Organizing a Story

This comes from a Department of Justice press release.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said on Wednesday that it broke up a gang that dealt drugs. A criminal complaint accused them of participating in a conspiracy to traffic narcotics.  Six of the defendants also were charged with using guns in furtherance of that conspiracy.

JERRIN PENA, 20, ARIEL OLIVER, 22, JUSTIN DEAZA, 20, WILSON MENDEZ, 19, JOWENKY NUNEZ, 19, BRIAN HERNANDEZ, 22, VICTOR COLON, 24, JOSE GUTIERREZ, 20, ARGENIS TAVAREZ, 22, and NIJMAH MARTE, 21, all from New York City, are each charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams and more of fentanyl, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.  The defendants are also charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, oxycodone, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, also in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Between in or about 2019 and in or about 2022, the defendants sold fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, oxycodone, and marijuana in and around the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.  The defendants sold drugs to, among others, undercover police officers, and were frequently arrested in possession of drugs packaged for resale.

In addition, PENA, MENDEZ, NUNEZ, HERNANDEZ, COLON, and MARTE each possessed firearms in connection with their drug dealing, and PENA, OLIVER, and NUNEZ regularly posted social media photographs and videos of themselves holding firearms.

On February 24, 2022, DEAZA was arrested in possession of one kilogram of fentanyl.

PENA, MENDEZ, COLON, GUTIERREZ, and MARTE were arrested in Manhattan New York and the Bronx.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “As alleged, these defendants were members of a gang that distributed many types of illegal narcotics in a Manhattan neighborhood for years.  Several of the defendants frequently carried firearms while dealing drugs. 

DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Timothy Foley said:  “The Own Every Dollar gang used social media to glamorize their drug enterprise, conduct drug transactions and brandish weapons instilling fear in the community.  Our drug trafficking investigations have a way of uncovering links to the threat of gun violence and gang-related criminal activity.  Today’s arrests exemplify law enforcement’s commitment to law and order and people’s right to live without fear.

Today’s arrests are part of our continued commitment, along with our law enforcement partners, to target narcotics trafficking and firearms use in New York City.” 

The alleged gang members appeared before be presented today before the Hon. Barbara Moses, United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York.  OLIVER, DEAZA, and HERNANDEZ were already in state custody.  NUNEZ and TAVAREZ remain at large.

Stroll—And Eat—On An Italian Boulevard While In The Big Apple

by Gerald Eskenazi from Forbes

Looking Down Arthur Avenue
Old Italy? No–Little Italy

If you want to know what one of the most interesting neighborhoods in New York was like before the pandemic—-well, it’s back, and in these times, more important, more fun and more needed than ever.

There really is only one Little Italy these days, and it’s in the Bronx, in the area known as the Belmont Business Improvement District. To most of us, it’s simply Arthur Avenue, and if you’re a New Yorker, or are going to visit, this is a place for you along with the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square.

The somewhat-official launching of the return takes place Friday night, April 30, and continues until autumn unveils itself to New Yorkers.

It’s called, grandly and romantically, and with a nod to its Italian roots, Piazza di Belmont—the place for outdoor dining on Arthur Avenue. You don’t have to close your eyes to imagine you’re in Italy on a real piazza, a wide street you can stroll on without looking over your shoulder for a bicycle, car or truck. Look around and imagine an Italian town. You’ll soon be whistling Italian love songs, too.

The street becomes transformed as a piazza on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 10 P.M., and from 1 to 9 P.M. Sundays. This means that from East 188th Street to Crescent Avenue this swath on Arthur Avenue will be closed to vehicles. You can walk down the middle of the street, dine without being bothered by honking, hear the tinkle of wine glasses instead of the ring of a bicycle bell or any other vehicular noise.

Madonia Bakery Sample
 Sampling From Madonia Bakery

For Peter Madonia, chairman of the District, and purveyor of the tasty goodies from his eponymous bake shop, there is a deja vu aspect to what Arthur Avenue has done on the weekends:

“Many of the small businesses in Bronx Little Italy are owned and operated by the same families who founded them over a century ago – some of which have already been through the 1918 pandemic.”

