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Sep 10, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Woman slashed across neck in Bronx apartment

A Bronx woman returned home Monday and found her 66-year-old mother near death — she had been beaten severely about the head and had her throat slashed, police sources said.

Investigators found no signs of a break-in at the victim’s apartment on Arthur Ave. in Belmont, the sources said.

RELATED: HEEL HELD IN FOOT-FETISH CRIMES

The victim, found in her bedroom about 4 p.m., had multiple skull fractures, as well as the massive cut to her neck, the sources said. Investigators believe she fought back against her attacker. She was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital in critical condition. There were no arrests.

mmorales@nydailynews.com

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Sep 9, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Big crime drop in the Bronx

It was a bloody weekend in the Bronx — with seven people shot, one fatally — but violent crime is actually down dramatically so far this year in the borough.

There have been 55 homicides so far this year, compared with 77 this time last year. And reports of gunfire are down from 293 in the first eight months of 2013 to 201 during the same period this year.

“The Bronx is having a historic year,” said Deputy Inspector Russell Green, commanding officer of the 43rd Precinct. “Multiple commands are seeing big drops like this.”

Green’s precinct, which encompasses Parkchester, Soundview and Castle Hill, murders have dropped by half — from 16 in the first eight months of 2012 to eight so far this year — compared to the same period last year, according to recently released NYPD data.

And shooting incidents fell to 18, down from 36 in 2012, according to NYPD statistics ending the week of Sept. 1.

Green also told the 43rd Precinct Community Council last week that the drop in crime was mostly a result of better community involvement and increased patrolling in known areas with a history of violent incidents.

In other major crime developments:

n Murders in the 40th Precinct, which includes Mott Haven and Port Morris, fell from nine in 2012 to seven so far this year. Shootings dropped 47% during the same period.

n In the 41st Precinct, which includes Hunts Point and Longwood, murders dropped from six in the first eight months of 2012 to just two in 2013.

The decline in crime is part of a decades-long trend, of course. The 201 shootings boroughwide, for example, is down 76% from 20 years ago, NYPD data shows.

Residents of the 43rd Precinct said they certainly feel safer.

“There’s been a big deterrent with officers out on the street, walking the beat, and talking to the community,” said the Rev. Sidney Hargrave, of Soundview.

jcunningham@nydailynews.com

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Sep 9, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: What makes Mark run?

IT’S the highest office in the land (the land of the Bronx at least): Borough President of the only part of the city actually connected to the rest of America. Yet almost no one is aware that current Beep Ruben Diaz Jr. – the most powerful Bronx politician since Ruben Diaz – is actually facing a primary challenge on Tuesday. The reason no one knows? Well, that challenger, Mark Escoffery-Bey, has raised all of ,000 (compared to Diaz’ million-plus). And Diaz has lined up more support than a Wonderbra. So what makes Escoffery-Bey run? And what would he do if he won the office anyway? Our Jennifer H. Cunningham sat down with the man they call “The Challenger” on primary eve.
Daily News : Who is Mark Escoffery-Bey? And why do you think you’ve got a chance in this primary?
Mark Escoffery-Bey : Mark Escoffery-Bey is powerful, inspirational and unstoppable. I see possibilities, I create possibilities, and I act upon them. I don’t focus on what’s wrong, I focus on what’s possible. I believe I have a chance in this race because the people finally have a choice. It’s easy for you to be a rock star if you’ve never been challenged in the political arena.”
DN : What would you do with the office?
MEB : I would make it more open to the public. You’ll have easy access to the borough president. I would use the office to hold other elected officials responsible, so they do what they’re supposed to. I would focus on funding education and ensuring fair economics; that the money gets distributed evenly across the borough.
DN : You haven’t been endorsed by anyone. Why not?
MEB : I didn’t seek out their (elected officials’) support, because a lot of them, I feel, aren’t acting on behalf of the people. I don’t want to be beholden to anyone. When I get into office, I want to be beholden to the people, not the established political dynasty in the Bronx. I have a lot of support from a lot of people. I am confident that by the end of Tuesday night, I will be the primary winner.
DN : Why should voters pay attention to your candidacy?
MEB : The power of the borough president is that you can hold others accountable. I would use the office to hold the elected officials accountable to the people of the Bronx, so they don’t feel that it’s a position of entitlement. They must deliver for the people. Right now, no one is holding them accountable.”
DN : Who is your favorite Beatle?
MEB : I don’t have one.

jcunningham@nydailynews.com

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Sep 8, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Battle of the Bills for mayor

In the race for mayor, the score is Bill Thompson, 2 and Bil de Blasio,1, according to three of New York’s leading Caribbean American-owned news media outlets.

Both the Caribbean American Weekly and the weekly New York Carib News are endorsing Thompson, while the daily News Americas Now.com website is backing de Blasio.

“I’m choosing Bill de Blasio for his plan for middle- to low-income New Yorkers, his extensive immigration focus and, most importantly, for his attention to the Caribbean-American community, unlike most of the other candidates including Bill Thompson, said Felicia Persaud, founder and CEO of News Americas Now.

“For us, the choice came down to the person with a real succinct plan for immigrants in this city,” said Persaud, citing de Blasio’s promise to fight for causes such as a city-backed ID card that will allow all residents – including undocumented immigrants – to access basic services like opening a bank account or signing an apartment lease; the end city cooperation on federal immigration “detainer requests” for all residents, except those who have been convicted of violent or serious felonies; and support for legislation to allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses.

The Caribbean American Weekly statement on the mayoral race begins, “The Editorial Board of Caribbean American Weekly (CAW) strongly endorses Bill Thompson to be the next Mayor of New York City.”

The article/endorsement discussed his Thompson’s stance against stop-and-frisk, his call for more police officers, a promise to appoint a schools chancellor who is an educator, his goal to back Comprehensive Immigration Reform on the federal level and his desire to deliver affordable and effective health care and services for the elderly.

Under the Carib News headline, “Our choice for Mayor: William (Bill) Thompson, an earnest public servant, the weekly paper praised several other Democratic candidates, but called Thompson “a visionary” when it comes to education, affordable housing, respecting the rights of all residents of the country,” commending his stances.

