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The Food Truck to Heaven


It was a sunny Saturday morning in Hunts Point. Seventy-two-year old John Peña strapped on his apron and fired up his food trailer. Hot steam seeped through the trailer’s windows into Lafayette Avenue, carried by the sound of classical music that blasted from his gold Chevy Astron. Now mostly wheelchair-bound, the once towering Puerto Rican military man turned food truck evangelist stood with shaky effort behind the counter, gently swaying side to side to Mozart as he uncovered steaming home-cooked dishes in large aluminum foil pans.

The first hungry customers were gathering at the street corner against the backdrop of the Corpus Christi monastery, the oldest Dominican Abbey in the country. Three homeless men from a nearby drop-in shelter stepped up to the trailer, sharing the last drag of a half-lit cigarette. “Watcha got today, Juan?” one asked impatiently, with a thick Latino accent.

”One more minute, Papi!” Peña replied with a diagonal smile, peering out through his red-tinted glasses. Peña’s boyish face barely betrays his scrappy past. His neat salt-and-pepper moustache is now mostly salt. He wore a navy polo shirt and a matching baseball cap, embellished with a pin of a golden eagle – a reminder of his military past.

Peña forced a sickly cough, slipped on latex gloves and unpacked some plastic cutlery. A minute later, the monastery clock struck 10 a.m. With one last check of his wristwatch, Peña called over his first customer: “What can I get for you, cariño? Some arroz con gandules, potato salad or mexican casserole?”

Peña is a one-man-show at Mission-o-Mercy, his own charitable street ministry that serves up a free weekly meal from a repurposed food trailer–the kind of two-wheeled vehicle that could be found on any given Manhattan street corner, selling hot dogs, Danish or Halal skewers.

Peña has a long, distinguished and checkered career as an army man, a community organizer and a law enforcement officer over the last seven decades, much of it spent in the Bronx. The free food truck is his most recent venture and it has been up and running since July, serving local Hunts Point residents from the morning hours until all of the food runs out. His policy is that everyone – wealthy or needy, young or old – gets exactly one plate for free. No exceptions. No questions asked.

“Once you give them a finger, they want the whole hand,” Peña said as he slapped some rice and beans into Chinese takeout-style foam boxes. 

Peña loves doing “the lord’s work” with his solo non-profit. A small printout taped to the side of his food trailer reads: “Come Eat Free. God provides.” The born-again Christian is a certified chaplain, a layperson trained to console people in times of crisis. When he’s not directly feeding his customers, he spends much of his day listening to their problems. One homeless man lamented his inability to acquire the newest HIV medicine after wolfing down a Peña-provided meal. Another man pushing an orange shopping cart told the professional listener about his wife’s impending transfer to Rikers after she was arrested for drug possession. There are many similar stories throughout Hunts Point, a low-income neighborhood still known for its gang-infested, prostitute-ridden history.

“My mission is all about nourishing the souls of these people,” said Pena, with a powerful, sermon-like cadence. “There are many ways to do that, physically and spiritually.”


Pena takes a break from serving food to comfort a man from the area.

Peña is far from a rich man, living out his autumn years as a local food philanthropist. In addition to receiving Medicare and Medicaid, Pena lives off $956 in Social Security benefits and $121 dollars in Food Stamps. Peña said he uses most of the money for rent, a bare minimum of personal groceries, car insurance and cable television. Whatever is left over goes into the mission. This includes fresh ingredients for next week’s dishes and paying off a $4,000 bank loan for the second-hand food trailer he bought and rebuilt to his liking. “I don’t know how I do it,” he said, “but somehow I manage to pull it off every week.”

Most weeks, Peña receives cooking help from other community and church members in one way or another. He asks them to make whatever they like. Whether they bring white rice and or fancy salmon burgers, somebody in Hunts Point is always hungry. “We all love John,” said Raquel Welch, who promised to return the favor by bringing her famous Mac and Cheese the following Saturday. 


Local hero Pena is welcomed by two twins from the Hunts Point neighborhood. They call him ‘Abuelo Amigo’ – friendly grandfather.

Though the food is always free at Mission-O-Mercy, Peña does take donations. He keeps a roughed-up, gray cardboard box tucked away in his truck that looks more like an elementary school art project gone awry than a donation container. Once in while he will mention it in conversation, but the last thing he wants is for people to assume that he is hungry for their money. At the end of that September day, Peña fed close to 170 people and will have collected a mere $11.47 in donations. “At least it’s more that last week,” he chuckled, raising his eyebrows.

