Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Listing of the Day: 149th and Grand Concourse

631 Walton Ave, 5 Bedroom, 3 Bath - $450,000

The listing calls this Mott Haven, but it's a little far north to be Matt Haven proper. Nonetheless, it is right off of 149th and the Concourse, which is a pretty decent location. The the new Gateway Center shopping complex will be in your back yard, and we're pretty sure the whole Yankee Stadium development orgy will find its way down to this hood.

On top of the nabe being on the cusp of being revitalized, this house itself is a real gem. For starters, the sheer size is enough to give a listing scavenger like myself pause. FIVE bedrooms and THREE bathrooms. Four stories, a roof deck, and fireplace (unclear if it functions, but it sure does look pretty). The listing speaks about a cellar too, although I'm not sure if it is finished. Even if it is not, the storage would be pretty sweet.

Like most Bronx hoods, transportation is efficient and close: the 4 train stops at 149th and the Grand Concourse.

This thing must be a price cut, because full houses in reasonable shape in this hood just don't (or didn't) list for this paltry price. So, once you sort out your portfolio of mortgage backed securities and certified debt swaps, make a smart investment and buy low in the Bronx.


Brooklyn Gentrification Stinks (Literally)

Okay, I know we promised we'd stop picking on Brooklyn... But this one is too disturbing.

According to this Daily News article by Erin Einhorn, greedy Brooklyn landlords are so intent on pushing up rents that one group of owners allegedly left a bag of dead cats in their Bushwick building to try to get long-time rent-stabilized tenants to move out.

I guess the landlords saw Yofiore was charging $11 for frozen yogurt over in Brooklyn Heights and they wanted to get their piece of the Brooklyn gentrification pie.

Poor Brooklynites... tasers, machetes, and now rotting cat carcasses. But at least the media still loves them. New York Mag's 40th Anniversary Issue is smattered with praise for the hipster paradise. Not surprisingly, there's no real mention of the BoogieDown... One would think maybe they'd at least include a piece in their events calendar about the SBX Film Festival this weekend. They do, however, have a listing for Bronx Museum of the Arts "Street Art, Street Life" exhibit. Baby steps people, baby steps.

*Photo of sad kitty courtesy of sunstormproductions.net*


Quest for Challah in the Bronx...

As today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, we thought it appropriate to highlight Daily News reporter Dorian Block's quest last week for challah bread made in the Bronx.

After trying about five different bakeries in the Bronx, as well as speaking to the faithful at Temple Emanuel in Parkchester and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Mr. Block was finally able to find authentic Bronx challah bread at M & M's Kosher Bakery on Johnson Avenue in Riverdale.

One thing Bronxites of any faith can mostly likely agree on is that challah bread is hella good.

*Photo courtesy of Alvarez/News*


Double Standards for Double Parkers?

Let me start out by saying that I know many people will not agree with BoogieDowner's take on this issue... but nonetheless, here we go:

The Daily News' Dorian Block is reporting that Bronx merchants are angry about the amount of tickets being given to customers who park illegally in front of their shopping strips. The Bronx Business Alliance has even met with local politicians to discuss the "predatory" nature of the traffic violations distribution in the Bronx.

I cannot believe this is the Bronx Business Alliance's idea of working to "revitalize the commercial corridors of the Northeast Bronx" (their mission according to their webpage). Do you know why oftentimes I will head to Westchester to run certain errands? Because the commercial strips near me are all clogged due to double parkers! Double parkers get me almost as fired up as the alternate side street cleaning rules.

I guess I'm just one of those idiots who actually follows the rules because I know that if I break the law, I run the risk of getting a ticket. It's a very simple concept, these pesky traffic violation laws. Yes, I've been on the receiving end of a ticket or two here in the Bronx... but most of the time it was rightfully deserved and I pay it and move on.

Do I feel bad for the disabled polio survivor mentioned in the article who was given a ticket while sitting in her illegally parked car. Yeah, I guess so. But most people who I see double parked in front of stores are able-bodied and most likely not polio survivors. They just suffer from a bad case of chutzpah.

So, in closing, I know I'm most likely the only person in the borough who feels this way, but keep up the good work NYPD traffic violations unit.

I will now duck behind my computer monitor to avoid the rotten tomatoes which will inevitably be thrown my way.

*Photo courtesy of Albans/News*


The Gays are Coming - Yessssss!!!!! (Part 2)

As you may recall, BoogieDowner did a post about a month ago about the uptick of gays in the Bronx as reported by the Daily News.

Well, it seems the New York Times is hopping on the bandwagon and has a feature today based on the same data which was released last month reporting that the Bronx is home to the highest percentage of gay couples who are raising kids.

What I love about the rehashing of this story is that it highlights what a great borough the Bronx is to raise kids in... the relative affordability and endless amount of green space are both huge incentives to families looking for a nice place to call home that is still close to midtown Manhattan.


Gray Lady Covers Our Humble Little Sign War

Those of you who live in the Bedford Park area undoubtedly are aware of the sign war that's been brewing amongst Bedford Park Blvd. merchants, which Norwood News covered here.

