125 years ago, the five boroughs are joined to create today’s New York City

On January 1st, 1898, after years of planning and razor-thin election results, the five boroughs we know today as The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, were consolidated into one city to create the New York City we know today 125 years later.

The great consolidation united two of the largest cities in the country—Brooklyn and New York City—thus making it the largest city in the country as well as, at the time of consolidation, the second largest city in the world.

An 1839 map of the areas and towns that would eventually become the five boroughs of New York City

Dozens of once independent towns and villages that made up those areas were now united as one mega-city and linking together many people from all walks of life in the new metropolis truly making it the melting pot we know today.

But it’s a little-known fact that our beautiful borough of The Bronx was already a part of New York City.

In 1874, the lands west of the Bronx River were annexed to New York County aka NYC.

Prior to this annexation, these lands were part of Westchester County and included the towns of Morrisania, Kingsbridge, and West Farms. Within these towns were the villages of Mott Haven, Port Morris, Melrose, Fordham, and many others.

A map of Westchester County before The Bronx was annexed by New York City, first with the West Bronx in 1874 and then the East Bronx in 1895.

Then in 1895, a full three years before Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island were annexed to create New York City as we know it today, the lands to the east of the Bronx River were annexed.

The town of Westchester had voted against being annexed but was dragged along to create The Bronx as we know it today, along with parts of the towns of Eastchester and Pelham.

But still The Bronx, which was known as the annexed district, was tied to Manhattan and was part of New York County until it became the 62nd county of New York State and the 5th and official county of New York City in 1914.

Many firsts came from our Bronx as well as many great historical figures from all walks of life and professions but this one comes with major bragging rights: The Bronx—NYC’s FIRST borough.

Want to learn more? Take a listen to the Bowery Boys podcast below:

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