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City Hall in Your Borough: Mayor de Blasio Announces Small Businesses Seeing Fewer Fines, Opening Faster

BRONX, NY–Meeting business owners on The Bronx’s Arthur Avenue, Mayor de Blasio released a “Small Business Progress Report” outlining a 40% reduction in fines, a three-month reduction in the time it takes to open a restaurant, and a surge in certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).

Read the report: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/sbs/downloads/pdf/about/reports/smallbizreport-2017.pdf

"Small business corridors, such as Arthur Avenue, make up the backbone of our city's economy. For too long, small business owners and entrepreneurs have felt besieged by heavy fines and the red tape that comes with opening or expanding their business. Mayor de Blasio's commitment to a more streamlined process will help our small businesses expand and thrive, and I thank his administration and the Department of Small Business Services for developing more user-friendly policies to help our small business community," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.


BP Diaz Hosts Grand Finale of Bronx Week 2017

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. celebrated the grand finale of Bronx Week 2017 with the annual induction ceremony and Bronx Week Parade.

During the 46th annual Bronx Week Parade, hundreds of students from Bronx schools and youth organizations marched down Mosholu Parkway with the four new members of the Bronx Walk of Fame— Latin music superstar Prince Royce, hip-hop pioneer Funkmaster Flex, Orange is the New Black star Selenis Leyva and medical inventor Dr. Manny Villafaña.— who also paraded along Mosholu Parkway after the unveiling of street signs on the Grand Concourse in recognition of their achievements.

“There is never a wrong time to celebrate The Bronx, but we always turn up the volume on our borough pride during Bronx Week,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Bronx Week 2017 was a huge success, and I was honored to once again be part of this very special annual tradition. I can’t wait for Bronx Week 2018!”

Following the parade, residents enjoyed the Bronx Week Food, Art & Music Festival, which featured popular restaurants, arts & crafts, games and activities for kids, as well as special performances by Hip-Hop legends Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, Latin Freestyle stars TKA and Salseros Los Adolescentes.

Prior to the induction ceremony, Borough President Diaz hosted a volunteer breakfast and recognition ceremony for dozens of Bronx volunteers from Catholic Charities of New York.


City Hall in Your Borough: Mayor de Blasio Kicks Off Week in Bronx with Tour of Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market

City investing $150 million to expand capacity, improve resiliency and create new jobs at the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center

BRONX, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market this morning to meet with business owners and union leadership and preview progress on the City’s $150 million investment into the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, one of the largest food distribution hubs in the world.

The de Blasio’s administration’s investment will support the 8,500 jobs already at the hub, and create another 500 permanent and 900 unionized construction jobs. The City is expanding rail capacity, remediating underutilized properties for new buildings to house food-related businesses, expanding and modernizing existing buildings, and fortifying the center’s systems against flooding and disruption.

“The Hunts Point Terminal Market is responsible for feeding our entire region, and is one of the most significant economic engines not just in The Bronx but in the entire City. Mayor de Blasio's commitment of considerable financial resources to the market’s ongoing success is greatly appreciated, especially as we plan for the long-term vitality and continued positive growth of this important commercial hub,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.


Borough President Diaz Hosts Bronx Week 2017 Business Day Luncheon

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation co-hosted a “Business Day Luncheon” as part of Bronx Week 2017. 

Ten successful Bronx businesses who have contributed to the continued growth of the borough were honored at the event, including Grady’s Cold Brew, Sicis North America, Bronx Alehouse, Bronx Design Group, Mechanical Heating Supply, Inc., Jetro, Sell-Mar Enterprises, Marley Spoon, Woops! and DOYLE/Hayloft Auctions.

“We have seen incredible growth in The Bronx, and so much of that growth would not have been possible without our borough’s vibrant business community,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I look forward to continue working with all of our Bronx businesses as we continue to build on our recent successes.”

Now in its 46th year, Bronx Week is the annual celebration of everything that makes The Bronx a great place to live, work and raise a family.


