Welcome back to the program ladies and gentleman of the Bronx and beyond. Lots of great stories and information on tap for this week, so let's get to it. To the news!
Weather: In a word: Perfect. Sunny, 80 degrees with a lovely cooling breeze from the northeast. Could be looking at some rain tomorrow afternoon.
Story of the Day: Bronx Livery Cab Drivers Rally Against New Taxi Fleet
Good luck getting a cab in the Bronx this morning. On my way into BxNN headquarters today, a small army of livery cab drivers swarmed the Kingsbridge Road 4-train station, carrying signs and literature and talking strategy. An estimated 1,000 drivers and car service operators are expected to descend on City Hall to protest a city plan to create a new fleet of hail-able taxis that would operate exclusively in the outer-boroughs. The city would auction off 1,500 new taxi medallions that could legally pick up street hails. Livery drivers and business owners say this plan will do serious damage to the livery cab industry, which includes an estimated 38,000 drivers (according to literature I picked up at the train station). They say that, despite its illegality, livery drivers have picked up street hails for years and that most drivers couldn't afford to buy into the new fleet. A coalition of livery associations have come up with an alternative: create borough permits that existing drivers could sign up for and also develop livery stands where cabs can pick up street customers without the threat of receiving a summons. NY1 talked to a couple of drivers who work for Prestige car service, which operates out of Norwood here in the northwestern section of the Bronx.
On early Saturday morning, while driving with a female companion, Michael Robles, a Bronx Democratic district leader, careened off the Bronx River Parkway and dropped some 30 feet onto the top of a truck in the West Farms area. Miraculously, neither passenger was injured. It's unclear whether, for his next trick, Robles will attempt a swan dive off the High Bridge.
Erica Diaz, the lesbian granddaughter of State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., is becoming the face for marriage equality in New York. In Sunday's Post, Diaz writes that Diaz's outspoken and hateful rhetoric is too much for her to stomach: “You cannot tell someone that you love them and stay silent when people call for their death. “Love” is empty when you say someone's life isn't natural. He could quietly vote “no” if that's what he believes is right. But I want him to know that every word he utters hurts his own blood.”
Headline of the Weekend: “Uzi does it at Bx. gun buyback.” An Uzi machine gun was one of 354 guns turned in for cash at three Bronx churches on Saturday as the NYPD conducted its periodic gun buyback outreach effort. BP Ruben Diaz, Jr. told the Post: “Any day that you get an Uzi off the streets of The Bronx is a good day.” Amen.
The Times' Clyde Haberman writes about how the Bronx ticket-fixing scandal has made police testimony, already a problem for Bronx prosecutors, that much less credible.
If City Island needed extra help on Memorial Day weekend, then why is the city looking to shut down it's only firehouse?
A missing 12-year-old Wakefield boy was reunited with his family, but his nine-day absence remains a mystery.
More on the pair of aspiring Bronx brew companies.
BxNN buddy David Gonzalez of the Times hangs out with Latin jazz flutist and Bronxite Dave Valentin for the paper's Sunday Routine feature.
Here's a video preview of Pete Rock and Bronx duo Camp Lo's new album: “80 Blocks from Tiffany's,” which was inspired by (and shares a name with) the recent documentary about the South Bronx: