Dear Bronxites. Say goodbye to many of your favorite organizations, likely to be shut down in the next few rounds of fundraising, most of which support the youth, the arts, and those who are destitute.

The lengths of dubiousness which the GOP has gone into getting this bill passed makes it clear; Congress is gambling with the lives of millions of people who rely on charitable and government social services by increasing the deficit to fund tax cuts.

The elimination of the charitable deduction for 31 million middle and upper-middle income taxpayers causes such damage to the not for profit sector; it will have no choice but to oppose the bill.

Because the bill increases the standard deduction, fewer people would take the itemized deduction for charitable contributions which would lead to a decline in charitable giving.
Charities had pushed for people to be able to deduct their donations regardless of whether they itemize. While some GOP lawmakers took up their cause, a universal charitable deduction was not included in the bill.
When Trump ran on DRAINING THE SWAMP, did you know he was talking about us????


JCAL Development Group has been a significant player in the revitalization of Mott Haven. Their 5 properties in the growing neighborhood has attracted young professionals, both from The Bronx and the other boroughs to Mott Haven and their commercial space has brought new and attractive retail and eateries as well. I took a tour of JCAL’s recently opened 20,000 square foot building at 131-135 Alexander Ave, and I was impressed. The four-story building designed by Praxis Workshop is located between 134th street and Bruckner Blvd. The block is already a Bronx hotspot thanks to the upscale Pizzeria La Grata, FAMOUS NOBODYS, an independent clothing brand, and hip sushi spot Ceetay.



As I entered the building, I noticed some artwork in the stairway. Local artist Charlie Pratt was tasked with decorating the walls so the building won’t have the typical bland, white hallways we are accustomed to. Inside one of the 2nd-floor studio apartments, I noticed the loft-like windows and 15 foot high ceilings. Each apartment has hardwood floors and LED lighting. There is also a washer and dryer in each unit. A steel flight of stairs will take you up to a mezzanine area where you can put your bed. It’s a genius way to save space. The kitchen includes stainless steel appliances, and quartz countertops and the bathrooms are tiled and cozy. Most of the apartments have a large patio space that is equivalent to what you would find in a small house, extremely generous for an apartment in New York City. The tenants that don’t have access to a private patio can use the communal terrace on the rooftop.


On the ground floor of 131-135 Alexander Ave are three retail spaces. A dynamic combination of the Bronx’s worst kept secret Beatstro, a hip-hop themed restaurant will open sometime next year, and The Lit Bar is moving into 131-A Alexander. The remaining space at 131-B Alexander is 1600 square feet and is available for rent. Offering studios to 2 bedroom apartments make it obvious these dwellings aren’t for families, and that is okay. Recent college graduates and young professionals need homes too, and apartments like these are a perfect fit for them. The number of single, non-married individuals looking to rent has increased, not everyone wants a roommate. There is no doubt Mott Haven, a transit-rich neighborhood with an up and coming nightlife scene will be in the sights of young professionals, and JCAL’s developments are ready for them.


If you want to visit, Alexander Ave takes the six train to 138th street and Third Ave. Contact JCAL Development if you wish to see the apartments and retail space. 


Josh weissman, JCAL DEVELOPMENT from Round Seven on Vimeo.


artsIt’s not often you see people taking pictures of a public school, but when you walk by the murals at Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education which shares its building with Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists, then it all makes sense. I visited the 83-year-old community arts organization, located on the 6th floor, to learn more about the murals and their upcoming exhibit Arte de La Borinqueña.