The paper’s endorsement also said Thompson is “head and heels above his opponents,” noting that the candiate’s the grandson of immigrants from St. Kitts-Nevis.

On Sept. 10, nine Democrats and three Repiblicans will compete in Primary Election for mayor.

The New York Campaign Finance Board has a voter guide featuring candidates’ positions, in their own words. Visit http://bit.ly/nycvoterguide to review the contenders before election day.

The League of Women Voters also as a voter’s guide. Visit http://bit.ly/thecandidates to learn more about the primary candidates.

MAS BANDS ALL DRESSED UP FOR LABOR DAY CARNIVAL

Masquerade magic prevailed along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway for Labor Day’s 2013 West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s parade on Sept. 2.

Among the masqueraders were the Sesame Flyers International “La Rivière” section and the Haitian-American “Phoenix Refined” masquerade band. Boosted by feature story in the Daily News’ Caribbeat Magazine supplement on Sept. 1 – had great showings on the route. Phoenix even got featured in footage on WABC- TV and Channel 7 and Fox-5 TV.

The WIADCA’s many masquerade competitions yielded a crop of winners from around 35 adult bands about 29 junior carnival bands.The Ramajay Mas band, and its portrayal of “Reflections of Carnival:

Then & Now,” won the high-profile Adult Band (Large) group. And Shawn Antenor of D’Midas International, and his “Musica the Spirit of Lake Guatavita” depiction, captured the Adult King category.

Among the big masquerade winners was the Borokeete band, which captured first place in the Junior Medium Band category, band member Kay Mason’s first place in the Adult Queen category and a second-place finish in the Adult Band (Medium) competition.

West Indian Amercian Day Carnival Association 2013 mas results

OLE MAS FEMALE CHARACTER
1st Place: Moreen Hartman

Portrayal: “Up Under Me”|
Band: BG Production

2nd Place: Michelle Russell
Portrayal: “The Devil’s Bride”
Band: Antoine International

3rd Place: Elizabeth Taylor
Portrayal: “Nannie Wine”
Band: BG Production

OLE MAS MALE CHARACTER
1st Place: Roland Guy

Portrayal: “Tanty Tea Shop”

2nd Place: Brian Hartman
Portrayal: “Congo Man”
Band: BG Production

3rd Place: Clarence Nurse
Portrayal: “Flight of the Jab Jab (Carnival Jab Jab)”
Band: Ramajay Mas

OLE MAS BAND
1st Place: BG Production

Portrayal: “Keeping Calypso Alive”

2nd Place: New Horizon
Portrayal: “SOS Captain , Captain the Ship is Sinking, We going down, down”

3rd Place: Antoine International
Portrayal: “When Hell Break Loose”

ADULT FEMALE CHARACTER
1st Place: Keisha Francis

Portrayal: “Sunshine of the Caribbean”
Band: Ramajay Mas

2nd Place: Debbie Parris
Portrayal: “Sunshine of the Amazon”
Band: Kaios International

3rd Place: Ketura Davis
Portrayal: “Diva in Disguise – Madame Ramajay”
Band: Ramajay Mas

ADULT MALE CHARACTER
1st Place: Michaud Bates

Portrayal: “Carnival Fury”
Band: Ramajay Mas

2nd Place: Audley Depieza
Portrayal: “Reflections of Trinbago”
Band: Ramajay Mas

3rd Place: Andy Goodridge
Portrayal: “Alpha’s Splendor”
Band: Evolution Mas

ADULT QUEEN
1st Place: Kay Mason

Portrayal: “Celebration of Darkness to Light”
Band: Borokeete

2nd Place: Vanessa Black
Portrayal: “Mother Ramajay”
Band: Ramajay

3rd Place: Takiyah Joseph
Portrayal:
“Queen Mariana of Argentina”
Band: Pieces of a Dream

ADULT KING
1st Place: Shawn Antenor

Portrayal: “Musica the Spirit of Lake Guatavita”
Band: D’Midas International

2nd Place: Larry Perinthies
Portrayal: “The Golden Sun God of D’Kingdom of Cusco”
Band: D’Midas International

3rd Place: Darryl Cox
Portrayal: “Tatanka Reflection of Mas”
Band: Ramajay Mas

JUNIOR FEMALE CHARACTER
1st Place: Deborah James

Portrayal: “Goddess of Africa Safari”
Band: Belmont Kids Connection

2nd Place: Camille Mitchell
Portrayal: “Dance Damselle Dance”
Band: Giselle Fritz & Associates

3rd Place: Trinity King
Portrayal: “D Poinsettia Princess”
Band: Aquarium

JUNIOR MALE CHARACTER
1st Place: Daryl Deboue Jr

Portrayal: “King of the Kwazulu Hunters”
Band: Belmont Kids Connection

2nd Place: Marlon Strong
Portrayal: “Protector of the Sun”
Band: New Generation

3rd Place: Dondre Simmons
Portrayal: “Mysteries of the Earth”
Band: Giselle Fritz & Associates

JUNIOR QUEEN
1st Place: Elysa Babooram

Portrayal: “Princess of D’Blue Feather”
Band: D’Midas International

2nd Place: Aaniya Johnson
Portrayal: “Princess of the Cherokee Valley”
Band: D’Midas International

3rd Place: Chyna Cambridge
Portrayal: “D’Midnight Princess”
Band: D’Midas International

JUNIOR KING
1st Place: Travis Thomas

Portrayal: “Alladin”
Band: 1199 SEIU

2nd Place: Zachary Lincoln
Portrayal: “I Dream of a Dream”
Band: D’Midas International

3rd Place: Christian Rudder
Portrayal: “Alien Invasion”
Band: Peter Durrant & Friends

JUNIOR BAND – SMALL
1st Place: D’Midas International

Portrayal: “East meet West Indian Fusion”

2nd Place: Giselle Fritz & Associates
Portrayal:
“Wow”

JUNIOR BAND – MEDIUM
1st Place: Borokeete USA

Portrayal: “Celebration”

2nd Place: Diamond Entertainment & Crew
Portrayal: “Bejeweled Blitz”

3rd Place: Carican Costumes
Portrayal: “7 Continents”

