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Thread: Bronx Neighborhoods

  1. #31
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    Oct 2002


    People, Shops and Roads Converge Here


    149th Street crosses Melrose, Willis and Third Avenues

    NO matter which neighborhood a Bronx resident calls home, most have been to the Hub, a convergence of streets in the South Bronx that is one of the borough’s most dynamic commercial centers. For Michael Reed, it was when his parents took him shopping for Easter clothes as a boy.

    “Whether it was because Hearns was where your parents shopped, or because all the main banks were there,” Mr. Reed recalled, “at some point you ended up in the Hub.”

    Though sometimes referred to as the Times Square of the Bronx — and it once had its share of theaters and burlesque houses — the Hub also has housing, a proportion of it city-sponsored projects. An area of only about a third of a square mile, with a population of about 15,500, it consists primarily of walk-up tenements, wood-frame houses, new town houses, and small elevator buildings, said Sid Miller, the owner of the Haven Heights Group, a real estate brokerage.

    “It’s a hodgepodge of different types of housing,” Mr. Miller said. “That lack of uniformity makes it not pleasant to look at.”

    This lack of curb appeal is partly the result of the rough times of the 1970s, when the area was a nexus of burning buildings and Fort Apache-style crime.

    The rebirth of the South Bronx has been particularly slow to catch on here, said Vincent Valentino, the executive director of the Hub Third Avenue Business Improvement District, and a retired city police detective who recalls his time here as a rookie beat cop.

    “The sergeant would tell you when you went on post, if you’re chasing somebody make sure you don’t drop your gun, because it will never hit the sidewalk,” Mr. Valentino said.

    When he retired and returned to the Hub in 1995, it was still charred and scarred. “There was garbage all over the place,” he recalled. “People were dumping, crime was rampant.”

    The improvement district has worked with local officials and residents in cleaning up the area, aided in the process by city-sponsored initiatives to develop thousands of subsidized housing units in the Hub and surrounding neighborhoods like Melrose.

    John Valverde works in the neighborhood, and with his wife, Maria Soto, will be moving from Queens into a two-bedroom co-op at a subsidized housing development called Via Verde. Living here wouldn’t have occurred to him, he said — until Via Verde opened his eyes.

    “We were initially looking to move within Queens,” he said, adding: “We saw Via Verde as a real commitment on the part of the developer and architect to build community in an area that has this stigma and negative reputation. That’s really what it’s all about for us.”

    Every outspoken Bronx resident has an opinion on how far the Hub fans out from the intersection of Third Avenue and East 149th Street. Some say not at all. Others say the neighborhood roughly spans the box made by an axis along Third Avenue from 145th Street to 156th Street and an axis along East 149th Street from Morris Avenue to the St. Mary’s Park area. Many residents of the Melrose neighborhood to the north consider the Hub to be Melrose’s commercial center.

    Mr. Reed, who works as a sales agent for Via Verde, described its Brook Avenue location as falling squarely in the Hub. An eco-friendly collection of single-family town houses alongside a 20-story high-rise with several green roofs, all oriented around a verdant courtyard, it is probably the neighborhood’s most upscale development


    Many people fail to associate housing with the Hub because of its reputation as a crossroads of commerce: Third Avenue has even been called the Broadway of the Bronx. At the center of it all is Roberto Clemente Plaza, a small pedestrian area with several large planters and nearby bike lanes. Other major roads with thriving retail businesses converge upon the area, including Melrose, Willis and Westchester Avenues.

    National chains like Duane Reade, Staples and Bank of America sit alongside typical outer-borough businesses like Cookie’s The Kids Department Stores, Pretty Girl and Dr. Jay’s. Scattered liberally among them are discount furniture stores, cellphone outlets, jewelry boutiques, electronics shops, Latin pizzerias, discount clothing boutiques, dental and medical storefronts, delis, 99-cent shops and botanicas. Foot traffic is heavy, with more than 200,000 pedestrians passing through daily, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

    People are “coming back to the area, because they have jobs, and they can afford to pay for these new co-ops and apartments,” Mr. Valentino said. “And we welcome them back into the fold as shoppers. My daughter — she lives upstate — comes down to shop.”

    That’s great news for businesses like Yolanda’s Italian Pizzeria and Restaurant, a 52-year neighborhood institution on East 149th Street, said Neil Calisi, its owner, who immigrated from Italy at 10 with his mother, the original Yolanda.

    “The image of the Yankee World Series in the Bronx, the helicopters focusing on the Bronx burning — that wasn’t a good image for the Bronx,” Mr. Calisi said. “But since then it’s changed drastically and dramatically. The Bronx — especially here, the Hub — it’s blossoming into a flower.”

    In concrete terms, that means changes like the restoration of the former Bronx opera house on East 149th Street into a boutique hotel. As work progresses there, a giant rubble-strewn lot across the street has been chosen for a city-subsidized mixed-use complex. It is to have retail stores, a family restaurant and a charter school.

    The Bronx Documentary Center, a gallery on the ground floor of a historic building on Courtlandt Avenue, is relatively new to the Hub. The owner restored the building with city assistance, adding several apartments upstairs.


    Most residential property is rent-stabilized, apart from some new two-family houses, said Barry Susman, the broker and owner of the Susman Realty Company on 149th Street. Many building owners rent rooms by the week, typically for $125 to $150, he said.

    A studio would rent for $750 to $850 a month; one-bedrooms range from $850 to $1,000 a month; and two-bedrooms start in the $1,200 range, said Khayan Harris, an agent with K & K Room Finders, a state-licensed apartment-sharing agency on Melrose Avenue.

    There are also some condos or co-ops; they typically start at $150,000 to $160,000, for a one-bedroom, Mr. Harris said. A two-bedroom co-op at Via Verde is priced at $146,032, for a family of four earning $56,250 to $124,500 a year.


    Many Hub residents take advantage of nearby St. Mary’s Park, the largest park in the South Bronx, which has a running track; handball, tennis and basketball courts; a baseball diamond; and an indoor swimming pool. It has a summer concert series that is very popular with families, Mr. Reed said.

    The neighborhood is not far from the new Yankee Stadium or the Gateway Center Mall, a destination for big-box shoppers, said Martin Robert Holland III, a director of capital markets for Prudential Douglas Elliman.


    The only public Montessori charter school in the Bronx opened this year on Willis Avenue in the Hub, joining the Bronx Charter School for Children, also on Willis, in offering alternatives to a handful of public elementary schools.

    A higher-achieving elementary is Public School 018 John Peter Zenger on Morris Avenue. It got an A on its most recent city progress report, with 28.3 percent of tested students showing mastery in English, 52.5 in math.

    The Hub has a handful of middle and high schools, including South Bronx Preparatory on East 145th Street, where SAT averages in 2011 were 413 in reading, 424 in math and 389 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.

    The John Cardinal O’Connor Campus of the College of New Rochelle is in the heart of the Hub on 149th Street.


    The Hub is all about transportation. Both the 2 and 5 subways stop here, making the rest of the Bronx and Brooklyn accessible along with the Upper West and East Sides of Manhattan. The ride into Midtown takes about 30 minutes. Metro-North’s Harlem line also stops at Melrose, about a 15-minute walk. Local and limited bus lines from the Hub include the B33, B15, B19, B2, and the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18.


    Starting in the 1850s, many Germans immigrated to the Bronx, living in villages around the Hub — which didn’t yet exist — with names like Morrisania, Melrose, Bensonia, Wilton and Eltona, said Lloyd Ultan, the Bronx borough historian. Many attended what is now the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Just down 151st Street, the Church of Our Lady of Pity served the Italian immigrants, most of whom came from the tiny island of Ponza off the west coast of Italy. San Silverio is their patron saint, and they began holding a festival on his feast day with a procession up Morris Avenue, Mr. Calisi said. The celebration still occurs each June 20, with Italian-Americans taking part. Today the population is mostly African-American and Hispanic; many are originally from Puerto Rico.

  2. #32


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ID:	15598These two photos are looking at each other. First photo is e233rd st looking west. The second photo is looking from Woodlawn towards Wakefield. That's e233rd in the upper middle, the green train platform above the street is where the first photo was taken.

  3. #33
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    Oct 2002

    Default Kingsbridge

    Where Aerobic Fortitude Is a Big Plus

    By C. J. HUGHES

    Ángel Franco/The New York Times
    The public staircase at Heath Avenue and West 229th Street is one of a series in Kingsbridge,
    whose steep hills and circuitous roads make pedestrian shortcuts very handy.

