Saturday, April 4, 2015

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj's Health & Wellness Fair on April 10th!

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj 's Health & Wellness Fair

Friday, April 10, 2015
3:00 pm6:00 pm
Bronx House
990 Pelham Parkway South
Nutrition and Fitness Information
Health Care Facilities and Providers
Fitness Demos and Giveaways!

For more information or to participate please call
Office of Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj at (718) 409-0109

Passover & Easter Greetings From Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj

Passover and Easter Greetings
from Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj

I would like to wish all of my friends, families, and 
happy  and blessed holiday weekend. 

With Easter and  Passover falling  together  on the 
weekend, it brings  great opportunity for us 
to   gather   
together   and   reflect   on   the   many 
God  has  
given  us,  while  enjoying the 
time  well  spent  with  
family  and  loved  ones.

             May you all have a  joyous and blessed 
Passover and Easter.

Happy Holidays From The Bronx chamber of Commerce


We want to wish you and your family a 
Happy Easter and Passover 

Thank you for your support of 
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce !

Image result for easter and passover picture

 Call 718-828-3900 or go onto our website 

for more information on our events.

Friday, April 3, 2015

STATEMENT FROM BP DIAZ RE: Metro North Funding in New State Budget

  “I am thrilled that Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature have continued to show their commitment to The Bronx by providing $250 million in funding in the new budget for the East Bronx Metro North expansion plan.

“Governor Cuomo has long understood that new Metro North options in Co-op City, Parkchester, Morris Park and Hunts Point will not only make our region’s transportation system stronger, it will also open up new economic opportunities for almost 95,000 residents living near the proposed stations. This new budget shows that the State Legislature agrees.

“The East Bronx Metro North Expansion is a transformative plan, and I commend Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature for moving this plan forward as part of the newly passed budget,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Editors Note: Our congratulations go out to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in making sure that this vital new Bronx rail corridor link made it through the state budget negotiations, most likely with the help of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. 

Wave Hill Events Apr 17–Apr 24

With Nights Lights—the culmination of Wave Hill’s 50th anniversary celebrations—about to begin, and spring so surely in the air, my pulse is jumping! Fortunately, there is plenty to distract and enthrall this week, from serene sessions of wellness and a walk through Wave Hill’s history, to the finale of our concert season with a dynamic performance by the quintet WindSync. And then, of course, Fridayevening is our first evening of Night Lights. Hooray!

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 in April 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 Membership card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

Make your own image of Wave Hill’s Aquatic Garden—the site of this spring’s 50th-anniversary art installation. Then let visiting artist Melissa Brown take you through some simple steps to help connect the dots from your image to create a group animation project, on view through the month of May. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon. A Wave Hill at 50 anniversary project.

Discover the fascinating history of Wave Hill’s architecture and landscape on a walk with a Wave Hill Garden Guide. Hear about those who once called Wave Hill home, among them Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Bashford Dean and Arturo Toscanini. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.


Make your own image of Wave Hill’s Aquatic Garden—the site of this spring’s 50th-anniversary art installation. Then let visiting artist Melissa Brown take you through some simple steps to help connect the dots from your image to create a group animation project, on view through the month of May. Free with admission to the grounds. A Wave Hill at 50 anniversary project.

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 directorNeem 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 in April 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 Membership card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

Let nature inspire you to find your center and reconnect with your true self using guided mindfulness and other meditation practices. Each session, led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other qualified instructors, includes instruction in simple techniques, followed by guided meditations. Sessions are held indoors. All levels welcome. Session fee, which includes admission to the grounds: $20/$10 Wave Hill Member. Advance registration online receives a $2 discount. Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of the session. Drop-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present their Membership card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.


Windsync is recognized internationally for dramatic and adventurous programming in venues ranging from concert halls to museums, universities and schools. The young, energetic group plays exclusively from memory, including elements of staging and choreography, and focuses on building connections with audiences through dynamic concert programming and charismatic stage presence. Absolutely irrepressible, WindSync offers a program that captures the quintet’s musicality and theatrical stage presence. A mesmerizing rendition of Ravel’s Bolero for winds and snare drum is followed by Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and The HoedownAges eight and older welcome with an adult. $28 general admission, $15 child (ages 8 to 18). $22 Wave Hill Member, $12 Wave Hill Member child. Registration required, online at or at the Perkins Visitor Center.

