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What The Bronx looked like in the 1930s with these Spectacular Historical Photos

The 1930s was a defining decade for the Bronx, marked by the challenges of the Great Depression. The borough, once a symbol of bustling industry and immigrant dreams, found itself grappling with the harsh realities of this economic turmoil.

The Grip of the Depression

The economic crash of 1929 sent shockwaves through the Bronx. Factories shut down, unemployment skyrocketed, and poverty became a grim reality for countless families. Breadlines snaked through streets, and makeshift shelters sprung up, offering meager refuge. The despair fueled social unrest, with protests and labor strikes erupting across the borough.

New Deal programs, like the Works Progress Administration (WPA), provided jobs and a lifeline for many. Community gardens blossomed, offering fresh produce and a sense of self-sufficiency. Soup kitchens and community centers became hubs of support and solidarity.

From Jazz to Boogie-Woogie

While the economic downturn dampened some aspects of the cultural scene, music remained a beacon of hope. Jazz clubs continued to thrum with the sounds of Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, offering solace and escape. In the South Bronx, a new rhythm emerged: boogie-woogie. Played on pianos in rent parties and social gatherings, it became the soundtrack of resilience and community spirit.

Art Deco Grandeur and Public Housing

One of the lasting legacies of the 1930s in the Bronx was the construction of grand Art Deco public housing projects, such as Parkchester and Kingsbridge Heights. These ambitious developments offered modern apartments and amenities, providing affordable housing for thousands of families. While later criticized for unintended consequences, they initially symbolized hope and progress.

The 1930s were also a golden age for sports in the Bronx, with Yankee Stadium, “The House That Ruth Built,” at the forefront. The New York Yankees dominated baseball during this era, bringing pride and excitement to Bronx residents during difficult times. The success of the Yankees provided a much-needed escape from the everyday struggles of the Depression era.

#1 Washington Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

Washington Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

#2 Bathgate Avenue scene, Bronx, 1936.

Bathgate Avenue Scene, Bronx, 1936.

#3 Bronx tenement district scene, 1936.

Bronx Tenement District Scene, 1936.

#4 Bronx Baby Buggies, 1936.

Bronx Baby Buggies, 1936.

#5 Shopping store on Washington Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

Shopping Store On Washington Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

#6 Bronx tenement district scene, 1936.

Bronx Tenement District Scene, 1936.

#7 Bathgate Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

Bathgate Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

#8 Bronx tenement district, 1936.

Bronx Tenement District, 1936.

#9 Bathgate Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

Bathgate Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

#10 People entering Yankee Stadium for World Series, 1930s

People Entering Yankee Stadium For World Series, 1930S

#11 Young men promoting J S Krum Chocolatier, Bronx, circa 1935.

Young Men Promoting J S Krum Chocolatier, Bronx, Circa 1935.

#12 Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930s.

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930S.

#13 Subway cars in train yard, Bronx, 1930s.

Subway Cars In Train Yard, Bronx, 1930S.

#14 Twins contest at Cascades Pool, Bronx, 1930.

Twins Contest At Cascades Pool, Bronx, 1930.

#15 Crowds at Yankee Stadium for World Series, 1930s

Crowds At Yankee Stadium For World Series, 1930S

#16 Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930s.

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930S.

#17 Aerial view of Yankee Stadium on World Series day, 1930s

Aerial View Of Yankee Stadium On World Series Day, 1930S

#18 Willis Avenue and 148th Street, Bronx, 1930.

Willis Avenue And 148Th Street, Bronx, 1930.

#19 Yankee Stadium crowd with umbrellas, 1932.

Yankee Stadium Crowd With Umbrellas, 1932.

#20 Aerial view of Saint Raymond’s Cemetery, 1930s

Aerial View Of Saint Raymond'S Cemetery, 1930S

#21 Original site of Poe House, Bronx, 1930.

Original Site Of Poe House, Bronx, 1930.

#22 Fans leaving Yankee Stadium, late 1930s.

Fans Leaving Yankee Stadium, Late 1930S.

#23 Original site of Poe House, Bronx, 1930.

Original Site Of Poe House, Bronx, 1930.

#24 Old school house on Albany Post Road, Mosholu, Bronx, 1930.

Old School House On Albany Post Road, Mosholu, Bronx, 1930.

#25 Opening day on Triboro Bridge, 1936.

Opening Day On Triboro Bridge, 1936.

#26 Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930s.

Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930S.

#27 Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930s.

Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930S.

#28 Bronx Post Office, 1930s.

Bronx Post Office, 1930S.

#29 Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930s.

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930S.

#30 Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930s.

Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930S.

#31 Hillside Housing Inc., garden view, 1930s.

Hillside Housing Inc., Garden View, 1930S.

#32 Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930s.

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930S.

#33 Orchard Beach Catering Company, 1930s.

Orchard Beach Catering Company, 1930S.

#34 Orchard Beach Catering Corp., 1930s.

