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Thread: Renewal and Resistance in Yonkers

  1. #16


    This is the architectural equivalent of the painting of the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung.

  2. #17
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Looks like vandalism.

  3. #18

    Default Oh my god!

    I don't know what to say.

  4. #19
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Jersey City


    Two guys lookin at rendering:

    Guy 1: Wow

    Guy 2: Ummm Yea

    Guy 1: Looks like a party favor

    Guy 2: Hmmmm so you want lunch?

    Guy 1: Sounds good. Hey don't they have toy like that in a happy meal in McDonalds?

    Guy 2: Yea should get it for my daughter.


  5. #20


    I love these models. This is just the type of thing Yonkers needs to reinvent itself for 21st century. The city has so much going for it location and people-wise I think we need new blood and ideas. Another thought for the old power plant (I call it the "Portal of Perdition"; forget that old-school 'gates of hell' nonsense) is to create a museum space like Tate London. The train station is right there to bring in the swells from NYC if we did innovative shows. DIA Beacon is very crowded on weekends and much further from city. This could also tie us in to the Hudson Valley art scene. Places like this bring life to a city worth more than just taxes from luxury rentals.

  6. #21


    Old sugar refinery wary of future neighbors

    The American Sugar Refining plant sits along the Hudson
    River in Yonkers, in this view from the Yonkers Sculpture
    Meadow. (Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

    By Len Maniace
    The Journal News December 1, 2008

    YONKERS - In pushing the redevelopment of downtown, city officials have repeatedly conjured up images of a derelict industrial waterfront that long ago ceased functioning as an economic engine for the city.

    But there's at least one exception to that picture: American Sugar Refining, a business that turns out 4 million pounds of sugar daily under the Domino label. Operating out of a string of interconnected buildings, the oldest dating back to 1901, American Sugar Refining employs 285 full-time workers and reports gross wages of nearly $20 million.

    The sugar works is one of the places where the Yonkers of old is rubbing up against the new Yonkers - or at least the hope for a new Yonkers. Roughly 100 feet away from the northern end of the refinery sits empty land upon which is to rise Palisades Point, an upscale housing development with two 25-story towers.

    It also is a place of potential conflict between a manufacturing operation and the residents who are to fill those new buildings. At least that is how American Sugar Refining sees it. Over the past year, company officials and their lawyers have told the city that they believe their operations could be threatened by noise or air pollution complaints from tenants at Palisades Point, part of the massive Struever Fidelco Cappelli downtown redevelopment effort.

    "America Sugar Refining has been saying it doesn't oppose the project, but it wants to be assured that placing residents next to the plant does not cause the plant to have difficulty continuing to operate," said Joseph DiSalvo, an attorney representing American Sugar Refining.

    City officials say they want to keep American Sugar Refining in Yonkers. The company contributes to the city's economy, producing tax revenue and jobs for local residents, Council President Chuck Lesnick said. The City Council approved the Struever Fidelco Cappelli project's environmental review last month.

    "We want to keep those industrial jobs in Yonkers whenever we can," Lesnick said. "People have worked in that factory, and their parents have worked in there. It's part of the historic fabric of Yonkers."

    DiSalvo said nearly 100 of the refinery's workers live in Yonkers.
    City officials say they also are concerned about the potential damage any conflict might do to Struever Fidelco Cappelli's redevelopment plans. If American Sugar Refining brought a lawsuit to protect its operations, Lesnick said, it could delay the project's construction and a hoped-for rebirth of the city's downtown.

    American Sugar Refining officials say they are concerned that with the construction of the new buildings, they will face stricter noise and air pollution codes and could risk violating them. Under city regulations, the allowable nighttime noise limit would drop to 50 decibels from 70 decibels once the Palisades Point site switches to a residential use from an industrial zone.

    Noise from American Sugar Refining, mostly from the facility's power generator, tops 50 decibels when measured at Palisades Point, said Daniel Riesel, a consultant for the sugar company.

    The company also is concerned that construction of the towers will interfere with the dispersal of low-level sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant, possibly causing illegal concentrations of the pollutant to build up at the southern side of the Palisades Point development.

