YEAR IN REVIEW 2021 | Part III

Remnants Of Hurricane Ida Move Through Northeast Causing Widespread Flooding
Last fall’s Hurricane Ida flooded Bronx walkways, parkways and roads, leading to the first flash flood emergency in city history.
Photo David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

September

September began with the remnants of Hurricane Ida ravaging parts of New York, producing the city’s first flash flood emergency and more than a dozen fatalities. Apartments flooded and road closures from flooding and abandoned vehicles disrupted commutes. Following the storm, climate activists called for infrastructure improvements.

A tow truck clears a car abandoned on the Major Deegan Expressway after the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida brought drenching rain, flash floods and tornadoes to parts of the northern mid-Atlantic, on Sept. 2, 2021. Photo Caitlin Ochs/REUTERS

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a retired Bronx NYPD detective shared memories with the Bronx Times of his three months at Ground Zero following 9/11, searching for survivors and instead finding dead bodies. “As I got there, I saw guys with shovels and I got in line with them,” he said. “Everything was gray there, there was no color.”

The Department of Education (DOE) championed bringing students back for in-person learning on Sept. 13 and set up vaccination sites at schools for students aged 12-17. The department decided to vaccinate 10% of unvaccinated students who opted-in to be tested bi-weekly. On Sept. 27, DOE began testing weekly instead.

Chesnut Holdings, a property management firm that manages approximately 134 buildings in New York City, most of which are in low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx, repeatedly violated lead-poisoning prevention laws, endangering tenants, according to the state Attorney General’s office. The company agreed to pay $300,000 for lead poisoning prevention programs and bring its apartments to compliance on Sept. 23.

October

On Oct. 1, the borough’s first Apple store opened on the ground level of The Mall at Bay Plaza in Baychester, making it official that each borough has at least one store of the tech giant.

Colin Powell spent much of his early life in the Bronx, including move into the borough at the age of 6. Photo courtesy Ruben Diaz Jr./Twitter

On Oct. 13, Colin Powell, the first African American U.S. Secretary of State, died at the age of 84 from COVID-19 complications. Powell was raised in the South Bronx and alongside his many naval honors, he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice, the Congressional Gold Medal and an award from the NAACP.

Hundreds of Riverdale residents attended a meeting, where many made sure the Department of Social Services knew its proposed single men’s shelter was not warmly welcomed on Broadway across from Van Cortlandt Park, which currently houses storefronts. It wasn’t the last time they made their views known.

Vice President Kamala Harris at the Edenwald YMCAPhoto Dean Moses

Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Edenwalk YMCA in the Bronx on Oct. 22 to speak about the Build Back Better Agenda, meant to reach climate goals, create jobs and lower costs for working families. She was introduced by Gov. Kathy Hochul and joined by U.S Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

 

November

Bronx women of color scored big wins on election night, with Vanessa Gibson winning borough president, Marjorie Velázquez, Althea Stevens, Pierina Ana Sanchez and Amanda Farias winning seats on the City Council and Yudelka Tapia winning an uncontested special election for the state Assembly. Democrats soared in the polls.

Althea Stevens raises the hand of her predecessor and Bronx Borough President-elect Vanessa Gibson at a Con Sofrito election watch party in Zerega on election night. Photo Adrian Childress

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, a 13-year-old boy was shot in Wakefield on his way to school; the suspect was out on parole and bail for separate gun charges. Even though the shooting was not gang-related, a local violence prevention group said it took place in a hotspot for shootings. On Thanksgiving Eve, a Brooklyn man allegedly shot at cops in Belmont after being asked to take his hands out of his pockets.

As Thanksgiving approached, and demand for turkey giveaways was abundant, it was no secret that food insecurity is omnipresent in the South Bronx, which outperformed nationwide for the ratio of residents experiencing food insecurity.

Residents of the South Bronx pick up free turkeys as part of a local initiative to ensure that everyone has food. Photo Adrian Childress

On Nov. 29, a New Rochelle man was arrested for a cold case of a 1999 murder of a 13-year-old girl, whose body was found behind a dumpster near Co-op City. Her family had last seen her when she left to go to school but never arrived.

December

A group of Fordham University students formed to protest sexual violence and the university’s policies on Dec. 8 after learning about lawsuits regarding assaults perpetrated by former students against former students during their time attending the university, like Julianna Czernyk, who told the Bronx Times of the impact her alleged rape had on her mental health.

Students shouted toward campus as they marched by on Dec. 8. Photo Aliya Schneider

City Island residents learned about a flood tracking app, so anyone in communities that experience flooding can help researchers visualize future impacts of sea levels rising, which can impact public safety and health.

The Bronx gets transportation news, which is hopeful for some and frustrating for others, that the long-anticipated four new Metro-North stations in the East and South Bronx are expected to be ready in five years. The MTA’s Bronx Bus re-design was approved by the board, putting another ongoing discussion into action.

Passengers cram onto a bus in the Bronx with masks on. Photo Adrian Childress

COVID-19 cases surged citywide as the omicron variant spread. City councilmen criticized the Department of Education for not testing more frequently, and long lines for COVID testing at hospitals and health care facilities tested Bronxites’ patience before the holidays.

As case virus counts in NYC continue to skyrocket, lines for COVID-19 testing wrap around Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx. Photo Adrian Childress

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