Bronx Art Space in Mott Haven
Bronx Cultural Space Provides Venue for Artistic Expression
A few weeks ago I visited the Bronx Art Space as part of my effort to in some measure capture [and release] the heart and soul of the Bronx in pixels. Beverly Emers was my primary contact and her guidance was invaluable not just into the Bronx Art Space, but also in introducing me in some small way to the surrounding community.
As a bit of background, the Bronx Art Space first opened in 2008 in the South Bronx to provide a communal artistic venue to local artists, musicians, film makers and performers. The Bronx Art Space was co-founded by Linda Cunningham and Mitsu Hadeishi.
I arrived on a Saturday evening to witness one of the Bronx Art Space Gatherings. In 2017 at the Bronx Art Space began hosting the Gatherings, which have been organized by James A. Brathwaite, who I met shortly after I arrived. James told me he’s been organizing at least one Gathering per month. The Gatherings consist of performances by local talent which is offered free to the public.
James told me it’s an opportunity for local dancers, musicians, comedians and performers to get in front of an audience to express themselves and show what they can do. At the time of the October 21st Gathering, James had organized and hosted nine of them year to date.
Beverly, was working at the Bronx Art Space as part of an internship through Hunter College. She’s been studying to be a community organizer and from what I experienced in one longer-than-expected evening, I suspect she’ll be quite successful. Beverly gave me a brief tour of some of the art hanging on the walls at the Bronx Art Space which as a whole made up the exhibit entitled State Property.
The theme of the State Property exhibit was about American consumerism of prison labor. Private companies profit through the employment of prison labor and other private for profit companies are paid to manage incarcerated populations. The issue is that there’s a profit motive in keeping prisons populated and that was the message embedded in many of the works. One of the exhibits noted some of the multi-billion companies profiting from low cost prison labor, going on to contemplate that for some – slavery hasn’t ended.
In March of 2017 Mayor de Blasio committed to closing Rikers Island prison over the course of the next ten years. A study was released recommending that the prison be replaced with smaller prisons dispersed throughout the city to keep prisoners near their families and friends, so that their personal ties / human and community networks can become part of their rehabilitation / safety net. Rikers Island prison has been the subject of federal investigations and community protests for alleged brutality and abuses.
One of the biggest complaints is that many prisoners are held for very long periods of time – including minors – without being formally charged with crimes. Beverly told me the story about Kalief Browder, who was incarcerated at Rikers at age 16, held for three years without being charged with any crime. Kalief was held in solitary confinement for 23 days and reportedly beaten by both corrections officers and fellow inmates, so that when he was released he felt uncomfortable around other people and at age 23 he committed suicide.
The art works included an American flag made of spray painted human hair. Another exhibit showed tape markings identifying the spare amount of space prisoners are provided. And there were a number of other art works, including several former prisoners’ reflections of their time spent in the pen. It was a thoughtful, moving exhibit that gave voice to the issues of those whose voices can’t be heard.
I stayed for some of the performances too. Venture Klan was performing when I first arrived. They’re a three member hip hop group from Harlem that started in 2007. They perform in the city and boroughs, and sometimes beyond. The three members are Ave Campbell, BukdaWorld and Leland Charles. You can find their work at www.ventureklan.com.
I also met a solo performer, who goes by the name of Classic. He’s been performing for the past ten years and frequently does gigs with a couple of other musicians, but not tonight. He did vocals with background music that he creates with instrumentalists in Eastern Europe. He’s currently in the process of copyrighting his work. You can find some of his work on www.weownitrecords.com.
Beverly also introduced me to one of the Bronx Art Space neighbors, the Artistic Director of ID Studio Theater, German Jaramillo. ID Studio Theater is a non-profit Latino arts theater organization that develops and performs new works. They moved into their new home next door to the Bronx Art Space in Mott Haven about a year ago , and this evening there was a production being shown in tandem with the Mexico Now Festival, which was founded by Claudia Norman. Claudia told me about the Mexico Now Festival which is an NYC-wide festival celebrating Mexican culture.
Before I left, Beverly introduced me to one of the neighbors, an artist who has a studio just behind the Bronx Art Space – Maria Scapini of www.scapinistudio.com. I didn’t get a chance to see her work as we only met briefly on our way out.
All in all it was an interesting and fun night out, but really just the beginning of getting to know what’s doing in the Mott Haven neighborhood in the Bronx.
Bronx Things To Do This Weekend
Bronx Doc Film Opens Spanish Harlem 80's Exhibit, Bronx Museum Hosts Open House, NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx Zoo, Wave Hill & Pregones in Manhattan
_ Weather. The temperature highs will be around 40 on Friday and Saturday, rising to 50 on Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid 20's on Friday, rising to the low 30's Saturday, and high 30's by Sunday. There isn't any rain in the forecast. And the winds will range from around 20 mph Friday, dropping to about 12 by Saturday and 6 mph by Sunday. The humidity will be in the 30's Friday and Saturday, rising to the 60's by Sunday. Click for Bronx Weather.
_The photo at right shows a woman studiously watching a performance at the Bronx Art Space on a balmy October evening in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx.
Friday & Weekend Things to do in the Bronx - Art, Film, Pregones & Bronx Art Space
_ The photo at right shows St Jeromes Church in Mott Haven at Alexander and 138th Street near the Mott Haven Historic District. The church was built around the turn of the 20th century [1898 - 1900] and was and still is one of the finest Roman Catholic churches in the Bronx.
_ The Pregones Theater in Mott Haven isn't hosting performances of Spamilton, but they are at their theater in Manhattan at 304 West 47th Street beginning at various times during the weekend [matinees both days] and running through the week except Wednesdays [$25 / $113 / theater].
_ At the Bronx Art Space at 301 East 140th Street - #1 in the Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx there's a new exhibit that opened on Wednesday November 8th entitled, Self-Organize / Auto-Organizar. The exhibit was described as,
"... [the exhibit] looks at work that challenges and reimagines the physical, emotional, and geographical boundaries of identity ... artists investigate the construction and destruction of identity, of what constitutes being through the use of their body, installations, books, interviews, videos, and paintings. The exhibition asks us to reflect on how, what, and why we are taking matters into our own hands through the works of artists who mobilize, respond, expose, heal, and rebuild together. Often, it is artists that lead efforts to address the needs of their community when the system, the government, and aid fall short."
There's an opening reception Wednesday, November 15 from 6 to 9 pm where the artists, Proyectos Sabrosos / Sabroso Projects invite visitors to join the Decolonized Republic by registering and receiving a passport with a new visual identity for the post-resistance in Puerto Rico.
_ The Bronx Zoo at 2300 Southern Blvd offers a variety of activities for adults and kids including Sea Lion & Penguin feedings, Camel rides, Bug Carousel rides, 4 D Theater, Wild Asia Monorail and a Zoo Shuttle . The zoo is open and costs $27 for kids and $37 for adults or a year-long family pass which includes membership for $200.
_ The New York Botanical Gardens at 2900 Southern Blvd near the Norwood, Fordham and Belmont neighborhoods is hosting an exhibit entitled Chihuli featuring 20 installations by artist Dale Chihuli. The NY Botanical Gardens has been selling out many of the events like concerts that are done in connection with the exhibit, but it is also home to a number of other interesting exhibits, including copies of Darwin's first editions and a somewhat virgin forest dating back a couple of centuries [10am - 6pm / kids / $23 / $20 / $10 / under 2 free].
_ The Bronx Historical Society at 3309 Bainbridge Avenue at 208th Street in the Norwood neighborhood has an exhibit about the impact of WWI on the borough entitled Over There: America & The Great War, which they say ends October 8th, but they've not yet replaced it on their website as of 11/10/17. The Society also runs the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage at 2640 Grand Concourse at East Kingsbridge Road in the Belmont neighborhood is open Thursday & Friday 10 am – 3 pm, and both Poe Cottage and the Bronx Historical Society are open Saturday 10 am - 4 pm and Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm [$5 / $3 / history].
Saturday - Bronx Doc Film Exhibit Opening
_ The Bronx Documentary Center at 614 Courtlandt Avenue at 151st Street in Melrose is opening up a new exhibit, Spanish Harlem: El Barrio in the 80's beginning at 6 pm. The exhibit begins November 11th and runs through Saturday 12/23. There's also an artists talk with Joseph Rodriguez with Ed Morales at 6 pm on Saturday, December 2nd [$5 / $10 / film - tickets at bronxdoc.org]. They describe the exhibit as follows,
"Shot in the mid-to-late 80s, Joseph Rodriguez's superb photographs of East Harlem bring us into the core of the neighborhood, capturing a spirit of a people that survives despite the ravages of poverty, and more recently, the threat of gentrification and displacement.
