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The Celebration Continues with Bronx Week Encore on BronxNet!

Enjoy highlights and incredible moments from Bronx Week 2016 on your BronxNet channels and on the web at www.bronxnet.tv. The 2016 Bronx Ball will premiere on BronxNet Channel 67 Optimum in HD and on FiOS Channel 33, on June 2nd at 7:00 p.m., with Bronx Week highlights beginning at 6:30 p.m. Continuing through June 10th, special blocks of programming will feature highlights from the Bronx Week parade, the centenarian celebration, health events, the Bronx Week concert and much more. The Bronx Ball will also re-air on June 4th, June 8th and June 9th at 7:00 p.m. and the parade will re-air on June 5th at 2:00 p.m. and June 9th at 11:00 a.m. Visit: www.bronxnet.tv for the full schedule.

The Bronx Ball, the highlight of Bronx Week, was held in May in a gala setting at Pelham Split Rock Golf Course.  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and hundreds of guests, including Bronx leaders, organization representatives, and residents shared a festive evening as they recognized 2016 Walk of Fame Honorees: Author/Photographer Arlene Alda, Actor Vincent Pastore, Animator/Director Peter Sohn and Ballet Hispanico Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro.

Bronx Week, an annual event presented by Borough President Diaz and co-produced by The Bronx Tourism Council and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, features an array of activities that showcase the borough’s vibrant life and growth.  

“I want to thank BronxNet for taking part in this year's Bronx Week festivities," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "This is always one of my favorite times of the year because we, as a community, get an opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful things happening in our borough. BronxNet has done a great job over the years broadcasting these events to television audiences around The Bronx. Check out BronxNet's re-broadcasts throughout the week, to take a peek at all our 'Bronx Week' events that took place and see all the positive changes going on around the borough.”

Read the complete press release.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts Launches Major Architectural Upgrade of its Facility Adding New Spaces for Programs and Exhibitions Increasing Connections to Neighborhood, and Improving Service to Community and Public

Monica Ponce de Leon Selected as Architect for Project

Project is Public-Private Partnership with the City of New York

Bronx, New York—May 25, 2016—The Bronx Museum of the Arts announced plans for a major architectural enhancement and upgrade of its facility to better serve its community and visitors, add new spaces for public programs and exhibitions, and to strengthen its crucial contribution to the civic fabric of the Bronx. The project is a public-private partnership with The City of New York, including the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, Office of the Bronx Borough President, and New York State Assembly to support the Museum’s growing role as a vital resource for the community and destination for the Bronx and visitors to the City, and to meet the demands of significantly increased attendance. The project, funded through the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and managed by the NYC Department of Design and Construction, will advance the Museum’s openness and expand connections with the neighborhood it has called home since 1971.

“The Bronx Museum of the Arts has been an anchor in the borough since its founding, serving the people of the Bronx with arts and education programming of a national caliber and supporting artists who embody and express the cultural diversity of the Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Bronx Museum has been a partner with the community for more than four decades, and through our support of this project, we are committing to the future vitality of The Bronx Museum of the Arts as it deepens its presence and commitment to the Bronx, the public, and the arts community.”

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Review Board Approval of MTA Capital Plan

“I am delighted with today's announcement, which represents a great day for public transportation in The Bronx, across the city and throughout the region. The Capital Plan Review Board’s approval of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital budget is a tremendous step forward. A fully-funded MTA capital plan is critical to not only the continued maintenance of our transit system but to the development of new infrastructure improvements, as well. 

"Most importantly, for my borough, this capital plan funds the long awaited, much anticipated East Bronx Metro North expansion. The establishment of new commuter stations in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest, and Hunts Point will not only offer residents of these communities a new transportation option, it will open the East Bronx corridor to new residential and commercial development potential as well as reverse commute employment opportunities, and is the most significant infrastructure improvement our borough has seen in decades.

