Soundview, The Bronx (History)

soundviewSoundview is a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the south central section of the borough of the Bronx in New York City. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 9. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are: The Cross-Bronx Expressway to the north, White Plains Road to the east, Lacombe Avenue to the south, and the Bronx River to the west. The Bruckner Expressway bisects the neighborhood along the center and the Bronx River Parkway runs north to south. Soundview Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Soundview. The local subway is the 6 line, operating along Westchester Avenue. Zip codes include 10472 and 10473. The area is patrolled by the 43rd Precinct located at 900 Fteley Avenue. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 8 at 2794 Randall Avenue in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx.

Soundview has a population over 75,000. Almost half the population lives below the poverty line and receives public assistance (AFDC, Home Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid). The neighborhood has a high concentration of African Americans and Hispanics. The vast majority of households are renter occupied.

Until the 1940s, the neighborhood was relatively undeveloped. Most of the residential housing had been built near the El on Westchester Avenue and along major streets like Soundview Avenue. In 1941, Clason Point Gardens was the first development constructed by the NYCHA in the Bronx. It is located at the corner of Metcalf and Story Avenues along Soundview Park. Formerly military barracks converted into low income housing, this development is made up of forty-six 2-story multi-unit rowhouses. This development was originally plagued by very high crime, vacancy rates and decay. The NYCHA planned to tear the development down and replace it with highrises like later built surrounding developments. Fortunately the NYCHA later redesigned the grounds which reduced the crime rate somewhat. Included in the improvement plans were new and improved lighting, redesigned pathways and social spaces, and personalization of some of the grounds.

soundview2In the 1950s and 1960s along with expressways, many more low income public housing projects were constructed in the area. The Bronx River Houses were built in 1951 on Harrod Avenue and East 174th Street. Nine highrise towers built on a single super block.

The next development to be built in 1954 was the Soundview Houses immediately to the south of the Clason Point Gardens at the corner of Randall and Rosedale Avenues. This development spans two super blocks with 13 seven-story apartment buildings. Due to the developments isolation and demographics the complex quickly fell into decay and crime skyrocketed.

After the Soundview Houses were completed the NYCHA constructed the Bronxdale Houses one block north of the Clason Point Gardens along Bruckner Blvd between Soundview and Thieriot Avenues. This development spans three super blocks for a total of 28 seven-story buildings.