Little Italy in the Big Bronx

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Arthur Avenue, The Bronx’s Little Italy

Friends, tourists, countrymen…lend me your ears. Arthur Avenue, “New York’s other Little Italy,” as the neighborhood calls itself, will welcome you whether you parla italiano or can’t tell polenta from prosciutto.

New York’s most famous Little Italy, of course, is Manhattan’s Mulberry St., a neighborhood on the cusp of evaporating into modernity. The Bronx’s Arthur Ave. has also changed over time, but less.

Visitors venture to Arthur Avenue looking for what they can’t get in downtown Manhattan: a place that feels more like, well, Little Italy. To their surprise, many find the “L’il It’ly” they sought tucked away in the Bronx’s Belmont neighborhood.

The Bronx Was a Rural Paradise

Italian immigrants settled in Belmont in the late 1800s. They came to work as stonemasons, craftsmen and laborers on two big construction projects: the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.

Back then, the bucolic Bronx offered trees, open space, a cool afternoon breeze off the Bronx River and, ahhhhhh, fresh air. Arrivederci to Manhattan’s claustrophobic tenements, its dusty, choking heat, the always-hungry rats and all that banging and clanging.

Like Manhattan’s Mulberry St., Belmont (la bella montagna) was a shock absorber between old and new. The Italian neighborhood’s familiar aromas and language kept the alien American culture, that Big Bad Wolf lurking at the neighborhood’s edges, at a safe distance.

The unspoken code of the era’s ethnic neighborhoods was followed: You look like us, you talk like us, you live with us. Hai capito? 

Arthur Ave.’s Old Style in a New World

Today’s Arthur Ave is a place that elbowed Father Time in the ribs and told him to slow down. It is a remnant of Old New York and a reminder of a time when the butcher, the baker, and the cannoli maker knew their customers’ triumphs and sorrows.

That personal touch was warm and felt everywhere. It was one of life’s standards. In our Made In China times, that touch is cold and fleeting.

In a generation or two, when the last Italian descendants leave, it may be but a memory. For now, it is a living exhibit where older generations show younger ones the way things were.

Will you experience the Arthur Avenue that existed 100, 50 or even 20 years ago? No. In fact, you’ll probably notice a few red flags with a double-headed, black eagles when you visit. It’s a sign that Italy’s neighbors in Europe, the Albanians, are now their neighbors on Arthur Avenue.

Things change. But, for now, where else will you find pasta made from scratch the same day or a shop that sells nothing but cheese, from floor to ceiling? Cheese!

Si, it used to be this way.

Photo image of a meat shop located in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx, New York City. Pictured in the image are customers ordering from a counter, with various types of dry, cured meats hanging down from the ceiling. This type of butcher shop, which features both fresh and dry/cured meats is referred to by its Italian name, which is salumeria.
For many, Arthur Avenue means food. After shopping in the neighborhoods many shops and its large market, visitors head to one of the several Italian restaurants specializing in Old World classics. In this photo, an old school butcher shop (known as a salumeria) offers customers a large selection of cured and fresh meats.

When Visiting the Bronx’s Arthur Ave.

Walk Along 187th Street

Arthur Avenue is the main street in the Bronx’s Little Italy. However, don’t forget the neighborhood’s 2nd most important street: 187th St.

There you’ll find gelato, diet-crushing pastries and, of course, Borgatti’s, where they’ve made fresh pastas daily for almost a century.

At home, prepare Borgatti’s pastas with imported canned San Marzano tomatoes. You’ll wonder how you tolerated supermarket “spaghetti” for so long.

San Marzano tomato cans say “D.O.P.” (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta). This labeling system certifies the tomatoes’ origins, similar to the origin labels found on wine bottles.

San Marzano tomatoes grow in southern Italy’s nutrient-rich volcanic soil. But, please, don’t tell Nonna you’re using canned tomatoes!

Best time to visit the Bronx’s Little Italy?

Summer weekends can get crowded. Otherwise, it’s not too bad.  

What are the best Italian restaurants on Arthur Ave., the Bronx?

Read this guide for general information on Arthur Avenue restaurants and shops.

Would you like more guidance regarding Arthur Avenue restaurants and shopping? See this page for Arthur Avenue restaurant and tour information.

Any other Bronx attractions near Arthur Ave.?

Yes, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden are close. We recommend, however, combining just one of these with your visit to Arthur Avenue.

Will you be visiting New York City? You may want to consider a New York City Explorer Pass: Choose up to 10 NYC attractions and save 45% on tickets!

