April 28: Bronx Tech Summit
May 6: Cinco de Mayo Celebration
May 21: Bronx Week Parade
The Bronx’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest number ever recorded in the modern era.
Unemployment in The Bronx fell to 5.7 percent in March 2017, according to newly-released statistics from the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL). The number is down from 6.5 percent in February 2017 and cut by more than half from a previously reported high of 14.1 percent in January 2010.
This is the lowest unemployment rate The Bronx has ever had, according to NYSDOL statistics which date back to January 1990. This is also the first time the borough’s unemployment rate has ever dropped below 6.0 percent.
“The Bronx has seen incredible transformative development during the last eight years, and these new statistics on unemployment and job creation show the world just how far this borough has come,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We still have work to do, but these numbers make it crystal clear that the work we are doing is working.”
In addition to having its lowest ever unemployment rate, the new statistics from the NYSDOL also find that in March 2017 the borough had its highest ever number of employed Bronxites at 584,300. The borough also as has its highest ever labor force participation rate at 619,400 during that same month.
NYSDOL stats indicate that 115,500 more Bronxites have jobs today than when Borough President Diaz first took office in May 2009. Additionally, The Bronx now has a lower unemployment rate than 22 other counties in New York State, following decades of having the highest unemployment rate in the entire state.
“Throughout my tenure as borough president, we have enacted a smart agenda on job creation and new development that works for the entire Bronx. These statistics show that our efforts have borne considerable fruit,” said Borough President Diaz. “While the climate in Washington and the proposals of the Trump Administration present a grave threat to our success—and in fact the success of the entire city—we will continue to work with committed partners at every level of government, as well as our allies in the business community, to continue to bring positive growth and economic success to The Bronx.”
Borough President Diaz added, “I want to thank all of our elected officials, community boards, business community, non-profits, neighborhood leaders and our more than 1.4 million residents for their collective efforts to make The Bronx an even greater place to live, to raise a family, and especially to work. These new statistics are worthy of celebration, and we can all be proud of our success.”
“I am gratified that our support of Bronx businesses has resulted in a record breaking year in making sure that Bronx residents have the jobs that they need and deserve right here in our borough. This historical low does not mean we are done. We will continue to work towards insuring that everyone who wants a job in The Bronx has one,” said Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
The Department of Labor’s statistics can be found at http://on.ny.gov/28LMCuV.
Since Borough President Diaz took office in 2009, The Bronx has seen more than $12.7 billion in total development, which has led to the creation of thousands of new jobs. Much of that development is outlined in Borough President Diaz’s recently released development report, which can be viewed at http://on.nyc.gov/2plRekm.
New York- Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. today announced the next stop for City Hall in Your Borough will be The Bronx. Mayor de Blasio, top City officials and commissioners will arrive to Bronx Borough Hall the last full week of May for a week-long series of satellite office hours.
“Moving City Hall’s day-to-day operations to Bronx Borough Hall will allow for an intensive focus on the people and the priorities of The Bronx,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I look forward to being on the ground, meeting with and hearing from Bronxites.”
“Like all New Yorkers, Bronxites demand exceptional service and prompt responses from their government. Bringing City Hall directly to The Bronx will provide my constituents with an opportunity to get direct answers from various agencies, learn more about the future of the city and interact with the highest levels of municipal government. I look forward to a productive and substantive week as we welcome Mayor de Blasio to The Bronx in late May,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The week will include meetings with local groups, various stops and events in the borough, and a town hall. First Lady Chirlane McCray will also hold a series of events.
The announcement was first made via Mayor de Blasio and Borough President Diaz’s respective Twitter accounts, @NYCMayor and @rubendiazjr. More details about the Bronx edition of “City Hall in Your Borough” will be made public in the near future.
I testify today in support of Council Member Cornegy’s Intro 1347 which would require the Department of Education to include materials about the gifted and talented (G&T) exam and programs along with universal Pre-K information.
I have recently formed a gifted and talented task force along with my colleague, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. Parents have informed our task force of several disturbing trends. First, parents state that they have not received or have had to proactively seek and request the informational materials about the Gifted and Talented Programs and the exam. Our task force has even heard testimony about teachers not being informed about the test. This is unacceptable.
