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The New York Public Library Secures New, Larger Home for the Van Cortlandt Branch in the Bronx

Purchase of property on Cannon Place will double the size of the beloved branch, which will open at its new location in 2019

AUGUST TK – The New York Public Library has finalized its purchase of a 5,800-square-foot building that will now be transformed into the new, larger home of the Van Cortlandt branch in the Bronx.

The new property at 3882 Cannon Place is only three blocks from the existing 2,700-square-foot branch and more than double the size, allowing the Library to better accommodate the growing community with more space for reading, programs, computers, and more. The new location also has an outdoor space.

The Van Cortlandt Library has been at its original one-room location at 3874 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx since 1968. Even with limited space, the branch has seen a 49 percent increase in program attendance in recent years – and needs to expand.

City Council Member Andrew Cohen, State Senator Jeff Klein, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. allocated over $2 million for the project, which is expected to be complete in spring 2019.

The Library will now begin work on transforming the new space into a branch library. To do this, it will launch a “Building for You” community engagement campaign, soliciting feedback from the community on its wants and needs for a new space to help inform design and plans. In the coming months, the Library will conduct a survey in the existing branch and online, and will hold community meetings.

“This new branch library will be a tremendous upgrade from the existing location, and I am proud to have provided capital funding towards this project to make this relocation work. The new Van Cortlandt Branch Library will provide the readers of the Northwest Bronx with a state-of-the-art facility, and I congratulate the New York Public Library for making this project a priority. I look forward to visiting this new branch when it opens in the future,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.


Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Confederate Monuments at the Hall of Fame for Great Americans

“Our motto in this borough is ‘ne cede malis,’—‘yield not to evil.’ And we will not, no matter how old that evil might be. Our diversity is our strength, not just here in The Bronx but across our city and our nation. In celebration of that diversity and united in our outright rejection of the hatred that we have seen on display in recent days—be it an act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville or the vitriol emanating from the White House—the busts of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson must be removed from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans on the campus of Bronx Community College.

“Their inclusion at this location is especially galling: there is nothing great about two men who committed treason against the United States to fight to keep the institution of slavery intact. A more appropriate location for these statues would be a museum, such as the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, where they could be presented in a historical context rather than venerated. But they should not stay in The Bronx any longer,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Bronx High School Students Complete
First-Of-Kind Summer Internship in Tech Industry

Students spent summer working at AT&T retail locations throughout the Bronx as part of DreamYard summer program

New York, NY – 15 Bronx high school students today completed the first-ever summer internship program in AT&T retail stores in New York. Over the past four weeks, the students, who were selected as the most-qualified from a pool of applicants, learned about wireless technology and business management in a real-world setting. They had the opportunity to shadow AT&T sales and customer service experts at nine Bronx area retail stores – gaining valuable work experience and furthering their professional development.

At today’s graduation, the students were honored by Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz, Jr. and Marissa Shorenstein, President, East Region for AT&T. Each student also gave a presentation on the skills they gained throughout this summer as well as their interview of a store employee and mentor.

“It was a privilege to have these exceptionally talented young people work in AT&T stores this summer,” said Marissa Shorenstein, President, East Region, AT&T. “The goal of this internship program was to equip students with the professional skills and experience they need to succeed in college and beyond. Our hope is that this summer’s experiences will inspire these students to continue to pursue careers in tech – and maybe one day, back at AT&T.”

“Integrating work experience in a high-demand field such as the wireless technology industry, as well as learning the nuances of managing a business, gives our students invaluable work experience needed to build their future professional skill sets,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz, Jr. “The education of our children is perhaps the most important responsibility we have as elected officials, and thanks to the partnership and the vision of DreamYard as well as the generosity of AT&T, our high school students are learning to work as a group in a corporate environment, learning about technology, and learning the importance of personal responsibility, all very important components to building up our future leaders, as we continue push to improve the lives of our 1.4 million residents.”

Read the complete press release.