In a now-distant landscape littered with abandoned buildings, ominous alleyways, and the plague of addiction, the residents of Spanish Harlem persevered with flamboyant style and gritty self-reliance."
Sunday - Bronx Museum Hosts Fall Season Open House
_ The Bronx Museum at 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th Street in the Concourse neighborhood is hosting a Fall Season Open House from 1 to 6 pm. At 1 pm there's a talk by an architect and at 4 pm there's a performance by Momo Ishiguro [art / free].
_ At Wave Hill at 649 West 249th Street in the Hudson Hill section of the Riverdale neighborhood there's a performance by Bronx' own
Alonso Brothers [$28 / $24 includes admission / history]. The event was described as,
"Cuban-born and Bronx-based, brothers Orlando and Orlay Alonso began playing the piano when each was six years old. Both attended the National School of the Arts in Havana, followed by studies at the Manhattan School of Music and Yale University. Describing the artistry of the duo, The New York Times declared: “It is never about showing off what they can do technically, but rather about bringing the listener into the meaning of the music. They are real virtuosos of their instrument not only because of their rock solid performances, but because of their considerable intelligence, sensitivity, intense feeling and contagious joy.”
There's also usually a Garden Walk given free with admission beginning at 11 am, except on Sundays when it begins at 2 pm.
_ Also see venues like the Bronx Museum, Bronx Zoo, NY Botanical Gardens and Van Cortlandt, Mosholu & Pelham Bay Park golf courses that run events or provide access all weekend - see details above.
Monday - Hostos Art Exhibit
_The Hostos College art gallery at 450 Grand Concourse off 149th Street is hosting an exhibit entitled Boleros which is about the Bronx latin roots [free /art].
Bronx Holiday Events & Holiday Markets, Farmers Mkts, Street Fairs, Member Events Calendar
Click here for reports about Bronx holiday events and here for Bronx holiday markets. And click here for report about Bronx street fairs, Bronx farmers markets, Bronx shopping venues and restaurants in the Bronx.
Also see Friday & Weekend Events above.
De Blasio Wins 2nd Term by Landslide
Nationally Democrats Pick up New Jersey & Hold onto Virginia
City-wide & Borough-wide Offices. Mayor de Blasio won a decisive victory against Republican challenger, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, on Tuesday by winning nearly 67% of the vote.
In fact it was a landslide for nearly all incumbent Democrats who won by comparably wide margins, including Letitia James for Public Advocate (74%), Scott Stringer for NYC Comptroller (77%), and all five Borough Presidents including Gale Brewer (Manhattan - 83%), Eric Adams (Brooklyn - 83%), Ruben Diaz (Bronx - 88%), Melinda Katz (Queens - 78%) and James Oddo (Staten Island - 75%).
Mayoral Election Results by Borough. De Blasio won four of the five boroughs by wide margins including roughly 5:1 in the Bronx, 3:1 in Manhattan and Brooklyn and approaching 2:1 in Queens. Malliotakis won her home borough of Staten Island approaching 3:1. Staten Island has a significantly smaller population than the other four boroughs as it has only between 20% and 30% the population of any of the other boroughs.
Trump Referendum & Job Performance Approval. Several pundits speculated that in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans six to one - this was an NYC referendum on the Trump presidency. This may be so, but some mention should also be given to how well NYC is performing vis a vis other cities in terms of jobs creation, improving performance in the public schools, fiscal management and low crime rate.
Results for the Three NYS Proposals on Ballot. The first Proposal - to change the NYS Constitution - lost overwhelmingly with 83% voting NO. The second Proposal - to take away pensions of some government employees found guilty of some crimes - won overwhelmingly with 73% voting YES. And the third Proposal - to allow some 'development' in public parks won in a close vote - 52% vote YES while 48% voted NO.
New Jersey Governor Race. On the national front, newcomer Phil Murphy (D) beat Lieutenant Governor Kim Quadagno (R) in the governor race in New Jersey. Murphy received 55% of the vote while Quadagno received 43% of the vote. Murphy will replace Chris Christie (R) who has an approval rating of 19%. In exit polls, 11% said they cast their votes in support of Trump, while 32% said they cast their votes in opposition to Trump.
Virginia Governor Race. In Virginia, the latest polls were once again off significantly, predicting a tight race that wasn't. Democrat Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam won 54% of the vote while Republican Ed Gillespie who was the former Chair of the Republican National Committee won 43% of the vote. Gillespie won the rural parts of the state, while Northam won the urban areas. Gillespie was reported to be using Trump-style campaign tactics to win the race, but from Japan, Trump distanced himself from Gillespie's loss.
We Elect Pols but Not Publishers. In the graphic at right, you can see the pill face of the unhappy Billionaire which I superimposed over the face of the Mayor. The power-hungry, media mogul's outlet had published the headline 'Stuck with the Bill' - which he published in defiance of the two-thirds of the NYC voters who came out to re-elect the Mayor. He appears to be working toward conquering the U.S. so he can make us a 'Fox Nation', like he did Australia.
We don't get to elect publishers, but every time you purchase one of his papers, or click into his TV stations or websites, you are indirectly supporting him [NY Post, Fox News, WWOR Ch9, WNYW Fox Ch5 and the WSJ]. Some of the people in his organizations do good work, but many of those he puts front and center, are highly paid propagandist mouthpieces who push what appears to be his greedy, deceitful agenda. The story below provides more detail.
NY Post Propaganda, Fox News Distortions & NYC Elections
Will Murdoch's Propaganda Outlets Impact NYC Municipal Elections & the NYS Ballot Referendums of 2017?
How Reliable are the Polls?
On Tuesday November 7, 2017 New Yorkers have an opportunity to assert their will at the ballot box. While the polls indicate Mayor de Blasio will win re-election, it’s important to recall that only a year ago, all but one of the polls forecast that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency.
Having reliable information sources is important to making good choices.
In the 2016 presidential election we saw a corruption of a lot of information that was published and videocast about the candidates, which was used in an attempt to manipulate voters' view of them - aka propaganda.
The following provides a look at the dominant NYC news information provider with an eye to how fair and accurate they have been in their reporting of NYC news. The report contains links to additional information related to this report, as well as additional information about the impending NYC Mayoral election.
Billionaire Murdoch's NY Post & Fox News Appear to have Spent the Past Couple Years Distorting NYC News
One billionaire, Keith Rupert Murdoch, controls a guesstimated 40% of the branded, local, major media outlets in New York City - including the
- NY Post
- Fox News Network
- WWOR TV Channel 9
- The Wall Street Journal
- WFOX TV Channel 5
Murdoch appears to use his media outlets as one giant propaganda machine, pouring out billions of impressions around the world into unaware voters / consumers minds. The Murdoch media oftentimes appears to contain misleading, out-of-context narratives that seem intended to manipulate audiences into believing / feeling positively or negatively about politicians / government officials based on distorted reporting of allegations, sensationalizing nits and sometimes outright fictions fabricated or amplified by contributors of the Fox Fake News Factory. These impressions often enough appear to further Murdoch's insatiable appetite for money and power, by removing or promoting pols into positions where they can be used to advance Murdoch's profit-seeking interests.
Murdoch also controls a number of national publications he’s acquired over the past decade or so, such as Barrons and National Geographic. Oftentimes, if not always, it appears that Murdoch changes editorial staff and reporting standards soon after Murdoch acquisitions have been completed. Generally those changes appear to change what was once a respected news organization into what seems to be a Murdoch propaganda machine. We’ve been reporting on what appears to be Rupert Murdoch’s nefarious use and abuse of his media outlets in a series we’ve entitled Murdoch Media Madness / Fox Fake News / NY Post propaganda.
- Click here to continue reading our report about how Rupert Murdoch appears to use the NY Post for propaganda and Fox News as a fake news factory.
Election 2017 Tuesday 11/7 - Please Vote
The polling booths will be open from 6 am to 9 pm Tuesday.
To find your poll location click on the graphic at right.
