Safety First: Is Mott Haven Safe In 2024?

Looking for a safe haven in New York City, the big city of dreams? Then Mott Haven might just be the exactly right spot to settle.

Mott Haven is a small pocket of a neighborhood in the Bronx which is on the up and up! Exciting times! The Bronx is one of the five boroughs of New York City, in addition to Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The fact that Mott Haven is just a hop and a skip from the best New York City has to offer makes it very attractive. 

bronx map
NY Bronx Vector Map Green. All source data is in the public domain. U.S. Census Bureau Census Tiger. Used Layers: areawater, linearwater, cousub, pointlm.

Mott Haven is one of the most vibrant, diverse and active neighborhoods in the storied borough, leading the charge for the revitalization of the entire South Bronx! Dining options include cuisines from all over the world and schools are aplenty. Transportation is easy and there is a growing sense of community in the area. 

Read on in the article to find out more about what makes Mott Haven a special and unique place and most importantly, to answer this question: Is Mott Haven safe?

General Overview

Here’s another fun fact! Mott Haven was one of the first two neighborhoods included in the designation ‘South Bronx.’ Keep reading to find out what the second neighborhood was!

A melange of different cultures is represented in Mott Haven. Hispanics make up nearly two-thirds of the population, and this is reflected in the mixture of people with backgrounds from one of the many countries in Latin America. Puerto Rican is the dominant heritage, living alongside Mexicans, Dominicans, and more. 

A growing job market exists in Mott Haven, with private and public sector investments creating employment opportunities in the area. While most people rent, the housing is still mostly affordable. This aspect of the community will be investigated deeper a little later in this article. 

Residents cite two key features of the neighborhood as attractive qualities. The first is the close proximity and easy travel to Manhattan and all the best that borough has to offer in dining, shopping, entertainment and culture. More on transportation further on in the article.

The second feature is that Mott Haven offers an easy connection to Randall’s Island. In general, Mott Haven is an outdoorsy neighborhood. Randall’s Island is a small island nearby, with a population of under 2,000. Randall’s Island offers hiking, trails, athletic fields and much more.

is mott haven safe? - randall's island
Waterside path, Randall’s Island, East River, New York, NY, USA.

So, where is Mott Haven exactly? Is it ‘Beyond The Sea’, as famous Mott Haven resident Bobby Darin once sang? Well, no, but it is surrounded on either side by bodies of water. In general, Mott Haven is an outdoorsy neighborhood. In fact, The Bronx itself is rated the greenest of all the boroughs, holding the highest percentage of parks within its borders. 

The official borders of Mott Haven are the Bruckner Expressway to the east and the Major Deegan Expressway to the south. Not to be confused with the Minor Deegan Expressway, which doesn’t exist.

On the north is 149th Street and to the west is the Harlem River. Go south and you will also stumble into the Bronx Kills Waterway, which doesn’t have as many dead bodies in it as it sounds like. 

Neighboring enclaves include Melrose, but it’s not the one from the famous Fox TV series ‘Melrose Place’, and Woodstock, but it’s not the one upstate where the historic music festival was held in 1969.

Also nearby, naturally, is Port Morris, the other neighborhood that was originally included when the term ‘South Bronx’ debuted. 

Melrose, Port Morris, and Mott Haven are overseen by Bronx Community Board 1.

Historic Districts

One thing that makes Mott Haven such an unusual, eclectic area is that sitting beside the public housing complexes that populate the neighborhood, which are some of the largest public housing developments in New York City and the country, are not one, not two, but three historic districts showcasing notable architecture.

The first historic district is primarily residential and was first erected in the 19th century. The district is called simply ‘Mott Haven’ and runs from East 138th street to East 141st street along Alexander Avenue. The classic four and five story brownstones make up a row of houses known as Doctors Row and Irish Fifth Avenue, a reference to the world renowned Manhattan upscale shopping and residential district.

Fun Fact! The Mott Haven Historic District was the Bronx’s first designated historic district. 

