Morris Park, Bronx

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Location
40°51'07"N
073°51'10"W
Country
 United States of America
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Description

Morris Park is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of the Bronx. Its approximate boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise, are Neill Avenue and Pelham Parkway to the north, Eastchester Road to the East, the Amtrak Northeast Corridor tracks and Sackett Avenue to the east and south, and Bronxdale Avenue or White Plains Road to the west. It borders the neighborhoods of Van Nest to its southwest and Pelham Parkway to its northeast. Williamsbridge Road and Morris Park Avenue are the primary thoroughfares. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community District 11 in the East Bronx, and its ZIP Codes include 10461 and 10462. The area is patrolled by the 49th Precinct of the New York City Police Department, located at 2121 Eastchester Road. The local subway is the IRT Dyre Avenue Line (5 train), which runs under the Esplanade. The neighborhood has a large Albanian American and Italian American population.

History

Morris Park is named after John Albert Morris, who built the Morris Park Racecourse, which existed from 1889 until 1910. In 1890, the Morris Park Racecourse hosted both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes; the latter continued to be run there until 1905. The track was later used for auto racing and was the site of the first public air show. After a 1910 fire, the property was divided into lots for the current neighborhood. Several streets in Morris Park, including Cruger, Holland, Radcliff, Colden, Paulding, and Hone Avenues, are named after mayors of New York City during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Land use and terrain

Housing in Morris Park is mostly one and two family homes of various styles. The neighborhood also has several apartment buildings. The total land area is a little over one-third of a square mile. The area is low-lying and relatively flat. The northern section of Morris Park nearest Jacobi Medical Center is also referred to as Indian Village. Several streets are named after Native American tribes, including Choctaw Place, Seminole Avenue, and Pawnee Place.

Demographics

For census purposes, the New York City government classifies Morris Park as part of a larger neighborhood tabulation area called Van Nest/Morris Park/Westchester Square. Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Van Nest/Morris Park/Westchester Square was 29,250, a change of 2,115 (7.2%) from the 27,135 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 829.61 acres (335.73 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 35.3 inhabitants per acre (22,600/sq mi; 8,700/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 27.3% (7,987) White, 11.1% (3,245) African American, 0.3% (82) Native American, 10.6% (3,100) Asian, 0.1% (15) Pacific Islander, 1% (292) from other races, and 1.4% (410) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 48.3% (14,119) of the population.The entirety of Community District 11, which comprises Morris Park and Allerton, had 116,180 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 79.9 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: 22% are between the ages of between 0–17, 30% between 25–44, and 24% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 9% and 14% respectively.: 2 As of 2017, the median household income in Community District 11 was $48,018. In 2018, an estimated 21% of Morris Park and Allerton residents lived in poverty, compared to 25% in all of the Bronx and 20% in all of New York City. One in eight residents (12%) 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 55% in Morris Park and Allerton, compared to the boroughwide and citywide rates of 58% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018, Morris Park and Allerton are considered high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.: 7 

Culture

The neighborhood has a large Italian population, and since the early 2000s, has also had a large Albanian population and smaller Asian and Hispanic neighborhoods. Morris Park has always been predominantly Italian It is generally more suburban than other neighborhoods in the Bronx.As an Italian American neighborhood, the residents have close ties to their heritage. After Italy’s World Cup victory in 2006, over 30,000 flocked to the neighborhood for an all-day party. Since then, Morris Park has gained a rival reputation with Arthur Avenue for the prototypical Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Morris Park has one of the highest percentage of Italian populations in the city, along with Bensonhurst in Brooklyn and Staten Island.Morris Park is famous for its annual Columbus Day parade, which began in 1977 to honor Christopher Columbus. It is held on the Sunday before the national Columbus Day holiday. Rudolph Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill de Blasio have attended as mayors. The procession begins at the intersection of Morris Park Avenue and White Plains Road, marches east on Morris Park Avenue, turns north on Williamsbridge Road, and ends at Pelham Parkway South. The reviewing stand, where the local dignitaries, politicians, civic and business leaders, and Grand Marshal sit, is located on Williamsbridge Road between Lydig and Neill avenues. Past Grand Marshals have included actors Tony LoBianco, Chazz Palminteri, television personality Regis Philbin, and former New York Yankees first baseman Joe Pepitone.

