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Council Members Levine and Gibson, Joined by Advocacy Groups,  
Hold Hearing on the Right to Counsel for Low-Income Tenants in Housing Court

Former NYS Chief Judge Lippman, NYC Comptroller Stringer, NYC Public Advocate  James, and dozens of other elected officials and advocacy groups attended to testify and show their support for the bill, which has also been endorsed in a recent editorial by the New York Times

New York, NY
- Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson held a hearing today to hear testimony on Intro 214-A, a bill that would require the Office of Civil Justice to establish a program for the provision of legal counsel for low-income tenants who are subject to eviction, ejectment or foreclosure proceedings.
Among those who attended the rally in support of the bill were City Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams, several other city and state elected officials, legal services providers, tenant advocacy groups, faith leaders, unions, and the NYC Bar Association.  

Unlike in criminal court, there is no right to counsel in housing court. Tenants without resources must fend for themselves. Today, only about 20% of those facing eviction are represented by an attorney--compared to nearly 100% of landlords. The resulting un-level playing field has been disastrous for tenants. In 2015 alone, nearly 22,000 New York City families were evicted.

“There is an undeniable homelessness crisis in this city, one that underscores the importance of increased representation of low-income tenants in eviction proceedings. I am proud to stand with so many of my colleagues and advocates from across the city today in support of Intro 214-A. This legislation will allow for the implementation of justice and fairness in housing court proceedings by providing legal representation to tenants who need it, and that is a protection that is long overdue. This is a critical tool in the fight against displacement, and I am hopeful this bill will become law,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Testimony of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
before the New York City Council Committee on Courts and Legal Services

RE: Intro 214-A/Right to Counsel

September 26, 2016

Good morning.

I am very happy to be here today, with so many of my colleagues in government and so many of my constituents, to voice my support for Intro 214-A, which would provide the most vulnerable among us with free legal representation in housing court.

There is an undeniable homelessness crisis in this city, one that underscores the importance of increased representation of low-income tenants in eviction proceedings. Anyone doubting the causal relationship between evictions and possessions of the dwellings of low-income tenants and homelessness need only look at the available data, which shows that thousands of families have just faced eviction at the time they entered the shelter system.

Intro 214-A, authored by Council Member Mark Levine, would create the blueprint for providing attorneys to New York City tenants facing eviction, ejectment and foreclosure proceedings. The bill would provide improved access to justice for individuals with incomes up to 200 percent of the Federal poverty level.

According to data compiled by Housing Court Answers, the total number of residential evictions and possessions in New York City in 2015 was 21,988. Of those evictions, 7,401 were carried out in The Bronx, with 7,033 in Brooklyn, 3,939 in Queens, 2,898 in Manhattan, and 717 in Staten Island.   

Evictions clearly concern every corner of the city. It is imperative that we take an expansive approach to solving the housing problem. Building new affordable housing is not the only answer.

I support Intro 214-A because this legislation both promotes the administration of justice and has considerable fiscal merits.  The financial reasons for providing counsel must be fleshed out in light of a recent analysis that projects tremendous cost savings to the City from the bill.

Litigants in housing court should play on a fair field, not one where one party has legal expertise and where the other does not know their rights or have access to the same procedural strategies. For example, The Independent Budget Office’s December 2014 memorandum on Intro 214-A cites a New York City study that showed that there was a 77 percent decrease in warrants of eviction issued when tenants had an attorney in housing court versus when they did not independent of the cases’ merits. 

Homelessness is all too often the unnecessary and unfair result of this inequity in representation-- and with great human cost. The deck remains stacked against low-income tenants, most of whom do not have attorneys, because most landlords have representation in housing court.

Any analysis of the financial benefits of the legislation must account for the fiscal cost of supporting the homeless and of replacing lost rent-regulated apartments that have become market-rate with other affordable housing.

