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New York City - Bronx
The Bronx is the only New York borough on the mainland of the United States. It was originally part of Westchester County but was gradually annexed by New York City. The Bronx was completely incorporated into New York City in 1898.
The Bronx has a strong character all its own. It is the birthplace of hip hop music, one of the most important truly American musical genres, and home to one of the country's most storied professional baseball teams, the New York Yankees, also known as the "Bronx Bombers." Many ethnic groups have called the Bronx home over the years. Arthur Avenue is still a center of Italian American culture in New York, and many claim it has a more authentic feel than Manhattan's Little Italy. The South Bronx is a center of Puerto Rican culture and life, with a growing Mexican community as well. University Heights and Morris Heights are largely Dominican neighborhoods.
While the southern and central Bronx is mostly comprised of apartment buildings and densely built, the physical environment of the Bronx is much more varied than what is normally portrayed in the popular media. For instance, Riverdale is a residential neighborhood of mostly detatched single family homes located on bluffs overlooking the Hudson River. It looks more like a quiet suburb than the "big bad" Bronx. Bronx Park and Van Cortlandt Park are two large and notably tranquil green spaces. City Island, located in Long Island Sound but officially part of the Bronx reminds people more of a small New England fishing village and is worth a visit.
The Bronx has a reputation as an area of rundown apartment buildings and high crime that is not entirely undeserved but rather dated. The South Bronx still has problems including relatively high poverty and crime rates, drug activity, abandoned buildings and numerous vacant lots. But all of these problems have waned in recent years, and indeed, as the South Bronx gentrifies, longtime residents are afraid they may soon be priced out of their neighborhood. Remember, too, that the bad reputation of the Bronx has been spread and kept alive mostly by people who do not live there and have never even visited. While you should exercise caution if visiting some of the more troubled neighborhoods, don't take the outsiders' word for it when it comes to the Bronx -- explore it and decide for yourself.

What to see

Bronx Zoo
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Founded in 1899, the Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan animal park in the United States, with more than 4,000 animals living on 265 acres. This is an extremely progressive zoo as zoos go—most of the old-fashioned cages have been replaced by more natural settings, ongoing improvements keep it feeling fresh and up to date, and it's far more bucolic than you might expect. In fact, I think it's one of the city's best attractions.
One of the most impressive exhibits is the Wild Asia Complex. This zoowithin- a-zoo comprises the Wild Asia Plaza education center; Jungle World, an indoor re-creation of Asian forests with birds, lizards, gibbons, and leopards; and the Bengali Express Monorail (open May–Oct), which takes you on a narrated ride high above free-roaming Siberian tigers, Asian elephants, Indian rhinoceroses, and other nonnative New Yorkers (keep your eyes peeled—the animals aren't as interested in seeing you). The Himalayan Highlands is home to some 17 extremely rare snow leopards, as well as red pandas and white-naped cranes. The 61⁄2-acre Congo Gorilla Forest is home to Western lowland gorillas, okapi, red river hogs, and other African rain-forest animals.
The Children's Zoo (open Apr–Oct) allows young humans to learn about their wildlife counterparts. Kids can compare their leaps to those of a bullfrog, slide into a turtle shell, climb into a heron's nest, see with the eyes of an owl, and hear with the acute ears of a fox. There's also a petting zoo.
To beat the crowds, try to visit on a weekday or on a nice winter's day. In summer, come early, before the heat of the day sends the animals back into their enclosures. Expect to spend an entire day here: you'll need it.
Fordham Rd. and Bronx River Pkwy
Getting there: Liberty Lines' BxM11 express bus, which makes various stops on Madison Avenue, will take you directly to the zoo; call 718/652-8400.
By subway, take the 2 train to Pelham Parkway and then walk west to the Bronxdale entrance.

Yankee Stadium
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Yankee Stadium is the home stadium of the New York Yankees. Located at East 161st Street and River Avenue in The Bronx, it originally opened on April 18, 1923and is expected to close in 2008, with a New Yankee Stadium to open in 2009.
Yankee Stadium is often referred to as "The House that Ruth Built", but it is usually referred to as "The Stadium". It was the first baseball park to be labeled a "Stadium" rather than a "Field," a "Park," or a "Grounds," and it conformed to the usage of the term in ancient Greece, where a stadium was a foot-race arena. Yankee Stadium's field was initially surrounded by a (misshapen) quarter-mile running track, which effectively also served as an early "warning track" for fielders, a feature now standard in all major league ballparks.

New York Botanical Garden
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A National Historic Landmark, the 250-acre New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and today is one of America’s foremost public gardens. The setting is spectacular—a natural terrain of rock outcroppings, a river with cascading waterfalls, hills, ponds, and wetlands.
Highlights of the Botanical Garden are the 27 specialty gardens, an exceptional orchid collection, and 40 acres of uncut forest as close as New York gets to its virgin state before the arrival of Europeans. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a stunning series of Victorian glass pavilions that recall London’s former Crystal Palace, shelters a rich collection of tropical, subtropical, and desert plants as well as seasonal flower shows.
200th St. and Southern Blvd.
Getting there: Take Metro-North from Grand Central Terminal to the New York Botanical Garden station; the easy ride takes about 20 minutes.
By subway, take the D or 4 train to Bedford Park, then take bus Bx26 or walk southeast on Bedford Park Boulevard for 8 long blocks.
The garden operates a shuttle to and from Manhattan April through October on Fridays and weekends, Saturdays only in November and December

Wave Hill
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With dramatic views of the Hudson River in the background and exuberant combinations of plants up close, the Flower Garden is a feast for the senses. Rustic cedar fences, benches, shrubs and brick pathways form the year-round structure of the garden and support an ever-changing collection of plants from mid-winter through late fall. With informal combinations of both vintage (c. early 1900s) and modern perennials, annuals, shrubs, bulbs and other tender exotics, this garden inspires visitors with adventurous ideas for their own gardens, containers or window boxes.
675 West 252 Street

Edgar Allan Poe Cottage

Edgar Allan Poe spent the last years of his life, from 1846 to 1849, in The Bronx at Poe Cottage, now located at Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse. A small wooden farmhouse built about 1812, the cottage once commanded unobstructed vistas over the rolling Bronx hills to the shores of Long Island. It was a bucolic setting in which the great writer penned many of his most enduring poetical works, including "Annabel Lee", "The Bells" and "Eureka".
Administered by The Bronx County Historical Society since 1975, the cottage is restored to its original appearance, with authentic period furnishings. A film presentation and guided tour help bring Poe Cottage to life. Visitors can see the bed in which Virginia died and the rocking chair Poe used. In the kitchen, the dishes on the table appear as if the great author had just stepped out for air.