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BP Diaz & BOEDC Announce a Spicy Bronx Connection
to Puerto Rico with The Bronx Hot Sauce!

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation have announced that, through the efforts of BOEDC and Taste New York, a special connection has been made with Puerto Rico where the spicy flavor of serrano peppers grown in Bronx community gardens will be available for thousands to taste.

Thanks to this new effort, The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce is now offered for sale the Taste New York store in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as at the five La Hacienda stores on the island. In addition, the sauce will also be offered as a condiment at the Buns and Burgers restaurant.

“The Bronx Hot Sauce is a great product that showcases the diverse flavors of our borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “As the home to 1.4 million residents, a majority whom are rooted in Puerto Rico, this is a great, mutually beneficial connection for tourism and a wonderful way to highlight and support the amazing efforts of so many individuals who are committed to our community gardens.”

“The Bronx Hot Sauce was designed to help local gardeners and the communities they serve. Being able to bring this offering to the good people of Puerto Rico is exciting for a new firm such as ours,” said John A. Crotty, Senior Vice President at Bronx Hot Sauce. “We want to thank Borough President Diaz and Marlene Cintron for their efforts in creating this opportunity for us. It wouldn’t have happened without their foresight and advocacy and we are lucky to have them.”

Read the complete press release.

NYCEDC Seeks New Tenant for Hunts Point Food Distribution Center

RFP Seeks Food-Related Businesses for 27K SF Industrial Space at Hunts Point

This Is The First Phase Of Mayor De Blasio’s Commitment Towards Investing $150 Million To Fortify And Modernize The Hunt Point Market

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) from qualified food manufacturing, wholesale and/or distribution companies to lease 2.18 acres including a built 27,000 square foot industrial space in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center (HPFDC) in the Bronx. RFP respondents should submit proposals that will assist in bolstering economic growth within the HPFDC and will generate quality food-related industrial sector jobs that benefit the wider Bronx community. The full RFP is available here.

“We welcome any Request for Proposals (RFP) that will help in the continued growth of Hunts Point and the entire Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Bronx is the home to perhaps the largest food market in the world, employing thousands of Bronxites and residents from all over the region. Finding more tenants for the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center (HPFDC) not only creates and maintain jobs for The Bronx, it will reduce the cost to consumers by bringing food manufacturers and distributors closer to the food source while also providing restaurants with fresher products. This proposal will also ease the economic burden on those existing companies doing business at the market. This could be a victory for both the New York City consumer and for our Bronx business sector in the Hunts Point neighborhood, and my office will continue its efforts to drive new business growth in The Bronx at not only this market, but in every corner of the borough.”

Read the complete press release.

BP Diaz Teams up With Alex Rodriguez, MLB, MLBPA,
and Gov. Cuomo to Launch Baseball Academy

Bronx Borough President Diaz has teamed up with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Major League Baseball (MLB), MLB Players Association, Harlem RBI and New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez announcing the launch of a youth baseball and softball academy based out of Roberto Clemente State Park in The Bronx.

The MLB academy will serve at least 1,500 youths, tripling the number of aspiring major leaguers currently participating in the Roberto Clemente State Park's baseball programs.

"I could not think of a better park to be the home of this project," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; who was joined, on Thursday, by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, MLBPA senior advisor and former New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Rose Harvey, and Roberto Clemente Jr. to make the announcement. "Roberto Clemente was not only a great Hall of Fame baseball player, one of the greatest to ever swing a bat, but also a Hall of Fame humanitarian without peer, carrying himself with a quiet dignity, speaking loudly through his actions both on and off the baseball diamond."

The renovated baseball and softball facility will be funded $6.5 million in state funding, $4 million from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and $750,000 from New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez and will have the field renamed after the New York Yankee designated hitter. Bronx Borough President Diaz will add another $500,000 in capital funds for resiliency upgrades to the park.

"These kids already have a special connection to baseball since Yankee Stadium is right in their backyard," said the four-time MLB All-Star, currently fourth on the all-time Home Run list behind Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds. "I hope this park will give them a chance to experience the game and dream big from the field as well as in the stands."