A recent study released by the New York City Bar Association found that Intro 214-A would save the city $320 million annually, after accounting for the need to replace rent regulated apartments with other affordable housing and for the state and federal funding that would be saved on shelter costs and other preventative services.

Additionally, Intro 214-A would increase access to justice in foreclosure proceedings, which have wrought havoc on this country over the past decade.

The benefits of this proposed law are considerable, and could help keep New Yorkers in their homes. Too many families become homeless because they don’t have an advocate in court or someone to get them connected with housing financial assistance, like the FEPS program, that would allow them to keep their homes.

Justice requires protecting our most vulnerable from unnecessary eviction and the resulting plight of homelessness. We can do more to both promote fairness in these proceedings and provide representation for the underserved.

We can pass Intro 214-A.

Borough President Diaz Hosts Annual Muslim School Holiday Event

On Saturday, September 17, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his annual Muslim School Holiday event at P.S. 83, designed to bring fun and activities for all in celebration of the addition of the Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, to the public school calendar.

SBH Health System, L+M Development Partners and Hornig Capital Partners Break Ground On New Wellness and Affordable Housing Project

Bronx, NY—SBH Health System (St. Barnabas Hospital), L+M Development Partners and Hornig Capital Partners joined New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Wells Fargo today to break ground on a new $156 million, mixed-use development on the SBH Health System campus that incorporates affordable housing with a range of on-site services aimed at easing health disparities and promoting wellness in the Bronx. 

The St. Barnabas Wellness Care and Affordable Housing project, which will be developed by L+M Development Partners and Hornig Capital Partners, will create 314 affordable homes for low-income residents and incorporate more than 50,000 square feet of health and wellness space that includes a fitness area, an ambulatory care center, a pharmacy, and a teaching kitchen with produce grown on a rooftop farm; and offer comprehensive programs on smoking prevention, fitness, nutrition, stress reduction and life skills. In addition to a focus on preventative health strategies, the project is designed to promote stable, quality housing to help reduce Medicaid costs and avoidable hospitalizations.

"This is a tremendous development, one that combines new housing and healthcare uses and is a new paradigm for public-private development partnerships. This project is a perfect fit for our borough's ongoing positive transformation, and the health components of this new building blend perfectly with our #not62 campaign. I am proud to have provided $1 million in capital funding towards this project, and I congratulate St. Barnabas and L+M Development on today's groundbreaking," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: LinkNYC Service Changes

“We’ve heard a great deal of concern from all corners of the city about the misuse of these kiosks for lewd and nefarious purposes, and today’s announcement that web browsing services will be disabled on LinkNYC kiosks is a step in the right direction. These kiosks and the connectivity they provide are key to bridging the digital divide in our city, and we must ensure that a handful of less-than-wholesome users do not threaten the success of the entire enterprise. Disabling web browsing will prevent the most objectionable uses of these kiosks and make our streets safer, while also preserving the best parts of the LinkNYC service.

“I thank the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, as well as CityBridge, for listening to the issues raised by New York City residents regarding the use of these kiosks and making these positive adjustments. My office will continue to monitor the usage of these kiosks and looks forward to reviewing the results of these changes,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The 15th Anniversary of 9/11

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued the following statement today, in recognition of the 15th anniversary of 9/11:

“Today is the 15th anniversary of perhaps the greatest tragedy to affect our city and our nation: the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center of September 11, 2001.

“On this day our nation was brutally attacked in the name of misguided hate, causing the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. My own borough lost 144 individuals in this tragedy, and people of The Bronx offer their special prayers to their neighbors who perished 15 years ago today.

“We must also remember those who responded so quickly without thoughts for their own safety, our first responders of the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York and others.  They came without reservation, without hesitation, focused solely on those who needed rescue that day.

