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City Living: Port Morris
Famous for its industrial district of red brick factory buildings and the Harlem Rail Yards, Port Morris is riding a new wave of development.
In 2005 an 11-block “mixed use,” or commercial and residential, district was established, adding to a separate one that was designated in 1997. The revival has brought converted lofts, affordable apartments and gourmet restaurants, particularly on Bruckner Boulevard, to an area once defined by its industrial nature.
Port Morris, otherwise known as SoBro, is anchored to be the next Red Hook, luring new residents with its luscious waterfront views and its ease of connectivity to Manhattan and the outer boroughs.
It’s located at the southernmost tip of The Bronx, where Harlem and the East Rivers separate it from Manhattan. The nabe is a vital thoroughfare, connected to four bridges along with the Major Deegan and Bruckner Expressways bordering it to the north.
Port Morris was established as a seaport in 1842, according to the Historic District Council, by Gouverneur Morris Jr., the son of United States founding father Gouverneur Morris. The waterfront was home to tenants such as stone works, furniture and piano factories. That commercial character is a still visible as nostalgic silhouettes of company names like Kelly’s Furniture and Baldwin are stamped across the facade of the old factories that house new tenants.
Some current commercial residents to call the nabe home are: FedEx, Waste Management company and The Bronx Brewery.
Others include recent tenants like NY Graphic Studio at 127 Lincoln Ave. Three-month resident Julie Velez, a 28-year-old self-employed clothing designer, said a new lease was just signed to build an “artsy” coffee shop at 39 Bruckner Blvd., once home to Bronx Hydro & Garden shop. “I feel safe,” Velez said of why she lives in Port Morris, adding, “the streets are quiet at night.”
The growing retail community is a welcome sign for locals.
“It’s a neighborhood in transition, everyone wants the neighborhood to be better,” said Michael Brady, owner of The Clock Cafe and Martini Bar at 112 Lincoln Ave. — the site of the renovated Estey Piano factory building.
Port Morris’ roughly 2,000 residents, which though predominantly Puerto Rican now hosts an influx of ethnicities, from white Americans to Mexicans, are benefiting from this change.
Need to Know
6 Lexington Ave. local train stops on 138st at Third, Brook and Cypress avenues along the northern boundary; East 143rd Street-Saint Mary’s Street/ Southern Boulevard, and East 149th Street/ Southern Boulevard More »
Bx 15; Bx 17; Bx 33 More »
The Mott Haven Library, 321 E. 140 St. serves the Port Morris area. More »
Mott Haven Branch, 517 E. 139thSt. services the Port Morris area. More »
Port Morris, “The Gateway to the Bronx,” is covered by the 40th precinct in the South Bronx. Crime statistics compared to this time last year show a 22% decline in murders and an 23% decline in rapes. As reported in the NYPD’s CompStat Report, notwithstanding the fact that nine people were murdered last year, there was an 86% drop in murder compared to 1993. Also compared to 1993, burglaries are down 87%. More »
This trendy Asian fusion restaurant lies conspicuously around the corner from Bruckner Boulevard. It offers a personal sushi dining experience, allowing patrons to order straight from the chef.
El Habanero Mexican Cocina
A cozy, modern restaurant that offers a variety including fish tacos and vegetarian quesadilla. The speaker system booms club music and Happy Hour offers $3 domestic beers and $4 internationals.
This contemporary restaurant dishes out American and Ecuadorian cuisine, from turkey burgers to a tasty Ceviché cocktail. And coming soon, live comedy and guest DJ’s three nights a week.
The Clock Bar
This elegant chandelier-lit hotspot is known as a local favorite with its tasty drinks, like The O.M.G., a margarita filled with watermelon tequila. Adorned in wood plus original red brick and concrete columns, it’s ideal to have a dinner party or celebrate your next birthday.
Bruckner Bar and Grill
Unfortunately, this popular spot is temporarily closed, flooded by 4 feet of water during Superstorm Sandy. But renovations are underway and sources told amNewYork that it is slated to reopen in about a month.
This upscale Miami-themed club adorned with miniature palm trees and aqua colored seating promises guest performances and celebrity DJ’s. With VIP seating they’re styled to bring “South Beach to the South Bronx.”
Yara African Fabrics
They offer vibrant traditional African textiles plus tie-dye, wax print and batik. For six years they’ve created custom designed curtains, skirts and also tailor for traditional Mali weddings. Special orders are done in person.
If you don’t fancy a Macy’s shopping experience, this huge warehouse-style store has everything from shoes to shower curtains. Goods are purchased from major department stores all over the country and sold at closeout prices.
Alexander Antiques + Fine Furniture
This quaint antique store specializes in classic to modern furniture from 1900-1960, carrying an array of styles for any collector’s palette. They stock dressers, chandeliers, and even artifacts. All sales are final.
This playground contains handball, basketball and volleyball courts, along with a spacious area for children. It is named after Poland-born Casimir Pulaski, a decorated military general who served in the Revolutionary War.
Take a stroll and venture into one these vintage stores where you’ll everything from sconces to ceramics to antique furniture.