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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Started Yesterday at the Melrose Station of Metro North

As I waited for the 3:39 train at the Metro North Melrose Station I glimpsed a very bold man walking down towards the platform with a...METS gym bag...but it gets BETTER.  Mr David Patterson (no relation to our governor) said that he is actually a Phillies fan through and through in through - his hometown.  As we boarded the train, a discussion on which team is better ensued.

The VERY bold David Patterson sporting his METS bag - His wife and in-laws are big Mets fans and she got him the bag.

AJ - A diehard Yankees fan has one message and only one message to David, the Phillies and ALL their fans:  "Phillies don't have a chance in hell!"

As you can see the discussion was pretty intense...hand gestures and all

Metro North Conductor listening to the pair discussing their passions...I'm sure it's not the first OR the Last to be heard by him on his train.

More Info on Eltona's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Pics and All

Yesterday, October 27th, The Eltona was filled with local politicians and New York City officials as well as New York State agencies gushing over the project - and with great reason.  As yesterday's entry mentioned, The Eltona is the first affordable housing building to achieve Platinum LEED Certification which means that it has the highest out of four possible levels of certification for environmentally sustainable construction.  One of the best facts which was revealed yesterday was that 86% of all new green building initiatives in New York State are right here in The Bronx.  We always knew we that we were the greenest borough with over 24% of total land area as parks (Staten Island is a distant 2nd at 18% and Brooklyn...that borough were people spend vulgar amounts of money to live is only 8% sad) Oh and did I mention that The Bronx has the "largest percentage in the COUNTRY of green space for an urban area? But I digress.

A big Melrose THANK YOU is in order for all those who have made The Eltona possible but not limited to: Ted Weinstein, Director, Bronx Planning for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Les Bluestone, President of Blue Sea Development, Inc who has a long history of building such great developments here in The Bronx, Ruben Diaz, Jr, Bronx Borough President for his commitment to such projects which empower our local residents with a sense of pride and hope for a positive future and to all those I did not mention, this project could not have been done without you. 

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr speaks about how our story in The Bronx needs to be told - that we are rising from the ashes and have become a model to the world on how urban renewal can be done the right way.  32 years after Howard Cosell infamously told the world, "There it is ladies and gentlemen, The Bronx is burning" we can proudly say that The Bronx is BOOMING.  Mr Diaz Jr. hopes that maybe during this world series the cameras can take a look at The Bronx and tell them what we know to be true...that we have risen from the ashes.

Béatrice Coron, local NYC artist who designed the ornamental fencing and ironworks for The Eltona

Les Bluestone explains to Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. the workings of the wind turbines on the roof.

The talk of Melrose and The Bronx - The Wind Turbines!

The Eltona's resident superintendent, Ivan, makes sure that the ribbon is in place.

Mr. Bluestone here is explaining the energy efficiency of the windows in one of the units to Mr. Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Ruben Diaz, Jr. with proud new resident who is one of the lucky individuals to from the area to have been selected to live here.

And yes...the "Mayor of Melrose" in a photo-op with Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Monday, October 26, 2009

EXCLUSIVE - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at The Eltona - Tuesday, October 27th -

I decided to walk past The Eltona (a 63 unit, 5 story building) today and take a few pictures and was pleasantly greeted by the building's super who graciously gave me a tour of 3 model apartments - 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units as well as some of the onsite amenities.  Previously unbeknownst to me, a ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow and a few hours later I received a personal invitation directly from The City of New York's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.  How about that? The Mayor of Melrose rubbing elbows with Mayor Bloomberg as well as the Honorable Ruben Diaz, Jr., The Bronx' Borough President.

The Eltona will soon be THE FIRST affordable LEED Platinum building in New York State, not The Bronx, Brooklyn or New York City but the FIRST in the entire State of New York right here in our great our great neighborhood, Melrose.  Wind turbines located on the rooftop will provide a renewable energy source for the common areas.  The interior of the building was constructed by utilizing non-toxic materials and in its mission to provide a healthy environment to low-income residents it will be a 100% smoke free building.  This may sound a little restrictive but it is a key component to Mount Sinai School of Medicine's study "of the effects of living in a green building on families who suffer from asthma" which will be studying the residents living at The Eltona.  The residents will also benefit from education materials geared towards teaching residents on how to live a healthier as well as a "greener" lifestyle.  Upon moving in, residents will also receive coupons as part of their welcome kit so that they may shop at The South Bronx Food Co-op which is just 2 blocks away from The Eltona. 