Next, The Mott Haven East Historic District. This strip was mostly designed by two architects working in a Dutch and neo-Grecian style. East Historic is a smaller district spanning just 1 block, running from East 139th to 140th Street between Brook Avenue and Willis Avenue. The buildings’ designs date back to 1863.

One more block to go! The third historic district in Mott Haven is the Bertine Block. It is also located between Willis and Brook avenues but on East 136th street. This historic block is home to a row of buildings designed by Edward Bertine in the 1890s, mostly yellow-faced brick brownstones.

Also worth noting is that the Bronx’s oldest church is in Mott Haven. St Ann’s Episcopal Church, built in 1841. 

Real Estate In Mott Haven

At the moment, Mott Haven is in the throes of development. New residential complexes and classic four or five-floor multi-family dwellings and row houses are just some of the living spaces calling new residents to the neighborhood. Particularly in demand are luxury high-rises and condos.

Real Estate is still cheap relative to the rest of the city. You can find three bedrooms for rent starting at 2,400 dollars, unheard of in today’s New York. One of the most exciting developing areas is Bruckner Boulevard, a former industrial area. Many of the warehouses have been converted to living spaces, including a former piano factory.

Fun Fact! Mott Haven used to be known as a ‘Piano District.’

The downside is that since most residents rent their domiciles, there are not a lot of apartments for sale. One trend that has sprung up in response to this need is the purchasing of multi-family dwellings, with the owners living in one unit and renting the remaining units.

Of course, all this property development has a symbiotic relationship as a growth driver with job expansion. The neighborhood has been adding jobs thanks to both the housing development and the private and public sector investments. The Bronx as a whole has been setting employment records for over ten years now. 

One quality that makes real estate so attractive in Mott Haven is the easy access to transportation. Major metro bus and subway lines that serve Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens also serve Mott Haven. If you’re driving, there are five bridges you can use throughout the neighborhood

But you don’t even need the transportation in many cases. Mott Haven is close to many renowned medical centers, including facilities which are a part of the NYC Health+Hospitals network. Besides that, educational institutions abound!

Besides that, the Bronx has been named a ‘walker’s paradise’ and Mott Haven in particular is very walkable. With all that good exercise, maybe you won’t need the hospital! Did you know? Mott Haven has approximately 182 eateries, cafes and bars within its borders. 

Fun Fact: Willis Avenue was once crowned the street with the most bars on it! 

Naturally, longtime residents are worried about gentrification driving prices up, but at the same time, they appreciate the new options presented to them as a result. Not for lack of trying, the new trendy marketing label for the neighborhood, ‘SoBro’ a reference to the hip downtown Manhattan neighborhood SoHo, has failed to ignite. 

Average Rental And Sale Prices (As Of February 2024)

Rental and Sale Prices in Mott Haven are still reasonably affordable. You can find a one-bedroom as low as 1,500 USD a month! What? But snap them up now, the average rate per square foot is rapidly increasing.

The home ownership rate in Mott Haven is 8%, and buildings can cost anywhere from 200,000 to one million. Prices are influenced by various factors such as size, condition and state of foreclosure.

The latest average price to buy a home in Mott Haven are as follows: A studio will cost you 199,000. A 1-bedroom will run 212,500. A 2-Bedroom will be 299,000. A 3-bedroom is almost double the price at 550,000. Finally, the average cost for a 4-bedroom is 719,000 USD. 

Ninety-six percent of residents rent their home in Mott Haven! Leaving just four percent for home ownership. Rent prices have increased over thirty percent since 2007. On the plus side, the growth in median household income rates has slightly outpaced the increase in median rent prices.

According to the latest figures, the average rent costs per month in Motts Haven are as follows: A 1-Bedroom will cost around 2,199 USD. A 2-bedroom runs around 2,300 USD. A 3-bedroom around 2,400 and a 4-bedroom 2,750 USD. 

Fifty-four percent of Mott Haven residents say housing is affordable. 

Public Transportation In Mott Haven

The average commute time to work for residents of Mott Haven is around forty minutes. The primary mode of transportation is by car, used by a great majority of residents. A smaller majority take public transportation. A significant number of residents walk to work.

