In 1977, when President Jimmy Carter visited the South Bronx and declared it the worst neighborhood in the country, he was standing in Crotona Park East, a small neighborhood nestled in the triangle bordered by the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Harlem River, and Crotona Park. Though the Bronx dropped this reputation a long time ago, Crotona Park East was one of a few areas that seemed slow to catch up with the rest of the borough, but five years ago, the city rezoned this stretch from light industrial use to residential, creating a boom in affordable housing opportunities.
The latest such development is located at 1702 Bryant Avenue, where 10 newly constructed affordable units are up for grabs through the city’s housing lottery. The unit are $931/month one-bedrooms for one person earning between $31,920 and $38,100 annually and two people earning between $31,920 and $43,500.
When the Great Depression hit, homelessness exploded, leaving most cities ill prepared to house this growing population. As 6sqft previously reported, “Homeless people in large cities began to build their own houses out of found materials, and some even built more permanent structures from brick. Small shanty towns—later named Hoovervilles after President Hoover—began to spring up in vacant lots, public land and empty alleys.”
The largest such settlement was on Central Park’s great lawn, but smaller Hoovervilles popped up elsewhere, especially in Inwood and the Bronx, where many working-class New Yorkers had moved to follow north the construction of the subway. At Spuyten Duyvil Road and 225th Street there was a Boxcar Village, a collection of 40 boxcars where rent was $3 a month to live four men to a car.
The full history, this way
Google Street View of the site while still under construction
The Bronx is having a moment, thanks in part to popular institutions like the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, and Italian food mecca along Arthur Avenue. If you want to get in on the action, you can now enter the lottery for newly constructed, $938/month affordable apartments nearby at 863 Fairmount Place in Tremont. There’s just one little catch — only two units are available.
Find out if you qualify
In the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx, the Arker Companies has commenced the affordable housing lottery process for their latest ground-up building, Colgate Close. Located at 1092 Colgate Street, where the semi-industrial area along the Bronx River evolves into a low-scale residential community, the five-story complex will contain 32 studio and one-bedrooms targeted for low-income households earning between $25,200 and $30,250 for a single person and $27,052 and $41,460 for two people. Depending on income, studios will be priced at $696 or $847 per month and one-bedrooms at $749 and $910 per month.
More details this way
It’s been widely noted that New York has an ever-growing population of low-income elders, and a new affordable housing project in Riverdale seeks to address the issue. Designed by Dattner Architects (who are also behind the Bronx’s huge West Farm Redevelopment Plan), the brand-new building at 6469 Broadway is known as Van Cortlandt Green and overlooks the park. It will offer 77 studios for $832/month for those age 62 and older. They’re available to one person earning between $26,430 and $36,300 annually and two persons earning between $26,430 and $41,460, according to the NYC HDC.
Find out how to apply
Images via the MCNY
As home to four thousand animals representing more than 650 species, the Bronx Zoo has been delighting children and grownups alike since 1899. But it’s not simply the extensive array of wildlife that makes this world-renowned conservation park a pleasure to stroll around. Nestled among the 265-acres of parklands and beautifully-replicated natural habitats is a collection of architecture that almost rivals the main attraction. Ahead we’ll visit the zoo’s most notable constructions, which though may draw upon the architectural styles of various eras—from Beaux-Arts to Brutalism—do culminate into one succinct and spectacular display of design.
Tour the zoo’s architectural beauty
Concourse Yard, via Zach Summer/YouTube
Back in September, Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. put forth a plan to transform an abandoned stretch of rail tracks in Mott Haven into a Lowline-style park. There hasn’t been much in the way of updates since then, but now Diaz is turning his sights to another set of tracks, this one much larger and in the northwest Bronx.
The Real Deal cites findings from the borough prez that claim the MTA’s Concourse Yards, a 19-acre open-air subway depot, could be decked over to yield two million square feet of development rights, resulting in a mega-project like Hudson Yards. At an estimated cost of $350-$500 million (Hudson Yards cost $800 million by comparison), the project would require no rezoning and would be “a real opportunity to not only provide much-needed homeownership, mixed-income housing and retail space, but to allow Lehman College to expand by better connecting it to the Bedford Park neighborhood and making it a true community campus,” according to Diaz’s report.
824 Saint Anne’s Avenue (L) and 345 Saint Anne’s Avenue (R); courtesy of RKTB Architects
Yesterday, the architecture world was abuzz with newly released renderings of Bjarke Ingels’ NYPD station house in the Bronx. Nearby, a couple of other buildings are set to rise, and though they may not have the same starchitect cachet, they’ll certainly attract some attention for the fact that together they’ll offer 269 units of affordable housing. Designed by RKTB, the architects behind our favorite castle conversion at 455 Central Park West, the buildings are planned for Saint Anne’s Avenue in the South Bronx, and their designs illustrate how far the city has come in raising the aesthetic quality of government-funded housing.
Find out all about the projects here
Taking a break from his glitzy builds like the Via tetrahedron and 2 World Trade Center, starchitect Bjarke Ingels is taking on a project that is much more modest, yet just as laudable–a station house for the NYPD’s 40th Precinct in the South Bronx (h/t Curbed). The $50 million commission, facilitated under the Department of Design and Construction, is located in the Melrose section of the borough and will resemble a “stack of bricks,” according BIG’s website, “referencing the rusticated bases of early NYC police stations.” Spanning three stories, rising 59 feet, and encompassing 43,000 square feet, the precinct will be the first ever to include a green roof, not surprising considering Ingels’ commitment to incorporating nature into his buildings.
More details ahead
6sqft’s new mini-series A New York Minute features influential New Yorkers answering spitfire (and sometimes very random) questions about their life in the big city. Want to nominate yourself or someone you know? Get in touch!
The last time we checked in with Majora Carter she was spearheading a proposal to turn Spofford Juvenile Center in Hunts Point into mixed-income housing—but that’s just a kernel on her resume. Majora is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. Her 2006 TEDtalk “Greening the Ghetto,” was one of the first six videos to ever appear on TED’s website, and in it she passionately describes her solutions for environmental equality in the South Bronx. Now, fast forward ten years later, and she’s still pushing for green infrastructure projects in her beloved neighborhood. We recently caught up with Majora to find out some fun facts, including what she loves, hates and would change about New York City.
Majora’s NY minute this way