Local Officials Announce $2 Million for New Van Cortlandt Village Library

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator Jeff Klein, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz and City Council Member Andrew Cohen have announced $2 million in new funding allocations to relocate the Van Cortlandt branch library to a new, larger home.

Each elected official has secured $500,000 in capital funding for the project as part of their FY2017 budget allocations. The new library will replace the existing branch, located at 3874 Sedgwick Avenue, with a state-of-the-art facility at a long-dormant residential building. The New York Public Library is close to finalizing a deal to move the branch to 3882 Cannon Place.

“I am proud to have partnered with the New York Public Library and my colleagues in government to help bring a brand-new Van Cortlandt branch library to the residents of the Northwest Bronx. The library is one of the most important public institutions we have, and this new location will allow for residents of all ages to enjoy an up-to-date, expanded branch library,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

NYC Parks Breaks Ground on a $3 Million Renovation
Project at Playground 52 in the South Bronx

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., and students from the PAL New South Bronx Center to break ground on a $3 million reconstruction of Playground 52.

Through this project, the basketball courts and amphitheater will be completely renovated and a new skate park will be built with new pavements, fences, planting, lighting and drainage system.

“The renovation of Playground 52 will modernize this recreational space so that it will appropriately serve both the children and the adults that live in this community and surrounding neighborhood,” said Commissioner Silver. “I’d like to thank Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the City Council, and the Mayor’s office for making this happen.”

Funding for the project totaled an amount of $3,036,000, with $1 million coming from the Borough President, $1, 725, 000 from City Council, and an additional $311,000 from the Mayor’s office.

“From music to sports and everything in between, Playground 52 is a critical community hub for thousands of Bronx residents who socialize and engage with their neighbors here every single day,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I was proud to have provided $1 million in critical capital funding for these necessary upgrades, and I thank the Parks Department, the City Council and this administration for their commitment to an updated and renovated Playground 52. I hope Bronx residents and visitors from all over will enjoy this park for years to come.”

Read the complete press release.

iHeartMedia Stakes Claim to Historic New York Skyline
on Iconic East River Billboard

Leading National Multi-Platform Media and Entertainment Company Writes
Advertising History Atop NYC’s Largest Rooftop Billboard

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--iHeartMedia Inc., the media and entertainment company with the largest reach of any radio or TV outlet in America, staked its claim to the New York skyline with its new presence on one of the city’s most iconic billboards, high atop the old Ruppert Ice House, overlooking the Triboro/RFK Bridge leading into Manhattan and out of The Bronx. The billboard displays the company’s nationally-recognized iHeartRadio logo and is one of only eight brands to grace this historic billboard over the last 80 years. iHeartMedia joins Pepsi and Domino Sugar as one of only three historic billboards along the East River.

The new iHeartMedia billboard is over 8,000 square feet (the size of 12 traditional roadside billboards) and is visible for miles from various vantage points around the city. In addition to the iHeartRadio logo, the billboard will display a digital LED screen that promotes iHeartMedia’s iconic New York City-based station brands -- Z100, Power 105, KTU, Lite FM, Q104.3 and WOR -- and upcoming events such as the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour and the iHeartRadio Music Awards, among other nationally-recognized iHeartMedia brands and events. The billboard will reach millions of people weekly and is scheduled for completion in the coming days.

"Having Clear Channel Outdoor Americas reinvest in this iconic sign, which serves as a beacon to all Bronx residents and a landmark throughout the region, while also having a leading national media company move into our neighborhood via this historic billboard is emblematic of the continued revitalization of The Bronx," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz. "On behalf of the millions who travel this route every week, and the more than 1.4 million people who live here, I am thrilled to welcome iHeartMedia to our borough's waterfront."

Read the complete press release.

