Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photo of the Day

Lowercase Perry AvenueSeems like such a small change, but both my husband and I
noticed it right away...
the new Perry Avenue street sign contains lowercase letters.
Here's what one of the Perry Avenue signs looked like before:
Photos by ErLu

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bragging Rights?

An interesting post over on "We live in the Bronx, but" suggests that the Bronx deserves some positive self-promotion, ala Brooklyn's "Brooklyn: Believe the Hype" marketing signage. The anon blogger has even gone so far as to write a letter with marketing recommendations to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s office. Click here to check it out. So far, "We live in the Bronx, but" has not gotten even a form response from the Beep's office.

Maybe if the letter recommended signage that said, "The notion that any job is better than no job no longer applies," the blogger would have had better luck getting a response from Diaz's office. Hey Ruben, how's that Kingsbridge Armory task force coming along? Any luck moving that unicorn factory along?

How in the world did I manage to link a post about marketing the Bronx to the epic failure of the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory? What's wrong with me - why can't I just let go of the Shops at the Kingsbridge Armory idea? Maybe it's because of this story I recently read in the New York Post (I know, usually we don't really take anything from the Post seriously, but this well-informed piece was written by Candice Giove, who produces great Bronx work for the Village Voice and Riverdale Review):

Bronx cheerless: 320 applicants for 35 jobs in NYC's borough of 13% unemployment

I wonder if the 320 job applicants (many of whom are facing the prospect of soon-to-be-terminated unemployment benefits) who waited over two hours to be interviewed for 35 $8/hour,no benefit jobs at the Gateway Center's new Sketchers store would agree with Beep Ruben Diaz Jr. that "the notion that any job is better than no job no longer applies?"

Diaz's office should be better at responding to the needs of Bronx residents...whether it be by working to repair the badly damaged image of the borough (or at least responding to a letter with marketing suggestions), or finding ways to create JOBS for the huge number of Bronxites that are struggling to find work.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Need a Tree For Your Hood?

Community Board 7 is assembling a list of requests for new trees. Here's the info:
As part of the Million Trees Program, Community Board #7 is compiling a list of areas in need of trees. If you know of a site in the Board area, please send it to CB#7, by calling 718-933-5650 or emailing the information to info@bronxcb7.info
1. Street address
2. If there is an existing tree pit or if a new one is needed
3. If an old stump needs to be removed.
Requests need to be sent by October 8th.

Bronx Native Gifts $25 Million to Fordham University

Fordham University has announced that it has just received the largest gift ever since its founding in 1841. Mario J. Gabelli, philanthropist, investor and chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors Inc., has donated $25 million to his alma mater. Mr. Gabelli is a native of the Bronx and the first in his family to attend college.

From the press release:
The gift will allow Fordham, which will rename the undergraduate business college the Gabelli School of Business, to expand student scholarships and faculty chairs, and will be crucial to the creation of the Center of Global Investment Analysis, which will bring together students, faculty, and professionals in the financial community to enhance scholarship in the study and understanding of capital markets.
The gift will be formally announced during tomorrow's Homecoming events.

Big ups to Mr. Gabelli for saving Fordham from slacker alums like myself!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Listing of the Day: Bang For Your Buck in Norwood

3216 Hull Avenue - 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath - $349,000

Talk about bang for your buck...This 3 bedroom/1.5 bath house is downright charming (or at least it appears that way from the outside when I walked past and from pics) and sits on a quiet, shady slice of Hull Avenue. It's only a few blocks away from the Williamsbridge Oval (a great park to begin with that is getting even better thanks to the hard work of the Friends of Williamsbridge Oval), and it has a gorgeous covered front porch along with a sizable backyard.

Interior shots look promising as well, revealing dark hardwood floors and a pretty nice kitchen and bathroom. I think I even spy some pocket doors hiding out in one of the shots leading to the dining room. There appears to be some cheesy linoleum flooring that was put down in the dining room, but there may be some hardwoods ripe for refinishing laying under there. All this, and only steps to the nearest D train station.

This sounds great and all, but what I really wanna know is: does the movie theater seat come with the attic office space? Me thinks Lovely Listing would appreciate photo 12 out of 12.


Big ups to Lis for alerting us to this beauty!


More New Trees in Bedford Park

We received the following info from a very excited BD Reader:
Just to let you know...
205th between East Mosholu Parkway and the Grand Concourse will be TREE LINED!
Markings have been painted on the sidewalk..and the Dept of Prks have started working on it!
8 trees in total!

A sign of quality life improvement??!!

