Tag Archives: Melissa Mark Viverito

Speaker of New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito — Congratulations!

Melissa Mark-Viverito (born April 1, 1969) is the Speaker of the New York City Council. She is the member from the Council’s 8th District, which includes the northernmost part of the Upper East Side, Spanish Harlem/El Barrio/East Harlem, Manhattan Valley and part of the Upper West Side as well as part of Mott Haven in the Bronx. Her district also includes Randalls and Wards Islands and Central Park. She was elected as Speaker January 8, 2014 and succeeds Christine Quinn.

Mark-Viverito was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, she came to New York at 18 to attend college, earning a BA from Columbia and a master’s from Baruch College. She is not married. Her hyphenated last name comes from her late father, Anthony Mark, and the maiden name of her mother, Elizabeth Viverito. Her father was a doctor and a founder of San Pablo Hospital in Bayamón, where her mother still lives.

She graduated from Columbia University in 1991 and earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College, City University of New York in 1995. She is a former member of Community Board 11, coordinator of the movement Todo Nueva York con Vieques[4][5] and president of Mujeres del Barrio. Mark-Viverito ran unsuccessfully against Philip Reed for City Council in district 8 in 2003. Before running for City Council, Mark-Viverito was Strategic Organizer for Local 1199 of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an influential health care workers union.

Mark-Viverito was elected to her first term in the City Council in 2005. During her first four years in office, she sponsored and passed several pieces of legislation, regarding tenant harassment, building safety, green buildings and park conservancies.

Mark-Viverito is currently in her third term and serves as Chair of the Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee. In March 2010, Mark-Viverito and 11 other Council Members announced the formation of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Caucus along with Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander.

In November 2013, the New York Daily News cited Mark-Viverito as “the front runner” for “New York City’s second most powerful political post – Speaker of the City Council.” According to Politicker, a grassroots effort to boost the Speaker candidacy of Mark-Viverito – including social media, fliers, phone banking, and volunteer recruitment – was involved in the effort. Mark-Viverito was elected City Council Speaker on January 9, 2014 at age 44.

An Open Letter to City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito Concerning the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center

I am writing to you on behalf of my husband, myself, and all our friends who have been attending the Latin dance night at Julia de Burgos Cultural Center. We have been dancing there since the site opened. It’s a wonderful way to preserve the rich history of Latin music and dance, especially since most of us are over 50 and remember Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Joe Cuba, whose wake we attended, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe,and many others.

I can’t think of a better way to promote harmony among people than by congregating at Burgos every Wednesday night. There are dancers from so many varied ethnic and religious backgrounds that it is an excellent representation of multicultural activity. I have never witnessed a harsh word, argument, or altercation in all the years I have dancing there. People come for their love of Latin music and dance. We socialize, talk about old times, eat, drink, take photographs together, and most importantly, share our passion for mambo, cha cha, and merengue. And it is a passion! Every week someone celebrates a birthday with a huge cake, which is offered to friends and acquaintances alike. I celebrated mine on November 17, and I was so happy to have such a spot where camaraderie is at its height.

Unfortunately, you have a reputation of being unsupportive of small business, low-income tenants, and affordable housing, in favor of big business and multinational corporations. I suppose that closing Burgos is in line with your present political leanings and aspirations. If I am wrong about this, please respond to this email. I would like to hear your side.


Jan Mayrick

Looking for Crew for Bronx 3M

Looking for Crew for Movie to Film in September
Seeking the following crew members for an independent film to start shooting in NYC: director of photography and camera operator with knowledge of the Panasonic AG-DVX100A, production designer (who will serve as set designer and art director), makeup artist, hair stylist, sound recordist and boom person. Grips and production assistants too.
Bilingual (English-Spanish) a plus. Experience necessary. Deferred payment.
Please send resume to:
Attn: Clarisel Gonzalez
161 East 106th Street, First Floor
New York, NY 10029
Bronx 3M is produced under the auspices of MediaNoche’s Digital Filmmakers Program and is made possible with the support of the NY Foundation, NYSCA, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, NYS Senator Jose Serrano, and individual donors.

