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Kingsbridge Armory’s Endless Stall

18 Oct

It drives me a little nuts, everytime I walk or run by the Kingsbridge Armory. 

I first wrote about it in 1993; community organizers and activists with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition got involved soon thereafter; and after many starts and stops and Mayor Bloomberg’s heavily defeated proposal to make a mall out of the giant joint (more than 500,000 square feet!) without  a promise of a fair wage for workers, a group that adhered to a fair-wage deal finally got a plan saluted and signed by all sides. Named the Kingsbridge National Ice Center was going to be nine ice skating rinks for pro-hockey, and locals too. But the last word I found was in 2017 here and here. It’s been six years since there was a “deal” in 2014. Argh!!!!

Kingsbrige Armory. Where is it headed? Photo by Jordan Moss

A Diner/Restaurant at Former Van Cortlandt Library Site? (Bronx)

6 Dec

OK, people don’t complain to me about this. I never hear anyone say, “Oh, I wish we had a good restaurant on Sedgwick Avenue.” But I think of it every darn time I walk on the block and I’ve got a vibe that many locals reading this will agree, or have their own suggestions for what we need on the block (it literally is just about a block, maybe even less).

The thing I think about most is that there are many elderly residents in this area. Yet, aside from a pizza place, there isn’t a single restaurant they can easily walk to and have breakfast, lunch or dinner. And if there were a diner, or some good breakfast/lunch joint, that would benefit everybody.

Here’s where it could be … where the Van Cortland Library used to be (they’ve moved to a beautiful new building on Cannon Place).

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Whether you agree with this or not, I think we all agree that we need something good and useful here, and we should try to figure out what is most wanted by Van Cortlandt Village and Kingsbridge Heights neighbors. So, what do you think? Just comment below and I’ll repost what you’d like to see. Thanks!

-Jordan Moss

What Should We Do With Van Cortlandt Library Space?

21 Apr

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Van Cortlandt Library on Sedgwick Avenue will soon be leaving this space for a new, larger site on Cannon Place. What should replace it? Photo by Jordan Moss

This is a photo of the current Van Cortlandt Library, but it will only exist for another couple of months. The one that will replace it is twice as large, allowing more, and separate, rooms for kids and adults. And from the photo I saw of the design, it’s infinitely more attractive. It’s being built right now on Cannon Place. It should be open by the end of summer. Fingers crossed.

But in the meantime, what should go in the old space? It’s for rent, and who knows, maybe for sale (phone number in photo).

Here’s what I think: it should be a diner or breakfast/lunch joint. Yeah, sure I’d also like a Thai or Indian restaurant or an art gallery or … a lotta stuff. But I really think that a diner wold benefit the most people in the vicinity. There’s no place for anyone to sit down for a quick breakfast or lunch before they get on the bus, or go to work at PS 95 across the street. And, except for the pizza place, there’s really no place for the elderly and people without cars to take a walk and have some breakfast, lunch or dinner. We all love pizza but not every single time we want/need to go get something to eat.

That’s my view. But I’m interested in yours. And if there’s a collective community view of what should be there, let’s all shout it out loud to everyone we know who could help spread word to business folks interested in what we are interested in.

-Jordan Moss

 

 

Day 1: Getting Dangerous Summit Place Step Street Fixed and Eventually Replaced in Kingsbridge, Bronx

13 Dec

So the beginning of the title to this post means that I’m beginning today to count the days it takes to replace the unsafe step street between Bailey Avenue and Heath Avenue, which heads right into Summit Place. I know many of us have expressed concerns in various ways about this before, but here I’ll start afresh, with no complaints, just a more focused effort to get this done. The next meeting of Community Board 8’s Traffic and Transportation Committee is on Thursday, Dec. 20 at Amalgamated Houses, 74 Van Cortland Park South, at 7 p.m. I’ll be there and I hope that others who care about this can attend too.

In a recent email exchange with an incredibly helpful member of Community Board 8, Laura Spalter, I learned that replacing this step street is number 6 on the board’s Fiscal Year 2020 capital priorities list, which begins July 1, 2019. (The current list on the CB8 site needs to be corrected or updated, since the step street is not on that list at all.) We need to learn how long it will take to get to #6, and whether the city will adhere to that request at all.

But regardless off whether it becomes a city-authorized capital project plan — which means it would be completely replaced — it would take at least two or three years to plan and complete I’m figuring, maybe even more. But in the meantime, it definitely needs to be repaired. Here are some photos I took the other day:

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This is what so many steps look like on this step street. And aside from all the cracks, many of the steps are uneven in height, exacerbating the potential of tripping and falling. 

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The worst step on the step street. Dangerous! 

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Just a wider look at all the damage. 

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Many of the rail posts, like this one, indicate to me that there were once lights on them. This step street is poorly lit, which makes the cracked, uneven steps even more dangerous. 

