Morrisania (// morr-i-SAY-nee-ə) is a low-income residential neighborhood in the southwestern Bronx, New York City, New York. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: the Cross-Bronx Expressway to the north, Crotona-Prospect Avenue to the east, East 161st Street to the south, and Webster Avenue to the west. Third Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Morrisania.
Location in New York City
|Coordinates: 40.832°N 73.904°W|
|Community District||Bronx 3|
|• Total||0.60 km2 (0.232 sq mi)|
|• Density||28,000/km2 (73,000/sq mi)|
|• Median income||$28,855|
|Area code||718, 347, 929, and 917|
The name derives from the Manor of Morrisania, the vast 2,000 acre estate of the powerful and aristocratic Morris family, who at one time owned most of the Bronx as well as much of New Jersey. The family includes Lewis Morris, 4th Lord of the Manor, and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and Gouverneur Morris, penman of the United States Constitution. Both are buried in the crypt at St. Ann's Church of Morrisania. Today the name is most commonly associated with the neighborhood of Morrisania, which is only a small corner of the original Morrisania.
Morrisania is part of Bronx Community Board 3, and its ZIP codes include 10456 and 10459. The area is patrolled by the NYPD's 42nd Precinct. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue in the Melrose section of the Bronx.
From 1644 to the early 20th century, the land of the neighborhood was the estate of the Morris family in Westchester County. In 1790, Lewis Morris, owner of the estate and signer of the Declaration of Independence, proposed the land as the site of the federal capital.
The area was sparsely populated until 1840, when Gouverneur Morris Jr., son of the famous congressional delegate and nephew of Lewis, allowed a railroad to be built across the property. In 1848, he sold the land next to the line for the development of a new town called Morrisania Village. In 1855, additional settlements along the rail line became the town of Morrisania, with its political center in the original 1840 village (which eventually incorporated in 1864). At first the village was an early forerunner of today's bedroom communities, populated by people who worked in Manhattan, but it quickly developed its own local industries and craftsmen as it developed into a full-fledged town. In 1874, the area was annexed to New York City (then consisting only of Manhattan) as part of the Twenty-Third Ward. In 1887, the Third Avenue Elevated was extended to the area to provide easy and quick access to and from Manhattan. By the time the New York City Subway was extended to the area in 1904, a large influx of European immigrants had given the neighborhood an urban character, with tenements replacing houses as the dominant form of dwelling.
In the 1950s along with changing demographics, Robert Moses destroyed various tenements in favor of a colony of public housing. After the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, the poverty that East Tremont suffered spread into Morrisania. As a result, and also due to the aggressive 1968 Program for Action, the Third Avenue El closed in 1973. During this time period a wave of arson destroyed or damaged many of the residential, commercial, and industrial structures in the area.
Many social problems associated with poverty, from crime to drug addiction, have plagued the area for some time. Despite crime declines versus their peaks during the crack and heroin epidemics, violent crime continues to be a serious problem in the community. Morrisania has significantly higher drop-out rates and incidents of violence in its schools. Other problems in local schools include low test scores and high truancy rates. Drug addiction is also a serious problem in the community. Due to the lucrative drug trade in the area, many addicts reside in the community. Peer pressure among children who come from broken homes contributes to the high rate of usage. Many households in the area are headed by a single mother, which contributes to the high poverty rate. Single parent homes often have a harder time providing at the same level as two-parent homes. Many of the families living in Morrisania have been in poverty for generations. The incarceration rate in the area is also very high. Morrisania is home to a significant number of inmates currently held in New York state prison and jail facilities.
After a wave of arson ravaged the low income communities of New York City throughout the 1970s, most of the residential structures in Morrisania were left seriously damaged or destroyed. The city began to rehabilitate many formally abandoned tenement style apartment buildings and designate them low income housing beginning in the late 1970s. Also many subsidized attached multi-unit townhouses and newly constructed apartment buildings have been or are being built on vacant lots across the neighborhood.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Morrisania was 37,865, a change of 8,068 (21.3%) from the 29,797 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 387.46 acres (156.80 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 97.7 inhabitants per acre (62,500/sq mi; 24,100/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 1.4% (523) White, 38.4% (14,531) African American, 0.2% (94) Native American, 0.5% (205) Asian, 0% (11) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (127) from other races, and 0.9% (339) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 58.2% (22,035) of the population.
