Urban Design Studio I: Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, Columbia University

Site Profile: Hunts Point I The Bronx

Category : BLOG · No Comments · by June 6, 2017

Hunts Point is a neighborhood in the South Bronx that encompasses The Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, The Bronx River and Long Island Sound waterfronts, industrial areas, and waste treatment alongside a population of between 10,000 and 25,000 (depending on how you set your boundaries). The population is primarily ethnically Puerto Rican and other latino, and the area suffers from a high rate of poverty. Though the area has earned a somewhat salacious reputation, it is also home to attractive amenities, including Barretto Park and its floating pool, The Floating Pool Lady.

Hunts Point Food Distribution Center

image from EDC

The Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is the largest food distribution center of its kind in the world, serving a region of 23 million consumers, comprising more than 155 wholesalers, and generating more than $3 billion in annual sales. The Food Distribution Center includes the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market, the Cooperative Meat Market, and the New Fulton Fish Market. The descriptions, via the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), are as follows [ https://www.nycedc.com/project/hunts-point-peninsula ]:

Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market

Opened in 1967, the Terminal Produce Market occupies 105 acres, and consists of four primary warehouse structures, two adjunct warehouses, and various administrative and maintenance structures, making it the largest produce market in the country. The market is home to 47 merchants ranging from small firms with three employees to large firms with approximately 400 employees for an aggregate total of roughly 3,000 employees. The market captures an estimated $2 to $2.3 billion in revenue per year, or 22% of regional wholesale produce sales, equivalent to approximately 60% of the produce sales within New York City.

Hunts Point Cooperative Meat Market

Opened in 1974, the Cooperative Meat Market occupies roughly 40 acres and consists of six large refrigerated, freezer buildings, including a new refrigeration plant; the total refrigerated space is approximately 1,000,000 square feet. The market is home to 52 merchants and approximately 2400 employees and is governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects and supervises the processing facilities daily. The Cooperative Meat Market supplies meat and meat products to the tri-state area and has distribution channels nationwide.

The New Fulton Fish Market

Opened in 1807, the New Fulton Fish Market relocated to Hunts Point in 2005 from lower Manhattan, making it the oldest and largest wholesale fish market in the country with 38 wholesalers employing an estimated 650 employees. The market consists of a 430,000-square foot facility with 19 bays and 8 separate entrances. The market captures an estimated $1 billion in revenue per year.

The wholesalers rent the space of the markets from New York City through the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). After recent speculation that the markets may relocate to New Jersey, an agreement was reached to keep them in New York City at least until 2021.

Five Borough Food Flow (EDC) [https://www.nycedc.com/system/files/files/resource/2016_food_supply-resiliency_study_results.pdf]

Produce Market [http://www.huntspointproducemkt.com/about-us/]

Cooperative Market [http://huntspointcoopmkt.com]

The Bronx River

The Bronx River borders Hunts Point to the east, and runs approximately 24 miles from Westchester County through the Bronx and into the Long Island Sound. It is the only fresh water river in New York City, though the lower portion is tidal. The river endured tremendous pollution throughout the nineteenth century, and restoration efforts have very slowly restored its ecosystems. In 2007, a beaver built a dam in a section of the river: the first time this once plentiful creature had been observed in the Bronx River in over 200 years.

Bronx River Alliance [ http://bronxriver.org ]

National Recreation Trails [ http://www.americantrails.org/NRTDatabase/trailDetail.php?recordID=3812 ]


Hunts Point contains critical infrastructure, and was lucky not to have been more extensively damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Since that event, several studies have been undertaken to address the resilience of Hunts Point, notably [ http://www.rebuildbydesign.org/our-work/all-proposals/winning-projects/hunts-point-lifelines ].

Flood Maps

image from Penn Design / OLIN

Water’s Edge

image from Penn Design / OLIN

Critical Infrastructure

image from Penn Design / OLIN