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Who Wants a Jail?

By Alex Berg

The new jail is proposed for the parking lot of the Vernon C. Bain center, a jail on a barge.  By Alex Berg

The new jail is proposed for the parking lot of the Vernon C. Bain center, a jail on a barge. By Alex Berg

From the second Lisa Ortega discovered a proposal for a new jail in her Hunts Point neighborhood three years ago she has been fighting it. Now that Bloomberg has appointed a new corrections’ commissioner, she is eager to find out what’s next.

But information about the status of the proposal has become even more difficult to obtain since September.

“It’s not going away. It’s not going to disappear,” said Ortega. “Whenever there is no news that means that things are brewing behind closed doors.”

The new jail was proposed for Halleck Street in the parking lot of the Vernon C. Bain Center, an 800-bed men’s jail on a barge adjacent to the New Fulton Fish Market. It would have 1,200 beds and cost $650 million, said Jaime Stein, an Environmental Policy Analyst at Sustainable South Bronx.

“We’re the poorest congressional district,” Ortega, the head of Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities, said. “We’re lacking in so many things that it’s actually ridiculous to put in a jail.”

The proposal for the jail is currently undergoing an environmental review to assess the impact a new jail would have on the surrounding area. The assessment will result in a document for the Department of Corrections and will pre-empt a public hearing about the jail. However, the time frame for the environmental review, and subsequent hearing, is unknown, said Craig Chin, a spokesman for the Department of Buildings and Construction. The Department of Corrections could not be reached for comment.

This is worrisome for Ortega, who espouses the maxim “No jails here. Not nowhere,” and was once incarcerated herself. Her organization is part of Community in Unity, a coalition of organizations opposed to building the new jail, including the Bronx Defenders, Critical Resistance, Sustainable South Bronx and about 15 others. Since 2006, Community in Unity has resisted the construction of the jail through meetings and rallies, and continues to meet every month.

However, the coalition has been unable to meet with the new corrections commissioner, Dora Schriro, who replaced former commissioner Martin Horn in September. Though the coalition has met with Horn in the past, Schriro has refused to meet with them, Ortega said.

Today Ortega said she believes that the proposal, which was initially for a 2,000 bed-jail on privately owned land in Oak Point, is moving forward behind closed doors and that Schriro may be meeting with Bronx politicians.

“I think this is bullshit. The community doesn’t know,” she said.

In the past, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Hunts Point councilwoman, and Jose Serrano, 16th District Representative, have vehemently opposed a jail in Hunts Point, which is also home to the Bridges Juvenile Center. A spokesperson from Senator Jose Serrano’s office said she had not heard about the jail proposal. Last summer reported Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. opposed the jail when he was an assemblyman. Now borough president, he could not be reached for comment.

Stein said she was concerned a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, a process that publicizes plans for the city’s land, would be approved over the holidays. The procedure calls for public hearings and many advocacy organizations would not have a presence due to the holidays.

“They know that we’re keeping our ear to the ground. You sort of hear that they try to do these things,” Stein said.

Community in Unity opposes placing the jail in Hunts Point because it will not effectively confront the cause of crime and perpetuates a cycle of incarceration. The money could be better spent on other needs in the South Bronx, like childcare centers, housing and job training programs, Ortega said.

“Our ideology is just this: we don’t really believe that jails are productive,” Ortega said. “The Bronx is heavy in people who are recovering. Jail just doesn’t cut it. I’m a recovering addict, 19 years sober. The system didn’t do anything.”

The proposed site in the jail barge’s parking lot was originally swampland, which may not be suitable for a building. The lot is currently blocked in with fences and barbed wire, in the shadow of the impending light-blue barge and surrounded by empty lots, auto shops and industrial plants.

There is already two detention facilities in Hunts Point. By Alex Berg

There is already two detention facilities in Hunts Point. By Alex Berg

“We need a better use for the land and there are so many good uses you could put waterfront property to,” John Robert, Community Board 2 district manager, said.

Those in favor of the jail have said it will generate jobs and think that the Bronx should provide a jail for its own inmates who account for 22 percent of Rikers inmates while the population of the Bronx accounts for only 15 percent of New York City, Robert said.

