NBD describes NYBG 'a leader in flowers and destroying neighborhoods'
By: Anthony Rivieccio,
Northwest Bronx Democrats Founder
In 2010, the ink was just dry. The New York Botanical Garden, one of 4 Bronx Institutions , went to Community Board 7 for a proposal to rezone Webster Ave. They said it should be both a residential & business district.
So 10 years later , on Bedford Park Blvd & Webster Ave what do you have?
On one side, a NYBG parking lot. And now on the other side: Being proposed are 2 , 12 story buildings, 1 affordable and 1 Senior based , side by side, with The original Cherry Valley Supermarket about 40% reduced to size!?.
According to a recent story from The Norwood News, Resident , Sirio Guerino, said, “We want to stop this overdevelopment. It’s going to destroy this community.” He added, “We’re going to be overburdened with people that aren’t going to have jobs, and where are they going to go? They’re going to be out in the streets.”
Current approval plans also call for a restriping of the bus lanes as well.
With The NYBG leasing out the property, via a 99 year lease to the developer, Douglaston, the NYBG are now landlords!.
So in the future, what was once , according to NYBG, " an ugly corridor" will now be a NYBG money bonzanza, making money on both, the parking lot & the leasing of land. There has now been neighborhood mention of NYBG targeting more Webster Ave properties.
On March 3rd, Bedford Mosholu Community Association president ( BMCA ) Barbara Stronczer, has announced a " public meeting" over this issue. As Ms Stronzer is also a current CB7 board member ( and voted for the plan 10 years ago) one wonders if she is currently the right person to lead this fight.
According to the Norwood News, " Stronczer told members she had invited Aaron Bouska, the vice president for community affairs and intergovernmental relations at NYBG, to the next meeting. “I asked him to give us an update on some programs at the garden, and also on the construction on Webster Avenue,” she said.
Now did you read that statement carefully!. Ms Stronczer, seems to be more concerned about " an update in some programs" first !. She currently holds a " membership" with NYBG and as a CB7 Board member , I'm sure enjoys the NYBG " perks".
Believe it or not there was a time when NYBG , before the 1990s , was indeed a good Bronx neighbor. It used to help with neighborhood cleanups. They used to hand out commerical " discount" tickets to the local eateries. They expanded their " community days" for free community access. They saluted former Bronx Historian Theodore Kasimoff by advocating and renaming Southern Blvd to Kasimoff Blvd.
Today, not only is all that gone, the NYBG , quietly, announced a 30% free community cut " in free community access.
In full disclosure, part of the reason I am currently a 35 year Bedford Park resident is because of The NYBG. My family took me into this area in the 1970s, when a teenage kid, could find happiness , when living on Tremont Ave during the Burning Bronx 1970s.
By accident, I re-found this area again in the 80s and fought hard to find an apartment in the area. Why? because I thought it brought a great quality of life. Yes Webster Ave was " very commerical" then and Bedford Park Blvd/ Mosholu parkway entrance was considered the " main " entrance.
Today, they have moved that " main entrance" to Fordham, and the NYBG pushes Fordham University , The Bronx Zoo & Arthur Ave as their connectors. So now, like owning a home and taking care of your front yard, while leaving the backyard at times looking lazy or maybe even dingy--- the new back side of the NYBG, off of the re- re- named Southern Blvd again ( no more Kasimoff) Bedford Park & Mosholu are being revamped- and the NYBG will never let you see the destruction or even know these neighborhood exists.
It makes one wonder about many things. The new real intent of the institutions!. The intentions of the resident " old timers"? The new residents? The local government in between?.
It is a shame, no matter where it is , when small towns get redeveloped into big cities. I'm sure one can not imagine " Disney world" being on Fox Ave so why is Bedford Park, one a great working class residential tourist area turning into Kelly Ave, from the old 1970s South Bronx?
Anthony Rivieccio has been founder of The Northwest Bronx Democrats , a community & political organization since 2003. Their target areas are: Fordham, Kingsbridge , Kingsbridge Heights , Bedford Park, Norwood , Allerton. The current President is Sheila Sanchez .
You can find our Facebook Group page by just going to Facebook search and tying in: "Northwest Bronx Democrats". We feature daily: NYC & Bronx community & political news, activities & events. Our close to 2000 members include several distinguished : activists, NYC agency staff directors, elected and party officals-, including Councilpeople, State Assembly, State Senate & Congressional representatives, and numerous people of interest