Articles written by: Joe Hirsch

Business / Economy

Small businesses brace for rough holiday season

Blueprint clothing store (15 years at the location)
Ronald Elike, owner
1038 Southern
PHOTOGRAPHER: Mohammad Sharif Hassan

Ronald Elike is the owner of the Blueprint, a clothing store, on Southern Blvd. He launched the business in 2002 when few online businesses were selling cloths. His business grew for about a decade, but started trending down about five years ago. 

 “The chain stores have an effect on us, but online is even worse – that’s taken a big chunk of our business away – because a lot of customers are now shopping online,” 41-year-old business owner said. 

Elike tried to embrace the online business in the hope to compensate the store decline. He created a website and started selling on Ebay. The website didn’t help. The Ebay sales, however, increased over time. 

Elike said his business is “tremendously down,” this holiday season. In addition to online and chain store growth, he has another problem – unfriendly weather. With the weather warmer this December, fewer people buy winter clothes. 

“This year in particular we had a lot of issues with weather. It’s been warm. Normally it supposed to be cold [in December]. So, we are selling winter cloths, but people don’t need it right now,” he said.

Though business owners often depend on the holiday season to boost flagging revenues, many in Longwood’s main shopping district along Southern Boulevard say they’re not optimistic as big box stores and online sales have eaten away at their ability to earn a living in recent years.

Health

Hunts Point program protects seniors from abuse

Hunts Point program protects seniors from abuse

Earlier this year, a New York state senator introduced a bill that aims to establish mandated reporters responsible for reporting suspected incidents of elder abuse or maltreatment.

Business

Tech skills on offer for LGBTQ youth

Joseph Cancel, 20, (left) looks on as Chris Mercado (center) gives Bejan Merz, 29 (right) resume edits

A class offered at the BankNote building teaches technology and career readiness to LGBTQ youth who make less than $50,000 a year. It is the first of its kind dedicated exclusively to LGBTQ youth in the Bronx.

Jobs

Program brings tech skills to Hunts Point

What makes The Knowledge House unique is that its classes encourage students to solve community problems with tech.

What makes The Knowledge House unique is that its classes encourage students to solve community problems with tech.

Culture

Bronx artist marries the love of her life—Puerto Rico

The blushing bride, Mariposa Fernández, will take a working honeymoon to Puerto Rico this winter to deliver aid. Photo by Sarah Matusek.

Poet, activist and educator Maria Teresa “Mariposa” Fernández got hitched to her homeland Puerto Rico on Wednesday night before a packed house at The Point Community Development Corporation.

Transportation

Hunts Point gets its first Select bus

The new BX6 Select.

The Select BX6 line was recently added to the list of New York City’s Bus Rapid Transit system, an improved bus service offering fast and frequent services for bus routes with a high ridership.

Health

Councilman pushes for opioid antidote in schools

A vile of naloxone.

The South Bronx had the highest rate of drug overdoses in the city last year, according to a study by the health department. City Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. is proposing a bill to require local schools to have the antidote on hand to administer if needed, but the mayor’s office is pushing back.

Art / Culture

Hip Hop’s birthplace has mixed feelings about cultural tours

Tourists pose in front of the Graffiti Hall of Fame at the corner of 106th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem, a stop on the "Birthplace of Hip Hop" tour. 

The HusH Tours tour company, distinct from other tours of the outer boroughs, offers patrons an insider’s perspective through its employ of local hip hop pioneers. While the company’s pride for these areas is real, community members question the company’s commitment to the neighborhoods they tour.

Education

Charter schools group hopes to open local school

A new charter school is considering Hunts Point/Longwood as a potential landing spot, touching off a familiar debate among parents and education advocates.