Monday, August 31, 2009

Brooklyn Soapbox Derby Finds New Home in the Bronx

The Paping Soapbox Derby participants with their game faces on...
The founder, John Meijas (left, with bag), is a teacher here in the BoogieDown.

ErLu were taking a stroll through Van Cortlandt Village this past Saturday to meet some friends over at the newly opened (and wonderfully awesome) Bronx Ale House when we passed a rather interesting sight: a bunch of soapbox racers getting set to fly down the hill at Fort Independence Park. Naturally, we stopped to ask a few questions...

Turns out that the Paping Soapbox Derby is now in its 7th year, and it can be added to a neverending list of things that used to be cool in Brooklyn, and now are not. The race used to take place on a steep Columbia Heights hill tellingly nicknamed, "Suicide Hill." Well, the hill was right near the Jehovah's Witness center over there, so those folks were concerned about liability issues. The city caught wind of the whole thing and refused to grant a permit for the event. You can read more about the derby's history and slow death in Brooklyn here and here. After a brief stint in Inwood's Fort Tryon Park, the Paping Soapbox Derby seems to have found a new home here in the BoogieDown.

Here are some photos we snapped for you all...
Last year's winning vehicle and driver...

Participants surveying the hill

A few fallen soldiers post-race


Newly Opened Bronx Ale House is the Truth

Beer is the new least that's what the proprietors of the ridiculously awesome Bronx Ale House are saying with their panoply of artisanal and craft beers on tap and in bottles.We got a great tip from BD reader and fellow Fordham '02 alum, Pat, about this new beer mecca in the BoogieDown. We met up with Pat and a few other friends on Saturday after our surreal and rainy real estate trolley tour.

Bronx Ale House is on 238th street in Kingsbridge, just steps from the 238th street 1 train stop. We walked from Bedford Park, which is about a 20-25 minute walk, but man, was it worth it. We even ran into the Paping Soapbox Derby, which was recently displaced from Brooklyn, at Fort Independence Park on our walk, a strange little bonus.

First let me say that I even love the name of this place. They could have named it the Kingsbridge Ale House, or even (gasp!) the Riverdale Ale House, but they chose to embrace the borough as a whole - well done!

So on to the beer: they're all so good. There are all types of beers, from all regions. The Saturday afternoon special of $5 for every draft beer is a fantastic deal, especially when you realize how good these beers are and that some cost $7 normally. The missus indulged in some apricot flavored wheat thing and after some dancing around the beer menu I settled on a delicious Leffe.

You'd think that the place has spent so much time and money on beer, that the food would be lackluster, but that is just not the case. The food was extremely good as well. Pub grub is the fare, so don't expect some foo-foo risotto, but I think our table of 7 ordered almost all of the sandwiches on the menu and everyone was very pleased.

The atmosphere is friendly and neighborly. Everything is new and nice, and the exposed brick inside, with the establishment's name etched into it is pretty cool. It was also cool to run into some other familiar faces from the Bronx media and nonprofit world.

If I were forced to log one complaint, it would be for Bronx Ale House to become a little more kid friendly. By 5 or 6 o'clock, there were at least 5 children under 5 years old in the place, and nary a high chair or booster seat in sight. It seems like Bronx Ale House will have this weekend afternoon family crowd, so it would be nice to get a few high chairs, some cheesy white paper placemats, and crayons. (Or maybe we parents should get bar friendly and not take our littluns to the ale house?)

Bronx Ale House will be seeing a lot more of ErLu. It's well worth the walk from Bedford Park, and it's even worth the trip from Manhattan or Brooklyn, as evidenced by our friends' from the Upper West Side vow to return because the beer, food, and atmosphere is that good.

The Bronx Ale House is actually the only Bronx stop on the 2nd Annual NY Craft Beer Week September 11-19, so let's get out there and show our support.


Bronx Co-op Trolley Tour, the Real Deal, and the FDNY

So ErLu went on Gregory Tsougranis's North Bronx Co-op Tour this Saturday morning. The turnout was great considering that Mother Nature was once again emptying her bladder on a weekend this summer.

We arrived at Greg's office and had some coffee and mixed and mingled with the potential buyers, brokers, and even a Real Deal journalist covering the tour. There was a couple originally from Ohio, who worked at the Zoo and lived in Parkchester (and to my surprise when I was introducing myself and handing them a BD card, were actually already BoogieDowner readers!). There was the fellow who was interested in terraces and balconies and actually left the tour to take a meeting in Soundview about a condo he was stalking there, only to return later. There was the single white female from Queens looking for a bargain. There was the Bedford Park resident looking for a 2 bedroom for him and his young daughter. There were many others but the ole BD doesn't have time or space (or readers' attention) to chronicle them all. In all there were about 25 people on the tour.

