Archive for March, 2017

East Tremont businesses eye possible grants


East Tremont property and business owners will meet Monday to discuss options aimed at helping the neighborhood business community through city and state programs.

Community Board 6 will host the meeting with representatives of the NYC Small Business Services office on Monday, March 27 at Roy’s restaurant located at 880 E. Tremont Avenue.

The main topic will be the application being submitted by SBS for a grant from the state’s New York Main Street program, explained CB 6 district manager John Sanchez

“This program allows the Small Business Services to reimburse businesses for improvements to their storefront facades and their commercial space for up to $50,000,” Sanchez said.

The program, funded by NYS Office of Community Renewal, is aimed at revitalizing downtown areas through improvements such as façade renovations, interior building upgrades and streetscape enhancements.

The program offers matching grants to non-profit organizations and units of local government to work with local business and property owners to complete the improvements.

The program matches investments at a 3:1 ratio, meaning business and property owners will be reimbursed three dollars for every one spent.

The amount available could be as much as a half million dollars and if awarded to East Tremont, would be the only neighborhood in the city to be awarded by the state under the Main Street program this year.

The stretch of East Tremont Avenue impacted runs from Webster Avenue to the west to Southern Boulevard to the east, and is home to numerous locally owned businesses of all kinds: retail, barber shops, discount stores, restaurants and even some clothing and footwear stores.

The wide array of establishments has left the avenue with a somewhat disjointed appearance, Sanchez said.

“When you walk through the strip, a lot of the storefront facades are a little too bulky and big,” he said. “What SBS has been great in doing is using the programs to make the stores more understated, showing the architectural detail of the buildings and the history. It makes for a cleaner (looking) block.”

Sanchez pointed to Arthur Avenue as a business district that is worth emulating.

“There are very few big awnings on Arthur Avenue, but it was just named one of America’s greatest streets. The hope is that in a few years, East Tremont can be similar”

The SBS will also discuss other services available to East Tremont businesses about avoiding environmental and sanitation and health code violations, including free walkthroughs for businesses to help identify potential problems.

“Attractive, well-designed storefronts help make neighborhoods vibrant places to live, work, and play,” said Gregg Bishop, commissioner of SBS. “We offer free resources to help community organizations undertake local storefront improvement work to benefit area residents and small businesses alike.”

Sanchez said the meeting will hopefully help build momentum towards the eventual creation of a business improvement district, or BID, in which members pool resources to help beautify and promote their area to encourage commerce.

“Eventually we want more plantings, more sanitation, more lighting and all of that, but this (grant) is step one,” Sanchez said.

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By Arthur Cusano

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742?4584. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - March 29, 2017 at 12:40 am

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BronxNet’s ‘In The District’ Premieres


BronxNet’s newest program, ‘In the District’, recorded its premiere episode on Friday, March 17 inside BronxNet East TV studio at Mercy College.

Each episode of ‘In the District’ features highlights and important discussion on issues and activities in our borough’s legislative and community districts.

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By Robert Wirsing

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - at 12:39 am

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Veterinary center selects Westchester Square location


Westchester Square will soon be home to the newest branch of the Bronx Veterinary Center.

The center, which will sit at 66 Westchester Square, is the company’s second location providing the veterinary services of Dr. Stephen Katz, his wife Nicole and their team.

Katz, whose other BVC location is in West Farms, said he’s always viewed Westchester Square as a possible destination.

“We love Westchester Square,” he said. “It’s a great area that’s thriving, growing and improving.”

“From the time I first began working in the Bronx 22 years ago,” he continued,” I knew that Westchester Square was a place I would ultimately want to be a part of.”

Domenica Furnari, the assistant manager at the BVC, shared Katz’ view of Westchester Square.

“This was just an area where I felt like we can flourish,” said Furnari who lived in the area for most of her life before recently moving with her husband.

Katz’s first Bronx operation was the Concourse Animal Hospital in 1995.

In 2010, he moved the hospital and made it the first Bronx Veterinary Center on Webster Avenue in West Farms.

Katz always felt the Bronx was underserved in animal health care.

“For me this is sort of playing catch up with the population,” Katz said of opening another center.

The doctor said the BVC strives to make sure taking care of pets isn’t a huge financial burden to pet owners.

“Basically we are giving 5th Avenue care at prices that are absolutely affordable to people of the Bronx,” said Katz.

Furnari said taking care of pets can be costly but it shouldn’t consume pet owners.

“Once you take on that responsibility it does come with some costs,” she said. “But at the same time you don’t want to be spending huge amounts of money that you don’t have any left over to enjoy the time with your pet.”

She added, “Good care at a reasonable cost is not unreasonable to ask for.”

Katz said the hospital provides “the highest level of quality service imaginable” while using state of the art medicine and 21st century technology.

He also said the center provides a host of services including, digital radiology, digital dental radiology, ultrasounds, platelet rich therapies for various conditions, and genetic testing.

In addition, the center provides vaccinations and performs major surgeries if necessary.

Lisa Sorin, president of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, was pleased to have the BVC moving into the neighborhood.

She said the BVC would be a solid addition to Zoo-Rama Pets on East Tremont Avenue and the Petland at 25 Westchester Square.

She said adding the center would be a “perfect match.”

“It’s almost like they heard our call,” said Sorin.

The BID president added the BVC will also attract people with pets who don’t live in the area and allow them to get to know Westchester Square.

Construction on the new veterinary hospital began in early March.

The location was formerly occupied by a 99 cents store.

