Soundview is primarily a residential neighborhood geographically located in the South Central section of the Borough of The Bronx in New York City. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 9. Its boundaries, starting from the North and moving clockwise are the Cross-Bronx Expressway to the North, White Plains Road to the East, Lacombe Avenue to the South, and the Bronx River to the West. The Bruckner Expressway bisects the neighborhood along the center and the Bronx River Parkway runs North to South. Soundview Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Soundview. The local subway is the 6 line, operating along Westchester Avenue. Zip codes include 10472 and 10473. The area is patrolled by the 43rd Precinct located at 900 Fteley Avenue. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 8 at 2794 Randall Avenue in the Throggs Neck section of The Bronx.
Soundview is a suburban neighborhood at the eastern edge of district 8 with a population density about 45,000 per sq mi (Excluding Soundview Park, about 53,000 per sq mi) (Total land area is roughly 1.3 sq mi). It is racially diverse and has a mixture of moderate single family homes, low income buildings and expensive condominiums. Most buildings in this section has the same requirement as buildings in Co-op city.
Land use and terrain
Most of the land area usage and population in Soundview reside inside large, residential housing complexes of various types. These include public housing, or high-rise co-ops and rentals. The neighborhood contains one of the highest concentrations of NYCHA projects in the Bronx. There are also 5 and 6 story, pre-war, apartment buildings primarily concentrated along the IRT Pelham Line El on Westchester Avenue and multi-unit row-houses located throughout the neighborhood. Starting in the 1990s, the construction of modern 2 and 3 unit row-houses and apartment buildings have increased the percentage of owners versus renters.
The neighborhood's northern and eastern borders have a heavy concentration of commercial establishments. Westchester Avenue evolved into a mixed use, primarily commercial, district serving the greater area after the completion of the elevated IRT Pelham Line. Bruckner Plaza, which greatly expanded throughout the 1990s, divides Soundview from neighboring Castle Hill and contains big box stores like Toys R Us, K Mart, and Old Navy. Other primary thoroughfares contain limited but necessary amenities like supermarkets, pharmacies, barbershops, hair salons, fast food, bodegas, and cheap shops.
The western edge of the built neighborhood along the Bronx River is largely industrial in usage.
Soundview Park occupies a significant land area in the southwestern section of the neighborhood (roughly .2 sq miles), with ballfields and playgrounds and a pedestrian/bike greenway along the left bank of the Bronx River estuary from Lafayette Avenue to Leland Avenue.
The total land area is roughly 1.3 sq miles. The terrain is low laying and flat.
Low-income public housing projects
There are ten NYCHA developments located in Soundview.
- 1780 Watson Avenue, one 6-story building.
- 1471 Watson Avenue; one 6-story building.
- Boynton Avenue Rehab; three rehabilitated tenement buildings, either 3 or 6 stories tall.
- Sotomayor Houses; twenty-eight 7-story buildings.
- Bronx River Houses; nine 14-story buildings.
- Bronx River Addition; two buildings, one 6 stories tall another 14 stories tall.
- Clason Point Gardens; forty-five buildings, all 2 stories tall.
- Monroe Houses; twelve buildings, either 8, 14, and 15-stories tall.
- Sack Wern Houses; seven buildings, each 6 stories tall.
- Soundview Houses; thirteen 7-story buildings.
Until the 1940s, the neighborhood was relatively undeveloped. Most of the residential housing, primarily multi-unit rowhouses and tenement style apartment buildings, had been built near the El on Westchester Avenue and along major streets like Soundview Avenue (once served by a streetcar). In 1941, Clason Point Gardens was the first development constructed by the NYCHA in The Bronx. It was followed by many other low and high-rise NYCHA developments across the neighborhood from the 1950s until the 1970s, which boosted the population significantly. During the 1950s, two controlled-access highways, the Bronx River Parkway and Bruckner Expressway, were constructed. Later in the 1970s, large high-rise rental and co-op apartment complexes flourished across the neighborhood, under the badge of the Mitchell Lama program.
Like neighboring Hunts Point, Soundview began to fall into rapid decay in the 1970s due to white flight, growing poverty rates, and a citywide fiscal crisis. Abandonment was a problem as the exodus picked up pace but much of the White non-Hispanic population was being quickly replaced by poor and working class Latin and African Americans. As a result, abandonment was less extensive than in neighborhoods to the west including Morrisania. The neighborhood was gravely affected by the crack epidemic throughout the late 1980s and early 90s, setting yearly murder totals among the highest in the city. During that time, the Weed and Seed program was put into place by the federal government to improve the situation in Soundview, nearby Mott Haven, and East New York, Brooklyn and later Operation Impact. Policing methods include NYPD monitored CCTV along known high drug trafficking areas, increased foot presence, and improved statistical mapping.