“On this solemn occasion, I join together with all the families of the victims to mourn their loss with a broken heart and offer comfort to my brothers and sisters in this time of need. Today, on this day of remembrance, prayer and healing, I offer my thoughts and prayers, and those of the entire Bronx, to the victims of this tragedy, their families and their friends. I wish them peace and pray for their comfort on this difficult day,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: LinkNYC Kiosk Reforms

"After learning about the inappropriate and over-extended usage of LinkNYC kiosks throughout the city, in particular in Manhattan, it is time to make adjustments that will allow all of our city residents to use this service safely and comfortably.

"In order to prevent the usage of these kiosks for unsavory purposes, and to allow for the highest level of individual users of the tablets included in theses kiosks, the city should prevent over-extended usage of the kiosks by requiring registration and by placing a time limit on how long a subscriber can use one, much like the technology used by unlimited MetroCards that prevent a rider from using the same card for at least 18 minutes. The technology is there for us to use, and it would allow more residents access to use these booths while preventing camping and behavior unsuitable for a public street.

"The purpose of the physical use of the kiosks is for subscribers to be able to make free domestic calls, provide USB charging ports to charge up phones and tablets, provide Internet access, and for emergency services. Such adjustments can be made without in any way hindering the connectivity these kiosks were designed to provide.

"I strongly believe that these services are another giant step forward towards providing better communication access for all of our city residents, and are an important part of our continued push for social and technological equality. However, now is the time to make the necessary adjustments to provide technological access while preventing less than wholesome usage," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Bronx Borough President Diaz, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and LinkNYC Celebrate Free Wi-Fi in the Bronx

LinkNYC kiosks are replacing payphones throughout NYC with free, super-fast Wi-Fi hotspots, phone calls, device charging, and more

More than 700 Links to be installed in the Bronx, building on City’s effort to bridge the digital divide

BRONX -- CityBridge partners, the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and elected officials today celebrated LinkNYC’s launch in the Bronx. LinkNYC is the new, first-of-its-kind communications network replacing the city’s payphones with Wi-Fi kiosks, creating the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network in the world. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the public launch of LinkNYC in February. Since then, more than 375 Links have been installed, including in the South Bronx and along the Grand Concourse, and LinkNYC is scaling up throughout the five boroughs. 

Each Link provides New Yorkers with free, secure, fast Wi-Fi, free domestic calling, two USB charging ports, a tablet for accessing the Internet, and a red 911 button to contact emergency services. More than 400,000 people have signed up to use the free Wi-Fi, which is already used more than a million times per week, and New Yorkers use the Link kiosks for 20,000 free phone calls and approximately 60,000 tablet sessions every week. In the Bronx, more than 700 Links will be installed over the next several years as part of the 7,500 Links across the five boroughs. The Bronx already has 10,000 registered users. Tablet features on the first Bronx Links have been used nearly 50,000 times, with more than 20,000 free phone calls made.

“LinkNYC is taking yet another giant step forward towards providing better communication access for city residents, and is an important part of our continued push for social and technological equality,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  “I welcome the installation of nearly 20 kiosks that were installed in the South Bronx and along the Grand Concourse, and I look forward to the impact that the future installation of 700 kiosks will bring to the lives of our residents. I want to congratulate the leadership of the New York City Mayor’s Office, CityBridge, and DoITT, who have continued to provide more Wi-Fi kiosks throughout our borough, so that we can better communicate with one another. I would also like to thank Per Scholas for their dedication in helping nurture our youth so that they may learn and attain skills in the field of technology, helping them reach their maximum potential when they hit the job market.”

Read the complete press release.

Governor Cuomo Announces Designation of
12 New Brownfield Opportunity Areas

State Providing Tools to Local Governments to Revitalize Communities Across New York State

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the designation of 12 new Brownfield Opportunity Areas in communities across New York. These designations help participants develop strategies to revitalize neighborhoods affected by dormant and blighted properties. Projects in these areas will be given priority status for grants and the project developers may access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit incentives. 

“The designation of Brownfield Opportunity Areas facilitates the restoration and development of devastated communities across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “Each of these sites possesses tremendous potential for economic development and job creation, and these designations will equip local partners with the resources they need to implement their vision for community revitalization.” 

The Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program is administered by the New York Department of State. These 12 new designations bring the total number of designated Brownfield Opportunity Areas in New York State to 38. To facilitate the work required to achieve a designation, each of these sponsoring communities received funding through the program to complete a nomination containing revitalization strategies specifically developed to promote sound redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within the affected areas. The type of neighborhoods and areas where resources are being applied include industrial or manufacturing, commercial corridors, mixed-use downtowns and waterfronts.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, "I want to both thank Governor Cuomo and the Department of State for this Harlem River Brownfield designation and recognize the long and arduous work by the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality and the Parks Department that led us to this point. I have been supportive of the Harlem River Brownfield study from its inception because I recognize that such designations lay the groundwork for realizing environmentally sound development and improved quality of life for my constituents." 

Read the complete press release.

BP Diaz Allocates Nearly $1 Million to Bronx Cultural Institutions

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced the allocation of nearly $1 million in capital funds to four cultural institutions around the borough of The Bronx.

“With over three million people visiting our cultural institutions each year, there is a need to fund and strengthen them to allow for their continued growth,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Visitors are coming from all over the world to discover our borough, and we welcome them with open arms. These allocations will help make their Bronx experience even better.”

Borough President Diaz’s allocations to cultural institutions in FY 2017 include $183,000 to the Bronx County Historical Society for exterior and interior rehabilitation and technology upgrades; $250,000 to the Bronx Museum of the Arts for the renovation of its South Wing Atrium, $500,000 for studio renovations at BronxNet and $45,000 for a vehicle purchase for the Woodlawn Conservancy at Woodlawn Cemetery.

"The funds that were graciously allocated to The Bronx County Historical Society’s digitization project by the honorable Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will bring this time honored institution into a new age,” said Angel Hernandez, Director of Programs and External Relations, The Bronx County Historical Society. “As we look to digitize and upload all our collection material into an online research database, our mission to disseminate Bronx history to everyone in the borough, the great City of New York, and beyond will continue to be enhanced through the use of newer technological formats. Let us celebrate this milestone in the preservation of our borough’s rich and historic heritage for future generations to come."

“We are grateful to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for his support of The Bronx Museum of the Arts,” said Holly Block, Executive Director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts. “Significant improvements of our programming spaces will benefit hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists alike, and enrich the cultural vibrancy of the Bronx and New York City.” 

“BronxNet thanks Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for being a true friend and supporter of independent media voices, media workforce development and community-oriented programming in the Bronx. His generous capital allocations are helping to create state-of-the-art television studios, media production and post-production facilities that will enhance the media and technology access services we offer Bronx residents, students, organizations and audiences at our network operations at Lehman College,” said BronxNet Executive Director Michael Max Knobbe.

“Woodlawn Conservancy is thrilled to be funded in the Borough President’s FY 2017 budget for a trolley to help us make Woodlawn’s educational programs more accessible to Bronx schoolchildren and to seniors, and to strengthen the Conservancy’s ability to participate in the business of New York City tourism,” Mitch Rose, President and CEO of The Woodlawn Cemetery and Woodlawn Conservancy. “We thank the Borough President for his leadership and his support.”

Since first taking office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has provided over $8,935,000 in capital funding to 29 projects at cultural institutions across The Bronx.

A list of this year’s capital funding allocations to cultural institutions can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/2a0qZZ1.

BP Diaz Invests Over $14 Million in Bronx Parks

FY 2017 Funding Includes $10 Million Towards Renovation of Historic Orchard Beach Pavilion

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that his office has invested over $14.3 million in FY 2017 capital funds to improve parks throughout The Bronx, including $10 million to restore the historic Orchard Beach pavilion and upgrades to playgrounds and recreation spaces all over the borough.

