Morrisania was once a vibrant manufacturing center.
From the mid-19th century until World War II, this
area was home to a variety of industries ranging
from breweries to piano manufacturers. Tenements,
rowhouses, and old frame dwellings within the community
offered accessible living quarters to factory workers.
Railroads and elevated lines provided rapid links
to other parts of the borough and to Manhattan.
However, by the 1950's, both the manufacturing and
residential components of the community entered
a long decline. Local Penn Central Railroad (Metro-North)
service was discontinued in the early 1970's, and
rail service on the Third Avenue elevated line terminated
in 1973. By the 1980's, many of the manufacturing
and residential buildings in the area had been abandoned
or demolished. A significant population decline
resulted, leaving the area desolate and blighted.
The area proposed for rezoning includes a mix
of land uses, predominantly parking lots, vacant
land and vacant commercial or residential buildings.
Commercial developments tend to be smaller businesses
located along Third Avenue which serves as a commercial
corridor in the borough. Residential uses include
single- and two-family frame buildings, brick
rowhouses and larger apartment buildings. Residential
uses are scattered throughout the study area but
are found primarily north of East 165th Street
along Washington Avenue. Community facilities,
spread throughout the rezoning area, are mainly
small storefront houses of worship. There is also
a long history of mixed-use buildings in Morrisania
(residential units above a first floor commercial
or community facility use).
Vacant two-story warehouse located at Third
Avenue and East 168th Street
Vacant five-story multi-family building at
East 166th Street between Third and Washington