Browsing articles in "Bronx News"
Mar 28, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Culinary dynasty continues family business with City Island eatery

For the Rodriguez sisters, bringing Puerto Rican cuisine to the masses has been a family affair for nearly 30 years.

Jaleene and Jewelle Rodriguez are the owners, operators and managers of the beloved Don Coqui restaurant chain, which opened its third outpost on City Island this January.

On Wednesday, the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored the pair — who learned from their father, legendary Jimmy’s Bronx Cafe owner Jimmy Rodriguez — for their efforts to expand business opportunities in the Hispanic community.

“It’s so much fun, because we’re back home,” said Jaleene, 27, who grew up in Castle Hill and Mosholu Parkway with her younger sister Jewelle, 26. “The restaurant business is in my blood. It runs right through my veins.”

The City Island opening marks the latest in a string of Bronx restaurants the Rodriguez clan has executed since the mid 1980s, when the siblings’ grandfather, Jimmy Rodriguez Sr., opened Mariscos Del Caribe. Jimmy Jr. followed shortly after in 1992 with Jimmy’s Bronx Cafe on Fordham Rd., which became the go-to for the borough’s movers and shakers.

The Rodriguez sisters, said Jaleene, are recreating that atmosphere on City Island. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Rep. Jose Serrano have been spotted at Don Coqui. Likewise, Bronx rapper Fat Joe, who told the Daily News this week that he couldn’t get enough of the place.

“My favorite restaurant in the Bronx is Don Coqui,” Fat Joe said. “Every time I come to New York, as soon as I land, that car goes on auto pilot, straight to Don Coqui.”

The eatery dishes up Puerto Rican comfort food like pernil (roast pork) with rice and pigeon peas, along with American staples like filet mignon and Spanish dishes like Paella.

Jaleene manages operations, marketing and administration while her father and Jewelle run the dining room. Younger brother Jimmy, 20, manages Don Coqui’s White Plains spot.

“For us, this was something that was going to happen — so we grabbed the horse by the reins,” said Jaleene, who is engaged and lives in Ossining with her 4-year-old girl.

When the sisters decided to open Don Coqui, they turned to their father, the restaurant’s organizational director.

“He gives us his advice,” Jaleene said. “We’ve always been very involved in his projects. We learned from him.”

Proud papa Jimmy said he’s happy his kids are continuing the family tradition in borough where it all began.

“The response from our guests has been exciting to see,” said Rodriguez, whose own restaurant shuttered in 2009. “To be here, it’s a great opportunity to continue representing the Puerto Rican community — the music, the cuisine.”

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Mar 27, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx hoops star and Dayton point guard Smith face Stanford Thursday as Cinderella story continues

What a difference three years makes.

As a 15-year-old, Dayshon “Scoochie” Smith couldn’t dunk a basketball to save his life — but on Thursday the whole world will watch the Bronx baller slam on a Memphis court.

In his quest to crash the Sweet Sixteen, the Co-op City native and the Dayton Flyers will challenge the Stanford Cardinal Thursday in his third game of the NCAA Tournament.

“I’m getting calls and texts from everybody back home,” Smith told The News ahead of Thursday’s matchup. “They feel like they are in the Sweet 16 too.”

Dayton is now two games from the Final Four after upsetting heavily-favored Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. The Flyers were able to slip by the Orange thanks to clutch shooting from the Bronx point guard.

“I had an opportunity to take advantage of the situation,” said Smith, reflecting on a crucial three-pointer he made in the waning moments of Dayton’s 54-50 triumph over Syracuse. “I’m just happy to be a part of history.”

The Baychester basketball prodigy may be downplaying his success, but Smith’s former youth coach and mentor Jerry “Ice” McCullough said Smith’s transformation remarkable.

“He was one of those kids sprinting from half-court and not making it,” said McCullough, who was Smith’s assistant coach with the amateur travelling club New York Gauchos. “Now he’s able to catch alley-oops and two-handed dunks.”

What stood out to his high school coaches was his work ethic, said Putnam Science Academy head coach Tom Espinosa.

“By appearance you could never think he is playing at the level he is now, but Dayshon really lived in the gym,” said Espinosa, who won the Northeast Prep Championship during Smith’s senior season. “He is a crafty, hard-working kid, and I give him all the credit in the world.”

