Belmont, Bronx

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Neighborhood of The Bronx
Arthur Avenue streetscape
Arthur Avenue streetscape
Belmont is located in New York City
Location in New York City
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Country  United States
State  New York
City New York City
Borough Bronx
 • Total 1.23 km2 (0.476 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 21,358
 • Density 17,000/km2 (45,000/sq mi)
 • Median income $22,247
 • Hispanic 58.2%
 • Black 18.5%
 • White 19.7%
 • Asian 2.3%
 • Others 1.4%
ZIP codes 10457, 10458, 10460
Area code 718, 347, 646

Belmont is a primarily residential neighborhood geographically located in the northwestern corner of the southern Bronx in New York City. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise, are Fordham Road to the north, Bronx Park to the east, East 183rd Street to the south, and Third Avenue to the west. These boundaries give the neighborhood a crescent-like shape. The neighborhood is noted for its "close-knit community" and "small town feel," and as a result of its cultural history and wide array of Italian businesses, is widely known as the "Little Italy of the Bronx."


Arthur Avenue, a street noted for its prominent local restaurants and markets, is the primary thoroughfare through Belmont.[3] Zip codes include 10457, 10458 and 10460. The area is patrolled by the New York City Police Department 48th Precinct located at 450 Cross-Bronx Expressway in East Tremont.[4] The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 6.[5] Belmont, referred to as the "Little Italy of the Bronx" due to its large Italian population,[6] has a "close-knit community" and "small town feel."[7]


The Belmont section of the Bronx, during colonial times, was covered in farmland much like the rest of the western Bronx, and was the province of the Lorillard family, for whom a street is named. After moving its tobacco operations to the Central Bronx from Lower Manhattan in the late 18th century, the family greatly expanded its property in the area, with its land known as the Belmont estate. But after the Lorillards decamped for New Jersey in 1870, the city acquired part of their land for Bronx Park; another section was divided into the streets that form Belmont today.[8][9]

In the mid-1880s, a large influx Irish and German immigrants began moving into the neighborhood.[7] The neighborhood became very dense after the construction of the Third Avenue El.

After the construction of the Bronx Zoo and the Jerome Park Reservoir at the turn of the 20th century, a large wave of Italian immigrants moved into the area.[10] With a strong pattern of Italian immigration, it was soon regarded as the Little Italy of the Bronx.[6] This Little Italy was centered at Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street; although the historical and commercial center of "Little Italy" is Arthur Avenue itself, the area stretches across East 187th Street from Arthur Avenue to Prospect Avenue, and is similarly lined with delis, bakeries, cafés, and various Italian merchants. The neighborhood still holds an annual Ferragosto celebration on Arthur Avenue each September.[3]

Like many other neighborhoods in New York City, Belmont became disenfranchised starting in the mid-20th century. The Third Ave Elevated was dismantled by the city in 1973, and the poor accessibility in comparison to other neighborhoods further accelerated the decline. Housing stock was lost to arson, some of it razed by the city in the late 1970s and '80s.

Starting in the mid-1990s into today, the neighborhood has experienced a construction boom, though the majority of its buildings were built before 1939.[1] The neighborhood has also maintained its reputation as a thriving business area due to its abundant shops, restaurants, and markets.[10] The community retains its reputation as the Bronx's Little Italy despite its smaller Italian population (prior to the millennium, the neighborhood was made up of over 50% Italian residents),[10] and is often cited as New York City's "real Little Italy," in opposition to the Little Italy of Manhattan.[11] Albanians and Puerto Ricans have added to the mixture of businesses on Arthur Ave and East 187th Street. Still, the Italian presence is felt with a number of long Italian-owned small businesses including restaurants, bakeries, delis and other merchants.[6][12]


Streetscape of Belmont

Belmont is a dense, urban neighborhood with a total residential population of 27,378 people. The neighborhood consists of a diverse mix of races, ethnic groups, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, and national origins. Traditionally the Italian heart of the Bronx, the neighborhood now contains a significant population of Hispanic and Latino Americans, Albanians, long standing Italians and more recent Italian immigrants.[13] Many Mexican families have moved into the Belmont neighborhood which hosts the annual Bronx Cinco de Mayo Celebration.[14]

Gradually, there have been more Hispanics and Latinos moving into the neighborhood.[15] Hispanics and Latinos make up the largest ethnic group in the neighborhood, with 58.2% of residents identifying as Hispanic.[1] The census reports that 19.7% of the population is white, and 18.5% is black or African American.[1] There is an Asian population of 2.3%, with 1.4% of the population identifying as other races.[16]

Like most neighborhoods in New York City the vast majority of households are renter occupied. Almost half of the population lives below the federal poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). However, there is significant income diversity on a block by block basis.[16]

The neighborhood is also home to a large population of Fordham University students, who reside in the university's off-campus housing[17] as well as private apartment buildings in the area.[16]

Land use and terrain

Belmont is dominated by 5 and 6-story elevator and walk-up apartment buildings but the residential streets are lined with a vibrant blend of housing types including rowhouses and larger Art Deco and Tudor Style apartment buildings. The majority of the architecture in the neighborhood dates before 1939,[1] and exhibits pre-war architecture. In the last decade, construction of modern 2 and 3 unit row-houses and apartment buildings have increased the percentage of owners versus renters. The land area is roughly 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), and the terrain is relatively low laying and flat.[16]


Among the neighborhood's array of Italian restaurants and markets, there are multiple landmarks. Our Lady of Mount Carmel's Church is a Roman Catholic cathedral located on E. 187th Street at the corner of Belmont Avenue. The church was constructed in 1906.[18] The Arthur Avenue Retail Market, which extends the block between Arthur Avenue and Belmont Avenue, features an array of Italian meats, cheeses, and other market goods, as well as cigars, a bar, and dining area.

Parks in the area include the Ciccarone Playground, and the D'Auria Murphy Triangle located at 183rd Avenue, which features a Christopher Columbus monument. Theodore Roosevelt High School, a large public school opened in 1918, served the area. The Belmont Library and Enrico Fermi Cultural Center, operated by the New York Public Library, is located on 186th Street.

The Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden are also located at the northeastern edge of Belmont, and attract worldwide visitors.[19] Adjacent to the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Garden is the campus of Fordham University, whose campus runs along the northern edge of Belmont, along Fordham Road. It is a private Roman Catholic university, originally established as St. John's College in 1841.[20] The campus features Collegiate Gothic architecture and is frequently listed among the most scenic campuses in the country.[21] The campus has been used as a filming location for a large number of movies, including A Beautiful Mind, Center Stage, and The Exorcist.


Bus service within Belmont is provided by MaBSTOA and Bee-Line:

Railroad service is provided by Metro-North's Harlem Line and New Haven Line at Fordham station. The closest New York City Subway station is about a mile east of Belmont, at Fordham Road, which is served by the B D trains.

Notable people

In popular culture

The film A Bronx Tale (1993) starring Robert De Niro was set and shot in the neighborhood.[7] The character of Leonard in James Frey's novel A Million Little Pieces grew up in the neighborhood.


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External links