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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Aug. 25

Weather: First an earthquake, now Irene. The category 3 hurricane that's currently dumping rain on the Bahamas is headed towards the northeastern U.S., though exactly where and when it will hit is still up in the air (though most are predicting it'll be in New York sometime Sunday). For those interested: WNYC has this city map of flood zones, the New York Times has a live hurricane tracker feature, and the city has released a brochure on storm-preparedness.

As for the current weather, expect rain and thunderstorms most of the afternoon.

Story of the Day: Fordham Prof Turns Hip-Hop
A history professor at Fordham University raps--yes, raps--to get his students' attention on lessons about gentrification and affordable rents. Mark Naison, aka "Notorious PhD" (cute!) says he is worried the Bronx will eventually turn into an expensive hipster-haven like Brooklyn and parts of Harlem.

Watch the video below. Naison's rap starts around the 2:20 mark, complete with a beatboxer accompaniment. Awesome.

Quick Hits:
Now that the criminal case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been dropped, accuser Nafissatou Diallo's lawyers are focusing their efforts on the case they've filed against the former IMF chief in Bronx Civil Court.

The Bronx's Dominican population has jumped 81 percent over the last decade.

A judge has given the Soundview Healthcare Network, the clinic owned and run by indicted former Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., an extended deadline--Soundview was ordered banned from the State's Medicaid program starting Sept. 12, but were just granted a stay until at least the next court date on the 19th.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz is demanding the DOE release all environmental testing reports and other data related to PS 51, or the Bronx New School in Bedford Park, which was found to be contaminated with high levels of a hazardous chemical. 

What a great reward for being studious: Bronx Little Leaguers with good attendance records and at least a B school grade average will get to compete in the Borough President's Cup at Yankee Stadium.

Bronx cops are still waiting--anxiously--for indictments to drop from the District Attorney's office in the much talked about ticket-fixing probe.

Low-income neighborhoods are home to more soda drinkers than affluent ones, a new report finds. In the South Bronx, almost have of residents report drinking at least one soda a day (earlier this year, Bloomberg proposed banning the use of food stamps to buy soda and other sugary beverages, a plan that was met with much debate).

Congrats to Riverdale Press reporter and former Norwood News intern Graham Kates, who tied the knot last weekend.


  1. Doesn't that anti-gentrification guy live in Park Slope in a house worth more than a million dollars AND own a house in the Hamptons? Who is he to talk?

  2. Let me appropriate your culture (poorly), while you just stand next to me to provide some color as I speak on your behalf. (Remember you were lucky to get into Fordham in the first place!)

    Where will the poor people go? Not Park Slope! We don't want affordable hous... I mean, um, we really need to protect the architectural heritage of our brownstones. But we care, we really do, so we want to make sure they have a place to live, just all the way up in the Bronx.

  3. I'm curious. Is Naison active in local politics in Park Slope to build more affordable housing? Or does he just advocate to keep the Bronx a ghetto so the poor can all afford to live here?

    I don't know what his agenda is, but more explanation might reassure people he isn't putting on an image of being compassionate, while keeping the poor and all their problems secluded safely away from his family on the far side of town.

    What he puts here with his so-called "rap" just seems insulting to the Bronx. If nothing else, it doesn't seem to provide the level of discourse I would expect from a tenured university professor.

  4. Forget affordable housing. People in the Bronx wouldn't be able to afford "affordable housing" in Park Slope anyway. They should take some of the homeless shelters, instead of just piling more on Webster Avenue!

  5. No one I know works harder and more passionately than Dr. Naison to advocate for oppressed people in the Bronx and elsewhere. If you're lucky enough to be included on it, you know that his active - or should i say radioactive - email listserv is thoughtful, provocative, and informed. University professors, journalists, politicians, educators, and numerous others from around the globe are active members and supporters. His knowledge of Bronx culture and music is unparalleled and he applies it in and out of his classrooms to help empower people who have been otherwise abandoned. The criticisms on this blog couldn't be more wrong.

  6. The "criticisms on this blog couldn't be more wrong"??? Are you kidding?

    The only thing that couldn't be more wrong is the statement that his "rap" was "awesome." Anybody who has ever walked down a street in the Bronx once would recognize just how little Naison understands, appreciates, and respects hip hop to ever try passing off his weak performance as a Bronx rap!

    And I still haven't heard any explanation about why he lives in Brooklyn if he loves the Bronx so much. Or, for that matter, why he isn't trying to help the disadvantaged get opportunities to live in his great neighborhood in Brooklyn.

    Now Gax is going to tell us that we don't know the Bronx because we're not on some Fordham professor's email listserv? As usual, it's the same non-profit mafia suspects who show up here and tell us what's good for us. No thanks!

  7. GAX, I did not see Professor Naison empowering anybody with his "rap." The two youths were there only as background. They did not find a voice from his teaching. Instead, he exploited them for his own political agenda.

    GAX, people can understand Bronx culture perfectly well without the condescension of people like yourself or Professor Naison. Truth be told, anybody who walked down many of our blocks just once could recognize the Professor Naison apparently has no understanding, appreciation, or respect for hip hop when he tries to pass off a weak performance like that as a Bronx rap.

    If Professor Naison really loves the Bronx, he can move here and join us in our fight for a better qualify of life, where the middle class doesn't feel like it needs to move elsewhere to raise their children in a decent environment.

    If Professor Naison really cares about the disadvantaged, he can fight in his own neighborhood to create places for them to live in a decent environment.

    It is just cheap talk for some self-appointed spokesperson who does not share in our plight to say we shouldn't have neighbors with jobs or people in our community with access to the levers of power, because there is some degree of risk that the neighborhood will get more expensive. Especially when they enjoy all those advantages where they go home for the night, leaving us behind in our neighborhoods that he helped deprive of a healthy middle class!


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