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Mott Haven
Neighborhood of the Bronx
East 139th Street, between Willis and Brook Avenues, facing east
East 139th Street, between Willis and Brook Avenues, facing east
Nickname(s): 
"The Boogie Down Bronx"
Coordinates: 40°48′36″N 73°55′34″W / 40.81°N 73.926°W / 40.81; -73.926Coordinates: 40°48′36″N 73°55′34″W / 40.81°N 73.926°W / 40.81; -73.926
Country  United States
State  New York
City New York City
Borough The Bronx
Community District Bronx 1
Founded 1849
Named for Jordan Lawrence Mott
Area
 • Total 3.06 km2 (1.180 sq mi)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 52,413
 • Density 17,150/km2 (44,418/sq mi)
Economics
 • Median income $25,325
Ethnicity
 • Hispanic 72.3%
 • Black 24.7
 • White 1.7
 • Asian 0.4
 • Other 1.0
ZIP Codes
10451, 10454, 10455
Area codes 718, 347, 929, and 917
Website
Mott Haven Historic District
40 Pct Alexander Av jeh.jpg
40th Precinct Police Station, July 2010
Location An irregular pattern along Alexander Ave. and E. 138th St., New York, New York
Area 11 acres (4.5 ha)
Built 1850
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Gothic, Queen Anne, Romanesque
NRHP reference No. 80002586
Added to NRHP March 25, 1980

Mott Haven is a primarily residential neighborhood in the southwestern section of the New York City borough of the Bronx. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise, are East 149th Street to the north, the Bruckner Expressway to the east, the Major Deegan Expressway to the south, and the Harlem River to the west. East 138th Street is the primary east–west thoroughfare through Mott Haven.

The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 1, and is located within ZIP Codes 10451, 10454, and 10455. Mott Haven is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 40th Precinct.

The local subway line is the IRT Pelham Line (6 <6> trains), operating along East 138th Street. The local buses are the Bx1, Bx2, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx21, Bx32, Bx33. Mott Haven is served by the Triborough Bridge, the Third Avenue Bridge, the Madison Avenue Bridge, the 145th Street Bridge, and the Willis Avenue Bridge. The closest Metro-North Railroad stops are Harlem – 125th Street and Yankees – East 153rd Street.

Demographics

Mott Haven is a high-density and mainly low-income neighborhood. Like most neighborhoods in New York City, the vast majority of households are renter-occupied. The neighborhood is largely Puerto Rican, with smaller numbers of African Americans, Mexicans and Dominicans present.

Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Mott Haven and Port Morris was 52,413, a change of 3,383 (6.5%) from the 49,030 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 951.01 acres (384.86 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 55.1 inhabitants per acre (35,300/sq mi; 13,600/km2).

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 1.7% (867) White, 24.7% (12,927) African American, 0.2% (95) Native American, 0.4% (214) Asian, 0% (7) Pacific Islander, 0.2% (124) from other races, and 0.6% (310) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 72.3% (37,869) of the population.

The entirety of Community District 1, which comprises Mott Haven and Melrose, had 98,403 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 77.6 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: 28% are between the ages of between 0–17, 28% between 25–44, and 21% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 12% and 10% respectively.

As of 2017, the median household income in Community Districts 1 and 2, including Longwood, was $20,966. In 2018, an estimated 29% of Mott Haven and Melrose residents lived in poverty, compared to 25% in all of the Bronx and 20% in all of New York City. One in eight residents (12%) 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 58% in Mott Haven and Melrose, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 58% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018, Mott Haven and Melrose are considered to be low-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.

Land use and terrain

Mott Haven Post Office jeh
Post office
Bertine Block - 136th Street
Bertine Block - 136th Street

Mott Haven is dominated by tenement-style apartment buildings and large public housing complexes. There are three historical districts consisting of brownstone-style rowhouses. In the last two decades, construction of modern 2- and 3-unit rowhouses and apartment buildings has increased the percentage of owner-occupiers. The neighborhood contains one of the highest concentrations of NYCHA projects in the Bronx. The total land area is roughly one square mile. The terrain is low-lying and flat except around St. Mary's Park where it is somewhat hilly.

Historical districts and landmarks

Three Historic Districts are located in Mott Haven: Mott Haven, Mott Haven East and the Bertine Block.