JUNIOR BAND – LARGE
1st Place: Sherzell Production

Portrayal: “Blossom D’Enchanted”

2nd Place: Sesame Flyers International
Portrayal: “Kiddie Couture”

3rd Place: New Generation
Portrayal: “Wings Of”

ADULT BAND – SMALL
1st Place: Val Adams & Friends
Portrayal: “Shortknee 500 Strong”

2nd Place: Backtard Mas Inc.
Portrayal: “Savages of a Dark Age”

3rd Place: Pieces of a Dream
Portrayal: “Kaleidoscope”

ADULT BAND – MEDIUM
1st Place: T & T Boyz

Portrayal: “Eruption”

2nd Place: Borokeete International
Portrayal: “Celebration”

3rd Place: Raw Essence
Portrayal: “Caribbean Gems”

ADULT BAND – LARGE
1st Place: Ramajay Mas

Portrayal: “Reflections of Carnival: Then & Now”

2nd Place: Sesame Flyers International
Portrayal: “Vogue: The Carnival Edition”

3rd Place: Kaios International
Portrayal: “Savage Paradise 2013”

For information about carnival results, send email to wiadcainc@gmail.com, visit www.facebook.com/BrooklynLaborDayCarnival and www.wiadcacarnival.org, or call (718) 467-1797.

A VIDEO TASTE OF MAS ON THE PARKWAY

Want a sample of what took place on the Parkway? Caribbean-American marketing veteran Patrick Buddington, head of the IMC Media Group and the CaribZone.com website, posted a colorful array of 2013 WIADCA carnival photos on youtube.com titled “Saltfish on De Parkway,” set to the Mighty Sparrow calypso classic “Saltfish.” Visit http://bit.ly/saltfish to see and sing along.

NEW BOOK,  GROUP SHOW FOR BRONX ARTIST WITH ANTIGUA ROOTS

Bronx-based artist Laura James is coming to Brooklyn to take part in a group show at the Dorsey’s Art Gallery to show off her creations – and a new children’s book she illustrated.

The art exhibition, “Women’s World II: A Tribute to Women Everywhere,”

includes the works of James (whose parents come from Antigua), Diane Davis, Willie Mae Brown and Tabitha Theogege. It opens on Sept. 8 at the gallery, located at 553 Rogers Ave. (between Fenimore and Hawthorne Sts.), from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The show closes on Sept.. 29 with a book signing for “When Anna Carries Water,” an Olive Senior children’s book set in Jamaica and illustrated by James, who is known for her Ethiopian Christian-style paintings.

The book, by the Commonwealth Prize-winning Jamaica-born author, follows the life of a young Jamaican girl who overcomes her fears through determination, will be available on Amazon.com and other outlets beginning on Sept. 15.

  • As part of the book’s promotion, James will attending other events:
  • The Children’s Book Art Fair (in conjunction with Harlem Art Walking Tour), on Oct. 12, at the PS 149 playround area, 41 W. 117th St. (at Lenox Ave.), from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, email javakasmith@gmail.com.
  • A “Play Kids” event on Nov. 2, at 676 Flatbush Ave. (between Hawthorne and Winthrop Sts.) in Brooklyn from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Email playkidsstore@gmail.com for information.

For information, call (718) 771-3803 or (718)462-9425. For more on James, visit www.laurajamesart.com.

PANORAMA RESULTS IN AT ‘WHEN STEEL TALKS’  

Take 2013 Trinidad Carnival Soca Monarch co-winner Super Blue’s “Fantastic Friday” as the competition tune and add 10 top-flight steel bands and you get the West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s 2013 Panorama contest.

And if you want to know more about the event, the “When Steel Talks” website – the place to go for information about steel drums, steel bands, musicians and the history of the instrument – has plenty of Panorama information, including Panorama performance videos.

The winning CASYM Steel Orchestra, the musical ensemble from the Caribbean American Sports and Cultural Youth Movement, took on 9 other groups. The bands, in order of their finish behind first-place CASYM, were: 2 – The Pan Sonatas Steel Orchestra,  3 – The D’Radoes Steel Orchestra,  4 – Pan Fantasy,  5 – The Despers USA Steel Orchestra, 6 – The Adlib Steel Orchestra,  7 – The Pantonic Steel Orchestra, 8 – (tie) The Crossfire Steel Orchestra, 8 – (tie) The Harmony Steel Orchestra and 9 – The Metro Steel Orchestra.

For “New York Panorama 2013 WST Video News Clips,” which include videos of the performances by the bands, introduction of the judges and the annoucment of the winners, visit http://bit.ly/2013panoramavideos

The site also has detailed 2013 New York Panorama results and past results as far back as 1974. Visit http://bit.ly/2013panorama.

For more onWhen Steel Talks, visit http://whensteeltalks.ning.com and http://panonthenet.com.

USVI’S FRUITFUL LABOR DAY TOURISM PUSH

The United States Virgin Islands’ effort to shine some light on the territory’s many tourism offerings got two thumbs – through successful promotional initatives in Manhattan and at West Inidan American Day Parade.

Beverly Nicholson-Doty, commissioner of tourism  who also serves as chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, spoke about the achievements in a recent Facebook page post.

“Many got to know a lot more about the U.S. Virgin Islands from our information stand on Eastern Parkway,” said Nicholson-Doty reporting that the booth at the Brooklyn parade on Sept. 2 and the territory’s participation at the Virgin Islanders United’s Caribbean Cultural Fest in Manhattan on Sept. 1 both went well.

“More than a million revelers danced, ate and took in the unique cross-Caribbean vibes mixing so joyfully at the West Indian American Day Carnival Association Labor Day festivities in Brooklyn, and a day earlier at the Caribbean Cultural Fest presented by Virgin Islanders United (VIU) in Harlem.”

YOLÈNE LEGRAND ART IN NYU EXHIBIT

Experience Haitian culture through the serene pastel, oil and watercolor art works of Haiti-born Yolène Legrand in the exhibition “Rendering the Moment,” which runs now through Oct. 30 at New York University’s Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South in Manhattan.

Opening reception for the show, curated by D. Mia McBeth, will be held Sept. 30 , from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Kimmel Center’s eighth-floor Stovall Gallery West.

