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With Morris Park Avenue and White Plains Road serving as its primary thoroughfares, the Van Nest neighborhood is home to a variety of cultures, accessible transportation and diverse architecture.Read more about Van Nest
To the northeast of Van Nest is Bronxdale Avenue, while White Plains Road is to the west. Amtrak tracks run throughout the southeast section. Considered the older brother to Morris Park, a bordering Bronx neighborhood to the northeast, Van Nest has long been classified as a working-class neighborhood with several religious denominations.
The name "Van Nest" derives from the Van Nest Station, which was located on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, which existed from 1872 to 1968. The station was named after a railroad director, Abraham R. Van Nest. The location known as Van Nest today was an attraction for horse racing fans in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the Morris Park Racecourse hosted major events like the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Like the surrounding area at the time, the course had a reputation for accumulating rainwater and flat terrain, which is the primary reason why some referred to Van Nest as "Mud West."
Many cultures and religious denominations co-exist in Van Nest, with Italians and Catholics having a longtime presence. Many Catholics attend the beautiful St. Dominic's Church on 1739 Unionport Road. Protestants, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Pentecostals also have at least one church in the area. The Puerto Rican and African American populations also continue to grow, contributing to a strengthening food scene that caters to a variety of cuisines. In Van Nest, one can eat anywhere from Italian bakeries and restaurants (Conti's Pastry Shoppe, Sorrento Pizzeria) to American comfort food (Chick N Ribs) and Yemeni restaurants (Arth Aljanatain).
There is plenty to see throughout Van Nest, including a wide range of architecture that ranges from contemporary designs to traditional tenements. Van Nest Park and Van Nest Memorial Square are popular sites in the area, the latter serving as a picturesque war memorial honoring soldiers from World War I, Korea, and Vietnam. The park also features playground equipment and security cameras for safety. One can access the park and other areas of Van Nest via several bus lines: Bx21, Bx22, Bx39, Bx40/Bx42 and BxM10, which offers express service to Midtown Manhattan. The IRT White Plains Road Line subway also operates along Birchall Avenue.