Author Archives | ace2122

Toddler falls four stories, survives

A two-year old boy fell from an apartment window on Grand Ave yesterday and survived, reports the NY Post. The boy was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital and then to Columbia-Presbyterian, he is in stable condition. (NY Post)

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Another Zoo Inmate Escapes

A female peacock escaped from the Bronx Zoo sometime yesterday and was found nearby, reports the NY Post. The bird was outside overnight and was recaptured today. (NY Post)

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Yankee vendors sue employer

Three food vendors at Yankee Stadium filed suit yesterday against the Bronx Bombers' food service company, Legends, claiming they did not receive their tips, according to the NY Post. A Legends spokeswoman denies any wrongdoing. The Yankees' former vending company, Centerplate, is also a defendant in the case. (NY Post)

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Bronx Week Events

The 40th Annual Bronx Week kicks off Thursday with a celebration of the borough's oldest residents at the Villa Barone Manor, 737 Throggs Neck Expressway. The event goes from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. and admission is $30. You can get a complete schedule of  events at the Bronx Tourism Council.

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DIGITAL BRONX: Whither Bronx Bombers, bloggers will follow

By Alex Eriksen It isn’t only the Yankees that are out of spring training. Baseball bloggers have taken the virtual field and nowhere in greater numbers than to cover the New York Yankees. "The Yankees are the most watched and reported team in baseball,” says Lenny Neslin, the one-man operation behind Lennysyankees.com. Neslin, a sophomore at Quinnipac University writes, edits, and manages the site all from a laptop in his dorm room. The website pays for itself with the help of advertisers, more than covering the $10 a-year fee for the hosting. In an era before computers, Neslin, like many others, would likely be just another die-hard fan. Thanks to the birth of the blogosphere, anyone with a computer and something to say has the power to broadcast it to the world. Neslin, raised a Yankee fan deep in Rex Sox’s territory of New Hampshire, began writing in January of 2009 and hasn’t let up since. He tries to average two to three posts a day. “The more posts you have, the more hits you’ll get,” says Neslin. Neslin is just one fish in a much larger ocean when it comes to the Yankees. Blogs such as River Ave Blues, It’s All About the Money Stupid, Pinstripe Alley, are just a few that appear in the search bar when you type in “Yankees blog.” This makes competition fierce, far out shadowing smaller MLB teams and the blogs devoted to them. “The key is to prove to every fan you have a voice in the Yankees blogosphere,” says Neslin. And there are many. Everyone from Neslin to the YES network is writing about the Yankees every day. The atmosphere is part barroom banter, part sports reportage; it’s a collage of comments and criticism with a healthy dose of statistics. Discussion forums attract fans to an atmosphere typically reserved for either the sports bar or the playoff season tailgate. Hot topics run the gamut from CC Sabathia’s weight loss this season (30 pounds) to AJ Burnett’s slowing fastball. For the more hardcore Yanks fan there’s in-depth analysis of statistics, politics, and strategy, along with discussion on the ever-incendiary rivalry between the Yanks and Red Sox. It’s a sea of unique voices but one thing remains constant, an undying love for the Yankees. “I live and die with each pitch,” says Andrew Corselli on his site, yanksgoyard.com, “so feel free to come by and rub salt in my wounds if the Yanks are losing or enjoy the spoils of victory if they’re winning.” The amount of traffic to these fansites and blogs is enough to bring big advertisers calling. It’s not unusual to see banner ads or sponsorship spots from major names and brands, everything from Lexus cars to American Express. Neslin for instance nets 100 to 200 visitors a day, regardless of the time of year or team’s position in the season. The discussion of everything Yankees is one with perpetual motion. No longer is sports writing the strict domain of the professional reporter, not when there’s an army of fans out there. There is little doubt that bloggers are carving out a permanent seat at the sportswriter’s table. “It’s the writers versus the bloggers,” says Neslin. As more and more fans become bloggers, the differences becomes less apparent. Unlike their professional colleagues, bloggers are unconfined by word limits, deadlines, or the traditional trappings of sports writing. This allows some room for working outside the frame of convention. Detailed statistics of players or teams were never the typical fare for the sports page. Anyone who knew them before the dawn of the Internet was likely someone with an unnaturally good memory and a borderline fanatical devotion to the sport. But today you can brush up on the batting averages, hits, strikeouts, runs, errors and outs from any game or player ever. Just go to www.baseball-reference.com and it’s all at your fingertips. Say you wanted to know what year Babe Ruth hit his most homeruns, type in his name and seconds later you have it (the answer is 59, in 1921, his second season with the Yankees after leaving the Boston Red Sox). The site was a start-up begun by Sean Forman, who left his job as an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science to work on the site full time. He later formed Sports Reference LLC, marrying other sports stats websites under the same banner. Today, their baseball stat site alone gets hundreds of thousands of hits per day and millions per year. “I like to think our sites are the first place people look when they want stats, if you’re going to debate, there’s no excuse for not knowing the numbers now,” says Forman, “we’ve saved a lot of people a lot of time.” Forman began the site part time, a labor of love for a long time baseball fan. “I didn’t expect it to be a full time job,” he says. But as it demanded more and more of his time, it became a career. But, without the Internet, he might very well be in the classroom today. “Blogging has definitely leveled the playing field,” says Forman, who perhaps better than anyone understands the power of a good website. “Good writing will always shine through,” he says. Statistics are traditionally an important tool in the sportswriter’s toolbox, but typically they serve more as a nail than a hammer. The staff at YankeeAnalysts.com of course, disagrees. Their take on the Yanks is steeped in numbers, a purist approach one would be hard pressed to find in any newspaper. Now that the season is underway, they’ll have fresh material for posts. “While the offseason enabled us to have a lot of fun with analysis and speculation, we’re ready to start having actual baseball to write about,” Larry Koestler, co-founder of YankeeAnalysts, wrote in an email. The Yankees are now second in the American League East behind Baltimore with five wins and four losses. Tomorrow they play the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. The “Yankosphere” as Koestler calls it, is already abuzz with speculation of how they’ll perform this season and if another World Series title is in the cards. To be sure, bloggers and reporters alike will have plenty to write about. Click here for more stories on the digital Bronx.

