The first Bronx subway stop on the 6 train from Manhattan leaves you a block from 138th Street and Alexander Avenue. Once known as “Doctors Row” and “The Irish Fifth Avenue,” Alexander Avenue between here and 141st Street boasts gorgeous row houses dating to the 1870s.
If you swoon over original details and don’t mind living sandwiched between a couple of housing projects, this could be the block for you.
Though now considered part of the catch-all South Bronx, the neighborhood is in the tiny Mott Haven Historic District. Once a thriving community dominated by Mott Ironworks and piano factories, Mott Haven fell victim to the usual urban blight in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1990s, antique shops, lofts, and a couple of cafes on nearby Bruckner Boulevard have helped revive the area. It feels pretty safe, yet reports of the neighborhood’s Soho-fication are, well, premature. Luckily, remnants of old Mott Haven still remain, like this piano ad.
Check out the brick sign on the old Mott Ironworks building, on the Harlem River. J. L. Mott is Jordan Mott, an industrialist who bought the land from the Morris (as in Morrisania) family in 1828.