As for the nickname, you can credit Smith’s grandfather George Blount, who began calling him “Scoochie” as a child.

“I Googled the name one time before,” Smith told the Dayton Daily News. “It means to dance a lot or be annoying. I was probably one of the two or maybe even both.”

Blount died in January, and Smith has been playing with a heavy heart ever since, he said.

“I know he’s probably happy for my success and even though he is not watching in person, he is watching from up top.”

Smith said he is optimistic ahead of Thursday’s game, and after sneaking by Ohio State and Syracuse in dramatic fashion to open the tournament, why wouldn’t he be?

“I’m very anxious to play,” said Smith. “It’s a good feeling. Not everybody gets an opportunity like this. It’s something that a lot of kids dream about.”

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Mar 26, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx NYPD sergeant uses martial arts as teaching tool

Call him the Karate Cop.

NYPD Sgt. Jose Guerrero fights crime in more ways than one — the 15-year veteran patrols the Bronx, then spends most of his free time teaching martial arts to young kids.

The fifth-degree black belt opened his school, or dojo — Guerrero UBA Karate — nearly 10 years ago in Yonkers, where he teaches about 30 students ages 5 to 15 regardless of whether their parents can afford the tuition.

“If the parents can’t pay me I tell them pay when you can,” said Guerrero, 47, who now serves in the 45th Precinct. “Or they help out. They clean or they prepare food if we have fund-raisers. When I see the results I have no doubt I’m in the right place. This is where I have to be.”

Guerrero joined the NYPD in 1999, and after a stint in the Transit Bureau, he was assigned to the 44th Precinct, where during his first tour as a sergeant he responded to a crime scene where a teen drug dealer — recently immigrated from the Dominican Republic — had been shot dead.

The experience was profound, he said, and it led him toward a different path, focused less on moving up the ranks and more on helping young people make the right life decisions.

“What helped me to stay off the streets was karate,” he said. “With that kid, I thought to myself it was too bad he didn’t have any other chance. He comes here and they tell him he can have a different life — sell drugs and make a lot of money. He was here maybe a month and now he’s dead.”

The dojo doubles as an after-school center where many students use computers he installed to do their homework before or after sessions. They take karate or jujutsu, and when possible travel with him to international tournaments.

Last July, Guerrero took a group to Belgium to meet Junior Lefevre, a former world champion, and see a world far away.

“It was eye-opening,” said Jariza Perry, 13, who saw her confidence soar shortly after a bout of bullying convinced her mom to sign her up for the classes four years ago. “You could see the difference in lifestyles.”

Guerrero will play host as Lefevre travels to America in April. He’s set to bunk with Guerrero and host two seminars — one at the dojo, the other at a Yonkers school.

As always, cost will be an issue, but Guerrero will do what he has always done — work some overtime and hold fund-raisers.

“If I had 100 kids in here who couldn’t pay, I’d still do it,” he says. “I would still love it.”

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Mar 25, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Dinosaurs rumble into Bronx Zoo

It’s not Jurassic Park, but the Bronx Zoo is planning an even bigger followup to the T. rex-size success of its animatronic dinosaurs exhibit last summer.

In an exclusive first peek, The Daily News saw a dozen new dinosaurs being wheeled into the zoo on forklifts after arriving in the Bronx by truck at about 10 a.m. Monday.

Among the pre-Cretaceous creatures is an Edmontonia that is 22 feet long and 8 feet wide at its spikes.

The armor-plated dinosaur was a delicacy for the ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex.

The lifelike beasts have movable heads, tails and limbs — and even roar.

This year’s outdoor exhibit of dinos is made by the Dinosaur Company, a part of Billings Productions, and will focus on predators and prey.

The exhibit is scheduled to run from April 12 to Nov. 2.

On a mobile device? Click here to watch the video.

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Mar 24, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Group slashes Good Samaritan breaking up fight in Bronx bar fight

SENDER: ?Scarborough, Joey? <>

Oze Tavern, located at 256 E. 138th Street in Mott Haven, was the scene of three slashings Saturday night. Police are searching for the group of young men- and a woman – responsible.

A Good Samaritan trying to break up a fight inside a Mott Haven nightspot was slashed across the face early Sunday.

Police are searching for a group of young men — and at least one woman — who slashed their way through the Oze Tavern over the weekend, injuring at least two other men.

The melee began around 2 a.m. early Sunday, when three or four thugs surrounded a smaller man inside the lounge.

The victim, who spoke to the Daily News on the condition of anonymity, got in between the men to diffuse the escalating fracas, when one of the perps slashed him, twice, with a sharp object that tore into his lip and chin.

“I sought to put myself between the gang and the folks being attacked,” said the man, adding that he believed the attacker may have been intoxicated. “Only when the blood was dripping on the floor, did I know I was cut.”

The thugs also attacked a 44-year-old man, striking him in the head with a bottle and slashing him across his face with a box cutter, police said. Meanwhile, a 45-year-old man was pummeled outside the club before a woman slashed him across the hands as he tried to protect his face.

“He’d been cut pretty bad on his hand — almost like filleted,” the victim said. “He said he’d been approached by a group of folks — and it was a woman who cut him.”

The bloodthirsty brutes fled in the ensuing chaos, and the victims were treated at Lincoln Hospital.

It was not clear Monday if the bloodshed was gang related, but the victim claims he heard law enforcement officials say the violence may have been part of a gang initiation.But that wasn’t the end of the bloodshed Saturday. Just around the corner two hours later, a man approached a 44-year-old male and his female companion as they sat inside a car outside of the Sin City nightclub. The gunman fired at the victim, striking him in the chest, left arm and abdomen. The victim drove himself to the hospital, and the woman with him wasn’t injured, police said.

The Good Samaritan, meanwhile, said he hopes the slashers have more opportunities than a violent future.

“These folks are vicious, they’re drugged up and they’re out to hurt people,” he said. “We need to figure out what’s wrong, and give them more positive options than joining a gang, or whatever it was that led to this bad thing happening.”

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Mar 24, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Feds charge Rikers Island officer with letting inmate die

The feds have arrested a city correction officer on a charge that he deliberately ignored the urgent medical needs of a Rikers Island inmate who had ingested a ball of cleaning powder and who ultimately died in his cell.

Terrance Pendergrass, 49, a former correction captain, was collared Monday morning and is scheduled to appear before a judge Monday afternoon in Manhattan Federal Court.

The bust comes a year after the Bronx district attorney’s office announced it would not pursue criminal charges in the 2012 incident involving robbery suspect Jason Echevarria.

Pendergrass allegedly refused to call a doctor to help Echevarria, 25, who was housed in a unit for inmates with mental health issues and who had swallowed the “soap ball” he had been provided with to clean up a sewage backup in his cell.

Two different correction officers told Pendergrass on August 18, 2012 that Echevarria had swallowed the soap and that he had requested attention, prosecutors allege.

The inmate may have eaten the soap in hopes of getting out of solitary confinement.

Pendergrass told the first officer that he wanted to be called on only if the officer needed help with the extraction of an inmate from a cell or if there was a dead body, according to a complaint unsealed Monday.

When that officer later reported seeing vomit in Echevarria’s cell, Pendergrass allegedly replied that the inmate should “hold it.”

A MAY 17, 2011 FILE PHOTOSeth Wenig/AP

Rikers Island correctional facility.

The captain later ignored a second officer, who had learned from a pharmacy technician that Echevarria might die without medical intervention, according to the complaint.

The inmate was found dead in his cell the next morning and an autopsy revealed that he died as a result of injuries caused by the ingestion of a caustic substance.

Echevarria never received any medical assistance, authorities said.

“Jason Echevarria should not have died,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “Terrence Pendergrass abused his power as a Rikers Island captain in charge of a vulnerable population of inmates with mental health issues by denying Echevarria access to medical care despite his obvious and urgent medical need for it.”

Pendergrass faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The medical examiner ruled Echevarria’s death a homicide due to the denial of medical care and the autopsy report said the soap burned his tongue, throat and intestines.

“We just didn’t have sufficient evidence to move forward,” said Bronx DA spokesman Steven Reed said last year.

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Mar 23, 2014

BRONX NEWS: It’s the mother of all ceremonies

The Montserrat Progressive Society of New York’s Mother of the Year, community activist Daisy Nanton, will be honored at Villa Barone Manor in the Bronx in May.

Mothers and the fraternity of motherhood will take center stage at Montserrat Progressive Society of New York’s 23rd annual Mother’s Day Extravaganza on May 11 in the Bronx.

Held in conjunction with the Montserrat Development and Education Foundation, the affair will feature an awards ceremony recognizing community activist and entrepreneur Daisy Nanton as “Mother of the Year,” special honoree Basil Chambers, senior announcer on Montserrat’s ZJB radio and host of ZJB’s Morning Show and three-time Soca Monarch; and activist Martha Browne, recipient of the Emily Martinez Service Award.

The Mother’s Day event will be held at the Villa Barone Manor, 737 Throgs Neck Expressway, starting with a reception at 2 p.m. Dining and the awards program reception follows at 3 p.m.

Nanton – who has a very lengthy record of civic service – made health education and nutrition of her priorities over the years. As a member of the Social League of Catholic Women, she accompanied visiting Canadian nurses and taught nutrition and health in Montserratian villages. Nanton is also a founding member of the Montserrat Red Cross.

Think Caribbean Americans are Johnny come latelies? Look at the Montserrat Progressive Society of New York and think again. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Manhattan-based organization, which is aiding its Education Scholarship Fund and other activities through souvenir journal ad sales.

The 0 admission includes dinner, an open bar and free parking. For tickets and journal ad information, call (212) 283 3346, Vera Weekes at (917) 549-6635 Llewellyn White at (914) 426-1690, or Shauna Tuitt at (718) 207-8949 by April 30.


Pratt Institute alumnus Goulda Downer — a Jamaica-born, assistant professor at Howard University’s College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., is the recipient of the institute’s 2014 Community Commitment Award.

On March 20, Downer was one of several distinguished alumni recognized at the school’s Alumni Achievement Awards luncheon for outstanding achievements in their respective fields. Working to improve care for HIV patients for more than 20 years, Downer has worked to educate and train more than 46,000 clinicians and care providers in the United States.

	Jamaican-born Dr. Goulda Downer an assistant professor at Howard University's College of Medicine in Washington, DC. is set to receive the 2014 Community Commitment Award on March 20 as a distinguished alumnus of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Jamaica-born Goulda Downer, a distinguished alumnus of Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, received the 2014 Community Commitment Award on March 20.

“I humbly accept this award today, on behalf of the next generation of innovative PRATT Alums who will work to keep our world interested in art and science,” said Downer. “And also on behalf of my parents who with their faces full of hope and trust; their eyes, brimming with fear and trepidation allowed their 22-year- old to go off to another country all alone to pursue her life’s passion — my parents, wanting more, they stepped aside to let me soar.”

After attending Excelsior High School in Jamaica, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition, in addition to master’s and doctoral degrees from Howard University.

And Downer comes from a tradition of giving. Back in Jamaica, her family has been feeding and clothing needy persons annually for more than 30 years.

“We are so proud of Dr. Downer” said Michael Sclafani, director of alumni relations for Pratt Institute. “It is our hope that by honoring her we will inspire other Pratt alumni and current students to follow her example.”

Last year, she was honored by the Congressional Black Caucus, receiving the Health Brain Trust Leadership in Advocacy Award from the organization of U.S. legislators. Downer was also the recipient of the 2013 Health Care Leadership Award from the Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives for her role in the creation of two National HIV/AIDS Education and Training Center programs.

Jennifer Wen Ma, an assistant professor at Howard University’s College of Medicine and designer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics closing ceremonies, and former Walter Disney Company illustrator and character Albert Konetzni were also honored.


Versatile singer marie-claire — who’s got roots in Dominica and the Bronx and a music skills ranging from opera to jazz — was recently honored by the Williamsbridge, Bronx branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as part of its Women’s History Month celebration.

Dominica- born singer marie-claire was recently honored by the Williamsbridge, Bronx branch of the NAACP.


For her “extraordinary accomplishments and service to the community,” the singer was one seven individuals honored by the NAACP branch on March 15 at Eastwood Manor on Eastchester Road.

Born in Dominica, the singer moved to the U.S. at the age of 4, residing in the Bronx. Years later, marie-claire returned to her homeland and reconnected with her Caribbean musical roots. For a period, jazz took center stage, with performances at music festivals in Antigua, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Colombia.

Marie-claire was classically trained in opera at Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome and has performed at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall.


With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use making news headlines today, Shanachie Entertainment has re-released the classic version of Rita Marley’s pro-marijuana song “One Draw.”