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Bronx gun bust shocks neighborhood

3081 Villa Avenue, in Bedford Park, where police uncovered a sizable weapon cache. Photo by Alex Eriksen By Alex Eriksen The news earlier this week that federal agents discovered a sizeable arsenal of guns in a Bronx apartment surprised and alarmed neighbors in a community that includes a day care center. “I’m in shock, I had no idea,” said Jenny Nunez, 21. Nunez works at Adi’s Group Family Day Care, directly across the street from the raided apartment on Villa Ave in Norwood. “It’s usually pretty quiet.” Just behind her building is the St. Phillip Neri School and church. Police and Federal Agents raided an apartment at 3081 Villa Ave in Bedford Park on Thursday expecting to find drugs. They found some small amounts of cocaine and marijuana, some scales and various paraphernalia, but the big discovery was waiting for police in the bedroom, packed in four suitcases. Inside, an arsenal of weapons: five assault rifles, several handguns, m80 explosives with blasting caps, and a trove of ammunition. Police recovered a bulletproof vest and a pair of night vision goggles as well. Police arrested the tenant, Victor Miri, 29, along with his older brother, Tonin Miri, 30. The two men have been charged with drug and weapon possession. Nunez’s mother, Abia, 44, has run the day care next door for nine years. “It used to be a good neighborhood, right now I’m not sure,” said Nunez. The neighborhood sits east of the Grand Concourse, near Lehman College. You can see it from the No. 4 train at the Bedford Park stop, the Roman-gothic buildings, the baseball field. Villa Ave is just a block from the station, surrounded by small businesses: a nail salon, a diner, two different bakeries with the same owner. On the corner of Villa Avenue, at Madden’s Pub, other neighbors were talking about the bust. Diana Ortiz, 52, the bartender, passed around a clipping from the New York Post. “It’s a scary thing,” Ortiz said. Overall though, she said, the area is relatively safe. “During the summer it was kind of rough, people in a new building were causing trouble, but that’s quieted down,” says Ortiz. Donald Anderson, 77, sat at the end of the bar. He said he has lived in the Bronx his entire life and he remembers a very different neighborhood. He was seven when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and he recalled collecting metal in the neighborhood for the war effort. “A different world,’’ he said. Across the street at Mi Casa Bakery and coffee shop, Michael Velasquez, 21, works behind the counter. “It can be pretty ugly,” admits Velasquez, “we’ve been robbed, there are shootings sometimes, but mostly it’s quiet.” Michael Mandell, 78, a longtime resident sat at another table. “You don’t really know what’s going on,” Mandell said, “until it happens.”

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Former Featured0 Comments

If a restaurant didn’t make the grade, would you eat there?

If a restaurant didn’t make the grade, would you eat there?

