Bedford Park Health Fair & Small Business Event Held – Norwood News

A LARGE CROWD gathers along East Bedford Park Boulevard as Assemblyman José Rivera (A.D. 78) and other elected officials and sponsors host a small business event and health fair on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Photo by David Greene

A host of local businesses joined several, local non-profits for an event aimed at promoting good health, while also supporting businesses and shops in the 78th Assembly District. The Bedford Park event, which was organized by Assemblyman José Rivera (A.D. 78), District 15 City Councilman Oswald Feliz and others, took place before the launch of National Small Business Week, which kicked off on May 2.


Several local businesses on the block participated in the fair, with maCny others invited to set-up tables as well. Sherese Morris, a representative for Rivera, said of the event, which was held on Saturday, April 23, “It’s to show support for the small businesses that have been open since COVID, and we just want to show them some support, that we’re here with activities.”


BALLOON ARTIST, “MARIANA,” representing Belinda Cole, creates assorted objects with balloons during a small business event and health fair held along East Bedford Park Boulevard in Bedford Park on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Photo by David Greene


All along Bedford Park Boulevard, between Decatur Avenue and Webster Avenue, tables were manned by groups like Job Corps, the Bridgefield Civic League, and MetroPlus Health. The fair was supported by more than two dozen local groups, businesses, and organizations.


During the fair, at the Bridgefield Civic League booth, members were busy selling cucumber, lemon, and ginger-flavored water, as well as dandelion tea which they said helps people fighting diabetes or high blood pressure. Funds raised from the sales of the drinks and other items at the booth were to help support programs at the Laconia Avenue-based nonprofit, including its wellness center, an arts program, and a program for young entrepreneurs. The Bridgefield Civic League has been in existence for over 60 years.



A FLIER ANNOUNCING a small business event and health fair held along East Bedford Park Boulevard in Bedford Park on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Flier courtesy of the sponsors


Bedford Pizza owner, Mario DeBona, was pleased with the success of the event, saying, “It was beautiful, and there was a great turnout from the neighborhood. You had MetroPlus Health and North Central Bronx Hospital, and all these people coming here helps liven up the neighborhood, and it’s great for the people to see that there’s help if they need it.” DeBona added, “And the extra traffic helps local businesses; it’s great! We should do it more often!”


During the event, Rivera told Norwood News, “Some people asked me, ‘Why are you doing this here, because there’s not too many people around here?’ But this is just the beginning. We’re doing it here so that we can let small businesses like Mario of Bedford Pizza, the barber shop, and the other stores know that we care about them, and that we’re going to continue to work with them locally and within government.”


MEMBERS OF THE Bridgefield Civic League (l-r), Debra Tirado; Gloria Bent; Janice Philips and Jackie Stewart get busy fundraising for the nonprofit by selling healthy drinks during a small business event held along East Bedford Park Boulevard in Bedford Park on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Photo by David Greene

Regarding future funding for many of the nonprofits in attendance, Rivera added, “I’m going to continue to make noise… as the [State] budget [negotiation] is never over until June 30, so I have to keep making noise to make sure that I get the funding necessary for the nonprofits who provide services in my district.” Rivera had planned two other small business events that were still in the early stages on the day. They were expected to take place at Fordham Plaza, and at East 194th Street and Valentine Avenue, respectively.


We followed up with the assemblyman’s office on May 31 about the other events and were informed that a resource fair was held at Poe Park on Friday, May 20, with over 20 agencies in attendance. A representative for the assemblyman said they were waiting to hear back from the chief of staff about the status of the other events.


AN EMPLOYEE OF the Smoke Zone on East Bedford Park Boulevard makes his cigars out on the street during a small business event hosted by Assemblyman José Rivera (A.D. 78) along Bedford Park Boulevard in Bedford Park on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Photo by David Greene

Meanwhile, back on Feb. 23, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (A.D. 81) joined members of New Yorkers for a Fair Economy in announcing the 21st Century Antitrust Act that aimed to define “actions or practices that establish or maintain a monopoly or restraint of trade” and would authorize that class action lawsuits be brought against violators.


Outside of the Green Deli Grocery, located at 3187 Webster Avenue by East 205th Street in Norwood, Dinowitz said at the time, “Smaller businesses and medium-size businesses, and even bigger businesses are being squeezed out by these mega-giants, and we have to do something about it.”


AT A PRESS conference held at East 205th Street and Webster Avenue in Norwood, announcing the 21st Century Antitrust Act, on Feb. 23, 2022, are (l-r) Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (A.D. 81), State Sen. Michael Gianaris (S.D. 12), Francisco Marte, founder of the Bodega and Small Business Association (at podium), and members of New Yorkers for a Fair Economy.
Photo by David Greene

Speaking for the small, deli owners in New York City, Francisco Marte, owner of the Green Deli Grocery and founder of the Bodega and Small Business Association, explained his position, saying, “We’ve been suffering for a long time,” in reference to large companies like Amazon getting millions of dollars in tax breaks. Marte added, “It is impossible for a local business like mine to compete.”


The 21st Century Antitrust Act has since passed through the State Senate, but still has to be passed by the State Assembly before it can become law.




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