The entirety of Community District 3, which comprises Morrisania and Crotona Park East, had 91,601 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 76.2 years.:2, 20 This is lower than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.:53 (PDF p. 84) Most inhabitants are youth and middle-aged adults: 29% are between the ages of between 0–17, 29% between 25–44, and 21% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 12% and 9% respectively.:2
As of 2017, the median household income in Community Districts 3 and 6, including Tremont and Belmont, was $25,972. In 2018, an estimated 31% of Morrisania and Crotona Park East residents lived in poverty, compared to 25% in all of the Bronx and 20% in all of New York City. One in six residents (16%) were unemployed, compared to 13% in the Bronx and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 60% in Morrisania and Crotona Park East, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 58% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018, Morrisania and Crotona Park East are gentrifying.:7
Land use and terrain
Morrisania is dominated by public housing complexes of various types, vacant lots, and tenement buildings. Most of the original housing stock which consisted of older multi-unit homes and tenements were structurally damaged by arson and eventually razed by the city. The total land area is over a square mile. The terrain is somewhat hilly.
Morris High School Historic District
The landmarked Morris High School Historic District is north of the Forest Houses. The two square blocks between Boston Road, Forest Avenue, and East 166th Street have Morris High School and adjacent brownstones.
Low income public housing projects
- 1162-1176 Washington Avenue; one rehabilitated 6-story tenement building
- Butler Houses; six 21-story buildings
- Claremont Parkway-Franklin Avenue Area; three buildings, 3 and 7 stories tall
- Davidson Houses; one 8-story building
- Eagle Avenue-East 163rd Street; one 6-story building
- Forest Houses; fifteen buildings, 9, 10 and 14 stories tall
- Franklin Avenue I (Conventional); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
- Franklin Avenue I M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); two rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
- Franklin Avenue II (Conventional); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
- Franklin Avenue III (Conventional); one 5-story rehabilitated tenement building
- Franklin Avenue III M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
- Jennings Street M.H.O.P. (Multi Family Homeownership Program); three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 stories tall
- McKinley Houses; five 16-story buildings
- Morris I; ten buildings, 16 and 20 stories tall
- Morris II; seven buildings, 16 and 20 stories tall
- Morrisania Air Rights; two 16-story buildings
- PSS Grandparent; one 6-story building
- Union Avenue-East 163rd Street; one nine-story building
- Union Avenue-East 166th Street; six 3-story buildings
- Webster Houses; five 21-story buildings
Police and crime
Morrisania and Crotona Park East are patrolled by the 42nd Precinct of the NYPD, located at 830 Washington Avenue. The 42nd Precinct ranked 45th safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010. With a non-fatal assault rate of 161 per 100,000 people, Morrisania and Crotona Park East's rate of violent crimes per capita is greater than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 1,243 per 100,000 people is higher than that of the city as a whole.:8
The 42nd Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 66.7% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct saw 8 murders, 33 rapes, 239 robberies, 512 felony assaults, 225 burglaries, 356 grand larcenies, and 100 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Morrisania contains two New York City Fire Department (FDNY) fire stations. Engine Co. 50/Ladder Co. 19/Battalion 26 is located at 1155 Washington Avenue, while Rescue 3 is located at 1655 Washington Avenue.
In addition, FDNY EMS Station 26 is located at 1264 Boston Road.