    THE Harlem River curves by Kingsbridge, a middle-class neighborhood of 47,000 folded into a valley in the northwestern Bronx. There’s also a busy highway, the six-lane Major Deegan Expressway, that slices through the area. And mature trees shade many sidewalks — as along Tibbett Avenue, which is named for a brook buried long ago.

    But the feature that makes the most lasting impression is the series of open-air public stairways running up neighborhood hills; they seem as steep and geometric as lines on a graph.
    One staircase, squeezed between midrise apartment houses, connects West 231st Street with Naples Terrace. Another links Bailey and Heath Avenues. And Ewen Park, an expanse of lawns at Kingsbridge’s edge, even has a staircase reminiscent of the magisterial Potemkin Stairs, in the Ukrainian seaport of Odessa (though not anywhere near as wide or as long); they climb up, and up, and up, promising a heart-pounding shortcut to Riverdale.

    “They’re really important, because the roads zigzag so much,” said Dean Parker, a resident, referring to all the stairs. “It would take too long to get around without them.”

    For new arrivals, adjusting to the neighborhood can be like a strenuous stair climb: It requires a little work and some faith, maybe, but the payoff can be extraordinary, residents say.

    For Mr. Parker, who works as a composer, Kingsbridge offered the chance to buy a house large enough to include a recording studio — which would have been unthinkable in many city neighborhoods, especially in the two-bedroom co-op he used to own in Riverdale.

    His seven-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot house, bought in December, also has room enough for an office for his wife, Tanya Krohn, an SAT tutor, and plenty of space for the couple’s two sons.

    The 1910 wood-frame home, with a gambrel roof and metal siding, and views of the Jerome Park Reservoir from the third floor, cost $250,000, about a third of what it would have sold for in Riverdale, Mr. Parker guesses. But it definitely was not in move-in condition: at some point, pipes broke, raining water down on walls. Mr. Parker took care of some renovating himself.

    The upside was the area, with its interesting mix of residents — quite different from Bronxville, in the Westchester suburbs, which Mr. Parker recalled as homogeneous. “I like a diverse economy, diverse cultural backgrounds,” he said. “I think it keeps everybody polite.”

    There also seems to be a golden rule in effect about working together to solve problems. Mr. Parker, for instance, recently aided a neighbor’s house-painting job by letting him set up a ladder in his yard. “Everybody realizes that it’s better off to be connected than isolated here,” he said.

    Judging from the local attitude toward various new commercial developments in recent years, people also appreciate their importance in providing a needed jolt to the somewhat ragtag shopping strip along Broadway.

    Tears were shed in 2009 when Stella D’Oro, the cookie company, closed its longtime factory on West 237th Street, but many are looking forward to a 118,000-square-foot BJ’s, of big-box fame, which is set to rise in its place.

    Also, a 133,000-square-foot shopping center is to go up on a city parking lot on West 230th Street. And, under plans being weighed by the city, the castlelike Kingsbridge Armory, long empty, could someday have shops inside.

    They would join River Plaza on West 225th Street, an eight-year-old mall with a Target store, which Urvashi Rangan is fond of. But she often has to drive to Yonkers in Westchester (where she works as a toxicologist) for big grocery purchases, which is why she’s in favor of new supermarkets.

    “If we were living in the country and somebody was going to stick a big development next to me,” Ms. Rangan said, “I don’t think I would like it. But we live in a very dense area already, and everybody needs to eat.”

    Though some blocks may be shoehorn-tight, that doesn’t mean they lack for square footage, or style. A case in point: Ms. Rangan’s home, a four-story Queen Anne that soars from a skinny lot, boasting cedar clapboards, pocket doors and a turret. In 2002, it cost $410,000. But it, too, needed major fixes, including a new boiler, kitchen and roof.


    Ms. Rangan’s house is in Marble Hill — which, though contiguous to the neighborhood and on the same side of the Harlem River, is not officially part of the Bronx at all, but a part of Manhattan, to which it was geographically connected before the river was reoriented in 1897, cutting it off.

    Yet just as Marble Hill telephones use the Bronx’s 718 area code and the area is represented by the Bronx’s Community Board 8, Marble Hill residents don’t cross the river every time they go shopping. Boundaries are one thing, convenience another, as Ms. Rangan’s approach makes clear. Describing the sometimes annoying way salsa music blares from cars and echoes up the hills, she said, “There’s a vibrancy here that’s made me appreciate the Bronx.”

    Kingsbridge is a patchwork of smaller neighborhoods, each with a personality all its own, spread over barely 0.75 square miles.

    Kingsbridge proper sits in the crease of a valley. Along Corlear Avenue, a row of bungalows look as though they could be on a waterfront. And at the turn of the last century West 230th Street was actually an oxbow of the Harlem River, before it was diverted and the riverbed filled.

    Close by are attached brick homes from a more modern era, some of which seem tiny beside glassy high-rises that have recently shouldered their way in.

    Terraced across the eastern ridge is Kingsbridge Heights, where row houses have security gates on their windows, as on Heath Avenue. The crime rate in the 50th Precinct, which includes upscale Riverdale, is relatively low: there were four murders in 2011, versus eight in 2001, and one so far this year.

    Van Cortlandt Village, which flanks the reservoir, is dominated by co-ops: to be precise, the Amalgamated Cooperative Houses, a Tudor-esque complex developed by a garment workers union in 1927. It has 1,500 units in 11 buildings.

    In 2004, a city rezoning made it harder to build tall condominiums.

    As for the reservoir, it is dry now, but will be refilled by next summer, according to the city Department of Environmental Protection; at that point a water tunnel being built next door in Van Cortlandt Park will be complete.


    Eighty-five percent of the housing stock is rentals, census figures show. That means there is never a lot on the for-sale market. This month there were 30 listings, among them houses, co-ops and condos, asking an average of $246,000, according to

    They ranged from a co-op studio in a seven-story brick building on Kingsbridge Terrace facing the reservoir, at $69,900, to a postwar two-family row house, with a total of five bedrooms and updated kitchens, at $795,000.

    Sales volume has plunged since the recession, though prices have since stabilized. In 2007, at the height of the market, there were 119 sales of market-rate houses, co-ops and condos, at an average price of $267,000, according to Streeteasy data. In 2011 there were just 27, though the average was virtually unchanged.

    The market is relatively resilient because Kingsbridge is “close to everything: transportation, good schools, parks,” said Maria Moragianis, a broker with Weichert Realtors House and Home, who lived there for 25 years. “It just works all around.”


    Irish bars are scattered along Broadway, though the area is about 60 percent Latino today. And Gaelic Park stadium, where Gaelic football matches were once regularly played, is today mostly used by Manhattan College students for soccer.

    In 2011, after delays, the Kingsbridge Library opened in a new glass-walled home on West 231st; a sunken rock garden offers a place to relax with a book.


    Those who work on the West Side of Manhattan can hop on the No. 1 train at West 225th, West 231st or West 28th Street. Times Square is about a 25-minute ride.

    East Side commuters can take Metro-North Railroad, from a Marble Hill stop on the Hudson line. On weekdays from 6 to 8 a.m., six trains leave for Grand Central Terminal, arriving in about 20 minutes. Monthly passes are $178.


    Public School 95, in Van Cortlandt Village, is one option for kindergarten through eighth grade. On state exams last year, 46 percent of fourth-graders met standards in English, 62 percent in math. Citywide, those percentages were 51 and 62.

    Next door is the public AmPark Neighborhood School, a six-year-old grade school with a more arts-focused curriculum. It enrolls 280 students.

    The John F. Kennedy High School enrolls about 1,150 students. SAT averages last year were 348 in reading, 355 in math and 331 in writing, versus 437, 460, and 432 citywide.


    The neighborhood is named for the first bridge connecting Manhattan to the mainland, erected in 1693 in honor of King William III of England. Tolls applied to all people, and cows, crossing it.

  4. #34
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    Oct 2002

    Default Clason Point

    No Nonsense, on Prices or Parking

    Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
    Clason Point, a peninsular neighborhood with affordable real estate and a strong
    Hispanic presence, retains vestiges of a past as a resort in Harding Park, an area of bungalows converted for year-round use.


