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Morrisania
Neighborhood of the Bronx
Country  United States
State  New York
City Flag of New York City.svg New York City
Borough Flag of Bronx County, New York.svg Bronx
Community District Bronx 3
Area
 • Total 0.60 km2 (0.232 sq mi)
Population
 (2011)
 • Total 16,863
 • Density 28,060/km2 (72,690/sq mi)
Economics
 • Median income $28,855
ZIP Codes
10456, 10459
Area code 718, 347, 929, and 917

Morrisania ( morr-I-say-NEE) is a residential neighborhood in the southwestern Bronx, New York City, New York. Its boundaries are the Cross-Bronx Expressway to the north, Crotona-Prospect Avenue to the east, East 161st Street to the south, and Webster Avenue to the west. Third Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Morrisania. Its name derives from the Manor of Morrisania, once the entire South Bronx.

The name derives from the Manor of Morrisania, the vast 2,000 acre estate of the powerful and aristocratic Morris family, who at one time owned most of the Bronx as well as much of New Jersey. The family includes Lewis Morris, 4th Lord of the Manor, and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and Gouverneur Morris, penman of the United States Constitution. Both are buried in the crypt at St. Ann's Church of Morrisania. Today the name is most commonly associated with the neighborhood of Morrisania, which is only a small corner of the original Morrisania.

Morrisania is part of Bronx Community Board 3, and its ZIP Codes include 10456 and 10459. The area is patrolled by the NYPD's 42nd Precinct. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue in the Melrose section of the Bronx.

History

From 1644 to the early 20th century, the land of the neighborhood was the estate of the Morris family in Westchester County. In 1790, Lewis Morris, owner of the estate and signer of the Declaration of Independence, proposed the land as the site of the federal capital.

History of Art for Beginners Vol 3 Architecture 131
Old Morrisania
The Great north side, or, Borough of the Bronx, New York (1897) (14578305889)
Morrisania Town Hall

The area was sparsely populated until 1840, when Gouverneur Morris Jr., son of the famous congressional delegate and nephew of Lewis, allowed a railroad to be built across the property. In 1848, he sold the land next to the line for the development of a new town called Morrisania Village. In 1855, additional settlements along the rail line became the town of Morrisania, with its political center in the original 1840 village (which eventually incorporated in 1864). At first the village was an early forerunner of today's bedroom communities, populated by people who worked in Manhattan, but it quickly developed its own local industries and craftsmen as it developed into a full-fledged town. In 1874, the area was annexed to New York City (then consisting only of Manhattan) as part of the Twenty-Third Ward. In 1887, the Third Avenue Elevated was extended to the area to provide easy and quick access to and from Manhattan. By the time the New York City Subway was extended to the area in 1904, a large influx of European immigrants had given the neighborhood an urban character, with tenements replacing houses as the dominant form of dwelling.

In the 1950s along with changing demographics, Robert Moses destroyed various tenements in favor of a colony of public housing. After the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, the poverty that East Tremont suffered spread into Morrisania. As a result, and also due to the aggressive 1968 Program for Action, the Third Avenue El closed in 1973. During this time period a wave of arson destroyed or damaged many of the residential, commercial, and industrial structures in the area.

Many social problems associated with poverty.

After a wave of arson ravaged the low income communities of New York City throughout the 1970s, most of the residential structures in Morrisania were left seriously damaged or destroyed. The city began to rehabilitate many formally abandoned tenement style apartment buildings and designate them low income housing beginning in the late 1970s. Also many subsidized attached multi-unit townhouses and newly constructed apartment buildings have been or are being built on vacant lots across the neighborhood.

Demographics

Today's Morrisania is a low-income neighborhood that predominantly consists of Latin Americans and African Americans.

Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Morrisania was 37,865, a change of 8,068 (21.3%) from the 29,797 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 387.46 acres (156.80 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 97.7 inhabitants per acre (62,500/sq mi; 24,100/km2).

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 1.4% (523) White, 38.4% (14,531) African American, 0.2% (94) Native American, 0.5% (205) Asian, 0% (11) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (127) from other races, and 0.9% (339) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 58.2% (22,035) of the population.

The entirety of Community District 3, which comprises Morrisania and Crotona Park East, had 91,601 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 76.2 years. This is lower than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods. Most inhabitants are youth and middle-aged adults: 29% are between the ages of between 0–17, 29% between 25–44, and 21% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 12% and 9% respectively.

As of 2017, the median household income in Community Districts 3 and 6, including Tremont and Belmont, was $25,972. In 2018, an estimated 31% of Morrisania and Crotona Park East residents lived in poverty, compared to 25% in all of the Bronx and 20% in all of New York City. One in six residents (16%) were unemployed, compared to 13% in the Bronx and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 60% in Morrisania and Crotona Park East, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 58% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018, Morrisania and Crotona Park East are gentrifying.

