Tag Archive | "Soundview"

School Bus Smashes Into HSBC Bank

A school bus rolled backwards into an HSBC bank at a busy Bronx intersection Friday morning, the Daily News reports.

There were no children on the bus and one person was treated for minor injuries, but refused medical attention.

Firefighters, cops and employees of the Buildings Department surveyed the scene as the bus was towed away. The doorway glass was shattered near the Westchester and Manor Aves.

About four employees were inside the bank when it opened at 9 a.m., minutes before the bus slammed into the building.


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Bronx residents protest dumping of health care center from Medicaid

Following Gov. Cuomo’s decision to drop a Bronx health care network run by ex-state Senator Pedro Espada from Medicaid, residents stormed the Westchester County hometown of Cuomo on Monday.

According to the NY Daily News, three busloads of patients, employees and Bronx residents staged a rally for Soundview Health Care Network at a park a few miles from Cuomo’s suburban residence on the border of Mt. Kisco and New Castle

Espada is facing federal charges that he looted Soundview to bankroll his lavish lifestyle.




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Explosives found in Soundview residence, 2 men charged

The New York City Police arrested two men after finding explosives and illegal weapons in the Soundview district of the Bronx, according to CBS New York.

Anthony Cibelli, 24, and Juan Pagan, 25, were charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon for an explosive device and firearm, and criminal possession of controlled substance and marijuana.

Cibelli is an Iraq War veteran who spent 5 years in the Army before moving to the Bronx earlier this year.  Friends call Cibelli a clean-cut military veteran who stays out of trouble in the tumultuous neighborhood, but said his time in the Army defines him.

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Community mourns suspicious death of Soundview teen

”]A stranger found the body of Anil Sankar on the boat launch at Concrete Plant Park around 6 a.m. on Sept. 12.

The 18-year-old’s face was torn open at the temple and bruised around his mouth. His nose was smashed in and his hands were scratched. One plastic sandal had been discarded on the bank and another floated in the shallow water, not far from where he lay.

On a grassy patch, a packet of Newport cigarettes, soggy with dew, had been ripped in half and thrown aside.

“They say he hit his head and drowned,” said his father, Teakaram Sankar, as the Sankar family, who moved to the Bronx from Guyana 17 years ago, gathered in their small Boynton Avenue living room for a vigil to remember Anil. Police have dismissed his son’s death as accidental. “But I figure that’s impossible.”
As they sat together, the Sankar family passed phone records and emails between them and tried to piece together what happened the night that Anil disappeared. His sister-in-law, Natasha Sankar, held up a phone log showing that hours before he died, Anil made an 80-minute call to the mother of his girlfriend. The young couple had fallen out, said his mother, Mohaine. She remembered telling Anil to pray at the family shrine that Sunday morning, while he worked on the music he made on their home computer. The whole family agreed that Anil was not apt to hang around the park alone at night.

The Sankars may never know the truth of what happened that Sunday evening. The detective assigned to the case said it is closed. But the surrounding community has rallied around their grief nonetheless – to share their sadness, to protest the lack of safety in Concrete Park, and to highlight growing violence among their youth.

“I hope all the young people in the community can look at this and see that violence is not the answer,” said Natasha as she addressed the assembled mourners in the park four weeks after his death.

Over a hundred concerned residents and friends of Anil walked from the Sankar home to Concrete Plant Park on Oct. 16, to show their support for the family and their concern for rising levels of violence among young people in the Bronx. Felony assaults are up 10 percent in the district from last year, an increase of 33 incidents. A local resident confirmed that since Anil’s death, another young boy has been mugged at gunpoint in broad daylight in the park.

As the vigil progressed, residents passed by an unsecured hydraulic pole that is supposed to stop vehicles from entering the park and through a gate that stays open all night. The path runs by the river on one side and open fences onto the Metro North lines on the other. Two expressways, an elevated train line and a residential road surround the area.

“It’s the perfect place to prey on women or children if you’re an opportunist,” said Ephrain Cruz of the community group Bronx For Change. “We need to highlight that this park is not secure.”

Concrete Plant Park opened on an old industrial site in 2009, after a 10-year funding battle to restore the land and return it to the community by faith-based community group Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice.

“That park was developed as a safe space for young people,” said Julian Terrell from Youth Ministries. “Putting up gates to prevent people from getting in sets the wrong precedent.”

On Sunday evening, as the trains rattled by, the Sankar family laid candles and incense above the jetty where Anil Sankar’s body was found. His sister Anita lit one of his favorite Newport cigarettes and tucked it behind a purple bottle of pina colada flavored drink. The crowd gathered with candles to hear stories about Sankar’s life from his friends. His family stood quietly, unable to speak.

Towards the end of the vigil, Bronx Assemblyman Marcus Crespo stood forward to talk about ending violence among young people in the Bronx.

“The answers don’t lie somewhere else,” Crespo said. “They lie right here with all of us. It’s about our respect for one another.”

