Adding an element of college town to Belmont’s character are students from nearby Fordham University who rent apartments in the neighborhood after living for a year or two in dorms.
Casey Chun, 21, a rising senior majoring in biology and economics, said moving to off-campus housing is part of Fordham student culture. “I think a lot of students choose it for the independence and autonomy it offers,” said Mr. Chun, who lives in a two-bedroom apartment on Hughes Avenue that rents for $1,550 a month. His roommate graduated this year and he is now living there alone, he said.
Mr. Chun, who grew up in New York City, said he especially enjoys having a kitchen to cook meals and does his shopping on Arthur Avenue. He said other businesses, such as delis that are open 24 hours, also cater to students.
Mr. Chun said student renters often discuss among themselves their presence in the neighborhood and how it might affect other residents. Some, like him, are interested in finding ways to be part of the community. “Commercially, there’s a lot of integration, but culturally, we’re not as integrated,” he said.
Even so, “students really love their time in the Bronx,” Mr. Chun said.
What You’ll Find
By one popular definition, Belmont is bounded roughly by Southern Boulevard to the east, Third Avenue to the west, East 180th Street to the south and East Fordham Road to the north, where it meets the Fordham campus. Residential streets are lined with attached single- and two-family homes in wood frame or brick and squat brick apartment buildings. The main commercial streets are Arthur Avenue, which is lined with Italian restaurants and food shops, and East Fordham Road, which has businesses catering to students, like a White Castle and delis.
The developer AB Capstone is constructing a six-story building on Arthur Avenue that will include commercial space on the ground floor and 31 furnished student apartments on the upper floors. It is one of three student housing projects that the developer has underway in Belmont, said Joseph Zanzuri, AB Capstone’s director of operations.
What You’ll Pay
The median home sales price in Belmont through April 30 was $420,000, compared with $295,000 for the same period in 2013, a 42.4 percent increase, said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.
On May 18, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors multiple listings website showed 31 homes on the market in Belmont, said Kareem Kirby, an agent with the Keller Williams NYC Group. They ranged from the mid-$300,000s, such as a three-bedroom single-family on Lorillard Place listed at $345,000, to the mid-$500,000s, such as an updated two-family on Cambreleng Avenue listed at $539,000.
People looking for reasonably priced houses “have opened themselves up to different areas of the Bronx,” said Gwen Howard, an agent with Century 21 Metro-Star in the Bronx. Belmont is drawing some of that interest, she said.
As for student rentals, Leslie A. Lerner, the president and owner of the LAL Property Management Corporation, said he owns 10 Belmont buildings with a total of 104 apartments geared mainly toward students. Monthly rents in his units there, which are predominantly designed for sharing, with two bedrooms of equal size, range from $1,500 to $1,700, he said.
What to Do
The Arthur Avenue Retail Market is a vibrant food hall packed with stalls selling meats, cheeses, olives, pastries and hand-rolled cigars. Local restaurants include Antonio’s Trattoria and Dominick’s Restaurant.
The Belmont Branch of the New York Public Library, also known as the Enrico Fermi Cultural Center, offers activities for children and adults.
Belmont borders the main Fordham campus and the Bronx Zoo, with the New York Botanical Garden just beyond, giving residents easy access to some of the borough’s most important institutions and green spaces.
Within the neighborhood, the Vincent Ciccarone Playground is popular among children. It also has bocce courts.
Public School 32 Belmont has about 865 students in prekindergarten through Grade 5. The city Department of Education’s 2014-2015 School Quality Snapshot shows 16 percent of students meeting state standards in English, compared with 30 percent citywide. In math, 22 percent of students met state standards, compared with 39 percent.
P.S. 51 Bronx New School has about 240 students, also in prekindergarten through Grade 5. Its Quality Snapshot showed 25 percent of students meeting state standards in English and 29 percent in math. P.S. 205 Fiorello La Guardia has about 1,080 students in kindergarten through Grade 5. Its Quality Snapshot shows 22 percent of students meeting standards in English, and 25 percent meeting standards in math.
At the Thomas C. Giordano Middle School 45, with about 740 students in Grades 6 through 8, 13 percent of the students met state standards in English, compared with 30 percent citywide, and 7 percent met standards in math, compared with 31 percent.
It’s about a 15-minute walk from Arthur Avenue to the B and D subway at Fordham Road/Grand Concourse (the B during rush hours only); the trip to Midtown takes about 40 minutes. Another option is Metro-North Railroad’s Fordham station, which has trains to Grand Central Terminal, most scheduled to take around 20 minutes. One-way peak tickets cost $8.75; a monthly pass is $201.
Arthur Avenue was once crowded with pushcarts selling fruits, vegetables, meats and other foods. That changed in 1940 when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia opened the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, creating a large indoor space for vendors to set up shop. It was part of the mayor’s effort to rid city streets of vendors, which he said were a threat to “traffic, health and sanitation.”