“I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, State Senate Coalition Co-Leader Jeff Klein and the board of the MTA, especially Bronxites Fernando Ferrer and Charles Moerdler; as well as the numerous community and elected leaders who showed their support for this expansion, for their continued advocacy on behalf of this long-awaited project,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Bronx Unemployment Drops to 6.6%

The Bronx’s unemployment rate has fallen once again, according to newly released statistics from the New York State Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate in The Bronx fell to 6.6 percent in April 2016, down from 7.9 percent in March 2016 and 7.8 percent in in April 2015. This is the lowest unemployment rate the borough has seen since Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. first took office in May 2009.

The total number of Bronxites employed also remains considerably high, 569,700, meaning that over 100,000 more Bronx residents have jobs today than when Borough President Diaz took office seven years ago.

“What we are doing is working,” said Borough President Diaz. “We have seen considerable growth in our borough during the past seven years, and that investment is having a positive effect on the people who call The Bronx their home. More people are employed than ever before and our unemployment rate has been cut significantly, thanks to the hard work of our elected officials, community boards, business community, non-profits, neighborhood leaders and our 1.4 million residents. Everyone can share in this success.” 

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.

New Bronx and Queens Full-Service Animal Shelters
Projected to Double City-led Animal Adoptions

$10 million investment in new facilities will remove barriers, boost medical treatment 

NYCLASS: “The greatest city in the world deserves a world-class animal shelter system”

BRONX – City-led pet adoptions in New York City shelters are set to double over the next few years – to nearly 16,000 – as a result of the new full-service animal shelters coming to Queens and the Bronx, according to new projections released today by NYCLASS and Bronx Council Members.

The new projections come on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inclusion of $10 million for the design and siting of new shelters in the two boroughs – an investment that has been at the core of NYCLASS’ agenda for years.

“NYCLASS believes that the greatest city in the world deserves a world-class animal shelter system – with full-service shelters in every borough,” said Allie Taylor, Executive Director of NYCLASS. “These projections show that not only will the new full-service shelters mean better, more humane care for shelter animals, but they will help connect more New Yorkers to loving companions. It’s a win-win for animals and for New Yorkers.”

"This is great news for animals and animal lovers,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "This project has been a major priority for many of my constituents, and I am happy to join NYCLASS today to celebrate the funding of a full-service animal shelter in my borough. “thanks to the inclusion of this funding in the budget by Mayor de Blasio, we will create a space where animals can receive humane care while pet lovers will have a place where they can adopt a new member of their family, helping reduce animal homelessness and abuse."

Read the complete press release.

Congressman Serrano, Borough President Diaz Host
Badillo Post Office Renaming Ceremony

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. poses with Gail Badillo, the wife of Herman Badillo, as the United States Post Office rededicates the Bronx’s Morrisania Branch Post Office in Mr. Badillo’s memory on Monday, May 23, 2016.

Other Elected Officials Join Celebration

The Bronx, NY – U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano; Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr.; Senator Rubén Díaz; Assemblyman José Rivera; Councilmember Rafael Salamanca; Lorraine Castellano, District Manager of the New York District, United States Postal Service; Bronx Postmaster Lilliam Rodriguez and other local elected officials held a ceremony today to officially rename and inaugurate the Herman Badillo Post Office located at 442 East 167th St. in Morrisania.

The change of the name of the post office was made possible thanks to a bill introduced by Congressman Serrano and the New York Congressional delegation, H.R. 1350, that was approved in July of 2015 to celebrate the Honorable Herman Badillo’s achievements as Bronx Borough President, Congressman, and Deputy Mayor of New York City. Badillo was the first Puerto Rican to hold each of these offices.

Congressman Serrano
said, “I am thrilled to celebrate the renaming of the Herman Badillo Post Office and to be joined by so many familiar faces, including Gail Badillo. To many of us, Badillo was a friend, to others a mentor, but to all of us he was a legend and a hero we will remember for generations to come. He was not only the first Puerto Rican to hold many elected posts at the local, state, and federal levels, but his work was instrumental in Puerto Ricans’ civic participation in local politics and in bringing attention to issues of concern to the community. Renaming this Post Office, a historic building in the heart of the Bronx, used by thousands every week, is a fitting tribute that will help ensure his legacy and memory live on.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “I was proud to join so many friends and colleagues here today to pay tribute to the federal service of a trailblazer, a mentor and a friend, my predecessor in the borough president’s office and our former congressman, Herman Badillo. Today's rededication ceremony is a fitting tribute to his trailblazing service to The Bronx, the City and our nation in the House of Representatives,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

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

“After more than a year of negotiation and advocacy by my office and many others, I am pleased to see an important first step between the White House and Congress on the future fiscal health of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, H.R. 5278, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). 

