Port Morris, Bronx

Port Morris, Bronx

Port Morris is a neighborhood in the southeast Bronx, New York City. It is a heavily industrial neighborhood. Its boundaries are the E 149th St.to the north, the East River and Bronx Kill to the east and south, and the Bruckner Expressway to the west. Bruckner Blvd, which runs under the Expressway, is the primary thoroughfare through Port Morris. Most of the neighborhood is within walking distance from the IRT #6 train's stops at Cypress Ave. and E. 149th St. Zip codes include 10454.


Though almost entirely industrial, Port Morris does contain two small residential pockets where about 1,500 people live. Most live in poverty. Over half the population receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). The vast majority of residents in the area are of Puerto Rican descent. An area previously described as being in Port Morris, near the Third Avenue bridge approach is actually in Mott Haven. The picture above is actually a scene in Mott Haven.


The name comes from a deep water port established along the neighborhood's East River (Long Island Sound) waterfront by Gouverneur Morris in 1842. He built a two mile railroad fron Melrose to his family's holdings on the waterfront. The area is dominated by factory and warehouse buildings constructed in the mid- to late 1800s. Notable early businesses were the R. Hoe Co., as well as Cutler & Hammer Tool Works, and Mothers Friend Shirt Waist factory (1888) at Willow Ave. between E. 135th & E. 136th Sts. The area was the site of the Hell Gate generating plant of Con Edison, where George Metesky, the Mad Bomber who plagued NYC for decades was injured. While many of the early industrial buildings remain, much of the manufacturing has long since left the area. The most notable architectural/engineering feature of Port Morris is a series of concrete arches extending N from E. 132nd St., between Willow & Walnut Aves., which forms the N appraoch to the Hell Gate Bridge (1917).

There is some evidence that a British paymaster ship went down off its coast, during the Revolutionary war with millions of dollars in gold aboard. No recovery was ever made.

A wave of arson during the 1970's destroyed or damaged many of the residential, commercial, and industrial structures in the area. In recent years industry has been making a come back to Port Morris. Many abandoned residential buildings are also being rehabilitated and designated low income housing.

A problem with reporting the history of Port Morris is that the Bronx Boro President's Office does not know the history of the area. It has "extended" the area to the west into what is Mott Haven. Mott Haven is not to the north; it is to the west of Port Morris.

Prior to the incorporation of Greater NY, and before Bronx County was incorporated, this area was known as the North Side of New York County.

Urban renewal

The article which was previously located here was incorrect in so far as it was related to renewal in Mott Haven. A photo of an industrial building was situated in Mott Haven, at the intersection of Willis Ave. and E. 134th St. (east of the Willis Ave. bridge). That building had an interesting history as it was built as a hotel to service passengers travelling from Jersey City and points South & West, whose railroad cars were barged to the Harlem River yard, before being forwarded on toward Boston. When the car floats burned down, other routes were employed. The hotel lost its customers and was converted into a sheet metal factory. Early renewal.

ocial problems

The bank depicted again is in Mott Haven, as it is at the intersection of Third Ave. & E. 138th St. It was built in 1912 as the North Side Board of Trade, later becoming the North Side Savings Bank.

Violent crime is still a problem despite crime declines versus their peaks during the heroin and crack epidemics. Massive low income public housing developments line the north side side of the Major Deegan Expressway. The Mott Haven area to the west is notorious for its drug trade and violent crime. Port Morris is very industrial and desolate. The area adjacent to the Third Avenue bridge in in Mott Haven. Obviously, this is so because the former eponymous Mott Iron Works (1826) is located there.

The area is patrolled by the 40th Precinct located at 257 Alexander Avenue in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.


*Mott Haven is known as the "Gateway of the Bronx" because it is the southernmost portion of the borough.
*Three homeless shelters are located in Port Morris.
*Port Morris is considered part of the socioeconomic South Bronx.
* In December 2007 the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Division of Substance Abuse opened the Wellness Center at Port Morris a 30,000 square foot center to provide substance abuse treatment and medical services to the community.

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