On May 5, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted a media preview, his final Bronx Week, at The New York Botanical Gardens. The festivities run May 8 -15.
Diaz announced that Joe Conzo, Jr., Sal Abbatiello and Kid Capri would be honored as the newest members of the Bronx Walk of Fame. The Tourism Award will be presented to Woodlawn Cemetery by The Bronx Tourism Council.
After being the epicenter for COVID-19 and losing thousands of lives, Diaz is confident the Boogie Down will rebound from the pandemic. It is only right that Bronx Week begins as the borough is slowly resuming normalcy, Diaz said.
“It’s time to start opening up and celebrating,” the BP stressed. “The pandemic hit us hard, but so did the fires in the 70s, so did crack in the 80s, so did the crime in the 90s and so a lot of folks in a lot of municipalities are trying to figure out their identity and who they are because they’ve never been hit this hard.
But the Bronx to our core we have a certain swag and flavor. We’ve been punched in the gut; we’ve been elbowed in the chin. We’ve suffered, but we’ve never stayed down.”
Since 1997, the Bronx Walk of Fame has served as the premier honor that can be bestowed upon any Bronx native, with past luminaries including Prince Royce, Chazz Palmintieri, Fat Joe, Swizz Beats and others.
Conzo, Jr., Capri and Abbatiello, all have had a tremendous impact on the borough and hip-hop.
Capri, a Grammy award winning DJ and producer, is globally known as an originator, innovator and pioneer of DJ culture. His roots can be traced back to his parent’s home in the Bronx, where 10-year-old David Anthony Love would scratch records on his father’s old Zenith stereo system. As soon as he was old enough, he hit the pavement and caught a buzz hustling his DJ mix tapes on the streets and performing local gigs.
Capri’s grass roots hustler mentality became a template for success emulated by the DJs that followed in his footsteps. Dubbed the Guru of mix tapes, he redefined the term “DJ” as he blazed a trail with his array of fire mix tapes and lit crowd hyping performances.
Abbatiello, founder and CEO of Fever Records, is a Bronx born and raised entrepreneur and has been a business owner since 1971. He has over 46 years of experience operating more than 15 night clubs, restaurants and lounges, employing numerous residents. He encompasses all areas of the music industry including his own record label, artist management, publishing and concert promotions.
His story about Disco Fever can be seen in the movie “Krush Groove” released in 1985. In 1999 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame invited Abbatiello to participate in its first ever national Hip-Hop Conference and solicited key Disco Fever memorabilia for the museum’s permanent collection.
“We’re so proud of hip-hop, it’s probably the biggest music in the world,” Abbatiello said. “I’m so honored. Thank you Ruben.”
Conzo, Jr. was born and raised into Bronx royalty. His grandmother, Dr. Evelina Antonetty, known as “The Hell Lady of The Bronx,” is credited with starting bilingual education in the borough and advocating for basic human rights for Bronx natives and people of color. His mother, the late Lorraine Montenegro, is credited with starting the first women with children rehab facility in the country.
Conzo, who has been a career photographer, specifically in hip-hop, also served as an EMT and responded on 9/11.
“I accept this award on behalf of my family,” he said. “As a kid growing up they supported my love and passion for photography. I’m grateful to be honored at this year’s Bronx Week event because I shot this event for the last 15 to 20 years never imagining being on the other side.”