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     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 maphere for fast ordering and delivery, and here for other ordering information.  See also, "City 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." The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London 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 here for that review; for more information, contact us.
2014: MRL on Beacon Reader

August 1, 2016

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?

July 25, 2016

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...

After Press 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...

July 18, 2016

As YouTube Hinders Publication of UN Q&As, Censorship Questions UNveiled

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:


Google on March 10 announced on its front page, "Supporting the UN Global Goals." But does Google know of the UN's recent descent into outright, physical censorship? See below; petition here.

  Actually, there is a history with Google, and the UN. In 2009, the Government Accountability Project criticized Google for Banning Inner City Press from Google News, here.

In 2013, Google granted a spurious censorship request from Reuters' UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, to block from Search a leaked copy of his anti-Inner City Press missive to the UN's Stephane Dujarric, now the spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon. DMCA notice here; leaked email here.

  But outright physical censorship, tossing an investigative journalaist on the street on the flimsiest of pretexts, on a mere two hours' notice? The decision was by the UN Department of Public Information, with which Google partners. Maybe Google should Google it - we'll have more on this.

July 11, 2016

ICP Asked UN About Philando Castile & Alton Sterling, Working Group Condemns

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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 transcript:Video here, UN transcript here:

Inner 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 police?

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.

From the UN in Geneva on July 8:

Human 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 downtown Dallas.

“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 of expression?

The UN in February and April through investigative Inner City Press in the street on First Avenue. The Government Accountability Project wrote to the US Mission to the UN urging them to act; nothing was done, Inner City Press was never even contacted, even on connection with US Independence Day. Freedom of the press indeed. We'll have more on this.

July 4, 2016

This, we like: "July 10 show from hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc at 7 p.m. in Crotona Park"

June 27, 2016

Pulling the rug out: "ABC Carpet & Home is closing its warehouse outlet in The Bronx in September. 70-plus people will be laid off and some lost their jobs last week, according to a WARN notice filed with the NYS Department of Labor. ABC said it was no longer “strategically viable” to operate the warehouse." Why not?

June 20, 2016

We urge investigation of the attack on Mohammed Atique Ashraf on June 16 on his way to the mosque on McGraw Ave. in Parkchester...

June 13, 2016

This, we agree with: roll back the rent.

Thursday June 16, 5 - 8 PM
Bronx Museum of Art
Lower Gallery
1040 Grand Concourse 
Bronx, NY 10456
RSVP Here

June 6, 2016

Comment is open through July 3 on 600 East 156 "Draft Investigation Work Plan for Brownfield Site": "The property was occupied by Zola Garage Corp. in 1927 to 1940. By 1935, a garage with 120 car capacity was located on the eastern portion of the property which also contained two 550-gallon gasoline tanks buried beneath the foundation; and furniture storage and a warehouse were located in the middle portion of the Property. Arvic Garage Corp. operated onsite from 1940 to 1947; Ebling Brewery, 1947 - 1951; and Naparaco Erection Corp. and National Steel Partition Company, Inc., 1956 - 1965. In 1965, Bantam Travelware Corp. was located on-site.'

Ah Ebling Brewery...

May 30, 2016

Ugh: for 221 East 138th Street, Anthony Gurino, of Tahoe Development, has decided to make the project in Mott Haven entirely market-rate. Can you say, gentrification?

May 23, 2016

This, we like  Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!
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

7:00-9:00PM
Friday, May 27th, 2016

at The Bronx Music Heritage Center
1303 Louis Nine Blvd

May 16, 2016

 Here is unqualified, un self conscious praise of gentrification: http://www.amny.com/real-estate/city-living/bronx/mott-haven-sees-more-development-as-young-professionals-move-in-1.11792445

May 9, 2016

Rent Guidelines Board, be there: Bronx Public Hearing: Thursday, June 16, 5 - 8 PM: Bronx Museum of Art, Lower Gallery (1040 Grand Concourse Bronx, NY 10456)

May 2, 2016

Et tu, Amazon? the Bronx is the only borough with no same-day delivery coverage from Amazon...
 
April 18, 2016

Coming (back) to the Bronx:

Ban Ki-moon Has ICP's Files Thrown Onto 1st Av, Bribery Audit Names His Gallach

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 herevideo 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
To: matthew.lee@innercitypress.com

Dear Matthew,

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.

Best, Tal

------------------------------------------------
Tal Mekel
Acting Chief
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit
United Nations - S-250
New York, NY 10017


   Earlier on April 15, Mekel had told Inner City Press that a two-person film crew was approved. This was revoked at 1:30 am, precluding the crew. And yet...


 This inordinate focus on ousting Inner City Press, while UN Correspondents Association board members have private offices and many write no articles, is all the more contrary to freedom of the press as Inner City Press on April 15 exclusively published documents of UN and Morocco fraud in Western Sahara, credited by 360, here.

Gallach, the highest UN official of Spain, has by her no due process orders BANned Inner City Press from covering even UNSC meetings on Western Sahara. This is retaliation and censorship.

On the afternoon of April 15 Inner City Press was told that it will be UN staff going through the files but that then they will be given to, and impounded for some time by, a third party or parties whom the UN won't even name to Inner City Press.

As one wag put it, maybe they'll just keep passing them along.

  Gallach's Team heard on April 15 from Capitol Hill to maintain the status quo. Did they even tell Ban Ki-moon, his chief of staff or deputy? Is this what allows Ban Ki-moon to (try to) say, "That is not my decision"? We'll have more on this.

April 11, 2016

 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.

April 4, 2016

  20,000 people in St. Mary's Park? Meanwhile, insiders doing nothing on this: ICP from UN to the Bronx? http://thebronxchronicle.com/2016/03/20/op-ed-un-ousted-uncovering-corruption/
March 28, 2016

Troubling: "Among those deals was Treetop Development’s $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 deal. "

March 21, 2016

After Ousting Press, Ban Tells Bronxites To Rise Up For Rights, Hypocrisy

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

So HPD Commish Vicki Bee will speak in the South Bronx, 555 Bergen Ave, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. We'll see...

March 7, 2016

This we like: South Bronx Love Letter will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 12 at 1303 Louis Niñé Blvd

February 29, 2016

Street names we like: "Recognizing the Bronx block that houses 1520 Sedgwick Avenue as 'Hip Hop Boulevard' demonstrates reverence and hometown pride for the artistic and cultural phenomenon that DJ Kool Herc, Cindy Campbell, the building and surrounding neighborhood helped create."

February 22, 2016

What does it say when a tacqueria is forced to close due to high rents in the South Bronx, only to reopen in Brooklyn?

"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."

February 15, 2016

You wanna know what large and wanna be larger bank has no branches in the South Bronx? It's 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...

January 25, 2016

This we like, at Longwood at Hostos, Feb 3, 5:00 - 9:00 pm: The BRONX:AFRICA exhibit featuring Seyi Adebanjo, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Howard Cash, Elvira Clayton, Dennis RedMoon Darkeem, Lisa DuBois, Nicky Enright, Janet Goldner, Ijeoma Iheanacho, Imo Imeh, Hakim Inniss, Natasha Johnson, Ahmed Tijay Mohammed, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Ibou Ndoye, Eric Orr, Eto Otitigbe, Thurston Randall, Ibrahima Thiam, Osaretin Ugiagbe, Misra Walker and Tammy Wofsey; and online Olaniyi Akindiya, Kenneth Anderson and Ray Felix.

January 18, 2016

Like so many things, from Long Island City to The Bronx: "Silvercup North Studios says it has converted a 115,000-square-foot complex at 295 Locust Ave. in Port Morris for film and television productions. It will open in June." Good or bad?

January 11, 2016

  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?

January 4, 2016

In 2016, among many other things, we will be looking for The Get Down, Baz Luhrman's musical drama set in the S BX in the 70s starring Herizen Guardiola...

December 28, 2015

Et tu, Zaro's? The bakery is closing its Parkchester retail location, even as it pitches its "cretzel" in Grand Central...

December 21, 2015

Whose Streets? NYPD Officer Paid by Deutsche Bank To Empty Atrium Early

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

We are following the Queens-based Sunrise Coop and its proposal relocation to 1080 Leggett Avenue in Hunts Point, the Bronx...

December 7, 2015

Anything for a hotel: "The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has determined that the cleanup requirements to address contamination related to the 2477 Third Avenue Property site (“site”) located at 2477 Third Avenue, Bronx, NY under New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) have been or will be met."

November 30, 2015

NYT: "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 borough, linguists say. In West Africa alone there are more than 800 languages. But no matter whether Wolof, Diula, Efik or Gur are spoken here, the impact is clear."

Inner City Press asks again: why doesn't the United Nations, headquartered in NYC, do more in The Bronx?


November 23, 2015

This, we like: "The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families partners with PS/MS 279 the Captain Manuel Rivera School, and together are hosting a Community Soup Kitchen to provide the community with a very special Thanksgiving Dinner. City Councilmember Fernando Cabrera is confirmed to attend: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 from 5 – 7pm, PS/MS 279, 2100 Walton Ave.'

November 16, 2015

Improvement, but for whom? Local news gushed about the bike path to Randall's Island - as, for example, Calientito restaurant nearly on Lincoln Avenue was evicted. Gentrification...

November 9, 2015

From rip off to rip off - at the gentrification fest just before Halloween was one Adrien Brody who "attended Lucien Smith's controversial art installation/Halloween party in the South Bronx, hosted by art dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn of Salon 94." We note he was in a hype movie which purported he lived in a building on Third Avenue around 160th Street. Use that Bronx, why doncha...

November 2, 2015

 Back on September 14, below, Inner City Press reported that "There will be a gentrifiers ball on the coast of the South Bronx on Halloween, people who own real estate, spending $2 million." Now it has happened: "It was just after 11 p.m. when a freight train rumbled by Keith Rubenstein’s South Bronx development site, momentarily drowning out the sweet hum of a grand piano outside the low-slung warehouse. Kendall Jenner, Carmelo Anthony and their A-list pals barely noticed. Hosted by Rubenstein, head of Somerset Partners, and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, founder of the art gallery Salon 94, the Thursday night affair was designed to generate buzz for the Mott Haven neighborhood that has become a veritable hotbed for real estate players. It’s where Rubenstein and co-developer Joseph Chetrit are planning a sprawling residential complex they say will herald in the new Soho, in SoBro."

Disgusting.

October 26, 2015

Storytellers take note: Bronx Museum, Friday, 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, storytellers take the stage. Of the ten featured storytellers, one winner is chosen.  The theme of the evening will be A FINE MESS. Prepare a five-minute story about the rubble resulting from entangled affairs. Crossed wires, over-ambitious projects" - be there.

October 19, 2015

We too are encouraging cyclists from all over the region to register for the 21st Annual Tour de Bronx, on October 25 -- do it.

October 12, 2015

While new MetroNorth stations in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest and Hunts Point is a good thing, the implicit racism of MetroNorth from Connecticut refusing to pick up passengers at Fordham Road must be addressed.

October 5, 2015

Very 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. "

September 28, 2015

Must say: this NYT "South Bronx Beckons" article was and is despicable...

September 21, 2015

UNacceptable: New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that The Bronx has a poverty rate of 32 percent and a child poverty rate of 43 percent.

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

That 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?

Amid Legionnaire's Disease, UN Says It Is Exempt From NY Laws, Drains Fountain

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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 responding.

  On August 13, Pressed, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric asserted that the UN is "exempt" from all local rules concerning cooling towers and legionella. Transcript 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 UN:


1.  Has the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, directed that his staff be accountable for monitoring & testing UN facilities for the bacteria that causes legionnaires disease?

2.  Does the UN have cooling towers in any of its NYC facilities (to include rented properties outside the HQ complex)?

3.  In the past month, has any testing been done of UN cooling towers, and if so, on what dates, by whom?

4.  Has any host government authority asked the UN if it can enter UNHQ to test the UN's cooling towers for legionella?

5.  Does the UN consider itself exempt (or immune) from the new joint NY State/NYC regulations?

6.  If requested, would the UN allow host government authorities to enter the UNHQ to test for legionella?

7.  If the UN has tested its facilities for legionella bacteria, will it (yes or no) make test reports public by posting them online?

  Here is the full text of the UN's (first) response, from its spokesman:

"Matthew,  As per your question

Cooling Towers.

The cooling 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

Normally we 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.

Slavery Memorial

The water 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."

  But is the UN claiming immunity from local health regulations?

On August 13 Inner City Press asked Dujarric again:

Inner City 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 something.  How…

Spokesman:  Let me…

Question:  Please.

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—

[inaudible]

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.

 So, by the end of August 13, among the UNanswered questions:

Has the UN tested for legionella already? (seems not)

Will they test by August 20th?

If they do finally test, will they release the results, to NYC and to the public?

 We'll see.

August 10, 2015

And the City's August 7 update: "Individuals with Legionnaires’ deceased: 10
-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 Legionnaires’ Disease Cluster Updated Fact-Sheet 8/1/15

--22 buildings visited in the cluster area and 17 were identified to have cooling towers
-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 the plans?

July 27, 2015

  Best part about "Women of the Young Lords" with Iris Morales, Denise Oliver, Olguie Robles, Gloria Rodriguez, and Minerva Solla on July 23? It was on Periscope. @InnerCityPress is on that, too....

July 20, 2015

 This, we like: "The $10 million dollar investment that we are making in free, high-speed Internet 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 free..  So, 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 For Them?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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.

  So later on June 30 Inner City Press put both questions to UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, video here:

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?

Inner City 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?

Deputy 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 Culinart.
  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?

  Why a 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 current president 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

ICP's UN Bed Bugs Scoop Pilfered by amNewYork, Haq Spin, Vox & HuffPo Credit

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- It's a small story uncovered by Inner City Press, bed bugs on the UN's 34th floor -- but how the UN Spokesperson's Office and scribes dealt with it is telling.

  On June 23 Inner City Press exclusively reported on the bed bugs, based on being contacted by whistleblowing UN staff angry that the UN had said nothing.

  After publishing, Inner City Press at the June 23 noon briefing asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujurric, who said he hadn't heard of it. Inner City Press obtained, again from whistleblowing staff, a subsequently blast email confirming the bed bugs.

  Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq provided not only this email, but then updates, to media which had not asked at the briefing about it, but NOT to Inner City Press. Inner City Press asked again at the June 23 noon briefing - and then again at the June 24 briefing, transcript here:

Inner City Press: it’s more mundane or at least smaller and it’s about bed bugs.  On Tuesday, I’d asked you about what I understand the fumigation had happened over the weekend, and there was an answer later in the day.  But I’ve since seen that like, whatever, other answers have been provided to other media that wasn’t provided, including one that says, Huffington Post says they were given the e-mail and they were told that everyone will be back on Thursday.  So since I haven’t seen that in writing, I wanted to ask you, is that the case?  And can you provide an update?  I also understand that there’s going to be a re-inspection two weeks from the first infestation.  Is that true?  And when are you calculating that from?  Last weekend or Tuesday or Thursday or when?

Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq:  There is meant to be re-inspection.  That’s the standard process by which fumigation processes occur.  It’s up to the experts to determine when that will happen.  But, yes, except for a small number of people near the affected cubicles, staff were returning to the 34th floor to their offices yesterday, which is to say Wednesday, and then the ones in the affected area are to return today, Thursday.  And, of course, as for different answers, you know, different reporters come in at different times and ask different questions.

Inner City Press:  I’d like to make it ongoing, since, having asked about it, I would like to know until…

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  Matthew, no one gets to reserve a whole set of answers in perpetuity.  I mean, you come and ask questions.  You get answers.  That’s the way the system works.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  Then don’t be surprised; I’m going to ask again.

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  Okay.

  The background: Gothamist and Vox published pieces, both citing Inner City Press. But the Huffington Post published a piece saying the the UN's Haq had sent them the email -- no credit, or explanation of why Haq would have sent them this email.  ICP noted it, and this:

  It is claimed that the Huffington Post has a correspondent at the UN - but that person asked no questions, rather repeatedly claiming the first question at press conferences in the name of the UN Correspondents Association.

