Melrose, The Bronx

Moving further north, the Port Morris Branch passes under 156th Street, then passes through a short tunnel under Brooke Avenue between 157th Street and Third Avenue.

156th Street bridge over the Port Morris Branch
7/18/2008 12:52 PM
156th Street bridge over the Port Morris Branch
North side of the 156th Street bridge
7/18/2008 12:53 PM
North side of the 156th Street bridge
Trench between 156th and Brook Avenue tunnel
7/18/2008 12:54 PM
Trench between 156th and Brook Avenue tunnel
Looking south at 156th Street Bridge
7/18/2008 12:55 PM
Looking south at 156th Street Bridge
Railyard passing into a short tunnel under Brook Avenue
7/18/2008 12:55 PM
Railyard passing into a short tunnel under Brook Avenue
Old guard railing beside trench
7/18/2008 12:56 PM
Old guard railing beside trench
South entrance to Brook Avenue tunnel
7/18/2008 12:56 PM
South entrance to Brook Avenue tunnel
Hegney Place and Melrose Condominiums parking lot over the rail tunnel
7/18/2008 12:56 PM
Hegney Place and Melrose Condominiums parking lot over the rail tunnel
Melrose Condominiums
7/18/2008 12:54 PM
Melrose Condominiums
Melrose Condominiums
7/18/2008 12:56 PM
Melrose Condominiums
Melrose Condos parking place reserver
7/18/2008 02:31 PM
Melrose Condos parking place reserver
New gentrified development - east of the rail line
7/18/2008 12:57 PM
New gentrified development - east of the rail line
Vacant lot over the Brook Avenue tunnel at 158th Street
7/18/2008 12:58 PM
Vacant lot over the Brook Avenue tunnel at 158th Street
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
7/18/2008 12:59 PM
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
7/18/2008 01:02 PM
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
7/18/2008 01:02 PM
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
Vestigial wall top at 159th Street - perhaps predating the tunnel
7/18/2008 01:00 PM
Vestigial wall top at 159th Street - perhaps predating the tunnel
Tattered fencing protecting the north portal of the Brook Avenue tunnel
7/18/2008 01:00 PM
Tattered fencing protecting the north portal of the Brook Avenue tunnel
Tattered fencing protecting the north portal of the Brook Avenue tunnel
7/18/2008 01:01 PM
Tattered fencing protecting the north portal of the Brook Avenue tunnel
North portal to the Brook Avenue tunnel
7/18/2008 01:04 PM
North portal to the Brook Avenue tunnel
Right-of-way emerging from the Brook Avenue tunnel
7/18/2008 01:01 PM
Right-of-way emerging from the Brook Avenue tunnel
Closeup of trench wall
7/18/2008 01:01 PM
Closeup of trench wall
Rail line passing under Third Avenue
7/18/2008 01:03 PM
Rail line passing under Third Avenue
South side of Third Avenue Bridge
7/18/2008 01:03 PM
South side of Third Avenue Bridge
Railing along rail line just south of Third Avenue Bridge
7/18/2008 01:04 PM
Railing along rail line just south of Third Avenue Bridge
Third Avenue Bridge over tracks
7/18/2008 01:06 PM
Third Avenue Bridge over tracks
South guard wall of Third Avenue Bridge
7/18/2008 01:04 PM
South guard wall of Third Avenue Bridge
North guard wall of Third Avenue Bridge
7/18/2008 01:04 PM
North guard wall of Third Avenue Bridge
Right of way proceeding north of Third Avenue between some older buildings
7/18/2008 01:05 PM
Right of way proceeding north of Third Avenue between some older buildings
Vacant lot off Brook Avenue looking into the trench
7/18/2008 01:33 PM
Vacant lot off Brook Avenue looking into the trench
Overgrown rail line looking south from the 161st St Tunnel
7/18/2008 01:34 PM
Overgrown rail line looking south from the 161st St Tunnel

The Beaux-Arts Bronx Borough Courthouse was designed by Oscar Bluemner and completed in 1915. It is the sole survivor of what was a complex of government buildings. Troubles for the star-crossed building began even before it opened. It was finished a decade behind schedule and over budget. A corrupt Tammany Hall operative claimed the credit (and the commission) for the building. Surrounding elevated trains made it difficult to hear in the courtrooms and closing the windows made it unbearably hot. Growing population made the courthouse undersized and obsolete within a couple of decades of its opening and much of its caseload moved west to a new courthouse in the 1930s. It later served as a night court and storage building before being abandoned in the 1970s.

