Tag Archive | "Belmont"

A memorial to Zulisker Redvetoski went up in front of 2414 Beaumont Ave. (ALICE GUILHAMON/ The Bronx Ink)

Belmont neighborhood shaken by killing of 22-year-old man

A memorial was put up in front of 2414 Beaumont Ave. (ALICE GUILHAMON/ The Bronx Ink)

A memorial in front of 2414 Beaumont Ave. for the latest victim of gunfire. (ALICE GUILHAMON/ The Bronx Ink)

On Thursday, nearly a week after a local 22-year-old man was fatally shot in the Belmont section of the Bronx, friends and neighbors gathered at a makeshift memorial in front of 3414 Beaumont Ave., where he had been gunned down. They had piled up dozens of candles, flowers and teddy bears in remembrance of Zulisker Redvetoski, whom they knew as “Zully.” Some left notes bidding him to “rest in peace” and they discussed their longstanding concern about shootings in the neighborhood.

Redvetoski was killed on Friday September 5th around 9 p.m., according to police. He was found with a gunshot wound in his torso on Beaumont Avenue at East 187th Street, and pronounced dead at St Barnabas Hospital. There were no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

At his wake on Wednesday, friends, relatives, and neighbors flowed continuously in and out of the D’Bari funeral home. There was not one empty seat and many mourners had to stand in the back as scores of people passed by to pay their respects and comfort Redvetoski’s mother.

Friends and acquaintances wear this badge in remembrance of Zully (ALICE GUILHAMON/The Bronx Ink

Friends and acquaintances wear this badge in remembrance of “Zully.” (ALICE GUILHAMON/The Bronx Ink

After the wake, childhood friends and other acquaintances regrouped around the small memorial on Beaumont Avenue. On Thursday, a couple of young men stopped by, wearing large badges around their necks with Redvetoski’s picture on them. “We wear it to show our respect,” one of them said. Zully’s mourners categorically refused to share their names. Some tensely explained that they wanted to avoid trouble.

Redvetoski lived near Freeman Avenue with his mother. Neighbors said he was the father of a baby girl staying with her own mother. They described Redvetoski as “outgoing” and “a nice guy.” According to police, he had been arrested at least nine times for possessing marijuana and once for assault.

One of the slain man’s friends, Chris, said there is “a lot of heat between the blocks” around the neighborhood. He added that another one of his friends, John, met the same fate as Redvetoski two years ago.

Gang feuds have been raging in Belmont for a long time. A 1992 New York Times article  reported on that an attack took place at the same street corner more than 20 years ago. In the past year, there have been 14 shooting incidents in the 48th precinct, which covers Belmont. The local community board has listed Belmont as part of an “impact zone” — a high-crime area where extra police are deployed.

Across from the memorial, a man sitting outside one of the buildings, wary about revealing his name, said the disputes usually involve drug trafficking, especially around neighboring Prospect Avenue. A similar case of an unresolved shooting took place at the corner of Prospect Avenue and 187th  Street in 2012.

Some residents said that people were moving out of the neighborhood to escape the violence. In the nearby Vincent Ciccarone playground, Italian grandmothers complained about the absence of their children who moved upstate to raise their families in what they consider a safer environment. A young man who passed by the crime scene said he comes to Belmont to visit his mother, but that with the shootings around the area, he preferred to live elsewhere.

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Crime, FeaturedComments (0)

Bronx’s Little Italy set for Sunday festival

The Belmont area of the Bronx will celebrate its annual Ferragosto festival to mark the end of the summer season this Sunday, DNAinfo reported.

Food vendors, musical guests and other merchants are set to line the streets of Arthur Ave. in the Bronx. Other entertainment is also scheduled throughout the day in honor of the annual Italian tradition, which marks the change of seasons with food and festivities.

Frank Franz, chairman of the Belmont Business Improvement District, says most people consider the festival to be the “biggest and most successful festival all year” within the Belmont area.

Posted in Culture, NewswireComments (0)

Better luck at next year’s Savor the Bronx


The legendary Mario's Restaurant served its regular fare for restaurant week (LINDSAY MINERVA/The Bronx Ink)

Holy cannoli.  No special prices at Mario’s for the Bronx’s first annual restaurant week?
Instead, customers looking for a deal at the iconic Arthur Avenue restaurant were offered a free glass of Montepulciano red wine and a complimentary crash course in all things Italy. Ionic columns and brick arches frame the dining room overflowing with Roman sculptures, portraits of Tuscany, Italian flags, and endless family photos.
Owner Joseph Migliucci said he could not offer a special prix fixe menu because his family-owned business in Belmont already offers the best food on Arthur Avenue at a great price as it is. “Being here 92 years, we feel we’re the best restaurant on Arthur Avenue,” said Migliucci, 73, who has been working at the restaurant named after his father since he was 13 years old.

Mario’s was one of 40 restaurants chosen to participate in “Savor the Bronx,” an event that offered customers a chance to explore the borough’s culinary diversity at a discount from Nov. 1 to Nov. 13. Migliucci believed the promotional two weeks did not bring in any more customers this year.

What started as a pizza parlor with six tables in 1919 now seats more than 100 in what is now one of the most famous Italian restaurants in the city’s “Real Little Italy.”  Migliucci’s father Mario, his uncle Clemente, and great grandmother Scolastia–all originally from Naples–opened the restaurant after they moved to the United States.

The cheesy penne-rigate sorrentina made with southern Italian sauce went for $13.50e with southern Italian sauces. The pasta was hidden beneath a layer of baked mozzarella. Ricotta cheese oozed out of the thick tomato sauce.

Another popular southern Italian dish is the stuffed eggplant for $9, also known as eggplant rollatini. Slightly under-cooked, it hid bits of beef and sausage not mentioned on the menu.

For these heavier dishes, the pleasantly crispy sesame bread with olive oil and butter soaked up the savory tomato sauce. It’s worth a trip to Adieo, where the bread is made everyday, just two stores down.

The clams oreganate at $9 for 5 were seasoned with oregano and baked with bread crumbs are somewhat lighter. The fresh clams–bought from the Cosenza’s fish market across the street–were served with squeezed lemon on top.

“Restaurant Week did not really help us, but it was the first year,” said Migliucci.  “Maybe next year it will catch on.”


Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Food, Multimedia, North Central Bronx, SlideshowsComments (0)

Belmont-area shootout involving police leaves one injured, ABC-7 news

Police got involved in a shooting a East 187th Street and Prospect Avenue just after midnight Wednesday, WABC news.

Two groups of men got into a shootout with each other before officers reportedly also opened fire, according to WABC.

One person was wounded in the leg and fled. A man showed up at St. Barnabas Hospital with a similar injury later.

No arrests have been made, and no officers were hurt, reports WABC.

Posted in NewswireComments (0)

Take the cannoli — with a heavy dollop of family tradition

Anthony Artuso Sr. may have cannoli and entrepreneurship in his genes.

The Belmont native and one-time aspiring aeronautical engineer recalls scrubbing pots and pans at his father’s pastry shop when he was 13 years old. His father, Vincent Sr., bought the pastry shop for approximately $12,000 in 1946 after returning home from World War II.

Anthony Artuso Sr., in the back of his pastry shop, next to chocolate-dipped cannoli shells. Photo: Brent Ardaugh

Anthony Artuso Sr., in the back of his pastry shop, next to chocolate-dipped cannoli shells. Photo: Brent Ardaugh

Now Artuso, 63, and two of his children, Anthony Jr. and Concetta, have transformed the shop’s retail and wholesale locations into multi-million-dollar pastry powerhouses. According to Artuso, he sells over nine million cannoli a year, and in 2009, the wholesale location alone made nearly $6 million in sales.

His current clients include Whole Foods, Hyatt and the New York Yankees.

Artuso and his brother Joseph operate the retail store on the corner of Vincent F. Artuso Sr. Way and Cambreleng Avenue. Assemblyman José Rivera named a section of East 187th Street after Artuso’s father to honor his dedication and success in the pastry business, a legacy the Artuso family strives to continue every day.

When Artuso comes to work, he sports polished shoes, slacks with a crease, a cell phone above his right hip and an eye for detail.

“That tag on those cookies is falling down,” he said to one of his employees standing behind the glass display case. “See if you can straighten that out.”

Artuso may be meticulous, but he remains well-liked and respected by his employees, some of whom have worked for him for many years.

“He’s a good business man,” said Amanda Rivera, who works behind the counter at Artuso’s retail store. “He’s always telling us that we have to stay focused on the customers.”

