Author Archives | jkg2125

New Park Opens in Hunts Point

The Hunts Point Landing, a new park in the Hunts Point Peninsula opened today, reports NY1.

The new park offers kayaking, fishing and 1.5 acres of open space on the waterfront.

The park is part of The South Bronx Greenway, a plan that aims to improve waterfront access and provide recreational opportunities to the community.

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Newswire0 Comments

Former Police Commissioner To Testify In Bronx Trial

Former New York police commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, currently imprisoned at a Maryland federal prison, will be brought to testify in Bronx prosecution, reports The New York Times.

Kerik will testify in a perjury trial that dates back to 2006 when the DiTommaso brothers told the grand jury that one of their companies, Interstate Industrial Corporation, did not pay for renovations to Kerik’s Bronx apartment.

The former commissioner contradicted the DiTommaso’s testimony when he admitted to receiving $165,000 of free renovations.


Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Newswire0 Comments

Goodbye to St. Augustine’s

Up in the attic of St. Augustine’s Church in Morrisania, Danny Torres, 46, looked through papers and files scattered across the floor. Torres, a fine arts teacher at Cardinal Hayes High School and Morrisania native, now lives in Queens, but often visits his mother who still resides a few blocks away in the house were he grew up. “This was the mother church of the South Bronx and this here is history going out the window,” he said, as he picked up a torn marriage certificate from the floor. Among papers that will soon be garbage, Torres rescued the original blueprints of the church, which he plans to frame.

The century-old church is a landmark on Franklin Avenue. The façade of the building is beautiful and inviting, but on the inside, the roof  is falling and the walls are crumbling. After years of attempts to save the church, long time parishioners are saying their final goodbyes. The building is scheduled for demolition this month.

During Mass on Aug. 19, the Rev. Thomas Fenlon invited parishioners who now attend services a mile west at Our Lady of Victory to go into St. Augustine’s for the last time and take any remaining items to sell or to keep.


Picture 1 of 8

Among those who accepted that invitation was Brother Giles Naedler. “For me it’s been more like a wake,” he said. “And then when it’s gone it will be the funeral.” Naedler, 63, is the director of religious education at the parish and has worked with St. Augustine’s since he first arrived in the South Bronx in 1976.

“We at St. Augustine’s are troopers,” said Denise Wong, 58, as she decorated the aisle of Our Lady of Victory with white plastic bows for an afternoon wedding. Wong is strongly attached to the church where she was baptized and got married; she describes the St. Augustine’s congregation as an anchor for the community and hopes that it will be just as strong in Our Lady of Victory.

Mass has not been held inside St. Augustine’s since 2009 when pieces of the ceiling began to fall, and it was no longer safe to use the premises. Fenlon, 78, who is the head of St. Augustine’s and Our Lady of Victory, has accepted the loss of the church and says that it is time to move on. “It’s just not worth keeping, the repairs would cost close to $6 million,” he said. The land’s estimated value is set between $3.2 and $4.6 million. According to Fenlon, the demolition will cost about  $3 million.

Marva Crocker, 73, a retired schoolteacher who has been attending mass at St. Augustine’s for over 40 years, says that even though she and her fellow parishioners have been working to keep the church open for some time, the final decision to tear down the building came as a shock. “It was a low blow,” she said. “We had no idea it was really going to come to this.”

Leaving St. Augustine’s has been hard on some of the longtime attendees. Crocker explains that getting used to a new church, with different traditions and different people, has taken time. But, she said, church is about community.  “And as our father always says, ‘The building is not the church; we are the church.’”


Correction: A previous version of the story implied Danny Torres taught high school in Queens. Torres lives in Queens but teaches at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. 

Posted in Bronx Beats, Bronx Life, Bronx Neighborhoods, Bronx Tales, Culture, Rituals, Slideshows, Southern Bronx1 Comment

Teen Pleads Not Guilty in Bronx 4-year-old’s Death

The teen accused of firing the shot that killed a 4-year-old boy caught in a gun battle on a Morrisania basketball court in late July pleaded not guilty Monday morning to murder charges in Bronx Criminal Court.

