The Hub-Third Avenue Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) is the retail heart of the South Bronx, located where four roads converge: East 149th Street, Willis, Melrose and Third Avenues. It is primarily located inside the neighborhood of Melrose but also lines the northern border of Mott Haven. The Hub has been called “the Broadway of the Bronx.” It is the site of both maximum traffic and architectural density. In configuration, it resembles a miniature Times Square, a spatial “bow-tie” created by the geometry of the street intersections. It is a primary shopping district for Bronx residents, and many new Hip-Hop trends can be found in the Hub long before they spread to the rest of New York City and the world. The area is part of Bronx Community Board 1.
The area is served by the Third Avenue-149th Street station on the IRT White Plains Road Line of the New York City Subway.
The Hub is the oldest major shopping locale in the Bronx. Between 1900 and 1930, the number of Bronx residents increased from 201,000 to 1,265,000. Inhabitants throughout the borough shopped in department stores and boutiques at 149th Street and 3rd Avenue, an area that came to be known in this time as “the Hub”. In the 30s the Hub had movie palaces and vaudeville theaters.
A few decades after it became a national symbol of urban decay, the Bronx is now home to a rash of new construction projects that are rebuilding neighborhoods that have seen little new construction in half a century. On March 14, 2006, the mayor and other elected officials took part in the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for the new “Hub Retail and Office Center.”
After a year and a half of construction, the HUB Retail and Office Center opened in the summer of 2007. Current tenants include Staples, Rite Aid, and Forman Mills, a clothing store opening its first New York store in the Bronx. Upcoming tenants include Nine West and Sleepy’s. As a result, the Hub’s district is extended to East 156th Street in Melrose.
Its shopping traffic in the Hub generated via foot, car and public transportation. The sidewalks in the Hub are often packed with people. Merchants hawk their wares by calling out to the crowd or passing out small handbills. Music stores offer a wide selection of Latin music, Hip-Hop, Reggae, and Gospel. Craft stores have knitting and sewing supplies. Local clothing stores such as Revolution Boutique compete with major chains like Jimmy Jazz and Foot Locker.