Morrisania, Bronx

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Location in New York City
Coordinates: 40°49′37″N 73°54′36″W / 40.827°N 73.91°W / 40.827; -73.91Coordinates: 40°49′37″N 73°54′36″W / 40.827°N 73.91°W / 40.827; -73.91
Country United States
State New York
City New York City
Borough Bronx
Community DistrictBronx 3[1]
 • Total0.60 km2 (0.232 sq mi)
 • Total16,863
 • Density28,000/km2 (73,000/sq mi)
 • Median income$28,855
ZIP codes
10456, 10459
Area code718, 347, 929, and 917
Early view of Morrisania from Harlem

Morrisania (/mɒrɪˈsniə/ morr-i-SAY-nee-ə) is the historical name for the South Bronx in New York City, New York. The name derives from the Manor of Morrisania, the vast 2,000 acre estate of the powerful and aristocratic Morris family, who at one time owned most of the Bronx as well as much of New Jersey. The family includes Lewis Morris, 4th Lord of the Manor, and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and Gouverneur Morris, penman of the United States Constitution. Both are buried in the crypt at St. Ann's Church of Morrisania.

Today the name is most commonly associated with the village of Morrisania, which is only a small corner of the original Morrisania. It is mostly a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwestern Bronx. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 3. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: the Cross-Bronx Expressway to the north, Crotona-Prospect Avenue to the east, East 161st Street to the south, and Webster Avenue to the west. Third Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Morrisania. ZIP codes include 10456 and 10459. The area is patrolled by the NYPD's 42nd Precinct[3] located at 830 Washington Avenue. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue in the Melrose section of the Bronx.


From 1644 to the early 20th century, the land of the neighborhood was the estate of the Morris family in Westchester County. In 1790, Lewis Morris, owner of the estate and signer of the Declaration of Independence, proposed the land as the site of the federal capital.

Old Morrisania
Morrisania Town Hall

The area was sparsely populated until 1840, when Gouverneur Morris Jr., son of the famous congressional delegate and nephew of Lewis, allowed a railroad to be built across the property. In 1848, he sold the land next to the line for the development of a new town called Morrisania Village. In 1855, additional settlements along the rail line became the town of Morrisania, with its political center in the original 1840 village (which eventually incorporated in 1864[4]).[5] At first the village was an early forerunner of today's bedroom communities, populated by people who worked in Manhattan, but it quickly developed its own local industries and craftsmen as it developed into a full-fledged town. In 1874, the area was annexed to New York City (then consisting only of Manhattan) as part of the Twenty-Third Ward. In 1887, the Third Avenue Elevated was extended to the area to provide easy and quick access to and from Manhattan. By the time the New York City Subway was extended to the area in 1904, a large influx of European immigrants had given the neighborhood an urban character, with tenements replacing houses as the dominant form of dwelling.[6][7]

In the 1950s along with changing demographics, Robert Moses destroyed various tenements in favor of a colony of public housing. After the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, the poverty that East Tremont suffered spread into Morrisania. As a result, and also due to the aggressive 1968 Program for Action, the Third Avenue El closed in 1973. During this time period a wave of arson destroyed or damaged many of the residential, commercial, and industrial structures in the area.[8]

Many social problems associated with poverty, from crime to drug addiction, have plagued the area for some time. Despite crime declines versus their peaks during the crack and heroin epidemics, violent crime continues to be a serious problem in the community.[9] Morrisania has significantly higher drop-out rates and incidents of violence in its schools.[10] Other problems in local schools include low test scores and high truancy rates. Drug addiction is also a serious problem in the community. Due to the lucrative drug trade in the area, many addicts reside in the community. Peer pressure among children who come from broken homes contributes to the high rate of usage. Many households in the area are headed by a single mother, which contributes to the high poverty rate.[11] Single parent homes often have a harder time providing at the same level as two-parent homes. Many of the families living in Morrisania have been in poverty for generations. The incarceration rate in the area is also very high.[12] Morrisania is home to a significant number of inmates currently held in New York state prison and jail facilities.

After a wave of arson ravaged the low income communities of New York City throughout the 1970s, most of the residential structures in Morrisania were left seriously damaged or destroyed. The city began to rehabilitate many formally abandoned tenement style apartment buildings and designate them low income housing beginning in the late 1970s. Also many subsidized attached multi-unit townhouses and newly constructed apartment buildings have been or are being built on vacant lots across the neighborhood.


Today's Morrisania is a low-income neighborhood with a population of around 16,863. The neighborhood predominantly consists of Latin Americans and African Americans.

Land use and terrain[edit]

Morrisania is dominated by public housing complexes of various types, vacant lots, and tenement buildings. Most of the original housing stock which consisted of older multi-unit homes and tenements were structurally damaged by arson and eventually razed by the city. The total land area is over a square mile. The terrain is somewhat hilly.

