The route of Third Avenue between the Bronx Kill at Bruckner Blvd.and Boston Road at East 163rd Street was built in 1794 as an alternative to the original Boston Post Road.The framework for the dome of the United States Capitol was cast here, and Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer ran his speakeasy ring from a command post on East 149th.This building on Willis Avenue looks like it may have once been a theatre, but cinematreasures.org, the go-to source, doesn’t list it.“Courtlandt” is a variant spelling of “Cortlandt”; the Van Cortlandt family was prominent in the Bronx in the colonial era. Its interest rates are considerably lower than those offered at traditional pawnbrokers.
The Hub was once a nexus for multiple trolley, subway and elevated lines; the last of the elevateds, the spur of the Third Ave El above East 149th, shut down in 1973, drenching the Hub in sunshine for the first time in nine decades. Greg Christiano, who rode the Third Ave El in the Bronx as a youth, recalls it in myrecollection.com: “The el was a national treasure; a magnificent feat of engineering and design.The elevated, once a symbol of progress, has passed into history.” 12-story tower on East 149th between 3rd and Courtlandt.The stretch between Grand Concourse and Bergen Avenue is home to a number of office buildings dating to the mid-1920s.BOSTON may be known as the “Hub of the Universe” but the south Bronx has its very own Hub where four roads converge: East 149th Street and Willis, Melrose and Third Avenues, while Westchester Avenue begins its journey to Pelham Bay Park just a block to the north.Arrayed along Third is one of the Bronx’ biggest shopping areas (eclipsed only by Fordham Road), some mini-skyscrapers near some deserted lots and a number of ghost buildings.The skeletal structure cast its mysterious shadows; a criss-cross, spider web pattern to the cobblestone street below. It was complemented by the buildings along the route distinctive in their appearance with brick and ornate masonry, fire escapes, signs on the stores, water tanks on the roofs, and of course the cast-iron bishop’s crooks lampposts lining the sidewalks. Think of a detective yarn or a dark, brooding plot from a film noir and the stage is set.It is a street scene with character, with a personality all its own; a Bronx scene.A close look above the newer ad will reveal painted designators for Hearns’ Department Store, a Hub fixture for decades, and another Castoria ad.Graffiti history and culture at @149A closer look at the Hearns lettering on East 149th and along Bergen Avenue (a block east of Third).Top: Third Avenue; bottom: East 149th and Melrose Avenue.The glass-enclosed structure at bottom right is an elevator to the Third Avenue-East 149th Street subway station.