Well, the war has apparently become so heated that the New York Times' James Angelos covered it this weekend. I guess we'll file this one under all press is good press?

As a little background for those of you who have better things to do than follow the details of this sign war, Kennedy Fried Chicken put up a huge sign (pictured above), which ticked off the merchants on either side, Bedford Park Gourmet Deli and Rose Flower Chinese restaurant. They say the sign blocked their signs and, therefore, business went down. I know the numbers don't lie, but I don't really understand how that happened. In my mind, if I'm setting out for the deli for a cup of coffee, a bagel and a newspaper, a sign will not sway me to all of a sudden get fried chicken and biscuits. But hey, that's just me.

So now Bedford Park Gourmet Deli (who seem to have no plan to change their $10,000 sign, which they love) has bought a big ol' green sign for the chinese place to essentially give the middle finger to Kennedy Fried Chicken.

So that's the story. Of course hearing about how signs can really determine the success of a business, the BoogieDowner is now considering putting an awning outside the door of our apartment.
*Photo courtesy of Rob Bennett/NY Times*


More On Bronx Development Projects

Click here to read the Daily News' Bill Egbert's take on the various development projects taking place in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx and beyond.

The article seems to suggest that observers are hopeful that the Wall Street crisis will actually have a positive impact on the Bronx in the form of budget-conscious companies capitalizing on the real estate bargains to be had in the BoogieDown.

Assuming any incoming businesses work with local community boards and observe zoning restrictions, an influx of new companies in the Bronx would bring with it the promise of new jobs for the borough.

Maybe if Yofiore, a yogurt shop based in uber-expensive Brooklyn Heights, had set up shop in the Bronx, they wouldn't be forced to sell fro-yo for $11 a pop in order to pay their monthly rent of somewhere around $14,000 for a measly 600 square foot shop. Just sayin'...


Monday, September 29, 2008

Listing of the Day: Norwood Studio

3530 Rochambeau Ave. - Studio $810/mo

Really great and undervalued hood. Norwood has the Williamsbridge Oval, proximity to Van Cortlandt Park and cheap rent. This is in the northern part of the nabe, near Gun Hill Rd. and Montefiore Medical Center, but you would still be able to walk to the Botanical Garden if were were feeling inspired.

Rochambeau is a particularly pretty block (maybe the prettiest in Norwood), as reported by BoogieDowner and supported with photographic evidence a while back.

You'd have decent shopping on one of three shopping strips: Gun Hill Road, Jerome Avenue, or Bainbridge/204th (for the boozehounds there are still a few old school Irish bars on 204th if you like that rustic old-man bar vibe). Your transportation would be pretty nice as well, with the 4 at Mosholu Parkway and Jerome Ave and the D at 205th and Bainbridge

For the fresh food set, there is actually a Norwood Food Co-op that supplies members with affordable, fresh and eco-friendly food. Pricing and details after the jump. We'll let you know how it is; the BoogieDowner just recently joined!

So, cheap rent, great parks, easy transportation, and healthy and fresh produce - Norwood's sounding pretty good.


Other Boroughs Must Be GREEN With Envy...

Give you one guess as to what this post about... That's right - yet another major green construction project here in the BoogieDown. Our post titles are so intelligent, aren't they?

The Real Deal's Sara Polsky is reporting that a $34 million early childhood center being constructed in Norwood is one of the city's first green schools.

Slated to be completed in late 2009, the center will host 515 pre-k through 3rd grade students and was designed by Dan Kriegel Associates. The project uses green materials and follows New York City's green building laws.

Would have loved if Real Deal scared up a rendering or two of this massive project.

*Image courtesy of www.greenbuildingsnyc.com*



Bronx Students Make Global Impact

Last week the New York Times' David Gonzalez reported on the students of St. Catharine Academy on Williamsbridge Road near Pelham Parkway holding a walk-a-thon to raise money for women who have been victims of abuse in the Congo region of Africa.

The students raised $8,000 for the women of Africa. Read more about it here.

Workin' for the Weekend

Okay, we know many of you out there are reading BoogieDowner right now because you have a case of the Monday's and are trying to avoid looking at your to-do list... Which is why we want to lift your spirits by alerting you to a super-cool event happening this weekend in SoBro!

The first annual SBX Film Festival will be taking place this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the Mott Haven section of SoBro. There are too many events to even mention in this post, which is why you should click here to check out their website for all the nitty-gritty details. But a few highlights of the weekend will be a kick-off party Friday at 6pm at Bruckner Bar & Grill, followed by opening night shorts, and a street arts festival Saturday from 12pm to 6pm at 1 Bruckner Blvd. and Third Avenue, complete with art vendors and a DJ spinning hip-hop and house music. The night will end with an outdoor screening of the Bronx classic "Krush Groove."

There are tons of other films being screened and events happening Saturday and Sunday at Bruckner Bar & Grill, as well as Haven Arts Gallery, SoBro Studios, Pregones Theatre, and G-Bar. Cost is only $10 per day for all events, or $5 if you have a student ID. Check out their site for more details. We will be out of town for the weekend, but would love if a BoogieDowner reader would attend and send in some pics and thoughts on the weekend!