    To cope with these issues, Struever Fidelco Cappelli has agreed to install nonopening windows on the south-facing side of a five-story building that would rise 100 feet away and also on the south-facing side of the 25-story tower closest to the refinery, roughly 300 feet away. Builders also will need to carefully locate air intakes for heating and ventilation systems to avoid the tainted air, the City Council noted in its environmental findings.
    Struever Fidelco Cappelli's project manager, Joseph Apicella, said the measures agreed upon by the developers and the city will allow Palisades Point residents and American Sugar Refining to co-exist.

    "The residents will not even know what's operating next door," Apicella said. "They'll be focused on the magnificent Hudson River and the Palisades."

    Lesnick said he believed new residents moving to downtown Yonkers will understand that city life isn't as quiet as life in the suburbs. "That's the attraction of living in an urban environment where there is street traffic and lots of people, and you can't shut it down at night," Lesnick said.


  7. #22


    Demolition begins at Yonkers biggest housing complex

    Len Maniace
    The Journal News Dec. 10, 2008

    (Len Maniace/The Journal News)
    Former resident Loretta Bryant, who lived at Mulford Gardens from
    1989 to 2006, says she hopes to move into replacement housing.
    Demolition equipment began taking down Mulford Gardens Tuesday,
    part of a plan by Yonkers to the replace the public-housing complex
    that was built in 1940.

    The claws of two huge demolition machines tore into the brick and concrete buildings of Mulford Gardens yesterday, signaling the final chapter for the massive housing project that was called home by thousands of families through the decades.

    Mulford Gardens, opened in 1940 to provide housing for families of modest means, eventually became engulfed by rising crime that planners now say was encouraged by the project's anonymous common areas that were beyond the control of residents and police.

    Despite Mulford's troubled decline into drug trade and violent crime, several former residents who showed up to say goodbye to the 550-unit, 17-building complex said they had fond memories of their lives in Mulford Gardens.

    "It was nice living here - close to schools, close to the hospital, close to the park and to shopping," said Loretta Bryant, 50, who lived in Mulford from 1989 to 2006, raising two children.

    "When I first moved in was really great, you felt safe going out at night," said Bryant, a food service worker for the Yonkers school district. Now Bryant, who lives a nearby private rental building, said she hopes to move into the 60-unit Croton Heights Apartments, the first of Mulford Gardens' replacement buildings, which is set to open next week.

    Mulford Gardens was the first and the biggest of several federally sponsored, low-income housing complexes to be built in Yonkers and the first to be demolished. Speaking at a brief ceremony before demolition began, Mayor Phil Amicone noted that it provided housing for generations of Yonkers residents.

    "I've met so many people who grew up in Mulford Gardens, it's hard to imagine that anyone lived anywhere else," Amicone said. "The fact is many people think it was a great place to grow up in, but it has now outlived its usefulness in today's age, and we need to replace it with a better place."
    The new housing is funded by a $20 million federal Hope VI housing grant and the city's $180 million Ashburton Avenue urban renewal effort. That rebuilding effort will replace only 469 of Mulford's 550 units with housing built for a mix of income levels.

    The demolition of Mulford is expected to be completed near the end of January, said Brian Sweeney of IMC Consulting, which is working with the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority on the redevelopment effort. The redevelopment is expected to continue through 2010, with former Mulford residents getting preference in moving to the new housing, the Mayor's Office said.

    Paula Crawford got to know Mulford Gardens as a girl when she visited her sister and baby-sat for her niece and decided it was a much better place than her building on Riverdale Avenue.

    "I always said, 'When I get old enough, this is where I want to live.' The grounds were nice and each section of Mulford was like its own community," said Crawford, who lived in Mulford Gardens with her two children and first husband from 1981 to 1990. "It was like a private community, even though it wasn't a private community."

    Another former Mulford resident, John Downing, a retired Con Edison worker, came looking for souvenirs amid the demolition debris. "Can I get some bricks?" Downing asked. "I'd like to get them for my brother, sister, for one or two friends and for me."

    When Downing first moved to Mulford Gardens with his family, in 1948, the complex was less than a decade old. There even was a swimming pool, he recalled. Downing remembered Mulford as a great place to grow up, a neighborhood that was packed with kids eager to play. The family moved in 1958. "I have nothing but good memories," Downing said.