Legrand, a former the Art Students League of New York and NYU Stern School alumnus, has exhibited in American, European and Hatian galleries and museums. And many works are in corporate and private collections. 

Call (212) 998-4950 for information about the exhibirtion and to learn more abut Legrand, visit www.yolenelegrand.com.

“POTLUCK’ SHOW HYPES JAMAICA’S CUISINE

The Jamaica Toursit Board wants people to eat up “Potluck,” its new cooking-centered series giving viewers the opportunity to experience Jamaican cuisine in their homes.

“The Jamaica Tourist Board is happy to partner with the Rousseau sisters on this initiative which showcases the cultural diversity of our destination,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s director of tourism. “Our hope is that this series will entice and engage visitors with an interest in Jamaica’s rich culinary heritage, which has been heavily influenced by our multicultural legacy.”

The 12-part series, which debuted Sept. 5 and will air every other Thursday on the JTB’s YouTube channels, was created by sisters Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau to focus on the cuisine and culture of Jamaica. The veteran caterers host the series and online activities will be planned to coincide with the series.  Visit the JTB’s Island Buzz blog –  http://bit.ly/islandpotluck –  for more information on the series.

ONLINE EFFORT TO FUND SCHOLARSHIPS

A chance at a better education – and a better life – is the goal of the Society For The Advancement Of The Caribbean Diaspora’s Caribbean-American Scholarship Fund, which is currently seeking support through an online fundraiser.

There are a little more that 20 days left to contribute the online benefit and help meet the society’s target of amout ,000 for the fund. The organization is using the globalgiving.org website to raise the money.  

The SACD  scholarship fund aids economically disadvantaged Caribbean-American students in Brooklyn. Starting in June 2014, the society’s plans to give ten scholarships a year. Applicants must be  undergraduate college students or trade school students.

Visit www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-caribbean-students-get-a-college-education to donate and support the educational effort.

To learn more Information on how to apply for a scholarship., go to www.sac-diaspora.org.

FREE ‘APOLLO LIVE’ TAPINGS

Get in on the entertainment excitement at the Apollo Theater and attend free live, tapings of the “Apollo Live” TV show’s second season on Sept. 14, 15 and 16.

Last season, a celebrity panel of judges – including Barbados-born hip-hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh,  R&B legend Gladys Knight and Michael Bivins of New Edition, Bel Biv DeVoe (BBD) and hot Tony Rock – were featured on the show, which returns this year to BET and Centric TV networks.

To sign up for free addmission, RSVP at http://bit.ly/apolloliveseason2.

jmccallister@nydailynews.com

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Sep 8, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Race for mayor: Outer borough residents weigh in

QUEENS: AS LONG AS IT’S NOT BLOOMBERG

Even in Bloomberg country, Bloomberg fatigue has set in.

Forest Hills, Queens, an area of safe streets, manicured lawns and moderate Democrats, voted for Mike Bloomberg by a 3-1 margin in the 2009 mayoral election.

Bloomberg’s not on the ballot this year — and that’s just fine with many Forest Hills voters.

“He’s a nice enough guy but it’s like he’s a little dictator now,” said Kim Betances, 53, who has no party affiliation. “I voted for him, but he’s been there too long.”

RELATED: MAYOR BLOOMBERG: BILL DE BLASIO’S CAMPAIGN IS ‘RACIST’

Many shoppers along Austin St. last week said they felt the same way. Bloomberg did a bang-up job but then lost his way, they said.

That’s not to say there is a groundswell for Democrat Bill de Blasio, who has cast himself as the anti-Bloomberg.

Frank Gulluscio, the Community Board 6 district manager, said he’s seen little enthusiasm for anyone in Tuesday’s primaries. “It’s really quiet,” he said. “Sometimes I walk outside and I wonder if people out here even realize there’s an election.”

Many said they are fed up with all pols, not just Bloomberg.

The new sexting revelations about Anthony Weiner have not helped matters any. John Gray, 38, said he was going to vote for Weiner, but not now. “Weiner is probably the best person for the job, but with all of his extracurricular activities, maybe it’s not such a smart thing,” Gray said. “I feel like it’s a wasted vote.”

RELATED: REV. AL SHARPTON TRIES TO MINIMIZE BLOW TO BILL THOMPSON

Sarah Cakmak, 49, a medical claim processor, said she was torn between de Blasio and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. But, “with Quinn, I just don’t know if it’s going to be more of the same. Enough with Bloomberg already.”

BROOKLYN: HOPING CANDIDATE BILL THOMPSON WILL REIN IN STOP-AND-FRISK

Nearly everyone in East New York agrees the next mayor must focus on getting guns off their streets – but there is little consensus on how City Hall should go about it.

In 2012, the crime-plagued section of Brooklyn held the dubious honor of having the most stops and frisks of anywhere in the city, with 532,911.

Residents are desperate for safer streets, but the tactic has left many feeling like they’re living in a police state.

RELATED: MAYORAL CANDIDATES BRING OUT FAMILY TO WOO VOTERS

“The only answer they’ve ever come up with is stop and frisk,” said Andre Mitchell, director of the neighborhood nonprofit Man Up! Inc., which helps ex-cons enter back into society.

That’s not a good answer, according to Mitchell.

“The majority of the people (in East New York) are totally against it,” he said.

“We need immediate employment opportunities and education opportunities.”

From conversations he’s had with residents, the community is divided among the Democratic candidates, but most are excited for change.

RELATED: DE BLASIO HITS QUINN’S DISTRICT; QUINN RALLIES AT STONEWALL

“We didn’t think that Bloomberg thought much about our community,” said Mitchell.

The neighborhood voted overwhelmingly for Bill Thompson in 2009, who earned 13,095 votes compared to Mayor Bloomberg’s 3,875.

“I really like Thompson,” said Harold Ford, a resident of the Fiorentino Plaza public housing development who plans to vote for him again this year.

He’s swayed in part because Thompson had for most of the campaign taken a more measured approach to stop-and-frisk, insisting that it could be a useful policing tool if properly employed.

That’s a position Ford agrees with.

RELATED: BILL THOMPSON ‘HAS THE BEST BACKGROUND’

Stop-and-frisk “acts as a deterrent,” said Ford.

