Saturday, March 21, 2015

SLA and Nypd Seize the D Lounges Liquor License in CB 9

Pictured above State Liquor Authority agents and NYPD are seen outside the D Lounge in the Community Board 9 area after the liquor license was suspended by the authorities.

Friday, March 20, 2015

SLA Suspends D-Lounge License

William Rivera Chairman

  I am happy to announce the State Liquor Authority's (SLA's) decision to suspend D-Lounge's liquor license. This suspension is in response to the 18 violations (including becoming a police focal point, unregistered bounces, and assault) related to the shooting at the establishment Sunday. I want to thank the all Community Board Members , NYPD, NYS SLA, & Elected Officials for their aid in bringing a swift resolution to this community nuisance. See below for additional details in the official press release from today.

William Rivera

Contact: Bill Crowley  (518) 474-4875
For Immediate Release: March 20, 2015
Shootings, Assaults at Bronx Bar Leads to License Suspension
Albany, NY  The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of 1237 Castle Hill Avenue Corporation, doing business as “D Lounge” at 1237 Castle Hill Avenue in the Bronx.  The suspension was ordered by Members of the SLA, Chairman Dennis Rosen, Commissioner Jeanique Greene and Commissioner Kevin Kim at a special meeting of the Full Board on Friday, March 20, 2015
On March 15, 2015, New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers responded to a call for multiple shots fired directly in front of D Lounge.  An investigation determined the incident was instigated when two groups of patrons began fighting inside the premises. According to NYPD reports, four victims were assaulted with bar stools during the encounter and transported to Jacobi Hospital for treatment.  During the skirmish, ten rounds of shots were fired at a group of patrons standing directly outside the bar at 1237 Castle Hill Avenue.  A ballistic search found seven .40 caliber shell casings, in addition to bullet holes lodged in the front gate of the New York City Fire Department house at 1224 Castle Hill Avenue.  
“Miraculously, no one was killed or maimed during last weekend’s shootout,” SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen said.  “The SLA has an obligation to ensure this violence does not continue, and today’s immediate emergency suspension will help prevent episodes like this from occurring in the future.”    
On March 20, 2015, the SLA charged D Lounge with 18 violations, including disorderly premises, assault, unregistered bouncers and for becoming a police focal point.  The license for D Lounge, issued on April 11, 2014, is suspended effective immediately, prohibiting the sale and service of alcohol at the premises.   
The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.  When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations.  In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation, considering each licensee’s disciplinary history, to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension.  The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case.  The licensee is entitled to an expedited hearing before an administrative law judge.  An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.

Crespo: Child Poverty Rates are A Plague of Epidemic Proportions Devastating Upstate Cities and Entire State

While Rochester, New York ranks 2nd in the nation for the number of children living in poverty, new data shows that from Buffalo to Newburg poverty rates closing in on 60%

   Calling it “a plague spreading across our State,” Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and the Task Force on New American, was joined by Latino lawmakers and anti-poverty advocacy groups to release startling data on the pervasive proliferation of childhood poverty across New York State.  The most recent data compiled from government and non-governmental organizations show that from Buffalo to Newburg, child poverty rates are exceeding 50%.  In most major upstate cities, child poverty rates are as high as 73% for black children and now surpassing the 40% mark for white children.

“Child poverty rates across New York State’s major cities have surpassed the 50% mark in an alarming trend that threatens the economic and social stability of the State,” stated Crespo.  “This is not just an issue impacting black and Latino children. We now know that poverty rates for white children have surpassed the 40% mark in Binghamton and about to cross that threshold in Rochester, Syracuse, Schenectady and Troy, New York.”

According to Crespo, “The alarming rates of child poverty in New York have reached epidemic proportions for all ethnic and racial groups.  In every major city in New York, those rates now exceed 50%.  In one New York State city alone, 73% of black children live below the federal poverty line. For Latino children, Rochester and Syracuse are inhabitable cities with poverty rates at 54.9% and 59.3% respectively.”  Crespo added, “At current rates of growth in poverty, New York will surpass every state in the nation with the distinction of having the most children living in poverty.”

“Numbers don’t lie. The rising rate of child poverty has increased over the years, which not only affects NYC, but also Long Island as well. In my district alone there has been an increase in poverty rates amongst children. Brentwood, for example, has over 20% of children under the age of 18 living in poverty. Since 2007, the rate for children living in poverty has increased tremendously after a somewhat steady pace before that.  It is only projected to grow if we do not raise awareness and find ways to address the problem,” said Assemblyman Phil Ramos.

“Poverty hurts children and our nation’s future,” said Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo, member of the Assembly Standing Committee on Social Services. “It is critical that we as legislators join forces to combat child-poverty in every community across our State. Every child deserves a fair, healthy, and safe start, and the chance to grown up in an environment which encourages and empowers them to thrive academically, economically, and socially.”

"New York has the greatest income inequality in the nation and we need a budget that faces this problem head on. The Governor's Budget outlines a number of  policy initiatives that will help lift some families out of poverty but does not provide enough 'shared opportunities' to help the state's neediest residents move up the socioeconomic ladder.  We need a comprehensive agenda to boost family incomes and address the record levels of child poverty, hunger and homelessness that are pervasive throughout our state," said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. "The Governor's proposal tends to focus on poverty alleviation in Rochester through the creation of a task force.  We applaud the effort but strongly believe that the enormity and severity of the issue require a statewide approach since most of our upstate cities and significant parts of NYC are also facing historic levels of child poverty."

“Increasing the awareness of child poverty in New York City by the state Legislative body and other influential coalition groups is a great step in the right direction. We must first place our focus on education and implore to U.S. Senate to pass the Dream Act. Proper housing for these children should also be a priority. The main goal is before this legislative session ended in June 2015, there will be positive result to combat the growing trend of child poverty rates in New York City,” stated Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Assembly Assistant Majority Whip                                                                                                              

Assemblyman Crespo outlined anti-poverty proposals that can have a real impact on reducing overall poverty rates in New York State which now stand at 26.6% for Latinos, 24% for African-Americans, and 11.5% for whites.  He stated, “We don’t have to recreate the wheel on this issue. We already know what works to help reduce poverty and improve the lives of all our residents. Now all we need is the political determination to pursue these solutions.”

Some of the solutions proposed at the press event are listed here:

Increase Minimum Wage
The New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA) supports an increase in the minimum wage including a provision to index it to inflation.  This is an important step to address income inequality and poverty in New York State and it will boost community economic development by putting more money in the pockets of workers who will spend those dollars in communities across the state.

Increase Funding for Child Care Subsidies
The New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA) urges the state to increase funding for child care subsidies for low income working families. NYSCAA supports  Winning Beginning NY’s request for an initial investment of $100 million which would create at least 13,000 new child care slots for working families. This support is critical to helping low income parents with young children access high quality day care so they can work and move their families out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency.

Affordable Housing
The New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA) urges New York to increase the availability of safe, affordable housing in urban and rural communities and to provide resources to expand the availability of supported housing for low income people. NYSCAA supports an increase in funding for rural programs such as RESTORE, Rural Area Revitalization Program, AHC, ACCESS to HOME and small project set-asides and urges the State to ensure that supported housing and case management services are provided to help people maintain their housing.
Latino lawmakers, on the eve of the 28th annual legislative conference, will unveil the new child-poverty data for all ethnic/racial groups living in major cities across the State.

Earned Income Tax Credit
Assemblyman Crespo has introduced legislation that will authorize the New York State Department of Tax and Finance to release the Earned Income Tax Credit given as a tax refund to low-income residents at a 12 month interval rather than a lump sum at during tax-filing season.  The per-month release of the tax credit translates into additional monthly income for indigent residents to assist them in buying food, paying for their housing, medical bills and other expenses.  



(Census 2014, 3-years estimates)

New York City

Latino.......................... 40.1%

Black........................... 33.1%

White .......................... 23.3%

Asian........................... 26.3%


Latino.......................... 57.1%

Black........................... 58.1%

White .......................... 26.1%

Asian........................... 69.4%


Latino.......................... 58.5%

Black........................... 54.9%

White .......................... 39.2%

Asian........................... 51.3%


Latino.......................... 60.6%

Black........................... 59.3%

White .......................... 38.2%

Asian........................... 48.9%


Latino.......................... 55.4%

Black........................... 66.8%

White .......................... 31.8%

Asian........................... 61.7%


Latino.......................... 70.9% 

Black........................... 56.3% 

White .......................... 39.5% 



Latino.......................... 59.7% 

Black........................... 73.7% 

White ............................. 37% 



Latino.......................... 32.8%

Black........................... 64.9%

White .......................... 18.8%

Asian.............................. N/A


Latino.......................... 35.3%

Black........................... 30.6%

White .......................... 20.4%

Asian........................... 24.6%



Black........................... 46.0%

White .......................... 41.3%

Asian.............................. N/A

There are 4.2 million children under the age of 18 in New York State. 

