Tag Archives: NYCHA

A Bronx NYCHA Mess for All to See

15 Dec
nycha mess on Heath Ave

What should be a parking lot at Fort Independence Houses in Kingsbridge Heights is now a virtual dumping ground that NYCHA is ignoring.         Photo by Jordan Moss

For months NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) has ignored this enormous mess at at Fort Independence Houses in Kingsbridge Heights. It’s essentially an unused parking lot on Heath Avenue that has been filled with all kinds of garbage over the last several months.

This shouldn’t be a costly fix. NYCHA should just be paying attention to land that it owns and is responsible for.

If you know of similar problems at other Bronx NYCHA sites and can send Bronx Matters photos, we’d be happy to spread the word and hopefully get NYCHA on its toes. Just email bronxmatters@gmail.com.

 

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5.27.14 Bronx News that Matters

27 May

Though the Daily News reported on Sunday that State Senator Adriano Espaillat, a challenger to longtime Congressman Charles Rangel, won’t appear on a BronxTalk debate “due to Albany’s legislative session,” host Gary Axelbank told Bronx Matters today that Espaillat has decided to take part. Meanwhile, Rangel’s office asked Axelbank for a conference call “for rules and other debate procedures” along with staffers of the other candidates. Axelbank responded by setting that up for 2 p.m. today. Stay tuned on Bronx Matters for debate status update.

Councilman Fernando Cabrera announced to tenants of NYCHA’s Ft. Independence Houses in Kingsbridge that its community center won’t be closed, according to The Riverdale Press. Cabrera said NYCHA confirmed that but the Riverdale Press said that “in in recent e-mails, NYCHA’s press office said a determination was yet to be made about the authority’s 106 community centers.” It’s a citywide issue: “The way Mr. Bloomberg left the centers last year, the city would end funding for 57 centers operated by NYCHA itself this June. Nonprofit agencies support the other 49 sites,” the Press reported.

Speaking of NYCHA housing, the Bronx Times reported on the agency’s new commissioner, Shola Olatoye, meeting with residents and local politicians at Pelham Parkway Houses and getting an earful of complaints about long delays making critical repairs — a chronic, unresolved problem during the Bloomberg administration.

State Senator Jeffrey Klein and Assemblyman Marcus Crespo (both Bronx reps) are partnering on legislation to keep alcohol out of the hands (and mouths) of underage drinkers by allowing retailers to swipe bad IDs among other efforts. The Daily News reports that 400 minors were admitted to two city hospitals — North Central Bronx and Jacobi — just over Memorial Day weekend in 2012 and 2013.

Parishioners are battling the proposed closure of Visitation Church in Kingsbridge. St. Gabriel’s Church in Riverdale would also have to cut down its weekday masses. (I’ve also heard that Visitation will merge with St. John’s Church on Kingsbridge Avenue near 231st Street.)

Hunts Point Express files a detailed report on the possibilities for the rebirth of waterfront land where a decrepit Marine Transfer Station in Hunts Point is expected to be torn down.

Times Gives Some Ink to NYCHA Pummeling …

14 Aug

The New York Times, silent for weeks while the Daily News took aim at the New York City Housing Authority for sitting on top of millions of dollars in federal funds while thousands of deteriorating, mold-infested apartments are left unattended, finally gave the issue some ink on its editorial page today.

As Bronx Matters pointed out in a previous post, a thorough City Limits investigation into the city’s reliance on private consultants — including Boston Consulting Group , the one NYCHA head John Rhea hired for a review of his agency and previously worked for himself — was first to declare that the city paid big bucks for a review of the public housing agency but hadn’t released it to the public.

It’s not too late for the Daily News to tip its hat toward City Limits.

NYCHA’s Information Lockdown, and Giving Credit Where It’s Due

25 May

First things first … The Daily News reported the other day on the New York City Housing Authority’s $10 million contract with the private firm Boston Consulting Group, which NYCHA is keeping under lock and key, and the fact that the agency’s chief used to work for BCG. It’s an important story and great it’s getting more ink, but the paper failed to acknowledge that City Limits broke all aspects of this story back in their November issue along with their excellent wide-ranging investigation into the tremendous spike in private consultants retained by the Bloomberg administration. It’s called: “Beyond City Time: When private firms take on public work, there’s more than money at risk.”

Failure of the dailies and other big news outlets to credit smaller ones that broke stories first is chronic. In my 17 years as Norwood News editor, it was a never-ending (and unsuccessful) battle to get big papers and broadcast outlets like Bronx News 12 to credit us for stories they picked up from us. Instead they regularly used Bronx community papers as a wire service but without credit or compensation. It was nice to see Arthur Brisbane, The New York Times’ public editor, address this in his column last Sunday. He made an excellent case for how unfair it was for The Times to run their investigation of lax prosecution of sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox community without crediting the smaller weeklies like Jewish Week and the Jewish Daily Forward who did dogged, ongoing reporting of the issue long before the Times got to it.  We need to keep up the drumbeat. Like the stonewalling public agencies that all good journalists try to hold accountable, the bigger outlets won’t change their arrogant ways until we all direct some of that sunlight on them.

OK, that said, back to the critical issue at hand: NYCHA forked over $10M of NYC taxpayer cash to BCG to examine the agency’s growing problems but they won’t let the public see it. This is not some abstract wonkish policy endeavor. NYCHA is way behind on repairs of apartments in desperate conditions where residents’ health and well-being are at stake. If there’s any information in that report indicating how that can be reversed, and even if there isn’t, the public has the right to know. We all paid for it after all.

Yesterday, The Daily News (yes, we’ll credit them despite the above lamentations, because it’s the right thing to do) reported on Bronx residents of NYCHA buildings threatening to sue the Bloomberg administration for the backlog in repairs. The Bronx Documentary Center in Melrose also had a stirring, moving photo exhibit a couple of months ago illustrating how conditions at nearby NYCHA buildings are undermining the health of residents young and old in the local projects.

Bottom line: The lockdown of public information (which is something of a theme in Bronx Matters this week) harms the public. We should all do what we can to set it free.