Bronx River Ramble highlights the river’s past

Bronx River Alliance volunteers Hank Stroobants and Mike Gupta lead a Bronx River Ramble at Shoelace Park in 2013, highlighting the Bronx River Greenway along with local architecture and a WWI monument between East 211th and East 233rd streets.
Photo courtesy of Bronx River Alliance

The Bronx River Alliance is hosting the last ‘Bronx River Ramble’ of the year on Saturday, October 11 at the Woodlawn Cemetery.

The two-hour walking tour will examine the ecological significance of the Woodlawn Brook and the history surrounding the Bronx River tributary, said Maggie Greenfield, director of Programs and Development at the Bronx River Alliance.

The volunteer-led rambles are held each month from April through October at a different part of the Bronx River, said Greenfield.

“Each walk is meant to highlight the stories of different neighborhoods,” she said. “The Bronx River has been a central part of that history for many years.”

The Bronx River Alliance’s mission is to protect, improve, and restore the Bronx River so it can be a resource for the communities it flows through, said Greenfield, and the rambles are just one type of programming throughout the year.

“These walks are just a different way to appreciate the river and get to know it,” she said.

Several of the walks each year, including Saturday’s Woodlawn Ramble, are led by local historian Stephen DeVillo.

The Woodlawn Brook is unique because it’s one of the few tributaries of the Bronx River that you can walk from its source to where it meets with the river, said DeVillo, and the brook has been preserved as part of the landscape of the Woodlawn Cemetery.

DeVillo said he likes to keep the contents of the tours a surprise, but did say it would include the story of a magnificent mausoleum with no name, a story of arctic exploration and disaster, and stories about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an overlooked hero of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Two of his other favorite rambles he’s presented were a walk through the Battle of White Plains and it’s role in the Revolutionary War along the Bronx River in White Plains, and a tour of the newly reopened Starlight Park, which at one point was the site of an amusement park.

“There’s all kinds of crazy stories,” he said.

Another thing people might not know about the Bronx River is that the first Titanic disaster movie was filmed in the river’s estuary, said DeVillo.

DeVillo said he loves sharing these stories surrounding the river on each of the rambles over the past few years.

“It’s been tremendous, tremendous fun,” said DeVillo.

The River Ramble on Saturday, October 11, is free and does not require reservations. Participants should meet at the Woodlawn Cemetery Northeast Entrance, near Webster Avenue and East 233rd Street.

For more information about the Bronx River Alliance and its programming, visit bronx‌river.org.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at jwill‌iams@‌cnglo‌cal.com.

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