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Bronx Breakdown: Church and School Confusion, FreshDirect, Just 1 Crime Story and SNL

February 20, 2012


The Bronx Breakdown is back with a special President’s Day edition, where we wrestle with our favorite three subjects — the separation of church and state, city subsidies for development projects, ridiculously sad crime stories — and have some fun with SNL. Let’s break it on down. (FYI, above is our temporary new Bronx Breakdown logo. It’s taken from a photo my mother took of Mercedes Benz parked on Seattle street. The Bronx is everywhere!)

One Bronx Church Gets Reprieve
Turns out only one church, University Heights-based Bronx Household of Faith, was able to worship in a New York City public school this weekend.

On Thursday, it appeared dozens of congregations throughout the five boroughs would be allowed to worship inside schools during their off hours after Judge Loretta Preska issued a temporary restraining order on a city policy that bans religious groups from worshiping inside city school buildings.

But on Friday evening, the judge clarified the restraining order, saying, in so many words: actually, um, the only church/religious group this applies to is Bronx Household of Faith, which filed the original lawsuit against the Department of Education and its policy 17 years ago.

The result was mass confusion. Some churches who had applied and were approved for permits received cancellation notices and spent the weekend scrambling to find space to hold services on Sunday. Others did not receive cancellation notices and went ahead with services in the schools they’ve been using. Read more

Bronx Sports Report: Your Bronx-Centric Guide to the PSAL Playoffs

February 17, 2012


[Video: Before we get to high school playoff action, we’ll start with reaction from Manhattan College head coach Steve Masiello after his team’s disappointing 70-64 loss to Siena on Valentine’s Day. And just a week after we featured them in the Bronx Sports Report! Hopefully this won’t turn into an SI jinx type of thing.]

Representing the Boogie Down
The borough playoffs are over. It’s time to find out who are the top high school hoops dogs in New York City.

The Public School Athletic League playoffs kicked off this week with a slew of early round match-ups. But now we hit the tournament pause button as the city’s schools take next week off. It will give some teams a chance to regroup, while slowing the momentum of others.

With perennial powers — Brooklyn’s Lincoln on the boys side and Manhattan’s Murry Bergtraum on the girls — having less than dominant season, this could be the year a team bring a city title back to the Booggie Down. Here’s a breakdown, by division, of all the Bronx contenders and Cinderellas. Read more

Churches Can Stay in Schools for 10 More Days, Judge Says

February 16, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

A city policy banning worship in public school buildings during non-school hours was put on hold today, after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction this morning that will allow churches and other religious groups to continue holding services in schools, at least for the next 10 days.

The ban was supposed to go into effect Sunday, Feb. 12, following a federal court’s decision last spring that the Department of Education could legally evict the religious groups on the grounds of separation of church and state. Bronx Household of Faith, a small University Heights-based church that has held services in the auditorium of PS 15 since 2002, has been been fighting the city’s policy for over a decade. This week, a Christian legal group representing the church, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), requested the injunction after the city’s Law Department denied a judge’s request Monday to let the churches remain while the court considered the issue.

“The court’s order is a message of hope for fundamental freedoms in New York City because it means that, for the time being, the city must welcome churches as it does other groups,” said ADF lawyer Jordan Lorence. “ADF will continue to fight this battle relentlessly until the city no longer unconstitutionally prohibits activity for purely religious reasons.”

Opponents of the ban, including many of the city’s religious leaders and Bronx City Councilman and pastor Fernando Cabrera, are hoping to have the issue resolved legislatively, and have been campaigning in support of a state bill that would reverse the city’s ban. The legislation was passed by the State Senate but has not been approved by the Assembly, where it was introduced by Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who decides what bills come up on the Assembly floor for a vote, is looking for a more narrow version of the bill than the one that’s been proposed, according to a spokeswoman.

“He feels that the Senate bill is very broad, and would allow any organization to come into the school,” said Sheldon staffer Kerri Biche. “He’s glad it’s being addressed in the court since it’s a constitutional issue. He looks forward to the court’s decision as a guide for any legislation.”

Bronx Nabe Note: Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting Tonight

February 16, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page..

The Croton Facility Monitoring Committee will meet tonight, Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the DEP Office, 3660 Jerome Ave. For more information, call (718) 231-8470.

For the full agenda, click on the “Read more” link. Read more

Bronx Nabe Note: CSI for Teens at BCC

February 16, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

Bronx Community College‘s Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), offers aspiring middle and high school students classes in the fundamentals of crime scene investigating. Funded by the NYS Education Department, the program offers free Saturday workshops providing enriching, academic support to seventh to 12th grade students in math and science disciplines such as algebra, earth science, biology, and calculus. Along with scientific research and application, students strengthen writing, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. For more information or to enroll your child, call (718) 289-5952 or contact Eugene.adams@bcc.cuny.edu.

Be Healthy Wednesdays! Bronx Students, School Health Advocates Advance on Albany

February 15, 2012

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Breaking Bronx features a health-related story, event or tidbit as part of an online expansion of our Be Healthy! column.

Students from the Montefiore School Health Program at PS 95 in the Norwood Section join other Bronx schools to board the buses to Albany for School Based health Programs Advocacy Day.

Bronx Students, School Health Advocates Advance on Albany

A group of Bronx students, parents and teachers affiliated with Montefiore Medical Center traveled to the state capitol yesterday to take part in an advocacy day event, looking to drum up political support for school-based health centers–full service health clinics, situated in schools, which provide care for students there, a tactic advocates say is effective in improving health outcomes for young people in low-income and minority communities.

Over 200 people from across the state attended the Albany event, and students participated in open mic sessions to discuss the impact school health centers have on their lives, with the goal of creating awareness and demanding continued financial support from the state government for the program.

