Bronx Week kicks off with celebration of Walk of Fame inductees

Bronx Week officially kicked off on Monday, May 6 with its Walk of Fame inductees and the first-ever Health Care Hero, Paloma Izquierdo Hernandez, president and CEO of Urban Health plan for more than 40 years, pictured above with Bronx Borough President, Vanessa Gibson.
Photo ET Rodriguez

Bronx Week is back, unifying businesses, local institutions, politicians, celebrities and fellow Bronxites in their pride and appreciation for the Boogie Down.

Canceled once in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2024 marks the 53rd celebration of Bronx Week, which kicked off on Monday, May 6, with its 28th annual Walk of Fame inductees.

Held at the newly renovated Chase Community Center at 128 E. Fordham Rd., Bronx Borough President, Vanessa Gibson and Bronx Economic Development Corporation President Rob Walsh, announced five Bronx-born-and-bred, stand-out individuals honored at this year’s Bronx Week Walk of Fame.

“All of you that make this borough what it is today, we are so grateful,” Gibson said to a supporting crowd as she was preparing to announce the winners. “We want to make sure that we are lifting others as we climb [and] that we are the role models for the next generation of leaders.”

Introduced in 2023, the “people’s choice” category focused on educators, honoring principal, Lewis Torres of Community School 55 in Claremont. This year, the focus was on health care “because our health care heroes and ‘sheroes’ were on the battlefield during COVID and in the trenches when our unemployment was at almost 26%,” added Gibson.

The people spoke and elected Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez, president and CEO of Urban Health Plan (UHP) for more than 40 years. Established by her father, Richard Izquierdo in 1974, UHP is one of the largest healthcare providers in New York state dedicated to serving the underprivileged community.

“My commitment has been to really eliminate injustice, build social equity, make sure that everybody has the best health possible and that’s what drives me every day,” Izquierdo-Hernandez said as she stood at the podium while Gibson looked on admiringly.

Multi-platinum, music producer and Bronx native, Antwan “Amadeus” Thompson, was one of five to be inducted in this year’s Bronx Week Walk of Fame.Photo ET Rodriguez

A second special recognition of the evening was the symbolic “key to the borough,” which went to John Sterling, recently retired Yankees radio announcer of more than three decades. Sterling was not in attendance Monday night, but will be at the official induction ceremony on Saturday, May 18 at 851 Grand Concourse, according to Walsh.

Other honorees included actress, Andrea Navedo; the first Dominican-born Major League Baseball player and coach, Osvaldo José Virgil Pichardo and Antwan “Amadeus” Thompson, multi-platinum music producer who has worked with the likes of Busta Rhymes and Remy Ma, to name a few.

“I’m trying to keep it cool, I’m a very emotional being,” Thompson said with a heart-warming smile.  “I’m from one of the toughest neighborhoods in the world. I had to be timed to go to the corner store because that’s how bad my neighborhood was. So, if I can make it, if I can live my dreams and be great, there’s no excuses, there’s no reason why you can’t be great as well,” Thompson said in a special message to the kids.

Bronx historian emeritus and professor of history at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Lloyd Ultan, 87, is the reason Bronx Week even exists. It all started as Bronx Day back in 1971.Photo ET Rodriguez

Bronx Week dates back to the 1920s when it was called “Bronx Borough Day,” according to Bronx historian emeritus and professor of history Lloyd Ultan, 87. But when early affects of the Depression started to creep into the city, the Day was canceled and never celebrated again. That is until Ultan came along.

“I said, ‘I think we got to start an annual celebration of the Bronx to make people know the great things we have here,” Ultan told the Bronx Times of his meeting with then-Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams. “I said, ‘we used to have a Bronx Borough Day, so why don’t we have a Bronx Day’ and he took it and he ran with it.”

That was back in 1971.

The celebrations were plentiful with VIPs, a fair at the Bronx Zoo, a parade on the Grand Concourse, a classical music concert at the Bronx High School of Science during the day and a rock concert at the Loew’s Paradise Theatre at night. After a day of busying events, Ultan told Abrams, “This was great, absolutely great, but next year, we’ll do it through a week, not in one day.” And thus, Bronx Week was born.

The room was filled with excitement as people laughed and shouted “wepa!” at the Bronx Week Walk of Fame official kick-off on Monday, May 6 at the Chase Community Center at 128 E. Fordham Rd.Photo ET Rodriguez

Now, Bronx Week is celebrated across 13 days and at the rate which events are being added each year, it won’t be long before the festivities encompass a whole month. There are a multitude of exciting things happening from the Shark-Tank-like business owners competition at Yankee Stadium to the Bronx Food and Farm Tours at La Finca del Sur to the parade to Bronx Fashion Week and so much more.

Presented in conjunction with the Bronx Tourism Council and the Bronx Borough President’s Office, this year features added partnerships with Montefiore Einstein, J.P. Morgan Chase and dozens of sponsors dedicated to highlighting the borough and uplifting it from its tattered reputation.

“We are planting seeds for the next generation, we are saying yes when it comes to economic development, we’re saying yes when it comes to housing, yes when it comes to prosperity and jobs and career pathways,” said Gibson, wrapping up with this year’s Bronx Week motto. “Because guess what? We want more in ‘24.”

A list of events can be found at 

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