23% are living below the federal poverty line, an increase of almost 4% since 2010. 

In New York City alone, 30% of all children under the age of 18 live in poverty!



New BOEDC Lending Program Will Grow Small Business, Create Local Jobs & Strengthen Bronx Economy

Bronx-based small businesses and local entrepreneurs will receive a boost of nearly a half million dollars, State Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (D-Bronx) and Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC) President Marlene Cintron announced today. The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund, a new small business lending program administered by BOEDC, has nearly $500,000 in loans available to local small businesses -- of all sizes and sectors -- across The Bronx. The loans, ranging from $2,000 to $50,000, can be used as working capital, for the purchase of machinery or equipment, inventory and accounts receivable.  

“Investing in our small businesses and providing them with the tools they need to be successful is the single most effective way we can strengthen our local economy, create good-paying jobs and build up hard-working Bronxites,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “These new loans provide economic opportunity for hundreds of entrepreneurs and significantly increase access to capital for our many local businesses seeking to grow or expand. With so many obstacles to building a business these days, The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund represents a strategic investment in our borough that will encourage economic development and prosperity for years to come.”

“We are working hard to support businesses of all types in The Bronx, and that includes, making sure that our small businesses have the resources and funding they need to succeed. We want to be sure our local businesses know that The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund is a source of capital that they can and should tap as they continue to plan for the future. I want to thank State Senator Jeff Klein for making these funds available to the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, and I look forward to utilizing these resources to help small businesses all over the Bronx expand and thrive,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“BOEDC for the first time has the capacity to provide small business loans to any part of The Bronx as a result of Senator Klein’s grant,” said Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. “We are no longer limited in our capacity to lend borough-wide.  As a result, more jobs can be created in the borough and more business will receive the support they deserve.”

In 2014, Senator Klein secured $500,000 in state funding to jump start the availability of loans to Bronx-based business owners and entrepreneurs. With credit availability continuing to top the list of concerns for small businesses in The Bronx and across New York City, The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund aims to simplify the process and provide quick and easy access to capital.

The new lending program marks the first economic development initiative administered by BOEDC that does not place eligibility requirements like size or location on the condition of the loan. Eligible candidates consist of businesses registered in The Bronx for two or more years, including small retail businesses, construction companies, restaurants, technology firms, healthcare providers and more.

The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund

Eligible Borrowers:

  • Any small business located in The Bronx.

  • Must be a legally registered business for at least two years.

Eligible Uses:

  • Funds can be used as working capital, for the purchase of machinery or equipment, inventory  or accounts receivable.  

Terms of the Loan and Interest Rates:

  • Two to five years, depending upon the size of the loan and the use of the funds, at prime plus 2%.


  • Application - Loans less than $25,000: $100.00; Loans $25,000 and above: $250.00.

  • Closing - Applicants will be charged a $100.00 fee to cover the cost of  UCC filings.

Equity Participation:

  • 10%Collateral.

  • First security interest on assets.

  • Personal and corporate guarantees.

“Building a sustainable, moneymaking business in any community is no easy feat -- but in The Bronx especially, so many small business owners face countless obstacles to long-term growth,” said Lisa Sorin, Executive Director of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District. “The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund signals a new era in The Bronx, where capital can be accessed quickly and easily. I want to thank Senator Klein, Borough President Diaz and BOEDC for their efforts.”

Assemblyman Dinowitz announces $125K grant to Riverdale YM-YWHA for first barrier-free playground in Northwest Bronx

  Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz presented a $125,000 check to Riverdale YM-YWHA Chief Executive Officer Deann Forman for the construction of a new, barrier-free playground for young children at the Riverdale YM-YWHA. The barrier-free playground, first of its kind in the Northwest Bronx, will allow children of all abilities to access outdoor play equipment.

Assemblyman Dinowitz said, “While Riverdale and surrounding communities are great places for families, more can be done to ensure that children of all abilities have a safe place to play in their neighborhood. I am pleased to provide funding for a new barrier-free playground at the Riverdale YM-YWHA. This playground will be the first that is accessible to every family with young children, including those with special-needs children, in my 81st Assembly District, and I feel fortunate have the opportunity to partner with the Riverdale Y, a first-rate organization that does much to strengthen the ties within our community.”