[Full Disclosure: As a Smart Destinations affiliate, TripHoney receives compensation if you purchase through this link. This does not affect your price in any way whatsoever.]

Don’t miss Arthur Ave.’s Ferragosto festival, if you’re in NYC in September

Want to leave Arthur Avenue stuffed? Stop by September’s Ferragosto festival. Nearby Fordham University offers drivers its short-term parking lot at 685 East Fordham Road. From there, shuttle buses take you to and from Arthur Ave. from 12 noon to 8 p.m.

How To Get To Arthur Avenue (Little Italy) in the Bronx

Driving to Arthur Avenue. 

Click Here if Driving to Arthur Avenue

When driving to Arthur Avenue:

  • Use this address for GPS: 2344 Arthur Ave., Bronx, N.Y. 10458
  • There is a public parking lot on Arthur Ave, just past 186th Street on the right.
  • If lot is full, street parking is usually not too difficult.
  • Pro tip: Bring ice cooler to store any fish, meat, desserts, or fresh pasta you may buy.

Public Transportation to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx

Recommendation: Take a Metro-North Train From Manhattan to Arthur Avenue  

Why take Metro-North?

  • Speed: Metro-North trains arrive in 18 minutes from Grand Central. Subways may take 40 minutes to 1 hour+.
  • Comfort: Metro-North trains are more comfortable.
  • Distance: The Metro-North train station is a short walk from Arthur Avenue. The subway is not.
  • Safety: Crime on Metro-North trains is rare.

For Metro-North Trains, Select Best Option Below:

Select the best option for you, then skip down to that section: 

  • 1st Section: Will you be leaving from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan? 
  • 2nd Section: Are you coming from north of NYC aboard a Metro-North Harlem Line train?
  • 3rd Section: Is your start point on Metro-North’s Hudson Line or New Haven Line?
  • 4th Section: Need walking/bus directions from Metro-North’s Fordham station to Arthur Ave?
  • 5th Section: Taking NYC subway from Manhattan to Arthur Ave?

Not sure which Metro-North or NYC subway line is closest to you?

Use these resources:

1st Section: Metro-North Train From Grand Central Terminal To Arthur Ave.

Click here if taking Metro-North from Grand Central to Arthur Avenue
  • From Grand Central Terminal, take a Metro-North Harlem Line train to the Fordham stop.
  • Buy tickets at a ticket window or ticket machine in Grand Central.
  • Do not buy tickets on train. It’s much more expensive!
  • From Metro-North’s Fordham station, walk or take bus to Arthur Ave. (Skip to Section 4 for walking/bus directions).

2nd Section: Metro-North Harlem Line Train From Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess Counties To Arthur Ave.

Click here if taking Metro-North's Harlem Line.
  • Buy round-trip ticket from your starting point to the Fordham station.
  • Take Metro-North Harlem Line train to Fordham station.
  • From Fordham station, walk or take bus to Arthur Ave. (See Section 4 for walking/bus directions)

3rd Section: Metro-North Hudson Line & New Haven Line Trains From Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess & Connecticut To Arthur Ave.

Click here if taking Metro-North's Hudson Line or New Haven Line.

Alright, before we begin, keep in mind:

Metro-North Railroad has 3 main lines:

  • The Hudson Line
  • The Harlem Line
  • The New Haven Line

When planning your trip:

To get to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx via Metro-North, you’ll need to get to the Fordham stop, which is on the Harlem Line.

If your starting point is not on the Harlem Line, you’ll need to transfer to the Harlem Line.

Remember: Only Harlem Line trains stop at Metro-North’s Fordham station.

Make sense? Good, let’s continue.

How do I transfer to the Harlem Line, you may ask? Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy.

Are you familiar with the expression all roads lead to Rome? Well, with Metro-North trains, all tracks lead to the Harlem-125th Street Station.

The Harlem-125th Street Station is where the three train lines (Hudson, Harlem, New Haven) converge. Thus, Harlem-125th Street is where you’ll transfer.

For a smooth transfer at Harlem-125th St.:

Buy your two round trip Metro-North train tickets at the very start of your trip:

      • First ticket =  Round trip from your starting point to the Harlem-125th St. Station.
      • Second ticket = Round trip from Harlem-125th St. Station to the Fordham stop (on the Harlem Line).

By doing this, you won’t have to worry about buying train tickets the rest of the day.

After buying round-trip tickets:

Note: We highly recommend looking up train schedules before starting your trip.

