Grand Concourse Historic District proposed

Buildings lining the “Grand Boulevard and Concourse”represent a variety of architectural styles, including Art Deco and Moderne structures. On December 15, 2009, Landmarks moved to calendar 73 properties along the Bronx’s Grand Concourse, the first step toward designating the proposed Grand Concourse Historic District. The proposed district would include a section of the Grand Concourse between East 167th and East 153rd Streets and properties along Walton Avenue, west of Franz Sigel and Joyce Kilmer Parks. Significant structures within the proposed district include the Thomas Gardens apartments, the Concourse Plaza Hotel, and the Bronx County Building.

French engineer Louis Reiss envisioned the “Grand Boulevard and Concourse” as a thoroughfare connecting Manhattan’s residents to the Bronx’s expansive parks. Reflecting the urban planning ideals of the City Beautiful movement, the Grand Concourse featured landscaped medians and waysides, and ornate overpass bridges. The Grand Concourse developed rapidly as the City expanded the subway and elevated rail line to reach the area’s relatively inexpensive and undeveloped property. Revivalist architectural styles dominated the Grand Concourse’s initial development, but by the mid-1930s, Art Deco and Moderne style apartment buildings characterized the area. Developers took advantage of the area’s large lots to build block-sized apartment complexes organized around large, landscaped courtyards, referred to as “garden apartments.”

Although Landmarks did not hear public testimony at the meeting, Chair Robert B. Tierney noted that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. had submitted a letter strongly supporting designation. Tierney did not set a date for the proposal’s public hearing.

LPC: Grand Concourse Historic District, Bronx (LP-2403) (Dec. 15, 2009).

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