By Alex Eriksen, Olivia Damavandi, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, and Sana Gulzar When you were a kid, did you ever try to hide a bad grade in school from your parents? Get caught? It’s likely then you can relate to some restaurant owners in the Bronx. It’s restaurant week throughout New York City, - a week that oddly lasts a whole month - and the rating system cooked up by State Senator Jeff Klein and implemented by the city’s health department is making its debut to many patrons. These evaluations have been going on in Manhattan for some time and only recently are health inspectors tackling the Bronx.

Click to read some testimonials from around the Bronx

Restaurants will get an A, B, or C, based on how many violations of the health code appear on an unannounced inspection. State Law requires them to display their grade in the window or face penalties. Klein has been trying to get restaurants to clean up their act for the last decade. In 2009 he released a study titled “Restaurants That Are Enough to Make You Sick: An Analysis of Unsanitary Conditions At New York City Restaurants”. In 26 pages, Klein makes the case for a new rating system, one that would jolt both the city and its restaurateurs into action. California rates their eateries with a similar scale, and Klein thought it would be the perfect way to shape up the noncompliant. Seven months ago, Klein brought his plan to the state senate. It passed. The city plans to have all restaurants rated in over a year. There are some eateries not up for grades however. Food stands, temporary food service, hospital-operated cafeterias, correctional facilities, soup kitchens, or school lunchrooms will not be rated. Mayor Michael Bloomberg supports the new rating system.The Bronx Ink set out to find out what Bronxites think of the new system. Click on the photo to see what we found. To find out the health inspection results of restaurants in your area, check out this site at the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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In the shadow of stadium, a Yemen-born Yankee vendor waits out winter

Abdulla Abdulla tends to the Yankee Shop on 162nd St and River Ave.

By Alex Eriksen Most of 161st and River Ave. is hibernating. The streets are deserted and the shops are all shuttered. Well, almost all of them. On the corner of 162nd St. beneath huge portraits of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and CC Sabathia, the lights are on in the Yankee Shop. It’s the only link in a chain of stores on River Avenue to defy winter and remain open. Abdulla Abdulla, a twenty-one year college sophomore, is behind the counter. “We thought we’d have a lot of customers like last season, it’s not like last season,” he says. With the season not set to begin until March, and an average of only six customers a day, Abdulla says his father, who runs the store, is tempted to close until the Bronx Bombers return, and with them, the legions of fans and tourists. Winter hats and jackets have been a popular seller since December, less so the beach towels and pool toys. Unless there’s stock to move or displays to rearrange, Abdulla is on his own most of the time. To pass the hours, he dusts the glass cases, shovels the sidewalk if necessary, or reads from his sociology textbook. Sometimes he practices his signature in English, writing it over and over on the back page of an old newspaper. “Sometimes my friends come and visit,” says Abdulla. To anyone else it might seem boring, tending to an empty shop, but Abdulla much prefers it to life in the Yemeni village where he grew up. Near the City of Aden on Yemen’s southern coast is the village of Al Klaya. Electricity is a new luxury and running water something of a distant dream, Abdulla says. “Ever see the old movies where they dig water out of the ground? It’s like that,” says Abdulla. He says on his last visit things had improved, they’d dug a small canal to move more water. He first moved to Yonkers five years ago with his father and two brothers, leaving three more behind in Yemen with their mother. Abdulla, his father and brothers, now all U.S. citizens, hope to bring the rest of the family to America. One of the more peculiar aspects of American life for Abdulla was that the national sport was not soccer. In Yemen, the closest thing to baseball is cricket, and that sport isn’t even very prolific. Once he began working at the Yankee Shop, Abdulla became enthralled with America’s pastime. When the old stadium was still standing, he’d get someone to take his place at the shop so he could go and watch the game. “I like the rules to how they play, it’s very interesting to me,” he says. He goes on average twice a month when the Yankees are in season. Robinson Cano used to come in and talk to his father, Abdulla says, but hasn’t in a while. Abdulla’s favorite player is Nick Swisher, who is a notch above Jeter in Abdulla’s book. He likes Swisher because he can smile while he’s playing; Jeter can be a bit stone-face, Abdulla says. “I’d love to meet both of them,” he says. While he’s taking classes at Bronx Community College, Abdulla dreams of attending medical school. He wants to volunteer at a hospital before applying. Back in Yemen, he says, many of the parents in Al Klaya keep their kids home to help with farm work. “I wanted to be a doctor since I was born,” says Abdulla. Across the street, Yankee stadium is asleep on a bed of dirty snow. A passerby comes into the Yankee Shop and asks for directions to the post office. It’s the first time in an hour anyone has so much as stopped in front of the store. “By April, the people will be back,” says Abdulla.

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