Hunts Point in the Bronx

Friday, 31 July 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, New York City

Former Hunts Point Avenue station, now serving shops © Jim.henderson

Former Hunts Point Avenue station, now serving shops © Jim.henderson

Hunts Point is a neighborhood located on a peninsula in the South Bronx of New York City. It is the location of one of the largest food distribution facilities in the world, the Hunts Point Cooperative Market. Its boundaries are the Bruckner Expressway to the west and north, the Bronx River to the east, and the East River to the south. Hunts Point Avenue is the primary street through Hunts Point.

Hunts Point was populated by the Wecquaesgeek, a Munsee-speaking band of Wappinger people, until European settler colonizers first arrived in 1663. At this time, Edward Jessup and John Richardson arrived on the peninsula and displaced the people indigenous to the area through land purchase. After Jessup died, his widow Elizabeth, entrusted the land to Thomas Hunt Jr., her son in-law for whom the area is named. In the years between the Hunts’ inheritance and 1850, several other wealthy landowning families occupied the peninsula. Legend has it that George Fox (1624–1691), founder of the Society of Friends (commonly known as Quakers), preached in the area in 1672. William H. Fox, a descendant of the Quaker leader, and his wife Charlotte Leggett, owned much of the land that is now Hunts Point. As time passed and more New Yorkers became aware of Hunts Point, more City dwellers flocked to the area between 1850 and 1900. Later, the property wound up in the hands of Fox’s and Leggett’s son-in-law, H.D. Tiffany, a member of the family that owned the famous jewelry and decorative arts store Tiffany & Co. now on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Fox, Tiffany and Leggett Streets derive their names from these former landowners. In 1909, the Fox mansion was demolished.

Hunts Point’s status as a home and vacation spot to the city’s elite came to an abrupt end in the period following World War I. At this time, IRT Pelham Line (6 and <6> trains) was built along Southern Boulevard. Apartment buildings replaced mansions, streets replaced meadows and Hunts Point became a virtual melting pot for the City’s masses. Aside from being a period of residential growth for Hunts Point, the 20th century has also been a time of industrial expansion for the peninsula. As more people moved to the area, the city’s business owners began to realize the advantages of locating to Hunts Point. Among these advantages were the convenient access to the Tri-State region, the existing rail lines running through the Hunts Point area and the abundance of space available for the development of industrial and commercial activity.

American Bank Note Company Printing Plant © Jim.henderson Former Hunts Point Avenue station, now serving shops © Jim.henderson Housing at Lafayette Avenue © Jim.henderson New York Public Library, Hunts Point branch © Jim.henderson Vernon C Bain Correctional Center barge © flickr.com - reivax/cc-by-sa-2.0
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Vernon C Bain Correctional Center barge © flickr.com - reivax/cc-by-sa-2.0
This discovery led to an influx of businesses to the area. As the momentum of incoming businesses increased, the reputation of Hunts Point grew accordingly among business circles. With the openings of the New York City Produce market in 1967 and Hunts Point Meat Market in 1974, and culminating with the designation of Hunts Point as an In-Place-Industrial Park in 1980, Hunts Point has grown into a successful economic zone. The Hunts Point Industrial Park hosts over 800 businesses providing an array of products and services to points throughout the world. The second half of the 20th century, however, proved a difficult time for the district’s residential community. Characterized by frequent arson and mass abandonment from the 1960s through the 1990s, this period marked a low point in the area’s history. Living conditions became so difficult that almost 60,000 residents, approximately two-thirds of the population in Bronx Community District 2, left the neighborhood during the 1970s. The first full-service post office did not open in the neighborhood until 2001.

Hunts Point is a peninsula located at the confluence of the Bronx River and the East River, which is actually a tidal strait connecting Upper New York Bay to the Long Island Sound. The total land area is approximately 690 acres (2.8 km²). The land area in Hunts Point is dominated by industry. There is a small but dense residential pocket that occupies the high ground in the northern half of the peninsula along Hunts Point Avenue. It consists primarily of older pre-war architecture apartment buildings with a smaller number of semi-detached multi-unit row houses. The area includes a recently developed park by the riverside, called the Hunts Point Riverside Park. The New York City Department of City Planning designated a Special Hunts Point District in 2004 to incorporate zoning changes to encourage growth of the food distribution center while protecting the residential neighborhood.

Hunts Point Riverside Park was spearheaded by Majora Carter in 2000, and after several iterations, won the 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Excellence in Public Spaces. Joseph Rodman Drake Park is now recognized as the site of a burial ground for enslaved African-Americans. The largest park in Hunts Point is the 5-acre (20,000 m²) Barretto Point Park on the East River waterfront. It offers piers for fishing, sites for launching canoes and kayaks, and a floating swimming pool during the summer. There are also volleyball and basketball courts, a small amphitheater, and restroom facilities.

Read more on Hunts Point and Wikipedia Hunts Point (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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