Tag Archive | "bedford park"

Raccoons spotted at Bronx train station, MyFox NY

A group of raccoons has been spotted roaming an area near a No. 4 Bronx train station, according to MyFox NY.

At least eight of the animals were seen at the end of the platform of the Bedford Park Boulevard Station.

Posted in NewswireComments (0)

Bronx college student found shot in the head

Bedford Park residents on "pins and needles" after the killing of 25-year-old Kennedy Brown.

A 25-year-old college student and father of twins was fatally shot early Saturday morning in the Bedford Park area of the Bronx.

Police said Bronx resident Kennedy Brown was found with a gunshot wound to the head in front of an apartment building on Decatur Avenue off of 197th Street just before 2 a.m. Brown was taken to Saint Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Detectives on the scene of the shooting said that no arrests have been made, and that the investigation is ongoing.

Shocked friends and family said they could find no explanation for Brown’s shooting. Neighborhood residents said Brown was at at a party Friday night that got “out of control.”

Several mourners gathered Saturday around a makeshift memorial a few feet from where Brown was killed said he was studying liberal arts at the College of New Rochelle in the northeast Bronx, and was a father to twins, a boy and a girl.

One woman, who described herself as a close friend, said Brown was a book-smart jokester that was loved by everyone in the neighborhood.

“He was a good boy,” said Justine Valazquez, 25, who grew up with Brown in Bedford Park. “He was funny, he was always making people laugh.”

Many on the street looked visibly shaken. One young man broke down crying in front of the memorial of lit candles, beer bottles, and written messages to Brown.  Most refused to speak about the circumstances around Brown’s killing, saying that everyone in the neighborhood was on “pins and needles.”

Two miles away on 176th Street, several family members and friends grieved inside Brown’s second-floor apartment, where he lived with his mother.

Brown’s mother declined to speak about her son, saying only, “my son is dead.” Other family members called the killing “senseless,” and asked to be left alone.


Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, Featured, North Central BronxComments (0)

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 FeaturedComments (0)

For Pedro Espada, Accusations Swirl as Patients Wait and Watch

In the days since the New York attorney general filed a lawsuit charging State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. with using a Bronx healthcare organization as his own “personal piggybank,” the senator’s son defended their family as details emerged about Espada’s expensive sushi habit and accusations that the senator doesn’t live in the Bronx district he supposedly represents.

See what patients at one of the Soundview clinics had to say:

Attorney general Andrew Cuomo’s lawsuit charges Espada with “siphoning” $14 million from Comprehensive Community Development Corporation, also known as “Soundview,” a company that provides low cost health care services to patients in the Bronx from five locations. Espada founded the company in 1978. He is currently Soundview’s president and chief executive officer.

Nineteen current and former Soundview employees are also named in the lawsuit including seven of Espada’s family members. Cuomo’s lawsuit alleges Espada and his relatives received vacations and lavish compensation packages through Soundview. The senator’s contract with the company included a $9 million severance bonus. Espada is also accused of using his corporate credit card for campaign expenses and personal expenses including $20,000 bills at two sushi restaurants.

Espada was elected to represent the 33rd District in 2008. In order to serve in the Senate, he is required to live within the district. Espada’s benefits at Soundview included $2,500 monthly housing allowance for a co-op apartment at 325 E 201st St. in the Bronx. During the two years Espada has maintained his apartment in Bedford Park, various residents of the building have spoken to news outlets claiming he does not live there. In the past, Espada’s response to these allegations has been that he divides his time between his home in the Bronx and his office in Albany.

Espada is also listed in the public phone directory as a resident of 115 Beechwood Road, a leafy cul-de-sac in Mamaroneck, with his wife, Connie, and their children. The home is located near the two sushi restaurants, Toyo Sushi and Red Plum, where Espada allegedly used his Soundview credit card to purchase meals. Peter Chen, the owner of both restaurants, said the Espadas visited Red Plum “probably once a week” and ordered takeout from Toyo Sushi “three or four times a month.” Though he said he couldn’t recall if they had a favorite dish, Chen said the Espadas were “average tippers.”

In 2004, Sandra Love and three other Soundview officials plead guilty to charges that they diverted money from Soundview to Espada’s political campaign. Espada and Love were previously acquitted on similar charges in 2000. According to Cuomo’s lawsuit, all four Soundview staffers who were convicted of criminal charges were retained by the company and two of them were named to the company’s Compliance Committee. Love’s son, Jerry Love Jr., was hired by Espada in 2009. Love Jr. is named in the current lawsuit.

Records show that the senator’s political action committee, Espada for the People, paid $1,265.82 to Soundview in December 2007. The senator did not respond to messages left at his offices in Albany and East Fordham Road as well as calls made to his addresses in the Bronx and Mamaroneck asking for an explanation of these charges to Soundview and the attorney general’s allegations of misconduct. An intern at Espada’s Bainbridge office said he had “no idea” where the senator was and that he last saw him in Bainbridge “a couple weeks ago.”

But Espada did appear on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” show on Thursday to defend himself against the charges. He said there was no intention for him to receive the $9 million severance bonus and that the case was “politically motivated.” Espada stated he has no plans to resign from the senate while he fights the lawsuit. On Friday morning, he continued his counter attack on MyFoxNY.com. “This is a witch hunt by the prince of darkness himself,” he said, referring to Cuomo.

Lourdes Espada, the senator’s daughter-in-law, is also named in the attorney general’s suit although her husband, Pedro Gautier Espada, is not named. One of the allegations against the senator is that Soundview awarded a $400,000 yearly janitorial contract to a management company run by his son. On Wednesday night, Gautier Espada posted a message on his Facebook profile that said: “Who ever thinks that the liberties and freedoms we enjoy as Americans are free has never paid and must walk through life with blinders on. The truth is, those principles that our union uses as it’s foundation are very expensive. They have been paid for in blood. sacrifice, sweat and tears. Today I keep my head up knowing that someway I have paid a small price in maintaining the very principles of our existence.”

The note has since been deleted. Gautier Espada has not responded by e-mail requests seeking further comment on this story.

*The 33rd District includes the neighborhoods of Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, Bedford Park, Van Cortlandt Village, University Heights, Fordham, Tremont, East Tremont, Norwood and Mount Hope.

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Health, Multimedia, PoliticsComments (3)

Page 2 of 212