Thursday, September 26, 2013

Armory Skates Through 1st Two Steps

By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 26- The Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC) at the Kingsbridge Armory has cleared the first two hurdles in the land use process know as ULERP. 
Community Board 7 held a public hearing last week, and then voted 20 – 5 to approve the KNIC proposal of nine ice skating rinks and a community benefits package of $1.7 Billion. The next hurdle in the ULERP process was a public hearing by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. last Friday. BP Diaz having come out in favor of the KNIC proposal early on has now passed it to the City Planning Department. CPC has up to 60 days to either approve or disapprove the armory proposal. One would have to bet since this is a “Pet Project” of outgoing Mayor Bloomberg that CPC should not waste any time in approving the KNIC proposal. The last stop of the ULERP process is a hearing before the full City Council which votes to approve or not. The original Shops at the Armory proposal two years ago was vetoed by the City Council, and led to the fierce battle over “The Living Wage Bill”.
At both hearings local City Councilman Fernando Cabrera was not present and did not have anyone to represent him either. It is said that Councilman Cabrera is not totally in agreement with the community benefits agreement that was agreed upon, but we will have to see if Cabrera is silent when the KNIC proposal come before the City Council. It is believed that while this ULERP process could drag out into the new year under a new mayor and city council that many from Mayor Bloomberg down want this ULERP process to be finished before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office. You can go to my blog at to read more on the public hearings, see photos of New York Ranger great Mark Messier (CEO of the KNIC) as he testifies at Bronx Borough Hall, and even a photo of the Community Benefits agreement.
Last Friday was the annual Bronx Democratic County Judicial Convention. What is usually a ho-hum boring meeting was filled with excitement as Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill deBlasio showed up before the meeting to rally the Bronx troops in his support. The Bronx Democratic organization had supported Bill Thompson in the Democratic primary, but now it was full steam ahead for Bill deBlasio. To my question about former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion stealing Democratic votes away here in the Bronx as the candidate of the Independence Party, there was a rush to the podium as current Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. got to it first. Diaz said 'Carrion is no longer a Democrat, and that he has turned his back on the Democratic Party”. Diaz added that the Bronx Democratic County organization will take care of things in the Bronx, to which Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie agreed.
In the first mayoral poll after the primary Democrat Bill deBlasio leads Republican Joe Lhota by 43 percent. It was about 65 percent for deBlasio and 22 percent for Lhota, with 3 percent for Carrion, and about 10 percent undecided. By the way, the four judges that were nominated were Justice Laura Douglas, Judge Norma Ruiz, Judge Larry Schachner, and Judge Julia Rodriguez to fill the four upcoming vacancies.
Don't forget that Tuesday October 1st is Primary Run Off Day between the two top finishers in the Democratic Public Advocate race Brooklyn State Senator Dan Squadron and Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James. My prediction - Squadron wins 61 percent - 39 percent.
In the 86th A.D. special election, candidate Victor Pichardo has increased his lead to 104 votes after the re-canvassing of the voter machines. There are still many paper ballots that have to be counted, but it looks like Mr. Pichardo will be the new Assemblyman from the 86th Assembly District.
Don't forget to check my blog for events that took place over the past weekend such as the Jerome-Gun Hill BID Street Festival that took place last Saturday. Also check for upcoming events such as Fordham Fever Friday's. On Friday October 4th the Fordham BID will present an “International Day Fair” from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Muller Park & Plaza located on Fordham Road by Creston Avenue.
If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.

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