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

Closed to the public

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.


Wave Hill’s 50th anniversary festivities reach a crescendo this spring with Night Lights at Wave Hill, a month-long celebration, when, for the first time in Wave Hill’s history, visitors will be invited to attend in the evening to enjoy the garden landscape at a time of day and during a season when it is normally closed to the public. Take in The Lightening: a Project for Wave Hill’s Aquatic Garden, an immersive installation by acclaimed artist by Chris Doyle, with music by composer Jeremy Turner, recorded by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Stop by Glyndor Gallery to see Chris Doyle: Landscape Fictions. Visit The Shop, The CafĂ© and the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory, and enjoy informal piano performances in Wave Hill House. This evening’s pianist is Randy Ingram. Same-day tickets for Night Lights at Wave Hill: $25/$20 Wave Hill Member/$12 children. (Purchase tickets in advance and save $2.) All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges. Rain or shine. Tickets available now at and onsite. A Wave Hill at 50 anniversary event.

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:9AM5:30PM. Closes 4:30PM, November 1–March 14.  
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6–18. FreeSaturday 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

Mayor Bill deBlasio Announces - He will Seek Reelection as Mayor in 2017

  DeBlasio declares he will seek reelection for second term in 2017 is the headline of a Daily News article that can be found in the link at the beginning of this paragraph. The News jokes that this time the mayor is early, and states that Mayor deBlasio has made it clear that he will be running for reelection in 2017.  

  While talking up national politics and announcing his reelection bid in 2017, Mayor Bill deBlasio added that's the only thing he is running for. 

   Some of the comments to the Daily News article are hilarious, and you may want a good laugh by reading them. One such commenter said that they would vote for a Republican Central Park Zoo Seal before voting again for Bill deBlasio. Another commenter calls the mayor - Mayor deBozo. The link is at the beginning of this posting.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Teacher Evaluation plan that was included and passed in this year’s state budget.


David Carlucci for NY

There has been a lot of concern over the past few days about the Teacher Evaluation plan that was included and passed in this year’s state budget. This is our opportunity to take New York State's teacher evaluation policy out of the hands of politicians, and into the hands of education experts. By doing this we will be providing certainty to our teachers, in a time plagued with confusion and doubt.

When it comes to ensuring our children have access to the best education, a “one size fits all,” cookie cutter approach does not work, and will not work in the future. The legislation as written will allow the State Education Department to develop regulations, after a public comment period, to establish new requirements for teacher evaluations.  I strongly believe that these regulations should include the ability for high-performing school districts to design their own evaluation methods. By doing this we will allow the State Education Department to direct their attention and resources to those schools that need it most.

In doing this, the department must also focus on the unique diversity that makes our public school system so special and ensure that cultural and socioeconomic factors are being considered when developing these new evaluations.

We must continue to attract the best teachers to New York and we have been given a real chance to reform our state education system in a way that allows teachers to teach, students to learn, and those that need help to get resources immediately. I will work with teachers, parents, students and my colleagues to ensure that the Education department develops the evaluation system with strong input from our community, in a way that is both fair and cooperative. Our children's future depends on it.

Assemblyman Dinowitz to hold town hall meeting on tenant protection laws

  Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) announced that he will be holding a town hall meeting on Wednesday, April 15th at 7:15 p.m. at the Kingsbridge Public Library to discuss and hear feedback on New York’s tenant protection laws, which are due to expire in June. Joining Assemblyman Dinowitz to speak will be Delsenia Glover, Campaign Manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power, and Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge at the Legal Aid Society.

Assemblyman Dinowitz said, “Tens of thousands of Northwest Bronx residents, and millions of people across the city, depend on our state’s tenant protection laws to shield them from massive rent increases and ensure their right to a lease renewal. Tenant protection laws must be at the center of any efforts to ensure that New Yorkers of all income levels can afford to live in New York City, and renewing and strengthening these laws is my top priority this legislative session. I invite all members of the community to attend my town hall meeting on April 15 to learn more about this critically-important issue.”

