Saturday, November 15, 2014

Koppell for State Senate 2016?

  The above sign at the # 7 & #10 bus stop on the northbound Henry Hudson Parkway service road just north of West 246th Street was put up weeks before the September Democratic primary. This is a key visible location, as all north bound traffic on the parkway service road above West 246th Street must pass this location. Traffic coming over the bridge from the west side of the parkway gets an even better view of this sign as they turn left onto the northbound parkway service to go north or enter the parkway shortly after this bus stop. 

  Candidate Oliver Koppell at one time had the Workings Family ballot line so it would be to Koppell's advantage to have this sign up until the November election. Koppell got screwed however by the Working Families Party when they withdrew their endorsement of Koppell (and ballot line) after his opponent current State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein made a deal to sever his relationship with the Senate Republican Conference, and work with the Senate Democrat Conference to co-lead the state senate.  

  Things didn't go as planed on election day, and Senate Republicans won an outright majority in the state senate. Adding to this Democratic State Senator Simca Felder of Brooklyn has said that he will continue to conference with the Republicans giving them an additional vote. Senator Jeff Klein has recently announced that he would like to continue working with the Senate Republican Conference. to this Oliver Koppell has now said after that announcement "I Told You So". 

  It is now weeks after the general election and the 'Koppell for State Senate' poster is still up. One has to think does this means that Oliver Koppell is getting an early start on a rematch with Senator Klein in 2016. It has been said by many including myself that there are others that Koppel may run against. Could it be that either father Assemblyman Jeffrey or son new Male District Leader Eric Dinowitz are now in Koppell's sights.


Savor The Bronx Ends With Marty Markowitz as Matire D'

  Last night at Tin Marin Restaurant (located at 3706 Riverdale Avenue) you were greeted by former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. had dinner at Tin Marin at the very same time that Markowitz was Matire D' . As you will see in the photos below Markowitz greeted people, and the both he and Diaz Jr. spoke of the wonderful eating opportunities that can be found in the Bronx. Markowitz said 'The better the Bronx does, the better the city does'. 

  “We have dozens of great restaurants in every corner of the Bronx, and not just on Arthur Avenue or City Island,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “From tapas in Riverdale to craft beer in the South Bronx, our borough offers a tremendous variety of great tastes of all ethnicities, from traditional fare to the unexpected. We are thrilled to have Marty Markowitz and NYC & Company helping us showcase our epicurean delights, and I look forward to an incredible evening of food and fun.”

  NYC & Company is the city's official marketing, tourism, and partnership organization. Markowitz's appearance was part of NYC & Company's effort to encourage tourism to the Bronx and other boroughs. This restaurant was selected on a block of various different types of eating establishments that can be found in the Bronx.

Left - Markowitz greets Bronx Bp Diaz.
Right - Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz joins Diaz Jr., as Markowitz reads off the specials of the day in Spanish.

Left - Community Board 8 Chair Dan Padernacht is next to Assemblyman Dinowitz.
Right - Bronx Bp Diaz and former Brooklyn BP Markowitz enjoy the moment as the two talk about all the eating options in the 'New Bronx.'.

Left - Tin Marin, Spanish Tapas Restaurant.
Right - Salvatore's of Soho Italian Restaurant.

Left - Greek Express Restaurant.
Right - Blackstone's Bar & Grill.

Left - The ever popular Yo Burger Restaurant where you can get a burger, fries and a shake, or yogurt with dozens of topping s to choose from.      
Other places to eat on this block include Tiny's Diner, Ginger Grill, Corner Cafe, and Palumbo Bakery.                

Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.Basks in the Joy of the Recent Election

  State Senator Ruben Diax Sr. points to 'The Diaz Team' composed of the senator, his son Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda. Together Team Diaz has come a long way in political system gaining not only influence, but helping to improve the Bronx everyday. 

