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.

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.

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.

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.

07/18/2008 12:52:55
156th Street bridge over the Port Morris Branch
07/18/2008 12:53:14
North side of the 156th Street bridge
07/18/2008 12:54:50
Trench between 156th and Brook Avenue tunnel
07/18/2008 12:55:54
Looking south at 156th Street Bridge
07/18/2008 12:55:17
Railyard passing into a short tunnel under Brook Avenue
07/18/2008 12:56:10
Old guard railing beside trench
07/18/2008 12:56:26
South entrance to Brook Avenue tunnel
07/18/2008 12:56:51
Hegney Place and Melrose Condominiums parking lot over the rail tunnel
07/18/2008 12:54:23
Melrose Condominiums
07/18/2008 12:56:35
Melrose Condominiums
07/18/2008 14:31:55
Melrose Condos parking place reserver
07/18/2008 12:57:34
New gentrified development - east of the rail line
07/18/2008 12:58:14
Vacant lot over the Brook Avenue tunnel at 158th Street
07/18/2008 12:59:55
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
07/18/2008 13:02:10
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
07/18/2008 13:02:21
Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
07/18/2008 13:00:24
Vestigial wall top at 159th Street - perhaps predating the tunnel
07/18/2008 13:00:48
Tattered fencing protecting the north portal of the Brook Avenue tunnel
07/18/2008 13:01:03
Tattered fencing protecting the north portal of the Brook Avenue tunnel
07/18/2008 13:04:33
North portal to the Brook Avenue tunnel
07/18/2008 13:01:15
Right-of-way emerging from the Brook Avenue tunnel
07/18/2008 13:01:43
Closeup of trench wall
07/18/2008 13:03:18
Rail line passing under Third Avenue
07/18/2008 13:03:58
South side of Third Avenue Bridge
07/18/2008 13:04:05
Railing along rail line just south of Third Avenue Bridge
07/18/2008 13:06:29
Third Avenue Bridge over tracks
07/18/2008 13:04:17
South guard wall of Third Avenue Bridge
07/18/2008 13:04:43
North guard wall of Third Avenue Bridge
07/18/2008 13:05:30
Right of way proceeding north of Third Avenue between some older buildings
07/18/2008 13:33:17
Vacant lot off Brook Avenue looking into the trench
07/18/2008 13:34:16
Overgrown rail line looking south from the 161st Street Tunnel
07/18/2008 13:03:42
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
07/18/2008 13:06:05
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
07/18/2008 13:06:55
Justice - not blind
07/18/2008 13:07:07
Koch-era sign proclaiming seal-up of the derelict building
07/18/2008 13:07:56
Old Bronx Borough Courthouse
07/18/2008 13:09:08
East side of the courthouse
07/18/2008 13:30:53
North side of the courthouse
07/18/2008 13:31:34
North side of the courthouse
07/18/2008 13:33:06
West side of the courthouse
07/18/2008 13:09:30
Where all those Delicioso Coco Helado carts come from
07/18/2008 13:09:48
Older building on the corner of 161st Street across from the courthouse
07/18/2008 13:10:05
We have things them
07/18/2008 13:11:07
Hillside up to Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:11:25
Union Rincoena Social Club
07/18/2008 13:13:52
NYCHA South Bronx Area
07/18/2008 13:16:52
NYCHA South Bronx Area
07/18/2008 13:19:26
NYCHA South Bronx Area
07/18/2008 13:16:40
Rebuilt row houses on 158th Street
07/18/2008 13:16:25
Grove Hill Playground
07/18/2008 13:17:21
Grove Hill Playground
07/18/2008 13:17:41
Community garden in Grove Hill Playground
07/18/2008 13:17:52
Parking over the hillside off Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:18:18
El Batey Borincano Community Garden - Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:18:39
El Batey Borincano
07/18/2008 13:18:48
El Batey Borincano
07/18/2008 13:19:08
View of courthouse from Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:19:59
831 Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:20:33
831 Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:06:19
831 Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:20:42
831 Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:21:08
07/18/2008 13:21:32
Eagle Avenue Bridge over East 161st Street
07/18/2008 14:27:34
Eagle Avenue Bridge over East 161st Street
07/18/2008 13:22:17
East 161st Street south of Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:21:57
East 161st Street north of Eagle Avenue
07/18/2008 13:26:40
New Hope for All Saints Lutheran Church
07/18/2008 14:10:22
Shops off Third Avenue at 161st Street
07/18/2008 14:17:26
Kennedy Fried Chicken!
07/18/2008 13:34:44
Wall of the rail trench between buildings
07/18/2008 13:35:05
Looking into the trench from off Washington Avenue
07/18/2008 13:35:49
Entrance to the newly rebuilt Elton Avenue Tunnel
07/18/2008 13:36:24
Warning sign at entrance to the Elton Avenue Tunnel
07/18/2008 13:37:33
Washington Ave. curving onto East 161st Street over the tunnel
07/18/2008 13:38:04
O'Neill Triangle - sitting area over the tunnel
07/18/2008 13:40:02
O'Neill Triangle - tunnel path is obvious
07/18/2008 13:38:42
Some kind of civil building off O'Neill Triangle
07/18/2008 13:37:25
Cops parked behind the building
07/18/2008 13:39:09
Elton Avenue crossing the tracks
07/18/2008 14:07:55
Trees in the trench east of Elton Avenue
07/18/2008 13:39:35
Gentrification off Elton Avenue

Next: The Harlem Line