Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Board of Elections Petition Hearings

   Tuesday morning the Board of Elections heard arguments from candidates and the challengers to their petitions. Before the process began however Mr. Michael Rendino was introduced as the new Bronx Republican commissioner replacing the flamboyant J.C.Polonco. In all there were 70 challenges to Bronx petitions, and it was announced the Board of Elections received over 1700 documents the largest citywide total in many years. 
    Early into the proceedings King Stanley Schlein was winning decisions, and the one where he lost he uttered those famous words "For The Moment" when it was said the candidate he was challenging was told they were on the ballot.
  An interesting challenge was that of the petition of Ms. Raquel Batista (15th council district) where the board threw off hundreds of signatures because the county at the bottom of the witness statement was listed as Bronx when the two signature gathers lived one in Queens and the other in Westchester County. King Stanley and the opposing lawyer sparred back and forth with the commissioners about past rulings statewide. After about 15 minutes Bronx Democratic Commissioner Naomi Barrera then made a motion to move the clerk's report (that would have candidate Batista off the ballot) which was seconded by Bronx Republican commissioner Rendino. A vote by the 10 commissioners was 2 in favor (Barrera & Rendino), 6  against the motion, and 2 abstaining. The motion was then amended by a different commissioner to allow for curing of the petition (where representatives of both the candidate & challenger went into a room to go over the petition and the specifications of objections). The vote on the amendment was 8 in favor (including commissioner Rendino), 1 against (commissioner Barrera) and, 1 commissioner abstained as he had done on the original motion.
  450 valid signatures is needed to become a candidate for city council now down from 900 four year ago. Candidates that were ruled off the ballot at the Board of Elections in the Bronx were. In the 8th council district candidate Angel Molina was knocked down to 348 valid signatures and ruled off the ballot.
   In the 11th council district candidate Fernando Spies only submitted,197 signatures, and candidate Cheryl Keeling was knocked down to 427 valid signatures, both were ruled off the ballot.
   In the 12th council district no one was knocked off the ballot by the commissioners. 
   In the13th council district candidate Irene Estrada was ruled to have 104 valid signatures, and candidate Awilda Cordero was ruled to have 90 valid signatures knocking both off the ballot.
   In the 14th council district there was a question of residency to candidate Jessica Vigueras, where as King Stanley (for her opponent) went over party raiding quoting from the George Espada vs Board of Elections case. King Stanley brought out copies of candidate Vigueras's previous enrollment in the Republican party in Westchester County. He then said one must wait one year after changing party enrollment to run for office. This was put off for later after all the challenges were to be heard. I did not stay as I left after the Bronx was finished.
  In the 15th council district candidate Kenny Agosto was knocked down to 290 valid signatures, candidate Cynthia Thompkins was knocked down to 423 valid signatures, both were ruled off the ballot.
  In the 16th council district a question of candidate Pedro Alvarez's residency was referred to legal and not ruled on by the commissioners. Candidate Niyyirah El was knocked down to 133 valid signatures, and candidate Winston Rouse was knocked down to 172 valid signatures, both were ruled off the ballot.
  In the 17th and 18th council districts no candidates were ruled off the ballot.
  In the special election in the 86th Assembly district candidate Isreal Martinez was ruled off the ballot for living in the 87th A.D. and not the 86th A.D. It was also said that the candidate never lived in the 86thA.D.
  On a recall of objections passed on by the commissioners 16th council district candidate Naaimat Muhammed was ruled off the ballot for an improper cover sheet, and not curing it when notified by the BOE. Also 15th council district candidate Raquel Batista was ruled on the ballot when 385 additional signatures were ruled to be valid bringing the total to 512 for enough valid signatures.
The commissioners of the Board of Elections two from each borough, and one from each of the two major parties sit around the large circular table. Various BOE staff sit in the inside of the table. New Bronx Republican commissioner Michael Rendino is second from the right and next to an empty chair.
Veteran election lawyer "King" Stanley Schlein stands next to an associate as they challenge the petition of 15th candidate Raquel Batista standing next to her lawyer.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

11th Council Dabate July 29 on Bronxtalk

   First here is the link to the Monday July 29th Bronxtalk 11th City Council debate. The three candidates in the debate were Andrew Cohen, Cheryl Keeling, and Cliff Stanton. 
   Petitions were submitted by July 15th and there was a fourth petition filed that contained only 179 signatures when 450 valid signatures were needed. There were two challenges (by an agent of Mr. Stanton) to the petition that contained the 179 signatures, and to Ms. Kellings petition in which 1,006 signatures were submitted. There were no challenges to Mr. Cohen's or Mr. Stanton's petitions that were submitted. The Board of Elections was to render a decision on all challenges starting on Tuesday July 30th.

  In the photo above Host Gary Axelbank sits alone on the left, and starting with candidate Cheryl Keeling on the right, candidate Andrew Cohen center, and candidate Cliff Stanton to the right of candidate Cohen. Questions came from the host and from the three candidates.
  It was not long into the debate that the fireworks began between candidates Keeling and Stanton over Stanton's challenge of the Keeling petition in a question as to why by Mr. Axelbank. Ms. Keeling wanted to know why Mr. Stanton challenged her. She went on to say that Mr. Stanton asked her to meet him outside the district to ask her to drop out, and told her that he would not challenge her. Stanton said that was not the case, and that after looking at her petition, seeing hundreds of non registered & out of district signatures he decided to challenge. Stanton added that if Keeling was running in Flushing Queens or the South Bronx it may be different, but this is the 11th council district. Ms. Keeling brought out a copy of her petition that she had in the blue bag that you can see under her chair, and claimed there were enough valid signatures. Axelbank then turned to candidate Andrew Cohen who said that he had not challenged anybody in the race. Stanton rebutted Keeling by saying that 5 pages were done in red ink, and continued to belittle her petition. Cohen again said that he didn't challenge anybody, and Stanton then said that Ms. Keeling was playing the race card .
  Axelbanks next question was about endorsements to Cohen asking if he was a pawn of those who endorsed him or independent. Cohen answered by saying that he was proud of the elected officials and unions that have endorsed him. Keeling said she did not call Mr. Cohen a puppet. Stanton said it was him, and that the endorsements came through the Ben Franklin Democratic Club.Stanton then said of the endorsements- Senator Jeff Klein "Sold out the Democrats in Albany", Congressman Rangel "Was censured by Congress", and that Councilman Koppell "has thrown of good community board members". Axelbank repeated  to Cohen if he could be independent. Cohen replied that he will be going to City Hall with all those people to help him become a better councilman. 
  To a question about her comments in the last debate about voting Keeling said that she is the candidate of the district, that she speaks the language of the district, and when pressed by Axelbank said the squeaky wheel gets the oil by voting more. Stanton said that Keeling took more heat than needed for her remarks, and said that people need to see who is the best candidate.Cohen said that he has campaigned throughout the district. In rebuttal Keeling said that she did not appreciate the apathy of Mr. Stanton. 
  To a question about Charter Schools Mr. Stanton replied that as a parent leader at PS 24 parents wanted more options after 5th grade, and that was why he helped start a local charter school saying it was a public school that does not take anything away from the public schools. Cohen said that work needs to be done to make the public schools better. Keeling said as a certified teacher she has seen what goes on in schools, and wants more art & phys. ed. back in the public schools.
  To a question about community board control such as the cleaning house in boards 1,4, and recently 9, and the hijacking of CB 8 Cohen replied that it is the Borough President who makes all appointments. Cohen added that he is currently on CB 8 as the Aging Committee chair and that the current system of appointments is according to the city charter. Keeling said that she applied to be a committee member of the Parks Committee of CB 8, and that community boards are the grass roots of the community. Stanton on the other hand said that the system is flawed, and has seen how board members are intimidated by the politicians, and that appointments need to be taken out of the hands of the politicians. Cohen rebutted that he will appoint quality people like himself. 
  To a question of malls and big box stores Keeling said that as a former business owner she favors small mom & pop stores over the big ones. Cohen said the two new malls will help enhance the area around them, and that he gets complaints about all the 99 cent stores that line Broadway. Stanton said as a successful small businessman he developed ideas to the commercial corridors better, took credit for bringing a temporary Ice Skating Rink to the area, and proposed a pedestrian plaza on Johnson Avenue. Cohen rebutted that fines are to high to Bronx business compared to those in Manhattan, they should be less he said. Stanton rebutted that he as a member of KRVDC brought movie night to the area. 
  To a question of campaign donations from the owner of Scores Strip Club, and the donation being a down payment to allow strip clubs into the community Stanton said that he will not give the campaign donations by an owner of a strip club back, attacked the Riverdale Review (and its owner) about the front page story about the issue. Stanton then attacked the Ben Franklin Club saying that it is in their playbook to try to deflect attention  away from his opponents lack of qualifications. He added that the owner of the strip club should be celebrated as a successful businessman and not attack him. Cohen said that he does not know why Stanton is accepting strip club money. Stanton then attacked Cohen for accepting a campaign donation from the CEO of the Hebrew Home when the Hebrew Home is presenting a proposal in front of Community Board 8 to expand. Keeling said that she was glad that tonight on Bronxtalk that Cliff Stanton has showed his true colors, to which Stanton then pulled out a copy of the front page story and asked Cohen to Rebuke the paper. Cohen said that he has no contact with the paper or with Ms. Keeling. Keeling then added "How can Stanton go after a newspaper", where as Stanton ended the responses by saying "The Board of Elections will see if you continue in the race". 
  To a question about park funding, conservancies, and Friends of to which Axelbank said Cohen was a member of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. Cohen said this was the first year that park funding has gone up by one percent, and that the city has an obligation to fund its parks. As to where from in a follow up question Cohen said that he was not opposed to private money, but the city needs to do more. Keeling agreed with Cohen, but Stanton said that the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy has worked miracles by getting the ice rink.
   The last question was who do you support for mayor? Stanton - Don't Know, Cohen - No Endorsement, Keeling - Erick Salgado. 
   In short one minute closing statements Stanton said that he is a local kid from the area, Ps 24 Executive Board member, KRVDC member, and a small business owner. Cohen said that he is an attorney with his own practice, has lived in the district over 13 years, graduated from prom public schools, meets people as he travels around the district hearing their problems about quality of life issues, and will be a full time Councilman. Keeling said that she is 62 years old, has spent many years in the public schools, the council district is changing to a district that she is the best to lead it as it changes. 