Once on the website, input your address, and then click the small icon to the right of it to get the results of the search. I hope the NYS Board of Elections does better cyber security on their voting systems than they do web design for this site, as the tiny arrow mentioned above is easily overlooked.
NYS Ballot Propositions - Vote Tuesday
There are three Referendums on the Ballot.
Calling A State Constitutional Convention
This is where it appears that all the lobbyists would re-write the NYS Constitution to favor them and their interests, and screw the general public aka you. Their argument is to streamline government, but democracy works slowly for a reason - as it takes time for the general public to become aware of issues and then to organize in time for a proper vetting. That's why our Founding Fathers included so many checks and balances in the system - to give us - We The People - time to react.
I recommend voting NO.
Forfeiture of Public Officer's Pension if Convicted of Felony
This is where a public official who's found guilty of a felony that violates the public trust, loses their pension. This is targeted only at a certain class of government officials - not all of them. Voting Yes, mitigates the effort to expand the scope of government officials covered. It seems an unfair application of the law and I don't know who drafted this or why they limited it.
I have no recommendation.
Authorizing Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes
This is what looks like the creation of a first opening for development in the Adirondack and Catskills parks. It's not specific to any identifiable project and open ended, which looks like giving government officials / developers a blank check. Each project should be evaluated on its own merits.
I recommend voting NO.
Bronx Halloween Parties
Halloween Parties in Mott Haven, Fordham, University Heights Neighborhoods in the Bronx
Halloween occurs on a Tuesday this year, which will likely be a non-starter on the day itself. It looks like the celebrations begin as early as Thursday, October 26th running through Friday and Saturday before winding down for this year.
Halloween is one big costume party, where the theatrical side of people, is given a small opening. Halloween provides people the opportunity to create and play roles they have wanted to play, that the day-to-day keeps submerged. Is it their Doctor side or their Jekyll side - or something uncategorizable?
In the photo at right is an actor at ID Theater in Mott Haven who performed in a play which was a part of the 14th annual city-wide, Celebrate Mexico Now. Professional actors are paid to assume and perform roles, while on Halloween it's an all-volunteer, unpaid, theatrical free-for-all ... but that very chaos of creativity is what also makes it so much fun.
Click here to read more about our round up of Halloween parties in the Bronx - Halloween restaurants Bronx.
NYC Mayoral Debates Fall 2017
Dietl Effervesces, Malliotakis Attacks & de Blasio Defends
I attended the Mayoral Debate at Symphony Space on Tuesday, October 10th, where former NYC Detective [1970 – 1985] and security firm businessman Bo Dietl [Independent], New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis [Republican Staten Island] and Mayor Bill de Blasio [Democrat] squared off for one of two general election debates. The debates are sponsored by the New York Campaign Finance Board and are a requirement for those candidates who receive matching funds.
NYC Mayoral Debates - Opening Statements
Each candidate came out and made opening statements. Bo Dietl talked about his time working the streets as a policeman in the 1970’s and 1980’s and how since then he has run a successful security firm that also employs minorities. He described his two opponents as Column A and Column B candidates.
Nicole Malliotakis told us how she is the first member of her family to obtain a college degree and a Masters of Business Administration and that she is the ‘American Dream’. She went on to say she would fix our schools, transit system and homelessness.
Bill de Blasio said that his two opponents were both right wing Republicans and that he was the only one that would stand up to Trump. He went on to say that crime is down, test scores at NYC public schools are up, but that there’s more to do and he needs New Yorkers’ help to continue making progress.
There was a small, but very boisterous minority of rude and disruptive people in the audience, who began their noisy tirades with the opening statements. It wasn’t until near the end of the program – that one of [several of] the loudest shouters and screamers was finally escorted out.
Click here for a fairly full recount of the NYC Mayoral Debates with Malliotakis, Dietl & de Blasio.
Fordham University Rose Hill Campus in the Bronx
Fordham University Serves Approximately 15,000 Students
During my travels in the Bronx in the spring and summer of 2017 I could not help, but make a visit to Fordham University. According to Wikipedia Fordham University was originally founded as St. Johns College in 1841 and changed its name to Fordham University in 1907. Just a couple of years earlier, in 1904, they had begun both a graduate medical school and a graduate law school.
Wikipedia reports that Fordham University is the third oldest university in New York, and the oldest Catholic college / university in the northeast section of the United States. In 1969 the Board of Trustees was reorganized to include a majority of non clerical members, thus officially making Fordham University an independent institution.
Historically, Fordham has been known as a Jesuit school. The Fordham University website notes that their Rose Hill campus is comprised of 85 acres and that their ten schools – including the college, law school, medical school, business school, education & others] serves nearly 16,000 students. Of the total Fordham University student body, over 9,000 of the Fordham University students attend the college. As for locations, nearly 8,000 students attend Fordham University in the Bronx at their Rose Hill campus, while over 7,000 attend Fordham University at their Lincoln Center location. Fordham University also has a small outlet in Westchester County that serves about 500 students.
Fordham is a highly regarded school. According to U.S. News Fordham University is #60 in the ranking of 1600 colleges and universities in the U.S. That puts it in the top 4%, with high school counselors ranking them #42 and with their business program ranked #77. This kind of education doesn’t come cheap as U.S. News noted that tuition and fees are pegged at $47,000 and room and board is estimated at $16,000.
Click here to read the rest of our report on the history of Fordham University in the Bronx neighborhood of Fordham and Belmont.
Yankee Stadium History: Concourse Neighborhood Bronx
A Bronx Institution Since 1923 was Rebuilt in 2009 with Taxpayer Funds on Public Parkland
In 1901 the New York Yankees baseball team originated in Baltimore as the Orioles [no relation to present day team]. In 1903, they were purchased by casino man Frank J. Devery and former police chief William S. Farrell, and moved to New York, where they were renamed the Highlanders, because of a Scottish reference and because they played in Hilltop Park which is in present day Washington Heights. Today Hilltop Park is occupied by New York Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center at 165th Street and Broadway.
The New York Giants baseball team had reportedly tried to keep the Highlanders out of New York, by disallowing them the use of the Manhattan Polo Grounds as a venue. The Manhattan Polo Grounds was located in East Harlem at 112th Street west of 5th Avenue [and just north of Central Park], and it is where the New York Giants baseball team played.
In 1911 the Manhattan Polo Grounds burned down, and for a time, the NY Giants used Hilltop Park. While the Manhattan Polo Grounds was being rebuilt, relations between the two teams warmed. So, in 1913 the Highlanders baseball team started playing at the Manhattan Polo Grounds where the team was again renamed– this time as the New York Yankees .
The New York Yankees shared the Manhattan Polo Grounds Stadium with the New York Giants baseball team until the opening season of 1923, when they moved into their new stadium.
Click here to read our report about the history of Yankee Stadium in the Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx.
History of the Bronx Zoo in New York City
The Bronx Zoo is one of the Best City Zoos on the Planet
The Bronx Zoo is, as the headline says, one of the best zoos in the world. It offers visitors a day of amazing discoveries and safe exploration of natural wild life. The Bronx Zoo stands on 250 acres of land that is cut through by the Bronx River. Inside are tall trees, a wide array of bird species, wild jungle animals shown in habitats resembling their origin, polar mammals, gorillas, snaky reptiles and as Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz would say, “Lions and tigers and bears … Oh my!”
The Bronx Zoo is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily. They offer kids rides, a shuttle and select participation in the feedings. There are several public feedings scheduled daily including feeding the Sea Lions at 11 am and 3 pm, with the Penguins being fed at 3.30 pm. In addition they offer an assortment of programs for classes for school aged children and other groups.
The Bronx Zoo also offers a ‘4-D’ theater where you can see real wildlife, a seasonal Asian monorail that takes you through a replicated Asian wildlife refuge, and seasonal camel rides. These are in addition to the feedings mentioned above.
There are four main entrances to the Bronx Zoo. The first is Gate A or the Asia Gate [Bug Carousel} located along the west side of the Bronx Zoo along toward Southern Blvd at about 183rd Street. The second is Gate B, is located off Boston Road, which you get to by heading south on Bronx Park East off the Pelham Parkway. This entrance is located along the east side of the zoo in the Pelham Parkway neighborhood. And the third is Gate C, which is located at the north end of the zoo – and home to the famous gates – along East Fordham Road between Southern Blvd between Bronx Park East. There’s a fourth gate which is located off the parking area adjacent to the Gate B entrance, located on the south east area of the park.
The Bronx Zoo opened in 1899, a year after the City of New York allotted 250 acres to the New York Zoological Society to develop a zoo, to preserve native animals and promote an interest in Zoology. The Bronx Zoo opened as the New York Zoological Park.
A former Smithsonian employee who was a conservationist, zoologist, taxidermist and author, namely William Temple Hornaday, was signed on as the Director of the Bronx Zoo where he remained for the next 30 years. Hornaday was driven by the desire to build a world class zoological institution and by all accounts today, he appears to have succeeded.
Click here to read the rest of our report about the Bronx Zoo - things to do in the Bronx.
City Island Art Fair
Where City, Sea & Country Meet in the Bronx
Just over a week ago, I made my way to City Island to take in their bi-annual art fair. The art fairs are organized by the City Island Chamber of Commerce and generally held the first weekend in June and the second weekend in September.
The art fair generally runs about three blocks along City Island Avenue [the main north / south street] between Fordham Street and Schofield Street. There’s a small public space, Hawkins Park, which lies across from the Chamber of Commerce, and is generally the epicenter of all the fun. When I arrived there was a live band performing and some light food and beverage was being served.
It’s a quaint art fair and has the faint air of a south Long Island beach town. Most of the residents show up for a spell, and the street fair offerings range from handmade drawings and paintings to jewelry to locally made culinary delights. But that’s not all, as there are tables of objets d’art for the home, books, hand knit sweaters and scarves and leather goods.
Complementing the art fair offerings are the quaint stores and restaurants lining City Island Avenue. The shops that line the street offer antiques, old fashioned variety store offerings as well as ice cream, drinks and food.
There are a couple of tourist attractions on the island including the City Island Nautical Museum [only open weekends from about 12 noon to 5 pm] and the historic Samuel Pell house, which is privately owned.
Perhaps one of the biggest attractions is the sense of having gotten away. The small island isn’t that populated yet, although the main street is pretty heavily trafficked given how remote the island is. But one can easily walk the island, and find water views at nearly every restaurant. On this particular day, it was warm and sunny and many folks were enjoying their meals outside.
City Island on the Bronx is where the city actually does get some sleep.
Table of Silence Transcends 911
Lincoln Center Dance Commemoration Transcends Hate through Love
This morning at 8.15 am over one hundred dancers began a spiritual commemoration of the events of 911 with a modern dance performance in the main plaza at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. This was the seventh year of the performance, and its meaning seems to grow - rather than diminish - with time. It's about the classic and timeless struggle, between giving into hate, or striving to love.
The dancers were all dressed in white, and they created a resplendent symmetry mimicking nature's own. The performance was accompanied by a bit of minimalist music - originating from a beating drum, the air passing through a conch shell, and the human vocal cords.
The dancers transformed the plaza at Lincoln Center into a table, with the bountiful water fountain in the middle. Plates appeared, signifying the sharing of a feast ... a spiritual feast ... a prayer for all humanity.
We feel a heavenly sharing of being together, in a single place, at a single time. It's a solemn place, a sagely peace, a peace with each other, a peace within, and a peace with all the world ... even as the world continues to swirl around us, as does the NYC traffic ... but we remain centered ... as one.
At exactly 8.46 am the performance stops. All is still in Lincoln Center Plaza as we observe a minute of silence together. It's a silence within, as we are surrounded by the ambient noise of the city during rush hour. Sixteen years ago at 8.46 am the second of two planes struck the World Trade Center wreaking havoc. Taking lives. Creating chaos.
Cleansed of hate and vengeance - we depart to go on with our days. We have defeated the terrorists, by not giving into their desire for an endless cycle of violence and hate.
Election 2017 Tuesday 9/12 - Please Vote
The polling booths will be open from 6 am to 9 pm Tuesday.
To find your poll location click on the graphic at right.
Once on the website, input your address, and then click the small icon to the right of it to get the results of the search. I hope the NYS Board of Elections does better cyber security than they do web design, as the tiny arrow is easily overlooked.
If there is a runoff to this election, it will be held on Tuesday, September 26th and the general election is Tuesday, November 7th, 2017.
NYC Mayoral Debates: De Blasio & Albanese
Democratic Candidates Discuss Issues Facing NYC
On Wednesday evening, August 23, I made my way to Symphony Space on the Upper West Side to watch the two Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City debate the issues.
Sal Albanese Democratic Challenger
Sal Albanese is the Democratic challenger, who raised just enough money to qualify for the NYC Campaign Finance Board qualification, which mandates debates between candidates who receive matching funds.
Albanese hails from Brooklyn and served as a member of the NYC City Council from 1983 to 1998. In the twenty years since he left public office, Sal has run for mayor on two previous occasions as a reformer. Since leaving office, Albanese spent ten years working in financial services and the rest of the time as an attorney, doing related work. Based on his political career efforts, Albanese appears to support many of the same progressive causes as Mayor de Blasio.
Conservative Commentator Sliwa Backs Albanese Bid
I ran into conservative talk show commentator Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels who told me he was there to support liberal reformer Sal Albanese. I found this to be ironic - given that Sliwa is a conservative Republican commentator who a couple years ago publicly announced that he was going to run as a Republican for Queens Borough President, challenging Democrat Melinda Katz. When I asked him if he still planned to run as a Republican against Democrat Katz, he replied no, and said he was here tonight supporting Sal Albanese and the Reform Party.
NYC Mayoral Debates 2017
What follows is probably less a summary, than a full accounting of the debate.
As I came out of the subway, I saw people gathered in front of Symphony Space. Some were supporters of the Mayor and some supporters for Goodwin, a challenger to the Upper West Side NYC City Councilwoman, Helen Rosenthal.
Inside I found that the free tickets had been fully subscribed, and while the auditorium was generally filled - it was not full - as not everyone used the tickets they booked.
Errol Louis of NY1 was the debate moderator and the debate panelists included: Brian Lehrer of WNYC, Laura Nahmias of Politico, Grace Rauh of NY1 and Juan Manuel Benitez of Noticias on NY1.
Each candidate opened with brief statements.
Albanese: Cites The Issues Facing NYC & America
Albanese started by talking about many of the major issues facing not just New York, but in many respects, all of America. He mentioned class warfare, pay to play politics, public transit investment, empty storefronts, lawless developers, and the negative impact of gentrification on communities, public space and tenants.
De Blasio: Cites Administration Accomplishments
De Blasio started by talking about the accomplishments of his administration over the past three and a half years. He noted that his administration is in the process of building affordable housing for 500,000 tenants and is on time and on budget. That Stop N Frisk is down 93% while the NYC crime rate has continued to fall, so that NYC is now one of the safest big cities in America. And that 78,000 children are now attending pre-school. He said while his Administration has achieved a lot, there's a lot more to do.
Later this week I'll post the rest of the report about the Mayoral Debate between Sal Albanese and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Things to do - Holiday Weekends - Bronx NYC
Things To Do in the Bronx over the Holiday Weekends
October 20, 2017 / Things To Do Bronx NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.
This section contains listings of things to do over holiday weekend in the Bronx.
Click here for things to do Holiday Weekends in the Bronx.
The Solar Eclipse of 2017 in NYC
The Solar Eclipse: A Shared American Communal Experience
I set about to experience the solar eclipse of 2017, departing for Manhattan at about 1.30 – a bit after the eclipse was to begin. As I made my way to the subway, I met a woman who was heading to Hunters Point South Park to do the same. She offered me the use of her eclipse glasses, which I examined but it was far to early to really use.
The eclipse glasses were opaque and I couldn’t see through them. Apparently they only work when you’re looking at the sun. The glasses this woman had were sponsored by Cisco Systems through a science camp in Rochester, NY. Consumers were advised to be careful about which eclipse glasses to use, as apparently some would not filter out the harmful, eye-damaging rays of the sun. One eclipse audience member told me that the glasses were being sold online – ten for $100. I’ll have more about the protective glasses a bit later as I used the glasses to take what I would call ‘meaningful’ photos.
There were many reports published about how one can damage their eyes by looking directly at the sun. The Washington Post noted that the damage can begin in as little as one and a half minutes, and that looking at the sun in a sequence of little peaks at a time, may not prevent you from doing real damage. It’s worth noting that one can also damage their camera by pointing it directly at the sun for a long period of time. The New York Times noted that the longest the full eclipse will last, is less than three minutes, and that in many places in America it will last less than a minute.
