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City and State Officials Join The Rockower Corporation, M. Melnick & Co. and Partners to Break Ground on 810 River Avenue in The Bronx

The mixed-income, mixed-use 810 River Avenue development will be the first project to take advantage of the 2009 New York City Department of City Planning 161st Street/River Avenue Rezoning

Bronx, New York – The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), join Rockower Corp., M. Melnick & Co., Inc. and partners to celebrate the groundbreaking for 810 River Avenue, the first project to benefit from the 161 Street / River Avenue Rezoning. A green, mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development, 810 River Avenue will include 134 units of affordable housing for very low-, low-, and middle-income households. The project will also include approximately 26,000 square-feet of commercial and community facility space and a 61-space garage. The 20,000 square-foot development site is located at 810 River Avenue between 157th & 158th Street in the Bronx, and will help spur residential and commercial development in the area.

The 810 River Avenue development is financed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five- Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan. The most comprehensive affordable housing plan in the City’s history and largest municipal housing plan in the nation, its goal is to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing for very low- and middle income families to help address New York City’s affordability crisis.

"Creating affordable housing with commercial and community space is very important to me, and it is a part of the transformative vision I have for The Bronx. This project will offer energy efficient amenities that will help tenants save money while also building a greener borough. Projects like 810 River Avenue are steps in the right direction towards greener and better life style for all Bronxites, and that's why I was proud to provide $1 million in my own capital funding to this effort," said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Honors Bronx Walk of Fame Inductees at Bronx Ball

This year’s honorees show-off their awards at the 2015 Bronx Ball, which took place at Orchard Beach on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Those pictured include NBA Legend and Bronx Walk of Famer Dolph Schayes; David Greco, proprietor of Mike’s Deli on Arthur Avenue and the recipient of this year’s Tourism Award; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; actress, author and political commentator Stacey Dash; and actor and activist Malik Yoba.

De Blasio Administration Announces Multifaceted Effort to Address Labor Abuses and Health Risks at City’s Nail Salons

Comprehensive advocacy and outreach efforts to businesses, workers and consumers is part of City’s dedicated efforts to protect vulnerable New Yorkers

Immediate steps include investigations of the industry’s products;  May 21 ‘Day of Action’ to educate New Yorkers about their rights and responsibilities; letter to FDA and petition to salon industry to ban use of ‘Toxic Trio’ of chemicals in nail products; and more

City partnering with key elected officials to maximize outreach across the city

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced an aggressive advocacy and educational initiative by the City to immediately address labor and health issues at local salons, support salon workers, and educate businesses and consumers.

The State of New York licenses salons and the City of New York has limited jurisdiction over labor and wage laws. The City is executing a wide variety of actions within its powers to address allegations of disturbing conditions in nail salons uncovered by a recent New York Times investigation. This effort, led by the Department of Consumer Affairs with support from the Department of Small Business Services, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and others, will include dedicated outreach to and education of workers, employers and consumers, legal investigations and direct actions for New Yorkers to take. Additionally, the Administration is collaborating with City elected officials who have previously initiated action to address these workplace threats, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and Council Members Rafael Espinal, Consumer Affairs Chair and Corey Johnson, Health Committee Chair. These partnerships will maximize outreach, education, and technical assistance across the city for business owners, employees, patrons and more regarding potential health hazards and workplace safety.

“For months, my office has been raising the issue of public health in local salons and other cosmetology businesses. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for moving quickly on this major public health issue. Together, with the mayor, appropriate agencies, public officials and responsible industry advocates and business owners, we are ensuring that the people of this city, employees and customers alike, have a clean and safe atmosphere to get their hair done, to get a manicure or pedicure, or any of the other practices typically found in spas and beauty establishments. A ‘Customers Bill of Rights’ will help consumers make informed decisions about their safety. We will build on the momentum for reform within this industry as we continue our efforts to create a letter-grading system for salons, spas and cosmetology businesses,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Senator Peralta, Bronx Borough President Díaz Jr. and
Assemblyman Sepúlveda call for hotel occupancy tax
portion to promote local tourism

State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), joined by Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda (D-Bronx), Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., and Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President John Calvelli today unveiled at the Bronx Zoo a bill that would provide each New York City borough with a portion of city hotel occupancy tax it collects to promote local tourism. Senator Peralta is the prime sponsor of the bill in the Senate and Assemblyman Sepúlveda is carrying the measure in the Assembly.

