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BP Diaz Marches in Bronx Dominican Day Parade

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. greets his constituents along the Grand Concourse during the 26th Annual Gran Parada Dominicana de El Bronx (Bronx Dominican Day Parade) on Sunday, July 26, 2015.

Bronx Unemployment Drops Again

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is praising new job numbers from the New York State Department of Labor, which show another drop in the borough’s unemployment rate and a significant increase in the county’s labor participation rate.

“We are creating more jobs in The Bronx, and more and more Bronxites are finding work,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We still have work to do, but the work we are doing is have a real effect on the economic outlook of The Bronx.”

Newly released statistics from the New York State Department of Labor show The Bronx unemployment rate at 7.8% for June 2015, down from 9.7% in June 2014 and down from a peak of 13.9% in January 2010. In addition, these numbers indicate that roughly 20,500 more Bronx residents are employed now than in June 2014, and that the overall Bronx labor force grew by roughly 10,000 individuals over the same time period. 

The Department of Labor’s complete release can be found at http://on.ny.gov/1HRKDx1.

Since Borough President Diaz took office in 2009, The Bronx has seen more than $7 billion in total development, which has led to the creation of over 15,000 new jobs. In addition, a new partnership announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in August between the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, as part of the “NY Works,” program is placing Bronx residents in these jobs, helping to ensure that new development here benefits everyone, especially Bronxites.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Renaming of the Morrisania Post Office for Herman Badillo

“Herman Badillo was not only my predecessor and a legend in government and civic life, he was my mentor and friend. I was proud to have proposed the renaming of the Morrisania Post Office in honor of Herman Badillo’s Congressional service, and I am even prouder today that President Obama has seen fit to sign this legislation into law.

“I am especially grateful to our United State Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as our borough’s Congressional delegation—Jose Serrano, Charles Rangel, Joseph Crowley and Eliot Engel—for their considerable support of this legislation. I look forward to celebrating the renaming of this historic building for an icon of service, Herman Badillo, in the near future,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: ESPN's Colin Cowherd Remarks

“Colin Cowherd’s insensitive remarks showed ignorance, insulting a whole country, a very proud and dedicated growing community. Major League Baseball has a rich Dominican history, from Hall of Famers such as Juan Marichal to Pedro Martinez to current players like Jose Bautista, Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano, that it seems incredulous that someone who deems themselves one of the smarter sports analysts in the business could make such an ignorant remark.

The Dominican community has been very active in helping this borough grow, making great things happen here in part because of their businesses and exciting culture. With over 210,000 individuals of Dominican heritage living in my borough, the largest Dominican population outside the island of Dominican Republic, as President of the Borough of The Bronx, I demand an apology from Mr. Cowherd,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Allocates  Over $34 Million to Bronx Organizations

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced that his office is providing more than $34 million in capital funds to organizations all over the borough through his FY2016 capital funding allocations.

This year, Borough President Diaz will allocate $34,450,000 to 108 total projects. This includes funding for nearly 70 education projects across the borough, park upgrades, the redesign and redevelopment of a portion of the Grand Concourse as well as the creation of over 2,300 units of new housing, among other projects. Since taking office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has funded a total of 480 projects for $166,480,000.

“Through these critical funding allocations my office is able to provide technology upgrades to public schools, safety improvements for NYCHA residents, park renovations and thousands of units of new housing,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I am proud to have been able to provide this funding to so many worthy institutions in this year's capital budget."

This year, Borough President Diaz’s largest allocations went to housing, $11.2 million, representing 32.7 percent of his total capital budget. These funds will support the creation of 2,331 new units of housing of all types across sixteen projects, keeping in line with Borough President Diaz’s commitment to keep the borough’s housing stock diverse and affordable.

Borough President Diaz is also providing more than $10.6 million, or 30.8 percent of his entire capital budget, to 67 school projects across the borough. This money, which represents the second highest percentage of this year’s capital allocations, will go towards technology upgrades and other physical plant improvements in public schools across The Bronx.

Several notable projects Borough President Diaz is funding this year include $1 million towards the next phase of the renovation of the Grand Concourse, over $1 million towards renovations at both Lehman College and Bronx Community College, $500,000 towards a new building for the Pregones Theater, and $150,000 towards a dog run on Pelham Parkway.  