The tour started very well. The trolley first took us to 601 Pelham Parkway North. The art deco building with beautiful mosaics in the lobby (pictured below) was stunning, and the apartments matched. We next saw a few very nice units on Bronx Park East, followed by a very underwhelming building on Thwaites Place.Our next stop was at 340 E. Mosholu Parkway in ErLu's own hood of Bedford Park, so Pearl, who was quickly approaching her need-a-nap-been-on-a-novelty-trolley-too-long breakdown was able to walk home with the missus.

The converted Jr.-4 we saw on the Mosh was nice enough, and after I viewed it and checked out the building I returned to the trolley. After waiting several minutes for the rest of the crew to return to the trolley, one of the brokers came on to the trolley to alert us that the second shift of trolley riders had packed too many people into the elevator and were now stuck in between the 3rd and 4th floors. I guess in these old art deco buildings you get the original details, but also the original elevators.
Needless to say the scene was pretty surreal. The brave Real Deal reporter, Amy Tennery, (pictured below with FDNY hero) was stuck on the elevator as well. I wonder what angle her article will take? Not the impression Greg and the Bronx real estate industry wanted to show, but don't they say there's no such thing as bad publicity?Everyone was rescued (the trapped souls had to crawl out in between floors, because the elevator would not start back up), and the decision was made to abort the mission and head back to Greg's office. But as a testament to the hunger for Bronx co-ops, some buyers were undeterred and wanted to go back out with Greg when everyone else was dropped off to see the remaining units.

All in all it was a good day, if a little surreal. ErLu would certainly suggest that if you're in the market for an affordable co-op apartment in a nice art deco building that you should call Greg or go on one of his tours. We'll keep our eyes open for the Real Deal piece and link to it and let you know how Amy reports on such a bizarre experience.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

NYT 'Habitats' Goes Outside the Box to a Rent Regulated Abode in Soundview

It's great to see The New York Times mixing it up a bit with their weekly housing piece, 'Habitats.'

The Soundview rent-regulated 3 bedroom apartment the Times featured this week does not have many stand-out features, but what it does have is a lot of love.

Click here to check it out.


Friday, August 28, 2009

ReBuilders Source: Saving Money and the Environment

BoogieDowner reader, Gloria, gave us a great tip about ReBuilders Source.

ReBuilders Source is a place down in the South Bronx on 461 Timpson Place (Mott Haven/Woodstock) that is a workers' cooperative that helps to reuse building materials in cool, creative, and environmentally safe ways. RBS's goal is to divert tons of perfectly good building materials from the landfill. There's a great explanatory video on their website (scroll down after the jump).

You can get cabinets, granite, lamp shades, paint, lumber, whatever.

Their stock is constantly changing because of the nature of the rehab and buildng biz.

If you're thinking of renovating something in your apartment or house you should really give this place a look. The prices are much lower than at Home Depot or Lowes. And it sounds like a pretty fun place from Gloria's testimonial:

The staff is super cool and super friendly! Upon arrival my partner and I got a personal tour of the space, what was available and then we were left free to roam on our own. We were also treated to a game of "bowling" - a staffer lined up a few bowling pins and we were given a pin in our hands and allowed to throw the pin a few feet to try and knock down the other pins lol.

After speaking to the staffer that arranged for the bowing game, I learned they are trying to get the word out to contractors, companies, schools, and the general public so they could get more traffic in the place...meaning more product in and more folks taking advantage. They're a year young but soon enough, I really do think they'll be chock full of folks.
Here's their website:
and their number: (718) 742-1111


Photo of the Day

Some shots of the Kingsbridge Armory

Great Haircuts for Kids at 'Someplace Special'

Last weekend we decided that it was finally time to save our 19 month old, Pearl, from her sheepdog-style hair. We haven't cut it since she was born (well, except for that teeny, tiny little dread I had to snip out when she was an infant... bad mommy!), so we decided the best way to ease her into the adult world of primping and styling was to just get her bangs cut.

We suspected that Someplace Special on W. 238th Street in Riverdale would be the perfect place for her first trim (we just didn't feel that the various weave/braiding options available in our neck of the woods would be a great fit for a toddler), and we were not disappointed. The owner of the shop, Suzanne Axelbank (wife of Bronxnet's Gary Axelbank), certainly has a gift for cutting kids' hair. In addition to having tons of distractions available (toys attached to the cutting chair and your choice of any number of kids' dvds playing), Suzanne has even been known to cut hair while kneeling on the floor as kids play with toys.

Click here to check out Someplace Special's website, where you'll find a detailed price list and lots of other information. Suzanne has experience working with autistic children, and also participates in Upshirin, a ceremony given for the first haircut of 3-yr-old Jewish boys. Appointments are highly encouraged. Someplace Special is located at 490 W. 238th Street, right off of Riverdale Avenue, and the phone number is (718) 432-6622.

Here's a picture of Pearl, post-cut, having celebratory gelato on Arthur Avenue:Damn, she's cute.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Photo of the Day

Northern end of the Grand Concourse and Mosholu ParkwayPhoto by ErLu

Listing of the Day: Pelham Parkway Rental

Reiss Place, 1 bedroom - $975/month

Reiss Place is a very small one block street on the far western edge of Pelham Parkway. It is right on the edge of Bronx Park (and the New York Botanical Garden as well).

This is not a bad deal if you're trying to ditch the roomies for a reasonable rent. It looks like a pretty decent building if you check out the lobby.

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.

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.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No Way, Jose...Come On, Mr. Rivera

Disclaimer: For those who are very sensitive to fashion criticism, or unable to pick up on sarcasm, please remember this is a joke.

So the Bronx News Network has a very extensive update about Ruben Diaz and his (delinquent?) advice on the Kingsbridge Armory. You can always count on them for some real journalism.

You all know what the ole BD feels about the issues of living wages and the fight against a new supermarket, so no need to be repetitious.

BoogieDowner just wants to make a little fashion exhortation to Jose Rivera (pictured far left). What's wrong with the picture below?

(photo courtesy of BNN)

Mr. Rivera, if you're going to show up to an official press conference/protest, please put on some dress slacks and a tie. 'Street casual' is not an acceptable look for an elected Bronx official unless you're busy dodging inquiring reporters up in Mamaroneck. If you're out-classed by Maria Baez, pictured far right (she of velour sweat suit fame), you have a problem...Step your game up, Jose. On a side note, it's nice to see our neighbor Doug Cunningham of New Day Church repping Bainbridge House.

And Petey Westchester was in the Bronx today. I wonder why he didn't show up? Pariah, anyone?


Bronx Pizza Tour 8/30 (And Methinks They're Accepting Recommendations)

Something Tasty from the Inbox:

Free Bronx Pizza Tour
(pay for your pizza)
Sunday, 8/30/2009
Starting at 12:22PM

Hello everyone, This Sunday 8/30 is the Bronx Pizza Tour, the second
to last exploration in pizza by the borough. Again, it will be hard to
beat the tours of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island (especially after
last week's topping of all toppings, Salvatore's of Soho), but I have
high hopes for the identifiably Italian borough of the Bronx. I
expect this to be tremendous and eye-opening.

The course is still in the planning phases and I will go on an
exploratory tour on Tuesday or Thursday via bicycle during the day if
anyone wants to come. There I try out speculated great pizzas and try
to decipher which would work best for the tour. If you have any
suggestions or opinions, they would be appreciated as I narrow down
and expand the list to 5 or 6 remarkable pizza places. The only
potential definites so far are Louie & Ernies and Trattoria Zero Otto

Transportation will be decided based on the responses we get for rides
and locations. Depending on the drivers, some may be driven to the
Bronx, and some we will meet at the first location. On Friday I will
let everyone who is attending know the travel arrangements or the
contact info of their transport. We should aim for 12:22 at the first
location TBA.

Taking into consideration the tolls, drivers will pay nothing for
pizza AND drinks.

Please let me know if you are planning on coming and if you intend to
brings any guests. Forward this to any freaks of pizza you know who
you think would like to attend. If seats have to be limited, whoever


Espada Sighting

This came in today from a BD reader:
This morning I was at the Van Cortlandt Senior Center when Pedro
Espada and his entourage showed up. They did a photo op of handing an oversized check for $10,000 for the center, to one of the members. They interrupted the Wednesday morning Tai Chi class to have a group of seniors in the background. I left the room. Did he stop by his apartment?
The answer, dear readers, is NO, we have not seen him here in Bainbridge House.


Free Outdoor Screening of 'Bronx Princess' This Weekend

Bronx Princess Trailer from Yoni Brook on Vimeo.

This Saturday, 8/29, the award-winning PBS POV (Point of View) documentary Bronx Princess will screen for free on the lawn of Mullaly Park in the ‘Little Ghana’ neighborhood blocks away from where it was filmed, as part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series. An African Arts Festival inspired by the film, including performances by Ghanaian-American hip-hop artist Blitz the Ambassador, who scored the music for the film, will be offered along with poetry readings to create a block-party atmosphere. Hands-on arts activities for children and college resources for teenagers will make it a unique back-to-school event.

Another film, Nora, will also be screened, but unfortunately I don't have any info on that one. The evening will begin at 6pm and end at 10:30pm. Both films will be screened at 9pm. Rain date is 9/1. Mullaly Park is located at River Ave and 164th Street. To get there via subway, take 4, B, D trains to 167th Street and walk west to Cromwell Ave. Make a left, and walk south one block to park.

Here's a little description of the award-winning Bronx Princess documentary:
Bronx Princess tells the true story of Rocky Otoo, the Bronx-born teenage daughter of royal Ghanaian parents. With freedom in sight, this sassy, college-bound overachiever rebels against working at her mother’s beauty shop near the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. When Rocky and her mother’s relationship reaches a breaking point, Rocky flees to her father, a chief in Ghana. What follows is captured in “Bronx Princess,” a tumultuous coming-of-age story set in a homeland both familiar and strange. Rocky's precocious — and very American — ideas of a successful, independent life conflict with her father's traditional African values. Reconciling her dual legacies becomes an unexpected chapter in this unforgettable young woman's education.
After the screening, Rocky Otoo, her Ghanaian family and filmmakers Yoni Brook and Musa Syeed will answer audience and media questions.

If you can't make it to this weekend's event, keep in mind that Bronx Princess will have its New York broadcast premiere on Tuesday, 9/22 at 10 p.m. on THIRTEEN as part of the POV series.

Click here for more info regarding this weekend's event.


Photo of the Day

Novena Candles, $1.99
Target at Gateway CenterPhoto by BD reader Gloria

North Bronx Co-Op Tour

This is the second time this type of tour has taken place, so I guess it must have worked the first time. The old BD loves seeing signs of vitality in the Bronx real estate market. ErLu will be there to cover it if you can't attend, but there should be some nice units to see. We'll have a post and pics by Monday. Hope to see you there...



New York Gauchos Ribbon Cutting

The New York Gauchos are hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12:00 noon on Thursday August 27th to unveil the Gauchos Gym new grand entrance (478 Gerard Ave.) and other renovations that were made with a grant that was provided by BOEDC. Local political and business leaders from the Mott Haven community, as well as BOEDC’s leadership, will be part of the ceremony as well. Please join us as we celebrate these urgently needed improvements that will allow us to bring recreational programming to more of the Bronx’s youth.

Listing of the Day: Woodlawn Price Chop

4236 Vireo Avenue, 3 bedroom - $349,000

BoogieDowner profiled this property back in late July when it was listed at $379K. We thought it was a nice value in a stable hood back it's an even better deal now.

This is in the southeastern quadrant of Woodlawn and the listing describes it as a fixer-upper, but from the pics it does not look like a traditional Bronx flophouse that is uninhabitable while you do the work. The listing does not mention the number of bathrooms, but you have to believe there's a least one in there, right? Right?

Here's the Woodlawn spiel (again) for the uninitiated:

Woodlawn is a very unique neighborhood in the Bronx. It is an Irish enclave that has enough bars and pubs to make even Galway jealous. Our favorites are Rory Dolan's (technically in Yonkers) on McLean Avenue and the Rambling House on Katonah Ave (funny story about the Rambling House and my daughter's baptism, but that's one to be told over a pint). The shepherd's pie and other Irish specialties are can't misses.The people in Woodlawn are super-friendly (hey, a lot of them are happy drunks, I guess). Obviously St. Patty's Day is not to missed up here.

You'd have some shopping up and down Katonah and McLean Avenues.

From this side of the hood you'd be able to access easily the Woodlawn Metro-North stop for a quick commute to Manhattan. Otherwise, it's a bus to the 4 train on the other side of the cemetery.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NYT is Calling All Bronx Photos from the 70s

Piggy-backing on the David Gonzalez piece that highlighted the author's photographs from the 1970s in the Bronx, the NY Times is asking for you to submit your photos from the Bronx in the 70s.

The Times has set up an uploading page for you to submit, title, and describe your photos. Not sure how many of those 1970s photos from the Bronx have been digitized into JPGs, but it's worth a shot...



Photo of the Day

Photo by ErLu

Free Kids Movie on the Mosh This Weekend

Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera and Community Board 7 will present a free screening of Disney's WALL-E this Friday, 8/28, at 7:45pm. Bring chairs and a blanket and enjoy the movie on the lawn at Bainbridge Avenue and Mosholu Parkway South.


Monday, August 24, 2009

More on En Foco...

If you enjoyed reading about New York Times' writer David Gonzalez's experience documenting his return to the South Bronx through photography, you should check out this piece as well. It provides an intimate look inside En Foco, a Latino photography group, as well as more photos.

