Scott Cully's Giant Jack-o-Lantern from Alex Kratz on Vimeo.
Video: Scott Cully talks about engineering challenges in carving giant pumpkins, his vision for this particular pumpkin and some of the tools he uses.
As an Oregon farmer, Scott Cully grows one of nature's smallest fruits: blueberries. But his passion in life -- or "quest" as he calls it -- leads him to the world's largest pumpkins, which he transforms into the world's largest jack-o-lanterns.
This weekend, Cully's quest brings him to the north Bronx's New York Botanical Garden, where he is molding the latest record-breaking pumpkin, raised in Wisconsin and driven here in the back of pickup truck, into a spooky and somewhat gory three-faced jack-o-lantern (he talks about his vision in the video above).
The giant pumpkin-carving bug bit Cully on a sunshine-drenched fall day in 1988 when Cully was living in Hartford, Conn., where he grew up (he now lives in Eugene, Ore.). After harvesting a 400-pound pumpkin from his personal patch, Cully sat down with his wife, a "smoking hot" pitcher of apple cider, a bunch of knives and went to work. He took the jack-o-lantern to a Halloween party that night. It was a hit. He's been carving enormous pumpkins ever since.
Cully says he usually carves about 10-12 pumpkins a year; at casinos, shopping malls and county fairs throughout the United States. "I always try to find the biggest pumpkins," he says.
The gregarious Cully started carving today. This afternoon, he posed for photos with Garden visitors, making faces and stabbing motions toward his latest creation. He will be working publicly tomorrow during the day and finishing up on Sunday around noon.
"It's great, I've never seen anything like it," said Garden volunteer Marge Graham.
Flanking Cully's piece will be almost-as-big pumpkins carved by local pumpkin-carving artists Michael Natiello (who is turning into a furrowy-browed, big-eyed face with a stem nose) and Sara Mussen (hers will consist of spiders and spider webs: "a little creepy but not too scary"). Natiello and Mussen work together carving pumpkins in Westchester. They are working on the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Croton-on-Hudson's Van Cortlandt Manor.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Bronx Community College students and staff took part in a silent march yesterday afternoon to show support for the gay community following the vicious and well-publicized assaults that occurred just blocks from the campus earlier this month.
The 250-strong crowd, many of whom carried banners ("We are all the same" "Love not hate" "Put the homophobes in the closet"), gathered outside the Roscoe C. Brown Student Center at noon. They then walked south, to a house on Osborne Place, where police say a gang of youths and twenty-somethings brutally attacked a man and two teenagers on Oct. 8. Two of the victims were sexually assaulted; the authorities say they were targeted because they were gay or perceived to be gay.
The protesters left white and purple carnations on the sidewalk outside the house, before making their way slowly back to BCC.
"I think what they did is really messed up and I just want to promote non-violence," said Zyesha Phillps, a student at the college who took part in the march.
"First of all, this is about dignity," said Eduardo Arias, another student. "I'm gay, and I feel that what I am, God made me this way. I'm a normal person who just likes guys, not girls. We're normal people; it's not right to beat someone because they're gay."
This is a new feature. We read a lot of stuff during the week that's not necessarily Bronx-related but it's relevant, or at least interesting, nonetheless. So, here's a few things we've been looking at. Please add any articles, or TV or audio clips, that interested you. We'll try to include some of them in our next Weekend Read next Friday.
This City Hall article takes a look at why changes to the way the state administers Medicaid - a third of the state budget! -- is not likely to come anytime soon.
Also in City Hall, a report about the diminishing importance of some of the Council's committee chairmanships, particularly of the Economic Development Committee. That said, transportation advocates say east Bronx councilman Jimmy Vacca has done a terrific job taking up the reins of the Transportation Committee from John Liu, the former councilman who is now comptroller.
Another good City Hall article (thank goodness for occasional long subway rides) takes a look at the aftermath of Council Speaker Christine Quinn's shelving of the paid sick leave bill. It seems the disappointed progressive community, particularly the labor unions, are already looking to the next fight over the living wage and basically giving Quinn a pass on the sick leave measure, which had overwhelming support in the Council.
In yesterday's Daily News, Errol Louis says the doomsday for Democrats expected for Election Day on Tuesday might not come to pass. He explains that Democrats have a good ground game, and that's the kind of thing that doesn't show up in polls.We shall see.
As of 2008, one in 100 American adults was behind bars, according to this report in Reason Magazine. If you throw in those on probation it's one in 31!!! I had to read that several times.
Eileen Markey, a WNYC producer and reporter (and former Norwood News intern in the mid-90s!) has this clear analysis of voter turnout, and why it generally stinks in mid-term elections and low-income communities. Take a listen.
Eric McMillan, a 26-year-old Bronx resident was shot and killed last night on Morris Avenue, a half block south of Tremont Avenue in the 46th Precinct, according to police. A report from the NYPD says McMillan was shot in the head and torso. He was found at about 10 p.m. and taken to Bronx Lebanon Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. No arrests have been made and police say the investigation is ongoing.
Happy Halloween weekend everyone. Be safe. Be nice.
Three more members of the Latin King Goonies group accused in the brutal Morris Heights anti-gay attacks were indicted yesterday. Charges were dropped against four of the suspects, but now seven of the 11 suspects arrested have been indicted.
