Neighborhood: Morris Park
Population: 10,272. 29,571 per square mile. (city-wide: 26,798 people per square mile)
Public Transit: 5 (Morris Park)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: Van Nest, Bronxdale, Westchester Village, Parkchester
What's Here?: Morris Park is considered a strong rival to Arthur Avenue for some of the best Italian comfort-food restaurants in the Bronx. Families from across town and around the world are drawn by the appeal of a low-key lifestyle and well-kept properties.
Flat or Tall?: The community is dominated by single-family houses. But the eastern edge of the neighborhood features the towers of Jacobi Medical Center and the medical school at Yeshiva University, as well as the under-construction Metro Center Atrium, a mixed-use space of offices, residences, and a hotel. A recent zoning change is meant to ensure that most of Morris Park retains its feel as a piece of small-town USA right in the middle of the Boogiedown Bronx.
History: The neighborhood takes its name from the racetrack that hosted the Belmont Stakes from 1890-1904. It was named for businessman John A. Morris, whose interests were in thoroughbreds and the Louisiana Lottery.
Activities: The Bronx River, which has a pleasant greenway for running, biking, rollerblading, and just strolling is a short trip away along the almost-as-leafy Pelham Parkway. Just past that are the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Garden. City Island, which has the sun/sail/seafood feel of a New England seaside town, is close by, too. Vintage bowling alley Van Nest Lanes is in Morris Park and not next door, despite the name.
Check It Out: Morris Park is known for hosting one of the city's most notable Columbus Day parades every October. And when the weather is nice, the Bronx River Alliance organizes programming that ranges from historical walks to nature paddles and 5Ks. If Italy's national soccer team scores a big win in the World Cup or European Championships, partying and honking in the streets is almost a guarantee.