Happy mini-Birthday to us.
While the Bronx is actually a geriatric 275 years old, big plans are afoot to celebrate a major milestone for the borough – it’s centennial anniversary of officially joining the city of New York as a county, including the honor of being the first borough to sit on the mainland.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. officially launched the Centennial celebration at Borough Hall (alternately called the Bronx County Building, or Bronx Supreme Court Building) on Thursday, Jan. 9 as part of the inauguration ceremonies for himself and the Bronx City Council delegation.
The year-long celebration will pretty much dovetail with on-going and planned events involving healthcare, education, tourism and other promotions, with a historic theme woven in, officials said.
The event also marked the return of a former Bronx official in a new official role: former Borough President Fernando (Freddy) Ferrer, who will serve as chairman of the centennial commission.
He joked with the audience that he’s keeping his calendar clear, Mr. Borough President, in case one of our successors is kind enough to invite me to the 125th birthday of Bronx County.”
The swearing-in ceremony was noted as a historical nod to the first swearing in that took place when Bronx County was created in 1914. Those attending were also encouraged to use the hashtag #bronx100 to discuss the event on social media, a nod to the technology of today.
“Today is a historic day,” Diaz told the packed Veterans Hall at the County Building. “Not only is it the ceremonial start of my second term as Borough President of this great borough I love, but we are also marking a major milestone as we celebrate the first 100 years of Bronx County.
“It is our time to shine and let the world know that the Bronx is rich in history, culture and diversity and this is what we are going to showcase in our yearlong celebration.”
Official Bronx Historian Lloyd Ultan told the audience that “The centennial affords us an opportunity to look two ways. We look back 100 years to the origin of the Bronx County and the progress we have made since then. We look forward to using our past advance as a springboard to the future.”
During the ceremony, Borough President Diaz and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce also unveiled a commemorative plaque celebrating the centennial.
While the Borough Hall ceremony was underway that night, the Empire State Building was lit in the colors of the Bronx flag – orange, white and blue – to honor the 100th anniversary celebration of the creation of Bronx County.
In addition to Ferrer, centennial commission members include Angel Hernandez, Bobby Sanabria, Brian Andersson, Kathy Zamechansky, Lenny Caro, Lloyd Ultan, Majora Carter, Michael Max Knobbe, Robert Castellante, Robert Nolan, Paul Ramirez, the Hon. Nelida Malave-Gonzalez and Howard Teich.