Contact Welcome2Melrose at: 347-92-MELRO or via email at:

Friday, April 30, 2010

Meet the "Mayor" of Melrose at the Bronx Food Summit

Tomorrow, Saturday May 1st you can meet me, the "Mayor" of Melrose as well as a bunch of other great Melrose residents, business owners (such as Darada David of PeaceLove Cafe)and Bronxites as well at the first ever Bronx Food Summit at Hostos Community College from 9AM - 5PM.

Please come meet members of the South Bronx Food Cooperative, which is located right here in Melrose, who will be facilitating the following workshop from 11:45am - 12:45pm:

CLASSROOM 462What is a food co-op and why are they important?
South Bronx Food Cooperative
Not exactly sure what a food cooperative is and how it can benefit you and your community?  Come and find out exactly what a cooperative is, how it functions as well as how it is integrated into the very fabric of our communities.  Learn the difference between a cooperative and your traditional bodegas and supermarkets as well as how you can take control of where your food comes from.

And from 2:30pm - 3:30pm you can come and listen to me speak on the following Panel Discussion:

Afternoon Panel Discussion #1:  C-390 STUDENT LOUNGEHealthy Food Now! Exploring Food "Deserts" and Alternative Solutions for Bronx Communities
Moderator:  Paula Lukats, CSA in NYC Program Manager, Just Food
Panelists:  Kim Latimer-Nelligan, Chief Operating Officer, Low Income Investment Fund; Kate Scallion, Food and Fitness Business Development Coordinator, NYC EDC; Ed Garcia, Board of Directors President, South Bronx Food Cooperative; Christina Grace, Manager Urban Food Systems Program, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets; Robert Volosin, Chief Operating Officer, Inner City Development 
A food "desert" is defined as a specific area lacking access to healthy food options due to a shortage of supermarkets and places to buy fresh food. In place of supermarkets and places to by fresh  food, there's an abundance of fast food chains, dollar stores and bodegas selling highly processed, poor quality food. Many health care professionals believe there's direct relationship between the lack of access to healthy fresh food, too many fast food chains and obesity and diabetes.  Hear directly from supermarket developers, policymakers, CSA organizers, and Food Coop owners about the issue and the solutions.

or you can attend the following workshop from 2:30pm to 3:30pm and meet Darada David, owner and operator of Melrose favorite, the healthy PeaceLove Cafe:

Afternoon Workshop #5:  CLASSROOM 454Bronx Flavors: The Television Show!
Facilitator(s):  Baron Ambrosia, Culinary Ambassador and host of Bronx Flavor; Darada David, owner of Peace Love Café; Sybil, H.I.M. Italian Restaurant
Have you ever seen the show Bronx Flavor?  Meet Baron Ambrosia, creator and producer of this TV show featuring the many different flavors of Bronx culture and the foods we eat.  Learn about one restaurant that’s keeping it real with fresh, healthy ingredients.

Bronx Food Summit Schedule:
9:00 - 10:00 am: Registration
10:00 - 11:30 am: Opening CeremoniesWelcome
Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Hostos Community College President
Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President
Special Guest Remarks
Keynote Speaker
Majora Carter, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow
11:45 - 12:45 pm: Morning Workshop Sessions
12:45 - 02:15 pm: Lunch
2:30 - 03:30 pm: Afternoon Workshop Sessions
3:45 - 04:15 pm: Celebrity Panel Discussion: "Growing Up in the Bronx - Food, Health and Family”
Kurtis Blow
Melle Mel from the Furious 5
Popmaster Fabel from The Rock Steady Crew
Rosa Clemente, Journalist, Radio Host and 2008 Vice Presidential Candidate (Green Party)
Joe Conzo, Hip Hop Celebrity Photographer, Co-Contributor "The Bronx is Burning"
Byron Hurt, Documentary Filmmaker "Soul Food Junkie" and "Beyond Beats and Rhymes"
David Greco, "Godfather of Parmigiana" (Bronx's Little Italy)
Annie Novak, Co-Founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
04:30 - 05:00 pm: ReadNex Youth Squad poetry performance (Lunchroom)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Community Saves A Local Restaurant From Eviction

The much loved neighborhood establishment, Coqui Mexicano, has been SAVED! After a court date yesterday to appeal the unexpected eviction notice, community support including letters from local congressman Jose E. Serrano, and Henry Weinstein (owner of the old Bronx courthouse) to name a few, helped save the restaurant from closure.

After much persuasion and the show of overwhelming support from the community, the landlord caved in and generously offered a 6 month payment plan that met the needs of Coqui Mexicano.

News12 the Bronx was at Coqui Mexicano yesterday as well as the Daily News to cover the story which was first heard here and picked up by our friends, the BoogieDowners. The broadcast appeared last night on Bronx Cablevision channel 12 at 10pm.

Furthermore, a writer from the New York Times was there today to write about Coqui after hearing what was going on from welcome2melrose.

So alas, a neighborhood came together to shout out to the world in unison that we were not gonna let one of our own go down without a fight.

A big Melrose THANK YOU to all who came out in support of COQUI MEXICANO! ¡ÓRALE WEPA GÜEY!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BREAKING NEWS - Motorcyclist Hit by Truck on Third Avenue

Paramedics as well as police from the 40th precinct raced to the intersection of Third Avenue and East 158th Street responding to an accident involving a motorcyclist and a medium sized construction crane truck.  

Witnesses say that the biker had the right of way as he was on East 158th Street crossing Third Avenue when the truck sped by causing the motorcyclist to crash into the truck and slide underneath.  I myself was at the South Bronx Food Cooperative and saw the accident as it happened.

"The truck driver definitely ran the light, the motorcycle had the right of way," said local resident, Michelle Smith who witnessed the accident.  Another witness who wished to remain anonymous agreed with Ms. Smith and said that the trucker ran the light.

The driver of the truck, who only identified himself as "Jimmy D" of ProBuild said, "The only statement that I want to give is that I'm glad he's alive," as he referred to victim.

The victim, who was unidentified, was taken to Lincoln Hospital and paramedics on the scene said that he is in pain with a possible fracture to his arm but in stable condition.

Reporting LIVE from the scene,

Ed Garcia Conde
"The Mayor of Melrose"
347-92-MELRO (347-926-3576)

Witnesses and passerbys assist the victim and call 911.

Paramedics lifting victim onto a strecher.

"Jimmy D", of ProBuild who was driving the truck at the time 
of the accident gazes into the distance.

Witnesses and onlookers gathered as the paramedics arrived on the scene.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Neighborhood Unites to Protect One of Its Own

A little over a week ago the cultural soul of Melrose received an eviction notice - Coqui Mexicano, which in less than two years since it opened has become not just a restaurant but a myriad of things to a people as diverse as its offerings.  

Melrose residents have long enjoyed frequenting Coqui Mexicano, or Coqui as it is affectionately known by locals, not just for the deliciously healthy and affordable food which they offer (yes - it sounds like an oxymoron that a Puerto Rican/Mexican fusion establishment can be considered healthy but alas it is achieved through the use of high quality ingredients, including the use of olive oil in all recipes instead of the lard and artery clogging oils that other restaurants in the area use) but they also come for the live music which spontaneously, without warning just comes together or for the free literacy project which Danisha, the coqui aspect of the name, started to combat the dearth of bookstores in our area.

Coqui also is a community dining room where friends converge and discuss anything from politics to love and just life in general so it was with great shock to the residents and family - for all who come here are considered to be part of an extended family, that they were on the verge of losing their beloved restaurant. 

This past Friday, April 23rd, patrons including Henry Weinstein, owner of the beloved "Old Bronx Courthouse" and Fred Connelly of Real Estate Financing, Inc. (REFI) and members of the South Bronx Food Cooperative all converged to raise funds for Coqui and was organized by the Bronx Defenders (the non-profit 501 (c)(3) public defenders located in Melrose) who are always fighting for the underdogs of the South Bronx.  For an organization always representing the little guys they truly were there, en masse, vowing that all will fight for the survival of Coqui Mexicano.  

Just as positive things are happening in the neighborhood with residents of Jardines de Seline moving in (the first development with mixed, low and middle-income units), the 400 middle-income apartments of the 700 unit Boricua Village called Northrose scheduled to begin occupancy beginning June 2010 through August 2010 and Courtlandt Corners, another massive project of 343 units of mixed, low and middle income units as well beginning occupancy around October 2010 residents are concerned that this may be a sign of things to come otherwise known as the dreaded "g" word: gentrification.  Many were quick to comment that it all seems too big of a coincidence that they receive the eviction notice just when almost a 1,000 new units are about to come online within the next 6 months and not to mention that business had picked up at Coqui considerably.

In the meantime, locals will continue to rally alongside Coqui Mexicano and fight to make sure cultural gem of Melrose remains open and for those of you who have yet to taste what it's all about, come on down and step into our kitchen. 

Oh and don't forget to sign the online petition! It literally takes less than 1 minute to do so!

Coqui Mexicano
871 Brook Avenue (where Third Avenue meets 161st Street and Across from the Old Bronx Courthouse)
Bronx, NY 10451

Mon-Fri, 7:30AM to 6PM
Sat, 8AM - 6PM

Proud Owners, Diego and Danisha

Henry Weinstein, owner of the Old Bronx Courthouse
speaks with Diego

Check out this book by a former trial chief of the Bronx Defenders available at a great price only from
By purchasing this book through via welcome2melrose you are supporting this great blog you've come to love!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bronx Food Summit - May 1st, 2010

In response to The New York Times article which coined the phrase the "Bronx Paradox", when referring to the dichotomy of South Bronx residents being one of the most obese in the country as well as the hungriest in the nation, Ruben Diaz, Jr immediately responded to the statement by starting the Bronx Food Summit.

