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Woodlawn Heights
Neighborhood of the Bronx
"Welcome to Woodlawn Heights" sign.
"Welcome to Woodlawn Heights" sign.
Nickname(s): 
"Little Ireland"
Country  United States
State  New York
City Flag of New York City.svg New York City
Borough Flag of Bronx County, New York.svg The Bronx
Community District Bronx 12
Area
 • Total 0.62 km2 (0.240 sq mi)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 42,483
 • Density 68,340/km2 (177,000/sq mi)
Economics
 • Median income $52,510
ZIP Codes
10470
Area code 718, 347, 929, and 917

Woodlawn Heights, also known as Woodlawn, is a predominantly Irish-American working class neighborhood at the very north end of the borough of the Bronx in New York City. It is bounded by McLean Avenue to the north (slightly north of New York City's border with the city of Yonkers in Westchester County), the Bronx River to the east, Woodlawn Cemetery to the south, and Van Cortlandt Park to the west. Woodlawn Heights remains one of the few areas in New York City that still has young Irish immigrants still arriving to the area en masse.

Woodlawn Heights is part of Bronx Community Board 12, and its ZIP Code is 10470.

Major streets

WoodlawnBronxNYC
Location of Woodlawn in the Bronx

Katonah Avenue, which runs north-south through the heart of Woodlawn Heights, is a popular destination for its many Irish pubs and restaurants, such as Behan's Pub, the Rambling House, the Lark's Nest, the Just One Saloon, the Avenue and the Kitchen. All offer traditional Irish breakfast or brunch at reasonable prices. In addition there is The Emerald Isle Immigration Center, an Italian bakery, Patrizia's Italian Restaurant, an Irish butcher shop, Irish and Albanian barber shops, and many other types of specialty shops.

McLean Avenue, which runs east-west, is the main shopping strip for both Woodlawn Heights and the Yonkers neighborhood of McLean Heights. Its pubs and shops are considered to be some of the neighborhood's most notable fixtures, although technically it is within the city of Yonkers. McLean Avenue has many Irish pubs, a large variety of Irish and non-Irish restaurants and diners, two Irish gift shops, The Aisling Irish Community Center, an Irish Butcher Shop, and Italian pastry shop.

East 233rd Street is a major thoroughfare that runs east-west on the southern border of the neighborhood. It is largely known for its gas stations and Irish pubs, as well as for its bus routes and the Woodlawn station of the Metro-North Railroad.

Notable features of the neighborhood include Oneida Triangle, a memorial to residents of Woodlawn Heights who served in World War I, and Muskrat Cove, the northernmost segment of the Bronx River Greenway.

Demographics

Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Woodlawn-Wakefield was 42,483, a decrease of 1,100 (2.5%) from the 43,583 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 901.76 acres (364.93 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 47.1 inhabitants per acre (30,100/sq mi; 11,600/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 17.6% (7,473) White, 58.3% (24,774) African American, 0.4% (169) Native American, 3.4% (1,465) Asian, 0.0% (20) Pacific Islander, 2.0% (855) from other races, and 2.0% (866) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.1% (6,861) of the population.

This formerly German neighborhood is now a mostly Irish American neighborhood, which also has a small but recognizable Italian-American community. This neighborhood remains one of the few communities to which young and newly arrived Irish immigrants regularly arrive en masse. The Emerald Isle Immigration Center on Katonah Avenue and the Aisling Irish Community Center on McLean Avenue are two sources for the newly arrived as well as established Irish immigrants to Woodlawn Heights and the United States. The neighborhood is sometimes informally referred to as "Little Ireland". As of May 2016, Woodlawn Heights was rezoned to prevent the destruction of single-family homes that currently give this neighborhood its intrinsic Irish character. The rezoning will provide a framework for orderly growth while protecting the neighborhood’s established residential character.

The entirety of Community District 12, which comprises Williamsbridge, Woodlawn Heights, Baychester, and Eastchester, had 156,542 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 81.0 years. This is about the same as the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods. Most inhabitants are youth and middle-aged adults: 24% are between the ages of between 0–17, 27% between 25–44, and 26% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 10% and 13% respectively.

As of 2017, the median household income in Community District 12 was $48,018. In 2018, an estimated 22% of Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge residents lived in poverty, compared to 25% in all of the Bronx and 20% in all of New York City. One in eight residents (13%) 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 57% in Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 58% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018, Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge are considered high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.

Fire safety

Woodlawn Heights is served by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)'s Engine Co. 63/Ladder Co. 39/Battalion 15, located at 755 East 233rd Street.