The proposal, which has evolved over the last three years, was initially part of a plan conceived by Horn to construct jails in every borough to shorten the commute to jail for families and lawyers, and for inmates going to and from borough courts. The new jail would also replace some units at Rikers Island, the city’s main jail with less than favorable conditions.

Community in Unity first learned about the initial Oak Point proposal in 2006. Over the next two years, the coalition staged protests, rallies and meetings to fight the proposal and in 2008 the original proposal was withdrawn.

In a 2008 statement to the New York City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, Horn said that a new proposal was downsized at the behest of Bronx elected officials and community members. In the statement, he said that Corrections would additionally consider removing the jail barge altogether.

Ortega said she is concerned Community in Unity will not be able to repeat this success because the new land is city property.

Instead of building new facilities altogether, some organizations believe Rikers should be rehabbed and transportation to get to and around the island should be boosted, said Maggie Williams, who worked at the Bronx Defenders Voter Enfranchisement program.

“Instead you would invest into busses that would go from the boroughs to Rikers. Busses on Rikers do not come frequently,” Williams said. “The conditions on Rikers are abysmal. We need new structures.”

Still for Ortega, jails don’t solve anything.

“We’re saying ‘look there’s a lot of things we want,’” she said. “Give us due process and we can have a community meeting to figure it out.”

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Politics0 Comments

Church of the Holy Rollers

By Alex Berg

One by one, seven teenage boys zipped down the hallway on skateboards. Like successive bullets fired out of a shotgun, the teens hit a waist high ramp that launched them into a tango with the air and the board beneath their feet. Fifteen year-old Jose Castillo flew off the triangular ramp, air bound for mere seconds before his feet and board separated, bringing him crashing to the ground under a nearby basketball hoop.

The hoop was tagged with yellow, orange and red graffiti — “Jesus Lives.” The skate ramp was inside a South Bronx church.

Castillo is a member of HeavenBound7, a skateboarding team started by Henry Pena, a 51-year-old computer technician by day and volunteer youth minister by night at La Segunda Iglesia Cristiana Church. Pena is something of a coach to the 30 to 40 teens on the team who come to the Morrisania church on Friday nights to skate on ramps and grind rails he built himself.

During some practices, Pena instructs Castillo to bend his knees or fix his form. Other times he is a quiet onlooker. But his mission is always clear: give kids a constructive activity in an unexpected location to get them off the streets in a neighborhood taxed by drugs and crime.

When the skaters tell outsiders they skateboard inside a church, they’re often met with crooked stares. The fusion of religion and skateboarding strikes people as novel, since religion is associated with discipline and skateboarding is an unconventional sport. Then again, skateboarding is simply a rarity in the Bronx, where there are only three skate parks – Mullaly near Yankee Stadium, one on Allerton Avenue towards the northeast and Throgs Neck in the far northeast – and none in the Central or South Bronx.

“The Bronx is gritty,” said Damion Blair, a 20-year-old student at the Art Institute of New York, who was one of the first to skate in the church with a congregation of 50. “It’s real hard to raise any kids with the violence. It’s not a good environment. You never hear skaters come to the Bronx to skate. Never. You hear skaters go to Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Because there’s no safe environment for people to skate.”

The church HeavenBound7 calls home, an unexceptional tan building with traditional red doors and a well-lit sign, is located in a neighborhood where more than 40 percent of families lived in poverty in 2007. It is on 169th Street two blocks away from where a 15-year-old girl was shot in the head by a 16-year-old boy when she was caught in gang cross fire walking home from school in November. She remarkably survived.

HeavenBound7 is the first of its kind in the Bronx, though skateboarding ministries are emerging around the country as a way to draw kids to church, said Steve Rodriguez, a representative of 5boro, a New York skate gear manufacturer and skate team sponsor.

“It’s funny to me because it’s like complete irony,” said Mathew Melendez, a 19-year-old City Tech student who was also one of the first to join HeavenBound7. “Skateboarding is all like rebels climbing over fences looking for good spots. And then church people are like good fellow people. Put that all together it’s like, what, a skateboarding team by a church? Whoa.”

At the end of practice, Pena, who counts woodworking as a hobby, used a drill to remove a railing attached to the floor. The team helped with the effort, moving the wood ramps and platforms to the corners of the recreation room. When everything was cleaned up, they congregated around Pena outside before he drove a few of them home. They can’t walk home around 9 p.m. because the streets are “hot,” in Pena’s words.

