Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Open Letter From CB7 to NYS Senate

Fresh from the BoogieDowner inbox is this open letter from Community Board 7 to the New York State Senate:


Dear Members of the NYS Senate,

On the behalf of the members, residents, businesses, and students in Bronx Community Board 7, we respectfully urge you to heed the Governor’s call to convene the Senate and conduct the business of the people. There is too much at stake to allow partisan and personal agendas to take precedence over the needs of millions of New Yorkers. New Yorkers are struggling with the effects of increasing uncertainty in our economy, in our homes, and in our schools. Compounding these stresses, by adding the uncertainty of the direction of our own government, exasperates the aforementioned and demonstrates callousness for the plight of the people.

We plead the people’s case once again, the same people who you are charged in representing as our Senate, and advise for their benefit that you vote and act on those matters before you today. Thank you.


Gregory W. Faulkner, Chairman

Fernando P. Tirado, District Manager

Photo of the Day

View of Metro-North tracks from Bedford Park Blvd.
Photo by ErLu

Listing of the Day: Yankee Stadium Rental

811 Walton apt C-25, 1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom - $1200/month

Let me first began with the full admission that the ole BD is aware that this apartment is pretty expensive when it comes to Bronx one bedrooms. A few reasons BoogieDowner decided to profile it anyway:

1) It's pretty hard finding a listing everyday that meets the BD troika of criteria (size, price, and transportation) for LODs. Summer vacation should not be spent scouring real estate listings at the freakish rate at which I scour them in during the school year.
2) I really like the hood down here and I think it should be appreciated more.
3) They had me at the exposed brick wall and the granite counter top. What can I say, I'm a sucker for that stuff.

So back to the apartment - it's a one bedroom that the listing seems to indicate has never been inhabited before. It is at 157th and Walton, which would place it right near Franz Sigel Park and right near the old Yankees Stadium, which at some point in the future hopefully will become a bad ass park for the community (although sadly the city and the Yankees are moving at a snail's pace on the project).

Still the whole Yankee Stadium thing should bring some development to the hood. There is the recently opened Gateway Center down south a bit and the new Metro North Station in the same direction.

To the north you have Joycer Kilmer Park and further north on the Concourse the Bronx Musuem of the Arts (small but thoroughly underrated museum).

Transportation is nice with the B/D/4 all at 161st street. The aforementioned Yankee Stadium Metro North station is down on E. 153rd as well.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Photo of the Day

Bedford Park NeighborlinessPhoto by ErLu


Listing of the Day: (Sort of?) Arthur Avenue Steal [LOCATION UPDATE]

186th between Washington and Park , 6 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, - $295,000

[UPDATE] The listing did not disclose the full location, but stated it was on 186th Street. When I clicked on the map feature of the listing it indicated the place was on 186th and Arthur Avenue (as the original post indicated). After speaking to the listing agent after a comment of rightful incredulity by resident gadfly, Greg Jost, it was confirmed that the cross street was not actually Arthur, but 4 blocks to the west at Washington Avenue. Not as desirable a location, but at least you'd be closer to Maria's Tacos and the best $5 burrito this side of Oaxaca.

BoodieDowner hearts Belmont pretty hard because of the great foodie options, proximity to the alma mater (Fordham), the Zoo, and the Botanical Garden. Houses this close to the Arthur Avenue/187th nexus of the Bronx Little Italy universe are never this cheap. I was expecting a flophouse situation with this many rooms this close to the main strip and for this price. I was pleasantly surprised by the interior shots. The house is not fancy or redone with granite, stainless steel, and gleaming hard wood floors, but it's not in need of a complete gut. In any case, here is BoogieDowner's homage to Belmont:

Belmont is an ideal hood for the foodie in all of us. There are butchers, cheese shops, fish mongers, bakeries, and fresh pasta shops up and down 187th and Arthur Avenue.

This hood is very close to the Bronx Zoo and the NY Botanical Garden for fun. Fordham University is also a neighborhood presence with tons of cultural things to offer, and lectures, and lots of goofy white kids in the neighborhood. Another added bonus from Fordham University, on top of stability, beauty and the top notch education it brings to the hood, is A-10 division one hoops.

BD Restaurant rundown: My favorite 187th restaurant is Tra Di Noi, but to be honest if you lived here you would be REQUIRED to go to Emilia's on Arthur Ave. - simply the best! And try to get a table at Mayor Bloomberg's beloved Roberto's on Crescent Ave. - very good, but in my opinion, a tad overrated. Also, for BBQ-heads, MoGridder's just opened up a few months ago in Roberto's old location (although ErLu has yet to partake). For brick oven pizza everyone raves about Zero Otto Novo, because it is owned by Roberto of the aforementioned Bloomy favorite, but ErLu prefers Antonio's, which is tucked away on Crescent Avenue. There is a whole host of other restaurants to stop at, but we can't give a review of each...take a trip up here and start eating your way through the hood.

For those who like to cook at home there's the indoor retail market, Borgatti's for ravioli, the Pasta Factory for stuffed shells and tortellini, Casa Della Mozzarella for, you guessed it, mozzarella, and Calandra's for general cheese purchases (although their Mozzarella has been reported to be sub par recently). There are also nice wine stores and great delis like Mike's in the retail market - don't mind the laminated photo of Mussolini hanging in the back - and Tino's.

Ditch some grub impoverished and expensive-ish hood like Bushwick and make an investment in Belmont.

The BX12 bus runs down Fordham Rd. to the B/D at Grand Concourse and further to the 4 at Jerome Ave. There is also a Metro-North station at the Fordham stop at Fordham Rd. and Webster Ave. that can get you in to Grand Central in 18 minutes.



Friday, June 26, 2009

Photo of the Day

Ssssnake @ NYBGPhoto by ErLu

NYBG Farmer's Market Expands

We swear that you'll never find another living human who loves meat
more than this Ledge Rock Farm representative...