Studies conducted by Montefiore have shown that School-Based Health Centers (SBCHs) ultimately save money by stressing the importance of primary and preventative care for youths,  reducing the annual number of expensive emergency room and hospital visits. A 2005 study conducted found that Montefiore’s school-based centers reduced hospitalizations by half for asthmatic student, and estimated that SBHCs saved the state $3 million in hospital inpatient costs alone for children with asthma.

Read more

Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative–FINAL DEADLINE!

February 15, 2012

Today, Wednesday, Feb. 15, is the last day to apply to the spring semester of the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative, the free high school journalism after-school program run by the Norwood News.

Founded in 2008, the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative is open to any high school student who lives or goes to school in the Bronx. Spring classes will start at the end of February and are held every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hostos Community College, on the Grand Concourse.

The course runs for 12 weeks, and teaches the ins and outs of reporting, writing, and photojournalism. Students work on their own articles (often story ideas they pitch themselves), which we then publish in Bronx Youth Heard, a special supplement we distribute in the Norwood News–meaning they will get a real news clip with a byline. Their work will be seen by thousands of readers and have an impact on the Bronx community.

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

To check out some of the stories published by our fall semester students, click here.

You can also “like” the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative on Facebook! See what our current and former students are up to. Click here to become a fan.

City Rejects Judge’s Request for Delay in School Church Evictions

February 15, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Bronx Household of Faith holds its services in the PS/MS 15 auditorium. (Photo by Alex Kratz)

The city has denied a federal judge’s request to delay the evictions of dozens of faith-based groups that hold worship services in public schools, saying the enforcement of the policy has already been pushed back twice, according to a letter sent by the city’s Law Department.

Yesterday, Judge Loretta Preska asked the city to allow churches and other groups that rent public school space on weekends to continue to use the facilities while she deliberates on the issue. The Department of Education policy banning religious groups from worshiping in school buildings, citing the separation of church and state, was supposed to take effect this past Sunday, Feb. 12. But lawyers with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a lawsuit earlier this month that seeks an injunction against the ban, which the ADF, religious leaders and some Bronx elected officials are calling discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Jordan Lorence, the lead lawyer for ADF, which first began challenging the DOE’s ban on behalf of University Height’s church Bronx Household of Faith in 1994, said yesterday that he’s hopeful Judge Preska will issue the injunction soon if the city refuses to voluntarily delay the evictions.

Read more

Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative — Apply Now Before Tomorrow’s Deadline!

February 14, 2012

Just two more days to apply to the spring semester of the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative, the free high school journalism after-school program run by the Norwood News. We’ll be accepting applications until this Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Founded in 2008, the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative is open to any high school student who lives or goes to school in the Bronx. Spring classes will start at the end of February and are held every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hostos Community College, on the Grand Concourse.

The course runs for 12 weeks, and teaches the ins and outs of reporting, writing, and photojournalism. Students work on their own articles (often story ideas they pitch themselves), which we then publish in Bronx Youth Heard, a special supplement we distribute in the Norwood News–meaning they will get a real news clip with a byline. Their work will be seen by thousands of readers and have an impact on the Bronx community.

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

To check out some of the stories published by our fall semester students, click here.

You can also “like” the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative on Facebook! See what our current and former students are up to. Click here to become a fan.

Bronx Nabe Note: Human Rights Activist Speaks at Lehman College

February 14, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, a Catholic priest from Oaxaca, Mexico, a leading advocate for the rights of migrants travelling through Mexico to the U.S., will speak in Lehman College Music Building’s East Dining Room on Thursday, Feb. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail alyshia.galvez@lehman.cuny.edu.

Judge Tells City to Delay Ban on Churches Using Schools

February 14, 2012

By Alex Kratz

While stopping short of issuing an injunction, a judge told city lawyers this morning to continue allowing churches and other religious groups to worship in school facilities while she deliberates on the issue.

A Department of Education policy banning churches and other religious groups from worshiping in school buildings was supposed to take effect this past Sunday, Feb. 12. The ban would leave dozens of churches without a place to worship this coming weekend. But lawyers with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a lawsuit earlier this month that seeks an injunction against the ban, which the ADF, religious leaders and some Bronx elected officials are calling discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Jordan Lorence, the lead lawyer for ADF, which first began challenging the DOE’s ban on behalf of Bronx Household of Faith, a small evangelical congregation in University, in 1994, was upbeat this afternoon, saying the judge basically told city officials to voluntarily delay the ban and if they don’t, she may intervene with an injunction.

Lorence said a delay or an injunction would give the state time to repeal the ban legislatively. So far, the senate has passed a repeal bill, while the assembly and Speaker Sheldon Silver have yet to bring its version of the bill to a vote. Lorence said there is nothing legally preventing the state from simply repealing the policy.

“This isn’t over yet,” Lorence said.

Court to Hear Appeal on Worship in Schools Ban

February 14, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly and Alex Kratz

On Sunday, dozens of religious groups across the city that rent auditorium and cafeteria space in public schools held their (possibly) last services there, as a city policy banning worship in schools went into effect Feb. 12. Breaking Bronx reached out to a few local pastors to see what the plan was for their congregations after getting evicted, and we’re hearing from several sources that the groups could possibly be getting a reprieve.

Pastor Jack Roberts of Bronx Household of Faith, the University Heights church that led a years-long legal fight against the DOE’s policy, said that a Manhattan judge could decide this week to order a temporary injunction against the city’s ban, granting the religious groups more time to try and get the policy reversed by state law, or, at least, to find new sites to hold services.

The injunction was filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, which has legally backed Bronx Household’s efforts to use school space since it first challenged the DOE’s policy in 1994. Read more

Slideshow: The Bronx Celebrates Dominican Heritage Month

February 14, 2012

Last Thursday, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. hosted a celebration in honor of Dominican Heritage Month. Our photographer, Adi Talwar, was there to shoot all the action, including performances, speeches, awards and, of course, Dominican food!

Bronx Nabe Note: Forum on Adoloscent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Thursday Night

February 13, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

Montefiore Medical Center, in collaboration with Connect to Protect (C2P) Bronx, is hosting a Bronx Town Hall meeting on Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health for teens, parents and educators, Feb. 16, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Bronx Library Center, 310 E. Kingsbridge Rd. Free food will be available 5:30 to 6 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, contact Bianca Lopez at (718) 882-0232 or blopez@adolescentaids.org.

JFK Boys Take Bronx HS Hoops Title

February 13, 2012

By Alex Kratz

The John F. Kennedy High School boys basketball team exorcised some regular season demons with a thrilling 59-54 upset of Wings Academy Saturday in the Bronx borough title game. (Click here for photos from MSG Varsity.)

During the regular season, JFK lost to Wings twice, including a heart-breaking home loss that ended on a buzzer-beating three-point shot by Wings star player Justin Jenkins.

This time, with the Bronx borough championship on the line during a mid-morning game at York College in Queens, JFK withstood a couple of big shots in the final minute by Wings to pull out the win. Both teams will move on to the citywide AA Division playoffs, which start on Wednesday.

Wings gets a first round bye after receiving a 4 seed. JFK received a 10 seed and will play Forrest Hills High School on Wednesday in Riverdale.

Bronx Weekend Links: Final Day for Churches in Schools, More NYPD Fallout From Ramarley Graham Shooting & More

February 13, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Here are some local news stories we’re following, from this morning and this weekend, here on Breaking Bronx:

Fernando Cabrera and religious leaders protest the city's ban on churches in schools. (Photo courtesy NYC Council)

  • The teenaged son of a high-ranking NYPD union official has been arrested in connection with a January shooting near Co-Op City. Police arrested 17-year-old Hameed Abdul-Jabbar after a search of his bedroom turned up a gun and drugs. Abdul-Jabbar is the son of Officer Mubarak Abdul-Jabbar, Second Vice President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

Two Injured In Concourse Bus Crash

February 13, 2012

An EMS paramedic examines one of two victims removed from the damaged auto. (Photo by David Greene)

A Friday afternoon crash on the Grand Concourse, involving a city bus and a regular-sized sedan, left two people injured. Members of the Fire Department removed the two injured passengers of the sedan after a BX 1 bus struck their vehicle at the intersection of the Grand Concourse and East 204 Street at about 3:30 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 10. The victims were removed by members of Ladder 37 and transported to St. Barnabas Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. None of the two dozen passengers of the bus were injured.

Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative–Apply Now Before Wednesday’s Deadline!

February 13, 2012

Just two more days to apply to the spring semester of the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative, the free high school journalism after-school program run by the Norwood News. We’ll be accepting applications until this Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Founded in 2008, the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative is open to any high school student who lives or goes to school in the Bronx. Spring classes will start at the end of February and are held every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hostos Community College, on the Grand Concourse.

The course runs for 12 weeks, and teaches the ins and outs of reporting, writing, and photojournalism. Students work on their own articles (often story ideas they pitch themselves), which we then publish in Bronx Youth Heard, a special supplement we distribute in the Norwood News–meaning they will get a real news clip with a byline. Their work will be seen by thousands of readers and have an impact on the Bronx community.

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

To check out some of the stories published by our fall semester students, click here.

You can also “like” the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative on Facebook! See what our current and former students are up to. Click here to become a fan.

Bronx Breakdown: Ridiculous Redistricting

February 10, 2012

By Alex Kratz

The Bronx Breakdown is back this week with perplexing and much less violent (at least compared to last week) news this Friday — the curious redistricting lines drawn between the borough’s 33rd and 34th senate districts. Let’s break it on down.

The Norwood News headquarters is located across the street from the north entrance to Williamsbridge Oval Park. Like the rest of Norwood, it neatly fits inside the 33rd Senate District, currently represented by Gustavo Rivera.

If the new redistricting lines drawn by a legislative task force are implemented, we would still be in the 33rd, but the park, directly across the street to the south, would be part of the 34th District, which Jeff Klein represents. Walk one block north and you’re back in Klein territory. Two blocks east? Klein again. The NN office would essentially be on a Rivera peninsula jutting into a sea of Klein.

The rest of the district borders in Norwood and Bedford Park are similarly schizophrenic. It’s as if the redistricting committee wanted to create a labyrinth out of the 33rd District, a Rorschach test for map readers.

In any case, it’s ridiculous and one of the many reasons why the New York Public Interest Research Group called the new redistricting proposal “clearly the most gerrymandered lines in recent New York history.”

With good reason, the proposal was broadly lambasted at a recent hearing. Read more

Valentine Tips From a Bronx Jeweler: It’s the Thought (and a Nice Piece of Jewelry) That Counts

February 10, 2012

Allan Freilich and the staff at Freilich Jewelers. (Photo by Alex Kratz)

With Valentine’s Day just days away, we went straight to the most tenured and trusted jeweler in the northwest Bronx, Allan Freilich, of Freilich Jewelers in Norwood, which opened in Norwood in 1939, to get some advice on buying the perfect gift for your special someone. Here are the highlights from our conversation.

What’s an “appropriate” Valentine’s gift?

As a traditional old-time jeweler, I believe your gift should be proportional to your relationship. If you met the young lady on Friday night and Valentine’s Day is the next Tuesday, a gift might be something slightly different than someone who is in a long-term relationship, married or otherwise. Now that’s appropriate behavior. Of course in today’s world, everything’s thrown to the wind.

How much should you spend?