“I just feel there’s a need for people to be a little bit more sympathetic about kids,” Pena said, as his normally warm voice became raspy and choked up. “Because there’s so many people out there who are willing to say ‘Hey, want to sell some drugs? Want to go beat up this kid? Or go steal this? I want to give them a safe haven to get away from that.”

The team opens its doors to kids who often come from “disadvantaged homes, very sad situations,” said Chanabelle Arriaga, a member of the church and the president of the HeavenBound7 board that advises and supports the team. “I just wish there were more people who cared who would take an interest in the underprivileged and not turn their cheek.”

Pena, who has four daughters of his own, definitely does not turn a cheek; he literally invites kids off the streets into the church to add to the cacophonous clattering and clanking that echoes throughout the building thanks to the skating.

“We don’t have a lot of resources,” said Melanie Figueroa, the mother of Shane Rivera, one of the skaters. “They needed a male role model. They started out with one little trick and they gained so much knowledge.”

Shane Rivera has also acknowledged the benefits of the team, which spurned a personal commitment to school and self-improvement. It has provided Rivera with a religious outlet, though he normally attends a Catholic church closer to his home.

“It’s kind of a weird skate spot,” said Rivera, a muscular fifteen-year-old clad in a trendy skating t-shirt. “I think we’re the only team that does this; we’ll say a prayer before we skate.”

Nevertheless, none of the teens have skateboards that say “I follow Jesus Christ Skateboarder” on the underside of the deck, the wooden board, or t-shirts with “Jesus is my homeboy” across the chest. (And there is most definitely no “Jesus died so you could skate” merchandise.)

A skater goes off the up-ramp at La Segunda Igelesia Cristiana Church in Morrisania. By Alex Berg

A skater "soars high" at La Segunda Igelesia Cristiana Church in Morrisania. By Alex Berg

Religious participation is not mandatory. There is an occasional Bible lesson or prayer, though Pena usually teaches about “soaring high” in other areas of life, like education, personal hygiene and getting a good job.

The results of Pena’s efforts are palpable. The team, which runs on a $500 stipend from the church and is mostly paid for out of Pena’s pocket, will be giving $2,000 towards two college scholarships in the spring, one for a HeavenBound7 skater and the other for a local high school student from fundraising and money donated by church outsiders and companies like Plaza Construction, where board president Arriaga works.

Some of the costs are due to Pena’s inclination to give out skateboards on the street, as he did before he started the team. After taking a class at the church that encouraged participants to delve into a hobby, Pena tried to construct a skateboard using his woodworking knowhow. He couldn’t build a functional skateboard, but his interest grew and he opened a skate shop with a friend, then one on his own in Mott Haven last year. He left both behind because they were too expensive and too much work to maintain.

Without the stores to worry about, the bills still add up. The team travels to New Jersey and Connecticut to go to skate parks and amateur competitions, where a few of the skaters have placed. Pena spent roughly $3,000 of his own money on raw materials to build the ramps and equipment for the team this year. The church should also purchase special insurance in the event of an injury that would cost $150 per month on top of its current insurance, but cannot afford it.

Fortunately, the skaters mostly throw 360 flips and ollies instead of, say, a “Christ air,” a trick where a skater lets go of their board entirely as he or she is launched off a ramp and holds his or her arms out to look like the image of crucified Christ.

“They want to complete a trick. So I think what’s appealing about it is a sense of accomplishment,” Pena, who became the youth minister nine years ago, said. “Then they transfer that sense of accomplishment to school. That’s one of my regulations. You do good in school you can come here and skate. You don’t do good in school, I’m sorry.”

Since Jose Castillo began participating in the team, he has improved in school because Pena asks to see report cards and he has begun helping neighborhood kids with their skating.

“I used to be the type of kid who used to be in the streets. And like, do nothing else,” said Castillo, who has lose, lanky limbs that matched his relaxed manner. “But after I got involved in skateboarding, met Henry and came over here, it’s like everything just changed. Became a new kid, actually.”

Jose Castillo waits for his turn to take on the grind rail.  By Alex Berg

Jose Castillo waits for his turn to take on the grind rail. By Alex Berg

For Castillo, skating has become an all-consuming way of life. He has to make a concerted effort to skate less. During one practice, he cut his foot from a fall. Pena bandaged it up in a bathroom the teens skate out of to propel themselves down a hallway and into the recreation room because they have limited space.

