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Thread: Bronx Neighborhoods

  1. #46
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    Oct 2002

    Default Bedford Park

    Attention Priced-Out Shoppers


    The Mosholu Parkway, seen from the elevated Jerome Avenue subway. Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    As Brooklyn neighborhoods grow more expensive and the city’s affordability frontier shifts to the Bronx, Bedford Park, in the north-central section of the borough, could become prime territory, being both stable and financially within reach.

    Adjoining the Mosholu Parkway along the northeast, the New York Botanical Garden to the southeast and the Jerome Park Reservoir to the west, the somewhat arrowhead-shaped half square mile of Bedford Park has attributes that New Yorkers love — good public transportation, parks and interesting housing stock — while flying low on the larger real estate radar.

    Brokers see its prominence increasing as more buyers are priced out elsewhere. “People are discovering it,” said Oscar Cabrera of Keller Williams Real Estate, describing the area as one of several in the Bronx he considers “the last bastions of affordability in New York City.”

    Slide Show

    Daniel Sasse, an agent with Veritas Property Management, had similar observations. At open houses for co-ops in Bedford Park, he said, he sees mostly people from other boroughs — Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. “They’re saying, ‘It’s the only place I can afford to buy.’ ”

    The richest category of housing is the well-priced co-op in an Art Deco building along the northernmost stretch of the Grand Concourse. The area’s few single-family homes rarely hit the market, but they date to its late 19th-century origins as a parklike suburb.

    One such home, built in 1903 with seven bedrooms and three baths, was recently available. Mr. Cabrera, who handled the sale, said the property, listed at $375,000, exemplified the value that the neighborhood offers. A comparable property in some parts of Brooklyn might command as much as $900,000, he said.

    The listing also reflected the area’s stability, having been inhabited since the early 1980s by a family now returning to Colombia. A neighborhood family that wanted a larger home is in contract to buy it, at close to asking price, he said.

    “Bedford Park has always maintained itself and has a pretty good name,” Mr. Cabrera said. “You can raise a family there and not see dilapidated houses.”

    The 2010 census, grouping Bedford Park with North Fordham, shows that of nearly 55,000 residents, 68 percent are Hispanic, 18 percent black or African-American, 6.7 percent white and 5 percent Asian. There are a few commercial strips, but none with the bustle of shopping areas like the one a few blocks south on East Fordham Road. Shops and restaurants are in small pockets — one near Bedford Park Boulevard and Webster Avenue, another at Bedford Park Boulevard and Jerome Avenue, a third along East 198th Street.

    Businesses reflect the diverse population. An African market on Bedford Park Boulevard flanks restaurants with Dominican, Mexican and Chinese menus.

    A few Korean shops and restaurants can be found along East 204th Street near Valentine Avenue. Kay Lee, who has owned a Kumon tutoring center at that intersection for 15 years, described the Korean community as smaller now than 10 years ago and said she was seeing more South Asian and Albanian families moving in.

    One complaint you’ll hear in the area: On-street parking can be hard to find.

    What You’ll Find

    Inventory is dominated by one-bedroom co-ops in buildings along the Grand Concourse and on streets that slope down to Webster Avenue. Two- and three-bedrooms are scarce and in demand.

    Browse the online listings for co-ops in Bedford Park and you’ll see apartments with architectural accents like rounded doorways and sunken living rooms. Some, in buildings facing the Mosholu, have views of the greenery that lines the parkway.

    Mr. Sasse says most of his buyers are couples in their 20s and 30s who hope to start a family or who have a young child. What Bedford Park offers them is the Junior 4s, a one-bedroom with a dining room that can be converted into a small second bedroom.

    Rentals are also a big part of the market. The Tracey Towers on Mosholu Parkway, a pair of hulking high-rises built in the 1970s under the Mitchell-Lama housing program, are icons in Bedford Park. Designed by the architect Paul Rudolph, the buildings are distinctive for their curved lines and concrete construction.

    Jean Hill, the president of the Tracey Towers Tenant Association, said a major renovation was underway, both in public areas and within apartments, which are rented at subsidized rates. Ms. Hill said the complex remained a safe, community-oriented place to raise a family, just as it was when she moved there in the mid-1970s.

    Like the neighborhood around them, the towers have undergone demographic shifts. “It’s always been mixed, African-Americans, Europeans, Hispanics,” Ms. Hill said. “Now we have a large Ghanaian population.”