That level of money has changed with our times. The reality of it is that, for many of us, times are tougher. So times have definitely changed. You can buy a lovely thing here for $20, no question about it. The real question is remembering and coming home with something, whatever it is. Yes, I would love for everyone to leave with a $5,000 item, but the realities are what they are.

Is it okay for women to buy jewelry for men?

Absolutely. There was a day many years ago when men didn’t wear much stuff, but that is not the case anymore. Men adorn just like the pirates in the old days. Read more

Bronxites Blast State Redistricting Proposal

February 10, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

The district lines proposed by a group of lawmakers to define the 33rd State Senate District, currently represented by Sen. Gustavo Rivera, would split jagged pockets of Norwood into Sen. Jeff Klein's 34th District.

A plan devised by a group of state lawmakers to redraw the boundaries of New York’s legislative districts is drawing fire from a number of Bronx residents and groups that are worried the new maps could divide the political power of certain neighborhoods.

A bipartisan panel of Senate and Assembly members, known as LATFOR, is charged with creating the new districts every 10 years based on Census data to keep up with population changes. LATFOR released its proposed maps for the State Senate and Assembly two weeks ago and is holding hearings across the state this month to collect feedback on the plans.

For years, good government groups have advocated for an independent redistricting process, arguing that politicians can’t map their own districts without bias. In the past, the majority parties — Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the Assembly — have used the process to consolidate power.

At a hearing in the Bronx last week, nearly 50 speakers testified, many of them saying the new maps are gerrymandered and drawn in ways that benefit incumbent candidates.

“The lines were drawn for no other purpose than allowing an elected official to handpick his own constituents,” said Fernando Tirado, chair of Bronx Community Board 7. Read more

Bronx Nabe Note: Blood Drive at St. Brendan’s

February 10, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

St. Brendan’s Parish, located at 333 E. 206th St., between Perry and Bainbridge avenues, is conducting its annual neighborhood blood drive on Sunday, Feb. 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the school’s cafeteria. Social Security numbers are not required, but a valid picture ID is. Eligible donor ages are 16 to 75, but anyone under the age of 18 will need to provide his or her parent’s written consent. For more information, call (718) 547-6655.

Bronx Sports Report: Old School Hoops Slideshow as Borough Playoffs Heat Up

February 9, 2012

By Alex Kratz


[Slideshow: These vintage-looking shots by Adi Talwar were taken during the John F. Kennedy boy’s 78-60 win over rival DeWitt Clinton in the quarterfinals of the Bronx borough playoffs. JFK plays Eagle Academy tonight in Riverdale at 6 p.m.]

The Embattled Eagle Academy Marches On
The Eagle Academy boy’s team, the number three seed in the Bronx borough playoffs (and they probably deserved a two-seed), goes into tonight’s semifinal match-up against JFK with a total of three wins on the season, according to the Public School Athletic League website. They were forced to forfeit their first 11 games played by point guard Gerard Carty, who the PSAL has deemed ineligible because he is a fifth-year senior, according to the NY Post. The Post‘s anonymous sources dispute this claim.

It’s unclear how the forfeits will affect Eagle’s seeding in the citywide playoffs coming up next week, but the loss of Carty has not stopped them from winning. Since losing by four to Wings Academy on Jan. 19, Eagle has reeled off five straight wins, including a 58-42 quarterfinal win over a much-improved Evander Childs team on Tuesday. Read more

Bronx Neighborhood Note: Forum on Supporting Immigrant and Minority Entrepreneurs

February 9, 2012

The Center for an Urban Future and the Fund for Public Advocacy are facilitating a discussion about the role of immigrant and minority entrepreneurs in the Bronx, the challenges they face, and how to support their growth, Feb. 14, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Hostos Community College, Savoy Building., 120 E. 149th St. (corner of Walton Avenue), multi-purpose room, 2nd floor. A light breakfast will be served. To register, e-mail rsvp@nycfuture.org. Registration deadline is Monday, Feb. 13.

Bronx Neighborhood Note: Martial Arts at The COVE

February 8, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

The COVE, a Knox-Gates neighborhood organization, located at 3418 Gates Place (basement) between Mosholu Parkway and Gun Hill Road, is offering Martial Arts classes for ages 5 to adult, Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $5/session. For more information, call (718) 405-1312.

Be Healthy! Wednesdays: National Heart Month off to a Healthy Local Start

February 8, 2012

By Peter Moskowitz

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Breaking Bronx features a health-related story, event or tidbit as part of an online expansion of our Be Healthy! column.

Employees at Montefiore Medical Center, including President and CEO Dr. Steven Safyer (middle), take a one-mile walk through the hospital to kick off their celebration of National Heart Month. (Photo by Peter Moskowitz)

When Montefiore Medical Center nurses and doctors walk or run through hospital hallways, it’s not usually associated with a celebration. But when 50 or so employees took four laps through the Bronx hospital’s central building last Wednesday, it was.

They were kicking off “Heart Month,” a series of national events sponsored by the American Heart Association to bring greater awareness to heart health. The hospital began the festivities with its fourth annual mile-long walk.

Donald Stark, the hospital’s director of cardiology, admitted the short walk around the hospital was more symbolic than about actual exercise, but he hoped it would inspire local employees to bring the message of prevention outside the hospital.

“This is where we live, and our people who work here live here too,” he said.

Read more

Ex-Bronx Tourism Director Hired as Naomi Rivera’s Chief of Staff

February 8, 2012

By Alex Kratz

Doris Quinones remembers meeting her new boss, Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, more than a decade ago. Quinones was just starting out as the director of the Bronx Tourism Council and Rivera worked for then-Borough President Fernando Ferrer as his director of special events.

Rivera would go on to seek elected office and is now entrenched as the representative of the Bronx 80th Assembly District, which includes parts of Norwood, Bedford Park and almost all of Morris Park. Meanwhile, Quinones continued her work at the tourism council, took up residence in Norwood and then later moved to Morris Park, where she lives with her husband and twin boys.

Late last year, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, which runs the tourism council, went through what Quinones described as a process of “re-organization.” That re-organization plan did not include keeping Quinones on as director of the tourism council.

Fortunately for Quinones, Rivera was also going through a similar re-organization and so she invited Quinones to join her as chief of staff. Quinones officially started her new job on Jan. 5, but went up to Albany with Rivera for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech a couple of days earlier. Read more

Bronx Neighborhood Note: Teen Center Re-opens at MMCC

February 7, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

The free Teen Center at Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, 3450 DeKalb Ave., is open again, offering a variety of activities, including tutoring, Tuesdays to Thursdays, 6:30 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays, 7 to 10 p.m. For more information, call Theodore Allen at (718) 882-4000 ext. 0.

Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative–Apply Now!

February 7, 2012

There’s still one week left to apply for the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative, a free high school journalism after-school program run by the Norwood News. Get your application in now! The deadline is next Wednesday, February 15.

Founded in 2008, the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative is open to any high school student who lives or goes to school in the Bronx. Spring classes will start at the end of February and are held every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hostos Community College, on the Grand Concourse.

The course runs for 12 weeks, and teaches the ins and outs of reporting, writing, and photojournalism. Students work on their own articles (often story ideas they pitch themselves), which we then publish in Bronx Youth Heard, a special supplement we distribute in the Norwood News–meaning they will get a real news clip with a byline. Their work will be seen by thousands of readers and have an impact on the Bronx community.

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

To check out some of the stories published by our fall semester students, click here.

You can also “like” the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative on Facebook! See what our current and former students are up to. Click here to become a fan.

Bronx Crime Watch: Suspect in Murder Case Arrested in North Carolina

February 7, 2012

By Alex Kratz

Bronx police detectives took a trip down south last week to apprehend a suspect in the brutal robbery and murder of a 59-year-old Bengali man more than three months ago in University Heights.

Last Wednesday, Detective John Ferretti of the 52nd Precinct and Detective Joseph Ciatto of the violent crimes unit worked with local police in Charlotte, NC, to arrest Abdul West, who was wanted for the robbery and murder of Bimal Chanda on Oct. 29. Another suspect, Devon Downs, was arrested on Jan. 28.

Inspector Joseph Dowling, the commander of the 52nd Precinct, said both suspects have “long track records” as criminals. According to Dowling, prior to the attack on Chanda on Oct. 29, video surveillance showed the two suspects attempting to rob somebody walking their dog, but the dog scared them off. They later focused in on Chanda, who was returning to his apartment building on West 190th Street from a local store where he bought packing tape for his family’s pending move to a condo in Parkchester. Read more

Fresh Direct Will Move Headquarters to the Bronx

February 7, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

The Boogie Down comes out ahead–again!–in the latest business battle with New Jersey, with the news that grocery delivery company Fresh Direct will be  relocating to the Bronx from their current headquarters in Queens.

The company had been contemplating lucrative tax deals from both New York City and New Jersey, but will build its new site in the south Bronx’s Harlem River Yards after accepting $130 in grants, tax breaks and tax credits from Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., according to the Daily News.

Last June, New Jersey tried to lure the Hunts Point Produce Market over the river from its long time Bronx location, but the Market ultimately opted to renew its lease and stay put, at least for the time being.

The News reports that the move will keep the Fresh Direct’s 2,000 current jobs in New York, and will also add 1,000 new jobs by 2020. Its planned 500,000-square-foot new warehouse is estimated to open by 2015.

The article notes that some good-government groups are criticizing the city’s generous tax breaks offerings, citing the fact that Fresh Direct pays 38% of its workers less than $25,000 a year.

In the living wage bill compromise struck last month between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and supporters of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, Fresh Direct would be exempt from the mandate required of other publicly subsidized companies should the bill get passed–that direct workers get paid $1 0 an hour with benefits, or $11.50 an hour without.

Weekend Bronx Links

February 6, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Breaking Bronx’s roundup of local news from today and this past weekend.

Tensions are high here in the Bronx after police officers shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old, Wakefield resident Ramarley Graham. The Amsterdam News reports that Graham’s family and friends have been rallying today and over the weekend. The Daily News and the Times report that Graham’s grandmother, who was home when the shooting occurred, says she was held for hours by police afterwards for interviews, against her will. Recently released surveillance video footage of the incident shows officers kicking down the door to Graham’s home after the teen had entered it.

In other Bronx/NYPD news:
The Associated Press reports that the lawyer for Jateik Reed, a 19-year-old whose beating at the hands of police officers was caught on tape and went viral, is asking for a special prosecutor to investigate the incident on the grounds that Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson is too close to the NYPD to to be considered impartial.

Fernando Cabrera is taking his fight for churches using public school space to Albany today. The councilman and a number of faith leaders are hoping to garner support for a state law that would reverse a city ban on churches holding service in schools.

DNAinfo profiles the two men behind the Bronx Brewery, the Mott Haven-based beer makers who turn out brews like the aptly named Bronx Pale Ale.

The Daily News profiles Deirdre Scott, head of the Bronx Council on the Arts. 

The Department of Education will vote Thursday on whether to close 25 schools on the city’s list of struggling ones, which includes Samuel Gompers, a vocational high school on Southern Boulevard. Four other Bronx schools are on the list of possible closures, and the city wants to eliminate grades at another. You can find the full list here. 

 

Bronx Budget Hearing Date Changed to Feb. 16

February 6, 2012

Editor’s note: Last week we mistakenly reported the Bronx public hearing on the mayor’s proposed budget would be Feb. 1 (the original date). It was rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16. Details are below:

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. invites the public to attend The Bronx Borough Board Public Hearing on the mayor’s preliminary budget for fiscal year 2013, and the capital and service needs of the Bronx. The meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at 198 E. 161st St., in the third floor Litigation Room. Anyone interested in presenting testimony should email their name, title, organization, and telephone number to bmccray@bronxbp.nyc.gov to register in advance, or for more information, call (718) 590-3500.

Bronx State Sen. Klein to Sponsor Minimum Wage Bill

February 6, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Bronx State Sen. Jeff Klein announced this morning that he is introducing a bill in the Senate to raise the state’s minimum wage, a version of which was first introduced in the State Assembly last week by Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Klein, who broke from the Senate Democrats last year, is currently the head of a four-person Independent Democratic Conference. Most Republicans oppose the idea of a wage hike.

If passed, the bill would raise the minimum wage required in New York to $8.50 an hour, up from the current $7.25, and would tie the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.

“New York is failing to live up to its tradition as a progressive leader as long as this state’s minimum wage remains stagnant,” Klein said in a statement.

“Living on $290 a-week is virtually impossible in this state, yet that’s what thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers are struggling to do each day. I believe we can do better as a state and as a society.”

Mayor Bloomberg came out in support of a minimum wage hike in his State of the City speech last month, and several Bronx elected officials have expressed their support for it.
Read more

Bronx Neighborhood Note: Public Hearing on Van Cortlandt Park Ice Rink

February 6, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

The Franchise and Concession Review Committee and the Parks Department will hold a joint public hearing on Monday, Feb. 6, at 2:30 p.m., at 22 Reade St. in Manhattan, to review the intent to award one 15-season term development, operation, and maintenance license to Van Cortlandt Park Ice Rink, LLC. A draft copy of the license agreement may be reviewed or obtained at no cost from Monday, Jan. 30 through Monday, Feb. 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays, at the Parks Department offices, 830 Fifth Avenue, room 313. For more information, call (212) 788-7490.

Bronx Breakdown: Unarmed Teen Shot By Police & Other Bronx News

February 3, 2012

By Marcos Sierra and Alex Kratz

The Bronx Breakdown, brought to you commercial-free every Friday, spent the week compiling all of the latest and most compelling Bronx stories and packaged them here for your reading consumption. Enjoy. And please, tune in again next week.

Unarmed Bronx Teen Shot by Police Officer

It’s never a good thing when police and citizens are trading body blows. This week, we’ve seen victims on both sides of the law. So far, the tally includes three dead (and one badly-beaten up) citizens and one cop fighting for his life after taking a bullet to his head. The latest altercation played out to its fatal end yesterday afternoon in the Wakefield-area of the Bronx, near the corner of East 229th street and White Plains Road.

Ramarley Graham, 18, was pronounced dead at Montefiore Medical Center after being chased by a group of plainclothes narcotics officers into his home at 749 East 229th Street and fatally shot.

According to police reports, plainclothes officers spotted Graham on White Plains Road in the Wakefield section at around 3 p.m. Thursday. They saw him adjusting his belt and thought he had a gun, so they chased him into his home on East 229th Street. In the bathroom, a struggle ensued and Graham was shot in the torso, while his 6-year-old little brother and grandmother watched.

The NYPD’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne said, “there was no evidence that he (Graham) was armed” when the officer, a member of a narcotics unit, shot him once in the upper left chest, according to the NY Times.

Today, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly addressed the shooting with reporters. He said the officers involved saw a gun sticking out of Graham’s waistband and that he fled when they approached him. After Graham went into the apartment he lived in with his grandmother, one of the two officers pursuing him became entangled. The struggling officer’s partner said he heard his colleague yell, “Gun! Gun!” before the fatal gunshot rang out out. Kelly did not say that Graham was actually carrying a gun, although police say they did recover a small amount of marijuana at the apartment.

Graham’s friends and family say the punishment didn’t fit the crime. Read more

Local Faith Leaders Bless Bronx Pride’s New Home

February 3, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Local faith leaders visited the Bronx Community Pride Center's new building last week (Photo courtesy Bronx Pride)

Last week, the Bronx Community Pride Center celebrated its new home, and eight pastors from varying faiths visited the group’s new building to participate in an interdenominational blessing ceremony for the new site, on Kelly Street in Hunts Point.

“Our clients and staff have strong ties to the faith community and religion has played a large role in their lives and upbringing,” said executive director Dirk McCall. “While we might not always agree on all issues, we want to engage in dialogue and find areas of common ground, working together to improve the lives of all LGBTQ Bronxites.” Read more

Bronx Neighborhood Note: Children’s Speech Classes

February 3, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

The Speech Center at Mount Saint Ursula Academy, 2885 Marion Ave., is accepting children for its spring speech, language and reading programs. For more information, call (718) 584-7679 or e-mail msuspeech@aol.com.

Bronx Sports Report: After Down Year, Jaspers Catching Fire

February 2, 2012

By Alex Kratz

Manhattan College freshman and Bronx native Emmy Andujar, with the ball for the Jaspers against Fordham earlier this season, is a key component to the Jaspers' remarkable turnaround this season. (Photo courtesy Manhattan College Athletic Department)

Following its seventh straight win on Sunday night — to complete a road sweep of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s western New York schools, Niagra and Canisius — it’s time to acknowledge the remarkable turnaround of Manhattan College’s men’s basketball program, which is fielding the hottest hoops team in the Bronx. (Manhattan plays tonight at Marist.)

Last year, the Jaspers suffered through one its worst season ever with a 6-25 overall record and just three MAAC wins. The abysmal performance cost head coach Barry Rohrssen his job.

This year, behind 34-year-old first-year head coach Steve Masiello the team already has 16 wins, making it the biggest one-season turnaround (from last year to this year) in the entire NCAA Division I, according to sports information director Steve Dombrowski.

