The Bronx is New York City ’s second smallest borough both in size and population, and it’s the only one attached to the mainland. Purchased from the Algonquins by the Dutch West India Company in 1639, it was first settled in 1644 by a Scandinavian named Jonas Bronck.
The area soon became known as “The Broncks,” and remained a peaceful rural community up until the late 1800s. Then the 3rd Avenue Elevated Railway arrived, bringing with it thousands of European immigrants. By 1900, the borough’s population had soared to over 200,000.
Many consider the 1920s through the early 1950s to be the golden era of the Bronx. That’s when the borough was filled with many tightly knit ethnic neighborhoods, each with its own vibrant community life.
The arrival of the affordable automobile, however, soon allowed many of the Bronx’s more affluent residents to move to Long Island  or Westchester . And in 1950, Robert Moses’ six-lane Cross-Bronx Expressway was constructed, destroying a number of the borough’s most stable neighborhoods.
Today, the Bronx is best known as the home of such great New York institutions as the Bronx Zoo , the New York Botanical Garden , and Yankee Stadium. For more information on the borough, contact the Bronx Tourism Council (198 E. 161st St., 718/590-3518, www.ilovethebronx.com ).