Three Kings Day Luncheon for East Harlem Arts and Culture

Senator Jose M. Serrano Invites You Please join:
Congressman Charles B. Rangel
(If not in Congressional Session)
Senator Jose M. Serrano
and Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
For a Three Kings Day Luncheon!
Friday, January 5th
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Bonfacio Cora Texidor
Community and Senior Center
7 East 116th Street
Between Madison and Fifth Avenues
New York, NY 10029
RSVP by phone: (212) 828-5829
Jose M. Serrano
Office of State Senator Jose M. Serrano |
157 E. 104th St. (Ground Floor) |
New York | NY | 10029


Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
The Community Supporters of the Violence Intervention Program (CSVIP) are calling a press conference to speak about the crisis situation confronting the Violence Intervention Program, Inc. (VIP) and the steps we are taking to try to save it.

Elected Officials, domestic violence survivors and advocates, and representatives from the CSVIP call upon YOU to exercise your leadership role in support of the battered women and staff of VIP by joining us at the press conference.

WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 2007, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, 1680 Lexington Av
Confirm your attandance email SaveVIP@aol.com or call 212.650.4938 or 212.423.9010

Community Supporters Unite to Save Domestic Violence Program

Recent Actions by Board Members Have Placed Organization in Jeopardy

The Community Supporters of the Violence Intervention Program (CSVIP), a group made up of domestic violence advocates and a wide array of community leaders, including elected officials, is demanding the resignation of the Board of Directors of the Violence Intervention Program, Inc. (“VIP”), the establishment of a new Board with the necessary qualifications and the reinstatement of Grace Perez as Executive Director.

The current board members are Vivian Selenikas, newly appointed Chair, Kenneth Diaz, Acting Chair, Sandra Quilico, Treasurer, Nancy Nazario, Secretary, Zarah Guzman, member, and Vivian Rivera, member. Calling the Board’s actions “irresponsible, arbitrary and capricious,” the CSVIP has issued an Open Letter and Petition to the Board (“The Petition”), seeking their resignation.

The reasons for this request include the following: their failure to respond to repeated requests made by community leaders to meet with them; their refusal to bring a neutral third party to facilitate whatever conflict that may have existed between them and the Executive Director; the unjustified discharge of VIP’s Executive Director; their failure to have a plan in place to ensure the management of the organization and the provision of services for VIP clients (battered women and their children); and their failure to fully explain their decision to not purchase a building that could have become a permanent home for VIP.

VIP is a very important organization that has been at the fore front of serving battered women and their children since 1984 when it opened its doors in East Harlem and became the first bilingual/bicultural (Spanish/English) domestic violence service provider in the state of New York, and one of a handful in the entire nation.

Over the years, VIP has developed and grown tremendously expanding its services beyond East Harlem to also serve women and children in the Bronx and Queens. Today, VIP provides crisis intervention, counseling, support groups, case management, and residential services to hundreds of women and children in
three boroughs.

The Board Has Refused to Meet With Community Leaders to Resolve Situation

For months, VIP’s Board of Directors has refused to meet with or respond to the calls of various community leaders who have knocked at their doors trying to prevent the very crisis that they have now created. On Monday, March 26, Jenny Rivera, who was recently appointed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights, resigned her position as Chair of VIP’s Board. However, before she did this, she made sure that the Board fired Grace Perez, who has served as VIP’s Executive Director for the past 17 years, helping to make it the exemplary organization that it is today.

The Board made this arbitrary and capricious decision without adequate reason and without having an interim director or a plan of action in place. Furthermore, prior to the discharge, the Board refused any attempt on behalf of Ms. Perez or community leaders to resolve whatever management/governance differences may have existed between the Board and the Executive Director with a neutral third party.

What we find illogical and absurd is that the only reason that this Board cited for dismissing Grace is the actions that she took related to the purchase of a building in East Harlem that would serve as a permanent home for VIP.