    CLASON POINT, in the southeastern Bronx, is arguably the least known of a trio of peninsulas that jut into the East River across from Rikers Island and La Guardia Airport. Of the other two, Hunts Point is the city’s food distribution hub and Ferry Point received some attention recently when it was discussed as the site of a new public golf course operated by one of Donald Trump’s companies.

    A drive through the nearly one-square-mile area makes it clear that anonymity is just fine with the people who live there.
    Most properties, no matter how close to their neighbors, are fenced in; few people are seen on the streets; and the loudest noise comes from airplanes flying so low on approach to La Guardia that airline logos are easily made out from the ground.

    Residents live with the roar of jet engines because they value the neighborhood’s reasonably priced real estate, the parking that can be readily found on the street, and — when the weather doesn’t turn traitor the way it did last week with Hurricane Sandy — the views over the water.

    A mix of multifamily brick buildings, single-family homes and new condos south of the Bruckner Expressway, Clason Point is bisected by Soundview Avenue, which has bodegas, a Foodtown grocery store, a hair salon or two and a scattering of auto repair shops. Residential areas lie to either side.

    Without a link to the subway, Clason Point seems isolated. But it also has a quirkiness derived from its early 1900s past as a resort.

    One vestige of that is Harding Park, a subneighborhood along the waterfront, made up of 236 former summer bungalows, now weatherized for year-round living.

    Of course, no amount of weatherizing could have protected against the recent stormwaters, and Elbin Mena, the president of the homeowners association for Harding Park, noted on Tuesday that about a dozen homes in its southernmost section had been flooded.

    Elsewhere in the larger neighborhood, trees were down and there was scattered power loss, he said, adding that neighbors were doing what they could to help one another in the aftermath.

    According to census data on the population of Community Board 9, of which Clason Point is a part, almost 58 percent are Hispanic and 30 percent are black or African-American, with whites and Asians splitting the rest.

    Harry Rodriguez, a court officer in Criminal Court in the Bronx, moved into his Harding Park bungalow with his wife, Angie, four years ago after originally searching in Warwick, a community in Orange County where the properties are big and the prices lower than those in New York City.

    Mr. Rodriguez said he fell for the locale right away. But when he took his wife for the first time, “she said absolutely not.” The house needed a lot of work and was very small.

    Then she saw what Mr. Mena, of the homeowner association, had done with his property, and she changed her mind.

    She was impressed with his back deck — a wide wooden expanse with a bar, umbrellas, a fountain, a dock, and Manhattan’s skyline in the distance.

    Since the Rodriguezes bought the bungalow a few doors down from Mr. Mena’s place, they have slowly updated it and are now adding a room.


    Homes in Harding Point do not come up for sale often because families tend to hold onto them, brokers say. Just outside Harding Park is a newer development, Harbour Pointe at Shorehaven, a private gated community of 488 modest condos and 156 two-family homes built on the site of a former beach club.

    This development started to go up in the late 1980s and has continued in phases. Most recently, ground was broken for 71 two-family homes near Clason Point Park, where Soundview Avenue dead-ends at the water.

    Rafael Torres of Team Tower Realty, the exclusive broker for Harbour Pointe, said people who bought there are teachers, nurses, police officers and other civil servants who like the security and resortlike amenities that the development offers.

    Contrasting the Bronx’s vibrant, busy reputation with Shorehaven’s quiet, insular one, Mr. Torres said, “A lot of people talk about the Bronx, but life here is not like that.” Each unit comes with a parking spot; visitors must be announced at the gatehouse; and residents have access to basketball courts, a gym, a swimming pool and a day care center, he said.

    Outside of Harbour Point and Harding Park, the housing consists mainly of brick duplexes and single-family homes on side streets that intersect with Soundview Avenue and White Plains Road.

    Ariel Pena, a real estate agent at Re/Max Voyage, says two-family homes are in demand because they provide rental income to defray mortgage costs. Buyers are often young couples looking for their first home or people who have rented in the area and who now want to own, he said.


    Reasonable real estate prices are what draw people to Clason Point, said Luis Fernandez, an agent with Keller Williams Realty, who sees potential buyers from Brooklyn and other parts of the city.

    “Its selling points are that it is still affordable for the average person and, perhaps, you could get something that is newer than the rest of the Bronx for almost the same price,” Mr. Fernandez said.

    He has a listing for a two-unit attached home in Shorehaven built in 2002. It has a two-bedroom apartment over a three-bedroom duplex and is priced at $500,000. He said a similar property in the Throgs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx would probably would sell for $700,000.

    According to the real estate Web site, which aggregates multiple listings, 218 properties were for sale in Clason Point the last week of October. An overview of market trends on the site said the average sale price of houses for a two-month period ending Sept. 12 was $334,000, a decline of 33.4 percent when compared with average sales in the neighborhood in 2007.

    But Mr. Fernandez has noticed the market picking up. “Inventory is being consumed faster than even a year ago,” he said. “It now moves in four to six months, which is almost a real market, while we used to see 10 to 12 months.”

    “It’s urban but not as urban as the rest of the Bronx,” Mr. Fernandez said. “You don’t see high-rises, and it’s not like you’re in the middle of the Grand Concourse and you can’t park. Living here, you find parking everywhere.”

    Mr. Rodriguez bought his Harding Point bungalow for $250,000 four years ago. After renovations, he said, it recently was appraised at $370,000.

    At Harbor Pointe, two-bedroom condos sell for $340,000 to $375,000, three-bedrooms for about $475,000, Mr. Torres said. Owners also pay a monthly condo fee ranging from $275 to $359.


    For residents with direct water access like Mr. Mena and Mr. Rodriguez, kayaking is a favorite pastime. People also fish from the rocks at Clason Point Park or off a jetty that can be reached from the Harding Point area.

    Clason Point encompasses Soundview Park, which is at the confluence of the Bronx and East Rivers. The park has sports fields and more places to fish.

    For shopping, Bruckner Plaza, with big retailers like Kmart, Old Navy and Toys ‘R’ Us, is a short bus ride or drive up White Plains Road.


    A longtime neighborhood institution is the Holy Cross Parish Elementary School, which serves students through eighth grade. Public School 69 New Vision School, with 575 students, received an A on its most recent city progress report. The larger P.S. 182, which has 900 students, scored a B.

    A nearby option for older students is the Adlai E. Stevenson educational campus, which houses two middle schools and seven small high schools.


    With no direct subway service, residents who take public transportation rely on two bus lines. The BX27 takes riders to the 6 train at the Morrison/Soundview Avenues stop, while the BX39 connects to the 6 at the Westchester Avenue/E 177th Street stop. At rush hour, it can take about an hour to get to Grand Central Terminal.


    In the early part in the 20th century, Clason Point had dance halls, bathing piers and Kane’s Casino, according to the Encyclopedia of New York City. Its popularity waned when the last ferry service from College Point, Queens, ended during World War II.

    After the war, the casino property was converted into the Shorehaven Beach Club, a private club with a saltwater swimming pool, tennis and handball courts and live entertainment. Pat Loehmann, 68, who has lived in Clason Point her whole life, remembers sneaking into Shorehaven to swim in the pool and later working there as a teenager.

    She said children used to play outside until the streetlights came on. These days, she said, it is quieter. Looking out the window of her Beach Avenue home, which was once her grandmother’s, she said, “The kids don’t go out.”

  5. #35
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    Oct 2002

    Default Baychester

    A Place for Renters to Buy In


    James Estrin/The New York Times
    Haffen Park offers a pool and a range of other recreation. Baychester, a home base for new arrivals
    from the Caribbean, has affordable real estate. It also happens to be a popular place to buy a car.

    SAVVIER Bronx residents have known for years that the place to go for a car is Boston Road in Baychester, but this rather unassuming neighborhood in the North Bronx has other attractions, among them affordable places to live.

    A working-class area of modest single- or two-family homes, many with backyards, as well as a lot of shopping options, and a handful of parks and good schools, Baychester has gained a reputation for stability that has drawn young couples and former renters seeking a foothold in the world of homeownership.

    “People are coming here from other parts of the Bronx, a lot of them converted renters,” said Danny Collins, a real estate agent who specializes in Baychester with the brokerage Exit Realty Search. “They may live on the outskirts of the Bronx, but know about the Baychester area, or drove through, or know the mall, and they’re looking to live over here.”