The town hall meeting will take place at the Kingsbridge Public Library at 291 West 231st Street, near Corlear Avenue. The tenant protection laws, due to expire on June 15th,  regulate over a million rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartments in the City and many more across the state, protecting millions of residents from large rent increases and guaranteeing their right to a lease renewal. Even under current regulations, landlords are authorized to raise rents by large amounts through a variety of means. Assemblyman Dinowitz authored an op-ed earlier this year describing these existing loopholes in greater detail. The op-ed can be read here:


In order to better serve his constituents beyond the hours of 9-5, New York City Council Member Andy King and his staff will be hosting “Constituent Services Night” every other week in a different NYCHA housing development in the 12th Council District, beginning on Tuesday, April 7th.

“I believe it’s important to meet with NYCHA residents in their developments because it gives me the opportunity to see things up close and first hand, as well as show my constituents that their representative in city government cares about their community and will bring their concerns to management,” saidCouncil Member Andy King, co-chair of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus of the New York City Council.

There are five NYCHA housing developments in the 12th District. They are Gun Hill Houses, Baychester Houses, Boston Secor, Eastchester Gardens and Edenwald. The first location for Gun Hill Houses residents will take place at 3444 White Plains Road, Suite 1E, Bronx, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Services will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration, Access-A-Ride and basic services.

NYCHA residents can preschedule an appointment by calling the Office of Council Member Andy King at (718) 684-5509.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Senator Rivera Speaks on the Senate's Passing of the 2015 - 2016 Budget

(Albany, NY) - Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) joined his colleagues in the State Senate to vote on the 13 bills of the 2015-2016 Budget.  Senator Rivera voted against three of the budget bills, specifically the Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation bill (S.2008-B), the Public Protection and General Government bill (S.2005-B), and the Education, Labor and Family Assistance bill (S.2006)

2014-2015 BUDGET

I am pleased that the 2015-2016 Budget includes and expands funding for many important policies and programs, including the ­­­­­­­­Raise the Age of criminal responsibility initiative and the construction of four Metro North Stations in the Bronx. However, in many areas this year's budget falls short and does not adequately address a number of issues that are important to working New Yorkers. The bills I voted against either contained unacceptable policies, such as a seriously flawed teacher evaluation system, or left out key priorities New York desperately needs, such as a real living wage and genuine ethics and campaign finance reform.  

Many of the shortfalls of this budget would have been avoided if the voices of the 8 million New Yorkers the Senate Democratic Conference represents had been heard in this process. The fact that our Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first woman to lead a conference in the state's history, was not included in budget negotiations is shameful. The days of "three or four men in a room" must end. New Yorkers deserve a budget process that is transparent, inclusive and as diverse as the public officials they elect to represent them." 



"My top priority during the budget process remains the Bronx - finding ways to enact policies and deliver resources for the communities I represent that will help them thrive.  This year we were successful in repealing a law passed just last year which placed unnecessary requirements for new health facilities in our borough.  This law would have held up or even prevented much-needed health facilities from being built. As the county that continuously ranks last in health in New York State, Bronx residents could not afford to have yet another obstacle standing in the way of the healthcare they need.  

I am also very pleased to announce that we were able to secure funding that will directly impact two major projects that are taking place in the 33rd Senate District - The Kingsbridge National Ice Center and the Fulton Re-entry Center. 
 We were able to secure $1 million to help evaluate the capacity of Kingsbridge subway station in an effort to help us prepare for the development of the Kingsbridge Armory and determine the cost of making the station compliant with the Americans with Disability Act. The Kingsbridge National Ice Center will be an important economic engine in our community and this study will give us the knowledge we need to work towards alleviating any strain that may be caused by the increased traffic that will be brought to the station because of the development.  

Just a few short months ago, I was elated to celebrate the official transfer of the former Fulton Correctional Facility so it can be converted into a comprehensive reentry center. In this year's budget, we allocated $3 million for its transformation. The restructuring of the Fulton facility will provide countless New Yorkers transitioning back into society with the necessary resources and skills to be productive members of their communities, while simultaneously helping reduce our rates of recidivism in the Bronx." 


"As the ranker of the Senate Health Committee, I am very pleased that this year's budget took various steps towards ensuring that a greater number of New Yorkers have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Not only does this budget continue to fund our State's Health Exchange, but it also provides $1.64 billion to create the Basic Health Plan, which will make health insurance coverage affordable for almost half a million New Yorkers, including non-citizens and those newly covered under President Obama's recent immigration order. Additionally, we allocated $8 million in funding for the Doctors Across New York Program to help train and place doctors in underserved communities in the Bronx and across the state, ensuring New York's diverse population has access to quality care close to home. 