“This critical funding helps keep our educational institutions vibrant, our schools strong, our parks clean and our neighborhoods safe. This funding is critical to the continued positive growth of our communities, and I am proud to have helped so many important projects in every corner of our borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The full list of projects can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/1DquYTr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Pending Legislation on Uber

“Technology has significantly changed the taxi industry in this city, and a study of that impact is certainly warranted. However, such a study should be enacted prior to placing any caps on growth on any segment of the taxi industry. The legislation before the City Council is flawed, and would have the unintended consequence of inhibiting the growth of the livery car services my borough and much of the city relies on for transportation.

“The legislation concerning a cap on growth should be withdrawn, and a thorough study of Uber and the entire industry should be done before any cap is considered. I look forward to participating in such a study, and will continue to engage with all sides of the debate on this issue in the future,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Hostos Opens College’s First Large Farmers Market with GrowNYC

July 14, 2015 (Bronx, NY) - The Bronx spoke out, and Hostos Community College listened.

With a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables being a major concern for Bronxites who are looking to live more healthy lifestyles, Hostos partnered with GrowNYC to open a large farmers market at the College. The “Hostos Greenmarket” opened on June 30, and it is a first on campus. The market is open every Tuesday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., through November 24.

Today, Hostos Community College was joined by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz, as well as other community leaders, who were on hand to support this important partnership.

The market features fresh vegetables, fruits, plants, herbs, eggs, honey, candles and baked goods from five farmers and producers from upstate New York. In addition, the market will offer food scrap collection for compost and textile collection each market day.

“One of the main responsibilities of any community college is identifying and addressing various needs in the neighborhoods we serve,” Hostos Community College President David Gómez said. “Hostos recognizes its responsibility to be a leader in educating our community about healthy eating, as well as providing healthy eating alternatives. We are confident the Hostos Greenmarket will be a huge success for the College and South Bronx residents.”

This community-based effort comes as Hostos is expanding its curriculum to include classes centered on the food industry, nutrition and policy making. The Hostos Greenmarket will also support other regional health initiatives, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz’s #Not62 plan, a healthy living call to arms that came in response to the Borough being ranked last among the 62 counties in New York in a national health report.

“As an anchor institution, Hostos Community College continues to play a vital role in the development and promotion of innovative programs that enhance the lives of its students and surrounding community,” Diaz Jr. said. “Through this collaboration with GrowNYC, the Hostos Greenmarket offers Bronxites an opportunity to have access to fresh, healthy and good quality products. Farmers markets are a perfect way to preserve regional farmland and encourage friendly growing methods, while also making healthy foods available to the public. This new greenmarket is a great addition to our #Not62 campaign for a healthier Bronx, and I am proud to be a part of this launch.”

Read the complete press release.

Mayor de Blasio and NYCEDC Launch Sixth Annual NYC BigApps
Competition — Challenging NYC's Tech Innovators to Find Lasting
Solutions to Four of the City's Most Pressing Issues

NYC BigApps 2015 Will Address Challenges Identified in Mayor’s OneNYC Plan:
Affordable Housing, Zero Waste, Connected Cities and Civic Engagement

Microsoft, AOL and More Than Two Dozen Tech and Civic Partners to Support Civic
Tech Innovators with Prizes and In-Kind Support

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the launch of NYC BigApps 2015, the City’s annual contest for all members of the tech and civic ecosystems to create web or mobile apps, devices, platforms and other technology products to address pressing City challenges. NYC BigApps 2015 asks entrants to make the City a better place for all New Yorkers by addressing four issues identified in Mayor de Blasio’s One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City: Affordable Housing, Zero Waste, Connected Cities and Civic Engagement. 

Teams are encouraged to submit mobile and web apps, connected devices, platforms, games and other technology products that address these challenges, catalyzing collaboration between multidisciplinary teams of programmers, engineers, designers, marketers, entrepreneurs and civic professionals. Five winning teams, one from each category and a wildcard team, will receive cash prizes totaling more than $125,000, as well as in-kind prizes and opportunities to collaborate with public and private partners to implement their products. Official competition rules, as well as additional information and updates, can be found on the competition website: www.NYCBigApps.com.

