The Week in Rewind spotlights some of the editorial work of the Bronx Times for the week of Oct. 10-17.
Hochul marks the completion of 96-unit affordable and supportive housing development in Fordham Heights
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced earlier this month the completion of a 96-unit affordable and supportive housing development in Fordham Heights.
The development, named 2050 Grand Concourse, includes 58 units of supportive housing, with the remaining 38 units set aside for low-to-middle income New Yorkers. The project, which cost $61.4 million to complete, is all-electric, representing part of the state’s plan to increase the number of zero-carbon multifamily units.
The 58 supportive units are a main feature of the development, providing the occupants with access to on-site services such as care coordination, vocational training, transportation, food and nutrition education, health promotion and education, home-making assistance and counseling. The units are for single adults.
The affordable housing units are for tenants who earn at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, which equates to a household income of $112,960 for a family of four.
State Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia of the 86th Assembly District, which covers Fordham Heights, said the completion of 2050 Grand Concourse is a “true game-changer.”
“With 96 affordable apartments, a strong emphasis on sustainability, and support services, it’s a powerful resource that will significantly improve the lives of those in the 86th district,” Tapia said.
It was a warm September night in Kingsbridge when renowned graffiti artist Michael Christopher Tracy was grabbing a late-night bite at the Wendy’s on 238th Street and Broadway and suffered a massive heart attack. He was dead at the age of 65.
“I didn’t find out until last week,” his estranged son, Shawn Tracy, told the Bronx Times on Oct. 27. Tracy died Sept. 3.
Tracy was known as one of the pioneers of the graffiti scene, signing his works with his tag, Tracy 168 – the number of the street he hung out on.
“He saw the graffiti I had on my gate and told me, ‘If I paint a mural here, no one will spray over it,’” said Gennady O., owner of Cohen’s Optical on the corner of 231st Street and Broadway. Tracy painted the mural in 1994 and Gennady confirmed that he never had problems with vandalism again.
“I started this f—ing movement,” said Tracy of writing – how graffiti is referred to by artists — in a YouTube video titled, “A Tracy 168 Tribute.” “I wanted to draw pictures all my life and I found an outlet. I just started spraying.”
He is survived by his brother, John; two half brothers, seven half sisters, his son and a 13-year-old granddaughter.
Services have been organized by Shawn Tracy and will take place at Casey Funeral Home in Staten Island on Saturday, Dec. 2, from noon to 4 p.m.
Greenburger Center breaks ground on $13M Crotona Park Hope House, the first of its kind in the nation
The Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice celebrated the groundbreaking for an upcoming $13 million development in the Bronx’s Crotona Park, which will house individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) who were previously accused of felony-level crimes.
Hope House, acting as the Greenburger Center’s Alternative to Incarceration model, will provide treatment, education and other services for those who suffer with SMI. The project will also serve as the first of its kind in the nation — housing alleged felony-level offenders with mental illness, when it is completed.
Veterans and individuals who were living in the Bronx at the time of their arrest will have top preference in accessing Hope House, which will provide services to anyone living in the city’s five boroughs, aged 18 and older. The facility will consist of eight rooms and 16 beds, with two people sharing each room. It is reserved for eight men and eight women who have not committed a sexual offense. Residential and security staff will be on-site 24/7.
The expected length of stay will be 1-2 years for those who are accepted into the program.
“America must find a better default option than prison for people living with behavioral health issues or mental illness who become involved with the criminal justice system,” Francis Greenburger, real estate developer and well-known philanthropist said.
According to the Greenburger Center, Hope House is scheduled to open in 2025, with demolition of the existing buildings currently in progress and construction to follow.
Almost two years after New York City’s deadliest fire in three decades, lawsuits that have arisen from the blaze remain in limbo.
According to an Oct. 31 order issued by Judge Raymond Fernandez, acting justice of Bronx County Supreme Court, the cases against the Twin Parks ownership consortium are still in the consolidation phase. In the most recent order, Fernandez appointed a plaintiffs’ steering committee (PSC) — a group of attorneys to lead the common interests of all the plaintiffs.
The fire prompted multiple lawsuits and calls for enhanced fire safety legislation in its direct aftermath — survivors and plaintiffs claiming the building owners’ negligence indirectly caused the fire and the deaths.
At the time of the tragedy, the 52-year-old building had been flagged with 18 open violations and 174 total violations since the new ownership consortium had purchased the building in 2020, according to records filed with the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Some tenants also claimed that smoke detectors in the building were so defective that they regularly experienced false alarms. Residents had filed more than 30 complaints that detailed dangerous conditions in the year preceding the fire, including some that stated the apartments had no heat.
The Twin Parks ownership consortium, however, has maintained that the heat worked properly at the apartment complex, stating that data from the building’s heat sensors the day of the fire showed an average of 71.2 degrees.
Baker, the OCA spokesperson, told the Bronx Times that the court “meets regularly with the committee and a liaison for the defense to ensure compliance,” and that a Twin Parks trial date has not yet been set.
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