To watch the 11th council debate for the first time or again  just click the link here for the Bronxtalk home page.

Next Monday night will be the debate between the candidates running in the 15th City Council race.

Pay Your Tickets or the Scofflaw Van Will Get You

   This is what you may see in your neighborhood if there are vehicles parked that owe money to the city. Instead of having the Sheriff or Marshal come to boot or tow your vehicle this state of the art van can find out in an instant if a vehicle has outstanding tickets. After gathering the information after a boot is placed on the vehicle so it is immobilized, and then a tow truck comes to tow the scofflaw vehicle away.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What You Should Know About Walmart

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

It’s About Time to Bring WalMart to the City

You should know that there are many New Yorkers who are willing to drive out of the City and pay bridge and tunnel tolls in order to save money by shopping in New Jersey. They travel to Secaucus and to Bayonne to go to WalMart so they can save money on clothing and groceries, and buy fresh fruit and vegetables for their families at low prices.

When we talk about helping poor people and less fortunate New Yorkers save money, are we taking any steps to help them?  When we talk about helping New York’s senior citizens who don’t have enough money to pay their rent, utilities, food, or medical expenses, are we serious about helping them? When we talk about the struggles of low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford to raise their families, do we provide a way forward for them?

You should know that we are in a very difficult economic situation in New York City.  Our unemployment rate is higher than the national level and higher than the State level.  Our youth unemployment situation is at a
crisis level.  Our homeless population continues to grow, and our food pantries are almost at a loss about how to keep up with the rising demands.

Real steps toward real solutions need to be made, and they need to be made now.

When New York’s elected officials try to stop WalMart from coming into New York City, they are preventing poor people from getting the benefit of WalMart prices.

When New York’s elected officials try to stop WalMart from coming into New York City, they are preventing employment opportunities for families who need jobs.

When New York’s elected officials try to stop WalMart from coming into New York City, they are preventing college students from taking that first step to connecting to the labor market.

When New York’s elected officials try to stop WalMart from coming into New York City, they are preventing high school students from working part-time after school and on weekends – and we all know the important role those opportunities can play in almost any teen’s development.

You should know that it has been well reported that WalMart employee benefits include incentive/bonus plan, health insurance, profit sharing, 401(k), education, store discounts and other WalMart employment benefits.

WalMart certainly offers a lot more opportunities than what many of New York’s campaign volunteers get when they’re out there stumping for political candidates in the hot sun.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s about time that we bring WalMart into New York City. For years millions of working-class Americans have been provided with WalMart’s good service, broad selection and low prices.

I don't know why other elected officials don’t want WalMart their districts.  I wish I could have it in mine!  I want to bring job opportunities into my district for my constituents, and I would love to offer my constituents the opportunities to pay low prices and receive the quality service WalMart provides – without having to pay a toll.

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

Saturday, July 27, 2013


   Friday night was the ABRAZO DOMINICANO 2013 held by State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. salute to the Bronx Dominican parade on Sunday. The Honorees included Hon. Dilone Ovalles Governor of Moca, Dominican Republic, Hon. Alexis Perez Mayor of La Vega, Dominican Republic, and Sr. Francisco Quezada President of Macier Industries. as usual there was standing room only as over 800 people packed into the Main Ballroom at Maestro's to sample some fine Dominican food and help celebrate Sunday's parade. 
   As far as elected officials on hand beside Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. there was Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator Adriano Espialliat, Bronx Assemblymen Marcos Crespo, Mark Gjonaj, and Luis Sepulveda. Democratic Mayoral candidates Bill Thompson and Erick Salgado, Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, 15th City Council candidates Rev. Joel Bauza and Albert Alvarez, 86th A.D. candidate Hector Ramirez and Yudelka Tapia, along with various Bronx Democratic Party leaders such as Ms. Iachia Bravo the Executive Director of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, and Ms. Grisel Cuprill-Davis the Outreach Coordinator for NYS Comptroller Tom Di Napoli who stood in for Comptroller Di Napoli.
   Senator Diaz gave the opening remarks, Rev Joel Bauza (candidate for the 15th City Council) gave the invocation Cynthia La Cruz (of Lehman College) sang both the American and Republic Dominica national anthems to a standing ovation. The program then proceeded with Senator Diaz introducing the elected officials on hand, and then presenting awards to the honorees. 