Politics

Politically, Morris Park is in New York's 14th congressional district, represented by Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as of 2019. It is also part of the 34th State Senate district, represented by Democrat Alessandra Biaggi, and the 80th State Assembly district, represented by Democrat Nathalia Fernandez. Morris Park is located in New York's 13th City Council district, represented by Mark Gjonaj, a Democrat.A reflection of its heavily Italian-American and Catholic population, Morris Park was politically conservative and remained one of the Bronx's few solidly Republican neighborhoods until the 1990s. It was represented in the United States Congress from 1953 to 1969 by Paul Fino, a Republican, and then from 1969 to 1988 by Mario Biaggi, a socially conservative and law and order Democrat. Republican State Senators such as John D. Calandra and Guy Velella drew extensive support from Morris Park residents. In his three mayoral campaigns in 1989, 1993, and 1997, Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, carried Morris Park by substantial margins. In recent years, changing demographics have altered the neighborhood's political landscape.

Notable locations

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, and the Jack D. Weiler Hospital division of Montefiore Medical Center are located on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. The neighborhood is also home to Bronx Psychiatric Center and Calvary Hospital. St. Francis Xavier School and St. Clare of Assisi School are two local Catholic schools. Our Savior Lutheran School, P.S. 83, and P.S. 108 are other local schools. Loreto Park, bounded by Morris Park, Haight, Van Nest, and Tomlinson Avenues, was named after Alfred Loreto, a police officer who lived nearby at 1870 Hering Avenue and was killed on July 21, 1950 while foiling an attempted kidnapping of his neighbor. It underwent a large renovation that was completed in 2012. Councilman James Vacca allocated $500,000 from the New York City Council for the reconstruction. Additions included a play area for toddlers, wheelchair accessible equipment, planting beds, new benches, fencing, and game tables. The bocce court was renovated, and a roller hockey rink was added. However, the Morris Park Hockey League folded several years later and the rink quickly became underutilized, leading to another major reconstruction project costing $2,000,000 that is scheduled for completion in September 2021.Joseph Garofalo, a World War II veteran, persuaded John Dormi & Sons Funeral Home on Morris Park Avenue to display his collection of medals and war memorabilia and named it the Bronx Military Museum. People in the neighborhood have also contributed military memorabilia that belonged to their relatives.

Police and crime

Morris Park and Allerton are patrolled by the 49th Precinct of the New York City Police Department, located at 2121 Eastchester Road. The 49th Precinct ranked 43rd safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010. As of 2018, with a non-fatal assault rate of 64 per 100,000 people, Morris Park and Allerton's rate of violent crimes per capita is slightly more than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 372 per 100,000 people is lower than that of the city as a whole.: 8 The 49th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 80.7% between 1990 and 2020. The precinct reported 6 murders, 17 rapes, 181 robberies, 253 felony assaults, 167 burglaries, 397 grand larcenies, and 191 grand larcenies auto in 2020.

Fire safety

Morris Park is served by the New York City Fire Department's Squad 61/Battalion 20, located at 1518 Williamsbridge Road. Engine Company 97 is located just outside Morris Park at 1454 Astor Avenue. In addition, the Fire Department's Emergency Medical Service's Station 20 is located on the grounds of Jacobi Medical Center.

