January 18: Bronx Tech Meetup: Real Estate Edition
On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. presented a $50,000 grant from Bank Leumi USA to the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center for its Workforce Development Program.
The check was presented by Avner Meldelson, chief executive, and John P. McGann, chief administrative officer, of Bank Leumi to Rita Santelia, chief executive officer, and Laurie Meltzer Brandremer, director of development, at Mosholu Montediore Community Center.
“I want to thank Bank Leumi USA for their generosity and contribution to the Workforce Development Program at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center. This funding will help provide individuals from the Bronx with training and job placement assistance, which is a top priority of my administration,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “By investing in education and job training, we are equipping our students and their families to meet the challenges of tomorrow while also expanding their skill sets that will aid them in advancing in their chosen professions. I also want to thank Mosholu Montefiore Community Center for their dedication to helping our most vulnerable communities attain the necessary tools to be successful in today’s ever-evolving job market.”
On Monday, January 16, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Fathers Taking Action, the Bronx Youth Corp, Acacia and Children’s Art & Science Workshops all collaborated on a service project with the non-profit PubliColor, as well as Bronxites of all ages, to repaint the first floor common area at the Bronx River Community Center. The event was hosted in honor of Rev. Dr. martin Luther King Jr. Day, and paid tribute to the civil rights leader’s commitment to serve others.
On Monday, January 16, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. honored the memory of the great civil rights leader, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during his annual interfaith service at Trinity Baptist Church.
THE BRONX, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner Jamie Ruben join WHEDco, and BFC Partners to announce the start of construction on Bronx Commons – a 426,000 square foot, mixed-used development in the Melrose section of the Bronx that will include 305 affordable apartments, retail space, and the Bronx Music Hall, a new 14,000 square foot, 300-seat music venue and arts-centered community hub focused on the deeply-rooted history of cutting edge Bronx music. The affordable housing project received financing through the City’s Mix and Match program and received a special line of funding from the City’s Our Space program.
“This long-awaited project will bring new housing and new amenities, including the innovative Bronx Music Hall, to the Melrose neighborhood of The Bronx. My office has always been a strong supporter of building affordable units at all income levels, and I was proud to provide this project $300,000 in funding from my capital budget. I congratulate WHEDco on today’s groundbreaking, and for having the vision to meld our borough’s housing and cultural needs into one amazing project,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
January 10, 2017 – Bronx, NY – The Bronx Tourism Council announced an initiative with Zipcar to help promote restaurants and other businesses in the borough. The emphasis is on giving Zipcar members added value while introducing them to eating establishments not easily-accessible by subway. Restaurants, as well as some stores, will be offering 15% off food items and select products in areas such as Riverdale, Throggs Neck, City Island, and Arthur Avenue, recently named one of America’s Greatest Streets by the American Planners Association. These neighborhoods are off the beaten path and suffer most once the holiday rush is over and winter sets in.
“That’s no reason to stay home,” says Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council. She adds, “There are plenty of delicious reasons to bundle up and get out there.”
“Our borough is home to some of the greatest restaurants and eateries the city has to offer, and this partnership between The Bronx Tourism Council and Zipcar will provide epicureans with an opportunity to explore the great tastes our borough has to offer. I congratulate Zipcar on this tremendous new partnership with The Bronx Tourism Council, and I look forward to working with them in the future,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Restaurants participating in the promotion include:
Bacco, 3524 Johnson Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463
Blackstone, 3713 Riverdale Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463
Moss Café, 3260 Johnson Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463
Escape Latino, 1841 Hobart Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
Ice House Café, 140 Reynolds Avenue, Bronx, NY 10465
Lucca Restaurant, 3019 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
Outback Steakhouse, 270 Baychester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10475
Catania’s Pizzeria & Café, 2307 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY 10458
Bistro SK, 273 City Island Avenue, Bronx, NY 10464
Bronx Brewery, 856 East 136th Street, Bronx, NY 10454
Gun Hill Brewing Company, 3227 Laconia Avenue, Bronx, NY 10469
Gun Hill Tavern, 780 East 133rd Street, Bronx, NY 10454
In addition to restaurants, the website will include boutique shops, museums and galleries to peruse, and specialty markets that offer a variety of products.