The skaters occasionally skate outside to escape the tight space, a relief from crashing into a wall at the end of the up-ramp. That has allowed some of the participants to go places they normally would not go.

“It opens up your mind to different things. It doesn’t make you secluded. You meet a lot of new people that you never thought you’d meet or talk to. If we never had a skateboard we’d never know half of the places in Manhattan,” Blair, who calls Pena a “second pops,” said.

While the skaters have found a venue for athleticism and personal growth in the team, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Many of the parishioners have voiced their differences with skating in the church, said William Garcia, the president of the church board and Pena’s brother in law.

Skateboarding leaves black marks on the church’s floors, which angers parishioners who want to preserve the condition of the recreation room. There have been scheduling conflicts to use the space and the skating is very loud. (The parishioners who are most vocal against the skateboarding did not return any calls or emails.)

Not to mention, since the days Pena was a teenager himself at the church after he was invited in by a youth minister, different administrations have been more or less welcoming of youth activities. Some have felt it is a nuisance and the church is not a place for teenagers while others have been open to youth activities.

“I feel like he’s the one actually bringing the kids in that church,” Nicole Ortiz, Pena’s 24-year-old daughter, said. “He’s the only one making an effort to reach out into the community. The church is being very rigid and conventional. They don’t want to try new things.”

The skaters are cognizant of the disagreements over the space. Melendez and Blair both said they understood why the congregation would want to preserve the space, since it is used for other activities.

Positive feedback from parents has temporarily assuaged the churchgoers’ gripes. However, there is no answer for the growing team’s need for a larger space. Pena’s next mission is to campaign for a skate park in the Central or South Bronx.

The skaters want one too. Yet Castillo is concerned that if there’s a skate park nearby, the skaters will have to deal with threats other than their safety. He frets that once other kids start skateboarding, they’ll fall in love with the sport and take each other’s boards.

“Around here you got all these projects and stuff,” Castillo said. “You put a skate park in the projects, some kid could come out of nowhere and say ‘hey, give me your skateboard.’ And then they’re going to get so addicted to it they’re going to come every day and take every single kid that comes to the park they’re skateboard.”

Still, more holy rollers would be welcomed, maybe even praised.

Posted in Bronx Life, Bronx Neighborhoods3 Comments

An Election, Or Something Like It

By Alex Berg

On mayoral election day, polling stations in the South Bronx bared little resemblance to one year ago, when feverish crowds turned out to vote in the presidential election.

That was then, when upwards of 2.6 million New Yorkers voted in the presidential election. On November 4th of this year, the New York Times reported only 1.1 million New Yorkers came out to vote, according to the city’s Board of Elections.

I conducted exit polls at about six polling stations, along with other reporters who were stationed all over the Bronx.

The Mott Haven Community Center, at 3rd Ave. and 143rd St., had the most consistent stream of voters. Still, voters were scarce enough that poll workers were able to escort them, one by one, from the street into the center. That was while other poll workers smoked cigarettes and relaxed outside.

According to one poll worker, two of the three voting machines were broken anyway. Even so, there were no lines, no complaints.

During the chilly hour I spent standing outside the center starting around 7:45 a.m., few more than eight people showed up to cast their votes.

“I believe in the process and I want my vote to count,” said Roxanne R., a 40-something year old nurse who refused to give her last name. Roxanne was one of the few and the proud who voted at the community center, in part because she felt it was her duty as a member of the community.

Her attitude was not common.

Five blocks south of the community center at the Judge Gilbert Ramirez Apartments, there was one voter over the span of 40 minutes. She declined to speak with me.

This scene repeated itself at four other polling stations, where there were either very few voters or none at all. By noon, I spoke with 11 voters in total. Eight voted for former Comptroller Bill Thompson, two voted for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and one refused to identify who she voted for.’s Bronx-wide exit polls reported Bronxites voted for Bill Thompson 2-1, most of them motivated against the mayor’s bid to overturn term limits.

“We have to get Bloomberg out of office,” said Natasha Spivey, a 40-year-old administrative assistant who voted at P.S. 154 on 135th St. “He bought his term limit.”