Borough President Diaz Hosts 19th Annual Bronx Bankers Breakfast

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. presents Congressman Adriano Espaillat with the official Bronx Afghan, created by the Bronx County Historical Society, following Rep. Espaillat’s keynote address at the Business Initiative Corporation of New York’s (BICNY) 19th Annual Bronx Bankers Breakfast on May 12, 2017, at the Villa Barone Manor in Throggs Neck.

Borough President Diaz was joined during the presentation by Raul Hiraldo, chairman of BICNY’s board of directors and Rafael Roger, executive director of BICNY.

(l to r) Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Raul Hiraldo, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Rafael Roger.


Major New York Leaders and Organizations Join Forces to Ensure Governor Cuomo's 30% MWBE Goals are Reached and State Efforts Become a National Model

National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference, Bertha Lewis, founder and president of The Black Institute, NAN Northeast Regional Director Kirsten John Foy, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Mayor Byron Brown, Bill Thompson, Former Governor David Paterson, The NYC District of Carpenters, and key clergy and business leaders across the state joined an initiative to provide thousands of opportunities to middle class minorities and women by ensuring Governor Cuomo’s MWBE program is successful.

“As the Bronx continues its economic revitalization, MWBE programs are important to providing hard working residents with job opportunities,” said Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President.

Read the complete press release.


Borough President Diaz Hosts Bronx Week 2017 Centenarian Celebration

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the Bronx Week 2017 Centenarian Celebration, honoring Bronxites who are 100 years or older at the Villa Barone Manor in Throggs Neck. 

Borough President Diaz was joined at the event by (l) Ms. Beatrice Castiglia-Catullo, 100, founder of Regional Aid for Interim Needs (R.A.I.N.) and (r) Ms. Sarah Turner, who recently celebrated her 101st birthday at the R.A.I.N. Eastchester Neighborhood Senior Center.

“We’re proud to take time during Bronx Week to celebrate the lives of our senior citizens, their success and accomplishments, and we honor them for building the foundation of the new Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Borough President Diaz Honors Bronx Community Boards

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted a celebration of the borough’s 12 Community Boards and their members at The Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, as part of Bronx Week 2017.

“Our 12 community boards are made up of committed, dedicated Bronxites who care about our neighborhoods and want our borough to do better, and I was proud to celebrate their accomplishments and advocacy as part of Bronx Week,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Borough President Diaz Hosts Bronx Labor Breakfast

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his 4th Annual Bronx Week Labor Breakfast as part of Bronx Week 2017. The event celebrated honored labor leaders who have been guiding forces in The Bronx’s resurgence, speaking up for workers’ rights for all Bronxites

“I am delighted to have hosted this wonderful event, an official event of Bronx Week – where we celebrate the best of The Bronx, and that most certainly includes the labor movement,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  “As you know, I have always been a friend to labor and will continue to speak up for the movement, the working people of our great borough, and the great locals and unions that fight for our rights.”

The event honored Tara Martin, President of the NYC Central Labor Council; Vincent Alvarez, State Political Director for the New York State Nurses Association; Bobby Murray,  President of the Bronx Board of Business Agents, and Business Agent for Plumbers Local Union No. 1; Tamara Rivera,  Council Representative for the New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters; and Venus Colon Williams, Staff Representative and Executive Board Member for the New York Administrative Employees, Local 1180, Communication Workers of America.


Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Upcoming Tax Lien Sale

“The New York City Department of Finance’s tax lien sale scheduled for this Friday must be postponed. Dozens of non-profit organizations in my borough, including many houses of worship, have been caught in this tax lien sale. Many of these organizations are considered tax-exempt, and they are simply asking for more time to get their paperwork in order.

"The sale of a tax lien on a non-profit organization’s property has the potential to imperil that organization’s existence, and the city must do everything in its power to protect those organizations that may have become part of this sale erroneously. Once again, I urge the administration to postpone Friday’s tax lien sale,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


BP Diaz Kicks-Off Bronx Week 2017

Prince Royce, Funkmaster Flex, Selenis Leyva & Dr. Manny Villafaña
Make Up the 20th Class of the Bronx Walk of Fame

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was joined by hundreds of proud Bronxites and Bronxites-at-heart today for the official kick-off of “Bronx Week 2017” at The Bronx County Building’s Veterans’ Memorial Hall.