"Innovation is the key to growth, and this contest is a great way to showcase our New York City's place in the world as a leader in technology while also finding new solutions to longstanding issues faced by our city. I look forward to seeing what will certainly be many great entries in the BigApps competition, and I urge Bronx app developers to get involved in this contest," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

De Blasio Administration Announces a Record-Breaking 20,325 Affordable Apartments and Homes Financed in Last Fiscal Year, Enough for 50,000 New Yorkers 

More new affordable apartments underway than at any time since City’s housing department was created in 1978 

New programs for seniors, extremely low income New Yorkers and homeless families drive the creation of thousands of new apartments 

Major progress towards City’s goal of 200,000 affordable apartments in 10 years 
  
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the City financed the creation and preservation of 20,325 affordable apartments and homes during fiscal year 2015, enough housing for more than 50,000 New Yorkers and the most in 25 years. The City broke an all-time record for the most new affordable apartments underway – nearly 8,500 – the highest figure since the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development was established in 1978. This affordable housing represents a direct investment of $618 million by the City of New York, thanks to significant increases in affordable housing by the de Blasio administration.  
  
This development and preservation represents tangible progress during the first full fiscal year of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan for 200,000 affordable apartments in 10 years. Roughly 85 percent of the homes financed in the last year were for extremely low, very low, and low income families. 

“New housing development of all types is a major key to affordability in our city, and today’s announcement shows that we have made significant progress on this issue. Going forward, my office will continue to work with Mayor de Blasio and his administration, as well as our partners in government, non-profits and the development community, to plan and build new affordable housing units that work for the people of this borough and this city,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

“Clean Streets = Clean Beaches” Anti-Littering Campaign
Launches in Coney Island
 

Educational Initiative Aims to Improve Cleanliness and Aesthetics of City Beaches by Reducing Littering on Streets and in Parks

Summer Youth Employment Program Will Spearhead Cleanups of Waterfront Properties

Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd, Sanitation Commissioner (DSNY) Kathryn Garcia, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Clean Water Director Joan Leary Matthews today launched “Clean Streets = Clean Beaches”, a public information campaign and beach clean-up program aimed at improving the cleanliness and aesthetics of New York City beaches by reducing littering.  When it rains, trash and debris discarded on city streets and sidewalks washes down storm drains and can end up on beaches.  This summer, “Clean Streets = Clean Beaches” posters will be displayed at area beaches and on approximately 2,000 Sanitation vehicles citywide.  In addition, DEP will join with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to clean trash and debris from waterfront properties throughout the five boroughs.  The program was launched at MCU Park in Coney Island, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, where staff distributed “Clean Streets = Clean Beaches” flyer toys to approximately 5,000 children attending the Cyclones game from area day camps and the City’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

“Our beaches offer the people of this city respite from the blistering summer heat. New Yorkers deserve clean beaches, and the ‘Clean Streets=Clean Beaches’ program helps to make that happen. Litter belongs in the trash, not down the drains and not on the sand, and this initiative will help do just that,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Participated in 'Just Kids From The Bronx' Discussion

On Thursday, July 9, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. participated in a panel discussion about the new book, Just Kids From The Bronx, authored by Arlene Alda, at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Bay Plaza. Borough President Diaz, whose own childhood story is featured in the book, is pictured here with Mrs. Alda and her husband, award-winning actor Alan Alda. More information about the book can be found at http://justkidsfromthebronx.com/.

Schumer, Gillibrand, Serrano, Rangel, Crowley Announce Congress Has Passed Legislation that will Recognize the First Puerto Rican Congressman in US History, Herman Badillo, by Naming Bronx’s Morrisania Post Office in his Honor; Urge President To Sign Legislation Immediately 

History Maker Herman Badillo Served as Bronx Borough President & Was First Puerto Rican to Serve as Congressman; Badillo Also Served as NYC Deputy Mayor Under Ed Koch 

Schumer, Gillibrand, Serrano, Rangel, Crowley Put Forth Legislation to Rename Post Office in the Bronx After Herman Badillo, Which Has Now Passed Both Senate & House; Next Step Is For President Obama To Sign Bill

Lawmakers: Dedication of Morrisania Post Office Is a Lasting Tribute to Herman Badillo’s Steadfast Commitment & Dedication to New York City

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressmembers José E. Serrano, Charles Rangel, and Joseph Crowley today announced that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed legislation to rename the Morrisania Post Office, located in the Bronx, in honor of former Congressman and Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo. Badillo became the first Puerto-Rican city commissioner and borough president, and was the first Congressman to be born in Puerto Rico.  The bill will now be sent to President Obama and once it is approved, Badillo’s name will be proudly displayed at the Morrisania Post Office.