Morris High School Historic District[edit]

The landmarked Morris High School Historic District is north of the Forest Houses. The two square blocks between Boston Road, Forest Avenue, and East 166th Street have Morris High School and adjacent brownstones.[13][14]

Low income public housing projects[edit]

Webster Houses
Morrisania Air Rights

Twenty NYCHA developments are located in Morrisania:[15]

  • 1162-1176 Washington Avenue; one rehabilitated 6-story tenement building
  • Butler Houses; six 21-story buildings
  • Claremont Parkway-Franklin Avenue Area; three buildings, 3 and 7 stories tall
  • Davidson Houses; one 8-story building
  • Eagle Avenue-East 163rd Street; one 6-story building
  • Forest Houses; fifteen buildings, 9, 10 and 14 stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue I (Conventional); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue I M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); two rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue II (Conventional); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
  • Franklin Avenue III (Conventional); one 5-story rehabilitated tenement building
  • Franklin Avenue III M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
  • Jennings Street M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
  • McKinley Houses; five 16-story buildings
  • Morris I; ten buildings, 16 and 20 stories tall
  • Morris II; seven buildings, 16 and 20 stories tall
  • Morrisania Air Rights; two 16-story buildings
  • PSS Grandparent; one 6-story building
  • Union Avenue-East 163rd Street; one nine-story building
  • Union Avenue-East 166th Street; six 3-story buildings
  • Webster Houses; five 21-story buildings


Public schools include:

  • PS 2/63: Morrisania (East 169th Street and Franklin Avenue)
  • PS/MS 4: Crotona Park West (East 173rd Street and Fulton Avenue)
  • PS 42: Claremont Village (Claremont Parkway and Washington Avenue)
  • PS 35: Franz Siegel (East 163 Street and Grant Avenue)
  • PS 88: Morrisania (Sheridan Ave and Marcy Place)
  • PS 90: George Meany (McCellan and Sheridan Avenue)
  • PS 55: Benjamin Franklin (St. Paul's Place and Washington Avenue)
  • PS 110: Theodore Schoenfield (Crotona Park South and Fulton Avenue)
  • PS 132: Garrett A. Morgan (East 168th Street and Washington Avenue)
  • PS 140: Eagle (East 163rd Street and Eagle Avenue)
  • PS 146: Edward "Pops" Collins (East 164th Street and Cauldwell Avenue)
  • PS 186: Walter J. Damrosch Day Treatment Center (Jennings Street and Union Avenue)
  • PS 198:(East 168th Street and Tinton Avenue)
  • PS/MS 212: Theodore Gathings (Home Street and Union Avenue)
  • PS 463-Urban Scholars Community School
  • MS 128: Mott Hall III (St. Paul's Place and Washington Avenue) [occupying the 5th & 6th floor of the Benjamin Franklin School]
  • MS 145: Arturo Toscanini (East 165th Street and Teller Avenue)
  • MS 219: Charles Richard Drew (East 169th Street and Third Avenue)
  • MS 301: Paul Laurence Dunbar (East 161st Street and Cauldwell Avenue)
  • MS 313/339: Diana Sands (East 172nd Street and Webster Avenue)
  • Morris High School (East 166th Street and Boston Road)
  • Jane Addams High School (East 161st Street and Tinton Avenue)
  • Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (East 169th Street and Fulton Avenue)
  • Eximius College Preparatory Academy (East 169th Street and Fulton Avenue)
  • Bathgate High School Campus (Claremont Parkway and Bathgate Avenue)
  • Success Academy Bronx 3, a K–2 charter school[16][17]
  • The Eagle Academy for Young Men (East 176th Street and Third Avenue)


There are no New York City Subway stations in Morrisania, though several bus routes connect with subway stations. The following MTA Regional Bus Operations bus routes serve Morrisania:[18]

Notable people[edit]

  • Edward Stanley Kellogg, 16th Governor of American Samoa, was born in Morrisania.
  • Rapper Fat Joe is from Forest Houses.
  • Rapper Cuban Link was raised on Prospect Avenue in Morrisania.
  • Lewis Morris signed the Declaration of Independence.[19]
  • Gouverneur Morris penned the Constitution.
  • Doo-wop group The Wrens were raised in Morrisania and attended Morris High School where they formed the group.
  • Frederick Trump grandfather of 45th president of the United States Donald Trump lived at 1006 Westchester Avenue in the then German-speaking Morrisania with his wife Elizabeth and their family.


  1. ^ "NYC Planning | Community Profiles". New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Morrisania neighborhood in New York". Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  3. ^ "42nd Precinct". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "History of the Bronx". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  6. ^ "Bronx History - Early European Residents". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Bronx History - Birth of A Borough". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "Bronx History - Growth and Urbanization". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  9. ^ 42nd Precinct CompStat Report
  10. ^ NYC Dropout Rates
  11. ^ Bronx Census Data Analysis
  12. ^ NYC Prison Expenditure
  13. ^ Morris High School Historic District
  14. ^ "Morris High School Historic District Designation Report" (PDF). Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  15. ^ NYCHA Archived May 25, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Public Hearing Summary (State Univ. of N.Y., Charter Schools Institute) for "Charter School" "Success Academy Charter School – Bronx 3" (PDF). Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  17. ^ "Success Academy Bronx 3 (Success Academy Charter Schools) (official website)". Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  18. ^ "Bronx Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "Lewis Morris". Retrieved August 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]