Left - Only one side of the capacity crowd on both sides of the dance floor in the middle.
Right - Rev. Joel Bauza gives the invocation.

Left - The singing of the American national anthem.
Right - The singing of the Dominican national anthem, both by Cynthia La Cruz.

Left - A few parade Princesses.
Right - Bronx Democratic County Committee Executive Director Ms. Iachis Bravo poses between Senator Diaz and Rev. Jeol Bauza.

Left - 87 A.D. Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda brought his son with him.
Right - Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis was in attendance.

Left - They may be facing each other in the 15th Council race, but here candidates Albert Avarez (left) and Joel Bauza (right) gladly posed for this photo.
Right - 86th A.D. candidate Yudelka Tapia.

Friday, July 26, 2013

6th Annual Allerton Avenue Festival & International Food Show!

International Family Day August 18th

  You're invited to International Family Day, hosted by Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, taking place on Sunday, August 18, 2013 from 12pm to 6pm at DeWitt Clinton High School, on Goulden Avenue off Mosholu Parkway.
The purpose of this event is to bring the community together to celebrate the cultural diversity that makes our neighborhoods a great place to live, work and play.
The day will feature kid's activities and games, food, clowns, face painting, balloon art, live entertainment, raffles, giveaways, vendors and a special honoree ceremony where almost 200 people from different countries will be honored… truly a one of a kind event!
I invite you to share your culture and traditions from around the world at this year's International Family Day Fun Day, a fantastic, fun-filled FREE annual community event.  
For SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES contact Jacqueline Acevedo-Villanueva at 917.640.1003/


WHAT: International Family Day
WHO: Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj
DATE: Sunday, August 18th, 2013
TIME: 12PM – 6PM
LOCATION: DeWitt Clinton High School, on Goulden Avenue off Mosholu Parkway
EVENT CONTACT: Jacqueline Acevedo, 917.640.1003

Thursday, July 25, 2013


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that his office has provided almost $23 million in capital funding to worthy Bronx organizations as part of his FY2014 capital budget allocations.

In total, Borough President Diaz has provided $22,924,000  in capital funding to organizations across the Bronx, focusing on areas of education, housing, economic development, parks and other areas.

“The ‘New Bronx’ is rapidly changing and our economy is growing. What better way to continue positively enhancing our Borough than by awarding our worthy organizations the funds to improve the lives of residents from all corners of the Bronx. These funds will help towards our common goal of making the ‘New Bronx’ the epicenter of economic progress and prosperity, beautifying our borough and building new infrastructure in the process,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The largest portion of this year’s budget allocation—roughly 31 percent of the budget for a total of $7.1 million—went towards funding Bronx parks. This includes funds for the Phase I Lower Plaza construction at Roberto Clemente State Park, reconstruction of the basketball and handball courts at Millbrook Playground, funds towards an exercise station at the playground at Pelham Parkway, the installation of a new fence at Joyce Kilmer Park and money towards Phase II reconstruction at Playground 52.

Borough President Diaz also threw a significant portion of his funding—23 percent—to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). This includes nearly $5.3 million towards seven public housing developments in the Bronx. Projects include the renovation of the senior center at the Monroe Houses and security enhancements at the Eastchester Houses, McKinley Houses, Ft. Independence Houses, Marble Hill Houses, Middletown Plaza and Bailey Houses.
“The safety and security of our residents is of great importance to me. Enhancing security at our public housing developments is a tool that can deter crime and improve the quality of life of NYCHA tenants,” said Borough President Diaz.
Borough President Diaz also funded a total of 26 projects related to the borough’s education institutions, providing funding for smart boards and computer equipment at P.S./I.S. 224, for technology upgrades at the Bronx Academy of Health Careers,  laptop computers for The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx and smart boards for P.S./M.S. 279, among other public school projects.

Borough President Diaz also funded several important higher education projects, including the construction of the new Allied Health & Science Building at Hostos Community College, HVAC replacements at Bronx Community College as well as iCloud services at Lehman College.

“Education at all levels remains an important focus of my administration, and my office will continue to provide the necessary funding that Bronx students at all levels need to succeed,” said Borough President Diaz.

Borough President Diaz also funded libraries, health providers and other important institutions in this year’s capital budget, such as the restoration of the Reptile House at the Bronx Zoo, a transformative, mixed-income housing development at 810 River Avenue, construction at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center and computer upgrades in libraries across the Bronx.