Many of you who live in the hood probably already know about New York Botanical Garden's Wednesday Farmer's Market which arrives each summer. Well, this summer the Farmer's Market will also be set up on Saturdays in the Botanical Garden Metro North parking lot.

This is great news for people in the Bedford Park area. We're always looking for nice produce options that are within walking distance. Although the prices seem to have gone up from last year (our $10 that we usually set aside to spend on veggies at the market just didn't go nearly as far as it usually does), the food is fresher and more delicious than ever.

In addition to being around on Saturdays this year, the market has also expanded its food options somewhat. There are now ridiculously good muffins, cookies, and scones, as well as more bread options. There's also a meat vendor and even a cheese guy! The cheese was really expensive, but we splurged on some fresh mozzarella and were not disappointed.

As for the meat, it's offered direct from Ledge Rock Farm in Medusa, NY... it's all grass fed and antibiotic and hormone-free. Besides offering what was quite possibly the best london broil we've ever tasted, the Ledge Rock Farm tent is just a fun spot to visit. I swear the vendor actually loves meat more than life itself. He gives you a preparation sheet and tips for getting the most out of your cut.

And don't forget about New York Botanical Garden's food festival to kick off the 'Edible Garden' series this weekend! There will be food demonstrations and lots of interesting activities for foodies on both Saturday and Sunday.


Mott Haven High School's 'Best Couple' Makes History

We just received word of this inspiring story from WNYC, and wanted to share it with you all:

While the marriage vote stalls in Albany, students in the Bronx already submitted their ballots and made history....

This morning we aired a Radio Rookies story of two high school girls from the Mott Haven section of Bronx.

Victoria Cruz, one of the youth reporters who participates in WNYC’s Peabody Award-winning Radio Rookies program, and her girlfriend, Deoine – who have been together for 2 & ½ years, were just voted Best Couple for the Mott Haven High School yearbook in the Bronx.

The young women are Mott Haven High’s first same sex couple to receive this honor, and this may be a first in Bronx overall. It’s notable that while Albany is in distress -- putting the gay marriage bill potentially in jeopardy – and one of the city’s leading opponents to gay marriage, Ruben Diaz, is also in the Bronx – that real change is still happening on the ground in some of the city’s less likely corners.

You can listen to Victoria and Deonine's story here...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Photo of the Day

City Island Lobster HousePhoto by ErLu

Feisty Flacks: The Plot Surrounding Espada's Unopened District Office Thickens

Angry constituents protest outside of Pedro Espada's
unopened District Office earlier this month

Meow - the flacks up in Albany are getting feisty!

BoogieDowner has been lamenting the fact that Pedro Espada Jr, beyond spending most of his time in Mamaroneck rather than the Bronx, is the only New York State Senator without a functioning district office open.

Well, an unnamed source in Mr. Espada's office told the ole BD that Mr. Espada is desperately trying to open his office at 400 E. Fordham Road, but that the Secretary of the Senate is holding up the lease signing for political reasons. We were encouraged by the same unnamed source to funnel our outrage to the following person:

Tracy Starr
District Office Coordinator
New York State Senate
(518) 455-3145
(518) 426-6831 Fax

When said outrage was conveyed to Ms. Starr, she said she would take my number and look into the matter. I replied that over the last two months I have had my name and number taken by scores of people in Albany who never called me back and that I was not confident I would ever hear from her again. I was punted to a press person who said that the lease agreement was utterly unacceptable and that the fact that Mr. Espada doesn't have an office open is a matter of choice. Here's the official quote:

"It does not appear that it has ever taken this long for any other senator to successfully open a district office. The terms and leasing requirements of this particular space sought by Pedro Espada were recently brought to our attention, and a number of issues were raised because of the unlikeliness that the terms agreed to would actually be approved by the Attorney General's office. Members are permitted to seek any space they find suitable, and it appears that Espada has chosen this space and continues to push for this space despite the many concerns that have been brought to our attention. This location is a matter of choice, and we must deal with the leasing concerns that have arisen as a result."

When I asked the Espada camp for a response to this comment I was provided with a vitriolic (and lengthy) comment that all but called Malcolm Smith a liar and seemed to indicate that they (and not the 33rd district constituents) were getting the run-around. Here's the Espada camp comment:

"The Senate central staff office has intentionally mishandled this matter. Their well-calculated foot-dragging on approving a lease for our district office has been politically motivated by former Majority Leader Malcolm Smith with the clear objective of embarrassing Senator Espada. The explanation offered by Senate central staff is a blatant lie and an absolute disgrace. This, unequivocally, is their fault”

“We have in our possession dated, supportive documentation between Senator Espada and the owners of 400 East Fordham Road – a letter of intent, to be specific – as early as February 4, 2009. In addition, we have nearly 36 E-mail correspondences with the Senate district office coordinator expressing our strong desire to finalize the lease and open our district office. There have been numerous times when we thought the lease was approved, only to have the Senate district office coordinator and/or central staff counsel contrive a new problem – with each problem taking weeks to resolve”

“Furthermore, lease negotiations with the landlord have been handled by the
Senate central staff office, as they are for all Senators, and not directly by Senator Espada or his office. In conclusion, Senator Espada, who has a nearly 40-year history of community service, would like nothing more than to have this issue resolved so he can meet personally with his constituents of the 33rd district and address their concerns.”

One of these camps must have provided a less than truthful comment to BoogieDowner. Somebody's got some 'splaining to do...


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photo of the Day

View of History Channel sign ~ Alexander Avenue/E. 135th StreetPhoto by ErLu

Wine & Roses

We went recently went to one of New York Botanical Garden's three 'Wine and Roses' events and wanted to share some of the photos we took while admiring the rose garden throughout the week.

The roses were gorgeous, but as for the wine... um, it was kind of hard to come by. We got there only 1/2 hour into the event and were told that they had run out of wine and it would be a few minutes while someone fetched some more.

Tip for anyone looking to attend next year: BYOV (bring your own vino). I'm not sure if you're officially allowed to bring wine in with you, but I don't think anyone would really give you too much trouble.

