In 1884, after wrangling with the Bathgate family over details of the land purchase, city commissioners refused to honor an agreement to name a new park after its former owners. Instead, they called it "Crotona" - although no one is any longer sure why they chose that title. Were they commemorating an ancient city of Italy, famed for its athletes and philosophers? Or were they thinking of the New Croton Aqueduct, under construction not far away? Once countryside bordering the town of West Farms, the area around the park had been annexed by New York City in 1874. Crotona, crowded with tenement and apartment houses through the first half of the 20th century, attracted national attention in the 'seventies with its burned-out buildings and bulldozed vacant lots. Today the neighborhood's single-family housing developments, such as Charlotte Gardens, bring a suburban character to the central Bronx.

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