  8. #23

    Default Renewal AND Resistance

    Yonkers seeks plan to allow fun seekers and residents to co-exist downtown

    By Len Maniace
    The Journal News
    December 15, 2008

    For more than a decade, the goal of planners and developers has been to create a vibrant new downtown where apartment towers, restaurants and shops would revive the city's abandoned industrial waterfront.

    Though the redevelopment is still in its infancy, some waterfront residents are wondering whether the goal of creating a 24-hour downtown shouldn't be scaled back to something less ambitious - say, a 15-hour downtown.

    The problem is noise, say some residents of Hudson Park, a largely residential development that opened five years ago. Specifically, they cite the amplified bands that play at an outdoor bar during the warmer months and the revelers who congregate outside a restaurant bar to drink and smoke cigarettes into the early morning.

    It's a conflict that could intensify as Yonkers moves ahead with more mixed-use downtown developments. As a result, the City Council has begun discussing a noise management plan to ease such conflicts.
    The proposal was introduced by City Council member Patricia McDow, D-1st District, who lives in the Clermont, the first building that opened in Hudson Park. McDow says her neighbors complain about noise from the Pier View.

    One of those neighbors, Chuck Hyman, moved to the Clermont five years ago. He said he has been forced to listen to music and a loud bar crowd well into the morning. Though the problem has eased with cold weather, all it takes is a warm spell to push the crowds outdoors again, he said.
    "The night before Thanksgiving, people were out there with their drinks until 3:30 in the morning," said Hyman, whose apartment overlooks the Pier View restaurant bar and its outdoor summer pub, called Whiskey Rio.
    Stephanie Engeln, who lives in a neighboring Hudson Park building, the Phoenix, said she doesn't mind a restaurant, but the late-night bar and its crowd don't fit with a residential neighborhood.

    "(The patrons) talk very loud; they get excited; they get into fights, and then the police come to arrest people," Engeln said.

    One of the more serious incidents occurred after 3 a.m. Nov. 29, when a birthday party at the Pier View turned violent and a man in his 30s was slashed in the face, according to Yonkers police.

    Police have logged 42 noise complaints about the Pier View for 2008 through Wednesday, said Lt. Diane Hessler.

    Pier View's general manager, Timothy Philp, did not respond to efforts to reach him for comment.

    Several residents say the problem was worse in 2007 when restaurant-goers prowling for the few available parking spaces would jam local streets. "People coming home wouldn't able to get to the garage because of all the traffic," said Ronald Rodriguez, who also lives in the Clermont. "So in addition to the noise from the restaurant, you had the traffic noise all hours of the night."

    However, Engeln and Rodriguez credit the introduction of valet parking and police for quieting traffic and chasing off visiting skateboarders.
    Rodriguez suggested the developer, Collins Enterprises, which owns Hudson Park's residential and commercial buildings, should resolve the problem.
    Cathy Ryan, executive assistant to Arthur Collins, who heads the company, said Collins Enterprises had no comment on the matter.
    McDow said the conflict points up the need for the city to minimize such problems.

    "The same thing is going to happen in other parts of the city with redevelopment, including the baseball stadium," McDow said. "We want to have a plan in place so everyone can coexist."

  9. #24

    Default Same Ole Yonkers?

    Residents disappointed as Yonkers plans layoffs

    By Christine Pizzuti The Journal News
    December 15, 2008

    While residents of the largest city in Westchester County agree something needs to be done to balance plummeting revenue, they say large layoffs affecting firefighters, police and Department of Public Works members are not necessarily the way to go about it.

    The layoffs are part of a plan to balance out the city's budget, which could otherwise fall to a $16 million gap - more like a chasm - between spending and revenue.

    Mayor Phil Amicone on Friday announced plans to lay off 76 full-time workers and scale back municipal services, including cuts to special police units and DPW services, like bulk trash pickups for residents. The cuts, which will be implemented Jan. 1, also call for the layoffs of 75 part-time workers, 28 demotions and the elimination of 44 vacant positions.

    "It's foolish spending so much money on training these guys, and then they lay them off," Yonkers resident John Lent said of the workers who will lose their jobs. "I would like to see cuts in his (Amicone's) own staff instead of municipal services."

    No layoffs are expected to take place within the Mayor's Office, though one employee will be shifted to a different department.

