The Bronx As a New York City Suburb

Although the Bronx might be a widely referred to as the poorest borough in New York City, wealthy schmoozers and impossibly (and remarkably) well-connected people can now enjoy access to the best of the Bronx’s nightlife, museums, medical and educational centers, and one of the richest residential communities in the city. A prime example: 100 Cranbury Road in Riverdale, home to private school Fieldston, which charges $45,000 for tuition. A short drive from the Upper East Side, the 4- and 5-acre, Tudor-style Park Avenue Estates neighborhood is the newer and pricier alternative to the Bronx’s recently redeveloped South Bronx. Its commercial center abuts the nearby Westchester line, for a direct link to the city. According to their annual survey of the richest in the borough, the median income in the South Bronx is $39,000, while the median income in Riverdale is $100,000.

Aside from its school and the academic excellence of Fieldston—last year it scored an 89 on the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, ranking it the No. 8 private school in the city—the area is also home to two of the most revered medical and academic institutions in the city. St. Barnabas Medical Center, which is the largest not-for-profit hospital in the state, along with its private campus, is in Riverdale; St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center’s main campus is just south of the neighborhood. Both institutions are affiliated with Johns Hopkins, a hospital that has repeatedly been named by U.S. News & World Report as the city’s best hospital.

Most famous for their service to the city—including to our troops, firemen, cops, and workers at area hospitals—many of the area’s residents also happen to be envied for their influential background and portfolios. State-financed universities, which cater to many Bronx residents, including those who attend one of the area’s high-priced private schools, also perform excellent research in the area. The George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, located in a four-story row house on 193th Street, has a culture similar to that at Fieldston, with a robust campus, high-profile faculty, and numerous visiting scholars from around the world. NYU and Princeton are two other universities with strong programs in the Bronx, as well as Columbia and Cornell, which are both located in Queens.

While the areas around the latter universities are gentrifying—with all of the money lavished on renovations and big architectural projects, the only unglamorous aspect of this former backwater has been its relatively low population density and its lack of car ownership. But developers are also working to change that, with plans being mulled for new communities that will offer a mix of upscale neighborhoods and high-end businesses. One of the most promising models is the Eastern Edge at 161st Street and Riverdale Avenue, a development that includes the new 1,400-unit luxury residential development Tishman Speyer, which specializes in constructing luxury apartments in both luxury residential high rises and historic homes. Also on the rise are The Beech and The Rotunda, two mixed-use residential/commercial buildings that broke ground last year, each with 1,400 units.

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