Hunts Point, Bronx
Hunts Point is a neighborhood located on a peninsula in the South Bronx of New York City. It is the location of one of the largest food distribution facilities in the world, the Hunts Point Cooperative Market. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 2. Its boundaries are the Bruckner Expressway to the west and north, the Bronx River to the east, and the East River to the south. Hunts Point Avenue is the primary street through Hunts Point. The neighborhood is considered to be a red-light district, because of its crime rate and prostitution. The neighborhood is served by NYPD's 41st Precinct.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Land use and terrain
- 4 Crime
- 5 Institutions and organizations
- 6 Education
- 7 Transportation
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Europeans first settled Hunt’s Point in 1663. At this time, Edward Jessup and John Richardson arrived on the peninsula and purchased the land from the Wekkguasegeeck tribe indigenous to the area. After Jessup died, his widow Elizabeth, entrusted the land to Thomas Hunt Jr., her son in-law for whom the area is named.
In the years between the Hunts' inheritance and 1850, several other wealthy landowning families occupied the peninsula. Legend has it that George Fox (1624–1691), founder of the Society of Friends (commonly known as Quakers), preached in the area in 1672. William H. Fox, a descendant of the Quaker leader, and his wife Charlotte Leggett, owned much of the land that is now Hunts Point.
As time passed and more New Yorkers became aware of the luxurious lifestyle available in Hunt’s Point, more City dwellers flocked to the area between 1850 and 1900. Later, the property wound up in the hands of Fox's and Leggett's son-in-law, H.D. Tiffany, a member of the family that owned the famous jewelry and decorative arts store Tiffany & Co. now on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Fox, Tiffany and Leggett Streets derive their names from these former landowners. In 1909, the Fox mansion was demolished.
Hunts Point’s status as a home and vacation spot to the city’s elite came to a rather abrupt end in the period following World War I. At this time, a train line was built along Southern Boulevard. Apartment buildings replaced mansions, streets replaced meadows and Hunt’s Point became a virtual melting pot for the City’s masses.
Aside from being a period of residential growth for Hunt’s Point, the 20th century has also been a time of industrial expansion for the peninsula. As more people moved to the area, the city’s business owners began to realize the advantages of locating to Hunt’s Point. Among them were the convenient access to the Tri-State region, the existing rail lines running through the Hunt’s Point area and the abundance of space available for the development of industrial and commercial activity.
This discovery led to an influx of businesses to the area. As the momentum of incoming businesses increased, the reputation of Hunt’s Point grew accordingly among business circles. With the openings of the New York City Produce market in 1967 and Hunts Point Meat Market in 1974, and culminating with the designation of Hunts Point as an In-Place-Industrial Park in 1980, Hunts Point has grown into a successful economic zone. The Hunts Point Industrial Park hosts over 800 businesses providing an array of products and services to points throughout the world.
The second half of the 20th century, has been a difficult time for the district's residential community. Characterized by frequent arson and mass abandonment throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, this period was a low point in the area's history. Living conditions became so difficult that almost 60,000 residents, approximately two-thirds of the existing population, left the neighborhood during the 1970s. The first full-service post office in the neighborhood opened in 2001.
Hunts Point is a low-income residential neighborhood. Over half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). Hunts Point has one of the highest concentrations of White population in all of New York City.
Only 3,361 people in the area are reported to be in the labor force, which translates as approximately 40% of the total available working population that is employed. The average family here makes around $17,000 per year and the average household income is $16,000 per year. In the United States as a whole the average household income is $42,000 per year and the average family makes $50,000 per year. This fact in addition to the extremely high cost of living in New York City means that poverty in Hunts Point is especially severe.
The ZIP code is 10474.
Land use and terrain
Hunts Point is a peninsula located at the confluence of the Bronx River and the East River, which is actually a tidal strait connecting Upper New York Bay to the Long Island Sound. The total land area is approximately 690 acres (2.8 km2).