Bronx Democratic Committee Meeting

I will not even pretend to be able to explain to you what is happening within the turbulent world of Bronx politics. I will leave it to the professionals over at the West Bronx Blog. Check out their blow by blow coverage of the rowdy Bronx Democratic Committee meeting last night at the Utopia Paradise Theater.

The one thing I feel I am well-versed enough to comment on is Council Member Maria Baez's choice of apparel. Couldn't she have come up with something a bit more professional than this brown corduroy/velour looking nightmare of an outfit? This was a big night for Bronx Democrats, and she could have stepped it up a notch (or ten).
*Photo by Jordan Moss*


Listing of the Day: Country Club House

3208 BARKLEY AVENUE, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths - $495,000

About a week ago we received an email from a BoogieDowner reader who has poured tons of TLC into her beloved 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath semi-attached home in the desirable County Club neighborhood of the Bronx. Due to recent complications she has been forced to put the home on the market... From her description below you'll see the love that's gone into renovating this house:

"the back-story: we bought it two years ago and it was in dire need of help. we poured our hearts and souls and blood, sweat and especially tears into renovating it.......brand new kitchen, all stainless appliances - new washer/dryer - new electrical and plumbing in the basement (we were in the middle of renovating it to become a possible second income apartment and its very close to being done) - new deck in back - new windows - refinished wood floors - new trim and all solid wood doors - custom furniture was built....
its three bedrooms - 1.5 baths - potential for 2.5 once the one in the basement is complete - lot is 95' x 25' - has a nice backyard with good side entry - new door and front windows in the basement - you have to see it to see how much work we put into it.

OH and by the bronx i mean the cutest suburban little neighborhood called Country Club - very quiet, lots of kids - a few blocks from the LI sound - so that means the most amazing sea breezes in the mornings and evenings...."

So there you have it... a nice house at a nice price in a great hood. For more information or to view the property, call Claudia at 917-209-9527 or email grimaldiclaudia@yahoo.com. Or check out her Facebook profile here.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Morris Park 911 Center?

Thank you to a BoogieDowner reader who alerted us to this New York Times story by Katherine Bindley about a possible 911 Emergency Call Center being planned for a nine-acre site at what is now the Hutchinson Metro Center in Morris Park. The call center would work in conjunction with the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn, which fields about 33,000 calls per day.

Residents are concerned that the possible arrival of this center, which has grown from its originally planned 17-story building to a 37-story building, will overwhelm the mostly residential neighborhood that already shows signs of overcrowding.

Community Board 11 has voted against the plan for the call center, but feels that the massive project will proceed anyway and strain the resources of the neighborhood.

Hopefully CB 11 is able to squash the plans for this center, or least get the city to scale back the nature of the project so that it is more in keeping with the low-key vibe of Morris Park.

*Photo courtesy of www.wisebread.com*


We're Flattered

Someone on Craigslist has been bragging about being featured as a "Listing of the Day." See Below (or check out the whole listing after the jump).
Large 2br apartment is gorgeous and all new. Offers a brand new kitchen with custom oak cabinets, wilsonart-granite style countertops, ceramic tile floor and backsplashes, and stainless steel appliances including a dishwasher.

FEATURED AS A BRONX LISTING OF THE DAY - http://boogiedowner.blogspot.com/2008/09/listing-of-day-bedford-fordham-2.html

Also has new Bathroom with porcelain tile wainscoting, marble accents and new fixtures including pedestal sink, tub and toilet and all new plumbing. Apartment has good closet space and lots of light with refinished inlaid hardwood floors, and pre-war details.

We're glad we could help.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Judy Garland - Eat Your Heart Out!

We've got our own cool trolley to sing about....

Many of you have heard about the Bronx Trolley that was shuttling thankful tourists and Manhattanites up from the City at Seventh Avenue and 53rd Street in Midtown and over to several well-worn spots on the Bronx tourist trail - the zoo, the Bronx Botanical Gardens, Little Italy, etc. (That was how several of my friends made their first foray into our borough - they said the trolley was packed to the gills and everyone had a great time). Sadly it appears that the tanking economy may have put a kabosh on this weekly Saturday event. (Fingers crossed that this is only a temporary situation).

However - good news! The Bronx Culture Trolley seems to have been spared a similar fate. It appears that it again will start to clang, clang, clang down the streets of Bronx every first Wednesday of the month. So, save the date for this week. The tours leave at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. from Hostos Community College (reception at 5:00) and this week will stop at several cultural hot spots of the South Bronx. (Advance reservations suggested). Have fun! I might even see you there! Here's some serious praise from the Daily News proclaiming the Bronx Culture Trolley the best of any borough's.
By Golly, Our Trolley is the Best!

There is also a great Bronx Trolley tour for the those who want a more seaside adventure. Trolleys to tour City Island and the Pell-Bartow House run every first Friday and start at the Pelham Bay Park 6-train stop (end of the line). Click HERE for more information

Judy Garland "Meet Me In St. Louis" photo courtesy of www.moma.org

~Simone Davis

Sears and Applebees Part of Fordham Road Surge

Lore Crogan of the Daily News reported that the newly renovated Sears building (which will have 14-stories of top-tier class-A office space right across from Metro North) at Fordham Plaza is just the start to the influx of dollars to the Fordham Road shopping area.