Click here to check it out.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Must Read/View Piece by David Gonzalez

David Gonzalez, one of our favorite NY Times writers, has a fantastic piece about his return fresh from Yale to the South Bronx in 1979 to teach photography.

Here's the written piece.
You must also view this slideshow with voice-over of photograph's Mr. Gonzalez took during what he described as the "Bad Old Days."

*photo courtesy of David Gonzalez*

Friday, August 21, 2009

NY1 Realizes the Hotness (and Value) of Bronx Real Estate

NY1 doesn't allow embedding of its videos, but the piece after the jump is worth the time.

Basically this video-cum-blurb is about how real estate around the Grand Concourse near Yankee Stadium is a great value.

Here's my favorite quote:
"I tell all my first time homebuyers this is it if they missed the train in Harlem, if they missed the train in Astoria if they missed the train in downtown Brooklyn, there is still a train headed to the Bronx and they better catch it because where else can you be where you're two train stops to Manhattan," said Mable Ivory of Luxor Homes & Investment Realty, LLC.

Get on that train, people.


Photo of the Day

Orchard Beach
Photo by ErLu

End-of-Summer Concert at Pelham Bay Park

Here's a little something from Jimmy Vacs' office for you all to add to your calendars for next Friday:

Council Member James Vacca, the Bronx Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation will host an End-of-Summer Concert on Friday, August 28, at the main lawn of Pelham Bay Park (Middletown Road and Stadium Avenue entrance).

The concert, which kicks off at 6 p.m., will feature the acclaimed, high-energy dance/party band Just Nuts, performing hits from the’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, as well as patriotic standards. Remember to bring beach chairs and blankets. For more information, call Phil Cardone of the Bronx Council on the Arts at (718) 931-9500, ext. 35.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Photo of the Day

Some photos of Tuesday night's storm damage in Parkchester
sent in by BoogieDowner reader Helene Mattera of SCRO,
The Parkchester Arts and Recreation Community Center...

Take a Theatrical Bus Tour of the South Bronx - UPDATED WITH DISCOUNT OFFER!

THE PROVENANCE OF BEAUTY. from Sunder Ganglani on Vimeo.

*This just in from the folks over at The Foundry Theatre: Tickets for $20 when you use the code "THEBRONX" - good for the first two weekends, September 5th-7th, and 12th-13th!

The Foundry Theatre will be presenting a very unique opportunity this September and October to tour the South Bronx with their upcoming project, "The Provenance of Beauty; A South Bronx Travelogue," by Claudia Rankine. Here are the details:
THE PROVENANCE OF BEAUTY is a poetic travelogue performed on a bus touring the South Bronx. As we travel the streets of the neighborhood, Rankine's evocative text points out and reflects upon the sites that pass by outside the windows. Views that to an outsider might go by unnoticed - a factory dressed up as townhouses, the theatre where La Lupe held court that is now a church - complicated places that ask what creates a neighborhood in a city in a country in the world.

The audience boards the bus in Spanish Harlem, puts on headphones and for 90 minutes eavesdrops on the voice - both live and recorded - of this historic place. PROVENANCE is an experience that both responds to and redoubles the landscape - its sites, history, present and future - mapping out a poetic cartography of a neighborhood - of any neighborhood - in its eternal state of evolution.

Two performances daily: every Sat & Sun from Sept 5 – Oct 25th
(plus two shows on Labor Day 9/7)

Click here for tickets. The bus leaves from & returns to Spanish Harlem (136 E. 121st St. btw. Lexington & 3rd Avenues). The performance runs approximately 90 minutes.

I've Got a Crush on Ian Volner

Our summertime laziness in keeping up with our Google alerts almost caused me to miss an excellent article by The Faster Times' Ian Volner regarding the Bronx Museum of the Arts' recent competition to 'redesign' the Grand Concourse.

You may be wondering, "Who is Ian Volner?" I don't really know, but I think I may love him. In a mere three paragraphs of succinct writing, Mr. Volner manages to sum up what my husband and I say to each other every time we hear someone trashing the Bronx based solely on their outdated perceptions of our beloved borough (we're looking at you, Curbed commenters). Here are the pieces of Mr. Volner's article that caused me to swoon:

One note: If you follow the above link to the announcement, you’ll be carried to Curbed’s post on the subject. You might be better served going to The Architect’s Newspaper. The Curbed commentariat is famously nasty, but this time they’ve outdone themselves for ignorance and shortsightedness. Of course there’s crime and decay in the Bronx. But according to the New York Police Department’s CrimeStat site, the crime rate in the combined districts of the Grand Concourse has declined at an average rate of approximately 9% over the last year alone–to say nothing of the 12% decline from two years ago, or the 33% reduction since 2001. This rate of decline is almost identical to that experienced in what we might call the present Brooklyn “pale of settlement”–all those rapidly gentrifying quarters stretching from the eastern perimeter of Prospect Park, all the way north via Crown Heights into Bushwick, that are currently the preferred redoubt of the post-collegiate crowd (to be followed by the real estate developers who love them).

Not only that, but the actual volume of violent crime in the western Bronx is comparable in every way to that of central Brooklyn: There have been seven murders and 21 reported rapes this year in Bushwick north of Broadway–six murders and 18 rapes around the Concourse south of 174th St. Looking north towards Fordham Road, 123 burglaries have occurred in the Bronx; in Crown Heights and the adjoining areas to the west, 128. These figures are all the more impressive in view of the fact that the Grand Concourse has a higher population density, being comprised almost exculsively of five- and six-storey apartment buildings, whereas the housing stock in central Brooklyn is predominately three- and four-storey brownstones. As a function of population, crime rates in some areas along the Grand Concourse are lower than they are in many more expensive portions of Brooklyn.

And if that isn’t enough to get you up to take the walk, consider the transit possibilities: from Union Square, it’s a scant twenty-five minutes to 167th St. by the number 4 express train. From Columbus Circle, you can get to East Tremont Ave. in twenty on the D. You can be there and back in a twinkling. [The Faster Times]

Amen, Ian! BD readers should click here to check out the article in full... It's well worth the read.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meteorology & Meatballs: Bill Evans Apearing at Ann & Tony's

Finally, two of my favorite things have come together: meteorology and meatballs!

Okay, I'm lying. While I absolutely adore meatballs, I have an intense dislike for meteorologists. This aversion to weathermen was passed down to me from my mother, who can often be seen pointing at weathermen delivering their shoddy forecasts on the evening news and yelling, "You're all a bunch of goddamned idiots!" And once when my husband, Lou, and I were watching Mr. G's forecast on Channel 11 the night before a heavily hyped snowstorm (he's a teacher, so we're always hoping for the almighty snowday), and Lou looked at me and said, "Does it look like he's lying? I swear to god he looks uncomfortable like he's lying to us right now." Sure enough, Mr. G's forecast was a less than accurate and we got little more than a dusting of snow.

But if there's one meteorologist who has stolen my heart, it is WABC's Bill Evans. Aside from providing pretty decent forecasts, Bill cracks me up (even if it is mostly at the expense of his corpulent traffic sidekick, Joe Nolan). So when I saw through Bill's Facebook page (yes, I'm that cool that I am Facebook friends with Bill Evans) that he was going to be appearing tomorrow night at Ann & Tony's here in the BoogieDown to promote his new book, I just had to let everyone know. Here are the details:
"Emmy Award Winning" weatherman and New York Times Best Selling Author Bill Evans will be at Ann & Tony's Restaurant (2407 Arthur Avenue) signing his new book, Frozen Fire, Thursday, 8/20, from 7 to 9pm.

Bill Evans will be signing books, autographs and be available for pictures.

Click here to check out his new book on

Photo of the Day

It looks like the MTA employs the same copy editor as Ollie Koppell...
Photo courtesy of Cousin Jake's buddy from work


Listing of the Day: Biggest Price Chop Ever - Too Bad It's a Flop House

2183 Ryder Avenue, "AS IS" - $192,500

There is nothing remotely attractive about this place (boarded up windows included!). The only reason it is appearing before you today is that it is a real estate freak show of price chops.

On August 16th the price for this pile o'crap was $372,000. Today it stands at $192,500.

That's a $179,500 (or 48%) reduction. I've never quite seen things get chopped this drastically. Admittedly, the new price is much closer to the home's value, but it's interesting that someone tried to ask for $372K for over 7 months. Real estate hysteria is slow to wane.

I kind of feel sorry for the poor sap that bought it for $394,996 in 2005.



Super Cool OASIS Map

Some of you might already know about and use this, but there are some cool updates on the new version of the Open Accessible Space Information System (OASIS) mapping site.

So if you're a map/chart/demographic/land use/census junkie (I'm looking at you Greg Jost), you'll probably love this interactive map. After you play around a bit, please leave comments about what you like/don't like because this update is still a work in progress, and the people who run it would welcome feedback.

Have fun!


Ollie Koppell and the Missing L

Bronx News Network has a very funny (and somewhat scary) post about how some of incumbent City Councilmember Oliver Koppell's campaign material misspells the candidate's own name. See the photographic evidence after the jump.

Can't we do better than this in the Bronx?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Listing of the Day: Yankee Stadium Studio

Walton Avenue and 165th Street, Studio - $800/month

This is not a bad little studio for those who are tired of having roomies or being subsidized by a third party for rent. The nabe is affordable and close to transportation, but don't think you'd have to leave the hood to enjoy yourself...

You'd find yourself in the heart of the Yankee Stadium development orgy in this apartment. Obviously, the City and the Yankees want this hood to do well. It's probably one of the most heavily visited outer-borough attractions for tourists. Expect an already decent hood to flourish. Now if only you could use slightly illegal municipal bills to fund your next move like the Yankees, you'd be looking at real estate sale listings instead of rentals, but that's fodder for another post.

Joyce Kilmer Park on 161st Street is a nice stretch of green across from the courthouse. The park runs more north-south than East-West, so your more northerly spot here at 165th doesn't mean you'll be schlepping too far. You'd also be close to new and the old Yankee Stadiums, of which the latter 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).

You'd be reasonably close to the recently opened Gateway Center Mall. The Bronx Museum of the Arts is just on 165th and the Grand Concourse, but there is art up and down the Grand Concourse in the 160s and 150s with beautiful Art Deco architecture. You'd also be near the new healthy foodie option 4Food.

Lots of choices for transportation. For those who work on the West Side there is the B/D at 161st. For those who work on the East Side there is the 4 at 161st and Jerome. And pretty soon you'll have a Metro North stop around the corner as well.

Another added bonus of the hood is that if you're a keggler, the nabe's got you covered too; Ball Park Lanes is on 160th and River Avenue (literally across from the soon to be old Yankee Stadium).



Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Bronx Walking Tours This Weekend

Two Bronx tours from the Municipal Art Society:

Saturday at 10 a.m. “Back to the Bronx, Part II: Melrose” focuses on housing and retail renewal of the area, meeting in front of the Chase bank, north of Melrose Avenue and 149th Street.

Sunday at 4 p.m. “Cool, Green Edge: Mosholu Parkway and Norwood” explores the greenery and varied architecture of these neighborhoods, meeting at the token booth of the Mosholu Parkway subway station on the No. 4 train. (212) 439-1049,; each, $15; $10 for members.

Information courtesy of NY Times


Meet Sonia Manzano, "Maria" On Sesame Street and Celebrate!

A cool event from the Inbox:

Join Sonia Manzano as she engages children in sing-a-long tunes and reads from her very own collection of children's stories. Stay for the party afterward and celebrate with us as we wrap our first summer workshop series.

All activities and programs are recommended for children ages 3 -7, but all are welcome to join in the fun!
Please note that this is an interactive program, so expect to participate along with your children.

To RSVP and for more information please call (718) 360-9399 or email bxcminfo@gmail. com

Workshops funded by a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs Community Arts Fund.


At The Point CDC
940 Garrison Avenue
Bronx, NY 10574

10:00 AM TO NOON


Happy First Birthday BoogieDowner!

One year ago today, BoogieDowner was born. (It seems a lot longer than that!)

In lieu of birthday gifts, we are accepting donations for Pearl's college fund. Checks can be made payable to "ErLu."

A big thank you to all of our dedicated readers who help inspire the ol' BD to keep chugging along...

*Photo courtesy of photobucket user nsxjesse*


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Espada's Son Already Quitting Made-Up No-Show Job

Big props to the Bronx News Network for aggregating all the links about the younger Espada resigning from a blatantly nepotistic $120K/year job. Click here for their News Roundup (the first two items are about this resignation).

My favorite link must be the one from the Post, in which the younger Espada is absent from his new job, only shows up after being told the Post is looking for him, needs to be directed to his office by a staffer, and is unable to log on to his computer.

I guess an (additional) investigation from AG Andrew Cuomo was not welcomed by the Espada clan.

*Photo of Pedro G. Espada doh-ing his way out of a job courtesy of NY Post*

Photo of the Day

Summer youth workers sponsored by the
Mosholu Preservation Corporation out beautifying the gully area
of the Mosholu Parkway yesterday


Listing of the Day: Mott Haven Brownstone

414 East 136th Street, 6 bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms - $444,000

This brownstone is just off of Willis Avenue and north of the Deegan (meaning you can literally see Manhattan from the stoop). The listing doesn't clearly delineate bedrooms and bathrooms, but my count from this very cool floor plan is six bedrooms and four lavatories. The garden and so-called "garden apartment" are pretty damned cool as well.

