Neighborhood: Mott Haven
Population Density: 51,600 people; population density approximately 50,000 people per square mile (city-wide: 26,798 people per square mile; Bronx-wide: 12,507 people per square mile)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: (clockwise from northwest) Concourse Village, Melrose (to the north), Longwood, Hunts Point, Port Morris (to the south)
Subway: Third Avenue138th Street, Brook Avenue, Cypress Avenue, East 143rdSt. Mary’s Street, East 149th Street (6 train). 138th St Grand Concourse (4, 5), 149th St Grand Concourse (2, 4, 5), 138th St Third Avenue (2, 5)
Buses: Bx1, Bx2, Bx15, Bx17, Bx21, Bx32, Bx33
Metro-North: Metro-North Railroad stops are Yankees East 153rd Street and Harlem 125th Street
Bridges: Triborough Bridge, the Third Avenue Bridge, the Madison Avenue Bridge and the Willis Avenue Bridge
What’s Here? Mott Haven in the South Bronx is a neighborhood on the verge. Since 2005 local news outlets have tapped Mott Haven as the next Williamsburg, Dumbo, or Fort Greene. Yet the neighborhood remains astoundingly affordable compared to nearby Harlem. Average home values were still well under $500,000 in 2011. There are brownstones, lofts, and young families, but the area still looks, feels, and acts like the Latin Bronx. Many residents are from Mexico or the Dominican Republic.
In the past few years, new restaurants, barber shops, breweries, and bars have opened at a fast clip. Some of them, including the Thai restaurant Ceetay’s, would not look out of place in the neighborhood’s hip Brooklyn counterparts. However, public schools have struggled. Mott Haven also has the highest concentration of public housing in the Bronx.
Flat or Tall?: Mott Haven’s three historic districts contain 19th century brownstones in several styles, including Dutch, Flemish, neo-Grecian, and Federalist styles. Brick-front brownstones and original stained glass windows can be seen on Doctors Row (Irish Fifth Avenue) and Alexander Avenue. Newer loft conversions dot the industrial parts of the neighborhood, including at the old ironworks and piano-making factories.
History: Mott Haven began as the J.L. Mott Ironworks in 1828. A remnant of the ironworks are still visible on E. 134th St. Mott Haven has three historic districts, the oldest church in the Bronx, and a public library financed by Andrew Carnegie. The neighborhood also has a few hidden treasures. Day One Restoration, a furniture shop, has been restoring and upholstering furniture since 1987 for high profile clients like Beyonce.
The Grand Concourse, a north-south thoroughfare in the west side of the neighborhood, was designed to echo the Champs Elysees in Paris. According to the New York Times, it was once the “Park Avenue of the middle class.” Art Deco apartment buildings along the Grand Concourse were a middle class haven before white flight decimated the Bronx in the 1960s. In the past ten years the city has invested millions of dollars in restoring and landscaping the corridor.
Activities: A Saturday in Mott Haven can include a stop at the community chicken coop, the local hardware store, and the neighborhood butcher on 138th Street. Attractions include the Bronx Culture Trolley at 149th Street and a row of antique shops on Alexander Avenue. St. Mary’s Park, a 35-acre park to the northeast of Mott Haven, has lawns, a pool, and a running track.
Check it out: The Bruckner Bar & Grill on Bruckner Boulevard is the neighborhood’s most popular spot for beer and burgers. Try the guac at La Morada Mexican Restaurant or chicken, chorizo, and fish tacos at Mexicocina. Ceetay has unique dishes like Maple and Eggplant Beef, and Franco’s Heroes serves fresh smoothies and sandwiches.