Along the entrance of the school at 928 Simpson St. you’ll see three murals, each with its own story and meaning. The murals were created by Edgardo Miranda Rodriguez and his team at Somos Arte and painted by TATS CRU, a Bronx based professional muralists group. The project took about a week to complete. The first mural is of Las Tres Hermanas, a trio of sisters who became activists for the arts. The second mural is a Puerto Rican superhero named La Borinqueña which I’ll get to later, and finally on the entrance doors of the school is a mural of students making art, playing music, sports, reading, and engaging in positive extracurricular activities.

artsLa Borinqueña’s mural was based off a snapshot from writer and creator Edgardo Miranda Rodriguez’s best-selling and critically acclaimed graphic novel. He designed the mural, and three members of TATS CRU, each with their specialty did the paint job. Accompanying La Borinqueña are Puerto Rican icons Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Josê “Dr. Drum” Ortiz and Melinda Gonzalez, who are shown celebrating a graduation with students. The staff at the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education hope this mural will inspire all students who walk through these doors to accomplish their goals. Casita Maria’s Associate Director of Creative Arts Programs Gail Heidel tells me, “La Borinqueña whose powers come from her Puerto Rican heritage and culture is also a metaphor for all people to look to their history and culture for strength.”


October 4th is opening night for the Arte de La Borinqueña exhibit. 35 different professional artists have created their prints of La Borinqueña, all of which will be on display until January 6, 2018. The prints were donated by London-based gallery: Art You Grew Up With International. Limited prints will be on sale for $200 with the proceeds going to hurricane relief efforts for Puerto Rico. “We want to raise as much money as possible for Puerto Rico.” says Marketing and Media Manager for Casita Maria Luis Pagan. The exhibit opens on the eve of New York Comic Con. There are hopes that avid collectors will attend the exhibition as a pre-game for the biggest comic book convention in New York City. The opening reception is from 6-8pm. Edgardo Miranda Rodriguez will be in attendance.


parisWith the assistance of Bronx Tour Guide Alexandra Maruri, International photographer Matteo Pellegrinuzzi visited The Bronx this week and held a three-day exhibit at The Bronx Draft House. The Bronx/La Villette is a series of photos comparing two places with historical significance, The Bronx New York, and his neighborhood La Villette, Paris. In attendance were some notable personalities such as film director Sara Grimaldi, actor Holt McCallany, and photographer Robert Whitman.

With internationally acclaimed photographers holding exhibits in The Bronx, the expansion of The Bronx Museum, street artists getting national attention, and the increase in tourism, it is evident that The Bronx is shedding the negative stigma and our best days are ahead. Alexandra tells me, "From negative media attention and a lack of information there is a misconception about The Bronx. It is viewed as this dangerous place. This exhibit aimed to highlight the diversity of The Bronx and show everyday people from a local's perspective." Alexandra introduced me to Matteo who was kind enough to speak with me about his experience in The Bronx and more.



parisHow did The Bronx/La Villette exhibit come about? I met Alexandra Maruri 2 years ago. She appreciated my work, and she told me about her tourism business. She asked if she could show me around The Bronx to meet the locals and take portraits of them. I shot them with a film camera and developed them four months later. When I showed the results to the director of The Public Library of Paris, he proposed I expose the portraits during the “Paris-New York” month and suggested I make a comparison with La Villette, the neighborhood where I live.

You visited The Bronx before, but what are your impressions of what you’ve seen and who you have met thus far? I’ve been here once before when I met Alex, when I was on my own I just walked around and visited the borough.


What are the similarities between The Bronx and La Villette?  La Villette is part of the 19th district. 20 years ago the neighborhood was the center of a crack epidemic, and because of this, there was a continuing conflict with urban gangs. Houses weren’t easily rented or sold because of these problems. Just like the South Bronx, the neighborhood was seen to strangers as a “No Go Zone.” FOX News depicted the neighborhood this way after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Several years before the terrorists lived in the neighborhood. In reality, it is very fashionable, more and more Parisians go out at night, and new bars most of them organic, keep opening. The local City Hall has made a policy of aperture to improve the image of La Villette ultimately. The idea is to improve the quality of life for Parisians and attract more tourists. Many events are held there including the Parisian Summer beach which attracts Parisians from throughout the city.


parisHow can a city draw recognition for its art culture? Would you encourage local artists to try and attract people from outside their important city to come and visit?  I think a city can be recognized from its architecture which is an art form. The South Bronx is a street artist neighborhood. I met Sin Xero and Sexer for instance. Their artwork has definitely changed the decoration of the district. In Paris, such artists as Dacruz, Marko 93, and Art of Popof spread their art on several walls in La Villette, and on the wall of the old rail road on Rue de L’Ourcq which is starting to become a destination for Parisians and tourists. Art buildings such as the 104 and activities organized by the public libraries attract people from the outside and help the development of the district.



parisWhen you return home, and someone asks “What is The Bronx like?” What would you tell them? In Europe people used to say “I’m going to The Bronx” when they were going to a messy or dangerous zone. When I talk to people about my travels in NYC, it's hard to change their mind and prejudice. But I describe The Bronx as an attractive part of the city that deserves a visit and which is not as dangerous as they think.