He was stopped and frisked once while rolling his own cigarettes outside. When cops saw it was tobacco and not marijuana, they let him go.

“If you don’t have anything in your pocket illegal, it shouldn’t bother you,” said the 56-year-old.

But he is well aware that many of his neighbors feel differently, and urges a reporter to interview his neighbor Jackie Phillips for a different point of view.

Phillips pulls no punches.

RELATED: WEINER EXPLODES: FEISTY MAYORAL CANDIDATE ANTHONY WEINER GETS NASTY AT BROOKLYN CAMPAIGN STOP AS THREE VIDEOS OF DISGRACED POL GO VIRAL

“The police treat us like crap,” she fumed.

“If they (the cops) were better to us, people would cooperate with them more.”

Another issue facing the community, she said, is the possible closure of nearby Interfaith Medical Center.

That’s one reason she’s considering supporting Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has been vocal about keeping it open.

“He’s always there,” she said.

RELATED: MAYORAL CANDIDATES CAMPAIGN IN FINAL DAYS BEFORE PRIMARY

Many East New York residents remained undecided.

“I have until Sept. 10, 5:59 in the morning,” said one homeowner.

The polls open at 6 a.m.

THE BRONX: FAILING SCHOOLS MUST BE THE PRIORITY

Families in the South Bronx are stuck with the city’s worst public schools. Just days from the Democratic primary, they have a message for the next mayor: Please help us.

RELATED: MAYORAL HOPEFUL THOMPSON STRUGGLING TO DEFINE HIMSELF

In Bronx school District 7, which includes the neighborhoods of Mott Haven and Melrose, a measly 9% of students passed state reading and math exams in 2013. Just 49% graduated high school on time in 2012.

Those failing classrooms stubbornly resisted Mayor Bloomberg’s education reforms for years, leaving parents and students heartbroken and desperate for change.

“We need help badly,” said Tracy Woodall, a local school board member for six years. “This failure can’t go on any longer.”

Woodall thinks the next mayor must increase parental involvement in the schools – or face the same education stalemates as the Bloomberg administration. “Parents are what make the public schools work,” she said. “But right now we feel shut out of the process.”

Woodall said she’ll vote for Bill de Blasio because he has vowed to give parents greater input in decisions to open and close struggling schools.

RELATED: ANTHONY WEINER IN ‘DREAM’ ROLE AS TV WEATHERMAN

Under Mayor Bloomberg the city has closed 10 poor-performing schools in District 7, opened 34 new schools and raised per-pupil spending there by 35%.

District 7′s high school graduation rate has inched up 9% since 2005. Still, the South Bronx has languished at or near the bottom of nearly every measure of student achievement for more than a decade.

Some parents said children with special needs still do not receive adequate services in District 7. They want the next mayor to make sure their children can get the help they need closer to home.

“It’s not fair kids have to travel so far,” said Awilda Ramos, an undecided Democrat whose son Mario, 4, attends the Comprehensive Kids Developmental School in the lower East Side. “What we need are more good schools for our kids.”

STATEN ISLAND: AFTER HURRICANE SANDY, POLITICS IS THE LAST THING ON OUR MINDS

RELATED: THE NEWS CYCLE: A CITI BIKE RIDE WITH MAYORAL CANDIDATE JOHN LIU

Ask Staten Islander Kevin Nugent what he thinks about the mayoral race, and he gestures toward the empty space that used to be his kitchen.

“Politics has been the furthest thing on my mind,” the 32-year-old security officer said inside his storm-battered bungalow in Oakwood Beach. “I’m still trying to get my life back to normal.”

Hurricane Sandy decimated several communities hugging Staten Island’s shore. On a sun-splashed day last week, many residents said they have more pressing concerns than the mayor’s race.

“Should I raise up my house? What should I do?” said Jonathan Dungan, 42, who lives a few doors down from Nugent. The mortgage on Dungan’s three-story home is under water, and his first floor is a moldy mess. “Nobody’s going to help us. We’re on our own,” added Dungan,who said he plans to sit out the election.

Even residents who have started moving past the effects of Sandy do not know what to do.

More than 6 feet of water filled Christine Cina’s home in New Dorp Beach, and she’s still debating whether to stay or go.

But she said her bigger concern is the emphasis on standardized testing in city schools. “Honestly, I care more about the schools than I do about this house,” said Cina, who has two sons, 14 and 12. “There’s no art in the schools, hardly any gym. Everything is about the standardized testing. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Cina said she watched the most recent Republican debate, but remains undecided.

Former state Assemblyman Lou Tobacco is in the same camp.

“The silence has been deafening to me on these very specific issues that are affecting South Shore residents,” the Tottenville resident said, citing prescription drug abuse, standardized testing in schools, high transportation costs and the Sandy cleanup.

“A lot of people are … saying, ‘Lou, what do you think? Who’s our best shot?’ I’m telling them I’m still scratching my head.”

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Sep 7, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Here’s your guide to Bronx Council District 16

A crowded field of seven candidates are vying to represent some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. The race to replace term-limited Councilwoman Helen Foster in the 16th District. which includes West Bronx, Morrisania, Highbridge, and Melrose, has become a referendum on race and immigration with an eclectic mix of candidates.

Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson has the support of the Bronx Democratic establishment, but faces stiff competition from candidates representing the growing Hispanic and West African communities.

Candidate Carlos Sierra has significant name recognition in the district after earning 40% of the vote when he challenged Foster in his 2009.

Other candidates are Pedro Alvarez, Carlton Berkley, Daryl Johnson, Naaimat Muhammed, and Bola Omotosho.

Candidates

<p>
	Pedro Alvarez, an accountant by trade, is the president of Community District 4 Neighborhood Advisory Board, president of the Bronx Merchants Association and treasurer of Family Life Academy Charter School in the Bronx.</p>

 

 

Pedro Alvarez, an accountant by trade, is the president of Community District 4 Neighborhood Advisory Board, president of the Bronx Merchants Association and treasurer of Family Life Academy Charter School in the Bronx.