We know that for more than a year, Grace Perez, with the help of Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, and with the approval of this Board, was able to obtain a $500,000 grant from the NYC Council to renovate the building once it was purchased; a $140,000 down payment for the purchase of the building and $40,000 for closing fees; the pro bono services of an architect to draw up the floor plans; as well as the pro bono services of a real estate lawyer to represent VIP in the purchasing transactions. However, at the last hour, without consulting it with Grace Perez or Councilwoman Mark Viverito, the Board decided not to go through with the purchase.

The Board cited as the reason for this decision, the advice of an unnamed financial advisor, whom they claim determined that VIP was not in a financial position to move forward with the purchase. However, this conclusion is not supported by the review of VIP’s finances by the City Council and its approval for a $500,000 grant nor by the two banks which had provided letters of intent for a mortgage of up to $1.2 million.

Board Failed to Appoint Someone to Manage the Organization Before Firing ED

The discharge of Grace Perez, and the manner in which she was terminated, demonstrates the Board’s abuse of power and the fact that they seem to care very little about the lives of the women and children served by VIP. To this day, two week after her dismissal, there is still no one appointed to manage the organization.

While the Board carries out their supposed “national search” for a new Executive Director, who is in charge of VIP’s operation and management? They took the time to find a lawyer to advise them in connection with their decisions, but they did not take the time to find someone who could oversee the operations and management of the organization before they fired Ms. Perez.

Thanks to the dedication of VIP’s staff who have taken it upon themselves to carry on with their work, the women and children have been shielded from the unconscionable chaos and atmosphere of insecurity which the Board has created.

On the day that Ms. Perez was fired, 10 representatives from local organizations went to the offices of VIP, as a group, to demand an immediate meeting with Board. Zarah F. Guzman, the only Board member, who went to VIP that day to try to change the locks on the door, took the names of the 10 representatives and promised the Board would contact them for an emergency meeting. The representatives are still waiting to hear from the Board.

As a Board that heads such an important and necessary organization, they have placed this organization and the people it serves in serious jeopardy and numerous community members have signed the open letter and petition asking for their resignation and making room for a new board that has the knowledge, experience, and credibility necessary to lead and govern VIP.

Please eMail your Comments & support to The Community Supporters of the Violence Intervention Program (CSVIP), SaveVIP@AOL.Com.

Celebrate East Harlem Women’s History Month With Julia de Burgos Day – Friday, March 16th!


Street Dedication Ceremony
11:00 am – 12:00 Noon
Julia de Burgos Boulevard
(Lexington Avenue/106th St.)

Reception @ Taller Boricua
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
1680 Lexington Avenue

Evening Program
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Teatro Heckscher
del Museo del Barrio
1220 Fifth Avenue

Sponsored by the Office of Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, El Museo del Barrio, Hope Community, Inc. and East Harlem Preservation.

The State of Puerto Rican Politics in New York City

Boricua Power

The National Institute for Latino Policy
invites you to a roundtable

Discussion based on José Ramón Sánchez’ new book
Boricua Power: A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States

Tuesday, May 15, 6:15pm

NYU Wagner
The Puck Building, 2nd Floor Conference Room
295 Lafayette Street (and Houston Street)
New York, NY 10012-9604

(B,D,F,V to Broadway-Lafayette, N,R,W to Prince Street, 6 to Bleecker Street)

Roundtable Participants

Alicia Cardona
Author: Rambling on Random Thoughts and New York Puerto Rican Women Achievers

Arlene Davila:
Professor, Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis (American Studies)
New York University, author: Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos and the Neoliberal City; Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People; and Sponsored Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico

David Diaz
Distinguished Lecturer in Media & Politics, City College (CUNY);
formerly senior correspondent and anchor on WCBS and WNBC-TV

José A. García
Senior Research and Policy Associate, Demos: A Network for Ideas
and Action; and author, East Coast Latino Voting Rights Act Reauthorization Manual

Mickey Melendez
Author, We Took the Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords

Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito
Democrat representing District 8

Joseph Wiscovitch
President, Wiscovitch Associates


José Ramón Sánchez
Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of Urban Studies,
Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus


Angelo Falcón
President and Co-Founder, National Institute for Latino Policy; and author, Atlas of Stateside Puerto Ricans,
and co-editor, Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City

Co-sponsored by the

Women of Color Policy Network
at NYUWagner
RSVP with
Wynnie Lamour 212-334-5722 or wlamour@nlcatp.org






1355 Park Avenue, Corner Store
(at East 102nd Street)
New York, NY 10029

AT info@prdream.com OR CALL US.