What is your next exhibit? I will make an interactive exhibit at the public library of the 19th district in November through December. It will be a wet plate collodion series; I will realize the portraits with the support of the inhabitants who will learn this technique of photography, created in 1850.



About Matteo Pellegrinuzzi: Mr. Pellegrinuzzi studied History of Cinema at the University of Pavia in Italy. He has made contributions as a cameraman and cinematographer since 2005. His work has been published in numerous international newspapers and magazines. Follow him on Instagram @pelligrinuzzi

About Alexandra Maruri: Ms. Maruri has been a Bronx tour guide and small business owner since 2011. Growing up and living near historic landmarks such as Yankee Stadium, Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, and Woodlawn Cemetery shaped her interest in Bronx history. She hopes her tours help improve the borough's image. You can follow Ms. Maruri on Instagram @bronxtours



The Bronx isn't known for its flowers, but it should be. From the Botanical Garden to Pelham Bay Park to Crotona Park to Co-Op City, we got varieties of flora to fawn over. Verde Flowers is a staple in the flower industry and another Bronx gem that gets more than slept on. Located, at the foot of the Third Avenue Bridge on Bruckner Boulevard, the storefront has been servicing local communities and others around New York State for over ten years. flowers

Thousands of cars pass by the shop every day as they cross the bridge to enter Harlem or take the FDR to settle in Manhattan or Brooklyn but few experience it from the inside. The shop works as a part-prep station for employees and also as a boutique with flower styles offered, as well as a variety of handmade decor that combines the urban aesthetic with floral design.



Mike Gonzalez, is co-owner and creative director of the Mott Haven flower shop. He's a Bronx native with over 20 years of experience in floral design and event decor. The Blox crew sat down with Mike to hear stories about the origin of Verde Flowers, how the neighborhood has changed since the shop's opening and what he hopes for the future.

Follow Verde Flowers on Instagram and Facebook.


The Bronx Art Space is a Non-for-Profit that promotes the innovative ideas of underrepresented and emerging artists and curators. It is dedicated to exhibiting quality artwork from The Bronx and around the world with a mission to foster dialogue around global issues.



A three-venue exhibition between Andrew Freedman Home, BronxArtSpace and Swing Space, STATE PROPERTY is a multi-disciplinary examination of American consumption of prison labor and our daily choices to purchase, condone or reject goods created in penitentiaries. The exhibition asks guests to consider what “Made in the U.S.A” currently means about the incarceration system and corporate outsourcing. Currency and choice are the springboards towards a much deeper dialogue that recognizes these injustices.


Opening Receptions

Sep 8, 6-9pm at BronxArtSpace

Sep 15, 6-8 at Swing Space

Sep 22, 6-11pm at The Andrew Freedman Home


STATE PROPERTY describes a citizen that once incarcerated is inspected, cataloged, housed, and assigned to the state as its property like a slave whose body if damaged or altered from its original value is further financially penalized.

STATE PROPERTY also describes all goods manufactured in correctional facilities and government land and buildings from courthouses to public housing, in which many of these products from furniture to mops are then used.

When major corporations can buy into this labor system as a way of appealing to the “locally owned, locally grown” fad, the prison industrial complex pins inmates into either forced labor as a means to pay back the cost of their incarceration or solitary confinement as punishment. Prisoners provide luxury and everyday items that they cannot partake in, while taxpayers provide for the upkeep of prisons. As incarceration rates grow exponentially, taxpayer money is transferred from poor minority communities to white rural counties to reject these drastic shifts in population.