“Each of these projects, in its own way, will contribute to the continued revitalization of our borough, and I am thrilled to have played a role in so many exceptional new developments,” said Borough President Diaz.

For a complete list of projects funded by Borough President Diaz, visit:

Movie in the Park this Saturday Night

This came in fromt the Kingsbridge Riverdale Development Corporation.
Please plan to come!!  Our next movie night will take place this Saturday, July 27th and it will take place in Vinmont Park, Mosholu Avenue at 255th Street. Plan to come at around 8pm (earlier to stake out a good spot!). Pre-movie festivities include Live Music performed by Guitarist, Jostein Gulbrandsen and Capoeira by ABADA-Capoeira Bronx, sponsored by Kidaroo.  We will begin the movie, "Mr. Popper's Penguins," at dusk.
This event is part of a series of movies in the park scheduled for the summer of 2013.  The movies are hosted and organized by KRVC and largely funded by a grant provided through State Senator Jeff Klein's office.  Admission is FREE!
Another fun event of note:
FREE Open House Carnival at Bedrock Preschool
Sunday Aug 11th 10am-12pm
3220 Arlington Ave Riverdale, NY 10463
Step right up under the big red tent and join us for some fun festivities: bean bag toss, duck pond “fishing,” face painting, music time, bouncy castle, bubble machine, and more!   Open to the public for ages infants through 6 years old.  RSVP required.  Please indicate full name and age of child  Refreshments available. Free giveaways and swag bags.  KRVC is participating in this event as part of our "Biz Boosters" program.  KRVC has sponsored a clown for the event and arranged for a "Story Time with our State Legislators!"  State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz will read a book to the children as part of this event.
Last but not least be sure to mark your calendars for KRVC's next two Block Festivals!
Sunday, September 29th, 12-4pm, South Riverdale Ave,, 236th-238th Street
Sunday, November 10th, 12-4pm, Johnson Ave., 235th - 236th Street

Also, at all our upcoming KRVC events, check out KRVC's new signature exhibit - BLOCKS - where kids (and adults) can create and build. KRVC's logo has featured three blocks for three decades and we are celebrating that with this new, interactive exhibit. BLOCKS was launched at last month's RiverFest and demonstates how, in many ways, we can come together and:  Build a Better Community 1 Block at a Time! 

Wave Hill Events August 9–August 16

Child and parent or caregiver practice fun yoga poses that build strength, increase flexibility and relax body and mind in this one-hour class taught by Catherine McGibney, an instructor at Yoga for Bliss. Recommended for ages 3–5. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Member $15/Non-member $23. Session fee includes one adult and one child, $5 each additional child. Registration opens on-site at 9:30AM.

Spray a Garden/Rocia el jardín con acuarelas
Paint the colors of summer into a garden made without brushes. Combine mists of watercolor and blossoms fashioned from color-soaked coffee filters into a blooming vision. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Quiet like a mountain, moving like a river, Tai Chi is a sequence of gentle movements based on images found in nature. In this beginner-level class, Irving Yee, an active member of the William CC Chen Tai Chi School, will introduce students to the internal martial arts and promote an awareness of their health benefits. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Session fee: Member $15/Non-member $23. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Join a curatorial fellow for a tour of Wave Hill’s summer exhibition, Bronx Calling: the 2nd AIM Biennial, which features the cutting-edge artwork by NYC-area emerging artists, as well as an installation in the Sunroom Project Space, where Jarrod Beck translates geologic processes into drawing. Mounted sculpturally, these large-scale works create an immersive environment. Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM Free with admission to the grounds.

Stroll the grounds with a designer’s eye to see how containers can enhance the overall design of a garden. Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day shares colorful and dramatic containers planted in artful and playful combinations at the Pergola, Café Terrace, Aquatic Garden and other locations throughout the
grounds.  Free with admission to the grounds.

Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of diverse bird species and their ecology and behavior on these captivating walks among the gardens and woodlands of Wave Hill. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult. Birders of all levels welcome! Severe weather cancels. For weather-related updates call 718.549.3200 x 245 by 8AM the day of the walk. Free with admission to the grounds. (NYC Audubon Members enjoy two-for-one admission.) Registration recommended, online at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center.

Spray a Garden/Rocia el jardín con acuarelas
Paint the colors of summer into a garden made without brushes. Combine mists of watercolor and blossoms fashioned from color-soaked coffee filters into a blooming vision. Free with admission to the grounds.