MediaNoche is a project of PRdream.com. Its programs are made possible with the support of NYSCA, DCA, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYS Senator José M. Serrano, NYS Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, and others like you!

View the webcast at blogtv.com at 3PM on Saturday, November 15!
MediaNocheBroadcast your self LIVE

PRdream mourns the passing of Joe Cuba, 1931 – 2009

Viewing on Wednesday & Thursday, February 18 & 19, 2PM – 10PM

R&G Ortiz Funeral Home
204 E. 116th Street, between 3rd & 2nd Avenues

From: Aurora Communications, Inc.

Joe Cuba: Father of New York Boogaloo has passed away

The “Father of Boogaloo” Joe Cuba passed away on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 4 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He was the most popular exponent of the boogaloo, a fused Latino and R&B rhythm that exploded onto the American top 40s charts during the turbulent 1960s & ‘70s. Hits such as “*Bang Bang,” “Push Push,” “El Pito,” “Ariñañara,” and “Sock It To Me Baby,” rocked the hit parades establishing Joe Cuba and his Sextet as the definitive sound of Latin New York during the ‘60s & ‘70s. The Joe Cuba Sextet’s unusual instrumentation featured vibraphones replacing the traditional brass sound. His music was at the forefront of the Nuyroican movement of New York where the children of Puerto Rican emigrants, America’s last citizens, took music, culture, arts and politics into their own hands.

Joe Cuba’s Sextet became popular in the New York Latino community precisely because it fused a bilingual mix of Afro-Caribbean genres blended with the popular urban rhythm & blues of its time creating a musical marriage between the Fania and Motown sound. His was the first musical introduction to Latin rhythms for many American aficionados. The lyrics to Cuba’s repertoire mixed Spanish and English, becoming an important part of the emerging Nuyorican identity.

Joe Cuba’s music validated the developing Nuyorican population whose language and music Cuba captured with his sound, underlines Giora Breil, CEO of Emusica, the company that now owns the Fania label and who has remastered many of the classics to a new generation of music lovers. “He led the urban tribe,” pointed Breil, “into a united front of cultural warriors that were defining the social and political times they lived in.”

Longtime manager and promoter Hector Maisonave recalls Cuba as ”an innovator who crossed over into mainstream music at an early time. He was the soul of El Barrio. After Joe Cuba, El Barrio is just a street that crosses an avenue.”

In 1962, Cuba recorded “*To Be With You” *with the vocals of Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater whose careers he spotlighted after the bands introductory appearance at the Stardust Ballroom prior to its summer stint in the Catskills.

Born in 1931 in the heart of Spanish Harlem, his Puerto Rican parents arrived in New York City in the 20s. Christened “Gilberto Miguel Calderón,” Cuba was a “doo wopper” who played for J. Panama in 1950 when he was a young 19 year old before going on to play for La Alfarona X, where the young “congüerro” percussionist replaced Sabu Martinez tapped to play with Xavier Cugat.

By 1965, the Sextet got their first crossover hit with the Latino and soul fusion of “El Pito” (I Never Go Back To Georgia), a tune Cuba recorded against the advice of the producer later to be “broken” by a DJ over WBLS FM in N.Y.. The Dizzy Gillespie “/Never Go Back To Georgia” chant was taken from the intro to the seminal Afro-Cuban tune, “Manteca.” Vocalist Jimmy Sabater later revealed that “none of us had ever been to Georgia.” In fact, Cuba later comically described a conversation he had with the Governor of Georgia who called him demanding why he would record a song whose chorus negatively derided the still segregated Southern town. The quick thinking Joe Cuba replied, “Georgia is the name of my girl.”

