Bronx Boro President Ruben Diaz Jr. Brings Gospel Concert To Bronx Seniors

By: Angella Brown

A chilly and overcast April Fools’ Day didn’t prevent scores of Bronx-area seniors from lining up in front of Dreiser Loop Community Center in Co-Op City. The early bird gospel fans were eagerly anticipating the inaugural Bronx Gospel Concert, a free event presented by the Office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. Billed as “Generation Fest: Bridging the Gap with Music,” it was an afternoon of inspirational song, dance and praise, filled with soul-stirring music and energetic performances.

With assistance from his wonderful staff of “Senior Services Divas,” led by Director of Senior Services Larcenia Walton, the borough president himself greeted attendees on line, stopping to pose for pictures and give hugs as he thanked many of them personally for coming out. Diaz’s office received over 850 RSVPs through local senior centers, and the venue seating was nearly at capacity when it was time for the program to begin.

After a welcome by the day’s emcees, Elder Nitisha Moore of Relay for Life, and local radio personality Dr. Bob Lee of WBLS-FM 107.5, Deputy Bronx Borough President, the Honorable Aurelia Greene, led the invocation, a reading of Psalm 145. During his opening remarks, Diaz, a self-described “preacher’s kid,” said: “…one of the best ways to connect with the Lord is through music…we’re gonna have a good time today!” He encouraged every audience member to get up out of their seats and dance, if the spirit of the music hit them. And indeed, the enthusiastic senior crowd did just that, from the time the first act hit the stage!

It felt more like Sunday inside as every act “took ‘em to church.” Performance after performance, the place filled with spiritual sounds by singers like Andrea Brown, Pastor Wilson Mercado and Richard Talbert, Jr. Songstress Shayla Hernandez even sneaked in a secular tune, Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror,” to which the seniors swayed and sang along. Other crowd-pleasing acts included saxophonist Tony Smith, God’s Anointed Praise Dancers, 76-years-young “la cantante” Spanish singer Carmen Sanabria, and Bollywood performer, Bharati S. Kemraj.

During intermission, concert-goers munched on complimentary “goody bag” snacks while they perused the sponsor tables, where they were able to shop for fashions and accessories with Etsy shop Diana’s Tees, and Bronx-based Sasi Designs.  Among the many health care providers in attendance was AlphaCare, a Magellan Health managed long term health care company. Beatrice Morton, AlphaCare Community Outreach Manager, noted: “Today is remarkable! I am overwhelmed at the size of the crowd, but I love gospel music, too, so I know they’re here for an uplifting good time.” She added her appreciation for the recognition AlphaCare received from Ruben Diaz prior to the start of the concert, saying “…this is an impressive first event; AlphaCare looks forward to many more successful partnership opportunities in the Bronx.”

One woman thoroughly enjoying the program was Eva Lazaar, a ReServist (Retired Seniors in Service) outreach specialist for the Parkchester Empowerment Program. Eva learned about the event on Facebook, and knew she wanted to stop by. “Programs here [at Dreiser Community Center] are always nice. There was an interfaith breakfast here not too long ago. I love inspirational music and song, and today’s event brought out the best of the Co-Op City community.”


Above: Diaz with Aurelia Greene, Deputy Borough President


Above: Diaz with Carmen Sanabria, Singer

Abandoned Bronx Church To Be Turned Into Senior Housing Facility

Courtesy NY1

For the past year, Barry Williams has cared for this abandoned property on Home Street.

He cuts the grass in the summer, and shovels snow in the winter.

“It was just the right thing to do,” Williams said. “It looks better.”

A bit of maintenance that cannot quite hide the eyesore this crumbling church has become in this residential neighborhood.

“There’s buildings all around and you look at that right there and it doesn’t look right,” said one neighborhood resident.

The Home Street Presbyterian Church was built in 1910. A burst pipe, internal problems among the congregation and finally, a fire contributed to its demise.

It has been vacant for about five years, yet signs out front suggested it might one day return as a house of worship.

“It doesn’t look good,” said a neighbor. “They need to do something with it.”

Enter Bronx Pro Group — a family owned, Bronx-based developer of subsidized affordable housing.

The developer purchased the 9,500 square-foot plot from the Presbytery of New York in December for $850,000. It plans to replace the church with housing for senior citizens.

“This is going to be a great opportunity to address the needs of seniors,” said John Duddley District Manager of Community Board 3. “We are increasing in that aging population.”

The eight-story building will include 64 studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Thirty percent of them will be reserved for homeless seniors.

Amenities will include a gym, rooftop terrace and a 3,000 square-foot space that will be leased to the Home Street Presbyterian Church to operate as a non-denominational community center.

“I’m happy that happened, because when you have a vested interest in the community,” Williams said. “You want to see that they still remain a stake in the community.”

“On September 14th, Community Board 3 will vote on the project,” said Duddley. “If approved, the community board will give the developer a letter of support.”

If the project clears all the necessary city approvals, construction is expected to begin early next year. The developer says a total cost for the project has not been finalized.

New York for Seniors Magazine & Website Launch With Event at Boro Hall

The New York for Seniors initiative celebrates the lives and legacies of NYC’s senior population.   The initiative includes the New York for Seniors print magazine, the NY for Seniors website and New York for Seniors series of events.

New York for Seniors was created to keep NYC’s senior citizens updated and knowledgeable on key resources, health options, healthy living tips and lifestyle activities.  ‘New York for Seniors’ is a movement that galvanizes the community toward improving the quality of life for our NYC senior population.

In the launch issue you will find Exclusive interviews with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Queens Councilman Daneek Miller, Dr. David Rose, the Chairman of Medicine at Brookdale Hospital, and more.

There will be a New York for Seniors Launch Event at Brooklyn Borough Hall, June 22, 2016.  There will be a live jazz band and free refreshments.  The New York for Seniors team will be on hand to discuss how your organization can be featured in the New York for Seniors print magazine or on the website.  Space is Limited!!!!   Event Information & RSVP Here

We would like to thank AlphaCare, GrowNYC and Borough President Eric L. Adams for supporting the launch of the New York for Seniors initiative.

Farmers’ Markets in the Bronx & Queens

Photo Source:

Flowers aren’t the only things that blooming during spring. Back with the warm weather are fresh food farmers’ markets throughout the Bronx and Queens areas. Here we listed our favorite markets, along with their times, seasons, and accepted methods of payment.

An extra tip for smart shoppers: Some markets accept Health Bucks, which are coupons worth $2 each that can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables. Shoppers who use EBT cards receive a Health Buck for every $5.00 they spend.


Wholesale Greenmarket located at 290 Halleck Street, 10474
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Season: April 4th – Dec. 31st.

Jacobi Hospital Market located at 1400 Pelham Parkway, 10461
Open Tuesdays and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Season: May 8th – Nov. 24th
Accepts EBT, WIC, Seniors FMNP, and Health Bucks.

MT. Eden Market located at Claremont Park/Mt. Eden & Morris Avenues,10457
Open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Season: May 28th – Nov. 24th
Accepts EBT, WIC, Seniors FMNP, and Health Bucks.

Hunts Point Market located at Monsignor Del Valle Park between E. 163rd and Hunts Point Ave.
Open Wednesdays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Season: June 17th – Nov. 25th
Accepts EBT, WIC, Seniors FMNP, and Health Bucks.

South Bronx Farmers Market located at 138th St. between Willis and Alexander Aves.
Open Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Season: June 18th – Nov. 19th
Accepts SNAP/EBT, WIC, FMNP checks, and Health Bucks from July through Sep.


Forest Hills Greenmarket located at Southside of Queens Blvd at 70th Avenue
Open Sundays, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Season: year-round
Accepts EBT/Food Stamps, WIC, Vegetable and Fruit checks, and FMNP.

Jackson Heights Greenmarket located at 34th Ave at 78th St
Open Sundays, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Season: year-round
Accepts EBT/Food Stamps, Debit/Credit, WIC Vegetable and Fruit checks, and FMNP coupons.

Sunnyside Greenmarket located at Skillman Ave btwn 42nd St. and 43th St.
Open Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Season: year-round
Accepts EBT/Food Stamps, Debit/Credit, WIC Vegetable and Fruit checks, and FMNP coupons.

Socrates Sculpture Park Greenmarket located at Vernon Blvd & Broadway
Open Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Season: June 4th – Nov. 19th
Accepts EBT/Food Stamps, WIC, and Senior FMNP Checks.

Jamaica Down to Earth Farmers Market located at 160th St. off Jamaica Ave
Open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Season: June 20th – Nov. 21st
Accepts EBT


3 Movement Exercises You Can Do in Your Apartment or Home

For Balance

This exercise is extremely simple and only requires a sturdy chair. Begin by standing with the chair either in front or behind you:

• Stand on one foot while holding onto the back of the chair. With your back straight, balance on one foot for about 10 seconds. • Repeat 10 to 15 times. Then repeat with the other leg.

For Flexibility

Working on your flexibility helps in relaxing and stretching the body, giving your movements more fluidity when doing daily activities, such as getting dressed or reaching for something on a shelf.

• If standing, begin with both feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. If sitting, start with both feet flat on the floor with your back straight.

• Without tipping your head forward or backward, turn your head to the side until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

6 |

For Strength

This exercise focuses on strengthening your grip and is great for those who have issues picking up, holding onto, and opening things. Begin with a small foam or foam-like ball, such as a tennis ball, and hold it in your hand:

• Squeeze the ball as tightly as you can for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax your grip slowly. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Then switch to the other hand.

• Repeat twice with both hands.

Safety Tips

These exercises should be incorporated into a thirty-minute or longer workout, done 2 to 3 days a week. Always make sure to speak with your doctor before performing any exercise that affect areas prone to pain, such as any areas that have had surgery.

– Nikkia Rivera