Tag Archives: Kingsbridge Heights

Swan Lake (Van Cortlandt Park)

22 Apr

Van Cortlandt Park Swan

Saw this beautiful swan today in Van Cortlandt Park Lake. I see one or two there often, but they never cease to attract my attention. Photo by Jordan Moss

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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

 

 

 

 

311 Worked — Bronx Step Street Light Replaced

14 Feb

Yes, only a little improvement to a lousy step street (which needs to be replaced!), connecting Heath and Bailey avenues in Kingsbridge Heights, but an important fix nonetheless. The bottom step street light on Bailey Avenue has been out for a good bit, so it’s dangerously dark before you start heading up the steps. I called 311, they contacted the Department of Transportation (DOT) and gave me a code, and a few days later I checked in on it via 311’s website. It indicated that the light had been replaced and the case was closed. Wasn’t closed for me until I saw the light on tonight. Lesson? If you see a broken bench in a park; a dangerous, deteriorated sidewalk ; a street light out, etc., hear too much noise, etc., etc., call 311! They give you a code so you can keep track of the status. It also helps to let your community board know about the problem and give them the code you received. They’re usually in regular contact with city agencies and can echo your complaint. Here’s a photo of the step street (which, again, needs to be replaced! — more on this later) with the repaired light at the bottom of the stairs …

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Bronx step street entrance on Bailey Avenue headed up to Heath Avenue and Summit Place. DOT replaced light after complaint via 311. Photo by Jordan Moss

 

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

Petition for Safety at Ft. Independence Intersections

28 Nov

Crossing Ft. Independence Street in Kingsbridge Heights is dangerous for everyone — kids, adults, and drivers. There are no crosswalks in 2 essential areas. Time for the city act. If you live, work, or go to school in the area – or just plain care – sign this petition and  share link with others. We want the city’s Department of Transportation to act ASAP. Thanks!

Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment’s Financial Uncertainty

19 Feb
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The Kingsbridge Armory on Kingsbridge Road. Photo by Jordan Moss

Politico New York reports on the uncertain financial status of the mega ice-skating palace planned for the  Kingsbridge Armory’s redevelopment.

‘Little Free Library’ on Bronx Block

12 Feb

Even with its 1.4 million people the Bronx has only one general bookstore: Barnes & Noble in Bay Plaza by Co-op City. (I’d love to be wrong about this, so please let me know if I am.)

That said, we can all regularly share and exchange books we’ve read — but don’t need around the house anymore — in an outdoor book cabinet. Think that’s a good idea? Well it is, but it ain’t mine.

Down our Bronx block on Giles Place in Kingsbridge Heights (also known as Van Cortlandt Village) our friends and neighbors, Sarah and Brian Aucoin, installed a Little Free Library in their front yard last year. They painted it beautiful colors with their two sons, Artie and Ozzie. It’s simply a house-shaped wooden cabinet and a glass door on a pole.

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A ‘Little Free Library’ on Giles Place in the Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. Photo by Jordan Moss

Little Free Library is actually a nonprofit that provides these all over the world. But for now, the Aucoins’ library appears to be the only one in the Bronx.

The book cabinet allows anybody who walks by to see what’s available, take what they would like to read, and/or share what they’ve already read. It’s clearly been a big success. The shelf is regularly full and from week-to-week the titles continue to change.

Oh, it appears that the Aucoins’ Little Free Library launch is beginning to spread. Another wooden post similar to the one at the Aucoins’ house is going up next door. But that post is a bit shorter so it looks like the library is going to be for the little (or soon-to-be) readers in our area! How cool is that?

Stay tuned!