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Hunts Point is a neighborhood located on a peninsula in the South Bronx of New York City. It is the location of one of the largest food distribution facilities in the world, the Hunts Point Cooperative Market. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 2. Its boundaries are the Bruckner Expressway to the west and north, the Bronx River to the east, and the East River to the south. Hunts Point Avenue is the primary street through Hunts Point. The neighborhood is considered to be a red-light district, because of its crime rate and prostitution. The neighborhood is served by NYPD's 41st Precinct.
As of the United States 2000 Census, Hunts Point has a population of 46,824, up from 39,433 in 1990 and 34,397 in 1980. Of them, 35,507 (75.8%) are of Hispanic origin, 10,021 (21.4%) are Black, non-Hispanic, 582 (1.2%) are White, non-Hispanic, 207 (0.4%) are Asian or Pacific Islander, 101 (0.2%) American Indian or Alaska Native, 90 (0.2%) are some other race (non-Hispanic), and 316 (0.7%) of two or more races (non-Hispanic).
Hunts Point is a low-income residential neighborhood. Over half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). Hunts Point has one of the highest concentrations of Hispanics in all of New York City.
Only 3,361 people in the area are reported to be in the labor force, which translates as approximately 40% of the total available working population that is employed. The average family here makes around $17,000 per year and the average household income is $16,000 per year. In the United States as a whole the average household income is $42,000 per year and the average family makes $50,000 per year. This fact in addition to the extremely high cost of living in New York City means that poverty in Hunts Point is especially severe.
The ZIP code is 10474.
Hunts Point is a peninsula located at the confluence of the Bronx River and the East River, which is actually a tidal strait connecting Upper New York Bay to the Long Island Sound. The total land area is approximately 690 acres (2.8 km2).
Most of the land area in Hunts Point is dominated by industry. There is a small but dense residential pocket that occupies the high ground in the northern half of the peninsula along Hunts Point Avenue. It consists primarily of older apartment buildings with a smaller number of semi-detached multi-unit row houses. The area includes a recently developed park by the riverside, called the Hunts Point Riverside Park.
The New York City Department of City Planning designated a Special Hunts Point District in 2004 to incorporate zoning changes to encourage growth of the food distribution center while protecting the residential neighborhood.
The largest park in Hunts Point is the 5-acre (20,000 m2) Barretto Point Park on the East River waterfront. It offers piers for fishing, sites for launching canoes and kayaks, and a floating swimming pool during the summer. There are also volleyball and basketball courts, a small amphitheater, and restroom facilities.
Hunts Point is home to one of the largest food distribution centers in the world, covering 329 acres (1.33 km2). The Produce and Meat Distribution Center were opened along the Bronx river in 1967 and 1974, respectively. In 2005, Hunts Point became the site for New York City's New Fulton Fish Market, which replaced the 180 year old fish market formerly located in downtown Manhattan. Over 800 industrial businesses, employing over 25,000 workers, are located on the peninsula. A large concentration of food wholesalers, distributors, and food processing businesses are located in the New York City zoned industrial business park. Below are some of the facilities that make up the Food Distribution Center in Hunts Point:
The New York City Terminal Market carries fresh fruit and vegetables from 49 states and 55 foreign countries. The market consists of four buildings, each one-third of a mile in length. More than 65 fruit and vegetable wholesalers own and operate the coop, which has 475,000 square feet (44,100 m2) of warehouse space. Each year approximately 2.7 billion pounds of produce are sold from the Market which as recently as 1998 posted $1.5 billion in revenues. The market caters to the largest ethnically diverse region in the world with an estimated population that exceeds 15 million people (New York metropolitan area).
The Hunts Point Cooperative Market handles the production, processing, distribution and sale of meat, poultry and related products. Spread over 38 acres (150,000 m2), the market’s six main buildings offer 700,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of refrigerated space. More than 50 independent wholesale food companies operate facilities here. In 2002, a state-of-the art, 100,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) refrigerated warehouse was added to accommodate the ever expanding needs businesses.
In November 2001, shortly before leaving office, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani broke ground for the new Fulton Fish Market building in Hunts Point. Nearly four years after the structure was completed, which cost $85 million to build, 55 businesses moved into a 450,000-square-foot (42,000 m2) complex, located within the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center. The facility generates an estimated $1 billion in yearly revenue, as it allows seafood distributors to store their goods in a temperature controlled warehouse with ease of access to NYC, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Two secure detention centers are located in Hunts Point with a third planned.
Spofford Juvenile Center was formerly the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice's (DJJ) only Secure Detention center. The facility started as the Youth House for Boys and Youth House for Girls in the mid-1940s, and it moved to Hunts Point in 1957. The Youth House soon became known as Spofford Juvenile Center. On August 1, 1998, when it was vacated by the DJJ; earlier that year, on January 18, the city announced that the Horizon Juvenile Center, in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx, and the Crossroads Juvenile Center, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, would be opened to replace the Spofford facility. However, ultimately, Spofford was not closed, but was instead renamed Bridges Juvenile Center in 1999. In early 2011, Bridges was closed by the city. In announcing the closure, the Correctional Association of New York recognized that the facility had "a history of poor conditions and brutality against children."
The Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center (VCBC) is an 800-bed barge built on Rikers Island, for $161 million, currently used as part of the New York City Department of Corrections. It is designed to handle inmates from medium- to maximum-security in 16 dormitories and 100 cells. It was opened in 1992 and was named for Vernon C. Bain, a warden who died in a car accident. It has been used by the city of New York as a prison, but has also temporarily held juvenile inmates.