Find refuge from city life by practicing seasonal yoga. Decrease stress and increase your energy by focusing on your posture, breath control and meditation. Classes are led by Neem Dewji, certified in Hatha and Therapeutic Yoga by The Yoga for Health Foundation in Bedfordshire, England, and The Integral Yoga Institute in NYC. All levels welcome. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Session fee: Member $15/Non-member $23. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

This summer, take a moment to release stress and reconnect with your inner self while practicing meditation. Each session includes instruction in simple relaxation techniques followed by 20 minutes of meditation. Led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other qualified instructors. All levels welcome. Session fee: Member $15/Non-member $23. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Join us for the screening of recent video work by artists exhibiting in Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial. This screening will present various approaches the medium of video. Bronx Calling features work by New York area emerging artists who participated in The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program in the last two years. Organized by Gabriel de Guzman, Wave Hill Curator of Visual Arts; Elizabeth M. Grady, guest curator; and Lia Zaaloff, Bronx Museum Curator, the exhibition is presented concurrently at The Bronx Museum, Wave Hill, and 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery. The screening will begin at 1:30PM in Wave Hill House. 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.

Join us for a delightful reading adventure as we explore a different, nature-related theme each week with beautifully illustrated storybooks, beloved classics and exciting new selections. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent.  Ideal for ages 3 and up and their adult companion. Free, and admission to the grounds is free all day.

Join a curatorial fellow for a tour of Wave Hill’s summer exhibition, Bronx Calling: the 2nd AIM Biennial, which features the cutting-edge artwork by NYC-area emerging artists, as well as an installation in the Sunroom Project Space, where Jarrod Beck translates geologic processes into drawing. Mounted sculpturally, these large-scale works create an immersive environment. Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM. Free, and admission to the grounds is free all day.

Experience summer at its best—an expansive landscape of rolling lawns and gorgeous formal gardens, fresh river breezes, plein-air performances of Bronx Beat Music, yoga, guided walks and cutting-edge art in Glyndor Gallery. Order dinner from exclusive caterer Great Performances, and you have the makings
of a superb summer evening. Gardens open until 8:30PM. The Café at Wave Hill open until 8PM. Glyndor Gallery, Perkins Visitor Center, The Shop at Wave Hill open until 7:30PM. Check for the schedule for Sunset Wednesdays free shuttle service to and from Metro-North and the #1 subway.

Find refuge from city life by practicing seasonal yoga. Decrease stress and increase your energy by focusing on your posture, breath control and meditation. This sunset session is led by Yoga for Bliss instructor Joanne Salomone. All levels welcome. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Session fee: Member $15/Non-member $23. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for a mini tour of one of Wave Hill’s magnificent gardens. Tours vary by week―come back on another evening for a glimpse of a different garden area! Free with admission to the grounds.

A high point of each Sunset Wednesday includes live music performed by Bronx musicians on the grassy expanse of the Great Lawn, overlooking the majestic Palisades. Tonight’s performers, Milteri Tucker and Bombazo Dance, mix classical, contemporary and social styles of dance to create a new movement vocabulary that draws on the American and Latino experience. Free with admission to the grounds.

Yes, there are bats in New York City! Hunt for these mysterious creatures of the night with naturalist Paul Keim, the “Batman of Brooklyn”. Participants use eyes and ears— and an echo locator—to search for bats as they skim the dusky sky looking for insects. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult. Space is limited. $10 Member/$18 Non- Member. Registration required, online at, by calling 718.549.3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center.

Child and parent or caregiver practice fun yoga poses that build strength, increase flexibility and relax body and mind in this one-hour class taught by Catherine McGibney, an instructor at Yoga for Bliss. Recommended for ages 3–5. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Member $15/Non-member $23. Session fee includes one adult and one child, $5 each additional child. Registration opens on-site at 9:30AM.

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—5:30PM. Closes 4:30PM, November 1—March 14.  
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6—18. Free Saturday mornings until noon. Free all day Tuesdays in August. 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, July 24, 2013


“This vote represents another step forward not only for the FreshDirect project, but the continued expansion of positive economic development in the Bronx. Not only will this project move 2,000 existing jobs to Mott Haven, it will create 1,000 new employment opportunities in our borough, and those are jobs we cannot afford to lose.

“Since FreshDirect announced its move to the Bronx they have expanded their service to the entire borough, developed a pilot program to accept EBT benefits and hired dozens of Bronxites to work at their existing facility in Queens, all while working to convert their delivery fleet to environmentally-friendly vehicles. Today’s vote allows us to continue moving forward on this important economic development project and to bring more jobs to our borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Items From Comptroller John Liu


 City Comptroller John C. Liu today cast the lone “no” vote on the Industrial Development Agency’s $127 million subsidy for Fresh Direct, which received final authorization. He stated the following:
“This was a bad idea when it was first voted on a year ago, and it’s an even worse one today. New York City needs jobs, particularly in the Bronx, but this is a wasteful way to do business that picks taxpayers’ pockets in order to reward fat cats.
“During the Bloomberg Administration, the Economic Development Corporation has doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare to companies that fail to deliver on their promise of jobs for New Yorkers, and we have no reason to believe this will be any different.
“Even if the EDC’s dubious projections turn out to be accurate, the Fresh Direct deal will go down as yet another Bloomberg big business boondoggle. Spending roughly $127 million to create 964 new jobs—$131,397 per job—just doesn’t make economic sense.