To top it off..after they are done, since I'm a resident of the neighborhood...I'll be planting some iris and lilies under those same trees.
Excellent news to hear that Bedford Park will be getting some new trees, and even better news to hear that a resident will be adding additional plantings to the new greenery! Imagine what our streets would look like if every resident went the extra mile like this?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

End Of Summer Bubbly with Martha Stewart

NYBG will be hosting a Champagne Cocktail Party with Martha Stewart this evening from 5:30pm to 8pm as part of their Edible Garden series. More details here or below...~ErLu

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friends of the Williamsbridge Oval Meeting Tomorrow Evening

The Friends of Williamsbridge Oval will be having a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, 9/21) at 7 pm near the bocce ball courts in the park. All are welcome, and bring fido too!

A quick rundown of the group's mission is below. They are always looking for more community-minded folks to join their group, so please feel free to stop by tomorrow's meeting!

Friends of the Oval is a volunteer-led collection of neighbors who care about and delight in their park. Membership is open to anyone and everyone who wants to preserve and improve the Williamsbridge Oval as a vital community resource for the thousands of adults, children and elderly who enjoy the park each week.

Friends of the Williamsbridge Oval is committed to using people power to assist the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation in properly maintaining and supporting our park. As neighbors who love the Oval and our neighborhood, we work together with community residents, elected officials and neighborhood organizations to identify needs in the park, monitor repairs and renovations and sponsor activities to foster community connectedness.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some Thoughts on the Ousting of Pedro

Much of the Bronx is breathing a huge sigh of relief today and hoping for good things to come as Pedro is on his way out and Gustavo Rivera is (most likely) on his way in.

A BD Reader sent in the following points, and we couldn't agree more with each of them:
Well, what a morning! I was excited to be voting in my first real competitive race ever (let's face it, most national and state elections are not really like this around here) and happy for the result.

Just a few quick thoughts-
1. The only person who actually grew up in the 33rd, went to school here, and still lives here was Padernacht. It's a bit sad when truly local residents are kind of brushed aside in favor of people whose ties to the community are not as strong...I am not suggesting he would have won by a long shot, but I hope races like this encourage more local persons to take a stand. Gustavo is a very nice guy, but I know of NO ONE who had even met him until November and even then, he seemed like a long shot because, well, NO ONE HAD EVER HEARD OF HIM. He had not been involved in any local races, was not present on the Armory issue, was not at any local community board meetings, school meetings, etc. So I think we all felt a little surprised when he appeared.

2. And....money is a huge factor. If Rivera did not have the New Roosevelts, would we have this result? Pedro has oodles of illegal gained cash on hand but Samuels (an upstater!) pledged a quarter of a million to this race. So, if you are say a local person, want to run, and hold a few rubber chicken dinner's around the neighborhood, do you get in? It seems the answer is no.

In the end though, this was way way more about rejecting Pedro than Rivera (similar to how Obama won...he was not Bush!). Good luck to him, I think he will do fine and we can return to the real work of the Bronx-smart development, better funded schools, and the creation of jobs and housing that make it an attractive place again.

The Bronx truly lived up to its motto last night-Ne Cede Malis (Do NOT GIVE WAY TO EVIL).
Nicely put, BD Reader!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Espada Concedes Primary to Rivera

The reign of terror is OVER!

Click here for the Daily News update.

Can't wait to bring you a Listing of the Day for 325 E. 201st Street, #4B, Espada's "residence" here in Bainbridge House. I'd imagine it's in pristine condition because it's barely been used!

Congratulations to Gustavo Rivera - don't let us down!


Pedro and His Thugs Don't Disappoint

Fresh from the Rivera campaign, here is a list of shenanigans and other illegalities perpetrated by the Wascally One's camp:

At 268 East 207th Street: Senator Pedro Espada was inside the polling location, talking to voters,
handing out literature, and saying "vote for me" with his campaign workers.

At P.S. 33: Pedro G. Espada handed out literature for his father inside the poll site.

At Vladeck Hall, 74 Van Cortlandt Park: An Espada staffer on government payroll, Michael Gary, who is apparently a poll inspector, steered people to vote for Espada. Once voters are inside the poll site, Gary said, "I speak Spanish and I can help you vote."

At Middle School 80: As soon as the police left for lunch, Espada volunteers started leafleting within
the poll site vicinity. Also, the person who is giving instruction for voters changed the instructions
from English to Spanish for an English-speaking voter so the voter could not understand. The
Spanish interpreter gave Espada volunteers high-fives and hugs as he walked out of the polling site.

At Fort Independence Community Center at 3350 Bailey Avenue: An Espada poll worker said to Rivera workers, "you better tell your people to behave because I'm likely to stab first."

Fordham Hill Coop, 2440 Sedgwick Ave: Several canvassers said the apartment building security guards at the poll site have asked voters who they are voting for. Only Espada voters have been allowed into the building.