Parents have unequivocally expressed to the task force that we must do a better job at disseminating information about Gifted and Talented programs because we have a communication issue in our schools.
This bill seeks to address that crucial issue.
We need to increase the numbers of students taking the test in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, and the first critical step is through better communication about the programs and testing.
We should ensure appropriate materials are widely disseminated, and in multiple languages.
Gifted and talented students should be challenged in programs that push them to excel and learn. Our task force has heard again and again that a rigorous curriculum is required for success on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and in high school, and we need to do everything we can to make sure students get the skills they need. Gifted and talented education is a key piece of this educational puzzle because it provides academic rigor for young children that paves the way for later success.
For instance, anecdotal testimony to our task force from many alumni of the specialized high schools in New York City points to their and their peers’ gifted educational experiences in New York City public school prior to high school as pivotal in allowing them to excel later in life. The later achievements of New York City Gifted and Talented program alumni include success on the SHSAT, in high school, at the country’s best colleges, which accept students from New York City’s Specialized High Schools, and in their careers.
We need to correct this problem of poor communication about gifted and talented programs and testing immediately, and we need to make best efforts to inform parents about the test so that their children can have a chance at a gifted and talented education and the later successes that flow from a challenging early education.
Additionally, our task force is reviewing options for casting a wider net with gifted and talented testing based on research and anecdotal testimony. Making information about the test more widely available is a sensible incremental step.
The low numbers for Black and Latino students in gifted programs (less than 30 percent of the G&T population, although they comprise 70 percent of New York City students) may be explained in part due to the communication issue that parents have articulated to the task force.
No parent should be deprived of information about gifted and talented programs. In order to ensure students from all neighborhoods get access to gifted and talented education, we must make these programs well known. Council Member Cornegy’s legislation is a great first step towards making this happen, and I urge the City Council to pass this piece of important legislation.
BROOKLYN, NY, April 17, 2017: Today, it was announced that all five borough presidents have partnered on a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling for the full funding of universal free healthy school lunch for every New York City district school student for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18). This is the first time that the elected leaders of all of the city’s boroughs have come together to make this budgetary request. A number of major American cities successfully offer universal free school lunch, including Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Michigan, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In New York State, the program is offered in Buffalo, Hempstead, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, and Syracuse. The borough presidents urged Mayor de Blasio to add New York City to the ranks of these metropolises.
“There are few, if any, line items in the budget that can do so much for so many at such a small cost,” states the letter, which can be read in full at bit.ly/2oEBMyT. “As elected officials, we continually discuss the problems of hunger, bullying, and the economic challenges facing families every day. Universal free school lunch cannot, by itself, solve these issues, but it can have a significant impact on all of them immediately. That fact alone should make this program a priority for any government.”
Universal free school lunch currently exists in nearly 35 percent of New York City’s public schools. The borough presidents noted that those schools have seen an increased participation rate across all grade levels, including a 15 percent difference in high school, 20 percent difference in middle schools, and 10 percent difference in elementary schools. They additionally highlighted the “immeasurably positive impact” that the program’s expansion would have due to the reduction in stigma for students facing hunger, as well as the role a healthy, nutritious school lunch plays in academic performance, student health, and lifestyle beyond the school cafeteria.
“A well-fed student is going to have a better school experience,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “For a relatively small amount of funding we can ensure that all school children have a nutritious, healthy lunch, and are therefore prepared for the school learning environment. I am proud to partner with my colleagues on this effort to both fight hunger and reduce the stigma of those students who already receive a free lunch, while also fueling our students for the school day.”
April 17, 2017, Bronx, NY -- Wave Hill, recently named the “Most Loved Cultural Venue in New York City” by Time Out New York magazine, will receive the 2017 Bronx Week Tourism Award at the annual Bronx Ball. The award, presented by The Bronx Tourism Council, recognizes the achievements of an individual or institution toward furthering the mission of making The Bronx a tourism destination.
A public garden and cultural center located in the northwestern corner of the borough, Wave Hill sits on 28 acres of gardens, lawns and woodland, with stunning views of the majestic Hudson River. In addition to the thousands of children it welcomes to school programs each year, and a world-class gallery of contemporary art, Wave Hill also offers myriad public programs, including guided garden walks, workshops in gardening, woodworking, drawing painting and wellness, as well as both indoor and outdoor concerts, year-round. The institution has enjoyed record-breaking participation for the past two years.
