BRONX W www.BXTimes.com EEKLY February 9, 2020 2
BY JASON COHEN
Community Board 1 residents fear that a
mega project coming to the neighborhood in
two years will slowly push everyone out.
On Thursday, January 30, representatives
of the NYC Economic Development
Corporation presented its plan to develop
a riverfront park, ‘The Lower Concourse
Park Project,’ which is part of a 2.3 acre $194
million investment in the south Bronx.
In November, very few residents attended
the fi rst EDC public meeting about the project.
Last week was quite the opposite.
“We tried to get the word out as much
as we could, but the reality is people didn’t
come,” Waheera Mardah, senior project
manager, government and community relations
for EDC, said about the initial meeting.
“I wanted to make sure their voices
Some attendees were in favor of including
a parking lot and others wanted the area to
be served by the a city bus. A few questioned
whether the park would even be built.
Mardah assured the attendees that the
Lower Concourse Park Project is for Mott
Haven and not wealthy millennials.
“I won’t necessarily say the park is a catalyst
for development,” Mardah said. “This
is something that was committed to the
Rev. John Udo Okon is worried the park
can lead to more high priced homes, high
rises and buildings that are out of character
with the community.
People can barely afford to live here now
and the city wants to put this monstrous
project here, he noted.
“So many developments are taking place
around there,” the reverend said. “I believe
things are going to change. I just want to
fi nd out if this park will be acceptable to the
south Bronx people that are still living here
or are we building this park for the new people
that are coming?”
However, Udo Okon said the park could
also benefi t the south Bronx. It will provide
a safe fun place for people to go and could
be a bright spot in an underserved community.
But, the reverend still isn’t sure. Residents
of the south Bronx were there when the
Bronx was burning, but now that it’s slowly
on the mend, is the city putting money into
big projects to push them out again?
Another resident echoed his sentiments.
He sees the park as a double-edged sword. It
can benefi t the south Bronx, but on the fl ipside,
could lead to more high priced homes,
fancy restaurants and push the local people
out. “I think the park is good,” he said. “A
concern is most people cannot top live in
Historically and currently, the lower
Grand Concourse has been used for manufacturing
and is not far from the Harlem
River Yard rail yard that stores and transports
the city’s trash out of town.
The park is one piece of a bigger infrastructure
puzzle of approximately 30 city
blocks along the Harlem River that were rezoned
for mixed-use future development in
The site is situated between E. 144th and
E. 146th streets facing the Harlem River and
parallel to the Major Deegan Expressway.
Residents were encouraged to take a survey
online at https://edc.nyc/project/lowerconcourse
In March, EDC reps will return to CB1
and discuss the results. Construction is expected
to begin in 2022.
CB1 residents wary about
$194 million park project
The site of the future $194 million Lower Concourse Project. Photo Courtesy NYC EDC
BY KYLE VUILLE
Best selling novelist dubbed by many as
the Queen of Suspense, Mary Higgins Clark,
a Bronx native left us last week at the age of
92 years old.
Clark passed away peaceful surrounded
by family on January 31, 2020 in Naples, FL
due to complications of old age.
The author is best known for the novel,
‘Where are the Children?’ along with 56 other
fi ction novels all described as thrillers or suspense
Clark was born Mary Theresa Eleanor
Higgins on December 24, 1927 in the Bronx.
The prolifi c writer grew up in a traditional
Irish American family. Her Irish immigrant
father owned a pub, but died unexpectedly
leaving her mother, Nora, as the
sole provider until the children were old to
help with the fi nances.
Clark attended St. Francis Xavier Grammar
School and Villa Maria Academy.
She then was sent off to secretarial
school, but her aspirations of becoming a
prolifi c writer only grew.
According to her long-time editor and
friend, Michael Korda, Clark worked many
different jobs including a switchboard operator
and for a while a stewardess for Pan
American Airlines which was a glamorous
job in its day.
“She had a rough time for a while after
her husband died. She raised her fi ve children
on her own,” Korda said. “To me, she’s
a perfect example of the Irish-American success
Clark spent years writing short stories
and other bits for radio and magazines,
but after the death of her brother, she fully
immersed herself in writing a full-blown
Clark’s fi rst major breakthrough novel,
‘Where are the Children?’ was published
in 1975. The publisher Simon & Schuster
bought the novel and it quickly earned
$100,000 several months later when the paperback
rights for the book were sold.
“We were friends for 45 years,” Korda
said. “56 books we edited and published
working together and we never had a spat
or disagreement ever.”
Korda described their relationship as a
close one saying the two never went a week
without speaking to each other at least once
He has only fond memories of Clark and
their many years working together.
He spoke of her character and personality,
which was almost angelic like.
“She had enormous energy and a remarkable
personality,” Korda said. “She
was never temperamental or unkind, she
was tactful, humorous and kind when she
spoke to anyone.”
Korda remembered the two last saw each
other at a lunch meeting in White Plains before
she fl ew down to Florida.
The two were supposed to meet in New
Jersey, but inclement weather forced them
to meet in Westchester County instead.
“We had lunch and split a bottle of wine,”
Korda said. “Even in her later years, she
was so eager to be around friends and share
a glass of wine.”
Her friend also mentioned the author’s
awareness of who her readers were and
what they wanted from her.
“Even when it came to suggestions, she
would either say, ‘yeah, that works’ or ‘no,
my readers wouldn’t like that’,” Korda said.
Bronx-born ‘Queen of
Suspense’ passes away at 92
Portrait of Mary Higgins Clark. The famed author from the Bronx passed away last week at the age of
92. Photo by Bernard Vidal