A Reminder of Corrupt Bronx Politicians

24 Nov

Bronx Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo will resign from office at the end of the year, according to press reports. She cites “pressing family needs,” which could very well be the case. But the mere possibility of more corruption accusations headed toward a Bronx elected official (a few issues were raised during Arroyo’s last campaign, as I reported in City Limits) made me think of how depressingly common this is in our beautiful borough and beyond. Following is a list of 10 convicted Bronx elected officials I know of. Each name is linked to an article on their particular situation. (Some are articles from the Norwood News which I was editor of between 1994 and 2011.) If there are any I’m forgetting — and, unfortunately, that wouldn’t surprise me — please add your comments or email me at bronxmatters@gmail.com and I’ll include them in a future post.

Assemblyman Eric Stevenson

Assemblyman Nelson Castro

State Senator Guy Velella

State Senator (who later became Councilman) Israel Ruiz

State Senator Efrain Gonzalez

State Senator Pedro Espada

 Councilman Larry Seabrook

Councilman Pedro G. Espada (son of Sate Senator)

Borough President Stanley Simon

Congressman Mario Biaggi

Bronxite Guy Davis Performs in Bronx and Tells His Story

23 Nov

Blues musician and storyteller Guy Davis at Hostos Community College in the Bronx last February. Photo by Jordan Moss

Last February I saw Bronx blues artist Guy Davis, the 63-year-old son of famous actors and civil rights activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, perform a concert on his home turf at Hostos Community College on the Grand Concourse. I’m a big fan and was interested in learning more about his work so I interviewed him at Capitol, a Kingsbridge Road diner. That led to my front-page story about the blues singer-songwriter, and harmonica, guitar and banjo player, for Living Blues Magazine


You need to subscribe, or buy it at Barnes & Noble, to check it out.

Here’s a video to get you goin’. It’s “Can’t Be Satisfied” and you won’t be satisfied until you see Davis live.

Oh, if you’ve gotten this far, don’t forget to subscribe to, or purchase, Living Blues magazine!

Bronx State Senator Gustavo Rivera’s Other Public Passion: Performance

20 Nov

Bronx State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D, WF, 33rd District) did more than raise some drinks and hug his pals at his 40th birthday/fundraiser last night at Escape Restaurant and Lounge on Jerome Avenue in Norwood. He sang — a lot, with like 12 musicians! And, regardless of whether you might vote for him or someone else potentially challenging him next year (so far no one is on that route), it’s hard to expect you won’t be impressed with, and surprised by, his performance in the following video (mine).

Phenomenal Bronx Photog-Fest Extended

18 Nov

The exhibition of dozens of phenomenal photos in the Bronx and beyond by Seis del Sur (which we posted about a week ago) at King Juan Carlos 1 of Spain Center, a part of NYU at 53 Washington Square South, has been extended through March 2016! In addition to David Gonzalez’s photos previously posted, here are 4 gorgeous photos by Edwin Pagan and Angel Franco.


Vampin’ Boyz, 1990 (South Bronx) Photo by Edwin Pagan


La Muerte (The Death), 2014 (Spanish Harlem). Photo by Edwin Pagan

cuba angelo franco pic

Photo (in Cuba) by Angel Franco

cuba 2 Angel Franco pic

Photo (in Cuba) by Angel Franco

School Space for Priced-Out Bronx Artists?

16 Nov

Adam Forman, a researcher at Center for an Urban Future, has an opinion piece in the Daily News today regarding the diminishing availability of art studios citywide thanks to the growing hike in real state prices all around the city.

He suggests that city schools be made available in the evenings and on weekends. “There are 1,285 visual arts rooms, 1,111 music rooms, 932 auditoriums, 408 dance studios and 200 film production and editing facilities in the Department of Education’s 1,200 buildings,” Forman states.

As he explains, making this public space available could be complicated — liability and security issues, insurance and until expenses, etc. — but he states, “…these challenges are hardly insurmountable.”

Check out the story and let Bronx Matters readers know what you think.

(If you would like to receive an e-mail regarding new posts on this site, just add your email at bottom left of this page. Thanks!)

NYU’s Phenomenal Photo Show of Seis del Sur, 6 Bronx-Focused Puerto Rican Photographers

13 Nov
Home Blessing, Morrisania, Bronx 2012 Photo by David Gonzalez

Home Blessing, Morrisania, Bronx 2012
Photo by David Gonzalez

The Bronx-born Seis del Sur “Barrios” photo exhibit is on a virtual tour, and it grows even more beautiful as it moves down south in the city.

It began in the Bronx at the Bronx Documentary Center, formed by six Puerto Rican photographers either born in the Bronx or firmly focused on it.