Kaleidoscope Gallery – 15% off select items, 280 City Island Avenue
Focal Point Gallery – 15-30% off select items, 321 City Island Avenue
Cerini Coffee & Gifts – 15% off select items, 2334 Arthur Avenue
Other participating institutions can be found in the Zipcar “Deals” page at Zipcar.com/bronxguide.
With the Metropolitan Transportation Board (MTA) expected to vote this month to raise bus and subway fares, Borough Presidents Eric Adams (Brooklyn), Gale Brewer (Manhattan), Ruben Diaz Jr. (Bronx), and Melinda Katz (Queens) today urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to use his executive power to establish a half-price fare for New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 64 living in households at or below poverty.
Citing research from a Community Service Society (CSS) report released last year which found that more than one in four working-age, low-income New Yorkers often cannot afford the cost of bus and subway fares, the borough presidents called on the mayor to fund a discount fare program in his FY2018 Executive Budget. In doing so, the four borough leaders join a growing number of city elected officials, major advocacy organizations, unions including RWDSU, 1199SEIU, 32BJ, NYSNA and TWU and editorial boards supporting a proposal by CSS and the grassroots transit membership group the Riders Alliance to establish half-price fares for New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty level.
Public support for the “Fair Fares campaign is also strong. Seventy-three (73) percent of New Yorkers say they favor a policy of providing half-priced fares to low-income residents, according to a 2016 CSS poll conducted in collaboration with Lake Research Partners. A discount fare would save working-age city residents living in poverty ($24,036 for a family of four) up to $700 annually on the cost of a MetroCard. Roughly 800,000 low-income New Yorkers would be eligible. CSS estimates that the program would cost the city about $200 million in foregone fare box revenue—less than 0.3 percent of the current $83.4 billion municipal budget. Existing law gives the mayor the authority to secure a discount for a class of riders as long as the city makes up the differential and administrative costs.
"We should consider developing a more nuanced system of collecting fares, one that takes into account a commuter's means and provides a discount to those New Yorkers who need it the most," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "That is why I am proud to join my fellow borough presidents in support of the `Fair Fares’ campaign. Their research has found that one in four low-income working-age New Yorkers often cannot afford bus and subway fares. With transit fares about to go up again, City Hall must support this program, which would give real cost-of-living relief to the city's working poor. For a relatively small investment, considering the size of the overall city budget, we can make the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers appreciably better."
"Governor Cuomo laid out an aggressive agenda for our city and our state in his speech today, and his plan to support our middle class while also cementing New York’s place as a national progressive leader is something the people of my borough and I stand behind.
“I am also thrilled that Governor Cuomo has offered his support to major Bronx proposals and institutions, specifically the reconstruction of Orchard Beach and the future of the Kingsbridge Armory. These projects are top priorities of my administration and have the overwhelming support of Bronx residents. However, we continue to see a lack of partnership and enthusiasm for them from City Hall. Strong backing from Albany will allow them to prosper. We can only hope now that the administration will see the wisdom in bringing these projects to fruition.
“Governor Cuomo once again showed us today that he cares about the people of The Bronx. This borough is grateful to have such a friend in the governor’s mansion, and we look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to move these projects and his broader agenda forward for the benefit of our borough, our city and this state,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Following nearly a year of advocacy by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and others, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the selection of New York State to participate in a nationwide pilot program to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase their groceries online.
Borough President Diaz and Congressman Maloney led the campaign in New York State to bring about this innovative change, which will allow consumers greater access to affordable groceries, help combat food deserts, promote healthier diet choices and create billions of dollars in new business opportunities.
“New York State has always led the way when it comes to innovation in government, and this pilot program will put our state at the intersection of health, technology and business. Allowing consumers to use their SNAP benefits in the same way you would also use a credit or debit card to purchase groceries will lead to lower prices and greater options for consumers in every corner of this city and state,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank Congressman Maloney and our New York delegation, our partners in business and the health and hunger advocates who understood the need for this pilot program and joined our efforts to bring this important new program to New York.”
