St. Mary's Park The Bronx

The trench from Port Morris up to St. Mary's Park is extremely narrow and surrounded by formidable industrial buildings. Accordingly, it would probably not be desirable to place a stop on the line until it gets into more spacious environs north of St. Mary's Park.

The "highlight" of the Port Morris Branch is a deep bore tunnel under St. Mary's Park. It is not easily (or legally) accessible from the street so I don't have any pictures from inside. But I would imagine that if there isn't too much standing water in it, there probably are street people calling it home. It would doubtless be a stimulating walk.

St. Mary's Park was part of the estate of Jonas Bronck (1600-1643), for whom the Bronx is named. The land was later owned by Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816). The land was annexed by the City of New York in 1874 and following the efforts of journalist John Mullaly (1835-1915), the 1884 New Parks Act lead to the purchase of land between 1888 and 1890 for six parks in the Bronx. This 35-acre park was named after the Episcopal church that stood three blocks to the west until 1959.

The tunnel under the park was dug in 1903 as part of a grade-crossing elimination project for the entire Port Morris Branch.

Starting in the early 1970s, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development gave the Boston real estate company Continental Wingate a number of crumbling buildings here in the South Bronx along with mortgage guarantees, tax breaks and federal subsidies. This early example of privatization was intended to help improve the quality of life here, but, instead, the company became the area's biggest slumlord. In the mid 1990s, tenants organized to convince HUD to investigate the company. The probe found rampant negligence and fraud, compounded by HUD secretary Andrew Cuomo apparently looking the other way while the government and residents were fleeced by the company's owner, Gerald Schuster, who was a major Democratic donor. Once Continental Wingate was out of the picture, management was taken over by the Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association, a non-profit entity run by tenants and community leaders.

07/18/2008 15:31:31
Trench coming from the south into St. Mary's Park
07/18/2008 15:35:51
Jackson Avenue running over the southern portal of the tunnel
07/18/2008 15:27:32
Jackson Avenue running over the southern portal of the tunnel
07/18/2008 15:27:14
Where the tunnel runs off the southeast end of St. Mary's Park
07/18/2008 15:30:06
St. Mary's Park baseball field
07/18/2008 15:26:09
Southeast corner of St. Mary's Park
07/18/2008 15:09:29
Redeveloped low-rise multi-family dwellings south of the park
07/18/2008 15:08:05
A southern gate entrance to the park
07/18/2008 15:06:09
Exposed rock outcroppings in the center of the park
07/18/2008 15:05:33
Walkway through the park
07/18/2008 15:03:01
Playground in the northwest part of the park
07/18/2008 14:58:55
Pathway into the park over the tunnel
07/18/2008 14:57:36
Tunnel crossing under East 149th Street at the northwest corner of the park
07/18/2008 14:56:18
Tunnel crossing under a vacant lot at the corner of 149th Street and St. Ann's Avenue
07/18/2008 14:55:59
Parks Department district headquarters at the northwest corner of the park
07/18/2008 14:54:55
I.S. 162 - just east of the tunnel
07/18/2008 14:54:08
St. Mary's Park Tunnel passing under St. Ann's Avenue
07/18/2008 14:53:52
Meager fencing on the north portal of the St. Mary's Park tunnel
07/18/2008 14:53:41
Short section of trench between Westchester Ave. and the St. Mary's Park tunnel
07/18/2008 15:11:14
Sign in front of a vacant lot
07/18/2008 15:11:30
Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association
07/18/2008 15:12:25
Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association
07/18/2008 15:11:51
Vacant lot - St. Ann's Avenue at 142nd Street
07/18/2008 15:15:59
Apartment buildings on East 141st Street
07/18/2008 15:17:10
Closed deli in an apartment building on East 141st Street
07/18/2008 15:21:24
Old rowhouses on Jackson Avenue north of 141st Street
07/18/2008 15:24:47
New rowhouses on Jackson Avenue north of 142nd Street

Next: Westchester Avenue Station