Masiello is doing with it with mostly the same team as he inherited, but with a new winning, blue-collar attitude that he has preached from Day 1, when he told reporters at his introductory press conference in April: “We’re gonna win and win big.” He added that the Jaspers would be “the hardest-working team in the country, bar none.” Read more

Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative–Apply Now!

February 2, 2012

The Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative, a free high school journalism after-school program run by the Norwood News, is now accepting applications for the Spring 2012 semester.

Founded in 2008, the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative is open to any high school student who lives or goes to school in the Bronx. Spring classes will start at the end of February and are held every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hostos Community College, on the Grand Concourse.

The course runs for 12 weeks, and teaches the ins and outs of reporting, writing, and photojournalism. Students work on their own articles (often story ideas they pitch themselves), which we then publish in Bronx Youth Heard, a special supplement we distribute in the Norwood News–meaning they will get a real news clip with a byline. Their work will be seen by thousands of readers and have an impact on the Bronx community.

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

The application deadline is February 15.

To check out some of the stories published by our fall semester students, click here.

You can also “like” the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative on Facebook! See what our current and former students are up to. Click here to become a fan.

Bronx Crime Watch: Children Injured in Two Bronx Shootings

February 2, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Two shootings that took place this week in different Bronx neighborhoods left a 10-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy recovering from bullet wounds, according to the New York Daily News.

On Tuesday, a gunman opened fire in the crowded basketball court in Vidalia Park, on E. 180th Street and Daly Avenue in West Farms. A 12-year-old boy was injured, as were two 20-year-olds and an 18-year-old. Police believed the assailant was targeting one of the older victims; no arrests had been made as of yesterday. All four injured are expected to recover.

On Wednesday, a 10-year-old girl was nicked in the leg by a bullet while walking home from school after someone opened fire in a Morrisania intersection. She is expected to survive.

Bronx elected officials sent out statements conveying their alarm over the two incidents.

“Innocent children and their families should not be scared nor terrorized to play in their neighborhood playgrounds in fear of becoming a victim of senseless violence,” City Councilman Joel Rivera said in a statement after the West Farms shooting.

State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr., responded to the Morrisania shooting.

“I thank the Lord that she is expected to be fine, and hope that she will be able to put this trauma behind her fairly quickly, resume her life as a child, not fear her walk to and from school, and not fear growing up in her neighborhood,” he said.

City Council Hears Testimony on Worship Groups Using School Space

February 2, 2012

The City Council is holding a public hearing today on whether or not to pass a resolution in favor of a state law that would allow churches and other faith-based groups to use public school space, a debate which stemmed from a long legal battle by University Heights church Bronx Household of Faith, which had been fighting for years to continue holding services at PS 15.

The group lost their appeal this December after the Supreme Court declined to review their case, and the city announced that faith-based organizations which currently rent school spaces have until Feb. 12 to find new homes, a decision that many–led in large part by Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera–have been fighting through city and state legislation.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., expressed his support for the faith-based community in a letter to DOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott last week, saying he thinks the decision to let religious groups use school space should be left to the discretion of principals, and cited the important role that faith groups have played in their neighborhoods.

“The Department of Education should encourage schools to connect with their neighboring community organizations, in order to forge good relationships that can reverberate out into the community-at-large,” Diaz wrote. “Such relationships can have a direct positive effect on the school community and the families of the students they serve.”
Read more

Bronx Crime Watch: Commercial Robberies in Bedford Park (Video of Suspects)

February 2, 2012

By Marcos Sierra

Bedford Park merchants and vendors are on guard following two commercial robberies and a “noticed increase” in crime during the past month. The two robberies happened on Bedford Park Boulevard, near Jerome Avenue. (Police are looking for help identifying and locating the suspects from the second robbery, shown in the video above,, of Connie’s Laundromat, located at 39 East Bedford Park Blvd., on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m.)

At approximately 3 p.m., on Jan. 5, a robber, described by police as a Hispanic male, standing between 5-feet-5 and 5-feet-7, and weighing 150 pounds, brazenly entered the K & C Candy Store, located at 239 East Bedford Park Blvd., while the store was filled with customers.

According to the owner who declined to be identified, he walked up to the cash register and menacingly barked two words, “Open and money,” while gesturing as if he were armed.

“I was in shock and afraid to move, so he just reached over and grabbed all the money; he didn’t care that the store was full of people and children,” said the owner who has been a staple in the area for the past 21 years.
Read more

Bronx Neighborhood Note: Bedford Mosholu Community Association Meeting, Flea Market Donation Drive

February 1, 2012

The Bedford Mosholu Community Association meets tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. at the BMCA office, 400 E. Mosholu Pkwy.So. Apt.B1 (Lobby Floor). All are welcome. Donations are needed for BMCA’s annual Flea Market on March 10. Bring new and used items (except clothing) to the BMCA office on Wednesdays, Feb. 15, 22 and 29 from 1:30-4 p.m. or on Wednesday evening March 7, from 7:30-9 p.m.

Bronx Crime Watch: Cops Find Marijuana Farm in 5-Story Van Nest Building

February 1, 2012

By Alex Kratz

Police discovered 1,550 pounds of marijuana in a Bronx building yesterday. (Photo courtesy NYPD

Bronx police raided a five-story building in Van Nest yesterday and found an expansive marijuana growing operation that they estimated was producing $250,000-worth of product each month.

At about 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, police executed a search warrant and discovered 593 plants, some seven-feet tall, inside 610 Morris Park Ave. They said there was also 75 pounds of marijuana already cut, dried and packed in plastic. Combined with the plants, police said there was a total of 1,550 pounds of marijuana on the premises.

