Key Dates in the History of Hunts Point:
1600s: The Lenape American Indians occupied the land that is today known as The Bronx. Europen settlers arriving from the Netherlands and Great Britain displaced Native American groups in the late 1600s. The Bronx acquired its name from a Swedish sea captain from the Netherlands, Jonas Bronck, who purchased a 500-acre tract of land in 1639.
1700s – 1800s: European groups continued to settle the area from Dutch, German, Danish, English and Irish origins. Great Britain maintained colonial rule from 1700 to 1776. The Bronx consolidated with New York City in 1898.
Early 1900s: The NYC subway first extended into The Bronx in 1904. Affordable transit encouraged residents in Manhattan tenements to move to the Bronx including new populations of Jews, Italians, Armenians and Yugoslavians. Throughout the 20th Century, The Bronx was a site for industry.
1950s – 1960s: Demographics in the community began to shift as greater numbers of Puerto Ricans and African-American settled in the South Bronx. During this time, Salsa music and Mambo thrived in the South Bronx. It was also during this time that The Bronx received federal funding for the construction of high-rise housing and highways including the Major Deegan Expressway, the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Bruckner Expressway. Industry continued to take root in the community with the opening of the Hunts Point Farmer’s Market.
1960s – 1980s: These decades mark a period of social blight characterized by rampant abandonment and arson in the South Bronx. Possible contributing factors include the development of major highways that impacted residential communities and rent control laws that inadvertanlty contributed to insurance fraud. Testament to the commmunity’s resilience and creativity, art forms including Hip Hop, Breakdancing and Graffiti emerged from the South Bronx during this period. With New York City’s Ten-Year Housing Plan, community groups advocating for affordable housing launched revitalization in the area. Industry continued to develop in the area, which has contributed to health epidemics that continue to affect area residents including staggering asthma rates. By 1980, Hunts Point was designated as an In-Place Industrial Park.
1990s – Present: Hunts Point has experienced economic renewal and population growth. In 1997 it was designated an All American City by the National Civic League. Today, the population is largely comprised of Hispanic, black and white populations followed by smaller numbers of asain, native american, pacific islander and other groups. In 2006, new green spaces opened in the South Bronx including Barretto Point Park, the Hunts Point Riverisde Park and THE POINT’s Hunts Point Riverside Campus for Arts and the Environment. The community continues to advocate for social progress and sustainable development in the South Bronx.
- For a more thorough account of Bronx history, we suggest “A Walk Through the Bronx.”