Bronx Things To Do This Weekend
Doc Film Block Party, Free Concerts Afro Caribbean Vibes, Orlando Marin & Orchestra & Salute to Fania at BMHC, Bronx History Trolley Tour, Bronx Rising Concert at BMHC, Salsa Party Orchard Beach, Bronx River Rowing, El Cielo y Dolor Mott Haven, Wave Hill Concerts & Art at BRAC in West Farms
* Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the 90's and the low in the mid 70's throughout the weekend. There's a 55% chance of about a half inch of rain on both Saturday and Sunday. Rain on Saturday is most likely in the early morning and late evening and rain on Sunday should mostly be over by noon, but subject to change. Winds will be about 10 - 15 mph throughout the weekend. The Humidity will remain about 65% throughout the weekend. Click for Bronx Weather.
* The photo at right was taken near the Bronx River Art Center in West Farms. BRAC has an exhibit going on, Bronx NOW, featuring current works of current artists - see details below.
Friday & Weekend - Afro Caribbean Vibes, Bronx NOW Art at BRAC in West Farms, El Cielo y Dolor, NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx Zoo & Bronx History
* Friday, August 17, 2018 from 6 - 8 pm / Jay Hoggard's AfriCarribean Vibes - At Pelham Bay Park at Middletown Road & Stadium Avenue.
* The Bronx Museum is hosting three exhibits entitled Iran: Women Only which is a multi-period modern photo exhibit of life for women in Iran, Dialogues: Tim Rollins, K.O.S. and Glenn Ligon, which is an exhibit about the cacophony and harmony of life as a conversation referencing Brazilian culture, and Moses Ros: Landing / Aterrizaje, which are sculptures capturing the Caribbean experience.
* The Bronx Zoo is located at 2300 Southern Blvd in the Fordham Manor neighborhood of the Bronx. Admission $70 / $40 for designated drivers. 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 Bronx Historical Society is located at 3309 Bainbridge Avenue at 208th Street in the Norwood neighborhood. 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 - Free Concerts Foxhurst, Salute to Fania at BMHC & Jazz Factory, Doc Film Block Party, Bronx River Rowing, Bronx NOW Art at BRAC in West Farms, Botanical Gardens & Zoo
* There's a Bronx History Trolley Tour that runs from 12 noon to 5 pm departing from the Woodlawn Conservatory at Bainbridge and Jerome Avenue entrances. SOLD OUT, but there are three more tours scheduled over the next month or so - do a search & add eventbrite.
* Saturday, August 18, 2018 beginning at 1 pm - Orlando Marin & Orchestra. At Monsignor Raul Del Valle Square is located at 163rd Street between Southern and Bruckner Blvds in the Foxhurst neighborhood of the Bronx. Free summer concerts in Foxhurst the Bronx.
* Every Saturday this summer the Bronx River Alliance hosts Rocking the Boat: Community Rowing at Hunts Point Riverside Park from 1 - 6 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends [free / kids / sports]. On Saturday, July 14th they're hosting Bronx River sailing beginning at 1 pm and ending at 5 pm.
* The Bronx River Arts Center is hosting a group art exhibit, featuring many talented Bronx artists. The show is entitled BRONX NOW and is on display at 1087 East Tremont Avenue through September 8th. The gallery is open Wednesday through Friday from 3 to 6 pm and Saturday from 12 noon to 5 pm [free / art / social].
* Saturday, August 18, 2018 from 2 to 6 pm - Doc Film Center Block Party - At Courtlandt Avenue and 151st Street near the Doc Film Center at 614 Courtlandt Avenue. Music, food & shopping. Street fairs in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx.x
* Saturday, August 18, 2018 from 7 to 9 pm - Bronx Rising: Salute to Fania at Bronx Music Heritage Center - A salsa musical performance. At 1303 Louis Nine Blvd in Foxhurst. Admission is $7 / $5 for students & seniors and Kids 12 & under free.
* Saturday, August 18, 2018 from 7 - 8.30 pm - Catskill Jazz Factory & Absolutely Live Entertainment - On the Conservatory Lawn in the NY Botanical Gardens. NOT Free summer concert.
* The New York Botanical Gardens at 2900 Southern Blvd near the Norwood, Fordham and Belmont neighborhoods is 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].
* See events posted above that run thru Friday & Weekend and scroll down for Bronx Farmers Markets and Bronx Street Fairs and Festivals.
Sunday - Salsa Party Orchard Beach, Bronx Art, Horticultural Hudson
* The photo at right was taken at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Norwood / Van Cortlandt neighborhoods of the northern Bronx. On Saturday there's a trolley history tour that departs from the cemetery - see details above.
* From 1 to 6 pm every Sunday evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day there's a Salsa Party at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park on the concrete pavilion just south of the main building [free / music / sports / kids].
* The Bronx Museum is hosting three exhibits entitled Iran: Women Only which is a multi-period modern photo exhibit of life for women in Iran, Dialogues: Tim Rollins, K.O.S. and Glenn Ligon, which is an exhibit about the cacophony and harmony of life as a conversation referencing Brazilian culture, and Moses Ros: Landing / Aterrizaje, which are sculptures capturing the Caribbean experience.
* At Wave Hill at 649 West 249th Street in the Hudson Hill section of the Riverdale neighborhood there are a number of walks and talks about the estate horticulture. Generally the Garden Walks given free with admission beginning at 11 am, except on Sundays when it begins at 2 pm [$8 / $4 / $2 / parks / history].
* See events posted above that run thru Friday & Weekend and scroll down for Bronx Farmers Markets and Bronx Street Fairs and Festivals.
MOSTLY DONE. ASTERISKED EVENTS HAVE BEEN UPDATED.
* FUTURE. The Bronx Art Space at 301 East 140th Street - #1 in the Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx is hosting an opening reception for a new exhibit entitled Humble from 5 to 8 pm on Saturday, September 1st [art / free]. The exhibit is described as follows.
FUTURE. The Bartow Pell Mansion which is hosting First Fridays from 5.30 - 8.30 pm. The event includes a performance by Julia Blenzig and her band, as well as light refreshments and opportunities for garden walks [free / kids / history / culture]. There's a trolley that starts at 5.25 pm that will run loops between the last stop on the #6 Pelham Park subway line and City Island and the Bartow Pell Mansion Museum.
Week Beginning 8.20.18 - Summer Movies, Concerts & Theater
Bronx Farmers Mkts, Street Fairs, Member Events Calendar
Also see Friday & Weekend Events above.
BOOK REVIEW NEXT WEEK: The Mystery of Rusty Bedsprings by I. P. Knightly.
What I Found: Unite The Right Rally in D.C.
Media Reality Distortion - How Out of Whack is America's News / Information System?
Just over a week ago, I made the decision to travel down to Washington, D.C. to cover the Unite The Right Rally scheduled Sunday, August 12th, on the anniversary of the same rally organized by the same group in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville is located about 100 miles south / mostly west of Washington, D.C.
In the rally a year ago, White Supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen, neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis participated in the rally and it became violent. One person was killed in the event when an alleged neo-Nazi drove his car through the crowd, and two officers monitoring the event in a helicopter died, when the aircraft crashed [I believe it was an accident]. And somewhere between 19 and 34 people were injured in clashes between the Unite The Right rally participants and Antifa along with other counter protesters.
The D.C. event was scheduled in D.C. because Jason Kessler, the Unite The Right Founder, couldn’t get a permit in Charlottesville for the first year anniversary of the Unite The Right event. After some skirmishing over the permitting with the local Washington, D.C. authorities, Kessler prevailed and was given a permit to hold a march and rally ending in Lafayette Park, just south of the White House.
At one point there were discussions about arranging separate public transit buses for the Unite The Right rally members from their staging area a several miles west of the White House, to the march starting point at Foggy Bottom Metro Station. But the D.C. public transit union resisted, as the majority of their members are African Americans, and the union reportedly opined that they didn’t want to do anything to facilitate the Unite The Right rally.
Meanwhile there were somewhere between a half dozen and dozen counter protester groups that organized to protest the Unite The Right rally. Several of them also sought and received permits.
On Friday Christian and Jewish groups joined forces for an interfaith teach-in and interfaith vigil. This was according to The DCist, which I found to be the best source of information regarding planning / preparing to cover the event on Sunday. The DCist also noted that Black Lives Matter DC in collaboration with several other activist groups held a workshop at an Episcopalian Church.
On Saturday, a Presbyterian Church held a prayer service at Foggy Bottom Station in advance of the rally, where they prayed and chalked some of the sidewalk where the Unite The Right marchers would begin on Sunday.
On Sunday a counter protest, Shut It Down DC, organized a permitted counter protest in Freedom Plaza a few blocks east of Lafayette Park, from where they would march to Lafayette Park beginning at 3 pm. The DCist reported that the Shut It Down DC group included the D.C. Antifascist collective, Hoods4Justice, March for Racial Justice, and others.
Black Lives Matter DC organized to meet a couple of blocks north of Lafayette Park, and would then march south to the park. A group from NYC began their march on August 3rd to D.C. where they planned an event at the MLK monument from 12 noon to 4 pm on Sunday [#AgapeMarch]. And a group, The Real White People’s Rally, led by a local tour guide, Tim Krepp, was scheduled to counter protest at Lafayette Park from 1 to 4 pm.
