Tag Archive | "Soundview"

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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Jobless Bronx resident joins the march on Wall Street

Jobless Bronx resident joins the march on Wall Street


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On Wednesday, the Occupy Wall Street protest got a big boost as labor unions from across the city gathered near the courthouses at Foley Square for the movement's biggest march since it started in early September. (LINDSAY MINERVA/The Bronx Ink)

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Man charged in Albany burglary after DNA match, Albany Times Union

A Bronx man has been charged with a 2008 convenience store burglary in Albany, reports the Albany Times Union.

Sean Jackson, of Soundview, had broken the front window of the store and stolen a dozen pack of cigarettes, said police.

Police were able to connect Jackson to the crime from DNA of blood left on the broken window. Jackson’s DNA had been in the state database from two unrelated felonies, police said.

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Fighting gun crime one flyer at a time

Ruben Diaz Jr.: "We are sick and tired of being held hostage in our apartments."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. raced from door to door in the Monroe Housing Projects in Soundview last Saturday, knocking on doors, handing out flyers, imploring residents to help clear guns off the streets.

“We’re sick and tired of reading about shootings on a daily basis,” said Diaz Jr., dressed in a Peace In Our Streets t-shirt promoting the borough hall initiative that implores residents to call an anonymous hotline if they know about illegal guns.

“We are all sick and tired of being held hostage in our own apartments,” Diaz Jr. said. He lives in Boynton Avenue in Soundview, and is fearful when his son goes out at night to walk his girlfriend home across the street.

The 10-year-old program, funded in part with private donations, offers a $1,000 reward for tips that end in arrest. Diaz Jr. claims that the program resulted in 109 Bronx arrests in 2009 and 158 in 2010. He said that 79 guns were confiscated because of the hotline last year, up from 59 the year before.

Soundview in the 43rd Precinct of the Bronx has seen a spike in gun crime over the last two years. Arrests for felony assaults increased from 352 to 378 between last year and today, an increase of 7.4 percent.

“We need some uniformity in federal gun control laws,” Diaz Jr. said. “What we’re seeing is many of the guns in our streets that are killing our children are coming from Virginia and South Carolina.”

His remarks came a week after Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against the new Right-to-Carry Act, a bill that would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms over state lines.

Ruben Diaz Jr.: Knocking Doors for Peace from Mohammed Ademo on Vimeo.

Some residents were skeptical about the borough president’s approach. “Paying people in the community to rat or squeal on those who have guns is one thing, but we still have killings,” said Martin N. Danenberg, an education advocate. “I don’t have much confidence in the people all around to get the job done.”

Danenberg believes education is more effective than anonymous tipsters. “If you educate them and they realize they can earn money without using guns,” he said, “you won’t even have to pay them $1000!”

Still, Diaz believes the program is so worthwhile, he was willing to walk the halls of the Monroe project to promote it. Diaz Jr. believes the 15.6 percent jump in arrests for felonies can be attributed to illegal gun smuggling and the glorifying of violence in popular culture.

“They only give individuals record deals where they promote violence,” he said. “There has to be more of an option.”

Monroe residents were surprised and a little skeptical to see their borough president knocking on doors. Local resident Rhonda said Diaz Jr. knocked just as she was getting ready to leave the house.

“I was like, I’ll be nice,” said Rhonda. “But I’ve never seen him before a day in my life!”

Miriam Sanchez has lived in Monroe housing for 23 years. She supported the mayor’s recent campaign to increase the minimum sentence for firearms offences to three and a half years.

“Now, I don’t feel the three years is doing any justice either,” Sanchez said. “It’s not working. They need to get five years mandatory.”

Sanchez supports the Peace In Our Streets initiative. “The more that the public is aware that this is anonymous, they’ll come forward,” she said. “But too many times the people who witness crimes are afraid. We need to take that fear away.”

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The Daily News reports hit-and-run in Soundview

Earlier this morning a man was fatally injured in a hit-and-run accident, The Daily News reported today. The unidentified man was walking on Story Avenue when a SUV hit him and never stopped to look back. The man died in the street. No arrests have been made but police are looking for a white Lincoln Navigator that may have front-end damage.

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