Post office and ZIP Code

Woodlawn Heights is located within the ZIP Code 10470. The United States Postal Service operates the Woodlawn Station at 4364 Katonah Avenue.

Education

Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge generally have a lower rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city as of 2018. While 32% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 20% have less than a high school education and 48% 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 Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge students excelling in math rose from 32% in 2000 to 48% in 2011, though reading achievement remained constant at 37% during the same time period.

Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is slightly higher than the rest of New York City. In Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge, 29% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, more than the citywide average of 20%. Additionally, 70% of high school students in Woodlawn Heights and Williamsbridge graduate on time, about the same as the citywide average of 75%.

Schools

Weiss Woodlawn School PS 19 jeh
PS 19, Katonah Avenue

The St. Barnabas parish runs St. Barnabas Elementary School, which opened in 1914 (whose principal is currently Miranda Marques). St. Barnabas High School, an all-girls school which opened in 1928 is run by principal Theresa Napoli. The high school has since been independent from the parish as of September 2015. In addition to the aforementioned St. Barnabas parish schools, the neighborhood is served by Judith K. Weiss School P.S. 19.

Library

The New York Public Library (NYPL)'s Woodlawn Heights branch is located at 4355 Katonah Avenue. The branch opened in 1931 and moved to its current one-story, 2,500-square-foot (230 m2) location in 1969. The Woodlawn Heights branch contains an extensive collection of Irish books.

Community and civic organizations

Civic groups

Woodlawn Metro-North Station; Muskrat Cove
Muskrat Cove, a local park between the Woodlawn station and the southbound off-ramp from the Bronx River Parkway to East 233rd Street

Woodlawn has numerous community and civic organizations. Many of these groups have regular meetings that are open for neighborhood residents to attend.

  • Woodlawn Taxpayers and Community Association, Inc. typically meets the second Monday of each month at 7:30pm at St. Barnabas Elementary School, 413 East 241st Street, Bronx, NY 10470. The association charges a $15 annual membership fee and spends the year advocating for the community and keeping them informed through meetings and a monthly newsletter. This newsletter usually includes announcements of most of the upcoming meetings of the other groups and organizations mentioned below.
  • Bronx Community Board 12 typically meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 7:30pm at the Town Hall, 4101 White Plains Road, Bronx, New York 10466.
  • 47th Precinct Community Council typically meets on the second Wednesday of each month (other than July and August) at various locations throughout the precinct.
  • Women of Woodlawn typically meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30pm at the Rambling House at 4292 Katonah Ave, Bronx, NY 10470.
  • Woodlawn Collective typically meets on the second Thursday of each month in the evenings via Zoom.
  • The Woodlawn Library Support Group typically meets on the third Saturday of each month at the Woodlawn Heights branch of the New York Public Library located at 4355 Katonah Ave, Bronx, NY 10470.

Community organizations

  • The Emerald Isle Immigration Center assists residents with topics related to "immigrant life and law."
  • The Aisling Irish Community Center exists to "assist Irish immigrants in transition to life in the USA." The center hosts many programs for Woodlawn Heights and McLean Heights citizens including exercise classes, activities for children, and volunteer outreach for the community.

Places of worship

The neighborhood has several old and picturesque churches.

Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church is on Martha Avenue.

The Roman Catholic church of St. Barnabas is the largest church in Woodlawn Heights and part of St. Barnabas parish. The parish is managed by Reverend Brendan A. Fitzgerald. The parish has weekly masses in English and Italian and some seasonal holiday masses in Gaelic. St. Barnabas Parish, founded in 1910, serves as a major community center for the neighborhood, which is nearly entirely Catholic, and a center of Irish culture, offering Irish language classes and an Irish Outreach program to assist Irish immigrants in finding jobs and residence in the neighborhood. In addition to the church, the parish runs an adjoining convent (currently occupied by the large and growing community of the Sisters of Life) and St. Barnabas Elementary School.

Mark EV Lutheran Church Kimball Av jeh
St. Mark's Lutheran Church

St. Mark's Lutheran Church is on Saint Marks Place in Yonkers near the Van Cortlandt Park entrance.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church is on 238th Street.

Trinity Community Full Gospel Church is on 241st Street.

Transportation

Woodlawn Heights is served by the Bx16, Bx31, Bx34, BxM4 buses operated by MTA Regional Bus Operations; by the Woodlawn station on the New York City Subway's 4 train; and by the Woodlawn station on the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line.

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