Tag Archives: Bronx

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.

GUIDED TOURS AND LIMITED ACCESS RECREATION AT JEROME PARK RESERVOIR POSTPONED DUE TO THE THREAT OF INCLEMENT WEATHER
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.”

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

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.

Another New Bronx Restaurant Headed Our Way in Kingsbridge

12 May

The newest restaurant addition— there have been many in recent months — that is still under a bit of construction in Kingsbridge is the Tilila Bar and Grill (might be another name in there but not certain). It’s where the Bottom Line on Bailey Avenue (and 231st Street) was for a few years with apparently insufficient success. But the wooden construction-hiding boards covering the place were torn down like a week ago, uncovering a turquoise bar/restaurant that looks more like a cool house, maybe in New Orleans, like my friends the Aucoins, who know NOLA very well, told me.

Co-owner of new restaurant on Bailey Ave. in Kingsbridge, TK, says he hopes it opens at the end of the May. (Photo by Jordan Moss)

Co-owner of new restaurant on Bailey Ave. in Kingsbridge,  Jose Severino says he hopes it opens at the end of the May. (Photo by Jordan Moss)

Tilila already has feet in local nabes thanks to its co-owners. Jose Severino (in photo above) owns the Burrito Shop on Broadway near Manhattan College, and his partner Henry Gonzalez owns Tin Marin, another popular restaurant up the hill on the other side of Broadway on Riverdale Avenue.

Severino hopes the new joint will open at the end of the month and that looks likely. The furniture appears to have arrived and the walls are filled with art and photographs.

It may not be open yet but as you can see from this pic, Tilila is gettin' there. (Photo by Jordan Moss)

It may not be open yet but as you can see from this pic, Tilila is almost there. (Photo by Jordan Moss)

He told me Tilila is going to include the following: Flamenco once a month; karaoke once a week; a huge bar menu including tapas, chicken, steak and fish. And some time of day (I didn’t get it down precisely) there will be beer for a buck.

As locals know, Tilila adds to the opening of a couple new, and relatively new, restaurants on the same curved block: 100% (great fruit smoothy café open all day and much of the eve) and A Capella Pizza, which just opened last week.

Staten Island Courthouse Construction Catastrophe Mimics Bronx’s. Any Big Media Paying Attention?

30 Apr

Remember back in 2010/11 when the Bronx Hall of Justice courthouse construction went $100 million over budget accompanied by delays and scandalous conditions resulting in mice infestation, roof leaks and sewage pipes letting go of excrement? Well, at least that got some citywide coverage.

I went to Staten Island today to get my ID NYC at an office over there (OK, way over there from the Bronx, but less of a wait list than to get it in the Bronx or Manhattan), and saw the new courthouse there still under construction. I was going to just post the following photo of the lovely building on Instagram. I like the way it looks architecturally much more than the Bronx Hall of Justice.

This Staten Island Courthouse is way behind schedule. Has there been any citywide coverage?  Photo by Jordan Moss

This Staten Island Courthouse is way behind schedule. Has there been any citywide coverage? Photo by Jordan Moss

But I just looked up this courthouse construction on-line and can’t find any citywide coverage about how delayed and costly it has been. Only the State Island Advance has written about it and that was a whole year ago, when it said the construction was “bedeviled by delays for more than a decade.”  Wow! We have four citywide newspapers, and apparently none find this important enough to cover, much less explore any possible problems in other parts of the state. Maybe it’s just that citywide media doesn’t get over there much, or at all, to notice. (How could they not notice when covering the Eric Garner travesty a few blocks away.) Is the same true of the TV networks? And are Staten Island elected officials saying/doing anything about this?

Let me know if I’m missing something here, folks.

-Jordan Moss

Violation-Heavy Bronx Bldg. Ignores HPD Push

3 Dec

I reported on this 2856 Webb Ave. apartment building in Kingsbridge Heights last April in City Limits. That didn’t have much impact, according to Riverdale Press. Here’s my update in City Limits. And following are a couple of photos I took last April in Iliana Rodriguez’s apartment.

Iliana Rodriguez was not able to keep this window open in her kitchen, when I visited last April. Photo by Jordan Moss

Iliana Rodriguez was not able to keep this window open in her kitchen, when I visited last April. Photo by Jordan Moss

The stove in Rodriguez's apartment had no knobs when I visited. Photo by Jordan Moss

The stove in Rodriguez’s apartment was missing 4 of 5 knobs when I visited. Photo by Jordan Moss

UPDATE: Deal Made for Barnes & Noble to Remain 2 More Years in Bay Plaza

23 Oct

UPDATE: As I predicted, bookstore won’t shut down; 2-year deal is made. Go to welcome2thebronx.com for more info.

Headline a bit of a prediction, but quite likely nonetheless. Barnes & Noble in Co-op City was headed for closure because of a rent rivalry with Bay Plaza landlord Prestige Properties and Development. But last night, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced a noon press conference today with both bookstore and landlord big-shots present in Bay Plaza at his sides. Bound to be good news, right? We shall see in a couple of hours.

Incidentally, back in 1999, as editor of the Norwood News, I wrote about then-Assemblyman Stephen Kaufman, who successfully hectored Barnes & Noble:

He doesn’t represent any of the neighborhoods we serve, but east Bronx Assemblyman Stephen Kaufman deserves credit for shepherding a Barnes & Noble bookstore to the borough. Like many Bronxites, he couldn’t fathom how a borough of 1.2 million people had only two small general-interest bookstores. Like few others, however, he did something about it. He bugged, bothered, cajoled and convinced Barnes & Noble officials, making a strong case that a Bronx branch would succeed “beyond their wildest dreams.”

More here.

And here’s my story about the opening 15 years ago.

“…[B]eginning this month, tens of thousands of titles are being pumped into the borough’s literary circulatory system, thanks to a new Barnes & Noble superstore that debuted on Dec. 1 in Bay Plaza.”

More here.