Deann Forman, CEO of the Riverdale Y said, “This playground, made possible by Assemblyman Dinowitz, is a tremendous step in better meeting the social, recreational and wellness needs of Riverdale families with children with special needs.  And it will make it possible for parents and caregivers with physical challenges to play alongside their children.”

Barrier-free playgrounds are designed to be accessible to all children, including those with mental and physical disabilities. Barrier-free improvements often include removing barriers such as curbs, fences, and uneven surfaces, installing universally accessible pathways, and adding ramped wheelchair access to platform centers.

To further serve children with special needs, the Riverdale Y is hosting a community Run/Walk on Sunday May 3rd.  More than 1,000 people are expected to participate in a 5K, 10K and Half Marathon with proceeds funding programming and support groups for families of children with special needs.

Rooted in Jewish values, The Riverdale YM-YWHA brings together members of the Jewish and wider community through cultural, social, educational, and health and wellness programs that offer members of all ages multiple pathways into the richness of community life. The Riverdale Y strives to improve the quality of life for residents of Riverdale and celebrate the community’s uniqueness and diversity. For more information on the Riverdale Y, including the Run/Walk event on May 3rd, visit:

Public Advocate James to Appeal Judge Verdict on Eric Gatmer Grand Jury Opening

My fellow New Yorkers,

This afternoon, a State Supreme Court justice ruled against releasing the evidence presented to the grand jury in the Eric Garner case. As you may recall, I am one of the plaintiffs making the case in court that what transpired in the Garner case should not be kept from the public; that transparency will strengthen, not weaken our criminal justice system.

A short while ago, I announced that I am immediately appealing the judge's decision and will continue to press our legal case.

I am doing so because the only way to restore the public's faith in our criminal justice system is by bringing sunlight to a system that has operated in secrecy for far too long.

Like millions of Americans around the country, I was horrified by what I saw in the videos in the Garner case and simply amazed that it wasn't enough to lead to a fair trial. Simply put: the results in the courtroom did not match the reality we saw with our own eyes.

Together, we will continue to fight for justice in this case and broader reforms that will strengthen our entire system of justice.

Letitia James
New York City Public Advocate

Dinowitz, Cohen announce improvements to BxM4 Express Bus schedule

New schedule will allow Woodlawn commuters to make it to work on time

   Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz  and Council Member Andrew Cohen announced their successful efforts to adjust the schedule of the BxM4 Express Bus, as requested by numerous commuters who rely on the service each day. On weekdays, the bus service, which connects Woodlawn and other communities in the Bronx with Midtown Manhattan, first reached Midtown at 7:05 a.m., too late for many Woodlawn commuters whose work shifts began at 7:00 a.m. After Assemblyman Dinowitz and Council Member Cohen contacted the MTA regarding this issue, the MTA agreed to adjust the BxM4 bus schedule by having the earliest southbound bus depart ten minutes earlier.

The BxM4 Express Bus schedule will also be adjusted in the afternoon, with the first northbound bus departing from Midtown Manhattan at 4:35 p.m., rather than 4:45 p.m. This change will allow commuters to make it home to their families more quickly. Both schedule changes will go into effect on April 6, 2015.

Assemblyman Dinowitz and Council Member Cohen issued the following statement:

“This is an example of government in action. After hearing from numerous constituents that the existing BxM4 bus schedule was making them late to work and delaying their return home, we urged the MTA to adjust their schedule to adapt to the needs of their passengers. We are pleased that the MTA has agreed to adopt our recommended changes in their spring bus schedule. These small changes will make a big difference to the commuters who rely on this bus to get to work every day. We believe that investment in public transportation can be a virtuous cycle: the more we invest in improving the system, the more people will use it, allowing for further investment. We will continue to advocate for changes that improve the daily commutes of our constituents.”


  Senator Klein, Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, Dr. Rosa Gil CEO of Comunilife, Jennifer Humensky PhD. Research Director at Columbia University, Parents and Bronx School Counselors Come Together for Guidance Counselor Roundtable Discussion on Latina Teen Suicide

   State Senator Jeff  Klein, Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, and Comunilife’s Life is Precious Program™ (LIP) hosted an expert panel and guidance counselor roundtable to raise awareness of the suicide epidemic for Latina teens, highlight early intervention measures, assess current state response and promote community-based, culturally sensitive solutions.

Senator Klein was joined by Comunilife President and CEO Dr. Rosa Gil, Jennifer Humensky PhD. NY Research Director of Center of Excellence in Cultural Competence at Columbia University, parents and Bronx school guidance counselors.