  The start of the long road was several years ago when then Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. (elected in 1997) and his father Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. (elected to the city council in 2002, and then to the State Senate in the 2003) worked with elected officials from different parts of the Bronx to begin the Rainbow Rebellion. In the 2008 Democratic primary they got a judge elected over the then Bronx Democratic County Leader Jose Rivera's choice for the position. At the 2008 Bronx Democratic County Committee meeting Rivera was overthrown as county leader. Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. became Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in early 2009. State Committeeman Marcos Crespo was elected to Diaz Jr.'s assembly seat, and Luis Sepulveda was elected to the assembly in 2012. The rest is history for 'The Diaz Team' as they continue to grow adding new people to the team's political foundation.

  It looks like Senator Diaz Sr. could be a key player in the 2014 State Senate. With the outright victory of the Republican Party having a one vote majority, and Brooklyn Democratic State Senator Simca Felder sitting in the Republican Conference the IDC may no longer be needed by the Republican majority. Then there is also the fact that the conservative Republican majority is more in line with the goals of Senator Diaz Sr., so I look for Senator Diaz Sr. to be a key player in the upcoming two years of the next state senate.

More Con Edison Gas Woes

  This is what has popped up across the Bronx (and New York City). Ugly High Pressure gas connections to buildings. Most of the gas connections are behind fences to hide them from public view, but this connection however is one of those visible with plantings that are to grow in front to block it view. These high pressure gas connections have no protection from the elements such as rain and snow, or any other thing that it may come in contact with. A tree fell right near this connection, and what could of happened if the gas connection had been where the tree fell. This particular connection has been red flagged twice, and on two separate occasions I have walked by this site to hear a hissing sound coming from this connection.  According to Con Edison there should be no noise at all coming from this high pressure gas connection, but the local FDNY Engine 52 has been called over 10 times to this location to answer calls of sounds coming from this connection by various different residents and people. I was told by one firefighter when I saw the truck elsewhere that a clicking sound is normal when the high pressure gas engages. I told him that Con Edison had said no sound should be coming from these connections, but he said not to worry. I do not trudt Con Edison, but I have to have trust in our fire department.

This photo of very recent markings by the above high pressure gas connection leading from a Con Edison sewer (in between the two parked cars) makes me wonder if Con Ed is going to redo this connection.

Here is another fine example of the work being done by the contractors hired by Con Edison because this is way to big a job for Con Ed to handle alone. Above is the corner by the building connection pictured above where Con Edison's contractor has worked. Enlarge the photo to see what else went into this section before it was covered. Also note that the size is much larger than the street cut markings. 

Here is how the crosswalk of this intersection was left. When you enlarge the photo you can notice that there is a several inch gap in the pavement still where Con Ed worked, and that the gas main head in the middle of the patch work is sticking up a few inches from the patch. This is a hazard waiting to happen as once the sun goes down the difference of the levels of the road, the patchwork, and the gas main head are very hard to see. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Grand Opening of the Throggs Neck Shopping Center

Bronx Chamber Logo

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce 
invites you to join...

    The Grand Opening of the New 

Throggs Neck 

Shopping Center

Over a dozen New Stores and Restaurants
- Including -

Target - TJ Maxx

Sleepy's - Petco

Skechers - Metro Optics

BX Sports

Applebee's - Subway

5 Guys Burgers & Fries 

Sarku Japan

and more to come.

Grand Opening 

Thursday Nov. 20th 2014

11 AM.

Free Parking


Latino Leader & Former Mayoral Candidate Demands Better Latino Representation in de Blasio Administration

Erick Salgado to Join Rally Critical of 13% Decline in 
Latino Presence Since the Bloomberg Administration

      Latino community leader and former Mayoral candidate, Rev. Erick Salgado is demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio make his administration more representative of New York City’s Latino population by immediately recruiting and hiring more qualified Latinos.  

       There has been a 13 percent decline in the number of Latinos in the city administration since Mayor Bloomberg left office.

      “With Latino’s comprising almost a third of this city’s population it is unbelievable that Mayor de Blasio has reduced the number of Latinos working in his administration by 13 percent.  If anything, he should have increased our number. This is disrespectful of the Latino community.  Does the mayor not care about 2.4 million New Yorkers? We cannot allow this to remain unchallenged,” Salgado stated.