When the meeting was over and the crowds dispersed, Ephrain Cruz said: “Crespo says the answers lie with us. But this park does not belong to us. It is looked after by the state.”

Back at the Sankars’ two-bedroom apartment, young children ran between a gilded Hindu shrine and display cabinets stuffed with family photos. Mohaine Sankar clutched at a tissue, holding it against the white t-shirt printed with a photo of her son.

Mohaine knew Anil had broken up with his girlfriend the day before he died. The Sunday he disappeared, she checked on him in the peach-coloured bedroom he shared with his twin sister, Kumarie, and their 15-year-old brother, Robin.

“He laid back on the bed with his arm above his head,” said Mohaine. “He was really worried about something.”

“The police don’t want us to call people and ask what happened,” said Anil’s sister-in-law Natasha. “They say for us to wait, but they’re not doing anything. We need to know.”

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Construction worker dies following Bronx building collapse, NY1

A two-story commercial building under renovation on Stratford Avenue in Soundview collapsed on Saturday.  NY1 reports that hours after being pulled from the rubble, Muhammed Kebbeh, 51, a construction worker, died at Jacobi Medical Center.



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Fire in Soundview building leaves tenants with holes in the walls


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Engines 54 and 41 gathered up in front of 1591 E 172nd street to extinguish a fire that started in an apartment on the first floor. (DIANE JEANTET /The Bronx Ink)

Smoke overcame the odor of fresh paint as six apartments were damaged by a fire that started on the first floor of a five-story building in the Soundview section of the Bronx shortly after 3.30 p.m on Monday, October 17. No one was injured.

The cause of the fire in the first floor apartment at 1591 East 172nd Street remained unknown about two hours after firefighters from the Engine 96, Ladder 54 put out the blaze. A fire department official said it may have been caused by maintenance error.

“It appears the crew was using a torch to remove the tile from the floor,” said fire chief Raymond M. Stanton. “We had to open walls and put water in two apartments.”

An hour before the apartment caught fire, three men were seen removing the flooring in one of the apartments using a torch with a flame-spreader nozzle. In the basement, the building superintendent, who gave his name only as Allan, was working on fixing the boiler, which, according to the residents had been out for a week.

At around noon on Monday, Evelyn Dejesus, 49, noticed a small amount of smoke coming out of the apartment that was being repaired by the crew. Dejesus, a 13-year resident living on the second floor, said she alerted the two men, who assured her several times they had everything under control. “They told me it was only a few towels burning,” said Dejesus smoking a cigarette frenetically, standing on a pool of water in the first floor landing.

The resident then witnessed the workers’ attempt to stop the smoke by throwing small buckets of water on the fire.

Moments later, the smoke had blackened the hallways on the first and second floors. That’s when Dejesus decided to call the fire department. “I knew the workers were doing something wrong,” she said pointing out at the negligence of the maintenance team that had left the building by the time the firefighters arrived on site.

In September 2011, Anthony Gazivoda, the powerful Albanian real estate developer acquired the Soundview apartment complex which according to New York City’s Department of Buildings’ website, has 11 open violations mainly for boiler malfunction. The workers told reporters two hours before the fire that they had been hired by Gazivoda to renovate the building.

After the firefighters left, three men representing Gazivoda arrived at the building to talk to the tenants and assess the damages. All refused to identify themselves. When asked who the workmen were, one man said: “We don’t know, we’re trying to figure it out just like you.”

One of the three Gazivoda representatives said the workers were not licensed. The man answered to the name Henrik but refused to give his full name to the BronxInk reporters. One of the two brothers who own Gazivoda Realty Co Inc, is named Henrik Gazivoda. A number of tenants angry at the damage caused by the fire, complained to the representative and identified him several times as the owner of the building.

Edward Maldonado, who has lived in another apartment on the first floor for 10 years, said he believed the workers were questionable. “They take workers off the books,” said Maldonado, as he moved his sofa out of the living room, left in ruins by the firemen. “I’m going to be waiting, gentlemen,” he shouted as the three representatives were leaving the building, promising they would be back in the morning.

Dozens of tenants were affected by the fire that started in between the walls of the buildings, which meant firefighters had to demolish sections of the walls and ceilings of six apartments around and above the epicenter of the fire.

Residents said they were worried about the coming nights. “Both my children are asthmatic, my door locks are broken, I can’t find my cat,” said Zoerain Siugzda, a resident living on the second floor. “Tell me what I am supposed to do.”

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Cleaning up after Irene

Lia Lynn Vega, 15, hauling sacks of litter from the Soundview shoreline.

“I’ve found another needle!” shouted 13-year-old Isaias Vega from a jetty along the Bronx Greenway.

His 15-year-old sister noted the needle on her data sheet and it was added to the pile collecting on the bank.

Around them, a handful of volunteers worked to free all manner of plastics from the shoreline as part of a coastal clean up led by environment agency the Bronx River Alliance.

Who cleans the Bronx Greenway, a new stretch of coastline pathways in Soundview? No one, according to the state department for parks. That job falls to volunteers who, after tropical storm Irene, are finding the task a little too much to handle.