Ideas for reuse of the landmark building came and went over the years but the Giuliani Administration finally auctioned it off in 1996 for $130,000. When that bidder never paid, a second auction in 1998 got $300,000 from a speculator who promptly did nothing but sit on it and wait for the surrounding community to improve. Plans for a school in the building began circulating in 2007, although the site was listed for sale in 2007 at $25 million. In the Spring of 2008, plans to convert the building into a charter school were announced, although as of Summer 2008, no action at all seems to be taking place.

Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
7/18/2008 01:03 PM
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
7/18/2008 01:06 PM
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
Justice - not blind
7/18/2008 01:06 PM
Justice - not blind
Koch-era sign proclaiming seal-up of the derelict building
7/18/2008 01:07 PM
Koch-era sign proclaiming seal-up of the derelict building
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
7/18/2008 01:07 PM
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
East side of the courthouse
7/18/2008 01:09 PM
East side of the courthouse
North side of the courthouse
7/18/2008 01:30 PM
North side of the courthouse
North side of the courthouse
7/18/2008 01:31 PM
North side of the courthouse
West side of the courthouse
7/18/2008 01:33 PM
West side of the courthouse

The rail line in this area sits in the shadow of a ridge topped by Eagle Avenue. I took a little side trip up the hill to have a look around the neighborhood. This was a wasteland after the fires of the late 1970s, but much of it has been nicely redeveloped by both the city housing authority and by private developers. I'm not sure I'd want to live here, but its alot better than it was.

Where all those Delicioso Coco Helado carts come from
7/18/2008 01:09 PM
Where all those Delicioso Coco Helado carts come from
Older building on the corner of 161st Street across from the courthouse
7/18/2008 01:09 PM
Older building on the corner of 161st Street across from the courthouse
We have things them
7/18/2008 01:10 PM
We have things them
Hillside up to Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:11 PM
Hillside up to Eagle Avenue
Union Rincoena Social Club
7/18/2008 01:11 PM
Union Rincoena Social Club
NYCHA South Bronx Area
7/18/2008 01:13 PM
NYCHA South Bronx Area
NYCHA South Bronx Area
7/18/2008 01:16 PM
NYCHA South Bronx Area
NYCHA South Bronx Area
7/18/2008 01:19 PM
NYCHA South Bronx Area
Rebuilt row houses on 158th Street
7/18/2008 01:16 PM
Rebuilt row houses on 158th Street
Grove Hill Playground
7/18/2008 01:16 PM
Grove Hill Playground
Grove Hill Playground
7/18/2008 01:17 PM
Grove Hill Playground
Community garden in Grove Hill Playground
7/18/2008 01:17 PM
Community garden in Grove Hill Playground
Parking over the hillside off Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:17 PM
Parking over the hillside off Eagle Avenue
El Batey Borincano Community Garden - Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:18 PM
El Batey Borincano Community Garden - Eagle Avenue
El Batey Borincano
7/18/2008 01:18 PM
El Batey Borincano
El Batey Borincano
7/18/2008 01:18 PM
El Batey Borincano
View of courthouse from Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:19 PM
View of courthouse from Eagle Avenue
831 Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:19 PM
831 Eagle Avenue
831 Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:20 PM
831 Eagle Avenue
831 Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:06 PM
831 Eagle Avenue
831 Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:20 PM
831 Eagle Avenue
Casita
7/18/2008 01:21 PM
Casita
Eagle Avenue Bridge over East 161st Street
7/18/2008 01:21 PM
Eagle Avenue Bridge over East 161st Street
Eagle Avenue Bridge over East 161st Street
7/18/2008 02:27 PM
Eagle Avenue Bridge over East 161st Street
East 161st Street south of Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:22 PM
East 161st Street south of Eagle Avenue
East 161st Street north of Eagle Avenue
7/18/2008 01:21 PM
East 161st Street north of Eagle Avenue
New Hope for All Saints Lutheran Church
7/18/2008 01:26 PM
New Hope for All Saints Lutheran Church
Shops off Third Avenue at 161st Street
7/18/2008 02:10 PM
Shops off Third Avenue at 161st Street
Kennedy Fried Chicken!
7/18/2008 02:17 PM
Kennedy Fried Chicken!

