Grand Concourse is our first Getting to Know Our Neighborhood page. For your information, we are in the process of changing the pages of Special Places to See from a directory to a Getting to Know Your Neighborhood. We plan to begin posting some of the locations of the tours which I’ve done with several groups. This tour included a visit to the Bronx Museum of Art to view their exhibitions.
History of Grand Concourse, Bronx:
Grand Concourse was designed by Louis Aloys Risse, who came to the United States from Lorraine, France in 1868. After working for the New York Central Railroad, he was appointed as chief topographical engineer for the city government. He conceived this road in 1890 as a means to connect Manhattan to the Bronx. The construction began in 1894 and it was opened to traffic in 1909. It was modeled on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. It is much larger than its example in Paris.
The tour begins at the subway station at 167th Street & Grand Concourse on the D Line. We will walk South from here.
1130 Grand Concourse was built for the Bronx Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. This was the first Bronx branch of this organization. After it closed, it became the Bronx Young Men’s & Young Women’s Hebrew association. Currently, it is the Bronx Works Community Center.
The Andrew Freedman Home for Older Adults was built in 1924 from the will of Andrew Freedman. He wanted to create a home for elderly people who had once been well-to-do. He wanted them to retire in the manner they had previously lived.
Joyce Kilmer Park is named after poet of the”Trees”. There are several highlights in the park, such as the Lorelei monument to Heinrich Heine and another to Louis J. Heinz. There is a plaque on the ground with the poem “Trees” written on it.
900 Grand Concourse or the Concourse Plaza Hotel opened in 1923 in a lavish ceremony and Gov. Al Smith was the guest speaker. Some of the dignitaries who have stayed here up to 1957 included Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and many others. Today it is a senior resident and the old lobby no longer exists.
Bronx Supreme Court was built in 1931-35. There are numerous statues and a frieze around the top edge. Highlights are the four murals in the Rotunda or Veterans Memorial Hall. There are several other highlights to check out.
Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. There is the NY Yankee Museum on the lower level at Gate 6, by appointment.
Franz Sigel Park is named after a German educator, soldier and public official. He was a co-founder of the German-American Institute.
When we walk the tour of Grand Concourse, we include the above highlights as well as checking some of the Art Deco buildings. Some of the buildings have some beautiful murals and tiles from the Art Deco era. Another part of the tour includes a number of murals; there are four murals of baseball players that we visit. It includes one of Munson, the old captain of the Yankees who died in a plane crash.
I have designed two tours of the Grand Concourse. The one listed here, but there is a second one which we go beyond the Franz Sigel Park to 149th Street/Grand Concourse station. The extended tour usually does not visit the Bronx Museum.
Hope you have enjoyed the tour of the Grand Concourse. See you at the next Getting to Know Your Neighborhood.