During the day, the neighborhood will be the same—that is, the stores will be open for browsing, takeout, dining. This area looks and feels and sounds like the New York you first met in old movies, or television shows. It is a legitimate Little Italy in food—pizza the way it’s made in Naples; pasta from Italian semolina; food shops where a ton of slabs of pork hang from the ceiling; bakeries with 35 kinds of cookies.

If you’re a New Yorker, Arthur Avenue is, at most, a 30-minute drive by car. Little Italy in the Bronx has several parking options including metered spaces and a public parking lot at 2356 Hoffman Street. Also, anyone—New Yorker or visitor—can get to the Belmont neighborhood via Metro-North or the city’s subway via the D/B line.

 If you want to know more about the neighborhood, log on to If you’re interested in making specific reservations, well, this evocative names of restaurants are among the places you’ll want to go: Zero Otto Nove, Mario’s Restaurant, Enzo’s of Arthur Avenue, Estrellita Poblana III, Ann & Tony’sPasquale’s Rigoletto Restaurant,

And, as I once heard someone say in Rome, “Mangia!”

Gerald Eskenazi

I have had a rollicking 44-year ride as a reporter (sports) for The New York Times—that included 8,000 bylines, second-highest in the paper’s history. Along the way, I

BOXING: Foreman Flattens Moorer With Blast From the Past

by Gerald Eskenazi, from The New York Times

A right hand thrown from about 1973 tonight returned to 45-year-old George Foreman the heavyweight title he had lost 20 years ago.

With that heavy, short blow to the previously undefeated Michael Moorer in the 10th round, Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion in history.

He looked it, too, his baggy orange trunks — they were red when he wore them in Zaire against Muhammad Ali 20 years and a week ago — ill-fitting under his stomach.

At 250 pounds, he was 28 pounds heavier than the southpaw Moorer, who was 19 years younger.

Foreman had trailed on all three judges’ scorecards. But the stunning shot proved to be the only knockdown of the bout. Moorer fell flat on his back and took the entire 10-count from Referee Joe Cortez, the bout ending at 2 minutes 3 seconds of the 10th with Foreman becoming the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation champion.

Oliver McCall holds the World Boxing Council title. McCall will fight 45-year-old Larry Holmes, a former champion, in a title bout next February.

Moorer had thrown 641 punches, to only 369 by Foreman. Yet, Foreman had refused to sit in his stool between rounds against his younger opponent. He stood in his corner so calmly, it seemed like another attempt at a psych job.

The one shot made Foreman the first fighter in the division to appear in a title fight 20 years apart.

Ali had defeated him in Zaire in 1974. That ended the myth of the Invincible Foreman that had reached its peak when he knocked out Joe Frazier in 1973 to capture the title.

“These are the shorts that I fought in when I was heavyweight champion of the world,” said Foreman later. “They are short and make you look a little chubby, but I fought Muhammad Ali in these shorts.

“I exorcised the ghost, once and forever. Heavyweight champion of the world.”

Foreman had been hit with most of the bout’s punches, yet rarely faltered or staggered or changed his style. He moved forward.

The road to the knockout began with a right that sent a shudder through Moorer, who backed up. Then came a short left, and finally, the ultimate right.

“Anything you desire, you can make happen,” the once and future champion said afterward. “It’s like the song, ‘When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.’ Well, look at me tonight.”

And what better setting for this than a 15,000-seat indoor arena at the M-G-M Grand, the 5,005-seat hotel in which Dorothy and the Tin Man and the other “Wizard of Oz” characters cavort near the casinos.

“Bluebirds,” said Foreman, “fly over the rainbow. Why oh why can’t I?”

More gracious in defeat than he had been as champion, at least publicly, Moorer admitted afterward that he had been thinking of retiring if he won.