An in-depth and often hilarious look at how Bronx Democrat George Gonzalez stumbled into the position of heading the city's Board of Elections (he was fired this week after just two months on the job). The Voice's Tom Robbins writes that Gonzalez was the choice of Bronx Democratic lawyer and political operator Stanley Schlein.
If Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. doesn't vote on the proposal to turn a vacant army reserve center into a homeless shelter (he is boycotting the vote, saying the proposal doesn't meet the needs of the Bronx or the Wakefield community), the mayor's office says the site will be handed over to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will turn it into a homeless shelter without his input.
While Diaz won't say that he thinks the mayor is delivering payback for the borough president's role in killing the city's plan to transform the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall, Community Board 12 chairman Father Richard Gorman has no problem saying it. "This is payback for the borough president killing the Kingsbridge Armory," Gorman tells Daily News reporter (and former BxNN intern!) Rob Sgobbo. "The city is playing games. They have no interest in what the neighborhood thinks."
Yesterday, we had two posts -- here and here -- on the distressed Milbank buildings that the city is taking a more active role in rehabbing. Several other news organizations also wrote about it, but who needs them when you have us, right?
The man accused of killing a 17-year-old girl on Southern Boulevard told police his girlfriend (who has not been charged in the crime) helped him do it. She apparently thought the co-murder would help them solve their relationship issues, a source told the Daily News.
Speaking of murders, a Bronx gas station attendant was killed in a botched robbery attempt last night.
And when it rains, it pours: A Riverdale man accused of letting his dog die from over-heating in a van will undergo a mental evaluation.
Bronx students and environmentalists are hoping a third attempt to re-introduce oysters in the Bronx River will take and help clean up the water.
The Kentucky women's basketball team is expecting big things from Bronx-bred Jennifer O'Neill.
Grace H. Dodge Career and Technical High School is one of 34 schools the city says it will overhaul in the coming year. The graduation rate has improved over the last three years, but the Department of Education says that's not enough. Read the whole article on the Tremont Tribune website.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Just a little followup to Greg's post below, about HPD's promise for extensive inspections and emergency repairs on the Milbank properties, a portfolio of crumbling Bronx apartments that went into foreclosure in 2009.
Cestero, who took a tour of three of the buildings this week with tenant leaders and organizers from the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, said the conditions are some of the worst he's ever seen.
"I have to say, in my 21 years working in the affordable housing industry in this great city, I have never been more shocked, angered and frustrated," he told reporters on a conference call this morning.
HPD normally sends out inspectors to look at an apartment when someone lodges a housing complaint with 311. But officials said today that taking this "proactive" approach with Milbank--going in to make an inspection in an apartment even if no one has complained about it yet--will make the difference in turning the buildings around.
"That should send a message to any potential buyer," Quinn said. "HPD is going to be on the owner 24/7."
|Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and other bikers during last Sunday's Tour de Bronx (Photo courtesy of the Bronx Borough President's Office)|
By the way, to comment on the forum, you do need to register. It's a quick and straightforward process - all that's required is an email address and username. We're eager to hear your thoughts on biking and any other issue, for that matter. So feel free to post away.
While the headline, "City takes control of rehabs of 10 Bronx buildings" may exaggerate slightly, HPD is promising roof to cellar inspections and is sending out its Emergency Repair Program unit to make repairs. Equally important, they are sending a forceful message to potential buyers of the buildings that they are going to be intensely involved with the buildings for the foreseeable future.
Charges were dropped against a fourth suspect in the Morris Heights anti-gay attacks case. Four of the 11 suspects arrested have been indicted.(Note: there will be a "March for Dignity" today at noon at Bronx Community College in support of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered people. The march will go all the way to Osborne Street where the attacks took place.)
Police have arrested a 40-year-old man and charged him with stabbing a 17-year-old Bronx girl to death. We originally reported on this yesterday. Apparently the 17-year-old, Luzbenet Ramirez, was staying with the man arrested, Jose Mendez, and his girlfriend.
Former Giants football star Lawrence Taylor is due back in court today to face charges of statutory rape involving a 16-year Bronx girl.
Anticipating an increase in crime and hijinks, police say they'll beef up patrols in the Bronx this Halloween weekend.
Often, little pranks like throwing eggs at a car can lead to tragedy, as in 1998 when a 21-year-old Bronx man was shot after confronting a group of egg throwers.
Author Tom Wolfe and Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson talk about "larger-than-life" Bronx judge Burton Roberts who died Sunday.
The scene at the Riverdale stop of the Tour de Bronx.
Also, viewers call join in the discussion, by calling 718-960-7241 during the program.
In the early morning hours of Halloween last year, a devastating blaze leveled 10 stores -- and severely damaged 4 more -- on Bainbridge Avenue in Norwood, a lively northwest Bronx commercial corridor. While a few stores have relocated, there is still no word a year later on what the landlord has planned for the site. She hasn't returned repeated calls from the Norwood News or Community Board 7. Click here for the whole story in the Norwood News.
Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, the landlord of the adjacent stores, that were left without essential services for months, is suing the merchants for not paying rent for the time they were out of commission. More on that here.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Less than two weeks ago, Diaz sent a letter to the offices of the two deputy mayors expressing his displeasure with their support for turning the Sgt. Joseph A. Muller Army Reserve Center (ARC) into a 200-bed homeless shelter for men.
Diaz said the Bronx had other (better) plans for the site, which the Department of Defense closed as part of its Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) effort.
"Local elected officials at all levels, including my office, have expressed support for relocating the National Guard units from the Kingsbridge Armory to the ARC, and are opposed to the homeless shelter proposal," Diaz wrote in the letter dated Oct. 14.
The removal of the guard units from the Armory's annex buildings would free those buildings up to become schools, which activists have long advocated for and the overcrowded local school district badly needs.
Diaz spokesman John DeSio said Diaz was "not happy" to find out that the other two members of the Muller Local Redevelopment Authority, which was tasked with finding a suitable use for the abandoned reserve center, were planning to vote to recommend the homeless shelter at the authority's scheduled meeting at 11 a.m. at the downtown office of the city's Economic Development Corporation.
After combing through the fine print with lawyers, DeSio said they believe the authority requires Diaz's presence to have an official quorom to vote on anything, including any recommendation. In other words: no Diaz, no vote.
|Milbank's portfolio of Bronx properties have been in varying states of decline since foreclosure started in 2009. (File photo by Jeanmarie Evelly)|
Community Board 6 is inviting the public to submit the names and biographies of community-minded youths to be considered for nomination to the New York Yankee Community Council Youth Leadership Corp--an annual award doled out by the Yankees to five young people in the Bronx who have volunteered their time to civic activities and worked to make their communities better.
Awardees will receive a $750 stipend. To be considered for nomination by CB6, the young person must meet the following criteria:
- Live in the boundaries of Community Board #6, which encompasses Bathgate, Belmont, Bronx Park South, East Tremont, Crotona Park North and West Farms
- Be no older than 18
- Have a history of involvement in civic activities and helping to improve their community
- Willing to commit to working with Bronx CB6 in the preparation of its June anti-violence talent show
Police say they are investigating the death of a woman who died late last night at 576 Southern Blvd. The woman was found unconscious and unresponsive by police at around 11 p.m. Emergency responders pronounced her dead when they arrived on the scene. The Medical Examiner's Office is looking into the cause of death as police continue their investigation. Police are not revealing the victim's identity until her family has been properly notified.
Yesterday, charges were dropped for three of the 11 suspects arrested in connection with the anti-gay attacks in Morris Heights. The Bronx District Attorney’s office told the judge there was not enough evidence to move forward in the case. In response to Tuesday's court proceedings, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn released a statement criticizing the decision, saying: "To prematurely release individuals accused of such horrific crimes does not demonstrate a willingness to use every available tool to make sure justice is served. I urge DA Johnson to aggressively prosecute the remaining suspects, and to add the additional charge of hate crime to all suspects, including the one that was charged today."
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is going worldwide. The State Department announced yesterday it has selected the Bronx Museum to oversee amART power, a new exchange program for visual artists. The $1 million program will ship artists across America to 15 countries, including China, Ecuador, Kenya and Nepal.
The head of the City Council’s Transportation Committee wants to help ease E-ZPass bills for New Yorkers. East Bronx Councilman Jimmy Vacca said drivers should be allowed to pay their E-ZPass bills weekly instead of monthly and at local check-cashing shops. He also wants residents who don’t have a credit card or checking account - to typical manner through which E-ZPass bills are paid – to be permitted to pay their bill at a check cashing shop.Councilman Vacca plans to pitch his proposal at today’s MTA meeting.
For more information on the firing of Board of Elections chief George Gonzalez, here is a video from NY1.
The MTA Board approved the increase of toll fares. On the major crossings, the board is expected to raise tolls for E-ZPass users to $4.80. The one-way toll on the Verrazano Narrows will cost $9.60. On the minor crossings, like the Marine Parkway and Cross Bay Bridges, E-ZPass users will pay $1.80. The toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge will rise to $2.20. Those who pay cash will be hit even harder. Cash tolls on all major crossings will go up to $6.50, except for the Verrazano, where the price will rise to $13. Drivers on the smaller bridges will pay $3.25. The Henry Hudson will cost $4 for those paying cash. The toll and fare hikes are slated to take effect on Dec. 30.
The special-edition debate will air right after the regularly scheduled 9:00pm replays of the interview with Bronx County Democratic Chairman Carl Heastie that was first aired tis Monday night. Mr. Heastie discussed support for specific candidates, political philosophy, and a number of other issues. You can also watch that program here: BronxTalk - October 25, 2010
On another special edition of BronxTalk on Monday, November 1, Mr. Axelbank will moderate a one-hour forum on the incident of torture that occurred in the Bronx recently on in Morris Heights. Panelists will include crime, gang, and housing experts, an elected official, and a gay rights leader. Also, viewers can call in to 718-960-7241 to have their say.