Historically, it’s worth noting that the moon eclipsing the sun happens every 18 months, but most eclipses happen over the oceans which cover about two thirds of the planet earth surface. According to the New York Times, the last time America experienced a full solar eclipse was in 1918, a full 99 years ago, so few if any who are old enough to experience the eclipse this time, are likely to see it again.
The eclipse began along the west coast in Oregon at about 1.15 pm, the peak was at about 2.45 pm and the final was at about 4 pm. I’ll note a few of my times as we run through the rest of this report.
Anyhow, I arrived at Lexington and 77th Street about 2 pm, about 45 minutes before the peak of the eclipse. A few folks were standing in the street looking up, so I shot a photo of the sun at that time, but it didn’t look like much at the blinding rays of light blocked any real photo clarity.
Rest of story with plenty more photos coming later Tuesday 8/22.
Mott Haven Historic District & St Mary’s Park
Large Audience Attends SummerStage Music Gathering
On Sunday, July 30th, I attended the SummerStage concert in St Mary’s Park in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. The stage was set in the western side of the park, which opened up onto a large field, but also gave the advantage of providing ‘balcony seats’ where one could enjoy the concert watching and listening from the hills.
SummerStage Concerts Bronx: St Mary's Park Mott Haven
The SummerStage concert in St Mary’s Park featured Lisa / Lisa who hit the national scene in 1985, in the year before she turned 20. The Hells Kitchen native and her 1980’s group – Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - took the hit single ‘I Wonder if I Take You Home’, to #1 on the Billboard Hot Club Dance Play chart for a week in June of 1985.
Lisa / Lisa is of Puerto Rican descent and was born and raised in Hells Kitchen in Manhattan. Lisa / Lisa was one of the wave of freestyle musicians to help usher in dance pop. In 1982 Michael Jackson released his best selling dance album Thriller which rose to become the world’s best selling album – a title which I believe it still holds to this day. In 1984 - just two years later - teenager Lisa / Lisa and her Cult Jam band released ‘I Wonder if I Take You Home’, which as mentioned above, rose to number 1 atop Billboard Magazine's dance pop charts.
Lisa / Lisa shared the stage in concert where she had a male and female dancer who artistically interpreted her magical music while we in the audience moved to the rhythms. In the photo above right, Pop Dance Hip Hop musician Lisa / Lisa with one of the dancers at the SummerStage concert in St Mary's Park in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx.
The weather was a warm but dry 80 degrees as the sun was making its way west and we were sheltered by the St Mary’s Park foliage. While most folks in attendance were adults there were also a number of families with children.
Mott Haven Historic District: Bronx
After the concert I made my way down past the Mott Haven Historic District to the #6 subway at 138th Street and Third Avenue. The Mott Haven Historic District is rather small, running along Alexander Avenue between 138th Street and 141st Street. The buildings date back to the last half of the 19th century, when people were moving to the Bronx because rail transportation was enabling more easy movement of people and goods. Alexander Avenue is believed to have been named after Alexander Bathgate who was the Morris land holdings manager.
The photo at right shows some of the houses from the 19th century that still exist in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx.
The Morrises bought the land in the south Bronx in 1670 from Jonas Bronck, a Swedish immigrant and one of the original Bronx settlers and after whom the Bronx is named. Bronck in 1641, less than thirty years earlier, bought theland from the Dutch West India Company, which had purchased the lands from the Indians in 1639.
The Bronx neighborhood in which Alexander Avenue resides, is called Mott Haven, and was named after Jordan Mott. Mott was the inventor of the coal burning stove. In 1828 Mott opened up the first manufacturing facility in the Bronx, his ironworks. Today Mott Ironworks manhole covers are reportedly still in use today.
Also nearby is St Mary's Park where the SummerStage concert took place, as well as St Ann's Church, which is an Episcopalian Church where two generations of Lewis Morris are buried, as well as Gouverneur Morris. They are members of one of the founding families of the Bronx, second only to Jonas Bronck himself.
The Bronx SummerStage concert series is organized and sponsored by SummerStage and City Parks Foundation in tandem with the NYC Parks Department. SummerStage organizes several free concerts in Bronx each summer, including two concerts in Crotona Park in the Central Bronx.
Salsa Sways & Swoons in the Bronx
The folks at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park have been hosting Sunday Salsa for over 50 years. The event takes place on Sunday afternoons on the cement pavilion that stands adjacent to the Orchard Beach facility - between the structure and the water. The concerts / dance parties run from 1 pm to 5 pm and are hosted by either a DJ or a live band playing salsa tunes so attendees and beach-goers can dance salsa.
The photo at right shows folks in the Pavilion at the Sunday Salsa party at Orchard Beach in the Bronx.
Salsa County Continues to Dance
According to Salsa New York, DJ Carlos Santiago is the organizer of the event. And Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz calls Bronx 'El Condado de la Salsa' or 'Salsa County' ... which it seems to be.
I made my way to Orchard Beach last Sunday, taking the #6 train northeast to the last stop of the line - Pelham Bay Park station. I then hopped aboard an Orchard Beach bus - which runs seasonally between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends - and only during the operating hours of the park. There was quite a bit of traffic on the road between the subway station and Orchard Beach / City Island - in part because it was a beautiful day and in part because there's construction work being done on the bridge between City Island and the Mainland.
Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park is Recovering its Allure
Orchard Beach was once - and again is - a beautiful park and beach. The beach fell into neglect during the last decade(s) of the 20th century as did the water lapping up on its shores. The deterioration of the park was compounded by the pollution of its waters in a manner not unlike what happened to the water at nearby beaches in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. It's taken a bit longer for nature to clean the mess man left behind at Orchard Beach because the water doesn't renew itself as frequently due to the beach / City Island / Long Island Sound and East River geography. This is the observation of a neophyte - not an expert.
The photo at right shows the beautiful sun, sand and blue waters at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.
Nonetheless I saw people swimming in the water, and when I asked, the swimmers told me they shower after going in to be sure they're not coated with pollutants later. Some folks said they're still reluctant to go swimming, but enjoy spending the day soaking in the sand and the sun and the cool breeze off the beach.
After watching a end of the salsa party I made my way back amidst a loquacious and friendly crowd.
Fashion Show on the Hudson
Riverbank Park Fashion Show Highlights New & Known Clothing, Models & Designers
August 1, 2017, Inwood Neighborhood / Manhattan Fashion & Designers / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
A couple of weeks ago I made my way to the 8th Annual Fashion on the Hudson fashion show at Riverbank Park at 679 Riverside Drive along the Hudson River in the Inwood neighborhood of upper Manhattan. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I headed into the Cultural Building in the 28 acre park.
The audience filled the Cultural Building, so I had to move around to get some photos of the models who were in the process of displaying men's swimwear. The muscular male models, with washboard ribbed stomachs marched down the runway showing a range of swimming suits that ranged from modest white trunks, to skimpy speedo cuts with psychedelic designs. I surveyed the crowd and found a number of women who seemed appreciative of the new designs and cuts.
As I was tight on time, I decided to make my way backstage to talk to a few of the models and designers to learn a bit more about them. Backstage a number of models had queued up for the ongoing swimwear segment of the program, while deeper backstage a number of the formal wear models were prepping for their debut.
In the photo above right you can see members of the audience enjoying themselves at the Fashion on the Hudson fashion show at Riverbank Park in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan.
Fashion on the Hudson Showcases Local Designers & Models
Fashion aficionado Daryl H. Miles, Founder of Beyond Styles by Miles, took a few minutes to talk to me about the show. He told me that Sofia Davis, editor of Fashion Avenue News, founded the show and that it has been produced at this location since its inception. At first Sofia held the show outside, but given the vagaries of the weather she decided to bring it in, where it has been ever since.
This year the show hosted 30 designers displaying swimwear, formal wear, casual wear and other stylish creations. The show is free to the public, but you must rsvp because seating is limited. The Fashion on the Hudson fashion show represents a great opportunity to see what's new and what's hot in the local NYC metro fashion world, and provides an opportunity for people interested in the business to meet models, designers and fashion buyers.
Daryl of Beyond Styles by Miles [www.beyondstylesbymiles.com - not to be confused with www.stylesbymiles.com] has been in the business for a number of years helping designers, models and fashion show organizers promote their fashion lines and brands.
