New Grand Concourse Historic District approved

1150 Grand Concourse. Image: Courtesy of LPC.

New district encompasses 78 properties and includes examples of Art Deco and Moderne architecture. On October 25, 2011, Landmarks voted unanimously to create the Grand Concourse Historic District. The district includes 78 buildings along or near the Grand Concourse between 153rd and 167th Streets.

The four-mile long “Grand Boulevard and Concourse,” designed by French engineer and Bronx resident Louis Risse, was completed in 1909 and connected Manhattan residents to the Bronx’s expansive green space. The Grand Concourse underwent a period of rapid development between the two World Wars as a result of inexpensive land, generous tax exemptions, and the City’s extension of the IND Concourse line into the area.

The first phase of the building boom was characterized by a mix of architectural styles, such as Gothic, Tudor, and Renaissance Revival. In the 1930s, Art Deco and Modernestyle apartments dominated new development. Many of these apartments featured rounded or jagged bays, asymmetrical facade compositions, and corner windows. These buildings also incorporated novel materials including polychrome brick, glass brick, and mosaic tiles. Developers took advantage of the area’s large plots to create blocksized “garden apartments” that maximized tenants’ exposure to light and air by building around large, landscaped courtyards. 

At the June 22, 2010 hearing, a representative of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. urged designation, noting that several buildings in the area had undergone insensitive renovations. The owner of four buildings within the district opposed designation, stating that creating the district would impose financial burdens on owners and tenants. 7 CityLand 94 (July 15, 2010).

The Commissioners embraced the proposed district’s designation. Landmarks’ Bronx representative, Commissioner Michael Goldblum, noted how the different forces such as zoning choices, transit expansion, and tax policies, had come together to create the neighborhood.

LPC: Grand Concourse Historic District, Bronx (LP-2403) (Oct. 25, 2011).

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