The boundaries that are challenged between product, services, and citizenry are intentionally blurred by the artists forcing us to question how we define ourselves and personal ethics within our social system.

Touching upon a narrative that categorizes people of color as property, STATE PROPERTY comments on power paradigms that perpetuate today’s socioeconomic tiers, and simultaneously presents a

visual alternative that is more hopeful. Through painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video, and performance, artists scrutinize mass incarceration, police brutality, class conflict, and racial hierarchy.


More from BAS


Written by Jeannie Smith.

I was seven and extremely overweight, an easy target for other second graders. I was reading a text about Benjamin Franklin. There was a drawing of him holding a kite with a key tied to the end of it, storm clouds above him. I don’t know why this specific image, but I laid a piece of print paper over the page and began to trace him.


A few quick strokes in, two of the girls who picked on me nonstop came over. I prepared myself for the worse.

“Did you draw that?”, one of them said, pointing to the piece of paper beside the book.

From her expression, I noticed she was impressed. REALLY impressed. She had never said anything nice to me before. The other girl bent down beside me and examined the drawing closely. Saved for a few shaky lines and eraser marks, one couldn’t actually tell that I traced it.  

“Yeah, I did,” I said, not all too proud of my cheating ways, but eager to finally have the class’s biggest bullies leave me alone for once. Of course, eventually, I actually would have to learn how to draw for real at some point!

ArtartartArtists tap into their skills and abilities during unique times of their lives, sometimes not even aware that what they are producing is art. For Bronx Art Space summer resident Cheyenne Julien, art began with juvenile theft from mom’s printer:

“I used to steal paper from my mother’s printer and draw on it. But when I found the space too small, I moved to the walls.”

Cheyenne discovered early on the scale of her imagination. A recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Cheyenne’s work is dependent on keeping her imagination free, her personal bank of memories influential in her work:

“[My work] is about memories and experiences, [exploring how] that experience resonates with me, and why this memory is important to me. [This process] often begins with me drawing and redrawing to communicate this [to the viewer].”

For painter and graphic artist, Alexis White, it was a game of numbers:

Prior to being a BAS resident, Alexis, originally from upstate, interned at various companies in the city during her summers while in college. Shortly after graduating from SUNY Paltz in 2013, she moved to the Bronx and found permanent work at an apparel company and eventually doing art administration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.                                                                                                                                                                                         

 “I’ve never really liked the business aspect of any industry,” begins Alexis. “Even working in a museum, money moves.”

Neither Bronx-based residents are ignorant to the challenges as developing artists: “With commissioned work,” Alexis begins, “it’s easier because someone is asking for something specific. But if I’m making something for [a] show, or when I am in the residency working, I think it’s the same problem all artists run into which is, ‘Is this done yet?’”


For Cheyenne, one of the biggest challenges is gauging if one’s work is creating an honest impact:

“For me and my work, I am most concerned about being able to do anything, make any sort of impact. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that I am just making paintings, and it feels like, “Could I be doing more in the world?’ But then what makes me feel like this is okay to do is the fact that I am broadening the possibility for other black artists after me, that it is possible to be an artist, to be a black woman and just paint.”

On top of this personal undertaking, Cheyenne identifies the struggle of being an artist as a recent graduate and rediscovering herself. With the absence of a class cohort, for example, though production is steady, it creates the challenge of determining whether or not a piece is really impressionable, trusting herself to state when a piece of work is finished. A dedicated painter, Cheyenne can spend over 12 hours a day sometimes in her studio just producing work, but the loneliness is present. This is a common circumstance for some artists. In fact, one may assume that this is standard, that isolation breeds work. But it’s important to note that art is social and that as an artist, one must remind themselves that partaking in the community, and not just observing it, is just as important.

For Alexis, a self-proclaimed “lover of people”, the community is everything:

“I love people. That’s what I love more than anything. All the art that I make, I’m thinking about the communities I live in, my friends and family. I really don’t have any real interest in money, but how am I going to live otherwise?”