I stayed a bit longer shooting photos of the models and lines before departing. And I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time covering the show next year.
In the photo above right you can see models who participated at the Fashion on the Hudson fashion show at Riverbank Park in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan.
Quite a Memorial Day Weekend in the Bronx
Good Weather, Cook outs Galore & Plenty of Things To Do
I spent a fair amount of time biking around the Bronx this weekend. I ventured as far east as the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the East Bronx across the waterway from Co-op City [Hutchinson River?], as far north as the Woodlawn Cemetary and Mosholu Golf Course by Norwood, as far west as the High Bridge [formerly an aqueduct] in Highbridge along the Harlem River and as far south as Barretto Point Park in Hunts Point. And overall I found traveling the borough to be good exercise and quite fascinating.
Over the Memorial Day Weekend I found more people cooking out than I've seen in any other borough over the past 30 years. People were relaxing, hanging out with their family and friends, and playing games with their kids.
Given it was Memorial Day Weekend, I stopped by the Woodlawn Cemetery to pay my respects to those who fought for the freedoms we currently enjoy. To be sure Freedom is a Right. But it's a right that had to be fought for and many died so that others might live. It seems our freedoms are under attack these days, so it's worth reminding folks of a few sayings that one of our Founding Fathers said.
Thomas Jefferson said that "Eternal vigilance is the price of democracy." and "A nation that expects to be ignorant and free is expecting something that never was and never shall be." and "were it left to me [Jefferson] to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
There are those who seem to never be able to get enough for themselves, no matter what the cost by others. And these people, throughout all prior generations, and for generations to come, are constantly finding ways to hack our system of checks and balances so that they might get more and others get less - by simply changing the laws to work in their favor. Left unchecked, we will return to the misery of the past.
The first place to start is to make sure that you're not voting on soundbytes put out there by unreliable or very self-interested people. We've been running a series on billionaire Rupert Murdoch who over the past few decades bought and now controls Fox TV, the Wall Street Journal, the NY Post and the National Geographic. He appears to have taken these generally reliable brands and repurposed them to further his own interests, oftentimes at the expense of the American people. Scroll down to learn more.
Bronx Farmers Markets
See HOURS, MAPS, ITEMS / SELECTION of the 13+ BEST Farmers Markets / Green Markets in Bronx, w/ savvy shoppers' tips. This report includes the Mott Haven Farmers Market, Concourse Green Market, Coop City Farmers Market, Fordham Manor Green Market, Parkchester Farmers Market, City Island Farmers Market, Hunts Point Farmers Market, Claremont Village farmers markets and in between.
Click here for dates, times, locations of the Bronx Farmers Markets.
Bronx Street Fairs 2017 - In NYC
Bronx Street Fairs 2017 - Mott Haven, Fordham Heights, Mt Eden, Mt Hope, Morris Park, Riverdale, Hunts Point, Concourse, Middletown Pelham Bay, Morrisania, Norwood, Kingsbridge, Soundview, High Bridge, Throgs Neck, Westchester Square & Plenty More
THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BRONX STREET FAIRS including DATES, FOTOS & maps of most of the Bronx Street Fairs and Festivals in the NYC neighborhoods of Mott Haven, Fordham Heights, Riverdale, Hunts Point, Concourse, Middletown Pelham Bay, Morrisania, Norwood, Kingsbridge, Soundview, High Bridge, Throgs Neck, Westchester Square and plenty more.
Click here to view our report, including links to maps, of Bronx Street Fairs & Festivals 2017.
Update: LaGuardia Airport Development Project
First Phase Moving Along with Second & Third Phases About to Begin
I attended a Community Board One meeting at the Astoria World Manor on Wednesday, April 19th. People representing the LaGuardia Airport development project were scheduled to provide the community with an update regarding several of the multi-billion dollar renovation projects associated with LaGuardia Airport, that are either currently in the works or nearing the end of the planning process.
The presentation was split into three parts: 1) LaGuardia Airport development project construction updates, 2) traffic mitigation efforts and 3) community outreach including job opportunities related to the projects.
Click here to read our report on the LaGuardia Airport development project & expansion, related job opportunities, its possible impact on travel times to the airport and the public hearing details on May 3rd, 2017 in Flushing. We have also included a small bit of history about the airport and the fight over the property and development in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The graphic at right was created as part of the LaGuardia Airport development project.
Farmers Markets & Street Fairs in the Bronx
A few Bronx farmers markets might be open year round, but most of them are seasonal. Some of the seasonal Bronx farmers markets began opening in the Spring of 2017, with the rest of them having opened no later than the first couple of weeks in July of 2017. Click here to view the schedules of many of the farmers markets in the Bronx.
Bronx street fairs, on the other hand, are entirely seasonal. Some of them hit the streets as early as April 2017. Bronx street fairs rise markedly during the late spring and continue through the dog days of summer [July / August], including into the late part of the Fall. By the end of November the Bronx street fairs go on hiatus, with a few returning as early as April. Click here to view a full schedule of the Bronx street fairs.
NYC Crime Continues To Drop, Breaking Records
Mayor de Blasio & NYPD Discuss City Safety & Ongoing Improvements
This just came in on the heels of our coverage of the Public Safety discussion below. Mayor de Blasio and NY Police Commissioner O'Neill spoke in the Bronx regarding ongoing efforts and results in improving safety in the city. The following are some of the crime statistics noted in their meeting taken directly out of a press release sent by them.
Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good afternoon, everyone. As you've heard, we have begun a strong start to 2017 in terms of overall crime reduction. Strategies that have been put in place to address repeat offenders, illegal gun possession and gangs are having the desired effect. We're building on the momentum of the last few years.
- So, some of the highlights for crime statistics from this January - overall index crime is down 0.2 percent for the month of January. When you carry it over to this morning, we are now down 2.7 percent in overall index crime in New York City.
- To note - with the overall index crime, January marks the tenth consecutive month of reduced index crime. That's the momentum we've been talking about. Currently, four out of five boroughs in New York City - all but Queens - are down to start the year.
- Homicides - we recorded 20 homicides in January. That's down two from 22. That 20, as the Mayor alluded to, is the lowest January that we have ever recorded going back a minimum into the 1960s.
- Shooting incidents - down 1.7 percent in January. Last January we hit the modern mark with 59 shooting incidents. We came in with 58 this January.
- Talking about momentum again - nine of the last 13 months we've had a reduction in shooting incidents. Nine of the last 13.
- Three months in a row we've had a reduction in shooting incidents in New York City. We have now, when you look at New York City as a whole, we now have 24-hour periods where we do not record a shooting incident in New York City. That kind of thinking was impossible in the not too distant past.
- This is the new normal. We want to build on it and we feel that we will build on it but there's still plenty of work to do.
- Stabbings and slashings for January - down 7.2 percent.
- Robberies - down 7.5 percent. Lowest January robbery number we've seen.
- Felony assaults in New York City - down 5.4 percent.
- Burglaries tied the lowest mark set last year.
- Transit crime - down 1.4 percent.
- And housing crime - not to be outdone - down 1.9 percent.
- Clearly, a wide breath of crime across New York City - property and violent crime, down.
But there is, I alluded to, there is still work to do - three categories we saw increases in January.
- Rape was up 8.9 percent.
- Grand larceny, specifically, credit card related skimming and forging of checks - those two drove grand larcenies. And grand larceny was up for the month of January 4.7 percent.
- And lastly, rounding out the crime totals - stolen vehicles which we have seen drop to unprecedented lows saw an increase of ten cars for January. So, that's 480 versus 470 - a two percent increase.
Commissioner O'Neill: Okay, thanks, Dermot. We'll take your questions.
Question: Do you think it's possible, really to keep driving crime down further at this point? And how could you achieve that?
O'Neill's response was yes, with some added context.
The Road Ahead 2017
A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year
January 1, 2017 / Bronx Buzz NYC.
For many of us, today starts the beginning of the new year.
I used to make new years resolutions that generally lasted a few days or few weeks. Over time I've given that up and have focused on a few guiding principles that I work toward throughout the year, every year.
The first guidepost is to keep things as simple as possible by letting things go, so you can change and evolve who you are. Over time it's important to learn to let go of the past which includes letting many of the people, projects and things - that were once so meaningful and relevant - fade away with time. This process involves discarding many of the things one collects, in order to open up life to make room for new possibilities.
