Q: Why is it the Bronx? It’s not the Manhattan. Nor the Queens. What’s unique about the Bronx that it’s the Bronx?
A: The Bronx got that “the” because it’s named after the Bronx River, which runs through the center of the borough. The last time this came up, I cited Dr. Peter Derrick of the Bronx Historical Society. For more, check out the Dec. 19, 2006, entry on The Grammarphobia Blog.
I’m sure you’re aware of the two-line poem about the Bronx that Ogden Nash wrote in 1931:
But you may not be aware that Nash apologized for it in verse in 1964 in a letter to Abraham Tauber, dean of the faculty at the Bronx Community College:
I wrote those lines, “The Bronx? No thonx”;
I shudder to confess them.
Now I’m an older, wiser man
I cry, “The Bronx? God bless them!”
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