MOTT HAVEN, Bronx

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If it seems as if I am revisiting a lot of areas I have previously covered this year [2009] that’s true. Many of my neighborhood profiles were done early on just after I instituted Forgotten NY back in 1999, and in NYC some areas never change much and others change at warp speed. Some areas I just didn’t get good photos or overlooked some things. Still others, I pass through again en route to other places. That’s what happened in October, when on the way to shoot a new Grand Concourse page, I got off the train on East 138th Street in Mott Haven…

St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church, East 138th and Alexander Avenue. Built in 1898 by Delhi and Howard in an Italian Renaissance style with Spanish accents. Located just outside the Mott Haven Historic district properSaint Jerome (347-420AD) of the Roman province of Dalmatia (in today’s Croatia) was a priest and scholar, a Doctor of the Church, and a translator whose version of the Bible (into Latin) is still in use as the Vulgate Edition.

Graham Square, now called Graham Triangle, is one of the Bronx’ major crossroads as here East 138th Stret, Lincoln Avenue, Morris Avenue and Third Avenue all come together. (The Third Avenue el didn’t run above this section of Third Avenue — after crossing the Harlem River, it ran in a right of way between Alexander and Willis Avenues, joining Third Avenue at East 145th Street. North of the Hub at East 149th, the el hung tough until 1973; south of that, it was razed in 1955. The square was named to honor Mott Havener John B. Graham, who perished in World War I. The memorial column, inscribed with others from the area who died in WWI, was sculpted by the Marconi brothers and dedicated in 1921.

An entablature on the NE corner building at Third Avenue and East 139th proves that the “Third Avenue” spelling in the Bronx (not 3rd Avenue) is not a recent development.

SW corner, Third Avenue and East 138th Street. The venerable 5-story apartment building has another entablature stating the year it was built, while there’s an accompanying sign advertsing the Manhattanville Needle Trade School. The sign seems no older than the 1960s, since it has a number area code. This website says a school with the same name opened in 1987, but this sign looks older.

Nick’s Blue Diner, East 138th and Canal Place. Consulting my dandy handy Diners of New York by Mike Engle and Mario Monti, I find that it’s a 1948 Kullman model in almost original condition, though that siding on the mansard was likely added somewhat later.

“Wall dog “ad for rug cleaner. Canal Place north of East 138th.

Photographed October 23; page completed October 26, 2009






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