The Bronx Food Summit, which is to be held on May 1st, 2010 at Hostos Community College, is an all-day event starting at 9am and ending at 5pm which will connect Bronxites with food justice advocates, schools, community organizations and businesses to have a discussion on what options are available to our borough's residents for healthier eating.  Information will be disseminated through various hands-on workshops and seminars and as an incentive to invite more Bronxites, a FREE HEALTHY LUNCH will be provided.

I know everyone is probably saying, healthy eating in the Bronx?  Well let's not forget three Melrose favorites:  PeaceLove Cafe, the first health food cafe in the South Bronx (let's not forget their poetry slams on Thursdays and live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays), Coqui Mexicano - the Puerto Rican/Mexican fusion spot with a good selection of healthy items (and spontaneous gatherings of musicians playing traditional bomba and plena music of Puerto Rico) and of course the South Bronx Food Cooperative (who is one of the sponsors of the Bronx Food Summit), a community owned and operated alternative to big name and for profit supermarkets.  Organic produce, products and bulk items like rice, pasta, nuts and dried fruit abound and not to mention Yoga classes 3 times a week and free cooking classes Monday evenings at 6:30PM.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TONIGHT! - Grand Concourse Historic Preservation Community Meeting

Everyone is encouraged to come to the Grand Concourse Historic Preservation Community Meeting tonight at 7PM over at the Bronx Museum of Art (1040 Grand Concourse) at the invitation of Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr.

As per the invitation: 

"Borough President Diaz invites all interested parties learn more about the proposed Grand Concourse Historic District. Landmark Commission members will be on hand to answer any questions regarding this historically rich and architecturally important group of buildings along the Grand Boulevard and Concourse."

So please do come to this very important meeting to talk about the future of our beloved Grand Boulevard and Concourse!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Picture of the Day

As seen on a Harley on Elton Avenue between East 157th and East 158th Streets.  

Special shout out goes to local Bronx resident Lance Rios founder and creator of Being Latino - the largest Latino social networking group on Facebook as well as a stand alone blog of the same name.  Through the blog and Facebook, Lance Rios has successfully taken social media networking to a whole different level.  

More on Being Latino coming soon but in the meantime, listen to what Mr. Rios has to say about Being Latino in his own words!

Ed García Conde
The "Mayor" of Melrose
347-92-MELRO (347-926-3576)

Friday, April 9, 2010

4 or 5 Star Hotel in The Bronx?

During the ribbon cutting of the new Macomb Dam Park and Joseph Yancey Track and Field which is going right now, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr mentioned the coming of a hotel and was overheard saying, "it's coming, it's coming" when someone reiterated his words.  Stay tuned for more info on thus story as it develops.

Ed García Conde
The "Mayor" of Melrose
347-92-MELRO (347-926-3576)

Ed García Conde
The "Mayor" of Melrose
347-92-MELRO (347-926-3576)

Macomb Dam Park Ribbon Cutting - Live

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pet of the Day

Meet Champaign and Lucky - our pets of the day.  They were out and about on E 157th Street enjoying this beautiful day!

Ed García Conde
The "Mayor" of Melrose
347-92-MELRO (347-926-3576)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

UPDATE: Jardines de Seline Lease Signing Starts Today

Jardines de Seline on Melrose and E 158th Street has begun the lease signing process.  

Check out the beautiful mosaic which goes from the outside of the building and wraps around inside to the building's lobby.

Ed García Conde
The "Mayor" of Melrose
347-92-MELRO (347-926-3576)

Friday, April 2, 2010

New Eatery in Melrose - Pollo Joe Is Here

Yesterday while walking the streets of Melrose on my daily travels I came across a flyer advertising yet another new eatery - POLLO JOE'S GRAND OPENING exclaimed the flyer.  I made a mental note to check out the place especially since it was a block away from me.  So today as luck would have it I was on Elton Avenue between East 153rd and East 154th Street and a sign caught my eye and it read:  "WIN $100"

Living in Melrose most of my life and being the "Mayor" of Melrose I had to check out the what, where, how and whys of this great give-a-way especially considering the state of the local economy.  According to Pollo Joe's, every time you purchase $5.00 or more at the eatery, you get a raffle ticket and each month there is a drawing for the lucky winner of $100.00 cash prize.  That's some serious moola and shows that they really must believe in their menu and food.  Unfortunately I did not have the time to stick around to try some of the food but rest assured I will be back and stay tuned for my review of this latest entry into our growing list of eats in the 'hood.

If anyone's eaten here already we'd love to know what you think either in the comments section or email at:

Fun in the Sun

What do fellow Melrose residents do when the weather is this warm? We head to the parks of course!  The new track and field next to the old Yankee Stadium offers a great place to run, play soccer or just sit a spell...but it isn't even complete yet and there is still work to be done to bring the basketball and handball courts online.
Now if the damn Yankees would hurry up bringing down the House That Ruth Built we would have our long delayed Heritage Field!

Ed García Conde
The "Mayor" of Melrose
347-92-MELRO (347-926-3576)