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Inner City Press Reviews The Bronx - By District

     Click here for Inner City Press front page    ICP- Publishing and Taking Action Since 1987

  ICP has published Predatory Bender, a  book about a variety of Bronx-relevant topics  - click here for sample chapters, here for an interactive maphere for fast ordering and delivery, and here for other ordering informationThis page contains short sections from Predatory Bender, from Bronx Community Planning Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ...

Community Planning District 1

Including the neighborhoods of Mott Haven, Port Morris and Melrose

    We open with a streetscape: one enters on the Willis Avenue Bridge, past housing projects to 138th Street and its cuchifritos and medical supply houses.  Willis is somewhat bleak up to the Hub: funeral parlor with empty building on each side, a methadone clinic, churchs on sidestreets lined with brownstones and Partnership homes.  The intersection with Third, at 149th Street, is full of cheap electronics, old Class B office buildings, preachers with bullhorns and hot dog stands and tacos.  Again it gets quiet at 156th: gardens waiting to be evicted, the precinct house used in Fort Apache, The Bronx; the long abandoned courthouse, an apartment building with a sign for a pawn shop. More seriously, this area is targeted for Melrose Commons, expensive housing eating up dwindling subsidy with few units from South Bronxites.

   In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, Bertha Watkins lives with her three children in Apartment 4B of a building on St. Ann's Avenue and 149th Street, across from St. Mary's Park.  In summer, "on St. Ann's Avenue the electricity was off. The wires that came in from the street were old and thin; they'd burned through, the super said, when two of the tenants installed air-conditioners bought on credit from the Crazy Prices discount -- meaning "stolen" -- electronics store on Melrose Avenue. Mrs. Morales bless her heart had taken Duwon and the girls to the public swimming pool in St. Mary's Park. Bertha lay on the four-poster bed, pulling the trigger on a spray bottle from time to time. The breeze from the window would evaporate the water and she'd feel cool for a moment. Then she'd spray again." (PB Ch. 14, pg. 78-79).  Also in the novel, Micah Levine has a storefront law office on Morris Avenue across from Lincoln Hospital, with a neon sign trolling for victims of lead poisoning and medical malpractice...

  An ICP detail: the homesteading building on 146th and College Avenue was fully cleaned out by underhoused Bronxites.  Several moved in -- then the building was given to Sparrow Construction, and later still to Banana Kelly.  The former sent goons, the latter send spies.  The homesteaders were evicted, but not before holding a sit-in and wining a promise for the legalization of homesteading buildings on 173rd Street in Community District 3.  Still, one misses the view from the roof out toward Lincoln Hospital, the nuns from the order of Mother Theresa, the hip-hop basketball games on the wide asphalt playground there... 

  A bank come and gone: in May 1999, a second floor loft space facing the trapezoidal square where Willis meets Third Avenue, at 149th Street in the South Bronx, suddenly halted its business. Since 1995, Marine Midland Bank had run a consumer loan production office in the space, which had its own stairway up from Willis Avenue. Marine had said the business was good, that the Bronx was coming back. Then, with little public notice, white canvas sheet were unfurled to cover Marine Midland’s signs, and the loan office was gone.

     In the South Bronx, as in other low income urban neighborhoods, businesses come and businesses go, often with little notice. Banks, however, are different. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, many banks closed their branches in the South Bronx, as the population declined due to the abandonment of housing. Starting in 1994, due to local activism using the federal Community Reinvestment Act, six banks opened new office in the South Bronx.

     Marine was the second to open, and the second to close. One might surmise that Marine “gave the Bronx a chance,” and simply found there was not enough business in the community. That is contradicted, however, by government statistics on new housing and jobs that have been created in the area. Marine’s claim, once the issue was raised, was that it had opened or acquired other branches nearby, obviating the need for the Willis Avenue loan office. But Marine’s nearly consumer facility is on Fordham Road, some forty long blocks north of 149th Street. The history:

In September 1994, when ICP “state[d] that Marine Midland’s pattern and practice of marketing, branching, and servicing upper Manhattan and the Bronx constitutes a clear violation of the Community Reinvestment Act... Marine Midland spokesman Robert Becton disputed the charges, noted that the bank earned ‘satisfactory’ CRA ratings from the Fed.” American Banker, September 27, 1994, Pg. 4, Community Group Targets Marine Midland. See also, Buffalo News of September 24, 1994, Marine Denies Loan Bias in New York City.

   In October 1994, when HSBC reached an agreement to open the South Bronx loan production office, its executive vice president Peter Davidson claimed it was “part of the bank’s recent confirmation of ‘its commitment to serving the real needs of people throughout New York State.’” Buffalo News, October 19, 1994, Marine Bank To Increase Loans in New York City.

   In September 1995, when Marine opened the South Bronx loan production office, HSBC tried the same spin. The “regional president of Marine Midland Bank said its new office demonstrated its commitment to a ‘slow but steady’ expansion throughout the New York City markets. The Bronx office will include four full-time employees -- two small business loan specialists, a home mortgage expert, and a consumer products person who will handle credit cards and home equity loans.” American Banker, September 21, 1995, Pg. 8.

   In an April 1997 New York Times article about branches opened in the South Bronx in connection with Inner City Press’ advocacy, an official of another bank which opened a South Bronx branches stated that “it’s done exceptionally well. It’s absolutely a profitable branch. I treat it no differently than any branch in midtown Manhattan. In fact, I think the growth potential may be greater up there.” HSBC’s “president for metropolitan New York said that the South Bronx was unique because of a 2-year-old, multi-billion dollar effort by the city and Federal Government to build more than 30,000 housing units in a neighborhood that epitomized urban decay. The investment, he said, attracted middle-income residents and fueled a broad economic upswing that has helped the new branches.” New York Times, April 16, 1997, Pg. B1, Banks Discover the South Bronx; Forced to Open, Branches Profit and Refute Stereotypes.

    In August 1997, “Marine’s regional vice president [said], ‘We have three people working in our loan production office in the Bronx. They all speak Spanish. They all belong to community groups.’ By day, these employees work for the bank, and by night they are making outside contacts, [he] said.” American Banker, August 20, 1997, Pg. 1, The South Bronx Cheering as Banks Comes Back.

     So what happened, between August 1997 and early 1999? Already in August 1997, Marine had made its two acquisitions, and already had “10 branches in the Bronx and 7.8% of the county’s banking market.” Id. As noted, none of Marine’s Bronx consumer facilities was in the South Bronx, except the loan production office, which HSBC was still touting in August 1997. Has the Bronx’ economy declined since 1997? No. Other banks which opened South Bronx facilities say they are profitable, and, even, that they present greater opportunities than elsewhere. See  above.

    But on June 14, 1999, the New York Daily News reported:

“Three and a half years ago, with much fanfare, HSBC opened a loan office in the South Bronx in response to protests from community activists concerned over subsidiary Marine Midland’s lending record in the area. Now that the 1995 agreement to make at least $15 million worth of loan to the area’s residents has expired, HSBC is calling it quits.

“In a recent filing with state bank regulators, HSBC said it would close the office at 509 Willis Ave. The decision comes as HSBC is shelling out $10.3 billion in cash for Edmond Safra’s Republic New York Bank, strongly increasing its presence in the city.

Demand for the lending center had dwindled since the bank opened three full-service branches in nearby Bronx locations, said HSBC spokeswoman Linda Stryker. As she explained, ‘We had not booked a loan there in months.’”

     Marine Midland in 1999 claims that demand at the loan production office dwindled, then quickly makes reference to three other Bronx facilities, calling them “nearly” when none is within less than forty blocks. If Marine’s business at the loan production office dwindled, it either demonstrates Marine’s lack of commitment to serving low- and moderate-income communities, or indicates that Marine intentionally decided to undermine its one South Bronx facility, by “referring” prospects to branches more than forty blocks away. What happened to the “community outreach,” including at night, that HSBC publicly touted as recently as August 1997? It was discontinued, to save money, by closing Marine’s lone consumer facility in the South Bronx.