Preterm and teenage births are more common in Morrisania and Crotona Park East than in other places citywide. In Morrisania and Crotona Park East, there were 107 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 35.6 teenage births per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).:11 Morrisania and Crotona Park East has a relatively average population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 12%, equal to the citywide rate of 12%.:14
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Morrisania and Crotona Park East is 0.0078 milligrams per cubic metre (7.8×10−9 oz/cu ft), more than the city average.:9 Sixteen percent of Morrisania and Crotona Park East residents are smokers, which is higher than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.:13 In Morrisania and Crotona Park East, 36% of residents are obese, 22% are diabetic, and 32% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 24%, 11%, and 28% respectively.:16 In addition, 20% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.:12
Eighty-one percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is less than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 69% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," lower than the city's average of 78%.:13 For every supermarket in Morrisania and Crotona Park East, there are 10 bodegas.:10
Post offices and ZIP codes
Morrisania is mostly covered by the ZIP Codes 10456, although the southern edge of the neighborhood is part of 10451 and the northernmost several blocks are part of 10457. The United States Postal Service operates two post offices in Morrisania:
- Melcourt Station – 860 Melrose Avenue
- Morrisania Station – 442 East 167th Street
- Hub Station – 633 St. Ann's Avenue
Morrisania and Crotona Park East generally have a lower rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city. While 19% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 36% have less than a high school education and 45% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 26% of Bronx residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher.:6 The percentage of Morrisania and Crotona Park East students excelling in math rose from 19% in 2000 to 41% in 2011, and reading achievement increased from 28% to 32% during the same time period.
Morrisania and Crotona Park East's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is more than the rest of New York City. In Morrisania and Crotona Park East, 34% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, higher than the citywide average of 20%.:24 (PDF p. 55):6 Additionally, 63% of high school students in Morrisania and Crotona Park East graduate on time, lower than the citywide average of 75%.:6
Public schools include:
- PS 2/63: Morrisania (East 169th Street and Franklin Avenue)
- PS/MS 4: Crotona Park West (East 173rd Street and Fulton Avenue)
- PS 42: Claremont Village (Claremont Parkway and Washington Avenue)
- PS 35: Franz Siegel (East 163 Street and Grant Avenue)
- PS 88: Morrisania (Sheridan Ave and Marcy Place)
- PS 90: George Meany (McCellan and Sheridan Avenue)
- PS 55: Benjamin Franklin (St. Paul's Place and Washington Avenue)
- PS 110: Theodore Schoenfield (Crotona Park South and Fulton Avenue)
- PS 132: Garrett A. Morgan (East 168th Street and Washington Avenue)
- PS 140: Eagle (East 163rd Street and Eagle Avenue)
- PS 146: Edward "Pops" Collins (East 164th Street and Cauldwell Avenue)
- PS 186: Walter J. Damrosch Day Treatment Center (Jennings Street and Union Avenue)
- PS 198:(East 168th Street and Tinton Avenue)
- PS/MS 212: Theodore Gathings (Home Street and Union Avenue)
- PS 463-Urban Scholars Community School
- MS 128: Mott Hall III (St. Paul's Place and Washington Avenue) [occupying the 5th & 6th floor of the Benjamin Franklin School]
- MS 145: Arturo Toscanini (East 165th Street and Teller Avenue)
- MS 219: Charles Richard Drew (East 169th Street and Third Avenue)
- MS 301: Paul Laurence Dunbar (East 161st Street and Cauldwell Avenue)
- MS 313/339: Diana Sands (East 172nd Street and Webster Avenue)
- Morris High School (East 166th Street and Boston Road)
- Jane Addams High School (East 161st Street and Tinton Avenue)
- Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (East 169th Street and Fulton Avenue)
- Eximius College Preparatory Academy (East 169th Street and Fulton Avenue)
- Bathgate High School Campus (Claremont Parkway and Bathgate Avenue)
- Success Academy Bronx 3, a K–2 charter school
- The Eagle Academy for Young Men (East 176th Street and Third Avenue)
The New York Public Library operates the Morrisania branch at 610 East 169th Street. The branch, a Carnegie library, opened in 1908 and was designed by Babb, Cook & Willard. Another branch, the Grand Concourse branch, is located at 155 East 173rd Street. The branch is a two-story structure that opened in 1959.
