District 17
The South Bronx

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District 17 - Jose Serrano
384E 149th St., 3rd Avenue, (Suite 300), Bronx 10455
City Hall: (212) 788-7384
District: (718) 402-6130
Fax: (718) 402-0539

Committee Assignments:
Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations, Chair
Environmental Protection, member
General Welfare, member
Parks & Recreation, member
Sanitation & Solid Waste Management, member

Bring Jobs and the Arts to the South Bronx

By Jose Serrano Jr.

The neighborhoods of my district in the South Bronx are some of the poorest and most neglected in the city. But everybody needs art, and the South Bronx is no exception.

There are many problems. We are suffering from an economic downturn and jobs are not available. Homelessness is a major concern. And many residents in the 17th district will soon be reaching their five-year limit under the new welfare reform and will no longer be entitled to federal aid.

Environmental issues are critical in my district. There has been a systematic, cycle of over-industrialization in the South Bronx that has turned certain sections into an environmental wasteland. We have astronomical rates of cancer, asthma, infant mortality and learning disabilities. These health problems have been directly attributed to the lack of cleanliness, lack of green space, and lack of opportunities for young people to live in a productive, fruitful community.

Our area also faces a new challenge with the arrival of the fish market in Hunts Point. While it is great that the fish market will now make the Bronx the center of produce and fish distribution for the Northeast, I am concerned about the truck routes through the area.. We already have a problem with trucks rumbling through, emitting fumes. Will this add to the number of trucks on our residential streets? How are we going to cut down on the diesel emissions? Will the pollution add to our already high asthma rates? These are issues that should have been considered ahead of time, and now we must address them quickly.

Even with all of these problems, I have great hope for the South Bronx.

I have been working with the groups to push for living wages and better jobs for the area. I will continue to work until that happens. Most people want to work and provide for themselves and their families. We have to give them the opportunity to do that. The fish market will bring unique employment opportunities to our area, provided that the jobs go to people living in the area, which is what I hope and will work for.

It is also my dream to bring the arts to people of my area.

I used to work with the New York Shakespeare Festival and sometimes people are surprised to hear that someone from the South Bronx can be such an advocate of the arts. Often low-income people do not have the disposable income to go to Broadway show or visit a museum. They live in the cultural center of the world, but they are unable to benefit from it.

As the new chair of the Cultural Affairs committee, which oversees the funding and programs of museums, libraries, cultural events, theater and film, I want to work to broaden the impact of the arts.

I want to create arts mentoring programs in poorer communities and for at-risk youth to expose them to the benefits of music, dance, and the visual arts. Studies have shown that young people who are exposed to art and learn to read music do better in school and stay out of trouble. I want to bring programs into the schools, have Shakespearean actors do workshops with young people, and present artists as positive role models for kids. I would like to see the bigger cultural institutions include inner city youth in their programs. I want the children in my neighborhood to see different lifestyles and benefit from the culture we have here in New York City.

And even though these are difficult times for the city as a whole, I believe that the South Bronx will still prosper. This is the first time that the area will have officials on the state and local level who all get along with one another and are dedicated to working together. I believe we can bring about change.

I am the only member of the City Council who did not achieve my seat through term limits. I was able to defeat an incumbent, which was not easy. I am grateful to the residents of my district for entrusting me with this seat. Becoming a member of the City Council is a dream come true for me. I not only want to speak about the issues that are important to people of South Bronx, but actually do something about them.

I have had the good fortune of growing up with my father, who is a member of Congress, and seeing the joy he has had throughout his life doing his job. He told me that if you do this job right, be conscientious, and as diligent as you can, it will be the most rewarding job in the world. And if you do not take it seriously, then you are just wasting the time of the constituents. I do not want to waste a minute.

Jose Serrano is City Council Member from District 17.

Community Boards for District 17
Community Board No. 1
384 E. 149th St., Ste. 320, Bronx, NY 10455
(718) 585-7117
Mr. George Rodriguez, Chair
Mr. Cedric Lofton, District Manager
Community Board No. 2
1029 E. 163rd St., Rm. 202 Bronx, NY 10459
(718) 328-9125-6
Marta Rivera, Chair
Mr. John Robert, District Manager
Community Board No. 3
1426 Boston Rd., Bronx, NY 10456
(718) 378-8054
Ms. Gloria S. Alston, Chair
Mr. John Dudley, District Manager
Community Board No. 4
1650 Selwyn Ave., Ste. 11A, Bronx, NY 10457
(718) 299-0800
Mr. Ade A Rasul, Chair
Ms. Margarita Hunt-Tejada, District Manager
Community Board No. 9
1967 Turnbull Ave., Rm. 7, Bronx, NY 10473
(718) 823-3034
Mr. Enrique Vega, Chair
Mr. Francisco Gonzalez, District Manager

Community Plans for District 17 (PDF format)
Comprehensive Community Plan - The Bronx Center (The Bronx Center Steering Committee, The Urban Assembly)

Transportation Plan - Decommissioning the Sheridan Expressway (The Point Community Development Corporation; Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice)

197-a plan - Draft Hunts Point (Sustainable South Bronx/The Point Community Development Corporation)

Housing Development Plan (We Stay/Nos Quedamos Committee Housing Preservation and Development, Department of City Planning)

Economic/Commercial Revitalization Plan - Discovering the Center: A Vision Plan for the Bronx Hub (Bronx Borough President's Office)

Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan (Cherry Tree Association)

Comprehensive Community Revitalization Plan -- Longwood/Hunts Point CCRP (Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association)

Transportation - Protecting Our Hunts Point Neighborhood from Dangerous Truck Traffic: A Community Led Initiative to Create Safe Streets, A Study of Truck Traffic in Hunts Point, The Bronx With Proposals to Minimize Traffic Impact (Mothers on the Move)

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)