Pedro Alvarez

Accountant

Endorsements

Citizens Union

Carlton Berkley

Co-Founder of Brothers and Sisters Who Care

Vanessa Gibson

Assemblywoman

Endorsements

32 BJ/SEIU; United Federation of Teachers; Council of School Administrators; District Council 37; Communication Workers of America Local; Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union; Jobs for New York

Daryl Johnson

President, Morris Ave Tenants Coalition

Naaimat Muhammed

Community Outreach Liaison for Councilwoman Helen Foster

Bola Omotosho

Clinical Researcher

United African Coalition

 

<p>
	<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 12px;">Carlos Sierra works for the City University of New York Citizenship NOW! as a community liaison.</span></p>

 

 

Carlos Sierra works for the City University of New York Citizenship NOW! as a community liaison.

Carlos Sierra

Community Liaison for the City University of New York Citizenship NOW!

Endorsements

Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo(D-Mott Haven)

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Sep 7, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Summer shootings reignites Bronx anti-gun activist

The alarming summer-long shooting spree that left 16 children injured or dead has a Bronx anti-gun activist renewing her call for action.

Gloria Cruz has been a tireless crusader against guns ever since she lost her niece to a stray bullet eight years ago.

Naiesha Pearson was killed while playing at a Mott Haven barbecue on Labor Day, 2005.

The 10-year-old was riding her bike near Brook Ave. and 137th St. when a fight broke out and an errant bullet pierced her chest.

Cruz was brought right back to that tragic day last weekend after a pair of shootings left a Bronx child in the hospital and a Brooklyn toddler dead.

RELATED: 2 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN TOT ANTIQ HENNIS’ DEATH

This year’s tragic Labor Day weekend gunplay capped a summer where two children under the age of 16 were killed by gunfire and another 14 were wounded.

Cruz believes there is one way to prevent tragedies like the death of 1-year-old Antiq Harris in Brooklyn last Sunday: change the culture of violence that plagues so many city neighborhoods.

“Bullets have no destiny, no discrimination, they just go,” Cruz said. “People need to take accountability for what’s going on in their neighborhoods.”

A veteran of countless gun buyback events, rallies, walks, and vigils, Cruz hopes last weekend’s events will be a turning point for the city.

“It’s up to us to make the changes,” she said. “We have lost some good, innocent kids and it’s up to us to put a stop to this.”

RELATED: SPIKE IN NUMBER OF KIDS SHOT IN CITY

Cruz gave up her position with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence last year after the group ran out of funding.

She now works fulltime at a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

“We can’t stop,” Cruz urged. “We have to keep fighting to change the culture and educate the young people.”

Two men were arrested Friday in Pennsylvania in connection with little Antiq’s death, hours before the 16-month-old was laid to rest. The alleged gunman is 19 years old.

“The city is trying different ways to fight the violence, but it takes a number of years,” Cruz said of the NYPD.

RELATED: MOM RECALLS FINAL MOMENTS WITH SON BEFORE HE WAS SHOT

The South Bronx neighborhood where Cruz’s niece Naiesha was killed has seen a steady drop in the number of shootings over the past decade, but it is still an area struggling with violence.

As of August 25th, shootings are down 49% in the 40th Precinct since last year, according to city data.

And earlier last month, the NYPD made one of the largest illegal gun siezures in recent history.

But Cruz believes more can be done on the local level.

“I just tell people not to close your window and shut the shades. We need to be part of the solution and stop ignoring the problem,” she said.

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Sep 7, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Heel held in foot-fetish crimes

Police have arrested the foot fetish freak they say stopped to sniff a woman’s feet during a Bronx sex attack.

Calvin Presinal, 28, was arrested Friday for the Aug. 30 assault on Sedgwick and Bailey Aves. in University Heights, police said.

RELATED: PORN CEO: DON’T BLAME FETISH VIDEOS FOR SHOCK SEX CASES

Presinal crept up behind his 18-year-old victim at 1:10 a.m. and choked her until she passed out on the ground, police said.

He then took off her shoes, smelled her feet, and ran off as the woman regained consciousness, officials said.

RELATED: FOR ‘CANNIBAL COP’ AND OTHERS, INTERNET IS A FEAST FOR FETISHES

About 20 minutes later, Presinal grabbed another woman on Park View Pl. at Willow Ln. in Pelham Bay, officials said.

He tried to unzip her pants before she resisted and he took off, cops said.

RELATED: CHURCH WORKER’S FOOT FETISH LEADS TO SEX-WITH-MINOR CHARGE

Investigators also connected Presinal to an Aug. 5 attack, where he choked a woman until she lost consciousness on Jerome Ave. and West Kingsbridge Rd. in Fordam Manor.

Presinal was charged with attempted rape, three counts of assault and three counts of strangulation.

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Sep 6, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: BronxWorks celebration will have ripple effect

One of the borough’s most highly regarded nonprofits is about to begin a series of major renovations at its Grand Concourse community center.

BronxWorks is celebrating its 40th anniversary with upgrades to its rooftop play area and gymnasium.

But wait — the beloved organization is planning an even bigger splash: buying a brand new liner to keep the water in one of the Bronx’s most popular indoor pools.

“We’ve been in the building for about 20 years and we’ve been steadily making improvements,” said Tim Serraille, BronxWorks’ director of operations. “But nothing on this scale.”

RELATED: FORGOTTEN SWIMMING SPOT BRIMS WITH ACTIVITY NOW

This summer the group launched a massive fundraising drive to renovate the 87-year-old building, which has become a center of neighborhood activity on the Concourse.

The group got a huge boost earlier this year when it received a 0,000 grant, authorized by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and a 0,000 grant from term-limited Councilwoman Helen Diane Foster.

BronxWorks is one of the largest nonprofits operating in the borough. More than 35,000 Bronx residents utilize the group’s 27 locations annually.

The organization, called the Citizens Advice Bureau when it was founded in 1972, expanded under the stewardship of recently retired executive director Carolyn McLaughlin, adding programs for immigrants, the homeless and people with HIV/AIDS.

RELATED: BRONXWORKS CELEBRATES ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY

That is why the Concourse headquarters will be renamed in McLaughlin’s honor this fall.

“She is a beloved figure at BronxWorks, so I think it’s fitting,” said Serraille.

The hulking, four-story Classical Revival structure was built in 1926 by the Bronx Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; later, it was operated by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association for more than 20 years.