#CitiBike4All Campaign Meets Goal of 7,000 Signatures, Delivers to Citywide and Local Electeds

Citi Bike Enjoys Broad Support in All Five Boroughs 

Coalition Includes Organizations like Bronx Health REACH, WHEDco, The Point CDC, New York League of Conservation Voters, and Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness

New York, NY —#CitiBike4All, a coalition launched by Transportation Alternatives in May in support of a five borough Citi Bike program, has hit its goal of 7,000 signatures from all five boroughs. 

Supporters delivered the signatures to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Council Member and Chair of the Transportation Committee Ydanis Rodriguez, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz. 

“Citi Bike needs to expand to all five boroughs. My constituents want this service, as their tremendous response to this petition demonstrates so clearly. Bronxites should have equity when it comes to bike sharing programs, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in government, as well as Transportation Alternatives and other advocates, to make ‘Citi Bike for All’ a reality,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.


BP Diaz to Host 'Back to School' Event

On Saturday, August 26, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will host his annual “Back to School” Literacy & Health Fair at the Pablo Casals Middle School 181 on the Co-op City Education Campus, 800 Baychester Avenue, Bronx. The event will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m

“School is almost here, and my office wants to make sure that parents and students are both ready for the upcoming school year,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I invite Bronxites and their children to join us for a day of fun as we prepare to go back to school.”
 
The event is co-sponsored by Montefiore, 92.3 AMP Radio, Healthfirst and Freshdirect. The event will be emceed by 92.3 AMP Radio personality and host Shoboy, and will feature music, games and giveaways while supplies last.

Flyers for the event, in both English and Spanish, can be viewed at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6wMbR4.


Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Provide Low-Income New Yorkers with Access to Counsel for Wrongful Evictions

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed Intro. 214-B into law, and solidified the City’s commitment to providing all low-income tenants facing eviction with legal representation in Housing Court. The program, which is overseen by the Civil Justice Coordinator at the Human Resources Administration, will serve 400,000 tenants when it is fully implemented in five years.

“New York City will be the first city in country to ensure anyone facing an eviction case can access legal assistance thanks to this new law. New Yorkers should not lose their homes because they cannot afford a lawyer and stopping wrongful evictions from happening makes both ethical and economic sense,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council for bringing this legislation into fruition and helping keep New Yorkers in their homes no matter their income level, making our city an even fairer city for all.”

Prior to this legislation, nearly no tenants had legal representation in Housing Court – estimated at just 1% in 2013 by state court officials – which resulted in high incidences of evictions and unchecked tenant harassment. To help close the gap, the Administration dramatically increased the availability of City-funded legal services for low-income tenants, increasing funding for legal assistance for tenants facing eviction and harassment from $6 million in 2013 to $62 million in 2016, a tenfold increase. 

The program successfully increased tenant representation in Housing Court from 1% in 2013 to 27% in 2016, and provided more than 50,000 households with legal services since 2014. At the same time, residential evictions by marshals declined by 24 percent, allowing 40,000 people to remain in their homes during 2015 and 2016.

Last February, the Administration agreed to more than double this financial support, dedicating an additional $93 million at full implementation for a comprehensive program to provide access to legal representation to all low-income tenants facing eviction proceedings in Housing Court earning up to 200% of the federal poverty line and brief legal assistance for all tenants facing eviction in court whose income is above that level.  In total and once the program is fully implemented, the City will spend $155 million annually to cover the costs of the initiative.

Beginning this October, the program will also start providing legal services to NYCHA tenants in administrative proceedings to terminate their tenancy. There are approximately 3,200 cases that go through NYCHA administrative hearings annually.

To ensure that tenants know their rights and at-risk communities have access to these services, the City’s Public Engagement Unit and the Human Resources Administration will be conducting outreach across the program areas. Tenants are encouraged to call 311 if they are facing an eviction and/or visit HRA offices located in housing courts.

“For too long the deck has been stacked against low-income tenants, most of whom do not have attorneys, because most landlords have representation in housing court. That is no longer the case, thanks to the new system laid out by this incredibly important 'Access to Counsel' legislation," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their strong commitment to tenants' rights, and for leading us to where we are today. I especially want to thank two of my colleagues from the City Council, Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, for their tireless advocacy on behalf of this important piece of legislation. Together, we have struck a blow for a more fair and just housing court, and that is something we can all be proud of.”

