Bronx Ball salutes 2008 Walk of Fame honorees

With Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. and Lehman College president Ricardo Fernandez beside her, Dr. Ruth Westheimer stands tall accepting her award at the Bronx Ball on Saturday, June 28. - Photo by Marisol Diaz

A celebration of the Bronx was capped off with a star-studded Bronx Ball on Saturday, June 21, at Orchard Beach.

Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. was on hand to celebrate the continued growth of the Bronx while paying homage to the stars who helped put the borough in the spotlight. 

Hip-hop pioneers GrandMaster Caz and the Rock Steady Crew, America’s favorite therapist Dr. Ruth, 60’s Doo-wop sensations Larry Chance and the Earls, and CSI Miami’s Adam Rodriguez walked the red carpet as the 2008 Bronx Walk of Fame inductees.

To promote the greening efforts of the Bronx, honorees made their entrance on an environmentally friendly ‘green carpet,’ provided by ABC Carpet.

The following day, they were further celebrated on the Bronx Walk of Fame, a path along the Grand Concourse at E. 161 Street; their names forever emblazoned on street signs along the strip. 

“Today is a day of pride for all, and for Bronxites in particular; these inductees provide living proof that there can be a positive future for young people who come from urban America,” Carrion said.

In introducing break dancing pioneers The Rock Steady Crew, Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera said that despite the odds, Crazy Legs and the rest of the crew became known the world over.

“These were just average kids who took an art form they loved and it became renowned the world over,” Rivera noted.

  Richie “Crazy Legs” Colon, revealed one of the more minor secrets to The Rock Steady Crew’s success.

 “I speak on behalf of the rest of my crew, thanking our mothers for using Mop and Glow in the 70s — that really helped us spin,” Colon said. “We grew up in the 70s not knowing ourselves culturally. We used hip-hop as a tool.” 

As did hip-hop icon, Curtis “GrandMaster Caz” Brown, who penned the lyrics to the breakout rap record “Rappers Delight.” Brown was moved by the ceremony and his recognition.

   “I have really bad allergies. If you see tears in my eyes, that is what that is,” Caz, who lives in the Bronx, jokingly explained, before toasting another legendary Bronx icon.

 Moving to Doo Wop, Larry Chance of The Earls got a moment to reminisce about his Bronx roots. Half of the original band still lives in the borough.

“I must tell you this is quite a thrill,” Chance noted. “I am a little melancholy because it is the last year of Evander Childs. We used to sing in the second floor boys room, waiting for Theresa to walk by. Thank you so much. We love you Bronx.”

 Actor Adam Rodriguez said his success never would have been possible without the help of his family and girlfriend. 

“I just wanted to say, when I think about the Bronx, I think about the people I came from and the people who have provided for me,” he said.

Also honored at the event was George Fertitta, president of NYC & Company, who received the Bronx Tourism award. Fertitta declared the Bronx “the sexist borough,” while accepting his award on behalf of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Speaking of sex, renowned sex-therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the first Honorary Bronxite to be inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame, noted her Bronx connections, which include a teaching stint at Lehman College as associate professor of sex counseling.

“If you love the Bronx,” Westheimer told the revved up crowd, “I guarantee you are going to have a wonderful sex life.”

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