On Saturday April 27, National Bookstore Day, the first independent bookstore in the Bronx–and currently the borough’s only bookstore–held its grand opening bash. As Curbed reports, The Lit. Bar bookshop/wine bar at 131 Alexander Avenue in the Mott Haven neighborhood is a long-anticipated labor of love brought to life by Bronx native Noëlle Santos, who first saw a need when the borough’s last bookstore, a Barnes & Noble, threatened to close. The Barnes & Noble closed in 2016 despite community efforts, but a dream was born.
View from the Grand Concourse; photo courtesy of Dan DeLuca via Flickr.
According to an analysis by Property Shark, the area surrounding the thoroughfare once known as the “Park Avenue of the Middle Class” has seen an elevated housing demand that has brought median home sales prices along with it, showing an increase in just 5 years that ranges from 56.2 percent in Bedford Park to a whopping 124.5 percent in Mott Haven.
Rendering of 764 East 152nd Street via UA Builders Group
We’ve seen it all over Manhattan and Brooklyn–brokers come up with bizarre acronyms and new directional cues to hip-ify (aka gentrify) a neighborhood. Most recently, they tried their hand at SoHa–South Harlem, which certainly didn’t stick. And now the trend has spread to the Bronx, though this time it’s the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development behind the new moniker. In their defense, “Mott Haven North,” was probably chosen for the latest affordable housing lottery based on their 1994 Mott Haven North Urban Renewal plan, but with this South Bronx neighborhood rapidly gentrifying, it’s a slippery slope. Regardless, there are eight $1,379/month one-bedrooms up for grabs at 764 East 152nd Street, which, according to maps, is in the Woodstock area.
In 2016, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. allocated nearly $3.3 million to create 851 affordable housing units across eight projects in the borough. One of these, MLK Plaza Apartments at 869 East 147th Street in ever-developing Mott Haven, received $500,000, and as of today 133 of its 165 units are up for grabs through the city’s housing lottery. The mixed-income units range from $464/month studios to $1,289/month three-bedrooms and have access to the building’s laundry room, fitness room, library and computer room, bike storage, and outdoor rec space and terrace.
When the Piccirilli Brothers arrived in New York from Italy in 1888, they brought with them a skill– artistry and passion for stone-carving unrivaled in the United States. At their studio at 467 East 142nd Street, in the Mott Haven Section of the Bronx, the brothers turned monumental slabs of marble into some of the nation’s recognizable icons, including the senate pediment of the US Capitol Building and the statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits resolutely in the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall.
The Piccirillis not only helped set our national narrative in stone but they also left an indelible mark on New York City. They carved hundreds of commissions around the five boroughs, including the 11 figures in the pediment of the New York Stock exchange, the “four continents” adorning the Customs House at Bowling Green, the two stately lions that guard the New York Public Library, both statues of George Washington for the Arch at Washington Square, and upwards of 500 individual carvings at Riverside Church.
6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring the South Bronx design studio of Sebastian Errazuriz. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!
Sebastian Errazuriz is a Chilean-born artist, designer, and activist but over the years, he’s grown his multidisciplinary studio to incorporate everything from virtual reality to activism. But nothing he does is cookie-cutter. His cabinets undulate and mimic kaleidoscopes; his public art makes social commentary on issues from Wall Street and capitalism to Chile’s politicide; and he’s created sculptures that mix a boat with a coffin and a crystal chandelier with taxidermy birds. Sebastian likens his ability to work in these mediums separately but together to how he can speak both English and Spanish but also Spanglish. “It’s the freedom to incorporate words that do not exist in one particular language but that enrich communication with someone else that I really enjoy within the boundaries of art and design,” he explains.
Now, Sebastian is at the forefront of yet another new frontier. Though he has a 5,000-square-foot space at the uber-hip Industry City, he opened his second location last summer in Mott Haven, one of the city’s newest artist enclaves due to its affordable warehouse spaces and non-residential nature that sets it apart from the more gentrifying parts of the area. 6sqft recently paid Sebastian a visit here to learn how his firm is growing, the process behind his “functional art,” and why he moved to the South Bronx.
Rendering courtesy of Dattner Architects
A Dattner Architects-designed building at 491 Gerard Avenue in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx is now accepting applications for 130 low- and moderate-income apartments. Developed by Signature Urban Properties and Monadnock Construction, the 12-story, 136-unit building is part of a bigger mixed-use complex. Qualifying New Yorkers earning 60 and 90 percent of the area median income can apply for units ranging from a $865/month studio to a $1,831/month three bedroom.
Not only has Mott Haven been dubbed the next “it” ‘hood, but it’s become one of the city’s top areas for large, new affordable housing sites. One such development, the three-building Crossroads Plaza, is a $157 million project from Douglaston Development that will all together bring 425 units of affordable housing to the South Bronx, as well as a 20,000-square-foot public plaza. The first building opened in 2015, the second the following year, and now the city is accepting applications for the final phase at 828 East 149th Street. The 163-unit building is open to those earning 60, 100, 110, and 120 percent of the area median income, and apartments range from $788/month studios to $2,120/month three-bedrooms.
Rendering of 425 Grand Concourse, courtesy of Dattner Architects
Adding to the passive house development push happening in New York City, Dattner Architects released new renderings of their energy-saving project at 425 Grand Concourse in the South Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood. Formerly the site of the Gothic-style P.S. 31, the mixed-use and mixed-income development will sit at the corner of Grand Concourse and East 144th Street. According to CityRealty, when it opens in 2020, this project will be the tallest in Mott Haven and the largest development of its kind in the country (though East Harlem’s massive Sendero Verde complex will steal the title soon after). The highly-insulated building features a vegetated roof deck, solar shading, solar panels, cogen power generation, and an energy recovery system.
The South Bronx is arguably the city’s largest hotbed of new affordable housing development, and the latest chance to live in the up-and-coming ‘hood for less than market rate starts today for 124 units at 530 Exterior Street in Mott Haven. Here, New Yorkers earning 60 percent of the area median income can apply for apartments ranging from $822/month studios to $1,224/month three-bedrooms. The 13-story building is part of a larger, mixed-use project, right near Mill Pond Park on the Harlem River and the 145th Street Bridge to Harlem. The other two components are a similarly low- and moderate-income housing building at 491 Gerard Avenue and a 152-room Hampton Inn hotel with commercial space and ground-floor retail.