If you’re driving to work, you have five bridges to choose from to get you where you need to go. The Triborough Bridge ends in Mott Haven, but it is a toll bridge. The Madison Avenue Bridge, Willis Avenue Bridge and the 145th Street Bridge will all take you into Manhattan. Finally, the Third Avenue Bridge is the charm!

Residents say traffic is a fact of life in the neighborhood, leading to high pollution rates. 

The main subway lines operating in Mott Haven are the 4,5,6, which will take you into Manhattan on the East Side. The 4 and 5 trains are express and do not stop at all stations, but they will get you to midtown Manhattan in twenty minutes. The 6 is local and makes all stops. 

If you need to get to the west side, take the 2 train.

There are plenty of places to catch a bus, since the Bx1, Bx2, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx21, Bx32, and Bx33 all serve the neighborhood of Mott Haven, stopping at locations as varied as Lincoln Avenue and Grand Concourse Station, amongst others. 

Restaurants And Dining

Boy, can your palette get tickled in Mott Haven. Culinary delights range from Caribbean to Mexican, Spanish and even Eastern European! 

If you’re a tequila type, try La Patrona Restaurant, Mofongo Tequila Bar, which serves Puerto Rican cuisine or Mamacita Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar.

Another favorite in the neighborhood is Charlie’s. They serve massive portions of traditional American dishes like to die for fried chicken and they have live music on the weekends! For extra notability, Charlie’s is located in the former piano factory. 

Asian fusion can be found at Cee-Tay, where you can order sushi directly from the chef and wash it down with mouth-watering cocktails. If you’re after some Dominican or Cuban cuisine, try El Viejo Yayo. Their specialty is aguas frescas made with fresh fruits and vegetables.

That’s not all! Get your tapas on at The Bastardas while sitting on a beautiful terrace outfitted with a mediterranean ambiance. 

Plus, don’t miss the seasonal Farmers Market that started recently on East 138th Street. 

Attractions And Nightlife

Mott Haven is a mix of contemporary entertainment and culture mixed with historical significance.

Highlights include the living museum known as the Botanical Gardens, while hopping one stop on the subway will put you at the legendary Yankees Stadium, home of the world-famous baseball team, The Yankees, aka the Bronx Bombers! Whenever they win the World Series, which happens often, you can hear the whole city roar. 

Also worth checking out is the Bronx Museum Of The Arts or the free outdoor Philharmonic Orchestra concerts in Van Cortlandt park every summer. 

Neighborhood traffic will probably increase if authorities can ever figure out what to do with the South Bronx Rail Line, an abandoned span of railway running from 141st to 163rd street.

Then, people from all over can come for a beer at one of the popular breweries in Mott Haven. They include Bronx Brewery, known not just for their beers but also for their burgers.

Also indulge a few sips at Gun Hill Brewery. New York State used to have over 400 breweries, making it, at the time, the biggest brewing industry in the country. Gun Hill Brewery keeps that tradition alive and drinkin’!

If you’re more into drawing than drinking, you came to the right hood. A thriving art scene calls Mott Haven home. There are many art galleries throughout Mott Haven, including one near the old converted piano factory.

Art galleries worth exploring include Wallworks, Longwood Art Gallery, and Bronx Art Space. Also interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing, is the Bronx Documentary Center.

Plenty of culture breathing life into Mott Haven. 

Public and Charter Schools

The general education rate in Mott Haven and in neighboring Melrose is a little lower than the city’s overall rates. A lower percentage of residents hold a college degree.

There is a grand canyon gulf between the performance of the public schools versus the charter schools. Many public schools are struggling to reach state standards while charter schools are excelling in the same categories.

The public school district is operated by the NYC Public Schools Community School District #7. The rate of absenteeism among students in public schools in Mott Haven is significantly higher than the citywide average.

Public district schools located in Mott Haven include P.S. 49 Willis and P.S. 161 Juan Ponce De Leon. P.S. 154, and Academy of Applied Mathematics and Technology.