During the celebration, Borough President Diaz announced that Prince Royce, Funkmaster Flex, Selenis Leyva and Dr. Manny Villafaña would be honored as the newest members of the Bronx Walk of Fame, which is also celebrating its 20th year.

“Bronx Week is a celebration of everything that makes our borough such an amazing place, and nothing is more important to that celebration than the people who are proud to call The Bronx their home,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Every year, we are proud to welcome back the sons and daughters of The Bronx to celebrate their accomplishments and induct them to the Bronx Walk of Fame. This year we have four amazing honorees, and I am thrilled to join the people of The Bronx in congratulating them on this tremendous honor.”

“This is the time of year when the entire borough comes together to exhibit pride and show the rest of the world what a great place The Bronx truly is. We give our honorees a big hometown welcome as we celebrate their accomplishments!” says Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council.

Since releasing his triple-platinum self-titled debut album in 2010, Bronx-born singer and songwriter Prince Royce has become a bona fide Latin music superstar by bringing a mix of Bachata music and contemporary R&B to the Spanish-speaking world. He has scored fifteen No. 1 hits collectively on Latin radio charts, won 22 Latin Billboard Awards, 19 Premio Lo Nuestro Awards (Univision), 19 Juventud Awards and nine Latin Grammy nominations. His current hit single Déjà vu, a duet with Shakira, is his fifteenth #1 on Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart and has ranked him at number three among artists that have garnered the most number ones in the history of this chart, earning him a new record as the fastest artist to achieve this milestone.

Funkmaster Flex is one of hip-hop's most recognizable DJs and a legend in the industry. In 1992, as the genre was enjoying a resurgence in popularity, he launched the first-ever hip hop radio show on New York City’s HOT97 radio station. Today, Funkmaster Flex’s show is so influential that you are said to have made it in the hip-hop world when he plays one of your tracks. In addition to his radio career he has released numerous mixtapes and has worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Ja Rule, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J and more.

Born and raised in The Bronx, New York, Selenis Leyva is a proud Latina of Cuban and Dominican descent and a world-renowned actress. She is earning critical praise as one of the breakout stars of the Netflix hit series "Orange Is the New Black", which recently won its third consecutive Screen Actors Guild Award for "Best Ensemble Cast in a Comedy Series." Leyva will reprise her role as series regular (and fan favorite!) Gloria Mendoza when the hit series returns for a fifth season on June 9th. In addition to Orange, Selenis will star as Peter Parkers teacher Ms. Warren in the blockbuster franchise film "SPIDERMAN HOMECOMING," premiering in July.

Manny Villafaña, PhD, was born and raised in the South Bronx and is a graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School. As a young professional, he began his career in medical devices in the 1960’s as a salesman, and has since launched seven public companies. He has been granted multiple pacemaker, heart valve and stent patents that have completely transformed the industry of cardiac surgery. Dr. Villafaña’s innovative designs have saved and enhanced countless lives and have earned him the nickname “Cardiac Kahuna.” He is also globally recognized as a "Living Legend of Medicine," a title awarded to him in 2006 by the World Society of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons.

In addition, the event served as the official unveiling of the newly restored historic murals depicting key moments in Bronx history that hang on the wall of Veterans’ Memorial Hall.

“These murals depict important events in the history of The Bronx, and they’ve never looked better than they do today,” said Borough President Diaz. “I am especially grateful to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for their wonderful work they did to make these repairs.”

The celebration featured music by “Everything Covered” and samples of some of the best food and drink The Bronx has to offer, including the Bronx Brewery, Kingsbridge Social Club, Port Morris Distillery, Gino’s Pastry Shoppe, Bronx Drafthouse, Woops!, Chelsea Craft Brewing Company, Delicioso Coco Helado and Made in Puerto Rico.