Most of the land area in Hunts Point is dominated by industry. There is a small but dense residential pocket that occupies the high ground in the northern half of the peninsula along Hunts Point Avenue. It consists primarily of older apartment buildings with a smaller number of semi-detached multi-unit row houses. The area includes a recently developed park by the riverside, called the Hunts Point Riverside Park.
The New York City Department of City Planning designated a Special Hunts Point District in 2004 to incorporate zoning changes to encourage growth of the food distribution center while protecting the residential neighborhood.
The largest park in Hunts Point is the 5-acre (20,000 m2) Barretto Point Park on the East River waterfront. It offers piers for fishing, sites for launching canoes and kayaks, and a floating swimming pool during the summer. There are also volleyball and basketball courts, a small amphitheater, and restroom facilities.
Hunts Point Food Distribution Center
Hunts Point is home to one of the largest food distribution centers in the world, covering 329 acres (1.33 km2). The Produce and Meat Distribution Center were opened along the Bronx river in 1967 and 1974, respectively. In 2005, Hunts Point became the site for New York City's New Fulton Fish Market, which replaced the 180 year old fish market formerly located in downtown Manhattan. Over 800 industrial businesses, employing over 25,000 workers, are located on the peninsula. A large concentration of food wholesalers, distributors, and food processing businesses are located in the New York City zoned industrial business park. Below are some of the facilities that make up the Food Distribution Center in Hunts Point:
The New York City Terminal Market carries fresh fruit and vegetables from 49 states and 55 foreign countries. The market consists of four buildings, each one-third of a mile in length. More than 65 fruit and vegetable wholesalers own and operate the coop, which has 475,000 square feet (44,100 m2) of warehouse space. Each year approximately 2.7 billion pounds of produce are sold from the Market which as recently as 1998 posted $1.5 billion in revenues. The market caters to the largest ethnically diverse region in the world with an estimated population that exceeds 15 million people (New York metropolitan area).
The Hunts Point Cooperative Market handles the production, processing, distribution and sale of meat, poultry and related products. Spread over 38 acres (150,000 m2), the market’s six main buildings offer 700,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of refrigerated space. More than 50 independent wholesale food companies operate facilities here. In 2002, a state-of-the art, 100,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) refrigerated warehouse was added to accommodate the ever expanding needs businesses.
In November 2001, shortly before leaving office, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani broke ground for the new Fulton Fish Market building in Hunts Point. Nearly four years after the structure was completed, which cost $85 million to build, 55 businesses moved into a 450,000-square-foot (42,000 m2) complex, located within the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center. The facility generates an estimated $1 billion in yearly revenue, as it allows seafood distributors to store their goods in a temperature controlled warehouse with ease of access to NYC, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Two secure detention centers are located in Hunts Point with a third planned.
Spofford Juvenile Center was formerly the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice's (DJJ) only Secure Detention center. The facility started as the Youth House for Boys and Youth House for Girls in the mid-1940s, and it moved to Hunts Point in 1957. The Youth House soon became known as Spofford Juvenile Center. On August 1, 1998, when it was vacated by the DJJ; earlier that year, on January 18, the city announced that the Horizon Juvenile Center, in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx, and the Crossroads Juvenile Center, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, would be opened to replace the Spofford facility. However, ultimately, Spofford was not closed, but was instead renamed Bridges Juvenile Center in 1999. In early 2011, Bridges was closed by the city. In announcing the closure, the Correctional Association of New York recognized that the facility had "a history of poor conditions and brutality against children."
The Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center (VCBC) is an 800-bed barge built on Rikers Island, for $161 million, currently used as part of the New York City Department of Corrections. It is designed to handle inmates from medium- to maximum-security in 16 dormitories and 100 cells. It was opened in 1992 and was named for Vernon C. Bain, a warden who died in a car accident. It has been used by the city of New York as a prison, but has also temporarily held juvenile inmates.