Public charter schools in Mott Haven include Success Academy, Bronx Charter School for Children, Green Dot NY Charter School, Academic Leadership Charter School, KIPP Academy and South Bronx for International Cultures and the Arts.

All in all, there are a total of 26 private and secondary schools serving Mott Haven. 

The local library is also on the New York Register of Historic Places. 

Is Mott Haven Safe In 2024?

Mott Haven is gentrifying slowly and surely and thus becoming safer, with an increased police presence of both uniformed and undercover officers. With the improved living conditions, real estate professionals began promoting Mott Haven as an alternative for those unable to afford Manhattan and other New York boroughs. Some even attempted to rebrand it as “SoBro,” though the success of this new moniker remains uncertain. However, it’s essential to note that, according to DNAinfo.com’s Crime & Safety Report, Mott Haven still ranks 59th out of 69 neighborhoods, making it one of the Bronx’s less safe areas, only slightly safer than Hunts Point.

In a positive development, the police department reports a ninety percent drop in murders since 1993, as well as a decrease in robberies and assaults. However, the serious crime rate is still double the citywide average. The category of serious crimes is a combination of violent and property crime.

Mott Haven is patrolled by the 40th precinct of the New York Police Department. Up to date statistics can be found on their web page

Seventy-five percent of residents do report feeling very safe and fifty percent of residents in recent polls do report that the police are very visible and very responsive.

This could be due to a number of safety initiatives spearheaded by the community, which have Made Mott Haven one of the safest neighborhoods in the Bronx.

These initiatives include the Community Police initiative, strengthening ties between the police and the community, plus the locally formed Mott Haven Public Safety Task Force. Besides that, attention is paid to safety measures like improved street lighting and more security cameras. 

Recent years have seen a slight uptick in crime in Mott Haven, reflecting broader city trends. While the number of murders remained consistent at 14 for both 2009 and 2010, grand larceny incidents rose by 17% in 2010, and robberies increased by 9%. However, this latter figure is still 19% lower than that of 2008. There was also a minor rise in shootings and felony assaults.

Conclusion

Mott Haven is becoming a desirable place to live and as people migrate to this haven, the neighborhood is becoming both more safe and more vibrant and diverse by the day.

The community is working hard to ensure the healthy growth and improved safety of Mott Haven. 

People Also Ask

Is Mott Haven a good neighborhood?

The perception of “good” can be subjective. Historically, Mott Haven was known for its challenges, particularly concerning crime. However, since the 1990s, there has been a significant improvement in safety and development. The area has seen a decrease in crime rates, and housing developers have shown interest, leading to urban renewal. However, as of the last data available (2010), it still ranked 59th out of 69 neighborhoods in terms of safety according to DNAinfo.com’s Crime & Safety Report.

What kind of neighborhood is Mott Haven?

Mott Haven is an urban neighborhood in the South Bronx. It has a rich history and has seen both decline and resurgence over the years. The 1990s marked a transformative era for the area with increased law enforcement and housing development. It has a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial areas.

What is it like to live in Mott Haven?

Living in Mott Haven offers a blend of urban life with a touch of historical charm. The neighborhood has seen significant development, and with that comes new amenities, businesses, and housing options. However, like many urban areas, it has its challenges, including concerns about safety. The community is diverse, and there’s a sense of growth and transformation.

Is Mott Haven safe in 2024?

As of the last available data from 2010, there was a notable decrease in crime since the 1990s, but there were still safety concerns. It’s advisable to check current crime statistics or local news sources for the most up-to-date information on safety in Mott Haven in 2023.

Who lives in Mott Haven?

Mott Haven is a diverse neighborhood with a mix of ethnicities and backgrounds. Historically, it has had a significant Latino population, particularly of Puerto Rican descent, as well as African Americans. Over the years, as with many parts of New York, there has been an influx of various groups, and the demographic makeup can change. The area has also seen interest from people looking for more affordable housing options than what’s available in Manhattan and other boroughs.