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Friday, September 30, 2011

Rep. Joe Crowley on BronxTalk

BronxTalk, Gary Axelbank's talk show on the borough's public access station, BRONXNET, featured Rep. Joe Crowley this week. They discussed the economy, environmental issues and the election of a Republican in a historically Democratic district. Video above.

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 30

Tenants at 2097 Webster Ave., suffering from hundreds of open housing code violations, have filed a petition in Housing Court to get an outside adminstrator appointed to manage the building. News 12 has video.

Just so you know, other cities like Philadelphia have big problems with neglected properties, too.

The ongoing Occupy Wall Street demo is about to get a little bigger, thanks to the support of unions and community organizations.

Will the Wall Street protesters be allowed to stay in Zuccotti Park? "We'll see," says the mayor.

This blog, NYC Latino Politics, blames the Bronx's woes (poverty, health, crime) on its politicians.

The owner of a Bronx luxury car service was shot dead yesterday.

Bronx Ink, run by students at Columbia's graduate school for journalism, reports on muggings in Williamsbridge Oval and a march by residents that followed.

Another Bronx Ink piece looks at Jewish and Palestinian business owners in Hunts Point who work peacefully side-by-side.

A year-and-a-half after a fire at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church destroyed its front entrance, its new doors swing wide open, the Norwood News reports.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 29

A perpetually neglected West Farms apartment building adds water leaks to its list of woes.

A Bronx principal is accused of harassing faculty members.

The Bronx leads the city in poverty, according to the 2010 Census, and Adam Wisnieski of the Riverdale Press has the details.

We posted a link to a video of the new chicken coop in Brook Park the other day. The Daily News has a feature today about it.

The position of Bronx Surrogate -- a position that administers wills, estates and adoptions -- is up for grabs, Kappstatter reports in his weekly column. He also suggests that siting a successful hotel near Yankee Stadium will be an uphill climb.

The Bronx Clergy Legislative Roundtable is training pastors in an effort to reduce recidivism among ex-cons.

A website started by a former Bronx teacher, www.donorschoose.org, lists 400 school projects that need funding and solicits contributions.

A Bronx school is one of many throughout the country taking part in Banned Websites Awareness Day, sending a slew of emails to the Department of Education protesting the blocking of blogs and social network sites.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 28

Bronx Household of Faith is petitioning the Supreme Court to listen to its appeal of a lower court ruling that prevents it from holding religious services at PS 15 in University Heights.  Norwood News covered this issue in-depth last June.

Two leaders of the United Hispanic construction workers are pleading not guilty to "charges they threatened and extorted contractors at construction sites in the Manhattan and the Bronx," according to the Wall Street Journal.

A Bronx landlord is being sued for allegedly discriminating against black prospective tenants.

Wiretaps in the Bronx ticket-fixing case recorded cops making racist comments, according to the Daily News.

There's been a decent amount of coverage in the last couple of weeks of Councilman Larry Seabrook's federal corruption trial set to begin on Oct. 11. Articles here, here and here.

Members of a Melrose drug gang were arrested and charged yesterday, reports the Post.

More on the sale of Rat Island, which we mentioned in a recent roundup.

Bronx Science's girls' soccer team defeated archrival DeWitt Clinton in Williamsbridge Oval yesterday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Responding to Muggings, March Planned for Oval Park Tonight

Alarmed by a spate of recent muggings in Williamsbridge Oval Park, the volunteer group Friends of the Williamsbridge Oval is organizing a march for safety in the park tonight. Those interested in participating should gather at the northern entrance of the park opposite the Keeper's House (stone house between Putnam Place and Reservoir Place) at 6:30 p.m.

Over the past two days, there has been a notable increase in police presence -- more patrol cars, more undercover officers -- at the Norwood-area park.

Less than two weeks ago, Montefiore Medical Center sent out an alert to employees, telling them to beware of their surrounding when walking in and around the park. The alert said two of its employees, in separate incidents, had recently been attacked by groups of teenagers who knocked them to the ground and took their cell phones. They added that no one had been seriously injured. There was also another report of a mugging at the park last week.

For more information about tonight's event, check out the Friends of the Williamsbridge Oval Facebook page.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home and Business Fair tonight in Norwood will speak three languages

A number of nonprofit groups are coming together to host a resource fair for homeowners and small business owners this evening at the Mosholu Branch of the New York Public Library. In an effort to support the growing Bangladeshi population in Norwood, information will be provided in Bangla as well as English and Spanish.

Organized by University Neighborhood Housing Program, the resource fair will bring Queens-based Chhaya CDC and citywide groups such as the Legal Aid Society, the Parodneck Foundation and NYC Business Solutions together with local groups including the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition's Weatherization Assistance Program and the West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center.

Homeowners who attend the resource fair which runs from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, will be able to learn about foreclosure prevention options including loan modifications, find out about free legal assistance that may be available, and receive a free weatherization kit while learning how to cut energy costs. Additionally, attendees can find out about assistance with immigration and get help starting or expanding a small business, including getting certified as a minority or women owned business (MWBE). Resources will also be available for first time home buyers, as well as information on credit workshops and free tax preparation services.

The event will be held in the basement of the Mosholu branch of the New York Public Library (285 East 205 Street between Bainbridge and Perry Avenues). More information is available on UNHP's website, or by calling 718-933-2539.

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 26

Some Queens chickens got a new home in Brook Park in the south Bronx, where volunteers will monitor the new coop there and take a share of eggs. See video from WNYC and the article on their website. (Editor's note: we took an earlier embedded version of the video.)

The Times' Christopher Gray details the history and grandeur of Orchard Beach, but also points out that the salty sea air is disintegrating the concrete. Don't miss these stunning Orchard Beach photos on the website of the Museum of the City of New York.

Dan Beekman of the Daily News reports on three rabbis who walk from Brooklyn to Parkchester every Saturday to hold services for the area's dwindling Jewish population. It takes them four hours each way!

Another Beekman article highlights a growing concern among Bronx officials over a decline in inspectors at the city's Buildings Department, despite a huge increase in agency revenue from fines and fees.

The community benefits fund associated with the construction of the new Yankee stadium on public parkland continues to be mired in controversy, the New York Post reports. The Yankee-supported fund, which is governed by a board and is not administered by the team, has doled out funding to politically-connected groups, some of which are for-profit.

It's not often that New York Times architecture reviewers come to the Bronx, and rarer even that their reviews of borough buildings make the front page of the print edition. Today's Times has a prominent, lengthy piece by Michael Kimmelman singing the praises of Via Verde, a public housing development in Melrose with both aesthetic and public health aspirations.

The Riverdale Press takes a whack at the Parks Department with three stories (here, here and here) about long-delayed park projects. They top it off with a tough editorial.

Gruesome story of a man who attacked his neighbor with a machete (the victim survived) and then lit himself and his Southern Boulevard apartment building on fire. He is expected to die, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Young aspiring filmmakers from the Ghetto Film School will be honored tonight at Lincoln Center.

State Senator Jeff Klein is introducing legislation targeting cyber-bullies.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 23

Story of the Day:
From Juan Gonzalez's Daily News column today: The ever-ballooning pricetag on the construction of the Croton water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park got another gust of hot air, with a finding by the city's Independent Budget Office that the project will now cost $3.4 billion (no typo there), almost three times the original projected cost. Meanwhile, the Parks Department concedes that of the $200 million promised for Bronx park improvements, only $150 million has been committed. The rest won't be spent until 2019, the IBO says.

Quick Hits: 
The latest owner of a troubled high-profile portfolio of Bronx buildings, who was thought by some to be something of a savior, sells out for a profit, leaving angry tenants in his wake

An 87-year-old woman died in an apartment fire on Johnson Avenue yesterday. The blaze also injured her 91-year-old husband.

An at-large subway slasher has straphangers alert on the 4-train.

Mott Haven Herald has this story: Samuel Gompers High School was not included in a DOE application for federal support, angering parents and teachers.

Also in the Herald, a Ghanaian immigrant from Mott Haven with the unlikely name, "Kuwait," makes it easier for Bronx immigrants to ship big packages back to their homelands.

Even though they favor the city's new Bike Share program more than residents of Brooklyn where the program will debut along with Manhattan, Bronxites will have to wait. (Tour de Bronx, on Oct. 23 this year, came long before the Tour de Brooklyn, we should note.)