Rondell Pinkerton, 17, is one of four suspects indicted on charges related to the death of Lloyd Morgan. The child was in the playground area around 9:30 p.m. on July 22 when he was struck in the head by a stray bullet from a gunfight that broke out during a charity basketball tournament at the Forest Houses project.

Quiet tension filled the Bronx Criminal Court courtroom at Monday’s arraignment. Additional officers arrived to keep the calm between a few of Pinkerton’s family members and about a dozen family and friends of Shianne Norman, the young victim’s mother. A woman sitting beside Norman wore a “Stop the violence” T-shirt, and Rachel Noerdlinger, who represents Rev. Al Sharpton, tried to help comfort the shaken mother.

Norman said she is not sure what justice for Lloyd means to her, but she felt it was important for her to show up at court in honor of her son.

Shianne Norman, left, mother of a 4-year-old killed by a stray bullet, had the support of about a dozen family and friends Monday in Bronx Criminal Court. (JIKA GONZALEZ / The Bronx Ink)

“I’ve never been to court. This is not a part of my life. This is surreal to me,” said Norman, weeping quietly. She has begun looking into counseling to cope with her grief. ”I should not be here.”

Clad in an orange jumpsuit, Pinkerton, who goes by “Spyder,” entered his not-guilty plea in a soft-spoken voice and mostly looked down or at his attorney during his brief appearance. If convicted on murder, assault and weapons charges, the 17-year-old faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

“He’s supposed to be getting his high school diploma, and where is he now? He’s in jail,” Marie Williams, Lloyd’s grandmother, said outside the courthouse. “I have to think of my grandson every day he doesn’t come through that door. He’s supposed to be starting school with his sister … Where is he?”

The bullet that struck the child came from Pinkerton’s gun, but the suspect told authorities he was only firing in self-defense. Police have said at least 13 rounds were fired across the basketball court during the “Ghetto Angels” tournament dedicated to a teen girl who was stabbed to death one year ago.

“The amount of gun shots that I heard that night — it was ridiculous. I felt like I was in a war zone,” Norman said. “It doesn’t matter that you might have not hit my son. You endangered others.”

Three others were arrested in the fatal shooting: Courtney Kelly, 26, who was injured in the gunfight and faces weapons charges; Ronald Jeffrey, 19, facing murder and weapons charges; and Raymond James, 16, facing weapons and reckless endangerment charges, according to Bronx District Attorney’s office spokesman Melvin Hernandez. Jeffrey’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday and Kelly’s is on Sept. 26.

Pinkerton is set to return to court Oct. 22.

Anthony Ventura, Pinkerton’s attorney, did not return three calls for comment Monday afternoon. Pinkerton’s family members declined to comment outside the courthouse.

Lloyd was one of several young children caught in the crossfire of New York gunfights in recent months. A 3-year-old boy was shot in the leg near the Roosevelt Houses in Brooklyn on July 8.  Five days after Lloyd’s death, a 14-year-old was shot dead after playing tennis in the Eastchester section of the Bronx. On Aug. 24, a 13-year-old died after he was shot in the back in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. And a two-month-old boy in a stroller was grazed by a stray bullet in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx on Wednesday.

“The community has not woken up,” Williams said. “There’s going to be another little kid younger than my grandson. Watch.”


Posted in Bronx Beats, Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, Featured, Southern Bronx0 Comments

PHOTOS: Morrisania Mourns Robbery Victim Shot by Police

9 September, 2012- Bronx - Reverend Que English (left) holds prayer for Reynaldo Cuevas, the young father from the Dominican Republic accidentally shot by police during a robbery scuffle on Friday morning. (The Bronx Ink/Jika González)

Picture 1 of 7

Further reading: Morrisania Mourns Robbery Victim Shot by Police

Posted in Bronx Beats, Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, Featured0 Comments

Page 2 of 212