Thursday, October 8, 2015

Meet Legendary Yoda, Star Wars Air Hogs at New York Comic Con

I hear you’re headed to New York Comic Con this week and want to make sure the Spin Master booth is on your radar. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens just over two months away now (can you believe it?), we’re thrilled to be showcasing these must-have products for young padawans and Jedi Masters alike.

·         Legendary Yoda’s lifelike movements and voice recognition make it possible to train with the Jedi Grand Master like never before.View Legendary Yoda in action and learn more here.

·         Star Wars Air Hogs make galaxy travel a reality with innovative remote controlled versions of some of the most iconic vehicles. The Ultimate Millennium Falcon Quad will have users convinced they are Han Solo. Learn more about the Star Wars Air Hogs vehicles here.

Visit Spin Master at booth #1665 to demo these innovative toys yourself.

Legends of Cthulhu Prize Pack of Insanity at NYCC!


WHO:              From Warpo, the creators of the Legends of Cthulhu retro action figures, and Diamond Comic Distributors.
WHAT:            All New York Comic Con attendees who have their badges scanned at the Diamond/PREVIEWSworld booth this week will be entered to win an exclusive Legends of Cthulhu Prize Pack of Insanity, featuring one each of each item from Warpo’s Legends of Cthulhu action figures, the limited edition 12” Glow in the Dark Cthulhu, the 12” standard Cthulhu, the Legends of Cthulhu Collector Club Kit, and assorted other goodies from Warpo.
WHERE:          New York Comic Con
                        Diamond/ PREVIEWSworld booth #1736
WHEN:            October 8 – 11, 2015
Legends of Cthulhu retro action figures are available at BigBadToyStoreThink Geekcomic book stores, and in toy and hobby shops nationwide.
About Warpo
Founded in 2013 by avid collectors and toy industry veterans Bryan Katzel, Eric LeFeber and Tommy Baldwin, Warpo is Making Yesterday’s Toys, high-quality collectible toys with a a distinct retro look and feel. Taking an artisanal approach of “method manufacturing”, Warpo’s debut product line, Legends of Cthulhu launched with a Kickstarter in June 2014, and the company’s future releases include action figures, plush, playsets, and more. For more information, visit

“Bronx Chamber of Commerce Honors Italian Leaders as Part of Italian Heritage Month”

  The Bronx Chamber of Commerce hosted its 4th Annual Italian Heritage Month Leadership Reception on Wednesday, October 7th.  This event marked the chamber’s celebration of Italian Heritage Month, gathering their membership to commemorate the contribution of Italians to the Bronx business community.  

Honorees include John Cerini (Bronx Tax Man), Dominic Ciacco (Ridgewood Savings Bank), Gianna Dell’Olio (Bronx Works), Sal Farenga (Farenga Brothers Funeral Home), Gino Longo (Gino O. Longo Architect), Dominck Mascaria (Visiting Nurse Service of New York), Vincent Palmieri (East Coast Power and Gas), and Captain Danielle Raia (NYPD, 45th Precinct).

Above - BCC Chairman Joe Kelleher opened the event.
Below - Some of the BCC members and the Italian specialties that were served.

Above - State Senator Jeff Klein address the packed room.
Below - As Senator Klein speaks BCC Chairman Kelleher and BCC Executive Director Michelle Dolgow-Christofaro watch from the side. Senator Klein and the BCC have partnered in the very successful Bronx HIRE program.

Scott Stringer is Hurting the Homeless and the Needy

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 
District 32 Bronx County, New York

