Monthly Archives: August 2011

New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., gathers with other local politicians to denounce the gun violence that injured three on Monday, August 29, 2011.

Politicians gathered two days after the shooting of two preschool girls in the South Bronx neighborhood of West Farms to decry the violence and call for stronger gun control laws. But local residents said that endemic problems in the community require longer-term solutions, and cannot be solved merely through legislation or enforcement.

In a prepared statement, Democratic Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera said, “Quite simply, strict gun control laws in this State are necessary.” Rivera, a former NYPD detective, called on Republican Assembly members to join him in enacting stronger legislation. Other area politicians, including New York State Senator Ruben Diaz and Community Board District Manager Ivine Galarza, echoed his remarks, emphasizing the need for an increased culture of respect.

While politicians hope that the incident at East 181st Street & Daly Avenue will be a turning point for the area, many long-time residents do not share that optimism. Some said that the endemic problems in the community run far deeper and require long-term solutions to gangs, drugs, and prostitution. Read More

Eddie Hernando and Paul Sandeep running Faith's Halal Food outside Madison Square Garden

Despite the economic downturn affecting many Manhattan street vendors, Paul Sandeep, 25, and Eddie Hernando, 42, have caught a lucky break at 8th Ave. and 34th St.: the lunchtime influx of construction workers from the massive Madison Square Garden renovation project.

Sandeep and Hernando, who operate Faith’s Halal Food from a tiny, overheated cart across the street from Penn Station, say that they haven’t noticed the impact of the economy at all. “We previously had a truck but have spent seven months with this,” Sandeep said, noting that the city’s crackdown on parked food trucks has actually benefited their business. During their lunch break, construction workers line the sidewalk halfway down 34th St., mostly eating take-out food from boxy styrofoam containers purchased from one of the many vendors dotting the street.

Shah, 52, a newsstand vendor in Midtown, helping a customer.

Other vendors in Midtown, however, have not been so lucky. Shah, 52, from India (who declined to provide his last name), runs a newsstand at the corner of 8th Ave. and 35th St. and decried a 50% decline in sales. “It’s very down,” Shah said, noting that despite his Midtown location, 80% of his sales come from locals and not from tourists. In particular, he said, with the price of a package of cigarettes hitting $13.00, many patrons are choosing to buy cigarettes individually — something he does not sell. “They’re not smoking less,” he said, but being more judicious about controlling their budget.