Though Peña is sick and disabled, he believes his work is more important than the physical pain he endures day after day. The former 400-pound gourmand has been suffering from prostate cancer, heart problems and diabetes for some time now and has recently shed over half his weight. He now enjoys food vicariously through his customers at his free Hunts Point Brunch. “I used to love to eat,” he said licking his lips. “But I don’t ever have an appetite anymore, so it’s great to see that others can enjoy my food.”

Peña lives in a overcrowded two-room apartment in an affordable senior housing complex, just steps away from where he serves food. Inspired by his Christian faith, he shares the living-room with creatures from sky, sea and land: a sharp-nosed Siberian Husky, four chirpy birds in stacked cages, a pet goldfish and a vertical garden that blocks much of his living room window. The little space that remains is obstructed by cooking hardware, canned goods and tangible memories of his many former lives. Most of his cooking for his ministry is done right here.

A perfectionist at heart, Peña sets himself very high standards when it come to his menu selection. “Either I do it right or I don’t do it at all.” Many nights he lies in his trapeze-assisted bed watching the Food Network or scours the online recipe world, concocting nutritious and culturally diverse dishes for the upcoming weeks. Other Saturdays he has served Vegetable Lo Mein with cheese, Tuna with West Indian Noodles or baked ziti.


John Pena’s bedroom in his two-room apartment in Hunts Point. Religious motifs and printed online recipes are scattered throughout.


“The other week I did this Paella,” he said, flipping through his self-made cookbook, a random selection of handwritten recipes, internet printouts and magazine cut-outs. “But I turned it around. In Spain they use seafood, but I couldn’t afford that so I used chicken instead.” He likes to do it the Frank Sinatra way. “I just do it my way – Peña style.”

In fact Peña has always done things his own way – for better or for worse. Whether as a community cop, an anti-poverty consigliere or now as a food minister, Pena brings all his volatility, his devil-may-care attitude, his free spirit and faith, but also his many regrets to his lifelong commitment to giving back to his world and his community. The father of eight says he now lives a simple life, but he is far from a simple soul. His story is filled with many paradoxes. It’s a tale as rich, messy and inspiring as the history of the Bronx itself: one step forward, two steps back, three steps forward, two steps back.


Like Mother and Father, Like Son

Born in 1942 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Peña moved to New York when he was five-years-old and spent much of his early childhood in a military academy. “They really didn’t play games there,” he said. “I was a rowdy little guy, so my mother sent me there. But they drilled that right out of me.”

At age 12, Peña returned to the South Bronx to live with his mother and stepfather in a small apartment on Leggett Avenue. His mother, Mercedes, the namesake of Mission-O-Mercy, has always been his spiritual guide; the yang in his life. She owned a candy shop in Longwood and Peña helped her out most days after school. His father had left the two of them years earlier for another, richer, woman and a job at Bethlehem Steel corporation in Baltimore, Maryland.

“I have my mother’s soul, but my father’s temperament,” said Peña.

His stepfather, a late-shift musician at Central Park’s Tavern on the Green, came home drunk most nights. “One night he hit my mom,” Peña remembers, his face hardening. “I was around 15 at the time and that night I just beat the living crap out of him.”


Pena and his stepfather in Puerto Rico in the 70s

Good Evening Vietnam

His stepfather threw him out of the house and he moved to Baltimore to live with his father. On his 17th birthday in 1959, he asked for his father’s permission to sign up for the army. “They’ll make a man out of you,” were his father’s departing words.

After finishing basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and a two-year stint in post-war Korea, Peña was shipped to the “boondocks” in Vietnam. He said he can’t remember much from his time in the Mekong Delta, other than a daze of jungle heat, cigarette smoke and a bullet to the elbow that sent him home only months after he arrived. “They called it the million dollar bullet. No permanent damage and no war,” he said, pulling up his sleeves and pointing to a slight disfigurement in his right arm.

Back on American soil in Fort Benning, Georgia, things quickly took an ugly turn. Peña was involved in a physical altercation with his higher-ranked officer. “This jerk kept calling me a dirty Puerto Rican, so I balled up my fists,” he said, clinching his fists to recreate the moment. “Then he touched my nose and kept on saying ‘Whatcha gonna do?’ So I just hit him. Next thing I know, the sergeant is running at me and I swing at him too.” Though he said he stood up for what he thought was right, he admitted now that it was a misguided decision, having lost him any entitlement to future Veteran benefits.


