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My Opinion Piece in City Limits: Kingsbridge Armory Ice-Rink Plan Ditched After a Decade of Inaction

3 Mar

3.3.22 — Almost 30 years after first writing about the Kingsbridge Armory’s potential redevelopment, I went at it again thanks to failure of the crew that got city approval to build nine ice-hockey rinks there. That was in 2012. Zilch has happened since. Read more in my City Limits piece below.

See This Bronx Museum Exhibit Before It Closes!

1 Mar

Have you ever been to the Bronx Museum of the Arts? I’m asking because I’ve asked many people — especially artists — that same question over the years and I’m surprised by how many Bronxites and others who love art, have never been there. Well, now is the time. “Bronx Calling: The Fifth AIM Biennial” (the result of a fellowship program) is still on exhibit, but only until March 20. The museum is FREE, on the Grand Concourse and close to D- and 4-trains. Here are just a couple of photos of a few dozen excellent pieces in the show. (Here’s a great review of it in Hyperallergic). And keep checking out the Bronx Museum.

Protest and Counter-Protest by Jesse Kreuzer, 8 x 32 feet Photo by Jordan Moss
This photo is of two works by artist Victoria-Idongesit Udondian: “Akaising” and “1271, 1245.” Photo by Jordan Moss

Riverdale Artist’s Online Opening Tomorrow (Sun., 1/23)

22 Jan

Gallery 505, a Bronx art gallery in Riverdale, hosts an online exhibit opening tomorrow, June 23, for the local artist Doris Cordero. It’s from 4 to 5 p.m.

The Gallery, led by Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corp., will also be open for in-person visits on Mondays from 2-5 p.m. by appointment. To get the link for tomorrow’s opening or future in-person visit, just email lindaKRVC@gmail.com. And here’s the link to learn more about Cordero and her work.

Bronxite Colleen Kelly, Who’s Brother Was Killed on 9/11, Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee

6 Jan

Jan. 6, 2022 — Colleen Kelly is a long-time Bronx resident and nurse practitioner. A sister of Bill Kelly, Jr., who was killed while visiting the World Trade Center for a meeting on Sept. 11, Kelly testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last month demanding the resolution and completion of what’s been going on — actually what has not gone on — at Guantanamo for two decades. “One judge after another has been replaced,” as have many attorneys and other staff, Kelly said. A co-founder of Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows (I wrote about Peaceful Tomorrows’ launch near the U.N. in early 2002 for The Nation), Kelly has been to Guantanamo several times witnessing its unjust and blatant bureaucracy. With 2,977 people killed, there is still “no justice, no accountability,” regarding “the information we’ve been denied for two decades,” she said. Following are links for Kelly testifying (text is here) and then answering the questions of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Democrat-CT):

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4990100/user-clip-col-testimony-guant-hearing

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4990104/user-clip-colleen-kelly-blumenthal

—Jordan Moss

After 8 Years of Nothingness, Armory Ice-Rink Plan Ditched

17 Dec

Dec. 17, 2021 …. Breaking News (really, I’m not kidding!): After almost 30 years of fits and starts (and a lotta stops) on the future of the Kingsbridge Armory, the plan the city, and its chosen developer, got the OK on has been officially and legally ditched.

Almost exactly eight years ago — on Dec. 10, 2013 — the future of the historic site was handed over to KNIC (Kingsbridge National Ice Center) a group that was planning to turn the armory into a home for nine ice skating rinks, particularly for hockey teams, and 50,000-square-feet of space for local nonprofit community organizations. (The armory — the biggest one in the world! — is over 520,000 square feet.)

But virtually zilch has happened since.

So, earlier today, wondering where the heck things were at long after after KNIC took on the project, I wrote to the city agency responsible for the program: the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). This was their breaking-news response:

“We are disappointed the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory — a centerpiece of the Kingsbridge community — has been set back but we look forward to working with the community to rethink the uses of this historic building.”

And referring to a recent legal ruling that led to their disappointment, EDC added this:

“In a recent decision, the First Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York agreed with New York City Economic Development Corporation that KNIC did not provide the necessary evidence of financing for the ice center project at Kingsbridge Armory by the required deadline in 2016.  Therefore, the project will not be proceeding. We are disappointed that KNIC has been unable to realize the financing for the project, despite continued efforts since the 2016 deadline.”

It’s been almost 30 years since I and the Norwood News first covered the armory (see photo below), when the state handed it over to the city. The paper covered it relentlessly over the next few decades. That had an impact on helping get the empty historic facility some attention from local politicians and city agencies, as did the relentless activism of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

But now that we’re back where it all started, it needs much more media and political attention, like if the Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side suddenly went empty. No one wants another freakin 30 years of this (or even 5 or 10!). Let’s get it on the top of our elected officials’ priority list and make them focus on what the community wants and needs. —Jordan Moss

The state of the Kingsbridge Armory was covered by the non-profit Bronx community newspaper, the Norwood News,
from 1993 to 2013 and beyond.
Photo by Jordan Moss

Tibbetts Brook Needs Daylighting

15 Dec

Dec. 15, 2021If you missed the New York Times article last week about Tibbetts Brook, mostly covered over in Van Cortlandt Park a century ago, and the efforts for it to be daylighted, you can check it out here. What the remnants of the Hurricane Ida disaster did in September to 87/Major Deegan, in the Bronx and beyond, kind of spelled out why daylighting the buried Tibbetts Brook isn’t just an effort to make it look nice. More critically, it’s to help prevent what is otherwise certain to result in more natural disasters. To learn more, there is an Environment and Sanitation Committee & Parks and Recreation Committee meeting of Community Board 8 in a few hours on Zoom at 7 PM (Wed., Dec. 15). Here’s the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2114033690. And here’s the info for connecting by phone: +16465588656 Passcode: 2114033690# .

The morning after Hurricane Ida. View on bridge over Deegan on West 238th St. in Bronx. Photo by Jordan Moss

Bronx Museum of the Art’s Biennial

6 Oct

From Oct. 20 thru Jan. 16 the Bronx Museum of the Arts, on the Grand Concourse and E. 165th St., exhibits the work of 69 emerging NYC artists who experienced the museum’s incubator program. Can’t wait to check it out. Hope you do too! (If you’ve never been to the Bronx Museum, I’d say this is a great time to begin. Such wonderful art there that too few of us see. And it’s free!)

Black and Blue

2 Mar

March 2, 2021 —When I saw these two people heading towards each other while driving in Riverdale a week or so ago, I stopped at the stop sign for more than the usual instant to grab my phone and take several photos. The intensely different way each walker was protecting themselves from the wet snow speaks for itself, and what you can, and cannot, see of them does the same. (Photo by Jordan Moss)