Saraciea Fennel is the founder of the Bronx Book Festival and was featured recently in the New York Times. She is yet another example here at BronxNewsNYC of a person who is making a difference in her community. Thanks Saraciea!
“I attended my first book festival as an adult in Brooklyn,” said Saraciea Fennell. “I thought to myself, ‘This is amazing. Why doesn’t the Bronx have something like this?’”
Here’s a Description of the Bronx Book Festival as Seen on their Website
“The Bronx Book Festival aims to promote literacy and foster a love of reading among children, teens, and adults. The festival will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the Bronx community through panels, workshops, and more with award-winning and bestselling authors, illustrators, and creators. The festival will help build the reading culture in the Bronx and become the premier literary experience open to Bronx residents and the general public.”
Here’s another Interesting Caption from the Bronx Book Festival Website
“Many children attending Title I schools in the Bronx have never owned their own books or experienced an author visit. The Bronx Book Festival aims to change that with The Bronx is Reading. This literacy program seeks to create an interest for reading among young people while also promoting reading and writing skills through engaging author visits, reading group guides from publishers, and new books for children. The Bronx Book Festival will also donate books to each participating school’s library for all students to enjoy.”
Bronx resident and artist Jerome LaMaar, who is known as “The Wiz of Bruckner Boulevard,” has a Bronx rebranding mission as seen in the “NY Times:”
“I want to be the Jeffrey Kalinsky of Bruckner Boulevard,” Jerome LaMaar said, referring to the merchant whose luxury fashion emporium was vital in transforming the once gritty meatpacking district into a high-style fashion destination.”
“The Bronx 200 site is a dynamic, online platform that showcases a curated selection of artwork by two hundred artists identified with The Bronx. Artists were invited to participate by curators and art professionals working in the borough. The curators were asked to recommend artists whose work represents the rich and diverse range of creative production here.”
Artists Seeking Space
And the “NY Post” adds that for artists seeking larger spaces and a creative haven, the Bronx may be the last bastion for artistic individuals:
“Currently, renting a Bronx art studio — where tenants often also live — will set you back anywhere from $400 to $2,000 per month, while the median Manhattan residential rent is $3,300 and Brooklyn’s totals $2,775, according to The Elliman Report for March. Square footage is more generous in the Bronx compared with other heavyweight art districts. Also, due to the Bronx’s existing ties to the arts — after all, hip hop and graffiti were basically born here — there is a kindred sensibility already present.”
“Despite the recent upsurge in interest in Riverdale, area residents have painstakingly preserved and maintained their neighborhood’s personality, charm, green spaces, and historical and cultural attractions. And that says Jurist is why she wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
The Bronx in some instances is a challenging place to live. And the media tends to gravitate toward negative stories about the Bronx because they seem to believe that negative news will catch the attention of readers with topics including murder, bullying and so forth.
We of Bronx News NYC wanted to look for positive stories in the Bronx and we found some! We will be covering those stories today. They include “How ElevateNewYork.org Changed the Life of of a Young Man Named Elvis,” “BizJournals.com’s Story on How the Bronx went from urban wasteland to success story in 40 years” and “Woman from the Bronx Becomes a Doctor Because of Her Love of Learning at the New York Public Library.”
How ElevateNewYork.org Changed the Life of of a Young Man and Bronx Resident Named Elvis
Elevate New York reports on Elvis, a young man attending Banana Kelly High School. Someone named Kevin Singleton would visit Elvis’ school in the South Bronx to speak with the students. One day he came with a special guest by the name of Kevin McGovern, a very successful entrepreneur. Elvis remembers that day like it was yesterday. It turned out that Elvis wasn’t in the classes where Kevin McGovern was going to speak. Elvis skipped on of his classes just to take part in one of those talks. Kevin McGovern shared the story of his life and all the obstacles he had overcome. One thing he stated that has stuck with Elvis was “You can achieve the impossible; you have to break it into possible steps.”
Elvis says that during his time at the Elevate classroom, He had the opportunity to learn many life changing skills for success. One of those skills was “Responsibility.” In the classroom this was very important; because the seven character qualities he and is fellow students learned from Kevin Singleton were the skills Elvis then would teach the fourth and fifth graders once a week. So Elvis’ responsibly was building a relationship with these younger students and letting them know that anything in life is possible if you work hard for it. Good job Elvis! See whole story here.
BizJournals.com’s Story on How the Bronx went from Urban Wasteland to a Success Story in 40 years
Biz Journals did an interview with Ruben Diaz Jr., a Bronx Native. Here’s part of that interview:
44-year-old Diaz, describes the borough’s strengths and what has enabled it to bounce back.
New York Business Journal: The Bronx was once called an urban wasteland, but now is considered an urban success story. What turned it around?
Diaz: We’re been working hard at changing the negative images and stereotypes. It’s taken decades of work, meeting with local community leaders, residents, police departments, and chambers of commerce.
President Ruben Diaz Jr. reports that between 2009 and 2016, $12.7 billion has been invested in development, leading to 29,000 units of housing, including 17,000 subsidized and 12,000 unsubsidized apartments.
More than 110,000 Bronx residents have secured jobs, dropping the unemployment level to 6.6 percent. The population has spiked, from 1.2 million in 1990 to 1.46 million in 2015 (slightly shy of Philadelphia’s). Good job Mr. Diaz! See whole story here.
Woman from the Bronx Becomes a Doctor Because of Her Love of Learning at the New York Public Library
On the New York Public Library’s website is a story about Dr. Ini Udoh. She immigrated to the United States as a young child, grew up in the Bronx amid poverty but near a welcoming branch library with a wealth of resources. She used the library as her study space through college before going away to medical school. Now a full-fledged doctor in the Bronx, Ini has come back to the “community that raised me.” Good job Dr. Ini Udoh! See whole story here.
Bronx Museum of the Arts each year has a Gala to raise money for the museum. Grandmaster Flash has appeared at the Bronx Museum of the Arts Gala in the past. He claims to be the first person to use the turntable as an instrument. He considers himself to be a scientist because math doesn’t lie. The number “1” is “1” whether it be in the Bronx or elsewhere. Records of Pop, Rock, Jazz, R&B, Disco and so on are used to create the sounds.
Although the publication “Bronx News NYC” has been around for several years, it was only on June, 30th that the site actually officially became a real functioning blog in conjunction with the entry you are reading right now. Bronx News NYC blog entries will occur in the future on a sporadic basis as important Bronx occurrences come into focus. We invite the Bronx community as well as those who have Bronx stories, to contact us with any content they wish to see on the web in areas of interest including art, impact, music and more.