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Harding Park, Bronx is located in Bronx
Location of Harding Park in New York City
Hardingparkbx1.JPG

Harding Park is a working class residential neighborhood geographically located in the south central Bronx in New York City. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 9.[1] Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: Lacombe Avenue to the north, Pugsley's Creek to the east, the East River to the south, and the Bronx River to the west. White Plains Road is the primary thoroughfare through Harding Park. ZIP codes include 10473. The area is patrolled by the 43rd Precinct located at 900 Fteley Avenue in the Soundview section of the Bronx.

Contents

History

The small peninsula of the Bronx defined by the Bronx River, Pugsley's Creek, and the East River is known as Clason (pronounced Clawson) Point, named for an 18th Century merchant named Isaac Clason who purchased what was previously known as Cornell's Neck in 1793; the land stayed in the family until the family sold it in 1855. Harding Park is the maze of little unnamed streets and bungalows found along Bronx River, Leland, Gildersleeve and Cornell Avenues in Clason Point. Like Silver Beach and Edgewater Park in Throggs Neck, it seems independent from the rest of the Bronx, since its street pattern is different and it's cut off by water from the rest of the borough.

The region's first residents of course were the Siwanoy Indians, who spoke Algonquin. Europeans began settling the region in the early 1600s, and the Cornell family built the first permanent European settlement in the spit of land first known as Snakipins by the Indians, then Cornells Neck and later Clason Point. In the 1640s a series of skirmishes between the Cornells and the Siwanoy, known as the Pig Wars, were led by Wampage, the Siwanoy scahem believed to be the Indian leader who killed Anne Hutchinson and her children in 1643 at Split Rock, now in the northern Bronx. This act was done, some historians believe, in retaliation for New Netherland governor Willem Kieft's February massacres of refugee Weekquaesgeek at Corlaer's Hook and Pavonia in today's New Jersey. A passing ship rescued the Cornells, and they persisted, returning to their adopted Bronx home the year after Wampage's last raid. Britisher Thomas Pell arrived at a treaty in 1654 with several Siwanoy sachems, including Wampage, that the Dutch authorities didn't recognize. This disagreement was rendered moot in 1664 when the British fleet appeared in the harbor and the Dutch capitulated.

By the mid-1800s, the area was called Clason Point. Families such as the Lynches, Ludlows, Schieffelins, and Lelands, some of which are still seen on street signs, all built farmhouses in the area, though its swampy, waterlogged nature made it a non-starter for commerce. (Even today the main shopping area is at a fairly distant remove, along Story Avenue, the Bruckner Expressway and White Plains Road.) Its seaside location and terrific views as shown here made it a logical locale for seaside resorts, dancehalls and amusement parks which were constructed in the early 20th Century, served by a ferry from College Point, Queens.

By 1900 the Higgs family maintained a beach and amusement area on the western end of Clason Point, and in the early 1920s Thomas Higgs, who owned about 100 acres (0.40 km2) of beachfront property, began leasing tents to visitors and the area formalized its own street layout and summer bungalow colony. Good patriots that they were, they named the colony for the sitting President at the time, Warren Gamaliel Harding (1865-1923). After World War II these became permanent year-round residences due to a housing shortage, eventually sheltering over 250 families.

Though Robert Moses attempted to tear down what he called the "Soundview Slums" (his taste ran to grand parks, transport infrastructure and Corbusian-esque housing projects), Harding Park survived, but became City property in 1979. Three years later, in 1982, Harding Park Homeowners Association, the first cooperatively owned low and moderate-income community in the city was formed.

Welcoming the Tour de Bronx of Transportation Alternatives

Land use and terrain

Harding Park is dominated by detached bungalows very closely set, many of them built off the grid. The total land area is roughly 1-square-mile (2.6 km2). The area is low lying and flat.

Demographics

As of the census[2] of 2000, the two census tracts that make up the neighborhood have a population of 5,859. The racial makeup of the neighborhood is 6.53% White, 19.59% African American, and 2.76% from other races. 80.54% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.[3]

Over 20% of the population in Harding Park lives under the poverty line. Puerto Ricans account for the largest ethnic group.

Urban renewal

After a wave of arson ravaged the low income communities of New York City throughout the 1970s, some of the residential structures in Harding Park were left seriously damaged or destroyed. At the same time much of the undeveloped land in the community was left to rot. Many homes have been rehabilitated also many subsidized multi unit townhouses have been or are being built on vacant lots across the neighborhood. Many in the community however feel the new development has led to new problems.

Overpopulation

The infrastructure of the community has not been updated in many years. Many streets flood after periods of heavy rain. The nearest retail strip is almost a mile away. Public transportation is lacking and there is only one school in the neighborhood.

Facts

  • Harding Park is also known as Clason Point.

References

40°48′34″N 73°51′23″W / 40.8094444°N 73.8563889°W / 40.8094444; -73.8563889

Concerned Harding Park Homeowners

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