State Island Courthouse Completion Nonetheless Highlights Construction Chaos in Outer Boroughs, Especially the Bronx!

8 Oct
Long overdue and grossly over-budget Staten Island Courthouse is finally finished. Photo by Jordan Moss

Long overdue and grossly over-budget Staten Island Courthouse construction is finally finished. Photo by Jordan Moss

Despite more than a decade of delay and $100 million over-budget, the new courthouse in Staten Island that I wrote about twice over the summer is finally complete, reports the Staten Island Advance. Aside from that paper, I stated in my early posts that NYC’s comparatively massive amount of media stayed clear. I don’t understand — the project budget skyrockets and no other media makes a simple call to the state Dormitory Authority to find out what’s going so wrong? Heck, they didn’t even need to take the ferry over there!  If it weren’t for the Advocate there would be no published record of what was going on at all.

The Bronx had its own disaster with its relatively new 161st Street courthouse, but financially and time-wise nowhere near its Staten Island relative.

It would be great if a citywide journalist compared the Bronx and Staten Island courthouse calamities, which could play some role in preventing the next one.

Phenomenal Bronx Documentary Photo Exhibit in a Muffler Shop. No Kidding.

7 Oct
Just one impressive photo in the unusual, creative exhibit scene at Vasquez Muffler on Jerome Ave. This photo in exhibit is by Osaretin Ugiagbe. This blog photo by Jordan Moss.

Just one impressive photo in the unusual, creative exhibit scene at Vasquez Muffler on Jerome Ave. This photo in exhibit is by Osaretin Ugiagbe. This blog photo by Jordan Moss.

The Jerome Avenue Workers Project, a remarkable exhibit put on by the Bronx Photo League and the Bronx Documentary Center, had a remarkable, packed opening on Oct. 3 at — get this — Vasquez Muffler at 1275 Jerome Ave.  Sixteen photographers took photos of community residents and workers in the south Bronx neighborhoods that Jerome Avenue links, like Mount Hope and Mount Eden. Though the exhibit is independent, its focus is linked to efforts by community organizations like CAAAV and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition which are working with residents to challenge and change city plans that would rezone the area. That would allow landowners to sell their property to housing developers. The city plan, they say, will not be affordable and will essentially lead to illegal removal of local tenants, a crisis growing around the city.

The exhibit is on until Oct. 18. The hours are Monday – Saturday 4 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here’s a bit of what to expect: 

Vasquez Muffler was packed for the Workers Project photo exhibit opening on Oct. 3. Photo by Jordan Moss

Vasquez Muffler was packed for the Workers Project photo exhibit that opened on Oct. 3. Photo by Jordan Moss

Bronx photographer Adi Talwar took two photos for the exhibit including this at a hair dresser in the area. Photo by Jordan Moss

Bronx photographer Adi Talwar took two photos for the exhibit including this at a hair salon in the area. Photo by Jordan Moss

More on Bronx DA Race, and Lack Thereof

6 Oct

As explained in previous post, Darcel Clark replacing District Attorney Robert Johnson is a virtual certainty thanks to Johnson’s post-primary resignation and Bronx Democrats dropping Clark in his place. A Republican lawyer, Robert D. Siano, has entered the race, but with no other elected Republican in the entire Bronx of 1.4 million residents, his chances are, uh, a tad limited.

In the Daily News today, Errol Louis writes about wrongful convictions during Johnson’s 28-year tenure,  and says, “voters deserve to hear much more about the decade [Clark] spent in Johnson’s office and how she intends to correct the scourge of wrongful convictions.”

Virtual Appointment of New Bronx DA Without Significant Election Criticized

1 Oct

After almost 27 years as the Bronx’s district attorney, Robert Johnson retired, or maybe resigned is a better word, as he’s likely to acquire another impressive legal gig as judge.

Many people are pissed. Why? Because Johnson, DA for a quarter of a century, departed after primary election day in September. Therefore, his Bronx Democrat pals got to nominate a current judge, Darcel Clark, to essentially replace him without a November vote that matters. And those same Dems have effectively appointed Johnson to be a state Supreme Court justice. And since Primary day is long gone, potential Democratic challengers have literally been dismissed. As for Republicans, there hasn’t been a GOP elected official in the Bronx since State Senator Guy Velella resigned in 2004 (following his corruption conviction).

The Riverdale Press covers the story. It also shares its outrage and profiles Johnson’s likely replacement. And today, in the Times, former Riverdale Press editor Kate Pastor covers Clark’s visit to the Benjamin Franklin Democratic Reform Club on West 231st Street in Kingsbridge. Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, who is the chair (a second position actually) of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, had this to say about the election in Pastor’s article:

“The power that was allegedly taken away from the voters was gone already, because nobody chose to run against him,” Dinowitz said.