In addition to the new-look of the Sears building, the Bronx will get it's 4th (and biggest) Applebee's. Not sure why an Applebee's in Bed Stuy made a little buzz on Curbed , and this Applebee's gets nary a mention. BoogieDowner thinks that Applebee's will do well there. Hungry broke college students from Fordham might be a nice customer base, as well as famished shoppers, who are ravenous after grabbing all those deals on Fordham Road.

Another big addition, not just to Fordham Road, but to the Bronx as a whole, is Best Buy. Yep, it's hard to believe, but the BoogieDown will be getting it's first and only Best Buy. Other nice additions will be a Walgreen's and a 24-Hour Fitness Center. The timeline right now is that most or all of these retailers will be open for the Christmas season.

Fordham Road has always been one of the best shopping strips in the Bronx - it's just going to get a little bit better with all these new retailers coming in and dollars being spent to upgrade buildings.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Birthplace of Hip-Hop to be Sold

In the words of the immortal Fat Joe, "the Bronx mothered this rap s**t." It seems like "this rap s**t" might become a geographical orphan soon.

Jennifer Lee of the NY Times is reporting that 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, where DJ Kool Herc spun some of the first rap records ever, is going to be sold after all. There had been major resistance and lawsuits to stop an investment group led by Mark Karasick from selling the historic building. The building is currently part of the Mitchell-Lama moderate housing program. By selling the building, the owners are in effect 'buying out' of the program. Translation: these apartments are going market rate sooner rather than later.

While, the BoogieDowner certainly acknowledges the owners' right to buy and sell what it owns, we do have to ask about what is going to happen to the people currently renting there. Are their leases not renewed when they end? How much will rent jump? Will the new owner try to convert the building to condos or co-ops? These are all questions that need to be asked.

And one last question: will there be some sort of memorial or landmark to indicate the fact that one of the few original American art forms started at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue?

If any BoogieDowner readers live in 1520 Sedgwick, please chime in and let us know what is going to happen to your rent and the future of your lease, etc.

BoogieDowner thinks this is a little sad. We love the rap s**t.


More Stuff To Do This Weekend

Our friends at the West Bronx Blog are reporting that there will be a great street festival in Norwood tomorrow (9/27) along the Jerome Avenue shopping strip. The festivities will include live music, a hoops game, face painting and other kiddie goodness, so bring the fam.

All this revelry is sponsored by the Jerome- Gun Hill BID, so do some shopping while you're over there to show support.

Click through to see the details on West Bronx Blog's post.


SoBro So Green

This piece by Tom Liddy from Monday's New York Post managed to slip past us somehow... But it is quite appropriate to highlight it now on the eve of "National Day of Action."

Bronxite Majora Carter, who is an environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Sustainable South Bronx, has been nominated for a Post Liberty Medal in the Lifetime Achievement category.

Carter, who grew up in Hunts Point, has spearheaded numerous pushes for more green space and parks in the South Bronx, including the development of the South Bronx Greenway and Hunts Point Riverside Park.

The following is an except from the New York Post article:

Carter's vision for her neighborhood includes helping jobless residents escape poverty through "green-collar" jobs. "If you invest in people, the benefits will come in multiples," she said. [NY Post]

Congratulations on your many accomplishments Majora!

Show your support of green initiatives in the Bronx by participating in one of the "National Day of Action" events that are planned for tomorrow throughout the BoogieDown. They are listed in the below Events Reminder.

*Photo by Dan Brinzec from nypost.com*


Events Reminder: TGIF! (updated)

Getcha Freak On...
Music, booze, and dancing... it doesn't get much better than that on a rainy Friday night.

Check out Bronx Revolution's party tonight at Bruckner Bar & Grill. In addition to great drink specials, there will be DJ's spinning punk, indie rock, elecro, 80s and new wave music. There will also be live performances by Kissy Kamikaze and William Control.

Pretty sweet lineup for a $7 cover, eh? Bring a flyer and get in for only $5. Doors open at 10pm. For more info, click here.

For a More Civilized Party...

Check out the Chamber Music Concert by the Bronx Symphony Orchestra at the Bronx Library Center (E. Kingsbridge Road at Briggs Avenue).

This concert kicks off the orchestra's 2008-2009 season.

Concert is free and starts at 2:30pm.

Getcha Green On...
Tomorrow is "Green Jobs Now" National Day of Action. Events will be taking place throughout the country to promote the importance of creating green jobs for a more sustainable economy. A few different events will be taking place throughout the Bronx. Here's a run-down:

$ Greening for Green $ - Sustainable South Bronx will be hosting a concert and party at Hunts Point Riverside Park (Lafayette Avenue and Edgewater Road) to highlight the accomplishments of their Bronx Environmental Stewardship (BEST) program. There will be live music, games, healthy food, recycling workshops, art activities for kids, and more... Event runs from 1 to 4pm. Click here for more info.