At P.S. 70, Eastburn Avenue and 173rd Street: There was no Spanish interpreter at the poll site. The
Espada poll watcher had a "poll workers" certificate and a sign that said, "I speak Spanish". She was told to cease and desist.

P.S. 93 at 182 Washington Street: Espada's workers set up a road block to stop traffic and are giving out literature.

At P.S. 57: Ruth T.P. Smith, one of the poll inspectors who is close friends with Espada, told people to vote for Espada inside the poll site.

At P.S. 23: An Espada worker wearing campaign paraphernalia inside the poll site, was asked to leave, but refused


Primary Day: Vote for Rivera

Primary Day is finally here. Get out there and vote for Gustavo Rivera. Be vigilant and make sure that your vote counts with the new machines...If you don't understand how to use them, ASK FOR HELP. If the person who comes over to help you doesn't know what he/she is doing, ASK SOMEONE ELSE FOR HELP. That is unless you're voting for Espada...in that case there's no need to be so assertive about making sure your vote is cast correctly. Ha!

Some updates from the field from BD Readers...

  • It still amazes me that our most important Democratic process is entrusted to such unimpressive (and untrained!) poll workers. They were just opening when I got here at 6:40am, even though polls officially open at 6am. I was voter #1. I took me a few different tries to find an English speaking poll worker for help. Connie Espada was there just hanging out.
  • From a Facebook status update: "BD Reader" just voted, and HOPES it counted... poll workers aren't trained, and new machines are giving error messages.
Feel free to leave your poll experiences (good or bad) in the comments section.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Photo of the Day

Pastries and Pols
On Sunday, September 12, United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stopped by Egidio’s Pastry Shoppe in the Belmont section of the Bronx, where bakery owner Carmela Lucciola (left) taught the pair how to fill cannoli. Senator Gillibrand and Borough President Diaz would later visit with constituents at Arthur Avenue’s annual “Ferragosto” celebration.

Photo courtesy of Office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

More Espada Shenanigans?

We received the following email from a BD Reader last night:
I just heard from a friend of mine that lives in Tracey Towers that she or he (I don't want anyone to trace it back to them) got a strange call. This phone call announced that they could vote by phone. Obviously, this isn't true. There is no such thing as voting by phone. When my friend checked her caller ID, the number was listed under Pedro Espada. Is this legal? I'm wondering if they are just tricking Rivera supporters an that once these supporters have ben identified and tricked into calling in their vote, someone will try to vote as that person. Do you understand. First they identify John Smith as a supporter (probably done by knocking or phonebanking or something). Then they call to let this person know they can call in their vote. Once this person calls in their vote at the number provided, someone will go to the polls as John Smith (since they know the actual John Smith doesn't plan to arrive since he thinks he already voted) and votes for Espada. Even if they later part of my speculation doesn't happen, isn't misinforming people about how, when and where to vote illegal? Please let me know. I don't know if I should advise my friend to go to the authorities.
Although this sounds a bit far-fetched, I wouldn't put it past Espada and his henchmen. Beware of shenanigans such as these when attempting to cast your vote tomorrow!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Senator Espada Feeling "Very, Very Good" About Tuesday

We were just coming back from a walk to New York Botanical Garden to see the newly renovated Snuff Mill (or Stone Mill, as they are now calling it), and we bumped into Senator Espada by the mailboxes of our building.

He was looking especially smurfish in his favorite khaki "Kim Jong Il" leisure wear (as one BxNN commenter recently referred to it), and seemed a bit sheepish/distant/aloof - maybe actually being in the Bronx so much lately to campaign is beginning to stress him out. I think bucolic Mamaroneck is probably a lot quieter and peaceful than the good ol' BoogieDown.

We asked Senator Espada how he was feeling about Tuesday, and he mumbled quietly, "Very, very good." Although Pedro's words seem confident, his demeanor did not. He avoided eye contact by looking down at his keys and seemed much more intent on just getting his mail and getting the hell out of here than glad-handing or in any way working for our vote.

We didn't stick around to see if he received the Gustavo Rivera mailer that we received today which featured out favorite photo of him (below), which was taken by John DeSio, Village Voice reporter cum Ruben Diaz Jr. flack.
Anyway, can't wait for this primary to be over and done with with hopefully favorable results for Rivera. We're really, really sick of all the flyers, mailers, and volunteer door knockers associated with this heated race. A Rivera volunteer just buzzed our door and woke Pearl up from a much-needed nap - DISLIKE.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Espada Campaign Scammers Playing Knock-Knock

So the missus just answered the door while I was tucking the big sister into bed.

