Two Youth Perspectives on the State of the Borough

On February 24, 2011 Bronx Community Solutions attended the State of the Borough Address.
Here are the perspectives of two Youth Justice Corps Members, Michael Patterson and Sean Myers.

Michael Patterson

My name is Michael Patterson. I am 21 and I am currently a resident in the Bronx. I see poverty, gang activities and drug abuse every day. Sometimes it makes me ashamed to say that In am from this Borough. But I want to thank the Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr. for changing my own perception of the Bronx.

It was an honor to be in the audience listening to the Borough President’s brilliant ideas to rebuild the cracks and pieces in the Bronx. I agree with a lot of the things he stated. Two key ideas that sparked my interest was the repairing of the Kingsbridge Armory and decreasing gang and gun activity.

I think turning that Kingsbridge Armory into a Center will be a great idea. It’s the right destination to place it and it will also create more job opportunities for the unemployed. I pass Kingsbridge everyday and every time I see the Armory building I say to myself "That place should be a mall". But hearing the Borough President ideas and his reasons why he wouldn’t make it into a mall really enlightened me. Putting a mall there will increase the unemployment rate in the city because if a mall was placed there then Fordham road is in HOT WATER which is only one stop away from the Armory. The only thing that I question about this idea is, where will everyone park if that building becomes a Center?

I also agree with the statement "gang violence will not be tolerated". I would like to know more about how the Borough President is planning on tackling this issue. Gun violence is spreading like a disease. I feel like this is an issue that will take a lot of time before being solved. Gangs are increasing in members and more drugs are being sold. I don’t know how complicated it is to solve this problem but I know it isn’t easy.

I was very glad that I attended this assembly. I’ve learned a lot of things about my Borough, from the bad to the good. I thank Ruben Diaz Jr. for his work and dedication. I also thank him for everything he has done and brought to the Bronx. Before I attended this assembly I never was so quick to say that I am from the Bronx. But people like Ruben Diaz Jr make people like me proud to say that I am from the BX.

Sean Glenn Myers

The staff of Bronx Community Solutions was invited to the State of the Borough Address by Ruben Diaz, The Bronx Borough President. I had a wonderful experience hearing  the motivational speech and being able to see the pioneers of the Bronx.   The Bronx Borough President is committed to change so that one day the Bronx will be a better place. I wasn't to fond of the video that was developed as a response to American Idol's slander, but I see their hearts are in the right place .  But for future reference: if you want to break the  stereotype of the Bronx, you have to look at the Bronx in a different light.  So no rap anthems!!!

The Borough President touched on a lot of subjects, like the public and private housing problem with tenants and landlords, the educational problems of over filled classes, underachievement on regional and national exams, and the constant gun violence in the Bronx.  Throughout the presentations one subject really caught my attention.  It  was the state funding  of  green development This project is an environmental  community-wide and regional  approach which integrates the following elements:  environmental responsiveness,; resource efficiency, and community building.

The Program was described in a way that sounds like it will be an effective method to change of the health and pollution in the Bronx. The question is, will it be affordable for Bronx's residents?  Green Development quoted ''Many developers fear that following a green agenda will delay project schedules and raise costs.  The reality, however, is that well-executed green development projects…perform extremely well financially. In fact, even though many of the leading-edge developers … have strong environmental backgrounds and ideals, the financial rewards of green development are now bringing mainstream developers into the fold at an increasing pace. It is possible --indeed it is the norm--to do well financially by doing the right thing environmentally. For example, project costs can be reduced, buyers or renters will spend less to operate green buildings, and developers can differentiate themselves from the crowd--getting a big marketing boost.”

It is my experience however, that improved real estate comes at a price, which brings up the next question:  will the people of the Bronx be able to afford living in new green developments? For example, the development on Fox Avenue has rents ranging up to $3,000 for a 2 bedroom.  Which low income family will be able to afford it, and which voucher or program would you need to be eligible? I'm very excited that The Bronx is revolutionizing to become eco-friendly  but at what cost ?