“One of the most important messages we can send to young people today, is that every life is precious,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “Comunilife’s LIP program works to ensure positive outcomes for generations of New Yorkers, providing vulnerable teen populations with invaluable resources to combat depression and most importantly, save lives. Today’s roundtable shows that when the community joins together, we can make real progress, affect positive change and help thousands of teens in need.”

“Today’s guidance counselor roundtable is critical in raising awareness of a growing epidemic among Latina teens in our city,” Dr. Rosa Gil, President and CEO of Comunilife said. “The statistics have never been more staggering and the time has never been more pertinent to act. In the Bronx, one in seven Latina teens contemplates, and more than one in nine attempt, suicide. Our girls need help, and today’s panel and discussion is an important step. We appreciate Senator Klein's support of our Life is Precious™ program and more importantly his support of the at-risk Latina teens in his district and throughout New York City.”

"The tragic epidemic of suicide amongst Latina adolescents is one that rarely receives the attention it deserves," said Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda. "Dr. Rosa Gil and the Comunilife organization have dedicated themselves to helping to change this and to lessen the stigma amongst Latino families. This additional funding secured by Senator Klein will go a long way in ensuring that the work done by Comunilife is preserved and that a change in the perception of mental health in the Latino community is achieved."

“The issue of teen suicide is a reoccurring issue in all communities. Unfortunately, when we review the data, we seen Latina teens are at a far greater risk than their non-Hispanic counterparts.  This is truly alarming. This problem needs a collaborative effort to reduce these statistics. I commend New York State Independent Democratic Conference Leader, Senator Jeffrey Klein for his continuous efforts on advocating for program funding for the topics which affects the communities within our District. Although this is a very sensitive topic, this is something we cannot ignore. The Life is Precious™ program created by Comunilife will provide cultural and linguistic appropriate education support, creative therapy, and wellness activities to Latina teens,” stated Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, Chair for the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.

In 2014, Senator Klein provided $300,000 in state funding to expand the program in the Bronx and increase the number of at-risk teens receiving services. In June of that year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their 2013 Youth High Risk Behavior Survey, which revealed nationally 26% of Latina teens contemplate suicide, up 5% from 2011 and more than twice the rate of their non-Hispanic counterparts. What’s more, Latina teens represent nearly one out of every six suicide attempts in the U.S. Contributing factors include acculturation stress, economic status and developmental and social disparities.

About Life is Precious™:
In 2008, Comunilife created Life is Precious™ (LIP) to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate educational support, creative art therapy, and wellness activities to Latina teens, aged 12 to 17, who have contemplated or attempted suicide and their families. All participants come from low-income families and most live in New York City’s poorest communities. LIP’s goal is to eliminate suicide by Latina adolescents by giving them tools that build their confidence and provide the skills to succeed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

BCC Irish Heritage Celebration

Above - (l-r) Bronx Chamber of Commerce Chairman Joseph Kelleher, Joe McManus, Honoree Ms. Tracy McDermott, Honoree Mr. James McQuade, Honoree Ms. Marianne Anderson, BCC President Lenny O'Caro, and Master of Ceremonies Bob Nolan. 

  It was a wonderful event at the Pines on Bronxdale Avenue for the Bronx Chamber of Commerce Irish Heritage Celebration. BCC President Lenny O'Caro opened the event, and Bcc President Joseph Kelleher did an excellent job of singing God Bless America (as you will see in a photo below). Mr. Bob Nolan the master of ceremonies said that as late as a week before the event he did not know that he was going to be the Emcee, until Lenny O'Caro asked him a few days ago at the Throggs Neck St. Patrick's Day Parade.

  The three Honorees were Ms. Marianne Anderson the current Pelham Bay Park Administrator, Mr. James E. McQuade owner of Schuyler Hill Funeral Home, and Ms. Tracy McDermott of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz's office. There was also a membership presentation to 10 newest members of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. Doctors Express - Urgent Care, Schuyler Hill Funeral Home, Core BTS, Triangulum, 15 Dynasty, S and D Moving, All in One Construction, 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, Rooter Plus Plumbing and Heating, and McClarren Accounting. 

Above - The new member listed before with Ms. Geri Sciortino of the BCC in the middle in the green blouse. 

 BCC President Joseph Kelleher and Master of Ceremonies Bob Nolan singing God Bless America.

 Mr. Joe McManus with Mr. Nolan.

Above -The lovely Michelle Donglow and Mr. Dirk McCaskill of BP Diaz's office
Below - Bcc President Lenny O'Caro and Joe Mc Manus.