Own Our Corp will be hosting a party tomorrow at Claremont Park (E. 172 Street and Clay Avenue by the tables) with live music and free food. Here's the best part: You can even go and make your very own Obama t-shirt! There will also be a voter registration table. Event runs from 1 to 5pm. Click here for more info.

Green Worker Cooperatives and ReBuilders Source will be hosting a block party tomorrow between E. 145th and E. 147th Streets in front of ReBuilders Source at 461 Timpson Place. The party, designed to celebrate green jobs in the South Bronx, will feature face-painting, a bbq, music, games, green home improvement demonstrations, and more... The event runs from 11am to 4pm. Click here for more info.

Know of anything else happening this weekend in the BoogieDown? Send us a tip at boogiedowner@gmail.com.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Listing of the Day: Too Good To Be True?

2415 Creston Ave., 3 Bedroom - $1350/month

Doth my eyes deceive me? A three bedroom apartment that rents for $1,350 in the Fordham section of the Bronx just might be the cheapest three bedroom rental in the city. The BoogieDowner has outdone itself in bargain hunting. We once boldly stated that we had found the "cheapest three bedroom in the city", and even Curbed took notice. But this puppy is even cheaper than that previously declared find.

Now we all know that sometimes listings can be deceiving and that some real estate agents will blatantly lie about sizes and location. We hope the listing agent, Jhoanni, is an upstanding professional and that this listing is truthful. I hate to even raise the spectre of anything being fishy and this being too good to be true, but $1,350/month for a three bedroom is outrageously cheap - even by Bronx standards.

Jhoanni, if you're out there please confirm that this is actually three bedrooms and that the price is in U.S. dollars and not Euros. The pics aren't great, but at this price it's hard to complain about anything.

This location is not bad either. 188th and the Concourse is right near the B/D at Fordham Road and right near all that Fordham Rd. shopping, Poe Park, and that super-duper Kingsbridge Library.

And just for kicks, the BoogieDowner want to run the numbers. Assuming that this is split by three people, each would pay $450/mo, which is $112/week, which is $16/day. I'd call less than $20 a day a pretty good deal for housing, no?


Nos Gusta Mucho Santa Clarita

Thanks to a fantastic tip from a BoogieDowner reader, who happens to be a Mott Haven foodie, our recent trip down to Mott Haven was anchored by a delicious and affordable meal at Santa Clarita (located at 237 Willis Avenue @ 138th St.).

The food and atmosphere in this restaurant left nothing to be desired. Cute tables and lighting fixtures, nice wait staff, prompt service, and most importantly the food was some of the best Mexican I've ever had.

The wife had tacos dorados, which are soft shell tacos that are then fried to golden goodness. An order of four was $7.95. I went with the BoogieDowner reader's suggestion of the chorizo sopes. Wow! Absolutely unreal. If you ever go to Santa Clarita (and you should) you are obligated to get the sopes. Trust the BoogieDowner; the sopes are the truth. An order of three was $7.50. We also had an order of nachos, whose size dwarfed both of the main courses. The massive, massive nachos were only $7.95. Coronas were $4 each, which isn't quite $3.50, but we're okay with that.

Santa Clarita is a nice off the beaten path option in Mott Haven. We're not suggesting you stop patronizing Alexander's or Bruckner Bar and Grill (we love Alexander's and Bruckner Bar and Grill), we're just asking you to expand your horizons north of Bruckner Blvd. If you live in Mott Haven, Santa Clarita delivers too. Pick up the phone and enjoy a little Tenochtitlan heaven.

Getting there: Take the 6 train to 138th Street and 3rd Avenue.

Lehman Educating in Style

Check out the West Bronx Blog for renderings of Lehman College's new Science building.

I am admittedly no scientist, but from the looks of it this is going to be a world class facility. The first phase of the project is scheduled to be done sometime in 2011. BoogieDowner likey...

*Photo courtesy of www.ballpointpensnow.com*


Highbridge Lowdown

Last night we learned of the recent birth of yet another Bronx blog! This one is called The Highbridge Lowdown and it is dedicated to the coverage of, you guessed it, all things Highbridge.

The blogger, Sarah Maslin Nir, is a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and will be posting her unedited classwork on the site for all to see.

One of her pieces on a green low-income housing project in Highbridge was even picked up by The Huffington Post. Congrats!


Pelham Bay: "The Veritable Picture of Residential Stability"

Props to a BoogieDowner reader who alerted us to this nice write up about the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx in today's amNew York.

Written by Joe Filippazzo, the article describes Pelham Bay as a middle-class neighborhood that is "the veritable picture of residential stability."

With a beautiful stock of one and two-family homes and close proximity to City Island and Pelham Bay Park, the residential real estate market in Pelham Bay is competitive, mostly due to the fact that many properties in the tight-knit community are snapped up through word of mouth before they ever have a chance to hit the market.

That being said... BoogieDowner has an insider scoop on a cute Pelham Bay house at a nice price that we'll be featuring as a "Listing of the Day" soon. We're such a tease, aren't we?

*Photo courtesy of Dennis W. Ho*


The Brooklyn Mark-Up Reaches New Heights

After the New York Times feature on BoogieDowner came out, we received a few emails from friends of ours who live in our former borough who said, "Please, take it easy on Brooklyn."