“I fully support Senator Jose Peralta’s bill that would help promote tourism throughout the entire city,” said Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. “Tourism has never been stronger as we have seen a steady increase in our borough’s tourism. Sen. Peralta’s proposal would help us build on the great strides we have made over the years, using the revenue collected to help promote our tourist sites such as The Bronx Zoo and events such as the annual Tour de Bronx.”

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Participated in Bronx Week Health Day

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joins in some calisthenics during the 2015 Bronx Week Health Day, which featured dozens of healthy activities at Lou Gehrig Plaza on East 161st Street. The event was designed to promote the #not62 social media campaign, which works to make The Bronx a healthier place.

BP Diaz Speaks on Nail Salon Legislation

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks about his legislation creating a system of grading nail salons and other cosmetology businesses before the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, May 13. The event, which took place at Hostos Community College, was attended by over 60 Latino and Latina small business owners in the cosmetology industry.

In August, Borough President Diaz proposed a legislative package relating to the creation of a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spas, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar establishments throughout the five boroughs. More information on that legislation can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/17jqxjX.

NYC Parks Cuts the Ribbon on Renovated Railroad-Themed Van Nest Park

On Friday, May 8, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Council Member James Vacca, NY State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Community Board 11 Chairman Tony Vitaliano, Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance Counsel Bob Nolan and the Bronx Charter School for Excellence to cut the ribbon on the renovated Van Nest Park.

“This beautifully redesigned park which honors this community’s history will once again be a beloved public space for this neighborhood,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Thanks to our Bronx elected officials who have been dedicated to improving our green spaces throughout the borough, this park will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“The rehabilitation of Van Nest Playground has long been a priority for this community and I am proud to have provided $500,000 in capital funding towards this project,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This renovated playground is here just in time for summer, so I hope the youngsters of Van Nest and Pelham parkway take full advantage of this tremendous new amenity in the coming months.”

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Governor Cuomo’s Emergency Measures to Protect Nail Salon Workers

“I want to thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the swift action he has taken on this pressing issue. As last week’s New York Times exposé showed, there are serious issues that need to be addressed in the spa and beauty industry as far as ensuring the health and safety of both customers and employees in these establishments—especially in regards to helping those workers in the industry who feel they have no voice as far as the substandard conditions in which they are forced to work. That cannot be tolerated.

“The proposals we have presented to the City Council will go a long way towards ensuring that the people of this city, employees and customers alike, have a clean and safe atmosphere to get their hair done, to get a manicure or pedicure, or any of the other practices typically found in spas and beauty establishments. This is an important public health issue, one that benefits not only customers but also protects the personal safety and workers’ rights of those in the industry. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, as well as all interested parties at the city and state levels, to make the cosmetology industry safer for everyone,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

In August, Borough President Diaz proposed a legislative package relating to the creation of a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spas, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar establishments throughout the five boroughs. More information on that legislation can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/17jqxjX.

Borough President Diaz Hosted Bronx Veterans Appreciation Day Breakfast

On Monday, May 11, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and his Bronx Veterans Advisory Council hosted the Bronx Veterans Appreciation Day Breakfast. Over 300 vets from all service areas came together to honor each other, especially those who are no longer with us.

Pictured are: Colonel William Chin, Allen Hansen, Joe Mondello, Cassandra Carrero, Commissioner Loree Sutton, Borough President Diaz, Deputy Greene, Rev. Robert B. Farley, Ph.D., Bishop Angelo Rosario and Silvio Mazzella.

