Every Saturday, The Week in Rewind spotlights a sampling of the wide-ranging editorial work of the Bronx Times.
Highbridge fires last week underscore traffic and accessibility issues for first responders
A double fire near Yankee Stadium in Highbridge last week has renewed what some first responders and locals are calling a major traffic issue in the West Bronx — one that is particularly detrimental during emergency situations.
The FDNY responded to an all-hands blaze at a two-story building at 913 Summit Ave. on Feb. 27 at around 4 p.m., where it took firefighters about an hour to put the flames out. But then the department received a second report of a basement fire at the same location around 6 p.m. that evening. The second event, a two-alarm fire, was under control by about 7:30 p.m., according to the FDNY.
Agnes Johnson, a Highbridge resident who was in the area at the time of the fires on Monday, told the Bronx Times in an interview that cars were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the narrow streets in that section of the West Bronx — and that first responder vehicles couldn’t get through. She even saw people get out of their stopped cars and start walking, she said.
“There was nothing moving,” she said. “It was very, very scary.”
Bronx DOE schools join city’s latest battle in the war against rats
The city announced its latest policy to maintain clean streets and dispel rats on Monday, declaring that hundreds of schools in the Bronx will now receive compostable collection five nights a week.
According to a press release from the city Department of Sanitation (DSNY), 325 city Department of Education schools in the Bronx have been trained on proper refuse separation and will receive the daily weekday service for compost — which the department claims will result in less rat food each night, as well as cleaner streets and cleaner air.
The new Bronx schools set for daily weekday service are part of the total 1,211 schools across the city implementing composting pickup. Another 533 schools, mostly in Queens and Brooklyn, will receive the service starting in the 2023-2024 school year.
The Bronx solidifies itself in the fashion world with borough-based nonprofit
In 2014, South Bronx native Flora Montes created an organization she coined Bronx Fashion NYC, which became a 501(c) 3 nonprofit in 2020. The organization aimed to establish Bronx-centric fashion event opportunities and better representation in an industry where access is often unattainable for people of color or of limited means — or who happen to come from the Bronx, a borough often perceived by some as un-chic despite boasting a culturally thriving history of innovation in the arts.
Bronx Fashion NYC has always been more than just fashion and modeling for Montes, it’s about the opportunities it’s fostering in the Bronx and the creativity it’s nurturing. With Bronx Fashion NYC, Montes is working on putting Bronx models and local designers on the map, paving the way for the future.
When people hear the term “New York Fashion Week,” they typically think of breathlessly hyped, mega-photographed events unfolding mainly in Manhattan and Brooklyn. But Bronx Fashion NYC is striving to change that perception decisively. Case in point: The organization’s Bronx fall 2022 event unspooled against a backdrop of much more aggressively promoted shows in Manhattan. Why the disparity? Because as far as New York’s “official” fashion week is concerned, the Bronx barely exists.
But for Montes and her band of guerilla innovators, the epicenter of Fashion Week wasn’t at any of these high-profile locales. It was in a string of events branded under the umbrella name Bronx Fashion Week, or, as they abbreviate it, BXFW. The first major event this past fall would unfold not in a swanky convention center or an architectural landmark, but at a modest mall located at 200 Baychester Ave. in Co-op City.
“I’m building a legacy,” Montes says. “This isn’t a company. We were always meant to be more than just an event.”
Bronx building service workers ready to strike, say contract talks are ‘far apart’
“32. BJ!” “32. BJ!”
The rallying cries from Bronx building service workers of 32BJ SEIU reverberated from the top of the Bronx Supreme Court steps throughout the Concourse neighborhood Wednesday evening, as workers made it known that they intend to strike if they do not receive a fair contract from Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB) by next week.
Shirley Aldebol, 32BJ executive vice president and director of the Bronx Residential Division, told the Bronx Times that three bargaining sessions remain between 2000-plus Bronx residential building workers — a workforce that includes thousands of door attendants, superintendents and porters — and BRAB before their current contract, which was collective bargained before the pandemic in 2019, expires at midnight on March 14.
The current contract covers 1,404 workers at 433 co-ops, condos and apartment buildings. But the negotiations also impact 374 buildings and 950 other workers who are covered by a linked “Bronx Master Independent Agreement.” A further 87 buildings and 358 members are covered by separate contracts that are indirectly impacted, according to 32BJ SEIU.
A major sticking point in negotiations, according to workers, are proposals to reduce the scope of their health care plans.
Among a list of proposals floated by BRAB, is a plan to limit health coverage to 5 Star Centers, private practitioners that partner with 32BJ to provide care for members for $0 co-pays. Additionally, building service workers said that BRAB has offered a separate contract for superintendents that would eliminate overtime, just cause termination and strip their right to cross the picket line.
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