But perhaps the underwhelming voter turnout parallels the candidates’ absence in the Bronx.

As I walked along 3rd Avenue from 149th St. to 135th St. and up various cross streets, I saw only two campaign posters. They were signs for Thompson. One was crushed in the street outside the Mott Haven Houses, a housing project.

Teresa Hargraves, a 60-year-old who voted at P.S. 154, said she though both candidates neglected the Bronx during the campaign.

Hargraves was right. On election night, reporter Maia Efrem asked the Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. if Thompson came to the Bronx during the campaign. Diaz said he did. Once.

When I called Thompson’s press contact to verify how frequently he campaigned in the Bronx, I was told at the time there was no one in the office that knew (Mayor Bloomberg’s Bronx office did not return my call or email).

At the end of the day, Mayor Bloomberg beat out Thompson by less than five percent. It’s difficult not to consider how the election might have been different if more people voted. Or if the candidates had treated the Bronx like the rest of New York City.

Posted in Bronx Blog, Politics0 Comments

1269-1271 Morris Ave

By Alex Berg and Alex Abu Ata

Two weeks after Carmen Perez moved into her apartment at 1271 Morris Ave. in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, the bathroom ceiling collapsed. Water gushed into the apartment she shares with her seven children. That was last November, the beginning of an entire winter Perez endured without heat or hot water.

The ceiling was finally repaired only three months ago, 10 months later.

Perez’s problems are common to the tenants at 1271 and its sister building next door at 1269 Morris Ave. Many tenants live in rodent-infested apartments with sinking floors, cracked walls and tiling, leaks and broken windows. Last winter, Fidelina Espinal said she had no heat for four weeks in her apartment in 1271.

The management company has not been responsive to these problems.

“By the time you wait for these people you die,” said Linda Gonzales, who lives on the first floor of 1269.

Ocelot purchased the buildings for $1.95 million in 2007 from FJF Management, according to the city register. After the real estate investment company ran out of money in July, the building went into receivership. It is currently being maintained by receiver Marc Landis through Treetop Management, a company based in New Jersey. Treetop has been making some repairs to the building to prepare it for sale, according to the superintendent Juan Ruiz, who has lived in 1269 for three years.

There are currently 301 violations for 1269 and 237 for 1271, according to the department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Different management companies and building superintendents have come and gone in the last couple of years. Many of the tenants, however, attribute much of the buildings’ disrepair to Ocelot.

“The previous owners? There were a lot of problems,” said Ivan Jimenez, who has lived in a fourth floor apartment in 1271 for 30 years. “The super can’t do anything unless the landlord gives him the money to do so. But if the landlord doesn’t give him the money and the supplies, he can’t do anything.”

Of the 15 apartments in each building, seven are vacant in 1269 and two are vacant in 1271. There are no locks on the front doors of either building. Peeling paint, trash, condoms, mold and dirt line the hallways on many of the floors. Official complaints in both buildings range from mold to lead, and in 2007, 1271 was named one of the 200 most poorly maintained buildings by HPD.

“At one point rats came out of the ceiling,” Jimenez said. “Six rats fell into the tub.”

Some tenants pay low subsidized rent, around $400, or no rent at all like Perez, whose $1,100 rent is entirely subsidized. Many of the tenants owe tens of thousands of dollars in back rent.

Last week, the tenants’ concerns were briefly appeased when the heat came on. But some, like Carmen Perez, are unsure whether they’ll continue to live in the building after their lease runs out.

Posted in Housing0 Comments

1663 Eastburn Ave.

By Alex Abu Ata and Alex Berg

Vivian Blanco chokes back tears when she remembers the last winter she spent at her 1663 Eastburn Avenue apartment in the East Tremont section of the Bronx.

“To sleep we had to wear socks and scarves and coats,” said Blanco, who lives in one of the 43 apartments in the six-story building. None of the apartments had heat last winter. “It was so uncomfortable to sleep with all those clothes and blankets on top of you because it’s heavy, you can’t even move.”

Most of the apartments suffer a variety of damage, including mold, broken window frames, cracked walls and ceilings, and occasional rodent infestations. The tenants say the building’s decay accelerated after OCG IV – a company linked to Ocelot – bought it for $3.175 million in February of 2007. Ocelot abandoned its holdings less than two years later.