“Joe Cuba exemplified the power that comes from collaboration.” highlighted East Harlem’s councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito. “Through his music, Joe brought together Latinos and African Americans and his art form reflected the influences of both cultures, Furthermore, his music united Harlem and East Harlem by reflecting the growth both communities experienced during the 1960s and ’70s. Joe Cuba made Spanish Harlem proud as he bravely brought his particular New York Latino identity to stages all over the world.”

In 1967, Joe Cuba’s band ––with no horns– scored a “hit” in the United States National Hit Parade List with the song “Bang Bang” – a tune that ushered in the Latin Boogaloo era. He also had a #1 hit, that year on the Billboard charts with the song “Sock It To Me Baby.” The band’s instrumentation included congas, timbales, an occasional bongo, bass, piano and vibraphone. “A bastard sound,” is what Cuba called it pointing to the fans, the people, as the true creators of this music. “You don’t go into a rehearsal and say ‘Hey, let’s invent a new sound or dance.’ They happen. The boogaloo came out of left field.“ Joe Cuba recounts in Mary Kent’s book:” Salsa Talks: A Musical History Uncovered. “It’s the public that creates new dances and different things. The audience invents, the audience relates to what you are doing and then puts their thing into what you are playing/,” pointing to
other artists such as Ricardo Ray or Hector Rivera as pioneers of the urban fused rhythm.

“I met Joe up in the Catskills in 1955,” /recalls nine time Grammy Award winner *Eddie Palmieri*. “When I later started La Perfecta,” Palmieri muses, “we alternated on stages with Joe. He was full of life and had a great sense of humor, always laughing at his own jokes,” chuckles the pianist. Palmieri pointed to Cuba’s many musical contributions underlining the power and popularity of his small band and bilingual lyrics while providing a springboard for the harmonies and careers of Cheo Feliciano, Willie Torres and Jimmy Sabater. “He was Spanish Harlem personified,” describes Palmieri recalling the “take no prisoners” attitude Cuba had when it came to dealing with those who reluctantly paid the musicians. Recalling their early recording days with the infamous Morris Levy, Palmieri cites the antics of Joe Cuba, Ismael Rivera and himself as the reason for Levy selling them as a Tico package to Fania label owner, Jerry Masucci.

Funny, irreverent and with a great humor for practical jokes, Joe Cuba, or Sonny as he was called by his closest friends, was raised in East Harlem. Stickball being the main sport for young boys of the neighborhood, Cuba’s father organized a stickball club called the Devils. After Cuba broke a leg, he took up playing the conga and continued to practice between school and his free time. Eventually, he graduated from high school and joined a band.

“He was not afraid to experiment/,” said *David Fernandez*, arranger & musical director of Zon del Barrio who played with the legendary Cuba when he arrived in New York in 2002.

By 1954, at the suggestion of his agent to change the band’s name from the Jose Calderon Sextet to the Joe Cuba Sextet, the newly named Joe Cuba Sextet made their debut at the Stardust Ballroom. Charlie Palmieri was musical director of the sextet before his untimely 1988 death from a heart attack.

Since then, the Joe Cuba Sextet and band has been a staple of concerts and festivals that unite both Latinos, African-Americans and just plain music lovers in venues all over the world.

In 2003, the following CDs were released:

* “Joe Cuba Sextet Vol I: Mardi Gras Music for Dancing”
* “Merengue Loco” and
* “Out of This World Cha Cha”.

In 2004, Joe Cuba was named Grand Marshall of the Puerto Rican Day Parade celebrated in Yonkers, New York. Musician *Willie Villegas* who traveled with Joe for the past 15 years said, “It didn’t matter where we played around the world Joe would always turn to me and say, To My
Barrio…. With Love!”

Joe Cuba is survived by his wife Maria Calderon, sons Mitchell and Cesar, daughter Lisa, and grandchildren Nicole and Alexis.

Condolences can be sent directly to Joe Cuba’s widow: Maria Calderon at mariacuba1@verizon.net.