    Under the pay cuts, the Teamsters, whose members work mainly in parks and public works, would see the most cuts, with 50 full-time layoffs among 439 members.

    Resident Jean Penzo said one of her friends who works in public works has already been told he should expect to lose his job, though he won't know for sure until January.

    "It's a shame that everybody has to lose their jobs. Times are hard out here," Penzo said, adding: "And if you think about all the perks the people in City Hall get ..."

    She suggested the city not provide raises this year and do away with take-home cars paid for by the taxpayers.

    On top of the DPW workers, Amicone plans to eliminate one fire company. Fire Commissioner Anthony Pagano said earlier that the department never recovered from layoffs in the early 1980s that left the city with 18 fire companies, down from 20.

    In cutting back on some special policing units, Amicone is also calling for 11 full-time police officers to lose their jobs.

    Resident Nicholas Maiello called the cuts to police unfortunate, but he said he hopes they make a difference in the city's finances. "I'm pretty astounded by it, especially this time of year," Maiello said, referring to the holidays. "Hopefully these cuts will be beneficial in terms of meeting our budget deficit." He said he hopes revitalization efforts in the area will pay off as well.

    Resident Andrea Brown, who has experience working for municipalities, said that when public services employees are laid off, they're generally the first in line to be hired back. She said she knows it can't be easy for the city to make these decisions. "They have to do what is necessary to take care of the deficit," she said.


  10. #25


    Yonkers officials unveil housing to replace Mulford Gardens

    December 16, 2008
    By Ernie Garcia The Journal News

    (Matthew Brown/The Journal News)
    Maria Duque, left, of Yonkers and her granddaughter, Carolina
    uque, tour an apartment at the newly opened Croton Heights
    Apartments in Yonkers.

    YONKERS - The public got its first look yesterday at the new housing that will replace the Mulford Gardens public housing complex. The $23 million Croton Heights Apartments, a 60-unit building at 193 Ashburton Ave., will welcome 20 former Mulford Gardens tenants next month. The mixed-income building is the first of several planned to replace the 550 units lost at Mulford Gardens, which is being razed.

    Raymond Walker, 58, a retired bus driver, lived in Mulford Gardens and will be one of the new tenants of Croton Heights. Walker said he always intended to return to the Mulford Gardens neighborhood. "This is my home," said Walker, who will rent a one-bedroom unit. "I just like it over here."

    Mayor Phil Amicone said the Croton Heights Apartments' opening was evidence of the city's commitment to its low-income residents and the neighborhood along Ashburton Avenue. "We're not rebuilding it in spite of the people who were here. We're building it for the people who were here," Amicone said during a reception that included speeches by Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano and Rep. Nita Lowey, among others.

    Only 20 former residents of Mulford Gardens are expected to move into the new building because just 18 of its units are public housing. An additional 15 apartments are reserved for people who receive what are known as Section 8 housing vouchers. The remaining units are reserved for people whose incomes vary from 60 percent to 90 percent of the median income in Westchester County.

    According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the 2008 median income in Westchester for a one-person household is $71,100. A one-bedroom apartment at Croton Heights will rent for $1,086 a month, while two-bedroom and three-bedroom units will rent for $1,371 and $1,571, respectively.

    The building's amenities include a gym, a community room, off-street parking and a laundry. Landex, a property management firm, will manage Croton Heights.

    The limited number of public- housing units at Croton Heights is the main reason that so few former tenants of Mulford Gardens are not moving into the complex, said Joseph Shuldiner, executive director of the city's Municipal Housing Authority. Shuldiner explained that the replacement housing for Mulford Gardens will be mixed-income and that some former residents could not meet income requirements to live in Croton Heights, even at 60 percent of the county's median income.

    Walker said he found the application process for the new housing easy, but Renee Bates, 47, a hospital dietary aide, said she found it difficult because of all the income scrutiny and background checks. Nonetheless, Bates, who lived at Mulford Gardens for 21 years, said she wanted to return to her old neighborhood because she foresees a bright future for the area.

    "I've seen some of the sketches," said Bates, who will move into a three-bedroom unit. "It's going to be beautiful when they are done and those that didn't want to come back will wish they did when it's finished."