Returning to the rail line - after a short stretch of open trench between Third Avenue and East 161st Street, the track proceeds into another short tunnel under O'Neill Triangle and Elton Avenue. The tunnel has obviously been rebuilt recently, perhaps covering a formerly open section of trench to create O'Neill Triangle.

Wall of the rail trench between buildings
7/18/2008 01:34 PM
Wall of the rail trench between buildings
Looking into the trench from off Washington Avenue
7/18/2008 01:35 PM
Looking into the trench from off Washington Avenue
Entrance to the newly rebuilt Elton Avenue Tunnel
7/18/2008 01:35 PM
Entrance to the newly rebuilt Elton Avenue Tunnel
Warning sign at entrance to the Elton Avenue Tunnel
7/18/2008 01:36 PM
Warning sign at entrance to the Elton Avenue Tunnel
Washington Ave. curving onto East 161st Street over the tunnel
7/18/2008 01:37 PM
Washington Ave. curving onto East 161st Street over the tunnel
O'Neill Triangle - sitting area over the tunnel
7/18/2008 01:38 PM
O'Neill Triangle - sitting area over the tunnel
O'Neill Triangle - tunnel path is obvious
7/18/2008 01:40 PM
O'Neill Triangle - tunnel path is obvious
Some kind of civil building off O'Neill Triangle
7/18/2008 01:38 PM
Some kind of civil building off O'Neill Triangle
Cops parked behind the building
7/18/2008 01:37 PM
Cops parked behind the building
Elton Avenue crossing the tracks
7/18/2008 01:39 PM
Elton Avenue crossing the tracks
Trees in the trench east of Elton Avenue
7/18/2008 02:07 PM
Trees in the trench east of Elton Avenue
Gentrification off Elton Avenue
7/18/2008 01:39 PM
Gentrification off Elton Avenue

Just south of 163rd Street (about 500 feet before where the yard where the Port Morris Branch joined with the main line), there is an irregular vacant lot surrounding the open track trench that might be a nice location for a station. Although surrounded on the west by a largely industrial section, the lot is cattycorner to the new Boricua College development and down the hill from a significant amount of post-70s redevelopment. If the line ends up going all the way to the Metro North Melrose Station (Park Ave. at East 162nd Street), this may be a bit too close for an additional station (and too short an area for a full subway platform). But in the context of the current development in the area, it might be an option to put the station here and just let Metro North transferees take a short walk up the hill.

Dumpsters in the trench north of Elton Avenue - future station site?
7/18/2008 01:40 PM
Dumpsters in the trench north of Elton Avenue - future station site?
Brick portal off the tunnel - entry to a demolished building?
7/18/2008 01:40 PM
Brick portal off the tunnel - entry to a demolished building?
No dumping
7/18/2008 01:42 PM
No dumping
Dumping
7/18/2008 01:42 PM
Dumping
Northeast edge of vacant lot surrounding the trench
7/18/2008 01:42 PM
Northeast edge of vacant lot surrounding the trench
Water in the trench between Elton Ave. and 163rd Street
7/18/2008 01:43 PM
Water in the trench between Elton Ave. and 163rd Street
West side of trench between Elton Ave. and 163rd Street
7/18/2008 01:43 PM
West side of trench between Elton Ave. and 163rd Street
Overgrown trench looking south from 163rd Street
7/18/2008 01:44 PM
Overgrown trench looking south from 163rd Street

Boricua College was founded to meet the educational needs of Puerto Ricans and other Spanish-speaking students. The school held its first classes in 1974 and as of 2008 it had around 1,200 students on two campuses - one in Manhattan's Audobon Terrace and the other in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Boricua Village is a 4.5 acre development the college is building on lots of city-owned land between 163rd Street, 161st Street, Elton Avenue and Third Avenue. The project will include 750 units of affordable housing, a small community high school, retail space and a 14-story tower for Boricua College, giving the school the capacity to more than double its current enrollment while "revitalizing" formerly dormant land.

Boricua College development
7/18/2008 01:25 PM
Boricua College development
Lonely holdout walkup in the Boricua College development
7/18/2008 01:29 PM
Lonely holdout walkup in the Boricua College development
Boricua College development
7/18/2008 01:29 PM
Boricua College development
Boricua College development
7/18/2008 01:29 PM
Boricua College development
Non-union illegal immigrant labor?
7/18/2008 01:29 PM
Non-union illegal immigrant labor?
Demolition certificates
7/18/2008 01:30 PM
Demolition certificates
Boricua College development
7/18/2008 01:32 PM
Boricua College development
Boricua College development
7/18/2008 01:39 PM
Boricua College development

Proceeding north to the Melrose Yard / Junction, the eastern edge of the yard along Brooke Avenue is home to a number of grand old industrial buildings.