“The Wave Hill team has not only been enthusiastic in helping me welcome tour operators, travel journalists and other visitors from all over the globe, but also have played a key role in the success of our Mansions & Cottages: Historic Homes and Gardens of The Bronx Trolley Tour,” says Olga Luz Tirado, Executive Director of The Bronx Tourism Council.
“In The Bronx, we all know how special Wave Hill is, and I am proud not only of this amazing acknowledgment they have received but also for the hard work and love Wave Hill’s staff has put into making the garden a magical place. The Bronx Tourism award recognizes that work and commitment, and I look forward to honoring this wonderful organization at the 2017 Bronx Ball,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Queens City Council Member Karen Koslowitz have partnered on legislation to increase transparency in the self-storage industry in New York City.
Council Member Koslowitz, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on State and Federal Legislation, has proposed legislation with Borough President Diaz that would require self-storage operators to make data regarding the zip codes of their customers available to the Department of Small Business services on a yearly basis.
In February, Borough President Diaz sent a letter to three City agencies—the Department of City Planning, the Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation—asking them to provide this or similar data to his office.
That letter can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/2p0ypnr.
The agencies were unable to produce such data as it is not currently collected. Therefore, Borough President Diaz and Council Member Koslowitz are seeking a legislative solution to make such data public.
“Self-storage facilities are popping up all over The Bronx and the City, taking up valuable real estate in the process. Our legislation would provide a window into the universe of customers these facilities serve, in order to better allow the city to examine the true users of these facilities and plan accordingly for their future siting. I thank Council Member Koslowitz for partnering with me on this important legislation,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“I believe that it is uncontroverted that our city, in its interest to provide increasing engines of economic productivity and opportunity, needs to reign in the proliferation of storage facilities in our Business Industrial Zones. This bill will assist planners of future zoning modifications by offering a window into current storage facility dynamics,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. helps volunteers unload a tractor trailer full of hams on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in front of Stop & Shop Supermarket on East 174th Street in The Bronx. The supermarket chain donated 1,000 Easter hams to five Bronx social service agencies that provide assistance to Bronxites in need. Borough President was joined by community service-minded 4th and 5th graders from neighboring St. Thomas Aquinas School, who helped unload an 18-wheeler packed with the hams in the parking lot of the supermarket.
On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined members and staff at the R.A.I.N. Eastchester Neighborhood Senior Center to celebrate the 101st birthday of neighborhood resident Ms. Sarah Turner.
(l to r) Jane Arce-Bello, Executive Director, R.A.I.N.; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Ms. Sarah Turner; Sofia Reid, Program Director, R.A.I.N. Eastchester Neighborhood Senior Center; Dr. Anderson Torres, President & CEO, R.A.I.N.
On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. appeared on “Today’s Verdict,” hosted by David Lesch, on Bronxnet. The two discussed Bronx and Citywide issues, including the borough president’s recent “State of the Borough” address and recently released “Bronx Annual Development Report.”
Watch the complete show at http://bronxnet.org/tv/bronxlegal/9160-today-s-verdict-april-11th.
"Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have passed a budget that not only brings our state serious criminal justice reforms, protections for our immigrant population and tuition relief for college students but also delivers for major capital priorities in The Bronx, such as the reimagining of the Sheridan Expressway and the future redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory. This budget provides the resources for the continued positive growth of our borough, as well as long-sought provisions to 'Raise the Age' of criminal responsibility and remove 16 and 17-year-olds from the adult justice system. I congratulate Governor Cuomo and our leaders in the State Legislature for delivering on a budget that works for The Bronx and all of New York," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“IDNYC is a critical resource for all New Yorkers, and today’s ruling is the correct decision. Given the dramatic changes we have seen in Washington regarding immigration and other issues it is important that the data of every New Yorker, be they undocumented or not, is protected. Today’s ruling will allow us to do just that,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. reads “Mango, Abuela and Me” by Meg Medina to third graders at P.S. 294 on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The event was part of the Radio 103.9 FM Book Jam and the New York City Department of Education’s NYC Reads 365 campaign.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. released his “Bronx Annual Development Report” this morning at a development roundtable hosted by the Greater New York Construction User Council. The event took place at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
The report finds that 2016 was one of the most successful years the Bronx ever had in regards to development. More than $3.27 billion in total investment took place in the borough in 2016, 37 percent higher than in 2015. The borough also saw 14,204,253 square feet of total development during the same year, 41 percent higher than 2015, which included 5,234 residential units of all types.
“In 2016, The Bronx once again saw an amazing influx of new development of all types. We are the place to be. And there is a good reason for that. Great people, resilient people, make up the more than 1.4 million residents who call this borough home,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Working together with our business and development leaders, our community boards, non-profits, elected officials and committed residents of The Bronx we are all—together—making The Bronx an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
The full report can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/2mMLbVN.
“We have seen incredible growth in The Bronx, across the board, from job creation to affordable housing to the addition and renovation of green spaces and park land,” said Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. “With over $3 billion having been invested in our wonderful borough in 2016 alone we are continuing to find ways to improve the life of the more than 1.4 million people who call The Bronx home. We look forward to seeing these projects blossom, as we continue to build on the successes that fostered positive transformation in our borough.”
In addition to outlining the growth the borough saw in 2016, the “Bronx Annual Development Report” also illustrates the year-to-year investment and construction The Bronx has played host to since 2009, when Borough President Diaz first took office.
Since then, the borough has seen more than $12.7 billion in total development, as well as more than 68.5 million square feet of total development construction. A total of 29,058 residential units have also been constructed in The Bronx since 2009, as well.
On Thursday, March 23, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his annual Women’s History Month Celebration at Manhattan College’s Kelly Commons Building in Riverdale.
“We cannot minimize the important contributions women have made to our borough and our city, and I was proud to honor so many deserving women at this wonderful annual event,” said Borough President Diaz.
This year’s honorees included Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute; Hon. Annabel Palma, New York City Council Member and Milagros Baez O’Toole, Board Chair of the Acacia Network. Juliet Papa of 1010 Wins Radio/CBS served as the emcee for the program.
(l to r) Bertha Lewis, Hon. Annabel Palma, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Juliet Papa, Milagros Baez O’Toole.
NEW YORK, N.Y. - With the April 1st deadline for the state budget just days away, New York City's four Democratic borough presidents - representing more than 7 million New Yorkers - are joining a growing coalition of advocates and elected officials in calling on Governor Cuomo to back Home Stability Support, a proposal to address the state's growing homeless crisis. Borough Presidents Eric Adams of Brooklyn, Gale Brewer of Manhattan, Ruben Diaz, Jr. of the Bronx, and Melinda Katz of Queens formally endorse Home Stability Support, a program introduced by Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi (D - Queens), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Social Services, and Senator Jeffrey Klein (D - Bronx) that would create a new rental subsidies for families facing homelessness due to eviction or domestic violence.
This week, New York City Borough Presidents Adams, Brewer, Diaz and Katz announce their endorsement of Home Stability Support as a solution to a homeless crisis that in recent years has reached epidemic proportions. Statewide, more than 150,000 children homeless and another 80,000 families are on the brink of homelessness.
Nowhere is this crisis more acutely felt than in New York City, where rising housing costs coupled with woefully inadequate shelter allowances have led 127,000 New Yorkers to sleep in shelters during the last fiscal year ending in June 2016. While rental subsidies in the city and across the state have averaged between $200-$400 for a family of three, Fair Market Rents, as determined by the federal government, are often many times that.
Home Stability Support would address this growing disparity between rents and subsidies by scrapping the current hodgepodge of aid in favor of a single rental supplement. The new supplement would bring subsidies to within 85% of Fair Market Rent, and include a home heating component to reduce utility burdens for hundreds of upstate families. Local municipalities would have the option of contributing funds to subsidize the program up to 100% of Fair Market Rent.