"As we work to build a healthier Bronx through our ‘#Not62 campaign,’ we must make sure that our shared recreation spaces are in good condition and inviting to the public, so that more and more Bronxites of all ages will take advantage of them,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I am proud to have provided so much of my capital funding—50 percent—to worthy park projects all over The Bronx this year.”

Borough President Diaz has allocated $500,000 towards improvements at Roberto Clemente State Park; which will soon be home to a baseball academy operated in conjunction with Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association and Harlem RBI; as well as $500,000 for the reconstruction of Garrison Playground, which lies adjacent to the former site of P.S. 31 in Mott Haven.

Other projects included in the borough president’s capital allocations for FY 2017 are $500,000 for the reconstruction of the basketball courts, including new fencing, backboards, benches, paving, landscaping, adult fitness equipment and general site work at Bridge Playground in Highbridge; $500,000 for the reconstruction of Kossuth Playground on Mosholu Parkway and $500,000 for the reconstruction of Waring Playground on Bronx Park East, which will be used to add new equipment, as well as the addition of safety surfacing, spray shower, fencing, benches and landscaping.

Borough President Diaz has also provided $10 million towards renovations at the historic Orchard Beach pavilion in Pelham Bay Park, an allocation he first announced in his “State of the Borough” address in February.

“Orchard Beach is one of the jewels of our borough, and it has the potential to be an even greater tourist attraction, drawing in visitors from all over the region if not the world. Orchard Beach is not just a Bronx beach. Orchard Beach is for the entire city. And it could be so much more. It could be an economic engine for our borough and a destination point for visitors across the region. I am hopeful that my $10 million capital commitment will spark considerable interest in this grand vision for a new Orchard Beach from both the public and private sectors,” said Borough President Diaz.

Since he first took office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has provided $42,768,000 to a total of 60 park projects in every corner of The Bronx.
A complete list of Borough President Diaz’s capital allocations towards parks in FY 2017 can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/2b6jeRI.

Governor Cuomo Announces Official Opening of
New Silvercup Studios Film & TV Production Facility in The Bronx

Silvercup Studio’s Third Facility in New York – Silvercup North – Will Generate Hundreds of New Jobs and Millions in Local Revenue

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of Silvercup North, a new film and television production facility in the South Bronx. Silvercup Studios, one of the leading independent, full-service film and television studios in the Northeast, built the $35 million studio complex to help meet the growing needs of New York’s booming film and television industry. The new facility – Silvercup’s third New York studio – and the productions that will occupy it will create an estimated 400 well-paying production-industry jobs, as well as generate local revenue through the purchase of materials and other goods and services. Silvercup was awarded a $1.6 million performance-based grant through the New York City Regional Economic Development Council to assist with the construction, renovations and purchase of machinery and equipment for the new facility. The project created approximately 100 construction jobs.

“Silvercup Studios is a great New York success story, whose growth and strength parallels everything going on in the Bronx right now,” Governor Cuomo said. “This expansion will help create hundreds of good-paying jobs, generating millions of dollars to local businesses and further build upon New York's booming film industry. This exciting project is yet one more reason why the Bronx is back."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, "This is a historic day for The Bronx, as we welcome Silvercup Studios to their new Bronx home and welcome our borough's first new film studio in decades. Silvercup's expansion to The Bronx is a key component of our borough's ongoing renaissance, and will create new jobs and new career opportunities for Bronx residents. Great things are happening in this borough, and I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Suna family, Empire State Development, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and everyone who helped create the atmosphere and opportunites that made this expansion possible."

Read the complete press release.

JetBlue Spices Up Its ‘BlueBud’ Business Mentoring Program With The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce – Serrano Pepper Product Grown in New York City

Fiery Bronx Based Condiment Brand Selected For JetBlue’s Second BlueBud Program

Each Bottle Directly Supports the Bronx’s Burgeoning Economy and the More Than 40 Bronx Community Gardens and Farmers Who Produce These Peppers

NEW YORK (August 15, 2016) – JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU), New York's Hometown Airline®, recently announced The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce as the next winner of its “BlueBud"  business mentoring program. BlueBud (buddies + budding new companies) focuses on pioneering food companies and taps into JetBlue’s goal to offer more nutritious and flavorful onboard food options.