The second guidepost is to take care of the vessel that carries one's being - meaning taking care of the body because it's the only one we'll ever get and it has to last an entire lifetime. This means consuming the foods that will enable the body to function properly and ward off disease, while recognizing that satisfying the mind is important too, as it's a part of the body. There are three elements to this guideline.
Try to maximize consumption of natural foods while managing consumption of the delicious processed foods that come in packages. Read the container nutrition labels which indicate the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol consumed per serving. The balance of natural and processed foods will shift depending on what's going on in life.
Reduce consumption of toxins by first paying attention to the quantities consumed of them, and then by substituting the toxins with healthier options. For example dilute a soft drink with seltzer water [cuts sugar], or swap in a lemonade for a beer [cuts alcohol], or swap in pretzels for potato chips [cuts salt and fat]. Over the years these little substitutions can add up to some small measure of weight loss and can aid in maintaining generally good health. But also don't deprive yourself too much of some of the simple pleasures in life that keep one going - because when that's done, there's rebellion, and the program won't work.
The third element of this guidepost is to try to walk and bike whenever possible. It's a way to kill two birds with one stone by enabling you to get somewhere while also getting some exercise. And be sure to carve out the time each night, required for a proper rest.
The third guidepost is to try to move your life in the direction of your interests. This will likely take a great many years, as well as economic and other trade offs. But if successful, one can then spend most of their time doing the things that totally engage them. It's said that "when one is doing something they love, they'll never have to work another day in their life."
And the fourth guidepost is to keep on learning, because "luck is when preparation meets opportunity".
May your new year be filled with promise and possibilities.
nyc real estate -
Manhattan Economy - 2016 Outlook NYC
Currently Full Employment, Low Interest Rates, Low Inflation But Possible International Shocks
We took a look into the crystal ball over the holiday break to see what may lie ahead for the NYC economy in the coming year. We studied the stats and facts put out by many of the national data producers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the AIE. What follows is a brief summary of some of the statistics we gathered on the global, national and New York City economy including unemployment statistics by borough for 2015.
U.S. & NYC Economy Near / At Full Employment
Currently Queens and Manhattan are doing the best with respect to employment, with unemployment rates below 5%, which economists consider to be full employment as the 5% unemployed are viewed as normal 'friction' in the economy, accounting for people coming into, leaving and changing jobs within the labor force.
In 2009 - 2010, during the first two years of the Great Recession, the nation's unemployment rate hit 9.4%, while the unemployment rate for New York City hit 10.4%. The employment picture for the nation and the five boroughs of New York City has slowly but steadily improved since then, with unemployment trending lower, reaching full employment this year at 5% for the nation and 4.8% for New York City this fall.
Employment Impact / Relationship to Inflation
Employment affects inflation, as when everyone is fully employed, recruiting firms bid up the price of labor and workers feel secure enough to spend aggressively, bidding up the price of goods. The Federal Reserve attempts to reign in inflation - because it creates economic instability - by raising interest rates which increases the cost of capital needed to expand operations or make large purchases more expensive. On December 16, 2015, the Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate by 25 basis points (0.25%) to begin to get ahead of potentially inflationary issues that may lie ahead. We'll look into a few of these later in this report.
Economists in one of the banking reports I received believe that there is still slack in the labor market that is not reflected in the numbers as many people have part-time jobs, while they would like full time jobs. Also the labor force participation rate fell during the Great Recession and it became more difficult to find work. Now with a full employment economy it is believed that some of those folks who gave up looking will try to re-enter the workforce. An example of the decline in participation rate might be a spouse who helped supplement household income but couldn't find the right work, and now starts looking again.
Click here to continue reading our report about the New York City NYC Economy Outlook 2016 which delves into full employment impact on inflation, interest rates, consumer debt levels, oil & commodity prices, domestic and international currencies & economic growth, the financial markets and how all of this may impact the different sectors of the Queens & New York City economy.
nyc holidays, parades & hotels
Which Bronx & NYC Pols Support $8 Tolls To Cross 60th Street & East River Bridges?
Borough President Brewer, NYS Assemblyman Rodriguez, Cuomo's Deputy of Legislative Affairs Weprin & Many Manhattan CCM's Support $8 Tolls to Raise Capital for the MTA
NYS Governor Cuomo Supported Congestion Traffic Pricing in the Past & Cuomo's Deputy of Legislative Affairs Mark Weprin Is Supporting It
The new Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan has been making its way into the legislative process over the past year. Just last week NYS Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, a Democrat from Manhattan introduced the bill on March 23, 2016. The Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan is being sold into the legislature as a means to raise revenue to fund MTA Capital projects.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, NYS Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, Cuomo's Deputy of Legislative Affairs Mark Weprin, CCM's Ydanis Rodriguez, Margaret Chin, Mark Levine & Corey Johnson support installing $8 tolls on 60th Street & East River bridges to raise capital for the MTA.
Governor Cuomo's Words Are ...
Governor Andrew Cuomo supported the Congestion Pricing Plan put forth years ago, which wasn't popular with many of the voters in Brooklyn & Queens. The two boroughs have a combined population which rounds to 5 million or 25% of the 20 million people who live in New York State.
Cuomo was quoted as making the following statement by the Observer in an article published a year ago on March 15, 2015,
"It's not, 'Can I support it?' Will the people support it? Can you get it done? Can you get a
congestion plan passed and we've gone through this a couple of times and it was an
overwhelming 'no' and I haven't seen anything happen that would change my opinion,"
The Governor has essentially been repeating this position publicly ever since.
Inconsistent with Governor Cuomo's Staff Actions
But while the Governor is publicly distancing himself from the measure which is unpopular in Queens and Brooklyn, former NY City Councilmember Mark Weprin, who is now Cuomo's Deputy of Legislative Affairs, has supported the Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan.
Weprin vehemently oppposed Congestion Traffic Pricing in 2008 when he was a NY City Councilmember, but in 2015 Weprin began publicly supporting the revised Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan as he transitioned from NY City Councilmember to becoming Cuomo's Deputy of Legislative Affairs. NYS Assemblyman David Weprin, Mark's brother, continues to publicly oppose the plan.
It's worth mentioning that the Weprins and the Cuomos have had close family political ties spanning two generations.
Move NY's 'New & Improved' Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan
We studied the Move NY Traffic Congestion Pricing proposal by first taking a closer look at what groups are pushing the plan [follow the money]. Gridlock Sam Schwartz Consulting LLC is one of the primary promoters of the plan, and the consulting company is owned in part by a large, multi-national, transit infrastructure contractor. We also evaluated the assumptions they used to create the estimates provided in the plan, which we found to be inconsistent with fairly recent independent studies by respectable institutions, and we also looked at what happened in one of the other cities around the world that implemented the plan.
In essence the plan retrofits [re-prices] the fossil fuel infrastructure, by making a significant investment to install and operate tolling around the center of Manhattan. The remaining proceeds would then go to fund other MTA capital projects [in London this was about half the proceeds]. The pricing would require those who can't afford the $8 tolls [each way] to either use mass transit [recent NYC metro studies have shown this switching doesn't happen] or to cross the bridge at other times at which time the tolls would cost less. The proponents say this would enable those who can afford the tolls to cross the East River bridges and 60th Street more quickly and move around mid Manhattan more easily [less traffic congestion with the rest of the community priced out of their way]. How 'democratic' is this?
Previously MTA Invests Billion$ in New Subways Appearing to Accommodate Billionaire Manhattan Developer(s) & Now Pols Want Metro Residents & Employees to Fund a System to Toll Tax Them to Fund MTA Capital Budget
The MTA during the Bloomberg (Republican) Administration made approximately $8 billion in MTA capital investments for about 30 to 40 blocks of Manhattan subway lines. One line travels from Times Square to the Javits Center [$2.4 billion mostly paid by city] and the other, which was strongly supported by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, is expected to travel along Second Avenue from about East 60th Street to about East 86th Street when it is completed [ran way past budget and time estimates - currently about $5.2 billion].
The latter subway line has been called the 'subway to nowhere', while the other isn't much different - as it terminates at the Javits Center and billionaire real estate developer Steven Ross' & Related Companies' new Hudson Yards development - without any other subway connections. Pundits have opined that one [new #7 Hudson Yards station] and possibly both of these multi-billion dollar investments were made to accommodate Manhattan real estate developers [such as Ross], more than to facilitate transit for commuters and residents of New York City.