Kappstatter surveys the all-sides impact of the ticket-fixing scandal.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jerome-Gun Hill Festival

I hope you all can join us for Jerome-Gunhill B.I.D Festival on Saturday the 24th. This is the 10th year of this fabulous street festival. The festivities will be on Jerome Avenue between 208 street and Gunhill Road.
The slide show is of photographs I made last year.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 21

Want your own island off the Bronx coast? It can be yours for a quarter million -- or less! Seriously. You might want to read the fine print before you make a bid though

City Hall has a good story explaining the messy reality of Marble Hill, which is geographically in the Bronx (and has the appropriate zip and area codes) but is politically part of Manhattan.

If you want some good background on the Yankee Stadium garage issue and the prospects of a new hotel on the site having any success, make sure to read Neil deMause's rundown in the Voice.

OK, so what if some of the kids at IS 162 in Melrose didn't know who their surprise visitor yesterday was (Steven Van Zandt) or who his musical Boss is (Bruce Springsteen)? None of that mattered when Van Zandt showed up with a gift of new guitars and amplifiers to jam with the kids and further his mission of getting kids to learn to play music and write songs.

Senator Gillibrand is pushing legislation to help the country's "food deserts," including the Bronx, which "[d]espite its nearly 150 locally tended gardens and farms ... still remains the worst among the five boroughs for obesity and diabets, according to the city Health Department," says the Daily News. 

Bronx Pale Ale might pour the way for new Bronx-based brewery.

The Bronx Times reports on a hearing on legislative redistricting in the borough, an issue that some want to see handled by an independent commission.

The Parks Department is installing metal wedges to foil creative skateboarders, who say they have no place else to do their thing.  Norwood News has the story.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 20

Story of the Day:
It's been an unachieved goal of many Bronx borough presidents, but maybe the failure of an over-priced Bronx parking garage near Yankee Stadium will finally lead to an elusive, quality Bronx hotel that's not of the pay-by-the-hour variety.

The leaseholder of city-owned property that is currently home to Yankee Stadium's biggest privately-run parking garage is sinking fast as fans have chosen not to spring for the over-priced spots, leaving about 40 percent of them empty on the average game day.

Bronx Parking owes the city $17 million in rent and taxes and is therefore supporting the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation's (BOEDC) solicitation of proposals for building a hotel at the site, which is on East 153rd Street and River Avenue. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. wants the project to include a conference center, a penthouse restaurant and a Latino Baseball Hall of Fame at the hotel as well.

Proposals are due Nov. 15 and would need to be approved by the city and Bronx Parking's bondholders, according to the Daily News.

Quick Hits: 
Two robbers at a Bronx River Avenue facility were shot by federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as they sped away from the scene. The investigation is ongoing. (For those of you who are curious, like we were, about the addition of "Explosives" in the agency's name, it was added in 2003 when ATF, as it is known, was transferred to the Justice Department from the Treasury Department.) 

Something else we didn't know until today -- there's an L.A. punk band called The Bronx that is currently pursuing a mariachi-style side project, called Mariachi El Bronx.

Prosecutors in the Bronx DA's office will be asking a grand jury to indict 17 officers allegedly involved in the ticket-fixing scandal, according to the Daily News.

A Bronx teen with a very cool name -- Basilous Falconer -- will be honored by the nonprofit Just Food for creating a farm next to his high school in Soundview.

Yesterday we linked to the Times story on the exodus of a number of Social Studies at Bronx Science, the latest sign of disgruntlement at the famous Bedford Park institution, which has produced a number of Nobel laureates. Today we highlight this Gotham Gazette article that traces the discontent back to the days of Harold Levy, another chancellor who needed a waiver from the state Department of Education.

Check out Dan Beekman's nice profile of Louise "Big Momma" Mitchell, who lives in Mount Hope and may be the oldest Bronx resident.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Bronx Novel By BAAD's Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Veteran community and LGBT activist Charles Rice-Gonzalez, whose day job is executive director of BAAD (Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance), somehow found the time to pen his first novel, Chulito, which, according to a press release, is "a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block." 

The book will be released on Oct. 11, which is National Coming Out Day, by Magnus Books. Rice-Gonzalez will read from his book that day at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 2289 Broadway at 82nd Street in Manhattan.

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 19

Here's a nice out-of-town appreciation from Lawrenceville, NJ Patch (one of the AOL-owned on-line weeklies) of a Bronx treasure, Baron Ambrosia, and his quirky cinematic tours of the borough's food scene, including Neerob, a Bangladeshi joint on Starling Avenue in Castle Hill.