For all those foodies out there, don't forget that NYBG kicks off their 'Edible Garden' summer-long series this weekend with a local food festival. Click here for more details.


Kingsbridge Armory Hearing Reminder

There is a public hearing concerning the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory this evening at Lehman College at 6:30 pm.

Here's a good article and accompanying video from NY1.

We know that KARA means well, but BoogieDowner would hate to see this building remain vacant because Related was bullied toward an unrealistic CBA. Workers at any retail stores in the armory should be treated well and compensated at a comparable rate to other retail workers. We all need to realize retail work is not a career. These jobs will be good to introduce (or re-introduce) people to the work force. Outside of the handful of mid-level and upper management, the jobs created will (and should) be stepping stones, rather than forever-jobs.

I'd love to see some community space provided by Related, but when it comes down to it the redevelopment will be centered on retail stores. The fact of the matter is that companies will only invest in a project if there is money to be made. Related is not a philanthropic institution.

Let's hope that a balance is struck between environmentally sensitive construction, new construction and retail jobs, qualified community benefits, and a revitalization of the Kingsbridge neighborhood.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Photo of the Day

201st Street near Bainbridge AvenuePhoto by ErLu

Sopher Realty Broker Insists: We're Still in Business!

Back at the end of January we highlighted an interesting back and forth between the Riverdale Press and one of Riverdale's powerhouse realty companies, Sopher Realty.

You can click here to check out the post, but a basic summary is as follows: a Riverdale Press article implied that Sopher Realty's residential division was maybe/sorta/kinda gunna be closing up shop. A broker from Sopher's residential division, Vivian J. Oleen, then sent a Letter to the Editor basically schooling the Riverdale Press for getting this one all wrong.

Well, back in the beginning of this month, Vivian left yet another rebuttal to the Riverdale Press as a comment on our old post regarding the situation.

Here's what she had to say:
Yes, it is true that Sopher no longer takes out the full-page ad in The Press but that does not mean a) that we are out of business; b) that we no longer advertise in other places; and c) that we do not, from time to time, place ads in The Press' classified ad section. Judging by the feedback from customers, clients and potential clients, The Press' misstatement has cost us business because people believe what they read and no amount of corrections or letters to the editor in subsequent editions of the paper convinces them otherwise. They have to hear it directly from me, or from one of the Sophers--we are in business! (For example, as I write this, I am working with attorneys to set up a closing on one of my listings.) We are advertising! We have many active customers and clients! How many have we lost due to The Press' blunder? It's hard to tell. But if the author of the story had shown it to us prior to publication then this entire mess could have been averted. Furthermore, if the market returns to normal, and we do our normal volume of business, then we will perhaps reconsider our decision regarding Press advertising. I do notice that some other agencies have reduced their ad sizes, or have stopped advertising on a continuing basis, or have left The Press entirely. To single us and our situation out without mentioning the others was just plain unfair. Vivian Oleen, Associate Broker, Sopher Realty
So, for all you readers out there who give a crap, here it is once and for all: Sopher Realty's residential division has not gone down the shitter - they're still in business!


Listing of the Day: Clocktower Loft (with Roof Deck)

112 Lincoln Avenue @ Bruckner Boulevard, Loft, - $1350/month

So BoogieDowner has profiled this artsy old piano factory down in Mott Haven a few times in the past. It looks like the rental price has been moving all around, but is finally settling lower. In August a loft here was listed at $1800/month, then in December we saw one floating around the interweb listed at $1375/month, then it took a brief uptick to $1475/month in March, until gravity grabbed hold and brought it back down to its current price of $1350/month.

Mott Haven does have some cool stuff going on. There a small but growing art scene (who do you think is living in these lofts?). There is some great grub/imbibing around (Bruckner Bar and Grill, Alexander's, Pio Pio, Santa Clarita etc.). And you'll be living in an old piano factory...but really the building itself looks pretty cool. The transportation is nice with the 6 at 138th and 3rd Ave or the 4/5 at 138th and the Concourse.

What's really cool about this listing is that it actually gives a pic of the roof deck. Pretty serious outdoor/common space for a rental...



Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Old College Try...

Returning from a soggy afternoon at the Clearwater Festival up in Croton Point Park (which was still awesome despite the rain), the missus, the bambina, and I ran into our resident state senator and his bride. We greeted each other and when asked how I was, I just calmly alerted Mr. Espada to my displeasure with his performance. By the end of my list of grievances he put two-and-two together and must have realized it was the BD family. He said "Oh, you have a lot of questions. Maybe we'll get together in the future to chat."

He then checked his mail and he and Mrs. Espada went upstairs on the elevator. At least he's giving it the old college try and is having a few sleep overs.

I have to be honest here, he was very civil and affable. Maybe if he stuck around he'd learn to love Bedford Park as much as ErLu does...


Saturday, June 20, 2009

You're Not Fooling Anyone, Pedro...

So the Daily News ran a ridiculous fluff piece on the cover of Saturday's paper with Pedro Espada showing off his "primary residence" here in Bedford Park. A few things that jumped out at the ole BD when reading this:

1) Mr. Espada apparently doesn't know how much he paid for his own apartment. As much as I would love the comps to be higher in my building, Mr. Espada paid $225K on 8/9/07 for the unit...not $250K, as he erroneously states in the article. Check out PropertyShark records HERE for confirmation or just peruse the rolling property sales records that the City keeps.

2) I don't know where in the world he is parking at 10pm in Bedford Park. Every full time (and true) resident of Bedford Park knows if you don't have a garage spot you cannot find parking that late. If he parked in an adjacent building's driveway he would only be able to do that for a short time (maybe to drop off some stuff to make it look like he lives here?). If he left the vehicle there over night it appears Mr. Espada was breaking the parking laws of Bedford Park...AGAIN.