One of New York City's longest running TV talk shows now in its 17th year, BronxTalk is seen live each Monday night at 9:00pm on Bronxnet's Cablevision channel 67. It's also on Verizon Fios channel 33 and streamed live at bronxnet.org. Hosted by Gary Axelbank and produced by Jane Folloro, BronxTalk is repeated each day at 9:30am, 3:30pm, and 9:00pm. Archives are available here: http://bronxnet.org/tv/bronxtalk/viewcategory/7/bronxtalk
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
That's what the Daily News is saying after the Board of Elections voted today to fire George Gonzalez, who they call "a product" of the Bronx Democratic Party. Party boss Carl Heastie pushed for his hiring in mid-August. Gonzalez's BOE gig was considered a plum $172,753-a-year patronage appointment.
The Food Education Project at Montefiore Medical Center held its second workshop-type session this past Wednesday about choosing healthy products at the supermarket. Guest speaker and seasoned chef, Allison Fishman (pictured), author of "Cook Yourself Thin" and former co-host of TLC’s "Home Made Simple," led the hour-long session on buying healthy and tasty foods.
Fishman shared a list of relatively healthy products found in most supermarkets that she and other Cooking Light staff members personally taste-tested for a recent issue.
Here are some of Fishman’s picks:
• Rudi’s Organic Bakery, 100% Whole Wheat Bread
• Uncle Ben’s Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice
• Progresso Reduced Sodium Chicken Noodle Soup
• Fage Plain, nonfat Greek Yogurt
• Tribe Classic Hummus
• Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean Light Ice Cream
• Del Monte No-Salt Diced Tomatoes
• Hellman’s Canola Mayonnaise
Audience members received samples of many of the products. Fishman also made a “1-Minute Salad” with arugula, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, and truffle oil for the audience to taste as well. She ended the session by providing her top 5 cooking tips. Check them out below.
Fishman’s 5 Tips for Healthy Cooking
1. Use low calorie, high flavor ingredients, like herbs, lemon juice, yogurt, and balsamic vinegar.
2. Use high calorie ingredients sparingly. For example, nuts, seeds, and cheese.
3. Eat mostly plants and foods that your grandmother would recognize. (Borrowed from Michael Pollan)
4. Give hearty foods a healthy makeover. Try using chicken sausage instead of pork.
5. Fill half of your plate with vegetables.
The next workshop will be held Wednesday, Nov. 3, and will feature a presentation about the Norwood Food Co-op by Greg Lobo-Jost.
The Food Education Project is sponsored by Montefiore's Office of Community Health in conjunction with the medical center's departments of Food and Nutrition and Clinical Nutrition. Sessions are held every other Wednesdays from 1-2 p.m. in the Food Pavilion at Montefiore's Moses Division. For more information, call (718) 920-4692.
Ed. Note: Ivonne Salazar is a contributing writer for the Bronx News Network and a healthy eating enthusiast. As the "Bronx Foody," she will be writing regularly about healthy eating and other food-related issues.
We received this email from a reader:
Just curious if anyone at the BxNN knows what happened this morning outside of the Bronx Hall of Justice? We heard a commotion and looked out the window to see several Court Officers using force to detain a man on the corner of 161st and Morris. Two other men were taking pictures of the force with cell phone cameras. One was thrown onto the hood of a car and placed in handcuffs. The other ran off down Morris, with at least 10 officers chasing him (they caught him around the corner). It looked like almost every court officer was out on the corner to detain these men. We saw what appeared to be one officer smashing the cell phone with pictures on it in the street.Did anyone see or hear what happened? The Bronx Hall of Justice is the glass building at 265 E. 161 St.
|Decorative pumpkins on display at the New York Botanical Garden's Halloween Hoorah (photo by NYBG)|
A 43-year-old Bronx man has been arrested and charged with killing a 27-year-old woman in her Washington Avenue apartment, according police.
On Sunday, at around 8 a.m., police responded to reports of an unconscious person at 1343 Washington Avenue (actually between the Morrisania and Claremont neighborhoods). They found Stella Ulamayeva, 27, unconscious and unresponsive. EMS responded and pronounced her dead on arrival.
Yesterday, the Medical Examiner's Office said Ulamayeva's death was the result of an assault. Now, police say they arrested Francisco Rodriguez, 43, who lives near Westchester Square, and charged him with Ulamayeva's murder.
"Urban Focus," a weekly podcast from the Brooklyn-based DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy, will feature a special Bronx episode tomorrow night called "The Many Dimensions of the Bronx." Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., will headline the show to talk about job growth and economic development in the borough.
Other guests include: BOEDC President Marlene Cintron on Bronx development, consultant and Carl Heastie advisor Patrick Jenkins with some political insights, and NY1 anchor Dean Meminger, who will talk about tourism in the borough.
The show will stream online Wednesday night from 9 to 10 p.m. here.
The Bronx Ink, the on-line newspaper published by the graduate journalism students at Columbia, just came out with this article on our youth journalism program for Bronx high school students. If you, or any Bronx teen you know, is interested in learning reporting and writing, share this link with them. We'll be starting a new session this spring and it's not too early to apply!
A veteran Bronx cop who works out of the 44th Precinct claims he was transferred to an unpopular shift because he refused to write-off a parking ticket he gave to a friend of an NYPD chief. As has been reported, Internal Affairs is probing allegations of ticket-fixing at several precincts in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens. Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo, the commanding officer of the 52nd Precinct, is said to be one of those under investigation.