       “Latino New Yorkers play a significant role in every aspect of this city.  To ignore us as the 
mayor has done is to deny every New Yorker the talent, experience and energy that so many of us have and want to use to make this city an even better place in which to live,”  Salgado continued. 

       Salgado will join a rally, sponsored by The Coalition of Latino Organizations, to be held on the steps of City Hall Monday, November 17th, at 10 a.m., calling on the mayor to hire more Latinos.

      “The Latino community has been patient long enough.  We have waited almost 11 months for the mayor to do the right thing; we will not wait any longer.  Mayor de Blasio must immediately demonstrate that he cares about New York City’s 2.4 million Latinos,” Salgado said.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


 Job Creation in New York City at Fastest Pace in at least a Quarter Century
  New York City created private-sector jobs at an annual rate of 5.4 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the biggest quarterly increase in at least 24 years,according to an analysis of the City’s economic performance released today by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
“New York City’s economy has been gaining strength the past two quarters and continues to outpace the nation’s,” Comptroller Stringer said. “Venture capital investment in our region’s burgeoning start-up economy has surged, the real estate market has continued its strong pace and tourism remains on an upswing.  The City has put another strong quarter in the books as we head to the end of 2014.”
“The NYC Quarterly Economic Update” examines economic trends and reports data from New York City’s economy within the national context. It analyzes a broad range of economic indicators that reflect the City’s current conditions. These indicators include Gross City Product (GCP), job growth, income tax withholding, unemployment rates, inflation, commercial real estate vacancy and rental rates, residential real estate sales, hotel occupancy rates and public transit ridership.
In the third quarter, New York City’s Real GCP grew at an estimated 4.0 percent annual rate, the fastest growth since this quarter last year and half a percentage point faster than the pace of the U.S. economy in the same period. New York City’s private-sector added 47,000 jobs, a seasonally adjusted annualized growth rate of 5.4 percent, a record gain.
The report highlights factors that contributed to the quarter’s impressive performance:
  • Reflecting job gains and salary increases, City Personal Income Tax withholdings rose to $1.6 billion, the highest ever third quarter level.
  • The Manhattan office vacancy rate, including sublease space, fell to 10.2 percent in 3Q14. New leasing activity in 3Q14 totaled over 7.6 million square feet, the best third quarter in eight years.
  • New York City’s unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in 3Q14, the lowest quarterly average since 4Q08, when unemployment was at 6.6 percent. All five counties displayed a significant decrease in unemployment.
  • Local startups are gaining momentum, with record venture capital investment in the New York metro area surpassing $1.7 billion in 3Q14, more than double the $0.72 billion invested in 3Q13.
  • The city’s hospitality industry continued to prosper. Hotel occupancy in Manhattan averaged 92.6 percent in 3Q14, and over 3 million people attended Broadway shows, 12.7 percent more than in 3Q13.
“After a long road back, job creation continues to be a positive indicator that our City is on a sustainable path forward,” Stringer said. “However, I continue to be concerned about the fact that too much of our job creation is concentrated in low-wage industries. The economic recovery is not reaching the middle class of our City.  We need to continue to find the on-ramps to opportunity for every New Yorker and emphasize the importance of educating our children so that they can fully participate in the 21st century economy in our own great city.”
To view the full report, click here

Wave Hill Events Nov 28–Dec 5

  We do see some wildlife here—the occasional wild rabbit, coyote and lots and lots of birdlife—34 species were identified on our November 9 bird walk—but very rarely turkey. What we do have in spades is a fully immersive experience of nature at her most abundant. Harvest-time!  As a special bonus, come enjoy a free session of Meditation on Friday for a therapeutic hour recuping from Thanksgiving and om-ing yourself into the holiday shopping season.  

Speaking of holiday shopping, I am also enclosing a release about our Holiday Workshop Weekend. I can’t think of a better opportunity to transform shopping stress into a serenely creative day.

Closed to the public.

This Black Friday, avoid the malls in favor of a serene outlook on the holiday season! Mindfulness meditation helps relieve stress, increase focus and even make you happier! Led by a member of the Yoga for Bliss team, this class is offered free of charge, and admission to the grounds is free until noon—but registration recommended, online only.  Drop-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. All levels welcome.