- Bx6 and Bx6 SBS: to Hunts Point or Riverside Drive (via 161st and 163rd Streets)
- Bx11: to Simpson Street (2 and 5 trains) or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 170th Street)
- Bx15: to Fordham Plaza or Third Avenue–149th Street (2 and 5 trains) (via Third Avenue)
- Bx21: to Westchester Square–East Tremont Avenue (6 and <6> trains) or Third Avenue–138th Street (6 and <6> trains) (via Boston Road–Morris Park Avenue)
- Bx35: to Simpson Street (2 and 5 trains) or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 167th Street)
- Bx41 and Bx41 SBS: to Gun Hill Road (2 and 5 trains) or Third Avenue–149th Street (2 and 5 trains) (via Webster Avenue)
- Edward Stanley Kellogg, 16th Governor of American Samoa, was born in Morrisania.
- Rapper Fat Joe is from Forest Houses.
- Rapper Cuban Link was raised on Prospect Avenue in Morrisania.
- Lewis Morris signed the Declaration of Independence.
- Gouverneur Morris penned the Constitution.
- Doo-wop group The Wrens were raised in Morrisania and attended Morris High School where they formed the group.
- Frederick Trump grandfather of 45th president of the United States Donald Trump lived at 1006 Westchester Avenue in the then German-speaking Morrisania with his wife Elizabeth and their family.
- "NYC Planning | Community Profiles". communityprofiles.planning.nyc.gov. New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
- "Morrisania neighborhood in New York". Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "NYPD – 42nd Precinct". www.nyc.gov. New York City Police Department. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
- "History of the Bronx". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Bronx History - Early European Residents". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Bronx History - Birth of A Borough". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Bronx History - Growth and Urbanization". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "42nd Precinct CompStat Report" (PDF). www.nyc.gov. New York City Police Department. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
- NYC Dropout Rates
- Bronx Census Data Analysis
- NYC Prison Expenditure
- Table PL-P5 NTA: Total Population and Persons Per Acre - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, February 2012. Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Table PL-P3A NTA: Total Population by Mutually Exclusive Race and Hispanic Origin - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, March 29, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2016.
- "Morrisania and Crotona" (PDF). nyc.gov. NYC Health. 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "2016-2018 Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan: Take Care New York 2020" (PDF). nyc.gov. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- "New Yorkers are living longer, happier and healthier lives". New York Post. June 4, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
- "NYC-Bronx Community District 3 & 6--Belmont, Crotona Park East & East Tremont PUMA, NY". Census Reporter. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
- Morris High School Historic District
- "Morris High School Historic District Designation Report" (PDF). Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- NYCHA Archived May 25, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "Melrose and Morrisania – DNAinfo.com Crime and Safety Report". www.dnainfo.com. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- "FDNY Firehouse Listing – Location of Firehouses and companies". NYC Open Data; Socrata. New York City Fire Department. September 10, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "Engine Company 50/Ladder Company 19/Battalion 26". FDNYtrucks.com. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "Rescue 3". FDNYtrucks.com. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "Best 30 Hospitals in Bronx, NY with Reviews". Yellow Pages. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "South Bronx, New York City-Bronx, New York Zip Code Boundary Map (NY)". United States Zip Code Boundary Map (USA). Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "Location Details: Melcourt". USPS.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- "Location Details: Morrisania". USPS.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- "Location Details: Hub". USPS.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- "Morrisania and Crotona Park East – BX 03" (PDF). Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- "Public Hearing Summary (State Univ. of N.Y., Charter Schools Institute) for "Charter School" "Success Academy Charter School – Bronx 3" (PDF). Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "Success Academy Bronx 3 (Success Academy Charter Schools) (official website)". Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "About the Morrisania Library". The New York Public Library. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "About the Grand Concourse Library". The New York Public Library. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- "Bronx Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Lewis Morris". USHistory.org. Retrieved August 3, 2015.