Two Brothers Charged in School Bomb Plot



Two Brothers Charged in School Bomb Plot

By David Greene

BRONX- A day after a Florida teen went on a shooting rampage at a school and killing 17 students and teachers, a New York City teacher and his twin brother were arrested at their Pelham Parkway home-- after more than 30 pounds of bomb-making chemicals were discovered in a closet.

In the early morning hours of February 15, police and FBI agents stormed the home of Christian and Tyler Toro, both 27, at 2121 Matthews Avenue, where investigators discovered the chemicals, simulated weapons and a diary, containing the chilling title: "Operation Flash.”

The pair were quickly taken into custody and Matthews Avenue was shutdown to traffic the entire day as the chemicals were carefully removed from the 6-story building.

One resident of the building explained, "We knew they were from the FBI, they knocked on our door. But we didn't know about the bomb-sniffing dogs. It's crazy.”

During a 20-minute press conference at 1 Police Plaza later that night, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neil was joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Berman, FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney and NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller.

O'Neil told reporters, "I think it's very important that we brief you this evening on the arrest of two individuals by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, on a number of federal charges relating to explosives.”

According to O'Neil, the investigation began with a December 4, 2017 bomb threat made to charter school in Upper Manhattan, for which a 15 year-old was apparently arrested. Members of the NYPD's Intelligence Division continued to investigate the incident.

O'Neil added that the break in the case came on January 10, when teacher Christian Toro "abruptly" quit his job at Democracy Prep High School and later returned the laptop with the incriminating evidence that led to a search warrant and the arrests.

"In the course of that search," O'Neil continued, "which was conducted beginning this morning and went on through much of the day, over 30 pounds of chemicals which taken together, in certain combinations constitute explosive precursor materials were recovered.”

Officials reportedly discovered 20 pounds of iron oxide and five pounds each of aluminum powder and potassium nitrate and an undetermined amount of gunpowder and fireworks.

"This case likely saved many, many lives," Mayor de Blasio stated, adding, "I also want to say that the staff at the school did something very important. There work was crucial here as well.”

The pair were charged in a 2-count federal indictment of explosive possession and also charged with giving explosives to minors, as the pair allegedly paid two teens to extract gunpowder from fireworks.

In briefly mentioning the diary, Miller read one chilling passage, "Under the full moon, the small ones will know terror.”

O'Neil concluded, "There is no reason to believe at this point that there is any remaining threat to New York City or any school.”

According to Berman, the pair were brought before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman, where the two pled not-guilty. A bail hearing for Christian will be held on February 21, and a preliminary hearing for the pair is scheduled for March 19.

The arrests comes two days after Ahmad Khan Rahimi was sentenced in the September 17, 2016 detonation of a pressure-cooker bomb that injured more than two dozen people in Manhattan. Rahimi was given two life terms.   

ASRA Market Expands to Deli

ASRA Market Expands to Deli

By Rich Mancuso

FOOD- Every Bronx resident is aware about being on the move and looking for that quick way to fill the stomach. And in the Bronx there is always an establishment to get that fix in order to satisfy the taste buds whether it be a restaurant or diner on the corner.

There are also those corner stores that are accessible off a nearby street corner and many that are steps away from the bus stop or MTA subway station. The Bronx certainly does not lack that variety of choice from the Italian to Spanish dish or the deli sandwich.

Located on the corner of Westchester Avenue and Middletown Road there is a neighborhood store that has been  favorite to many over the last few years. Recently a team of owners expanded their mini supermarket into a deli that has quickly become a welcome addition to the area.

ASRA mini MART and Deli located at 2801 Middletown Road still has everything needed to fill the fridge and that variety of household items at a convenient price. Now the expansion of a deli has quickly become a popular and affordable addition for residents and to those who commute through the area.

There are specials on the board with the hot and cold sandwich of every variety.  Most popular is the ASRA mini MART and Deli version of a Philly Cheese steak that is stacked to the top. 

In addition specials on the board offer a variety of good choices with homemade daily soups that are made on the premises and at the counter, if requested, a healthy salad will do you good. 

And of course start the day with a quick breakfast sandwich of your choice.  

Catering is also available for that special occasion and at that reasonable price.

Contact the ASRA mini MART and Deli: (718) 239-9761 or stop in 2801 Middletown Road.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Food, Wine

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Food, Wine

DINING OUT- Amore! The coupling of food and wine with the sensual is the aphrodisiac of literature and verse through the ages. Pucker up! Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, Feb. 14th. Restaurants are gearing up to serve some of their most titillating specialties. Here are a few delectable dishes and dining venues for you and your loved one, and don’t forget to reserve early…

The Vivolo family of venerable La Riserva in Larchmont have completed a major renovation of the premises and it is stunning! ‘La famiglia’ Vivolo have been serving ‘the Italian classics’ here for over 38 years and the refreshing atmosphere and friendly ambiance keep it a treat. 