  11. #26


    Celebration in Yonkers draws hundreds

    Kwanzaa, the annual holiday that celebrates traditional African values of family, community responsibility and self-improvement, was in full display yesterday at the Yonkers Riverfront Library.

    There was singing, lighting of candles, African drumming and dance performances, workshops and craft sessions drawing roughly 200 people.

    Dorita Gongora explains a kinara to children crafting the candleholders.
    (Stuart Bayer/The Journal News)

    "I wanted him to find out what an African Christmas is like," said Vanessa Caven of Yonkers, who brought her 5-year-old son, Dakota. He seemed to enjoy the activities and held on to a picture he had made of the seven-spoked kinara candle holder that represents the main principles of the holiday - unity, self-determination, working together, supporting one another, purpose, creativity and faith.

    Symbolism aside, Dakota seemed to like the red, green and black colors of the candles on his picture and showed how he carefully put a flame with yellow felt on each spoke. "It is fun to celebrate," he said staring at his creation, then urging his mother toward the library's computers. "I like games."

    Christmas is spiritual, whereas Kwanzaa is about understanding culture, said Cheryl Brannan, founder and chief executive officer of Sister to Sister International, which sponsored the event along with Black Women's Political Caucus, Inc. and the Yonkers Riverfront Library Children's Department. "We want to encourage black people to be proud of their history and be inspired for the future," she said.

    Mae Williams, president of the political caucus, said the celebration was to learn about the seven-day holiday Kwanzaa and to "bring together family, culture and community." With this in mind there was plenty of music and dancing. The Bokandeye African American Dance group came on first, then dancers from the Elm Street Neighborhood Center in Yonkers.

    For Schoquilla Coleman, 22, of Yonkers, is was all about dancing. An Elm Street staffer, she performed with colleagues and youngsters from the youth program - all wearing bright yellow, black, red and white shirts. "We get to show the origin of where we all come from," she said. "It is a great experience."

  12. #27


    Volunteers pitch in to keep Yonkers PAL going

    In the cavernous hall of a former armory, young men loped up and down basketball courts, while in an adjacent room another group scarfed down pizza and fried chicken set out on platters alongside a boxing ring. It was a few days before Christmas and the food was there for a modest holiday party at the Yonkers Police Athletic League, an organization that, like its surrounding neighborhood, knows how to make do with less.

    For the last three weeks, the PAL has been without its actual police - two officers and a lieutenant - who were shifted to local precincts as City Hall grappled with a $16 million budget gap. For a time, it looked as if the city's financial problems would defeat the PAL, locking it out of its home, a turreted red-brick building on North Broadway. But volunteers stepped up to save - at least for now - the PAL, which offers sports, recreation and tutoring to some of the poorest children in Yonkers.

    The volunteers' arrival provided a much-needed Christmas present to the PAL, though some of its young participants say they miss the police, and the feeling of safety and certainty the officers provided.

    Denzel Villar, a serious-sounding 13-year-old and dedicated boxer, relies on the PAL for much of his daily training regimen: basketball, punching bags and time in the ring. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of this father, David Villar, who has a slew of trophies from his boxing days that began with the PAL, and included participation in six Golden Gloves, the amateur boxing tournament that's produced many champion boxers. "They have a lot of programs here that can keep you out of trouble. And you have fun," Denzel Villar said.

    Vic Federico has been running the PAL softball program for 2 1/2 years. When the police officers left, Federico recruited eight parents of team members to keep the gym open. "We're trying to get the kids back into the building because it's not a great neighborhood. PAL provides a safe haven," Federico said.

    Sal Corrente was already volunteering four to five hours a night at the PAL. He's added another hour or two each day. A retired 36-year-veteran of the Yonkers Police Department, Corrente started the PAL boxing program in the mid-1970s by accident. "One kid approached me to help him get into the Golden Gloves. A friend of his said, 'Go see the singing cop down in Getty Square,' " Corrente recalled.

    Corrente had a reputation among teens for being approachable. He had played college football and had become known as "the singing cop" after appearing in police uniform on an old TV show, Ted Mack's "Original Amateur Hour." Before long, Corrente was working full time for the PAL. By his count, Corrente has trained 28 Golden Glove champions.

    News that the police were pulling out of the PAL distressed Corrente, who has lived through at least one earlier threat of the PAL's closing. "What people don't understand is that the PAL is a crime-prevention unit. It's keeping kids off the street," Corrente said. "My experience is that these kids are looking for something to belong to. Half of them are lost souls out there."

    For Corrente, the infusion of volunteers, though welcome, only softened the loss. The police, he insists, are an essential part of the organization. "It's always been my contention that we want to show the kids we're regular people. 'We cry like you guys. We laugh like you guys,' "Corrente said. "Here they get to see us as normal human beings. Normally these kids are afraid of cops."

    Sitting in the gym's bleachers, Louis Rivera, 21, later picked up Corrente's point. "I grew up in the streets. PAL took me out of that. This is like home to me," said Rivera, who has participated in the PAL's boxing program for four years. "PAL is a beautiful place." Rivera has made it to the Golden Gloves quarterfinals in each of the past two years and hopes to improve on that record in 2009. Even though he can take care of himself, Rivera said the police officers' presence at PAL gave teens a feeling of safety. That's something not duplicated even by the presence of police in the city's Youth Bureau elsewhere in the same building, he said.

    The PAL officers shared the basketball courts with kids, took them on outings and knew their names, Rivera said. "The cops were playing right here," Rivera said. "If there was something about to break out, they would be right here."

  13. #28


    December 31, 2008

    Yonkers fire company won't close, Pagano won't retire

    Len Maniace
    The Journal News

    YONKERS - City officials announced a plan yesterday to avoid the elimination of one fire company and the transfer of another, a move that would be one of the more visible elements in the city's efforts to battle a $16 million budget deficit. That agreement came nearly a month after Yonkers Fire Commissioner Anthony Pagano had submitted his retirement papers and telling some in City Hall that he would leave his post if the city's costing-cutting measures damaged the department's response times to emergencies. Following the agreement to maintain fire service, Pagano said he was rescinding his retirement.

    The agreement did not eliminate the planned layoff of seven members of the Fire Department, though it reduced the number of fire officers facing demotion to 17 from 19.

    "I didn't feel that I would stay if we had to reduce a company in the city of Yonkers and change the response time," Pagano said. "And since we have achieved not having to do that, I have reconsidered my retirement."

    In other news related to the city's financial troubles, a second municipal union yesterday approved contract givebacks aimed at saving workers' jobs. The Service Employees International Union voted to accept roughly $58,000 in givebacks to save the jobs of four members who had received layoff notices sent out by City Hall this month. The workers voted specifically to allow the city to withhold roughly two months' payments to the union's welfare fund, which augments health, dental and eye-care coverage, said union head Dominic Savarese. The union originally had faced five layoffs, but that was reduced to four after one worker took an outside job.

    The SEIU cost-saving measure amounted to a fraction of the givebacks agreed to last week by the Teamsters Union, which stood to lose 50 members. The Teamsters' givebacks were valued at about $1 million, with another $400,000 to protect the jobs coming from savings in the City Council's budget. "My main focus is to save my members' jobs, and by taking this vote they did save four of their fellow members' jobs," Savarese said.

    The latest agreement still leaves 21 full-time municipal workers facing layoffs, down from the originally announced 76.

    Mayor Phil Amicone yesterday said that Pagano's pending retirement was not a factor in the agreement that made it possible to keep Ladder Company 70 and not move Ladder Company 75 from Fire Station 12 in the city's Dunwoodie section. Pagano had been working on it for roughly a month, Amicone said.

    Amicone said: "Nobody wanted to eliminate a company, and frankly it was only through a lot of hard work and number-crunching and working with the finance commissioner and the chief and himself that they were finally able to come up with a mechanism whereby they could still fund the company and maintain the same savings."

    When questioned, Pagano insisted his retirement plan was not an effort to pressure the city to reach an agreement to keep the companies where they are. Pagano had gone so far as to empty many of his personal belongings from his office at fire headquarters on Monday, said Hugh Fox, president of Yonkers Firefighters Local 628.
    Fox said he visited Pagano's office Monday. Pagano is the former president of the union now headed by Fox. Pagano said the city would need to monitor its finances to make sure the complex package of savings produced the anticipated revenue. "There is nothing to guarantee that in several months from now we won't have to eliminate the company," Pagano said.

    Still, Pagano said he believed the plan would hold for six months, which would take the department to July 1 and a new fiscal year when the city, according to Amicone, faces even more serious financial problems.