Applying for the residency program was a risk for Alexis, who made a conscious decision to walk away from what she knew to be secure and comfortable, from a steady paycheck and depending on her savings in order to do what makes her happy: to produce art. For most artists, such sacrifices are beyond negotiable. It’s not even an option. Beyond the residency at the moment, Alexis doesn’t have any major plans laid out but remains curious and open to see what becomes of this 6-week opportunity. For now, she charges herself, and other artists, with the following:


“Anyone who is just breathing today has a huge amount of responsibility in terms of figuring out where the world is going and what our role is going to be. I’m definitely learning what that is. But I feel that my biggest responsibility is building awareness for me and the people around me, about what’s happening around the world, within and outside of the Bronx.

For artists like Cheyenne and Alexis, the most challenging struggle and risk one could possibly take as an artist is simply choosing to be one.





graffitiWith the new developments and increased sensibility for keeping the Bronx 'heritage,' we see an influx in commissioned murals aka graffiti on every prime BX location and in every new office building's interior.

Some of the Boroughs sought after artists have finally found a way to make a buck off of the outcasted art-form. The trend is global, much coveted as it has been statute by the likes of Banksy, Nick Walker, but more so - our own Crash and the Tats Cru, to name a few.

But, with the fame comes a new conceptual challenge to the street-art-form as local politicians and community organizers are working hard to vomit some of the borough's graffiti out of their sights. See News 12 Story 

graffitIt might just be an aesthetic argument, but isn't that what art is all about?!

The Guardian took a trip down boogie-down memory lane and captures The Bronx's Subway Graffiti's golden age - the era that, arguably, changed the world and stamped The Bronx as the epicenter of what's cool.



What do you think about street art?

Graffiti  are writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched or painted illicitly on a wall or other surface, often within public view.[1] Graffiti range from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings and they have existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient EgyptAncient Greece, and the Roman Empire.[2]

In modern times, paint (particularly spray paint) and marker pens have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner's permission is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime.


This summer local artist Ronny Quevedo is sharing his studio at BronxArtSpace with 8 teenagers from the Bronx who are redesigning the awning of nearby Oaxaca-Mexican restaurant, La Morada.

While owner Natalia Mendez and son Marco Saavedra review their drafts as they would any design firm’s, they have also agreed to host any programs the students develop that investigate alternatives to gentrification.

(Ronny Quevedo Siembro Una Rosa Blanca Pa’ Ti 2010. Part of a series of screenprints inspired by bodegas as

cultural sites to express identity and social concerns.)

In fact, that was among the reasons why artist Ronny Quevedo reached out to La Morada to participate in the third iteration of his project Higher Sails. Quevedo, who grew up in the Bronx, originally conceived this project while on residency at Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas. His aim was to amplify the resources already in the community by teaching local youth design skills they can use to raise their voice and contribute to their community–—a goal Quevedo knew La Morada would champion.

Thanks to A Blade of Grass, which is funding the 12-week project, Quevedo was able to bring the project back to his own community in the Bronx.

All are welcome to see the preliminary design for La Morada’s awning as well as other new works by Ronny Quevedo and his fellow residents, Erica Bailey, Melissa Calderón, Cheyenne Julien, Joiri Minaya, and Alexis White at Open Studios on August 26, 5-9pm at BronxArtSpace and the Bruckner Building.


For more information, please visit


Fashionistas and Hypebeasts!

Join theBLOX as we indulge your aesthetic fantasies.

The Bronx 2017 Spring Fashion Week is here! We teamed up with Bronx Fashion Week during the Couture Cuisine runway event, hosted by the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Check out the hit styles that made the runway.



Check out our new fashion series' "Stylin' Out" and "How to be Dandy"


TheBlox introduces Jerome Lamaar, and our new show “Stylin’ Out”. This episode we talk with the twin DJ/Producing duo and Bronx Natives, Angela and Dren. Multitalented and beautiful, these girls give their insight on their passions and fashions.

Angela and Dren tell theBox what inspired them to become DJ’s, what inspires their style, how they landed Nike, and give advice to other women DJ’s hoping to make it in the music industry.

Jerome and the ladies take a trip the Bronx Art Space to experience Beat, an exhibit that takes contemporary view of the complex relationship between sound, music and visual art.