3) Residents saw Mr. Espada swoop into Bainbridge during the cover of darkness the evening before this "interview" to drop off some personal effects that would give off the appearance of full-time residency. A tipster also saw him leave just a quickly as he had come. Click HERE for the tipster's eye-witness account.

Just a few notes and observations...


Friday, June 19, 2009

It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your senator is?

Well, here at Bainbridge House we did know where Senator Pedro Espada was at 10 p.m. last night, but his whereabouts got a bit murky after that... Here's the tip we received from an observer:
At 10 p.m., I switched to Channel 6 [the building's closed circuit TV feed for the lobby] just in time to see Pedro enter the lobby with several pieces of luggage and a woman wearing a large straw hat (like the one on his door but without the flowers). Since groceries had come in over the weekend, I thought this was all part of "The apartment is furnished and I live there." But in a matter of minutes, both Pedro and the lady left,got into a gas guzzler larger than a hearse, and drove away. Someone is in the apartment(lights are on), but it is not "himself."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is the "Coalition" Falling Apart?

PolitickerNY.com is reporting that co-conspirator, Dean Skelos, is now refusing to publicly stand by his man, Pedro Espada. This is sparking speculation that a Espada-less arrangement could be in the works.

Also, our gal Liz has an almost laughable claim by Pedro Espada that all of the negative robo-calls going out to constituents of Republican senate districts are "racist." He feels that to label him "the Bronx guy" implicitly plays on the "Latino race card." Would he prefer the "Mamaroneck guy?"

Come on Petey, this sounds a little desperate. In any case I know there are a lot of Latinos in the 33rd district that think you are a crook and a fraud as well (BD has received scores of emails and comments noting as such). Even if you were a blancisimo, those robo-calls would have gone out because your actions show a complete lack of ethics and a deep self-serving ambition that knows no bounds.


Kingsbridge Armory Updates

The Bronx News Network has two very good updates today about the progress of the Kingsbridge Armory development.

UPDATE 1 is about the meeting that will be held at Lehman College next Wednesday, June 24th. More nitty-gritty details after the jump. It sound like people will be getting their pitchforks and torches ready. BD, on the other hand, thinks that having something done there is better that having a vacant and fallow space.

UPDATE 2 is good news from City Councilman Oliver Koppell's office that space has been freed up for schools on the Armory site.

Thanks for keeping up on this stuff, guys.


"Anybody But Pedro" Is the Solution to the Mess in Albany

Liz Benjamin (I must admit that I am developing a new-found blog-crush on Liz for her Albany dirt) is reporting that the Democrats are willing to give up on the State Senate Presidency (and presumably technical control in general) as along as the President is ANYONE but Pedro Espada Jr.

It appears as if the Republicans can Petey as their pick as President, the Dems will negotiate.

The best quote from Liz's post is from Democrat State Senator Liz Krueger talking about the needs of the citizens of New York State.

"They do not need someone with only a passing acquaintance with honesty to be just one heartbeat away from the Governor's office."

This is borderline Ciceronian, Madam Kruger. Well said!


Listing of the Day: Kingsbridge House

3442 Corlear Avenue, 3 Bedrooms, 1.5 Bathrooms - $525,000

This is a one family house in Kingsbridge, which is roughly on the outskirts of Riverdale. The house has a car-porty-garagey type thing, which is a real bonus for anyone who has ever had to supplicate themselves to the street parking gods of the Bronx.

The price has been chopped from a $595K listing price in January. The taxes, while not listed, have to be relatively low - at least in comparison to Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester. I'd certainly pull up that teal carpet, but that is a cosmetic and easy type of upgrade. The rest of the house looks pretty good. And how can you not like a little front porch action?

This house and hood are in walking distance to Van Cortlandt Park (most under-rated park in the City) and also to the much smaller, but nice, Ewen Park. You'd be close to Riverdale for some foodie options and also still be close to the Target in Marble Hill for shopping. Manhattan College is close by for lectures and some MAAC hoops (which can be pretty fun when the Jaspers are good). The transportation would be easy with the 1 train at 238th and Broadway.



Pressure (And Legal Consequences) Mounting For Pedro

The Daily News reporting that the Bronx DA has already convened a Grand Jury to hear testimony from subpoenaed witnesses and peruse evidence to see if Mr. Espada's residency, campaign finances, or Soundview Health Center fuzzy math will garner an indictment.

Here's hoping the jury will finally make something stick to this political vulture and ethical pauper.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Espada's Housekeeper Questioned

The Times Union is reporting that Senator Espada's housekeeper for his Mamaroneck home was interviewed by the Bronx DA's office about Espada's residency and then released.

Second homes usually don't need housekeepers on the weekly payroll, right?


Bronx Independent Film Fest Begins Tomorrow

The Bronx Stage and Film Company will present it's 7th Annual Bronx Independent Film Festival tomorrow, 6/18, through Saturday, 6/20, at Lehman College's Lovinger Theater.

For only $5/night, movie lovers can catch documentaries, a full feature film and shorts by filmmakers from all over the United States, Spain, Germany, the UK, and Canada.

Click here to make your reservations and find the full three day film schedule.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Appeal - Still No Resolution

The hardest working gal in Albany, Liz Benjamin, is reporting that the Democrats will not file an appeal for today's decision because they feel that the decision was simply an exhortation to settle this within the Senate itself. The Republicans and Espada see it as vindication of their cause (and extorted titles).

Basically the Democrats want a power sharing agreement (Espada and co-conspirators said this was about a bi-partisan reform anyway, right?), but the Republicans refuse. Since the two conferences are split 31-31, if the Democrats stay away the Republicans and Espada cannot get a 32 person quorum to begin a session. I wonder how long the Dems can hold out? Espada is hinting a some type of legal action against the boycotting Democrats. (see video below via Daily News)

Espada Threatens Legal Action from Elizabeth Benjamin on Vimeo.

What John Sampson and the Democrats need to do is poach a liberal Republican. Then, let Espada call a session and take a new 32-20 vote to elect more principled leadership.

This is going to be a long summer in Albany...