      • First, take Metro-North train from your starting point to the Harlem-125th Street Station.
      • Exit train at Harlem-125th St. Station and go downstairs to 1st floor.
      • There are a lot of stairs (use elevator on platform if required).
      • Once downstairs, consult information screens or a ticket agent for your Harlem Line train’s departure time/track number.
      • Harlem Line trains appear in blue.
      • Take Harlem Line train from Harlem-125th St. Station to Fordham station.
      • Finally, exit train at Fordham station.
      • From there, walk or take bus to Arthur Avenue
      • (See Section 4  for walking/bus directions.)

Important Note: Before boarding train at Harlem-125 St. station, confirm with either a train conductor or fellow passenger that the train will stop at the Fordham station. With so many trains going in/coming from so many directions, it’s easy to board the wrong train. 

Some helpful examples of buying two round trip tickets 

Going from Tarrytown, New York to Arthur Avenue, the Bronx

      • Tarrytown is on Metro-North’s Hudson Line.
      • Thus, you would take train from Tarrytown to Harlem-125 St. From there, transfer to Harlem Line train going to Fordham stop.
      • Buy 1 round-trip ticket from Tarrytown to Harlem-125th St.
      • Buy 1 round-trip ticket from Harlem-125th St. to Fordham station.

Going from Norwalk, Connecticut to Arthur Avenue, the Bronx

      • Norwalk, CT is on the New Haven Line
      • Therefore, take train from Norwalk to Harlem-125th St. Once there, transfer to Harlem Line train going to Fordham stop.
      • Buy 1 round-trip ticket from Norwalk to Harlem-125th St.
      • Buy 1 round-trip ticket from Harlem-125th St. to Fordham station.

4th Section: Walking/Bus Directions From Metro-North Fordham Stop To Arthur Ave., the Bronx

Click here if you need walking/bus directions from Metro-North's Fordham stop.

These directions only apply when taking Metro-North trains. They DO NOT apply when taking the subway. (See Section 5 for subway directions.)

Walking From Metro-North’s Fordham station to Arthur Ave.

        • Turn left after exiting Metro-North’s Fordham station.
        • Walk along the long, black fence.
        • You will be walking east on East Fordham Road.
        • Walk until you see the gas station at the corner of East Fordham Road and Arthur Avenue
        • Cross the street. Be very careful crossing East Fordham Road!
        • Walk three blocks down Arthur Avenue to 187th Street. There you’ll be in the heart of the Bronx’s Little Italy.
        • This walk takes +/- 10 minutes at a normal pace.

      Taking Bus From Metro-North’s “Fordham” stop to Arthur Ave.

      Note: If you, or your group, does not have any mobility issues, forget the bus and just walk. If you do take the bus, don’t get too comfortable. It’s only a +/- 2-minute ride. 

              • Once you exit Metro-North’s Fordham station, you’ll be on East Fordham Road.
              • Cross to the other side of East Fordham Road.
              • Look for buses with these numbers: Bx09, Bx12, Bx17, Bx22.
              • Pay for bus with either a Metro-Card or quarters.
              • Ask the driver nicely to alert you when you reach the Hoffman St. stop.
              • Or more simply, let the driver know you want to go to Arthur Avenue.
              • Once off the bus, look for a gas station at the corner of East Fordham Road and Arthur Avenue.
              • From there, turn right down Arthur Avenue.

5th Section: Taking Subway from Manhattan Subways To Arthur Ave., the Bronx

Click here for subway directions from Manhattan to Arthur Ave.

B or D Trains= Closest Subways To Arthur Ave., the Bronx

          • Use this New York City subway map to assist you.
          • Remember: the subway station called Fordham has nothing to do with the Metro-North station called Fordham.
          • B or D trains are closest subways to Arthur Avenue
          • D train is faster than B train.
          • Take Uptown B or D train to Fordham stop in Bronx.
          • Exit Fordham subway station.
          • From corner of East Fordham Rd. & Grand Concourse, take eastbound BX12 bus.
          • Eastbound buses say “Bx12 via Pelham Pkwy” on front.
          • Exit bus at Hoffman St. stop (ask driver for help if needed).
          • At Hoffman St., walk to gas station at corner of Fordham Rd./Arthur Ave.
          • Make right onto Arthur Avenue and walk 3 blocks or so to shops.

4 Train From Manhattan To Arthur Ave.:

          • Take Uptown 4 train to Fordham Road stop in Bronx.
          • Exit Fordham Road subway station.
          • From corner of Fordham Rd. & Walton Ave., take eastbound BX12 bus.
          • Eastbound buses say “Bx12 via Pelham Pkwy.”
          • Exit bus at Hoffman St. stop
          •  At Hoffman St., walk to gas station at corner and make a right onto Arthur Avenue.

 

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