The dining rooms at La Riserva have been beautifully refurbished: resplendent with new white tiled bar, plush new dark wood floors, chairs and tabletops. The ceiling is now a lush red and the new brick walls are highlighted by vintage black and white photos depicting scenes from Vivolo’s hometown of Accadia-Foggia in Italy. Private party facilities. Open 7 days for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Free parking. Closed Mondays. La Riserva, 2382 Boston Post Road, Larchmont. 914-834-5584 


Nutmeg Café opened on Main Street in Tuckahoe offering a variety artisanal baked goods, craft foods and beverages for eat-in and take-out. Proprietor and creative force behind Nutmeg is Cindy Bothwell. You may recognize Cindy from her years working Farmers Markets around the county in Bronxville, Irvington, Chappaqua and Scarsdale, selling her signature goods under the ‘What’s For Dessert?’ brand. The Café is warm and inviting. There is seating for up to 25, soft background music, exposed brick walls and display cases filled to the brim with the tempting daily larder. Bothwell calls her way of cooking and baking: “American home-style rustic” and insists on keeping up with the seasons. Delightful beverages include such exclusive artisanal makers as Joe’s Coffee out of Brooklyn. Fresh made soups and salads are available and posted daily on the blackboard. Enjoy delectable cheddar scallion scones; caramelized onion & gruyere crostada; and cauliflower, leek & Asiago quiche. Open daily; Sundays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nutmeg Café, 64 Main Street, Tuckahoe. 914-779-1328 


Chef-owner Dean Vivolo of Trattoria Vivolo serves his robust regional Italian cuisine out of a vintage diner across from Harrison's Metro-North station. Sit at the counter, tuck into a booth, or take a table in the rear greenhouse and enjoy the surprising contemporary and traditional flavors emanating from his kitchen: tasty thin-crusted pizza; Crostino di Polenta, topped with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola and tomato sauce; Linguine with Clam Sauce; Lasagna Bolognese al Forno; and by special request, warm fresh Zabaglione with fresh fruit for dessert. Good wine list. Sparkling lights evenings. Open 7 days. Trattoria Vivolo, 301 Halstead Ave., Harrison. 914-835-6199


Pull up to La Panetiere in Rye and enter the beautifully appointed dining rooms, proprietor Jacques Loupiac’s long-running bastion of French cuisine will create an unforgettable experience. The professional staff led by Cheryl Just and Stephane, the genial maître d’ and Chef Dean Lupiac will fill you with passion. Each course is artfully plated. The Dover Sole and Grand Marnier Souffle are wonderful. Fine wines, too. It’s the best way to visit Paris without leaving Westchester. La Panetiere is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch Monday evening thru Sunday. Private party facilities. Catering. Bar/lounge. Take out. Major credit cards. Ample parking. Reservations advised.  La Panetiere, 530 Milton Road, Rye. 914-967-8140 


There will be a vivacious Valentine’s menu. Jerry Tomic founded Westchester’s first restaurant devoted to Croatian cuisine and atmosphere. Talented Chef Antonio Selendic mans the kitchen and he will transport you to the beautiful Adriatic on the Dalmatian Coast in flavorful style. Join Tomic and veteran restaurateur and floor manager Nada Bernic, previously of The Terrace in Manhattan. Most everything is house made from the bread to desserts. Try the Warm Octopus Salad; Fresh Cod Filet with grapes, olives, pearl onions; Mama Tereza’s lobster, shrimp, scallops, fish, clams and mussels steamed in a seasonal broth over pasta; Grilled Rack of Lamb; or whole roasted fish prepared on the BBQ. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner. Reservations suggested. Private party facilities. Valet parking. Dubrovnik, 721 Main Street, New Rochelle. 914-637-3777


lorio Rugova, a veteran of the hospitality business, has assumed management of the landmark Olde Stone Mill Restaurant in Tuckahoe and he has been busy refining the menu. It will become known as Florio’s at the Olde Stone Mill. Florio previously managed La Fontanella in Pelham. Most recently, he was affiliated with Jordan Hall 10803, also in Pelham. Olde Stone Mill has evolved into an Italian/American kitchen with Continental overtones. The handsome bar/lounge is wood and stone. A passageway leads to the lovely 85-seat main dining room with airy picture windows, piano, warming hearth and beautiful table settings. The airy atrium room has become a popular gathering place, too.  Look for such new specialties as: Clams Casino, Pork Osso Bucco, and Vitello Oscar Portions are generous. There are private party accommodations. The Olde Stone Mill, 2 Scarsdale Road, Tuckahoe. Open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Free parking. Phone: 914-771-7661