A “perverse incentive” enacted together with the minimum-wage increase in the New York State budget could jeopardize the pay or even the jobs of low-wage workers in New York City, a report released by City Comptroller John C. Liu today is warning. Comptroller Liu renewed his call to implement an $11.50-per-hour minimum wage in New York City, which would make employers ineligible for this harmful tax credit and help many more workers make ends meet in the most expensive major city in the nation.

“State lawmakers did their best to craft a minimum-wage hike that would help workers in Rochester and Buffalo, but a tax credit for employers they included as part of that deal may actually harm low-wage New York City workers,” Comptroller Liu said. “That’s yet another good reason why we need to raise the New York City minimum wage to $11.50 an hour. Not to mention that New York City is just so much more expensive to live in.”

Liu’s report comes out as the United States marked the fourth anniversary of the last rise in the federal minimum wage, which activists have named as a “National Day of Action to Raise Up America,” calling on elected officials and employers to raise wages for the nation’s lowest-paid workers.

The “Minimum Wage Reimbursement Credit” included in the New York State budget gives businesses tax credits if they hire young workers, but employers only get the credit if they pay their workers exactly the minimum wage and not a penny more. Employers would receive a $1.35-per-hour tax credit for each worker between the ages of 16 and 19 earning no more than the minimum wage of $9.00 per hour in 2016. This could jeopardize the jobs and wages of roughly 120,000 New York City workers making between $9.00 and $10.00 per hour, because the state would pay their employers to replace them with workers earning minimum wage.

“New York should be a city where working men and women can afford to make ends meet,” said Comptroller Liu. “If we are serious about helping families with children climb out of poverty, narrowing the wealth gap, and growing the middle class, we need to have the courage to pay all people a livable minimum wage of $11.50. Let’s not ignore the fact that the federal minimum wage created decades ago has not kept up with inflation; if it had, today’s federal minimum wage would be more than $10.50. Contrary to what many in corporate America would have us believe, sound economic research indicates that a New York City minimum wage of $11.50 will help, not hurt, the Big Apple’s economy.”


City Comptroller John C. Liu today called on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to open its operations to the public as well as reject a plan to raise $750 million in a new bond issue, amid grave concerns over a deepening crisis that threatens the Authority’s finances and operations.

Formal comments were submitted earlier this week, with Liu raising key concerns at tonight’s NYCHA public hearing on its Annual Plan for Fiscal Year 2014.

Comptroller Liu’s full submission to NYCHA can be found at:

Comptroller Liu noted that there are even questions about the legitimacy of the current NYCHA board, given that Mayor Bloomberg has not yet appointed new board members as required by a new state law.

“The Mayor’s refusal to act is tantamount to vetoing legislators’ actions and demonstrates his contempt for the legislative process,” Comptroller Liu said. “In the meantime, it is unconscionable that NYCHA is holding just one public hearing in light of its fiscal woes, significant issues of crime and safety, and literally groundbreaking plans to offload 14 parcels of valuable land in Manhattan to be used for luxury housing.”

Comptroller Liu also questioned NYCHA’s plan for a new bond issue. “As it is, the Authority is sitting on about $700 million in unused capital funds and clearly lacks the capacity to spend the new funds it is seeking. NYCHA should postpone any new bonds until the new board has an opportunity to assess NYCHA’s financial condition. In order to restore public faith in its finances, NYCHA also should accept our longstanding invitation to join Checkbook NYC, our financial-transparency website.”


 With a deadline looming on the Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC)-CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) contract negotiations that could cause service disruption, City Comptroller John C. Liu is offering his boardroom as a venue and his staff as facilitators in order to help the parties iron out their differences.

“More than a million New York City TWC customers may experience a blackout of CBS and Showtime beginning tomorrow morning if an agreement is not reached, barring them from watching their favorite television shows even as they continue to pay for the programming,” Comptroller Liu wrote in a letter Wednesday to Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corporation, and Glenn A. Britt, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable. “It is time to stop using the customers as leverage in these disputes.  TWC and CBS must come together now. My office stands ready to host or assist in facilitating a meeting of the parties in order to help resolve this dispute quickly and without disruption of service.”

Comptroller Liu sits on the New York City Franchise Concession and Review Committee, which authorizes the television franchise agreement between New York City and Time Warner Cable and provides TWC access to New York City customers.