It's hard to even get a handle on the market for brownstones down here because there are so few publicly for sale. BoogieDowner used to profile the price amputations and chops down on Alexander Avenue during the nervous hysteria of a few months ago, but those listings have disappeared, yet were never filed with ACRIS and the City as being sold. So there are no recent comps to use as a gauge of the market.

This is a pretty big house, with the aforementioned garden. The fact that there are some interior shots in the listing makes me think that it's in better shape than the Alexander Avenue houses the ole BD used to stalk (which never had interior shots and made one think that they needed to be gutted completely).

Mott Haven has some cool stuff to offer. There's the nascent and growing arts scene, great bars and restaurants (Bruckner Bar and Grill, Alexander's, Santa Clarita, Pio Pio etc.), beautiful architecture, and proximity to Manhattan.

The nearest train is a block and a half away at 138th and Brook Avenue.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Save the Botanical/Webster Avenue Post Office!

Please urge the Postal Service to save the Botanical/Webster Avenue location
from elimination by signing our petition below!

You've all probably heard the hub bub about the United States Postal Service looking to close budget gaps by closing post office locations around the country. Well, a whopping 7 of those locations up for possible elimination are right here in the BoogieDown. I know, I know... It's really hard to believe that the Postal Service can actually get any worse, but, alas, it can.

You can read all about the Postal Service's plans in this New York Times article.

Sadly, the Botanical Garden sub-station over on Webster Avenue between Bedford Park Blvd. and E. 201st Street may be one of the locations shuttered if we don't voice our outrage. The Bedford Mosholu Community Association has been circulating hard copy petitions around town, and we'd be pleased as punch if BD readers would get involved as well.

So, please join together with BoogieDowner and the Bedford Mosholu Community Association to urge the United States Postal Service to save the Botanical Garden/Webster Avenue location from possible elimination by signing the below petition.

Please note, you can check "anonymous" if you'd like your name to be kept confidential from the public. Also, you are asked to provide your home address for verification purposes, but only your City and State will be made public.

Click here to view and sign the petition, or simply add your name below.

Here's a copy of what will be sent to USPS, as well as our elected officials, once we've rounded up a decent amount of signatures:

We, the undersigned, object to the United States Postal Service's proposed plan to eliminate the Botanical Garden sub-station branch located at 2963 Webster Avenue (between Bedford Park Blvd. and E. 201st Street).

Our objections to the planned closing of the Botanical Garden post office are based on the grounds that the possible loss of this post office location would have extremely negative impacts on the residents and businesses in Bedford Park.

We urge the USPS to protect the mail services of the community of Bedford Park by ensuring the continued operation of the Botanical Garden/Webster Avenue sub-station.

We thank you in advance for your close attention to this matter.


Listing of the Day: Correcting the Fraud

E. 201st Street and Decatur Avenue 2 Bedrooms - $1700/month

My apologies again for posting a too-good-to-be-true LOD last week at this same building that ending up being a scam (Thanks again, Newburgh Restoration).

Here's a two bedroom for $1700. Totally legit listing with an offer for potential renters to even speak to the tenants departing for Philadelphia. Not as great a deal, but not horrible. The little write up from last week still holds, methinks. So let's try this again:

The building itself is not the worst Fedders monstrosity I've ever seen (it's not even the worst in the hood). There are cute little balconies/terraces for everyone but the ground floor. The makeup of the building seems decent enough - not overly rowdy. There's a Mexican family, who use indoor seating as outdoor seating, a hipster with a small dog, a grand dame Puerto Rican woman who decorates her balcony with plastic ivy vines and lights.

The hood has some pretty cool stuff to offer. You'd be near the Mosholu Parkway, which serves as a long green park (with a road) that connects Bronx Park to Van Cortlandt Park. You'd be near the Bronx Greenway and great biking. The Botanical Garden is pretty damned cool as well, and until October there is a twice weekly farmer's market at the Garden.

There is decent shopping on Bedford Park Boulevard, a bit more on 204th Street across Mosholu Parkway, and yet even more down on Fordham Road. If you want really fresh and quality products like bread, cheeses, meat, fish, pasta, or produce, I'd take the 15-20 minute walk to Arthur Avenue or ride my bike over.

Fordham University and Lehman College always provide cultural offerings to the hood like lectures, talks, plays, and musical performances. Fordham provides pretty decent college sports to the nabe.

The hood is saturated in transportation with the B/D at Bedford Park Boulevard and the Concourse, and the 4 train at Bedford Park Boulevard and Jerome Avenue. The Botanical Garden also has a Metro North stop.

Further Reading for the 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, August 11, 2009

Photo of the Day

Artemis on a Door on Mosholu Parkway
Photo by ErLu