Land use and terrain

Morris Academy Historic District, Boston Rd., Morrisania, Bronx County, New York
Morris High School Historic District

Morrisania is dominated by public housing complexes of various types, vacant lots, and tenement buildings. Most of the original housing stock which consisted of older multi-unit homes and tenements were structurally damaged by arson and eventually razed by the city. The total land area is over a square mile. The terrain is somewhat hilly.

Morris High School Historic District

The landmarked Morris High School Historic District is north of the Forest Houses. The two square blocks between Boston Road, Forest Avenue, and East 166th Street have Morris High School and adjacent brownstones.

Low income public housing projects

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Webster Houses
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Morrisania Air Rights

Twenty NYCHA developments are located in Morrisania:

  • 1162-1176 Washington Avenue; one rehabilitated 6-story tenement building
  • Butler Houses; six, 21-story buildings
  • Claremont Parkway-Franklin Avenue Area; three buildings, 3 and 7-stories tall
  • Davidson Houses; one 8-story building
  • Eagle Avenue-East 163rd Street; one 6-story building
  • Forest Houses; fifteen buildings, 9, 10 and 14-stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue I (Conventional); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5-stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue I M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); two rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5-stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue II (Conventional); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5-stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue III (Conventional); one 5-story rehabilitated tenement building
  • Franklin Avenue III M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5-stories tall
  • Jennings Street M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5-stories tall
  • McKinley Houses; five, 16-story buildings
  • Morris I; ten buildings, 16 and 20-stories tall
  • Morris II; seven buildings, 16 and 20-stories tall
  • Morrisania Air Rights; two, 16-story buildings
  • PSS Grandparent; one 6-story building
  • Union Avenue-East 163rd Street; one nine-story building
  • Union Avenue-East 166th Street; six, 3-story buildings
  • Webster Houses; five, 21-story buildings

Transportation

There are no New York City Subway stations in Morrisania, though several bus routes connect with subway stations. The following MTA Regional Bus Operations bus routes serve Morrisania:

  • Bx6 and Bx6 SBS: to Hunts Point or Riverside Drive (via 161st and 163rd Streets)
  • Bx11: to Simpson Street (2 5 trains) or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 170th Street)
  • Bx15: to Fordham Plaza or Manhattanville (via 3rd Avenue and 125th Street)
  • Bx21: to Westchester Square–East Tremont Avenue (6 <6> trains) or Third Avenue–138th Street (6 <6> trains) (via Boston Road–Morris Park Avenue)
  • Bx35: to Simpson Street (2 5 trains) or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 167th Street)
  • Bx41 and Bx41 SBS: to Gun Hill Road (2 5 trains) or Third Avenue–149th Street (2 5 trains) (via Webster Avenue)

Education

Morrisania and Crotona Park East generally have a lower rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city as of 2018. While 19% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 36% have less than a high school education and 45% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 26% of Bronx residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher. The percentage of Morrisania and Crotona Park East students excelling in math rose from 19% in 2000 to 41% in 2011, and reading achievement increased from 28% to 32% during the same time period.

Morrisania and Crotona Park East's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is more than the rest of New York City. In Morrisania and Crotona Park East, 34% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, higher than the citywide average of 20%. Additionally, 63% of high school students in Morrisania and Crotona Park East graduate on time, lower than the citywide average of 75%.

Schools

Public schools include:

  • PS 2/63: Morrisania (East 169th Street and Franklin Avenue)
  • PS/MS 4: Crotona Park West (East 173rd Street and Fulton Avenue)
  • PS 42: Claremont Village (Claremont Parkway and Washington Avenue)
  • PS 35: Franz Siegel (East 163 Street and Grant Avenue)
  • PS 88: Morrisania (Sheridan Ave and Marcy Place)
  • PS 90: George Meany (McClellan and Sheridan Avenue)
  • PS 53: Basheer Quisim School (East 168th Street)
  • PS 55: Benjamin Franklin (St. Paul's Place and Washington Avenue)
  • PS 110: Theodore Schoenfield (Crotona Park South and Fulton Avenue)
  • PS 132: Garrett A. Morgan (East 168th Street and Washington Avenue)
  • PS 140: Eagle (East 163rd Street and Eagle Avenue)
  • PS 146: Edward "Pops" Collins (East 164th Street and Cauldwell Avenue)
  • PS 186: Walter J. Damrosch Day Treatment Center (Jennings Street and Union Avenue)
  • PS 198:(East 168th Street and Tinton Avenue)
  • PS/MS 212: Theodore Gathings (Home Street and Union Avenue)
  • PS 463-Urban Scholars Community School
  • MS 128: Mott Hall III (St. Paul's Place and Washington Avenue) [occupying the 5th & 6th floor of the Benjamin Franklin School]
  • MS 145: Arturo Toscanini (East 165th Street and Teller Avenue)
  • MS 219: Charles Richard Drew (East 169th Street and Third Avenue)
  • MS 301: Paul Laurence Dunbar (East 161st Street and Cauldwell Avenue)
  • MS 313/339: Diana Sands (East 172nd Street and Webster Avenue)
  • Morris High School (East 166th Street and Boston Road)
  • Jane Addams High School (East 161st Street and Tinton Avenue)
  • Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (East 169th Street and Fulton Avenue)
  • Eximius College Preparatory Academy (East 169th Street and Fulton Avenue)
  • Bathgate High School Campus (Claremont Parkway and Bathgate Avenue)
  • Success Academy Bronx 3, a K–2 charter school
  • The Eagle Academy for Young Men (East 176th Street and Third Avenue)