    What You’ll Pay

    According to Mr. Sasse, one-bedroom co-ops range in price from $100,000 to $150,000, depending on the extent of renovations, with the median around $119,000. Two-bedroom co-ops, when available, usually start around $149,000.

    Studios often start around $90,000. Mr. Sasse says some can be had at lower prices if deals are all cash or are part of a pre-foreclosure process.

    Single-family homes run mainly between $300,000 and $400,000, according to a review of listings on — which recently showed 71 listings, including co-ops and condos.

    Prices have not recovered fully from the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Mr. Sasse cited one listing, a one-bedroom “bought at height of market” for $119,000 as having been relisted at $112,000 “and we might still have to come down a bit, so prices are not back at pre-recession level yet.”

    The Commute

    The neighborhood is well served by the subway system. Two lines run through Bedford Park — the B and D trains along the Grand Concourse and the 4 train along Jerome Avenue. A trip to Grand Central Terminal on the 4 from the Bedford Park Boulevard stop takes 35 to 40 minutes.

    The neighborhood also has access to the Metro-North Railroad. The New York Botanical Garden stop falls within its boundaries; a trip to Grand Central from there takes 22 minutes, according to an online schedule.

    What to Do

    The botanical garden lies at the easternmost border and puts residents of Bedford Park within walking distance of one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces as well as its seasonal programs and special exhibits.

    More parkland is accessible along the Moshulu Parkway, where residents can walk their dogs, jog or find a quiet spot on a park bench. The Bronx Zoo is a short bus ride away. For cultural events, Bedford Park isn’t far from the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, on the campus of Lehman College. Among the acts scheduled to perform this month were the Soweto Gospel Choir and the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.

    Just southwest of the area, the morphing of the Kingsbridge Armory into a national ice skating center by 2017 is being anticipated as a big lure, brokers said.

    The Schools

    The neighborhood is rich with educational institutions. There are two top public high schools — the Bronx High School of Science, with about 3,000 students, and the High School for American Studies at Lehman College, with 700. Admission is determined by test, and students come from all over the city.

    According to the Department of Education, Bronx Science SAT averages in 2012 were 632 in reading, 688 in math and 649 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide that year. Lehman’s were 636, 648 and 636.

    The main public elementary school, No. 8, which runs through Grade 5, got an A on its most recent progress report.

    The History

    Since 2009, Bedford Park has had a historic district on Perry Avenue: a distinctive group of Queen Anne-style rowhouses. Completed in 1912 at a cost of $6,500 per home, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the nine buildings are all elevated on fieldstone walls that enclose small front yards.

  2. #47
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    Default Pelham Bay

    Pelham Bay, the Bronx: A Blend of Urban and Suburban


    Slide Show

    Maitland Avenue, Pelham Bay Edwin J. Torres for The New York Times

    Anyone seeking a large body of water in Pelham Bay would be quickly frustrated: The neighborhood’s namesake no longer exists. Instead, you would find a tidy community with rows of two-story brick homes bearing awnings and grillwork fences immediately adjacent to the city’s largest park.

    That’s not to say that water is very far away. Pelham Bay Park has 13 miles of coast hugging Long Island Sound, and residents often consider the prestigious waterfront communities of Country Club and Spencer Estates to the east, and Throgs Neck to the south, to be part of Pelham Bay.

    But Pelham Bay proper is a working- and middle-class community of about 23,000 residents, roughly a square mile framed by the Bruckner Expressway and the Hutchinson River Parkway.

    A solid community and a step up for successful Italian, Irish, Greek and German immigrant families beginning in the 1920s, Pelham Bay retains many of those cultural traditions but is now welcoming small waves of Hispanics, Bangladeshis, Asians and Albanians, residents say.

    A two family home on Hobart Avenue for $799,000. Edwin J. Torres for The New York Times

    “Pelham Bay has changed somewhat ethnically, but not in quality of life at all,” said Kenneth Kearns, the district manager of Bronx Community Board 10, who has lived in Pelham Bay for 10 years.

    “Most of the people work for the city, state or federal government, and there are a lot of law-enforcement people,” Mr. Kearns said. “Ethnic lines really get blurred; nobody cares. It’s more, how are you keeping up your house? And people are keeping up their houses.”

    A three family brick home on Jarvis Avenue for $730,00. Edwin J. Torres for The New York Times

    The neighborhood is an intriguing blend of the urban and suburban, in part because of the northern terminus of the subway’s No. 6 line, which has spurred development of some apartment buildings, said Maria K. Paleatsos, a Pelham Bay native who is the broker/owner of MP Power Realty.

    While streets off the main commercial drags — Crosby, Westchester and Buhre Avenues — frequently have trees and homes with small yards, “everything is pretty squared off, and everything you see, you know what to expect on the next corner,” Ms. Paleatsos said.

    A single-family home on Middletown Road for $479,000. Uli Seit for The New York Times

    That consistency is also seen in the area’s businesses, some of which have been operating for decades, such as the landmark George’s Restaurant with its vivid green sign and awning, and next door, Zeppieri & Sons bakery, owned by Carmine Zeppieri Jr., whose father opened the shop over half a century ago.

    Mr. Zeppieri said his 20-year-old son, Carmine Zeppieri III, who works in the traditional Italian bakery, will take over ownership someday. While the bakery has added products, such as fondant cakes with fashion themes and red velvet cake, a significant portion of its business comes from neighborhood transplants returning on religious holidays seeking the traditional Italian favorites.

    Maria Fumaso, the owner of the 36-year-old Pelham Bake Shop and Cafe, said she’s had a similar experience, though she has also expanded her offerings from Italian bread and pastries to include “soda bread for the Irish, challah bread for the Jewish, strudel for the Germans,” she said. “We try to accommodate a little bit everybody.”

  3. #48
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    Mott Haven, the Bronx, in Transition

    By C. J. HUGHES
    MARCH 25, 2015

    Parisa Azadi for The New York Times

    Slide Show

    Mott Haven, in the South Bronx, has heard it all before: It’s dangerous, barren and a place to pass through en route to somewhere else. But the neighborhood, a waterfront enclave with a mix of industrial and residential properties, is no longer defined by those old stereotypes. It is undergoing a gradual reinvention, with restaurants opening, scruffy buildings getting spiffed up and apartments being built on gap-toothed lots. Plans are in motion for hundreds of rental units along a stretch of the Harlem River where Jordan L. Mott, for whom the area was named, once made iron stoves and other items.

    “I said, never, ever, over my dead body, would I ever live in the Bronx; it just had such a stigma about it,” said Rachael Lyon, 42, who works in public relations and moved in September from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to a one-bedroom in the Clock Tower, a converted piano-factory building. “But everybody is so cool, and so laid back, and it has everything you want in a neighborhood,” she said, citing the apartment stock, transportation and ease of parking.

    624 MORRIS AVENUE A building, center right, in Melrose with three apartments and a storefront, listed at $800,000.
    Parisa Azadi for The New York Times

    Renewal has been promised before, only to fizzle, and the area still faces enduring challenges. More than 40 percent of families in Mott Haven live in poverty, according to recent census figures, compared with about 18 percent citywide and 28 percent for the Bronx as a whole.

    “I really hope it happens and is not just the real estate market creating an artificial bubble,” said Linda Ortiz, who owns a four-story multifamily home in the neighborhood. Her 1888 Queen Anne-style building had served as single-room-occupancy housing, cost $338,000 in 2012 and needed extensive work, she said.

    While some transitioning areas resist gentrification, Mott Haven should embrace it, she said. “I say, the more, the merrier,” said Ms. Ortiz, who does mediation work for the United States Department of Justice and also serves on Bronx Community Board 1, which includes the area.

    Judged by crime statistics, things are looking up. The 40th Precinct, which covers a larger area, had 70 murders in 1993 and 27 in 2001 but 7 in 2014, according to police data. Assaults and robberies have declined significantly, too.

    Traffic, on the other hand, is almost a fact of life. Pulaski Park, by the Willis Avenue Bridge, is practically surrounded by elevated roads but still is a popular site for basketball games. Vehicle pollution contributes to the neighborhood’s high asthma rates, according to residents who oppose the construction of a new headquarters in the area by FreshDirect, the grocery delivery service with a fleet of trucks. Others, though, say the jobs the company will bring are welcome.

    Of the neighborhood’s 58,000 residents, 72 percent are Hispanic, according to the 2010 census, many with Puerto Rican, Dominican and Mexican heritage.

    The neighborhood is “amazingly multicultural,” said Linda Cunningham, an artist and resident. A decade ago, Ms. Cunningham, who had been living in SoHo, was part of a development team that converted an industrial building into an 11-unit condo. Today, she lives and works there.

    “Everybody knows everybody here,” she said, as she greeted people on the sidewalk. “It feels like home.”

    What You’ll Find

    Mott Haven is bordered by East 149th Street, the Harlem River, the Bronx Kill and the Bruckner Expressway, according to maps and residents.