Governor Cuomo Announces $30 Million to Expand Urban Youth Jobs
Program and Launches Statewide Pre-Apprenticeship Job Program
for Construction Trades

Governor Highlights Impact of Summer Youth Employment Program and Unemployment Strikeforce Initiative

Announcements Build on Momentum of Governor’s Successful Initiatives to Address Unemployment in The Bronx and Across the State

Bronx Unemployment Rate Down to 6.1% in May, Lowest Figure in 15 Years

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an additional $30 million in funding for the successful Urban Youth Jobs Program, an innovative tax credit program which connects minority and at-risk youth with employment opportunities in communities across the state. The record investment brings total funding for the program to $50 million this year and builds on the Governor’s sweeping, multi-faceted efforts to remove barriers to unemployment in The Bronx and across New York. To accompany this initiative, the Governor announced the launch of a new website designed to connect young people with job opportunities and provide them with the skills they need to succeed as they pursue their future education and career goals.

Governor Cuomo also announced the official launch of the nation’s first state-sponsored Pre-Apprenticeship Program, which he outlined in the 2016 State of the State Address. The state will today issue a Request for Proposals to training providers, who will prepare participants for a career in the building and construction trades. The program will match qualified trainees with permanent employment opportunities on major state infrastructure projects, including the new LaGuardia Airport and the complete overhaul of Penn Station.

"In every corner of this state, we are taking aggressive action to restore economic opportunity and social progress by creating jobs, and The Bronx is at the forefront of this effort," Governor Cuomo said. "From the Unemployment Strikeforce to the Urban Youth Jobs program, we are making smart investments to tackle unemployment in communities where it is most pervasive, and connect tomorrow's workers with the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century workplace. Our efforts are demonstrating that government can be a vehicle for progress, and I thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for their partnership in building a better future for the Bronx community."

The Governor’s sweeping efforts to remove barriers to employment in The Bronx have coincided with the borough’s 6.1 percent unemployment rate – its lowest for the month of May since 2001, and the lowest level in 15 years. The Governor has focused a variety of efforts to put chronically unemployed and disadvantaged youth to work through a series of innovative programs that connect young people with job and training opportunities.

The announcement was made at Hostos Community College in The Bronx, where the Governor also highlighted the success of two existing programs: the first-of-its-kind Unemployment Strikeforce and the Summer Youth Employment Program. The Unemployment Strikeforce works to connect out of work New Yorkers with skills in demand by employers in cities across the state with the highest rates of unemployment. In just two years, the Strikeforce initiative has resulted in jobs for more than 23,000 previously unemployed individuals. The Summer Youth Employment Program in The Bronx, which allocates money to municipalities to work with non-profits to hire kids for summer jobs, has helped more than 12,000 youths in The Bronx obtain employment and this year received more than $70 million in state funding.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “One of my first goals when I was elected Bronx Borough President was to reduce unemployment. Since becoming Borough President, unemployment has been cut by more than half, and our workforce participation rate is higher than ever before. We are helping thousands of teenagers and young adults find productive jobs that not only bolster their resumes as well as help expand and add skill-sets they will need down the road as they advance in their careers, while also keeping them off of the streets and out of trouble. I want to thank Gov. Cuomo and Strikeforce for helping us get there. We are always looking to continue to build on the positive results and the Strikeforce has proven to be a program that has helped us decrease unemployment in our borough to record lows, and these new programs for at-risk youth announced today by Gov. Cuomo will only help us continue that success."

Read the complete press release.

Congressman Tim Ryan Raises Awareness for
Digital Access to Healthy Food through the SNAP Program

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) today (July 12, 2016) was joined by Actress and Activist Shailene Woodley and thought leaders to advocate for increased access to healthy food for low-income families with the use of technology and the importance of SNAP. They discussed how the use of the internet will strengthen SNAP by increasing access to healthier foods for all Americans.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest program to help combat hunger and provides nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. Currently, over 45 million Americans receive SNAP benefits each month, including about 20 million children. This program has proved to help lift millions of Americans out of poverty and also help provide access to healthier foods.