    One couple of recent buyers, Yanick Hanchard and her husband, Craig, knew Baychester well, having rented locally for the five years leading up to their purchase. The Hanchards paid less than $380,000 — 5 percent below the asking price of about $400,000 — for a two-family house on Gunther Avenue near Haffen Park. They live with their two young children in the upper three-bedroom unit and rent out the lower one. The house has a deck, a backyard, a driveway and a basement.

    “We looked at a lot of homes,” Ms. Hanchard said. “We found homes that were definitely at the top of our budget, but we wanted to negotiate. Some were willing; some weren’t.”

    Ms. Hanchard notes that there is a lot of renting going on right now, even in single-family houses. “More people need help with their mortgage,” she said.

    Baychester was a rural area up until the post-World War II years, when thousands of single-family homes were built for returning soldiers and city residents migrating up to the Bronx.

    The population then consisted primarily of Irish, German and Italian immigrants. Today Baychester is predominantly home to families from Jamaica, Trinidad, Antigua, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Grenada, as well as African- and Italian-Americans.

    Many are white-collar professionals, particularly in the medical industry and education, along with government workers, according to Renee Patterson, the president of the Baychester Quality of Life Council and a resident for 30 years. “We’re professionals — nurses, doctors, technicians, you name it,” Ms. Patterson said. “My family is basically education people. So we have a strong middle class.”

    According to census data, the mean household annual income in the Baychester area is nearly $70,000.

    Even as late as the 1970s, Baychester was “a very residential, almost countrified, area,” said Richard F. Gorman, the chairman of Community Board 12. Development became rapid in the 2000s, with teardowns of single-family houses to build two- and three-families, town-house clusters, condominiums and small apartment buildings, Mr. Gorman said.

    The Community Board fought for a rezoning and in 2011 succeeded in protecting pockets of single-family homes, like those on Tillotson, De Reimer, Givan and Mickle Avenues.


    Baychester is one of the more uniform parts of the Bronx in terms of housing: there are no pockets of high-priced homes in historic districts or adjoining parks. Most are modest, made of brick or siding, and topped by pitched roofs. There are also three high-rise public housing projects: Edenwald, with about 2,040 apartments; the Baychester Houses, with about 440; and Boston Secor, with about 540.

    Although boundaries can often be a source of contention, many see the neighborhood as the approximately 80-block chunk defined by Interstate 95 to the east, Boston Road to the west, East Gun Hill Road to the south, and East 222nd Street to the north. In this relatively tight interpretation of the neighborhood, according to the Census Bureau, the population is about 67,000.

    Residents draw a distinction between Baychester and Co-op City, the residential giant to the east, which not only has its own identity, but is isolated by Interstate 95 and has its own separate high-rise architecture and culture.

    West of I-95, Baychester once stood out as an almost pastoral area, Mr. Gorman said. “The city did a tremendous disservice to this neighborhood by turning around and allowing the amount of development that it did,” he said.

    “Most of our green areas disappeared, and many of these houses that were developed are the same ones that are now having problems with the mortgage crisis.”


    The Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors lists more than 1,100 houses on the market.

    Because housing is so uniform, pricing is fairly predictable. Single-family houses are in the $300,000s, ranging from about $330,000 to about $365,000, said Mr. Collins of Exit Realty. Multifamilies are often priced in the mid-$400,000s, he said. The newest homes, however, can reach the mid-$700,000s, said Polly Watt, an associate broker with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.

    Then there are the deals, of which plenty remain. Mr. Collins says buying a multifamily with the intention of renting out one of the units to pay the mortgage, as the Hanchards did, can be one way of gaining a foothold in Baychester.

    In the current financial climate, he added, “it’s been relatively difficult to qualify for a loan” for a single-family. “So I’ve worked with customers who purchased a multifamily, had a renter, did well — and then five years later, they came back and purchased a single-family, and they still have the multifamily as an investment property.”

    There are plenty of rentals in Baychester, “ranging from an entire three-bedroom house listed from $1,800 to $2,000, down to a one-bedroom in a multifamily starting from $900 to $1,200,” Ms. Watts said.


    Parochial and charter schools occupy a prominent place here. Catholic schools include Cardinal Spellman High School (Grades 9 through 12); Mount Saint Michael Academy (6 through 12); and Nativity of Our Blessed Lady and Holy Rosary Schools (both prekindergarten through Grade 8). Among notable Spellman graduates is the Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor.

    Ms. Hanchard, whose children attend Public School 97 (kindergarten through Grade 5), plans to move them to Holy Rosary School next year. P.S. 97 got a B on its most recent city progress report, with 55 percent of tested students showing mastery in English and 67 in math, versus 47 and 60 citywide.

    Co-op City provides a public secondary option, Harry S. Truman High School. SAT averages last year were 386 in reading, 397 in math and 368 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.


    Baychester is served by the 5 subway, which has stops at Gun Hill Road and Baychester Avenue and goes express during the morning and evening rush hours. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s schedule, peak-hour service to Midtown takes less than 40 minutes, but Ms. Patterson says that the wait can sometimes be long, and that it typically takes her well over an hour to get to her job at a housing agency in Lower Manhattan.

    On weekends, she says, service is spotty and even slower, so she rarely leaves the neighborhood. “We used to say that they’re holding us hostage up here,” was her assessment.
    Bus service is plentiful: the Bx31, the Bx28, the Bx38 and the Bx30, along with a number of buses that circumvent Co-op City. There are also two express buses into Manhattan, the BxM10 and the BxM7.

    But most people in Baychester drive. I-95 is easily reached from Baychester, making the commute into Midtown by car much quicker than the subway, when traffic cooperates.


    Among shopping centers nearby at Co-op City is Bay Plaza. In 2014, once its expansion is complete and the center officially becomes the Mall at Bay Plaza, a 780,000-square-foot structure will enclose a Macy’s, some 100 specialty stores and a food court. The area also has small commercial strips, primarily along East Gun Hill Road and Boston Road, where car dealerships are plentiful and it’s not unusual to spot vintage cars. There are lots of restaurants, many of them Caribbean like Jackie’s West Indian Bakery.

    The nine-acre Haffen Park has a playground, tennis courts, ball fields, basketball and a swimming pool. Nearby Seton Falls Park, at 36 acres, is mostly a wetlands preserve. There is also Pelham Bay Park and, just to the south, Orchard Beach and City Island.


    “What most people today call Baychester is taken from the fact that you have a Baychester Avenue there,” said Lloyd Ultan, the Bronx borough historian, adding: “The original Baychester was located just south of the southernmost part of Co-op City. It was sort of a small fishing village, and Baychester Avenue led to it.”

  6. #36
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    Affordability, and Pride of Place


    Uli Seit for The New York Times
    Houses on Van Cortlandt Park West, framed by apartment buildings, typify the real estate in this hilly perch just north of the Jerome Park Reservoir.

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    When Kristin Hart bought a house five years ago in Van Cortlandt Village, a Bronx neighborhood that has a long history of community activism, she was soon drawn into local politics.

    Having paid about $400,000 for their house, an attached four-bedroom colonial built in 1912, Ms. Hart and her family gut-renovated it.

    “Then I found a note in my mailbox saying come to a hearing because someone wanted to build a 120-unit housing facility across the street,” she recalled.

    Ms. Hart not only attended the meeting — and fought to have the development project killed — but soon ended up as the president of the Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association.
    The area, etched into a hill descending from the Jerome Park Reservoir, has nearly 16,000 residents, according to census data; it is a terraced niche of narrow, winding streets originally laid out by the landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect, along with Calvert Vaux, of Central and Prospect Parks.

    Now a tranquil enclave of leafy streets, steep stairways and picturesque single-family homes — including ornate neo-Tudors and Georgian-style “garden houses” — the neighborhood also has a collection of brick apartment buildings.

    It is on the wedge of land framed by the 1,146-acre Van Cortlandt Park, Interstate 87, and the open land surrounding the Jerome Park Reservoir, which totals about 125 acres, according to the Jerome Park Conservancy.

    The reservoir, which has been empty and under repair for the larger part of a decade, is fenced off from the public for safety reasons, but the adjacent area has become a magnet for joggers, said Robert Fanuzzi, the chairman of Bronx Community Board 8. The city has agreed to create a jogging path that will run about halfway around the reservoir along Sedgwick Avenue, he said, adding that the reservoir would most likely be full again come fall.