Mind you that it was the door to our apartment and not the main entrance buzzer (i.e. these clowns were already in the building). The people on the other side of the door knew our names and claimed to be from the Board of Elections. They were interested if we were going to vote in the upcoming 33rd district primary. They then began to give the missus Espada campaign literature.

My wife asked, "So you're not really from the Board of Elections? You're working for Espada's campaign?" The response was a cryptic, "Well, we're from the Senate, so we have to say 'Board of Elections.'"

Before they left they requested our phone numbers. When the missus refused they said, "They make us ask for this information; it's how they confirm we were here." Of course, the missus refused and they left, but how many of our neighbors gave up the info? Hopefully not many.

This is wrong (illegal) on so many levels. Please go and vote on September 14th against the utter scumbag. I'm not a rah-rah Gustavo guy, but I'd vote for Mitch McConnell over Pedro.


Ferragosto 2010

Belmont's annual Ferragosto festival will take place this Sunday, 9/12, from 12 to 7pm. Check your diets at the door for this baby! More info here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Castle Price Chop in Bedford Park

308 E. 201st Street, 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathrooms - $559K

We featured this when it first went on the market at $599K (and Curbed made fun of us for doing so).
In any case, it's big and cool-looking and has serious parking (for 10 cars). And now you can scoop it up for $40K less! (Although, methinks this won't be the last chop...)



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ABC 7 Clip on the 33rd Race

Monday, September 6, 2010

Feds to Monitor 33rd Primary Voting?

I'm finally shaking off the remnants of summer and Labor Day weekend and getting back to the ol' BD.

You probably already know this, but Dan Padernacht has pulled out of the 33rd race to unseat Westchester Pete. So it's a one-on-one between Gustavo Rivera and the Wascally One.

An added layer of intrigue to this race developed just recently, with Rivera sending a letter to the Department of Justice Civil Rights unit. In the letter he asks for the DOJ to send federal election observers to make sure no Pedro-riffic shenanigans take place on Sept 14th (and also to ensure that the 33rd voters are not disenfranchised by the fancy new optical scan ballot things). The Observer has the full monty.

It's going to be a close one. Make sure to get out and vote on September 14th and vote this ethical midget incumbent out.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Photo of the Day

1968 VW Bug - Decatur and the MoshPhotos by ErLu

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rivera/Padernacht Debate (Updated)

BxNN has posted a link to the Gustavo Rivera/Dan Padernacht debate which aired on BronxTalk this past Monday. Here's the clip in case you missed it:

There were a bunch of interesting comments left on the post suggesting that although Padernacht hasn't received the political endorsements or generated as much of a buzz in the media as Rivera, he's actually the stronger candidate of the two. Commenters opine that Rivera is receiving the support of the Bronx political establishment simply because he is Hispanic and Padernacht doesn't stand a chance because he's white and his family is involved in real estate. What do you all think?

I personally felt like Rivera actually wasted my valuable time during the debate. I only get a small window of opportunity where Sesame Street will capture Pearl's attention, and I can't believe I just spent it listening to someone name drop and rattle off endorsements that I already knew he had. Booooo!

While I'm at it, I have another bone to pick with Rivera. I was taking the kiddos out for a walk yesterday and my lovely super, Sam, was working hard outside in the 95 degree heat tending to the plants around our building. Another one of his tasks for the day? Cleaning up Gustavo Rivera campaign flyers left behind by New Roosevelt Initiative's volunteers' little rally outside our building Saturday.
I'm all for coming to Espada's supposed place of residence to organize and do community outreach, but really - where do the volunteers think the campaign literature they hand out ends up? I'm sick of politicians littering the streets with their campaign crap. That means you too, Senator Espada! BD reader Jo sent in the below photo of Espada's flyers on a pole on the Grand Concourse. Talk about overkill. I can't wait for those to be torn down and end up as litter in my neighborhood.
An update from BD Reader Jo regarding the campaign posters:
So as follow-up to the picture I sent you yesterday of Pedro's awful posters: I have since called 3-1-1 and reported his posters that are ILLEGALLY posted on city property. Dept of Sanitation will take the complaint, and within 3 days go out to remove the posts and issue a fine to the individual or company owning the poster. So I encourage everyone to call 3-1-1 to report any of his posters illegally hung and hope that you spread the word to do so as well!

I am also happy to report that the pole on Bedford Park Blvd and Grand Concourse that yesterday had ten front and back posters of Espada’s face (20 in total) now have been decreased to 7 front and back (14 awful faces)—and I can’t take credit for the removal of any of those. So it makes me feel good that there are others in this neighborhood that dislike him as much as I do and are willing to take action. But I am now advocating the report of the posters to 3-1-1 instead of just ripping them down and creating litter.

Thanks Jo!!