Over the past few months, we had the opportunity to speak with Sophia Paliza-Carre and Sarah Hayley Barrett of WNYC on a long-term project they were working on the changing face of the South Bronx as gentrification begins to roll through, particularly Mott Haven and Port Morris.
The South Bronx waterfront is industrial, smelly, and inaccessible.
Nearly a third of the city’s garbage goes through Mott Haven and is then transferred to trucks or a train that snakes along the Harlem River’s edge, out to garbage dumps around the region.
“You can smell how horrible it is, that water sitting there, that is all water that leaks from trucks that come by,” said Ed Garcia Conde, a Melrose resident and author of the blog, Welcome2theBronx. “This actually permeates through the neighborhood. On certain days when it’s warm and humid, it stretches around.”
Listen to segment:
Garcia Conde and many other South Bronx residents want the waterfront cleaned up — they want esplanades and green space instead of railroads and highways. They’ve been envisioning what they want the waterfront to become for decades.
The city wants it cleaned up too. In 2006 Mayor Bloomberg announced the South Bronx Initiative, a plan to attract development to the South Bronx. It sought to leverage private development to create a continuous promenade on the Bronx side of the Harlem River that would be publicly accessible.
Now, developers Keith Rubenstein of Somerset Partners, along with the Chetrit Group, are ready to break ground on the first section of the neglected waterfront in Mott Haven. They plan to build six towers on both sides of the Third Avenue Bridge with approximately 1,200 market-rate units.