Libraries

The New York Public Library operates the Morrisania branch at 610 East 169th Street. The branch, a Carnegie library, opened in 1908 and was designed by Babb, Cook & Willard. Another branch, the Grand Concourse branch, is located at 155 East 173rd Street. The branch is a two-story structure that opened in 1959.

Notable people

  • Iran Barkley, former professional boxer who competed from 1982 to 1999, uncle of NFL star Saquon Barkley
  • Ray Barretto (1929–2006), percussionist and bandleader of Puerto Rican ancestry
  • Eric Burroughs (1911–1992), stage and radio actor.
  • Big Pun, rapper, was raised on 163rd and Rogers Place, a mural stands in his honor on the street.
  • Boogie Down Productions, rap group, KRS-1 was discovered at homeless shelter at the Morrisania Armory on 166th Street and Franklin Avenue by Scott LaRock who was a social worker there
  • Coko, lead singer of R&B group SWV, raised in Forest Houses
  • Chick Corea, jazz composer, keyboardist, bandleader, and occasional percussionist
  • Diamond D, rapper and boom bap producer from Forest Houses, founding member of Diggin' in the Crates Crew
  • Gloria Davis (born 1938), politician who served in the New York State Assembly.
  • Estella B. Diggs (1916–2013), politician who served in the New York State Assembly.
  • Fat Joe (born 1970), rapper from Forest Houses.
  • Grandmaster Flash, hip-hop DJ considered to be one of the pioneers of scratching, cutting, and mixing and the leader of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, grew up Fox Street right off 163rd
  • Lord Finesse, rapper from Forest Houses
  • Elmo Hope, jazz pianist, composter, and arranger best known for his work the bebop and hard bop genres, grew up on Lyman Place
  • Keef Cowboy, dancer and hypeman known as pioneer in the "call and response" style credited with coining term "hip-hop", from Prospect Avenue
  • Edward Stanley Kellogg (1870–1948), 16th Governor of American Samoa.
  • Cuban Link, rapper was raised on Prospect Avenue
  • Orlando Marin, Latin jazz and mambo bandleader and timbales player
  • Melle Mel, rapper and lead vocalist of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
  • Lewis Morris (1726–1798), chief justice of New York and British governor of New Jersey, was the first lord of the manor of Morrisania in New York City, signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • Gouverneur Morris (1752–1816), statesman who wrote the Preamble to the United States Constitution.
  • The Kidd Creole, member of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and brother of Melle Mel
  • The Wrens, doo-wop group were raised in Morrisania and attended Morris High School where they formed the group.
  • Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers, Latin jazz, soul, and R&B group
  • The Chords, doo-wop group
  • The Chantels, pop, doo-wop, and rock and roll group
  • Lillian Leach, doo-wop singer and lead vocalists of group The Mellows
  • Thelonious Monk, American jazz pianist and composer, lived on Lyman Place for some years
  • Charlie Palmieri, renowned bandleader and musical director of salsa music
  • Eddie Palmieri, Grammy Award-winning pianist, bandleader, musician, and composer
  • Colin Powell, American politician, diplomat and retired four-star general who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State., grew up on Kelly Street and attended Morris High School
  • Desi Rodriguez, basketball player, grew up on Washington Avenue
  • Tito Rodriguez, mambo, chacha, bolero, pachanga, cha cha cha, and guaracha bandleader and singer, lived on Rogers Place
  • Mongo Santamaria, Afro-Cuban percussionist and bandleader
  • Romeo Santos, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and lead vocalist of the bachata band Aventura, grew up near Boston Road and attended Morris High School
  • Showbiz, rapper and producer from Forest Houses and one half of duo Showbiz & AG
  • Maxine Sullivan, jazz vocalist and performer, lived on Ritter Place
  • Helen Rand Thayer (1863-1935), suffragist and social reformer
  • Frederick Trump (1869–1918), grandfather of 45th president of the United States Donald Trump lived at 1006 Westchester Avenue in the then German-speaking Morrisania with his wife Elizabeth and their family.
  • Elsie Washington, novelist
  • Xtreme, bachata duo, grew up on East 169th Street
  • Jerry Jemmott, Grammy Award winning musician/composer.

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