Every Saturday, The Week in Rewind spotlights a sampling of the wide-ranging editorial work of the Bronx Times.
Bronx freestyle legends reunite Saturday at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts
Bright lights and sweaty bodies adorned with leather, bomber jackets, tracksuits and high-waisted jeans fill the hazy space. A live sound of syncopated percussion, repetitive tempo and melodic words has the crowd dancing. It is the 1980s and freestyle is carving its place into the club scene and the world.
Decades later, the genre lives on returning to the stage this Saturday at 8 p.m. with Forever Freestyle 15 at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx. The concert will feature performances by iconic freestyle artists like TKA, George LaMond, Judy Torres, The Cover Girls, Rob Base, Brenda K Starr, Cynthia, C-Bank, Soave and Pretty Poison.
Get your tickets to Forever Freestyle 15 online here or by calling (718) 960-8833 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bronx building workers, realty advisory board avert strike, reach tentative 4-year deal
Negotiations between building service workers and the Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB) went down to the eleventh hour on Tuesday, and just before midnight struck, both sides were able to avert a strike that would have included 2,712 workers across 894 co-ops, condos and apartment buildings in the Bronx.
The tentative agreement, reached shortly before the current contract was set to expire, is a four-year deal that includes a provision that allows BRAB to renegotiate the contract after one year — March 1, 2024 — if they are unable to meet the financial commitment of a four-year wage scale. The new wage scale includes $102.80 per week in wage increases over four years.
Prior to the new deal, 32BJ officials said Bronx workers, such as porters and door attendants, make roughly $19.66 an hour compared to a wage of $27.13 in the other boroughs.
Two Bronx council districts lack public pools, though incorrect city data said otherwise
A report from City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ office identified the Bronx’s Council District 13 as the only district in the borough without a public pool, but a Bronx Times analysis found that District 14 also lacks one, revealing flawed NYC Parks data.
In her 2023 State of the City speech, Adams said there are 16 out of 51 City Council districts across New York City without a public pool, as part of her push for better pool access. In the report that was released in conjunction with Adams’ March 8 speech and that she promoted on Twitter, a map illustrates District 13 in the East Bronx, which is represented by Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez, as the only district in the borough without a public pool.
But a review by the Bronx Times found that although District 13 does lack a public pool, so does District 14 in the West Bronx, which is represented by Councilmember Pierina Sanchez. And with the redrawn council district boundaries that were finalized in October and are being implemented in 2024, District 18 in the Southeast Bronx, which is represented by Councilmember Amanda Farías, will become a third district in the borough without a public pool.
City Council bill to ban elephant captivity in NYC puts focus on Bronx Zoo’s Happy and Patty
Animal advocates clamoring for the release of the Bronx Zoo’s Happy the Elephant from its enclosure had been dealt a major legal defeat from the state’s highest-ranking court, the New York Court of Appeals last summer. The matter of Happy — who along with Patty is one of two Bronx Zoo elephants— according to concurring judges, was one for the state Legislature.
But now, the New York City Council is looking to get involved and could set a precedent — with the nation’s first-ever elephant captivity ban — if newly-proposed legislation from Brooklyn’s Progressive Councilmember Shahana Hanif is successful.
Hanif’s bill would prohibit elephants to be kept or constrained in enclosures throughout the city unless certain conditions were met.
The conditions outlined in the bill — which the Bronx Times analyzed before a Thursday press conference to introduce the new legislation — stipulates a legal elephant enclosure to include 15 acres per elephant, a cohabitation with other elephants and a habitat that can mimic the elephant’s natural surroundings.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which operates the Bronx Zoo, have long-stated in prior statements that Happy and Patty are well cared for by the zoo. The WCS, which manages four New York City wildlife parks in addition to the Bronx Zoo, has never faced charges of abuse against their elephants.
If passed, the bill would become law 90 days thereafter upon signature by Mayor Eric Adams.
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