15th Council Forum Part Two W/Photos

  By now the audience had swelled to about 150 people.
  The next question was to candidate Thompkins on the scatter site homeless policy currently in place. Thompkins answered that legal aid needs more money to fight for the homeless, to build temporary housing for the homeless in empty lots and brown fields. Rebuttal Agosto- need to change the policy at Dept. of Homeless, and blamed Bloomberg, Batista- Need to support local organizations that provide services, Rivera- Developers that build are not from the area and don't care, Torres- City policy "brain Dead" for paying $3,000.00 to house families, Alvarez- some landlords are slumlords who take in and then evict people.
  A question to candidate Agosto on mayoral control, better educational outcomes, and high stakes testing was answered by candidate Agosto that there needs to be a change in culture at the Department of Education, smaller class size, and more interaction & early intervention. Rebuttal Alvarez- Stop 100% mayoral control, currently have a dictator, Teachers see what is going on, Batista- after taking bar exam knows about high stakes testing and the council needs to be involved, Rivera- more parental involvement, Thompkins- need to create more partnerships with community organizations, and cut class size, Torres- excluding parents reduces students to a scan card.
  A question to candidate Alvarez about the lack of Phys-ed in schools was answered by candidate Alvarez that the space needs to be available parking lots & playground areas need to be used used, and need more sports in the schools. Rebuttal Agosto- partner with local businesses, explorers, and the PAL, Batista- look to support new parks and play streets, Rivera- look at new creative ideas such as dancing - "think outside the box", Thompkins hire more teachers, and bring back competitive sports.
  A question to candidate Batista on "Stop N Frisk" and the Inspector General position was answered by candidate Batista that she is against stop n frisk and in favor of the inspector general position, but crime needs to be targeted where it is happening. Rebuttal Rivera- Mentioned that Comptrollers office had town hall meetings citywide, that he was the only candidate to attend them, Thompkins- Said she is on the 46th pct. council, and Legal Aid lawyer that a balance needs to be kept & cops need tools, Agosto- 100% against stop n frisk, and he is a member of the 49th Pct. council, Alvarez- when he grew up prostitutes were on the corner and it was a rough area, Torres- does not understand the controversy around the inspector general position.
  A question to candidate Rivera about making bodega owners our friends not our enemies was answered by candidate Rivera that he met with 500 bodega owners and got to know them. Rebuttal Thompkins- regulations need to be fair & not fine them to much, Batista- bodegas are a necessity some extend credit, live in the community, pay taxes, and provide jobs, Alvarez- Worked with bodega owners before when some were robbed to get cameras in, Agosto- would set up council of small business and bodega owners, 
  As the question period ended next came closing statements by the candidates. Candidate Torres said that he believes in human rights, economic fairness, and sustainability. Candidate Thompkins said that housing, fresh foods, and schools are important such as getting other choices in the bodega than sugary sodas. A need is to move from poverty to prosperity. Candidate Rivera repeated that when he was fighting for the community at town hall meetings none of the other candidates were there with him. Candidate Batista said that the 15th district is in crisis in all categories, and said that the district has the lowest voter turnout. Candidate Alvarez said that he is running because he has lived in the district his whole life, has been fighting for the community, and he knows how to do it. Last was candidate Agosto who stood up to say that the 15th district is #1 in everything. He has 30 years of community work with others, but now he wants to work for the voters and not someone else, Adding that better schools, housing, and many other things are needed in the 15th district. The forum then ended with the hostess thanking everyone for coming.
  My take on this forum- It appeared to be an even forum with no clear winner or loser except for the seventh candidate who did not show up. As for the strengths or weakness that I saw candidate Kenny Agosto wanted to be first to answer every question, gave what was the best closing statement not only by standing up in front of the other candidates, being very passionate, but also very believable in an era when politicians are not trusted. Candidate Alvarez, I expected more from him being the chief of staff to the current councilman for the past 12 years. Candidate Alvarez I felt should have been talking of the experiences of his office, and much more that has been done in the district than he mentioned. Candidate Raquel Batista was very good in her presentation and answers, but I have to believe that being in her ninth month of a pregnancy that she (as it looked to me) had to be very uncomfortable sitting on the stage for over two hours. Candidate Joel R. Rivera seemed to me to try to steam roll over the other candidates by repeating more than twice that he was the only one who attended town hall meeting that the other candidates did not. The voters will have to decide if the aggressiveness of candidate Rivera is good or bad for the district. Candidate Thompkins gave some good answers, but to me showed that she may need more than just a few years of living in a community before running for office. Candidate Torres began the debate well, gave good answers to many of the questions, but towards the end of the forum he seemed to lose interest and had no rebuttal on the last two questions that were asked which was also seen some what in his closing statement.You can click on the photos below to enlarge them.


Left - The six candidates from left to right - Kenny Agosto, Albert Alvarez,  Raquel Batista, Joel R. Rivera, Cynthia Thompkins, and Ritchie Torres.
Right - Candidate Raquel Batista answering a question with candidates Alvarez and Rivera also in the photo.

Left - Candidate Cynthia Thompkins standing between candidates Rivera and Torres.
Right - Candidate Kenny Agosto as he stands up to give his closing statement.