Mott Haven, Bronx

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mott Haven
Neighborhood of The Bronx
East 136th Street in Mott Haven
East 136th Street in Mott Haven
Nickname(s): "The Boogie Down Bronx"
Country United States
State New York
City New York City
Borough Bronx
Founded 1849
Named for Jordan Lawrence Mott
 • Total 0.938 sq mi (2.43 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 52,413
 • Density 56,000/sq mi (22,000/km2)
 • Median income $23,431
 • Hispanic 72.3%
 • Black 24.7%
 • White 1.7%
 • Asian 0.4%
 • Others 1%
ZIP codes 10451, 10454, 10455
Area code

718, 347, 646

Mott Haven Historic District
40 Pct Alexander Av jeh.jpg
40th Precinct Police Station, July 2010
Mott Haven, Bronx is located in New York City
Mott Haven, Bronx
Location An irregular pattern along Alexander Ave. and E. 140th St., New York, New York
Coordinates 40°48′37″N 73°55′32″W / 40.81028°N 73.92556°W / 40.81028; -73.92556Coordinates: 40°48′37″N 73°55′32″W / 40.81028°N 73.92556°W / 40.81028; -73.92556
Area 11 acres (4.5 ha)
Built 1850
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Gothic, Queen Anne, Romanesque
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP March 25, 1980

Mott Haven is a primarily residential neighborhood in the southwestern section of the Bronx borough in New York City. Zip codes include 10451, 10454, and 10455. 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 Bronx Kill waterway to the south, and the Harlem River to the west.

Mott Haven is a high-density neighborhood with a population of roughly 50,000 within a square mile. The residents are 72.3% Hispanic/Latino, 24.7% Black or African American, 1.7% White, 0.4% Asian, and 1% as multiracial or other . Like most neighborhoods in New York City, the vast majority of households are renter-occupied.[citation needed]

East 138th Street is the primary east-west thoroughfare through Mott Haven. The local subway line is the IRT Pelham Line (6 <6> trains), operating along East 138th Street. The local buses are the Bx1, Bx2, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx21, Bx32, and Bx33. Mott Haven is served by the Triborough Bridge, the Third Avenue Bridge, the Madison Avenue Bridge, the 145th Street Bridge, and the Willis Avenue Bridge. The closest Metro-North Railroad stops are Harlem – 125th Street and Yankees – East 153rd Street.

Land use and terrain[edit]

Post Office
40th Precinct, NYPD

Mott Haven is dominated by tenement-style apartment buildings and large public housing complexes. There are three historical districts consisting of brownstone-style rowhouses. In the last two decades, construction of modern 2- and 3-unit rowhouses and apartment buildings has increased the percentage of owner-occupiers. The neighborhood contains one of the highest concentrations of NYCHA projects in the Bronx. The total land area is roughly one square mile. The terrain is low-lying and flat except around St. Mary's Park where it is somewhat hilly.

Historical districts and landmarks[edit]

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.[4] The district is primarily residential in character with four and five story row houses dating to the last half of the 19th century, and contains the row of handsome brownstones known historically as Doctors Row and Irish Fifth Avenue. It also has the 40th Precinct police station, the 1905 neo-renaissance Mott Haven Branch of the New York Public Library, and Saint Jerome's Roman Catholic Church.[5][6] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[3]
  • 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]

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

Public housing projects[edit]

NYCHA Betances Houses on Brook Avenue

The seventeen NYCHA developments in Mott Haven illustrate the various types of public housing initiatives in vogue in New York City over the decades.[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.


Mott Haven is home to Lincoln Hospital on 149 Street between Park and Morris Avenues. Lincoln Hospital was founded in 1839 and now has 342 beds.


Mott Haven Canal in 1893
1 Bruckner Boulevard

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 Lawrence 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 the veterans of the Irish Republican 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 Avenue than on any other city street, given its short length. 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.

North Side Board of Trade
North New York Congregationalist Church

Mott Haven and Port Morris were the first neighborhoods to give rise to the term "South Bronx". Together, they were earlier known as the North Side or North New York. 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 Building (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 blockbusting 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. Though crime has declined versus the highs of the crack epidemic and revitalization of former abandoned properties is taking place, the neighborhood continues to deal with serious crime issues due to its significant population in poverty. There have been significant strides to increase gentrification of the neighborhood, and the most changes are seen on Bruckner Boulevard, Alexander Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue. Swanky more "hip" businesses have slowly made headway in giving the area a little bit of night life and making it arguably the "Williamsburg" of the Bronx. E. 138th Street has seen minor changes with apartment buildings under new renovations, new businesses have arrived. Mott Haven is home to a community-supported agriculture program hosted at Brook Park.

However, Mott Haven was home to the Bronx's first organic market and has seen significant improvements in terms of quality of life. The influx of artists and cafes has prompted a comparison of Mott Haven to Paris.[11]


PS 18, Morris Avenue
JHS 149, Willis Avenue


  • P.S. 18 John Peter Zenger School (East 148th St and Morris Av)
  • P.S. 277 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)
  • I.S. 162 Lola Rodriguez de Tio (E 149th St and St. Ann's Av)
  • M.S. 223: The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology (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)
  • South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts
  • The Bronx Charter School for Children
  • The Bronx Academy of Letters
  • Bronx School For Law Government And Justice
  • Health Opportunities High School
  • Community School For Social Justice
  • Samuel Gompers High School
  • KIPP Academy Elementary School
  • KIPP Academy Middle School
  • Success Academy Bronx 1
  • Euginio Maria De Hostos Community College (C.U.N.Y.) (Schools within Euginio Maria De Hostos Community College are Hostos Lincoln Academy.)


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


The 145th Street Bridge and Madison Avenue Bridge eastwards and the Willis Avenue Bridge northwards from Manhattan leads you to Mott Haven in The Bronx. These bridges are maintained by NYCDOT. The Triborough Bridge northwards also leads you to Mott Haven and is maintained by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels. The toll to cross the Triborough Bridge is $7.50.

Notable natives[edit]


External links[edit]