Gather fall leaves, cones, pods and seed heads. Weave them together with other materials from the gardens and meadows to create a decorative wall hanging celebrating the bounty and beauty of the season. 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, a member of the William CC Chen Tai Chi School, introduces students to the internal martial arts and promotes an awareness of its benefits. Sessions are held indoors. Session fee: $25/$15 Wave Hill Member. Advance registration online receives a $2 discount. Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of the session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made. Drop-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present their Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

Join a curatorial fellow for a tour of current exhibitions. In the main gallery, Recapturing the Scenic Wilds is inspired by Theodore Roosevelt, a former resident of Wave Hill who had a lifelong passion for discovering and collecting specimens for the public to appreciate. Exhibiting contemporary artists investigate the natural history display and what it says about our relationship to nature. In the Sunroom Project Space, Hilary Lorenz creates an immersive environment by experimenting with the arrangement of large shaped paper constructions printed with plant and animal imagery that appears to dance around the room, Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM. Free with admission to the grounds.

Gather fall leaves, cones, pods and seed heads. Weave them together with other materials from the gardens and meadows to create a decorative wall hanging celebrating the bounty and beauty of the season. Free with admission to the grounds.

Reduce stress, increase your energy and bring strength and flexibility to mind, body and spirit with a yoga practice. Classes are led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other certified instructors. Ms. Dewji is certified in Hatha and Therapeutic Yoga from The Yoga for Health Foundation, England, and The Integral Yoga Institute, NYC. All levels welcome. Sessions are held indoors. Session fee: $25/$15 Wave Hill Member. Advance registration online receives a $2 discount. Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of the session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made. Drop-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present their Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

This fall, take a moment to release stress and reconnect with your inner self while practicing meditation. Each session includes instruction in simple techniques followed by 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Classes are led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other certified instructors. All levels welcome. Sessions are held indoors. Session fee: $20/$10 Wave Hill Member. Advance registration online receives a $2 discount. Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of the session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made. Drop-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present their Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

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

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 and Tuesday mornings until noon. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs 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 30 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

Bronx Borough President Invites You to Celebrate

Bronx BoroughPresident
Ruben Diaz Jr.

In conjunction with

The Albanian-American Society Foundation Sons and Daughters of Albania in the 
United States

Invites you to attend the

The 102nd Anniversary of Albania's 
Independence Celebration

Saturday, November 22, 
2014 @ 11:30 a.m.

Monroe College-King Hall
2501 Jerome Avenuein the 
Mintz Auditorium

Seating is Complementary
 and Limited
RSVP is Required.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


  Broad Support For New “Housing Quality Act” Bill That Would Empower Tenants To Bring “Underlying Conditions” Claims Against Landlords 

   The Mayor’s plan to preserve 120,000 units of affordable housing will require renewed focus on housing quality.  On Wednesday, tenants from some of the city’s most troubled housing units – joined by advocates and elected officials – rallied outside City Hall to call for legislation that would give tenants the power to require landlords to fix “underlying conditions” - such as a water leak – rather than merely painting over it.

Council Members Ritchie Torres, Rafael Espinal, and Antonio Reynoso are set to introduce a bill on Thursday that would expand a 2013 law that empowered HPD to bring “underlying conditions” claims.  Noting that tenants are the eyes-and-ears on the ground, the new bill would extend to tenants the right to bring such claims against landlords in Housing Court.  The bill is part of a broader “Housing Quality Act” package aimed at equipping tenants with the tools they need to ensure that their housing is not just affordable, but also livable.

“In housing – as in life – superficially painting over a problem is not an acceptable solution.  Yet under current law, when a landlord fails to cure an underlying problem, such as a water leak, and opts instead to paint over the problem, tenants have limited options.  This bill would enable tenants who deal with underlying conditions problems day in and day out, to hold their landlords accountable.  This bill would help ensure that housing is not just affordable, but also livable,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“We have some of the highest rent rates in the country and yet too many New Yorkers are living in substandard and unsafe housing conditions," stated Council Member Rafael Espinal. "Often times, necessary work to correct the root causes would be covered up with shoddy patch repairs. This is unacceptable. This bill will give additional teeth to existing law by allowing tenants to take action in housing court and bite down on their negligent landlords to correct these substandard and unsafe housing conditions. It is my hope that this piece of legislation, when enacted, will lead to more New Yorkers living in decent and quality housing."

