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The Bronx is melting

The Bronx is melting


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(Photos by: Ethan Frogget)

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State budget cuts could hurt grandparents raising kids

Gov. Cuomo’s proposed state budget plan will have a crippling blow on state-funded housing, potentially eliminating the Supported Housing for Families and Young Adults program. Grandparent Family, which started in 2005, designed for low-income grandparents raising children, could be one of the programs on the chopping block, reports NY Daily News.

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For the love of the run: a V-Day marathon

For the love of the run: a V-Day marathon

The first annual Valentine’s Day Marathon took place early Sunday morning in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Hundreds of brave runners were up for the challenge of  the snow packed, icy dirt trail. Runners were free to run various distances, including the half marathon, the 10K, the marathon relay or the full marathon.

(Photos by: Linda Thrasybule)

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Ice hockey team faces challenges on and off the ice

Ice hockey team faces challenges on and off the ice

By Linda Thrasybule

The sun is setting over the parking lot at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx. Members of the school’s ice hockey team, the Ravens, climb aboard a small bus, cramming in all their bulky bags and hockey sticks as they head out to Flushing Meadow Park in Queens to the Ice World Arena rink.

“Damn, it’s cold!” said one of the players as he boarded the bus on a frigid Tuesday night.

It’s a critical moment for the Ravens. They have lost 11 games and won 3. The team only has two games left in the season, and on top of everything else, they only get to practice once a week at the rink.

The rate is $400 per hour to use the rink, a hefty sum for a team that only gets funding from the school’s alumni.  “It usually costs about $785 just to use the rink,” said Pat Scanlon, the head coach.

The Ravens are made up of 14 kids who play a sport that is not widely popular in the Bronx.  They are mostly black and Latino kids who don’t get to see a lot of professional hockey players who look like them (according to a CNN report there are about 20 black players in the National Hockey League). The team also doesn’t have a lot of resources.

“For each of our players, it costs about $1,000 to $1,300 to get them gear, skates and hockey sticks,” said Jonathan Dry, assistant coach of the St. Raymond Ravens of St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx.

But the team does have Coach Dry. Part Puerto Rican and part African American, he has been assistant coach for the Ravens for two years. A graduate of St. Raymond High School for Boys in 2006, he decided to return to help out the team. He recently took the New York Police Department exam and is waiting for the results.

“This season’s been rough,” said Dry. “We lost great skaters who graduated, which took a toll on the team. We’re trying to work with them on their stick handling and endurance.”

St. Raymond plans to recruit more players for next season through the Hockey in Harlem program, a non-profit community organization that uses hockey to promote academic achievement and encourage teamwork. They also hope to recruit players through word of mouth.

“I came to play basketball at St. Raymond,” said Tevin Bazemore, 16, a junior who has been playing with the team since his freshman year. “But I fell in love with hockey.”

Bazemore heard about the team through a friend. He didn’t know how to skate, but with the help of the coaches and lots of practice at the Bryant Park rink, he was able to play on the team. “It’s just different,” he said. “I really like the fast pace and the speed. The team gets along really well. We argue just like any other team, but we’re family.”

He isn’t the only one who feels that way. Goaltender Aj Indiviglia, 17, a senior, will be leaving the team this year once he graduates. He hopes to play ice hockey once he goes to college. “I’m going to miss the guys,” he said. “We formed a good relationship as a team.”

Dry, 22, who grew up in Manhattan, heard about hockey from a classmate in the third grade. He started watching it on TV and was hooked. “I liked the speed,” he said. “I thought it was really exciting, and it got my attention. I especially liked that it was so physical.”

Dry’s parents signed him up with Hockey in Harlem. Through the program, he was able to go to hockey camps in Canada and Detroit. He was also able to get a hockey scholarship at St. Raymond high school. Now he wants to give back and get other kids excited about hockey.

For next season, the Ravens will need a new goaltender. “I hope we can get more kids who play hockey to come to the school,” Dry said.

Around 11 players are circling the rink, warming up to start practicing their drills on ice. Outside the freezing rain has coated the pavement with slush and ice and the roads have become treacherous, but that doesn’t stop the Ravens from playing a sport they love.

“All victories aren’t on the scoreboard,” said Pat Scanlon, the head coach. “Even though we’re losing games, the interest is still there. That’s where the real victory is.”

Click below to see more photos of the team.


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Members of the St. Raymond Ravens load the bus with equipment before they head off to Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, for practice. (Photo by: Linda Thrasybule)

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A different take on what it means to be a man

A different take on what it means to be a man

Ivan Velez, Jr., the curator of the Eye Am a Man exhibit. (Photo: Linda Thrasybule/The Bronx Ink)

By Linda Thrasybule

When you stand in the middle of the Project Room at the Longwood Art Gallery in Hostos Community College in the Bronx, a thread of masculinity can be seen almost everywhere. Across each painting, drawing and sculpture in the current exhibition, hard, muscled bodies reveal strength and sexuality, but underneath the surface is a vulnerability that is raw and honest.

But in each piece of artwork, every man is gay.

The Eye Am A Man exhibit, which opened last January, is an exploration of gender and ethnic notions of being gay and masculine in our society today. Ivan Velez Jr., a local cartoonist, well known in the mid-80s for his book, “Tales in the Closet,” a 10-chapter graphic novel series that depicts the lives of eight gay teenagers in Queens, has resurfaced to be the curator of the exhibit.

Velez felt motivated to put together such an exhibit because of his involvement in the bear community, a subculture of the gay community that refers to large, hairy, muscular men who project a hyper-masculine image.

“I’m trying to change the perception that not all bears are old white men that look like Santa,” Velez said.

Based on his experience with the bear community, he found that “bears” love masculinity even idolize it.

“They hold onto it very hard,” he said. “But not in an overt macho way. They’re playful about it.”

The exhibit does contain adult sexual content, but nevertheless the show captures Velez’s message. “Once a man comes out in his community, they tend to strip them from their manhood,” said Velez. “It’s like you’re not a man anymore. You’re gay so you don’t count as a man. But I want to say, no, we’re still men.”

The exhibit features numerous artists from New York City, Maryland and even Japan. Among them are Chad Boss, Louis Kwong, La Buruquena, Harry Medina, Kei Otani, Carlo Quispe, and Soulivanh Thammavong.

The Longwood Art Gallery is located on the campus of Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street in the Bronx. Contact information: (718) 518-6728 or

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