The DCist also mentioned about a half dozen other counter protest group events, but for the most part those noted above, were the ones most relevant to my planned coverage.
I headed down to D.C. a bit anxious, given the violent skirmishes that occurred at the rally a year ago in Charlottesville, and the following instructions on the unitetherightrally.com website.
Do NOT bring these items:
-Pepper spray, clubs, knives or other weapons
ALWAYS Be aware of your surroundings. Do not talk to the media.
Do not engage in any fighting.
ALWAYS be a good representative for our cause.
My thoughts were that if you have to provide instructions like these to the people you expect at your rally – there’s a good likelihood that some of the unwanted weapons will be there. I had read that last year people brought guns to the rally in Charlottesville – but I also reasoned that in Washington, D.C. the gun laws are likely far less permissive than in Charlottesville, Virginia. And there were reports that the D.C. police were preparing for the worst.
Anyhow, I arrived at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Sunday afternoon at about 3 pm. It was hot, humid and rain was in the forecast for later in the afternoon. I took the Metro subway from Union Station to the Metro Center stop, which was only a few blocks away from Freedom Plaza. Once on the street, as I began to get my bearings, I asked a young woman if she could tell me in which direction Freedom Plaza was. She was also headed to the counter protest, so we walked over there together. Ironically, her name was Hope.
CLICK here to read the rest of my report about covering the Unite The Right Rally in Washington, D.C. on August 12, 2018. COMING THIS WEEKEND 8/18 - 19/18. The story has become something bigger than I first envisioned. It's in a rough draft which I hope to finish, edit and add photos to this weekend.
Pregones Theater La Casita Block Party
Pregones Theater Hosted the La Casita Block Party of Poets, Musicians & Artists & a bit of Pregones Theater History
On Sunday I made my way over to the Pregones Theater in the Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx. Pregones is located at 575 Walton Street, only a couple of blocks from Hostos College and the Post Office in the Bronx. Today was their annual block party, the origins of which, date back to the early 2000's. Pregones Theater moved to this location on Walton Street in the Concourse neighborhood in 2005.
It's worth mentioning that Pregones Theater has been serving the Bronx community of actors, actresses, producers, directors, playwrights and their audiences for nearly four decades. Pregones was started in 1979 and recently [2015 - 2017?] merged with another theater company, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, to become the cultural institution that it is today.
The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater began in 1967 and helped give birth to the careers of Raul Julia and Miriam Colon, and recently merged with Pregones. Today Pregones Theater / The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater has venues in both Bronx and Manhattan.
As I arrived I noticed their colorful psychedelic house, the Casita, erected as the backdrop for the stage where performers would take flight to delight the audience. It was around 4 pm and a poet, I know it, was speaking, sweet talking, sugary, short arias of verbalized visuals whose acoustical imagery was as stimulating and winding as a quick jazzy beat. Too fast, to fully comprehend, the details of which lie within.
I remember a subway ride, some history, a street scene, but you really had to be there to get the full gist. You missed. But they'll be back next year and they have numerous performances throughout the year.
Along the sidewalks vendors were selling unique - possibly Bronx made, clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, pottery, purses, knapsacks, paper products and other little finds, many of which you might be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
I stepped inside the theater to check it out. It's a well kept, spacious theater, with seating for somewhere between 50 to 100. And a hall of fame showing accolades for performances and performers of years past.
The folks were friendly and it was definitely an artsy, eclectic and friendly crowd. There were also folks there from Lincoln Center Out of Doors, who in part sponsored the block party performances. And Pregones Theater / The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater also performed down at Lincoln Center on Saturday, August 4th at 12 noon in Hearst Plaza, as part of their relationship with Lincoln Center Out of Doors.
By the way, 'pregones' in Spanish, means 'cries' in English. But nobody was crying today. I reckon we'll have to find and attend a Pregones dramatic performance in the future, to share the experience of that emotion, although watching El Presidente Donaldo Duck seems to give us all plenty to cry about daily.
Free Things To Do in the Bronx - Free Summer Concerts in the Bronx
Free Concerts In Bronx Parks - Fordham, Mosholu, Pelham Bay & Van Cortlandt Park NYC
This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in the Bronx this summer.
Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free things to do in the Bronx - free concerts in Bronx parks.
Free Things To Do in the Bronx - Free Summer Movies in the Park
Free Movies In Bronx Parks - Free Outdoor Films in Bronx Parks NYC
This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in the Bronx this summer.
Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free things to do in the Bronx - free movies in Bronx parks.
Free Things To Do in the Bronx - Free Summer Theater & Shakespeare in the Park
Summer Theater In The Bronx - Van Cortlandt Park, Teatro Pregones, ID Studio Theater & The Point CDC
This report includes a list of some of the free things to do in the Bronx this summer.
Click here to view a listing of the dates and times of free things to do in the Bronx - mostly free theater in the Bronx & parks.
Bronx Swimming Pools - Free Public Pools in NYC
This Bronx NYC Public Swimming Pool Directory Includes Contact Info
Bronx offers easy access to a wide range of recreational swimming pools. The following is our first attempt to provide you with a view of the range of public swimming pools available in the parks of the Bronx. We encourage you to make use of these facilities because they provide healthy, fun, and frequently free or inexpensive entertainment for both individuals and families with children.
4th of July Fireworks Bronx 2018
Coop City Bronx Fireworks Tuesday Night & East River Fireworks Wednesday
The Macy's 4th of July fireworks will be shown along the East River this year. They were shown along the East River in 2014 for the first time since 2008, and have remained on the East River ever since. Mayor de Blasio had lobbied the change, which now spans five years.
Weather. Highs will be in the mid 80's during the day and in the high 70's at night. There's a 40% chance of rain in the forecast in the morning, but only 5 - 10% chance of rain at night, so it should be a fair night.
The Grucci Brothers will be doing the Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC. They have been doing fireworks for many years and the Macy's July 4th fireworks in Manhattan for decades.
Coop City Fireworks Display for July 4th in the Bronx
As mentioned above, the Orchard Beach July 4th fireworks in the Bronx was held on Thursday, June 28th. There's a second 4th of July fireworks in the Bronx that is being held on Tuesday, July 3rd at 9 pm. The fireworks display is held at Little League Field in Co-op City in the Bronx.
For those looking for fireworks on 4th of July 2018, you'll have ample opportunity to view the East River fireworks, as the pyrotechnic performance was expanded in 2016 to provide more viewing access along both side of the East River.
Click here for a report about the 4th of July Fireworks in Bronx NYC & surrounding areas, including times and locations for the Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC and Jones Beach on Long Island.
Decisive Victory for Ocasio & Progressives
Democratic Party Insider Joe Crowley Loses in Stunning Defeat
Congressman Joseph Crowley suffered an astonishing defeat Tuesday, when Alexandria Ocasio - Cortez defeated him in the 14th district NYS primary for U.S. Congress. According to Vox, with 97% of the precincts reporting, Ocasio-Cortez had received 15,897 or 57% of the vote, while Crowley had received 11,761 or 42% of the vote.
Crowley, age 56, inherited his office and the Queens Democratic Party Chairmanship from Thomas Manton in 1999. Crowley has spent the last two decades in Washington, D.C. rising to the top levels of the Democratic party leadership, considered by many to be one of the top contenders to succeed Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic Leader.
Ocasio-Cortez is a youthful 28 years old, the daughter of a Bronx native and Puerto Rican mother. She graduated from Boston University with a BA in Economics and International Relations. Since then she has worked at a Bronx start up and in the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016.
Crowley reportedly had a campaign budget of $1.5 million versus $0.3 million for Ocasio-Cortez, raised via small and online donations.
Crowley, Pelosi, Schumer & the Democratic Party of Appeasement
Alexandria ran a spirited campaign, tapping into some of the energy and frustration of an increasingly rigged system, which Donald Trump has been hyper rigging since he took office in 2017.
The Donald tweeted that Joe lost because he opposed President Donald. But as oftentimes seems the case with Trump tweets - the reality is quite the opposite. The electorate that supported Ocasio-Cortez are more likely to view Crowley, Pelosi and Schumer as leaders of a Democratic Party of Appeasement who need to be replaced by people who will vigorously fight for the democratic principles upon which this nation was founded. Pelosi, Schumer and Crowley are seen as wet noodle leaders of the opposition - telling their supporters to hush up about any possibility of impeaching Trump.
Appeasers Say Don't Talk About Trump Impeachment ...
Some pundits believe that Trump is exactly the type of president for which the process of impeachment was included in the U.S. Constitution, as he appears to have colluded with a hostile foreign power to win the election, appears to be in numerous violations of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution and is aligning the U.S. with dictators while undermining democracies around the globe with disruptive breaks in our military and economic alliances.
The party of appeasement references British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler in 1938 when Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement. The Munich Agreement basically ceded the German speaking segment of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia to Adolph Hitler. Emboldened by Chamberlain's lack of courage to stand up to him, Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and WWII began.
Bernie Sanders championed the "government by the people for the people" wing of the Democratic party in 2016 and Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams and the NYS Senate IDC challengers are running as the voice of this segment of the electorate in the NYS September 13th primaries.
Trump Aligns with Dictators Around the World, While Undermining Democracies
Trump has been aligning the U.S. with leaders of totalitarian states and dictators around the world including Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un of North Korea, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, President Xi Jinping of China and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.