BlueBud was designed as a way for JetBlue to connect with diverse suppliers starting with environmentally and socially conscious companies and start-ups that have similar responsible practices. BlueBud helps feed the airline’s pipeline of sustainable and innovative food products. Small companies learn what it takes to break into the aviation catering space while remaining true to their social mission.

The recipe for The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce was created by acclaimed chef King Phojanakong, a native of New York City. Not only are the serrano peppers green, with each purchase the Bronx is a little bit more green. More than 40 Bronx greenmarket farms and community gardens grow these peppers.  Each bottle sold directly supports these gardens and farmers, helps to revitalize the Bronx’s budding economy and asserts the borough as the next big culinary destination for local food in New York.

“We agree with a certain pop star, hot sauce should always be in your bag,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability.  “BlueBud supports food products made right here in New York. The program connects innovation with impact and our mission of inspiring humanity with budding companies. The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce lives this purpose by sourcing their peppers directly from local community gardens and greenmarket farms.”

Throughout the fall, The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce will participate in a variety of initiatives with JetBlue which may include taste test events and a tour of an airline catering facility to better understand how food (literally) gets onboard. The hot sauce brand will receive special access to JetBlue’s business leaders and the airline’s distinct product development culture, as well as valuable industry insights from JetBlue teams including strategic sourcing, purchasing, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, communications, marketing, brand and onboard product.

“The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce is a great product that was designed to help local gardeners showcase the diverse flavors of our borough and their communities,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The partnership between JetBlue and The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce is a great way to highlight the amazing efforts of so many individuals who are committed to our community gardens, and all the great things that are happening in our great borough.”

Read the complete press release.

Governor Cuomo Launches New York State Grown & Certified Food Program

(Photo: Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Program Includes New $20 Million Food Hub in the Bronx

First-of-its-Kind Food Certification Program Promotes Upstate Agriculture and Increases Access to Farm-Fresh Food

Certification Program Supported by Marketing Campaign – Watch Digital Video Ad Here and Visit certified.ny.gov

State-of-the-Art, 120,000 Square-Foot Greenmarket Regional Food Hub in Hunts Point will Create 245 Jobs and Distribute New York State Grown & Certified Products

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched the New York State Grown & Certified program and announced a new $20 million food hub in the Bronx to increase access to farm-fresh produce. The New York State Grown & Certified program identifies and promotes New York producers who adhere to New York’s food safety and environmental sustainability programs, and assures consumers that the food they are buying is local and produced at a higher-standard. To support the new certification program and increase access to farm-fresh food, the State is also building a state-of-the-art food hub that significantly expands distribution capacity, provides new markets for farmers, and creates 95 permanent jobs and 150 construction jobs in Hunts Point.

“New York State agriculture is an essential pillar of our economy, bolstered by the modern market demands for safer and more sustainable food,” Governor Cuomo said. “The New York Grown & Certified Program strengthens the link between producers and consumers and provides new opportunities for agricultural development. By connecting Upstate farmers to new markets with a state-of-the-art food hub and promoting the consumption of healthy and environmentally conscious food, these initiatives will have extraordinary environmental, nutritional and economic benefits for all New Yorkers.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. said, “The brand new Greenmarket Regional Food Hub will play a major role in healthier lives for Bronx residents, while also strengthening our business community and creating local jobs, as well. I congratulate Governor Andrew Cuomo for bringing this much anticipated, critical new amenity to The Bronx.”

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz, New York yankees and AT&T Host
Sixth Annual 'Borough President's Cup' Little League Championship

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Marissa Shorenstein, New York State president, AT&T, present the championship trophy for the sixth annual “Borough President’s Cup” Little League Championship to Grand Slam Little League. The championship game took place at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.

On Tuesday, August 9, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York Yankees and Marissa Shorenstein, president AT&T New York co-hosted the sixth annual “Borough President’s Cup” Little League Championship.

The event featured two teams: Grand Slam Little League and the Rolando Paulino Little League. In a thriller, the Grand Slam Little League put together a sixth inning rally to come from behind and defeat the Rolando Paulino Little League by a score of 11-8.

To compete for the “Borough President’s Cup,” players for each Little League had to meet a set of requirements unrelated to their performance on the field. Those included a B-average in school, 90 percent or greater school attendance and a demonstrated commitment to community service.

“This year’s championship game was a tremendous contest between two teams of fierce competitors and great kids. I really enjoyed watching both teams live the dream of every Bronx baseball player, to play on the field of their heroes, Yankee Stadium. I’d like to thank the New York Yankees and AT&T for their continued support for ‘Borough President’s Cup’ Little League Championship, I’d also like to congratulate Grand Slam Little League on their victory,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“AT&T is honored to once again partner with Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz Jr. and the Yankees for this year’s Borough President’s Cup. This tournament is all about encouraging our young people to work hard, support their peers and give back to their community, important values that we all hope to inspire in the next generation of New Yorkers,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State president, AT&T. “Congratulations to Grand Slam Little League and the Rolando Paulino Little League for making it this far. Play ball!”

BP Diaz Allocates Over $5.6 Million to Bronx Education Projects

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that his office is providing more than $5.6 million in capital funds to 59 education projects all over the borough as part of his FY2017 capital funding allocations.

Projects funded this year include; classroom upgrades, the creation of new media centers, library renovations, technology upgrades, playgrounds, auditorium renovations and other physical plant improvements in public schools across The Bronx. In addition, Borough President Diaz has allocated over $2 million in capital funding to the borough’s City University of New York (CUNY) institutions. 

“The education of our children is perhaps the most important responsibility we have as elected officials, and I remain as committed as ever to providing all the necessary resources our borough’s schools need to help our students strive for excellence in education,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  “This critical funding helps keep our educational institutions vibrant, and our students, teachers and parents inspired. Funding like this is critical to our borough’s continued growth, and I am proud to have funded so many important school projects in every corner of our borough.” 

School projects funded by Borough President Diaz this year include $200,000 for the renovation and upgrade of the Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics auditorium, $500,000 to rehabilitate playgrounds at P.S. 194 and P.S. 214 in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, and $79,000 for new auditorium seats at P.S. 304. Borough President Diaz also funded dozens of technology upgrades at schools across the borough, among other projects.   

“I understand the importance of education, and I am proud to have provided funding to so many worthy projects,” said Borough President Diaz. “Upgrading our school facilities is one more step forward towards providing better education in The Bronx, and is an important component as we continue push to improve the lives of our 1.4 million residents.” 
Borough President Diaz also noted that his own personal history with CUNY made it especially important for him to fund the borough’s public higher education institutions through his capital budget. 

“I know firsthand how important our CUNY colleges are, being a graduate of Lehman College and a CUNY ‘two-fer’ myself,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Our CUNY institutions provide students from all walks of live with a high quality education, and their continued success is vital to our borough’s continued positive transformation. 

Since taking office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has funded a total of 303 school projects for $40,621,000. During the same period, he has provided $11,004,000 to 19 higher education projects in every corner of the borough. 

A complete list of education projects funded by Borough President Diaz in FY 2017 can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/2a3lXem. A complete list of higher education projects funded by Borough President Diaz in FY 2017 can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/2a3A6bd

Borough President Diaz, Mayor De Blasio, Speaker Heastie
Announce State-of-the-Art Recreational Facility Coming to Edenwald

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Maria Torres-Springer and local elected officials announced the selection of the YMCA of Greater New York to construct a state-of-the-art recreational facility in the Edenwald neighborhood of the Bronx.

"Providing the northeast Bronx with a high quality recreation center has been a priority of my administration since the day I became borough president, and today’s announcement is a true victory for this community and the entire Bronx. In partnership with my good friend, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, we will create a tremendous new amenity on this property that will offer the community an amazing new resource. The YMCA is an amazing organization, and I am proud to provide this project with $1 million in capital funding in this year’s budget," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Attends National Night Out

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined the 43rd Precinct for its annual National Night Out Against Crime celebration on August 2, 2016. The event marks a day when police and community interact and build stronger relationships with each other at the Metropolitan Oval in the Parkchester area. Hundreds of community members, business owners and clergy leaders were in attendance.

Pictured are: Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Chief of Housing Carlos Gomez, Chief of Department James O’Neill, Bronx Commanding Officer and Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen and Inspector Fausto Pichardo, Commanding Officer of the 43rd Precinct.

BP Diaz Calls for SNAP/EBT Online Tech Advancements

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a letter to Hon. Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, urging his agency to adopt rules making it easier for consumers to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits online using Electronic Benefit Transfers (EBT) cards.

“As we work to change habits and promote healthier food options, we must also do everything we can to create the opportunity of affordable choices,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Allowing consumers to use their EBT card as one might use their own credit or debit card to purchase groceries will lead to lower prices and greater options for those living in food deserts or facing food insecurity, and I urge the federal government to update their regulations to account for ongoing advances in technology.”

Borough President Diaz’s full letter to Secretary Vilsack can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/2a3x3zS.

“If healthy food is either economically unaffordable or physically unavailable,  that increases hunger and harms community nutrition," said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide advocacy group.  “That's why the federal government must keep pace with current technology by enabling more low-income families who rely on SNAP and live in food deserts to be able to use their benefits to order healthy food online. I thank Borough President Diaz for his partnership on this important issue.”

Borough President Diaz initial proposed such changes in his “State of the Borough” address this past February.
“We will make healthy food options more easily available by urging the Department of Agriculture to change its rules to allow the use of EBT benefits to purchase from online vendors,” said Borough President Diaz during the speech. “Affordable nutrition should not be a victim of antiquated regulations.” 

BP Diaz Allocates more than $3 Million in Housing Funds

FY 2017 Capital Funds will help create more than 800 new affordable units across The Bronx

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has allocated more than $3 million in capital funds for seven housing developments across The Bronx, creating more than 800 new affordable units in neighborhoods across The Bronx.

“Keeping this borough affordable through the creation of appropriate housing units has been a priority of mine from the day I first took office, and this year my office continued to showcase its commitment to affordability through our capital grants,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “From new units for low-income seniors, veterans, the formerly homeless and more, our allocations this year will help a wide range of individuals find and keep an affordable home, right here in The Bronx.”

In total, Borough President Diaz has allocated $3,265,000 across eight housing-related projects in FY 2017, funding a total of up to 851 new units of affordable housing. Allocations include $750,000 to construct 75 units of moderate and low income housing in partnership with the Mt. Hope Housing Company on Walton Avenue that would also construct a gymnasium for the Mount Hope Community Center, $400,000 towards a 57 unit moderate income co-op in the northeast Bronx in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, and $750,000 for two projects with Catholic Charities, which combined will create more than 350 units for low income seniors, veterans and the formerly homeless.

In addition, Borough President Diaz will provide $165,000 in funding to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development for a mobile services unit. This vehicle will travel to different borough neighborhoods to act as a mobile constituent services office on housing and tenant matters.

“By far the greatest volume of constituent requests received by my office is for housing assistance,” said Borough President Diaz. “I am hopeful that, in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, we will be able to use this new mobile unit to bring housing services directly to the communities that need them the most.”

Since first taking office in 2009, Borough President Diaz has provided $48,731,000 in capital funding to housing projects across The Bronx, helping to create 6,866 units of all types in the process.

A complete list of this year’s housing developments funded by Borough President Diaz can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/29S9iqX.

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.

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.