The beautiful ornamental fencing and ironwork which was one of the many features that attracted my curious eyes were designed by commissioned artist Béatrice Coron, a local artist who was born and raised in Lyon, France and has been living in New York City since 1984.  Her art has been featured across the country as well as across France and it is truly humbling to have such beautiful public art right here in our own backyard by an international artist.

Some other features of The Eltona are:  Laundry Room on each floor, storage room on each floor with one storage unit per apartment, 2 bathrooms in each 2 and 3 bedroom unit as well as a dishwasher in every single apartment.  The hardwood floors are beautiful as is the amount of natural light that flows in through the larger than normal windows.  The Eltona truly is the new frontier in low-income housing - a green building with all the amenities that until now were only available to those who can afford a co-op or a condo.  With Coqui Mexicano nearby as well as PeaceLove Cafe and excellent transportation options, these residents will truly be lucky!  Visit GreenHomeNYC for a greater detailed list of energy efficient items as well as green products used in construction of The Eltona.

Let's hear it for New York City, Blue Sea Development (who you may remember as the developers of Fox-Legget Co-op with its 2,400 square foot green roof) for building such an innovative project in an area that so many had forgotten about decades ago.  A big Melrose THANK YOU to all!

Every apartment has a storage unit located in a storage room on each floor. (Yes...I'm jealous!)

Also located on each floor is a laundry room so no more
 running down to the basement to add the fabric softener!

Kitchen layout of a 3 Bedroom unit.  All units have generous kitchen cabinet space as well as dishwashers.

Standard bathroom...nothing too fancy but still nice.

Southeast corner of the building directly adjacent to one of the many community gardens in Melrose.  This one is called Vogue Garden.  

Welcome to Melrose is on the FRONT PAGE of The Bronx Times!

In yet another humbling moment, I was interviewed by The Bronx Times and Welcome to Melrose is on the FRONT PAGE!  How great is that?  Check out the article by Dan Beekman!
A big Melrose THANK YOU to each and EVERY one of you who have made such recognition possible!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fresh, Organic Produce at The South Bronx Food Co-op

If you haven't checked out the South Bronx Food Co-op (SBxFC for short) maybe these pictures will entice you to walk in through their doors.  Farm fresh organic produce is delivered straight from the farm to SBxFC every Wednesday. DON'T have to be a member to shop there so come on in (although being a member does have its benefit such as discounts on all purchases)!  Also, if you work for a school or any institution or restaurant you should contact them for bulk ordering.  SBxFC does team up with local organizations and businesses to bulk order which passes on the savings to you because they are a non-profit organization. For those who are currently on public assistance and receiving food stamp benefits, SBxFC DOES accept Food Stamps and EBT so no one should have to go without healthy food!

For more information 
Call 718-401-3500 or 718-401-3502
Or why don't you just drop by at 3103 Third Avenue at the corner of East 158th Street.
There are many ways to get there via public transportation thanks to Melrose being so well served by rail, subway and bus:

Train -
Take the 2 or 5 train to 149th & Third Avenue. Walk north on Third Avenue to 158th St.
Bus -
Take the BX #55, BX#15 or BX#21 to 158 and Third Avenue

Take the BX #6 to 161st Street.

Take the BX #2 or #41 to 156th/157th & Melrose walk down to Third

Metro North -

Take the Harlem Line (blue train) local to Melrose Avenue, Walk east to 158th St.

Great selections, all organic.

Organic fruits are available as well.

Pet of the Day

Cassanova and Diamond

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



THURSDAY  OCT.22th 4:30-7PM

FRIDAY OCT.23th 7-11PM
Rahn Burton and Friends

SATURDAY OCT. 24th 7-11pm
David Caldwell-Mason Band 

Hi ! 

You are Invited to Come Celebrate PeaceLove Grand Opening

PEACELOVE is a Healthfood Music Computer Internet Cafe , Yes the 3 are inseparable!

Imagine Browsing while relaxing to live Jazz and R&B while intaking
 Organic Coffee, Teas, Juices, Sandwiches and Desserts!


Thurs. Oct. 22th 4:30-7 

Fri. Oct.23th 7-11pm
Sat. Oct.24th 7-11pm

At: PeaceLove
617 Melrose Avenue
Between 151st and 152nd
Bronx, New York 10455

Directions: #2 or #5 train to 3rd Avenue 149th, walk 2 blocks.
Driving - Take FDR drive to cross over the Willis Avenue Bridge
Keep Straight up Willis Ave to 3rd Avenue 150th, then make a left
on to Melrose Avenue.Or Take Bruckner to 138thst, Or Major Deegan to 138thstreet

We are the first Health Food Cafe in the Bronx.

We care about your health

Darada David
Owner of PeaceLove

Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect or Rage, Intimidation, Disrespect? A Tale of Police Brutality in Melrose

We know it all too well:


or CPR as the acronym stands out in BOLD RED LETTERS along all police vehicles.  

This past Sunday, October 18th, 2009 at approximately 3:00PM I was witness to what can only be called police brutality and New York's Not so Finest in action in front of 3103 Third Avenue between East 158th and East 159th Street in front of the entrance to the residential building. I was inside the South Bronx Food Co-op (SBxFC) when I heard a commotion and yelling and when I looked out the door I saw 4 police officers holding a man with his hands cuffed behind his back and then they proceeded to thrown him down on the floor, face down and as if that was not enough then they bashed his face against the pavement.  

But it doesn't end there.  One of the police officers then proceeded to kick the male suspect on his back and looked up and glanced around as if to see if there was anyone watching and proceeded to deliver yet another blow to the suspect's back.  At that point I had already mentioned to fellow SBxFC worker, Lily Acunzo, what was happening and I walked out and began
taking pictures of the cops and the suspect with his bloody face.  That was when some of the cops directed their anger towards me.  As Lily who had the door open and was witnessing what was going on said, "I remember him (the police officer) coming up into your face (and a woman cop too) and they said and yelled at you "Do you have a problem? Do you have a problem? We will take away your phone! Get out of here!" "He came too close for it to be just a cop warning to stay away. It was a challenge, especially because he was taller than you and so close."

Said police officer literally charged towards me angrily and I have never felt so intimidated and afraid of a police officer - mind you I am always thanking police officers for putting their lives on the line for our safety and I also have family members who are officers of the law as well and have always had great respect and admiration for New York's "Finest" but as with all groups there is bound to be a bad apple or two and it is these who sully the name for the rest who truly do not get "high" on the power and adrenalin rush that they feel.

So what exactly prompted the cops to react the way that they did towards the suspect and myself?  The officer who charged angrily towards me was apparently attacked by the suspect who tried to grab the officer by the neck.  The officer also claimed that the suspect tried to take his gun.  I cannot verify this as fact because I did not see any of that but the officer did appear to be shaken up and I could see some marks on his neck. Now me being rational and always playing devil's advocate said to myself ok so the officer was apparently attacked but the other police officers were able to subdue the suspect, cuff him and from what I saw at that point he was no longer a threat.  The suspect did not thrash about or anything but now that I knew that part of the story now I saw why the cops proceeded to beat this man - vengeance.  There is no other word that I can use to justify the actions of the officers involved.

After the 7 of the 9 police vehicles on the scene left along with the 2 ambulances (7 regular patrol cars, 1 van and 1 truck) a woman walked out of the building crying hysterically, "What happened, what happened, where is my boyfriend, is he ok??"  I approached the woman and asked her what had exactly happened.  She said that she had called 911 because her boyfriend, who apparently suffers from a history of mental illness, had "gone crazy" on her and was threatening her with a knife.  She said he ran out of the apartment with the knife but it was unclear to her or myself if the suspect had threatened the officer with the knife or if he even had it when he left the building.  I personally did not hear a clang of a knife falling down or did I see a knife on the ground upon closer inspection of the scene.

The fact remains that given the circumstances of the suspect's alleged history of mental illness and that he allegedly attempted to grab a police officer by the neck and grab his gun, once he was handcuffed and subdued there was no need for violence and the vicious bashing of the suspect's face on the pavement by the officer as well as the other officer who proceeded to kick him on his back.  At one point when the officer sat the suspect down an officer whacked twice on the back of his head and pulled his hair.

I encourage each and every one of the readers here to visit Flex Your Rights and subscribe to their mailing list for access to their HIGHLY informative website about your rights - OUR RIGHTS when confronted by police officers.  George Brunner, a Facebook friend and associate who is currently attending George Washington University in DC as a Political Science Major provided this link to all on his wall on Facebook and his timing could not have been more perfect. 