  • The Mott Haven Historic District is located on Alexander Avenue between East 138th Street and East 141st Street. The district is primarily residential in character with four and five-story row houses dating to the last half of the 19th century, and contains the row of handsome brownstones known historically as Doctors' Row and Irish Fifth Avenue. It also has the 40th Precinct police station, the 1905 neo-renaissance Mott Haven Branch of the New York Public Library, and Saint Jerome's Roman Catholic Church. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
  • The Mott Haven East Historic District is located on East 139th and East 140th Street between Brook and Willis Avenues. The district contains rows of handsome brownstones designed by William O'Gorman and William Hornum in 1883 combining Dutch and Flemish architectural aspects on the north side of E. 140th Street and neo-Grecian aspects on the south side of E. 140th Street and on E. 139th Street.
  • The Bertine Block Historic District is located on East 136th Street between Brook and Willis Avenues. The district contains yellow-faced brick brownstones designed by Edward Bertine between 1891 and 1895.

St. Ann's Episcopal Church is located on the west side of St. Ann's Avenue between East 139th and East 141st Streets. It is the Bronx's oldest church, having been built in 1841 and dedicated to Gouverneur Morris's mother Ann. Notable figures buried there include Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Gouverneur Morris; and former mayor of New York, R. H. Morris.

Public housing projects

Betances NYCHA Brook Av Bx jeh
NYCHA Betances Houses on Brook Avenue

The seventeen NYCHA developments in Mott Haven illustrate the various types of public housing initiatives in vogue in New York City over the decades.

  1. Dr. Ramon E. Betances I; thirteen buildings, 3, 4, 11 and 19 stories tall
  2. Dr. Ramon E. Betances II, 13; one 6-story building
  3. Dr. Ramon E. Betances II, 18; two buildings, 4 and 6 stories tall
  4. Dr. Ramon E. Betances II, 9A; one 4-story building.
  5. Dr. Ramon E. Betances III, 13; two rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall.
  6. Dr. Ramon E. Betances III, 18; one rehabilitated and three abandoned tenement buildings 5 stories tall
  7. Dr. Ramon E. Betances III, 9A; two rehabilitated tenement buildings 6 stories tall
  8. Dr. Ramon E. Betances IV; eight buildings, 3, 4 and 5 stories tall with 282 apartments
  9. Dr. Ramon E. Betances V; six rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 and 6 stories tall
  10. Dr. Ramon E. Betances VI; three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 and 6 stories tall
  11. Millbrook Houses; nine 16-story buildings
  12. Millbrook Extension; one 16-story building
  13. Mitchel Houses; ten buildings, 17, 19, and 20 stories tall
  14. Moore Houses; two 20-story buildings
  15. Mott Haven Houses; eight buildings, 20 and 22 stories tall
  16. Patterson Houses; fifteen buildings 6 and 13 stories tall
  17. Southern Boulevard M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); one 7-story rehabilitated tenement building

Hospitals

Mott Haven is home to Lincoln Hospital on 149 Street between Park and Morris Avenues. The hospital was founded in 1839 and now has 342 beds.

History

(King1893NYC) pg118 MOTT-HAVEN STATION, 138TH STREET, NEW-YORK CENTRAL & HUDSON-RIVER RAILROAD
Mott Haven station of New York Central, 138th St
125 MOTT-HAVEN CANAL
Mott Haven Canal in 1893
1 Bruckner Blvd western jeh
Looking east across Bruckner Blvd and Third Avenue at Bruckner Bar & Grill

Bronx was named after the Swedish sea captain Jonas Bronck. In 1639, the Dutch West India Company purchased the land of today's Mott Haven from the Wecquaesgeek (groups of Lenape tribe). Bronck built his farm on this land and named it "Emmanus". The house was located close what is today the corner of Willis Avenue and 132nd Street.

The peace treaty between Dutch authorities and the Wecquaesgeek chiefs Ranaqua and Tackamuckwas was signed in Bronck's house. This event is portrayed in a painting by the American artist John Ward Dunsmore (1856–1945).

Even if Bronck only lived in the area for four years, the land became known as "Broncksland" and the river that bordered his land kept the name Bronck's River. The first time the spelling "Bronx land was used, was in 1697 in the First Legislature outlined the County of West Chester.

