Hunts Point, The Bronx, New York City
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Hunts Point is a neighborhood in the Bronx borough of New York City. The peninsula extends west into a bend of the East River. The neighborhood is bounded by Westchester Avenue to the north, the Bronx River to the east, the East River to the south, and Prospect Avenue to the west. The neighborhoods of Longwood, Intervale Valley and Hunts Point comprise the community district area in which Hunts Point is located.
Hunts Point-Longwood is located in Bronx Community District 2 and is a 2.1 square mile area of the South Bronx. The population of Community District 2 is about 50,000 of which 42% receive public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid).
The 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 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, Hunt's Point has grown into a booming economic zone. Today Hunt's Point thrives as an Industrial Park hosting over 800 businesses providing an array of products and services to points throughout the world. Since 1988 Josephine Infante, Executive Director of The Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, has been managing the Hunts Point In-Place Industrial Park and providing development assistance to the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center: HPEDC helped the Hunts Point Cooperative Market obtain $16 million for the construction of a state of-the-art refrigerated 100,000 s.f. warehouse. The construction was completed in 2001, creating 200 new jobs in Hunts Point.
The 1970's and early 1980's, however, were difficult years for the districts' residential community. Characterized by frequent arson and mass abandonment, this period was undoubtedly the low point in the area's rich and diverse history. Living conditions became so difficult that almost 60,000 residents, approximately two-thirds of the existing population, left the neighborhood during the 1970's.
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