Shanachie Re-Releases Rita Marley's "One Draw" In Classic Hit Version

The move to legalize marijuana use in the U.S. has sparked the re-issue of Rita Marley’s big hit, “One Draw.”

“The release of ‘One Draw’ in 1981 was during a very significant year for myself and my family,” recalled Marley. “I never thought it would create the level of global controversy that it did, while still selling over 2 million copies. With the release 30 years later amidst all the discussion on the legalization of herb in the states, it shows how relevant and timeless music can be.”

“I support legislation of marijuana, as marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to mankind and I know this because I have my ‘One Draw’ occasionally,” she said.

Rita Marley – familiar with the Rastafarian religion’s ceremonial customs and traditional medicinal uses of marijuana – recorded the popular tune as part of her debut “Who Feels It, Knows It in Jamaica” album, released on the Tuff Gong label shortly after her the husband, Bob Marley’s, death.

Under an agreement with the performer, the album and an extended 12″ mix of “One Draw” was originally released by Shanachie to rave reviews and popularity.

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Mar 22, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Assembly passes MTA kindness bill

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJeff Bachner/for New York Daily News

Assemblyman Ron Kim wants MTA employees to treat straphangers with decency and respect. (Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)

The state Assembly wants a kindler, gentler transit system.

The MTA would be required to post an oath pledging friendliness and accurate information under legislation passed by the state Assembly on Wednesday.

The new signage would benefit riders who have a gripe about the system and don’t know where to take it, said Assemblyman Ron Kim, the bill’s sponsor.

“What our law will do is require (the MTA) to constantly communicate with the customers about their rights as riders,” said Kim (D-Flushing).

The lawmaker came up with the idea after a senior in his district complained that an Access-A-Ride driver kept shaking her down for tips each morning.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiRichard Harbus/for New York Daily News

Kindness is contagious, so the story goes.

The elderly straphanger should have been able to see a customer service number to complain about the payola pressure, Kim said.

Instead, she called the assemblyman.

MTA employees “are instructed to exercise the utmost courtesy” already, said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. He instructed customers to report any transgressions by employees by dialing 511 or visiting the agency’s website.

Kim sees the measure, which passed the Assembly last year, too, but died in the Senate, as a first step. He also would like to see the agency establish a permanent ombudsman to field, document and respond to customer complaints.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiNorman Y. Lono/for New York Daily News

MTA employees “are instructed to exercise the utmost courtesy” already, said an MTA spokesman. He instructed customers to report transgressions by dialing 511 or visiting the agency’s website.

But bus and subway riders expressed mixed opinions as to whether any oath of friendliness is necessary for MTA employees.

“If you say ‘good morning,’ they say ‘good morning,’ and if you say ‘thank you,’ they say, ‘you’re welcome,’” said Sana Syed, 34, a Flushing resident who works at Fed Ex. “I haven’t had any problems with MTA.”

On the other hand, Queens College student Tshering Sherp said it’s “unfriendly” when train conductors shout at straphangers to stand clear of the doors over the intercom. The 26-year-oldWoodside resident is also used to surprise train offloadings at the second-to-last station on the 7 line.

“Once we stop, then they tell us,” said Sherp.

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Mar 22, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Dirt bike rider dies, 2 injured in Bronx crash

	ON SPEC Teenage boy riding a motorcycle killed in crash with car on 3rd Avenue at East 188th Street in the Bronx on Friday March 21st, 2014. 1551. The boy, who was not wearing a helmet, was rushed to Saint Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced DOA.
Theodore Parisienne

A man, 25, riding a dirt bike was killed on Friday in a crash on Third Ave. at E. 188th St. in the Bronx.

A 25-year-old man died Friday when his dirt bike rammed a car in the Bronx — then continued on to strike two people at a nearby intersection, officials said.

The bizarre scene unfolded on Third Ave. near Fordham University at 3 p.m. when the man riding the unregistered and uninsured Yamaha dirt bike tried to zip around a Toyota as it turned left onto E. 188th St.

The unidentified man hit the Toyota and was thrown from the bike, which continued rolling down Third Ave. until it barreled into an 85-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man at the corner.

Paramedics rushed all three victims to St. Barnabas Hospital, where the dirt bike rider died of his injuries.