    “This is a jewel of a neighborhood,” Mr. Fanuzzi said. “To have a neighborhood built around a park like this — Van Cortlandt Village is a little gem.”

    The activism of Ms. Hart and others underscores the level of local agreement with Mr. Fanuzzi’s assessment. A 2004 rezoning sought to protect the community’s low-lying charm but, Ms. Hart said, didn’t go far enough. In her view, the area continues to see developers proposing high-rise apartment buildings on lots unsuitable for development — including the one across the street. “This is a very stable neighborhood, where people stay for a long time,” Ms. Hart said. But “it’s also a very fragile neighborhood,” when it comes to fending off developers.

    Neil Fitzgerald, a teacher on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, bought his 750-square-foot one-bedroom here three years ago, after he discovered it during a run.

    “Van Cortlandt Park is famous for its cross-country course,” he said, “so there are races just about every weekend during the fall, and I came up this way and thought this was kind of a nice area.”

    Mr. Fitzgerald wouldn’t disclose what he had paid, but comparable apartments now on the market nearby are listed for $125,000 to $135,000.

    What You’ll Find

    Neighborhood boundaries can be a subject of disagreement, but Van Cortlandt Village is generally seen as defined by Van Cortlandt Park to the north; Dickinson and Sedgwick Avenues on the east; Perot Street and Albany Crescent to the south; and Bailey Avenue to the west.

    At the northern end is the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, founded in 1927 by members of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, who were mostly European Jewish immigrants. With about 1,500 units in 11 buildings, the Amalgamated, as it is known, has a much more diverse roster of tenants nowadays, but continues in its role as a community anchor, with a nursery school, playgroups, crafts workshops, art exhibits and social gatherings, among other offerings.

    Standing out among the well-maintained brick and frame homes farther south is a similar place, a cooperative called the Sholem Aleichem houses, with about 230 units. With about 15 Tudor buildings set amid well-tended lawns and gardens, it is the focus of a local effort for landmark designation, Ms. Hart said.

    What You’ll Pay

    Only a handful of single- and multifamily houses are on the market at any one time.

    They start around $200 a square foot, said Peter Segalla, an associate broker with Houlihan Lawrence. Most date to the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.

    “If these properties were in Brooklyn, in Park Slope,” Mr. Segalla said, “they would be $1 million and over. This is a huge opportunity for young families to still live in New York City at a price range that’s half a million dollars or less.” Also, he pointed out, the area has many of the assets of Westchester County without its heavy tax burden.

    Prices did not significantly increase before the housing crash of 2008, said Joan Kuzniar, an associate broker with Robert E. Hill, so prices have fallen only about 10 percent. “Houses may sit on the market longer,” Ms. Kuzniar said, “but I wouldn’t say there have been a lot of foreclosures or distressed sales.”

    About two dozen co-ops were listed earlier in February on the Hudson Gateway multiple listing service; prices ranged from $109,000 to $310,000. They tend to be spacious and to draw Manhattan buyers, brokers said.

    “We are seeing people sort of widening their search,” Ms. Kuzniar said, “starting in maybe Washington Heights and Inwood, and then coming up to this area.”

    The Commute

    There are no subway stops in Van Cortlandt Village, but the No. 1 subway train has stops a short walk away in Kingsbridge, at 231st and 238th Streets. The trip to Midtown usually takes about 40 minutes, residents said. On the east side of the reservoir, the No. 4 subway has stops at Bedford Park Boulevard and Mosholu Parkway.

    Van Cortlandt Village is served by bus lines including the Bx1, the Bx2, the Bx3, the Bx10, and the BxM3 Manhattan express.

    What to Do

    Lehman College, on the southeastern side of the Jerome Park Reservoir, serves as a cultural force in the area, with institutions like the Lovinger Theater offering high-caliber performances, Ms. Kuzniar said. “They have, for example, Tito Puente’s band, and the Russian ballet,” she said. “Just a lot of great programs that are affordable and accessible.”

    Sedgwick Avenue has a few shops and a library, but most residents shop along Broadway in Kingsbridge. By the end of the year a new center, Riverdale Crossing, is to open on Broadway near 236th Street, anchored by a BJ’s Wholesale Club.

    The Schools

    In 2006, the AmPark Neighborhood School 344 opened in a building owned by the Amalgamated. With about 300 students through Grade 5, it is serving as a welcome alternative, some parents say, to Public School 95 Sheila Mencher, the area’s longstanding elementary and middle school.

    AmPark got a C on its latest progress report; 68 percent showed mastery in English, 75 percent in math, versus 47 and 60 citywide. P. S. 95 got a B, with 43 percent showing mastery in English, 56 percent in math. (Progress reports are based on the relative improvement in performance.)

    A top public high school, the Bronx High School of Science — SAT averages last year were 632 in reading, 688 in math and 649 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide — is across Jerome Park. Also nearby, DeWitt Clinton High School averaged 419 in reading, 426 in math and 410 in writing.

    The History

    In a report commissioned by the neighborhood association, the architectural historian Anthony W. Robins recommended the creation of a small Fort Independence Historic District, to cover an area bounded by Orloff Avenue and portions of West 238th Street, Cannon Place and Giles Place. The area was the site of a major Revolutionary War fortification called Fort Independence.

  7. #37


    "A 120-unit housing facility" - is that the same thing as an apartment building? God, I can't stand NIMBYists, and this article doesn't help any. "Now that I live here, I don't want anyone else to!"

  8. #38
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    Oct 2002

    Default High Bridge

    Name to Get Its Meaning Back


    Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
    High Bridge, a pedestrian crossing into Manhattan in disuse since the early ’70s, gave this neighborhood its name.

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    Straddling a high point in the Bronx, High Bridge takes its name from a near-forgotten pedestrian crossing into Manhattan, closed off in the early 1970s. But in recent years, given plans to reopen the restored High Bridge next year, both it and the neighborhood have been rediscovered by growing numbers of would-be buyers and renters.

    Nor is the bridge the only alluring new landmark. In 2009, just to the east, the opening of the new billion-dollar Yankee Stadium further bolstered the name recognition of this neighborhood, which spans about a square mile and has about 38,000 residents, mostly Puerto Rican and African-American, along with large numbers of newcomers from the Dominican Republic and West African nations including Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Gambia.

    It is not only very close to Manhattan, but also endowed with a large amount of income-restricted housing — as well as some market-rate properties priced much more affordably than comparable real estate in Harlem. Since 2003, dozens of three-family houses have gone up, said Allison Jaffe, the owner and broker of Key Real Estate Services. Despite the housing growth, 2010 census data indicate that more than 95 percent of residents are renters. That trend may stem from a ’70s-era history of serious blight. High Bridge used to be among those areas of the South Bronx where crime, drugs and arson ran rampant.

    Ocynthia Williams, a founder of Taqwa Community Farm, a garden cultivated on undeveloped land originally belonging to the city, has lived in High Bridge for three decades and recalls how the area’s derelict condition back then drew her into a life of community activism.

    “I thought this was one of the most dilapidated communities that I’d ever seen in my life,” Ms. Williams said. “It was so dirty, and crack was an epidemic, and all the buildings were burnt out.”
    Taqwa, one element of a communitywide effort to create green spaces, has helped the neighborhood undergo a “complete transformation,” said Ms. Williams, who describes herself as tickled at the number of small farmers’ markets now operating during the warmer months.

    A precipitous drop in crime rates has dovetailed with the other changes: homicide rates in the 44th Precinct, which covers High Bridge, along with Concourse Village, East and West Concourse and Mount Eden, fell 91 percent from 1990 to 2012; there were 8 murders last year, according to police data. Similarly, over that period robbery was down 79.4 percent, with 451 robberies reported in 2012.

    Residents see the reopening of the High Bridge next year as an important symbol of prosperity and reconnection with the rest of the city, said Chauncy Young, who has lived in the area seven years.

    The bridge crosses over to the 130-acre Highbridge Park, home to the distinctive Highbridge water tower set along magnificent cliffs — as well as one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in New York City.

    “Even though the bridge has been closed for 40 years,” Mr. Young said, “kids have been jumping over the fence of that bridge for decades to get over to that park. So it’s important for the High Bridge to open.”

    What You’ll Find

    High Bridge, defined by a ridge running along the Harlem River, has several steeply stepped streets. Boundaries are rarely above debate in the city, but the neighborhood is generally described as stretching from the river on the west to Jerome Avenue on the east, and from Macombs Dam Bridge on the south to the Cross-Bronx Expressway on the north.

