Posts Tagged ‘Bronx Street’

Landmark rowhouses in a gritty Bronx enclave

March 25, 2013

There’s brownstone Brooklyn . . . but how about brownstone Bronx?

It exists, and it’s worth exploring. Tucked into some of the borough’s older neighborhoods are lovely clusters of row houses that resemble their counterparts in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Morrisavenuehouses

One landmarked stretch is on Morris Avenue and 179th Street. This is the Morris Avenue Historic District—a slender, quiet enclave two blocks from the gritty, seen-better-days Grand Concourse.

Morrisavenuehouses2Designed by a single architect, they date back between 1906 and 1910, after the opening of the IRT subway sparked a wave of development in the Bronx aimed at Manhattanites itching to move out of the city.

The block “is a notable example of a uniformly planned streetscape,” states the Landmark Commission Report from 1986.

MorrisavenuestoopToo bad these once-elegant bowfront homes are not in the best shape.

Some windows are boarded up, and many have been divided into SRO apartments. But so were parts of Fort Greene and Boerum Hill back in the day.

Here’s another beautiful stretch of Bronx rowhouses, on a block once known as the “Irish Fifth Avenue.”

Faded phone exchange signs on dingy tenements

March 18, 2013

Lots of old tenements have them—metal signs advertising the name of the electrician or roofer or plumber who helped maintain the building.

Bronxsignfordhamroad

These two were spotted in low-income Bronx neighborhoods. The sign above comes from a tenement near the Fordham Road D train stop. The ME is for the Melrose neighborhood in the South Bronx.

Bronxphonesignmelrose

WY for Wyandotte on this sign, found near Third Avenue in Melrose. It’s also a Bronx exchange—but why Wyandotte, which connotes the Native American tribe Wyandot, who live in Canada?

The only reference I could find comes from a 1975 New York Times article bemoaning the disappearance of the more poetic and descriptive phone exchange names:

“ALgonquin was nice, too, suggesting Indians, as did LAckawanna and WYandotte,” writes John Corry. “WYandotte seemed to be used almost exclusively by the Irish who lived around Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Those Irish are vanishing; so is WYandotte.”