And you know what? We will take it easy on Brooklyn... Right after this post about $11 frozen yogurt on Court Street. (The beauty of the world wide inter-web allows me to have my fingers crossed behind my back right now without anybody knowing...)

A Daily News article by Veronika Belenkaya states that a fro-yo shop in Brooklyn Heights, Yofiore, is charging their customers $11.87 for a large frozen yogurt with toppings. One of the toppings is actually Tiffany solitaire diamonds... psych! Gotcha, right?

Seriously, this is disgraceful.

When asked for comment on the issue, one resident said, "This is downtown Brooklyn. Whatever flies in Manhattan flies here." That's the problem a-holes - it shouldn't "fly there" because you don't live in Manhattan. You live in Brooklyn... You know, the place where a naked dude just got tasered by the NYPD and fell to his death and hipsters are getting attacked by machetes? Now tell me again, why is the Bronx so scary?

So why the exorbitant price tag for something as simple as frozen yogurt? The shop's owner seems to have gotten caught up in the media-generated real estate frenzy in Brooklyn and pays somewhere around $14,000 for his 600 square foot space. Anybody else a little concerned about the inevitable bad outcome from these grossly over-inflated property values in Brooklyn and the countless numbers of new construction Fedders buildings that are littering the borough?

*Photo courtesy of Rosier for Daily News*


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Listing of the Day: Riverdale Co-op

3235 CAMBRIDGE AVENUE, 4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms - $649,500

Now, the BoogieDowner usually does not cover much Riverdale real estate. That's not because we don't love Riverdale, we do. Van Cortlandt Park is great, Wave Hill is great, I can even enjoy a nice Manhattan Japers' hoops game when they're getting thumped by the Fordham Rams.

The scarcity of Riverdale real estate coverage is due to the fact that for the most part the cost per square foot you'll get in Riverdale is much higher than in other less exclusive parts of the Bronx. But there's no denying the draw of the quasi-suburban feel while still technically being in the city. There's a reason people pay a premium to snatch up real estate in Riverdale.

If the mantra of the Listing of the Day is cheap, big, and with good transportation, this listing is all about size. A BoogieDowner reader sent in a hot tip on a HUGE (if not cheap) place in Riverdale (Thanks, Joy!). Size is what got this puppy in the door.* So here we go...

This thing really is massive in terms of size. It's bigger than most houses. Four bedrooms and THREE BATHROOMS. Really, how many people have three bathrooms in their residence? Million dollar homes on Long Island or in Westchester do not have three bathrooms.

There is also laundry in the apartment itself, a den, and eleven closets. While the price tag is certainly out of range for a lot of BoogieDowner readers, if you're hunting and that's your price point, why pay the same amount for a 600 square footer on the Upper East Side or Tribeca?

Transportation can be tough in Riverdale with no direct subway line, but if you can pay this number for an apartment, you can afford the Metro North ticket into Grand Central.

*that's what she said


NY Magazine Really Doesn't Have a Sarcometer

Ok, so the BoogieDowner is pretty psyched to get into NY Magazine's Daily Intel blog. Even though we acknowledge that NY Magazine is blind to the wonders of the BoogieDown and have called them out in the past, press is press and we're not complaining, BUT...

The post on the Daily Intel commented on the BoogieDowner's coverage of the breakdancing competition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. I guess the poster took umbrage at the usual BoogieDowner snarkiness when it comes to Brooklyn.
To cut a long story short, it seems that Mr. Murphy couldn't see through the Olsen-twin-thin veil of sarcasm of the post. Of course we're jealous of the media coverage that Brooklyn gets. That's sort of the whole point of BoogieDowner: to get people to realize the hotness and ensure that the Bronx is covered (at all) and in a positive like. Bronxites are tired of being the unloved borough.

To be clear, we are not envious of Brooklyn as a borough, just a tad (okay a lot) jealous of the misplaced attention and coverage that the BK garners from the media. It's kinda like Brooklyn is like Kim Kardasian calling the paparazzi before she poops so they can cover it, and they come running to comment on the color and consistency.

So there you go. It's off our chest. Now, remind me again what's the 4th step of this program?


Mmmmmm... Pizza.

BoogieDowner received an interesting email this morning discussing pizza joints in the Bronx. While we didn't think it was fair to bring up such a delicious topic so early in the day, it's close enough to dinnertime now to let the debate begin.

Here are one reader's thoughts on the topic:

"A popular debate in my house centers around the best Bronx pizza. I think we've narrowed it down to my wife's pick, Patricia's (either one, but we prefer Morris Park) or my choice Louie and Ernie's. Either way, Tosca's on E Tremont gets a respectable bronze (service is way spotty though!)."

We at BoogieDowner have a healthy appreciation for the pizza at Rocco's, right on Bedford Park Blvd. and Webster Avenue. Our love affair began back in college after late nights at the Jolly Tinker and has continued on all these years. We also like Giovanni's on Arthur Avenue... Brick oven pizza service in the back dining area used to be a nice, cheap night out, but we got a bit peeved when they stopped giving out bread with pizza orders. Cheap bastards!

