Wedged between 1,186-acre Van Cortlandt Park and Woodlawn Cemetery, this middle-class Bronx neighborhood seems to be lost in a time capsule.
Woodlawn, located in the north Bronx, is a village within the city; where generation after generation grow up in pastoral row houses, are members of a 103-year-old church, and start their days greeting neighbors by name.
“It’s a place where people live close enough to get to know each other,” Community Board 12 chairman and 23-year Woodlawn resident Father Richard Gorman said. “The neighborhood spirit is filled with a sense of community.”
It’s also easily accessible via the Metro-North, the Bronx River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. Affordability, safety and a quiet environment make Woodlawn a desireable place to raise a family, residents stopped along the main commercial district on Katonah Avenue said.
“People look out for each other here,” Andrew Linehan, a 56-year-old semi-retired Manhattan doorman and 17-year resident explained.
Linehan said he enjoys getting local news by chatting with neighbors when he stops at a local Irish restaurant or bakery.
In its early days, the Irish population in Woodlawn was so large that it was once nicknamed “Irishtown,” according to nycparks.org.
Many of the original Woodlawn residents worked as tunnel diggers and were known affectionately as “sandhogs.”
According to the site sandhogs147.org, they worked on the Catskill Water Tunnel System, helping to build the Croton Reservoir and Aqueducts, which opened in 1842.
They also worked on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.
Nowadays, families stay in the area for three and four generations because property is cheaper here than in other parts of the city and neighboring Yonkers.
The average recent selling price of a one-family home in Woodlawn is $361,000, according to a local real estate office.
But there are also several low-rise rental buildings where studio apartments can rent for about $900 a month.
Many of those calling Woodlawn home in recent years, in addition to the Irish, are Albanians, Latinos and South Asians, Gorman said.
“For now, it’s great, we enjoy it,” said Michael Albalamb, 36, an Irish American south Bronx schoolteacher.
Albalamb said he likes living here for the same reason many people said they have no plans to leave, because “it’s a nice, neighborly place to be.
Woodlawn, also called Woodlawn Heights, is located in the northern Bronx. To the north it’s bordered just below McLean Avenue, to the east Bronx River Road, to the south East 233rd Street and to the west Van Cortlandt Park East.
Woodlawn is accessible via the Bronx River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway.
4 train to Woodlawn
2 and 5 trains stop nearby at 233rd Street and Nereid Avenue
Metro North to Woodlawn
Bx 16, Bx 31, Bx 34, BxM4
NYPL Woodlawn Heights, 4355 Katonah Ave. 718-519-9627
USPS 4364 Katonah Ave. 718-324-3838
Woodlawn is patrolled by the 47th Precinct at 4111 Laconia Ave. As of until Oct. 27, 2013, there were five murders reported by the precinct, down down from 14 in the year to date in 2012. However, there were 31 rapes reported as of Oct. 27, 2013, up from 26 in the year to date in 2012. There was a 40% drop in overall crime reported by the precinct between 1998 and 2012.
Mary’s Celtic Kitchen, 4330 Katonah Ave. People say this popular mostly take-out spot serves the best Sheperd’s Pie in town and its sausage mash and beans will tickle the luck of the Irish in you. 718-798-1002.
Patrizia’s Of Woodlawn, 4358 Katonah Ave. It’s not just their gluten-free pizza that makes them unique, try them on Mondays for Lobster and Sangria Night from 5 to 8 p.m.
Sean’s Quality Deli, 4273 Katonah Ave. They offer a “full line of Irish Products” from Irish newspapers to Irish sausages. 718-515-8811.
Katonah Hardware & Houseware, 4306 Katonah Ave. This hardware store is small in size but big on service. They carry just about everything you need to fix up that old house this winter. 718-798-1214
Rambling House, 4292 Katonah Ave. With live local bands, this is the place to be every Friday night, but don’t forget Football Sundays where you’ll be surrounded by three eight-foot projectors and lots of Guinness. 718-798-4510.
The Tombstone Saloon, 119 E. 233rd St. This Western-themed saloon has Whiskey Wednesdays and two-for-one Ladies Night on Thursdays. House rules: cash only. 718-324-1781.
Woodlawn Arts and Music House, 279 E. 236th St. This school teaches Irish music to preschoolers, adults and seniors. Learn how to play the piano, traditional violin or fiddle. Facebook.com/WoodlawnArtsAndMusicHouse
Van Cortlandt Park, 233rd-241st Streets at Bronx Park East. This gorgeous park is an “outdoorsy-type’s” paradise. 718-430-1890.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in Woodlawn?
Like many of us do every year, Woodlawn residents look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with their families.
There are a number of places here to shop for Irish ingredients to make the best traditional holiday meal.
One of them is Prime Cuts, located in the heart of the commercial district on 238thStreetand Katonah Avenue, this butcher shop specializes in everything Irish including Irish ham, corned beef and blood pudding.
But be warned, Prime Cuts, is “very busy” Thanksgiving Day, butcher Mark Kilcoyne said. They also cure their own meats, another reason why they’re very popular.
Another hot spot is Sean’s Quality Deli, on the corner of 235thStreetand Katonah Avenue. They specialize in “All things good and Irish,” to compliment your Thanksgiving dinner. Some favorites include cider, Barry’s Tea and “all the ingredients to make Shepherd’s Pie,” Woodlawn resident Kerri O’Connor said.
Want to taste a bit of the Emerald Isle for Thanksgiving?
Try an Irish coffee.
“All you’ll need is three ingredients: Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, coffee and fresh cream,” offered O’Connor.
Q&A with Kerri O'Connot: devoted Woodlawn resident
Kerri O’Connor is a retired New York City schoolteacher, having worked for the Department of Education for 17 years. She currently works part time as a receptionist at St. Barnabas Church, 409 E. 241st St. A lifetime resident of Woodlawn, she lives with her parents and 16-year-old daughter Kiera.
What attracted your family to Woodlawn?
Convenience. My father worked as a conductor for Metro North.
What do you enjoy most about Woodlawn?
The sense of community.; it’s so close-knit and people are very supportive of one another. It’s three and four generations of families. Our parents are friends, our children are friends, and that’s pretty common.
What do you do for entertainment here?
There are restaurant bars, but they’re more like restaurants than pubs. It’s a different atmosphere: there’s live entertainment, fundraisers -- it’s not just drinking, it’s so much more.
Is there any reason you would leave Woodlawn?
No. My parents are extremely settled and comfortable and they’re older. I’m very content. It’s our home. We’re in no rush to leave.
4295 Webster Ave. #1K Large studio, one full bath, 550 square feet: $950 per month.
4380 Vireo Ave. Junior one-bedroom co-op, one bath, 800 square feet: $1,200 per month.
4320 Van Cortlandt Park E. #2L Co-op, one-bed, one bath, 750 square feet: $110,000
127 E. 237th St. Single family home, three beds, two baths, 2,390 square feet: $660,000
Looking for a home in Woodlawn?
Key Real Estate Services, keyrealestateny.com
Kenneth Brown Real Estate, bronxagent.com