Longwood, Bronx

Longwood is a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwest Bronx, New York City. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 2. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: East 167th Street to the north, the Bruckner Expressway to east, East 149th Street to the south, and Prospect Avenue to the west. Southern Blvd is the primary thoroughfare through Longwood. The local subway is the 6 line, operating along Southern Blvd. Zip codes include 10455 and 10459. The area is patrolled by the 41st Precinct located at 1035 Longwood Avenue. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue in the Melrose section of the Bronx.

Demographics

Longwood has a population over 35,000 people. For decades Longwood has been one of the poorest communities in America. Over half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). Longwood has one of the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in all of New York City. The vast majority of households are renter occupied. [ [http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/lucds/bx2profile.pdf Bronx Community District 2] ]

Land use and terrain

Longwood is dominated by tenement buildings, older multi-unit homes, vacant lots, and newly constructed attached multi-unit subsidized townhouses and apartment buildings. Most of the original housing stock was structurally damaged by arson and eventually razed by the city. The total land area is roughly half a square mile. The terrain is somewhat hilly.

Longwood Historic District

The landmarked Longwood Historic District is located in the center of the neighborhood. Three square blocks between Beck and Hewitt Place, south of Longwood Avenue. The district consist of semi-detached brownstones, most of which have been converted into Single Room Occupancy. [ [http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/maps/longwood.pdf Longwood Historic District] ]

Low income public housing projects

*There are four NYCHA developments located in Longwood. [http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/home/home.shtml NYCHA] ]
#West Farms Square Rehab; four rehabilitated tenement buildings, 6-stories tall.
#East 165th Street-Bryant Avenue; five buildings, 3-stories tall.
#Longfellow Avenue Rehab; two, 5-story rehabilitated tenement buildings.
#Stebbins Avenue-Hewitt Place; two, 3-story buildings.

History

For the 20th Century's first half, Longwood was filled with Jews. Beginning in the 1950s, the Puerto Ricans moved to Longwood from their native island. Shortly after, white flight and abandonment began. Many buildings began to burn down in the late 1960s. The wave of arson ended when community groups such as Banana Kelly and SEBCO began to protect the remainder of tenement buildings. Federal funding for new multi-family homes began in 1986 under the Ed Koch administration.

During the mid-1990s, local and federal governments invested over $550 million in new subsidized residential housing and the expansion of businesses and commerce. With the building of the new South Bronx headquarters of P.A.L.; the relocation of the 41st Precinct of the NYPD from Simpson Street to Longwood Avenue; the Banana Kelly High School; and several small and large businesses (such as Rite Aid and McDonald's). Thanks in part to the new 41st Precinct on Longwood Avenue and Southern Blvd and public and private investment in the community.

Despite the new housing, there are still remains of the old Jewish presence in Longwood. For instance, 830 Fox Street, which is now a newly constructed low income apartment building, was formly a Jewish synagogues(praying center) and was burned down in the 1960s. It was abandon for many decades, until 2006 when they began construction. In the 1950s the Puerto Rican community began to emerge. Now its filled with large population of minorities and is an extremely poor community, but has progressed from 1980's-1990's.

ocial problems

Many social problems associated with poverty from crime to drug addiction have plagued the area for some time. Despite crime declines versus their peaks during the crack and heroin epidemics violent crime continues to be a serious problem in the community. [http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/crime_statistics/cs041pct.pdf 41st Precinct CompStat Report] ] Longwood has significantly higher drop out rates and incidents of violence in its schools. [http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/fea/20060320/202/1792 NYC Dropout Rates] ] Students must pass through metal detectors and swipe ID cards to enter the buildings. This is reminiscent of a prison environment which many feel encourages bad behavior. Other problems in local schools include low test scores and high truancy rates. Drug addiction is also a serious problem in the community. Many of the families living in Longwood have been in poverty for generations. The incarceration rate in the area is also very high. [ [http://www.wnyc.org/blog/lehrer/archives/archive/NYC%20Analysis-9%20copy2.gifNYC Prison Expenditure] ] This has a direct correlation to aggressive policing tactics including "sweeps" due to the area's high crime rate.

Urban renewal

After a wave of arson ravaged the low income communities of New York City throughout the 1970s, most residential structures in Longwood were left seriously damaged or destroyed. The city began to rehabilitate many formally abandoned tenement style apartment buildings and designate them low income housing beginning in the late 1970s. Also many subsidized attached multi-unit townhouses and newly constructed apartment buildings have been or are being built on vacant lots across the neighborhood. Now the city of New York is coming together to revitalize the longwood area of the Bronx.

chools

*PS 60: George L. Gallego (East 163rd Street and Rev. James A. Polite Avenue)
*PS 62: Inocencio Casanova (Leggett Avenue and Fox Street)
*PS 130: Abram Stevens Hewitt (East 156th Street and Prospect Avenue)
*PS 150: Charles James Fox (East 167th Street and Fox Street)
*MS 302: Luisa Dessus Cruz (Kelly Street and Avenue St. John)
*Bronx Regional High School (East 165th Street and Rev. James A. Polite Avenue)
*South Bronx Classical Charter School (Westchester Avenue and Fox Street)

Transportation

*Bx4: to Westchester Square–East Tremont Avenue (NYCS Pelham) (via Westchester Avenue)
*Bx5: to Pelham Bay Park (via Story Avenue)
*Bx6: to Hunt's Point or Riverside Drive-158th Street, Manhattan (via 161st–163rd Streets)
*Bx11: to George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 170th St–Claremont Pkwy)
*Bx17: to Fordham Plaza or Port Morris (via Prospect–Crotona Avenues)
*Bx19: to New York Botanical Gardens or Riverbank State Park (via 149th Street–Southern Boulevard)
*Bx27: to Clason's Point (via Rosedale Avenue)
*Bx35: to George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 167th Street)
*Prospect Avenue (NYCS White Plains)
*Intervale Avenue (NYCS White Plains)
*Simpson Street (NYCS White Plains)
*East 149th Street (NYCS Pelham local)
*Longwood Avenue (NYCS Pelham local)
*Hunts Point Avenue (NYCS Pelham)
*Whitlock Avenue (NYCS Pelham local)

Facts

*In 1985 an empty lot of land along Kelly Steet and Intervale Avenue became Bill Rainey Park.
*Several crimes struck chords in this community. On February 14, 1993, someone shot several people in the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre." In the spring of 2007, a police officer shot and killed the unarmed Fermin Arzu on the corner of Hewitt Place and Longwood Avenue.
*Colin Powell grew up on Kelly Street in Longwood.
*The Bronx Detective Bureau division of the NYPD operates out of the old 41st Precinct house "Fort Apache" at Simpson and East 167th Street.
*Congressman Jose Serrano holds his district's headquarters across the street from the 41st Precinct in Longwood.
*On December 31, 2007 Mayor Bloomberg signed the Southern Boulevard B.I.D. (Business Improvement District) into law thus making the HPEDC effort a success story in the improvement of the neighborhood, as well as the entire South Bronx.
*Longwood is considered part of the socioeconomic South Bronx.

References


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