A woman convicted of brutally murdering 91-year-old Nellie Hocutt during a home invasion in Williamsbridge in 2003, has been sentenced to 25-years to life.
Burton Roberts, a hot-tempered Bronx judge who inspired the character Judge Myron Kovitsky in Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," died on Sunday aged 88. As a lawyer in later life, Roberts helped defend the cops who shot dead unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo.
Last week, Gloria Cruz, the leader of the Bronx chapter of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, was honored by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Robert Salerno, a police officer at the 44th Precinct who was shot and injured when he confronted an armed man last March, was recognized at the same event.
A confessed killer who helped murder the doorman of a Mount Eden brothel in 2004 is expected to testify against his three alleged accomplices.
The boyfriend of a woman found murdered in her Morrisania apartment on Sunday has been arrested in connection with the crime.
A Bronx teenager who says he's being physically abused by his family, has made a desperate plea for help, even showing up at family court on his own to state his case.
Pedro Espada, Jr., the soon to be ex-state senator, owes $41,625 in fines for sticking campaign posters to street lamps in the run up to September's Democratic primary. The candidate with the second highest fine: Espada's victorious opponent, Gustavo Rivera, with $11,250. That and more in Bob Kappstatter's weekly column.
Church members at Saint Stephen's United Methodist Church in Marble Hill are celebrating following the restoration of their 112-year-old place of worship.
A gourmet chef has been cooking up a feast - and a healthy one, too - at two schools in West Farms.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Photo Slideshow by Adi Talwar
Some 5,000 people (a record crowd, according to the borough president's office) tackled the 15th annual running (wheeling?) of the Tour de Bronx yesterday. The ride was dedicated to superstar Bronx health advocate and biking enthusiast Megan Charlop, who was killed in a biking accident earlier this year.
Riders received free shirts from organizers and helmets from the DOT. The ride began at 161st Street and the Grand Concourse and stretched into the east Bronx via the southern coast of the borough. It ended with music, refreshments and some words from Charlop's family at the Botanical Garden.
“Tour de Bronx gives us the chance to show to thousands of people that the Bronx is filled with beautiful places to visit. Riding a bike around our borough is the healthiest way to see exactly what The Bronx has to offer,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. who rode in the event for the first time. “I want to thank the many visitors who participated on our tour and to keep the invitation open for them to continue experiencing our wonderful borough.”
Note: And don't forget to join the discussion about Bronx biking in the week's featured forum.
Our cover story examines the impact two devastating fires last fall has had on the Norwood community. Four stores affected by the first fire, last Halloween morning, are locked in a legal battle with their landlord over unpaid back rent.
A first-time author writes a documentary-style book about the Ducky Boys gang, an infamous bunch of merry pranksters who grew up in the Fordham-Bedford area during the 1950s and '60s.
As part of our new Be Healthy! section, we write about a new law that requires doctors to inform breast cancer of their options for reconstructive surgery, which is covered by most insurance as well as medicare and medicaid.October is breast cancer awareness month.
We sit down for dinner at the new Samba Grill Brazilian buffet restaurant on Webster Avenue and Gun Hill Road.
The beloved Hair Shoppe on Bainbridge Avenue closed its doors a little more than a week ago, due to the economy, rising rents and decreased foot traffic (which could be another byproduct of last year's fires).
Construction on the new ball fields at Harris Field continues, following a seven-month halt to clean up lead contamination in the soil. (Side note: we're still puzzled by the Parks Department's lack of transparency about how this contamination thing went down. They still won't say when the contamination was first discovered or why it wasn't found before construction started, rather than in the middle of it. In a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request submitted a year ago, we have asked for documents relating to the contamination, but have received nothing.)
Plus more, including our Out&About entertainment section. (Note: in our print edition we accidentally published an event at the Bronx Zoo on Nov. 4, "Madagascar!," that was actually an invite-only affair. We apologize for the confusion.)
|Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and other bikers at yesterday's Tour de Bronx (Photo courtesy of the Bronx Borough President's Office)|
Join the conversation by clicking here, or on the "Forum" link at the top of this page. I've posted my own biking entry under the "Health, Sport and Fitness," heading to kick things off. If you aren't registered on the forum yet, you can do it there (it's super quick and easy.)
So head over there now, and let the discussion begin. We want to hear your thoughts.
Visit our website or pick up a copy today to read about the ongoing battle over permit fees at the Mary Mitchell Center, a new hotel opening on Third Avenue that's irked the local Community Board, a local vocational high school that's struggling to stay afloat, and much more.
Phipps Community Development Corporation, the nonprofit affiliate of affordable housing group Phipps Houses, is recruiting volunteer tutors for its numerous Bronx-based GED, ESL, SAT prep and adult education classes. Check out the flier below for more details on how to get involved, or visit their website here.
The Bronx Bombers cleaned out their clubhouse yesterday after a painful loss to the Texas Rangers ended their season Friday night.
Speaking of the Yankees: Grim LeRogue, the, um, eccentric fan who was arrested for storming the field at a game, says it was just a booze-fueled and harmless publicity prank. (Interesting side note: some of LeRogue's statements to police--including bizarre rants about Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston and Osama Bin Laden--are oddly similar to a letter the Norwood News received last week.)
A 25-year-old man was found shot to death in his Olinville apartment on Saturday, one of five separate killings that took place across the city this weekend.
