Villa Charlotte Bronte

Today, we explored the Riverdale and surrounds area of the Bronx. The only reason I even knew what Riverdale was prior to moving to New York was that an ex-boyfriend grew up in the area and made it sound like he was “from the hood.” Little did I know that Riverdale is actually considered one of the wealthier parts of the Bronx and is known for having large, fancy homes and even fancier schools. And also, little did I know that the now ex was an absolute idiot.

Anyway, we wandered around the area, had some Dominican and Spanish food, and also got to see a gem of a co-op complex: Villa Charlotte Bronte, a 17-unit co-op building that was made as a bit of a protest to the generic “ugliness” of urban living. It was designed in the style of an Italian villa and the builder had advertised it in the New York Times as a sort of permanent vacation, perfect for anyone whose “soul is hungry for the majesty of the river.”

To complete the Italian villa feel, the set of buildings is actually set atop a cliff’s edge above the Hudson River. The property is covered with winding hedge-lined paths, arched staircases, and a sunken courtyard. The exterior walls are made of stucco and multicolored tile roofs. Pretty much all of the units have balconies and varying views of the Hudson. Some are duplexes, other are triplexes. And no unit is exactly the same as the other; some have a terrace off the kitchen (ooooh, this would be a dream for me!), others have a view of the George Washington Bridge, and one even has a cathedral ceiling.

These little architectural gems are part of the charm that is New York City. It’s something completely unexpected, but each Saturday when we explore, I’m grateful to live in a city so varied and diverse as this where you can feel like you’re in a totally different part of the world… even though I’ve just left to visit another borough of New York City.

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