  Inner City Press quit UNCA, after some of its board members tried to censor it for reporting on Sri Lanka and DPKO's Ladsous, or get it expelled from the UN. But before quitting UNCA (and co-founding the Free UN Coalition for Access, FUNCA) Inner City Press urged UNCA's board to vote on best practices in crediting other media's exclusives. They refused - including the former media of the now HuffPo contributor. This is the UN's Censorship Alliance - most recently become little more than an Italian book club.

  After this was raised, HuffPost to its credit added a hat-tip to Inner City Press, as have others. But amNewYork, we note, tries to rely only on Haq, with Caroline Linton (mis?) quoting Haq: "The bedbugs were found in two cubicles manned by one person on the 34th floor of the U.N. headquarters on Tuesday, Farhan said."

  But the UN was already fumigating over the weekend before. Is amNewYork mis-reporting, the UN mis-speaking, or both?

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:

We note and support the protest against the homeless shelter(s) of Aguila Inc., like 976 Tinton Avenue...

June 6, 2015:

River talk:  "Community Visioning Session 3 of 4 for the development of the Port Morris - Harlem River Brownfield Opportunity Area (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
6:30pm-8:30pm

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 Community Reinvestment Act and resist regulatory capture by Citi, Chase and Goldman Sachs...

May 11, 2015

When 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...

May 4, 2015

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).

April 27, 2015

 So 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 this.

April 20, 2015

Annals of gentrification from "The Real Deal" -- "What’s more, the menus of a burgeoning restaurant 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

Duly noted: "Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a letter to the United States Congress proposing that the United States Post Office’s Morrisania branch, located at 442 East 167th Street, Bronx, NY, 10456, be renamed in honor of former U.S. Congressman and Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo, who passed away last year."

February 23, 2015

City's climate plan says it includes "over $15 million in natural infrastructure resiliency projects 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

UNITED 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) --

"Commissioner 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 meaningful reform."

  But 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 Bratton.

 At the 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 comment.

  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.

Dujarric said 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.

  Color 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 punditry."

The NAACP 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."

  Inner 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?

  And 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 for that.

   We'll stay on this.

  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 Vine here, photos here, here and 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 Margin

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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 video, here.

  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 Vine here, photos here, here and here.

  At UN 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 mission. Video 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.

December 8, 2014

After Eric Garner Non-Indictment, ICP Asks, UN on Accountability, Holder

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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 video, here.

  On December 4, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman for comment:

Inner City 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.

 Back on 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 video here.

  And so 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 passed Pfizer, with the UN on the horizon, see below.

 Earlier 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 see.

    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 Amadou Diallo.

  Later 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.

 The UN 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.html

November 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.html

November 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?

October 20, 2014:

So on Monday, Oct 20, BP Diaz will be at Casita Maria’s 80th Anniversary gala at the Plaza Hotel - 768 5th Avenue, Manhattan. Who knew? Elouise. Meanwhile, since Casita Maria is taking it to Manhattan, we like this, on the Lower East Side: Councilwoman Rosie Mendez at a street co-naming ceremony in honor of former Councilwoman Miriam Friedlander, southeast corner of East 6th Street and 2nd Avenue. Right one.

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.”

September 22, 2014

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

NYC Protest of Missouri Police Abuse Closes 42nd Street, "Don't Shoot"

By Matthew Russell Lee

MANHATTAN, August 14, updated -- In the Manhattan version of National Moment of Silence for the killing of Michael Brown and police crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri, 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenue was cordoned off by NYPD and protesters told to leave or be arrested.

   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.

Update: And 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 be....

 At the UN on August 13 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the killing and crackdown. Video here.

  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.

  On August 14, Inner City Press asked again:

Inner City 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.

  Inner City 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 available, 2012.

   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.


 
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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...

For rent increase freeze: Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council members Margaret Chin (D-1st), Corey Johnson (D-3rd), Mark Levine (D-7th), Ydanis Rodriguez (D-10th), and Helen Rosenthal (D-6th) - 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...

June 16, 2014

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%.

  The lenders 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.