New:Follow us on TWITTER BloggingHeads.tv
Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere. Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations Search This Site Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press. Click here for Inner City Press front page
ICP has published a (double) book about
a variety of Bronx-relevant topics -- a review in
Commonweal magazine of Dec. 5, 2003, opines that
"Predatory Bender... is as vivid an account of life in
the Bronx as you are likely to read" -- click here for
sample chapters, here for
an interactive map,
for fast ordering
delivery, and here for
Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of ‘Predatory Bender’],"
by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. CBS
MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the
the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the
non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts."
of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in
the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the
Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has
a cast of colorful characters." The Pittsburgh
City Paper of Dec. 11, 2003, wrote that it "may, in fact,
be the first great American lending malfeasance novel" including
"low-level loan sharks, class-action lawyers, corporate bigwigs,
hired muscle, corrupt politicians, Iraq War veterans, Wall
Street analysts, reporters and one watchdog with a Web
site." And all in The Bronx! Click
review; for more information, contact us.
2014: MRL on Beacon Reader
So an 8-story building will replace the church at 1017 Home Street... We remember when they tore down 975-981 Home Street... The History Channel billboard is out, iHeart radio is in. With heart?
Gentrification proceeds: Developer Keith Rubenstein of Somerset Partners has purchased a 16,000-square-foot warehouse at 9 Bruckner Boulevard for $7.5 million and says he intends to create a "Gansevoort Market-style food hall called Bruckner Market." We'll see...
Is Banned From Covering UN HLPF, Ban
Says That's How Security Works
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, July 22 -- When Inner City Press went to cover the UN conclusion of the High Level Political Forum on July 20, it was told by a UN Security official it could only do so with an escort, or minder, from UN Media Accreditation. There was no one in that office - but when the supervisor of it asked the UN Security official to let Inner City Press through the turnstile, he said only if someone stayed with Inner City Press the whole time -- that is, a minder. The supervisor could not. And that was it: censorship.
On July 22, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq why the Press was Banned, Video here, UN Transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask a media access question and it doesn’t only… it would presumably impact the majority of journalists being accredited here. There was a meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) on Wednesday and it was listed in the journal as concluding at 6:30 to 7:00, so I went to cover it but was unable to stake it out and speak to anyone, because there was no one in MALU (Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit) and the guards refused to let me through the turnstile, which I want to clarify to you… which doesn't work for green ‘P’ passes, which is the majority of what the journalists have here. So I wanted to know, it's not a question of beating up on MALU for not being present at 6:30, although the meeting was listed, but what can be done? What is the policy? Does this mean the majority of journalists can't stake out such meetings, or should there be a policy, when there is an official meeting at that level at 6:30 that the journalists can go through and speak to diplomats about it?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, we certainly try to make sure that access is there for all meeting and MALU tries… you know, the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit tries to be present as much as it can. Obviously, for later scheduled meetings, it's hard to have escorts for all of these, but we have been in touch with the media accreditation people and they have assured us of their constant efforts to try and be there as escorts for you. And with that…
ICP Question: Why don’t you tell security to let people through? If there is no escort you can't cover it.
Deputy Spokesman: No. That is not how security works.
That's not how BAN's security and minder work...
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, July 15 -- Like many independent media, Inner City Press publishes its coverage not only on its website but on a number of third party platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Scribd and SoundCloud. YouTube is owned by Google, and like its parent allows publishes to monetize their material with advertisements.
But do YouTube and Google behind it engage in censorship?
This week, in the midst of Inner City Press' fight against the eviction of its shared office in the United Nations while it is asking questions about the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case as relates not only to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon but also Under Secretary General for Communications Cristina Gallach, Inner City Press received emails from YouTube that its videos could no longer be monetized.
The emails said “We didn't approve your video(s) for monetization because the content in your video(s) or video details may not be advertiser-friendly.... Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown... We depend on our user community to flag inappropriate videos to us for our review.”
But they are video of questions and answers (sometimes) at the UN, of protests in the streets of New York, etc. Inner City Press has written, more than 24 hours ago, from to Monetization then to Press [at] YouTube.com:
“The videos you are saying are “not advertiser-friendly” are videos of media questions and answers with United Nations spokespeople and diplomats. They are news. The message sent yesterday and today said “you can request an additional review below” - this is a request for review. Look at the videos: they are Q&As in the UN Press Briefing Room.
This is also a request to be informed if it was any complaint to YouTube / Google which triggered this denial of monetization, and if so if it came from the UN or any[one else.]
I note that Reuters, got one of its anti-Press emails to the UN banned from Google Search with a frivolous DMCA filing: https://www.chillingeffects.org/notices/1457339# now [HRW] https://lumendatabase.org/notices/1457339#
Please confirm receipt and review the above and restore monetization, answering the question. Google and YouTube should not be involved in any form of censorship, including the denial of monetization of news footage.
Here are some of the video now denied monetization:
Asked UN About
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, July 8 --
After the police killings in
the U.S. of Philando
Castile outside St. Paul,
Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana, the UN
said nothing. So Inner City
Press on July 7 asked UN
Spokesman Stephane Dujarric
about the killings, and
pattern. And on July 8, more
came from the UN in Geneva.
Here's the July 7
City Press: a US question.
Over the holiday or in the last
48 hours. two African-Americans
have been, in a very
high-profile way, killed,
Philando Castile in Minnesota
and Alton Sterling in
Louisiana. One was
captured on film, the whole
incident. And I wanted to
know, although these might seem
to be disparate incidents, does
the… what does the
Secretary-General think, if the
United States has enough
protections for particularly
members of minority or other
groups… being shot by the
Spokesman: First of all, our condolences go to the families of the victims involved in both shootings. I think anybody who’s seen the videos, they are extremely disturbing, to say the least, and we would hope that each of these cases are investigated thoroughly in order to find out what happened and also to establish if there is, in fact, any pattern.
the UN in Geneva on July 8:
rights expert Ricardo A. Sunga
III, who currently Chairs the
United Nations Working Group of
Experts on People of African
Descent, issued the following
statement after this week’s
deaths of Philando Castile in
Minnesota and Alton Sterling in
Louisiana at the hands of the
police, and Thursday’s killing
of five police officers in
“The Working Group is outraged and strongly condemns the new police killings of two African- American men. These killings which were captured on video cannot be ignored. We call for prompt independent investigations to ensure the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished.
We also condemn the attacks on police officers in Dallas and call for the perpetrators to be held accountable.
Excessive use of force by the police against African Americans in the United States is a regular occurrence. African Americans are reportedly shot at more than twice the rate of white people.
The Working Group is monitoring the situation and has repeatedly expressed its concern to the United States Government about police killings of African Americans and called for justice. The Working Group is convinced that the root of the problem lies in the lack of accountability for perpetrators of such killings despite the evidence.
The killings also demonstrate a high level of structural and institutional racism. The United States is far from recognizing the same rights for all its citizens. Existing measures to address racist crimes motivated by prejudice are insufficient and have failed to stop the killings.
It is time, now, for the US Government to strongly assert that Black lives matter and prevent any further killings as a matter of national priority.”
When the US State Department belatedly bragged on July 6 of some victories at the UN Human Rights Council's 32nd session which ended or was suspended on July 1, it did not mention Burundi or Sri Lanka, much less an attack on freedom of expression not only at but by the UN, on which it had done nothing but UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and Michel Forst had inquired with the UN.
Of course among the myriad of
issues, victories can be pointed
at. State Department humble-brag
here. But what about
Burundi, on which the US has been
reduced to calling for inclusive
talks, now postponed, while the UN
continues to pay Pierre Nkurunziza
for troops in Central African
Republic who are accused of rape?
On Yemen where the US stood silent
while its partner Saudi Arabia
paid to get its way off the UN's
Children and Armed Conflict
blacklist? Where is the follow
through on Sri Lanka? On freedom
like: "July 10
Kool Herc at 7
the rug out:
& Home is
outlet in The
will be laid
off and some
according to a
filed with the
of Labor. ABC
said it was no
of the attack
16 on his way
the mosque on
McGraw Ave. in
we agree with:
back the rent.
Bronx Museum of Art
1040 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10456
through July 3
on 600 East
Work Plan for
by Zola Garage
Corp. in 1927
to 1940. By
1935, a garage
with 120 car
located on the
portion of the
also contained two
storage and a
located in the
1940 to 1947;
- 1951; and
Inc., 1956 -
1965. In 1965,
Corp. was located
Ugh: for 221
has decided to
Can you say,
The Way To
Seyi Adebanjo - Director/Producer/Editor
Yoruba Richen - Executive Producer
The Girls of Daraja
Film 1: Girls of Daraja
Film 3: Daraja Girls: Powerful Beyond Measure
Barbara Rick - Director/Producer
Deborah Santana - Executive Producer
Friday, May 27th, 2016
at The Bronx Music Heritage Center
1303 Louis Nine Blvd
praise of gentrification:
16, 5 - 8 PM:
of Art, Lower
the Bronx is
April 18, 2016
(back) to the
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 16 -- Contrary to what the UN says about freedom of the press, and despite a petition signed by 1300 people and opposition from the Government Accountability Project and several Permanent Representatives at the UN and members of Congress in DC, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 16 threw five boxes of Inner City Press' journalistic files out onto First Avenue. Photo here; video here.
This followed eight of Ban's guards, at the direction of his "Public Information" chief Cristina Gallach, physically throwing Inner City Press onto First Avenue, and its laptop on the sidewalk, on February 19. Audio here.
In the case of Gallach and ultimately Ban Ki-moon, this is retaliation for Inner City Press' critical coverage of the UN including each's involvement in the bribery scandal which so far was resulted in four guilty pleas.
As the UN bribery scandal gathered force Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an audit by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services of the Global Sustainability Foundation (GSF), David Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Group and its affiliates including the "World Harmony Foundation" and South South News, among others.
The audit, completed early this year but first put online by Inner City Press, directly criticizes Cristina Gallach, the Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, for example in Paragraphs 20(b) and 37-40. She should have recused herself.
Instead Gallach has ordered the search and eviction of Inner City Press' files, on April 16. She has misrepresented it to UN Ambassadors of major countries including South Africa and to Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta.
She and / or Ban Ki-moon above her are so intent on permanently restriction Inner City Press' ability to cover corruption at the UN that they had there functionary head of MALU write to Inner City Press at 1:30 AM on the morning of the eviction, limiting the Press' ability to document the seizure of its files:
From: Tal Mekel at UN.org
Date: Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 1:30 AM
Subject: Saturday access
Access on Saturday is 'exceptional' in nature (as Green Ps do not have access to UNHQ on weekends save for an official event being convened e/g. emergency SC meeting) and is solely for the purpose of over sighting the removal of your belongings.
You may bring with you one (1) individual, again on a exceptional basis.
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit
United Nations - S-250
New York, NY 10017
So at the Apollo Theater on April 11, Bernie Sanders said, we don't need to see 1 in 4 kids in the South Bronx have asthma... No, we don't.
20,000 people in St.
doing nothing on this:
ICP from UN to the
March 28, 2016
"Among those deals was
$6M pickup of a
development site at
121-129 East 144th St
that’s zoned for up to
91k BSF if affordable
housing is included in
the plans. Vic was on
the team that repped
the seller on that
Rise Up For
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, March 17 -- With the UN embroiled in a corruption scandal, a guilty plea entered in the Southern District of New York on March 16 for bribery in the UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke at Lehman College in The Bronx on March 17.
Many of the claims Ban made were false or incomplete. He repeatedly claimed credit for unprecedented hiring and high placement of women. But only the day before in the UN Press Briefing Room his spokesman Stephane Dujarric threw Inner City Press out of, Ban was criticized for his male envoys on Syria, Libya and Yemen.
The UN used to have a female chief of staff and a female Deputy Secretary General; both position are now held by men.
Ban told those at Lehman they should demand sustainable products. But in Ban's UN, the same day Dujarric threw Inner City Press out of the Press Briefing Room, Inner City Press showed Ban's climate adviser that the recycling on the UN's press floor is false.
Though the top of the garbage can says Cans, Paper and Waste, it all goes into the same bag, right in front of the UN Correspondents Association Ban partners with.
Ban made a few ham-handed references to The Bronx, the cliches about the Yankees and about "new restaurants" on Arthur Avenue. He did not, it goes without saying, address his Under Secretary General for Public Information having throw out Inner City Press, Banned it from its long time office and cut its accreditation and access.
Inner City Press expected that Ban would take questions, as he did in a recent appearance in London, for example. But an inquiry with Media Relations at Lehman College yielded that there will be no press opportunities. Then a few canned and pre-screened questions were "asked."
When Inner City Press asked on Twitter, Why not, one of the anti-Press troll accounts set up since Ban's UN ousted Inner City Press on February 19 came to Ban's defense, that it's lecture, no reason for Q&A. Really? Is The Bronx less worthy than London? Is there not more interest in Ban, given Frank Lorenzo's guilty plea on March 16?
Ban not know it (yet), but the person he gave the UN's top Communications job to has so blatantly engaged in censorship and retaliation that the chickens, as they say, are ever closer to coming home to roost. Watch this site.
March 14, 2016
Commish Vicki Bee will
speak in the South
Bronx, 555 Bergen Ave,
on Wednesday, March
16, 2016. We'll see...
like: South Bronx Love
Letter will take place
from 6 to 8 p.m. on
March 12 at 1303 Louis
names we like:
"Recognizing the Bronx
block that houses 1520
Sedgwick Avenue as
'Hip Hop Boulevard'
and hometown pride for
the artistic and
that DJ Kool Herc,
Cindy Campbell, the
it say when a
tacqueria is forced to
close due to high
rents in the South
Bronx, only to reopen
"Denisse Lina Chavez, Pueblan champion of central-Mexican cooking at El Atoradero (708 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn), is definitely not in the South Bronx anymore. Having been forced to close Carnitas El Atoradero last summer following a rent spike, the intrepid chef reopened her flagship along Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights in December."
wanna know what
large and wanna
bank has no branches
in the South
initials are NYCB...
February 8, 2016
It's sad when you see it: the Chase branch on Arthur Avenue, on a recent visit after Inner City Press received complains, now has three teller windows covered over and no more desk in the lobby, a line of more than a dozen customers waiting for a single teller on a Saturday. Are they moving to close this branch? A staffer said no, they needed the space for ATMs. But there is more than enough space...February 1, 2016
So Bill de Blasio will be giving his State of the City speech at Lehman College on Thursday, with press in the upper deck...
like, at Longwood at
Hostos, Feb 3, 5:00
- 9:00 pm: The
Howard Cash, Elvira
Lisa DuBois, Nicky
Iheanacho, Imo Imeh,
Ibou Ndoye, Eric
Orr, Eto Otitigbe,
Misra Walker and
Tammy Wofsey; and
Anderson and Ray
many things, from
Long Island City to
Studios says it has
complex at 295
Locust Ave. in Port
Morris for film and
productions. It will
open in June." Good
No room at the Inn? The South Bronx, at least Gerard and Exterior Streets, set to become like Long Island City with hotels: a Hamptons Inn, a Holiday Inn Express. But what's the future for the residents of the South Bronx?
2016, among many
other things, we
will be looking for
The Get Down, Baz
drama set in the S
BX in the 70s
Zaro's? The bakery
is closing its
location, even as it
"cretzel" in Grand
Bank To Empty
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, December 15 -- In the 60 Wall Street atrium, where Occupy Wall Street used to meet, uniformed New York City police officers order people to leave at 9:30 pm, despite a sign on the glass windows saying “Open to the Public” until 10 pm.
Inner City Press, using the atrium on December 14 as before as a newsroom -- this time covering a glitzy and historically corruption UN Correspondents Association event at Cipriani across the Street -- was told by an NYPD officer to leave, at 9:30 pm on the dot.
When Inner City Press pointed to the Open to the Public until 10 pm, the NYPD officer insisted; a group of other guards assembled. They said to calls the number of the sign (212-250-2000, DBAB LCC) but insisted it be done from outside. All other having been using the atrium just minutes before had left, some on the sidewalk of Wall Street outside.
After several threats by the NYPD officer, and needing to continue to file stories and photos about the UN Corruption Association event, Inner City Press went out onto the sidewalk. Some of those who'd left said this happens every night.
Inner City Press asked the NYPD officer for her name and badge number, but she rushed away. Another guard said “the precinct knows about it,” also adding that the officer “makes extra money.”
So NYPD officers, or at least this one, are paid extra by Deutsche Bank to throw people out of a public atrium they are required, due to zoning variances, to have? We'll have more on this.
Across Wall Street: With the UN embroiled in scandals including the indictments of the former President of the General Assembly John Ashe and Macau businessman Ng Lap Seng and the founder of South South News, on December 14 the UN Correspondents Association sold seats with Ban Ki-moon at Cipriani at 55 Wall Street for $6000.
UN corruption, never reformed, rises from the Ashes, courtesy of UNCA, now the UN Corruption Association.
And yet, from inside Cipriani Wall Street, one of the musicians paid to play has an open mind, and when shown reporting on UN corruption asks, Should I make a scene? Tweet here.
Just ask, who here paid $6000 as solicited by UNCA to sit with Ban Ki-moon. And why pay it? With Ng Lap Seng, it's clear.
December 14, 2015
Coop and its
to 1080 Leggett
Avenue in Hunts
Point, the Bronx...
for a hotel: "The
New York State
determined that the
related to the 2477
(“site”) located at
2477 Third Avenue,
Bronx, NY under New
Program (BCP) have
been or will be
"According to the
Census Bureau, more
than 16 African
languages are spoken
in the Bronx, a
number that is quite
likely far lower
than what is
actually spoken in
homes in the
say. In West Africa
alone there are more
than 800 languages.
But no matter
Diula, Efik or Gur
are spoken here, the
impact is clear."
City Press asks
again: why doesn't
the United Nations,
NYC, do more in The
November 23, 2015
we like: "The
partners with PS/MS
279 the Captain
School, and together
are hosting a
Kitchen to provide
the community with a
Fernando Cabrera is
confirmed to attend:
24, 2015 from 5 –
7pm, PS/MS 279, 2100
but for whom? Local
news gushed about
the bike path to
Randall's Island -
as, for example,
restaurant nearly on
Lincoln Avenue was
rip off to rip off -
Halloween was one
Adrien Brody who
party in the South
Bronx, hosted by art
Greenberg Rohatyn of
Salon 94." We note
he was in a hype
purported he lived
in a building on
Third Avenue around
160th Street. Use
that Bronx, why
on September 14,
below, Inner City
Press reported that
"There will be a
gentrifiers ball on
the coast of the
South Bronx on
who own real estate,
million." Now it has
happened: "It was
just after 11 p.m.
when a freight train
rumbled by Keith
drowning out the
sweet hum of a grand
piano outside the
Carmelo Anthony and
their A-list pals
Rubenstein, head of
and Jeanne Greenberg
Rohatyn, founder of
the art gallery
Salon 94, the
affair was designed
to generate buzz for
the Mott Haven
has become a
veritable hotbed for
real estate players.
Chetrit are planning
they say will herald
in the new Soho, in
October 26, 2015
take note: Bronx
October 30, 7:00pm
to 10:00pm The Moth
StorySlam "Join us
for a Bronx
StorySLAM hosted by
The Moth. Arrive by
7pm for the
opportunity to put
your name in The
Moth “hat.” Later,
names are picked,
and one by one,
the stage. Of the
theme of the evening
will be A FINE MESS.
about the rubble
projects" - be
cyclists from all
over the region to
register for the
21st Annual Tour de
Bronx, on October 25
-- do it.
stations in Co-op
City, Morris Park,
and Hunts Point is a
good thing, the
implicit racism of
to pick up
Fordham Road must be
Bronxy: "El Maestro
Inc., as October's
Place of the Month.
At age 17, Laspina was recruited into an area-based fighting gang known as the Savage Skulls. After being convicted of stealing money from a local jewelry store, he and several others spent a year on Riker's Island, and another year in the Elmira Correctional Facility upstate. Upon returning from Elmira to the South Bronx, Ponce first founded Caribe Village Latin Dialogue Program, a support organization for the friends he left behind in Elmira, and later created The Patriotas, a non-profit softball team that continues to engaged at-risk teens in athletics and volunteerism, and a still-extant athletic club, the Roberto Clemente Softball League, named for the humanitarian baseball player. The main mission of these programs has been to keep young people out of gangs, and better connect them with their community.
In 2003, he opened El Maestro boxing gym in Morrisania toward the same goals. Now located in a former commercial building at 1300 Southern Boulevard near the Freeman Street subway station, its regulation boxing ring has been with Laspina for 14 years, and many of the coaches have been with him for longer. All are volunteers, and although morale is high, money is tight. "Sometimes we do fundraisers on the weekends," Ponce says, " like raffles, or we hold a dance or concert, any type of event where we can raise funds. Most of the donations are in-kind, and my family does the cooking."
The majority of El Maestro's boxers are neighborhood residents. Many come seeking guidance beyond the ring, as Ponce notes, "they know about the things I went through, that I had to fight in school, for myself or for other kids, and. They know that I was still fighting in jail, but for the T.V. when we wanted a bilingual program, and when we needed a bilingual teacher. I tell them about the things that I went through so they don't make the same mistakes. I'm very straight with them about that. I don't hide my past. I don't hide that I was in gangs or in jail. I explain and give them an alternative." A Bronx civil court judge also sends juvenile defendants to El Maestro. "It's a high recommendation," Laspina says.
El Maestro, Inc. is named in honor of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, a Ponce native and leading figure in the development of Puerto Rican identity and consciousness. "
NYT "South Bronx
article was and is
New data released by
the U.S. Census
that The Bronx has a
poverty rate of 32
percent and a child
poverty rate of 43
September 14, 2015
There will be a gentrifiers ball on the coast of the South Bronx on Halloween, people who own real estate, spending $2 million. Watch this space.September 7, 2015
With legionella re-appearing at the Melrose Houses in The Bronx, we ask again: how can the United Nations, with its cooling towers and fountain, say it is entirely exempt from New York laws? The UN's spokesman told Inner City Press, “As you all know, we do not fall under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Buildings or the municipal jurisdiction, and we’re not required to register our cooling towers.” We'll have more on this.August 31, 2015
Check it out on Sept 10 - or, we hope it will be Periscoped -- at 1040 Grand Concourse: “In the early morning hours of July 14th 1970, the Young Lords occupied Lincoln Hospital’s major administrative building in response to the city’s indifference to the health needs of Puerto Ricans and African Americans in the South Bronx and the deplorable conditions of health care delivery at Lincoln Hospital.This panel will consider the prominence of health issues in the activism of the Young Lords, and the relevance of these historical struggles to contemporary health care debates. In conjunction with the exhibition ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York. Featuring panelists Walter Bosque, Felipe Luciano, Daniel Meyers, Carlito Rovira, and Cleo Silver, and hosted by Johanna Fernández.”August 24, 2015
From the video released last week, we link to this
the Bronx Brewery... August 17, 2015
a federal judge, Katherine
Polk Failla, opined that New
York City's Responsible
Banking Act was preempted by
the US and NYS Community
Reinvestment Act is not
surprising. But will the De
Blasio administration appeal?
Legionnaire's Disease, UN Says It Is
Exempt From NY Laws, Drains Fountain
NATIONS, August 13 -- Amid the spread
of Legionnaire's Disease in New
York, beginning from the South Bronx,
Inner City Press on August 12 asked
seven questions on how the United
Nations, which refused to accept
responsibility or to reform after
bringing cholera to Haiti, is
August 13, Pressed, UN spokesman
Stephane Dujarric asserted that the UN
is "exempt" from all local rules
concerning cooling towers and
below. It is reminiscent of the UN
bringing cholera into Haiti.
Inner City Press, which has covered
the UN's role in cholera in Haiti,
impunity and South Bronx, had the
following questions for the UN on
August 12 - but UN Spokesman Stephane
Dujarric did not allow them to be
asked at the August 12 briefing,
cutting the questions off and promises
a "responsive" statement, see below.
First, here are the questions Inner
City Press submitted in writing to the
is the full text of the UN's (first)
response, from its spokesman:
As per your question
towers have biocide chemical supplies.
We circulate the water twice weekly to
keep it moving and to let the water
draw more biocides as necessary from
the system. We have HVAC technicians
on staff who are certified on these
systems and with these chemicals.
Main Fountain and Staff Memorial Pool
drain and clean these monthly. But we
have increased the frequency because
of the legionnaires outbreak. Last
weekend we drained and refilled the
main fountain. It will be drained
again this coming weekend to allow CMP
to perform work which is scheduled to
take a week. That work will include
the installation of UV lights that
will treat the water. We will maintain
increased frequency of draining
cleaning and replacing during this
period of heightened concern.
feature in this is out of service
since the faulty installation failed
and leaked some months back causing
damage to office space below. It is
still drained and not in service.
We have no other standing water features or systems."
is the UN claiming immunity from local
13 Inner City Press asked
Press: I wanted to ask you about
Legionnaire’s disease, which is
obviously becoming, at least in New
York City treating it quite seriously,
and they’ve required all buildings
with cooling towers to register and to
be tested. Now, I got your
response yesterday, but I wrote back
to you to ask, is — one, is the UN
registering with the city pursuant to
this order? Two, have the
towers… you said something about bio
Spokesman: Let me…
Spokesman: Let me tell you and, I think, those, after all, we’re all residents of New York City, so I think everybody has an interest in this. The cooling towers that the UN has have biocide chemical supplies, which is a chemical substance which can deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means. We circulate the water twice a week to keep it moving and let the water draw more biocides as necessary from the system. We have technicians on staff. We’re certified for these systems and with these chemicals. So that’s one way we keep the cooling towers safe. I am aware that there are regulations, I think, in front of the New York City Council requiring registration and inspection. As you all know, we do not fall under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Buildings or the municipal jurisdiction, and we’re not required to register our cooling towers. However, we do have an arrangement in place with both the Department of Buildings and the FDNY, and we invite them… we invite them into the building, as well as other inspectors, as appropriate. They give us opinions and make recommendations, but we’re not subject to their jurisdiction. I think the important thing is that we do reach out to them. We make every effort to abide by the high standards to keep the staff safe, the delegates safe, even the press safe, and all the visitors that come through the building.
Question: Right. But I guess… I understand that. This commissioner’s order, whether you view yourself as subject to it or not, it requires… it requires all buildings in New York to be, to be consistent with industry standards and it lists the American Society of—
Spokesman: What I’m—
Spokesman: What I’m saying to you is that the technicians we have on staff are certified to the highest standards. Obviously, we want to keep everybody safe, and we will invite the Department of Buildings and the FDNY as the FDNY sometimes come into our building at our invitation to make sure everybody is safe.
Question: But are they going to comply with the standards…
Spokesman: I think — I’ve used a lot of words. We are… We will go to the highest possible standards, and we will work at our invitation with the Department of Buildings and the FDNY. And I will continue to take deep breath and breathe the air in this building.
by the end of August 13, among the
Has the UN
tested for legionella already? (seems
Will they test by August 20th?
If they do finally test, will they release the results, to NYC and to the public?
August 10, 2015
And the City's
August 7 update:
-All deceased individuals were adults with underlying medical conditions.
-These patients are connected to the current cluster.
-Reported individuals with Legionnaires’: 101
-Individuals with Legionnaires’ hospitalized: 94"
August 3, 2015
Here from the
City is the Bronx
visited in the cluster
area and 17 were
identified to have
-All 17 have been tested and all results have returned
-5 buildings have tested positive
-A Verizon office building is the 4th location to test positively for legionella
-Streamline Plastic Co. is the 5th location to test positively for legionella
-Remediation is complete at 4 of the 5 locations, and has begun at the 5th location
- Lincoln Hospital remediation is completed
-Concourse Plaza remediation is completed
-Opera House Hotel remediation is completed
-Verizon remediation is completed
-Streamline Plastic Co. began remediation and is expected to complete remediation this afternoon
-All sites will submit long-term plans as to how they will maintain the cooling towers to protect against any future growth of legionella -
But who can see
July 27, 2015
about "Women of the
Young Lords" with Iris
July 23? It was on Periscope. @InnerCityPress is on that, too....
July 20, 2015
like: "The $10 million
dollar investment that
we are making in free,
access in NYCHA
developments across the
city is part of that
commitment, is part of
building out a city
where there is truly
broadband access for
all. That’s going to be
here, at Mott Haven
Houses, where 2,500
residents will be
connected to Internet at
no cost – for
Internet access for free
– not only here, at Mott
Haven Houses –at
Queensbridge Houses, the
largest public housing
development in North
America; at Red Hook
Houses. This is going to
be a game changer – I
know you like that."
July 13, 2015
That the Bronx
is multi-cultural will
be on display on July 18
on Allerton Avenue from
Boston Road - go
especially when it's
free, noon to 1 pm...
July 6, 2015
As UN Food
Workers Face Layoff, IDNYC Pop-Up Not
By Matthew Russell
NATIONS, June 30 -- When the UN hosted a
new “pop-up” enrollment site for the New
York City ID card, launching it with
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon getting an ID card,
Inner City Press went because it wanted
to ask if this site was for regular New
Yorkers, or only for UN staff and
diplomats, who have immunity.
But no questions were taken. Inner City Press had in mind, for example, those who work in food service inside the UN, who have approached it saying they face lay offs due in part to NYC's refusal to close down a lane of the FDR Drive off-ramp, deemed a threat to the cafeteria and closing it.
later on June 30 Inner City Press put
both questions to UN deputy
spokesperson Farhan Haq, video
Inner City Press: Two maybe inter-related questions. One, on this idNYC pop-up shop, is it exclusively limited to diplomats and UN staff, or are other New Yorkers who are in the building able to use it?
Deputy Spokesman Haq: I believe the City of New York has a press release on this that we can share with you that's got the various details.
Inner City Press: And I wanted to ask you, also, the people that work for, I guess, Culinary in both the Delegates' Dining Room and the cafeteria…
Deputy Spokesman Haq: Culinart?
Press: Culinart. Basically,
they say many of them are going to be
out of a job beginning 13 July.
They say the Delegates' Dining Room will
be closing for at least the rest of the
summer, and the large cafeteria will be
moved to other locations, and they're
not sure if there will be as many
jobs. Can you… what is the impact
on actual… the people that work in the
building of these two moves?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, we… I don't speak for Culinart. Ultimately, they're the ones who make the decision on who is deployed where. We have a contract with them to provide services. I do know that there have been other summers, such as last summer under the previous holder of the contract, where, during the slow period in August, there's a shutdown in some of the facilities. We hope that whatever decisions Culinart takes it will be short-lived and they'll make appropriate decisions so that staff are treated responsibly.
Inner City Press: They basically won't have health insurance for the summer. I wonder, although they're your contractor, is there any practice you're holding them to in this regard?
Spokesman: We have contracts that
we negotiate with contractors. And
if they don't meet the terms of the
contract, then that's a problem for
them. But, ultimately, you know,
for things like labour conditions,
you're going to have to talk to
Does the UN take the same approach to contractors as far away companies whose clothes are made in Dhaka, for example? And what of the FDR exit ramp in all this?
pop-up IDNYC site for diplomats, who not
only rarely face issues with the police
(Inner City Press covered one exception
with St Vincent and the Grenadines) but
have immunity such that accused war
criminals like Sri Lanka's Shavendra
Silva and Palitha Kohona, to whom the
of the UN Correspondents Association
rented an expensive Manhattan
apartment, and not for more common
people who really need the ID cards?
The new Free UN Coalition for Access, as well as Inner City Press, will have more on all this.
June 29, 2015
By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
June 22, 2015
Talk about phoning it in. The Fed on June 15 wrote or ruled, on an application where Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch was the commenter:
The Board received two comments from a single commenter who objected to the proposal principally on the basis of Sterling Bank’s record of extending home mortgage credit to minority individuals in the New York-Wayne-White Plains, New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Division (“New York City MSA”) and the NassauSuffolk Metropolitan Division (“Nassau-Suffolk MD”), as reflected in data reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”)17 for 2013. The commenter expressed concerns that, based on 2013 HMDA data, Sterling Bank was not meeting th credit needs of minority individuals in the communities served by the bank.18 The commenter also contended that Sterling Bank’s HMDA data are “irregular.” The commenter noted that the bank reported three withdrawn and three incomplete applications for refinance loans to African Americans in the New York City MSA and no denials, suggesting that the bank is prescreening minority borrowers.
Fn 18: Sterling represented that Hudson Valley Bank is primarily a commercial lender and does not have a material mortgage program. Mortgage loans represented approximately 14 percent of the bank’s overall lending portfolio as of December 31, 2014.”
FN 19: Sterling asserted that three loan applications were withdrawn at the prospective borrowers’ request because they did not wish to continue the transaction and that the three other applications were deemed incomplete because the prospective borrowers did not provide the requested property, asset, or income documentation needed by the bank to make a lending decision.”
So the Fed accepts 14% as “not material”? And that all people of color “requested” to withdraw their applications is acceptable? This vague commitment does not make up for it:
Sterling Bank has determined to increase its marketing and outreach efforts to better serve the needs of its communities and has adopted its revised CRA Plan. Although the bank intends to remain primarily a commercial lender, it expects to increase its outreach efforts for residential mortgages. Sterling Bank also stated that it will continue pursuing the other community development and CRA-related initiatives set forth in its revised CRA Plan. Sterling plans to reassess the goals and objectives in its CRA Plan to determine if any adjustments are necessary to reflect the acquisition of Hudson Valley.”
We'll have more on this. And this - on another application ICP has commented on, this was reported:
“In a statement today, Hal Wentworth, Community's senior vice president for retail banking, said that Inner City Press is not a local group and pointed out that letter was the only one filed on the Oneida deal. 'This activist does not do business with either Oneida or Community Bank, but nonetheless made vague allegations regarding Community,' Wentworth said. 'These allegations were entirely without merit and will be fully addressed by Community Bank and Oneida Savings in the application process.'”
If it would be illegal for CBSI to so disclose information, for its own purposes, about those who have accounts with it, how is this not illegal too? And from a human rights perspective, what a pathetic and telling response. We'll have more on this.June 15, 2015:
note and support the
protest against the
homeless shelter(s) of Aguila
Inc., like 976
Visioning Session 3 of 4
for the development of
the Port Morris - Harlem
(BOA). The report
for what can be done has been released -
now the community will
have a voice in how the waterfront will be shaped
and assist in
determining what will occupy 1.4 miles of Bronx shoreline. Community
Visioning Session 3
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Betances Community Center
547 East 146th Street
Bronx, New York 10455
June 1, 2015
So Monday June 15 will be “Bronx Day in Albany,” at The Egg...May 25, 2015
At a press conference in Staten Island, Bill de Blasio said he hate the Cross BRONX Expressway. Some laugh; we're waiting for clarification.May 18, 2015
When New York Fed
president William Dudley
read a prepared speech
to the Bronx Bankers
earlier this month, he
had a lot of canned
advice on how to help
the borough. He didn't
say what he would do to
actually enforce the
Act and resist
regulatory capture by
Citi, Chase and Goldman
President Obama got to
Lehman College from Harris
Field for My Brother's
Keeper, the White House
pool named these pols in
the crowd: "Cong. Gregory
Meeks (D-NY), Cong. Jose
Serrano (D-NY), Lehman
graduate; Cong. Yvette
Clarke (D-NY); Cong. Eliot
Engel (D-NY), a graduate
of Lehman College." Surely
there were more...
Local to global: on May 3, Tish James was scheduled at the “Cinco de Mayo” celebration, in front of C-Town on 668 Crescent Ave - then Monday, Obama at Lehman College (before DNC fundraisers).
May 3 at the Bronx General
Post Office, the kick off
of Bronx Week, with DJ
etcetera... It's sponsored
by YoungWoo. Who? They are
(re) developing the Post
Office. We'll have more on
of gentrification from
"The Real Deal" -- "What’s
more, the menus of a
scene along Bruckner
Boulevard provide hints to
the changing nature of the
neighborhood. At the Mott
Haven Bar & Grill,
specialties include quinoa
black bean burgers and
Israeli salads; a
restaurant called Ceetay
offers Asian fusion food;
and a soon-to-open coffee
shop nearby will double as
a tapas bar.
“I think Mott Haven has all the makings of the next Williamsburg,” said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. 'There are new developments, restaurants, rehabbed buildings and an easy commute to Manhattan.'" We'll have more on this.
April 13, 2015
In terms on the digital divide in The Bronx, let's see what the new Broadband Taskforce and Maya Wiley come up with...April 6, 2015
Priorities: “The new Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park in the Bronx, which opened this week, used nearly $230 million in public funds, making it the most expensive municipal golf course in the nation.”March 30, 2015
Number of the week: State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. held press conference about more than $244 million in unclaimed funds owed to Bronx residents...March 23, 2015
This is gentrification: Joseph Chetrit’s Chetrit Group and Keith Rubenstein’s Somerset Partners reportedly paid $58 million for two South Bronx sites, 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Avenue...March 16, 2015
What will happen with the proposed re-zoning along Jerome Avenue? Would it be like Greenpoint or Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn? Why did City Planning start nosing around, some say, before any public announcement? We'll have more on this.March 9, 2015
Now that NYC Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver has heard all these ideas for the parks in The Bronx, what will he and the Department do? We'll be following this.March 2, 2015
"Bronx Borough President
Ruben Diaz Jr. has
issued a letter to the
United States Congress
proposing that the
United States Post
branch, located at 442
East 167th Street,
Bronx, NY, 10456, be
renamed in honor of
former U.S. Congressman
and Bronx Borough
Badillo, who passed away
climate plan says it
includes "over $15
million in natural
funded by the Department
of Interior in Jamaica
Bay, the Bronx River,
and elsewhere [and]
Hunts Point Lifelines—food distribution center investments in coastal protection, waterfront access, and energy resiliency." We'll see...
February 16, 2015
So why is the City “respectfully” opposing Intro 495, the "waste equity" bill to cut waste shipped and stored in north Brooklyn, southeast Queens and the South Bronx by 18 percent and distribute it more evenly throughout the city?February 9, 2015
This, we like: on Feb 5 BP Diaz “hosted the first meeting of his office’s African Advisory Council of 2015. The agenda included a dialogue with African community groups and their respective leaders sharing their priorities for the upcoming year, while also discussing possible collaboration opportunities on a variety of issues. 'This council was created to serve the needs of the growing African community in The Bronx, and it plays a very important function in addressing the issues and concerns of this growing population. It makes me proud to know that this council is able to both handle business here at home in The Bronx while also helping to develop a larger agenda for the entire city.'” It's a big world.February 2, 2015
This, we like: the transfer of the Fulton Correctional Facility fronting on Crotona Park to the Osborne Association, to help re-integrate former prisoners into society...January 26, 2015
In the Obama / First Lady box last week: “Anthony Mendez (Bronx, NY) Student, “Reach Higher” Initiative Growing up in the South Bronx with his mother and three siblings, Anthony Mendez names two experiences from his formative high school years. In ninth grade, his best friend was murdered in his neighborhood, and the next year his family was evicted from their home and moved into a homeless shelter. Living two hours away from school, for six months Anthony had to wake up at 4:30AM to continue his education.” See Inner City Press coverage here.
VOCs in the Bronx: “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has determined that the cleanup requirements to address contamination related to the Former Nessen Lamps (aka PS 51X) site (“site”) located at 3200 Jerome Avenue in the Bronx under New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program have been or will be met. The cleanup activities were performed by The Rinzler Family Limited Partnership ("Volunteer") with oversight provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). NYSDEC has approved a Final Engineering Report and issued a Certificate of Completion for the site.... Injection of chemical oxidant into the groundwater table to treat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater (known as in-situ chemical oxidation); Construction and maintenance of a cover system consisting of the existing building slab and the restored building slab in all excavated areas...January 19, 2015
This, we had to announce: distribution of backpacks with “a secure place for displaced citizens to hold their belongings, and feature a spacious main compartment for a large amount of items, a hide-away poncho designed to keep both the bag and its wearer dry, a ballistic nylon outer shell strong enough to combat the elements, a synch-top closure for extra waterproofing and anti-theft measures” in these Bronx locations:
Wednesday, February 11 10am - 2pm Distribution at The Relief Bus servicing Bronx-Courtland Outreach (152nd Street and Courtlandt Ave. Bronx, NY 10455)
Saturday, February 14 10am-2pm – Distribution at The Relief Bus servicing Brook Ave Outreach (148th Street and Brook Ave. Bronx, NY 10455)
Wednesday, February 18 10am - 2pm Distribution at The Relief Bus servicing Bronx-Courtland Outreach (152nd Street and Courtlandt Ave. Bronx, NY 10455)
Saturday, February 21 10am-2pm – Distribution at The Relief Bus servicing Brook Ave Outreach (148th Street and Brook Ave. Bronx, NY 10455)January 12, 2015
Much needed: the second annual Bronx Gentrification Conference, set for January 17...January 5, 2015
Community Reinvestment Act enforcement in New York is undermined by the NYS Department of Financial Services having a non-functioning email contact on its website for comment – and despite a Press complain, it has yet to be fixed...December 29, 2014
After Killings of
Police in NYC & Calls to Curb
Protests, "Complex Politics"
By Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 22 -- After NYPD
officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos
were killed in Brooklyn on December 20,
organizations active in protesting the
non-indictments in the cases of Michael
Brown and Eric Garner expressed both
sorry and caution.
After Mayor Bill de Blasio's comment on
December 22 that protests should cease
until after the funeral, alongside
similar comments by Police Commission
William Bratton, Ferguson Action and a
dozen other non-governmental
organizations issued a statement that
asked de Blasio to condemn Bratton
(which seems unlikely) --
Bratton must also immediately end his
shameful attempts to use the deaths of
these officers to attack democracy by
advancing unfounded claims to connect
this tragedy to protests. A troubled
young man who began his day by
attempting to kill his ex-partner, shot
two officers and then killed himself has
nothing to do with a broad non-violent
movement for change. The NYPD is
conveniently ignoring the facts
surrounding this tragedy in order to
score cheap political points.... Mayor
DeBlasio and other elected officials
should condemn these opportunistic
distractions that attempt to avoid
what about what de Blasio said? Ah,
there goes the press, trying to
stir things up.
On December 21, US President Barack
Obama called NYPD Commissioner William
UN on December 22, Inner City Press
asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban, who
belatedly commented on the cases of both
Michael Brown and Eric Garner, had any
Dujarric said Ban would "not get into
the complex politics of New York City,"
only to express condolences to the
families, colleagues and the people of
the City of New York.
Meanwhile Dujarric was asked, not without irony, about a person "brought in by a member of the UN press" on December 19 told to remove a Black Lives Matter patch from her coat.
Among the ironies is that the questioner has effectively censored his own anti-Press complaint to Dujarric from Google's Search, here, by a dubious filing under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, calling his "for the record" complaint a private email (even, book) never meant for publication, here.
it was almost the first time he'd heard
of it and said he would look into it.
Inner City Press days ago asked Dujarric
about the UN secretariat for the Climate
Change Summit in Lima, Peru telling
non-governmental organization what their
signs could and could not say. Inner
City Press on December 22 asked Dujarric
again about this, and about the UN's
supposed self-investigation for shooting
at unarmed protesters in Haiti - he had
information on neither. Ironies.
of Change, for example, said its
community was "saddened to learn about
the killing of two NYPD officers in
Brooklyn and the attempted killing of
the shooter’s ex-girlfriend... We
condemn any and all forms of violence,
including violence perpetrated by and
against police officers." It added, "“We
urge the media to push back against
claims not rooted in facts."
Ferguson Action spelled this out: "It is
irresponsible to draw connections
between this movement and the actions of
a troubled man who took the lives of
these officers and attempted to take the
life of his ex-partner, before
ultimately taking his own. Today's
events are a tragedy in their own right.
To conflate them with the brave activism
of millions of people across the country
is nothing short of cheap political
Legal Defense Fund and the Lawyers’
Committee for Civil Rights under Law
added, "While some may suggest a causal
link between these killings and the
recent protests and activism focused on
the serious issue of police violence
against unarmed African Americans, we
caution against escalating an already
tense national state through rumor and
conjecture. Whatever motivation lay in
the apparently troubled mind of the now
deceased shooter of these officers,
there is no connection between the
peaceful protests of thousands of people
of all races all over the country and,
indeed, around the world, and this
hideous act of violence."
Likewise, #BlackLivesMatter said, "our
hearts grieve with New York, a community
already reeling from the losses of Eric
Garner, Ramarley Graham, Kimani Gray,
Akai Gurley, Islan Nettles and many
more. An eye for an eye is not our
vision of justice."
City Press, which repeatedly asked
United Nations officials about the
Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases (and
Trayvon Martin and others before), was
struck not only by the silence so far of
the UN system itself, but also by the
silence of countries' representatives to
the UN, who routinely tweet photos of
the NYC skyline, farmer's markets and
museum. This is a major event in New
York, the kind requiring diplomacy or at
least articulate analysis. Where are the
diplomats? Afraid of making gaffes, some
say. Would they be faster to speak in
other diplomatic postings?
what of the UN's chief himself, Ban
Ki-moon? He spoke, at least through his
spokesman, on the Michael Brown and Eric
Garner cases. On December 22 it is
announced that Ban will take questions.
But will this be addressed? Can it be?
As Inner City Press and the Free UN
Coalition for Access asked and
reported on last week, it appears Ban
requests and gets
his questions in advance, click here
We'll stay on this.
December 13 a march for justice for Eric
Garner, and Mike Brown, and Trayvon
Martin, and others, set out north from
Washington Square Park. Inner City Press
here, photos here,
December 22, 2014
Brownfield: “The site is located at 500 Exterior Street, Bronx, NY on the northwest corner of the intersection of East 146th Street and Gerard Avenue . The site (Lot B) is bounded by the street above, Exterior Street and East 149th Street. The site is approximately 0.37 acres in size. Site Features: The main site features on Lot B include a small wooden shack and staged construction materials. Current Zoning and Land Use: The site (Lot B) is currently vacant with a stalled hotel project adjacent to it (Lot A). The site is zoned M1-4/R8A as a special mixed-use district meant to enhance the vitality of existing neighborhoods with mixed residential and industrial uses. The future use of the site is planned as a mixed-use building consisting of housing and commercia retail with a 25% affordable housing component.” We'll see...December 15, 2014
After Eric Garner & Mike
Brown, Marching in the Streets, UN on the
By Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 13 -- Nine days after
Missouri police officer was not indicted
for killing African American teenager
Michael Brown in Ferguson, in New York
City on December 3 a Staten Island grand
jury declined to return any indictment
for the killing
of Eric Garner, which was caught on
December 13 a march for justice for Eric
Garner, and Mike Brown, and Trayvon
Martin, and others, set out north from
Washington Square Park. Inner City Press
here, photos here,
on December 10, Inner City Press asked
two members of the UN's Working Group on
People of African Descent about the
cases or non-indictments, and if they
make it more likely the Working Group
will return to the US to conduct a
here, and embedded below.
Working Group member Verene Shepherd
said that the Working Group has the
right to return for up to five years, to
follow up. Video
here (after this video, she also
mentioned Trayvon Martin).
The chair of the working group Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France spoke of systematic marginalization of people of color, by banks and social services. Inner City Press asked her about the Working Group's report on Sweden, which found "segregated neighborhoods and reports that health clinics, banks and other essential services are being pulled out of some ethnic neighborhoods.” She said this is a worldwide phenomenon.
After Eric Garner Non-Indictment,
ICP Asks, UN on Accountability, Holder
By Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 4 -- Nine days after
Missouri police officer was not indicted
for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson,
in New York City on December 3 a Staten
Island grand jury declined to return any
indictment for the killing
of Eric Garner, which was caught on
December 4, Inner City Press asked
the UN Spokesman for comment:
Press: first I wanted to ask you about
what's big news here in New York City,
and I was wondering if the
Secretary-General has any comment on the
refusal to indict the police officer who
killed Eric Garner on video, not
resisting and unarmed and the protests
that are taking place.
Spokesman Dujarric: Sure. We're obviously aware of what's going on here in our own backyard. I think the Secretary-General's thoughts are obviously with the family of Mr. Garner following that decision and the people of New York. I think the case is again focusing attention on the issue of accountability of law enforcement officials, and the Secretary-General urges all competent authorities in the United States to do everything possible to respond to the demands for greater accountability. And he also welcomes the announcement, I think by the US Justice Department, of an opening of a civil rights investigation in the case. And I think I would just add that we've seen a lot of demonstrations here in New York. He would urge the demonstrators to demonstrate peacefully and for the authorities to respect the right of those demonstrators to do so peacefully.
Inner City Press: recently, the UN-Women offered some kind of a partnership with the City, it seems to be like technical assistance, maybe going both ways but certainly UN helping. Is there anything that the UN system has, given what now seems as kind of a trend of killing of unarmed African-Americans and failure to bring accountability? Is there anything that the UN system is offering to the United States?
Spokesman: Not in terms of technical assistance that I'm aware of. Obviously, there would have to be a request from the US authorities. The UN system writ large, as you saw, there was a report on the UN Committee on Torture, if I'm not mistaken, that was released some time ago. So, that's where it stands.
the evening of December 3 in midtown
Manhattan, the chant was "Justice for
Eric Garner" and "I can't breathe,"
which he'd said as he was choked. Marchers
headed from Times Square east to
Sixth Avenue but were blocked from
heading north to Rockefeller Plaza and
the tree lighting ceremony. Short Inner
City Press YouTube
to Fifth Avenue -- again process north
was blocked, this time with orange
kettling netting -- and down to 42nd
Street. Police closed the doors to Grand
Central, no more dying-in. The march passed
Cipriani in the old bank space,
venue of the UN
Censorship Alliance Ball. And they
Pfizer, with the UN on the
horizon, see below.
on December 3, New York Congresspeople
spoke out, with Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano
say that Garner's death "was not an
accident, it was homicide," for all to
Brooklyn Representative Nydia Velazquez
linked the Garner non-indictment to
12-year old Tamir Rice being killed in
Cleveland. Representative Hakeem
Jeffries recalled peaceful protests
after the killing, in The Bronx, of
Mayor Bill De Blasio spoke but unlike
the Congresspeople took no questions, as
his Commissioner for International
Affairs Penny Abeywardena recently came
to the UN without
openly taking questions, either, here.
in Geneva for days refused
to release to US-based media without
paid correspondents in Switzerland
the UN Committee on Torture's concluding
remarks on the US.
When they went online on November 28, on police brutality they discussed Chicago but not Ferguson, Missouri, from which the family and supporters of Michael Brown, killed by police officer Darren Wilson, even traveled to Geneva. The report was belatedly put online here.
December 1, 2014
Wi-fi over payphones? Here's what the BP says: “The Bronx has 636 payphones and the Wi-Fi range of Respondent’s kiosks will be 150 feet. Consequently, certain payphones will be consolidated to reduce redundancy and new sites for kiosks will be identified. DoITT has communicated to this office it will decommission some of the existing 636 and create 100 additional sites. What are the metrics and factors DoITT will use to decide which payphones will be disconnected and where the new sites will be located, and how will they be weighed? How did DoITT come up with the number of 100? Why not 150? Is it an arbitrary number? This issue merits greater transparency.”November 24, 2014
Ebola talk in the Bronx, November 23: The NYC Department of Health, Councilman Andy King and New Covenant Christian Church co-host a forum to address issues regarding the spread of Ebola in African nations, New Covenant Christian Church, 3601 Baychester Avenue, Bronx.
The spread is now into Mali: http://www.innercitypress.com/ebola2mali112114.htmlNovember 17, 2014
Feels like starting over: Now the Bronx BP is seeking applications for press secretary and deputy press secretary, by December 12: http://bronxboropres.nyc.gov/jobs.htmlNovember 10, 2014
Brownfield: 1899 West Farms Road portion of the site operated as a dry-cleaning facility from 1977-1996 and a towing/collision company from 1999-2001. The 1903-1905 West Farms Road portion operated as an auto repair garage from 1924-1986 and as a steel door manufacturing facility from 1989-2005. Most recently, the building was leased by a construction company for construction supply storage and a janitorial supply company for soap and paper product storage. The undeveloped section of the property was recently used as an outdoor storage area for dumpsters and waste drums...In the portion of the site that once housed a drycleaner, perchloroethylene (PCE) was detected at 20 parts per billion.”November 3, 2014
It begins: November 5 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, “a free coquito tasting. As part of the 12th Annual Coquito Masters competition, contestants bring in their version of coquito, a traditional Puerto Rican holiday drink reminiscent of eggnog, and you become the judge to see who goes on to the New York finals! Presented by the Bronx Museum’s Community Advisory Council and International Coquito Tasting Federation. The event will also feature live painting demonstrations by artists Nikolai Kahn and Lexi Bela.”October 27, 2014:
Last week Rep. Engel said, "Barnes & Noble is the last brick and mortar bookstore in The Bronx." Is that true?
Monday, Oct 20, BP
Diaz will be at
Casita Maria’s 80th
Anniversary gala at
the Plaza Hotel -
768 5th Avenue,
Manhattan. Who knew?
since Casita Maria
is taking it to
Manhattan, we like
this, on the Lower
Mendez at a street
in honor of former
southeast corner of
East 6th Street and
2nd Avenue. Right
October 13, 2014
It's time to stop Stericycle from amending or renewing its DEC waste transfer station permit for 910 East 138th Street and Locust Avenue to allow for the transfer of hazardous wastes like fixer and developer solutions that come from X-ray processing.October 6, 2014
Lawsuit: More than 25 tenants of 1460 Washington Avenue in the Morris Houses went on September 29 to Bronx Housing Court for their first appearance in a lawsuit against NYCHA. The Group HP lawsuit aims to force the public housing authority to make necessary repairs to the building’s uninhabitable conditions including water leaks, severe mold, broken doors and windows, and peeling paint on the walls. The residents have also struggled with inadequate and inconsistent heat and hot water for the past two decades. Morris Houses is home to over 3,000 residents who live under these conditions...September 29, 2014
This, we want to hear more about: “State Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson and New York City Councilman Andy King and others hold a press conference to advocate for open, early and automatic delivery of evidence through the repeal of criminal procedure law 240, Bronx Civil Court, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx.”
We note this, Brownfields application for “Webster Avenue Residences, site ID #C203075. This site is located in the Borough of Bronx, within the County of Bronx, and is located at 1960-1982 Webster Ave. and 4269 Park Ave.”
Constance Malcolm – the mother of Ramarley – said last week: “We are encouraged that the Department of Justice has opened a full investigation into the killing of our son Ramarley. We believe clear and sufficient evidence of civil rights violations exists for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to bring charges against the NYPD officers responsible. Police officers cannot bust into a house without a warrant and shoot an unarmed civilian in front of their grandmother and 6-year-old brother, as NYPD officers did to Ramarley, without legal repercussions."
September 15, 2014
On the one-year anniversary vigil for Bradley Ballard “who passed away on September 11th, 2013 after staff at Rikers Island refused to provide medical care when he was found unresponsive in his jail cell after spending seven days isolated there. Residents will call on Bronx County District Attorney Robert Johnson to prosecute the staff responsible for Mr. Ballard’s death. No one has been held accountable for his death although it was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner. On Wednesday, Mr.Ballard’s family filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the city, correction officials, and a medical services contractor.”September 8, 2014
Two Bronxites were awarded Shawn Carter/Gilman International Scholarships, the US State Department announced last week:
Jazmin Gonzalez, a first-generation college student from the Bronx, New York, studying history and Arabic languages and literature at Bard College, studied in Rabat, Morocco, this summer.
Clinton Langston Jr., a first-generation college student from the Bronx, New York, who is an arts student at City University of New York, Hostos Community College, studied in Paris, France, this summer.September 1, 2014
We recommend: The Bronx Documentary Center family and RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) are devastated by the loss of James Foley, who was killed this week in Syria by his captors. James had attended the RISC course at the BDC...
On Sept. 6th at 8:15pm, the BDC will host a fundraiser to honor his memory. Rachel Beth Anderson and Tim Grucza, RISC colleagues of James, will show their film First to Fall. All proceeds will go to honoring James Foley’s memory as his family finds appropriate.
An intimate story of friendship, sacrifice and the madness of war. It bears witness to the irreversible transformation of two friends, Tarek and Hamid, and the price they pay for their conviction. Q&A with director Rachel Beth Anderson and co-director Tim Grucza. Moderated by Lydia Polgreen of the NYT. 614 Courtlandt Avenue (@ 151st St.) Bronx
Inner City Press has covered the aftermath of Foley's murder here and here.August 25, 2014
Appearing in the Bronx for the NY Botanical Society Photographic Society on September 6 is Essdras Suarez of the Rocky Mountain News and currently the Boston Globe. He’s covered news in over 30 countries including the Iraq War, Haiti, and the Japanese Tsunami. Domestic assignments included covering the Columbine shooting and the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. Check it out...August 18, 2014
of Missouri Police Abuse Closes 42nd
Street, "Don't Shoot"
By Matthew Russell Lee
August 14, updated -- In the Manhattan
version of National Moment of Silence
for the killing of Michael Brown and
police crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri,
Street between 8th and 9th Avenue
off by NYPD and protesters told to
leave or be
Inner City Press was on the scene,
repeatedly told to back away by the
police, brandishing handcuffs.
Protesters had hands raised, saying "Don't
shoot." It being near Times
Square, tourists on the way asked,
"Where is St. Louis?" Where indeed.
hours later, though the protest was a
block from the headquarters of the New
York Times, nothing on its webpage or
Twitter feed. The revolution will not
UN on August 13 Inner City Press asked
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the
killing and crackdown. Video
Dujarric began by saying that Ban and
the UN have "no particular comment,"
then added that "as in all cases, the
right to demonstrate peacefully needs to
be respected, and investigations need to
be conducted." Okay, then.
August 14, Inner City Press asked
Press: I wanted to ask you again about
these incidents in Ferguson,
Missouri. And the reason being
that they’ve become, even they’ve
basically been covered by all
international media now.
Journalists have been arrested.
Tear gas was used on camera on unarmed
protesters. So, I’m just
wondering, beyond the general statements
of yesterday, does anyone in the UN
system intend to contact either local
authorities — do you think…?
Spokesman: At this point, I have nothing to add to what I said yesterday.
Well. There have been reports mentioned the financial institutions in the area, including nationwide lenders Bank of America, US Bank and Fifth Third.
Press and Fair Finance Watch reviewed
the demographics of mortgage lending by
these three in the area in the most
recent year for which data is publicly
In the St. Louis Metropolitan
Statistical Area in 2012, Bank of
America denied the conventional home
purchase mortgage applications of
African Americans 1.81 times more
frequently then those of whites.
Fair Finance Watch has previously objected to US Bank's stealth branch closings, including in Chicago, here and here. The US Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to lend fairly in all of their communities, but is not sufficiently enforced, FFW has shown.
For US Bank,
the disparities was 1.6 to 1; for Fifth
Third Mortgage, that company's lender,
it was a whopping 4.95 to 1: African
American applicants were denied 4.95
times more frequently than whites, worse
that the aggregate (all lenders).
Troublingly, for all lenders Latinos were denied 3.1 times more frequently than than whites. So where is the US headed? And why has the UN had nothing to say so far? Watch this site.
August 11, 2014
Nice day: August 9 in Crotona Park, the fifth annual Ghana Parade and Festival.August 4, 2014
There are now protests for Bradley Ballard who died “on September 11th, 2013 after staff at Rikers Island refused to provide medical care when he was found unresponsive in his jail cell after spending seven days isolated there.”July 28, 2014
NYS Department of Labor statistics show “unemployment in New York City boroughs Queens and the Bronx show higher-than-average unemployment... highest in the Bronx, with a rate of 10 percent.”
Meanwhile, DoT promoted “The Boogie Down Booth, a temporary resting spot underneath the Freeman Street subway station” -- nice touch, but it's the people evicted, for example on Home Street and Hoe Avenue, that should be remembered...July 21, 2014
The killing by police choke-hold of Eric Garner on Staten Island, beginning to be acted on because filmed, here, echoes the killing in the Bronx by Anthony Baez while he was throwing a football back and forth with his brothers. What will be done?July 14, 2014
So property owners are being urged to sign up for NYC's “graffiti removal program, Graffiti Free NYC (GFNYC). GFNYC is the City’s first ever, full-time, street-by-street graffiti removal program and is a service provided by NYC Economic Development Corporation.”
Question: how would this have applied to, say Five Pointz in Queens or many landmarks in The Bronx? Is there no carve-out?July 7, 2014
When Mayor De Blasio announced new funding for arts in the schools at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on July 1, he thanked the chair of the City Council Cultural Affairs Committee, Jimmy Van Bramer and cited “Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music” as “one of the nation’s premier music high schools.” Oye! Now how about something in New York City and The Bronx in honor of Ismael Rivera? Ya es tiempo.June 30, 2014
How can it be that MetroNorth can get away with having suburban Connecticut trains stop at Fordham Road in The Bronx and REFUSES to pick up ticket-holding Bronxites? The conductors say, “discharge only,” and falsely claim, “There's a Harlem Line train right behind.” They know it's as much as 20 minutes behind. This is redlining, literally.
Some think that Community Reinvestment Act officers are progressive. But here in New York City, where new Mayor Bill De Blasio appointed the CRA Officer of M&T Bank -- apparently without knowing much about him or M&T -- to the Rent Guidelines Board, the banker blocked a rent freeze that his appointer De Blasio favored. Afterward De Blasio said, “From everything I’ve heard of him, he’s a person of integrity.” Heard?June 23, 2014
The new bill that passed the NY State Senate Wednesday would direct the New York State Department of Health to study and prepare a plan for dealing with the high incidents of asthma in the Bronx. It now moves to the State Assembly for a vote...
rent increase freeze:
Mark-Viverito and Council
members Margaret Chin
(D-1st), Corey Johnson
(D-3rd), Mark Levine
(D-7th), Ydanis Rodriguez
(D-10th), and Helen
- taking note.
And this: the push for a
fence in Starlight Park
after the drowning there
of 13-year-old Erickson
Villa on June 20...
In NYC, Foreclosure Wave by Mega-Banks, Redlining Valley National
By Matthew R. Lee
NEW YORK, June 9 -- Lower income communities of color have the most mortgage foreclosures, and the fewest bank branches, new studies of New York City demonstrate. There are 29,729 pre-foreclosures in New York City according to May 5, 2014 data purchased from RealtyTrak.com...
Citywide, 80% of these foreclosures are in communities of color. In The Bronx and Queens the percentage or targeting rises to 93%.
with the most pre-foreclosures in New
York City are Wells Fargo with 1,273; US
Bank with 1,116; JP Morgan Chase with
1,043; Deutsche Bank with 760; and HSBC
with 741. Where is the Federal Reserve
in all this: asleep at the switch again?
Meanwhile while these big banks move to close branches -- the most recent example is US Bank closing 13 branches of 93 acquired from Royal Bank of Scotland, on which Inner City Press reported here -- midsized institutions simply bypass lower income communities of color.
Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch, along with other NCRC members, is looking into Valley National Bank's proposed acquisition of 1st United in Florida. Fair Finance Watch has filed two comments to date with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, first with this lending pattern:
In 2012 in the New York City MSA for refinance loans, Valley National made 2152 such loans to whites and only 38 to African Americans -- entirely of keeping with the demographics and demographics of home ownership in the New York City MSA. Valley National denied 67% of such applications from African Americans, versus only 34.5% of such application from white.
For home purchase loans in the NYC MSA in 2012, Valley National made 69 such loans to whites, only one to an African American and only two to Latinos, for which it had a denial rate of 62.5% versus only 36.6% for whites.