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Celebrating NYC Food and Culture During Hispanic Heritage Month.. and Beyond

Shannnon Morgan

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Celebrating NYC Food and Culture During Hispanic Heritage Month.. and Beyond



Every year, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Americans join together in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Hispanic histories, cultures and contributions of those who originated everywhere from Spain to South America.

The celebration of Hispanic cultures was first enacted by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. The time was later expanded to a month in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.

The start date of Sept. 15 has significance, which coincides with Independence Day celebrations for a number of Central American countries, such as Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Today, visiting local Hispanic-owned eateries is just one of the many ways to enjoy the food, but also support a local business. According to restaurant reservation app Seated co-founder, Bo Peabody, Spanish and Korean BBQ are the two most popular cuisines on the reservation and delivery platform.

“We have incredible Spanish and Hispanic restaurants on Seated. I think we have 50 restaurants owned by people with Hispanic heritage. Tasca is right now our number one performing restaurant,” Peabody told NBC 4 New York.

Tasca, located on Columbus Avenue and W. 84th Street, is a restaurant that offers a contemporary blend of Spanish and Caribbean cuisines, combining old and new world flavors.

“‘Tasca’ in northern Spain and Portugal is ‘tavern’. Sometimes, when you go to a small town in northern Spain, where you get the best food is in the local tasca,” said Tasca co-owner Jay Espinal.

Tasca opened its doors almost one year ago during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before this business venture, co-owners, Jay and Norisa, had ran Don Pedro’s on the Upper East Side. To wife Norisa, it was important to showcase the cuisine at a more intimate dining experience.

“We wanted to go to a place that actually celebrated our culture. There were places, but it wasn’t in a setting such as this. Really have that experience where you can sit down, relax and have a really nice glass of wine and really enjoy our food,” said Norisa Espinal.

This dynamic duo of restauranteurs are proud to celebrate their heritage during this special month and enjoy seeing patrons experiencing the food and culture at Tasca.

However, whether dining out at a new spot or learning about Hispanic heritage, the experiences do not have to stop on Oct. 15.

At Tasca, it’s always supposed to be fun. It’s extra special during Hispanic Heritage Month, but I’m trying to make it Hispanic Heritage decade.Jay Espinal
Co-Owner, Tasca

Across the boroughs, there are dozens of Hispanic-owned restaurants to savor. Here is a list of a few eateries below.

Manhattan:

Queens:

Brooklyn:

Bronx:

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Wild Brawls, Uptick in Guns at NYC Schools Raise Safety Concerns

Shannnon Morgan

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Wild Brawls, Uptick in Guns at NYC Schools Raise Safety Concerns



New videos are raising questions about the safety of schools across New York City — several disturbing videos show students in violent brawls and school safety agents unable to stop them.

The NYPD is looking into five incidents in and around Cardozo High School since the first day of school. An entire Instagram page is dedicated to posting fights that happen at the school in Queens.

About two miles from there, a gun was found this week at Van Buren High School. And on Staten Island, a video posted by Councilmember Joe Borelli from Wagner High School in Seaview where a dean got involved.

It’s part of a trend that the school safety union says they’ve warned the city about.

“The only borough that has not reported this level of violence has been Manhattan. But the school year is still young,” said Gregory Floyd, president of Local 237, which represent school safety agents.

Floyd says the union pushed the city for more agents, knowing they would need them, but between retirement, attrition, and the city’s vaccine mandate, schools across the city lost more than 1,400 agents.

Parents are calling for better safety measures to ensure that guns do not enter schools. NBC New York’s Erica Byfield reports.

“The shortage of school safety is the city’s failure to plan for the opening of this school year,” Floyd said.

Parents and advocates rallied in the Bronx on Friday demanding more school safety agents after six weapons were discovered in two days across city schools.

Most of the weapons this week were found on Wednesday: a loaded .22 caliber revolver was found at Mott Haven High School; a .32 revolver was found at Stevenson High; officers seized a BB gun from Bathgate High; a 17-year-old student had a loaded Glock in his waistband at FDR High School.

“Sometimes the day might come. I fear that I won’t see them coming back,” parent Leonardo Coello said Friday.

The DOE says besides working the NYPD every day to provide more safety agents and scanning where necessary, they are also planning ahead for next year by hiring 500 social workers and 100 school psychologists for next September.

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City Hall Rejected Top-Dollar Offer for Bronx Golf Course Over Trump Threats

Louis Menand

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NYC Moves to Turn Trump’s Bronx Golf Course Over to Homeless Shelter Operator



The company that offered the most money to take over the Bronx golf course run by Donald Trump says it wasn’t picked because the city refused its demand to protect it against any lawsuits from the ex-president.
Morningstar Golf & Hospitality LLC, a New Jersey-based outfit, promised the city more than double the amount proposed by the now-defunct team of Bobby Jones Links and CORE, which runs homeless shelters, documents obtained by THE CITY show.
Morningstar’s package would have guaranteed $8.5 million to the city Department of Parks and Recreation over 13 years, versus $3.9 million from the CORE/Bobby Jones partnership.
But Morningstar had one condition it refused to budge on: that the business be shielded from any lawsuit the Trump Organization might bring against the company — a stipulation the city’s legal department wouldn’t agree to, Morningstar CEO Matthew Galvin said.
“I initially asked the city for an indemnification because I don’t want to get pulled into their lawsuit with Trump,” Galvin told THE CITY. “I simply didn’t want to get dragged through the mud between him and the city, and so I’d asked for an indemnification from the city for that. And they indicated they could not give it.”
The Trump Organization sued the city in June to maintain control of the public course, and later threatened Morningstar for its interest in the greens — telling executives they’d “proceed at their own peril,” according to court filings.
Insurrection Cited
The legal fight ignited when Mayor Bill de Blasio moved to boot Trump from the 18-hole course in the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge, citing the then-president’s role in provoking the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
De Blasio has set a Nov. 14 deadline for a management switchover at the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. But Trump’s lawyers insist that even if they lose the legal battle to stay, the former president will maintain control of the operation pending an appeal.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told THE CITY its legal team has “made clear that we will continue to fight vigorously to defend our right to possession and control of the property for the remainder of our 20-year term.”
“Despite the lack of transparency in this flawed process, we have acted professionally and with integrity in absolutely every aspect, which is much more than we can say for some of the elected officials involved,” said the spokesperson, Amanda Miller.