Here is a little more information on Flex Your Rights courtesy of their website:

Flex Your Rights (FYR), a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, was launched in 2002. Our mission is to educate the public about how basic Bill of Rights protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. To accomplish this, we create and distribute the most compelling, comprehensive and trustworthy know-your-rights media available.
The founder, Steven Silverman, was previously a campus organizer for the campaign to repeal the Higher Education Act’s aid-elimination penalty. The law blocks financial aid to low-income students reporting drug convictions. As part of his work, Silverman prompted students to describe the details of the police stops and searches leading to their minor drug arrests.
A disturbing pattern emerged, and various legal and law enforcement experts confirmed his conclusion: The vast majority of people are mystified by the basic rules of search and seizure and due process of law. Consequentially, they're likely to be tricked or intimidated by police into waiving their constitutional rights, resulting in a greater likelihood of regrettable outcomes.
The sum of these outcomes flow into all major criminal justice problems -- including racial and class disparities in search, arrest, sentencing and incarceration rates.
After my encounter on Sunday, I am glad that this resource is available to me, my friends, family and loved ones so make sure to pass this information along to all your loved ones so that they too may be armed with our basic Bill of Rights and be educated on them. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Police Brutality in Melrose - Exlusive

Today I was a witness to an ugly incident between 5-6 of New York's Finest against one man who had already been cuffed and was on the ground.  Pictures and more to come as I write about this most disturbing incident.

(image courtesy of

Public Transportation to and From Melrose

For those who live in Melrose we are very lucky in that we have THE best public transportation network in the South Bronx and probably the entire Bronx...I mean...we're not called THE HUB for nothing! (pardon the double negative) Depending on where in Melrose you are you have 3 subway stations each covering a major intersection in and around the neighborhood and they are as follows:

3rd Avenue/149th Street - 2/5 express trains. (Southwest corner of the general Melrose Area)
149th Street/Grand Concourse - 2/4/5 express trains.  (Center of southern boundary of Melrose)
161st Street/River Avenue - 4/B/D trains (In Concourse Village but just a few blocks outside of our general boundary and serves our northern population quite well).

Melrose Metro North Station at East 162nd Street between Park and Courtlandt Avenues.

East 153rd Street Station and River Avenue (right now easily accessible to our neighbors to the west of Park Avenue since our old bridge at East 153rd Street was demolished in 1992. Current plans to rebuild the bridge seem to be in some sort of limbo with no one getting back to me for a more official timeline or if it is going to be built or not.)

Buses: A total of 11 MTA buses as well as 2 Express Buses serve the general Melrose area. The Bus lines are as follows: 1 (stops at Grand Concourse/149th Street as well as 161st street), 2, 4, 6, 13, 15, 17 (149th Street/St. Anns) 19, 21, 32, 41, 55 and BxM 4A and BxM 4B express buses at 161st Street/Grand Concourse.

So wherever you live in Melrose you are within close proximity to Metro North Railroad, Subway, Bus or Express Bus. That neighborhood in know...Williamsburg is stuck with that lousy L train...and J, M, and Z which is abysmal when it comes to service and where do they really take you? At least living in Melrose you can go down the East Side on the 4/5 trains or down the West Side on the 2/B/D trains and all leading to every single major Manhattan neighborhood (with the exception of anything above 155th Street).

Want to plan your morning and evening commutes? Check out MTA's great Trip Planner which can tell you when the next Train, Bus or Express bus is due. You can also access Trip Planner from your mobile phone or device at: or click go to MTA's Mobile Trip Planner webpage to have the link sent straight to your cell phone as a link. For Metro North schedules just go straight to the Metro North Schedule and Fare page where you can check out times as well as fares.

Happy Travels!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Photo of the Day - More Red Brick Roads

Here's another great example of our area in it's heyday when our streets were paved not with gold but red bricks in many areas.  it must have been such a beautiful site to be seen back then.  

Mill Pond Waterfront Park Update

The other day as I was making my treck over to the Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market, the new mall which houses, Home Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, BJ's (whew...any more stores that begin with a "B"??), Staples and Target just to name a few, I decided to check out the progress of our new waterfront park, Mill Pond Park.  

Mill Pond Park is the first waterfront park along The Bronx Harlem River waterfront in decades and once complete will be a much welcomed addition to our neighborhood in the South Bronx.  Finally we get a little slice of what Manhattanites take for granted (i.e. The Hudson River Park).  It is also a minor, minor fulfillment of the Yankees' promise to replace the parkland which it gobbled up for the construction of the new stadium. I say minor because for whatever reason this is moving along at a very glacial pace...come on Yanks...speed it up!

So what will the new park feature for us?  For starters, it will be a 10 acre park with 16 tennis courts, 12 of which will be open year-round as they have been designed to have a bubble enclosure.  A concessionaire will be chosen to install the bubble as well as operate the indoor tennis courts during the winter months.  They will also be given the option to operate a year round cafe as well as construct an outdoor ice skating rink for winter use.   

Below are some more pics of the park. I heard it was supposed to open sometime this year but we'll see.

The Historic Power House is currently being restored and will include a green roof, lockers, restrooms and a cafe.