The Greenway was opened in 2008 and has been in a state of disorder since Hurricane Irene, which kicked up storm surges between seven and 15 feet, submerging large chunks of the coastline. The surges dumped plastic packaging from Hunts Point Terminal Market in the backyards of Soundview residents and the paths surrounding Soundview Park.

According to the state Parks department, the Greenway is the responsibility of local park rangers who in reality have little time to dedicate to clean-ups. Without volunteers like the Vegas family, the contaminated coastline would be left to fester.

The local community often has other priorities, too. “Last year Friends of Soundview Park organized clean ups every Sunday, but this year that time has been given over to cultural activities,” said Carlos Martinez of the government’s Partnership for Parks.

When volunteers do come, they are shocked by what they see. On Saturday Sept. 24, the Bronx River Alliance gathered help from various charities including faith-based youth group YMPJ, education charity Build On and Friends Of Soundview Park.

“Normally we see litter, but this year there were a lot of things washed up,” said Alliance ecology director Robin Kriesberg. Volunteers worked for three hours to disentangle needles, six pack rings, tampons and styrofoam from the banks of the river.

Ocean Conservancy, the not-for-profit behind the annual event, provided volunteers with standardized data cards to record every single item of debris in categories ranging from bottle tops to shotgun shells. The cards are sent in and logged for an annual report on global marine debris.

“We’re also teaching kids about packaging and littering,” said Martinez. “So next time they have junk food they think twice about throwing the packaging on the floor.”

Nilka Martell, has been volunteering with Partnership for Parks since she lost her job as a paralegal secretary last December. She thinks the clean up is good for her children Isaias and Lia Lynn. “It keeps them off the streets, the TV and the internet,” Martell said.

Many volunteers were dismayed at the state of the coastline. “We have to do clean ups all the time, one weekend is not enough,” said Ashley Quiles, volunteer co-ordinator from the Bronx Alliance, as she gathered everyone for a debrief at noon. Along the jetties, a thick covering of colored plastics remained mashed into the mud.

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Aspiring rapper slain near Soundview

Police said they have no suspect in the slaying of Taiwon “Ty” Turner who was remembered by friends and relatives as “The King of Cypress Avenue.” (TED REGENCIA/The Bronx Ink)

Taiwon “Ty” Turner was an aspiring rapper who listened to Dr. Dre and Jay-Z, his favorite artists.

“He was very kind, very quiet, he was just a wonderful kid,” Sonia Taylor said of her nephew, who was gunned down on the grounds of the Sotomayor public housing complex near Soundview on Sunday evening, Oct. 9. “It’s a waste, it’s a waste.”

A cousin remembered his smile, and his partying spirit. “He treated me like a sister,” said Crystal Willis, 16, a cousin from Harlem, who gathered with other relatives near the scene of the shooting at 1060 Ave.

Police said they received a 911 call saying a male was shot around 8:18 p.m. on Sunday. Two residents of the nearby apartment building said they heard three gunshots shortly before police arrived.

Turner received gunshot wounds to his chest, police said. He was transported to the Jacobi Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Not including this pre-Columbus Day murder, the 43rd precinct has reported 11 homicides so far this year through Oct. 2. To date, that is up 37.5 percent from last year’s eight murders. On Sept. 25, 22-year-old Anna Ramlochan was killed one block away from where Turner was gunned down.

Earlier in the afternoon at the Mott Haven neighborhood where Turner lived in South Bronx, a separate makeshift memorial was set up outside his apartment building at the corner of East 141st Street and Cypress Avenue. A shirt in his favorite color, red, bore messages written in black: “I love you Baby Boy with all my heart – Buffy,” one mourner wrote. “R.I.P. PlayBoy,” read another.

As a group of mostly middle-aged and elderly women sat nervously nearby, an unidentified man shouted angrily, promising revenge for the victim. The brief commotion attracted dozens of onlookers. Shortly after, two police officers in a squad car showed up and the crowd dispersed.

Among those in the crowd was Jesse George, 27, who had known Turner for six years. George said Turner was “kind of a loner” who “played no games.” He urged the police to find and arrest Turner’s unidentified killer.

At the time of the incident, Turner was supposed to watch a football game with his uncle and neighbor Mel Mosely, said the latter’s wife Sonia Taylor. He never showed up. Taylor also wondered why Turner had not played his favorite rap music Sunday night. The morning after, Taylor heard the news of her nephew’s death.

“I just stopped crying a little while ago,” said Taylor, adding that Turner’s passing reminded her of her own son’s slaying in 1991.

“I’ve been doing some mourning in a little while,” Taylor said of Turner. “His beats is always gonna be on my mind,” she said, adding that at the time of his death, Turner was writing his own rap lyrics and composing some music.

Turner is survived by his parents. According to Taylor, the victim also left a son and a pregnant wife.

“It’s very hard,” Taylor said. “It’s a mess.”

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