6,000 cyclists rode through the borough yesterday at the annual Tour de Bronx. This years' event was held in honor of beloved community advocate Megan Charlop, who was killed in a biking accident in March.
Volunteers across the city planted thousands of new trees in their parks yesterday, with 3,500 planted in Van Cortlandt park alone.
Director Gary Weis talks to BlackBook.com about his documentary "80 Blocks from Tiffany's." The 1979 film, which chronicles street violence in the South Bronx of that era, is being released on DVD this month.
An enraged man smashed about eight cars with a 20-pound pick-axe on a street in Co-op City Friday morning. He was arrested shortly after.
A hit-and-run driver who struck a pedestrian in Fordham on Friday was caught by police on an unrelated drug-bust yesterday.
An argument with officials and the opposing team had Lehman High School football coach Michael Saunds pull his players from the field on Friday, with just a few minutes left in the game.
Eva Moskowitz, whose Success Charter Network runs schools in Harlem and the South Bronx, argues the need for more charter schools on the Upper West Side.
South Bronx native Misra Walker was one of six people to receive the environmental Brower Youth Award for her campaign for a shuttle bus to Baretto Point Park.
A Bronx related-bit at the end of this piece on Democratic conference leader John Sampson: investigators are looking into the Democrats' hiring of Sen. Pedro Espada's son, Pedro G. Espada, last year. According to the Daily News, The Legislative Ethics Commission is investigating whether the younger Espada got the $120,000-a-year-job--which he quit last August--as a means to get his father to end the Senate stalemate.
The New South Bronx Halloween Parade honored neighborhood heros, and brought ghosts and goblins together for fun. See the action in The Hunts Point Express, www.huntspointexpress.com
Friday, October 22, 2010
Unhappy in the Boogie Down? A new poll says that Bronx residents are the least satisfied compared to those in the other four boroughs.
A junior high school teacher is accused of having had a yearlong affair with a 13-year-old student from IS 299 in Morris Heights, where he previously taught.
Several of the accused assailants in this month's gay bias attacks could be offered plea deals from the Bronx District Attorney next week, according to their lawyers.
A man was awarded $18.5 million by a federal jury this week after he served over 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Alan Newton was cleared by DNA evidence and released from jail in 2006, where he'd been wrongfully serving time for a 1984 rape and assault in the Bronx.
Some of the world's largest pumpkins are at the Botanical Garden this week, and will be on display until Halloween. The largest, a world record-holder, weighs in at a whopping 1,810 pounds.
A man has finally been convicted for the murder of a Bedford Park pizzeria owner, 18 years after the crime took place. Police finally solved the case in 2008 after linking a fingerprint found at the scene to Israel Feliciano, who faces sentencing next week.
Bronx-based filmmaker Ronald Armstrong's new short movie is a war film with an unusual all-female cast.
The NYPD is expanding its investigation of alleged ticket-fixing, which started with the 52nd Precinct's Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo, into other precincts in Queens and Manhattan. D'Adamo has been accused of fixing tickets for friends and relatives.
New York Democrats are lending a hand to fellow Democrats across the country in the form of hefty campaign contributions. Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel, for example, has given $75,000 in donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this election season.
|Photo courtesy of BAAD!|
The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) has two events taking place this friday and saturday nights.
Tonight, choreographers Richard Rivera and Whitney V. Hunter share an evening of bold contemporary dance. Tomorrow night features "Mujeres Bomba," an evening of Bomba-infused female dance performances (see photo at left).
Check our events calendar below--or click the link at the top of this page--for this and other Bronx happenings.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Bronx significantly increased its participation in this year's Census, drawing praise from Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. who sent out a pat-on-the-back press release about the encouraging numbers this afternoon.
In 2000, only 56 percent of residents participated in the Census. This year, 65 percent of Bronxites filled out their surveys.
While Manhattan (70%) and Staten Island (66%) did slightly better, the Boogie Down did better than Brooklyn (62%) and Queens (58%).
“The Bronx had a higher percent of participation during the 2010 census, which made me believe that many more residents understood that to be counted was a very important step toward obtaining funding and resources that are critical for the borough’s development,” Diaz said in the release.
By Selim Khan
The champs get to play on . . . at least for one more game, that is.
With their backs against the wall and no margin for error, down 3 -1 in the American League Championship Series, the Yanks came out aggressive, striking early and often. Despite losing slugger Mark Teixeira for the rest of the playoffs in Game 4 to a hamstring injury, the Yankees scored three runs in the second inning and two more in the third inning, as the Yankees flexed their muscles when Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano went yard on back to back at bats.
Playing with a lead is not something the Yankees have enjoyed much in this series, so it was important for them to get out to an early lead and keep the sellout crowd in the game.
It helped that Rangers lefty CJ Wilson was not as sharp in his second start of the series. In Game 1, he pitched into the seventh inning, silencing the Yankee bats. This time, however, he lasted only five innings giving up six runs, five of them earned.
Although not dominant, CC Sabathia fared better this time around than in his Game 1 outing, pitching through six turbulent innings, giving up eleven hits, but only two runs.