Bronxnet hosted a video booth asking attendees to record a brief video answering “Why I Love The Bronx,” and the entire event was streamed live by The Blox TV. The Bronx County Historical Society was also be on hand to educate attendees about borough history and the newly restored murals.

Now in its 46th year, Bronx Week is the annual celebration of everything that makes The Bronx a great place to live, work and raise a family.

For more information about Bronx Week 2017, visit www.ilovethebronx.com.


JPMorgan Chase Announces $6 Million to Prepare
South Bronx Youth for High-Demand Jobs

Initiative will create a system for aligning career and technical education programs with in-demand jobs in growing New York City industries

JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a $6 million commitment to expand young people’s access to economic opportunity in the South Bronx. As growing industries in the city require a more skilled workforce, this initiative will establish an innovative system that connects career and technical education schools in the South Bronx to key employers in New York City. The investment will help drive change and is designed to increase dramatically the number of young people graduating from South Bronx high schools with opportunities to secure well-paying, high-demand jobs.

While the unemployment rate in the Bronx is below six percent for the first time, more than four in 10 South Bronx residents do not have a high school diploma and 23 percent of young people are out of school and out of work. This has pushed half of employed young people into low-paying jobs that limit their financial futures.

With JPMorgan Chase’s investment from its New Skills for Youth initiative, more young people in the South Bronx will be able to secure the necessary education and training to secure middle skill jobs in three growing industries: transportation, distribution and logistics; healthcare; and information technology. Middle skills jobs require more education and training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree. Whether they go right into a job or onto post-secondary education or training, young people who enter these pathways will be prepared for success in today’s economy.

“The lack of economic opportunity for young people in the South Bronx is a moral and economic crisis,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. “Our investment supports the missing link between a successful education and career: businesses and educators working together to help students succeed. This investment will give young people access to jobs that offer good wages and the chance to move up the economic ladder.”

“We have to make sure our young people are leaving school with the skills they need to enter the workforce, so that they can get a good job that offers a solid foundation for building a career and future in The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The number of skilled workers we’ll need is only going to grow, and this investment from JPMorgan Chase is going to significantly help bridge the gap between schools and the in-demand workforce.”

Read the complete press release.


Borough President Diaz Celebrates Israeli Independence

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. presents a proclamation in celebration of the 69th Israeli Independence Day to Rabbi Steven Exler of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale during the annual Bronx celebration of the holiday on Thursday, May 4, 2017. City Council Member Andrew Cohen and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark also took part in the presentation.


BP Diaz Hosts Bronx Tech Summit

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the second Bronx Tech Summit on Friday, April 28, 2017, at the Metropolitan College of New York campus in The Hub. The event featured expert panelists discussing a wide-range of issues such as health tech, biotech, the Bronx start-up ecosystem, building greater digital infrastructure for The Bronx and developing talent to enter the growing fields of science and technology.

“We have a lot of untapped talent here in The Bronx and we don’t want our best and brightest, in the field of technology, leaving The Bronx, plying their trade in Silicon Valley or Downtown Brooklyn,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We don’t just want to be the next tech hub of New York City, we want to be the next tech hub of the country, nurturing local Bronx talent and local businesses as we grow in the tech field. Investing in tech fosters a robust and diverse economy and creates new high-paying jobs and opportunities in technology, expanding opportunities for skilled employment in our borough.”

The event was sponsored by Altice, Bronx Academy of for Software Engineering, The Blox TV, Boloro Global, Center for an Urban Future, HR&A Advisors, Hustle, Government of Israel Economic Mission to North America, Bronxnet, Montefiore Medical Center, 1776, Code Interactive, Enza Academy, Simone Development, Young Woo & Associates, SUNY Maritime College, Bronx Community College of New York, Lehman College, Knowledge House, StartUp Box and The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.


Bronx Unemployment Falls to All-Time Low of 5.7%

Nearly 116K More Bronx Residents Are Employed Today
Than When Borough President Diaz First Took Office

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.


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