Read the complete press release.


Bronx Borough President Diaz, New York Yankees and AT&T Host 7th Annual 'Borough President's Cup' Little League Championship

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Marissa Shorenstein, president, AT&T-East Region, present the championship trophy for the seventh annual “Borough President’s Cup” Little League Championship to the Bronxchester Realtors. The championship game took place at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, August 10, 2017. Photo by Pete Lott. Download the photo at: http://bit.ly/2hR7Ez1.

On Thursday, August 10, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York Yankees and Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T-East Region, co-hosted the seventh annual “Borough President’s Cup” Little League Championship.

The event featured two teams both competing in the championship game for the first time: Bronxchester Realtors and Caribe Little League. Bronxchester took the championship trophy home in a 2-1 thriller.

To compete in the “Borough President’s Cup” Little League tournament, players for each Little League have to meet a set of requirements unrelated to their performance on the field: maintain a B-average in school, 90 percent or greater school attendance and a demonstrated commitment to community service.

“This tournament has become a true Bronx sports tradition, and I am proud to once again join AT&T and the New York Yankees to make today possible,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Today’s game featured two teams of great kids, giving it their all at the most important stadium in all of baseball. Congratulations to the Bronxchester Realtors on today’s victory. I’m already looking forward to next year’s tournament!”

“AT&T’s ongoing partnership with Borough President Diaz is empowering student athletes to achieve academically, support their peers and give back to their communities,” said Marissa Shorenstein, President, AT&T-East Region. “Congratulations to all the players and their coaches on their incredible performance today, and here’s to a successful school year ahead, on the field and in the classroom.”

“The New York Yankees are honored to partner with the Bronx Borough President’s Office and AT&T to host the seventh annual Borough President’s Cup Little League Championship and showcase the talents and achievements of local student athletes,” said Brian Smith, Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate & Community Relations.


Mayor Signs Right to Counsel Legislation Sponsored by City Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa L. Gibson

Landmark Legislation Guarantees Free Legal Representation for Low-Income New Yorkers in Housing Court

New York, NY – Today Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign Intro 214-B, a landmark bill passed on July 20th by the New York City Council and sponsored by Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa L. Gibson, that requires the Office of Civil Justice to establish a program for legal representation for low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court within five years, in addition to establishing a pilot program to provide legal services to all NYCHA tenants in administrative proceedings this fall.

New York City is the first jurisdiction in the country to require legal representation in housing court, sparking similar measures to be introduced in other cities, including Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

The legislation, first introduced by Council Members Levine and Gibson in 2014, calls for the City to provide New Yorkers with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line – or $49,200 annually for a family of four – free legal representation when facing eviction or foreclosure. The program is expected to help more than 400,000 New Yorkers each year, according to a report by commissioned by the New York City Bar Association.

In 2015, nearly 22,000 New Yorkers were evicted from their homes. Only about 20 percent of those facing eviction are represented by an attorney, compared to nearly 100 percent of landlords. Studies show that having legal representation during housing court proceedings reduces the chances of eviction by 77 percent, and in some cases landlords simply drop their cases after learning the tenant has an attorney.

Prior to the passage of the bill, Council Member Levine fought to increase funding for anti-eviction legal services, from $6 million in FY14 to over $60 million in FY17, resulting in a corresponding 24% drop in evictions in the last three years.

“For too long the deck has been stacked against low-income tenants, most of whom do not have attorneys, because most landlords have representation in housing court. That is no longer the case, thanks to the new system laid out by this incredibly important ‘Right to Counsel’ legislation,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their strong commitment to tenants’ rights, and for leading us to where we are today. I especially want to thank two of my colleagues from the City Council, Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, for their tireless advocacy on behalf of this important piece of legislation. Together, we have struck a blow for a more fair and just housing court, and that is something we can all be proud of.”

Read the complete press release.