Orchard Beach Catering Corp., 1930S.

#35 Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930s.

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930S.

#36 Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930s.

Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930S.

#37 Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930s.

Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930S.

#38 Hillside Housing Inc., garden view, 1930s.

Hillside Housing Inc., Garden View, 1930S.

#39 Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930s.

Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930S.

#40 Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930s.

Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930S.

#41 Third Avenue Elevated Line station information, 1930s

Third Avenue Elevated Line Station Information, 1930S

#42 New York City after snowfall, including Central Park and Hellgate Bridge, 1930s

New York City After Snowfall, Including Central Park And Hellgate Bridge, 1930S

#43 Protest against eviction in Bronx, 1930s

Protest Against Eviction In Bronx, 1930S

#44 Crowd exits Yankee Stadium, World Series, 1938.

Crowd Exits Yankee Stadium, World Series, 1938.

#45 Jobless women line for relief, Bronx, 1930s

Jobless Women Line For Relief, Bronx, 1930S

#46 1938 hurricane damage in Bronx.

1938 Hurricane Damage In Bronx.

#47 Native Americans in Spuyten Duyvil Creek, circa 1935.

Native Americans In Spuyten Duyvil Creek, Circa 1935.

#48 Triborough Bridge surfacing, circa 1936.

Triborough Bridge Surfacing, Circa 1936.

#49 The Beach, Atlantic City, 1930s

The Beach, Atlantic City, 1930S

#50 Large residence in Brainerd, 1930s

Large Residence In Brainerd, 1930S

#51 Main Street, 1930s

Main Street, 1930S

#52 New York Bakery, Bronx, circa 1935.

New York Bakery, Bronx, Circa 1935.

#53 Mayor LaGuardia reopening Bronx Terminal Market, 1930s

Mayor Laguardia Reopening Bronx Terminal Market, 1930S

#54 Furniture of evicted tenants on the street, Bronx, 1932.

Furniture Of Evicted Tenants On The Street, Bronx, 1932.

#55 Washington Avenue, Bronx, circa 1935.

Washington Avenue, Bronx, Circa 1935.

#56 Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, 1930.

Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, 1930.

#57 Texaco Gasoline station, Bronx, 1936.

Texaco Gasoline Station, Bronx, 1936.

#58 Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930s.

Bronx Whitestone Bridge, 1930S.

#59 Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930s.

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930S.

#60 Orchard Beach Catering Company, 1930s.

Orchard Beach Catering Company, 1930S.

#61 Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930s.

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1930S.

#62 Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930s.

Hillside Housing Inc., Boston Post Road, Bronx, 1930S.

#63 Work with schools by Bronx Traveling Library, 1930s

Work With Schools By Bronx Traveling Library, 1930S

#64 Hightstown project, Bronx, 1930s

Hightstown Project, Bronx, 1930S

#65 Dutch Room in Van Cortlandt House, Bronx, 1930s

Dutch Room In Van Cortlandt House, Bronx, 1930S

#66 Event in Bronx, 1934.

Event In Bronx, 1934.

#67 Residential area in Bronx, 1936.

Residential Area In Bronx, 1936.

#68 Firehouse No. 52 in Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx.

Firehouse No. 52 In Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx.

#69 Fans leaving Yankee Stadium, circa 1938.

Fans Leaving Yankee Stadium, Circa 1938.

#70 Bar and grill built into hillside along street in Bronx, 1930s

Bar And Grill Built Into Hillside Along Street In Bronx, 1930S

#71 Texaco Gasoline station, Bronx, 1936.

Texaco Gasoline Station, Bronx, 1936.

#72 Fans leaving Yankee Stadium, circa 1938.

Fans Leaving Yankee Stadium, Circa 1938.

#73 Triborough Bridge completed, 1936.

Triborough Bridge Completed, 1936.

#74 Willis Avenue and 148th Street, Bronx, 1930.

Willis Avenue And 148Th Street, Bronx, 1930.

#75 Kingsbridge Road, looking northeast from Fordham Road, Bronx, 1930.

Kingsbridge Road, Looking Northeast From Fordham Road, Bronx, 1930.

#76 Original site of Poe House, Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, 1930.

Original Site Of Poe House, Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, 1930.

#77 Third Avenue and East 166th Street, Bronx, 1931: Bronx Hospital, Buster Brown Shoes for Girls (partial), Heinz Tomato Ketchup.

Third Avenue And East 166Th Street, Bronx, 1931: Bronx Hospital, Buster Brown Shoes For Girls (Partial), Heinz Tomato Ketchup.

#78 164th Street and 165th Street, showing elevated tracks and playground, 1937.

164Th Street And 165Th Street, Showing Elevated Tracks And Playground, 1937.

#79 Scene on Bathgate Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

Scene On Bathgate Avenue, Bronx, 1936.

Written by Dennis Saul

Content creator and Professional photographer who still uses Vintage film roll cameras. Not that I loved London less But that i Love New York City More.

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