Melrose is primarily a residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwestern section of the borough of The Bronx in New York City. Predominantly German-American in the 19th century it is home to the Haffen Building and was home to Haffen Brewing Company. The German population waned especially post WWII. The neighborhood until the 60s was mostly Irish and Italian. It is now primarily Latino. It adjoins the business and one-time theater area known as the Hub.
Melrose is bordered by the intersection of Brook and Park Avenues on the north, Brook Avenue on the east, 149th Street on the south and Park Avenue on the west. Melrose Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Melrose. ZIP codes include 10451 and 10455. The area is patrolled by the 42nd Precinct located at 830 Washington Ave., the 40th Precinct located at 257 Alexander Ave. and the 44th Precinct located at 2 E. 169th St. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue.
Melrose is a high density neighborhood with a population over 30,000. The neighborhood has a relatively diverse population consisting primarily of Latin Americans, predominantly Puerto Ricans (Melrose has one of the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in all of New York City).
Land use and terrain
Melrose is dominated by large residential housing complexes of various types, primarily public housing, and tenement style apartment buildings. Most of the original housing stock which consisted of older multi-unit homes and tenements were structurally damaged by arson during the citywide fiscal crisis and eventually razed by the city. In the last decade, construction of modern 2 and 3 unit row-houses and apartment buildings have increased the percentage of owners versus renters. The neighborhood contains one of the highest concentrations of NYCHA projects in the Bronx. The terrain is somewhat hilly.
The Hub-Third Avenue Business Improvement District
The Hub-Third Avenue BID is a major local retail district located where five major thoroughfares converge: East 149th Street, Westchester, Willis, Melrose and Third Avenues. The area is served by the 2 and 5 lines at East 149th Street and Third Avenue. One of The Bronx's largest shopping areas (eclipsed only by Fordham Road).
Low-income public housing projects
- There are five NYCHA developments located in Melrose.
- East 152nd Street-Courtlandt Avenue; two buildings, 11 and 12-stories tall.
- Jackson Houses; seven, 16-story buildings.
- Melrose Houses; eight, 14-story buildings.
- Morrisania Air Rights; three buildings, 19, 23, and 29-stories.
- South Bronx Area (Site 402); four buildings, 3-stories tall.
Originally a dense working-class neighborhood, the often hastily built housing to capitalize on the turn of the 20th century immigrant escape from Manhattan, soon became unsuitable to all but the poorest. A mass exodus soon took place as New York City policy–induced arson soon ravaged the neighborhood throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 1973, the City of New York dismantled the Third Avenue El (an original draw to the neighborhood)due to low ridership. By the 1980s the neighborhood had decayed severely, and much of the original housing stock was lost. Vacant buildings and then lots became commonplace.
Since the mid-1990s but especially the 2000s significant renewal has taken place. A prominent player in the revitalization efforts has been the group Nos Quedamos which in English means "we stay". Many abandoned structures have been renovated and many lots have been constructed on. In most recent years the area has seen a significant "Green" construction boom. Leading the borough in the number of LEED certified apartment buildings, the largest being Via Verde. Melrose is also home to The Bronx campus of Boricua College. Despite lingering social problems due to a continued significant poverty presence, Melrose has come a long way from a previously "forgotten" neighborhood.
Four historic Melrose churches date to before 1900. The German Methodist Church (1878) 790 Elton Ave., The German Reformed Church (1885) (seen in the distance with white steeple picture above) 744 Elton Ave., Immaculate Conception Church (1887) 389 E. 150th St. and the German Lutheran Church (1895) 376 E. 156th St.
- PS 1: Courtlandt (East 152nd St and Courtlandt Av)
- PS 29: Melrose (East 156th St and Courtlandt Av)
- Alfred E. Smith High School (East 151st St and Courtlandt Av)
- Bx4/4A: to 3rd Avenue-149th Street station or Westchester Square (via Westchester Avenue; A trips also serve Metropolitan Avenue)
- Bx15: to Fordham Plaza or West Harlem (via 3rd Av)
- Bx19: to New York Botanical Gardens or Riverbank State Park (via East 149th St-Southern Blvd)
- Bx21: to Westchester Square or Mott Haven (via Boston Rd-Morris Park Av)
- Bx41 (Including +SBS): to Williamsbridge (via Webster Av)
- Third Avenue-149th Street (2 5)
- Melrose (Metro-North station) (Harlem Line)
The Melrose neighborhood has grown since Jimmy Carter's famous visit to the Bronx in 1977 and will continue to do so as the city's last parcels were sold for development. Many parcels are still in the development phase, but will skyrocket the Melrose population.
A meeting on Nov. 15th 2012 expressed residents concerns for the Metro-North Station in the neighborhood. Residents would like to see more frequent service, but track and capacity limitations hinder the amount of service available for the stop. Other concerns regarded the lack of handicap access, and the past closure of the main entrance to the stop. The main entrance was closed when the community was in its height of turmoil, but as the community has regained its footing the desire to have the station open to the primary commercial street, E161st Street, has grown.
- "TACA Offices." Grupo TACA. Retrieved on January 27, 2009.
- Carter Takes 'Sobering' Trip to South Bronx: BY LEE DEMBART. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 06 Oct 1977: 1.