Case Dismissed; Paralysis to Ensue

Liz Benjamin is reporting that the New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNarama has finally acted and dismissed the Democrats' case. This means that scoundrel , Pedro Espada, Jr,. gets to keep his extorted title of President Pro Tempore, and Dean Skelos gets to keep the title of Majority Leader (although by my math, 31 of 62 isn't really a majority).

Expect an appeal by the Dems to be filed immediately.


Sellouts, Hustlers, Embarrassments

This video comes to us via PolitickerNY.com. In it, the usually controversial Brooklyn City Councilman, Charles Barron, tells us what he really thinks of Espada and Monserrate. BD's favorite quote: "These are hustlers hustling hustlers."

At least someone's being honest about how selfish, unethical, and cowardly these two clowns behaved. And I also agree that we cannot allow either of these two to be re-elected in 2010.


Listing of the Day: $100K Price Chop

3341 Bouck Avenue, 3 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom - $299,000

Here is a house that has been chopped down from its March listing price of $399K. There is nothing overly stunning about the place; in fact there aren't any interior shots. What got me was how steep the percentage chop was. As a dedicated real estate listing junkie, it is just very difficult to ignore 25% chops in a 3 month span of time.

I might agree with the argument that a house in Williamsbridge should never have been listed at almost $400K, but it was, and now we're seeing a real deal normalization. $299K is a pretty reasonable price for a house in an average, quiet-ish, residential hood.

Your closest subway would be the 5 train at Gun Hill Road.



Monday, June 15, 2009

City Island Firehouse Saved!

Once again, Council Member James Vacca is getting it done for Bronxites.

He has announced this evening that the City Council will be restoring $17 million in funding which will ensure the continued operation of not only City Island's Ladder Company 53, but also 15 other fire companies around the City.

Here's what Jimmy Vacs (yes, we've officially given Council Member Vacca a nickname) had to say about the good news:
“Today’s agreement is vindication for the thousands of City Island residents and supporters who have been fighting for seven months to preserve basic life-saving services in this remote community,” said Vacca, who as Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee of the City Council led the body’s advocacy for the restoration of funds.

“We have argued from the beginning that taking away Ladder 53 could have dangerous and possibly even deadly consequences, and I am proud to say that my colleagues in the Council heard our message loud and clear. This victory belongs to the thousands of residents who showed up at rallies, signed postcards to the Mayor, and let everyone know that this was a fight we were never going to give up on.”
The City Council will vote to finalize the deal later this week.

Kudos to Council Member Vacca, as well as all the other Bronxites who advocated on behalf of Ladder 53!

*Photo via jag9889's flickr photostream*


New Bedford Park Coffee Shop

Just a heads up that there's a new coffee shop on 204th between Mosholu Parkway and Grand Concourse. It's right in the middle of the little Koreatown over there.

Valentine Cafe has something for which ErLu has been looking for a hot one: real bagels.
Valentine Cafe also has a nice breakfast sandwich menu, and a pretty well stocked and varied lunch menu: burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, chicken teryiaki, etc. They make a pretty good iced coffee to boot.

It's nice to see new businesses opening up.

Valentine Cafe
246 E. 204th Street
(and yes, they deliver)


Espada Deigned to Stay the Night?

So we thought Senator Espada's Benz was still parked outside of our building when we got up this morning and did a post reporting such... However, upon closer inspection it appeared to be a freakishly similar black Benz with skylight parked in the spot Espada was using throughout the evening. The car we saw in the morning was a bit different though... it was an older model and there was an antenna on the back of the car. So at this point we don't really know if the Senator spent the night here at his "primary residence." Any Bainbridge House neighbors out there want to weigh in on noise or comings/goings from his unit throughout the night?

It'd be nice if Mr. Espada spent the eve of the most important day of his political career with us here in the Bronx. Although, it looks like everything in Albany is going to get a little murkier with Hiram Monserrate officially defecting back to the Democrats.

Today is sure to be an absolute circus. No Monserrate for the Republicans means that the senate is now 31-31. Who gets that deciding tie-breaking vote with no Lieutenant Governor? We also have a judge handing down a decision before 3pm if the two sides can't play nice.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Espada's Benz Spotted at Bronx Co-op - Will He Stay the Night?

So the missus and I were heading back from an in-law visit and were searching for parking when we saw Pedro Espada's Benz (and the Senator himself) outside of our building (the same building he claims is his primary residence). The license plate (DUB-1771) confirms it is his because it lines up with Marcia Kramer's piece a while back and with a previous BD sighting.

Mr. Espada was outside chatting on his cell phone. Unfortunately by the time we found parking 3 blocks away he was gone. I was kind of looking forward to letting him know my feelings. (To be honest the part of me that is a slave to Bronx parking was hoping he would skedaddle back to Mamaroneck so I could get a spot right in front of the building in which I live). May we add that he's a touch over the yellow line, in case we have any traffic cops as readers looking to give a ticket.

BoogieDowner will let you know if Mr. Espada spends the night at his "primary residence" here in Bedford Park.

I guess Mr. Espada is realizing he has to give the old college try at pretending to live here with all the investigations into his residency and whatnot.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

New York Does Not Have a Recall System - What Can We Do?

So a lot of my neighbors and fellow 33rd District constituents have been wondering how we can abbreviate Pedro Espada's time as our state senator. He doesn't seem to live here, has no office here, is only concerned about his own power, and betrayed everyone who voted for a Democratic Senate.

Impeachment is only for the executive branch and doesn't originate with the electorate. Our only option would be a recall election, but New York State's Constitution does not provide such an option to its voters.

Unfortunately only 18 U.S. states allow for a recall election (NOT New York) in which the electorate can recall a representative or elected official that they feel is not doing his or her job - the most famous recent example being in 2003 when Gray Davis was recalled and the Terminator was elected as California's governor.

What are we to do here in the 33rd? Any Poli Sci majors want to hit the books and see what options we have? I believe that a state senator can be "expelled" from the senate by his fellow senators, but with the state of Albany right now I wouldn't hold my breath.