Trump has been undermining our historical allies - comprised of the real democracies around the world - such as Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and most, if not all, of the rest of Europe and most of Latin America.
Left unchecked, this policy of appeasement by the Democratic and Republican parties could, over the long haul, result in the loss of democracy on the planet. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Joseph Crowley are all seen as the appeasers - and last night Crowley as one of them - took a big loss.
Crowley's Congressional District Changed from the 7th to the 14th in 2013
In 2013 the congressional district that Joe Crowley had historically run in [7th District] changed. The 7th district covered the northern and western rim of Queens. Since 2013 Crowley has been running in the 14th congressional district which covers the northern rim of Queens and the southeastern part of the Bronx. The changed district resulted in changes to the demographic composition of the electorate by increasing the Hispanic representation in the district. Also, by including the Bronx in the district, it included an area where the electorate had little familiarity with Crowley.
All of the above likely contributed to Crowley's loss. Joseph Crowley was a gracious loser, complimenting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on her well run and hard fought campaign.
Election 2018 Tuesday 6/26 - Please Vote
The New York State federal offices (Congress) primary election is tomorrow, Tuesday June 26th.
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 icon to the right of it to get the results of the search.
Remember that if you really want things to change, then you can't keep electing the same representatives.
Is Nixon the One for NYS?
Cynthia Nixon & Jumaane Williams Support Real Rent Reform
On Thursday afternoon I headed to the NY Public Library at Bryant Park to attend a Rent Reform Rally organized by RealRentReform.org. I had heard that Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, candidates for NYS Governor and NYS Lieutenant Governor, respectively, were to speak at the event - so given the relevance of rent reform and the growing interest in the challengers to the status quo ... I decided to go.
As I emerged from the subway, I wasn't disappointed. There were a thousand plus protesters gathered on the steps of the central library along Fifth Avenue, just south of 42nd Street, gathered to make their voices heard. What struck me as I surveyed the crowd was the cross sectional nature of the people who had gathered. From the young student activists, to the elderly handing out pamphlets, to people of all colors ranging from black to white.
I shot some photos and talked to some of the organizers and attendees to find out what they had come to say. Essentially they were disappointed with Governor Andrew Cuomo's inaction on strengthening rent regulations - which struck me as comparable to the inaction on housing and the rapid rise in homelessness in NYC as happened under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
NYS Department of Housing & Community Renewal
NYC Mayor de Blasio helped arrest the rising tide of homelessness in NYC by his actions since taking office in 2014, but there was plenty more to be done, and the Governor and the State of New York hold many of the cards. One of the complaints I heard was that the NYS Department of Housing & Community Renewal [DHCR] budget had been cut since Cuomo took office, and that there were only eleven lawyers to help tenants avoid evictions and unfair landlord and developer actions statewide.
Cuomo Decreases DHCR Staff While 'Appearing' to Increase Real Estate Development Incentives
I went online and looked up the budget for the NYS Department of Housing & Community Renewal budget where the agency staff portion of the budget between 2011 and 2017 had been cut from $745 million to $682 million, which is a net reduction of 8.5%. The funds being allocated to the development of housing looked like it had increased substantially [+715%] from $314 million in 2011 & 2012, to $2,245 billion in 2018. But - as I found out - this multi-billion dollar increase is misleading ... so please spend a bit more time and keep on reading.
The 'added billions' goes toward categories entitled State Operations, Aid to Localities and Capital Projects. All of the increase went into a category entitled Capital Projects, which was comprised of two subcategories - Infrastructure Investments and a Housing Program Fund. But the budget increase was saddled with an MOU. The funds were allocated to incent and aid real estate developers to build affordable housing. The net result is that it looks like Governor Andrew Cuomo has cut DHCR agency staff who help residents stay in their homes, while 'appearing' to increase the state money to aid real estate developers to build affordable housing.
Governor Cuomo added $2 billion to the DHCR budget in 2016 referencing a Memo of Understanding [MOU]. While Cuomo claimed to commit $2 billion to building 20,000 new affordable housing units, he saddled the budget increase with a legislative tactic - the MOU. I was told - and the DHCR budget appears to confirm - that most of this money remains unspent and appears to be a revolving budget item that allows Cuomo to claim he's making the investment in affordable housing while not actually going through with it. Real Rent Reformers at the Rally last Thursday alleged that this is a part of a revolving budget game by Governor Cuomo, while the NYS affordable housing shortage continues.
This reminds me of another game allegedly played by Governor Cuomo, which was the use of the now disbanded 'Independent Democratic Caucus' [IDC], which Governor Cuomo is reported to have supported. The IDC was comprised of NYS Senate Democrats who caucused with the Republicans - thus essentially making them Republicans running as Democrats. I did a story earlier outlining this subterfuge which you can view by clicking the link.
NYS Losing Affordable Housing Stock?
Another protester complaint was that somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 affordable homes have been lost during Andrew Cuomo's two terms as Governor and that he has turned a blind eye to landlords and developers cashing in on his inaction. Cuomo's DHCR staff budget cuts would seem to support this allegation, as does Cuomo's inaction on closing loopholes used by developers and landlords to convert rent stabilized apartments to market rate housing stock.
One protester told me that homelessness has risen 36% since Cuomo took office. As of this writing I haven't had time to totally verify this claim - which I hope to do between now and when the primary season ends on election day Thursday, September 13th, 2018 [the election date was moved because Tuesday is 9/11]. But I did find that, at least directionally, these claims are correct.
An example of the growing statewide housing crisis is that in the school year 2012 - 2013, a bit less than halfway through the eight years Andrew Cuomo has been governor, New York had the third highest percentage of homeless students in the U.S. [source: Institute for Children Poverty & Homelessness - aka ICP]. I had thought that homelessness was largely a New York City problem, but as you can see by the map / chart the ICPH published - the problem is statewide.
Jumaane Williams & Cynthia Nixon Running for NYS
After speaking to the protesters a number of people rose to speak. Among them was Jumaane Williams, the NYC Councilmember of the 45th district in Brooklyn. He's challenging NYS Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul who he said was party to NYS Governor Cuomo's inaction.
The following is a video primarily of NYS Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon speaking at the rally. It was the first time I had seen her look like a real contender for the governorship since she announced her intention to run on March 19, 2018. Nixon talked first about rent regulations and one of her own personal experiences, and then she went on to mention other issues that separate her and Jumaane from Cuomo and Hochul.
This is just the beginning of our NYS state elections coverage 2018. I still have a fair amount of research to do to become more familiar with the state's role in so much of what affects us in NYC including affordable housing, the MTA, NYC public education and possibly corruption.
Petitions to Help Challengers get on the NYS Ballot
Nixon and Jumaane have about three weeks left to obtain the required signatures to get on the ballot. If you want to help them you can by copying & pasting this link into your browser for Cynthia Nixon for Governor and for Jumaane Williams for Lieutenant Governor
The Puerto Rican Parade NYC
Tens of Thousands of Puerto Ricans Celebrate Their Culture
Puerto Rican Street Fair Spanish Harlem
One thing you could never accuse New York Puerto Ricans of, is a lack of pride in their cultural roots. On Saturday there was a huge street fair in Spanish Harlem, lasting most of the day, along a nearly 20 block stretch of Third Avenue between 103rd and 122nd streets in east Harlem.
East Harlem used to be the destination for Puerto Ricans coming to New York. And while there's still a large Puerto Rican community there, I think there may be an even larger community in the central Bronx whose Borough President is Ruben Diaz, whose father, NYC City Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr. came from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. So while some of the population may have moved, Puerto Ricans came from around the city and far beyond, to congregate on Saturday and Sunday, and the bask in the atmosphere of their cultural roots.
Puerto Rican Parade on the Upper East Side Manhattan
There was food, shopping, music, entertainment and dancing at the street fair on Saturday, and minus the food and shopping, the music, dancing and entertainment were also on display at the huge Puerto Rican parade in Manhattan on Sunday. Numerous floats as well as marching groups of dancers and musicians and social groups joined together to make the parade one long display of Puerto Rica's eclectic mix of African, Latin and American cultures.
American Puerto Ricans call themselves Boricuas and everything else is just Bochinche [gossip]. We'll delve more deeply into the Puerto Rican community in Manhattan and the Bronx as time passes.
The Ridiculous & Scary Presidency of Benedict Donald
If Trump is so Innocent, Why is his Legal Team Spending so Much Effort on Asserting he can Pardon Himself?
This would be funny, if it wasn't so real.
While Trump loudly and continuously proclaims his innocence, both he and his legal team are aggressively claiming that the president is above the law and can self pardon. These actions and concurrent narratives don't seem very innocent to me.
Is this a Shakespearean comedy of errors by fools?
Do They Think Americans Are Morons?
Is Democratic Rule of Law being Ceded to Billionaire Oligarchs?
Rudy Giuliani, once a lawyer who prosecuted the mob, seems to have sold out by becoming a lawyer who now represents mob-like characters, including Donald J. Trump and Turkish Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab.