The area that is now called Mott Haven was sold to the Morris family in 1670. A small part of the larger swath of land known as Morrisania, it was purchased by Jordan Lawrence Mott for his iron works in 1849. A vestige of the iron works can be seen just west of the Third Avenue Bridge on East 134th Street at St. Ann's Church (ECUSA) on St. Ann's Avenue is the resting place of Lewis Morris, Gouverneur Morris and other members of that powerful colonial family, and a Registered Historic Place.

As the city below grew, the area quickly developed residentially. At the same time, an upper-middle class residential area, marked by brownstones built in an elaborate and architecturally daring fashion, started to grow along Alexander Avenue by the 1890s (Doctors' Row, aka the Irish Fifth Avenue). A series of brownstones on E. 134th St, east of Willis Ave., was known as Judges' Row. Soon after, the Bronx grew more quickly, especially with public transit into the area, including the IRT Ninth Avenue Line. By the early 20th century, the population density of the area supported the construction of many tenement-style apartment buildings.

From the end of the 19th century through the 1940s, Mott Haven was a mixed German-American (north of E. 145th St.) and Irish-American neighborhood (south of E. 145th St), with an Italian enclave west of Lincoln Ave.

One of the largest parades in New York City took place here in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was organized by the veterans of the Irish Republican Army, who marched every Easter Sunday, down Willis Avenue from the Hub to E. 138th Street, then west to St. Jerome's. The Star of Munster Ballroom at the northeast corner of Willis Avenue and E. 138th Street was a center of Irish music for decades. It was speculated at one time that there were more bars on Willis Avenue than on any other city street, given its short length. More recorded Irish musicians lived in Mott Haven than in any place outside Ireland.

The first Puerto Rican settlements came in the late 1940s along the length of Brook Avenue. African-Americans came into the area when Patterson Houses were built.

3davbronxbankjeh
North Side Board of Trade
North New York UCC Bx jeh
North New York Congregationalist Church

Mott Haven and Port Morris were the first neighborhoods to give rise to the term "South Bronx". Together, they were earlier known as the North Side or North New York. This area was part of New York County after the incorporation of Greater New York in 1898. The Chase Manhattan Bank at Third Avenue and E. 137th Street was originally the North Side Board of Trade Building (1912). It later became the North Side Savings Bank, which became Dollar Dry Dock, which became Chase.

In the 1940s when the Bronx was usually divided into the East Bronx and West Bronx, a group of social workers identified a pocket of poverty on East 134th Street, east of Brown Place, and called it the South Bronx. This area of poverty would spread in part due to an illegal practice known as blockbusting and to Robert Moses building several housing projects in the neighborhood. The poverty greatly expanded northward, following the post-war phenomenon colloquially referred to as white flight, reaching a peak in the 1960s when the socioeconomic North Bronx-South Bronx boundary reached Fordham Road. At this time a wave of arson destroyed or damaged many of the residential, commercial, and industrial structures in the area.

Today the North Bronx-South Bronx distinction remains more common than the traditional East Bronx-West Bronx distinction, and some still regard Fordham Road as the boundary. Though crime has declined versus the highs of the crack epidemic and revitalization of former abandoned properties is taking place, the neighborhood continues to deal with serious crime issues, which some speculate is due to persistent poverty among the population.

Development and gentrification

There have been significant strides to increase gentrification of the neighborhood, and the most changes are seen on Bruckner Boulevard, Alexander Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue. E. 138th Street has seen minor changes with apartment buildings under new renovations, and the arrival of new businesses. Mott Haven is home to a community-supported agriculture program hosted at Brook Park.

Recent development plans include two affordable rental buildings and a Hampton Inn by Monadnock Development and Signature Urban Properties, and the so-called Piano District in Port Morris.

Transportation

Brook Avenue Mosaic Tile 02
A mosaic along the platform of Brook Avenue station on the IRT Pelham Line.
Mott Avenue Control House; IN COLOR!
The historic and closed off Mott Avenue Control House, now part of the 149th Street-Grand Concourse Subway Complex.