I am very pleased that the budget invests in reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and shifting resources to primary care by providing $200 million for the Public Hospital Transformation Fund under DSRIP. It also provides $19.5 million as a revolving loan fund to be used by the Primary Care Development Center, a nonprofit that promotes primary care, in the running of community health centers. We also increased funding by $1 million for health care for first time mothers in the Bronx and elsewhere through the Nurse Family Partnership Program, $1.4 million for women's health services, and $1 million for Rape Crisis Centers.   

Lastly, as a vocal advocate for ending AIDS as an epidemic by 2020, I am especially delighted that the budget included over $1 million in funding for community organizations and services related to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. While this budget also makes progress in preventing the prosecution of individuals for using harm reduction measures, such as condoms, it does not fully decriminalize syringe possession. In order to successful eradicate AIDS in New York State, we still need to work towards getting rid of outdated laws that stand in the way of many getting access to the harm reduction services they need to avoid contracting HIV."


"Unfortunately, the portion of the budget that dealt with education was filled with missed opportunities and deep disappointments. Not only did the state fall short in providing an adequate increase in funding for public schools, but the budget - once again - failed to include any of the Campaign For Fiscal Equity funding owed to our students. The most challenged schools in my district alone would have received more than $126 million had we made good on that promise. Furthermore, the budget doubles down on the use of standardized testing, which will neither improve the educational outcomes of students nor provide teachers with the resources they need in order to succeed. This is the fourth time in five years we have changed the teacher evaluation system. This year's budget is more proof that we're going in the wrong direction. We also missed another opportunity to lift up our youth and our state by once again omitting the Dream Act.  

While I am truly disappointed in a number of the education measures we passed today, I will not waiver from my commitment to secure appropriate funding for our public schools. I will not rest until we make good on our promise to improve outcomes for students and give teachers the respect and support they deserve."



Assemblymember Pichardo supports budget that invests in Bronx children


Will continue fighting to make DREAM Act law

In an effort to strengthen our children’s education, Assemblymember Victor Pichardo (D-Bronx) announced the final budget includes a $1.6 billion increase in education aid over last year, as well as increased funding for higher education and CUNY programs.

“The success and future of our communities is dependent on the investments we make in our children,”Assemblymember Pichardo stated. “This increase in funding will help nurture the budding minds of students across the Bronx and help ensure the bright futures they deserve are within reach.”

Investing in education

Specifically, the final budget includes $23 billion in education funding, a $1.6 billion increase over last year. The state has dedicated funding to fulfill its Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) obligation by committing $428 million for Foundation Aid – a $170 million increase over last year.

            The budget also protects last year’s pre-K investment for New York City to ensure our children receive a quality, first-class education beginning at a young age, Assemblymember Pichardo noted.

Implementing the Higher Education Road to Success

In order to help keep costs down for students pursuing higher education, the final budget implements the Higher Education Road to Success. The plan provides an increase in support for CUNY community colleges of $100 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student to deliver a total of $2,597 per FTE.

            The final agreement also provides a 20 percent increase to opportunity programs at CUNY and a 15 percent increase to opportunity programs administered by the State Education Department (SED). This includes a $4.4 million increase in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), for a total of $26.8 million, and a $3.8 million increase for the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), for a total of $29.6 million.

Additionally, the budget supports CUNY programs by including $2.5 million for the Accelerated Study in Associates Program (ASAP). The program helps motivated and driven community college students earn their degrees as quickly as possible, resulting in a graduation rate more than three times the national three-year graduation rate for community colleges.

            However, the final budget does not include the DREAM Act proposal, Assemblymember Pichardo noted. The Assembly’s budget plan placed a college degree within reach for countless Bronx students by including the proposal which would allow undocumented students to apply for state-tuition programs.

            “The investments we’ve made in our young people will help prepare them for future success, but our work is not done,” Assemblymember Pichardo stated. “Moving forward, I will continue fighting to make the DREAM Act a reality so that all Bronx students, regardless of their immigration status, have the same opportunities as their classmates to achieve a higher education.”