BP Diaz Allocates Over $2.4 Million in Funds for Community Facilities

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has allocated more than $2.4 million in capital funds for six community facilities across The Bronx.

These capital improvements help with the renovation of youth facilities that provide safe havens for our most vulnerable communities, while also enhancing and improving access to resources for those who need it the most.

Among the projects that will receive funds are the completion of repairs to the swimming pool area at BronxWorks, a green roof and solar panels for Rocking the Boat and new refrigerated delivery vans for God's Love We Deliver, which helps provide nutritious meals for those living with life-altering illnesses.

“These investments allow for us to continue to build on the successes we have had since I became borough president,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We want to make sure Bronxites who need our help are getting the services they need, whether that means providing meals for those who cannot leave their homes, providing facilities where our children can exercise their minds and bodies, and providing space for afterschool activities, among other important services.”

This year’s capital allocations will fund a total of $2.45 million in improvements to community facilities and services. Since 2009, Borough President Diaz has invested over $15 million over 32 projects to help build or renovate community facilities across The Bronx.

“I’m proud to fund these projects that help uplift our community, strengthening core values of helping one another within our community,” said Borough President Diaz “These will be amazing enhancements to our amenities in The Bronx, and I’m proud to have been able to help make these projects a reality.”

A complete list of Borough President Diaz’s capital allocations towards community facilities in FY 2018 can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/2vgjk2I.

Read the complete press release.


Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. & Council Member Ritchie Torres join Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa to announce a joint funding project to reconstruct Waring Playground and Basketball Court

Elected officials and the city allocated $3.6 million for the renovations

Bronx, NY - Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Council Member Ritchie Torres joined NYC Parks Bronx Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa at Waring Playground on Tuesday afternoon to announce a joint allocation of $3.6 million to reconstruct portions of the park.

“I am proud to have provided so much of my capital funding to worthy park projects all over The Bronx during my tenure as borough president, including more than $1.1 million to help rehabilitate this wonderful playground. As we work to build a healthier Bronx through our “#Not62” campaign, we must make sure that our shared recreation spaces are in good condition and inviting to the public, so that more and more Bronxites of all ages will take advantage of them. I thank Senator Klein, Councilman Torres, the mayor’s office and the parks department for their partnership on this wonderful project,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.


BP Diaz Allocates More than $7 Million in Housing Funds

FY2018 Capital Funds will help create more than 1,500 new affordable units across The Bronx

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced today that his office has allocated more than $7 million in capital funds for 10 housing developments across The Bronx, creating more than 1,500 new affordable units in neighborhoods across the borough.

“Our latest capital funding allocation shows our continued commitment to maintaining and building affordable housing, a promise I have strived to keep since the first day that I became borough president,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This year’s allocations will help a wide range of individuals find and keep an affordable home, right here in The Bronx. I look forward to continuing to build on all of these great successes, in our housing sector, as our borough continues its positive transformation.”

Highlights in this year’s capital budget include $500,000 to New Destiny Housing to build units for survivors of domestic violence and $750,000 for Second Farms Affordable Housing, a project focused on finding quality housing for the formerly homeless in partnership with Catholic Charities.

This year’s capital allocations will fund a total of 1,589 new units of affordable housing. In all, since 2009, Borough President Diaz has invested $51,879,000 in capital funding towards affordable housing across The Bronx, helping to create 7,772 new affordable housing units.

“We understand our resident’s need for affordable housing, as the cost of living continues to trend upward in our city,” said Borough President Diaz. “By far, the greatest volume of constituent requests received by my office is for housing assistance. Funding these upcoming projects addresses some of these housing issues we face, as we continue to build on the successes we have seen last few years in our great borough.”

This year, Borough President Diaz’s office has provided $58,718,000 in total capital dollars across 146 projects. Since coming to office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has provided $248,646,000 in total capital funding to 725 projects.

A complete list of Borough President Diaz’s capital allocations towards housing in FY 2018 can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/2tDB8lo.


