By SERGEY KADINSKY
Forgotten NY correspondent
The Bronx is an urban explorer’s dream. Its mix of colliding street grids results in oddly-angled buildings and alleys. Its challenging topography means that this borough has more stepped streets than any other. Unlike the other boroughs, Bronx was annexed to New York City in a piecemeal fashion from west to east.
On the official city map, this privately-owned roadway is labeled Butternut Street. The butternut, Juglans cinerea to botanists, is a common tree in eastern United States. Looking at the 1873 and 1924 atlases of the neighborhood, we see that Walton Avenue used to take a more winding path across the hilly landscape. Butternut Street is the last remnant of Walton Street’s old path.
To the south of Butternut Street is Joyce Kilmer Park, one of the older parks in the borough.
Historian John McNamara, in History in Asphalt, says that Butternut Street was listed in 1872 running approx. 4 blocks, parallel to the Concourse from East 162nd north to East 166th. (today only the portion between East 164th and 165th remains as a service alley).