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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.”

http://nycwater.tumblr.com/post/129652145158/if-you-will-be-joining-us-at-jerome-park-reservoir

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.
https://jerome-park-reservoir-tour.eventbrite.com

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

Still Waiting for Citywide Coverage of Staten Island Courthouse’s Disastrous Delay

2 Jun

There is still no certainty regarding when an architecturally impressive, yet incomplete, courthouse will open for business on Staten Island, after more than a decade of delay and more than $100 million over budget.

And there still hasn’t been any citywide coverage!

As I mentioned in Bronx Matters’ last post on this, this is an ongoing fiscal travesty following a similar construction, and civic, disaster in the Bronx. There has been zero citywide coverage in Big Apple newspapers as far as I can tell, even as the crisis continues. What’s up with that?!

Here are links to a more recent article and editorial from January on the Staten Island Advance’s silive.com website.

The Advance says Mayor de Blasio can’t predict the move-in date,  but Gov. Cuomo should be interviewed too, as it’s the state’s Dormitory Authority that is responsible for the construction. Heck, at this point, every city and state elected official should be called on it too as no one seems to be making any noise.

Bronx Matters’ ears are wide open.

New Bronx Community Board 8 District Manager

22 May

Community Board 8 has a brand new district manager, Patricia Manning. Yet she’s a 30-year veteran of the office. (I remember working with her briefly in the early 1990s, when I was working for the borough president and the Department of Sanitation in Community Boards 11 and 8 on education and helping communities adhere to the brand new recycling law. I also remember her daughter worked (works?) at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx. More news on her new gig in The Riverdale Press.

Next Steps to Revive Land Next to Bronx Step Street?

21 May

On Kingsbridge Terrace in the northwest Bronx neighborhood of Kingsbridge Heights there is a significantly high step street heading down to Heath Avenue and West 229th Street that is in terrible, dangerous condition. At the April meeting of Community Board 8’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, The city’s Department of Design and Construction announced the reconstruction of that step street, with work beginning next spring and ending 15 months later if all goes well. It’s a much needed project that includes something cool: a path to roll your bike  — instead of carrying it — up the steps.

On a related note, yesterday, when I went for a morning run, I saw a large, neighboring bit of land through a circular hole in the wooden fence.

What was this empty area neighboring the 229th Street step street in Kingsbridge Heights? Photo by Jordan Moss

What was this empty area neighboring the 229th Street step street in Kingsbridge Heights? Photo by Jordan Moss

The material on its grounds looks like former playground equipment. Anyone know what this was? Any plans to restore it? Thought I’d check it out with neighbors and other Bronx Matters readers before I checked in with DDC or other city agencies.

-Jordan Moss

Jerome Avenue Rezone Proposal: BronxTalk Examines It Again Tonight (Part III).

6 Apr

Tonight’s BronxTalk will feature the proposal to rezone and rebuild 75 blocks on and around Jerome Avenue from 165th to 184th streets. It’s the third edition of the program in the past five weeks that will be dedicated to this important and controversial project. Several groups have begun organizing to make sure the neighborhoods surrounding Jerome Avenue play a role in determining what zoning changes, if any, are eventually made by the city. CASA, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Latino Pastoral Action Center and United Auto Merchants are among them. Tonight’s show will feature the district managers of Bronx Community Board’s 4 and 5. Hosted by Gary Axelbank, BronxTalk is seen live Monday nights at 9 p.m on BronxNet’s channel 67 and Fios 33.

Plan for Mott Haven Transformation Unveiled in Bronx

11 Nov
Mott Haven residents view proposed neighborhood upgrades at a meeting on Nov. 5. Photo by Maura Ewing/Mott Haven Herald

Mott Haven residents view proposed neighborhood upgrades at a meeting on Nov. 5. Photo by Maura Ewing/Mott Haven Herald

Mott Haven residents reviewed proposed changes to their neighborhood after two years of participating in planning the upgrades. Read full story in Mott Haven Herald.

Bronx and Planet Earth

22 Sep

350.org estimates that 310,000 people took part in the People’s Climate March on Sunday to push desperately needed worldwide climate change action. Bronxites supplied a significant contingent. A reported 100 people from Riverdale’s Manhattan College took part, as did members of New Day Church in Bedford Park, La Finca del Sur, and South Bronx Unite, a coalition firmly focused on preventing Fresh Direct from moving its truck-heavy HQ to Mott Haven. (I’d love to know of any other Bronx groups, organizations, schools, clubs, etc. that took part in the Climate March. If you can send that info and a good photo to bronxmatters@gmail.com, I’ll do my best to get them up here. Thanks!)

My family took part with Bronx pals and their kids (from left my daughter Devin, and her friends Shoshana, Frieda and Bronwyn; my wife Margaret Groarke, active in the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition stands behind them).

Photo by Jordan Moss

I met these cool guys, artists from Marble Hill, Bronx (Richard Grunn) and nearby Inwood demonstrating melting ice. They attracted a ton of shots from marchers.

Photo by Jordan Moss

Photos by Jordan Moss

Again, if you know of any other Bronx groups that took part, send info and pic to bronxmatters@gmail.com. Thanks!

-Jordan Moss

Contractor Threatens to Evict Homeless Families as City Cuts Pay for Criticized Homeless Program

1 Jul

Mayor de Blasio is no fan of cluster site housing for the homeless – where companies rent apartments, loan them to those needing housing and technically help those temporary tenants find jobs and regular housing. Since 2004, when Bloomberg launched this program (following a similar program of Giuliani’s) the city has been paying twice as much rent for the homeless than it would otherwise cost. If rent goes for $1,500 on average, apartments for the homeless cost the city about $3,000.

So, as reported in the New York Times yesterday, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, is cutting down what the city is going to pay these companies, some of them nonprofits, to do what they’ve been doing. And one of them, Aguila Inc., is threatening evict homeless tenants they’re responsible for, outraging Barrios-Paoli.

I covered this issue, including Aguila, extensively for the Bronx Bureau of City Limits a year ago and in April. Almost no “homeless” tenant I interviewed said the cluster site process was helping them find work, or secure other regular apartments. De Blasio can’t get rid of cluster site all at once but it other efforts may follow. Meanwhile, whether this administration is able to find other companies who will take less money for the same role – while doing it all better – remains to be seen.

Even though this isn’t front-page news now, and elected officials have had little or anything to say about it (both of these things should be occurring), how the city’s efforts to diminish the cluster-site program is very Bronx relevant. It’s the second smallest borough, but it has about 135 of the 230 — more than half — cluster-site buildings in the city.