Borough In My Hands — Maps of the Bronx

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My Favorite Bronx Maps

Even in this day of mapquest, hopstop and gps, I really like a good paper map. Oversized. Fold out style. A bit unwieldy. Yeah, I like the heft of a fold out paper map. In our Chelsea studio, as “cozy” as it was, we had a “Map Room”. It was actually the underside of our loft bed where we had our work space. We tacked maps from everywhere to the support beams and we’d tilt our heads back to gaze at Jamaica or the world or the U.S.

Now I have two fold out maps of the Bronx that serve me well.

Close up of Parkchester/West Farms nabes in the Bronx
NYC Transit Bronx Bus Map: Close up of Parkchester/West Farms nabes in the Bronx

I can find out how to get anywhere in the Bronx by bus or subway or even Metro North with the MTA Bronx Bus Map. The MTA’s bus maps are great to have even if you’re not a city bus rider. The streets are clearly labelled as well as the names of the neighborhoods and notable points of interest (museums, galleries, universities). One drawback is the building numbers are not noted. For that information I use a Hagstrom map, “Borough of the Bronx, City of New York, Street Map.”

Close up of Parkchester/West Farms nabes in the Bronx
The Hagstrom Map shows the same Parkchester/West Farms nabe with more detals: building numbers and zip codes, for example.

This map is perfect for finding out the exact location of a known street address and the map to use for driving to and around the Bronx. All the Bronx streets are listed and can be located in the map’s grid. It lists more City Island streets than does the bus map. I discovered other Bronx islands too: Cat Briar Island, Chimney Sweeps Islands, Hog Island and Rat Island on this map. (I think no one lives on any of them). This map also notes the postal codes throughout the Bronx. I like this detail even if the map is not entirely accurate, but it gives an idea of where to find a particular zip code.

Can't get over that knot of lanes leading into the Whitestone Bridge.
Can't get over that knot of lanes, near the top, leading into the Whitestone Bridge.

I like to sweep my eyes over a map of the entire borough all at once.  I like the surprise of spotting something new or odd. I feel cheated of this when I use the computer. Or on my “smart” cell phone. And I’m convinced that I can find a location and the route to get there faster with my paper fold-out map than if I used mapquest.

I found the Bronx Bus map in the local library. But I’ve also seen bus maps for all boroughs in the main library Mid-Manhattan branch on 5th Ave & 41st St. The Hagstrom map I found in the local card shop on Metropolitan Avenue.

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