“But I’m not sure now,” he said. His record fell to 35-1, including 30 knockouts. For Foreman, who did not fight at all between 1977 and 1987, his impressive mark stands at 73-4. Moorer was his 68th knockout victim.

Why didn’t Moorer just coast the final rounds? Two judges had him ahead by 5 points, the third by 1 point. Moorer had to know he was leading.

I my mind, I knew I was winning,” he said. But apparently his trainer, Teddy Atlas, kept after him to keep circling to his right.

“I was doing it in the gym, but here it’s totally different,” Moorer explained.

Didn’t he consider backing off?

“No,” he replied, “I never considered backing off.”

Foreman claimed his strategy was to keep pounding until he could flatten Moorer. Foreman claimed that he would never get the benefit of a decision, and that the fact there was no three-knockdown rule would help Moorer. Thus, said Foreman, when he nailed Moorer, it was essential he stay down.

Foreman didn’t need to worry. Even while Moorer was down for a minute after being knocked out, Foreman was on his knees praying. In the excitement his brother, Roy, passed out in the ring, but a physician said later, “He’s O.K. “

And will Foreman continue?

“It’s too soon to say,” he said. “But I want to fight in the Astrodome. It’s my dream.” He is from Houston.

He entered the ring to a joyful sounds of “If I Had a Hammer,” looking all business in a gray hooded sweatshirt soaked with perspiration. He had on those baggy orange shorts.

Moorer, who won the championship only six months ago from Evander Holyfield, strode in to rap music, wearing a bright yellow robe over gold shorts. His handlers walked around holding his championship belts aloft.

Moorer got the first good blow, a left hook. that made the water bounce off the top of Foreman’s bald head.

Moorer connected with a few more right jabs against Foreman, who presented a stolid figure, as if waiting to unload a right. It was part of his strategy, he was to claim, to wait it out until the time was right, until Moorer could not get up again.

Foreman stood after the round, while Moorer was ministered to by Atlas, who had worked on preparing Moorer for George’s mind games as well as right uppercut.

Outwardly, the champion and the challenger represented a study in contrasts.

Snarling and intimidating, Foreman mowed down heavyweights and brushed aside friends in his rush to the title he captured from Frazier. But three years after losing it to Ali in Zaire, he dropped a decision to Jimmy Young in Puerto Rico.

After showering, he stormed out, dripping wet and started screaming that he had to find God. He tried to get back into the arena. His trainer, Gil Clancy, had to hold him down. Foreman became a preacher and didn’t fight for 10 years.

Localizing a Story

The City is a non-profit publication that reports about New York.

MLB Lockout Batters Yankee Stadium-Area Businesses Still Reeling From the Pandemic


Yankee Stadium Photo by

Months of dread gave way to despair for South Bronx small businesses Tuesday night, when Major League Baseball announced that the start of the baseball season will be delayed, after failing to resolve a year-long labor dispute by management’s self-imposed deadline.

Players in the league have been locked out by team owners since their collective bargaining agreement expired on Dec. 2, and MLB Spring training has been postponed since Feb. 14.

Like many businesses in the area, Ty Robinson orients the schedule of his bar The Dugout, on River Avenue, around the league’s schedule, opening only on days where the Bronx Bombers play home games.

With many fans away for most of the last two years because of the pandemic, Robinson is unsure of what the future holds for the business he’s grown over the past 18 years.

Read more

Job of A Journalist

You have heard the term the Fourth Estate.

The term Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media it is often used as way to describe how journalists and journalism fits into the civic life.

The term comes from Europe during medieval times, which dates from the 5th century to about the 13th, 14th or 15th century. The idea of estates was the way people referred to the organization of their societies. There was the nobility, the clergy and the common people. And then there if there was group that had influence they called it the estate. By the 18th century, the fourth estate referred exclusively to the press and now to all news media.

Our job is to look from the outside in. We all have biases and many of us have strong feelings about things. But we want to step back and try to become as objective as we can knowing that we have biases.

Journalist theoretically should work like a tangent to a circle, touching but outside.

A tangent from CueMath