From the tenants’ perspective, Ocelot’s disappearance was a relief.

“We didn’t have any service,” said Blanco, a 55-year-old hospital unit assistant whose grandchildren cannot visit her because of her apartment’s condition. “At least now I can call someone and they’ll pick up the phone.” Blanco said she got the contact information for city workers who were fixing the building and hired them to fix her apartment. But problems keep popping up in the old building. In the last 12 months alone, 295 violations were reported.

Tenants have often had to do the repairs themselves, at their own expense. When the management refused to repair the living room ceiling in Blanco’s apartment, she hired workers and purchased the material herself. The total cost amounted to $2,000 and Blanco had to take a week off work to supervise the repairs.

But maintenance isn’t the only problem. Hector Melo Ramos, a third-floor resident, said in Spanish that his apartment was robbed and there are drug dealers in the building.

Posted in Housing0 Comments

Samaná’s Destiny

by Alex Berg

It is easy to see why “Conde Nast Traveler ” magazine named the Samaná peninsula in the Dominican Republic one of the top destinations in the world eight years ago. One photograph at the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture exhibit featuring this unique landscape with its even more unique cultural heritage shows lush palms snaking along the pockets of sand lining the bright blue ocean water of Rincon Beach.

Another photograph in the Bronx center hints at the tension that underlies this would-be private paradise: Row after row of empty white beach chairs line the shore, reminders that foreign corporations have abandoned plans for development when the global recession hit. The news of stalled development for many locals was greeted with a mix of worry and relief.

Founded by former slaves from Philadelphia in the 1820s, Samaná has a rich legacy that many of its descendants in the Bronx and elsewhere are bent on preserving, said Wallace Edgecombe, director of the Hostos center.

“The locals are not trying to escape development,” Edgecombe said. “They just want it done right without displacing people and impoverishing people.”

The photos in the exhibit that is expected to run through Nov. 7 were taken by about 15 students and six professional photographers, faculty and staff who studied in Samaná last August and July. Students studied the eclectic aspects of this Afro-Dominican culture in Samaná, where English is the spoken language. The cuisine of choice includes American Southern food like Johnny cakes, for example. And the people are mostly practicing Methodists, Edgecombe said.

The area recently became coveted real estate after a road was constructed to the capital Santo Domingo, which cut the commute from eight hours to two, according to Carlos Sanabria, director of the Hostos Community College humanities department.

Edgecombe described one photo of a resort’s pastel façade – a block-long row of differently shaped attached houses with yellow, lavender, green and red paneling. It looked more like a Disney World imitation of a tropical bungalow than an authentic dwelling “an insult” said Edgecombe.

But most of the exhibit is dedicated to the rich cultural scenes of Los Afro-Americanos, as the locals are called.

“The idea of the photo exhibit is to inform people about these traditions so that they can have more of a sense of Afro-Dominican culture,” said Carlos Sanabria. In fact, the exhibit is part of Quijombo, a biennial festival celebration Afro-Dominican culture.

In one photo taken after a Methodist church service, adults and children join hands in a large circle on a field in front of the red and white paneled church. The women’s dresses, which are mostly blue, flow in and out the as their arms swing back and forth. The sun shines through trees creating shadows in the middle of the circle.

The circle is a variation of ring around the rosy, part of a series of games played after church services by the original Methodists who came to Samaná, according to Ryan Mann-Hamilton, a graduate student writing his dissertation about the area.

For Mann-Hamilton, the study abroad trip to Samaná resonated on a personal level. Mann-Hamilton is a descendant of Afro-Americanos and did not know anything about their history as former slaves until recently.

“My family was one of the families that migrated there in the 1800s,” Mann-Hamilton said. “I didn’t really understand what that migration entailed and how my family got to the Dominican Republic.”

Mann-Hamilton was surprised by the friendly reaction the locals had to the cameras and remembered one particularly poignant shot.

“There’s one of a young fellow, a child, really bulky, kind of strong,” he said. “I was just driving down the road with two other students and we stopped and he sort of came over to us.”

“We took a picture of him. He asked us to bring back the photo and bring back a bike. This is just the middle of nowhere. He just wanted something basic for himself.”

Posted in Bronx Life, Bronx Neighborhoods0 Comments