Saturday, December 22, 2012

Traffic on Independence Avenue

Or Life Now With Speed Bumps

   Two new speed bumps were placed on Independence Avenue by PS 24 with a third to come by MS/HS 141. Traffic problems have increased over the past few years during the students arrival and dismissal times for both schools. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz sponsored a Slow Zone application for the area as described in the previous post, and this is what you get as seen in the photos below the day after only two of the proposed speed bumps were placed. In all there will be nine new speed bumps on various area streets around PS 24 and MS/HS 141 in addition to the two existing speed bumps by PS 24 on the side streets. .

 Left - traffic is now backed up past West 239th Street on Independence Avenue past the Riverdale Temple, and to West 246th Street. You can see cars turning from Independence Ave. to West 239th Street to avoid the traffic jam in other photos.
Right -The photo may be blurry but you can make out the police car with its emergency lights on trying to navigate the traffic.


Left - The police car in the previous photo winds up turning left at West 237th Street to get around the traffic jam.
Right - You can see that traffic stretches all the way down Independence Avenue to where the two new speed bumps have been placed.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Speed Bumps Placed on Independence Avenue

   This is what you now encounter as you drive down Independence Avenue past Seton Park which is on the right. Two newly installed speed bumps between West 232nd and West 235th Streets (with a third on the way nearby). The speed bumps are part of a "Slow Zone" that the New York City Department of Traffic has come up with to try to calm the traffic flow of a street by one or more schools that has become overused at certain times of the day, and due to a lack of police enforcement a pedestrian (or school child's) hazard due to speeding and haphazard drivers. In the photos below are the size of the speed bumps, the tire markings already on the first day from short stops, and quality of the work by DOT. You will see that overnight graffiti has appeared on a piece of equipment at the location of the next speed bump. You will also see the one and only small sign that denotes the speed bump which is placed right at the beginning of the speed bump without any other markings or warnings that a speed bump is ahead. Finally you will also see just how the speed bump sign can be and is blocked by one or more buses loading or unloading (or in the case in the photo parked bus). 
   If you want to comment to the people who brought you the slow zone with its NINE new additional speed bumps that will be placed on Palisade Avenue, Hudson Manor Terrace, Douglas Avenue, West 237th Street, West 239th Street, and Independence Avenue the application was submitted by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. City council candidate Cliff Stanton can also be thanked for the NINE new speed bumps having admitted that he was one of the speeders. 

Left - DOT equipment waiting at the site of a new speed bump.
Right - overnight graffiti was placed on DOT equipment.


Left - Click on this photo to see the asphalt already separating in the center of this speed bump.
Right - Tire skid marks are visible not even after 24 hours since the speed bumps were installed.


Left - You can see how big the size of the speed bump is, as it spans front front wheels to rear wheels of this large truck.
Right - One small sign is in place right at the beginning of the speed bump that can be blocked as you will see in the next photos.

Left - A school bus loading or unloading can block most of the speed bump sign.
Right - Here a parked bus can completely block the speed bump sign leaving a motorist no warning of the speed bump ahead.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Riverdale Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting

   The Menorah that had been lit on eight nights for the eight nughts of Chunakah was already taken down, but this year the Christmas tree that stands next to the Bell Tower on Riverdale Avenue at West 239th Street was not to be lit this year. The reason Hurricane Sandy and the lack of manpower and funds by the Parks Department. Enter Community Board 8 member and city council candidate Andrew Cohen, and as you will see in the photos below the tree was lit. Cohen said that he was only happy to do this for the community.
 Community Board 8 member and candidate for city council Andrew Cohen stands next to Christmas tree by the Bell Tower on Riverdale Avenue that is now lit for Christmas.
Cohen is interviewed by Local News 12 and New York 1 cable television stations.


  Calls for higher minimum wage, proposes small biz economic stimulus plan,

City Comptroller John C. Liu today reported on the health of New York City’s economy and put forth an ambitious plan to ensure that New York City’s future benefits every New Yorker, not just the well-connected few.

During his State of the City Address, Comptroller Liu called for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $11.50 per hour over the next five years in order to help the “working poor” climb out of poverty. 

Liu also outlined initiatives to sustain and rebuild the City’s middle class, including lowering taxes and fines on 90 percent of the City’s small businesses.  In order to do so, Liu called for an end to the corporate welfare being doled out annually by the City’s Economic Development Corporation and the elimination of outdated corporate tax loopholes, which cost the City more than $500 million each year.

