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Building A Suburban Village: Bronxville, New…

Building A Suburban Village: Bronxville, New York, 1898-1998

by Bob Marshall

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0966436008, Hardcover)

When New York City's population spilled north of Manhattan during the 19th century, one of the country hamlets in its path was Bronxville, a dilapidated settlement set in Westchester County's picturesque Bronx River Valley. Bronxville had one major attribute -- a stop on the New York and Hudson Railroad that was, and is, a short commute from Grand Central Station. Building A Suburban Village traces the evolution of that settlement from 19th century farm, orchard and factory land into one of the nation's premiere metropolitan suburbs.

Leading urban historian Kenneth Jackson calls Bronxville the "prototype of the high-status, high-prestige railroad suburb" -- a community "endlessly copied but never matched." This is the story of how it got that way, researched and written by a team of local historians and gleaned from a host of previously untapped primary sources.

Only one square mile in area, Bronxville Village embodies characteristics that city planners now recognize as crucial to the successful community: pedestrian scale, house and street placement guided by topography, a mix of housing from studio apartment to mansion, a cohesive shopping area, public transportation. A combination of foresight and luck gave the Village a tidy central business district set amidst a variety of multifamily housing units, themselves surrounded by single family houses. Almost fully developed in the early decades of the 20th century, Bronxville benefitted from a sustained standard of architectural design and quality that produced a community of graceful homes and streets, virtually all within walking distance of a train station 28 minutes from the heart of Manhattan.

This meticulously researched and documented history details Bronxville's neighborhood-by-neighborhood growth as sparsely settled open land became residential parks and institutional campuses -- ranging from exclusive prep schools to a genteel insane asylum -- which in turn gave way to the model suburb of today. Produced to mark the Village's centennial year, this richly illustrated book makes for entertaining and informative reading.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:38 -0400)

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