But now it’s at King Juan Carlos 1 of Spain Center, a part of NYU at 53 Washington Square South in Manhattan. It’s Seis del Sur’s biggest show and its most stunning and moving with both current photos from New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Haiti, and those that highlight both Bronxites’ beauty and their severe struggles in the 1970s and 80s.

For Bronx residents, activists, students and more (and yes, Manhattanites and others who walk around down there every day) it’s a must-see exhibit linking the lives and focus of the six photographers — Joe Conzo, Ricky Flores, Edwin Pagan, David Gonzalez, Angel Franco and Francisco Molina Reyes II —who are now virtual Bronx bros.

“It is fitting that Seis del Sur brings the Bronx downtown, and finds its home here at NYU, in a university space that is a stone’s throw from another important and intense Latino community on the Lower East Side,” writes Ana Dopico, the Center’s director, in the brochure. “Their work inspires us and educates us. And reminds us that we are at the heart of a Latino city, whose communities continue to shape the future and the mission of artists, photographers, scholars, and universities.”

Seis del Sur Opening

A crowded Bronx photographer and fan crew at NYU in October. Photo by Jordan Moss

The highlight of the opening was the gathering of Bronx photographers, artists and activists way downtown. But it’s a show for everyone who loves good photography and its portrayal of the world around and beyond us all. The exhibit is open through January. Bronxites, it’s worth the trip.

Mr. Palladium, 52 Park, Bronx, 2013 Photo by David Gonzalez

Mr. Palladium, 52 Park, Bronx, 2013
Photo by David Gonzalez

High School Student Highlights NYC’s Crime Data Cover-Up; Adds to Previous Bronx Reporting

11 Nov

In the Daily News last Friday, high school student Josh Waldman’s letter to the editor tops the page with the headline: “Let us see all the crime numbers.”

Waldman reports how the Police Department keeps all but the current week’s crime statistics a secret. He points out, when the NYPD posts the current precinct-wide weekly data known as CompStat, it removes all prior stats off the site!

Congrats Josh for highlighting this critical issue that virtually no press is paying close attention to, save the Norwood News and City Limits, where I wrote this article almost two years ago.

It focused on the fact that it’s critical to know how current precinct stats compare to past precinct data and, even more importantly, to know where in those precincts specific criminal activity is growing or consistently problematic. That’s called sector stats, more material that the NYPD won’t release. Precincts are the same size as the community districts they are in and many, serving 100,000 residents, are bigger than most American cities. That’s why sector stats are so critical. They keep track of the same crime data — assaults, car thefts, robberies, burglary and murder — as CompStat data. But sector stats provide the data virtually neighborhood by neighborhood.

In the City Limits article, I reported on Bronx councilman Fernando Cabrera’s bill that resulted in law. He was inspired by Norwood News coverage by me and Alex Kratz on the fact that the NYPD refuses to make sector data available. Norwood News did eventually acquire the info through FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requests but that took more than a year. All media, community boards, community groups, and interested individuals should submit similar FOIL requests to pressure NYPD and city government in general to make the information regularly available.

Cabrera achieved some, but not all, of the change he sought, particularly the provision of sector stats. In maps where you can click on circles indicating some data, the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) website does show generally what block crimes have been committed on but only on a monthly basis. And the site doesn’t indicate sector or neighborhood crime totals. So forget about complete, clear neighborhood sector data. DoITT has kept that hidden as well.

When it became law, Greg Faulkner, Cabrera’s chief of staff, said his office had a similar concern about the map. “It doesn’t have enough details and our vision of it was there was going to be a lot more,” said Greg Faulkner, Cabrera’s chief of staff, in the City Limits article. “We need to hear whether there were specific security concerns about why they were left out.” He added back then that the website was not shared with Council members before it was fully implemented. Had it been, Faulkner says, the city “would have been able to determine whether their implementation matched the Council’s intent.”

It clearly hasn’t.

One more thing:

Waldman, the high school student, even created a NYC Shootings website that holds on to crime stat data that the NYPD removes. (It looks great but it’s not functioning at the moment. Josh, let me know when it’s up an running again.) If students at every high school in the city were keeping an eye on what was going on around them, and acting on it like Waldman, it would have an impact on city policy.

Today’s Beauty in Hunts Point, Bronx

6 Nov

Even as the gray sky competed with a strong yet staggering sun, beauty on the ground in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx was still in clear site this morning…

Just one gorgeous bit of Barretto Point Park today. Photo by Jordan Moss

Just one gorgeous bit of Barretto Point Park today. Photo by Jordan Moss

The artistic wall separating, yet joining the nonprofit Rocking the Boat, and the park its closely related to, Hunts Point Riverside. Photo by Jordan Moss

The artistic wall separating, yet joining, the nonprofit Rocking the Boat, and the park it’s closely related to, Hunts Point Riverside. Photo by Jordan Moss


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers