Fresh faces to represent Fordham Rd.

Katherine Mateo is a 19-year old student from Morris Heights, Carlos Beato a 24-year old teacher from Mount Hope. Mateo plans to become a Supreme Court Justice, Beato the Chancellor of Education for NYC. Both Mateo and Beato are ambitious. But they share something more in common. Mateo and Beato – like so many Bronxites – love Fordham Road.

“I had my first date on Fordham Road,” Mateo said. “Fordham Road is where I shop. It’s the financial heart of the Bronx and so much fun.”

On Tuesday, May 5, the Fordham Road Business Improvement District invited Mateo and Beato to a photo shoot at Fordham Road and Grand Concourse. A panel of BID staffers, community leaders and media partners selected the pair to represent Fordham Road on BID brochures and billboards.

Young people from Bathgate, Bedford Park, Belmont, Bronx Park South, Tremont, Fordham, Mount Hope, Norwood, West Farms, Kingsbridge and Morris Heights entered the BID’s inaugural Face of Fordham Road competition. They submitted resumes. They promised to serve the Bronx. They penned essays on Fordham Road – why the borough’s busiest corridor is so important.

The panel had trouble picking a single winner, so it settled on a pair, BID deputy Daniel Bernstein said. Mateo and Beato will represent the BID at community events until 2010.

“Rather than use a stock photo to promote the BID, we chose to recognize young people from the Fordham Road community,” Bernstein said. “We chose to help a pair of young people achieve.”

Mateo was born in the Dominican Republic. She moved to Washington Heights for a year, then across the Harlem River. The DeWitt Clinton High grad is sophomore class president at Lehman College. Her majors: philosophy, physics and political science. Mateo works for the state attorney general, interns with an assemblyman and volunteers at the Bronx Supreme Court on E. 161st Street. She wants to set an example for teens like her younger sister.

Beato is an Alfred E. Smith grad. At Middlebury College in Vermont, he majored in Spanish. Beato is a second-year NYC Teaching Fellow. By week he’s a Spanish lit instructor at the Academy for Language and Technology; by weekend he’s a grad student at Lehman College. Next year, Beato, also born in the Dominican, will teach AP Spanish, a college-level class. He left Middlebury to spend a year in Spain. Beato shops at the Fordham Road GAP; he spent untold hours studying at the Old Fordham Library.

“I know Fordham Road like the back of my hand,” Beato said. “I want people to see…you don’t have to go to midtown to shop.”

Katherine Mateo

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