Week in Rewind: Heat act could save Bronxites money, Bronx Zoo marks 125th anniversary, real estate sales drop and more

Bronx Zoo exhibit
Animal Chronicles, a new exhibit marking the Bronx Zoo’s 125th anniversary, features natural sculptures of animals that have benefited from zoo conservation efforts throughout its history.
Photo Emily Swanson

NY HEAT Act could bring big energy savings to Bronx households

As the delayed state budget is being finalized, some local environmental groups are advocating for the NY HEAT Act, which could bring big savings for Bronxites’ energy bills.

The cost of heating, cooling and fueling homes is a significant burden to many households throughout the state but especially in the Bronx. The HEAT Act would help the state transition away from systems that run on fossil fuels while ensuring that low-income households and neighborhoods are protected from high costs.

Households in the Bronx pay some of the highest energy burdens in the city — which makes the potential savings would be huge for those living in the borough, according to Celeste Perez, state climate policy manager with the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA). The South Bronx nonprofits Nos Quedamos and The Point CDC are member organizations.

The HEAT Act, if passed, has a provision that would put a cap of 6% on household energy bills, meaning that households would put no more than 6% of their income towards electricity, gas and delivered fuels such as propane. Currently, about 34% of Bronx households pay more than that cutoff, according to research from the think tank Win Climate.

Photo Getty Images

Lehman’s Institute for Literary Studies canceled a panel on the struggles for Palestine. What are the implications?

Earlier this year, the Lehman College Institute for Literary Studies in the Bronx was gearing up for an antiracism writing conference that leadership said was meant to “support professors in teaching students who are struggling.” But less than two weeks before the original date of the conference, Feb. 16, the institute struck a panel from the lineup after its title turned controversial.

In “Globalize the Intifada! Mapping struggles for Palestine between the streets and our classrooms,” panelists said they aimed to “map the necessary relationship between antiracist teaching practices in the classroom” and reimagine “what a community supportive of justice for all [including Palestinians]” would look like.

However, after pushback from local Jewish leaders and alternative media outlets, Lehman’s Literary Institute didn’t see it that way.

“The goal is to bring people together, not to cause harm or make students feel unsafe. It is not a podium for protest,” Jane Kehoe-Higgins, the director of Lehman’s Institute for Literary Studies, said in a social media statement. “After discussion with the panelists, I do not believe we share the same goal.”

Cars drive by Lehman College on March 15, 2024.
Cars drive by Lehman College on March 15, 2024. Photo Camille Botello

Bronx Zoo marks 125th anniversary with ceremony, new exhibit

The Bronx Zoo, one of the borough’s most prominent cultural institutions, celebrated its 125th anniversary with a lively ceremony, cake cutting and a preview of a new exhibit on Thursday, April 18.

Since the zoo opened in 1899, it has welcomed 260 million visitors from around the world, and it offered a glimpse at its newest exhibit, Animal Chronicles, which highlights some of the zoo’s conservation efforts over the years.

The new exhibit, Animal Chronicles, which was previewed during the anniversary celebration, is a quarter-mile walking trail featuring large sculptures of animals and their habitats made of natural materials such as stone, wood, Spanish moss and bamboo.

Morrisania tenants sue landlords of South Bronx residence, citing several open violations

Dozens of Morrisania residents from adjacent apartments who claim to have tolerated substandard living conditions for years, have filed a lawsuit against the buildings’ landlords, with assistance from a nonprofit legal aid provider.

On April 16, the Legal Aid Society’s Housing Justice Unit Group Advocacy and 62 tenants who live at the connected high-rise apartment buildings located in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx filed a lawsuit against Fordham Fulton Realty Corporation, headed by Karan Singh and Rajmattie Persuad, who co-own the two South Bronx residences, along with several apartments located throughout the city.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Bronx Housing Court, seeks immediate repairs pertaining to more than 600 open violations from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

The two connected residences that make up 530 and 540 E. 169th St. still have a total of 600 open violations from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), prompting tenants and the Legal Aid Society to file a lawsuit against the buildings’ landlord on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Photo Steven Goodstein

Bronx real estate sales drop across the board, though spring market may be more active

The Bronx saw decreases in number of sales, new listings and overall inventory across the board in March, according to a report by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR).

The number of single-family home sales in the Bronx dropped by 29.3% as the median sales price rose to $625,000 — a 6.8% uptick from 2023.

Co-op and condo sales also dropped by 28.6% and 11.1%, respectively.

Though sales, listings and inventory are all down in the Bronx this month, pending sales for all three property types are up by 30.3%, according to HGAR.

Photo courtesy Getty Images

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