Last year, BronxWorks expanded its pool services, adding classes and after-school sessions for children.

RELATED: UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TOPS 51% IN THREE BRONX  HOUSING PROJECTS, BRONXWORKS AND NYCHA JOIN TO HELP 

“Almost all of the children’s programs in the building utilize the pool to some degree,” Serraille said.

The 60-by-20-foot tile pool became a neighborhood hotspot, averaging 400 swimmers a week, but leaks threatened to close the beloved basement swimming hole.

“I’m happy that people are going to help with pool,” said 8-year-old Amanda Crespo. “It’s where I learned how to swim.”

The feisty third grader has attended classes at the pool almost daily for the past year.

“One day I want to be a lifeguard,” Amanda added, listing the different strokes she learned while attending BronxWorks classes at the community center. “I wish I could swim everyday.”

dslattery@nydailynews.com

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Sep 6, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Robert Fleming sentenced in 1988 sodomy, murder of girl, 9

It took 25 years, but a cold-hearted monster who raped and strangled a 9-year-old Bronx girl and her mother was finally sentenced for the gruesome crime.

A judge handed down the maximum penalty — a pair of consecutive 25-to-life terms Wednesday — meaning Robert Fleming, 47, will likely die behind bars.

Fleming, a convicted drug dealer, killed Selena Cooper, 26, and her daughter, Joi Little, in their Morris Heights apartment Feb. 29, 1988, officials said.

“He got what he deserved and it’s finally over,” said Wanda Cooper, 47, Selena’s younger sister.

Phyllis Little, Joi Little’s grandmother, raged against the man who killed her granddaughter.

“He’s absolutely crazy. He needs to stay in a psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life,” she said.

The little girl had been placed in the custody of her grandmother because Selena Cooper was addicted to crack, a law enforcement source said.

Little said her granddaughter had permission to spend one night at her mother’s E. 174th St. apartment and that’s why she was there that fateful night.

RELATED: DETECTIVE: DNA EVIDENCE WAS IN ITS INFANCY IN FLEMING CASE

“She spent Friday night with my son in Queens, she had a recital on Saturday, and then after she went to Selena’s to spend Saturday night with her mom,” Little said.

Little said she went to pick up her granddaughter, and will never forget the grisly scene inside the fifth-floor apartment. The mother and daughter were naked and tied up face-to-face in a blood-soaked bed, the law enforcement source said.

“I found them,” she said. “You know you take that memory with you wherever you go, but sometimes you have to put it in a drawer and close it,” Little said.

“You never forget . . . all of it takes a toll on you,” Little said,

Fleming, who was dating Cooper at the time of the murders, won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 97.

“There’s finally closure to this crime. You never get over it, you deal with it on a daily basis, but today it was like we got to close a chapter and move on,” said Joi’s father Tyrone Little, 52, breaking down in tears.

Detective Wendell Stradford, of the NYPD Cold Case Squad, was at the sentencing Wednesday and said he was relieved Fleming was finally going to pay for the crime. He worked on the case for a decade.

“Over the years, I’ve gotten closer with the family because they were just believing they weren’t going to be getting any justice,” Stradford said. “But we kept promising them we would not stop.”

RELATED: DNA HELPS POLICE CATCH SUSPECT IN 1988 MURDERS

The case moved forward as the science of DNA technology advanced.

A sample of Fleming’s DNA was first taken in 1998 while he was in state prison on drug and burglary convictions. In 2001, semen samples from the bloody sheets were tested and found to be a match, officials said.

But that wasn’t enough because Fleming could say the evidence came from consensual sex, the law enforcement source said.

Prosecutors only had one chance to get the killer.

Fleming was arrested in 2009 based on the DNA, his own statements and other circumstantial evidence from witnesses, the source said. But the case still moved at a snail’s pace, as Fleming fired five lawyers and was at one point ruled mentally incompetent, frustrating the victims’ families.

The stalling continued at his sentencing, as he went on a 20-minute, often incoherent, rant.

Fleming, who was dressed in a charcoal gray suit and purple dress shirt, proclaimed that statements he made to police were unlawfully obtained, that evidence was tampered with and that his prior drug arrests had been used to convict him.

“Yes, I smoked crack, but that doesn’t resolve me from my innocence,” Fleming said toward the end of his lengthy statement.

RELATED: ‘FACE JURY LIKE A MAN’: KIN OF TWO ’88 MURDER VICTIMS FACES ACCUSED THUG

Much of his bizarre monologue left observers scratching their heads.

“I went through the evidence in my case with a fine-combed tooth,” Fleming said at one point.

Judge Margaret Clancy said the crime was unthinkable.

“This is one of the most horrific and brutal acts of any kind that I’ve seen in over 30 years in the criminal justice system,” said Clancy. “He demonstrated no mercy to his victims and no one — no parent, no grandparent — should have to live through this.”

The law enforcement source said everyone who witnessed the horrific scene was struck by the brutality.

“He posed them,” the source said. “He had their legs tied open akimbo so you had no choice but to look. It was disgusting.”

The family said they were thankful to the investigators — and the science.

“It was the miracle of DNA,” said Tyrone Little, the father of the slain girl. “Thankfully we have these advances in science and medicine. There was great police work by the NYPD and they got him.”

Phyllis Little has stayed close to the apartment where her granddaughter was killed — just a few buildings away — because she wanted to make sure the killer was caught. Now, she says, it’s time to move on.

“I’m gonna find another apartment someplace else,” she said. “I’m going to move now, I just don’t know exactly where.”

tmoore@nydailynews.com

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Sep 6, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Dem Joel R. Rivera’s Republican problem

A Democratic candidate for a Bronx Council seat admitted this week that he’ll also run on the Republican line because the GOP promised him control over dozens of poll site jobs – a quid-pro-quo that might be illegal.

Joel R. Rivera, who is in a six-candidate race to replace term-limited Councilman Joel Rivera, no relation, in the Belmont, Bathgate, and Van Nest district, told a stunned crowd at a candidate forum Wednesday, “The Republicans offered me the line and I did accept it because it came with 70 jobs.”

After the forum, Rivera’s main rival for the seat, Ritchie Torres, called on the candidate to drop out.