“Herman Badillo was a trailblazer and a pioneer in Congress, as Bronx Borough President and as a fighter on the issues that mattered to him the most. Renaming the Morrisania Post Office in honor of Herman Badillo is a fitting tribute to his service in the federal government, and I was proud to have been able to propose this wonderful honor for a man who was both a mentor and a friend to me. I thank our Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as our Congressional representatives, for supporting this wonderful recognition for Herman Badillo, and I look forward to president Obama signing this legislation and making the ‘Herman Badillo Post Office’ a reality,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Announces 2015 Bronx Concert Series schedule

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced the slate of performers that will take part in the 2015 Bronx Summer Concert Series at Orchard Beach.

“The Bronx has been nurturing ground for the development of a lot of types of musical genres, and we want to keep that musical tradition alive,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Whether it’s Hip Hop or Salsa, music is as much a part of our identity as Yankee Stadium or the Bronx Zoo. Our concert series helps add to that longstanding legacy of great music that comes out of our borough.”

The Bronx Summer Concert Series at Orchard Beach kicks off this Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., with Salsa legend Domingo Quinones.

The concert series is sponsored this year by Optimum, Macy’s, BronxCare, Latino Sports Ventures, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, The Bronx Tourism Council and NYC Parks.

This year’s concert series lineup, who will perform next to the Orchard Beach boardwalk at the main stage by Section 9, will feature acts such as:

  • Sunday, July 19: Conjunto Imagen & The Karl Browne Band
  • Sunday, July 26: Julian Vazquez "El Diamanté de la Salsa" & Music with a Message
  • Sunday, August 2: Tipica 73
  • Sunday, August 9: Nelson Gonzalez
  • Sunday, August 16: The Mambo Legends Orchestra
  • Sunday, August 23: CharanSalsa
  • Sunday, August 30: Luis Damon

“The summer season is a great time to celebrate the musical heritage of the borough,” said Olga Luz Tirado, Executive Director of The Bronx Tourism Council. “Not only are we the birthplace of Hip-Hop and Doo-Wop, but the borough was home to many Jazz greats and played a pivotal role in the global phenomenon we know as Salsa.”

The full flyer for the concert series can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/1CrNzU4

Lights, Camera, Action in the Bronx!

Silvercup North to open next year

Silvercup Studios expanding with a new Bronx film and television production facility;
$35M project brings hundreds of well-paying jobs

New York, NY– July 7, 2015 – To help meet the growing needs of New York’s booming film and television production industry, Silvercup Studios, the Northeast’s leading independent film and television production studio facility, announced plans today that it is expanding with a new studio complex to open at 295 Locust Avenue in the Port Morris section of the Bronx. The $35 million project will bring hundreds of well-paying jobs as well as millions of dollars in tax revenue to the borough. With the expansion to its third location, Silvercup Studios will operate more than 500,000 square feet of studio space citywide.

Silvercup will transform an existing modern warehouse into a 115,000-square-foot full service production facility.  Silvercup North will feature four production studios with 50-foot-high ceilings. The four studios to be built at 295 Locust Avenue will have the highest ceilings of any film/TV production studio in New York City and can easily accommodate two-story sets. A full complement of shops, offices and other support space essential to support film and television production will be provided on-site.

The project will bring an estimated 80 to 100 construction jobs. The new studio space and the film and television productions that will occupy them will create an estimated 400 well-paying production-industry jobs, in addition to injecting money in the local community for materials, and other goods and services to support the productions. 

“My office has been working to expand the film industry in The Bronx for several years, and we are thrilled to welcome Silvercup Studios to the mainland and their new home in Port Morris,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This expansion will not only bring new jobs and economic development to our borough, it will also help us continue to rebrand our borough and showcase the transformative development we have seen over the past decade. The Bronx and Silvercup Studios will be great partners, and I look forward to working with them on this expansion, and to make this project work for all Bronxites.”

Read the complete press release.