Borough President Diaz Allocates Nearly $10 Million to Bronx Parks

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced that his office is providing almost $10 million in capital funds to parks all over the borough through his FY 2018 capital funding allocations, as part of his “#Not62” Campaign for a Healthier Bronx.

This year, Borough President Diaz will allocate $9,916,000 to nine borough parks. This includes funding for upgrades, redesign and construction of basketball courts, staircase and site work at Seton Park in Riverdale; as well as two new pedestrian bridges, four new community access points and five new acres of waterfront parkland at Starlight Park in Soundview, in conjunction with the Bronx River Alliance. 

“Providing quality park spaces is paramount for our ‘#Not62’ health initiative, as we work to build a healthier Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We must make sure that our shared recreational spaces are in good condition and inviting to the public, so that more and more Bronxites of all ages will take advantage of them. What starts off as kids being kids—playing sports, and running around, having fun in our park spaces—becomes the building blocks to developing a healthier lifestyle as our kids become adults. I am proud to have provided so much of my capital funding to worthy park projects all over The Bronx this year.”

Since taking office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has funded a total of $52,684,000 across 70 park projects.

Borough President Diaz is providing $4.7 million to improve access to existing open spaces on the Harlem River Greenway by building a promenade to connect and creating an accessible waterfront along the Harlem River and reconstructing an existing step street to improve access to Bridge Park. 

Other notable park projects Borough President Diaz is funding this year include $1 million towards the reconstruction of Kossuth Playground on Mosholu Parkway, $500,000 towards the spray showers at Woodlawn Playground and $650,000 towards renovation and upgrade of windows and roof at Owen Dolen Recreation Center in Westchester Square.  

This year, Borough President Diaz’s office has provided $58,718,000 in total capital dollars across 146 projects. Since coming to office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has provided $248,646,000 in total capital funding to 725 projects.

A complete list of Borough President Diaz’s capital allocations towards parks in FY 2018 can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/2v58tdr.


Statement from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
RE: Pedro Hernandez / Bail Reform

"The case of Pedro Hernandez highlights the need for significant bail reform, if not the elimination of the money bail system altogether, in the State of New York. We need a system that places greater emphasis on the objective risk a defendant poses.  Unfortunately, for too long, bail policies have been applied inconsistently and disproportionately. For low-income New Yorkers, the bail system has been prohibitive and punitive.

"The actions taken by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights demonstrate that, for too many, bail is simply out of reach.  For Pedro Hernandez, for Kalief Browder, and for the thousands of individuals currently waiting for trial on Rikers Island and elsewhere, the status quo must be changed. I support the recommendations on bail reform made by the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, led by Judge Jonathan Lippman, as a way to keep New Yorkers out of jail when the interests of public safety permit it, and look forward to working with colleagues and advocates for criminal justice reform to move this issue forward," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Dream and NYC Parks Complete New Ballfield at Patterson Playground in The Bronx

The Bronx, NY -- NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined DREAM Executive Director Rich Berlin, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., former New York Yankee Mark Teixeira and representatives from the Cal Ripken Foundation to cut the ribbon on a new ballfield at Patterson Playground in Mott Haven.

DREAM raised $1.5 million as part of Parks’ Adopt-a-Park program to transform the former concrete blacktop into a baseball field. Construction began in fall of 2016 and is now complete, with a brand new synthetic turf field that will benefit the local community and students at PS 18. The field will also be used for DREAM summer and after-school programming.

“Less than a year ago, this beautiful ballfield was just blacktop,” said Commissioner Silver. “Thanks to DREAM’s vision and commitment to the South Bronx, we now have a synthetic turf field that will be an invaluable resource for the students of PS 18 and the entire Mott Haven community. Next year, Parks will continue the transformation by putting $2.5 million into new courts, swings, play equipment, a garden and other exciting additions.”

“After DREAM began as a summer program in a lot in East Harlem, one of our goals became crystal clear: to become partners in communities by turning underutilized spaces into places where children and families can grow and strive,” said Richard Berlin, Executive Director at DREAM. “The achievement of turning a blacktop into a true ball field here in the South Bronx was possible because of the hard work of this community and we are incredibly grateful for all of their efforts.”