With the score 6 -2 in favor of the Yankees, Sabathia showed his guts and resourcefulness in the sixth inning when the Rangers had the bases loaded with one out, but failed to score, culminating in Sabathia striking out Mitch Moreland looking.
The pressure on the Yankees was palpable. They didn't want to be eliminated in front of the home faithful. Plus, the Rangers were playing with house money knowing that they will be heading back home and have ace Cliff Lee in reserve for a Game 7, if necessary.
Bizarre Letter The Work of Crazed A-Rod Hater? Author: I'm a Terrorist Who Wants to Help Osama Bin Laden Kill Bobby Brown
A little follow-up post to the News Roundup, which linked to a Daily News story about Grim LeRogue, the man who was tackled by security at Yankee Stadium Monday night after he stormed the field in an apparent attempt to attack Alex Rodriguez and impress Cameron Diaz, A-Rod's girlfriend.
In the article, it says LeRogue's Bronx apartment was lined with pictures of Osama Bin Laden and naked girls. Later it says: "Sources said he also told cops he wanted to murder singer Bobby Brown because he believes Bin Laden has a crush on his Grammy Award-winning wife, Whitney Houston."
That's kind of a random detail in the story that wouldn't be worth noting, except that yesterday, the Norwood News, a member of the Bronx News Network, received an anonymous and obnoxiously racist letter, ranting against Hot 97, as well as black people and Jewish people in general.
Now, we've received our share of crazy anonymous letters. We usually brush them off as the rants of crazy people. Traditionally, we recycle them or temporarily put them up on our bulletin board as an example of the crazy letters crazy people write.
But here's the interesting part about this particular letter. At the end of the letter, the author talks about how he's an "al-Qaeda" agent and that he was sent here to "help Osama bin Laden kill Bobby Brown so he can make Whitney Houston his sex slave."
The author then dares someone to do something to stop him ("I am in al-Qaeda; [expeletive] do something!") and claims Ron Kuby, the high-profile defense lawyer and television personality, will help him get off easy if he gets charged with anything. The letter was addressed to the Norwood News and sent to us in the mail. There was no return address. It's post-marked Oct. 19, which means it could have been dropped in a mailbox on Monday, before Monday night's Yankee game.
LeRogue is reportedly being held at Lincoln Hospital for evaluation.
The letter ends with: "Yours truly, America's Greatest hero, The Uncle of Sam."
Coincidence? Could there by numerous people out there claiming they want to kill Bobby Brown on behalf of Osama bin Laden because the terrorist leader wants Whitney Houston to be his sex slave? Are Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston even married anymore?
So many questions. So much craziness.
Grim LeRogue, otherwise known as the Bronx lunatic who stormed the field at Yankee Stadium during the game Monday night in an apparent bid to impress Cameron Diaz, who is dating Alex Rodriguez, apparently had it in for A-Rod even before Diaz hooked up with him.
The Bronx County Courthouse will star in a a film featuring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller.
Cardinal Hayes High School honored Regis Philbin, one of their most memorable alums.
Dozens of cab drivers in the Bronx were busted for picking up passengers in unsafe, unlicensed and uninsured cars. Five vehicles were seized and 44 summons were given out.
The family of a man killed in an alleged hit-and-run incident is looking for help in finding the driver who fled the scene.
Here's link to the show with the borough president:
BronxTalk - October 18, 2010
Also, don't forget it's Carl Heastie this Monday night, the debate for the 81st assembly district next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 9:30pm, and a special one-hour forum on the Osborne Place torture incident on November 1.
Now in its 17th year, BronxTalk is seen live each Monday night at 9:00pm on Bronxnet's Cablevision channel 67. It's also on Verizon Fios channel 33 and streamed live at bronxnet.org. Hosted by Gary Axelbank and produced by Jane Folloro, BronxTalk is repeated each day at 9:30am, 3:30pm, and 9:00pm. Archives are available at bronxnet.org; click "BronxTalk" on the right hand navigation bar.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
|Poe Cottage is closed for restoration. You can track the progress on Facebook.|
Poe Cottage, located in Poe Park on Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse, is currently closed due to restoration work being done, but The Bronx County Historical Society and Historic House Trust of New York have made it easy for the community to observe progress by posting photos on Facebook.
"Major changes will not be happening," said Angel Hernandez of the Bronx Historical Society. "We are trying to use materials that resemble the ones used 190 years ago as a way of maintaining the original character."
The Historical House Trust's Facebook album, titled "Poe Cottage Restoration," offers detailed photos of the progress made over the past three months.
Photos include detailed blueprints of the restoration plan which will be completed in two phases. Phase one will focus on the exterior of the house, including the installation of an accessibility ramp. Phase two will focus on improving the landscaping surrounding the house and include the replacement of shingles and front steps.
Good morning beautiful people!
First up, highlights (lowlights?) of the Yankees getting thrashed by the upstart Texas Rangers, 10-3, last night in the Bronx. Now down 3-1 in the best of seven American League Champion Series. The Bombers face elimination in a matinee game today. Start time: 4:07 p.m.
Apparently Yankee fans bailed early from this massacre.(Disclaimer: it's written by a Red Sox fan.)