True, but 27-year incumbent DAs, particularly in Johnson’s case, rarely get much of a challenge, if any at all. Open seats do. Johnson sat on his seat until he got a new job.

What Johnson said about leaving his veteran position was in the New York Times right after the Democratic convention:

“Don’t resign a job without a job,” he said was often his advice to friends. “If I had resigned before this convention tonight, I would not have a job. I think that after 40 years of public service that I deserve to be able to continue to serve the community.”

If you’re interested in this, as all Bronxites should be, WNYC’s metro editor (and Bronxite) David Lewis, along with NY1’s “Inside City Hall” host (and Daily News columnist) Errol Louis — both veteran reporters — take a well-educated whack at what are essentially Bronx Democrats’ actions that ain’t so democratic.

Reservoir Tour in Bronx Postponed

1 Oct

Following is a press release from the City’s Department of Environmental Protection about the postponement of this weekend’s tour of the Jerome Park Reservoir. It will take place in November instead.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that due to the potential for inclement weather this weekend, the special guided tours and limited access recreation planned at Jerome Park Reservoir have been postponed until the weekend of November 14th and 15th.  As was originally planned, there will be two ticketed tours on each day, followed by a non-ticketed opportunity for the public to walk or jog around the 2-mile perimeter of the Reservoir.  Entry will be through a Gate House located on the west side of Goulden Avenue, just south of 205th Street and phones, bags and cameras will not be permitted on the Reservoir grounds.  There will be an opportunity to check phones, but visitors should not bring bags or cameras.  All individuals who had registered for the tours scheduled for October 3rd and 4th will be contacted by DEP and given the first opportunity for tickets to the November 14th and 15th tours.  To the extent any tickets remain after that, DEP will make them available on a first-come, first-served basis.  More information will be made available about any remaining tickets on the DEP website and Facebook page.

Saturday, November 14th:
Guided Tours (tickets required)
10:00am – 11:00am
11:00am – 12:00pm

Limited Access Recreation (tickets not required)
12:30pm – 2:30pm

Sunday, November 15th:
Guided Tours (tickets required)
10:00am – 11:00am
11:00am – 12:00pm

Limited Access Recreation (tickets not required)
12:30pm – 2:30pm

The Bronx’s Perenially Padlocked Jerome Park Reservoir Open This Weekend!

29 Sep

It may not sound like a big deal if you don’t have live relatively close to the Jerome Park Reservoir. But residents of Kingsbridge Heights, Bedford Park, Norwood, Van Cortlandt Village, etc. have not been able to see the reservoir close-up in what is essentially their neighborhood backyard. Until now. The DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) is opening up the fence this weekend. There are no plans for future accessibility. But as long-time reservoir activist Anne Marie Garti states in the following email she just sent around, the only way you’re possibly going to get more accessibility is if you show up this weekend. She also points out that the southern section of the reservoir (which makes up its vast majority) is empty right now, as it was for many years before this year. I agree with her that it must be filled before we all show up. Here’s all the info from Ms. Garti:

The NYC DEP will be opening the Jerome Park Reservoir to the public this coming Saturday and Sunday, October 3rd and 4th.  This is a pilot to gauge public sentiment. If you want the reservoir opened regularly, you should show up!

Anyone can come to walk or run around the reservoir between 12:30 – 2:30 pm

You must use the entrance just south of 205th Street (near the Bronx HS of Science and Gatehouse 5), on the west side of Goulden Ave.

“Phones, bags and cameras will not be permitted on the tour. We will provide an opportunity to check phones, however please do not bring any bags or cameras. Please ensure you wear closed toe shoes. All participants will be required to sign a liability waiver before being admitted.”

For some reason, the DEP has decided to drain the 60+ acre south basin. If the agency doesn’t want to be accused of sabotaging this rare event, we suggest that water be put in there before Saturday!

Tours will be held in the morning. However, no more  tickets are available.

We hope to see you there on Saturday and Sunday between 12:30 – 2:30 pm.
West side of Goulden Avenue, south of 205th Street (across the street from Bronx Science)
Anne Marie

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz on BronxTalk Tonight

24 Aug

From BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank:

Tonight’s guest on BronxTalk will be Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz of the 81st Assembly District in the Bronx. We’ll ask him about the explosion at JFK High School, a number of housing and development issues, the upcoming pilot plan for access to the Jerome Park Reservoir, the Mayor and the Governor, and a number of other issues. BronxTalk is seen live Monday nights at 9:00 p.m. on BronxNet’s channel 67 and Fios 33. It is streamed live at

Small Bronx Prob but Needs Fix ASAP

3 Aug

8/3 Photo – Hydrant on Bailey Ave. and Albany Crescent in Kingsbridge near Gulf station. Needs fix. 



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