Mott Haven, Bronx: Wikis


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Mott Haven, Bronx is located in Bronx
Location of Mott Haven in New York City

Mott Haven is a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwest Bronx. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 1. 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 thoroughfare through Mott Haven. The local subway is the 6 line, operating along East 138th Street. Zip codes include 10451, 10454, and 10455. The neighborhood is served by the NYPD's 40th[1] Precinct. New York City Housing Authority property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue located in the Melrose section of the Bronx.



Mott Haven has a population of 50,000. For decades Mott Haven has been one of the poorest communities in America. Over half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). Almost half the population resides in units managed by the NYCHA. Mott Haven has the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans in all of New York City. There is also a significant African American population and a small but growing community of Central Americans along East 138th Street. The vast majority of homes are renter occupied.[2]

In recent years, artists and professionals have begun to move into industrial lofts and brownstones in the south part of Mott Haven.[3] Most businesses however continue to serve the majority poor and working class Latino population.[4]

Post Office

Land Use and Terrain

Mott Haven is dominated by public housing complexes of various types. There is a high concentration of older tenement buildings between these developments. Newly constructed subsidized attached multi-unit rowhouses and apartment buildings have been constructed on most vacant lots in the area. The neighborhood contains the highest concentration of NYCHA projects in the Bronx. The total land area is about one square mile. The terrain 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.[5] The district contains the row of handsome brownstones known historically as Doctors Row and Irish Fifth Avenue as well as the police station, the 1905 neo-renaissance Mott Haven Branch of the New York Public Library and Saint Jerome's Roman Catholic Church.[6]
  • 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..[7]
  • 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. .[8][9]
St. Ann's Episcopal Church

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

Low Income Public Housing projects

  • There are seventeen NYCHA developments located in Mott Haven.[10]
  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



The area that is now called Mott Haven was originally owned by the Morris family. A small part of the larger swath of land known as Morrisania, it was purchased by Jordan Mott for his iron works in 1849. A vestige of the iron works can be seen just west of the Third Ave. bridge on E. 134th St. 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 a/k/a the Irish Fifth Ave.) 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. The derogatory term "pig" for a policeman is thought to have originated here because of a tough Irish cop who wielded his night stick on Willis Ave. drunks without mercy, known as Paddy the Pig of the 40 Pct.

One of the largest parades in NYC took place here in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was organized by Sean Oglaigh na hEirann, the veterans of the Irish Repulican Army, who marched every Easter Sunday, down Willis Ave. from the Hub to E. 138th st., thence west to St. Jerome's. The Star of Munster Ballroom at the NE corner of Willis Ave. and E. 138th St., was a center of Irish music for decades. It was speculated at one time that there were more bars on Willis Ave than on any other city street, given its short distance. More recorded Irish musicians lived in Mott haven than in any place outside of Ireland.

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

Mott Haven and Port Morris were the first neighborhoods to give rise to the term "South Bronx". Together, they were originally known as the North Side. This area was part of New York County after the incorporation of Greater NY in 1898. The Chase Manhattan Bank at Third Ave. and E. 137th St., was originally the North Side Board of Trade Bldg (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 pocket of poverty would spread in part due to an illegal practice known as block-busting 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.

Social problems


Many social problems associated with poverty have plagued the area for years. However, in recent years, crime has fallen significantly, mirroring the declines in crime in the rest of the city; for example, the murder, robbery, and burglary rates are down by 80% since 1990, and now the rate of major crime is below the national average.[11] However, Mott Haven continues to have social problems; the neighborhood sees significantly higher drop out rates and incidents of violence in its schools than the national average.[12] In some schools in the area, students must pass through metal detectors to enter the buildings[13]; a practice criticized by many for being reminiscent of a prison environment and purportedly encouraging bad behavior. Other problems in local schools include low test scores and high truancy rates. Drug addiction is also a serious problem and, due to a lucrative drug trade in the area, many addicted reside within the community. Many attribute the high rate of usage to peer pressure on young people who come from broken homes. A high proportion of households in the area are headed by a single mother, many of whom had their children at a young age and struggled to provide for them, and this also contributes to the high poverty rate.[14] The incarceration rate in the area is also very high.[15]

The area is patrolled by the 40th Precinct located at 257 Alexander Avenue. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue located in the Melrose section of the Bronx.

Urban renewal

After a wave of arson ravaged the low income communities of New York City throughout the 1970s, many if not most residential structures in Mott Haven 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.

Mott Haven has in recent years experienced, along with the rest of the city, a rise in housing values, as many buildings, including some which had been abandoned, were renovated and sold, and a number of new apartment projects were built. The area adjacent to the Third Ave. bridge is undergoing a wave of gentrification as former piano factories are being converted in artists' lofts and condos. The area, once known as Piano Town is being marketed as SoBro. That area was previously mis-identified as Port Morris, which is east of the Bruckner Expressway.[16][17] Commercial development in the neighborhood has also accelerated.[18] It has yet to be seen what the effect of the collapse of the housing bubble will have on the neighborhood.



  • P.S. 18 John Peter Zenger School (East 148th St and Morris Av)
  • P.S. 27 Dr. Evelina Lopez Antonetty (East 147th St and St. Ann's Av)
  • P.S. 30 Wilton School (East 141st St and Brook Av)
  • P.S. 40 Mott Haven Village (East 140th St and Brook Av)
  • P.S. 43 Jonas Bronck School (East 136th St and Brown Place)
  • P.S. 49 Willis Avenue School (East 139th St and Willis Av)
  • P.S. 65 Mother Hale Academy (East 141st St and Cypress Av)
  • I.S. 139 A. Burger Intermediate School (East 143rd St and Brook Av)
  • J.H.S. 149 E. D. Clark Junior High School (East 145th St and Willis Av)
  • P.S. 154 Johnathan D. Hyatt School (East 135th St and Alexander Av)
  • I.S. 183 Paul Robeson School (East 140th St and Morris Av)
  • P.S. 754 School For Career Development/Foreign Language Academy Of Global Studies (East 147th St and Jackson Av)
  • Read Net Bronx Charter School
  • The Bronx Academy of Letters
  • Bronx School For Law Government And Justice (Schools within Bronx School For Law Government And Justice are Health Opportunities Program)
  • Samuel Gompers High School
  • Euginio Maria De Hostos Community College (C.U.N.Y.) (Schools within Euginio Maria De Hostos Community College are Hostos Lincoln Academy.)


  • Saint Jerome School
  • Saint Luke School
  • Saint Pius V School
  • Saint Pius V High School


  • During the dark days, Lincoln Memorial Hospital was moved from the decrepit site at 141st Street and Bruckner Boulevard to a modern facility on 149th Street and Morris Avenue. St. Francis Hospital on 142nd Street and St. Ann's Avenue near St. Mary's Park was closed and turned into a clinic during the 1980s.
  • In November 1999, Scientific American noted: "The Mott Haven section of New York City's South Bronx has long been one of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation. The median household income of its residents, most of whom are African-American or Hispanic, is less than one third of the U.S. median." The subject poverty of Mott Haven, with a focus on its effect on the resident children, was the subject of the 1995 bestseller Amazing Grace.[19]
  • Mott Haven is home to first organic green market in the Bronx.
  • Mott Haven is considered part of the socioeconomic South Bronx.

Notable natives


  1. ^ 40th Precinct, NYPD.
  2. ^ Bronx Community District 1
  3. ^ Barnard, Anne (2007-12-10). "No Longer the City of ‘Bonfire’ in Flames". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  4. ^ Heffernan, Tim (2005-09-27). "Close-Up on Mott Haven, Bronx". Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Mott Haven Landmarked District
  7. ^ Mott Haven East Landmarked District
  8. ^ Bertine Block Landmarked District
  9. ^ "To Have and Have Mott". Forgotten New York. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  10. ^ NYCHA
  11. ^ 40th Precinct CompStat Report
  12. ^ Losen, Daniel J. (2006-03-20). "Behind the Dropout Rate". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  13. ^ James, George (1993-03-26). "Bronx Student Stabs Teen-Ager Despite School Metal Detectors". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-08.  
  14. ^ Bronx Census Data Analysis
  15. ^ NYC Prison Expenditure
  16. ^ Mott Haven revival continues as apartment complex opens
  17. ^ Hughes, C.J. (2007-08-05). "Privately Financed Condos in Mott Haven". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  18. ^ More Impressive Developments in Mott Haven and Melrose in Bronx
  19. ^ Kozol, Jonathan (1996) [1995]. Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation (HarperPerennial edition ed.). New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.. ISBN 0-06-097697-7.  

External links

Coordinates: 40°48′32″N 73°55′22″W / 40.8089897°N 73.9229147°W / 40.8089897; -73.9229147


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