Industrial buildings to the east of the yard on Brooke Avenue
7/18/2008 01:46 PM
Industrial buildings to the east of the yard on Brooke Avenue
973 Brooke Avenue
7/18/2008 01:47 PM
973 Brooke Avenue
Brooke Auto - 975 Brooke Avenue
7/18/2008 01:47 PM
Brooke Auto - 975 Brooke Avenue
Brooke Auto
7/18/2008 02:02 PM
Brooke Auto
The Good Guys Warehouse
7/18/2008 02:02 PM
The Good Guys Warehouse
Derelict walkup on East 164th Street
7/18/2008 02:03 PM
Derelict walkup on East 164th Street
Closed Ice Plant on Brooke Avenue
7/18/2008 01:48 PM
Closed Ice Plant on Brooke Avenue
Ice Plant
7/18/2008 01:48 PM
Ice Plant
Ice Plant
7/18/2008 01:48 PM
Ice Plant
Ice Plant
7/18/2008 01:54 PM
Ice Plant
Ice Plant
7/18/2008 01:54 PM
Ice Plant

In a remarkable bit of chutzpa, somebody thought this would be a good place for a Days Inn. It is fairly close to the Melrose Metro North station so it might not be so bad for tourists who know what they're doing. But I'd still be a bit fearful for my car in the parking lot.

Bronx Days Inn
7/18/2008 01:49 PM
Bronx Days Inn
Bronx Days Inn
7/18/2008 01:50 PM
Bronx Days Inn
Bronx Days Inn
7/18/2008 02:00 PM
Bronx Days Inn
Bronx Days Inn
7/18/2008 02:00 PM
Bronx Days Inn

Melrose Station

The Circumferential Subway Line would terminate with the end of the Port Morris Branch at the Melrose Yard / Junction with what was a connection to the Harlem River Line. The final bridge before the yard is over 163rd Street. If Metro-North connectivity is desired, the line could probably run almost adjacent to the Melrose Station. However, it might be best to put the terminus as some point east to provide the maximum benefit to an underserved area.

When I visited, the Melrose Yard / Junction was being used by Brooke Auto Shipping and Storage.

163rd Street Bridge over the tracks
7/18/2008 01:43 PM
163rd Street Bridge over the tracks
South side of 163rd Street Bridge
7/18/2008 01:43 PM
South side of 163rd Street Bridge
North side of 163rd Street Bridge
7/18/2008 01:44 PM
North side of 163rd Street Bridge
Parking lot west of the trench - old siding area?
7/18/2008 01:44 PM
Parking lot west of the trench - old siding area?
South side of 163rd Street Bridge
7/18/2008 01:45 PM
South side of 163rd Street Bridge
Trench emerging into the Melrose Yard
7/18/2008 01:45 PM
Trench emerging into the Melrose Yard
Trench emerging into the Melrose Yard
7/18/2008 01:52 PM
Trench emerging into the Melrose Yard
Melrose Avenue viaduct over the Melrose Yard
7/18/2008 01:50 PM
Melrose Avenue viaduct over the Melrose Yard
Looking south across the Melrose Yard
7/18/2008 01:54 PM
Looking south across the Melrose Yard
Cable ducts remnant on old yard wall?
7/18/2008 01:53 PM
Cable ducts remnant on old yard wall?
Melrose / Brooke Avenue bridge over the Harlem Line
7/18/2008 01:50 PM
Melrose / Brooke Avenue bridge over the Harlem Line
Melrose / Brooke Avenue bridge
7/18/2008 01:56 PM
Melrose / Brooke Avenue bridge
Looking south on Harlem Line - Melrose station in the distance
7/18/2008 01:56 PM
Looking south on Harlem Line - Melrose station in the distance
Melrose Avenue bridge - note the disused cable ducts on the bridge abutment
7/18/2008 01:57 PM
Melrose Avenue bridge - note the disused cable ducts on the bridge abutment
Harlem Line headed north
7/18/2008 01:59 PM
Harlem Line headed north
Melrose / Brook Avenue bridge (BIN 2241630)
7/18/2008 01:59 PM
Melrose / Brook Avenue bridge (BIN 2241630)