“This guy isn’t fit for public office,” charged opponent Ritchie Torres. “Accepting the Republican line in exchange for jobs is illegal.”

Later, Rivera, a community liaison for Controller John Liu, backtracked, saying he misspoke.

“It wasn’t a quid pro quo thing,” he told the Daily News. “It wasn’t like that. There was no deal that was cut with these people.”

RELATED: YOUR GUIDE TO BRONX COUNCIL DISTRICT 15

It’s unclear what “jobs” Rivera was initially touting. Traditionally, poll sites are staffed with equal numbers of workers from the two major parties. But chairman of the Bronx Republican Party, a fringe group in the heavily Democratic Bronx, denied he conspired to give Rivera, 35, control of the hiring.

“We whole-heartedly back Mr. Rivera. He is a bright, energetic young candidate,” said John Greaney, whose party comprises just 9% of the borough’s registered voters. “Nobody has offered jobs. We don’t have jobs to offer.”

In any event, the deal ensures that Rivera will remain on the ballot on Election Day in November, even if he loses the all-important Sept. 10 Democratic primary.

But being the standardbearer for two opposing parties only invites inspection of Rivera’s positions. He claims to be a Democrat “at heart,” but admitted he sides with conservatives on issues such as gay marriage. He’s opposed to it.

Torres jumped on that, too.

“We need to elect real Democrats who will build a better Bronx, not Republicans who will enrich themselves and their friends,” said Torres.

RELATED: OUR INTERACTIVE MAPS TO ALL 2013 NYC COUNCIL RACES!

But Torres has been accused of having his own questionable friends.

Jobs for New York PAC, a real-estate industry group, has spent a staggering 5,487 to support the 24-year-old’s campaign.

The young candidate, who served as housing director for Council member James Vacca (D-Throgs Neck) for five years, has been knocked for not disavowing the special interest money.

“Ritchie Torres is taking the script from the Tea Party and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from real estate tycoons who want to make sure the housing status quo stays in place,” said candidate Cynthia Thompkins.

Torres, who has campaigned on his record as a tenant advocate, did not responded to questions about the real estate PAC.

Albert Alvarez, Raquel Batista, and Joel Bauza round out the field in Tuesday’s District 15 primary.

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Sep 6, 2013
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BRONX NEWS: Bank bans hoodies, hats; customers cry racial profiling

Forget dye packs and silent alarms: One city bank hopes to thwart would-be bandits with a dress code.

Lobby signs posted in Cross County Federal Savings Bank branches instruct visitors to remove their hats, hoodies and sunglasses before making their withdrawals — legal or not.

Some customers suggested the depository dress code discriminated against minorities or promoted racial profiling.

RELATED: HOMELESS MAN HOLDS UP BANK FOR

“There’s got to be something wrong with the person who thought of that,” said Quest Andino, 51, a black man walking past a bank branch in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

“That’s biased. Some people look scary, some don’t.”

Andino dismissed the idea of a couture crackdown as a deterrent: “If somebody’s going to rob a bank, they’re going to rob a bank regardless.”

RELATED: MAN SHOOTS HOSTAGES IN LOUISIANA BANK

Longtime customer Charles Lamatto, 88, insisted there was nothing sinister about the “New York” cap on his head.

“I don’t want to show I’m bald!” Lamatto said after completing a transaction in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I’ve been in this neighborhood 66 years doing business with them. Nobody ever said anything!”

A bank official quickly responded that the critics weren’t giving Cross County enough credit. The no-hats, no-shades, no-hoodies rule was fairly commonplace outside New York. And the signs first went up in its banks — there are seven in the city — without much fanfare two years ago.

RELATED: BACKHOE USED TO BREAK INTO QUEENS BANK

“It’s basically just a security measure for our customers and employees,” said George Makowski, executive vice president for security at Cross County.

“It’s like people putting a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign in front of their house,” he said, adding that the rule is rarely enforced.

Cross County branches were robbed seven times in the last five years, all in Queens, according to the NYPD.

RELATED: FEDORA-WEARING MANHATTAN BANK ROBBER CAUGHT : COPS

Cuban immigrant Sarah Baez, 38, wore a Nike cap Thursday inside the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, branch. She understood the bank’s policy, and defended the way its customers were treated.

“I’ve never seen anyone discriminated against,” she said. “Everyone from different cultures, different colors goes there.”

Provident and PNC banks have a similar policy prohibiting the garments of choice for bank robbers seeking to keep their faces off security footage.

RELATED: POLICE ARREST SUSPECTS IN ‘FISHY’ BANK ROBBERY ATTEMPT IN BROOKLYN

Florida officials credited the policy for cutting robberies in their state. Cops in San Antonio even asked locals to doff their trusty cowboy hats.

The Cross County sign is simple and to the point: “For the safety and security of all customers and employees, we kindly ask that you remove hats, hoods, headgear and sunglasses prior to entering our facility. Thank you for your cooperation.”

An NYPD detective getting money from the ATM at the bank’s Belle Harbor branch was 100% behind the policy.

RELATED: U.S. AIRWAYS TELLS BLACK FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS TO GET RID OF THEIR HOODIES

“That’s a good thing,” he said. “There’s a lot of banks getting robbed … It’s difficult for us to investigate when someone is covering their face.”

While infamous bank robber Willie Sutton generally eschewed a hat, subsequent generations wouldn’t be caught dead (or alive) without their headgear.

The infamous “Yankee Bandit” sported a Bronx Bombers baseball cap while hitting 72 banks in southern California during the ’80s and ’90s.

RELATED: TWO ROBBED BY GUNPOINT IN QUEENS 

Closer to home, New Jersey’s own “Hat Bandit” pulled off 19 bank heists before his 2007 arrest. James Madison donned everything from an Air Force cap to a fisherman’s hat during his run.

Norman Pannicciolo, 63, wore her sunglasses inside the Belle Harbor branch with no problems Thursday morning. No one enforced the policy.

“That doesn’t bother me,” the white woman said of the dress code. “It’s a business, and a business has rules.”

The local resident paused when asked if she thought the reception would have been different if she were a black male.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m not a black male.”

With Rocco Parascandola

bpaddock@nydailynews.com

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