     And the cycle begins to repeat itself... A review of mortgage lending data, required under the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, reveals that in 1998, Marine Midland Bank received 190 mortgage loan applications from The Bronx. Based on Marine’s marketing, however, only 44 (or 23%) of these applications came from the South Bronx, defined as Community Planning Districts 1-6 -- less than a quarter of applications from the lower-income, more predominantly minority half of the county. Marine Midland Bank’s denial rate in the South Bronx was (a high) 28.6%. The denials were disproportionately to consumers and homeowners, actual residents of the South Bronx. The approvals are disproportionately “multifamily” loans, which do not distinguish between simple refinances and loans that actually help to improve a rental property for tenants.

     Bronx-based Inner City Press, now having created an affiliated legal advocacy group, the Inner City Public Interest Law Center, on June 24, 1999 raised these issues to the Federal Reserve Board and to the New York State Banking Department. Inner City Press placed a copy of the protest on its web site, at <>.  The Independent newspaper of London, England, where Marine’s parent HSBC is based, covered the protest on June 27, 1999: “‘We are aware a statement has been published on the internet,’ an HSBC spokesman said. ‘We expect U.S. regulators will invite our comments. We shall respond and are confident the challenge won’t delay our application.’”

     The Bronx reaches out - but who reaches back?   This is further updated, including regarding HSBC's 2003 acquisition of the predatory lender Household International, here

Community Board 1: 384 E.149th St. Rm. 320
Tel. 718- 585-7117
Fax. 292-0558

Cedric Lofton - D.M., George Rodriguez - Chair

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Community Planning District 2

Including the neighborhoods of Hunts Points and Longwood

  Hunt Point's now resurgent, with environmental and arts & culture groups.   It was not always this way: once, down the hill of huge abandoned buildings, down into the slaughterhouse of scrap yards and prostitutes, where sewage stews -- Barreto Point and Casanova, where a Cuban gun-runner lived and then a trash incinerator was planned. A couple lived in a hand-built house on that weedy lot for a decade. Oil drums, waiting for jobs unloaded trucks.  Out on Fox Street, a shelter run by Ramon Velez; on Longwood, the schoolhouse turned art gallery and bureaucratic haunt.  Compare pictures of 163rd Street, pre- and post-Gigante.  Call it SEBCO; consider Intervale, the El train station that was almost once lost.  Past the old Fort Apache, now surrounded by ranch-style homes...

Recent non-p.c. Hunts Points-inspired musing by ICP: (from Bronx Report of Oct. 13, 2003):

    New York City daily creates, if that's the right word, four hundred tons of metal and plastic that can be recycled. Recently a company put in a bid to handle all of this citywide recycling, in a scrap yard in Hunts Point in the South Bronx. One would expect local opposition to such a proposal, which would impose a citywide burden, including the increase in transport in and out of the area, on a community already packed with the whole city's junked cars, two huge sewage treatment plants, nine waste transfer stations and a vegetable and meat market serving the tri-state area and beyond.

   Surprisingly, however, both the tabloid Daily News and Cablevision-owned News 12 The Bronx found an organization, often pegged as an environmental justice group, to speak up in favor of the plan, and in support of the bid by the (also surprisingly German-named) Hugo Neu Schnitzer East recycling firm.

   This gives rise to some contrarian rumination, including on the question, "What is environmental justice?" On which of these two words does the emphasis go? Environmentalists favor recycling: that is a truism. But where does the recycling facility -- which is similar to a junk yard, at least to its neighbors -- get sited? Sticking to the geo-politics of New York City, such a facility would never get placed on the affluent Upper East Side of Manhattan. Though if you took a poll in that neighborhood, sometimes called the Silk Stocking District, you'd find a higher percentage of support for recycling than in many poorer areas.

