rerouted the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, separating Marble Hill from Manhattan as a separate island. In 1913, the Creek was filled in, and Marble Hill physically became a part of the Bronx. However, at the time, its residents insisted on remaining a part of the county of Manhattan and voting in Manhattan elections (even though the area has a Bronx zip code and area code). Bronxites were not ready to let a slice of Manhattan abut their mainland borough.

Just before noon on a cool, blustery Saturday in March, 1939, a limousine pulled up to the corner of 225th Street and Jacobus Place in the Marble Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. James J. Lyons, the Bronx Borough President, had come with the express purpose of claiming the neighborhood for the Bronx (he compared it to Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland). Lyons planted the borough’s flag, emblazoned with “Ne cede malis” (Yield not to Evil). Smiling widely to the cameras, he proclaimed that the territory of Marble Hill would henceforth be a part of the Bronx.

While this territorial dispute has mostly calmed down, it still flares up every few years. In 1984, a woman from Marble Hill was summoned to jury duty in New York County. The woman alleged that she should not have to serve on the jury because she was a resident of Bronx County. In order to quell this situation, the New York state legislature passed a law declaring that Marble Hill is part of the Borough of Manhattan and the County of New York.

For more information about Lyon’s Marble Hill coup check out our previous coverage: On This Day in NYC History: The Bronx Borough President Attempted to Invade Manhattan in 1939

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