Health

As of 2018, preterm births and births to teenage mothers are slightly more common in Morris Park and Allerton than in other places citywide. In Morris Park and Allerton, there were 90 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 19.7 births to teenage mothers per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).: 11  Morris Park and Allerton has a low population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 12%, the same as the citywide rate of 12%.: 14 The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Morris Park and Allerton is 0.0074 milligrams per cubic metre (7.4×10−9 oz/cu ft), less than the city average.: 9  Fifteen percent of Morris Park and Allerton residents are smokers, which is slightly higher than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.: 13  In Morris Park and Allerton, 32% of residents are obese, 14% are diabetic, and 31% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 24%, 11%, and 28% respectively.: 16  In addition, 23% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.: 12 Eighty-three percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is lower than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 80% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," slightly higher than the city's average of 78%.: 13  For every supermarket in Morris Park and Allerton, there are 17 bodegas.: 10 The nearest large hospitals are Calvary Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center's Jack D. Weiler Hospital, and Jacobi Hospital. The Albert Einstein College of Medicine campus is also located in Morris Park.

Post office and ZIP Codes

Morris Park is located within ZIP Codes 10461 east of Paulding Avenue and 10462 west of Paulding Avenue. The United States Postal Service operates the Morris Park Station post office at 1807 Williamsbridge Road.

Education

Morris Park and Allerton generally have a lower rate of college-educated residents than the rest of the city as of 2018. While 32% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 24% have less than a high school education and 44% 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 Morris Park and Allerton students excelling in math rose from 32% in 2000 to 48% in 2011, though reading achievement remained constant at 37% during the same time period.Morris Park and Allerton's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is slightly higher than the rest of New York City. In Morris Park and Allerton, 23% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, a little more than the citywide average of 20%.: 24 (PDF p. 55) : 6  Additionally, 74% of high school students in Morris Park and Allerton graduate on time, about the same as the citywide average of 75%.: 6 

Schools

The New York City Department of Education operates the following public schools in Morris Park: P.S. 83 Donald Hertz (grades K-8) P.S. 105 Senator Abraham Bernstein (grades PK-5) P.S. 108 Philip J Abinanti (grades PK-5) P.S./M.S. 498 Van Nest Academy (grades K-8) Bronx High School for the Visual Arts (grades 9-12)

Library

The New York Public Library (NYPL)'s Morris Park branch is located at 985 Morris Park Avenue. The two-story, 6,600-square-foot (610 m2) branch opened in 2006 and is the first NYPL branch to be built in Morris Park, as well as one of the newest locations in the NYPL system.

Transportation

The following MTA Regional Bus Operations bus routes serve Morris Park: Bx8 bus to either the 225th Street (2 and ​5 trains) station or Locust Point Bx12 bus and Bx12 Select Bus Service to either the Bay Plaza Shopping Center or the Inwood–207th Street (A train) station Bx21 bus to either the Westchester Square (6 and <6>​ trains) or Third Avenue–138th Street (6 and <6>​ trains) stations Bx31 bus to either Woodlawn or the Westchester Square (6 and <6>​ trains) station BxM10 express bus to and from Midtown ManhattanMorris Park is also served by the following Bee-Line Bus System routes to Westchester County, New York: BL60: to White Plains BL61: to Port Chester BL62: to White PlainsSubway service is provided by the New York City Subway via the following IRT Dyre Avenue Line stations, served by the 5 train: Pelham Parkway/Esplanade Morris Park

Notable residents

Cara Buono, actress Mary Higgins Clark (1927–2020), best-selling mystery author Abel Ferrara (born 1951), film director Jeffrey D. Klein (born 1960), New York State Senator Jake LaMotta (1922–2017), former professional boxer and middleweight champion James Madio, actor Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, cast member of Jersey Shore Regis Philbin (1931–2020), television presenter, talk show host and game show host Luis Resto, former welterweight boxer and subject of HBO documentary "Assault in the Ring" Anthony Ribustello, actor Nancy Savoca, film director Andrew Velazquez (born 1994), infielder for the New York Yankees. Guy Velella, former New York State Senator (Republican) and Bronx Republican Chairman

In film

The Seven-Ups (1973) The Wanderers (1979) Raging Bull (1980) True Love (1989) Bad Lieutenant (1991) Kiss Me Guido (1997) Summer of Sam (1999) Men in Black 3 (2012)
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