“Too often, landlords will do only the minimum repairs necessary to correct a violation or issue.  This bill  seeks to empower tenants to address conditions that lead to recurring problems but remain unaddressed.  Our goal with this bill, and the other pieces of the Housing Quality Act, including the expansion of HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program and the creation of re-inspection fees for HPD inspectors, is to improve quality-of-life for all tenants,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

“This bill gives tenants the power to demand more than superficial repairs from their landlords, by compelling owners and management companies to address the root causes of dangerous and unhealthy apartment conditions. Neglectful landlords have consistently gamed the system by doing the bare minimum. This substandard work has caused tenants across the City to suffer further, problems like leaks and mold are simply covered up and painted over versus being addressed and corrected. I would like to thank Councilmember Torres as well as Councilmembers Reynoso and Espinal for their leadership on tackling this legislative oversight on this issue as well as many other housing concerns that plague NYC tenants,” saidKerri White, Director of Organizing and Policy, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB).
"By empowering tenants to compel correction of systemic building problems that result in recurrent housing code violations, this important bill will reduce the need for repetitive litigation which demoralizes tenants and wastes the time and resources of the City and the court system.  The bill also discourages landlords from ignoring dysfunctional building systems by increasing the penalties for landlords who fail to correct systemic problems,” said Edward Josephson, Director of Litigation at South Brooklyn Legal Services.

“The Legal Aid Society commends Council Members Ritchie Torres, Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal for introducing this important legislation which will allow tenants to pursue cases against their landlords to repair the underlying conditions in their apartments which caused the housing maintenance code violation.  Now tenants can act in partnership with HPD to ensure that New York apartments are kept in safe and good condition.  Finally, landlords will be held accountable for repairing the problem and not just re-painting the problem,” said Ellen Davidson, staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Greenway Walk at West 254th Street

  The above photo is of the Community Board 8 Special Greenway Committee Chair Phil Friedman walking next to the Hudson River on the water side the Metro North tracks. Mr. Friedman led a tour of over 50 people this past Sunday morning who met in the parking lot of the station. They then went upstairs and over to the southbound platform where towards the end of the platform was a ramp leading to an opening to a short walkway along the Hudson River. The pathway was as long as the train station, and was fenced off (as in the above photo) from track 6 which is a non electrified track that is not in service.  
  As you will see in the photos below this area between the Hudson River and Metro North tracks could be the starting point for the Riverdale link to the north and south to complete the Hudson River Greenway. There are two more tours of this area  will be Sunday Nov. 16th from 2 - 3 PM with assembling at 1:45 PM in the West 254th Street Metro North station parking lot, with a third site visit planned for sometime in December. The next meeting of the CB 8 Special Greenway Committee meeting will be on Monday Dec. 1st starting at 7:30 PM at a location to be determined. You can call the community board office at 718-884=3959 in 1 - 2 weeks for the location. 

Left and Right - People assembled in the parking lot of the West 254th Street Metro North Station. 

This was the view south as you walked over the station bridge. Track 6 is to the right, and the blue bridge is to the Riverdale Yacht Club only.

This is taken from track 6 looking back at the platform. on the left side is a ramp leading down to the crossing over of track 6.

The path over track 6 to the waterfront park area.

Left - Two people are fishing in the forground.

Right - One of the two overlooks of the Hudson River. 

Community Board 8 Chair Dan Padernacht explores north of where the pavement ends as seen in the bottom of the photo.
Here the group is at the bottom end of this path, with the Riverdale Yacht Club in the foreground and track 6 can be seen at the bottom.

Mr. Rob Spalter shows just how much space there is in this section of the waterside area. This however is over a storm sewer overflow pipe that leads into the river.

The empty path next to the water on the other side of the West 254th Street Metro North Station, which is NYC Parks property. 
This photo with people on the path.