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See the big stone block near the beautiful, new graffiti post on the side of this store? Well that’s from one of the posts on the step street. It’s been like that for a long time but the city has done nothing about it. 

Again, if you are concerned about any of the above I look forward to seeing you at the next gathering of the Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting of Community Board 8 (info above). There’s a Facebook site called Friends of Summit Place Step Street. If you have any questions or concerns related to the step street, you can post them there and I, or someone else, will get back to you. Thanks!

—Jordan Moss

 

 

 

 

New Indian Restaurant to Open in Kingsbridge/Bronx (I swear!)

20 Nov

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Site of what will be a  new Indian Restaurant on W. 231st. St. in Kingsbridge.  Photo by Jordan Moss

11.20.18 — In August I screwed up by reporting that a former deli on West 238th Street was going to be home to a new Indian restaurant in Kingsbridge. There have been none in the neighborhood for like a decade, so I was kinda excited, and so were many of you when I reported it. But I was freakin’ wrong. I asked a man working there what it would be and “Indian Restaurant” is what he told me. I took his word for it. But we learned soon after that, thanks to neighbors who went by the place too, that it’s going to be a pizza place. (Didn’t think the journalistic rule of 2 sources was necessary here 🙂

But now, a storefront undergoing gutting and redesign (it was recently, and very briefly, a Mexican joint I think) at 308 W. 231st St., right between the corners of Tibbett and Riverdale avenues, simply has a sign saying what it’s going to be: “Riverdale Inidan Cuisine.” I’ll forgive the owner for using “Riverdale” when it’s in Kingsbridge. I’m just looking forward to some Indian food that many of us miss very much. Let’s make sure to go whenever it opens and spread the word far and wide.

Construction of Indian Restaurant in Kingsbridge Under Way

7 Aug

A store that was a grocery/deli on W. 238th St. and Broadway until a few months ago has been gutted, uncovering its beautiful brick walls. A worker there told me today that it’s going to be an Indian restaurant. That’s very cool because there’s been no such thing in Kingsbridge in a good long while (there was one on 231st Street for a little while after we moved here from Norwood in 2005).

Klein Fibs About 32BJ/SEIU Support. It’s Biaggi Who Has Their Endorsement. (38 Days to Go Before Election on Thurs., Sept. 13)

6 Aug

This ain’t right. A few days ago, incumbent State Senator Jeff Klein, founder of the IDC, which enabled Republicans to hold power of the State Senate for 7 years, posted this tweet, implying that he’s been endorsed by the union 32BJ/SEIU:

But that’s just a straight fib. 32BJ/SEIU has not only endorsed his challenger, the true Democrat Alessandra Biaggi (check out third logo under quotes right here), but its taking it to the streets.

Take a look at 32BJ/SEIU members and their leader Hector Figueroa with Biaggi right here …

Traffic Lights are Up and Running On at Kingsbridge Heights Intersection!

5 Sep

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Traffic lights installed at corner of Kingsbridge Terrace and Heath Avenue. Photo by Jordan Moss

9.5.17 – After more than a year and a half of attending Community Board 8 committee meetings, gathering petition signatures, meeting with neighbors, and ultimately collaborating with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the dangerous Y-shaped intersection of Fort Independence Street and Heath Avenue in Kingsbridge Heights now has traffic lights and walk/don’t walk signs.

And guess what? It’s much, much safer.

It was a complicated busy intersection with zero crosswalks. I found it dangerous. I stressed about my daughter and her pals crossing it. Heck, I worried about anyone crossing it.

Ultimately, after Ann DiLucca, Nova Calise and I gathered petition signatures, as members of the Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association (with the help of the wonderful staff of the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center), Assemblyman Dinowitz organized a press conference right at the intersection with other elected officials (Councilman Andrew Cohen, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, and State Senator Gustavo Rivera), KHCC executive director Margaret Della and 50th Precinct’s deputy inspector Terence O’Toole. Not long after that the DOT (Department of Transportation) reviewed the intersection and made a relatively quick decision. Dinowitz and his staff played a key role in encouraging the agency to do the right thing.

In our petition, we expressed particular concern about the intersection of Fort Independence Street, Giles Place and Kingsbridge Terrace. That’s particularly where kids, families and staff have to cross to get to PS 360 or KHCC. As I reported in September 2015, parents were very concerned about the lack of a crosswalk there. That still doesn’t exist, but Dinowitz said DOT is open to revisiting this related issue. The good news is that the traffic lights have slowed down vehicles heading in both directions. So it seems like crossing there will be a tad safer. But we should know more after school begins. (Please share any thoughts or concerns you might have by commenting on this post or emailing me at bronxmatters@gmail.com.) On another important, though less critical, note, the crosswalks where the traffic lights are still need to be painted and Dinowitz’s office said they’re staying on top of the DOT to make sure it happens ASAP.

That said, we are excited and relieved and hope to have as much success in many other community-improvement pursuits.

-Jordan Moss