   There are two issues, then: whether a process (like recycling) is good for the planet, and where it should be sited. More affluent areas have homeowners' associations, obstreperous lawyers as residents, and campaign contributions to shower on politicians. This is sometimes called NIMBY, short for "Not in My Back Yard."

   Here's a thought: environmental justice, among other things, is the (needed) NIMBY of the poor. The procedural / due process aspects of environmental justice -- better public notice, translations, full public participation -- are meant to make it less difficult for poor areas without lawyers and such to mount NIMBY campaigns.

   NIMBY is a phrase that is most often used pejoratively, almost despairingly: no one wants to accept a burden for the greater good. But until a new world arrives, the reality is that if more affluent areas can use NIMBY, poorer neighborhoods and communities of color should be able to use NIMBY tactics too. Otherwise, even more than is currently the case, all noxious or controversial land uses will be jammed into the poorer areas. Said otherwise, a disparate distribution of environmental burdens can only be discouraged by more and more effective NIMBY tactics by the poor. This is analogous to our American adversarial system of justice: if each side is equally uncompromising and obstreperous, the theory goes, that's how the truth will out.

   The system breaks down when those who are presumed (and supposed) to be the NIMBY advocates of the poor areas adopt more enlightened, less parochial views -- while laudable, this leaves the poor area without aggressive advocates, while the rich areas still have them.

   This conflation of environmentalism and local justice (or, this masquerading of environmentalists as local advocates, most often in neighborhoods they don't live in) leads to complicated conflicts that the media is unequipped to report on, even in retrospect. In the South Bronx, the National Resources Defense Council proposed a state-of-the-art paper recycling plant, a project praised by big-picture environmentalists beyond New York City, beyond the United States. But there was some local opposition, which NRDC first tried to co-opt, then denounced. The project was never built; tellingly, a writer from The New Yorker magazine published a book on the saga, blaming some in the community for being short-sighted or worse. But a question-- why didn't NRDC propose this recycling plant for the Upper East Side? Or for the suburban zones north of The Bronx, where NRDC's scientist lives and is involved in local politics? Answer: because these more affluent areas have effective NIMBY groups.

   Affluent homeowners (and condo- and coop-owners) fund their own NIMBY groups, while non-profits in areas like the South Bronx look beyond the local community for most of their funding. Since most foundations aspire to grander mission statements than, say, NIMBY for the poor, environmental justice non-profits in areas like the South Bronx end up portraying themselves as, and becoming, more big-picture "environmentalist" than they began, or than it makes sense to be. Lack of money makes it difficult for grassroots residents to hold not only politicians, but also non-profits, accountable.

   In conclusion, to this contrarian rumination: local low income communities are ill-served if their "environmental justice" organizations are taken over by big-picture environmentalists. Environmental justice is not only environmentalism -- it is also the NIMBY of the poor, and that is okay, that is how our system works, to the degree it does. Self-sacrifice for the greater good is laudable: but it shouldn't be only the poor who are doing it.

  A final caveat: here at Inner City Press, we love environmental justice. We cover it, we write about it, we engage in it. We participated, with others, in the campaign against the (Royal Bank of Scotland-funded) medical waste incinerator in Port Morris, against the storage of radioactive syringes near Zerega, and the concentration of toxins in East Tremont. In these types of fights, against blatant pollution, big-picture environmentalists and local justice folks are on the same page. But when the proposal is for a state-of-the-art recycling facility, whether for paper or metal or plastic, the two movements have different interests. ICP likes big-picture environmentalism, too -- but not at the expense of low income communities.

   This reminds Inner City Press of controversies and conflicts that arose during ICP's first forays in enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act. ICP filed challenges to Bank of New York, HSBC and others; some other citywide groups came to the banks' defense, saying they had good CRA records in, say, Manhattan. Bronx-based ICP said, "What about The Bronx?" Which was and is, of course, the lowest-income county in New York State. Now, ICP engages in both local CRA (for example, comparing a bank's lending in The Bronx and Manhattan) and in big-picture CRA (looking at nationwide lending trends, and even combating the export of predatory lending, by Citigroup, GE, AIG and HSBC, beyond the U.S.). But it's inescapable: big-picture CRA is not the same thing as local defense. Where the two conflict, ICP has what the liberation theologians have called a "preferential option" for local grassroots advocacy -- because it tends to be swallowed by, or subservient to, larger, more powerful issue - groups, and because there's just not enough of it. If the rich use the laws -- and they do -- then why can't the poor?

  In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, the activist Kurt Wheelock, and the storefront lawyer Micah Levine, both ask this question -- with different answers... Early in the novel, "from the West Farms Mall Bertha Watkins took the Two Train south past the ticky-tacky houses of Freeman Street, the crazy corner on Simpson where you're two feet away from the judo loft, then the old vaudeville theater on Prospect that was now a discount store, underground after Jackson Avenue and off she got at 149th Street." (PB Ch. 4, pg. 18).  The judo loft, timeless, is still there...

Community Board 2: 1029 E.163rd St.
Tel. 328-9125/6
Fax. 991-4974

John Robert - D.M.  Martha Rivera - Chair

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Community Planning District 3

Including the neighborhoods of Morrisania and Crotona Park East

   In Predatory Bender, the novel, Jack Bender works in an EmpiFinancial branch on 174th Street.  There is, in fact, a mall at this location; ICP fought the inclusion of a Rent-A-Center in this supposedly empowering project.  Click here for City Limits' account of that; here's hoping that doesn't happen, on 156th and Third Avenue and elsewhere.  Bertha Watkins "never intended to come to EmpiFinancial. Where she went was to the enticing showroom of Sicilian Furniture, which was located on 161st Street where Third Avenue wiggles, right in front of the abandoned courthouse. You passed it on the bus -- bedroom sets in fake rooms with mirrored walls -- and you couldn't miss it, especially not with the 'E-Z Credit and Lay-Away' banners that flapped in the breeze." (PB Ch. 2, pg 6).

Community Board 3: 1426 Boston Rd.
Tel. 378-8054
Fax. 378-8188

John Dudley - D.M.  Marcella Brown - Chair

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Community Planning District 4

Including the neighborhoods of Highbridge, Concourse, and Mount Eden


  In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, Jack meets his lawyer at the criminal courthouse on 161st Street: "Jack was smoking his third cigarette of the morning and reading the Post by the cop saw horses on the corner of Sherman. "You better get in line," Micah said. The criminal courthouse had only two metal detectors: one for the lawyers, the other for the great unwashed. There the guards wore rubber gloves as they patted down women with electronic wands, lingering too long by the crotch, by the breasts, sexually harassing from a distance and all authorized by the need for security.

"I'll meet you in the basement," Micah said. "Lorraine Thompson is already down there."

Jack stamped out his smoke and loosened his polka dot tie. "Don't start without me," he said.

"I don't think we're starting at all today," Micah said. He walked past the line of unwashed, wives and girlfriends come to watch their men arraigned.

"Hey hey, Mister Levine," the lawyers' line guard greeted him. "What's the good word?"

"Removal," Micah said smiling. "Or maybe recusal."

"You shysters never stop, do you."

There was no pat-down; the buzzer went off but the guard didn't care. What lawyer is going to bring a gun into the courthouse? The women, sure: they might try to sneak in a Tech 9, have a final shoot-'em-up and spring their man free. But the lawyers made money no matter who won or lost. No reason to shoot; no reason to pat-down."   (PB Ch. 42, pg. 244).

Community Board Information:

1650 Selwyn Ave.
Tel. 299-0800
Fax. 294-7870

Margaret Hunt-Tejeda - D.M.
Ade Rasul - Chair

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Community Planning District 5

Including the neighorhoods of Morris Heights, Mount Hope, and what's sometimes called Fordham

  In Predatory Bender, Candida and Kurt get off the D Train under the Grand Concourse, then walk east: "They got off on Tremont. To Candida it looked like Queens, the graffitied parts like Jackson Heights, maybe Jamaica. There was a wide street; the little Incas selling coco cherry rainbow, water ices in white paper cups, the older 'Ricans shaving blocks of ice to pour tamarindo on. "C'mon let's get one," Candida said. "I haven't had one for so long."

The cheapest piragua cost a dollar. Kurt got a fifty-cent cocito and they set off down the hill, mangos and verduras out on counters on the too-narrow sidewalk, the smell of piss from a doorway, a check cashing place with a line of people out the door. "Park Avenue, eh?" Candida said. "I didn't know it came all the way up here."

"It stops at Fordham Road," Kurt said. There were drunks on the stoop of Bronx Lebanon's A.A.; they whistled at Candida. "Deje este blancito," one of them slurred. "Vente con un verdadero hombre."

"Don't mind them," Candida said.

"I'm not."

Webster was wide, the gypsy cabs flying by, a run-down hotel with a crowd out in front. "That's a real hotel?" Candida asked. "I mean, people can stay there?"

Maybe she meant her and him, Kurt thought. It was a fleabag used to house homeless people with AIDS, the settlement of some class action lawsuit, a room of your own in the months before you died. "The City's rented all the rooms," Kurt said, not wanting to mention AIDS, not wanting to bring on bad luck. He'd offered to use condoms but Candida always said no. It felt better that way, but still.

East of Webster is was quieter or more desolate, glass half-empty or full. There was a soul food restaurant on the corner of Park. They turned north, long blocks of two-family houses attached, metal fences covering their front, sad somehow, this last stand, this need to live as in jail even as homeowners.

"It's here," Kurt said. It was a house like all the others, except that it had a driveway along one side -- semi-attached, then -- and a rolling gate on a door to the basement. Candida saw the sign and laughed: 'WatchCorp, by appointment only.'" (PB Ch. 20, pg. 116)

Community Board Information:

Bronx Community College
University Ave. & W.181st St.
Tel. 364-2030
Fax. 220-1767

Marysol Rodriguez - D.M.
Prof. Kenneth Fogarty - Chair

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Community Planning District 6

Including the neighborhoods of Belmont, Tremont, West Farms and Bathgate

  In Predatory Bender, Gina sets a meeting Tom Bain: "Gina paused -- she'd read Zagat, the only restaurants it listed in The Bronx were on Arthur Avenue. Vinny knew some people there but she no longer cared. She named a spot she'd seen with three tables outside, umbrellas advertising Italian sodas not even sold here. What was chinotto? "Seven o'clock," she said...

   They hit 187th Street and the driver turned right. "You're sure?" Bain asked.

"This they tell me," the driver said. There was a tall building that looked like a housing project, then incongruously a garish Italian men's store with fake gas lights in front, a bakery with a sign for biscotti, a mural on a tenement saying "The Good Taste of Tradition." "It is here," the driver said. He stopped in front of what looked like a social club; Bain saw Gina sitting at a table outside staring down at a book.

"You pay cash?" the driver asked. "Or charge to company?"

"Charge." Bain signed the receipt, added a ten dollar tip, why not. The perks of Wall Street. Bain wished Gina'd seen this. You might work to midnight but you rode home for free.

"Sorry to keep you waiting," Bain began. "The driver got lost, I felt like I was in the Bonfire--" He stopped. It wasn't a book she was reading, it was one of those cult-like Planner things. The lower-downs in Bain's firm were required to take some Time Management™ course and write all their dreams in this little red books. It was pathetic Bain thought. "So you're a Planner," he said.

Gina nodded, noting that Bain's reaction was different than Vinny's. "It's an amazing system," she said. "It helps you put the Nine Habits into practice."

Bain remembered the book she was reading in the diner. He hadn't know that these Planner-heads were connected. Over orzata and chinotto -- it was a vile tasting soda made of citrus and herbs, Gina found, and they said it key-noto like keno -- she explained the FranklinCubby company, how two Mormons had merged in Provo and the rest was history. "They're publicly traded," she said. "They have contracts with school boards and some stores in China now."

"Stores?" Bain asked.

"They sell audio tapes and even the Planner in electronic form, for the PalmPilot or any hand-held device."

She sounded like a press release, Bain thought. It was time to ask. "Uh, remember when you told me that the A.G. was nosing around?"

She nodded. She sure did. That was supposed to have gotten her a job, then he blew off her calls.

"Well there's some stupid stuff --" he kept himself from saying shit, if she knew the effort she'd appreciate it -- "down at the firm about it. Some trading was done, typical every-day stuff. Now the SEC is asking for records. It's probably nothing. I just wondered if you'd heard anything else." There. He'd tipped his hand about leverage, or at least that these weird sour drinks were not just about an assistant position. But he'd asked without asking. He was proud of himself.

He's still digging, Gina thought. The SEC part caught her attention. Stupid stuff, he'd said -- it didn't sound right without "shit," but the guy looked wimpier than before, more scared, younger -- that must mean an investigation. Was this an Opportunity™ presenting itself to her? Cubby would say so. He said the rewards started showing up even before the twenty-one days. "What kind of stupid stuff?" she asked. This was delicious as the soda wasn't.

"Just a letter. They want our e-mails and phone records from the days around the trade. I thought about because... I realized we spoke around then, I just didn't want you caught up in this bullshit." There was no other word; stuff just didn't work.

"I didn't do anything wrong," Gina said, emphasizing the I, watching him sweat. She raised the heat: "I mean, I didn't do any trades in Empi's stock. Not then, not since."

The ball buster, Bain thought. If she hadn't know the leverage, now she did. But the tipster -- or was it tipper? Bain couldn't remember, from his NASD ethics class -- got in trouble just like the trader. Maybe she should know this. It wasn't time for the Godfather yet. "Let's eat," he said. "Do they serve food here or just these, uh, drinks?"

Gina'd committed Zagat's four squibs about The Bronx to her Planner. "There's a place around the corner that got reviewed in the Times," she said.

"That's my Bible," Bain said half-serious. He paid for the soda, if you could call them that, and they walked two blocks east on 186th. Here were tables outside too. The inside was packed. They sat on white plastic chairs; Bain was surprised when the menu showed the entrees were thirty bucks. He had his company Gold Card, what did he care. "Get whatever you want," he said. "The firm lets us charge it." (PB Ch. 32, pg. 187-191)

Community Board Information:

1932 Arthur Ave.
Tel. 579-6990
Fax. 579-6875

Ivine Galaraza - D.M.
Wendy Rodriguez - Chair

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Community Planning District 7

Including the neighborhoods of University Heights and Norwood


In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, "[t]here was a place even further down the food chain from Empi, consumer finance outfit based right outside Chicago, HomeQuik. They had a second floor space on Fordham Road at the Concourse, across from the Marine Recruiting station where the finest flower of the Bronx' youth signed up with G.E.D.'s to fight the Arabs. From Subway to Saddam Hussein, it wasn't for Jack. But he went to HomeQuik and made his pitch." (PB Ch. 14, pg. 78).

Community Board Information:

229A E.204th St.
Tel. 933-5650
Fax. 933-1829

Rita Kessler - D.M.
Nora Feury - Chair

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Community Planning District 8

Including the neighborhoods of Spuyten Dyvil, Kingsbridge and yes-it's-in-The-Bronx Riverdale

In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, "Micah had driven around Riverdale to Steely Dan to kill time. The Hebrew Home for the Aged with its Alzheimer's cattle call on its verdant pasture; the Wave Hill Mansion with its tasteful plaque to Mark Twain..." (PB Ch. 24, pg. 134).

Community Board Information:

5676 Riverdale Ave.
Tel. 884-3959
Fax. 796-2763

Grace Belkin - D.M.
Lorance Hockert - Chair

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Community Planning District 9

Including Soundview, Castle Hill, Parkchester and please-keep-it-quiet Harding Park

  There is an office of Household International in Westchester Square...