    It has many six- and seven-story brick apartment buildings dating to the 1920s and ’30s, along with tracts of two-, three- and four-family homes either built or rehabbed in the 1990s and 2000s. There are also small pockets of single-family homes, most notably along Woodycrest Avenue.

    “There’s a bunch of surviving Victorian-era homes,” said Ms. Jaffe, the broker. “Some of them may still be legally single-family homes, but it would certainly not be unusual for those single-family homes to be split up.”

    What You’ll Pay

    Mr. Young, who works as lead community organizer at the Highbridge Community Life Center, describes apartments available from the Housing Development Fund Corporation as being very reasonably priced — though buyers do have to meet income restrictions. He said he bought his two-bedroom Development Fund co-op for $95,000 around the time he moved here.

    “That’s about what an apartment in our building goes for to this day,” he added, “and there are some H.D.F.C. co-ops in the neighborhood that are less than that.” He mentioned a friend who bought a two-bedroom in a different building three years ago for $50,000.

    Bakary Camara, a broker with Besmatch Real Estate who lives and works in High Bridge, says that because many of the Development Fund co-op buildings in High Bridge are in financial straits, most banks won’t lend to prospective buyers. One-bedrooms, however, are selling for no more than $50,000 if in good condition, he added.

    A recent search turned up 60 market-rate properties for sale. Single-family homes have sold in recent months in the $300,000-to-$500,000 range, Ms. Jaffe said, adding that two-family sales have ranged between $400,000 and $500,000.

    According to Mr. Camara, rents are often higher than the typical monthly mortgage payment. The rent for one-bedrooms is about $1,100 a month; for two-bedrooms, $1,300 to $1,400; and for three-bedrooms, $1,500 to $1,800.

    The Commute

    Once the High Bridge reopens, residents will be able to walk into Upper Manhattan. As it is they can drive, via the Alexander Hamilton or the Macombs Dam Bridge.

    Yankee Stadium has a subway station for the B, D and 4 trains. The 4 runs up River and Jerome Avenues, with stops at 167th Street, 170th Street and Mount Eden Avenue. The commute into Midtown generally takes about 25 minutes, Mr. Camara said. Buses include the 13, 11 and 35, and the express BxM4 stops on Grand Concourse and goes to Midtown.

    What to Do

    In 2010, the High Bridge Branch of the New York Public Library reopened after an extensive renovation; it has become the pride of the community. There are several small parks and playgrounds scattered throughout High Bridge, although some need work and suffer from frequent closures because of a lack of parks funding, said José Rodriguez, the district manager of Community Board 4.

    Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks, both nearby, are popular with residents, and a greenway stretching along the east bank of the Harlem River will open along with the High Bridge next year.
    The main commercial strip is Ogden Avenue. Residents speak favorably of the Paradise Cafe, which serves Dominican food.

    The Schools

    High Bridge is served by several elementary schools — among them Public Schools 11, 73, 114 and 126 — but only recently have any middle schools opened in the area. The New Settlement Community Campus opened last year; it is home to P.S. 555/Mount Eden Children’s Academy and Intermediate/High School 327. And in September, M.S. 361/Highbridge Green School, the city’s first public school with a green roof, will open for Grades 6, 7 and 8, though only sixth graders are being accepted for the coming school year.

    SAT averages last year at Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School, east of High Bridge, were 394 in reading, 400 in math and 364 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.

    The History

    In 1842 the High Bridge opened, lending character to what was then a tiny village on the east bank of the Harlem River. The bridge was a landmark, attracting sightseers like the Prince of Wales and Edgar Allan Poe. It was built by Irish workers, whose descendants were joined in the 1920s and ’30s by European Jews, according to a short history called “Collective Inspiration.”

  9. #39
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    On the Rails in North NJ



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  10. #40
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    Thanks, Nexus .

    How to Fill a Melting Pot


    Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times
    Houses along Astor Avenue in Allerton, whose diversity is hard to top even in a place like New York.

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    New York has immigrants from 148 countries, at least by the city’s count, and it seems a number of the more successful ones eventually make their way to Allerton, whose diversity stands out even in an extremely multicultural field.

    “It’s a neighborhood full of hard-working immigrants, and they all take so much pride in their homes,” said Shasa Rogers, explaining why her mother, Audrey, who is originally from Jamaica, bought a two-family home on Radcliff Avenue in Allerton eight years ago.

    The neighbors are Italian, Chinese and Barbadian, and “everybody pitches in and helps one another,” said Ms. Rogers, who lives in Jersey City but drops in often.

    In fact, an Italian neighbor helped build several benches in the yard. “The man from Italy speaks very little English,” she added. “It was one of those things where both families said, ‘This is what New York is all about.’ ”

    With about 58,000 residents, Allerton is so large geographically — almost a square mile — that it really has two areas with distinct characters, though both are long on diversity. The western portion of the neighborhood, settled early last century by East European Jews, has one of the oldest co-ops in the city, a rent-stabilized complex now called the “Allerton Co-ops.” The eastern portion was populated over the same time frame mostly by Italians, along with a mix of Irish, Jewish and Greek immigrants.

    That diversity has only increased. Though African-Americans predominate in the western portion, there is a sizable Puerto Rican community, along with groups from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Albania, Cambodia and other Asian nations, and various African countries. Eastern Allerton still has many Italian-Americans, along with new immigrants, particularly from the Caribbean.

    Rozetta Williams-Mitchell, a 15-year resident, finds something remarkable in the coexistence of all these identities. “We have Italians on my block, Jews, Hispanics, Jamaicans, Albanians,” she noted. “It’s a little bit of everything, but it’s very quiet, and we’ve been very happy here.”

    But, now eager to be nearer to relatives in the South, Ms. Williams-Mitchell has listed the three-bedroom brick home on Waring Avenue where she raised her two children. She is asking $489,000.

    There is drug-related crime, mainly in western Allerton, but as for major crime, the 49th Precinct, which covers Allerton, Van Nest and Morris Park, has one of the lowest rates in the city.

    In any case, as Janice Walcott, the head of the Allerton Co-ops Tenants Association, noted: “Sometimes with the crime, people say, ‘I’m moving.’ And I always say: ‘Where are you going? Where are you going to go where you can pay less than $1,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment and have the Botanical Garden you can walk to and a playground?’ ”

    Not that there isn’t room for improvement. One boon, says Joe Thompson, a former police officer who has lived here 47 years and heads the White Plains Road Business Improvement District, would be more groups like his. “I’ve encouraged the business owners in Allerton Avenue to form a business improvement district,” he said, so they can “have a much stronger voice.”

    What You’ll Find

    Because the Bronx went from rural to urban practically overnight by the standard of modern historians, residents don’t always agree upon neighborhood boundaries. In Allerton, they’re often as likely to say they live in a neighborhood associated with the closest main street, such as Pelham Parkway, Bronxwood or Bronx Park East.

    In general, Allerton, which is bisected horizontally by Allerton Avenue, is often seen as stretching from Waring Avenue (though some residents say Pelham Parkway) on the south to Gun Hill Road on the north, and from Bronx Park East on the west to Eastchester Road on the east.

    Boston Road serves as a dividing line. To the west are high-rises and retail shops, along with four high-rise public housing projects: the Parkside Houses, with 879 apartments; the Pelham Parkway Houses, with 1,266; Eastchester Gardens, with 877; and the Gun Hill Houses, with 733. To the east are one-, two- and three-family homes on quiet, tree-lined, almost suburban streets with relatively little commercial development.

    What You’ll Pay

    The 2008 real estate crisis didn’t ultimately alter much in Allerton, where home prices fell by about 10 to 15 percent but have since rebounded, said Yolanda Schorr, a resident and landlord on the eastern side.

    “The more expensive properties lost a little bit more than the lower-priced properties,” she said, “but they’ve all come back.” lists about 138 homes for sale in the area designated “Bronxwood” (after a local thoroughfare), which roughly corresponds to the Allerton neighborhood. One-, two- and three-family homes run from about $395,000 to $635,000, said Sonny Vataj, the broker-owner of Exit Realty Power, a Bronx agency that is opening a 30-agent office in the neighborhood.