Artuso’s interest in customer service is not new. Even as a teenager when he was working for his father, Artuso was interested in recruiting new customers, keeping existing ones and expanding the family business.

Artuso never really considered himself a first-class baker. He was always more of a helper, he said, an experience that he believes helped shape the man he is today.

“In those days when you worked with old-time Italian bakers, they were very rough especially if you were the boss’s son,” said Artuso of his teenage years at his father’s shop. “They [old-time bakers] used to say go to the hardware store and get a gallon of pigeon milk; tell me to go out and get a bucket of steam. I guess it made a man out of you. If you managed to survive, you became a better person.”

Years later, when Artuso became the boss, his children worked for him and also took away many life lessons.

“I’ve really learned a great sense of business from my father,” said Artuso’s daughter Concetta, who operates the wholesale location in Mount Vernon with her brother. “My father taught me how to think like a customer and how to be sensitive to their issues.”

Artuso did not acquire his clever business sense by accident. When he was growing up, Artuso would spend such long hours working that his mother would make Sunday dinner in the back of the pastry shop.

When Artuso was nine years old, he would go to the liquor store located across the street from the shop to buy beer and wine for dinner. The employees at the liquor store would sell him liquor, even though they knew he was underage, because they knew his father.

When Artuso returned to the shop, he and his family would sit down to eat macaroni and meatballs with tomato sauce, at the same marble table they used to prepare cakes on previous days. Today, if he had the choice to have one plate of any food in the world, Artuso said it would be his mother’s homemade bolognese gravy with rigatoni.

When customers enter Artuso’s pastry shop, they are treated like members of his family.

“The Artuso family is not only the finest bakery in the world but the finest family in New York City,” said Thomas Leigh, who stopped into the shop to show Artuso a picture of his son in the newspaper. “There’s no soup kitchen nearby; they come here and the Artusos feed them. We’re talking about the work of Jesus Christ.”

Over the years, Artuso has hired hundreds of employees from the local community in his attempt to help residents secure and maintain jobs. He has also donated gift certificates and cakes to charitable organizations and helped put underserved people in contact with landlords.

The Belmont community was not always like it is today, he explained. He says it hit rock bottom in the 1990s before a revival. Sales increased and crime in the neighborhood went down. He attributed the revival in part to local attractions like the Bronx Zoo, Fordham University and the New York Botanical Garden.

“We’re opening up another retail location and trying to expand the wholesale business,” said Artuso. “If my father knew about all this expansion, he would be smiling right now.”

Posted in Food, Food and Beyond, Southern BronxComments (4)

Vets battle obesity in Belmont

Fun Fitness Day willl be held at the M.S. 45 Don Serpone schoolyard. Photo: Irasema Romero

Fun Fitness Day will be held at the M.S. 45 Don Serpone schoolyard. Photo: Irasema Romero

Military veterans will lead Belmont children in a series of interactive games during Fitness Fun Day Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at M.S. 45.

According to the New York City Department of Health, 40 percent of city children are overweight or obese. Fitness Fun Day is designed to promote more physical activity by students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The free program is sponsored by USA Fitness Corps, a non-profit organization established in 2009 to fight childhood obesity with veteran volunteers. “We want them to be as much like Saturday morning, and less like school,” said USA Fitness Corp spokesman Arthur Pincus.

Fitness Fun Day uses a custom curriculum designed by Dr. Jaci VanHeest, a professor of kinesiology and child psychology at the University of Connecticut. With names like Wicked Ball, Attack the Snack, and In the Pickle, each activity offers an opportunity for students to have fun while being physically active.

For Attack the Snack, the captain selects a food product, and along with his or her team, decides what physical activity is necessary to burn calories consumed in each serving. Depending on the calorie amount, the group collaborates to burn calories with jumping jacks, jogging or push-ups.

During training last week, participating veterans were advised not to use the word exercise with students because that makes it sound too much like work. “If they are fun, they will want to do more of those kinds of activities,” said David Haney, USA Fitness executive director. “All of that leads to a healthier and happier kid, and happier families.”

Parents may still register their children for free at the site. The school is located at 2502 Lorillard Place. For more information,  email info@usafitnesscorps.org.

Posted in Bronx Blog, Bronx LifeComments (0)