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Newsletter


 

NorthEast Bronx Association Inc.

 'neighbors watching out for neighbors'





 March 2017



NEWS FLASHES:

Next Meeting:  Monday March 27, 7:30PM, Kings Harbor MultiCare Center, 2000 E Gun Hill Rd (at Stillwell Ave).  

Guest Speaker:

Representatives from the 49th Pct; NYS Senator Klein; NYS Assemblyman Gjonaj; and NYC Councilman Vacca will be present.  Guest Speaker:  ConED representative to discuss power outages in Pelham Gardens area.



Women of Distinction

 

 

 

 

 

By Mark Saplicki

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj held his 3rd Annual Women of Distinction Breakfast on Saturday March 18 at the F&J Pine Restaurant.  It was a lovely event and without a doubt all of the women who were honored were worthy of the recognition:  Yvette Armstrong, Attorney & Community Activist; Mimoza Dajci, Founder & President of the women’s organization “Hope & Peace”; Nora Fuery, Secretary of Community Board 7; Monica Major, Director of Education & Youth, Office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr; Norma Lopez, Executive Board Member BPECA founder and chairwomen of Cruger/Mace Block Association.  All of these women are amazing in what they do in service to others and their community.

However, I am going to focus on one woman in particular, Yvette Armstrong, because the Northeast Bronx Association nominated her for this award, and because she is my friend, neighbor and sister in faith.  I have known Yvette (and her husband Ricardo) for almost all of the 17 years I have been a parishioner at Holy Rosary.  When Mark Gjonaj’s office asked if NEBA was aware of any women deserving of this award (within his district), I made a list of several women, but stopped when I got to Yvette – and that was before I read her resume!  Why Yvette?  Well, when I asked her to considered submitting her resume for this award, I asked her not to respond until she has spoken to Ricardo (because I knew she would refuse).  That is the kind of lady she is.  Almost no one knows everything she has done in service to others.  Yvette gives without any thought of receiving anything back; and she would never blow her own horn.  I imagine that accepting this award was not easy for her.  And it is for these reasons that she is worthy of it!  Here is a summary of her resume of service:

Next Meeting

Next Meeting: Monday March 27, 7:30PM, Kings Harbor MultiCare Center, E. Gun Hill Road at Stillwell Ave – Use Main Entrance.

Guest Speaker:

Representatives from the 49th Pct; NYS Senator Klein; NYS Assemblyman Gjonaj; and NYC Councilman Vacca will be present.

 

For over thirty years, Yvette Armstrong has been a part of the fabric of this vibrant and diverse community. She is an attorney, artist, educator, community and religious volunteer and former public servant. She is a devoted wife and daughter, sister, mother of three sons and grandmother to a young teen. Ms. Armstrong is truly a Bronx Renaissance woman.

As a real estate attorney, Ms. Armstrong has assisted many Bronx families in achieving home ownership. She has provided pro bono advice and given free first time homebuyers seminars in conjunction with local lending institutions.

Channeling her passion for art and her faith, there are a number of significant works of her religious paintings prominently displayed in our community churches. Additionally, she has made altar clothes and other works of art for her beloved Church. As the chair of the Liturgy Committee she ensures that the church is always beautifully adorned throughout the year, and organizes events to bring the community together. Two works of art were exhibited at a South Bronx gallery.

For many years, Ms. Armstrong has spearheaded care packages for our soldiers overseas and in our Veterans Hospital. This includes designing holiday-patriotic ornaments, which are then assembled by inter-generational volunteer “sewing brigades” --- the seniors and youngsters of the parish, family members, and others. Through a nationwide organization, Ms. Armstrong modified T-shirts and pants for wounded hospitalized soldiers; that organization’s goal was to foster soldiers’ sense of normalcy and dignity during their hospitalizations after they sustained injuries. Most Veterans Days, she volunteers with a 9/11 organization that sends artistic items to deployed soldiers.

Other volunteer activities including preparing meals for the elderly and homebound during the holidays.

As an ardent advocate for education, she has volunteered on Public School Leadership Teams and Parent Associations, and has sat on boards of private and charter schools. She created a “Mentorship Day” for grammar school students to shadow a professional in the career of their choice. Among the placements were the FBI, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Marvel Comics and others.

While her children attended both public and private schools, she gladly shared information with other parents. She developed a “High School Decision” chart as part of a brochure aimed at 8th graders and their families in the HS application and selection process. The chart and brochure were presented at a nation-wide educational symposium held in San Francisco. After a NYC mayoral election, Ms. Armstrong was one of a handful of parents asked to present information to the newly-elected mayor on what changes were needed in the public schools.

From 1991 to 1997, Ms. Armstrong was a mayoral appointee and served as a Commissioner at NYC Equal Employment Practices Commission. The Commission conducted hearings and produced reports on city agencies’ efforts on equal employment practices. At the hearings, Ms. Armstrong’s questions elicited responses on the agencies’ efforts to hire and retain a diverse and productive workforce. She also volunteered as an Arbitrator in the Bronx Courthouse.

