History is everywhere


The Bronx River and the Bronx itself have a rich natural and social history. The last glacier left the area that is now New York City 11,000 years ago (Weisman, 2007). As early as 6,000 year ago Native Americans were hunting and fishing here (Barnard, 2006). After Europeans came to this area, it was converted into farmland. On the photograph above, Damian Griffin, Education Director at the Bronx River Alliance, talks with interns about the history of the West Farms neighborhood in the Bronx, which used to be a farm and now is in the heart of the Bronx. One of the best ways to learn about the history of the Bronx River, surrounding neighborhoods and ecosystems is to talk with Damian or other people at the Bronx River Alliance, who always have rich stories to tell. I also want to share this article in New York Times (1912) (PDF) demonstrating that environmental problems became obvious in the Bronx more than one hundred years ago. Restorationists in the past were more focused on restoring ecosystems in the upper portion of the Bronx River in more affluent communities, and often have overlooked serious environmental problems in the lower portion of the River.


Barnard, E. S. (2002). New York City trees: a field guide for the metropolitan area. New York: Columbia University Press.

New York Times (1912, September 22). Beauties of the Bronx River to be restored. New York Times, p. SM3.

Weisman, A. (2007). The world without us. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press.


Bronx River Symposium 2009

River Assembly 2009

This was an annual even organized by the Bronx River Alliance. Students and educators from several NGOs have presented what is happening along the River. This even was planned to happen in Drew Gardens, but because of rain everyone has relocated to the Bronx River Arts Center. A few posters on the background in this photograph were prepared and presented by youth from Rocking the Boat, and tell about restoration of river banks and water quality monitoring. This was a great opportunity to see how many young people care about the Bronx River.