The event is part of Bronx Week 2015, the borough’s annual celebration of everything that makes The Bronx a great place to live, work and raise a family. More information on Bronx Week can be found at www.ilovethebronx.com.

City Announces Plans to Construct New Pedestrian Bridge
Over Major Deegan to Improve Community Access to Van Cortlandt Park

$12 Million Pedestrian Bridge is Part of Master Plan to Knit the Park Back Together
and Restore the Natural Beauty Identified by Olmsted

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner, Emily Lloyd today joined Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña- Mora, and several elected officials and community leaders to announce plans for a $12 million pedestrian bridge that will span the Major Deegan Expressway and improve community access to Van Cortlandt  Park by connecting the Croton Woods and the Allen Shandler Recreation areas in the northeast section of the park. DEP and Parks will each invest $4 million to construct the bridge, and the remaining $4 million will be paid for with state funds secured by State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, and the Assembly Bronx Delegation, as well as State Senator Jeffrey Klein. DDC will manage the design and construction of the bridge, which is expected to be completed in 2019.

"The communities surrounding Van Cortlandt Park have waited years to realize the promise of this long-anticipated project,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz said.  I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in government, the various city agencies, local activists, our community boards, neighborhood organizations and park enthusiasts whose vision for improved east/west access within Van Cortlandt Park will now be realized.  This project is a bridge across the Bronx, uniting communities through recreation, and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful announcement."

Read the complete press release.

William C. Dudley Speaks at Bronx Bankers Breakfast

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. presents William C. Dudley, President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, with an official “Bronx Afghan” following his remarks at the 17th Annual Bronx Bankers Breakfast at the Villa Barone Manor on Friday, May 8, 2015.

Mr. Dudley’s complete remarks can be read at nyfed.org/1JwwyqH

The event was part of Bronx Week 2015, the borough’s annual celebration of everything that makes The Bronx a great place to live, work and raise a family. More information on Bronx Week can be found at www.ilovethebronx.com.

Governor Cuomo Announces 85 Businesses Will Offer
More Than 5,000 Jobs at The Bronx Career Expo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that the Bronx Career Expo, offered by the New York State Department of Labor, will be held tomorrow, May 7, at Hostos Community College. The 2015 Career Expo will build on the success of last year’s event, with 85 businesses on hand offering more than 5,000 positions. The Career Expo is part of the Governor’s Unemployment Strikeforce Initiative, which coordinates support at all levels of government and engages in on-the-ground outreach to target unemployment in the areas of the state where it is highest.

“New York’s economy has made significant progress since the recession – but we are not at our best until everyone is benefitting from that success,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Bronx Career Expo seeks to link dozens of local companies with thousands of open jobs with those who need them. I encourage anyone seeking employment in the area to come and learn more about the opportunities available to them.”

The Bronx Career Expo will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hostos Community College’s East Academic Complex, Building C. Preregistration is encouraged, as space is limited. To register for the event, please visit www.labor.ny.gov/BronxExpo.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “We have made great strides in job creation and unemployment reduction over the last year, and that is in no small part due to our partnership with Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Labor and their Unemployment Strikeforce. This event will help put Bronxites directly in front of employers, get them hired, and drive our unemployment numbers down even further.”

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: President Obama’s Visit to The Bronx

“I was thrilled to welcome President Obama to The Bronx today. But I am even more excited to hear his words. The President’s stated commitment to the future of urban youth, especially young men of color in the United States, through the launch of his ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance,’ is worthy of considerable praise. I know firsthand the struggles young men of color face in this nation, and I know how challenging it can be to both lead one’s own life on the right path while also guiding others in that same direction. This initiative, which will combine public and private resources for the greater good, is welcome not only in The Bronx but across the United States.