HPD Commissioner Been Announces Request for Proposals to Build a New Affordable Mixed-Income Development in the Mott Haven Neighborhood of The Bronx

425 Grand Concourse, Location Of The Former P.S. 31 School Building, Will Be Transformed Into A New, Mixed-Income Affordable Housing Development

Bronx, NY - New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been announced today the release of a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a new mixed-income affordable housing development at 425 Grand Concourse in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. The development site was previously occupied by the former Public School 31 (P.S. 31) building, which was demolished due to structural issues that posed a safety hazard to the area. The city has taken steps to preserve architectural elements of the original school building and included a requirement in the RFP that proposals incorporate the salvaged elements into the new building’s design. Proposals should provide affordable housing for a mix of incomes, as well as ground-floor retail or a mix of retail and community facility use that will add to the fabric of the neighborhood.

“With a crisis of affordability gripping so many New York families, working across agencies to repurpose vacant or under-used city owned sites and maximizing our resources, is critical to addressing the affordable housing needs of our growing city,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “This former school which served as a place of learning and growing will once again be a hub for the neighborhood and will provide affordable homes for working-class families as well as new opportunities for retail or community space. My thanks to Borough President Diaz, Council Member Arroyo, and our other stakeholders for their input and support.”

The 425 Grand Concourse site will be developed in under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 affordable units to house New Yorkers with a range of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class. The plan seeks to use affordable housing as an anchor to foster diverse, livable neighborhoods and promote mixed-use, mixed-income communities.

"Though I am heartbroken to see the demolition of P.S. 31, my alma mater, we must make the most of the opportunity that has been created. This site has incredible potential to help renew an area that has      seen considerable interest from all corners in recent months, and is a key component of our plan for a reinvigorated Harlem River waterfront district. We look forward to achieving the high standards of design and community value the former P.S. 31 once realized for The Bronx. As the students who attended school there, including myself, aspired to high levels of achievement, so do we now seek that the site contribute to the high quality of life standards and opportunities for Bronx residents with new state of the art housing complimented with a retail and community facility that continues the tradition service to the community once provided inside the former P.S. 31. I thank HPD for including many of my suggestions for the site in this RFP, and I look forward to examining proposals for this historic space and working with the City to select a future tenant,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

BP Diaz Praises Rent Freeze

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is praising this evening’s vote of the Rent Guidelines Board, which voted to freeze rents for rent stabilized tenants with one-year leases and to approve a two percent increase for tenants with two-year leases.

“Tonight’s vote of the Rent Guidelines Board is historic, and will provide meaningful relief for over one million tenants in this City. For too long, the people have seen their rents, and their cost of living, continue to rise while their paychecks did not follow suit. This rent freeze is a tremendous step in the right direction for the people of this city,” said Borough President Diaz.

Borough President Diaz added that his office was willing to help landlords keep their own costs down as well, and invited interested property owners to reach out to his office for information on the “The Bronx Clean Energy and Housing Initiative.”

The program, which is being spearheaded by Borough President Diaz, endeavors to partner government funding with private dollars to provide green retrofits to older residential buildings in The Bronx.

“Tonight’s vote is only a piece in the puzzle of affordability. Through programs like ‘The Bronx Clean Energy and Housing Initiative,’ we can green our existing housing stock, keep energy costs low for property owners while simultaneously keeping rents affordable for tenants,” said Borough President Diaz. “My office is ready to work with Bronx property owners on the critical issue of affordability, and I encourage all interested parties to reach out to my office to discuss this innovative program.”

Borough President Diaz’s testimony earlier this month before the Rent Guidelines Board can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/1LEHuGO.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: NBC’s Firing of Donald Trump

"NBC's actions today should send a strong message to Donald Trump that hateful, divisive rhetoric will not be tolerated, and that such rhetoric has real consequences,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued the following statement in reaction to comments by Alejandro García Padilla, Governor of Puerto Rico, stating that the commonwealth will not be able to pay back its estimated $72 billion in debt.

“The situation in Puerto Rico is dire, and requires immediate action by the federal government. I have, and will continue to, push for federal legislation that would allow the commonwealth of Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy and restructure its debt. This course of action is a better plan than simply allowing the island’s government to default, and I hope that Congress will act on this grim news with haste,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Earlier this month, Borough President Diaz announced the formation of a coalition of elected officials, healthcare and business leaders and others urging action on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. More information on that coalition can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/1SXGNJZ.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality

"Today is a historic day in the United States. The Supreme Court has made history and affirmed a basic human right today by allowing men and women to legally marry throughout this nation, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “After two decades of litigation, the Supreme Court has finally expanded equal rights and marriage equality to all. I would like to thank the Supreme Court for having the courage to make this bold decision, and I congratulate this nation’s LGBT community for their efforts on this issue.”