“This bipartisan compromise, while certainly not perfect, is a tremendous step forward and offers many of the solutions that I and others have been advocating for.  Although access to bankruptcy courts would have been preferred, we are encouraged by the bill’s provision to allow Puerto Rico to reduce repayments to creditors.  However, the process for appointing members of the proposed control board must ensure that the individuals selected protect the best interests of the Puerto Rican government and its people.

“There is still much work needed to be done by Congress to update and revise the Puerto Rican economic regulatory framework.  Health care must be delivered more effectively, import costs reduced and infrastructure investments made so that Puerto Rico has greener energy solutions and is prepared for the dramatic changes already being produced by climate change. 

“I thank the White House and Congress for taking the concerns of the Puerto Rican government, its citizens and their advocates on the mainland seriously and working towards this agreement. I especially want to thank those who have worked assiduously on this compromise, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand; and Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Jose Serrano and Luis Gutiérrez.

“The people of Puerto Rico are American citizens, and they deserve the same rights and protections as their countrymen,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. 

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries & Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Urge City Hall to Increase Support for the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program

BROOKLYN, NY – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stood on the steps of City Hall to strongly urge a substantial increase in funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program.

The Summer Youth Employment Program is a crucial first step in the careers of thousands of young people across New York City. It provides New Yorkers aged 14 to 24 with paid summer employment for up to six weeks in July and August. Participants work entry-level jobs at a range of programs supporting the public good, including at government agencies, hospitals, non-profits, small businesses, law firms and museums. The program introduces young people to the workforce, allows them to explore career interests while they acquire marketable skills and provides supplemental income.

In 2015, only 41% of 131,897 applicants were accepted into the program after a lottery, resulting in a total of 54,263 enrolled participants. The largest groups of enrollees are the 14-15 and 16-17 year old demographic, accounting for 63% of the total FY15 enrollment demographic. Ethnically, Hispanic and Black students represent the largest proportion of participants in the program.

Rep. Jeffries said: “Every young person in New York City who wants a summer job should get a summer job. Unfortunately, that is not the case. For too long, New York City has consistently underfunded the Summer Youth Employment Program, leaving tens of thousands of young people out in the cold.  It's time for New York City to more meaningfully invest in our future. The City should use part of its budget surplus to make sure that every eligible summer youth employment applicant has a job when school ends."

Borough President Diaz said: "The Summer Youth Employment Program is one of the most important, most productive programs our city has to offer. Every year, it takes thousands of teenagers off of the streets and puts them in productive jobs. It supports them through educational programming and mentorship. I'm proud to stand with my friend Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to call for increased funding for this tremendous program.”

Despite the rising popularity of the program and the skyrocketing number of applicants, the city has failed to substantially increase funding in a manner that would provide job opportunities for the growing number of interested young people in New York City. The City can double the number of young people with summer jobs with an additional contribution of approximately $80 million, less than a tenth of the $1 billion the administration proposes to add to New York's multi-billion dollar Rainy Day Fund.

Rep. Jeffries added: "It's raining right now for many young people in Brooklyn and the Bronx whose employment prospects are scarce. That is why Borough President Diaz and I strongly support fully funding the summer youth employment program this year."

Following Pressure, Amazon Expands Same-Day Delivery to The Bronx

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz are praising an announcement by online retailer Amazon that it would expand same-day delivery service to The Bronx. The announcement comes following criticism from both officials regarding the borough’s previous exclusion from these services.

Last week, it was revealed that Amazon was providing same-day delivery services to nearly the entirety of New York City except for The Bronx. Following the news, Borough President Diaz issued a letter to Amazon Founder & CEO demanding an end to his borough’s exclusion from these services. In a separate letter, Assembly Member Dinowitz urged New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate Amazon’s inequitable business practices.