“A key step we can take to fight hunger, and combat food deserts is to make healthy, affordable good choices available to the greatest number of consumers. I believe the federal government must advance to the level of today's technology and allow for the easier use of EBT benefits through online portals, and I commend Rep. Tim Ryan for convening this important briefing on this critical issue,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz and State Senator Klein
Co-host Annual Fireworks Extravaganza

On Thursday, June 30, tens of thousands of Bronxites and revelers from all over the region joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and State Senator Jeff Klein as they co-hosted the borough’s official launch to the year’s Independence Day Celebrations, the annual “New York Salutes America” boardwalk festival and fireworks extravaganza at Orchard Beach.

"This event is always a great way to kickoff New York City's Independence Day festivities, and I was proud to join State Senator Klein and tens of thousands of our fellow Bronxites as we enjoyed an amazing fireworks show and a wonderful evening at the beach for the annual 'New York Salutes America' Fireworks Extravaganza," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. 

“Every year I look forward to celebrating with food, fireworks and fun at our 'New York Salutes America' extravaganza. I was proud to join Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to host this cherished tradition for our Bronxites this year. I was honored to mark our nation's independence along with tens of thousands of Bronx families, as we let freedom ring this Fourth of July,” said State Senator Jeff Klein.

Two Bronxites, Antonio Matos and Helen Bengcion, also emerged victorious as the winners of the second annual "Bronx Empanada Eating Contest," finishing eight beef empanadas provided by Havana Cafe on East Tremont Avenue faster than 18 other competitors. Each winner was awarded a "Bronx Gift Bag" featuring over $500 in prizes from vendors including Applebee's, The Bronx Beer Hall, the Bronx County Historical Society, The Bronx Hot Sauce, BronxNet, the Bronx Times Reporter, The Bronx Tourism Council, The Bronx Zoo, FreshDirect, Friends of Pelham Bay Park, the New York Botanical Garden, the Office of the Bronx Borough President, Outback Steakhouse, Party Pose NY, Port Morris Distillery, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Wave Hill and more.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The Passing of Dr. Roscoe Brown

"I’m very sorry to learn of the passing of my friend, Dr. Roscoe Brown. Dr. Brown was a true Bronx legend, and was dedicated to serve the people of the borough he called home. From his time as a Tuskegee Airman, to his service as the president of Bronx Community College and beyond, Dr. Brown was a model of service and a true friend of The Bronx. He will be sorely missed.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

BP Diaz Appoints Judge Douglas McKeon to BronxNet Board of Directors

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has appointed Hon. Douglas McKeon, Administrative Judge for Civil Matters for the Supreme Court, 12th Judicial District, to the board of directors of BronxNet, the borough’s public television station.

“Judge McKeon has a wealth of knowledge not only about our legal system but about our borough, as well. He cares deeply for the borough he serves, and I know that his talents will help guide the mission of BronxNet in meaningful ways. I look forward to working with Judge McKeon and everyone at BronxNet as we document the positive changes we are seeing in The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Bronxites need to feel that their courts and the legal system are living forces that touch our community and improve the lives of people.  BronxNet has been a pioneer in producing programs that educate our citizens about the law, their rights and foster access to Justice.  I’m honored and excited that the Borough President has asked me to assist in this worthwhile effort,” said Judge McKeon.

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: StubHub & New York Yankees Agreement

“Today’s announcement is a clear victory for the fans.

“I am glad to see that the New York Yankees have heeded the call put forth by myself and others to modify an elitist ticket policy that was making it difficult for your everyday, blue-collar baseball fan to enjoy a day at the ballpark. The Bronx has some of the most loyal baseball fans in the world, myself included, and I’m happy to see the Yankees and StubHub have found a resolution that not only benefits both companies but will also benefit the fans, giving them more opportunities to watch their hometown team in action while also providing for the ease of ticket resale and use of mobile devices to access those tickets,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

In February, Borough President Diaz issued a letter to New York Yankees critical of the team’s policies on the resale of tickets. That letter can be read here.

