Woodlawn, also known as Woodlawn Heights, is an Irish American lower-middle class neighborhood at the very north end of the borough of the Bronx, in New York City. Unlike some neighborhoods in New York, its boundaries are well-defined, as it is bounded by McLean Avenue to the north, which is approximately the New York City / Westchester County line, the Bronx River to the east, Woodlawn Cemetery to the south, and Van Cortlandt Park to the west. Zip codes include 10467 and 10470. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 12.
Katonah Avenue, which runs north-south through the heart of Woodlawn, is a popular destination for its many Irish pubs and restaurants, such as Beehan’s Pub and Mary’s Celtic Kitchen. All offer traditional Irish breakfast or brunch at reasonable prices. In addition there is The Emerald Isle Immigration Center, an Italian bakery, an Irish Butcher Shop, an Irish Barber Shop, and many other types of specialty shops.
McLean Avenue, which runs east-west, is the main shopping strip for the neighborhood. Its pubs and shops are considered to be some of the neighborhood’s most notable fixtures, although technically it is not part of Woodlawn at all but within the City of Yonkers, New York. McLean Avenue has many Irish pubs, a large variety of Irish and non-Irish restaurants and diners, two Irish gift shops, The Aisling Irish Community Center, an Irish Butcher Shop, an Italian pastry shop, and much more.
East 233rd Street is a major thoroughfare that runs east-west on the southern border of the neighborhood. It is largely known for its gas stations and Irish pubs, as well as for its bus stops and Metro North train station that services the Woodlawn community.
Notable features of the neighborhood include Oneida Triangle, a memorial to residents of Woodlawn who served in World War I, and Muskrat Cove, a paved path along the Bronx River. In 2004, the City of New York announced plans to construct a new pedestrian bridge connecting Muskrat Cove and Shoelace Park as part of the Bronx Greenway.
Woodlawn’s youth have been known for their rivalry with the nearby Riverdale section of the Bronx, directly across from Van Cortlandt Park, as well as with Bainbridge (now known as Norwood) in the 1980s, and Yonkers.
In addition to the aforementioned St. Barnabas parish schools, the neighborhood is served by Judith K. Weiss School P.S. 19. The Woodlawn Heights Library Branch has an extensive collection of Irish books.
Woodlawn has a population of less than 8,000 people and is approximately 85% White, according to the 2010 Census. This formerly German neighborhood is now a mostly Irish American neighborhood, which also has a small but recognizable Italian-American community. This neighborhood remains one of the few communities to which young and newly arrived Irish immigrants regularly arrive en masse. The Emerald Isle Immigration Center on Katonah Avenue and the Aisling Irish Community Center on McLean Avenue are two sources for the newly arrived as well as established Irish immigrants to Woodlawn and the United States. The neighborhood is sometimes informally referred to as “Little Ireland”. As of May 2016, Woodlawn was rezoned to prevent the destruction of single-family homes that currently give this neighborhood its intrinsic character. The rezoning will provide a framework for orderly growth while protecting the neighborhood’s established residential character.
The neighborhood has several old and picturesque churches.
Emmanuel Presbyterian Reformed Church is on Martha Avenue.
The Roman Catholic church of St. Barnabas is the largest church in Woodlawn and part of St. Barnabas parish. The parish is run by Pastor Msgr. Edward M. Barry. The parish has weekly masses in English and Italian.
St. Barnabas parish, founded in 1910, serves as a major community center for the neighborhood, which is nearly entirely Catholic, and a center of Irish culture, offering Irish language classes and an Irish Outreach program to assist Irish immigrants in finding jobs and residence in the neighborhood. In addition to the church, the parish runs an adjoining convent (currently occupied by the large and growing community of the Sisters of Life) and St. Barnabas Elementary School which opened in 1914 (whose principal is currently Miranda Marques). St. Barnabas High School, an all-girls school which opened in 1928 is run by principal Sr. Joan Farone, R.J.M. The high school has since been independent from the parish as of September 2015.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church is on Saint Marks Place near the Van Cortlandt Park entrance.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is on 238th Street.
Trinity Community Full Gospel Church is on 241st Street.
Woodlawn is served by the Bx16, Bx31, Bx34, BxM4 buses by MTA Regional Bus Operations, and the Woodlawn station on the Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem Line.