Borough President Diaz Hosted 'Bronx Eating Contest'

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the first ever "Bronx Eating Contest," featuring empanadas from Havana Cafe in Throggs Neck, at the annual "New York Salutes America" fireworks extravaganza at Orchard Beach on Thursday, June 25, 2015. The event, which is co-sponsored by State Senator Jeff Klein, kicks off the city's week-long celebration of America's independence.--photo by Robert Benimoff.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The Passing of Mario Biaggi

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Mario Biaggi this morning. Mr. Biaggi is remembered by many as beloved figure in this borough, admired for both his career as a police officer and for his tireless commitment to constituent service. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during their time of mourning,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Cuts Ribbon at New Bakery

On Tuesday, June 23, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined owner Paul Palombo (L) and Marlene Cintron (R), President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, to cut the ribbon at Palombo Bakery’s latest Bronx outpost on East 161st Street and Walton Avenue.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: LG Tower Compromise

“The proposed LG Tower had the potential to stain a national treasure—the Palisades—which look virtually the same as they did when man first laid eyes on them. This compromise is a tremendous victory not only for The Bronx, but for New York, New Jersey and nature lovers everywhere. A smaller LG Tower, one shorter than 70 feet, will preserve these views and protect the Palisades from blight. I congratulate those elected officials, activists and community organizations on both sides of the river who fought so hard for this change, and I commend LG for listening to our concerns and agreeing to a reasonable compromise,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

In June 2013, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and then-Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer co-authored a letter to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie urging his intervention on the issue of the LG Tower. That letter can be found at http://bit.ly/1fxhD6t.

NYCEDC Releases Request for Expressions of Interest for
Spofford Live/Work Campus in Hunts Point

Responses Solicited for Mixed-Use, Live/Work Development to Include Substantial Affordable Housing and High-Quality Employment Opportunities

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the release of aRequest for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for a mixed-income, live/work development on a City-owned site on Spofford Avenue in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx. The RFEI represents an exciting opportunity to develop the City’s next creative live/work community in an area that is well served by public transportation and is in walking distance to residential neighborhoods, recreational amenities and cultural institutions. Respondents are encouraged to consider a wide range of residential and non-residential uses for the site, including commercial, cultural, institutional and light manufacturing. NYCEDC strongly encourages respondents to submit proposals that address community priorities for affordable housing and high-quality, career-oriented jobs in the Hunts Point community.

“We welcome any Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) that will help in the continued growth of Hunts Point,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Creating affordable housing is a great step in the right direction as we continue to invest time and money into the Hunts Point neighborhood, where we will soon add new recreational amenities and cultural institutions in the vicinity while also stimulating job growth in the area. I want to thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) for their support as we work together to keep building a stronger and better borough.”

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: FY 2016 Budget Announcement

“It is great to see that an agreement was made on the 2016 budget in a timely manner,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “There are a lot of positive aspects in this budget. The addition of more uniformed police officers is always welcomed as we continue to find ways to keep our neighborhoods safe and make them even safer.

“We have managed to reduce crime to all-time lows here in The Bronx, but we can never let our guard down. More uniformed officers can only help us maintain and build upon what we have built thus far in the borough.

“I am also glad to see that we are adding money to our libraries, keeping them open six days a week along with extended hours, especially as the summer rolls around and children are out of school. Keeping our libraries open longer gives our children avenues to continue their education outside of regular school hours. In addition, a $25 million increase in funding for senior services is a welcome addition for one of our most vulnerable populations.

“And considering the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, especially at an early age, as emphasized in our ‘#Not62’ initiative, adding more physical education teachers into our public school system is a huge boost as far as getting our future generation of Bronxites to live healthier. We hope that extra gym teachers will motivate younger people to lead more active lives. The younger you start living healthy, the more motivated people stay to maintain that lifestyle.

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and the entire City Council for their efforts on this year’s budget,” added Borough President Diaz.

Pilot Access Coming to Jerome Park Reservoir

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is praising a decision by the City’s Department of Environmental Protection to expand public access to the Jerome Park Reservoir.

