The borough’s largest and longest celebration of itself, Bronx Week, kicked off with what else – food!
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. officially launched Bronx Week 2016, a celebration of the ‘best of the Bronx’ with a press conference in the world-renowned Arthur Avenue Retail Market on Monday, May 2.
The 45th annual celebration that includes scores of events from Thursday, May 5 to Sunday, May 15, will honor four outstanding people, a daughter and three sons of the Bronx, who got their start in the borough.
The honorees, who will be inducted on Sunday, May 15 onto the Bronx Walk of Fame outside the Grand Concourse courthouse, are: award-winning photographer and author Arlene Alda; television and film star Vincent Pastore, known for his role on HBO’s The Soprano’s; Peter Sohn, animator and director of Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ and Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, the nation’s oldest Latino dance organization.
Pastore and Vilaro were on hand for the curtain-raiser event, with Diaz offering some explanation of the criteria he and the Bronx Tourism Council use every year to select outstanding individuals to honor during Bronx Week.
“We look for folks who have done well for themselves, mastered their craft, but at the same time have been unabashful about saying and celebrating where they come from,” said Diaz, adding that the honorees inspire and encourage youth to master their crafts but also to never forget where they come from.
The borough president chose to highlight the grand finale of the 11-days of Bronx Week, a parade on Mosholu Parkway, followed by a concert, all beginning at noon on Sunday, May 15.
The celebration after the parade will feature freestyle dance singer Judy Torres, salsa singer Tito Nieves and hip-hop trio Naughty by Nature.
The parkway occasion, which the borough president noted draws many schoolchildren to the parade, doubles as a food and health festival.
Before the two Bronx Week honorees went off to make mozzarella at Mike’s Deli in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market they offered brief remarks.
There is a sense of community and support for each other in the borough, said Vilaro.
“Growing up in the Bronx you get your mettle, you get your chutzpah and you get your compassion as well,” said Vilaro. “I am so honored to be an honoree.”
Pastore said at the start of his remarks that he was honored to be introduced by Diaz, a man he hopes could someday be the first Latino United States president.
He then spoke about how he moved to Pelham Bay in the mid-1980s in the midst of a difficult period, living with his aunt while pursuing his dream of being an actor.
“I lived in the basement,” he said, adding “I could not afford to live anywhere else.”
Pastore said he went after his dream at the age of 42-years-old, and now has a beautiful home on City Island, and loves that community, as well as Pelham Bay and Belmont.
For more information about Bronx Week, see the center section in this edition of the Bronx Times.
You can also learn more about Bronx Week 2016 by visiting the Bronx Tourism Council at ilove