Not long after Trump began his career in the real estate business in the 1970's, Trump is believed to have associated with the mob, doing business with them on deals relating to the construction of Trump Tower, and in developing casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Trump reportedly admitted he was friendly with mobsters and I've seen photos of Trump with some. Trump has also sold in the neighborhood of a hundred million dollars or more in real estate to Russians, including an Oligarch, according to Haaretz, an Israeli English language publication. The Oligarchs are considered to be the Russian equivalent to what was the American mob by some. Click here for a brief and likely very incomplete accounting of some of what seem like Trump's nefarious dealings - Donald Trump & the Art of the Steal.
Rudy Giuliani was also hired by Reza Zarrab's defense lawyers - not to plead their case as their attorney - but to do something else, possibly akin to what Trump fixer Michael Cohen does. Giuliani was a staunch candidate Trump supporter in 2016, an unofficial Trump security adviser in 2017, and most recently became a member of the Trump legal team. According to an April 3, 2017 Seattle Times report,
"[Guiliani and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey] were hired by Zarrab’s defense. But oddly, neither is involved in pleading the case in U.S. District Court, leading prosecutors to wonder if the defense is trying to circumvent the regular judicial process by going above prosecutors’ heads. ... He [Zarrab] and several others are accused of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, using a network of companies to mask the true nature of transactions and defraud multiple banks. Prosecutors say they processed hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran and claim to have thousands of pages of bank, email and phone records to prove it. Zarrab pleaded not guilty."
To make a long story short, Trump subsequently fired Preet Bahara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who was prosecuting the Zarrab case [and also prosecuting a couple of cases against a company controlled by Trump propagandist billionaire Rupert Murdoch - see link below]. At the time it was believed that Marc Mukasey, Michael Mukasey's son, would replace Bahara. Instead Trump left the position vacant for about a half year, before a New York judge appointed a temporary replacement. The position may not have been filled to avoid the appearance of what it really may have been ... another example of Trump obstruction of justice.
Democracy Destroying Don: Trump Claims He's Above the Law
On Saturday, June 2, 2018 the NYT published a story that included the following,
"In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
According to a June 2, 2018 report by The Hill quoting Nick Akerman, the Assistant Watergate Prosecutor,
“First of all, the whole idea that he [Trump] can’t be charged with obstruction of justice — the last time that ever happened in this country is when we were ruled by King George ... That’s what the whole rule of law is about. The president has to faithfully execute the laws.” [Akerman told MSNBC]
Axis of Evil: Trump, Giuliani & Rupert Murdoch's Media
Rudy Giuliani began doing rounds on the media circuit, most notably, Rupert Murdoch's propaganda machine outlets including Fox News, where he appeared to assert that the president of the United States is above the law. To become better acquainted with what seems to be in it for Rupert Murdoch - who controls Fox News, Wall Street Journal, NY Post, Barron's, Market Watch, WWOR-TV, Fox 5 and Harper Collins Books - in exchange for his unapologetic propagandistic support of Trump - click the link above.
Trump Corruption Makes the Clintons Look Like Amateurs?
During the 2016 campaign Benedict Donald repeatedly labeled Hillary Clinton as Crooked Hillary. That resonated with the American people because the Clinton's appear to have a history of questionable political maneuvering and the billion dollar Clinton Foundation oftentimes seems self-serving.
But in the one and a half years since Trump took office, he's managed to make the Clintons look like small potato amateurs, and you're hearing that from someone who is no fan of the Clintons.
Not Serving the Nation but Criminals Serving Themselves?
Taxpayers Spend Added $60 Million on Trump's Golf Game & Family Travels. In 2017 the U.S. Secret Service budget had to be increased $60 million to keep apace with the Trump family travels. A good portion of that spending appears to be to provide protection for Trump's 100 days of golf which he did in his first 408 days in office.
D.C. Swamp Now a Trump-sized Cess Pool
Middle East Wars: American Foreign Policy & Security For Sale?
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, secured a $30 million investment from an Israeli finance company, Menora Mivtachim shortly after Kushner accompanied Trump on a trip to Israel in May of 2017. In December 2017 the U.S. Embassy in Israel was moved to Jerusalem following receipt of the investment.
A March 22, 2018 report by MSNBC states that The Intercept noted that the Saudi Royal Prince said he had Jared Kushner "in his pocket". Kushner, who has national security clearance, is reportedly an avid reader of Trump's daily security briefing.
U.S. to Pay For Murdoch . Cheney . Prince Black Ops?
Blackwater / Academi, Erik Prince, Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch & Syria - You Know This Can't be Good
According to a May 3, 2018 report in the NYT, the U.S. has quietly deployed Special Forces to Yemen, in what appears to be an escalation of help to the Saudi government's involvement in the Yemeni Civil War. The Trump Administration says America is providing refueling, logistics and intel sharing help and the Trump Administration never lies - do they? According to reports in the NYT in 2011 and in 2015 the United Arab Emirates and the Saudis have hired Blackwater [now called Academi] mercenaries and there have been reports of countless civilian casualties in Yemen and torture prisons either in Yemen, or elsewhere in the Middle East, or both.
Betsy De Vos' brother, Blackwater billionaire & Founder Erik Prince, is interested in going to the mercernaries-for-hire business again in the Middle East. According to an April 18, 2018 report in the WSJ,
"... the Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the US military contingent in Syria and help stabilise the north-eastern part of the country ... [and that Erik Prince] has been informally contacted by Arab officials about the prospect.”
It's worth mentioning that Rupert Murdoch, the global billionaire propagandist, went into business with former VP Dick Cheney through Genie Energy which bought energy rights from Israel in 2013 in the illegally-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In 2007, on Cheney's watch, Erik Prince's Blackwater allegedly murdered dozens of unarmed Iraqi civilians - of which the most notable incident was the Nisour Square Massacre. And Erik Prince is also suspected of attempting to establish a back channel for Trump / Putin in the Seychelles [islands off the coast of Africa] in December of 2016.
It seems like the gang is back in town and American's reputation and government taxed money may be used again by these millionaires and billionaires to further enrich themselves. This time it seems they will make themselves even more fabulously rich on the stolen energy rights of the Syrian people, using the American taxpayer Defense budget to pay for it. An effort to defund some of these operations in March / April 2018 was stopped by one of Rupert Murdoch's many puppets, Senate Majority 'Leader' Mitch McConnell [his wife Elaine Chao was previously on Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Board].
Banking Deregulation For Sale?
Kushner also secured a half billion dollars in loans during Trump's first year as U.S. President. After multiple meetings at the White House in Spring of 2017, Citibank made a $325 million loan to Kushner. In November 2017 Apollo Global Management made a $184 million loan to Kushner. The loan they made to Kushner was reportedly triple the size of the average property loan in their portfolio. Apollo's slogan is "We take many paths to value."
In March 2018, Mouse McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader announced that the Senate had passed a bank deregulation bill that pulls back the bank reforms made after a bank bailout and economic recovery that cost the American taxpayer over $4 TRILLION DOLLARS. In May 2018 Trump and the Republican Congress, led by Paul Ryan, passed a similar banking deregulation bill.
Chinese Trade Deals & American Security For Sale?
A May 23, 2018 report on Bloomberg states,
"Press reports in early May centered on $500 million in expected loans [to a Trump Partnership in Malaysian tycoon developer Hary Tanoesoedibjo] from a Chinese state-owned institution. This was particularly piquant because of Trump’s unexpected announcement on May 13, via Twitter, that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to give the Chinese phone maker ZTE Corp., which has been cut off from U.S. suppliers for violating sanctions against trading with Iran and North Korea, “a way to get back into business, fast.” That produced accusations that Trump had engaged in a quid pro quo with Xi."
- CLICK here to continue reading our report about the Ridiculous Presidency of Benedict Donald including the alleged sale of access to Russian Oligarchs, sale of U.S. federal land and mineral rights, potential corruption at Betsy De Vos' Department of Education, 187 former lobbysists working in the swamp-turned-cesspool, Melania's friend's multi-million dollar windfall, taxpayer funded federal government luxury, possibly a Cabinet member's Mile High Club enrollment on a U.S. Air Force jet and the Trump $1.5 trillion robbery of America's children.
NYC Landlord Harassments Continue
NYCCM Helen Rosenthal Hosts Housing Clinic to Inform Renters of Their Rights
On Wednesday, May 25th I went to the Goddard Riverside Community Center on Columbus Avenue at 88th Street to attend a housing clinic designed to inform renters of their rights.
***The following introduction is based on prior research done by me, and was not information provided at the housing clinic. I'll let you know when I segue out of my preamble and into the housing clinic.***
Over the past decade landlords appear to have become increasingly aggressive in trying to wriggle out of NYC and NYS rent stabilization regulations, that govern the rental payments under which about two million New Yorkers live.
It is my understanding that the government contributed land and / or financing to build or repair the buildings governed by NYC / NYS rent stabilization laws in exchange for the pricing rights on rent stabilized units. Many of the new landlords who have acquired rent stablized buildings, may possibly be in violation of approaching their business contract(s) in good faith, as the definition of good faith according to Wikipedia is:
"In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith, so as to not destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract. It is implied in every contract in order to reinforce the express covenants or promises of the contract. A lawsuit (or a cause of action) based upon the breach of the covenant may arise when one party to the contract attempts to claim the benefit of a technical excuse for breaching the contract, or when he or she uses specific contractual terms in isolation in order to refuse to perform his or her contractual obligations, despite the general circumstances and understandings between the parties. When a court or triar or fact interprets a contract, there is always an "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing" in every written agreement."