So now we'd have to say our absolute favorite pizza is Antonio's, a newish casual Italian place on Belmont Avenue at Crescent Avenue (one minute walk from Arthur Avenue). The wait staff there is unbelievably friendly and the prices are good too.

Thoughts? Anyone care to share great places in their neighborhoods that may not get all the fame of glory of Tosca, but are just as good?

*FYI, the pic of "Bronx Pizza" is actually from San Diego - evidence of the mythic nature of Bronx pizza's reputation. Stay classy, San Diego, we appreciate the flattery*


Event Reminder

Just a quick reminder that there's another free concert happening today at 2pm at the Bronx Library Center (E. Kingsbridge Road at Briggs Avenue).

*Image courtesy of dianedempseyillustration.com*


Bronx Residents Have Beef With DHS

The Daily News' Dorian Block is reporting about community unrest regarding the planned opening of a citywide homeless intake shelter at Walton Avenue and 150th Street.

Apparently back in the day there was an Emergency Assistance Unit on the site up until 2005 when it was knocked down. Needless to say, it effected the neighborhood negatively. One resident said she was never able to let her young daughter play outside because prostitutes and drug dealers were lurking in the area.

So at a time when the hood is experiencing a pretty serious resurgence, residents are understandably concerned with the seemingly imminent arrival of this shelter. They say the Department of Homeless Services never consulted with the neighborhood as they were moving forward with their plans.

Residents have formed a group called the South Bronx Community Organization to formally express their displeasure with the possible negative effects that this shelter will have on the nabe.

BoogieDowner's Take: Kudos to the Bronx residents who have formed the South Bronx Community Organization. There is power in numbers, and SBCA is an inspiring step forward to fight this battle, and any other subsequent community issues that may arise. As for DHS, hindsight is 20/20. Obviously they should have be much more proactive from the infancy of this project to work alongside the community instead of implementing these plans under a veil of secrecy.

Do you live in the Walton Avenue/150th Street area and want your voice heard? There will be a public hearing tomorrow (Thursday 9/25) at 7 p.m. at Hostos Community College in the Savoy Multi-Purpose Room, on the second floor of 120 E. 149th St. Robert Hess, DHS commissioner, will be at the hearing, along with other city officials.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Listing of the Day: Pelham Parkway Studio

2165 Matthews Ave., Studio $850/mo.

This is a very cheap studio in an elevator building in a nice section of the Bronx. The Pelham Parkway area leaves you in close proximity to the Zoo and the Botanical Garden, but also a short bus ride down Pelham Parkway on the Bx12 to Orchard Beach and City Island. Needless to say, there would be stuff to do.

Pelham Parkway is more than just a road. It really serves like a miles long park that connects Pelham Bay Park to Bronx Park (i.e. the combined Zoo and Botanical Garden). In reality, the road is called Pelham and Bronx Parkway after the eponymous parks at either end of the parkway. Eponymous parks or not, no one calls it that, so stick to calling it Pelham Parkway.

Transportation is pretty good, with the 5 train stopping at either the Pelham Parkway or Morris Park stations.

As a very early BoogieDowner turn to the holidays, I'd be remiss if I were to exclude the diadem in the nabe's annual holiday crown. Wow your friends with your hood's serious yuletide pride. This annual spectacle on the corner of Westervelt and Pelham Parkway is not to be missed, but often overlooked.

Merry Festivus!


More Shameless Self Promotion

Well, I guess being in the NY Times gets people reading. Bronx News 12 actually contacted us and came to our humble abode to film a brief segment.

It started running at 7:30pm this evening and is part of the normal loop. At 10pm the full story will air, so tune in!

We also appreciate the link from Bronx News 12's Website: Check it out Here

Not sure if the video will be posted on Bronx News 12's website, but if it is, we'll be sure to share it with all the non-Bronx readers who do not have the joy of watching local news anchored by Kevin McCabe.


Rebel Yell

Holy good Lord, Bronx politics is crazy. A rally (which was originally supposed to be a vote) in Co-op City was held to rid the Bronx Democratic Party (is there any other party in the Bronx?) of its leader, Jose Rivera.

The "No Way Jose" brigade was out in full force. These party members might as well have had torches and pitchforks. And to think this all started over his non-support of a judicial candidate. Although, BoogieDowner is pretty sure that this had to have been brewing for years.

Our friends at Bronx News hooked us (and the Bronx) up with a really good article about this whole mess. No Way Jose: Rebels Try to Oust City Boss [Bronx News, Dan Gesslein]

And as always, Kappy at the Daily News is on top of Bronx news. Here's his article about Jose delaying the inevitable by putting a stop to the vote that was supposed to take place.
Jose Rivera scores TKO in rebels' fight for his job [NY Daily News, Bob Kappstatter]

I know this has nothing to do with Bronx politics, but BoogieDowner couldn't resist showing a picture of old Kappy. What a silver fox, right? Smooth, Bobbo, real smooth...