When I confronted an MTA spokesperson with this perspective, they told me that the Q line extension would alleviate a considerable amount of the congestion on the north / south east side Manhattan subway line, but made no comment regarding the Hudson Yards station.
The photos above show no passengers on the Javits subway [at an admittedly random time and not long after it was installed], while the second photo shows the #6 subway along the Upper East Side, also at a random time. The map to your right shows the new #7 subway line extension ending as an unconnected spur.
Perhaps if the MTA and the government officals who oversee MTA capital project spending were more judicious in their selection of multi-billion dollar projects and allocation of funds, they wouldn't need to make a huge investment of the public's money in the creation and operation of an expensive new tolling system which they plan to use to charge taxpayers $8 tolls to cross 60th Street and the East River Bridges.
This plan essentially aids the wealthy by making their lives easier, while economically discriminating against those with less wherewithal, by making their lives harder. This doesn't strike me as a solution that's 'democratic' at all. There must be less costly, more fair ways to raise additional revenue for transit that NYC commuters - not Manhattan real estate developers - really need.
CLICK HERE TO SCAN / READ THE FULL REPORT on the Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan.
How Duplicitous was James Murdoch's Donation?
Like Father Like Son: Is Rupert's Son also a Talented Deceiver?
Does Murdoch's Fox News RACIAL - ize to SENSATIONALIZE?
On Thursday, August 17th, 2017 a huge amount of publicity went out to the people of the United States and the world, that James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox and Chairman of British Sky PLC, gave a $1 million donation to the Anti Defamation League.
The Anti-Defamation League [ADL] is a worthy cause, as according to the ADL website,
"The mission of ADL is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all."
James Murdoch and Fox News probably couldn't have come even close to securing this kind of positive publicity by spending ten times that amount of money on advertisements.
Murdoch's the Name & Mass Media Manipulation is the Game
Given the recent human tragedy of the Charlottesville terrorist attack, and in a time where Neo Nazis and the KKK are back on the march, the donating to the Anti-Defamation League certainly seems like a timely and good cause.
But the public relations aspect of James' donation is only where the story begins - as James Murdoch is the Chief Executive Officer of 21st Century Fox - a position he appears to have secured by virtue of his Royal Birthright. James is the son and one of the heirs to the media empire of multi-billionaire global propagandist Keith Rupert Murdoch - who coincidentally is the Chairman of 21st Century Fox. According to Rupert Murdoch's own words he is also a "good friend" of Donald Trump.
How Racist the Sly Fox (News)?
So while Fox CEO James Murdoch made a $1 million donation to fight discrimination, one could make the case that one of the more significant (indirect) contributing factors in the rise in anti-Muslim, anti-Semitism and / or racism in America is what appears to be the distorted RACIAL - izing reporting done by Murdoch controlled 'news' outlets - the most notable of which is Fox News.
I'm going to give you three examples of what appears to be Fox News implicit nod to racism by skewed presentations of the facts - including significant omissions, out-of-context distortions and fictionalizations. I encourage you to look for other appearances of this by Murdoch media outlets, whenever you're getting your news from them. The Murdochs control literally hundreds of different media outlets around the globe.
In NYC alone the Murdodchs control the Fox TV Network, NY Post, Wall St Journal and two local TV stations WWOR-TV [Channel 9] and Fox [Channel 5].
And it's worth mentioning that there is a pending lawsuit against the Murdoch's Fox News regarding employment discrimination. I won't delve into the allegations of illegal sexism at the organization as this has already been widely reported. An April 25, 2017 report in the NYT noted,
"Eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a class-action lawsuit in New York against the network, accusing it of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.”
Fox News Appears to RACIAL -ize a Rape to SENSATIONALIZE it
On March 22, 2017 the Murdochs' Fox News had Bill O'Reilly do a report about the rape of a high school girl allegedly by two illegal immigrants. The thrust of Bill O'Reilly's distorted commentary appeared to be the implication that illegal immigrants are rapists.
Murdochs' Fox News report went on to bash the other media which Murdoch's Fox News has called dishonest, propagandist, fake, elitest, liberal and left wing for not reporting the rape.
What O'Reilly doesn't tell you is that,
"... according to the United States Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, there were overall 173,610 victims of rape or sexual assault, or 0.1% of the US population 12 or older in 2013 [source Wikipedia]."
O'Reilly Fails to Acknowledge his own Allegedly Sexist Past
"Bill O’Reilly, Fox News pay $13M to settle sexual harrasment suits from five women" [NY Daily News headline on April 2, 2017]
Is Bill O'Reilly a hypocrite who wants to have things both ways?
Murdochs' Fox News and Bill O'Reilly would have to do broadcasts about rape 482 times per day to report all of the rape / sexual assault crimes in this nation.
Why was this particular rape the one to report out of hundreds of thousands committed in the United States? One might conjecture it was reported because James & Rupert Murdoch's Fox News could win ratings with Bill O'Reilly RACIAL - izing the story in order to SENSATIONALIZE the story. A practice which, like Murdoch's Fox News alleged sexism, and what seems the Murdochs' organization penchant for illegally hacking people, appears to be a part of the Murdoch organization ethos or corporate culture.
The silver lining of the rape landscape in America is that the number of rapes per thousand people in the USA has been declining fairly steadily for decades. See graph posted in Wikipedia above.
So if James Murdoch REALLY wanted to make a statement against racism and Nazis - it seems he could have done far more good by terminating this sort of racial-ized reporting on the Murdochs' own news outlets - than by making a highly publicized donation using the Main Stream Media to tell the world that the Murdochs don't embrace racism.
Based on how the Murdochs' organization reports things, it seems James - like his father - wants people to believe he's one way, while he profits from doing things another way.
Is Racist Reporting done on Fox News?
Fox Fiction Factory: O'Reilly's Fictional Swedish Security Expert
The O'Reilly Factor on Murdoch's Fox News presented Nils Bildt, whose birthname is Nils Tolling, as a Swedish security expert. Tolling / Bildt was asked to comment as an 'expert witness' about the current security problem that Sweden was (allegedly) having with immigrants.
O'Reilly used a Wall Street Journal report [the Wall St Journal is also controlled by the Murdochs] for his story. Murdoch's Wall Street Journal had published a report about Swedish immigration problems which failed to include important facts [I couldn't find the story so they must have pulled it down, but it's mentioned in the broadcast].
Apparently the WSJ article reported that about of third of women in Sweden feared for their safety. The WSJ failed to note that it was a third of the IMMIGRANT women who were fearful for their safety in Sweden, leaving Murdoch's Wall St Journal audience with the erroneous impression that it was the Swedish women who were fearful.
Nils Tolling aka Nils Bildt turned out to be something of an imposter as he used a second name - not his birthname, and O'Reilly / Fox claimed for him a title and position he never held, and Fox / O'Reilly appeared to give us impression that he was living in Sweden, when in fact he lives in Montana. O'Reilly seemed 'to lead his expert witness' Tolling / Bildt, who told O'Reilly viewers that Sweden was experiencing significant immigration problems. O'Reilly's other guest, Anne-Sofie Naslund, was correctly billed as a Swedish reporter who told O'Reilly's audience that what he was reporting was not true.
Fox News Fake News: Is Murdochs' Fox News a Racist Fiction Factory?
Murdoch's Fox News O'Reilly, a 42 year news / propaganda veteran, was confronted with the torrent of fictions included in his broadcast. O'Reilly responded by admitting he and Fox News had made errors - but told the reporter that the rest of the story was true. Click here for a more detailed accounting of Bill O'Reilly interview with Nils Bildt or Nils Tolling.
In the graphic at right, The Sun, a Murdoch-controlled British newspaper seems to play the Murdoch organization's racist card against Pakistani immigrants in Britain. While one can be against immigration without being racist - implying that immigrants are lawbreakers and rapists at a higher level than the general population is Fox fake news. As a point in fact, based on studies done in the U.S., immigrants appear to commit crimes at lower levels than the general population.
Click here to CONTINUE - Is Fox News Sensationalizing by Racial - izing?
Click here to continue and read more about James Murdoch's donation to the ADL - Anti-Defamation League & how it appears that Murdoch's organizations sensationalize by racial - izing issues.
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