In letters to both elected officials issued late Friday, Amazon stated that they would reverse this practice of excluding The Bronx, adding that the company was “actively working to enable service to the Bronx in the coming weeks.”

"The over 1.4 million residents of The Bronx deserve the same level of service and amenities as their neighbors. Amazon's reversal of their previous policy, which excluded my borough from the same-day delivery services offered to the rest of the city, is a welcome one. I appreciate that Amazon heard our concerns and have made this change, and will provide The Bronx with service equity in the coming weeks. I will continue to hold businesses and entities of all kinds accountable when they slight my constituents," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“I am very grateful that Amazon has listened to our concerns regarding the exclusion of The Bronx from their Prime same-day delivery service," said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz. "I am pleased they will be working to expand access to their services to a borough that has seen one of the fastest economic expansions in several decades – The Bronx. Providing equal services to all New Yorkers, including the 1.4 million Bronxites and countless of businesses that call our borough home is not just good for The Bronx, but Amazon as well. Moreover, I am hopeful that this decision means Amazon will take a second look at the several other cities with excluded neighborhoods.”

Amazon’s letter to the elected officials can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/1WAptO2.

From Pale Ales to Puerto Rican Moonshine,
The Bronx Trolley Offers Tours and Tastings
at Borough's Finest Craft Beverage Producers

Participants get their Savor The Bronx Passports stamped for
additional promotions from the borough’s bar/restaurants

As more craft beverage producers and bar/restaurants make The Bronx their home, The Bronx Tourism Council, in association with Taste NY, an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries, has launched the Savor The Bronx Breweries & Distilleries Trolley Tour.

While riding the famous Bronx Trolley, a historian will talk about the history of brewing in the borough, which dates back to the late 19th century and ended during the Prohibition Era.

The trolley visits Gun Hill Brewery, established in 2014 and produces a variety of beers for all palates ranging from their light seasonable ales to their pitch black stout. Then onto Chelsea Craft Brewing Company, which relocated from downtown Manhattan this year. The company brews over 20 ales annually and their signature Checker Cab Blonde Ale is brewed in the style of a German Kolsch beer. The third, and last, brewery the trolley visits is the Bronx Brewery founded in 2011 and offers a uniquely diverse range of beers that explore the limits of what a pale ale can be.

Tirado Distillery is the veteran of the bunch. They opened their doors in 2010 and was the first artisanal spirits producer in the borough since the 1920s prohibition. Their desert whisky is infused with apricot and still-filtered twice for smoothness. The fifth and last tour/tasting is at Port Morris Distillery, who’s Añejo Pitorro (or Puerto Rican moonshine) has a smoky taste while their Coquito Pitorro is sweetened with coconut and cinnamon and is perfect straight or mixed.
Tour participants will also receive a Savor The Bronx Passport to be stamped by the places they visit. The fully-stamped passport can be taken to any of the aforementioned breweries and distilleries, as well as any of the following restaurants that serve craft beverages, where the passport holder will receive their first pint free: Blackstone Bar and Grill in Riverdale; Bronx Ale House in Kingsbridge; Bronx Beer Hall on Arthur Avenue; and Bronx Draft House near Yankee Stadium. The Breweries and Distilleries Passport Promotion is open to anyone who chooses to visit the Breweries and Distilleries on their own as well and can be acquired at any of the craft beverage producers.

“This is the perfect tour for folks who are both history buffs and craft beverage aficionados”, says Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council.

“The Bronx is quickly becoming known across the world for its top notch breweries and distilleries. If you’re interested in the art of craft beverages, and would like a closer look at the ongoing revitalization of our borough, this tour is a tremendous opportunity. I look forward to greeting visitors from all over the region as they take part in the Savor The Bronx Breweries & Distilleries Trolley Tour,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The tour costs $50 per person, lasts five hours, and includes a passport and light snacks at one of the breweries. The trolley leaves from 851 Grand Concourse (between east 161st Street and 158th) at 11am. No one under 21 years of age is allowed on the trolley for this tour. For a full schedule and to purchase tickets visit www.ilovethebronx.com or call 718.590.3518.

Read the complete press release.

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!