Do we really need to wait until November of 2010 to vote this guy out?


Investigations Mounting For Espada

The NY Times is reporting that Pedro Espada is under much more scrutiny than previously believed. Not only is Robert Johnson the Bronx DA involved, but also Andrew Cuomo, the state attorney general. The first few sentences lays the gravity of the investigations into Mr. Espada's campaign finances, residency, and dishy member item requests.

"State and local investigations into Pedro Espada Jr., who claimed the title of Senate president in a coup last week, are broader than previously believed. Law enforcement officials are reviewing records of taxpayer-financed travel, campaign records and legislative earmarks, as well as Mr. Espada’s residency, people with knowledge of the investigations said Saturday."

Hopefully the attention garnered by Mr. Espada's selfish and traitorous power play will be his down fall. We woefully unrepresented and betrayed 33rd District constituents can only hope.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Outraged Espada Protesters Join Together

There was a great turnout at today's anti-Espada protest outside of Pedro's nonexistent District Office at Fordham Place.

The protest was organized by Latinos for Affordable Rent Coalition, Northwest Bronx Community Clergy, CASA - New Settlement (Community Association for Safe Apartments), and the Mitchell-Lama PIE Campaign. Citywide media outlets, including WCBS-2, FOX 5, WNYC Radio, PIX-11, 1010 WINS, and Bronx and Westchester News 12, all covered the event.

Here are some photos:~ErLu

Bronx Week, Baby

Bronx Week officially kicked off yesterday... We won't even try to list all the cool events that are planned around the BoogieDown.

Be sure to check out www.bronxweekevents.org for a detailed description of stuff happening each day.

We're particularly excited for the Bronx Day celebration at New York Botanical Garden tomorrow from 11am to 3pm. Stilt walkers, face painting, and contortionists, oh my! Pearl is gunna be all over it.

I don't think this is officially part of Bronx Week festivities, but the Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association, along with Bronx Arts Ensemble and Councilman James Vacca, will be hosting a live music festival this Sunday, 6/14, from 1 to 5pm at the Oscar Comras Mall monument (Bronx Park East and Lydig Avenue). There will be Latino and Dixieland music, along with New Orleans style jazz.


Listing of the Day: Parkchester Condo

1551 Unionport Road, # 3A, 1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom - $125,000

This is a one bedroom apartment in Parkchester, which is often called a city within a city, and this is an apartment within that city within a city - got that straight? Well, in any case, what was once a hidden secret is starting to be discovered and gobbled up.

A sensible apartment for a sensible price, this Parkchester unit provides you with affordability and a community that feels like home. The interior shots of the unit presenta well kept apartment wit a decent kitchen and bathroom. And who doesn't like a pass-through in the kitchen?

Parkchester has tons of shopping, chief of which are its own Macy's and a Starbucks. There is also a decent amount of public space to hang at, including the ovals of the complex proper and a few fountains. And who doesn't like fountains? Should we also mention that Parkchester is going to have Verizon FiOs soon too? Well, it will.

Parkchester was built under the same idea as Stuy-Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan, and has the same self-sufficient aura. Parkchester is a safe and family friendly hood with decent transportation via the 6 train and bus service. So if you're looking to own an apartment and have enough money to go out, or just need a place you can actually afford without roommates or a large inheritance or parental subsidy, check out this apartment and nabe.

Parkchester Community Website



He Said It, Not Us - But We Agree...

NY York Times' City Room has an interview with former mayor Ed Koch in which he touches upon the lunacy taking place in Albany right now:

“I have never seen anything as sickening as what’s taking place in Albany,” Mr. Koch said. “It shames every New Yorker.”

Mr. Koch trained his sights on Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate, noting that when they first began to flirt with the idea of backing Republicans several months ago, he called them “rats.”

“That was an understatement,” he said.

Then, referring to the legal problems that both Senators are now confronting, Mr. Koch added:

"The thought of Espada being the governor of the state of New York with all of the things that have been said about him — I assume that many of them are true in terms of pork that’s gone his way — and then to become the governor? I can’t even conjure it up, it’s so awful to think of."


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Monserrate Getting Cold Feet? Coup in Jeopardy?

It looks like Hiram Monserrate might be getting cold feet (or ambition for a better purchase price for his vote). The Daily Intel is reporting that Monserrate has been having meetings with several Democrats in Albany (Eric Schneiderman, Carl Kruger, Bill Perkins, and Malcolm Smith's heir-apparent, John Sampson) and that a deal might be developing that would spell the end of this short lived Republican coup in the state senate. In any outcome it seems that Malcolm Smith will lose his leadership position for not being able to herd his party's votes, not foreseeing these machinations right under his nose, and for texting during a meeting with a billionaire patron.

Even more serious are reports that President Obama himself has put calls into both Senators Espada and Monserrate to convince them to return the tender bosom of the Democratic caucus.

BD prediction: Monserrate defects back to the Dems with a balance shifting Republican and John Sampson is elected Majority Leader. Does anyone know what happens if only only Monserrate comes back and it's 31-31? Who holds the tie-breaking vote with no lieutenant Governor?


Espada's Westchester Home Burglarized: "People Will Get Hurt"

The NY Post is reporting that Mr. Espada's Westchester (real?) home was burglarized yesterday or today. It appears that some files were stolen. I tend to keep all my important documents in my primary residence, but that's just me.

In response to the break in, Espada, showing his thug-ish tendencies, is quoted as saying:

"Things are on the precipice of violence... People will get hurt."

How scary is it that this guy is the president of our state senate?


Anti-Espada Protest

BoogieDowner just received an email from Tom Waters over at Community Service Society with an attached flier advertising a rally in front of Senator Espada's empty district office at 400 E. Fordham Road tomorrow at 11:30 am. While this protest is more narrowly focused on Mr. Espada's poor record and betrayal on housing issues, it sure sounds like a good outlet to express the general disgust, anger, and dissatisfaction the residents of the the 33rd District (and the state) feel toward Mr. Espada and his shenanigans in Albany.