A picture from his days in the US Army hangs on Pena’s living room wall

Days of Power and Influence with Ramon Velez

In 1964, the 22-year old nomad returned to the Bronx and married his girlfriend, Consuelo, the mother of his first three children. Pena remembered being shocked at how bad things were in the Bronx back then. “It looked worst than Vietnam,” Pena recalled. “Garbage piled up to the second floor, everybody shooting at each other and kids selling all kinds of drugs. It was the Wild, Wild South.”

The same year Ramon Velez, the scandal-scarred South Bronx powerbroker, plucked jobless Peña from the streets to join his team at the infamous social services agency, Hunts Point Multi Service Center. Peña had stumbled into an ad-hoc political rally organized by Velez and said he openly questioned the organization’s work in the community. The next day Velez offered him a job. “He liked my ideas and my spirit,” said Pena.

Three years later Pena was promoted to head the newly-formed Management Information Systems department. He was responsible for a team of 35 employees that gathered demographic data on the South Bronx. Peña reported directly to Velez, who then used this information to help build his poverty program empire, one that included hundreds of employees, thousands of clients and nearly $300 million in government funds for health clinics, housing developments and drug-related services. The FBI routinely investigated the so-called South Bronx “poverty pimp” for lining his own pockets with poverty dollars, but he was never charged for any wrongdoing.

Peña claims that Velez, famous for using his non-profit networks to groom politicians, wanted “to fix me up too like he did other Puerto Ricans in the area.” It wasn’t his world. “I never wanted to say or do anything to look good. I just like to be me – without wheelin’ and dealin’. God knows you can’t do that as a politician.”

In 1972, Peña’s marriage broke down and he abandoned his children and the lucrative position in Velez’ innermost circle. He left for Puerto Rico, where he got involved with his stepfather’s niece, Christina. He fathered another five children, but eventually would leave his second family too.

Peña regrets not having been a better father. “I’m sad that I never lived the American dream – house, family, children and all,” he said about his fractured private life. “I often took the easy way out.”



Pena sketches an outline of the house he always dreamed of having.

His daughter, Carrie Pena, a Harvard graduate who now lives in Orlando, Florida, said that she had little contact with her father growing up. Today they have rekindled their relationship. “I love him like a family friend, but not like a father,” said Carrie, a lawyer and mother of two. Almost all of his children are service-minded, Carrie said about her siblings, a quality they inherited from their father. Two of Pena’s sons from his second family are succesful military men.

In 1985, Pena returned to Longwood to take care of his now-widowed mother. Eventually,  his mother ended up taking care of him. Almost 400 pounds and a chain smoker at the time, Pena’s health had deteriorated over the years. He had all the health problems associated with obesity: diabetes, sleep apnea, heart problems, just to name a few. Severely depressed and bedridden most of the time, his life once again took a dramatic turn in 1997.


His mother, who had only then recently turned to God, persuaded Peña to attend church with her. Peña said he mostly spent these Sundays outside smoking cigarettes. Much of what happened next is still a mystery to him. “I was sitting in the back, bored as hell, when BAM! My lights just went out,” he said, snapping his fingers to heighten the drama. “Next thing I know, I’m lying up front at the altar, tears streaming down my face and accepting Jesus Christ as my lord and savior.” A few weeks later, born-again Peña and his mother got baptized together at the New Jerusalem Church in Brooklyn.

“I am not religious,” Peña said, pausing to find the right words. “But I do have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” After his conversion, his health slowly improved and in 2000 Peña was ordained a community chaplain by the Latin American Chaplains Association.


Navigating Through Life

In 2003, Pena teamed up with the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation to direct the Neighborhood Navigator program. Peña had more than a dozen volunteers working for him, and together they acted as pseudo-watchdogs over the community, putting out fires wherever needed.  “We were like cops without weapons,” he said. The only weapons Peña had at his disposal were his persuasion skills and the unshakable passion to better his community.

Peña said he helped the effort to block off all streets coming in and out of the Hunts Point peninsula at night, an NYPD tactic that helped keep drug dealers and prostitutes off the streets and allowed for the area’s slow but steady recovery over the recent years.

Soon after, Peña began using this influential position to further his chaplaincy. He charmed local suppliers from the Hunts Point Cooperative Market – today one of the largest food supplying centers worldwide – to donate entire crates of fresh produce and protein that were nearing their expiry date. Pena would stack them in his empty storefront office and hand them out to hungry Hunts Point residents. The program was discontinued in 2007, when Peña was diagnosed with prostate cancer and spent the next years in and out of hospitals.

His portable food enterprise of today is essentially the continuation of the same vision, just on much a smaller scale. “It would be easier if they still knew me down in the markets, but I don’t have the same kind of clout anymore,” Pena said.

Peña still hasn’t given up on his dream of bringing his mission back to its former glory. Like any food-cart owner, he plans to expand and eventually have his own place. In his case, he imagines a restaurant-style soup kitchen for his ministry, where people can get counseling, showers and free clothing as well. “I imagine a place like the Waldorf Astoria. A place with dignity and flowers, where people can feel great about themselves.”

For now, Peña is focused on next Saturday’s menu and  – pork shoulder, chicken stew, white rice and lentils.


Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Bronx Tales, Featured0 Comments

No closure in cop sexual assault case

The parents of a Bronx girl who was sexually assaulted 16 months ago by an NYPD officer grimaced in the gallery yesterday when the judge announced that closure would have to wait at least another month.

Sentencing was expected Wednesday, Sept. 24, for Modesto Alamo, 38, who pleaded guilty in July to sexually abusing, forcibly touching and endangering the welfare of a 13-year-old girl. Alamo resigned from the police force upon his May 24, 2014 arrest. Instead, Judge Laurence E. Busching of the Bronx Supreme Court said he would issue a sentence and determine Alamo’s sex offender category Oct. 23.

Bronx Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Militano petitioned Wednesday for Alamo to be designated a Level 2 sex offender, for “moderate risk or repeat offense,” arguing that his betrayal of a position of trust justified the heightened classification.

Defense lawyer Solomon J. Schepps argued that the victim “was the one who established the relationship in the first place” through a series of non-sexual text messages. Schepps also claimed there is no precedent for holding police officers to the higher standard Militano endorsed. He encouraged a Level 1, “low risk,” designation.

It has been a “lengthy, stressful, disappointing process,” the victim’s mother said in the hallway after yesterday’s hearing. She added that her daughter, now 15, receives counseling and has changed middle schools since the incidents. Although the parents have been fixtures at Alamo hearings, they said they try to shield their daughter from news of the case.

“It is ridiculous that he gets away like it,” said the mother, who sobbed in the courtroom when the prosecutor described the abuse. “He was never in custody.”

Alamo arrived in court in a long-sleeve T-shirt and blue jeans, donning a baseball cap upon leaving the courtroom to obscure photographs of his face. Busching denied a special request from The New York Daily News to photograph today’s proceedings.

Schepps and Militano declined to comment.

In the criminal complaint, the victim is said to have referred to Alamo as her boyfriend. She initially reached out to Alamo for help with a bullying situation at school, Militano said in court and the two exchanged frequent texts for several weeks.The complaint states that Alamo visited her multiple times in her apartment lobby, first on New Year’s Day 2013, where he kissed her and groped her rear end. Alamo also sent the teenager lewd photographs via text.

The victim’s mother said outside court Wednesday that it was Alamo who initiated contact in November 2012 when he complimented a picture her daughter had uploaded on Instagram.

Alamo is released on bail of $1,500.


Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime0 Comments

Art of Memory

In memory of their friend who was fatally stabbed five years ago, the House of Spoof Art Collective opened a new show in Hunts Point’s Brick House Gallery on August 23, celebrating young talent from the Bronx and beyond, and expanding the gallery’s role in the burgeoning Bronx arts scene.

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The Brick House Gallery in Hunts Point is used by the House of Spoof art collective as both a studio and a gallery space. It currently houses the collective’s Annual Summer Show (Benjamin Bergmann/ The Bronx Ink)

This year’s Annual Summer Show, the fourth, is its largest exhibit to-date and combines a wide selection of photos, videos and paintings from 32 different artists that fill the gallery walls top to bottom. While shows there typically confront social and political issues, this exhibit is not bound by any thematic, aesthetic or geographic constraints. The all-embracing organizing rubric, intended to draw a diverse range of submissions, was “Community and Culture.”

“It’s a celebration of art,” said Misra Walker, art student at Cooper Union and co-founder of the Spoof Collective. She said one of her goals is to facilitate rather than curate: all artists who submitted work in response to a call through social media were accepted. Misra said she wanted to help kickstart some careers with this event rather than be a gatekeeper.