There is one New York City Housing Authority low income housing development located in Hunts Point, Hunts Point Avenue Rehab, which includes thirteen rehabilitated tenement buildings, 4 and 5-stories tall.
Europeans first settled Hunt’s Point in 1663. At this time, Edward Jessup and John Richardson arrived on the peninsula and purchased the land from the Wekkguasegeeck tribe indigenous to the area. After Jessup died, his widow Elizabeth, entrusted the land to Thomas Hunt Jr., her son in-law for whom the area is named.
In the years between the Hunts’ inheritance and 1850, several other wealthy landowning families occupied the peninsula. Legend has it that George Fox (1624–1691), founder of the Society of Friends (commonly known as Quakers), preached in the area in 1672. William H. Fox, a descendant of the Quaker leader, and his wife Charlotte Leggett, owned much of the land that is now Hunts Point.
As time passed and more New Yorkers became aware of the luxurious lifestyle available in Hunt’s Point, more City dwellers flocked to the area between 1850 and 1900. Later, the property wound up in the hands of Fox's and Leggett's son-in-law, H.D. Tiffany, a member of the family that owned the famous jewelry and decorative arts store Tiffany & Co. now on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Fox, Tiffany and Leggett Streets derive their names from these former landowners. In 1909, the Fox mansion was demolished.
Hunts Point’s status as a home and vacation spot to the city’s elite came to a rather abrupt end in the period following World War I. At this time, a train line was built along Southern Boulevard. Apartment buildings replaced mansions, streets replaced meadows and Hunt’s Point became a virtual melting pot for the City’s masses.
Aside from being a period of residential growth for Hunt’s Point, the 20th century has also been a time of industrial expansion for the peninsula. As more people moved to the area, the city’s business owners began to realize the advantages of locating to Hunt’s Point. Among them were the convenient access to the Tri-State region, the existing rail lines running through the Hunt’s Point area and the abundance of space available for the development of industrial and commercial activity.
This discovery led to an influx of businesses to the area. As the momentum of incoming businesses increased, the reputation of Hunt’s Point grew accordingly among business circles. With the openings of the New York City Produce market in 1967 and Hunts Point Meat Market in 1974, and culminating with the designation of Hunts Point as an In-Place-Industrial Park in 1980, Hunts Point has grown into a successful economic zone. The Hunts Point Industrial Park hosts over 800 businesses providing an array of products and services to points throughout the world.
The second half of the 20th century, has been a difficult time for the district's residential community. Characterized by frequent arson and mass abandonment throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, this period was a low point in the area's history. Living conditions became so difficult that almost 60,000 residents, approximately two-thirds of the existing population, left the neighborhood during the 1970s. The first full-service post office in the neighborhood opened in 2001.
The area is patrolled by the 41st Precinct located at 1035 Longwood Avenue in Longwood. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue located in the Melrose section of the Bronx.
Hunts Point has suffered from crime and poverty for many years and is part of the poorest congressional district in the country, with over half the population living below the poverty line. The 41st Precinct consistently records the highest violent crime rate per capita in New York City. As a result, the area has a high rate of incarceration.
Due to the lucrative drug trade in the area, many drug addicts reside in the community. The neighborhood is also notorious for its prostitution industry. HBO has made four documentaries about prostitution in Hunts Point, the most recent in April 2002. In 2008, a local news station released a two part documentary on the life of several drug addicted sex workers living on the streets of the neighborhood.
There are several non-profits operating in this section of the South Bronx, most notably the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation (HPEDC), Per Scholas, Inc., Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), THE POINT Community Development Corporation, Rocking the Boat, City Year, Legal Aid Society, Bronx Neighborhood Office, Mothers on the Move, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Children's Bible Fellowship sponsored Revolution Church, Iridescent and South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO). Real Life Church, who has fed over 1,200 people in two years on Thanksgiving Day.
An urban arts scene is emerging in Hunts Point, with cultural institutions such as THE POINT Community Development Corporation, the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), and MUD/BONE STUDIO 889. BAAD is located in the historic Bank Note Building.
THE POINT, which is located in a former bagel factory, provides performance art space, visual art galleries, after-school programs in the visual and performing arts for schoolchildren in the community, and community organizing around environmental improvement and infrastructure development in the neighborhood.
In 2006, an on-line news outlet The Hunts Point Express began reporting on Hunts Point and Longwood. Written by students at Hunter College, it is edited by journalism professor Bernard L. Stein, and now appears in a print edition as well, available free at community centers, clinics and stores throughout the neighborhood.
The Hunts Point Branch of the New York Public Library was completed in 1929 as the last Carnegie library in the system. The building was designed by Carrère and Hastings, the architects of the main library in the Italian Renaissance style, with seven brick archways across the facade. In April 2009, the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the building a New York City Landmark, citing the design, history, and cultural significance.
The Bronx Charter School for the Arts, the Bronx Lighthouse Charter School, Hyde Leadership Charter School, the South Bronx Classical Charter School, and UA bronx studio school for writers and artists are located in Hunts Point. In September 2011, Hyde Leadership Charter School opened on Hunts Point Avenue, the first college preparatory high school to open in Hunts Point in nearly 30 years.
Other schools include the John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy Charter School, MS201 Theatre Arts & RSCH (As of 2008, it is now known as MS 424), P352 at 201 Vida Bogart School, PS 352, PS 48 Joseph R Drake, St. Ignatius School, St. Athanasius and Wildcat Second Opportunity School. IS 217, the School of Performing Arts, is also located in Hunts Point on Tiffany street.