In Fall 2018, Parks will begin a $2.5 million renovation of the remaining Patterson Playground, including new basketball and handball courts, play equipment, swings, a new garden and landscaping. The phase II renovation is being funded by $2.2 million from Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and $300,000 from Mayor de Blasio.

“DREAM has shown that little league can make a big difference in the lives of our kids, inspiring and nurturing nearly 2,000 children by giving them a place to play, learn and grow, said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The City Council is proud to have provided a $2.2 million investment to ensure that the young people of this community in the South Bronx fulfill the potential that they have. I want to thank our partners at DREAM, the NYC Parks Department and those in the private sector for continuing our work to promote play and growth for children across New York City.” 

“The DREAM organization has done great work not only in The Bronx but across New York City,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This organization has had a positive impact on our communities, and I am very pleased to welcome them to the South Bronx. I am excited about the impact this new field will have on the school and the community, and I look forward to working with DREAM to improve the lives of our borough’s youth for years to come.”

"The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation is very proud to partner with DREAM, and support their very important mission,” said Steve Salem, President of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “DREAM is one of the finest youth organizations in America, and the more we all do to support the young people they serve, the better off this nation will be."

“We are thrilled to work with DREAM, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation our partners at Major League Baseball and the South Bronx community to ensure our young people have a place to play, learn, and grow,” said Stacey Ullrich, Senior Director Global Philanthropy at Under Armour.  “Everything we do at Under Armour begins

with passion – and that was definitely the case for the Patterson Field of Dreams project.  Everyone came together because of passion to provide opportunity and access for youth and now this incredible new field will be a part of many individuals journey and not only have an impact on their lives but all those who follow after them. The field is beautiful, but what will happen here is what it is all about." 

”The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is proud to be a long-time supporter of DREAM and its RBI baseball and softball program,” said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund.  “On behalf of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, we thank DREAM for expanding its programs to include the Bronx and for its continued leadership to bring additional quality playing fields to the city.”  

"I'm happy to support the kids at DREAM and excited to see them on the field making use of this beautiful new field. It's an honor to be a part of DREAM's mission to provide opportunities for inner-city kids to succeed through the great game of baseball," said former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez.

“We are proud supporters of DREAM and its newest addition to the South Bronx community- the Field of Dreams at Patterson Park,” said Mindy and Jon Gray, Co-Founders of the Gray Foundation“We believe all children should have access to the excellent educational, athletic and enrichment opportunities that DREAM provides and look forward to seeing kids hit it out of the park for years to come."

"It's not just a field. Rather it's a place that will bring about hope and life into a neighborhood that needs it,” said philanthropists Patty and Jay Baker, former president of Kohl’s.

The Adopt-a-Park program allows organizations to show their commitment to local communities by renovating a beloved playground, resurfacing a basketball or tennis court, or turning unused, paved areas into green spaces with flowers and trees. Organizations interested in the Adopt-a-Park program can call (212) 360-8144 or email AdoptAPark@parks.nyc.gov for more information.


Senior-Focused CSA Arrives in The Bronx 

Making sure that Bronx residents have access to quality fruits and vegetables is a priority for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Today, Borough President Diaz launched a Bronx-based, senior-focused Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative, as part of the “#Not62” Campaign for a Healthier Bronx.

Borough President Diaz and the Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center are joining forces this summer to bring fresh produce to seniors all over the borough. This program will deliver 4-6 pound bags of locally grown produce once per week to senior citizens all over the borough, in partnership with local senior centers. This program will provide seniors with access to affordable groceries, help combat food deserts and promote healthier diet choices. 

“Our office is committed to expanding food options for everyone in the borough. Earlier this year we succeeded in making New York State eligible for the SNAP online program, we continue our fight for food access with this new initiative,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank the Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center for their partnership on this initiative, without their help this program would not be possible.”

Read the complete press release.


