Next Meeting: Monday March 27, 7:30PM, Kings Harbor MultiCare Center, 2000 E Gun Hill Rd (at Stillwell Ave).
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.
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:
Meeting: Monday March 27, 7:30PM, Kings Harbor MultiCare Center, E. Gun Hill
Road at Stillwell Ave – Use Main Entrance.
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
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.
activities including preparing meals for the elderly and homebound during the
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information call 718-590-2272.