From much further out of town, a reporter from The Guardian, a British daily paper, details some of the stark differences between the 16th Congressional District, which is a gigantic chunk of the southern half of the borough, and the 14th District on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Sam Dolnick had a terrific Times piece yesterday that highlights merchants and business owners -- including Cali Rivera and his little drum factory in Highbridge -- who hold on for dear life despite the whipping winds of demographic change over decades. Great pictures, too.

Don't think we mentioned this yet, but Bob Kappstatter reported in a recent column that the trial of former State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. and his son, Pedro G. Espada, which was supposed to be begin in mid-October has been pushed back to the beginning of next year after the judge ruled that prosecutors failed to turn over some computer files seized in the raid on Espada's Soundview Healthcare clinic. Anyone familiar with similar pre-trial maneuvers, including those of Espada's predecessor, former Sen. Efrain Gonzalez, will predict that this is probably the first of several such delays.

Troubles continue at the esteemed Bronx High School of Science as the New York Times reports that eight of 20 social studies teachers have chosen not to return.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Adi Talwar Featured on BronxTalk

The talented photographer Adi Talwar, whose photos have often graced this blog and the pages of the Norwood News, was on Bronx Net's "BronxTalk" last week, discussing his work with host Gary Axelbank. Check out the video below for the interview and to see some of Talwar's favorite Bronx shots.

Happy Bronx Anthrax Day (No, Not the Kind of Anthrax You're Thinking)

The Bronx is going metal today, as "The Big 4"--heavy metal bands Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeath and Slayer--take the stage at Yankee Stadium this afternoon. The concert is a big deal for metal-enthusiasts and thousands are expected to turn out for the show, which starts at 4 p.m.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., has even christened today, Sept. 14, "Anthrax Day in the Bronx," honoring the band--three members of which have Bronx roots, in Throggs Neck and Pelham Parkway--with a proclamation in the video below.

Bronx Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson, meanwhile, is warning residents to expect traffic delays, crowded trains and extra police presence around Yankee Stadium today thanks to the concert.

"It is good to have big name musical acts like Anthrax and Metallica come to the Bronx because they help shine a positive light on our community, but when thousands of visitors come to the west Bronx like this it can lead to some temporary inconveniences for residents,” Gibson said in a statement.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative--Deadline Extended!

Bronx News Network is recruiting now for the fall semester of the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative--a free journalism program for Bronx high school students. We've just extended our application deadline a week to next Wednesday, Sept. 21, so there's still time to apply!

During the semester, students will learn the fundamentals of writing, reporting, and photojournalism through classroom instruction and hands-on reporting in their own neighborhoods. Their work gets published in a special youth supplement called Bronx Youth Heard, which appears in the Norwood News, giving youth a powerful voice--not to mentioned a real, bylined news clip for their college applications and portfolios.

We are looking for students of all academic abilities, but they should be highly motivated, love to write, be naturally inquisitive, and care about what's going on in their communities. Click here to find out more about the program or to download an application form, or call (718) 324-4998 and ask for Jeanmarie Evelly. You can also e-mail bronxyouthheard@gmail.com.

Bronx News Catch-Up Roundup, Sept. 13

Good afternoon, Bronxites! Yes, it's been quiet here on the blogging front. We're short-staffed at the moment and in-between intern sessions, and we've also been gearing up for a new semester of the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative (speaking of which--we've extended our application deadline to Sept. 21! Tell your kids/students/friends!)

So: blogging might be on the light side for a bit. But here are some Bronx headlines that you may have missed this week/weekend:

Yet another Bronx Zoo animal escape went down on Sunday. An African antelope, also known as a Kudu, joins the ranks of the Bronx Zoo peacock and the Bronx Zoo cobra. It broke free of its enclosure just in time for professional photographer Andrew Litchenstein to snap its photo.

The Times' Lens Blog highlights a photo slideshow of teenagers attending the prom at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore.

A Bronx Surrogate Judge is in hot water for approving attorney fees for a friend--who also happens to be his campaign fundraiser--for work on estate cases the lawyer never performed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bronx Events!

Editor's note: What did we miss? Send details to bronxnewsnetwork[at]gmail.com.

Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative--Apply Now!

Bronx News Network is recruiting now for the fall semester of the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative--a free journalism program for Bronx high school students. Classes meet every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse.

During the semester, students will learn the fundamentals of writing, reporting, and photojournalism through classroom instruction and hands-on reporting in their own neighborhoods. Their work gets published in a special youth supplement called Bronx Youth Heard, which appears in the Norwood News, giving youth a powerful voice--not to mentioned a real, bylined news clip for their college applications and portfolios.

We are looking for students of all academic abilities, but they should be highly motivated, love to write, be naturally inquisitive, and care about what's going on in their communities. Click here to find out more about the program or to download an application form, or call (718) 324-4998 and ask for Jeanmarie Evelly. You can also e-mail bronxyouthheard@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fordham Road Renaissance Festival

On Aug 21, I found myself on East Fordham road just east of the Grand Concourse, among thousands who were enjoying the Fordham Road Renaissance Festival. Street photography at close quarters is one of my favorite ways of making photographs. Let me not try and describe what I saw, let me show you! Click on the slide show window to see the photographs larger.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bronx Sept.11 Events

Here are a few events taking place in the borough this Sunday, Sept. 11 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Let us know in the comments section if you've heard of something we've missed.

Bronx Community College, Meister Hall lobby, 2155 University Ave., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. - The program will feature speakers from campus reflecting on their personal connection to 9/11. For more information, call (718) 289-5193.

Lehman College, 250 Bedford Pk. Blvd. W., at the College Walk outside Shuster Hall in front of the campus 9/11 memorial, 1 p.m. - The program will include a song by children from Lehman’s Childcare Center as well as “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” sung by the Lehman College Community Chorus, also speakers, and concludes with the playing of “Taps.” For more information, call (718) 960-4992.

The New York Botanical Garden is offering free All-Garden Pass admission from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2011. All New Yorkers, particularly Bronx residents who may be in search of a way to commemorate the anniversary locally, are invited to enjoy the Botanical Garden as a beautiful venue that naturally lends itself to both quiet contemplation and family sharing. Add reflections to the memorial tree, which was planted in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden on the first anniversary (10 a.m. –12 p.m.) Hear readings of Jeannette Winter’s September Roses, a resource provided by New York Council for the Humanities, which tells a story of the ways people of diverse backgrounds came together to help each other in the aftermath of the tragedy. (10:30, 11, and 11:30 a.m.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Journalism Program for Bronx High School Students

Bronx News Network is recruiting now for the fall semester of the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative--a free journalism program for Bronx high school students. The next semester starts on Sept. 21, 2011.

Students learn the fundamentals of writing, reporting, and photojournalism through classroom instruction and hands-on reporting in their own neighborhoods. We take them on field trips including the newsroom of a daily newspaper. They will learn about community activism and civic responsibility, how their neighborhoods work (or don't), who has power, who doesn't and why.

Student work gets published in a special youth supplement called Bronx Youth Heard, which appears in Bronx News Network publications - giving youth a powerful voice.

We are looking for students of all academic abilities, but they should be highly motivated, love to write, be naturally inquisitive, and care about what's going on in their communities. Click here to find out more about the program or to download an application form, or call (718) 324-4998 and ask for Jeanmarie Evelly.

You can also like the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative on Facebook! Click here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bronx Readers' Photos of Hurricane Irene

A fallen tree near Boston Road and E. 180 Street (Photo by Luis Torrens)
A few BxNN readers sent in photos they've snapped over the last few days documenting the after-effects of this weekend's hurricane in the Bronx. The two shots below were by Luis Torrens at Bronx River Park in West Farms, where the swollen river at the waterfall caused some serious flooding.

Bronx News Roundup, Sept. 1

Happy September, all.

Weather: Sunny again today, with temperatures in the high 70s.

Story of the Day: Fatal Bus Crash Driver Indicted
The driver of the tour bus that crashed on Interstate 95 in March has been indicted on manslaughter charges, the AP reports. Driver Ophadell Williams maintains that he was awake and alert at the time of the crash, which took place during an early morning drive through the Bronx as the bus returned from a trip to Connecticut casino Mohegan Sun.Witnesses, however, claim Williams was dozing at the wheel, and a police report found he was speeding. The accident killed 15 people, and spurred a statewide crackdown on the discount tour bus industry and how it vets its drivers.

Quick Hits:
Bronx artist Shawn Martinbrough has found success in the comic book world.

Did the Bronx get less love from the city than the other boroughs during Hurricane Irene? Mayor Bloomberg failed to visit; his office said it was because they expected little damage here from the storm.

But we did get our share of damage (as these photos show). Residents at a co-op complex in Riverdale are still waiting to return home after a mudslide forced them to evacuate.