“I am proud to have been present for today’s historic announcement, and I look forward to working with the ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’ to help young men of color get the help they need to succeed,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Hosted Centenarian Celebration

On Thursday, May 7, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his annual Centenarian Celebration, honoring Bronxites that have lived 100 or more years. At the event Borough President Diaz, Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene, Council Member Andy King and others honored 107-year-old Charlotte Lockett of Williamsbridge (seated), the oldest among the dozens of attendees. The event is part of Bronx Week 2015, the borough’s annual celebration of everything that makes The Bronx a great place to live, work and raise a family. More information on Bronx Week can be found at www.ilovethebronx.com.

BP Diaz Kicks Off Bronx Week 2015

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. kicks off Bronx Week 2015 with a food, music and art festival at the Bronx General Post Office, co-hosted by developer Youngwoo & Associates, on Sunday, May 3, 2015. More information on Bronx Week 2015 can be found at ilovethebronx.com.

Malik Yoba, Dolph Schayes, Stacey Dash &
Alfredo Thiebaud to be Inducted Into Bronx Walk of Fame

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. officially launched Bronx Week 2015 yesterday, hosting a celebration of the “Best of the Bronx” with a street festival at the Bronx General Post Office on Grand Concourse and East 149th Street.

“I always look forward to this time of the year, when we celebrate everything that is great about The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We kick things off with this great street fair on Sunday, holding 10 days’ worth of amazing and fun events for the whole family throughout the borough, all culminating with the Walk of Fame inductions and parade.”

A full calendar of events is available at www.ilovethebronx.com.

“Bronx Week is the opportunity to showcase the Best of The Bronx,” said Bronx Tourism Council Executive Director Olga Luz Tirado. “There is a lot to celebrate -- tourism, overall, is up in the borough. Our attractions are reporting a substantial increase in visitors. We are enjoying increased positive coverage from media. It's a great time to be in The Bronx right now.”

“Bronx Week is a time to celebrate our businesses, big and small, that provide much needed jobs to our community as well as a time to honor veterans, seniors, youth, volunteers and our hometown greats,” said Marlene Cintron, president of The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Freddie Gray

"Though the overwhelming majority of the men and women of our nation’s police departments are hardworking, law-abiding and serve our communities with pride and passion, we have seen too many cases in recent history where the community has not felt that justice was served when it comes to cases of police misbehavior and brutality. I want to thank State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the chief prosecutor for Baltimore, and her entire department for taking the due diligence and having the courage to indict those officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. As we protest, we must not let violence diminish our call for justice. I look forward to the finding of this investigation," said Borough President Diaz.

Testimony of Borough President Diaz
RE: Salon & Spa Letter Grading Legislation

Delivered Before a Joint Hearing of the Consumer Affairs & Health
Committees of the City Council

May 1, 2015

Good morning.

I am here today to testify in favor of a package of legislation, introduced at my behest by my friend, Council Member Rafael Espinal, concerning the regulation of cosmetology businesses in New York City.

Our legislation would accomplish three things. First, we would ask for a “home rule” message to allow the city to create a system of letter grades for cosmetology businesses—such as hair and nail salons, manicure and pedicure shops and other similar establishments—based on the existing restaurant letter grading system already in effect in this city.

Second, we would create a “Customers’ Bill of Rights” for such establishments, which would outline exactly what a customer should expect from a salon during a visit. Third, we are calling on the State to expand training options available for licensed cosmetology professionals.

Taken together, along with legislation introduced by Public Advocate Letitia James to regulate air quality within salons, these bills take a major first step towards ensuring that the health and safety of both customers and employees in these establishments.

This is an important health issue. I’m sure there are many people in this room today, men and women alike, who have been getting their manicure or pedicure on a regular basis. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve gotten my nails done before.

If you regularly visit a salon, then you know that some of them can be unsanitary. Last summer, a relative of mine was forced into the emergency room after a pedicure led to a serious infection. When I speak to people about this issue, every one—every single person—has their own horror story about a friend, a family member, or even themselves, who visited a salon to look good, and ended up with a serious health issue.

Read Borough President Diaz's complete testimony.