More on the largest pumpkin ever grown, which is on its way to the Bronx from New Richmond, Wisc. After a stop at the Regis and Kelly show, it should arrive at the New York Botanical Garden on Friday. It will be on display there for a week and then turned into the world's largest jack-o-lantern by superstar pumpkin carver Scott Cully.
Bronx State Senator Pedro Espada's former ally in the coup that gridlocked Albany in 2009, Hiram Monserrate (who was booted out of office earlier this year), was indicted yesterday on federal corruption charges for allegedly using a nonprofit in his district to bankroll his first run for state senate. Sound eerily familiar? Bronx City Councilman Larry Seabrook is facing similar charges and Espada's predecessor, Efrain Gonzalez, is now in prison after being convicted on basically the same charges.
A federal court awarded a Bronx man wrongly convicted of rape $18.5 million in damages from the city. Alan Newton spent two decades in prison before being cleared four years ago when DNA evidence that was finally located proved his innocence.
The City Fix, a website dedicated to advocating for environmentally-friendly transportation, says it's a great thing that the MTA is expanding it's bus rapid transit routes. The rapid transit program began with the BX12, which runs east to west on Fordham Road.
The Daily News writes about Sunday's Tour de Bronx, which, as we've mentioned a time or two, is dedicated to superstar health advocate Megan Charlop, who died in a biking accident earlier this year.
More hotels are sprouting up in the outer boroughs, including the Bronx. The story mentions the Days Inn Yankee Stadium on Brooke Avenue and says a Holiday Inn Express is also coming to the borough. BxNN reader Jack points out this relatively new hotel on 3rd Avenue.(Meanwhile, nothing seems to be happening with the half-built skeleton of what was supposed to be a Comfort Inn on Webster Avenue, near Mosholu Parkway.)
Tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 21, Montefiore Medical Center's physical therapy department is hosting a two-mile run/walk in Williamsbridge Oval Park to benefit their B'N Fit program, which aims to combat teenage obesity by promoting exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Walkers will meet in the park at 12 noon; a $10 donation is suggested.
Check out this and other events in our calendar, below.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating claims that Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo, the commanding officer of the 52nd Precinct, wrote off parking tickets received by friends and family members. D'Adamo has been top cop at the Five-Two since last October. Here's a profile that appeared in the Norwood News earlier this year.
As we mentioned yesterday, the four Newburgh men accused of trying to blow up two Riverdale synagogues have been found guilty. In a statement, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz, Jr. said:
I am happy to see that justice has been done, and that the four thugs who plotted to destroy two Riverdale synagogues will be forced to pay for their crimes. The Bronx stands against hate in all of its forms, and all 1.4 million Bronxites are gratified that this loathsome attack on religious freedom will not go unpunished.Legal experts say the convictions vindicate the post-9/11 strategy of using informants to identify and encourage individuals considered likely to engage in terrorism activities, in order to get them off the streets.
Two pit bulls attacked and injured two adults near Crotona Park early this morning.
For one Bronx family, Nov. 1 is a special day. Mom, dad, and baby all share the same birthday.
The owners of a venerable Bronx locksmith says their company's name is being dragged through the mud by scam artists.
In his weekly column, the Daily News' Bob Kappstatter says more trouble may be brewing for Co-op City's scandal-hit board of directors.
The Yankees have made a mint selling dirt from their old ballpark.
A Bronx-based beverage company is recalling certain juice drinks because of concerns over foodborne pathogens.
State Senator Jeff Klein is taking nothing for granted in his race against Republican challenger Frank Vernuccio.
An enormous pumpkin, weighing close to 2,000 pounds, will be on display at the Botanical Garden upcoming "Halloween Hoorah" event series. For times, etc. visit our events calendar.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Looking for a place to watch Monday Night Football in the Bronx? Well, the Applebee's in Fordham Plaza is now hosting a weekly Quarterback Coaches Show every Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
The show, a joint venture between WFUV radio, the Fordham Athletic Department and Applebee's, will feature an interview with Fordham head football coach Tom Massella and a couple of Rams players. They'll discuss the previous week's game (on Saturday Fordham, 2-5 on the year, lost to Yale, 7-6) and talk about upcoming contests.
You can also listen to the show on WFUV.
After eight days of deliberation, an 11-person jury found four men guilty of plotting to bomb two Riverdale synagogues and shoot down military planes.
Here's the NY Times story.
Here's the Riverdale Press story.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. was at Montefiore Children's Hospital this morning to promote the Tour de Bronx, the borough-wide group bicycle ride taking place this Sunday. This year's tour will honor Megan Charlop, a longtime health advocate and Montefiore employee who was killed in a cycling accident this spring.
"Montefiore has always had a tradition of being deeper in the community, promoting wellness and prevention," said Steven Safyer, MD, president of Montefiore, one of the tour's major sponsors. "This big bike ride is an important activity, and an example of adults creating the right examples for children."
The Bronx News Network is this year's Tour de Bronx media sponsor. If you haven't registered already, you can do so here.
Watch the video below to hear Borough President Diaz' comments about the tour, and about what Megan Charlop meant to the Bronx.
Untitled from Jeanmarie Evelly on Vimeo.
Bronx Community College will be holding a "March for Dignity," this Thursday, Oct. 21 to show support for the LGBT community in light of this month's bias attacks. See the flyer below for more details.
March for Dignity