Governor Cuomo Announces Construction on $67 Million Supportive Housing Development in The Bronx

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction is underway on a $67 million supportive and affordable housing project in the Bronx. The building being constructed, part of a larger mixed-use development known as La Central, will create 160 units of housing, including 97 supportive units for formerly homeless New Yorkers with special needs.

The La Central development will feature multiple buildings with mixed-income affordable housing, retail, community and recreation spaces, helping to revitalize the Melrose neighborhood in the South Bronx. Breaking Ground will develop the supportive housing component of La Central, while Comunilife will provide support services.

"La Central is a standard-setting, groundbreaking mix of affordable housing and community amenities, like a new YMCA and a South Bronx extension for Bronxnet," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "I was proud to have provided this project with $1.5 million of my office's capital funding. I thank Governor Cuomo and my partners in state government for investing in the future of our community and serving residents with a diverse set of incomes in one of the nation's greenest developments- creating a safer and better neighborhood for all."

Read the complete press release.


BP Diaz & Bronx Youth Corps Beautify Community Garden

 

On Thursday, July 20, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and student volunteers participating in the Bronx Youth Corps came together to beautify Latinos Unidos Community Garden in Melrose. Activities included painting a mural, building garden boxes and planting new trees at the site.

The Bronx Youth Corps is a youth service program that integrates community service with classroom instruction and reflection to enhance student learning. Through the Bronx Youth Corps, the students will learn to work as a group, learn about the importance of taking  responsibility for their community, and gain the skills to make positive changes in The Bronx and become future leaders.

Thursday's  event was made possible thanks to partnerships with DreamYard, the Blackstone Group and Nos Quedamos.


NYC to Become First Jurisdiction in U.S. that will Guarantee Free Legal Representation for Low-Income Tenants in Housing Court

New York, NY – The New York City Council today voted to pass Intro 214-B, a landmark bill sponsored by Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, that requires the NYC Office of Civil Justice to establish a program for legal representation for low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court within five years, in addition to establishing a pilot program to provide legal services to all NYCHA tenants in administrative proceedings this fall.

New York City is the first jurisdiction in the country to require legal representation in housing court, sparking similar measures to be introduced in other cities, including Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

The legislation, first introduced by Council Member Levine in 2014, calls for the City to provide New Yorkers with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line – or $49,200 annually for a family of four – free legal representation when facing eviction or foreclosure. The program is expected to help tenants in more than 400,000 New Yorkers each year, according to a report by commissioned by the New York City Bar Association. Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated his intention to sign the bill.

In 2015, nearly 22,000 New Yorkers were evicted from their homes. Only about 20 percent of those facing eviction are represented by an attorney, compared to nearly 100 percent of landlords. Studies show that having legal representation during housing court proceedings reduces the chances of eviction by 77%, and in some cases landlords simply drop their cases after learning the tenant has an attorney.

“For too long the deck has been stacked against low-income tenants, most of whom do not have attorneys, because most landlords have representation in housing court. That is no longer the case, thanks to the achievements of this incredibly important ‘Right to Counsel’ legislation,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Together, we have struck a blow for a more fair and just housing court, and that is something we can all be proud of.”


The Bronx and China’s Songjiang District Sign ‘Sister City’ Agreement

On July 17, 2017, the Songjiang Peoples Government delegation from China’s Songjiang District of Shanghai, led by Deputy District Mayor Long Wanli, visited The Bronx to sign a friendship, or “sister city,” agreement with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and officially begin a long-standing relationship between the two governments.

The agreement encourages bilateral investment not only on the government level but also within the private sector. After signing the agreement, the Songjiang Delegation visited several notable Bronx sites, including the Montefiore Hutchinson Campus Ambulatory Surgery Center, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the New York Botanical Garden.

“This agreement will encourage partnerships in business development, tourism, medical innovation and other areas between The Bronx and the Songjiang District,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We have seen considerable success in The Bronx in recent years, and the story of our positive transformation has made its way to China. I was happy to discuss with the Songjiang delegation what has worked for our borough, what we can learn from the government and people of Songjiang, and ways our governments can work together in the future.”



Read all of Borough President Diaz's press releases and statements.