Community Board Information:

1967 TurnbullAve.
Tel. 823-6262
Fax. 823-6461

Francisco Gonzalez - D.M.
Elizabeth Rodriguez - Chair

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Community Planning District 10

Including Throggs Neck, Eastchester, Coop City and Country Club - and Hart and City Islands

Here is a site about the annual remembrance rite at the Potter's Field cemetery on Hart Island

In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, "Arthur's one-and-a-half lung-lobes were enough for Bertha but like they said in old newsreels on PBS, time marches on. Through the MTA Arthur had not only health insurance but also death insurance, a death benefit to be used for a grave-plot and ceremony. "Any religion you want," they'd told her and so she'd listened to that "dust to dust" and "he was a family man" from an oily Spanish priest she barely knew, the fancy black car like the Mayor's driving through the rain all the way out to St. Raymond's Cemetery, by the highway by the Throgs Neck Bridge just before you'd get to Queens. The people from Concourse Village had given her three baskets of fruit, as if when your husband died all you'd want was a banana and some fuzzless peaches. They'd been nice at Concourse Village but there was no way she could afford to live there anymore." (PB Ch. 1, pg. 10).

Community Board Information:

3165 E.Tremont Ave.
Tel. 892-1161
Fax. 863-6860

James Vacca - D.M.
Vincent Ruiz - Chair

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Community Planning District 11

Including Morris Park, Van Nest, Laconia and Pelham Parkway

   In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, "[t]he gypsy cab dropped Jack Bender on Olinville Avenue, not in front of his building but two doors down. There was a huge SUV double-parked, a wild-haired kid with a Walkman taking orders for drugs from the driver. Jack took the first of the cardboard boxes out, balancing it on the roof of a parked car. He put the second box on top. As the gypsy cab drove off Jack heard a voice from behind.

"If my car's scratched you gonna pay." It was the wild-haired teen's boss, a fat man in his late forties with a gold chain and an eye that had gone all white -- a violent man, clearly, not a man to be trifled with. Jack picked up his boxes but still the man wouldn't let them go. Jack nodded, trying to walk by the man without looking into his eye. "Yo what's in there," the man demanded.

"Jes papers," Jack mumbled. He could run for his building's entrance, but he'd have to put down the boxes to take his key ring out of his pocket.

"Lemme see." The guy took the top box and there was nothing Jack could do about it, he was holding the bottom box with both hands.

"I told you, it's jes papers."

The guy was flipping through the files, shaking the box around. Some of the files fell out on the sidewalk. "Boring pinhead sh*t," the guy said, throwing the box on the ground. As Jack stooped down to pick it up the guy added, "Don't be touchin' my car, ya hear?" Jack's mouth had gone dry and he didn't say anything. He tried not to think anything either. He'd moved here for this job and now he'd been suspended and he lived on a block with drug dealers and had to take their two-bit pay-back...  There. If you confronted your fears you could see that they weren't so important."

Community Board Information:

1741 Colden Ave.
Tel. 892-6262
Fax. 892-1861

John Fratta - D.M.
Dominic Castore - Chair

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Community Planning District 12

Including Williamsbridge, Wakefield, Edenwald and East- and Baychester

In the 2003 novel, Predatory Bender, Jack Bender's (first) lawyer goes to Wakefield: "The postage-paid envelope wasn't returnable to the West Farms Mall but rather to EmpiFinancial in New Rochelle, the office Janet Peel worked from. Lorraine took the Bronx River Parkway to Wakefield, drove around under the elevated train, stopped in for some curry goat and rice and peas, Jamaican food made best up here. Then she crossed into Westchester County." (PB Ch. 10, pg. 58).

Community Board Information:

4101 White Plains Rd.
Tel. 881-4455/6
Fax. 231-0635

Carmen Angueira - D.M.
Fr. Richard Gorman - Chair

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