What is at stake, throughout the city, is literally hundreds of millions and more likely billions of dollars in - rental benefits or rental income streams - depending on which side of the struggle you're on. The landlords appear to be trying - using the torturtous side effects of construction including noise, health risk dust [inhalation], privacy loss and apartment functional loss - to wrest away the billions of dollars of rental pricing rights benefits from tenants to be pocketed by the landlords themselves. Given the high dollar value of what's at stake - including people's homes - this seems like attempted grand larceny, especially in cases where landlords are breaking the law to achieve their goals.
This will be continued at a later date. Including the segue into the information provided by the Housing Clinic to inform tenants of their rights.
Tenants' Rights March & Rally - June 14th Midtown at 4.30 pm
P.S. There's a March & Rally scheduled for June 14th, beginning at 4.30 pm, at the NY Public Library at 5th Avenue and 40th Street. They plan to march to Governor Cuomo's office at 3rd Avenue and East 41st Street. For details contact email@example.com or call 212.979.6958. All but one of the No IDC NY senatorial candidates have been invited to participate, and there's a possibility that NYS gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon will be there too - as this seems to coincide with her reasons for challenging Governor Cuomo.
Islamic Fashion in the Bronx
Bronx Islamic Clothing Store for Sale
In early May I traveled to the Parkchester neighborhood, to visit one of the Bronx newest Islamic clothing stores, Islam Fashion. With Ramadan only a couple of weeks away, the store proprietor was busy making preparations as Ramadan is the holiest month of the year - and just as during the holidays for Christians, it is also a very social time of the year.
The store, Islam Fashion, was started in the late 1990's [circa 1998] by an enterprising Egyptian immigrant, Mohamed Zohny, who I had met in Queens about a decade ago. Mohamed is one of those legendary entrepreneurial immigrants that one hears about - that keeps the American dream alive - both here and abroad.
Mohamed Zhony - Egyptian American Entrepreneur
Mohamed rolled the dice and immigrated to New York in 1979, at the age of 37, having left a position working at one of the airports in Egypt. When he arrived, he began working in a Lebanese restaurant washing dishes. Three years later in 1982, risking the savings he made from dishwashing, Mohamed started a falafel food truck at 51st Street and 5th Avenue.
Starting an Entrepreneurial Business on the Midtown Manhattan Streets
For fourteen years Mohamed made falafels out of his food truck and one might say he became a bit of a falafel food truck legend. He was photographed and written about in several glossy magazines, including one where he had his photo taken by famous photo journalist Lou Bopp.
Perhaps my favorite account of Mohamed at this time was the following in the 'Grub' section of a popular NYC magazine.
"Falafel stands abound … [at] Rockefeller Center … during lunchtime. Naturally they run the full gamut of barely edible to scintillatingly delicious. Second place for the title of best falafel is Zohny who has a cart on the corner of 5th Avenue and 51st Street. Not only are his falafels moister and fuller than the competition, but he has also developed falafel assembly into an art. It's a spectator sport to marvel as Zohny choreographs his falafel preparation like a wind-up doll. He can make the chick pea balls while dropping lettuce and tomato and heating the pita bread."
In 1996 then Mayor Rudy Giuliani started making changes to the rules governing traffic and food carts, so Mohamed decided to exit the business. Within two years, Mohamed had embarked on a third adventure, again investing his savings to purchase and then sell Islamic clothing on the Upper East Side on what I understood to be a sort of person-to-person basis.
Opens Islam Fashion Clothing Business in Manhattan with Stores in Brooklyn, Queens & the Bronx
Within another two years, in the year 2000, Mohamed signed a lease in Brooklyn and opened an Islamic clothing store there. Nine years later he opened a second store in 2009 in Astoria, where I met him. He's done a bit of advertising on Queens Buzz over the years and I have always found Mohamed to have a friendly smile on his face.
During this time I have had the opportunity to watch him do a bit of business here and there, buying and selling Islamic clothing in his shop. He would invite sellers to sit down for tea, chat and haggle a bit about quality and price, and then settle on a price and complete the deal. It felt like time traveling into Egypt in the space of a few minutes.
In recent years Mohamed, now 75 years old, has begun winding down ... at least a bit. He closed his Brooklyn store due to rising rents, and moved his Astoria store to Parkchester just last year - again due to rising rents. He opened in Parkchester a few months ago and has begun building yet another retail business. Even to this day Mohamed greets the public with a welcoming "Salam Alaikum", which in English means "Peace to you".
Islam Fashion is located at 1701 White Plains Road at Van Nest Avenue in Parkchester. Mohamed is now in the hospital and plans to sell his business. If interested you can reach him via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/islamfashioninc/
I hope and pray that Mohamed has a speedy recovery.
Arthur Avenue - Little Italy in the Bronx
Arthur Avenue Still has Multi-Generational Family Businesses
A bit over a week ago I headed up to the Arthur Avenue restaurant section of the Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx. Throughout most of the twentieth century, Arthur Avenue was a densely populated Italian section of the Bronx, full of Italian restaurants, shops and Italian culture. By the early 21st century, where we are now, many of the Italians had moved out into the suburbs or into other parts of the city - but that said there's still a very strong Italian presence, including some of the multi-generational Italian family businesses.
Arthur Avenue is more than a destination for those seeking Italian culture in the Bronx, as Fordham University is only blocks away. Oftentimes Fordham students can be seen milling about in the cafes, restaurants and shops, alongside long time residents from the neighborhood. I've come to view the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, founded in 1940, as sort of the epicenter or hub of Arthur Avenue.
Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia reportedly spearheaded the development of the Arthur Avenue Retail Market while he was Mayor in an effort to incent the popular, low-priced, but somewhat unsanitary, street pushcart businesses to move in off the streets. The Arthur Avenue Retail Market was, in some measure, one of the early malls, where various independent vendors sold their wares.
Within the same block and blocks, there are also many Italian retail businesses that have survived the economic vagaries of time. Among them is ...
More to come, including photos, later this week.
Port Morris Real Estate Development
The Bronx Neighborhood of Port Morris is Experiencing a Real Estate Development Renaissance
Last Sunday I went exploring two of the neighborhoods in the south Bronx. This report will focus on Port Morris, which is at the southern most end of the Bronx and is found along the Harlem River and the East River.
Port Morris has a long storied history, dating back to colonial times. Given its proximity to Manhattan [just over the Harlem River] and accessibility via the East River and Harlem River, Port Morris was geographically well positioned to be one of the great waterfronts. In fact one of the Morrises had this in mind in an earlier period and planned to make Port Morris competitive with the New York City Harbor and the Lower Manhattan docks. But alas it was not meant to be.
In the mid to late 1800's the piano making business was one of the biggest manufacturing industries in New York City. Piano factories lined the East River in Astoria and in the Bronx. By the mid 1900's the piano business was on the decline, being replaced by radio, television and the like as the primary source of home entertainment.
By the late 20th century the southern Bronx was in decline, but many of the old manufacturing buildings of a bygone era still remained. By the early 21st century southern Bronxians began to witness a growing interest in the Port Morris and Mott Haven neighborhoods due to an evolving business, social and economic climate in New York City.
I'll post more on Tuesday, May 8th.
5 Boro Bike Ride Returns Sunday
Bike New York Organizes NYC Bike Ride & Bike Expo New York
This story includes information about the upcoming 5 Boro Bike Ride on Sunday, as well as the Bike Expo New York which precedes it on Friday & Saturday in Red Hook. As of this report, the temperatures are expected to be in the 60's and the chances of rain appear slim. But bear in mind that the forecast probability of 20% chance of rain last Friday, turned into rain on Saturday evening, so check the weather as we get closer in.
Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Ride Route
Since 1977, every first Sunday of May, Bike New York has organized and promoted the 5 Boro Bike Ride. The ride begins in lower Manhattan, sweeps northward across the Harlem River Bridge to the Bronx, circles back across the Third Avenue Bridge to Manhattan, where it begins its southward trek crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Queens, heading south to Brooklyn after a quick stop north to Astoria Park, and then comes down past the Brooklyn Navy Yards, continuing southward along the west side of Brooklyn, to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge where it crosses over to the Fort Wadsworth neighborhood in Staten Island before terminating in the St. George neighborhood at the Staten Island Ferry.
Proceeds from Non-Profit New York Bike Ride go Toward Sustainable Transportation Efforts
The now famous bike ride was capped at 32,000 riders I believe sometime in the 1990’s, where it still stands today. One report noted that the 5 Boro Bike ride is one of – if not the largest - non-profit bike rides in the nation. The proceeds go to Bike New York programs which are designed to teach people about sustainable transportation, most notably bicycle riding and bike maintenance and safety. Another report noted that the NYPD had considered [don’t know the outcome] charging the organization $1 million for erecting, maintaining and terminating road closures during the New York 40 mile family-friendly bike ride.
Bike New York Bicyclist Outreach in all Five NYC Boroughs
Bike New York has offices in all five NYC boroughs. In 2015 their cyclist safety and bike maintenance programs reached 15,000 New Yorkers. And they are the organizers of the Bike Expo New York being held at Pier 12 in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday [see details in rest of this story].