Friday June 12th, 11:30am
400 E. Fordham Road and Webster Avenue.

This protest is being sponsored by:

Latinos for Affordable Rent Coalition
Northwest Bronx Community Clergy
CASA - New Settlement (Community Association for Safe Apartments)
The Mitchell-Lama PIE Campaign

For more information call Tom Waters at 212-614-5366 or email at twaters@cssny.org


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pedro Who? [UPDATE]

[UPDATE] Just received a flurry of forwarded emails from Espada's office that seem to indicate he was indeed in negotiations with someone at 400 E. Fordham Road.

BoogieDowner inquiry: how high up the food chain is this Todd McGaughey guy? Can we get a follow up clarification from him?

Our friends over at Bronx News Network just broke a pretty serious piece of Pedro Espada's utter deceit. We at BoogieDowner have been continually pointing out the travesty that Senator Espada does not have a district office open in the district he represents (after 5 months in office and 7 months of knowing he would be in office and need a district office).

Now BNN has uncovered that Mr. Espada has been lying this whole time in reference to his ongoing negotiations at 400 E. Fordham Road. According to Alex Kratz over at Bronx News Network the fact that Mr. Espada is close to opening a district office there is just untrue.

"But that simply is not true, said the building's manager, Todd McGaughey. In fact, McGaughey said he'd never spoken to the man or even heard of Espada until seeing his name and face plastered all over recent newspapers. This is all despite the fact that Espada has been claiming he's been in negotiations with the building's property managers for months now."

The only good that can come of Espada's power grab is that he shines a very bright light on himself and all those nasty skeletons and current lies will be exposed.


Comment of the Day (Thus Far...)

Insightful (and humorous) comment on our most recent Pedro post:
Re Anon 8.18am comment: The two party system does suck. My concern is he
betrayed his constituents by running on one ticket and not representing the
district that elected him. Unfortunately in the primaries, Democrats had two
choices Efrain Gonzalez (indicted crook) or Pedro Espada (liar and acquitted
crook). I really wish the 33rd district had better choices. And I definitely
hope Paterson has a food taster in addition to round-the-clock

Thanks TS! We propose electing Efrain Gonzalez as David Paterson's official food taster.


Listing of the Day: Live with the Lout

325 E. 201st Street, 1 Bedroom - $149,000

In keeping with the Espada theme, BoogieDowner brings you an opportunity to live with the lout. This is a very nice 700 square foot apartment (with a really nicely renovated kitchen) in the building Mr. Espada allegedly pretends to live in up here in Bedford Park.

For less than $150K you can live with such luminaries as the Senate president pro tempore (and next in line to be Governor - David Paterson better be in a bunker somewhere surrounded by armed security guards), Methodist pastor Doug Cunnigham, sassy senior resident and Espada residency denier Madeline, and ErLu itself.

The building is really the best in Bedford Park - well-kept and communal. And yes, we even have a fancy co-operative name: "Bainbridge House." You would only need a 10% down payment and the maintenance is reasonable at $472/month.

The hood has tons to offer. You've heard BoogieDowner gush about our home nabe before, but I'll just briefly run down the notables again. Lots of green space with Mosholu Parkway and the Botanical garden close by; lots of cultural stuff with Fordham University and Lehman College in the hood; lots of great food with Arthur Avenue close by; lots of shopping with 204th Street, the Jerome Avenue BID, Target, and Fordham Road close by.

Another key part of the allure of the hood is the convenient transportation. The B/D is on Bedford Park Blvd and the Concourse, the 4 is at Bedford Park Blvd and Jerome Avenue, and the Metro North is right at the Botanical Garden.

Here's a little further reading for the more studious types:
New York Times "Living In - Bedford Park"
The Real Deal "Bronx's Bedford Park Hidden in Plain View"
AMNY "Bedford Park, Bronx"



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Political Prostitute: The Pedro Espada Story

It has just been reported by the New York Times City Room, that the reason Senator Espada betrayed his party and constituents is because the Democratic leadership wouldn't let him steal close to $2M by funneling member item money to two brand new (and Espada-connected) organizations. These two organizations aren't even in the Senator's district (but they are in his pocket).

I'd advocate protesting outside of Mr. Espada's district office but, alas, he still doesn't have one open (a very observant insight from a City Room commenter). Political extortion is too time consuming to allow Mr. Espada the energy to serve the people of his district.


Traitor Tuesday Round'em Up

Here are some Bronx-related stories (mostly regarding the Traitorous Two) which we've rounded up you, our lovely readers, while trolling the interweb with our horse and lasso this fine morning:

Liz Benjamin's Daily Politics (Daily News) has a crazy amount of info on yesterday's power grab. Click here to link to it all.

As temporary Senate Prez, Espada would serve as Governor if anything happened to Paterson
[Daily News via Liz Benjamin's Daily Politics] (BD Note: My heart literally seized for a moment as I read this.)

Columnist calls 'bipartisan reform' in Albany what it really is... a total crock
[Daily News]

The lunatics are now running the asylum [Daily News] (BD Note: We ripped the title of this piece straight from the Daily News' editorial because there's really no need to mess with perfection...)

If you weren't already completed depressed/outraged/baffled enough by all the news out of Albany, here's a little recap on Espada and Monserrate's checkered pasts [New York Post]

Here's the play by play of what went down in Albany yesterday [New York Times]

We all should have listened to Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz (even if supporting Efrain Gonzalez seemed a little cuckoo back then)
[Riverdale Ramblings]

City Island residents concerned about increased drug sales and even a rumored brothel operating a few doors down from Adolfo Carrion's house
[New York Post]

The Silver Fox has all the latest Bronx gossip in his weekly column [Daily News]

Mott Haven residents complaining about City's plans to plant trees on their streets as part of the MillionTreesNYC campaign [Daily News]

A 144,000-square-foot warehouse in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx has sold for $20 million to Manhattan Beer Distributors [GlobeSt.com]


Listing of the Day: Pelham Parkway Rental

Pelham Parkway at Wallace Avenue, Studio - $750/month

You will probably not find a cheaper studio in the City - especially not in a decent hood with a unit that seems to be in good condition.