This is also the group’s first effort to reach out to likeminded artists beyond the South Bronx. Participating artists came from California, France, and the Netherlands, as well as from New York. Danish photographer Petrine Clausen flew in from her new hometown of Amsterdam to see her five color prints on display. “This is my first time in the Bronx and it’s very different from what I know,” she said with a wink, sipping wine from college-style plastic cups and sampling homemade fried chicken outside the gallery.

Capturing unposed moments in artsy party scenes in Europe, her photos of white young people in shiny outfits may seem out of sync in the midst of Hunts Point, but fit the exhibit’s underlying theme by opening a window on a particular community.

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Danish artist Petrine Clausen’s photograph of a European party scene is shown at the House of Spoof art collective’s Annual Summer Show (Benjamin Bergmann/ The Bronx Ink)

Randy Clinton’s photographs, in contrast, are stark cityscapes expressing the beauty of the borough. The former Marine Corps photographer, who spent a year in Afghanistan in 2008, shoots with a camera phone and prints the digitally enhanced pictures on square metal sheets that give the images a bright sheen. “I just want to try to capture everything around me as it happens,” he said, explaining the freedom he feels without lugging around the cameras and lenses he used as a Marine. “My iPhone makes that process easier.”

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Former US Marine photographer Randy Clinton standing in front of his collection of submitted photographs. (Benjamin Bergmann / The Bronx Ink)

Most of the contributing artists applied by submitting five samples through JotForm, a social media platform. The number of submissions surprised the gallery collective, who cut their own work from the show to accommodate all 32 applicants. “We don’t agree on everything,” said Richard Palacios, co-founder and multimedia artist, describing how members of the collective held different views of the work they received, but supported the principle of the open call. “I guess there was some kind of democratic process behind it,” he said.

The House of Spoof Collective (THOSC) was officially founded in 2011, when four friends working summer jobs at The Point CDC, the renown community art and activist center in Hunts Point, sought to honor the passing of their close friend Glenn ‘Spoof’ Wright.

Wright, who would have turned 26 on the day of the show’s opening, was a flourishing South Bronx photographer who was brutally killed 2009. Mistaken for a rival gang member by a group out for revenge, Wright was stabbed to death outside his grandmother’s Lower East Side apartment.

“After Spoof’s death we were in group therapy sessions and decided to channel our grief and his spirit by creating this project,” said Palacios, 24, one of the co-founding quartet including fellow art students Misra Walker, 22, Ryan Smith, 24, and Alberto Inamagua, 27. Only a couple of months later they had already curated their first show in a space provided by The Point.

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The House of Spoof co-founder Misra Walker stans under a portrait of her murdered friend Glenn ‘Spoof’ Wright that hangs permanently in the gallery (Benjamin Bergmann / The Bronx Ink)

Though they continue to present a rotating selection of Wright’s black-and-white photos at every show, the group has since moved beyond the original premise of keeping Spoof’s legacy alive.

Walker admitted that the group is still very young — “We often have no idea what we are doing,” she said — and that their current work is only a stepping stone to bigger goals. They plan to create an art incubator for young artists and “bring back that Andy Warhol, factory-feel to art in New York City.”

In many ways their work space reflects their own transformation. Set on a remote stretch along Hunts Point’s industrial waterfront, the stocky Brick House Gallery is the only remnant of a burnt down fur-tanning factory that was converted into an experimental art spot for the community in 2007.

Working out of the South Bronx in an impoverished area with scarce public resources, the group has always seen location and context as a central element of their work. They see themselves as activist artists, tackling local issues related to violence, neglect, and the environment. They are currently building a greenhouse out of discarded soda bottles. The group conducts free art workshops for Hunts Point’s residents throughout the year.

“We want to make the art accessible to the Hunts Point community,” explained Walker, who gave an emotional TED TALK on activism through art back in 2009. “Art has always been really important in this community and we want to keep that going. That’s what Glenn would have done – given back to the community.”

The Bronx has historically been a hotbed for the arts — it is the birthplace of both hip-hop and modern street art — and is currently seeing a resurgence, with a host of galleries and shows opening across the borough.

Among the work in the Summer Show, photographs by Tiffany Williams stand out: prints showing colorful smoke wisping against a black background. Williams, one of the group’s mentors and the co-creator of The Point’s after-school photography program, has been active in the Bronx arts community for more than a decade. “The Bronx has been involved with the arts way before Brooklyn ever got cool for its art scene,” she said, basking in the late afternoon sun in Hunts Point. “It might take time, but we’re bringing the conversation back.”