“Working hand-in-glove with Borough President Diaz, we delivered on our goal of bringing the SNAP program in New York State into the 21st century. This pilot will help make it easier and more efficient for New York families to put food on their tables. New York has always paved the way for new ideas and innovations – this pilot program is no different - and I want to thank my colleagues in Congress for joining us in bringing this program to New York,” said Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.
Borough President Diaz initially proposed such changes in his “State of the Borough” address in February 2016. In July 2016, Borough President Diaz participated in a conference on Capitol Hill to address the need for technological advancements for SNAP benefit users with Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. The next month, the borough president authored a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging his department to select New York State for this pilot program.
Congressman Maloney was integral in drumming up support for the pilot program in Congress. In November, the congressman led his colleagues in the New York State delegation on a letter to Secretary Vilsack, in which they jointly called for New York’s selection in the pilot program.
As part of the pilot program, the USDA has selected two vendors—Amazon and FreshDirect—to serve customers in New York State. Both companies worked closely with Borough President Diaz to bring the pilot program to New York. In addition, FreshDirect launched a similar pilot program in The Bronx, in conjunction with the borough president, in 2012.
“I am grateful for the support of both FreshDirect and Amazon on this technological innovation, and I look forward to working with both companies on its implementation. This announcement by the USDA will allow New York to set the example for the entire nation on public/private partnerships that improve nutrition, fight hunger and offer consumers greater choices, all while expanding the marketplace,” said Borough President Diaz.
The USDA’s announcement can be read at http://bit.ly/2hVLxa8.
“I want to congratulate Governor Andrew Cuomo on his announcement of a groundbreaking new initiative designed to provide free tuition for college through a supplement aid program that helps middle-class families and individuals achieve their academic goals.
“Making college more affordable has been a priority of mine throughout my career as an elected official. Not only do I support exploring a change to make CUNY tuition free, I believe that the Department of Education should be paying for remedial classes at CUNY for graduates of public high schools.
“By investing in free college education for New Yorkers, we are equipping our students and families with the skills they need to join the workforce of the future. Governor Cuomo has put our great state in position to be one of the leaders in the nation on this issue through this proposal,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
On Saturday, December 17, at the Bronx River Community Center, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in collaboration with Bronx Fathers Taking Action and FAIM Inc., gave away toys to over 125 kids involved in both programs.
“We can all make a difference in the lives of many children by sharing the true meaning of love and kindness during this special time of year,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank F.A.I.M Inc., CASW, Bronx River? Tenant Association and the BFTA for reminding our Bronx families that their community cares and supports them.”
The partnership between FAIM Inc. Sport Mentoring Program and Bronx Fathers Taking Action is helping meet the needs of Bronx children, parents and paternal figures in their day-to-day lives.
“We are extremely humbled and grateful to be able to team up with the CASW, The Bronx River Community Center, The Bronx Fathers Taking Action, and The Bronx Borough President's Office to provide all participants and members of the community with a positive, safe and nurturing environment. It takes a family approach to support our youth and we honestly believe that blood makes you related but love makes you family. Bronx River is Love,” Said Russell and Eve White from F.A.I.M. Inc. Sports and Mentoring Program
“It only takes a moment to say thank you, but your thoughtfulness will be remembered in a child’s heart for a long time,” said Norma Saunders, President of the Bronx River Resident Association. “Thank you for the continuous support of the community.”
During the event, light breakfast was served to the attendees, and all participating children received a toy.
Years of efforts by elected officials and community stakeholders to revitalize the business climate and housing prospects in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx have now paid off.
The realty marketplace StreetEasy, which combines and publishes listings from hundreds of metro NYC brokers, today predicted Kingsbridge would be 2017’s hottest NYC neighborhood, stating that the neighborhood “long overshadowed by Riverdale,” its neighbor to the west, is where “apartment shoppers are expected to turn their attention in the coming year.” StreetEasy’s ranking of Kingsbridge as the hottest neighborhood in the five boroughs was based on a series of key performance indicators, including rising rentals and sales prices, population growth, and customer interest in listings in the area.