The city wants Trump out by Nov. 14. The former president’s lawyers say he isn’t budging.

John Hanson Pye/Shutterstock

Documents show that Morning Star offered the city a minimum of $500,000 a year, or 15% of earnings, for the first five years of the contract, whichever is higher. The proposal increased the floor to $750,000 annually after five years.
CORE and Bobby Jones Links proposed a $300,000 annual concession fee, or 5% of revenues, whichever was higher. The firm also offered $900,000 for capital improvements.
The contract ultimately approved Oct. 13 by de Blasio’s appointees to the Franchise and Concession Review Committee upped the revenue figure to 7% in the first eight years and rising up to 10% in the final year.
The CORE/Bobby Jones venture also requested indemnification against any legal action by Trump, but did not receive it, documents show.
Parks Defends Deal
Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department, said in a statement that the agency “engaged in lengthy good faith negotiations with both Bobby Jones and Morningstar.”
“However, [Parks] was only able to come to a mutual agreement regarding the terms and conditions of the license with one of these entities, Bobby Jones, by the deadline set by the city to get a new operator,” she added.
Lalor did not respond to Galvin’s contention the Morningstar deal broke down over the lack of an indemnity clause.
Galvin said his firm didn’t “want to spend a million bucks on legal fees” without indemnification, but toured the facility as recently as early September in hopes the city would make an offer anyway.
The city informed Morningstar around Sept. 24 that it was going with Bobby Jones Links and CORE, Galvin said.
The city “called me for the courtesy call to let me know it was not going to be our firm, and that the issue was the indemnity, that that was the primary issue,” he added.

CORE Services Group CEO Jack Brown

CORE Services Group/Facebook

The city published a notice the following Monday stating that CORE and Bobby Jones Links won the bid. But CORE later pulled out of the project after reporting by THE CITY revealed the surprise partnership.
The New York Times later published an investigation revealing that CORE was under city audit for steering city funds to related for-profit security, food service and building maintenance companies — earning its CEO, Jack Brown, a million-dollar annual payday.
A Vow to Outdo Trump
Bobby Jones Links is now going solo on the deal. The firm’s co-founder recently told THE CITY that CORE approached his Atlanta-based firm earlier this year about putting in a bid to take over the Bronx golf course.
The homeless-services provider didn’t have any experience running a golf course, but pitched a joint-venture that would focus its role on local hiring. Bobby Jones Links would operate the golf course, while CORE would work on the clubhouse operation, restaurant concession and facilities maintenance, joint proposal obtained by THE CITY shows.
In a presentation submitted this summer to the Parks Department, the unlikely partners touted CORE’s for-profit entities as key assets, part of a “service model” that “creates job opportunities for clients rather than waiting for them to appear.”
By then, all three of those companies were the subject of the city audit — as well as to orders to CORE to reinvest any profits from the entities into services, a corrective action plan signed between CORE and the city’s Department of Social Services in April 2020 shows.

The Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point rests in the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge.

Spencer T Tucker/Mayoral Photography Office

In September 2021, as Parks was readying to award the golf course to an LLC registered by CORE Services Group head Brown, the city’s Department of Homeless Services ordered him to dissolve or restructure those companies, according to the city and New York Times.
“To ensure CORE’s compliance with city procurement policy, we’ve required a forensic audit, directed a salary study, disapproved their subcontractors, and required them to dissolve or restructure those subs,” Isaac McGinn, a DHS spokesperson, said in a statement.
The directive followed the company’s failure to comply with the corrective action plan, according to DHS.
A spokesperson for CORE said the firm is “exploring the future role of its subsidiaries.”
Last week, Whitney Crouse, founding partner of Bobby Jones Links, said the firm didn’t know of any issues with CORE when it teamed with the homeless service provider on the proposal.
Crouse promised to bring more diversity — and better maintenance — to the Bronx golf course.
“We’re going to spend more on golf maintenance than Donald Trump did,” he told THE CITY.

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Man’s Legs Pinned Between Cars Outside Midtown Hotel After Brake Unlocks: Police

Shannnon Morgan

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Man's Legs Pinned Between Cars Outside Midtown Hotel After Brake Unlocks: Police



A man suffered serious leg injuries in an incident outside a Midtown hotel Sunday after a car’s emergency brake unlocked, police say.

According to the NYPD, the man was attempting to load the trunk of a Porsche parked outside a hotel when the car behind him rolled into him.

The collision happened around 11 a.m. outside Le Meridien Hotel on West 57th Street.

Police say the car rolled into the man after its emergency brake became unlocked, crushing his legs between the two cars.

The man is expected to survive. So far, there’s no word of any criminal charges.

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