Private Project

A River Returns: A History of the Bronx River

New York's Bronx River was once teeming with wildlife and the hunting grounds for Native Americans and fur traders. This is the story of the historical significance of a small river and the massive efforts by community activists to reclaim the river after it was severely polluted. These continuing efforts have made the Bronx River a nationwide model for improving our local watersheds.

  • Lesley Topping
  • Lesley Topping
  • Barbara Shay MacDonald, Scarsdale Historical Society
  • Randy Guggenheimer, Scarsdale Historical Society
  • Maggie Greenfield
    Key Cast
    "Executive Director of the Bronx River"
  • Stephen Paul DeVillo
    Key Cast
    "Author, The Bronx River in History and Folklore"
  • Maarten de Kadt
    Key Cast
    "Author, The Bronx River: A Social and Environment History"
  • Justine McClellan
    Key Cast
    "Biology Teacher, Bronxville High School"
  • Suzanne Nolan
    Key Cast
    " Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy, President"
  • Barbara Shay MacDonald
    Key Cast
    "Scarsdale Village Historian, Historian for Scarsdale Historical Society"
  • Antonio M. Rossario
  • Richie Westlein
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes 32 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 14, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    35,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Lesley Topping

Lesley Topping is a veteran editor and filmmaker. Her work includes theatrical feature films, documentaries and television projects. Her editing credits include projects for the Cousteau Society, CBS 48 hours, A&E Breakfast for the Arts, A&E Biography series and feature films directed by Robert Altman, Michael Cimino, Tom Noonan and others. Her recent films include directing, editing, and writing three documentaries for the Scarsdale Historical Society and a film on Dennis Downes, artist and expert on Native American Trail Marker Trees.

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Director Statement

Growing up near the Bronx River in Westchester, I was fascinated to learn about the clean up efforts by river advocates especially after the severe decline of the River in the South Bronx in the 1970's. The Scarsdale Historical Society including historian, Barbara Shay MacDonald were enthusiastic about producing this film which explores the history and impact this small river has had on communities in Westchester and the Bronx.