“We need to do more to provide families and individuals with the resources they need to prevent homelessness, and the Home Stability Support plan will help do that. It just makes sense to help a family with their rent, rather than put them up in a hotel, during a time of crisis. Keeping people in their homes, rather than having them enter the shelter system, is a common sense, economically sound way to prevent future homelessness and promote neighborhood stability. I’m proud to join Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, State Senator Jeff Klein and so many others in support of this worthwhile proposal ” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $1.8 billion project to transform the South Bronx by realizing the long-sought reconstruction of the Bruckner-Sheridan Interchange. The Sheridan Expressway will be de-designated as an interstate and replaced with a boulevard design that is both pedestrian and cyclist friendly. The improvements to the Sheridan will tie neighborhoods together and give residents and visitors alike a direct connection to the Bronx River waterfront and Starlight Park which have been shut off to the community by the highway for decades.
The project will also provide direct access to the Hunts Point Market, one of the largest food distribution centers in the world, from both the Bruckner Expressway and the new Sheridan Boulevard. More than 78,000 vehicles travel to the Hunts Point Peninsula daily, including 13,000 trucks using local roads, which has increased and contributed to poor air quality in the community. These new measures will take traffic off local roadways, significantly reducing both noise and air pollution in a borough with some of the highest asthma rates in the country. The transformational project is expected to create 4,250 new jobs. The $1.8 billion project will be completed in multiple phases, the first of which will be funded by $700 million in this year's budget.
"While plans have been proposed and languished for decades, we're taking action to finally right the wrongs of the past by reconnecting South Bronx communities that have dealt with unnecessary barriers to revitalization and growth," Governor Cuomo said. "The project will create an interconnected South Bronx with access to the Waterfront, recreation, and less traffic on local streets while simultaneously better supporting those who use the Hunts Point Market – a vital economic engine for the borough."
The Sheridan Expressway is a functionally obsolete part of interstate system that cuts through the heart of the South Bronx forcing residents to travel long distances to reach the Bronx waterfront and parks. The New York State Department of Transportation will seek the de-designation of the Sheridan Expressway as an interstate and instead replace it with a boulevard design that will integrate and bring together the Crotona Park, West Farms, Bronx River, and Soundview neighborhoods. The boulevard will include a number of pedestrian and cyclist friendly features including at grade crossings with direct access to Starlight Park and the Bronx River Waterfront Greenway. The boulevard will have wide medians, landscaping, and decorative lighting. A new pedestrian bridge over the Bronx River will connect Starlight Park to the multi-use path across the river.
The Hunts Point Market is a vital economic engine for the Bronx, currently generating more than $2 billion in annual economic activity. As one of the largest wholesale food markets in the world, the Hunts Point peninsula also attracts tens of thousands of vehicles per day who use local streets, particularly Westchester Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard, to go to and from the interstate highway network.
This project will transform the local roadway system by creating a flyover ramp from the new Sheridan Boulevard and a new eastbound exit from the Bruckner Expressway to Edgewater Road – which feeds directly into the market. The Sheridan ramp will remove heavy traffic and idling trucks from local roads and is expected to save five minutes in travel time for each truck that currently travels 2.7 miles on local streets. For westbound traffic on the Bruckner there will be new entrance and exit ramps at Leggett Avenue for more direct access to the market.
The project will also eliminate the bottleneck at the Bruckner/Sheridan interchange by adding a third lane to the Bruckner in both directions and by relocating the Sheridan ramps from left hand to right hand entrances. The project will also implement new measures such as signing and pavement markings to direct auto, truck and pedestrian traffic within the Hunts Point Peninsula.
Work to create the new Sheridan Boulevard will begin next year and that aspect of the project is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2019. The State Department of Transportation plans to accelerate the Environmental Impact Study process and use design-build contracting to accelerate completion of the full project.
"The Sheridan Expressway is a critical artery for the Bronx and this plan will transform it into a safer, more business friendly route that will better connect the Bronx community,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “By enhancing access to the Hunts Point market, the Bronx River waterfront and Starlight Park, Governor Cuomo's plan will build on the success of strategic initiatives that have already made dramatic improvements to the region, and create new economic opportunities for all in our community."
On Monday, March 20, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams co-hosted the first hearing of their “Gifted & Talented Task Force,” which will study issues surrounding gifted and talented education in New York City public schools, as well as the admissions process for the city's specialized high schools, at the Bronx High School of Science.
The next hearing of the task force will take place in Brooklyn on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, from 6:00 p.m.—8:00 p.m.