|Land Area:||42.4 sq miles|
The second smallest of the five boroughs, the Bronx has a population of about 1.4 million (2008 Census Bureau Population Estimate).
The borough (whose name, fairly or not, came to be associated with urban decay) is actually quite diverse in its demographic profile: some of its neighborhoods are even quite wealthy. Others much less so, but even the poorest neighborhoods saw noticeable improvements in the last two decades.
Particularly surprising was the slow but steady gentrification of the South Bronx, once one of the roughest areas of the city and beyond. Nowadays, newspapers are replete with ads for apartments and lofts in Mott Haven and the area has been often called "SoBro" (a somewhat tongue-in-cheek name, clearly referencing ultra-fashionable abbreviations such as Manhattan's SoHo and TriBeCa). The transformation started in 1997 with a rezoning law encouraging conversion of industrial spaces for residential and commercial uses.
Generally, the North-West Bronx (Community District 8, comprising Riverdale, Marble Hill, and Kingsbridge) is more affluent than the rest of the borough. The contrast gets pretty extreme in Riverdale which has plenty of large-lot single-family mansions surrounded by scenic parks. A sizable proportion of housing in low-income areas is in the form of high-rise housing projects, although most of the borough's housing stock consists of low-rise and mid-rise buildings.
Today, the Bronx has perhaps the best uptapped supply of affordable rental apartments - living here is considerably cheaper than living in most areas of Brooklyn, not to mention Manhattan.
Among the borough's attractions are the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, Van Cortlandt Park (the site of free summer performances by the New York City Philharmonic Orchestra), the Bronx Museum of the Arts and a host of smaller museums, galleries, historical houses and parks.