In addition to putting forward innovative solutions to impending economic problems, Liu outlined educational policies that would better prepare our City’s youth for the challenges ahead, such as:

·         Free CUNY tuition to the top 10 percent of every NYC public high-school,
·         Using City schools as community centers during non-school hours to offer services like health clinics and financial literacy classes,
·         Expanding of the Nurse Family Partnership, a program that increases children’s cognitive skills, producing higher reading and math scores,
·         Expanding the “Computers for Youth” program to every middle school at which at least 75 percent of the students receive a free lunch, in order to provide computers to all low income families,
·         Creating “sister college” relationships  that pair every high school with one of the City’s many colleges and universities, so that college and graduate students can mentor our high-school students.
Liu also highlighted a number of his office’s successes over the past year; such as the role his office played in the City’s recoupment of $466 million in cost overruns from CityTime, the identification of fraudulent billing on the City’s 911 call center upgrade, emergency spending approvals for the response and recovery related to Superstorm Sandy, and the more than $1 billion saved as part of City bond refinancings

Liu noted that the Mayor and City Council adopted his Capital Acceleration plan to rebuild City infrastructure and spur job growth, an idea he proposed in his last State of the City Address.

Comptroller Liu also announced that, in the coming weeks, his office will launch Checkbook 2.0, an upgrade to the current online transparency tool, Checkbook NYC, making New York City the most financially transparent government in the United States.

Wave Hill Events January 4–January 11

Just a reminder that our Hibernators Pajama Pop-In is coming up on January 12 and 13, a weekend when, thanks to Target, admission is free both days. Read more on the attached!

Sunrise, Sunset/Amanecer y atardecer
Look to the sky’s palette of colors, infused with shades of dusk or dawn, then blend and blur paint and tissue-paper dyes against a silhouette of forest, city skyline, river or bridge to create an inspirational scene.  Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Sunrise, Sunset/Amanecer y atardecer
Look to the sky’s palette of colors, infused with shades of dusk or dawn, then blend and blur paint and tissue-paper dyes against a silhouette of forest, city skyline, river or bridge to create an inspirational scene.  Free with admission to the grounds.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Closed to the public.

Session 1
In this three-session workshop, photographer Benjamin Swett brings into focus Wave Hill's extraordinary collection of trees to explore the pleasures and challenges of photographing trees in the season when they most reveal themselves. Covering technical questions of tree photography, from tree identification to color calibration and parallax, the workshop aims to help participants understand what makes a good photograph and how to achieve their goals as photographers. Each day combines outdoor photography in the woods and gardens of Wave Hill, examines the work of professional and fine art photographers and reviews of student work. All levels welcomed. Series fee: $90 Member/$105 Non-member. Registration required, at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Continues January 17 and 24.

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM—4:30PM. Closes 5:30PM, March 15—October 31.  
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6—18. Free Saturday mornings until noon. Free all day Tuesdays in January. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Program s are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 3o minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following today about the latest MTA fare hikes:

“The MTA fare hikes are unfortunate because they fall disproportionately on low-income New Yorkers, and they hurt even worse because so many are still reeling from the economic effects of the recent recession and Superstorm Sandy. New Yorkers already pay a disproportionately high price for mass transit. The MTA needs to look for more support from the City, state, and federal governments and not try to balance its books on the backs of straphangers.”

Visit for the latest news, events and initiatives. Follow Comptroller Liu on TwitterYouTube.

BP Diaz Hails New REDC Funding for the Bronx

Borough President Diaz hails new funding by
Gov. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. praised today’s announcement of new economic development funding for the Bronx, provided through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils.

Specifically, the council announced today $400,000 in new funding for the Oak Point Property to construct a warehouse, distribution and food processing facility. The project will feature locally grown and organic produce/farm products from New York State growers, a rooftop farm run by Gotham Greens, and a training facility.

“When it comes to feeding our region the Bronx is leading the way and today’s announcement shows just how important the food industry is to the economy of not just our borough, but the entire City and State. This project will not only create new jobs, it will help solidify the Bronx as the hub for this major industry, and I thank Governor Cuomo and the Regional Economic Development Councils for their continued faith in the future of the Bronx. I look forward to continuing to work with the City and the State to foster positive economic development in the Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"This new facility will continue to expand our access to and delivery of fresh food and other items in a green and sustainable manner,” said Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

Gotham Greens is a New York City based company dedicated to growing the highest quality vegetables and culinary herbs for local restaurants and retailers. Gotham Greens’ premium quality, pesticide-free vegetables and herbs are grown in sterile rooftop greenhouses using clean, renewable energy. For more information on the company, visit

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Before Making Final Decision to Close Eight Schools Slated for Closure in the Bronx
        State Senator Gustavo Rivera will join parents of Our Lady of Mercy on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:00PM to call on the Archdiocese to give Our Lady of Mercy and other local Catholic schools that have been slated for closure until the end of the school year to give individual schools and communities time to come up with a plan to save the school. Between now and the end of the school year, the parents, alumni and community around Our Lady of Mercy wants the time to develop a fundraising plan and a way to both restructure the school and make it financial viable for the future.

