First permanent museum dedicated to hip hop tops off on the South Bronx waterfront
Rendering: S9 Architecture
The country’s first permanent museum dedicated to hip hop hit a major construction milestone last week. The Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) topped out in the South Bronx last week as part of the huge mixed-use project Bronx Point. The museum, located at Exterior Street and East 150th Street, aims to serve as a “living document” that will chronicle the history of the music genre in the borough where it was invented 50 years ago.
Topping off ceremony. From left to right: Sal Abatello, founder Fever Records; Michael Holman, Graffiti Rock; Grace Master D of Whodini; Laurie Cumbo, DCLA Commissioner; HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrion Jr.; Diana Ayala, Deputy Speaker of NYC Council; UHHM Founder & Executive Director Rocky Bucano; DJ Wiz; Vanessa L. Gibson, Bronx Borough President; Ruben Diaz Jr., former Bronx Borough President & UHHM Board Member; DJ Ralph McDaniels, and Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Records.
The permanent home for the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which had been operating out of a temporary space at the Bronx Terminal Market, will take up more than 55,000 square feet on the ground level of the 22-story development. Originally expected to open in 2023 but delayed because of the pandemic, the museum will now open in 2024. The museum will feature exhibits that celebrate all things hip hop, which was invented in the Bronx in the 1970s.
As the genre celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, the museum hopes to serve as an educational resource for hip hop’s unifying properties which transcend “language, age, race, geographic, and socio-economic barriers,” and illustrate its influence on art, music, fashion, film, marketing, entertainment, and more.
“Witnessing the “topping off” of the Bronx Point development, which features the future home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, is a dream come true,” Rocky Bucano, founder and executive director of the UHHM, said.
“The continuous support by city and state officials is proof that Hip Hop culture is a Bronx-born, cultural resource embraced by millions worldwide. It’s the passion for Hip Hop culture that we share with the world, that makes this joint effort exciting for the Bronx, New York City, and the world.”
Developed through a public-private partnership between L+M Development Partners, Type A Projects, BronxWorks, and the city, Bronx Point includes more than 1,000 units of housing, 542 of which will be permanently affordable, and a waterfront esplanade. The affordable apartments at Bronx Point will be designated for households with incomes between 30 and 120 percent of the area median income, as well as some for formerly homeless New Yorkers.
Retail and community space is also planned. Designed by S9 Architecture, Bronx Point is located next to Mill Pond Park and the 145th Street Bridge that connects to Manhattan.
The project’s sprawling waterfront esplanade, designed by Marvel Architects and Abel Bainnson Butz, will offer space for recreation, seating areas, and publicly accessible bathrooms, and connect the complex to Mill Pond Park.
“We are excited to see the progress happening at Bronx Point and can’t wait to celebrate its completion next year,” Andrew Kimball, president of the city’s EDC, said. “Bronx Point will activate a long-vacant waterfront to create high-quality public open space, over 500 permanently affordable homes, and a range of cultural facilities that pay homage to the boogie down Bronx.”