The unidentified man hit a Toyota and was thrown from the bike, which continued rolling down Third Ave. until it barreled into an 85-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man at the corner.

The two pedestrians were treated for non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

Cops were investigating the accident Friday night.

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Mar 21, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx tax preparer goes to pot

SENDER: ?Slattery, Denis? <>

Michael Thomas, the owner of 420 Multi Services Inc. in Morris Park, was arrested for marijuana possession Wednesday.>

Maybe it was the sign.

The owner of a Bronx tax filing business called 420 Multi Services was arrested on marijuana possession charges.

Michael Thomas and three employees, possibly trying to relieve the stress of the upcoming tax season, were busted Wednesday after an NYPD narcotics officer observed the quartet in their Morris Park office with a ziplock bag full of weed.

The “420” in the business’ name, emblazoned in green on an awning above the door, is a well-known marijuana reference.

Upon searching the storefront office, cops found seven ziplock bags with two ounces of pot, a pipe and a metal grinder used to break up weed, according to a complaint.

Neighbors were surprised to hear of the potheaded arrests.

“I’m shocked,” said Anthony Mastrecchio, whose Morris Park Meat Market is next door to the tax office. “You’d think that I would smell that coming through the wall.”

Mastrecchio said he has known Thomas for almost a decade and doesn’t believe the young businessman was hawking pot — especially with tax deadlines quickly approaching.

“He works hard,” the butcher said. “There’s never any riff raff out there. He’s good people.”

Investigators from the NYPD, Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Taxation removed more evidence Thursday.

Thomas, 35, along with Christina Clarke, 28, Mark Parsons, 48, and Christopher Mullahey, 36, were all released on their own recognizance after being arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court Friday. They are due back in court on May 1.

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Mar 18, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Tenants call on city to help fix living conditions

Tenants living at the center of the biggest real estate foreclosure since Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village in 2010 stormed City Hall to bemoan poor living conditions.

A group of 42 buildings comprised of 1,537 rent-regulated units in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan went into foreclosure in April, and residents who live in the properties say their apartments have deteriorated due to an irresponsible financial practice called “predatory equity.”

Housing advocates and tenants say a joint group of building owners has attempted to raise rents and force out residents while also defaulting on a 3 million loan in 2012.

City Council members Ritchie Torres, Mark Levine, Annabel Palma and Ydanis Rodriguez also called for action Tuesday.

“The loss of affordable housing to the practice of predatory equity has created a crisis in our communities that will only become more severe if we fail to take action,” said Councilmember Ritchie Torres, chair of the Committee on Public Housing. “These properties belong in the hands of new, responsible owners, committed to their preservation and long-term affordability.”

David Kramer, Normandy Real Estate, Vantage Properties and Westbrook Management have owned the portfolio – managed by Colonial Management – since 2007.

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Mar 17, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Cooking Channel personality coming to Hunts Point in push for infrastructure funding

An Emmy-winning epicurean and TV host will be chowing down at a Hunts Point restaurant near you as part of a campaign to protect the nation’s largest food distribution center.

Cooking Channel personality and Bronx tastemaker Justin “Baron Ambrosia” Fornal will be dropping by Hunts Point restaurants between noon and 3 pm Tuesday to sample dishes in advance of the Hunts Point Slam Bake cooking contest.

“It’s a neighborhood that is dear to my heart, so if something is going on at The Point, and it’s for the people and the neighborhood, then I’m there.” said Ambrosia, who has owned property in the Bronx since 1999 and has hosted “The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia” since 2011.

The event is meant to raise awareness of Hunts Point’s lingering post-Sandy damage and push the neighborhood’s candidacy for additional infrastructure funding. Restaurant owners are thrilled to be raising awareness for the irreplaceable food distribution hub, they told The News.

“A lot of people don’t understand that Hunts Point feeds New York, and if our businesses are struggling, and things aren’t repaired, then New York is going to suffer,” said Gavin McNall, co-owner of Mo Gridder’s BBQ located at 565 Hunts Point Ave., Ambrosia’s first destination Tuesday.

Hunts Point is one of 10 finalists in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Rebuild by Design” program, which will allocate funding to communities hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy to improve infrastructure.

Wednesday’s Slam Bake is scheduled from 5 pm to 8 pm at the American Banknote Building, 1231 Lafayette Ave.

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