On October 4, 2016, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined the American Planning Association (APA) and elected officials, business and community leaders from across the city as the APA named Arthur Avenue as one of the Great Streets of America, as part of the organization’s annual list of Great Places in America in celebration of National Planning Month.
Arthur Avenue is one of the classic streets of New York City, combining ethnic and economic diversity and a strong commercial and cultural base. It celebrates its rich Italian heritage and cultures with highly-rated restaurants, butcher shops, fine bakeries, world-class delis and groceries, and shops of all kinds, all in dense, compact mixed-used buildings.
“This is a tremendous recognition for Arthur Avenue, and The Bronx is proud to celebrate today as this amazing street is named one of the greatest in our nation by the American Planning Association,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Belmont community is filled with amazing restaurants and shops, and is one of the finest tourist destinations in the region, if not the world. We already knew how great this neighborhood is…but now the rest of the country knows that the best place to be is right here in The Bronx, right here on Arthur Avenue.”
“Arthur Avenue is an example of how careful planning, public engagement and innovation can create a better place to live, work, play and visit,” said Carol Rhea, FAICP, president of APA. “This collaboration have made Arthur Avenue a legacy and destination.”
As part of National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes streets, neighborhoods and public spaces in the United States that demonstrate exceptional character, quality and planning—attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets, and Great Public Spaces of 2016 are places that are unique and exemplary in their amenities and infrastructure, cultural identity and use of sustainable and innovative practices.
“This distinction is an honor that further cements Arthur's Ave indelible contributions and significance to the Bronx and New York City. The street's remarkable history, long-standing businesses, cultural importance and people who have made it great is now receiving the recognition it rightfully deserves, and I am proud to represent the district where Arthur Avenue is located,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
“As Chairman of the Business Improvement District and one of many third and fourth generation business owners on Arthur Avenue, I want to express our gratitude for honoring Arthur Avenue as one of the five best streets in America. Generations of Italian families, and those that support this community, have helped insure Arthur Avenue remains vibrant, authentic and true to its deep cultural roots. Anyone who has walked, shopped or dined on Arthur Avenue appreciates its unique qualities as an al fresco shopping bazaar. We hope the gracious recognition we received today will inspire many more and future generations to come find out what makes Arthur Avenue, or as so many refer to it ‘the neighborhood,’ such a special place,” said Peter Madonia, Chairman, Belmont Business Improvement District and Owner, Madonia Brothers Bakery.
“The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation is delighted that Arthur Avenue is being recognized for their iconic neighborhood and businesses that provide a warm and savory flavor to our borough. It is an area that is full of hard working small businesses that is unique and beloved by all including the many tourists that frequent it daily. We look forward to supporting it for decades to come,” said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
"Since 1981, the Belmont Library has sat adjacent to Arthur Avenue, offering key services to the vibrant community while enjoying the energy, uniqueness, and spirit of the Bronx's own Little Italy," said New York Public Library Chief Operating Officer Iris Weinshall. "The dedicated staff at this branch can certainly attest to the greatness of this storied street and the people that bring it to life. We are proud to honor that tradition with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and The American Planning Association."
“Arthur Avenue embodies the American Dream that has made our Borough so strong. It is an economic engine that has deep roots within the Italian American culture and that continues to draw and captivate visitors whether they live around the corner or across New York State,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I am very proud to join Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the American Planning Association in recognizing Arthur Avenue as one the greatest streets in our country.”
“Arthur Avenue is one of our gems. Tens of thousands of tourists come through this area we call the real Little Italy to experience the food and the culture of Italian Americans here in The Bronx,” said Olga Luz Tirado, executive director, The Bronx Tourism Council.
Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 260 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces around the country. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement and a vision for the future.
For the third year, members of the public can suggest their favorite public space, neighborhood, or street to earn a “People’s Choice” designation. During the first half of October, individuals can offer suggestions via APA’s social media channels using the hashtag #APAgreatplaces. APA will select five finalists that the public can vote on via APA’s website. The “People’s Choice” winner is announced in early November 2016.
For more information about these streets, as well as APA’s Great Neighborhoods and Public Spaces for 2016 and previous years, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.
You can also find more information on National Community Planning Month by visiting www.planning.org/ncpm.