Friday, November 6, 2009

Places that Matter in the Bronx

Community calendar

Steve Zeitlin, Executive Director of City Lore
Vin Cipolla, President of the Municipal Art Society
and the staff and friends of Place Matters
Invite you to celebrate the places that make New York City thrive!
Join us at the 2nd Annual Place Matters Awards ceremony and reception,
Thursday, December 3, 6:30 -8:30 pm
With music by Trío Los Platinos

This year’s honorees represent the richness, flavor and life of the Bronx, and were drawn from places nominated to the Census of Places that Matter. Future awards will travel to the other boroughs.
Longwood Gallery, Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, Hostos Community College
450 Grand Concourse (at 149th St), Bronx
RSVP, 212.529.1955 x 306, emartinez (at)

Place that Matters is honoring:
52 Park, in Longwood
A popular urban oasis, run by the NYC Parks Department with the notable help of 52 People for Progress (52PFP). In 1980, fearful that this piece of open space—their childhood playground—would fall victim to the borough’s troubles, four locals organized to turn the park around: Al Quiñones, Fred Demera, Eduardo Rivera and Victoria Medina. For the last 20 years, 52 PFP has held summertime concerts in 250-seat Teatro Miranda.

Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, in Kingsbridge
Started by Abraham Kazan of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union. Kazan’s first political cause was cooperation, a utopian vision that held special promise for progressive thinkers in the early decades of the twentieth century. But quality affordable housing quickly became a focus, and the first cooperative Amalgamated complex broke ground on Thanksgiving Day, 1926. Similar complexes in other parts of the city followed. Today, the Amalgamated is the oldest limited-equity housing corporation in the United States.

Arthur Avenue Retail Market, in Belmont
Started in the late 1930s when Mayor La Guardia required the city’s thousands of pushcart vendors to come inside and take stalls at indoor municipal markets built by the City. The Arthur Avenue Market proved to be one of the most successful. The merchants were predominantly Italian; one of the original vendors, Joe Liberatore, continues to operate his stall selling plants. Today the market and other food establishments along Arthur Avenue remain a favorite destination for locals and tourists.

Bronx River Houses, in West Farms
Widely known as the epicenter of the hip hop movement in its earliest days. In 1974, Afrika Bambaataa formed Zulu Nation here (now called Universal Zulu Nation), a group which became a pivotal force in the formation of the hip hop sound, dance, and culture. An older generation remembers Bronx River Houses for other notable residents such as 1960s doowop songwriter Ronnie Mack ("Puppy Love") and the girl singing group the Chiffons ("He’s So Fine").

General Sedgwick Houses, in Morris Heights
Known worldwide among the fans of hip hop as the place where DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell) first played his "breakbeats" that inspired breakdancers. It is considered the "birthplace" of hip hop. In accepting this award, The General Sedgwick Houses Tenant’s Association seeks to keep this memory alive at 52 Sedgwick where they have been struggling to maintain the complex as affordable housing.

Casita Rincón Criollo, in Melrose
One of the city’s oldest and largest casitas, created in the late 1970s when neighbors led by José (Chema) Soto reclaimed a rubble-strewn lot (casitas are small houses surrounded by gardens created to recall the look and feel of the Puerto Rican countryside). Before long, 50 people found themselves taking care of land they did not own. Since then, neighbors have used their casita to gather, garden, hold community events, and pass down musical and cultural traditions.

source: Place Matters

Congratulations to all the honorees.

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