- CLICK here to read more about the 5 Boro Bike Ride and the New York Expo at Brooklyn Piers this coming weekend.
Nature's Wonders at Wave Hill in the Bronx
Historic Wave Hill in Riverdale Overlooks the Hudson River
Wave Hill is a 28 acre estate, in the western section of the Riverdale neighborhood in the Bronx, overlooking the Hudson River. The estate was built in 1843 by William Lewis Morris, a lawyer, to accommodate his large family. Morris was a descendant of one of the Bronx and America's founding families, which included a 17th century colonialist who migrated here following the Cromwellian Wars in Britain, a contributor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a vast land holding family in the Bronx.
Wave Hill evolved over the years, starting as a Georgian Revival home, but later converted to a Victorian manor by Publisher William Henry Appleton [1866 - 1869]. Appleton purchased a section of the estate from Morris's heirs following his death.
President Theodore Roosevelt [1870 - 1871], author Mark Twain [1901 - 1903], Italian Conductor Arturo Toscanini [1942 - 1945], and the British delegation to the UN hosted John Foster Dulles, Konrad Adenauer and Queen Elizabeth [1950 - 1956] over numerous summers there. The Wave Hill of today includes what was once two estates, which were merged by Financier turned Conservationist George W. Perkins in 1903. Perkins added the greenhouses and the second house of the estate which I believe [unconfirmed] was called Glyndor. It burned in the early 1920's and was replaced by a smaller Glyndor II, completed in 1927. Wave Hill was inherited by daughter Dorothy Woosley Freeman and her husband Edward.
Wave Hill was donated to New York City in 1960, designated a New York City Landmark in 1966, added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1983 and added to the Riverdale Historic District in 1990.
In 2011 Wave Hill closed for two years for renovations. In 2013 it reopened, with enhanced facilities that included upgrades to the Sally and Gilbert Kerlin Learning Center where family art projects are conducted, and enhanced lighting and sound  in the Amour Hall which is host to musical performances. A new space, the Sarah and Geoffrey Gund Theater was added where lectures are held and films are shown and the cafe was expanded and the dining room renovated.
Today all areas are used to accommodate public programs, many of which include a fee, and many of which are free with admission. Local artists, musicians and performers are oftentimes showcased. We periodically post their events on the weekends, so stay tuned.
Sources for this story include Wikipedia.org / LivingPlaces.com / WaveHill.org.
Spring Has Arrived
The Trees are Blooming and Warmer Weather is on its Way
April 17, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.
This weeks our deciduous trees have begun budding and flowering. We can see the bright pea green buds and the white tree blossoms popping out everywhere. This unique period of springtime lasts only a week or two, so enjoy the majestic beauty while it lasts.
The photo to your right shows what is a very ordinary view of a back wall of apartment windows in NYC, as it comes alive with nature's beauty. The budding trees add oxygen during the day and carbon during the night to our atmosphere. And provide shelter from the hot sun during the summer and some privacy between neighbors as well.
So enjoy these magical week(s) as nature blossoms and our deciduous trees awake from their wintry slumber.
Bronx Special Elections April 24
For the 32nd NYS Senate & 80th NYS Assembly District Offices
On Tuesday April 24th a few Bronx voters will go to the polls to decide who is to represent them in the special election for a Senate [District 32] and an Assembly Seat [District 80]. The NYS Senate seat was vacated by Democrat Ruben Diaz Sr. who was elected to be an NYC Councilmember representing District 18 replacing term-limited Annabel Palma. The NYS Assembly seat was vacated by Democrat Mark Gjonaj, who was elected to be an NYC Councilmember representing the 13th District, replacing James Vacca.
While these seats were vacated as of the beginning of January, Governor Cuomo decided to delay holding the special elections until after the budget was expected to be passed on April 1, 2018. Elections are held 70 days following the Governor's call for them.
The IDC - Republicans Running as Democrats
Critics contend that Cuomo's delay of the special elections disenfranchised over a half million NYS Senate voters adn nearly a million NYS Assembly voters from the process. Republicans currently have a majority in the NYS Senate, as they are joined through caucuses with eight Republicans who run as Democrats including Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx, who founded the IDC, David Valesky of Oneida and Madison Counties in upstate New York, David Carlucci of Rockland and Westchester Counties, Diane Savino of Staten Island / Brooklyn, Tony Avella of Queens, Jose Peralta of Queens, Jesse Hamilton of Brooklyn, and Marisol Alcantera of Washington Heights / Manhattan. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn also runs as a Democrat but caucuses with the Republicans. The Democrats have a significant majority and control the NYS Assembly. Click here for a report about who the Bronx members of the IDC Independent Democratic Caucus are and what they do and don't represent.
Bronx Special Election Nominees - April 2018
Former Chief of Staff for Gjonaj, Nathalia Fernandez, became the Democratic nominee for the 80th District NYS Assembly seat in mid February, while Luis Sepulveda became the Democratic nominee for the 32nd District NYS Senate seat.
Democrat Sepulveda is facing competition from Reform Party candidate Pamela Stewart-Martinez [the Reform Party is an independent party started by weathy former Republican Texan businessman Ross Perot in the 1990's], and Republican candidate Patrick Delices for the 32nd NYS Senate District. Democrat Fernandez is facing off with Republican Gene Defrancis in the 80th NYS Assembly District.
The 32nd Senate District represents parts of Central and Southern Bronx, while the 80th Assembly District represents Central and Eastern Bronx. The graphics at right show the maps of the Senate and Assembly seats up for grabs in the April 24th special election.
Low Turnout Should Make Upsets Easier
While turnout for special elections is generally low, what's surprising is how few surprises come out of them, given the low numbers with which one could win by mobilizing a small, but committed percentage of the electorate. As of this report, the Democrats are expected to win.
Take me out to the Ball Game ...
Buy me Some Peanuts & Cracker Jack ...
I Don't Care if I Never get Back ...
It's that time of year again, although given we had a snowfall on April 2nd, you'd never know it. The 2018 Major League Baseball season has begun and both the Yankees & the Mets are off and running. The Mets are in first place in the National League East with 7 / 1 after placing second to the last with their Spring Training record. And the Yankees, came in fifth place with their Spring Training record, and are now in the middle of the pack of the American League East with a 5 / 5 record.
American Baseball 7th Inning Stretch Song
I got a hankering for a bit of baseball and the 7th inning stretch, and the song that accompanies it, so what follows is a bit of the history of the Take Me Out To The Ball Game song.
The first baseball song was reportedly created in 1858 and was called The Baseball Polka Song. In 1908 a New York song writer, Jack Norworth, wrote the song and it was set to music by composer Albert Von Tilzer. It was performed in vaudeville acts and also in recordings.
The song was played at the 1934 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals, whose nickname was the Gashouse Gang because the players were a rowdy, boisterous and reportedly unbathed group. In 1935 the Marx Brothers used it in one of their films, A Night at the Opera. The war likely put its growth on hold, but it returned to popular culture in the 1950's and 1960's. In 1958, on the 50th anniversary of the song creation - the songwriter, Jack Norworth, was presented with a gold lifetime pass to the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball games.
Click here to learn more about the 7th inning stretch song entitled Take Me Out To The Ball Game.
ID Studio Theater in the Bronx
Theater Gives Voice & Builds Community in Mott Haven
I had an opportunity to visit the ID Studio Theater this Fall in Mott Haven. I briefly met the Artistic Director, German Jaramillo, who gave me a short tour of the theater, telling me that ID Studio Theater had moved into its new home to its new home at 311 East 140th Street in Mott Haven in the Fall of 2016.
German said he'd been working on renovating the ID Studio Theater new home ever since he'd arrived, to make it capable of providing rehearsal studio and performance space to work on new projects, community space and two studio apartments for visiting and affiliated performers. I had the opportunity to view the community space and the rehearsal space which are shown in the photos at right below. In the photo at right is the outside of ID Studio Theater in Mott Haven.
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.
Bronx Museum Anarchitect Closing & Pig Roast
Anarchitect Closing Celebrated w/ Pig Roast on 2nd Floor Patio
On Sunday the Bronx Museum held the closing reception for its exhibit entitled Anarchitect. The closing was held on the second floor of the musem and they sold tickets for folks to come and enjoy a pork sandwich prepared by a chef and enjoy a beer made by the Bronx Brewery.
It was a sunny and cool March afternoon as I made my way north on the #4 subway line. I had to get off at 38th Street and take the #1 bus because work was being done on the #4 line.
When I arrived the Bronx Museum cafe was fairly busy and folks were milling around. After checking in I headed up to the second floor to see what was happening.
Bronx Museum Hosts Pig Roast & Bronx Brewery Beer
There's a patio that opens up from the back of the second floor, and oftentimes the museum hosts various artistic and cultural events there. Today, there was a skewered pig roasting over a bed of coals. Chef Angel Jimenez of Lechonera La Pirana, which is a two food truck restaurant that may be found at at 152nd Street and Wales Avenue in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx, had prepared the feast. Jimenez who came from Puerto Rico in 1984 has been cooking and feeding his restaurant guests for over a decade. Lechonera La Pirana translates literally into something like Piglet the Pirahna, but I'm guessing means something like devouring pork.
I sampled one of the roasted pork sandwiches and decided to eat it plain, even though everyone else was adding catsup. The pork inside the bread was juicy, flavorful and skillfully cooked, so I didn't need the catsup - but that said next time I'm going to try it. There was a bit of skin included with the pork cuts which I took out. I also sampled a Bronx Brewery beer, which had a citrus name added to it. And again, I was delightfully surprised by the clean, crisp flavor of a medium bodied brew. I hope to sample more of each in the future.
There were a number of people there, from what appeared to be many walks of life, of various ages and in an eclectic mix of small groups of friends and family. I decided I should pay my respects to the artwork, having taken a little break, so I made my way down into the exhibit rooms.
The Bronx Museum Tries to Capture & Reflect one of NYC's Most Fascinating Boroughs
The first stop was the exhibit room located between the second and first floors. In the room were a number of thick paint on canvass pieces created by Angel Otero and the exhibit was entitled Elegies.
According to the curator, Christian Vivero-Faune, the work references the late Robert Motherwell who between 1948 and 1967 created over 200 paintings which he entitled Elegy to the Spanish Republic, which laments the Spanish Civil War.
Christian tells us that Otero's Elegies aren't elegies in the traditional sense, but are a medium with which to contemplate one's own losses. I found the bright, colorful abstracts works soothing and cheerful.
Click here to continue reading our report about the Bronx Museum in the Concourse neighborhood, including a closer look at the exhibit entitled Anarchitect by Gordon Matta-Clarke. We have also included photos of the work and of the pig roast social on the second floor patio.
Ruben Diaz Delivers State of the Borough Address
Bronx Borough President Provides Holistic Overview of Borough Affairs
I attended Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz’s State of the Borough Address last Thursday at the Bronx Science High School in the Bronx neighborhood of Bedford Park.
There was a reception that began at 10.30 am and the speech was scheduled to begin at 11.30 am. I arrived a bit after Bronx President Ruben Diaz began his speech.
Diaz began by talking about how much things had improved since he became Bronx Borough President. Crime is down, as homicides have dropped below 100 for the fifth straight year, and he told us that this year was the lowest year on record. He told us that employment is up, that the Bronx has a 5.5% unemployment rate and that 110,000 new jobs have been added since he took office as the Bronx Borough President in 2009. Diaz said that school graduation rates are up, and drop outs are down, but that the Bronx still has the lowest math and reading scores in the city. He went on to say that many high school graduates are unprepared for the future.
The Bronx Borough President noted that there is still far more to do. And it was about what needs to be done, that he spoke about at his 9th State of the Borough Address.
Public Education in the Bronx & NYC is Underfunded
Regarding education, he told us that NYC schools continue to be underfunded. He allocated $20 million last year to technology and auditorium upgrades, and has allocated $60 million on 400 schools since he took office eight years ago. He said that over 50% of NYC schools are overcrowded, and that 60% of elementary and middle school kids were in overcrowded classes last year. He said he would like to see the Department of Education [aka DOE] cap classes at 22 students.
Are Schools in the Bronx & Ethnic Communities Underperforming?
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz said that he has been working with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to address what he termed an uneven playing field for Blacks and Latinos. He said that while Blacks and Latinos represented 44% of those taking the Specialized High School Admissions tests, they only received 10% of the offers.
It’s worth noting that this skew is possibly the result of using the test scores to place students. But even if so – it still illustrates the problem of unequal opportunity. And lower test scores by Blacks and Latinos, may be due to underperforming schools in their neighborhoods, which represents a more deeply embedded educational opportunity inequality.
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.
St Raymonds Girls & Boys High Schools in the Bronx
St Raymond's is the Oldest Catholic Church & Largest Cemetery in the Bronx
This past summer I took a long bike ride from Central Bronx to City Island. As I made my way along a busy East Tremont Avenue, I noticed a near magnificent Church with expansive surrounding grounds. I shot a few photos, and studied it for a while, taking note that this was St Raymonds in the Bronx. The cross street was Castle Hill Avenue and it was located in the northeast corner of Parkchester.
When I returned home, I looked up St. Raymonds, where I discovered a great deal of history and lore about the institution dating back 175 years to the post Colonial / Pre-Modern era of the Bronx.
St. Raymond's Parish in Parkchester in the Bronx
The land upon which the Church now stands, was purchased in 1842 by Reverend John Hughes who converted the barn into a church. In 1843 construction on a proper church began, and it was completed two years later in 1845 on the feast day of St. Raymond Nonnatus - which is where the parish got its name. St. Raymond Nonnatus spent his life freeing Christians from captivity in the 13th century in Spain and is considered a patron saint of pregnant mothers, because he was delivered by Caesarean section and his mother died. The church was the first Roman Catholic church erected 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.
Golfing in Historic Van Cortlandt Park
The Spring is a good time to get out the golfing clubs to continue or resume work on a golf game. The sport is aerobic and good for one's health, regardless of gender.
Van Cortlandt Park is home to one of the oldest continuous operational golf courses in the United States, dating back well over a century.
The Van Cortlandt golf course in the Van Cortlandt neighborhood of the Bronx is pretty easily accessible by subway, coming up along the Upper West Side of Manhattan on the #1 train.
In addtion to the golf course, there's a public swimming pool and an historic home that's worth a visit. Golfing with a cart costs about $46 / person for late-in-the-day golfing and $70 per person with a cart during prime time. Subtract about $20 for the cart on the off-hours and maybe subtract about $30 for the cart during prime time.
Also in Van Cortlandt Park is the Van Cortlandt House Museum. The Van Cortlandt House is reortedly the oldest house in the Bronx borough as it was built in 1746.
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 will begin opening in the Spring of 2018, with the rest of them opening no later than the first couple of weeks in July of 2018. 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 2018. The number of Bronx street fairs rises during the late spring and continues 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.
Cigars Made the Old Fashioned Way
A while back I was strolling through Bronx Little Italy on Arthur Avenue. I spent a bit of time inside the Arthur Avenue Retail Market which was founded back in the 1930's by one of NYC's most famous Mayors, Italian American Fiorello LaGuardia. The market was an effort by the former Mayor to clean up Arthur Avenue as many vendors sold their goods out in the open air on the street.
Inside the old-fashioned, indoor market there are a dozen or more vendors selling food and other items. The vendor that caught my interest on this particular voyage, was the cigar maker busily toling away, rolling his fresh tobacco products on a table near the front of the market.
LCD Cigars bills itself as the original cigar of Arthur Avenue. The cigar maker comes from Latin America and has many years of experience making fine cigars. I bought a couple to bring home and enjoyed the smooth draw of the fresh rolled man-sized cigars.
I misplaced my notes of that voyage, but in addition to the rolling table where he makes cigars, he operates a small store which sells a selection of cigars and accessories, like cases to protect the cigars while traveling - one of which I purchased to ensure the cigars would make it safely home. You can find him in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market or buy from him online at LCDCigars.com.
Italian Restaurants & Arthur Avenue
I visited Arthur Avenue recently while exploring the central neighborhoods in the Bronx. Arthur Avenue is known as the Little Italy of the Bronx because Italians have owned and operated restaurants there for nearly a century.
The street is only five blocks long and is located just south of Fordham University, beginning at the north end at Fordham Road. Near the center of Arthur Avenue is a retail emporium called the Arthur Avenue Retail Market that legend says that Fiorello LaGuardia spearheaded back in the 1930's.
The Arthur Avenue Retail Market is home to a number of shops and restaurants including the maker of handmade cigars, as well as a local brew pub.
Along the rest of Arthur Avenue you'll find some quaint streets, as well as a number of Italian restaurants and bakeries.
Arthur Avenue is located near both the Bronx Zoo and the Bronx Botanical Gardens, so it's a nice place to refresh either on your way in or on your way out.
The photo at right was taken at Enzo's Restaurant across from the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.
NYC / NYS Congestion Pricing 3.0
NYS Senators Liz Krueger & Brad Hoylman Host Community Transit Discussion
It was a cool Thursday evening as I made my way to the CUNY Graduate Center in Midtown. The CUNY Graduate Center is located on Fifth Avenue just north of 34th Street kiddy-corner from the Empire State Building.
I was headed to a community discussion about the public transit crisis facing NYC. I suppose, not surprising, was that one of the Congestion Pricing representatives, Alex Matthiessen, was there to present. Alex started out the conversation with a presentation of the new Congestion Pricing Plan, which is now called Fix NYC, telling us how this Congestion Pricing plan was different from the two prior ones floated by the Bloomberg Administration and by Mattheissen’s Move NY group a few years back.
Click here to read our report about NYC Congestion Pricing posted in March 2016 when we took a pretty in-depth view at who has been pushing this plan [consultancies & businesses that will profit from the infrastructure build out], how much of the London implementation revenue went back into improvements in that city [about 50%], how congestion pricing didn’t reduce traffic, but time shifted traffic in a New Jersey bridge / tunnel implementation [they had claimed emissions reductions and used a ‘green’ label to promote the last version of this plan], and other important things to consider regarding implementing a ‘new and improved’ congestion pricing system along the East River Bridges.
Matthiessen started by telling us things we all know, from firsthand use of the century-old subway system, that is the backbone of the NYC public transit system – namely that it’s crowded and has been slowing down due to capacity constraints, maintenance and improvements like the installation of the new signaling system which should enable the MTA to insert more cars on the track.