Pelham Parkway is more than a road. It serves as a miles long park that connects Pelham Bay and Bronx Parks. It's nice for walking, biking, or just playing.

You'd have shopping on White Plains Road and be only a quick walk over to Morris Park and its Italian cuisine. You'd also be relatively close to Arthur Avenue on the other side of the Zoo and a quick bus ride to Pelham Bay Park, Orchard Beach, and City Island. Obviously the Zoo and Botanical Garden are super close.

Transportation is good with the 2 and 5 trains stopping at White Plains Road and Pelham Parkway.

And clearly no Listing of the Day near Pelham Parkway is complete without mention of the yuletide spectacle of the Garabedian House located on Westervelt and Pelham Parkway. Just take the Bx12 heading east from White Plains Road to see it.



Monday, June 8, 2009

The Traitorous Two: Espada the Snake and Monserrate the Accused Felon

The world of State Senate politics in Albany has been turned on its head by that nefarious lout, Pedro Espada Jr. Mr. Espada has betrayed the people of the 33rd district who voted for a Democratic majority in the State Senate. When I called Espada's office to let Mr. Espada know how angry I am with him, I was told that he hadn't changed parties. Mr. Espada has a funny way of showing it.

Mr. Espada and and Queens Senator, Hiram Monserrate, who happens to be up on felony assault charges for allegedly attacking his girlfriend, teamed up to become "the traitorous two." Nice company to keep Mr. Espada. I am officially ashamed to live in a state where this can happen.

Maybe we know now why Mr. Espada still hasn't opened up a district office; he was busy betraying the people who elected him to garner personal power for himself. He now claims to be the President of the Senate Pro Tempore. This is scary stuff.

At least Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is crying foul and claiming that the procedure used was illegal. As far as Mr. Smith is concerned, the Democrats are still in power and he is still Majority leader. Here is a blurb from his statement:

“This was an illegal and unlawful attempt to gain control of the Senate and reverse the will of the people who voted for a Democratic Majority. Nothing has changed, Senator Malcolm A. Smith remains the duly elected Temporary President and Majority Leader. The real Senate Majority is anxious to get back to governing, and will take immediate steps to get us back to work.”

Not only does Mr. Espada probably not live in the district, nor does he have an office open here, but now he even sold the district out so that the can aggregate more power and lulus.

I am disgusted to have Senator Espada as my representative. We'll see how this all plays out. It's sure to be a top grade Albany soap opera.


Party Like a Politician

Nice deck, Addie!

You may all remember a little story about our former Bronx Borough Prez Adolfo Carrion Jr. maybe, sorta, kinda getting a too good to be true deal on some renovations on his home on City Island, right?

Well we were on City Island on Saturday for some lunch at Artie's (which was delish, but the place was crowded with graduation celebrations and service was unfortunately nonexistent) and ice cream at Lickety Split, so we decided to take a little stroll past Mr. Carrion's humble abode to see how the other half lives.

Yep, as expected the other half is living pretty damn large. His house, which is the former site of the now defunct Le Refuge Inn, is beyond gorgeous and sits right across the street from THIS VIEW:
Apparently Mr. Carrion was having some sort of soiree and there were workers buzzing all over the grounds setting up tables and chairs and what not:

We've now realized that we need to get into politics if we ever want to be able throw a party where our guests aren't forced to eat off of tv tray tables...

Nobody wants to be caught eating off of tv tray tables... it just ain't a cool way to party. Hence, the green circles to protect our dear guests' anonymity.


Round'em Up

Here are some Bronx-related stories which we've rounded up you, our lovely readers, while trolling the interweb with our horse and lasso this fine morning:

A profile of artist Katie Holten's 'Tree Museum' along the Grand Concourse, which is set to officially open June 21st [New York Times]

Hip-hop pioneers will be giving back again this summer by offering free concerts in Bronx parks each Thursday evening this July [New York Times]

Councilwoman Maria Baez ignores guidelines from city officials and funds organization with a troubled history [New York Post]

Bedbugs chase couple back to the Bronx after a move to Harlem for an easier commute...
[New York Times]

Profile of a civil rights pioneer who lives in the Bronx [Daily News]

Chef from City Island is a finalist on 'The Next Food Network Star' [New York Post/yournabe.com]


Listing of the Day: Van Cortlandt Village Co-op

3362 Sedgwick Avenue, 2 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom - $199,000

This is a very well maintained and updated 2 bedroom unit in Van Cortlandt Village. It appears that the kitchen and bathroom have already been done. At 800 square feet, it's not small, but it certainly isn't massive. Some of the numbers are attractive, with only a 10% down payment required. Even though co-ops that take less than the traditional 20% tend to be on less firm financial standing, it's nice for a buyer to only have to come up with $20K, instead of $40K in this instance. The maintenance is reasonable at $630/month, with 56% tax deductible.

Van Cortland Village is nice little residential neighborhood wedged been its eponymous park, the Jerome Park Reservoir and the Deegan Expressway. Clearly Van Cortlandt Park is a nice amenity. I know there's a C-town near the entrance to the Deegan, but it doesn't look huge. I'm guessing most of your shopping would be done in Riverdale, at the Target in Marble Hill, the Jerome Avenue BID, or for the car-blessed city dwellers, up in Westchester.

The transportation in Van Cortlandt Village always presents itself as a draw back to me (although a commenter once left a comment calling it one of the nabe's selling points?) I guess it depends on what part of the hood you're in (or maybe I'm just a spoiled Bedford Park resident). From this unit you'd have a bit of a walk to the 1 train over on 238th and Broadway or a rather hearty walk to the 4 train at Mosholu Parkway.