The 145th Street Bridge and Madison Avenue Bridge eastward and the Willis Avenue Bridge northward from Manhattan lead to Mott Haven and are maintained by NYCDOT. The Triborough Bridge, which also ends in Mott Haven, is maintained by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and is tolled.

Notable natives

  • Edward J. Flynn, Alexander Ave., chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1940 to 1943
  • Bobby Darin lived at 629 E. 135 St. and attended P.S. 43.
  • Danny Aiello lived on Bergen Ave. and attended Monroe H.S.
  • Rapper A.G. of the duo Showbiz and A.G. was raised in the Patterson Houses.
  • Rod Strickland, NBA player, was raised in the Mitchel Houses.
  • Former boxer Iran Barkley was raised in the Patterson Houses.
  • Nate Archibald, former NBA player, was raised in the Patterson Houses.
  • Rapper Percee P was raised in the Patterson Houses.
  • The band ESG are from the Moore Houses.
  • French Montana, rapper, is from the Mott Haven Houses.
  • Kase 2, aerosol writer, is from the Moore Houses.
  • José E. Serrano, Congressman representing the Bronx, was raised in the Millbrook Houses.
  • Singer Prince Royce is from the Patterson Houses.
  • Actor Luis Antonio Ramos is from the Patterson Houses.
  • Sea captain Jonas Bronck, after whom the Bronx is named.

Education

PS18 Zenger Morris Av jeh
PS 18, Morris Avenue
JHS 149 Elijah Clark Bx jeh
JHS 149, Willis Avenue

Mott Haven and Melrose generally have a lower rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city as of 2018. While 16% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 41% have less than a high school education and 43% 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 Mott Haven and Melrose students excelling in math rose from 18% in 2000 to 37% in 2011, though reading achievement decreased slightly from 25% to 24% during the same time period.

Mott Haven and Melrose's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is more than the rest of New York City. In Mott Haven and Melrose, 32% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, higher than the citywide average of 20%. Additionally, 62% of high school students in Mott Haven and Melrose graduate on time, lower than the citywide average of 75%.

Schools

Public:

  • P.S. 18 John Peter Zenger School (East 148th St. and Morris Ave.)
  • P.S. 277 Dr. Evelina Lopez Antonetty (East 147th St. and St. Ann's Ave.)
  • P.S 25 Bilingual School (811 E 149th St)
  • P.S. 30 Wilton School (East 141st St. and Brook Ave.)
  • P.S. 40 Mott Haven Village (East 140th St. and Brook Ave.)
  • P.S. 43 Jonas Bronck School (East 136th St. and Brown Place)
  • P.S. 49 Willis Avenue School (East 139th St. and Willis Ave.)
  • P.S. 65 Mother Hale Academy (East 141st St. and Cypress Ave.)
  • I.S. 139 A. Burger Intermediate School (East 143rd St. and Brook Ave.)
  • I.S. 162 Lola Rodriguez de Tio (E 149th St. and St. Ann's Ave.)
  • M.S. 223: The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology (East 145th St. and Willis Ave.)
  • P.S. 154 Johnathan D. Hyatt School (East 135th St. and Alexander Ave.)
  • I.S. 183 Paul Robeson School (East 140th St. and Morris Ave.)
  • P.S. 754 School For Career Development/Foreign Language Academy Of Global Studies (East 147th St and Jackson Ave.)
  • P.S. 221 South Bronx Preparatory: A College Board School (East 144th St. and Willis Ave.)
  • South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts
  • The Bronx Charter School for Children
  • The Bronx Academy of Letters
  • Bronx School For Law Government And Justice
  • Health Opportunities High School
  • Community School For Social Justice
  • Family Life Academy Charter School II
  • New York City Montessori Charter School
  • Mott Haven Academy Charter School
  • Samuel Gompers High School (closed)
  • KIPP Academy Elementary School
  • KIPP Academy Middle School
  • Success Academy Bronx 1
  • Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY)
  • Hostos Lincoln Academy (located within the Hostos Community College campus.)

Parochial:

  • Saint Luke School
  • Saint Pius V School
  • Saint Pius V High School
  • St. Anselm's School

Library

The New York Public Library operates the Mott Haven branch at 321 East 140th Street. The branch, a Carnegie library, opened in 1905 and is a New York City designated landmark.

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