West Farms, Bronx
West Farms is a residential neighborhood in a west central part of The Bronx, New York City, also known as the northeast corner of the South Bronx. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 6. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: Bronx Park to the north, the Bronx River Parkway to the east, the Cross-Bronx Expressway to the south, and Crotona Avenue to the west. East Tremont Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through West Farms. The local subway station is the IRT White Plains Road Line (2 5) at West Farms Square – East Tremont Avenue, operating along Boston Road and East 180th Street on Morris Park Avenue. Zip codes include 10460. The area is patrolled by the 48th Precinct located at 450 Cross Bronx Expressway in East Tremont. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 8 at 2794 Randall Avenue in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx.
West Farms was separated from the town of Westchester, New York, by an act of the legislature in 1846, formed from the settlements of West Farms, Morrisania, and Fordham, which survive as recognizable neighborhoods of The Bronx to this day. The patent of the "West Farms", which were the farthest western section of Westchester, were granted by letters patent in 1666 to Edward Jessup and John Richardson, both of Westchester, who had jointly purchased it "of the Indyan proprietors". It was bounded on the east by the "river commonly called by the Indians Aquehung, otherwise Broncke river" Jessup was dead within a year, and his widow conveyed his share to Thomas Hunt of Westchester, whose family is commemorated in the name of Hunts Point. In 1711, the heirs of the patentees joined in a second division of the lands in twelve lots with immutable boundaries, which were subsequently divided up. During the American Revolution numerous engagements occurred here; there were too few able-bodied men to form a company of continental militia, so West Farms formed a joint company with Fordham.
In 1848 the village of West Farms was described as "pleasantly situated at the head of the navigable waters of the Bronx, three miles from the East river, and twelve from New York". Though it was rapidly increasing in size, it already had about 1000 inhabitants, in about 200 houses.There were three district schools, for boys and girls, and a ladies' seminary and a boys' private school. The railroad depot of the Harlem & Westchester Rail Road stood a mile north of the village, where there were four churches, "4 taverns, a temperance house, 12 stores of different kinds, and a post office." In addition to seven sloops moored on the Bronx River, there were manufactories: a Brussels carpet and spinning factory, another carpet manufactory, and a grist mill and a lumber mill, formerly de Lancey's Mills, converting the last stands of timber accessible to the Bronx River upstream. Rail service to the city was on an almost hourly schedule, and West Farms was developing into a railroad suburb like Yonkers, which bounded it on the north. In 1848 the Hunt house (built in 1688) still stood on Hunts Point at the end of "Planting Neck", and the high ground along the neck was dotted with villas. Poet Joseph Rodman Drake found inspiration in the views of Long Island Sound and is buried nearby.
West Farms has a population over 20,000.
For decades West Farms has been one of the poorest communities in America. Over half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). West Farms has one of the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in New York City. The vast majority of households are renter occupied.
After a wave of arson ravaged the low-income communities of New York City, especially the Bronx, throughout the 1970s, most residential structures in West Farms were left seriously damaged or destroyed. The city began to rehabilitate many 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.
Land use and terrain
West Farms is dominated by 5 and 6-story tenement buildings, older multi-unit homes, vacant lots, and newly constructed subsidized attached multi-unit townhouses and apartment buildings. Most of the original housing stock was structurally damaged by arson and eventually razed by the city. The total land area is less than one square mile. The terrain is somewhat hilly.
There are two NYCHA developments located in West Farms.
- 1010 East 178th Street; a 21-story building.
- Twin Parks East (Site 9); a 14-story building.
Many social problems associated with poverty from crime to drug addiction have plagued the area for quite some time. Despite declines in crime from its peak during the crack and heroin epidemics, violent crime continues to be a serious problem in the community. West Farms has significantly higher drop out rates and incidents of violence in its schools than in other parts of the city.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. Many of them had their children at a very young age and could not provide for their children. Many of the families living in West Farms have been in poverty for generations. The incarceration rate in the area is also very high. Many if not most males in the community have been arrested at some point in their lives. This is related to the aggressive policing tactics, including "sweeps", that are used because of the area's high crime rate. West Farms is home to a significant number of inmates currently held in New York state prison and jail facilities.
- PS 6: West Farms (East Tremont and Bryant Avenues)
- PS 67: Mohegan (East 178th Street and Mohegan Avenue)
- CS 214: Lorraine Hansberry Academy(West Farms Road and East Tremont Avenue)
- Wings Academy (East 180th Street and Bronx Park Avenue)
- Bx9: to Riverdale (via Kingsbridge Road)
- Bx19 to Riverbank State Park, Manhattan or Bronx Park, The Bronx (via Southern Blvd) (Border of West Farms and East Tremont)
- Bx21: to Westchester Square station or Third Avenue–138th Street station (via Boston Road and Morris Park Avenue)
- Bx36 to Castle Hill or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 180th Street)
- Bx40/Bx42: to Throgs Neck or Morris Heights (via Tremont–Burnside Av's)
- BxM10 Express Bus Service to Midtown Manhattan
- Q44: to Jamaica, Whitestone, Flushing (via Cross Bronx Expressway Service Road and Main Street in Queens)
- East 180th Street (IRT White Plains Road Line) (2 5 trains)
- West Farms Square – East Tremont Avenue (IRT White Plains Road Line) (2 5 trains)
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- Robert Bolton, A history of the county of Westchester, from its first settlement to the present time vol. II (New York, 1848) pp 259ff is the source for this section.
- Patent quoted in Bolton.
- Petition of 1775 to the Continental Congress, printed in Bolton 1848:271f.
- Bolton 1848:266.
- It was on the site of a paint manufactory and pottery kilns, which had been active during the War of 1812. (Bolton 1848:266.
- Bolton 1848:272, 275
- old cemeteries in West Farms.
- Bronx Community District 6
- New York City Transit - History and Chronology, accessed March 12, 2007
- 48th Precinct CompStat Report
- NYC Dropout Rates
- Bronx Census Data Analysis
- NYC Prison Expenditure