Bronx Unemployment Drops to 6.1%

The Bronx’s unemployment rate has fallen to one of its lowest numbers ever, according to newly released statistics from the New York State Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate in The Bronx dropped to 6.1 percent in May 2016, down from 6.6 percent in April 2016 and 7.8 percent in May 2015. This is the lowest unemployment rate the borough has seen since Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. first took office in May 2009, topping last month’s previous all-time low.

The total number of Bronxites employed also remains high, 567,500, with nearly 100,000 more Bronx residents employed today than when Borough President Diaz took office seven years ago. In addition, just 37,000 Bronx residents are currently unemployed, the lowest number of Borough President Diaz’s tenure.

“We are always looking to continue to build on the results that have helped decrease unemployment in our borough to record lows,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We will refuse to stay complacent as we seek to lower the unemployment rate even further, create new jobs, strengthen our existing businesses and grow our local economy. 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. Everyone can be proud of these efforts.”

The Department of Labor’s statistics can be found at http://labor.ny.gov/stats/pressreleases/prlaus.shtm.

Since Borough President Diaz took office in 2009, The Bronx has seen more than $9.4 billion in total development, which has led to the creation of thousands of new jobs. In addition, a partnership announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in August 2014 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.

Borough President Diaz Names Geneal Chacon
to Panel for Educational Policy

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced that Geneal Chacon has been appointed as the borough’s representative to the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), which holds approval power over the actions of the New York City Department of Education.

A native of Trinidad and resident of the West Bronx, Ms. Chacon is a parent of three public school students and a parent association president at P.S. 277. Ms. Chacon is also a former president of the Presidents’ Council of District #7 and a former member of the district leadership team.

“Ms. Chacon is a leader in both our schools and the Caribbean-American community, and is a model of the immigrant success story. I am proud to appoint her as my borough’s representative to the Panel for Educational Policy. Helping Bronx students obtain a good education is one of the most important responsibilities we have as public servants. Ms. Chacon is committed to the continued development of strong education options for our children, and I look forward to partnering with her as we work together to create and expand successful education models in The Bronx and across the City,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“I want to see change in education, in families and in communities. I believe you have to be the change you want to see, and I hope that through working with Borough President Diaz and my fellow members of the Panel for Educational Policy, we can affect positive change in our city’s public school system,” said Ms. Chacon.

Ms. Chacon replaces Robert Powell, who resigned from the Panel for Educational Policy in February 2016.

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

On Thursday, June 30, 2016, 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.

“This is a great fun-filled evening one can spend with their friends and family,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This is one of our jewel events; which this year includes the addition of our second annual eating contest, where people from across the city can experience the best that The Bronx has to offer. I urge everyone to join myself, State Senator Klein and thousands of your neighbors as we kick-off our city’s Independence Day celebrations and salute America together.”

"The Fourth of July is a celebratory time for all Americans.  Every year I look forward to our fireworks extravaganza, which has become a cherished tradition for our Bronx families. As we reflect upon the extraordinary history of our nation, we must remember the sacrifices of our brave U.S. servicemen and women, whose courageous acts contributed to our nation’s freedom," 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, the fireworks music score will feature an eclectic mix of music all performed by Bronx natives, many of whom are Bronx Walk of Fame inductees. From Doo Wop to Hip Hop, Classic Rock, Swing, Funk, Soul, Pop and Latin, you'll hear from such Bronxites as Dion, Steven Tyler, Bobby Darin, Nitty, The Chiffons, Anthrax, Irene Cara, Grand Master Flash, Ace Frehley, Kurtis Blow, Prince Royce and Jennifer Lopez.

The Grucci Performance App, which plays the soundtrack in real time, will be available for all guests with an Android or iPhone. Simply go to the App Store or Google Play, download the app for free, and select your performance location to tune in during the show!

In addition, the “Bronx Empanada Eating Contest” returns for the second year in a row, featuring mini-empanadas from Havana Café. 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.

More information about the event can be found at www.ilovethebronx.com.

Update on the Zika virus

For more information on the Zika virus, click here. Fight Back NYC!

Para obtener más información sobre el virus Zika: http://www.nyc.gov/health/zika | ¡Protégete, NYC!

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