You should know that there is an article titled EXPERTS SAY STRINGER’S REJECTION OF HOMELESS SHELTER CONTRACTS IS ‘ILLEGAL’ written by Jeff Stein from New York NonProfit that appeared in the October 6, 2015 edition of “City and State.”  Mr. Stein wrote about how “the current standoff between Bill de Blasio and Scott Stringer over the registration of homeless shelter contracts is far from shocking.”
As a New York State Senator here in the South Bronx, and as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, I must say that it is deplorable for families and children to languish in poverty and homelessness while New York City's Comptroller - who lives in a penthouse - delays and denies payments for New York City homeless shelter contracts.
I must also say that it is disreputable for Mr. Stringer to bolster his own public stature by refusing to sign contracts for homeless shelters while people are suffering, and organizations that rely upon City funding to serve the homeless are not even able to pay their bills.
You should already know that my ministers and I work hard to support the efforts of the multitude of organizations that serve homeless New Yorkers. We know that due to circumstances that are often outside of our control, any one of us could become homeless overnight.  Most of us know that it is our duty and obligation to take care of each other, and when someone or something becomes an obstruction, we have a responsibility to shine a light on that person and demand for him or her to be held accountable.
It is important to know that under the New York City Charter, the Comptroller’s authority mandates the registration of contracts unless: (1) there is not enough funding for the contract to be paid; (2) if the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services has not certified the contract; or (3) if there is reason to suspect corruption.
According to New York University School of Law Professor Roderick Hills: “Given that none of the homeless shelter contracts have been rejected on those grounds … For the comptroller to slow down or stop the mayor’s contracting policy is frankly illegal.”
We all know about Mr. Stringer’s personal ambition to become the Mayor of New York City; it’s no secret. We also know that Mr. Stringer has been extremely generous handing out lawsuit settlement checks for high profile cases against New York City, and has not missed any opportunity to glow in the media for each of our tax dollars he has doled out.
Mr. Stringer's refusal to sign contracts that the Mayor's office has approved shows that he is intentionally hurting the most needy, and making community organizations that deal with the homeless endure all kinds of problems.  Many of the organizations that are truly there for the homeless are being forced to borrow money from banks to pay their bills without knowing if Scott Stringer will ever sign their contract.
My dear reader, the homeless are suffering.  And the organizations that are fighting for the needy are paying the consequences because of Mr. Stringer's vicious refusal to sign their contracts.
Mr. Stringer should be trying to help the organizations that serve the homeless to work out technicalities and assist with any necessary paperwork - instead, he is beating them down and casting them aside.
I am calling on New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to stop hurting the needy and to sign the contracts already approved by the Mayor to allow homeless service organizations to pay their bills and fulfill their obligations to serve the needy.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Jurassic World Stars Nick Robinson and The Raptor Open the Gates to NYCC


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OCTOBER 8-11, 2015

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2015 AT 10:00 AM ET  


WHAT: The gates of JURASSIC WORLD have moved from the coast of Costa Rica to
New York Comic Con 2015!   Fans will be given the opportunity to walk through the majestic archway and doors at the main entrance. Some may even encounter a life-size Velociraptor who recently escaped from Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park. Tread lightly, though, as this pack hunter measures over nine-feet high and can run up to 60 mph!

WHO: JURASSIC WORLD star Nick Robinson will also be on hand to “open the gates” and meet fans in celebration of the upcoming release of the film on Blu-ray and DVD, available October 20, 2015.

  • October 8-11, 2015, 9:30-10:30 am ET  – Daily photo opps with the Raptor at the JURASSIC WORLD gates located at the NYCC main entrance
  • October 10, 2015, 10:00am-10:30am ETJURASSIC WORLD star Nick Robinson to open gates and meet fans.

WHERE: New York Comic Con Main Inside Entrance @ Javits Center - 655 W. 34th Street,


City has over 270,000 Crowded Dwellings
Citywide Proportion of Severely Crowded Dwellings Increased by 44.8 Percent between 2005 and 2013
The Bronx Saw Biggest Jump, with 74.2 percent Increase in Proportion of Severely Crowded Dwellings

(NEW YORK, NY) — More than one in twelve dwellings in New York City – a total of 272,533 homes – are crowded, according to “Hidden Households,” a new report released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. All told, that means that a total of 1,476,746 New York residents lived in a crowded or severely crowded dwelling in 2013, at a ratio of 5.42 persons per crowded household.
Crowding is an established predictor of homelessness and a critical indicator of negative health, safety and economic well-being.  The report breaks down the problem of crowding into two tiers: crowded dwellings (units with more than 1 person per room) and severely crowded dwellings (a subset of crowded dwellings where units have more than 1.5 persons per room).
“Studies make it clear that crowding hurts the whole family,” commented Comptroller Stringer. “It makes it harder for kids to learn and puts the entire family at a greater risk of homelessness. This new report shows that the problem of crowding is stubbornly increasing, with nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers now living in a crowded or severely crowded home.  In response, the City must elevate crowding as a key housing priority to be addressed, while at the same time creating more affordable housing.”
“Hidden Households” used microdata drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey in order to examine trends in both rental and privately-owned housing between 2005 and 2013. 
Crowded Dwellings
Between 2005 and 2013, the citywide proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 15.8 percent.
  • In Brooklyn, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 28.1 percent.  
  • In Queens, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 12.5 percent.
  • In The Bronx, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 12.3 percent.
  • In Manhattan, the proportion of crowded dwellings increased by 10.1 percent.
  • In Staten Island, the proportion of crowded dwellings actually decreased by 8.6 percent.
Changes in the number of crowded units are illustrated in the chart below:

Severely Crowded Dwellings 
Between 2005 and 2013, the citywide proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 44.8 percent.
  • In The Bronx, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 74.2 percent.
  • In Staten Island, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 53.5 percent.
  • In Brooklyn, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 49.1 percent.
  • In Manhattan, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 25.5 percent.
  • In Queens, the proportion of severely crowded dwellings increased by 24.9 percent.
Changes in the number of severely crowded dwelling units are illustrated in the chart below:

The report also explores crowding along income lines, revealing that the crowding issue exists across the earning spectrum:

Households earning less than $22,000 a year constitute: 
  • 23.6% of crowded dwellings.
  • 24.9% of severely crowded dwellings.
Households earning at least $100,000 a year constitute: 
  • 18.5% of crowded dwellings.
  • 16.4% of severely crowded dwellings.
Households earning at least $170,000 a year constitute: 
  • 5.2% of crowded dwellings.
  • 4.6% of severely crowded dwellings.
Other major findings of the report include:

Households with children:
  • More than 81% of crowded dwellings include at least one person under the age of 18.
  • 68.8% of severely crowded dwellings include at least one person under the age of 18.
Large Crowding Increases in Studio Apartments:
  • The proportion of severely crowded studio apartments with three or more occupants rose by over 365 percent from 2005 to 2013.
  • Crowded studio apartments in The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn all exceed the citywide percentage.
Country of origin:
  • In nearly 70% of crowded dwellings the ‘head of the household’ is foreign born.
  • In 67.6% of severely crowded dwellings the ‘head of the household’ is foreign born.
Family Ties:
  • The report shows that family ties are the most crucial social linkage in the City’s crowded dwellings, with nearly 92 percent of crowded residents having a family relationship to the head of a crowded household. 
  • Young adults, college students, and roommates, while still a significant population within crowded dwellings, are not the primary catalyst of crowded living conditions in New York City.
Incomes Slightly Up, But Not Keeping Pace With The Rent:
  • From 2005 to 2013, real household incomes for all residents living in crowded housing situations increased by a slight 2.7 percent, while real median rents increased by a much steeper 12.8 percent, suggesting that the affordability of the City’s rental housing stock may have played a role in boosting crowding. 
The Comptroller’s Office recommended that: 
  • The City form a working group of housing, buildings, and public safety experts to devise a strategy to mitigate fire hazards that stem from overcrowding;
  • The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene consider increasing data collection as it relates to residents living in crowded housing, with an eye toward better understanding the public health risks of crowding; and
  • The Department of Homeless Services publically release comprehensive data on applications for individuals seeking placement in City shelters so that policy makers can understand the extent to which crowing drives shelter applications.

“Crowding affects every New Yorker, throughout all five boroughs, and across every income level,” commented Comptroller Stringer. “And while we could all use a little more room to breathe, we must give special attention to those who are most at risk for the negative effects of crowding, including bad health, diminished economic opportunity, and increased risk of homelessness.”
To read the full report, please click here

Van Cortlandt Jewish Center Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Building

On September 19, 1965, the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center, at 3880 Sedgwick Avenue was dedicated. The Mistress of Ceremonies was former Miss America, Bess Myerson and among the guests was Mayor John Lindsay. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the building, you will have an opportunity to see pictures and videos of the dedication. There will also be a video of the dedication of the first Jewish Center building on Gouveneur Avenue from the 1940’s.

VCJC will be holding a brunch on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 11:00 AM, catered by Cafeccino’s Bakery for $15 per person. The brunch menu includes bagels, lox, cream cheese, muffins, omelets, quiche, pastries coffee and tea. Reservations are required by calling VCJC at 718-884-6105, or by sending your name, contact information, how many attending and a check to VCJC, 3880 Sedgwick Ave; Bronx, NY 10463.
Whether you lived in Van Cortlandt Village then or moved in recently, this will be a great time to come reminisce about this historic event. If you have pictures of any events at Van Cortlandt Jewish Center, bring them with you, we’d love to see them.