In the community, she and her family have done community patrols and have been active in community events. Past relief efforts include participation in a HUD program for the Homeless, as well as hurricane relief following a 1990’s hurricane in Puerto Rico. As a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, she helped renovate and build residences for those in the Bronx, Harlem, and New Orleans post-Katrina.

Common Denominator

Whether she is writing a story for her granddaughter, or being a caregiver to an elderly woman, cooking for the needy, helping a veteran’s widow obtain benefits, sewing for soldiers, shaving part of her hair in solidarity with a friend undergoing brain surgery, or wielding a hammer, there is a common denominator: she infuses them all with love and a desire to bring positivity and help to others.

Ms. Armstrong considers it a blessing and solemn responsibility to raise three sons into honorable manhood, alongside her husband, Ricardo, whom she loves and admires.

Ms. Armstrong is a Bronx native and a graduate of John Jay College, Summa Cum Laude. She holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Baychester Square

As you may know from other sources, the MTA property which previously hosted the Golf Center at the end of Gun Hill Road was sold to Grid Properties.  This is what they say on their website:

Baychester Square is a unique retail destination located on approximately 12 acres at the intersection of the New England Thruway, the Hutchinson River Parkway and East Gun Hill Road. The project brings an urban-oriented critical mass of pedestrian-focused shopping, dining and lifestyle experience to the north Bronx. The project will contain approximately 395,000 square feet with approximately 4,000 linear feet of transparent storefronts at grade. The ground level will consist of smaller specialty retailers, a variety of dining options and entries to larger format retailers located on the second level. The project's urban design consists of eight independent buildings that are separated by two pedestrian-only streets running in the east-west direction and a wider central pedestrian-only street running in the north-south direction. The streets and the two squares at their intersection provide for more than an acre of publicly accessible open space. The project will have approximately 1,170 parking spaces divided equally between indoor and outdoor spaces. The project, being designed by BLT Architects, will seek LEED certification and is currently going through ULURP, New York City's discretionary project approval process. Completion is expected by the second half of 2019.

What residents of Pelham & Eastchester Gardens need to know is that the property is under the jurisdiction of Community Board 12 (not ours), so technically we have no say as to what happens there.  Unfortunately, what happens there will directly affect our community – especially with regards to the increase in traffic.

At the time of this writing, a public hearing was scheduled for Monday March 20, sponsored by Community Board 12.  Mark Saplicki along with several members of Community Board 11 will have attended that hearing.  The purpose of which is to petition for inclusion in the process – just a seat at the table so that our concerns can be heard.

We have also reached out to our elected representatives.  Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj has already said he will do what he can and sent a representative to the hearing.  We are confident that Senator Jeff Klein and Councilman Jimmy Vacca will follow in suit – as they have always been responsive to the concerns of our residents.

So stay tuned and we will let you know what happened in our next Newsletter.

Thank you John Fratta!

We are all very grateful to have had John Fratta as our guest speaker last month.  Although he only works at Community Board 11 part time now, his commitment to our community has not wavered in the least.  Some of the current concerns he spoke of included the reconstruction of Pelham Parkway North; the Hutch MetroTech situation; and Baychester Square.  Essentially John said CB11 will attempt to avoid the mistakes that were made with the reconstruction of the south side of Pelham Parkway.  He reminded us that some concessions have already been effected such as: 1) The un-named street by the house of the blind which was slated to be removed and given over to the park's department will now remain an access point to the main road.  2) the 200 year old oak tree that was slated to be removed for a bus stop has been saved and is no longer in danger of being removed.  3) A tree task force will be set up as we have done on the south side of the project to review trees slated to be removed.  John also reminded us that the renovation of Pelham Parkway is actually 2 different projects – one being the roadway reconstruction; and the other being the “park” project which affects the grassy areas that separate the roadways (which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks.)

John also indicated that with support from Senator Jeff Klein, there will be direct access to the Hutch MetroTech Center from the Hutchinson River Parkway…eventually.

Mr. Fratta also said that the new mall and housing proposed for the property that used to be the Golf Center on Gun Hill Road is a bit more difficult to deal with.  That is because the property is completely within the jurisdiction of Community Board 12.  He indicated that our Community Board 11 is fighting for our residents, who will be adversely affected by the increased traffic coming and going from the new mall.

From Da Prez…

By Vincent Prezioso

I wish to thank all of you for your concern and well wishes as I recuperate from knee replacement surgery.  I am hopeful to be able to make an appearance at the upcoming meeting!

After the Arrest

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D Clark is offering a FREE informative workshop called “After the Arrest”, where the community can learn about the Criminal Court process.  It will be held at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office 198 E 161st Street 3rd floor Litigation Training Room, on Wednesday March 29, from 5:45pm to 8pm.  This workshop is an overview of the arrest-to-arraignment process, including central booking and the complaint room.  To RSVP contact Robert Barnes, Community Engagement Coordinator at 718-838-7461 or email barnesro@bronxda.nyc.gov.  For additional information call 718-590-2272.