Mott Haven Walking Tour - October 2019

Mott Haven Walking Tour – Saturday, October 26th from 10:00 AM to Noon

 The tour will be led by the Bronx County Historian and an AIA Bronx Chapter Architect to explore one of the first developed areas of the Bronx.  Mott Haven’s original rural and agricultural uses transitioned over time into residential and industrial activities.  

 We will meet on Alexander Avenue at the NE corner of 138th St. 

CONTACT: Bob Esnard - , 212-977-4800

AIABX04 - 2 HW/LU Credits

 AIA Members: $20

 Bronx County Historical Soc. Members: $20 

All others: $30. 




 In 1841 Jordan L. Mott established the first Bronx industrial buildings with The JL Mott Iron Works. He and his family were very successful and became political leaders of this portion of the South Bronx, which they named Mott Haven. With the arrival of the railroad (today’s Metro North Harlem Division), the Third Avenue Elevated Line, the IRT subway line and several bridge connections to Manhattan, growth and development quickly followed. Today, this South Bronx neighborhood with its the three historic districts: The Mott Haven Historic, The Mott Haven East Historic and the Bertine Block Districts, with their surrounding blocks contain many residential, cultural and industrial structures, is a unique mix of old/new architectural building types and styles. 

Mott Haven was always an active and vibrant residential and commercial area that originally housed immigrants of European background. In the 20th Century, the demographics shifted to include African Americans, and Spanish/Latin American residents. Changing industrial/commercial uses led to demolition for new buildings or community facilities that eliminated some of the South Bronx’s original 19th and early 20th Century buildings. However, many of the brick constructed block fronts retained their architectural integrity, all with 2 story row houses in Queen Ann and Romanesque revival styles. Some of the newer housing developments designs, reflect these early architectural structures in a modern way, such as with Plaza Borinquen, as excellent example of newly built low-rise multifamily complex. The older buildings have been modified to house more residents while conforming to the changing legal requirements of zoning, building and fire regulations that provide structurally safe living spaces, with two means of egress and appropriate light and air for their residents. 

PRIOR TOURS - See below


Triborough Bridge Tour

Fieldston, a Suburb in the City

Fieldston, a Suburb in the City


Fieldston, a Suburb in the City

Fieldston, a Suburb in the City

Fieldston, a Suburb in the City



Triborough Bridge Tour – Saturday, June 29, 2019 from 10:00 AM to Noon

The tour will begin and end in the Bronx at the “Randall’s Island Connector” under the RR Trestle Bridge, the walkway entry to the Triborough Bridge Complex in the Bronx on 132nd Street between Walnut and Willow Avenues, (see Google Maps image below).  We will assemble there. This neighborhood is an industrial area and on Saturday morning there is plenty of on-street parking for those arriving by car. 

The Tour will include walking underneath and around three main bridges making up the “Triborough Bridge” and visit the public facilities developed of the park for two hours.

 CONTACT: Bob Esnard - , 212-977-4800

AIABX03 - 2 CEU.

 AIA Members: $20

Non-members: $30. 


Additional Information

On July 11, 1936, among the great construction projects in the history of the United States was completed and designed by Othma H. Ammann, one of the paramount bridge builders of all time. Groundbreaking for the Triborough Bridge in 1929, the same time as the famed Wall Street crash, however due to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal legislation, the Triborough Bridge received ample funding, allowing for the continuation of construction and its ultimate completion. Under the auspices of the Power Broker, Robert Moses, the Triborough Bridge Project was larger than any other project he had taken on. 

Not only was this bridge at the time the largest ever built it's actually three bridges rolled into one, (connecting The Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens utilizing two islands, Wards and Randall's Islands) and crossing the Hells Gate (East River), The Harlem River, and The Bronx Kill, but the manpower it took to build was as immense. By the bridge's completion, its construction produced more than "31,000,000 man-hours of work in 134 Cities and in twenty States." In 1986 the Triborough Bridge was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and renamed in 2008, as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge


Fieldston, a Suburb in the City


Fieldston, a Suburb in the City – November 3, 2018 @ 10:00AM

CONTACT: Martin Zelnik -  646-549-0142 


The tour starts at the most southerly end of Fieldston Road in front of the Fieldston School aka Ethical Culture. There is a public parking lot for those arriving by car. We will assemble there.

AIABX02/2018 - 2 CEU.   AIA Members: $20 Members, Non-members: $30.

This Fieldston tour, is to be led by Bronx AIA Architects Martin Zelnik and Richard Stein. Spurred by both the extension of New York’s first subway line and the advent of the motorcar, Fieldston was one of America’s first planned suburbs. Its design was influenced by both the City Beautiful Movement and the Garden City Movement promulgated by Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom to counteract the effects of pollution and crowding in modern industrialized cities. 

  Among the unique features of the community is the way in which it was developed over time. Originally, a prominent local family, the Delafield’s, subdivided their hilly rock-bound acreage and laid it out in 1914 along a pattern suggested years before by Frederick Law Olmsted. After 80 lots were developed and sold.  The remaining vacant property was sold to an Owners Association made up of the lot owners, who have preserved the architectural and environmental character for the remaining lots. Only architects who could design in certain “styles”, were permitted to practice in this Fieldston property to “fit” its character. Principal among them was Dwight James Baum, who lived and maintained his studio in Fieldston.  

 The Fieldston property Owners Association has remained strong to this day. They helped to pass legislation in 1975 creating one of New York City’s few Special Natural Area Districts to protect features like specific and rock outcroppings, as well as the creation of the Fieldston Historic District in 2006. 

These photos are a baseline for later alterations.




English Tudor








Interior of the office of Baum in Fieldston. Notice that wire management and desk top computers were not a big issue back then.

The Tour

The tour starts at the most southerly end of Fieldston Road in front of the Fieldston  School aka Ethical Culture. There is a public parking lot there for those arriving by car. We will assemble there.

The tour route  will start from there on foot.  We will walk north on the east  side of Fieldston Road of Fieldston Road past the “ circle” at West 246th Street  and then continue North to West 250 Street, the northerly boundary of Fieldston. The walk is gently sloping up and it should take about one hour to reach 250th St, assuming many stops along the way. Normally he walk  would take under 15 minutes. 

Along Fieldston Road, we will see many examples or styles of “period” architecture designed mostly by the Architect Dwight James Baum. Below are several examples of his one family homes. In Fieldston.

We have selected pictures below of his work that were taken at the time  of completion between 1913 and 1939. Overall, Baum designed  over  140 homes in Fieldston and Riverdale various styles including  Georgian , Dutch, Colonial, English Tudor, and Mediterranean. We show these photos as the baseline for any later alterations and additions. Many have not be altered at all.