Council Member Andrew Cohen and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. have long advanced business improvements to make the Kingsbridge-Broadway retail corridor more appealing. They convened a working group which studied local conditions and issued a report. In fall 2017, Council Member Cohen announced funding for aesthetic improvements to the streetscape, through two City Council initiatives.
The area has already attracted other large anchor retail stores, including BJ’s and Bob’s Discount Furniture, as well as desirable establishments like Starbucks, Blink Fitness, and Smashburger.
Council Member Cohen said: “It took years of hard work and collaboration by elected officials and community organizations to spur the development of Kingsbridge/Broadway as a destination for shoppers. Now, the interest of New Yorkers seeking to buy or rent real estate here has taken off, as well. Kingsbridge has great transportation options and proximity to Manhattan, as well as numerous Bronx cultural and recreational sites. It’s fantastic for the area to receive this recognition from StreetEasy.”
“Kingsbridge is an amazing neighborhood, and has seen considerable interest from developers of all types in recent years. It is no surprise that Kingsbridge is being recognized as possibly the hottest neighborhood in New York City," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “My office will continue to work with local stakeholders to bring new resources to this burgeoning Bronx neighborhood.”
Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined with hip-hop superstar and Bronx native Fat Joe to announce the donation of new computers to the students at P.S. 146—Edward Collins, Fat Joe’s alma mater, in time for the holiday season. The donation was made in memory Fat Joe’s sister, Lisa Cartegena, who was also a graduate of the school.
“This holiday season, Fat Joe wanted to give back to the youth of The Bronx, and I am very proud that he chose his alma mater, P.S. 146, to receive new computers,” said Borough President Diaz. “We want to make sure that students are getting the resources they need to advance and grow their technical skills and prepare them the best we can while at school. These computers will be a great benefit to the school community at P.S. 176, and we thank Fat Joe for his generous donation.”
“We know that the Bronx Borough President has been working very hard to uplift the school system, but we also know that many of the schools are a step behind when it comes to updated resources,” said Fat Joe. “There is no better present than giving the youth the gift of learning with new computers and I am happy to be able to work with Borough President Diaz and others to make this happen.”
Fat Joe is an internationally renowned hip-hop artist and mogul, who released the hit single “All The Way Up” earlier this year. Fat Joe was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame in 2012.
Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., AT&T and Chess in the Schools co-hosted a youth chess tournament for Bronx students at the Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Concourse.
Students from all over The Bronx participated in the third annual Bronx Borough President’s Chess Challenge, which featured chess aficionados from the third grade through middle school testing their skills against one another. Winners in each division were presented awards by Borough President Diaz at the event’s conclusion.
“It is a great day to host the Chess in the Schools organization right here in The Bronx. Today’s event gave over 200 young chess stars an opportunity to have a friendly competition with each other,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I am even more thrilled to be on hand throughout the event to play in chess games with the students, provide encouragement and present tournament winners with awards. Chess reinforces discipline on and off the board and the participants are learning the importance of thinking and being patience.”
“As a chess player myself, I know how valuable the skills developed are to young students. It is a great privilege to continue to support the Bronx Borough President’s Chess Challenge with Chess in the Schools, whose mission so clearly aligns with AT&T’s own commitment to creating pathways to success for New York City’s most underserved students,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with Borough President Diaz on this initiative as well as so many other events serving the Bronx community.”
Chess in the Schools has been teaching and empowering more than a half-million students in the most underserved communities throughout New York City, since 1986, helping students learn to use chess as an educational tool to promote learning and critical thinking.
“Chess in the Schools is proud that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr is hosting our Bronx President’s Chess Challenge. Young players from our Bronx classrooms will improve their abilities by competing. Thank you for believing in the power of chess, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.,” said Debbie Eastburn, President & CEO, Chess in the Schools.