Bonner Place is a true dead end, on the east side of Morris Avenue between East 163rd and 164th Streets. Older maps going back to the early 20th Century show it never reaches College Avenue. There are only a couple of buildings on it, a pair of multifamily dwellings at its very end. The closest subway is the 161st Street/Yankee Stadium stop serving the #4 elevated and the D train, though the Melrose Metro North station is nearby. So what’s it doing here?
The map of Morrisania was vastly different in 1887 than it is in 2021. Before the current complement of streets was laid out along a rough grid pattern, the William H. Morris holdings were dominated by the New York Driving Club, basically a horse track. Equestrian culture in Morrisania went back to the 1750s, when the level land was used by General Staats Long Morris as a race course. William Morris rented space to a Dater Brothers in 1871, who built a race track that lasted briefly. The NY Driving Club opened here the following year, and its trotting track, Fleetwood Park, boasted an exclusive membership that included William K. Vanderbilt, William Rockefeller, and Leonard Jerome, whose own track in Kingsbridge was home to the Belmont Stakes. The Drving Park and Fleetwood Park closed in 1898, and development soon erased any trace of any former equestrian use.
Irish immigrant Robert E. Bonner (1824-1899) owned several trotting horses that used the Driving Club and Fleetwood Park. His career began as a compositor (layout artist and typesetter) and he became a writer and editor, founding the New York Ledger in 1855, a financial paper. He competed with Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt on Bronx racetracks.
Thus both one of the lengthiest streets in the Bronx, Jerome Avenue (Leonard Jerome of Jerome Park), and one of the shortest, Bonner Place, were named for equestrian enthusiasts. Racetracks vanished from the Bronx decades ago, but street names remember them.