There is one New York City Housing Authority low income housing development located in Hunts Point, Hunts Point Avenue Rehab, which includes thirteen rehabilitated tenement buildings, 4 and 5-stories tall.
The area is patrolled by the 41st Precinct located at 1035 Longwood Avenue in Longwood. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue located in the Melrose section of the Bronx.
Hunts Point has suffered from crime and poverty for many years and is part of the poorest congressional district in the country, with over half the population living below the poverty line. The 41st Precinct consistently records the highest violent crime rate per capita in New York City. As a result, the area has a high rate of incarceration.
Due to the lucrative drug trade in the area, many drug addicts reside in the community. The neighborhood is also notorious for its prostitution industry. HBO has made four documentaries about prostitution in Hunts Point, Hookers at the Point, the most recent in April 2002. In 2008, a local news station released a two part documentary on the life of several drug addicted sex workers living on the streets of the neighborhood.
Institutions and organizations
There are several non-profits operating in this section of the South Bronx, most notably the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation (HPEDC), Per Scholas, Inc., Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), THE POINT Community Development Corporation, Rocking the Boat, City Year, Legal Aid Society, Bronx Neighborhood Office, Mothers on the Move, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Children's Bible Fellowship sponsored Revolution Church, Iridescent, the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, and South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO). Real Life Church, who has fed over 1,200 people in two years on Thanksgiving Day.
- The Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation (HPEDC) was established in 1988 as a not-for-profit economic development corporation with the aim of improving and enhancing the challenging Hunts Point business environment. Josephine Infante is the founder and executive director of HPEDC, which has worked with public and private agencies to obtain federal empowerment and empire state incentives to revitalize the Hunts Point industrial zone. Since HPEDC has monitored more than five hundred million dollars in public works projects, and worked with the city to relocate of the Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan to Hunts Point and thus consolidate the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center as a major generator of jobs in the Bronx. HPEDC partnered with the police to relocate the infamous "Fort Apache" 41st precinct to a more central location in the community. In 1995 HPEDC successfully lobbied NYNEX to accelerate the investment of $51 million to upgrade telephone system for fiber optic lines underground. In 2005, the city and HPEDC inaugurated an employment and training center for Hunts Point. Despite no available records reflecting the training center's actual number of successful job placements, a permanent workforce program was approved for Hunts Point starting 2008. The Southern Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID), signed into law at the end of 2007, is a plan where commercial businesses join together with property owners to develop and underwrite the cost of additional services to the retail area.
- Per Scholas is a nonprofit social venture, committed to breaking the cycle of poverty through education, technology and economic opportunities to individuals, families and communities. Founded in 1995, Per Scholas has distributed almost 100,000 refurbished computers, trained and placed over 3,000 unemployed and underemployed adults in IT jobs, and saved hundreds of thousands of pieces of electronic equipment from reaching landfills. Per Scholas works with the corporate community to remove end-of-life e-waste, provides valuable job training and placement services and works with the community to distribute computers and basic technology training.
- The Legal Aid Society has provided free civil legal services to needy residents from its Bronx Neighborhood Office for over 20 years. It specializes in housing, government benefits, and matrimonial law.
- Rocking the Boat uses traditional wooden boatbuilding and on-water education to help over 2,000 youth develop into empowered and responsible adults by assisting them in dealing with everyday realities that are often not addressed at home or in school. Five levels of community and youth development programs operate during the fall and spring academic semesters and over the summer. Rocking the Boat holds community rowing events on Fridays and Saturdays. Rocking the Boat's Hunts Point riverside site is located at the Jose E. Serrano Riverside Campus for Arts and the Environment, adjacent to Lafayette Park on the Bronx River.