*Photo of ebullient political rebels courtesy of www.BXnews.net. Photo of the silver fox courtesy of www.nydn.com*


Affordable is Our Middle Name

Manny Fernandez of the New York Times reports that Mikey Bloomberg announced the City has met the halfway point of its ambitious plan to preserve over a half million affordable housing units. The announcement took place today in Morissania, an area that has seen the city help finance 27,000 units.

It nice to see the City help normal New Yorkers actually live in New York.

Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the housing preservation department said, “I think it demonstrates that low- and moderate-income people can not only become homeowners but can be successful homeowners when the programs and the housing efforts are structured in the right way, when the mortgages are reasonable, when the prices are reasonable.” [NY Times City Room]

Reasonable prices are what the BoogieDowner is all about. Kudos City Hall, Kudos! Also, scroll down to the bottom of the article after the jump to see Bronx affordable housing guru Gregory Lobo Jost (of West Bronx Blog fame) quoted.

Affordable Housing Effort Reaches Halfway Point [NY Times City Room]



We don't know if we should be applauding, tossing our cookies, or yelling obscenities about this report from the New York Times' Sewell Chan detailing the latest step in the city's anti-smoking campaign.

The city will be giving out matchbooks emblazoned with disturbing images of tumors, tooth decay, and blackened lungs.

The following is from the Times article:

"The matchbooks, part of the “Eating You Alive” advertising campaign unveiled this year, are being distributed free at 132 cigarette retailers in the South Bronx, central and East Harlem and northern and central Brooklyn — neighborhoods where smoking has not decreased to the degree it has in other parts of the city." [NY Times, Sewell Chan]

The campaign itself, although gross, makes sense and may be effective in helping smokers kick the habit. However, why not just give them out all over the city? It can't be that expensive to manufacture and distribute these things. And smokers on the Upper West Side (even if there are less of them) need to quit just as badly as those on Willis Avenue in SoBro.

I dunno, seems to me like the campaign is perpetuating the stereotypical image of the ghetto by singling out these historically marginalized hoods, rather than just canvassing the whole city. Something tells me the residents of swanky co-ops along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan wouldn't want these nasty matchbooks turning into litter on their streets and there would be an outpouring of protest. What do you guys think? Sometimes we overreact here at the BoogieDowner... are we getting uppity over nothing?

*Image courtesy of NYC DOHMH*


Not Your Momma's Museum

When's the last time you walked into a museum and heard the roar of bass-thumping music and saw a bunch of hip-hop types writhing on the floor? This is why we love the Bronx Museum of the Arts...

According to Daily News' Tanyanika Samuels, 300 people packed into BMA last weekend for the first "B-Girl City in NYC" breakdancing competition, another event helping to kick-off the "Street Art Street Life" exhibit. The dancers were competing for cash prizes of up to $500.

The B-Girl competition organizers knew immediately when they decided to host a competition in NYC that it would be in no place other than the BoogieDown, the birthplace of hip-hop. That's right Brooklyn, the B-Girls wanted nothing to do with you. So have fun listening to your Cat Power and your Arcade Fire and swigging your PBR in the McCarren Park Pool... we're too busy breakdancing up here in the Bronx to even be jealous of the crush that NYC media has on you.

*Photo courtesy of Bates for Daily News*


Monday, September 22, 2008

Listing of the Day: Van Cortlandt Village 1 Bedroom

91 VAN CORTLANDT AVE, 1 Bedroom - $155,000

This is a hidden little nabe right near Van Cortlandt Park, but without the Riverdale mark-up. The listing calls this hood Kingsbridge Heights, but I think the agent is just trying to capitalize on one of the few recognizable real estate hood names in the BoogieDown. I would certainly call this Van Cortlandt Village, but hey, Bronx neighborhood lines are notoriously vague.

In any case, the apartment is pretty damned nice. I sort of like the weird cube-shelve things, but I'm sure they're not for everyone. At a bargain of $155,000 you can put in your own quirky decorative touches when you throw that excess cash into making this pad your own.

I will say that the hood is pretty quite and residential (good), but has an issue with no direct subway service (bad). The closest train is the 4 at Mosholu Parkway, which is about a 10-15 minute walk.

The listing says they'd take 10% down, so you can get into this puppy for only $15,500 and closing fees. That's right - the BoogieDowner does math, too. Oh, and maintenance is only $537/mo.

Also, did we mention Corcoran is the listing company? Fancy, right?


The Real SoBro

Lots of people have very different ideas in their heads when you say "South Bronx." From our experiences while posting on and reading other NYC message boards and blogs, it seems some people imagine SoBro is still burning, while others continue to think there are 80's style roving gangs of criminals looking to steal your hubcaps.

Below are a few images from our walking tour this weekend which will dispell any urban myths about what Mott Haven looks like. We would have liked to snap more pics, but the 8 month old was a bit fussy and clearly has not developed a healthy appreciation for architecture yet!

St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church, Alexander Avenue

Devotion to Mary, St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church, Alexander Avenue

View up E. 138th Street from Alexander Avenue

Lovingly maintained home on E. 139th Street

Beautiful townhouses on E. 140th Street

Gorgeous floor-to-ceiling window in townhouse on Alexander Avenue