In more recent years, a city wide housing crisis spurred construction of modern multi-unit row houses and apartment buildings. Many of them are multi zoned for retail and have mixed-income qualifications. There have also been studies conducted to develop this type of housing on vacant land within the confines of NYCHA property along with significant renovations and improvements to existing grounds and buildings. Soundview Park, built on a former landfill and the largest in the South Bronx, has undergone a complete transformation including enhanced pedestrian access and completely renovated and redesigned recreational areas. Future plans in accordance with PlaNYC initiatives will create an urban oasis in this dense community; complete with recreation nodes, Greenway connections, bike/hike trails, designated fishing areas, a boat launch, and esplanades with skyline views. The neighborhood has become increasingly more diverse with a rise in varied Latin American immigration in recent years. Crime has also seen a significant decline as a result of a number of factors including enhanced policing techniques and changing economic demographics.
Several bus routes serve the neighborhood.
- Bx4: to Westchester Square (6) or Third Avenue-149th Street (2 5) (via Westchester Avenue)
- Bx4A: to Westchester Square (6) or Third Avenue-149th Street (2 5) (via Westchester Avenue and Metropolitan Oval)
- Bx5: to Pelham Bay Park (6) or Simpson Street (2 5) (via Story Avenue)
- Bx27: to Simpson Street (2 5) or Clason Point (via Rosedale Avenue)
- Bx36: to Pugsley–Randall Avenues or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 180th Street)
- Bx39: to Wakefield – 241 Street (2) or Clason Point (via White Plains Rd)
In 1999, the unarmed Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by 4 plainclothes officers on Wheeler and Westchester Avenues.
- Kemba Walker, star point guard for the UConn Huskies, grew up at the Sack Wern Houses.
- KRS-One once resided in a group home on Lacombe Avenue near the Soundview Houses
- The Jazzy Five MC's are the first rappers from the Soundview Houses.
- DJ Jazzy Jay is from Bronx River Houses.
- Hip Hop group Money Boss Players, which included Lord Tariq, also known for his work as part of the duo Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, hail from the Soundview Houses.
- Former Def Jam recording artists The Cru are from the Lafayette Island Houses.
- Owner of World Famous Harlem Establishment Sylvia's Restaurant Sylvia Woods, had residences in the Soundview-Bruckner neighborhood.
- Treston Irby from R&B quintet Hi-Five is from Stevenson Commons.
- Serial Killer, David Berkowitz, also known as Son of Sam, Lived in the neighborhood as a child.
- Ruff Ryders recording artist Drag-On and legendary hip hop DJ Disco King Mario are from the Bronxdale Houses
- Afrika Bambaataa is from Bronx River Houses, which is considered the foundation of hip hop's legendary Zulu Nation. He was also a member of the Black Spades which began in the Bronxdale Houses.
- Terror Squad members Tony Sunshine and the late Big Pun are also from Soundview.
- Minnesota, hip hop producer, is from Soundview Houses.
- Sex Money Murder street gang founder Peter Rollock, or Pistol Pete from Soundview Houses.
- Ahmed Best, voice of Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars movies.
- Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice 2009-, grew up in the Bronxdale Houses.
- Four time New York Golden Gloves champion and former heavyweight boxer Mitch "Blood" Green lived in Bronxdale Houses, and was a member of the Black Spades.
- Former welterweight boxing champion Aaron Davis is from Bronxdale Houses.
- Uptown Records founder and former CEO of Motown Andre Harrell is from Bronxdale Houses.
- Former NBA player Ed Pinckney is from Monroe Houses.
- Wesley Snipes lived in Soundview, attending I.S. 131.
- Hip Hop producer/rapper Jesse West (3rd Eye) is from Bronx River Houses.
- Girl group The Chiffons, known for their 1963 hit He's So Fine, are from Bronx River Houses.
- Author Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. grew up on Soundview and Banyer Place and attended Holy Cross School.
- Jules Feiffer, cartoonist, playwright, and author, grew up on Stratford Avenue, according to page 51 of Backing into Forward: A Memoir.
- Member of "Nation Of Islam" (Black Muslims) and black supremacist, Norman XXX Butler, with his wife(s), brother and sons, lived in 525 Rosedale Ave., on the 7th floor, specifically Apt 7C, Soundview Projects(Houses)until his arrest for abetting the murder of Malcolm X. Although Norman denied his involvement in the murder, he was present at the Audubon Ballroom on the night of the murder and was fingered by fellow members. The myth is that the police were the only ones to tie him to the shooting. His extended family lived for a time at the Seward Ave. end of Soundview Projects until his life was threatened by the NOI and other local residents. To protect his family, the police had him and his extended family moved to 525 Rosedale Ave. at the corner of Lacombe Ave. He and his organization regularly terrorized the local Soundview neighborhood specifically its white residents.
- NYC Parks Soundview Park
- Daily News (New York) http://www.nydailynews.com/features/sonofsam/capture.html
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- Chang, Jeff; Herc, D.J. Kool (2005). Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: Picador. p. 48. ISBN 0-312-42579-1. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- Louie, Elaine (August 13, 1998). "Harlem Renaissance Meets Martha Stewart". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- Pinckney, Ed; Gordon, Robert (2004). Ed Pinckney's Tales from the Villanova Hardwood. Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing LLC. p. 4. ISBN 1-58261-809-7. Retrieved 2010-09-01.