He then switched to the tolling on the bridges used by private motorists, where he talked about the toll structure, which he characterized as ‘unfair’, telling us that the motorists who use the East River Bridges are getting a free ride. I couldn’t help but think that many of the motorists, who generally work and / or live in the boroughs, pay pretty huge sums of money in property or business taxes and / or rent, so to characterize them as getting a free ride didn’t seem to factor in the whole scenario.
He then showed us the ‘Fix NYC’ plan which would change these rates, raising them for the East River Bridges and for Manhattan riders south of 60th Street, while reducing them for the bridges heading to New Jersey or upstate New York. The last piece of his presentation included a timeline for the implementation of this plan, which included:
1) Identifying ‘transit deserts’ where public transit isn’t that effective.
2) Imposing added fees on for hire vehicles like taxies, Uber and others operating in the south of 60th Street Manhattan zone.
3) Set up and begin operating tolls on all East River bridges, with some possible exceptions.
4) ‘Lock boxing’ the revenue so that it can’t be used for other political agendas.
What I found interesting about the ‘Fix NYC’ plan versus the prior version, the ‘Move NY’ plan was:
1) That they weren’t making the misleading claims previously proffered about saving the environment by reducing traffic.
2) They continued not to discuss the expense of the implementation and operation, nor about what percentage of the proceeds will actually make it to funding public transit improvements [not that I would necessarily believe the ‘estimates’, as in political implementations they are all too frequently underestimated on the cost side and overestimated on the revenue side].
3) And none of this really ‘fixes’ the public transit system, which Matthiessen originally highlighted in the beginning of the presentation – as the subways and buses – not so much the roads. I understand that the buses use the roads, but it’s important to note that buses represent less than 25% of public transit rides.
So, while the ‘Fix NYC’ doesn’t seem to really fix anything, it does appear to be a very expensive method of taxing people for something for which they are already paying in their state and local taxes. Matthiessen told us the plan would raise $1.5 billion, but did not present that as a ‘net of costs’ number. He compared it with other taxation methods like raising gas, sales, auto registration or millionaires’ tax [proposed by Mayor de Blasio], which would cost very little to implement as the infrastructure and operating costs for collecting those taxes are already in place.
Following Matthiessen’s presentation, a panel of speakers came onto the stage. Each then gave a short presentation of who they were and what they’re working on related to NYC’s transit problem.
First up was Polly Trottenberg who is the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. She began by telling us what public transit the city controls versus what is controlled by the state.
To be continued later tonight or tomorrow.
A Changing Retail Landscape in the Bronx
Bronx Shopping Malls, Bronx Shopping Centers & Bronx Shopping Districts in Transformation
This is a compendium of many, possibly most of, the largest shopping malls and shopping centers in the Bronx. Over the past decade or so a number of shopping malls have been erected and many existing shopping centers have been renovated / refurbished as the Bronx undergoes the process of transformation and in some areas, gentrification.
I've grouped the shopping malls by geographical location, using the same definitions used in the neighborhood section of this site - South Bronx, Central Bronx, Eastern Bronx and North & Western Bronx.
Click here to read our report about the changing retail landscape in the Bronx, including a solid listing of most of the major Bronx shopping malls, Bronx shopping center and Bronx shopping districts in NYC.
Bronx St Patrick’s Day Parade in Throgs Neck
20th Annual St Patrick’s Day Parade in Throgs Neck, Bronx
On Sunday I made my way north into a southeastern neighborhood in the Bronx, to attend the 20th annual St Patrick’s Day in Throgs Neck. It's worth mentioning that the Throgs Neck neighborhood is also known as Throggs Neck, and apparently while the double g is the correct name and only spelling of the bridge [Throggs Neck Bridge], the Throgs Neck neighborhood uses both spellings.
It was a chilly Sunday morning, following the switch to Daylight Savings Time, so I began the day running a bit behind schedule, made worse by repair work being done along the #7 subway line in Queens.
The photo to your right shows folks milling along East Tremont where there's an Throgs Neck St Patrick's Day Parade after parade party.
Public Transit Between Flushing Queens & Throgs Neck Bronx
In the downtown section of the Flushing neighborhood of Queens I had planned to take the 44 SBS bus, but was [wrongly] advised to wait for the Q50. The Q50 came far less frequently, but it did get me there. That said, it’s worth noting that the 44 SBS would have been faster, because four of them passed me while I was waiting for the Q50.
I departed the bus just off the Hutchison River Parkway at Lafayette Street and started walking east passing St Raymond's Cemetery. St. Raymond's Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the city and associated with St. Raymond's Schools [one for Boys and another for girls] in Parkchester. Click here to see an earlier report we did regarding St. Raymond's Schools in nearby Parkchester, which is only a neighborhood [Schuylerville] away.
Jeff Klein's IDC: Republicans Running as Dems?
The Independent Democratic Caucus Aligns with Republicans which Enables Republicans to Control the NYS Senate
There's an NYS State and Federal election this year. The primaries will be held on Thursday, September 13th; instead of on Tuesday, September 11th, in recognition of 911. And the general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6th.
As in any year, the elections are important, but perhaps made more so this year, by what appears to be the anarchistic destruction and disrespect, for our government institutions and processes, by Republican President Donald Trump.
Trump Republicans: Debt Bomb Deficits Levied on America's Children to Enrich the Richest?
The Donald passed a stimulus tax bill that is expected to increases the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, and there are some pundits who put the figure higher. He and the Republicans passed this budget busting stimulus tax bill, while the economy was operating at levels considered above a full employment economy [5% unemployment is considered standard / normal] and at a time when wages were rising over 2%.
Inflation above 2% is considered to be detrimental to economic stability by the Federal Reserve, so stimulating the economy while it's at full employment with rising wages is about the opposite of what makes sense, especially when you consider the funding for it is coming from America's children and most of the benefits for it are going to the wealthiest people on the planet. We posted a report analyzing the Trump Tax Reform Bill slightly before it was finalized, which includes a lot of facts and figures to help provide context to better understand what was in the bill they passed.
The Independent Democratic Caucus Aligns with NYS Senate Republicans & Gives Them Control
In 2010 / 2011 NYS Senator Jeffrey Klein broke away from the Democratic Party and formed the Independent Democratic Caucus which aligns with the Republican Party, thereby giving them control of the NYS Senate. The effect of this is that bills passed by the Democratic controlled NYS Assembly are indefinitely tabled, or in lay man's terms pretty much killed, in the Republican-controlled NYS Senate. The Republicans control the NYS Senate, because eight NYS senators who run as Democrats [IDC Independent Democratic Caucus], either vote with or kill bills with the Republicans.
Democratic NYS Assembly Bills Effectively Killed by IDC
According to the Democratic Senate Conference, the Republican controlled NYS Senate - with the help of their Republicans running as Democrats allies - have effectively killed one education bill providing full day kindergarten funding, three wage / leave bills, four voting rights bills including the allowance of early voting, four immigration bills including one related to the DREAM Act, four housing bills including several pertaining to NYC rent laws that help renters, three criminal justice bills including creation of correctional ombudsman and sealing of marijuana possession records [as marijuana is rapidly being legalized in states across the country], one related to LGBTQ issues, and six regarding healthcare, several of which pertain to women's reproductive rights.
The IDC Deception: Republicans Running as Democrats?
The net effect of this is that Democrats are, in a sense, cheated or tricked out of their majority by what appears to be Republicans running as Democrats. The Independent Democratic Caucus or IDC includes Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx, who founded the IDC, David Valesky of Oneida and Madison Counties in upstate New York, David Carlucci of Rockland and Westchester Counties, Diane Savino of Staten Island / Brooklyn, Tony Avella of Queens, Jose Peralta of Queens, Jesse Hamilton of Brooklyn, and Marisol Alcantera of Washington Heights / Manhattan. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn also runs as a Democrat and caucuses with the Republicans.
Trump Tax Plan: A Morally Bankrupt President’s Gift?
Are Billionaires Trump & Murdoch Bilking America’s Unborn Babies?
Like many of you, I have been watching the Trump Tax plan make its way through Congress. While Trump and his cohorts were whipping together the tax package, I was doing research on the possible implications of some of their tax policy proposals.
According to an October 20, 2017 PolitiFact report [based on the plan at that time, which has since been modified],
"... in the first year of changes, the top 1 percent are projected to draw a little over half the tax savings. The threshold of 80 percent going to the top 1 percent is projected for the tenth year."
While directionally this statement is likely to hold [meaning the plan is biased toward the rich], the exact numbers as to how biased the Trump Tax Plan will be for the wealthy - based on the final bill - remains to be calculated.
In this report we look at a number of tax cuts included in the final bill including repatriation of overseas profits, reduction of the estate tax, reduction of the corporate tax and the blue vs red state tax increase. We include a review questioning why the Trump Administration is pushing this deficit expanding / debt increasing fiscal stimulus package - when we're in a full employment economy with rising wages. We also include how the Trump Tax Cut Plan has been treated propagandistically by Rupert Murdoch's media outlets, as he appears to personally and corporately benefit immensely from the tax cuts.
But before we begin, we take you on a quick review at some key characteristics and prior dealings of the man behind the plan – Donald J. Trump.
- CLICK HERE to view the rest of our report on the Trump Tax Plan - Super Rich Bilk Billions from America's Unborn Babies.
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