111 Places in the Bronx That You Must Not Miss
By Kevin C. Fitzpatrick
Photographs by Joe Conzo Jr.
New York, NY: The northernmost borough of New York City is buzzing with creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, thanks to the history and strong sense of community that make the Bronx so unique. In his new guidebook, 111 Places in The Bronx That You Must Not Miss (Emons Publishing/Distributed by ACC, May 19, 2019; $19.90 paperback with flaps), author Kevin C. Fitzpatrick reveals the startling places and intriguing stories hidden throughout this fabled borough, along with the people who are taking the Bronx to new heights today.
The Bronx is nothing if not resilient. Its history runs from Native American communities, to WWI heroes, to hip hop stars. There have been plenty of difficult days when the Bronx was literally burning. Today, however, there is plenty to be excited about there. “I’ve studied the Bronx’s role in U.S. history for years,” says Fitzpatrick, historian, author of 8 books, and a licensed tour guide. “The past is intriguing and wonderful, but this guide is about what you must not miss today. And it’s the people here who keep the borough moving forward.”
Photographer Joe Conzo Jr., known as ‘the man who took Hip Hop’s baby pictures,’ suggested many of the music-related places featured in the book. His friends from world-renowned graffiti art group TATS Cru created the custom cover icon that reads, “Da Bronx.” Conzo was born and raised in the Bronx, but even he learned a new thing or two. “I was surprised by some of the places Kevin found. That was the best part of this project.”
The Bronx’s innovators are creating the borough’s new generation of “cultural hubs,” where people can gather and enjoy themselves. Noëlle Santos recently opened Lit. Bar, a lovely and lone independent book store and wine bar in the South Bronx. Beatstro is a new restaurant, where owners Alfredo Angueira and Julio Martinez serve “everything the community likes to eat,” with live DJs and a festive atmosphere. Chef Kat Creech’s Mottley Kitchen is a calm and welcoming place to linger over coffee and freshly baked pastries.
Social entrepreneurship also features prominently in 111 Places in the Bronx That You Must Not Miss. Artist John Matos (aka CRASH of TATS Cru) founded the Wallworks gallery to provide access to art for the South Bronx – and the world. The brother and sister team Amaurys and Roselyn Grullon founded the popular shop Bronx Native, selling Bronx-centric fashion and merchandise. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched her campaign in the shop – and out on the sidewalk. “We want to do whatever we can for the Bronx,” Amaurys says.
The old school Bronx character is alive and well too in Mel’s Locksmith, a tiny shop that started as a key wagon in 1932. Today, it’s filled with locks, keys, and stories. Casa Amadeo in Hunts Point, also over 75 years old, is the go-to place for Caribbean and Latin music. Owner Miguel Angel Amadeo knows everything about the genre from bachata to salsa. Chef Joe Torres has cooked for everyone from Derek Jeter to Jennifer Lopez at Joe’s Place, his restaurant in Parkchester.
111 Places in The Bronx That You Must Not Miss features many unique and unusual places too, such as the home of Bill Finger, the actual writer of the first Batman comic book. The Bronx Zoo hosts the Bug Carousel, where riders perch on bees, crickets, mantises, and caterpillars, rather than horses. The City Island Nautical Museum in an old schoolhouse hosts an impressive collection of artifacts that preserve the borough’s rich yacht-building history. In Henry Hudson Park, a monument to the explorer is rightly located near Spuyten Duyvil Creek, where he sought refuge from a storm for his vessel, the Halve Maen, in 1609.
“The Bronx isn’t like New York City’s other boroughs,” says Fitzpatrick. “Or really any other place in the world.”
Title: 111 Places in The Bronx That You Must Not Miss
Publisher: Emons Publishing/ACC Distribution
Pub date: May 19, 2019
Price: $19.90 US
Binding: Paperback with flaps
Extent: 240 pages
Illustrations: color photographs throughout
Size: 5 ¼ in. x 8 1/8 in.