Photos by Adrian Montanez
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. officially launched Bronx Week 2014 today, hosting a celebration of the “Best of the Bronx” at the newly-opened Gun Hill Brewery on Laconia Avenue.
At the event, Borough President Diaz announced that five Bronx natives — Grammy-award winning hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz, former Latino Trendsetter, actor and star of Showtime’s “Dexter” David Zayas, film and TV star Rachel Ticotin, New York Jets offensive lineman William M. Colon III and Tony-award winner Priscilla Lopez were this year’s inductees to the Bronx Walk of Fame.
“>2014 is our county’s centennial, and I can think of no better way to celebrate the best of our borough than by welcoming home these five individuals, who have made a major impact in their respective fields, back to where it all began, right here in The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Bronx Week is where we showcase the Borough’s rich history, its institutions, and cultural diversity. This is an exciting time to be in The Bronx, especially this year as we celebrate the last 100 years. Bronx Week is just the beginning and we have a slew of events lined up across the Borough as part of our Bronx centennial celebration,” said Bronx Tourism Council Executive Director Olga Luz Tirado.
“Bronx Week is a way to honor Bronx businesses, veterans, seniors, youth, volunteers and our hometown greats. It is a week devoted to the people who matter most to this borough. Tourism is up, crime is down and what has been accomplished in the area of economic development here in the Bronx is outstanding. Now’s a great time to learn more, during Bronx Week 2014,” said Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
With over 14 years of creating music for some of the biggest musicians in music history, Grammy-winner Swizz Beatz has contributed to the sale of over 280 million records in just the US alone, working with the likes of Jay-Z, DMX, Beyonce, Kanye West, and Bono to name a few. When not creating music, Swizz is an avid art collector and painter whose goal is to inspire new artists around the world to express themselves and is working on opening his own international “new artist” art gallery. He is also a philanthropist who is involved in many charities and recently served as the first Global Ambassador for New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation. He is also heavily involved with the Bronx Charter School for the Arts and, more recently, was accepted into the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management for executives of top-billing companies.
A resident of Riverdale, David Zayas was born and raised in The Bronx, originally from Hunts Point and then later the family moved to the Soundview. He attended Adlai E. Stevenson High School and after graduating joined The United States Air Force. After his time in the service, David returned back to The Bronx and joined the NYPD, where he served for 15 years before retiring in 2000. Zayas began his acting career in 1992 in theater. He is best known for his role as “Angel Batista” on the Golden Globe-nominated psychological drama “Dexter.” His other television credits include “Oz,” “New York Undercover,” “Law & Order,” and “NYPD Blue.” He has also starred in numerous films, including “The Expendables,” “Sixteen Blocks,” “Bringing Out the Dead” and “The Interpreter.” Zayas will next star opposite Helen Hunt in the indie feature “Ride,” the upcoming film remake of the 1982 movie musical “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, and can currently be seen as “Junior” in the series Saint George opposite George Lopez for FX.
Rachel Ticotin was born and raised, along with her five siblings, in The Bronx. Her father Abraham was a used car salesman on Jerome Avenue and her mother Iris, after raising most of their children, became a bilingual teacher for the New York City public school system. Ms. Ticotin began her career, along with her sister Nancy and brother Marcus, in a production of The King and I at City Center. She would then go on, along with her sister Nancy, to become one of the founding members of Tina Ramirez’s Ballet Hispanico of New York dance company. After a switch of careers Ms. Ticotin became an actress and began her film career co-starring in Fort Apache, The Bronx. Since then she has appeared in many films, stage, and television shows such as “Total Recall,” “Don Juan de Marco,” “Con Air,” “Man on Fire,” “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “Law & Order: Los Angeles.” She currently mentors and works with students at the La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts and is currently a student in the school of General Studies at Columbia University.
William M. Colon III is entering his second season as the starting right guard for the New York Jets. He entered the NFL in 2006 as a fourth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and went on to win Super Bowl XLIII in January 2009. A Bronx native, Colon played college football at Hofstra University in Long Island after he earned the outstanding defensive player award at Cardinal Hayes High School. Colon is passionate about giving back and dedicates his off the field philanthropic work to The Alliance for Lupus Research as well as hosting an annual Thanksgiving Turkey giveaway benefiting those less fortunate in the Melrose Section of The Bronx.
Born on Simpson Street, Priscilla Lopez has been a fixture of stage and screen since the 1960’s, and in 1980 won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in “A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine.” Ms. Lopez was a part of the original production of “A Chorus Line,” and appeared as Camilla in the Broadway production of “In The Heights” from 2008-2011. She has also appeared in “Maid in Manhattan,” “Law & Order,” “All in the Family,” and recently completed production on the film version of the off-Broadway hit, “Tony & Tina’s Wedding.”
Bronx Week 2014 is made possible thanks to the support of the Montefiore Medical Center, the principal sponsor of this year’s events.
“Montefiore is proud to support Bronx Week, a great annual celebration that brings the borough together and promotes healthy living,” said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and CEO of Montefiore Health System. “As an institution committed to improving the health of the communities we serve, Montefiore not only provides high quality, patient-centered health care, but we also work to ensure all Bronx residents have access to health coverage.”
Other Bronx Week 2014 sponsors include Healthfirst, HealthPlus Amerigroup, Affinity Health Plan, CenterLight Healthcare, conEdison, Lehman College, Bronx Community College, Hostos Community College, Metro Plus Health Plan, Cablevision, WellCare, VNSNY, Mercy College, Jewish Home Lifecare, Fordham University, News 12, Domino’s, Bronxnet, Coco Delicioso Helado, and the Bronx Design Group.