WHO: Senator Gustavo Rivera and parents of Our Lady of Mercy

WHAT: Rally to Call on Archdiocese to give schools more time to come up with a plan

WHERE: Our Lady of Mercy - 2510 Marion Ave. Bronx, NY

WHEN: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 2:00PM

Schools Slated for Closure in the Bronx:
Our Lady of Mercy
Our Lady of Angels
Holy Spirit
St. Jerome
Blessed Sacrament
St. Anthony
St. Mary
St. Mary Star of the Sea

No Hit, No Run, and a Lot of Errors

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

You should know that it was a perfect coup, well planned, well organized, and nicely orchestrated.  Those behind it should be congratulated.  They even convinced some Senators to change their minds at the last minute, even those who had already committed and had given their assurance to Senator John Sampson of their "loyalty."  Shame on them!

You should also know that the main reason Senator Jeff Klein left our Conference was Senator Mike Gianaris.  After working hard for the Conference, raising millions of dollars, and putting himself aside so former Senator Pedro Espada would be designated Deputy Minority Leader –  Jeff Klein got the cold shoulder from the conference leader. Later on, Senator Sampson also demoted Jeff Klein and gave Mike Gianaris the most prestigious position in the Conference as the head of the Democratic State Campaign Committee, humiliating Jeff Klein and his followers.  Mike Gianaris showed his appreciation by joining the coordinated team to drop Senator Sampson.

It is important for you to also know that during the past Democratic Primary, Senator Sampson went out of his way to support Senator Martin Malavé Dilan's son against the incumbent Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.  Sampson not only gave Dilan’s son his support, but also contributed money and troops, making Congresswoman Velazquez a very angry political enemy.  Senator John Sampson went to yesterday’s meeting counting on Senator Dilan’s support.  My dear reader, you should have seen the expression on Senator Sampson’s face when he saw Senator Martin Malavé Dilan raising his hand to support Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, and not for him.  There is a saying in Puerto Rico: “La vida te da sorpresas.” Life is full of surprises.

Now, Senator John Sampson does not stand with Senator Klein, not with Senator Gianaris, not with Senator Dilan, with no Conference Leadership position, and with many powerful enemies like Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.  This is really a no hit, no run, and a lot of errors.

I would also like to offer my two cents of advice to our new Conference Leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

First, you should get rid of Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson as Chairperson of the Conference.  Senator Hassell-Thompson’s heavy-handedness, her rudeness, and her lack of respect for her colleagues while leading the Conference was one of Senator Sampson’s biggest mistake. By sitting idle and letting Senator Hassell-Thompson do as she pleased, he angered many who little by little, started to show their frustration and began to organize against Senator Sampson.

My second piece of advice to our newly-elected Leader: Always remember that you have six Hispanic Senators, and excluding me, one or two of the other five should be appointed to Leadership positions.

Thirdly, always give respect and consideration to Members in leadership positions.  It is important not only to give them a title, but it is equally important to be sure that they are part of the decision-making process.  Don't ignore them when you meet to discuss the Budget and resources.

Finally, as soon as you got elected as our new Leader, I was surprised and shocked to read an article in the Times Union quoting Senators who stated their feelings about your election and among them, there was a quote by me. Even though it was a nice quote, and even though I join the people of the State of New York in celebrating the history-making process of having the first Black woman to lead the Senate Conference, my dear Leader, no one asked me for a quote. I did not give them a quote, and if I were asked I would not have given a quote.  The reason? I was among the only six Senators to vote for Senator John Sampson.  In other words, I am part of the losing team and as such, I should not be taking credit for something that I didn’t do.  Always be sure that your press office checks with someone they intend to quote before releasing any statement.

This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.


Sampson out Stewart-Cousins In

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
John L. Sampson   
In what has been said to be a 19 - 6 vote Westchester Democratic State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has replaced Brooklyn State Senator John Sampson as the Senate Democratic Conference Leader. Sampson was placed in the position of Democratic Conference Leader after the Pedro Espada- Four Amigo power grab in 2009. That was the downfall of Malcolm Smith as Democratic Conference Leader, and led to the creation of the (now five member) Independent Democratic Conference led by Smith's former Deputy Leader Senator Jeff Klein. 
In a Timesunion article an Albany newspaper  you can read more about the change in power on the Democratic side of the state senate, and what the results of the vote could be.

Check the next entry by State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. about the Timesunion article that quotes him. Diaz Sr. says that he was never asked for a quote
"The vote was 19-6, according to Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., who said that he, Harlem Sen. Bill Perkins, Brooklyn Sen. Eric Adams, Westchester Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Washington Heights Sen. Adriano Espaillat voted for Sampson. A spokesman could not immediately confirm that tally".