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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bronx News Roundup, Aug. 31

With the Bronx continuing to head many "worst of" lists, Crain's wonders who will save it.

A NY Post reporter kayaks the Bronx River, and likes what she sees.

The Bronx is home to a growing number of DVD and video stores specilizing in Nigerian-made movies. The film industry there is called "Nollywood."

Councilman Jimmy Vacca is supporting a bill which would force the city to address the rising raccoon population in the outer boroughs.

In his weekly column, the Daily News' columnist Bob Kappstatter calls out Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera for skipping a televised debate. We wonder what annoys Rivera more - the criticism of her record or being called "Snooki." Kappstatter also suggests Assemblyman Carl Heastie, the Bronx Democratic party boss, is loath to endorse Gustavo Rivera in his race against State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr., in case Espada retaliates by supporting Assemblyman Nelson Castro, who faces a primary opponent in Heastie-backed Hector Ramirez.

Fight Back New York, a pro-gay marriage group, has been digging up dirt on State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. 

Dan Doctoroff, the former deputy mayor and development czar, played a key role in getting several massive construction projects off the ground, including the new Yankee Stadium and Bronx Terminal Market. City Limits looks back at his legacy.

Local residents and shoppers will be able to purchase special "parking memberships" when the Botanical Garden's new 825-spot parking garage opens in 2012.

One of the men on trial for allegedly trying to blow up two Riverdale synagogues last year, ranted about his hatred for Jews in secretly-recording conversations played in court yesterday.

Fordham Prep's talented soccer team has high hopes for a strong season.

Bronx Congressmen Jose Serrano and Eliot Engel, and several of their colleagues, are currently receiving hefty taxpayer-funded pensions on top of their six-figure salaries.

From last week's Village Voice: a police officer from the 41st Precinct in the Hunts Point secretly recorded his superiors demanding that he meet a quota of arrests and summonses, something the NYPD has always denies it does. These same superiors also ordered officers to downgrade crime complaints, he claims. The revelations come on the back of a four-part series in the Voice concerning a precinct in Brooklyn and another disillusioned cop with a hidden tape recorder.

1 comment:

  1. I had just finished reading the current issue of Crain's on my lunch break when I saw this link to Greg David's story. Here is the somewhat lengthy comment I posted in response:

    First off, the data Crain's uses in their most recent issue for 2010 is based on a book from last year. I think it may be more prudent to wait for real data before jumping to some of your conclusions.

    In terms of the lack of a rebound in population, one must look at the number of properties destroyed in the Bronx during the 1970s, and the earliest attempts to rebuild devastated neighborhoods. Perhaps if we bulldozed the Charlotte Street single family ranch style home developments of the 1980s and replaced them with five and six floor apartment buildings like were there before their destruction, we might get back to the same population. It's not as if there are many vacant lots waiting to be developed in the Bronx -- just ride the 4 train up Jerome Ave and see how many new developments there are. No other borough had even close to the same level of destruction, so the rebound should be applauded, not criticized.

    Often I feel down about the Bronx ranking last in a number of categories such as income and low wage workers, but this is not surprising at all. Many of the neighborhoods in the other boroughs where low wage workers used to live have become too expensive for them. If it weren't for relatively low rents in the Bronx, NYC would already be something of a boutique/resort city (think Jackson Hole, Aspen or the Hamptons) where low wage workers have long commutes because they can't afford to live near their service economy jobs. Is it the fault of the Bronx that Manhattan and Brooklyn have become too expensive for low wage workers to live there? Of course not. Thank God for the Bronx, or more of these workers would be living in New Jersey!

    As for the "Shops at the Armory" proposal, it would have added more jobs (though the net increase might have been lower than expected after stores on Kingsbridge and Fordham Road closed in competition) but wouldn't help improve on stats like median income, percent of households paying 50% of their income on rent, or percent of families living in poverty. The median income in Bronx hasn't moved between 1999 and 2008, meaning an inflation adjusted drop of more than 20%! There are smarter job investments to be made in a borough that desperately needs them.

    In conclusion, there are a number of good stats to look at in relation the Bronx, but Crain's did not consider them in their report. For instance, we have become something of a Mecca for immigrants from West Africa, and our overall percent of foreign born residents is going up faster than any other borough -- also likely due to cheaper rents. We are the only non-border county in the nation with more than 50% Latino population, and are probably the second most diverse county in the City after Queens. We've also probably added more mosques per capita in the past decade -- and none of them have drawn a protest!


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