City Limits looks back at a story from 31 years ago, when developers and politicians were pursuing plans to revitalize and develop “The Hub” in the South Bronx.

City Limits Archives/Steven Fish, Michael Ackerman

Photos from the March 1993 City Limits article, “Downtown Bronx, USA.”

Each Friday, City Limits—founded in 1976—highlights a story from our archives.

Today, 2952 Third Ave. in the South Bronx is the home to major storefronts including Burlington Coat Factory, Five Below and Marshall’s.

The address was once home to a beloved department store called Alexander’s that closed its doors in 1992. A year later, City Limits covered how new business and residential opportunities were opening up at this location and the surrounding area.

The article, published in City Limits’ March 1993 issue, describes “The Hub”—the borough’s oldest shopping district, vibrant with consumers holding shopping bags and street vendors selling hot dogs for 95 cents. 

Several blocks beyond The Hub, however, painted a different picture: a “flat dreariness of abandoned lots” and “an almost-horizonless sea of urban decay,” the article describes.

But the area was seen by politicians and developers at the time as a land of opportunity—one to raise new buildings and spur economic growth. 

The big idea, spearheaded by the Bronx borough president’s office and dubbed the “Bronx Center” plan, was seen as controversial. One Bronxite in the article voiced that issues such as safety and homelessness should have been prioritized over new development.

Still, multi-million dollar plans were on the table. Read on below to see how residents, politicians and developers sought to revitalize the “shining jewel” of The Hub 31 years ago.