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Culture, Southern Bronx, The Bronx Beat0 Comments

Fight against the stigma of AIDS marches on in Hunts Point



The AIDS Walk participants march down Southern Boulevard raising awareness for HIV/AIDS in the South Bronx (BENJAMIN BERGMANN/The Bronx Ink)

Against the backdrop of gray skies, the roughly 100 participants of the Third Annual Community Board 2 AIDS Walk replaced the usual truck racket in the area with the odd chants of “HIV! GET TESTED!” and “SAFE SEX! USE CONDOMS!” Marching between Westchester and Hunts Point Avenue, the group called attention to the community-wide stigma of the disease, something the organizers believe may be a key obstacle to eradicating the virus. “We need to break the silence once and for all,” said Millie Colon, a community board activist and chairperson of the AIDS Walk. “People are no longer dying for lack of medication, but rather due to a lack of communication and education.” Silence is literally killing some Bronx residents. Colon encountered AIDS over 20 years ago when her nephew passed away from the disease. Three years ago she lost her brother to AIDS, after he spent four years refusing to see a doctor for fear of community backlash. Though the fight is deeply personal for her, Colon recognizes the larger context. She urged the community to overcome the “fear barrier” of getting tested, and she encouraged those who are infected to “come out of the closet” and receive the proper medication.

Millie Colon, chairperson of the Community Board 2 AIDS WALK, rallying the marchers before the walk begins in Hunts Point (BENJAMIN BERGMANN/The Bronx Ink)

Millie Colon, chairperson of the Community Board 2 AIDS Walk, rallies the marchers before the walk begins in Hunts Point (BENJAMIN BERGMANN/The Bronx Ink)

From time to time the marchers, color coordinated in red and white, stopped along the 45-minute route to listen to community voices and pray for those that have lost their lives to a disease first recorded in the city 33 years ago. One of the marchers, Carmen Rodriguez, surprised many by revealing that her husband, who had been secretly living with HIV for 25 years, passed away last Monday. “He didn’t want nobody to know” she said, gently dabbing at her mascara-stained tears. “He was in denial for many years and when he started treatment eight years ago, it had already caused too much damage.”

Carmen Rodriguez stands outside the Hunts Point Recreational Center after revealing to the group of marchers that her husband passed away from AIDS just last week

Carmen Rodriguez stands outside the Hunts Point Recreational Center after revealing to the group of marchers that her husband passed away from AIDS just last week (BENJAMIN BERGMANN/The Bronx Ink)

Rev. Kahli Mootoo, a Hunts Point pastor and former AIDS activist, commanded the megaphone for large parts of the walk, educating sidewalk spectators on the importance of getting tested. “The issue of HIV is losing steam” he said. “People are no longer scared of it, but does that mean they are not getting infected? Of course not!” Even though HIV numbers are consistently falling across the city according to the New York City Department of Health, the percentage of people dying from the disease continues to skew heavily towards low income neighborhoods. The Bronx has the highest death rates among the five boroughs, while Manhattan has the clearest survival advantage in New York City. These numbers were much more even back in 2005. Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 4.25.25 PM Though the organizers did not focus on these issues, Rev. Mootoo himself believes the issue is deeply entangled with poverty and political will. His view is that as long as HIV-related issues are contained in the most disenfranchised neighborhoods, city officials will see no reason to take action. “We always say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Our community doesn’t have the power to squeak loud enough,” Mootoo said with a smile. “And god knows we could use some more oil around here.”

Posted in Bronx Beats, Bronx Life, Featured, Health, Southern Bronx0 Comments

Ex-Bronx politician avoids prison in corruption case

Former NY State assemblyman from the Bronx, Nelson Castro, was sentenced to two years of probation and community service for making false statements to the authorities. The judge showed leniency after Castro cooperated with the government to convict several other politicians. He still faces sentencing on state charges in the Bronx. Read more at the New York Times.


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Four indicted in carjack killing of Bronx cab driver

Four men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the killing of Bronx cab driver, Aboubacar Bah, on Aug. 12th. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or death. Read more at NBC New York

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Women finds cousin shot to death in his Bronx Apartment

A 30-year old man, identified as Bismal Galard Martinez, was found shot to death in his kitchen near Eastburn Avenue Sunday afternoon, according to the NYPD. DNAinfo reports.


Posted in Newswire0 Comments

27 kids hurt after school bus crash

Nearly 30 children suffered minor injuries Monday afternoon after two yellow school buses collided in the Bronx’s Co-Op City, according to FDNY. NBC New York reports.


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