“This is incredibly welcome news, and something my office has advocated for over the past few years. Jerome Park Reservoir is a historic gem of the Northwest Bronx, yet for too long access to its paths has been denied to the public for a variety of reasons. The announcement by Emily Lloyd, commissioner of the City’s Department of Environmental Protection, to begin the process of expanding public access to the Jerome Park Reservoir is incredibly welcome, and I look forward to helping plan and implement access for the reservoir in the fall,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz added, “It is my hope that this announcement is the first step towards greater, permanent access to this incredible amenity.”

At a meeting of the Filtration Monitoring Committee on Monday, June 22, Commissioner Lloyd announced the creation of a task force that will convene this summer. That task force will plan a three part pilot access program for the reservoir this fall, which will include walking tours of the reservoir; a two-hour open session where people can access the reservoir inside the existing security fence and an educational curriculum developed for local schools. 

Access to the Jerome Park Reservoir has been a high priority for Borough President Diaz since he took office in 2009. In May 2011, the borough president hosted a press conference with elected officials and community leaders to call for improved access to the Jerome Park Reservoir, and in June 2011 he hosted a public hearing to solicit greater input from Bronxites on the future of public access to Jerome Park Reservoir. In June 2014, Borough President Diaz joined State Senator Jeff Klein and Assembly Jeffrey Dinowitz to support legislation that would declare Jerome Park Reservoir a public park.

“Improved public access to the Jerome Park Reservoir will not only create new recreation activities in our borough, it will help unite communities across the Northwest Bronx. I congratulate the elected officials, community boards and dedicated activists whose work has helped make this announcement possible, and I look forward to walk around the reservoir this fall,” said Borough President Diaz. 

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: South Carolina’s Confederate Flag

“The Confederate flag represents a period of time where the American people were shattered and violently divided over how humans should be treated based on the color of their skin, representing a culture that promotes division and discrimination.

“I am happy to see the Republican leadership in the state of South Carolina coming around on this issue in light of last week’s tragic act of hatred and violence, joining the national chorus united against this long-standing symbol of hate, and calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from their statehouse,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: New State Rules on Nail Salons

"For months, my office has been raising the issue of public health in local salons and other cosmetology businesses," said Borough President Diaz. "I want to thank Governor Cuomo, the Assembly and the Senate for moving quickly on this major public health issue. Together, with the governor, 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.

“But this is only the beginning. There is still work to be done, particularly with developing a letter grading system, similar to the one used by the food service industry, as well as a comprehensive Customer Bill of Rights, both aimed at protecting the consumer. We will continue to partner up with responsible business owners, industry advocates and the City Council as well as the State Assembly and State Senate to make this happen. We want to work with businesses to continue improving the beauty salon industry.”

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Congressional Proposal to Rename Post Office After Herman Badillo

"Congressman Herman Badillo was a trailblazer in government," said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "I congratulate Congress Members Charles B. Rangel, José E. Serrano and Joseph Crowley for introducing federal legislation to make my proposal for a 'Herman Badillo Post Office' a reality.

"I am very proud to have known him and to have called him my dear friend, and I urge the Senate to follow the House's lead and support this fitting tribute to Herman Badillo's legacy."

BP Diaz & Senator Klein Host 'New York Salutes America'
Fireworks Extravaganza & Eating Contest

On Thursday, June 25, 2015, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and State Senator Jeff Klein will host the borough’s official kickoff to the Independence Day Celebrations, the annual “New York Salutes America” boardwalk festival and fireworks extravaganza at Orchard Beach located in The Bronx. Over 10,000 people are expected to be in attendance.
"Things will definitely be heating up with this years’ firework extravaganza and eating contest. It is a fun filled evening when family, friends and the entire community comes together from across the city to experience our great borough! Everyone will have a blast,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"The annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration marks a special time for The Bronx community -- bringing together families and children to commemorate our nation's independence and enjoy the summer season. I'm proud to host this year's New York Salutes America Fireworks Extravaganza with Borough President Diaz and I look forward to our biggest and brightest boardwalk event yet. Don't forget to sign up for our first annual eating contest, filled with tons of fun prizes and giveaways. I hope to see you there,” said State Senator Jeff Klein. 

