Concourse centennial walk
Louis Risse's Champs-lyses--inspired Grand Concourse turns 100 this year.
Thu Apr 30 2009
Edgar Allen Poe Cottage
Photos: Jason Rodgers
Start: 2640 Grand Concourse at Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx
End: 575 Grand Concourse between 149th and 150th Sts, Bronx
Time: 3.5 hours
Distance: 3.8 miles
1 Your first stop on this Bronx birthday tour is actually the last standing structure to predate the Concourse: Edgar Allan Poe Cottage (2640 Grand Concourse at Kingsbridge Rd; 718-881-8900, bronxhistoricalsociety.org; $3--$5). The master of the macabre wrote “Annabel Lee” while living in this modest home, which he shared with his mother-in-law and ailing wife from 1846 until his sudden and mysterious death in 1849. On weekends, a guide leads visitors around the house, recounting stories from the author’s melancholy life. For instance: That reproduction daguerreotype on the wall? It was shot three days after Poe’s attempted suicide in 1848.
2 Find a more modern snapshot of the Bronx at Asian grocery Battambang Market II (229 E Kingsbridge Rd at Valentine Ave), where you can buy Cambodian and Thai films, music, food and incense. Also check out its neighbor, Naveen Indian Grocery (229 E Kingsbridge Rd at Valentine Ave, 718-733-6200), which sells delights from India and Bangladesh, including DVDs of the popular Bollywood flick Devdas and freshly made sweets like gulab jamun (fried, sweetened dough balls) for $5 a pound.
3 South of the bustling artery that is Fordham Road, you’ll spy a prime slice of classic Concourse architecture: the now-shuttered Utopia’s Paradise Theater (2413 Grand Concourse between Fordham Rd and 184th St), a Baroque-style movie house in business from 1929 to 1994.
4 Pass by the 99 stores and sneaker shops dotting the Concourse until you reach KN Mi Delicia Bakery (2031 Grand Concourse between Burnside Ave and Bush St, 718-294-3329), where you’ll be greeted by a mouthwatering array of just-made Latin American cakes and pastries. Plop down on a counter stool for a 75 caf con leche and a $1.50 guayaba y queso pastry (that’s guava and cheese, amigo).
5 The next leg of the Concourse is mostly residential, and sports fine examples of Art Deco-- and Tudor-style apartments. We especially like the “Fish Building” (1150 Grand Concourse at McClellan St), with its colorful aquarium mosaic surrounding the entrance and pristine Deco lobby with bright-red elevator doors.
6 No one is celebrating the strip’s big 1-0-0 quite like the Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St; 718-681-6000, bronxmuseum.org, $3--$5 suggested donation). The museum’s newish “Intersections: The Grand Concourse at 100” exhibit features Concourse-inspired works by various artists, including photographers Diane Arbus and Andr Kertsz (through July 20). If you see only one piece, make it mixed-media artist Skowmon Hastanan’s Timeline, which incorporates local history in a color-packed, nonlinear narrative lining the exhibition wall.
7 Cross over to Joyce Kilmer Park (Walton Ave and Grand Concourse between 161th and 164 Sts, nycgovparks.org). If you sit by the Lorelei Fountain at the southern end and look west, you can take advantage of what might be your last chance to see the House That Ruth Built, right alongside the jutting tip of the House That Steinbrenner Just Finished.
8 Walk toward the neoclassical Bronx County Court House (851 Grand Concourse at 159th St, bronxboropres.nyc.gov), home to the borough president’s office, and turn right when you see Franz Sigel Park (Grand Concourse and Walton Ave between 153rd and 158th Sts, nycgovparks.org). Meander along the winding path of the placid, hilly green toward the crescent-shaped sculpture that shades the benches at the park’s peak. The view, which is now of apartment buildings, once stretched all the way to the Harlem River. During the Revolutionary War, it was used advantageously by General Washington and his soldiers to spy on British troops.
9 Treat yourself to tasty Italian eats at Giovanni’s (575 Grand Concourse between 149th and 150th Sts; 718-402-6996, giovannisnyc.com). We love the refreshing seafood salad ($13.95), made with shrimp, scungilli, scallops and calamari. Grab a seat next to the Bronxites watching the Yankees game on the restaurant’s flat-screen TVs, or dig into the $23.95 champagne brunch buffet (available on weekends, and including seafood spreads with unlimited mimosas, Bellinis and other brunch fare). And just think, in another 100 years your grandkids will visit the Concourse for its bicentennial, but might actually be able to see the Yanks win a game.
View Concourse centennial walk in a larger map
Like this walk? Try these:
Bridging the boroughs walk
Choose your own adventure walk
The Bronx walk
The other Fifth Avenue walk
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