    Monolithic city housing projects line the landscape, like Mott Haven, J. P. Mitchel, Patterson and Mill Brook, which account for about 14,000 residents. Sharply juxtaposed against them on nearby blocks are 19th-century brick buildings that are among the borough’s most attractive. In all, Mott Haven contains three of the Bronx’s 11 historic districts.

    The developer Pinnacle Real Estate Ventures rehabbed three buildings on Alexander Avenue and rented all six three-bedroom units at market rate. When available, they start at $2,400 a month, said Joshua Dardashtian, the company’s president.

    Most new development, meanwhile, has sprouted around Bruckner Boulevard, a largely industrial area that was rezoned twice, in 1997 and 2005. There, in 2002, the Clock Tower opened with 95 apartments in the former piano factory at Bruckner and Lincoln Avenue owned by Carnegie Management; studios start at $950 a month. Next door, Carnegie plans to break ground this summer on a 130-unit rental building with an indoor pool, said Isaac Jacobs, the company’s vice president. The JCAL Development Group plans to start construction this spring on two side-by-side rental buildings, with 15 units, on Alexander Avenue, near Bruckner, said Joshua Weissman, JCAL’s president.

    What You’ll Pay

    632 MORRIS AVENUE A building, center left, in nearby Melrose, with three apartments, listed at $800,000.
    Parisa Azadi for The New York Times

    With few apartments for sale, people who want to own often buy two-family or multifamily buildings, living on one floor and renting out others. Such buildings can range from $200,000 to $1 million, based on size, condition and whether they are in foreclosure, brokers say.

    In 2014, 39 properties sold in Mott Haven, 36 of which were buildings; they averaged $455,000, according to That compares with 50 properties traded in 2010, 41 of them buildings, at an average of $618,000. As of mid-March this year, there were 10 sales, 7 of them buildings, at an average of $456,000, the data show.

    The drop in average price may reflect some foreclosure properties hitting the market now after moving through the system, said Juliet Silfvast, an agent with Rutenberg Realty. But she said the average price per square foot paid for buildings — now about $220, she says — is climbing.

    Rents for market-rate apartments start at around $1,500 a month for one-bedrooms, developers say.

    What to Do

    Some residents shop for groceries at a Western Beef Supermarket on Morris Avenue or at a seasonal farmer’s market that started last year on East 138th Street. Across the street is a bustling strip of Mexican-owned businesses selling flowers, fruit and tacos.

    On Willis Avenue, La Morada Restaurant is a modest, well-regarded place run by a family from the state of Oaxaca in Mexico.

    457 EAST 143RD STREET A four-bedroom three-bath single-family rowhouse needing renovation, listed at $325,000.
    Parisa Azadi for The New York Times

    Charlie’s Bar and Kitchen
    , which opened in the Clock Tower building in 2012, features framed photos of famous Charlies — Sheen, Chaplin, Tuna. Nearby, at 39 Bruckner, is Wallworks New York, an art gallery that opened last fall.

    Hilly St. Mary’s Park, around 35 acres, is among the area’s largest green swaths. But this summer, a long-delayed pathway for pedestrians and cyclists over the Bronx Kill is scheduled to open, connecting East 132nd Street in Port Morris with Randalls Island and its acres of athletic fields.

    The Schools

    Public schools in the area face challenges. Some residents of Bruckner Boulevard, arguably the center of the neighborhood, are zoned for Public School 154, the Jonathan D. Hyatt School, which runs through fifth grade. Last school year, 7 percent of students there met standards on state exams in English, versus 30 percent citywide; 13 percent did in math, versus 39 percent citywide, according to city data.

    At Success Academy Charter School on Morris Avenue, which teaches kindergarten to fourth grade, 60 percent met standards in English, and 93 percent did in math. The same building houses fifth grade (and next fall, sixth).

    The Commute

    The 4, 5, 6 and 2 trains all serve the neighborhood, some part time. Some commuters in the Bruckner Boulevard area take the 6 train from Third Avenue-138th Street, then transfer to either the 4 or 5 express train at 125th Street, arriving in Midtown in 20 minutes.

    The History

    Mott Haven was once a piano district, though most of the early businesses are long gone. Beethoven Pianos, which repairs, stores and sells pianos in its warehouse by the Third Avenue Bridge — it also has a showroom in Manhattan — came later, in the 1980s. It has strong ties to the past: Its five-story brick building was part of Mott’s original iron works, said Carl Demler, Beethoven’s owner.

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