The event is free; open to the public and includes fun activities for the kids, such as magicians, balloon artists, music performances and much more. The event will begin at 6 p.m., with the eating contest starting at 7:45 p.m. and the fireworks show beginning at 9:20 p.m.

This year, there will be two featured eating contests for 20 contestants. Whether it’s cannoli from Gino’s Pastry Shop or empanadas from Havana Cafe, participants are encouraged to submit their names for a chance to be a part of the 1st ever eating competition at the NY Salutes America event.

Anyone interested in being a part of the friendly and fun competition can either submit their names by e-mailing: bkemraj@bronxbp.nyc.gov by Wednesday, June 24, 2015, or give names before 6:30 p.m. on the day of the fireworks at Orchard Beach. Contestants will be selected at the beach prior to the contest, and must be present to participate. Winners of the contest will win a Bronx Prize Package.

BP Diaz, Elected, Business & Healthcare Leaders
Demand Action for Puerto Rico

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined Ignacio Veloz -- Chairman of the United State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Dennis Rivera, Chair of the Puerto Rico Healthcare Crisis Coalition business leaders and elected officials from both New York and Puerto Rico to discuss potential solutions for the financial crisis impacting the healthcare industry and overall economy of the island of Puerto Rico, and to call for federal action to assist the island’s government.

Over the last few decades, the financial stability of Puerto Rico has continuously deteriorated to the point of unsustainability for public service authorities and for the people of Puerto Rico. Borough President Diaz has formed a non-partisan coalition of elected officials and other leaders whose mission is to push for federal action to help Puerto Rico handle its current financial crisis, such as allowing the commonwealth to declare bankruptcy and changing the island’s reimbursement rate for Medicare to reflect that of the states.

“No matter what our position or our political ideals are for Puerto Rico, we must unite, we must get involved,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Puerto Ricans pay the same Medicare taxes as mainland residents and they get less – much less – federal healthcare funding. We are talking about 3.5 million of our fellow American citizens who are in desperate need of assistance. The Puerto Rican government has tackled key challenges to strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy in order to get its fiscal house in order, but Puerto Rico cannot do it alone. The federal government must put mechanisms in place to allow the government of the commonwealth to restructure its debt.”

Read the complete press release.

NYC Parks Partners with NYC Department of Design and Construction to
Re-Open the High Bridge to the Public

Restoring the city’s oldest standing bridge after 45 years

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora and Congressman José E. Serrano celebrated the reopening of the High Bridge today. They were joined in celebration by Councilmembers Fernando Cabrera, Vanessa Gibson, Mark Levine, and Ydanis Rodriguez; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Victor Calise; author and actor Sonia Manzano (Maria from Sesame Street and author of The Lowdown on the High Bridge); and local advocate Chauncy Young; young High Bridge Historians Jocelyn Fuentes and Isabel Pasionara Young-Figueroa. Highbridge Voices and I.S. 52 Inwood Tiger Band added music to the celebration. Having been closed to the public for more than 40 years, today the High Bridge will once again provide scenic pedestrian and cycling access between the Bronx and Manhattan.

Opened in 1848, the High Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in New York City and was a part of the city’s first water supply system. After being closed for more than four decades, NYC Parks and DDC restored and improved the 1,450-foot-long, 123-foot high bridge. As the only interborough bridge designed exclusively for pedestrians and bicyclists, the restoration of the High Bridge provides communities of both Manhattan and the Bronx with access to more than 125 acres of green space with baseball fields, basketball courts, bike trails, a skatepark, playgrounds and lawns.

The High Bridge restores a unique connection between two boroughs and provides communities with access to resources in both counties. Bronx residents are now able to walk directly to the Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center, while Manhattan residents will gain access to the Harlem River waterfront. The improved design will also allow pedestrians to enjoy new features including a hand-restored brick walkway, restored historic railing, new safety fence, barrier-free access, and new architectural lighting.

“I think it is great that one of our oldest bridges in New York City is reopening and connecting our great borough with Manhattan,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The best part of it is that not only is a historical piece of infrastructure of our great borough returning back to use but, considering our ‘#Not62’ campaign’, through the High Bridge project, we are getting additional green space with baseball fields and basketball courts as well as the only interborough bridge designed exclusively for walking and biking, promoting a healthier lifestyle for our Bronx residents.”

Read the complete press release.