Pelham Bay is a middle-class residential neighborhood in the Bronx. It features a number of large apartment buildings, as well as single- and double-family houses. The northern boundary of Pelham Bay is Pelham Parkway, and to the south is Bruckner Expressway. The western boundary is Hutchinson River Expressway.
Pelham Bay is part of Bronx District 10 and home to a large Italian-American and Hispanic population. The district ranks as one of the safest in NYC and was named the top district for children.
Key Features of Pelham Bay
While Pelham Bay is most noted for its Italian-American population, a recent influx of Puerto Ricans has added to the area’s diversity. The area features a number of good public schools and some Roman-Catholic parochial schools as well. Pelham Bay also has quite a few storefronts and restaurants.
The neighborhood is named after Pelham Bay Park, which is the largest park in NYC. At 1,756 acres, the Pelham Bay Park is actually twice the size of Central Park. It features over seven miles of waterfront and was acquired by the city in 1888, which is actually before Pelham and Westchester were annexed. The park is divided by two rivers: the Eastchester River and the Westchester River.
The park is also home to the Bronx Victory Memorial that depicts regiments of soldiers marching to victory alongside limestone urns and a Lady of Victory. The artistry is clearly classical in nature hearkening back to Greco-Roman sculpture. It was laid out by John Sheridan and the sculptures were commissioned from artists Belle Kinney and Leopold Schultz. The project was begun in 1930 when parks Commissioner Thomas J. Dolan submitted plans for the war memorial to the NYC Art Commission.
The Pelham Bay Park also features Rice Stadium on Middletown Road. The original stadium was demolished in 1989 and then rebuilt on a $1 million grant from Julia Rice. Today, there stands the Aileen B. Ryan Recreational Complex and one other major landmark: the statue of the American Boy. The limestone statue depicts a man who is mostly naked wearing a loincloth and holding up a toga.
History of Pelham Bay
The land that now makes up the Pelham Bay neighborhood was originally purchased by Thomas Pell in 1654. Pell was a physician born in England who purchased the land as part of a grant from the Dutch West India Company. His brother, John Pell, has an equation named after him known as Pell’s Equation.
In the 1630s, Thomas Pell came to live in what is now Connecticut. Pell “purchased” what is now the Bronx from the Siwanoy Tribe in 1654 and named the area Pelham after a favorite tutor. When a dispute arose between the Dutch and the English over occupied territories in America, Pell led an invasion force that pushed the Dutch out of the area.
Interesting Facts about Pelham Bay
- Contrary to popular belief, Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in NYC, dwarfing Central Park by a 2:1 ratio.
- Pelham Bay Park served a Revolutionary War battlefield.
- Orchard Beach, which is located within the boundaries of Pelham Bay Park, is actually man-made. The beach was commissioned by Robert Moses as part of a beautification initiative to improve the looks of New York State.
- Anne Hutchinson tried to start a colony in Pelham Bay after she was cast out of her Massachusetts community for advocating antinomianism. Antinomians were a radical sect of Protestants who believed that they were not bound by the moral constraints of the 10 Commandments. The idea of antinomianism was that salvation was based purely on faith, and “good works” played little part in it. The idea was much too radical for the mainstream Protestants, however, and was widely rejected.
- Though Pell “purchased” the land from the Siwanoy Tribe, the western concept of property ownership is not based on access and use, but the right to exclude. The Siwanoy believed that they were giving Pell a right of access. Pell believed he was buying the right to exclude. Skirmishes resulted between settlers and natives, and it eventually resulted in Kieft’s War, during which Anne Hutchinson, her antinomians and her family were killed.
Directions to Belluck & Fox from Pelham Bay
Belluck & Fox’s Manhattan office is located in Midtown at 546 Fifth Ave., 5th Floor, New York NY 10036. To reach us, get on I-95 South and follow the signs for the George Washington Bridge. Continue on to I-278. Take Exit 46 to the FDR Drive and over the JFK bridge. Take Exit 10 for East 49th Street. From East 49th, take Fifth Avenue, and our office is at the intersection with West 45th Street.
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