Port Morris, Bronx
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Port Morris is a neighborhood in the southwest Bronx, New York City. It is a heavily industrial neighborhood. Its boundaries are the Major Deegan Expressway and Bruckner Expressway to the north, East 149th Street to the east, the East River to the southeast, the Bronx Kill south, and the Harlem River to the west. Oak Point, the southern tip of the South Bronx is in Port Morris. Bruckner Blvd, which runs under the Expressway, is the primary thoroughfare through Port Morris. Most of the neighborhood is within walking distance from the Cypress Avenue station of the IRT Pelham Line (6 train). Zip codes include 10454. The neighborhood is served by the NYPD's 40th Precinct.
Though almost entirely industrial, Port Morris does contain two small residential pockets where about 1,500 people live. Most live in poverty. Over half the population receives public assistance (TANF, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). The vast majority of residents in the area are of Puerto Rican descent.
There is some evidence that a British paymaster ship went down off its coast, during the Revolutionary war with millions of dollars in gold aboard. No recovery was ever made.
The name comes from a deep water port established along the neighborhood's East River (Long Island Sound) waterfront by Gouverneur Morris Jr., son of Gouverneur Morris, in 1842. He built a two mile (3 km) railroad from Melrose to his family's holdings on the waterfront, abandoned a hundred years later. The area is dominated by factory and warehouse buildings constructed in the mid-to-late 19th century, convenient to the railroad yards, of which the Oak Point Yard is the main survivor. Notable early businesses were the R. Hoe Co., as well as Cutler & Hammer Tool Works, and Mothers Friend Shirt Waist factory (1888) at Willow Ave. between E. 135th & E. 136th Sts.
The area was the site of the Hell Gate generating plant of Consolidated Edison, where George Metesky, the Mad Bomber who plagued NYC for decades was injured. While many of the early industrial buildings remain, much of the manufacturing has long since left the area. The most notable architectural/engineering feature of Port Morris is the northern approach to the Hell Gate Bridge supported by concrete arches (1917) northward from East 132nd Street, between Willow & Walnut Avenues. Plans are afoot to extend the South Bronx Greenway under Hell Gate Bridge to Randalls Island,
A wave of arson during the 1970s destroyed or damaged many residential, commercial, and industrial structures in the area. Late in the century industry began to return to Port Morris. Many abandoned residential buildings are also being rehabilitated and designated low income housing.
The history of Port Morris, as with other neighborhoods, is sometimes confused by the lack of fixed official boundaries. Late in the 20th century the name was sometimes applied to the area to the west, into Mott Haven. Mott Haven by older definition lies to the west rather than north of Port Morris.
Violent crime is still a problem despite crime declines versus their peaks during the heroin and crack epidemics. Massive low income public housing developments line the north side of the Major Deegan Expressway. The Mott Haven area to the west is notorious for its drug trade and violent crime. Port Morris is very industrial and desolate.
The area is patrolled by the 40th Precinct located at 257 Alexander Avenue in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.
- Bx15: to Fordham Plaza or Manhattanville via Third Avenue
- Bx17: to Fordham Plaza via Crotona-Prospect Avenues
- Bx33: to 135th Street station via 138th Street