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Goodbye Bronxdale as Google makes it Allerton

Allerton nabe ‘sorta’ official now

Bronx Times
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Goodbye Bronxdale — and hello Allerton.

East Bronx locals long confused about where exactly they live are cheering the City Planning Department’s decision to change its maps to reflect what they actually call their neighborhood.

Where there once was “Bronxdale” —approximat­ely bordered by north of Pelham Parkway, west of E. Gun Hill Road, east of Bronx Park East and south of Burke Avenue —there will soon be “Allerton.”

“It is a sign of our community coming together and restoring common sense,” said Gene DeFrancis, director of the Allerton International Merchants Association, a coalition of local businesses on Allerton Avenue.

Google Maps has already been altered to update City Planning’s changes, while a ‘Pelham Parkway’ neighborhood was drawn in south of what is now Allerton.

Since 2008, Google has allowed users to draw their own neighborhood lines with its “Mapmaker” feature. But the company reserves final edit over its maps.

Both City Planning and Google decided to change those maps after a local push that began at Community Board 11 gained steam, with local electeds jumping into the fray.

On Jan. 28, a team of pols including Rep. Joe Crowley, Councilmember Jimmy Vacca, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and State Sen. Jeff Klein urged City Planning to change the maps on its “Community Data Portal,” among other resources.

Those pols claimed victory Monday, Feb. 10, after receiving a letter from City Planning confirming that the agency would update its unofficial maps to include Allerton.

The ‘unofficial’ part of that is key. City Planning can’t draw official boundaries for Allerton, nor for any other neighborhood, because there are no official neighborhood boundaries in New York City.

Areas now being called Allerton and Pelham Parkway are examples of how many headaches the city has caused mapmakers over time.

“Bronxdale” refers to a cotton farming village settled in the 1880s and labeled on early maps on the west bank of the Bronx River at Boston Road, an area that today holds a parking lot for the Bronx Zoo.

Back then there wasn’t a Pelham Parkway or an Allerton.

Today most locals in Pelham Parkway and Allerton simply use the area’s biggest street to describe what neighborhood they are in, whether it’s Pelham Parkway North or South, or the Allerton Avenue commercial strip.

Bronx’s resident expert on these things, Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan, cautioned in January that the push for Allerton is in essence “creating a fiction, something that does not exist and has never existed.”

But the Allertoners —or is it Allertonia­ns?—are far too excited to mind.

“These corrections will go a long way in putting us on the map!” boasted CB 11’s district manager, Jeremy Warneke.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail her at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
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