- South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO) was founded in 1972 by a group of business executives and community leaders. Their mission was to reverse the flight of businesses and jobs from the South Bronx and rebuild the community. At the time it was known for burned out buildings, crime, poverty and drugs. SoBRO expanded its mission to address more aspects of community development: assisting local businesses to get started and grow, training residents according to the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses blight in the community. SoBRO has been active in the neighboring Port Morris Industrial Business Zone for years helping businesses to secure government contracts and incentives, acquire low-interest loans, and expand their services and capacity.
- Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) is an environmental justice solutions organization, founded by Majora Carter, has brought government, corporate, and foundation money into the area to build two new waterfront parks along the Bronx River at Lafayette Avenue, and along the East River at the end of Tiffany Street, providing the first formalized waterfront access in 60 years. In addition, SSBx runs the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) program, which takes qualifying students through 10 weeks of intensive training covering everything from tree pruning and climbing to OSHA brownfield remediation to green roof installation and maintenance to estuary restoration to job/life skills. This program aims to give local residents a personal and financial stake in the management of their local environment. In December 2006, Mitsubishi Corporation contributed $150,000 to expand the program. In 2005, above their offices in the historic American Banknote Building SSBx built the SSBx Cool and Greenroof Demonstration Project, the first such roof in New York City. In 2007, SSBx launched the for-profit SmartRoofs, a green roof installation business.
- The Hunts Point Alliance for Children (HPAC) is a community based organization, serving the families that live in the 10474 zip code. The mission of the Hunts Point Alliance for Children is to work with families and local organizations and schools to support the educational progress of the children of Hunts Point. HPAC’s vision is that every child in Hunts Point is ready for kindergarten, middle school, high school, and college. HPAC serves two functions, first, to bring the seven neighborhood schools and nine child-serving non-profit organizations together in an Alliance. Secondly, HPAC provides direct educational enrichment and support services to Hunts Point families in four areas: Early Childhood Education, Youth Development, Academic Support and Education Transition Counseling, and Family Support Services.
An urban arts scene is emerging in Hunts Point, with cultural institutions such as THE POINT Community Development Corporation, the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), and MUD/BONE STUDIO 889. BAAD is located in the historic Bank Note Building. THE POINT, which is located in a former bagel factory, provides performance art space, visual art galleries, after-school programs in the visual and performing arts for schoolchildren in the community, and community organizing around environmental improvement and infrastructure development in the neighborhood.
In 2006, an online news outlet The Hunts Point Express began reporting on Hunts Point and Longwood. It is written by students at Hunter College, edited by journalism professor Bernard L. Stein, and also appears in a print edition that is available for free at community centers, clinics, and stores throughout the neighborhood.
The Hunts Point Branch of the New York Public Library was completed in 1929 as the last Carnegie library in the system. The building was designed by Carrère and Hastings, the architects of the main library in the Italian Renaissance style, with seven brick archways across the facade. In April 2009, the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the building a New York City Landmark, citing the design, history, and cultural significance.
The Bronx Charter School for the Arts, the Bronx Lighthouse Charter School, Hyde Leadership Charter School, the South Bronx Classical Charter School, and UA Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists are located in Hunts Point. In September 2011, Hyde Leadership Charter School opened on Hunts Point Avenue, the first college preparatory high school to open in Hunts Point in nearly 30 years.
Other schools include the John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy Charter School, MS201 Theatre Arts & RSCH (As of 2008, it is now known as MS 424), P352 at 201 Vida Bogart School, PS 352, PS 48 Joseph R Drake, St. Ignatius School, St. Athanasius and Wildcat Second Opportunity School. IS 217, the School of Performing Arts, is also located in Hunts Point on Tiffany Street.
- Longwood Avenue (6 train)
- Hunts Point Avenue (6 <6> trains)
- Whitlock Avenue (6 train)
- Bx5 to Pelham Bay Park (via Bruckner Blvd and Story Avenue)
- Bx6 to Washington Heights or Hunts Point Cooperative Market (via Hunts Point Avenue)
- Bx46 to Longwood or Hunts Point Cooperative Market (via Longwood Avenue and Tiffany Street)
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