    About 90 percent of the homes are rentals west of Boston Road, but there are some co-ops and condos, particularly closer to Pelham Parkway, Mr. Vataj said. One-bedroom co-ops run about $80,000 to $100,000, three-bedrooms $160,000 to $180,000, he said.

    “The condos are a bit more expensive,” Mr. Vataj said, “but the maintenance is much more reasonable.” Currently, a condo building at Waring Avenue and Bronx Park East has one-bedrooms for $230,000 to $250,000 and two-bedrooms in the high $200,000s, he said.

    Market-rate one-bedrooms typically rent for $1,000 to $1,150 a month; two-bedrooms for $1,250 to $1,400; and three-bedrooms for $1,600 to $1,850, he said.

    The Commute

    Allerton residents have access to the No. 2 and 5 subways; the ride to Midtown takes 40 to 45 minutes. Local buses include the Bx26, Bx8 and Bx39, and express buses include the BxM11.

    What to Do

    To the west, the 718-acre Bronx Park — with the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo — is a magnet for many New Yorkers. To the east is the popular Pelham Bay Park, which has almost 2,800 acres. Connecting the two big parks south of Allerton is a 109-acre strip of greenway called Pelham Parkway, which residents use to walk dogs and cycle. There are stores on Allerton Avenue, as well as White Plains, Boston, Williamsbridge and Eastchester Roads. But the nearby Bay Plaza mall, also popular with residents, is currently under expansion.

    A devotional site for some and a curiosity for others is Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at 833 Mace Avenue, a reproduction of the grotto in Lourdes, France, where some believe the Virgin Mary appeared in the mid-1850s. Pilgrims travel from all over to be cured at the grotto, said Sal Castorina, the president of the Allerton Avenue Homeowners and Tenants Association. “There are a lot of crutches there,” he said.

    The Schools

    Public School 89 on Mace Avenue, which runs through Grade 8, got a C on its most recent city progress report. Christopher Columbus High School on Astor Avenue teaches Grades 9 through 12; SAT averages last year were 367 in reading, 361 in math and 353 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.

    Allerton has parochial schools, including St. Lucy’s on Mace Avenue and Holy Rosary School on Arnow Avenue, both for prekindergarten through eighth grade.

    The History

    There was little development in the area until the 1920s, when the subway was extended up White Plains Road, said Lloyd Ultan, the borough historian. The presence of bedrock facilitated high-rise development in the western part of Allerton (which was named for an early settler); the eastern portion, its geology being less suitable for such purposes, ended up lower-slung. “Technologically at the time,” Mr. Ultan said, “you didn’t have the ability to build high-rise buildings on that kind of sandy subsoil.”

  11. #41


    Didn't Billy Joel do a song about this hood?

  12. #42
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Nope, that's "Allentown" in Pennsylvania .

  13. #43
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Historic Wave Hill House, Restored to Former Glory


    Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
    After a $9.8 million renovation, Wave Hill House in the Bronx had a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.

    More Photos »

    Even at 24,055 square feet, the stately fieldstone mansion in the Bronx has long been overshadowed by the more celebrated public gardens and Hudson River views just outside its door.

    But in an earlier life, Wave Hill House was home to a succession of prominent New Yorkers. A young Teddy Roosevelt had the run of the place as a summer renter, and was said to have developed a lifelong love of the outdoors there.

    Mark Twain, who was in his mid-60s when he moved in, used to hold tea parties in a treehouse on the back lawn. And the conductor Arturo Toscanini left behind so many belongings in an upstairs closet that it was called “Toscanini’s closet” by those who had to clean it out.

    After a two-year, $9.8 million renovation that restored its rooms and paid homage to its historical and cultural significance, Wave Hill House, which was donated to the city in 1960, will reopen on July 6. On Wednesday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony there attended by Bronx elected officials and local residents.

    “By restoring historic Wave Hill House like never before, this project will welcome even more visitors to enjoy the beautiful Bronx landscape and take in a wide range of excellent art programs,” the mayor said. “It is one more example of our city’s commitment to strengthening our remarkable cultural community across the five boroughs.”

    By any standard, the house is luxurious. It features 13 fireplaces, some of which are hand carved from Italian marble, a terrace with sweeping river views, a medieval hall and innumerable period details like hidden cabinets, mahogany doors and brass fixtures.

    Wave Hill House was built in 1843 by a well-to-do lawyer, William Lewis Morris, for his wife and their seven children. One story is that Mrs. Morris, arriving by boat to view their future home, was said to liken the rolling hillside to a wave crashing on a beach. (A competing story attributes the name to people waving at passing boats.)

    After Mrs. Morris’s death, the family returned to Manhattan, and the house was eventually sold to William Henry Appleton, a publisher. He remade the house, which originally had a Greek Revival look, into a Victorian villa. He also moved the front entrance, which had faced the river, to the back to reflect the growing reliance on road and rail transport.

    It was in 1870 that Mr. Appleton leased the house for the first of two summers to the Roosevelts, whose elder son would grow up to become governor and then president. As governor, Mr. Roosevelt enlisted the help of the financier George W. Perkins in preserving the Palisades just across the river.

    “It’s not documented, but we like to think he gained an appreciation of the outdoors while he was here,” said Charles Day, an interpreter at Wave Hill, during a recent tour. “An impressionable age, you know.”

    Just over three decades later, another famous renter moved in. Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was unfazed by the frigid winters. “I believe we have the noblest roaring blasts here I have ever known on land,” he wrote. “They sing their hoarse song through the treetops with a splendid energy that thrills me and uplifts me and makes me want to live always.”

    The house was later acquired by Mr. Perkins, a neighbor who combined adjoining properties, created pathways and seeded gardens to provide a lush retreat. Mr. Perkins himself never lived in the house, but his family and friends did. His daughter removed much of the Victorian detail and turned it into an English country manor house.

    Bashford Dean left his own mark. Though only a renter, Mr. Dean, a curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, decided to build a Gothic-style wing for his personal collection.

    Armor Hall, as it is known today, has a bas-relief fireplace depicting the Resurrection, and a vaulted ceiling made of salvaged timber from construction of the Lexington Avenue subway. The hall is frequently rented for wedding receptions and comes with a Juliet balcony from which brides can toss their bouquets.

    Mr. Toscanini arrived in 1942 during the war years. He was followed by the British delegation to the United Nations, whose diplomats entertained notable guests like Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the statesman John Foster Dulles.

    Today, Wave Hill is known for the artistry of its gardens, which are painstakingly maintained by workers with degrees in fine arts as well as horticulture. Martha Stewart has called Wave Hill the site of one of her favorite gardens, and “Saturday Night Live” recently used it as the ideal wedding location in a skit on perfect gay weddings.

    Its ground floor became a cafe, gift store and restrooms. Armor Hall has been used for lectures and a concert series. Children’s art classes have been held in the basement, and conferences upstairs in former bedrooms.

    Over the years, it has shown its wear and tear. “The building needed a lot of T.L.C.,” said Mary Weitzman, a spokeswoman for Wave Hill, a nonprofit group that manages the daily operations of the estate. “It did not have any work on it for so long, there were leaks and termite damage.”

    About two-thirds of the $9.8 million cost of repairs was covered by city and state sources, and the remainder was raised through private donations. The work included reinforcing the bones of the house, replacing aging bathrooms, expanding the cafe and adding an elevator, ramp and automatic door to improve access.

    Kenneth Anderson, 62, said the house was the cultural center of Wave Hill, from which much of its creative energy flowed. Mr. Anderson, a retired businessman and teacher who visits nearly every week, proposed to his wife under the pergola in Wave Hill 30 years ago this month.

    “Wave Hill is a lifestyle, and the house is very much part of that,” he said. “It’s proof you don’t have to have a million dollars to live like a millionaire.”

  14. #44
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Spuyten Duyvil, the Bronx, Defined by the Views


    Natan Dvir for The New York Times
    The Villa Charlotte Bronte co-op, the best-known residence in Spuyten Duyvil, looks like a castle built into the bluff over the Hudson River.

    More Photos »

    In what some people might consider an unlikely move, Chris Tokar and Lee Feldman recently traded their longtime Williamsburg, Brooklyn, rental for a co-op in an area with a significantly lower cool factor, Spuyten Duyvil, a section of Riverdale.

