Morris Heights, Bronx

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Morris Heights
Neighborhood of the Bronx
Featherbed Lane, seen from Grand Concourse
Featherbed Lane, seen from Grand Concourse

Location in New York City
Coordinates: 40°51′N 73°55′W / 40.85°N 73.92°W / 40.85; -73.92Coordinates: 40°51′N 73°55′W / 40.85°N 73.92°W / 40.85; -73.92
Country  United States
State  New York
City New York City
Borough The Bronx
Community District Bronx 5[1]
 • Total 1.30 km2 (0.502 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 36,779
 • Density 28,000/km2 (73,000/sq mi)
 • Median income $24,850
ZIP codes 10452, 10453
Area code 718, 347, 929, and 917

Morris Heights is a residential neighborhood located in the West Bronx. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 5. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: West Burnside Avenue to the north, Jerome Avenue to the east, the Cross-Bronx Expressway to the south, and the Harlem River to the west. University Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Morris Heights.

ZIP codes include 10453 and 10452. The area is patrolled by the 46th Precinct[3] located at 2120 Ryer Avenue in Fordham. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue in the Melrose section of the Bronx.


Morris Heights has a population of around 36,779. Almost half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance (TANF, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). The vast majority of residents in the area are of Puerto Rican, Dominican, or African American descent. The majority of households are renter occupied.[2][4]

Land use and terrain[edit]

Clifford Place, a step street

Morris Heights is dominated by 5- and 6-story tenement buildings, older multi-unit homes, vacant lots, newly constructed subsidized attached multi-unit townhouses, and apartment buildings. A significant percentage of the early 20th-century housing stock was structurally damaged by arson and eventually razed by the city. The neighborhood contains one of the highest concentrations of NYCHA projects in the Bronx. The total land area is less than half one square mile. The terrain is elevated and consists of many hills. Stair streets connect areas located at different elevations.

Low-income public housing projects[edit]

Sedgwick Houses

Ten NYCHA developments are located in Morris Heights.[5]

  1. Harrison Avenue Rehab (Group A); one 5-story rehabilitated tenement building.
  2. Harrison Avenue Rehab (Group B); four rehabilitated buildings, 5 and 6 stories tall.
  3. Macombs Road; two rehabilitated buildings, 5 and 6 stories tall.
  4. Morris Heights Rehab; three rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 and 6 stories tall
  5. Sedgewick Houses; seven buildings, 14 and 16 stories tall.
  6. University Avenue Rehab; four 6-story rehabilitated tenement buildings.
  7. West Tremont Avenue-Sedgwick Avenue Area; one 12-story building.
  8. West Tremont Rehab (Group 1); two rehabilitated tenement buildings, 5 and 6 stories tall.
  9. West Tremont Rehab (Group 3); one 5-story rehabilitated tenement building.
  10. West Tremont Rehab (Group 2); two 6-story rehabilitated tenement buildings.

Urban renewal[edit]

After a wave of arson ravaged the low-income communities of New York City throughout the 1970s, many if not most residential structures in Morris Heights were left seriously damaged or destroyed. The city began to rehabilitate many formerly 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.

Origin of hip hop subculture[edit]

1520 Sedgwick Avenue, considered the birthplace of hip hop

Morris Heights is believed to be the site where Hip Hop culture originated in the 1970s. However, in the late 1960s and early 1970s several disc jockeys protected by the Black Spades (a violent but organized gang that promoted their own form of justice; originally from Bronxdale Housing Projects & later recruited several members from Bronx River Housing Projects), and other gangs took their DJ led block parties in the South Bronx, the East Side of the Bronx and the West Side.[6][7][8][9][10][11]


Public schools include:

  • PS 109 (Popham Avenue and West Tremont Avenue)
  • PS 204: Morris Heights (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and West Tremont Avenue)
  • PS 230/MS 229: Roland N. Patterson (Harlem River Park Bridge and Sedgwick Avenue)
  • PS 306 (West Tremont and Jerome Avenues)
  • PS 396/MS 390 (West Burnside and Andrews Avenues)
  • IS 303: The Leadership and Community Service Academy (West 176th Street and Macombs Road)
  • MS 232: The Academy School (West 176th Street and Macombs Road)
  • MS 331: The Bronx School of Science Inquiry and Investigation (West Tremont and Davidson Avenue)
  • HS 365: The Academy for Language and Technology High School (West 176th Street and Macombs Road)


The following MTA Regional Bus Operations bus routes serve Morris Heights:[12]

The following New York City Subway stations serve Morris Heights:[13]

The Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line also serves Morris Heights via the Morris Heights station.


  1. ^ "NYC Planning | Community Profiles". New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Morris Heights neighborhood in New York". Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "46th Precinct". Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Bronx Community District 5 Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ NYCHA Archived May 25, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Chang, Jeff; DJ Kool Herc (2005). Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-30143-X.
  7. ^ Castillo-Garstow, Melissa (March 1, 2005). "Latinos in Hip Hop to Reggaeton". Latin Beat Magazine. 15 (2): 24(4).
  8. ^ Rojas, Sal (2007). "Estados Unidos Latin Lingo". Zona de Obras. Zaragoza, Spain (47): 68.
  9. ^ Allatson, Paul. Key Terms in Latino/a Cultural and Literary Studies. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, 2007, 199.
  10. ^ Schloss, Joseph G. Foundation: B-boys, B-girls and Hip-Hop Culture in New York. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, 125.
  11. ^ From Mambo to Hip Hop. Dir. Henry Chalfant. Thirteen / WNET, 2006, film
  12. ^ "Bronx Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  13. ^ "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 18, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.

External links[edit]