  14. #29


    Firefighter saves family days before layoff

    By Leslie Korngold
    The Journal News
    December 31, 2008

    A firefighter slated to be laid off Friday is working to the bitter end - he carried a toddler and led other family members to safety from a smoky fire yesterday. The fire, which was reported just after 10 a.m. at 125 Yonkers Ave., a four-story building, sent five people to St. Joseph's Hospital with smoke-related injuries.

    Upper-story residents needed help getting out and Firefighter Gregory de Sousa carried a 2-year-old boy and led an 8-year-old boy down a stairwell, followed by the boy's mother carrying an infant, Fire Chief Tom Fitzpatrick said. A pregnant woman and another child were led down from the upper floors by other firefighters.

    "It is bittersweet, obviously, but during a fire, during an emergency, you are not really thinking
    about the layoffs," says Gregory de Sousa, one of seven Yonkers firefighters who may lose his job
    this week. He helped lead a family to safety during a fire yesterday.
    (Journal News/Mike Roy)

    Interviewed yesterday afternoon, de Sousa said he was in the hall of the second floor when he heard a woman screaming in a nearby apartment. Once inside, he saw the woman with an infant and two boys, 2 and 8 years old. "I scooped up the 2-year-old and held him against my chest and covered his face, and put the 8-year-old under my coat," said de Sousa.

    Fitzpatrick said the fire started in the kitchen of apartment 1E after a resident who had been cooking fell asleep. Firefighters knocked down the fire in 40 minutes and were able to contain it to the apartment, he said. Everyone was able to return to the building, though Fitzpatrick said the electric stove in 1E will have to be replaced, the kitchen wall and ceiling repaired, and soot cleaned up throughout.

    De Sousa, 35, said he was saddened by the prospect of losing his position in a few days. "I love my job, and I hope I don't lose it."

    Staff writer Len Maniace contributed to this report.

  15. #30


    January 7, 2009

    Unions weigh unpaid shift to restore job or rank to 12 Yonkers firefighters

    Len Maniace
    The Journal News

    YONKERS - The city's firefighters and officers would work one shift without pay over the next six months under a plan announced yesterday that would end layoffs or demotions for 12 members of the Fire Department. The deal would save at least $450,000 and restore the jobs of six firefighters who had been laid off and the rank of lieutenant for six fire officers who had been demoted under Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone's plan to eliminate a projected $16 million budget gap.

    The agreement requires the approval of two unions: the Yonkers chapter of the International Association of Firefighters and the Yonkers Uniformed Fire Officers Association. "It's not something anyone ever wants to do - to work without getting paid. However, the benefit is bringing back six of our laid-off brothers," IAFF chapter Vice President Barry McGoey said. The members are expected to get a look at the agreement tonight, providing a written version is ready, with the measure to be voted upon Monday, McGoey said.

    Representatives of the Yonkers Uniformed Fire Officers could not be reached for comment.

    The plan is the latest agreement between Yonkers and its unions to trim labor costs, thereby reducing the number of laid-off city employees.

    Under the plan, only one civilian member of the Fire Department would remain laid off; 11 former lieutenants would remain demoted to firefighters, mayoral spokesman David Simpson said. The layoffs and demotions took effect Friday. Because those former lieutenants would not be restored to their original rank, several programs such as the training, fire safety and fire prevention divisions still will be reduced or eliminated, officials said.

    Among those whose jobs would be restored is firefighter Gregory de Sousa, who carried a toddler and led other family members to safety from a smoky fire last week. The blaze sent five people to St. Joseph's Medical Center with smoke-related injuries. De Sousa said he had not been thinking of his pending layoff at the time of the fire, though he did afterward. "I love my job, and I hope I don't lose it," he said.

    McGoey said that Yonkers originally sought $2.6 million in givebacks from the two unions, cuts the union leaders thought were not reasonable. If the fire unions approve the agreement, the city would have avoided 60 of the 76 full-time-employee layoffs announced by Amicone on Dec. 12. Of the 16 whose jobs have not been restored, 11 are police officers. Another 75 part-time employees have been laid off, but at least seven of them appear likely to return to work when responsibility for their paychecks is picked up by Yonkers business improvement districts.

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