    Ms. Tokar admits she had reservations about leaving Williamsburg, where the couple lived with their children, 5 and 9, in an apartment of less than 500 square feet. “I was concerned that we would be far away from the things we loved doing, that we wouldn’t fit in, that we would get restless and that we’d have to get a car, which we didn’t want,” she said.

    So far the concerns are unfounded. Since their move in June, she said, the family — including “two cats and a piano” — has settled into a larger place, with three bedrooms, in a high-rise building on Kappock Street. All are enjoying the extra space, the terrace and the communal pool, where the children made friends over the summer.

    And they are finding the public-transportation options — a Metro-North Railroad station in the neighborhood and the No. 1 subway a walk or short bus ride away — obviate any need for a car.
    It was affordability that drew them to Spuyten Duyvil (pronounced SPY-ten DYE-vil), a hilly area set at the point where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers merge. Ms. Tokar said that when her husband had devised a computer search, factoring in the amount of space they wanted and what they could spend, Riverdale had popped up. They liked the Spuyten Duyvil section because it is pretty and green. The sale price on their unit was $435,000.

    Its views of the rivers, Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and the Palisades in New Jersey go a long way to defining the neighborhood. And the first thing New Yorkers see after crossing the Henry Hudson Bridge from Manhattan are the tall apartment buildings that hug the riverbanks.

    But there is more to the neighborhood than high-rise living. Away from the water’s edge, modest seven-story brick apartment buildings with affordable co-ops share terrain with clusters of single-family homes. Along a section of Palisade Avenue, private cul-de-sacs hold estate-size homes that look out over the Hudson.

    Susan Goldy, a broker and manager at Halstead Property in Riverdale who had her own firm for 35 years, cited the prime motivation of many potential buyers: Spuyten Duyvil has homes with the space they want, for less money than they would spend in other neighborhoods.

    Ms. Tokar, who works for a nonprofit group in the South Bronx and whose husband is a musician and a piano teacher, describes their new neighborhood as having “a lot of ethnic diversity as well as age diversity.” (She noted that she and her husband, who are in their 40s, were “ancient” by Williamsburg standards.) In Spuyten Duyvil, they enjoy having an older generation around.

    She recalled an encounter she found endearing, with an elderly woman who approached her in the Rite Aid store, offering her a cart and advising: “Don’t use that basket. Spare your rotator cuffs.”

    According to a city analysis of the 2010 census that looks at Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsbridge, the two had a total of 30,000 residents — 33.3 percent of whom are white, 22.8 percent African-American, 28.6 percent Hispanic and 12.6 percent Asian.

    What You’ll Find

    Spuyten Duyvil has mostly co-op apartments, with a scattering of condominiums and single-family houses. Its best-known residence is the Villa Charlotte Bronte, a pair of ivy-covered 1920s-era co-op buildings that together look like a castle built into the bluff over the Hudson. A mudslide caused by Tropical Storm Irene forced the temporary evacuation of several of the villa’s 17 apartments, but its units are still selling. According to, a two-bedroom two-bath apartment there sold earlier this year for $775,000. Another prominent co-op, at 2400 Johnson Avenue, faces the Harlem River and is known locally as the Blue Building for its striking color. It is emblematic of the high-rises with door staff, pools and other amenities that are common to the area.

    The neighborhood covers less than a square mile but has a large inventory on the market, mostly co-ops. A search late last month on yielded 250 listings.

    The single-family houses are a kind of happy secret. A group of wood-shingled houses at the top of Edsall Avenue has the air of a village farther north in the Hudson Valley. Another eclectic cluster — Tudors, bungalows and colonials among them — is built along Edgehill Road, on a steep hill sloping toward Kingsbridge and Broadway on the eastern side of the neighborhood. Edgehill dead-ends after zigzagging down the slope, creating a very private mini-neighborhood.

    What You’ll Pay

    Ms. Goldy says listings in Spuyten Duyvil represent a microcosm of the range of prices found in Riverdale. On the high end are some million-dollar-plus apartments, penthouses or large combined units with Hudson views, found in luxury buildings along Palisade Avenue. At the other end are simple one-bedroom co-ops that can be bought for as little as $160,000. What makes the area particularly attractive to buyers is the sweet spot in the middle where Ms. Tokar’s new home falls. The couple had looked in Williamsburg, but found nothing larger than their rental — which, even at that size, she said, was expensive.

    Ms. Goldy says prices have come down considerably from the heights of six or seven years ago. Then, two-bedroom co-ops fell in the $300,000-to-$500,000 range. Now, she said, with a large inventory out there, prices for these apartments range from $200,000 to $400,000. But, she noted, brokers have seen a rise in activity and interest this year, with some properties eliciting multiple bids.

    The Commute

    The Spuyten Duyvil stop on Metro-North’s Hudson line is on the water’s edge below the Henry Hudson Bridge. With service restored after a freight train derailment near the station on July 18, a trip to Grand Central Terminal takes just under a half an hour. A monthly ticket costs $193. To get to the station, residents walk down a steep hill along Edsall Street or take a flight of stairs. Metro-North also operates a bus service to area buildings in time to meet trains. Another commuting option is the BxM2 express bus, which stops at Kappock Street and Johnson Avenue and takes about an hour to get to the Herald Square area. The closest subway stop, at 231st Street and Broadway on the No. 1 line, is a 15- to 20-minute walk, or a short bus ride.

    The Schools

    Ms. Tokar’s children will enroll this year in the main public elementary, Public School 24, the Spuyten Duyvil School, which has 900 students through Grade 5. According to the Department of Education’s most recent progress report, 73.9 percent met state standards in English, 83.2 percent in math, versus 47 and 60 percent citywide. The public Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy covers Grades 6 through 12 and has 1,325 students. SAT averages last year were 449 in reading, 465 in math and 449 in writing, versus 496, 514 and 488 citywide. One parochial option through Grade 8 is St. Gabriel School on West 235th Street.

    What to Do

    With buildings housing their own gyms and pools, many residents find activities where they live. The area’s parks include the Henry Hudson Park, whose main feature is a 100-foot column topped with a full-figure sculpture of Hudson, depicted as though he were standing at the bow of a ship. Ewen Park, built on the slope of Riverdale and Kingsbridge, has a dog run and a hill popular for winter sledding. A shopping center on Kappock Street has a post office, a grocery and restaurants.

    The History

    The neighborhood’s name evokes early America, as do the breathtaking views of the Palisades, untouched by development. Spuyten Duyvil, which roughly translates from the Dutch as “in spite of the Devil” or “spitting Devil,” according to the New York Public Library, is believed to refer to the strong currents that occur where the two rivers meet. Another landmark is Edgehill Church, built in the late 19th century by the owners of the Johnson Iron Foundry for its workers.

  15. #45


    Want to live like a king? Buy this Bronx castle

    Fieldston mansion looks down on the rabble from terraced gardens and turrets. And it's on sale.

    By Gersh Kuntzman / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Monday, November 4, 2013, 7:20 PM


    A man's home is his castle, but the one at 4720 Grosvenor Ave. in Riverdale really is one.

    Fort Apache? Meet the Castle.
    The Bronx’ own authentic European estate — a 1926 French provincial mansion — can be yours for just $3,650,000.
    That’s dollars, not francs.
    The current listing is actually an increase from the May, 2012 asking price of $3 million — penalizing would-be barons who didn’t jump at the earlier price.

    The Grosvenor Ave. home is set on the second highest point in the city, the better to look down on the rest of the borough.
    And if you’re going to be a king, you might as well live like one: this castle has terraced gardens on two sides and a massive flagstone patio with an embedded sound system.

    The interior features a modern kitchen.

    Inside, the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home has been completely redesigned with a state-of-the-art kitchen, cathedral ceilings in some bedrooms, and an iPad-controlled internal intercom system.
    There’s even a breakfast nook and a bedroom with their own turrets.
    The house is in the uber-riche Fieldston section of already exclusive Riverdale, boasting 24-hour security beyond the normal NYPD protection.
    It was built by shipping line owner Giuseppe Cosulich, whose family owns a similar castle in Croatia, albeit an actual 16th-century one.
    It is currently owned by Alec Diacou and Suzi Arensberg. They bought it in 2004 for just $1.8 million, but sunk almost as much into the house, according to the Wall Street Journal, which wrote about the estate two years ago.
    Diacou, a former banker, runs a nonprofit called Yes the Bronx. He and his wife have other houses and apparently used the castle as a summer home, the Journal reported.

    Read more:

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