Katz is expecting the hospital to open by the second week of April.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at

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By Robert Christie

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - March 27, 2017 at 12:36 am

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Cuomo commits $1.8 Billion to new Sheridan


Governor Cuomo announced on Sunday, March 19 a $1.8 billion project to transform the Bruckner-Sheridan Interchange.

The governor said there would be $700 million in the state budget for the project’s first phase – turning the Sheridan Expressway into the Sheridan Boulevard .

The plan includes crosswalks and bike paths placed at different points along the boulevard which will allow pedestrians and cyclists to get from one side to the other.

In addition, the aforementioned crosswalks will allow residents access to Starlight Park.

The plan also includes a bridge to carry pedestrians between the park and the Bronx River.

The new project will also feature ramps that will give trucks carrying produce direct access from the Bruckner Expressawy to the Hunts Point Market

For decades, residents in the Hunts Point and surrounding neighborhoods have complained about the high volume of truck traffic travelling the Brucker, which then use local roads to get to the Hunts Point Market.

The amount of carbon emissions from the trucks has contributed to high rates of asthma in the neighborhood.

In addition, the trucks rolling through the community destroy the local roads.

Councilman Rafael Salamanca, a native of Hunts Point, is looking forward to the completion of the governor’s expressway plan.

“We’re excited and pumped,” said Salamanca.

The councilman, whose father worked at Hunts Point Market for 17 years, empathizes with those who have been dealing with the air pollution.

“I suffer from asthma,” he said. “I have friends that suffer from asthma.”

The councilman said it was important for the community to strike a balance between quality of life for residents and the importance of the Hunts Point Food Market.

According to Salamanca, the market feeds about 60 to 70 percent of the tri-state area and provides about 3,500 jobs.

“They play an intrical part in our local economy,” said Salamanca.

Bronx electeds also praised the new access to Starlight Park and the Bronx River.

Senator Ruben Diaz said the park was underutilized and Senator Jeff Klein pointed out the Bronx River is used by residents for canoeing and other activities.

The governor’s plan is almost identical to a study championed by local residents and stakeholders in 2013.

At that time, a Sheridan Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study called for crosswalks along the Sheridan Expressway.

Klein, one of several elected officials who have pushed for changes to the Sheridan and Bruckner, said the current plan is exactly what the Bronx community “wanted all along.”

One of the questions that remains is whether or not the governor’s commitment to put financial help behind the project will materialize.

“I hope that [Cuomo] is not just talking about it but that it becomes a reality there” said Diaz.

Dr. Ian Amritt, chair of Community Board 2, shared similar concerns.

“I am hoping this is not just a political promise since election year is drawing closer”, said Amritt. “But I doubt it is.”

Salamanca said he is “confident this $1.8 billion will remain in the state budget.”

Construction of the Sheridan Boulevard is expected to start in 2018 and reach completion in 2019.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at

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By Robert Christie

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - March 25, 2017 at 11:55 pm

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Maritime archives Sailors’ Snug Harbor records


A local university is in the process of organizing findings that date back as far as 175 years ago.

SUNY Maritime is currently creating a platform index guide within their very own library to catelogue various archives, artifacts, records and documents from Sailors’ Snug Harbor, which provided a home for aged sailors in the 1800s and 1900s.

Many of the archives from Sailors’ Snug Harbor, once located on the north shore of Staten Island, include information on the retired sailors’ family genealogy, documented minutes from the Trustees of the Sailors’ Snug Harbor, legal paperwork from the property and even books that belonged to Herman Melville, a novelist and poet of ‘Moby Dick’ fame.

Two massive bound volumes – portrait books that contain photographs of the thousands of retired sailors who lived in the Sailors’ Snug Harbor community over the years, is part of the collection.

“This was the first institution of its kind, as nursing homes didn’t exist at the time,” said Annie Tummino, SUNY Maritime’s archivist who also holds classes specifically to teach students how to access the archives, in the library or online. “Without this retirement institution, many of these retired sailors would have been living on the street – and many of them didn’t have limbs, wives or families.”

Since she took the position a year ago, Tummino’s effort has been to digitize the collection of records, She also expressed interest in forming a collaboration where she and others transcribe the portion of written documents, some of which are barely legible and written by a quill feather pen.

“It’s very exciting that this history is right here, and the student as well as the public should take full advantage of that,” she added. “This information documents a dying way of life and the birth of social services.”

“It’s truly illuminating,” said Benson Beilder, a sophomore at SUNY Maritime, who has helped Tummino organize the collection. “Without this information – many of the facts based on Sailors’ Snug Harbor would remain a mystery.”

“It is great that these sources are here – especially for the students who want to get an idea of what life was like in this institution during its years of operation,” said Dave Allen, a humanities professor at SUNY Maritime for over ten years, who has also encouraged his students to learn more about the archives. “I greatly encourage my students to utilize these documents – if not to learn about the history then to gain experience in accessing thousands of different records and archives.”

Sailors’ Snug Harbor was established in 1801 but did not open until the 1830s. When it did open, it became the country’s first home for retired sailors, who were referred to as inmates.

After the buildings fell into disrepair in the 1950s, the institution was moved to Sea Level, NC in the 1970s. However, the Trustees of the Sailors’ Snug Harbor in New York City continues to help retired marines each year.

A portion of Sailors’ Snug Harbor’s archives can also be accessed online by visiting and clicking either ’Maritime College, Sailors’ Snug Harbor Archives’ or ’Maritime College, Sailors’ Snug Harbor Inmate Records’ under ‘All Collections’.

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Steven Goodstein

Source: Bronx Times Reporter

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Bronx Times - at 12:31 am

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