New York Real Estate: Morris Park, Bronx
Morris Park is defined by Pelham Parkway to the north, the Amtrak/Metro-North tracks to the east and south and Muliner Avenue and Bronxdale Avenue to the west.
Morris Park’s thriving Italian community is often compared to the better-known Little Italy centered on Arthur Avenue, but that doesn’t mean the locals are any less proud of their neighborhood.
The number of pasticcerie, salumerias, and pizzerias crammed into the area is spellbinding, Italian is spoken in the shops, and even the parking meters are striped with the colors of the motherland’s flag.
But at the turn of the century, Morris Park was famous for something else: its racetrack, which was built by John Albert Morris.
Local development picked up in 1910 when a streetcar line was installed on Morris Park Avenue, and construction of new roads and housing continuing well past World War II. Soon, droves of Italian immigrants began settling in the area.
Though the area’s Italian qualities are prominent, some locals claim there’s more to Morris Park than the Italian community.
“It’s always been a family area, and that’s stayed the same, but now all types of people live here,” said Angela DaBenigno, who moved to Morris Park in 1992. “People move in, people move out, but the area constantly adapts to the changes.”
The neighborhood is now home to significant populations of Albanians, Latinos and Chinese.
“There are a lot of different ethnic varieties, different colors,” said DaBenigno. “Years ago it was much more Italian, but times change.”
Though Morris Park’s population has become more diverse in recent years, residents still have certain things in common.
“It’ll always be a good, regular crowd–down-to-earth, working class people,” said DaBenigno. “No matter how much it changes, it’s still a gem in the Bronx.”
TO EAT & DRINK
Morris Park’s restaurant scene is comprised largely of Italian eateries, with the pizza places considered among the best in the Bronx. Try Emilio’s (1051 Morris Park Ave.); Luciano’s Pizza (1005 Morris Park Ave.); Pasta Pasta (2023 Williamsbridge Rd.); and Federici Ristorante (980 Morris Park Ave.).
This extraordinarily popular brick pizza restaurant gets so packed during peak hours that squeezing through to your table can be quite trying indeed. The atmosphere’s unbeatable, and so is the food: sandwiches made with slices of rich and oily focaccia, breadbaskets accompanied by garlicky dips and arguably some of the best pizza in the Bronx (some even say the city).
1080 Morris Park Ave. 718-409-9069
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