Three Bronx residents — Brian Munoz, 24; Diego Reyes, 25; Victor Reyes, 23 — were arrested in connection with the massive grow house discovery and charged with criminal possession of marijuana and criminal use of drug paraphernalia.

“It’s kind of genius,” local resident Dwayne Dent told the NY Times. “Until they got caught.”

Bronx Crime Watch: iPhone Shooting Suspects and Arrest in Car/Child-jacking

February 1, 2012

By Alex Kratz

iPhone Robbery Attempt Ends in Gun Violence
Police are looking for two suspects (pictured in the above video) who they say shot a 23-year-old man who refused to give up his iPhone during a recent robbery attempt in University Heights.

On Jan. 18, at about 6:30 p.m., the victim and a friend were walking on West 190th Street, between Grand and Aqueduct avenues, when they were approached by two men who demanded the victim give up his iPhone. When the victim refused and turned to run, one of the suspects shot the victim in the back. The suspects then fled on foot. The victim was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital and treated for his injuries, which were not life-threatening.

Suspect #1, who is believed to be the shooter, is describing as being 5-feet-7 and 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a dark Marmot jacket, blue jeans, black boots and carrying a gun. Suspect #2, 5-feet-8, 150 pounds, was last seen wearing a blue Yankees cap, black jacket, black pants and brown boots.

The robbery attempt occurred in almost the exact location where Bimal Chanda was killed during a violent robbery attempt almost three months ago. Police arrested one of the two suspects in Chanda’s case last week. The other suspect remains at large.

Anyone with information in regards to this robbery is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Police: We Caught Carjacker Who Stole Child Along with Car Read more

Bronx Neighborhood Notes: Budget Hearing

January 31, 2012

By Alex Kratz

Every weekday, we highlight a Bronx program, service, opportunity, public meeting/hearing or community event. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. invites the public to attend The Bronx Borough Board Public Hearing on the mayor’s preliminary budget for fiscal year 2013, and the capital and service needs of the Bronx. The meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at 198 E. 161st St., in the third floor Litigation Room. Anyone interested in presenting testimony should email their name, title, organization, and telephone number to bmccray@bronxbp.nyc.gov to register in advance, or for more information, call (718) 590-3500.

Bronx Hearing Today Seeks Public Input on Controversial Redistricting Process

January 31, 2012

New lines for local legislative districts that were proposed last week

Bronx residents have a chance to weigh in on the state legislature’s controversial redistricting plans today: the task force charged with re-drawing New York’s political district maps is holding a hearing at the Bronx Museum of the Arts this afternoon, one of several public forums being held at different locations across the state over the next few weeks.

Every ten years, following the release of new Census numbers, the state redraws its legislative district maps, intended to update Senate, Assembly and Congressional districts to reflect population changes. The process has long drawn criticism from good government groups, since the parties in power–currently, Republicans in the State Senate and Democrats in the Assembly–are the ones who do the re-drawing, and will create maps that benefit the members of their party.

Advocates, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other legislators, including many Bronx reps, have been calling for the formation of an independent panel to take over the redistricting process, but to no avail. Cuomo has said he will veto any maps put forth by LATFOR, the group of lawmakers currently in charge of drawing the new district lines.

The group released sets of proposed maps last week (see above) which show some interesting changes to a few Bronx districts. Riverdale, for example, which is currently split between three senators, would fall entirely under Sen. Jeff Klein’s jurisdiction under the new lines. Senate Republicans have also proposed adding an extra senate seat, a move many have criticized as an attempt for the party to try and maintain their slim majority in the chamber.

We’ll be at the hearing this afternoon–it’s at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, at 3 p.m.–so stay tuned.

Bronx’s Cabrera Leads Thousands in March Against Ban on Worship in School Buildings

January 31, 2012

By Alex Kratz

Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera leads a protest march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Joseph Hout)

Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera was joined by thousands on Sunday for a protest against a city policy that bans churches and religious organizations from using school buildings during off-hours for worship services. Cabrera said opposition to the city’s policy is gaining momentum as dozens of churches face homelessness when the city stops allowing them to use its school facilities on Feb. 12.

“Communities turned out in mass to show their support,” said Cabrera. “Black, White, Latino and Asian, young and old. Our momentum is growing.”

“Our constitution has an anti-establishment clause and we respect that,” he added, “but it also has a free exercise clause. This policy restricts the right to free exercise by discriminating against religious groups. Our stance against this policy does not ask for special treatment, but for fair treatment.” Read more

Breaking Bronx Eats at Mar & Tierra; Caribbean Cuisine Comes to Bainbridge

January 30, 2012

By Emily Piccone

Mar & Tierra recenlty opened on Bainbridge Avenue in Norwood. (Photo by Emily Piccone)

Breaking Bronx Eats is a periodic feature where we highlight neighborhood restaurants. If you would like us to check out a restaurant in your area, write to us at norwoodnews@norwoodnews.org.

The shops and restaurants clustered around the last stop on the D train are multiplying.

A mile from the Botanical Garden and right below the newly-refurbished Reservoir Oval Park, the few blocks of commerce have a unique charm that still reflects an older time.

Within less than a mile, there’s Mc­Dwyer’s Pub, the oldest Irish bar left standing in Norwood, Sal’s Pizza, the neighborhood’s oldest (and possibly best) pizza spot that just lost its namesake to retirement (but not its pizza, don’t worry), and a piano bar on the corner of Webster and 204th that looks untouched since the ’70s.

Joining these legends are a couple of newcomers that are bringing something fresh to the streets: a sign of nightlife. Catering to the expanding Dominican population of Norwood, the Beso Lounge and Mar & Tierra have just recently opened their doors. Mar & Tierra moved in recently, filling the bottom floor of the ever-in-flux yellow brick building on the corner of Bainbridge Avenue and Reservoir Oval East. Read more

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