The Fratelli Brothers: Cosimo and Gerardo, have combined their considerable talents in opening Le Sirene Ristorante on Palmer Ave. in Larchmont. They are veteran restaurateurs who also own such venerable dining rooms as San Pietro, Caravaggio and Sistina in Manhattan. They know how to cook with finesse the authentic Italian way: “Let natural food flavors express themselves,” is their culinary philosophy. Owner Cosimo Bruno is general manager and host, but also shares kitchen duties with Executive Chef Alberto Pepe. Let the warmth guide you into the pastel dining room. The bar/lounge is a good spot for cocktails and a snack. The Brunos know their wines. Cosimo is a Certified Sommelier. The ‘pizzaoli’ is at his wood fired pizza oven at the end of the bar ready to prepare over a dozen of his tasty individually styled pies. Have them prepare one with shaved truffles on top. Le Sirene is located at 1957 Palmer Ave., Larchmont. Phone: 914-834-8300

(Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in the Bronx and Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail:

Gentrifying vs Affordable Housing?

Gentrifying vs Affordable Housing?

Bikers Host Super Bowl Party for Vets

Bikers Host Super Bowl Party for Vets

BRONX- Volunteers and members of the Nam Knights Tri-boro chapter, held their 3rd annual Super Bowl Sunday visit to veterans at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital on West Kingsbridge Road on February 4. 

Members of Nam Knights, a nationally known motorcycle club based on Long Island, fed the entire hospital with 26 feet of donated chicken cutlet, 20 2-liter bottles of soda and 5 pounds each of potato and macaroni salad that was eaten before and during the big game in which the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33. 

For more information on the Nam Knights, visit their website at:  

Hospital Hands Out Naloxone Kits to Combat Opioid Overdoses

Hospital Hands Out Naloxone Kits to Combat Opioid Overdoses

BRONX- Looking to stem the tide of opioid overdoses, one Bronx hospital is pioneering the distribution of life-saving kits for free.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln opened the first hospital-based naloxone kit distribution center to make the drug that reverses opioid overdose available free to the community at large and without a prescription. 
Last May, the Bronx hospital became the first patient care site in the NYC Health + Hospitals system to begin distributing the naloxone kits to all patients served by the emergency room, behavioral health and chemical dependency. The opening marks the health system’s commitment to establishing public distribution centers at all 11 public hospitals to expand access to this life-saving medication beyond the patient population.

According to the NYC Department of Health, drug overdose deaths in 2016 increased 46 percent from 2015.  More New Yorkers died of opioid related overdose than from car crashes and homicides combined in 2016. The South Bronx community has been particularly burdened by the misuse of opioids.   

Naloxone kits will be available every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 am – 4 pm, in conference room 2 at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln (234 East 149th Street, Bronx, NY, 10451). The kits are available to anyone 12 and older, no appointment is necessary.

Everyone who receives a kit will also be trained by hospital staff, which takes approximately 3-5 minutes. Training includes how to identify someone who is suffering from an overdose and how to properly administer the naloxone nasal spray.

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln has been a leader in providing comprehensive care and necessary resources to our patients suffering from substance use disorder, which accounts for 20 percent of the hospital’s emergency room encounters,” said Milton Nuñez, chief executive officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “As a designated naloxone distribution center in the community, it is our hope the public takes advantage of this free, life-saving tool, so we can make a significant impact in reducing the incidence of opioid overdoses the Bronx.”

“We are proud to offer this much needed intervention to help alleviate the high burden of death and suffering our community has experienced,” said Dr. Bala Kanna, Associate Chief Medical Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “Our goal is to prevent death and empower friends and family to help their loved ones.”

"I commend NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln for making naloxone available to community members in the South Bronx, a neighborhood with one of the five highest rates of overdose in New York City," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "Lincoln serves as a model for other hospitals to address the opioid overdose epidemic, including prescribing naloxone to their patients, offering medications for addiction treatment, and promoting judicious opioid prescribing."

Naloxone is used to prevent an overdose by opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone, by reversing the toxic effects of the drug. The medication is administered using a nasal spray, when someone is showing signs of opioid overdose, which includes when a person is unresponsive, breathing slows or stops, or lips and/or fingernails turn blue, pale or gray.

HealingNYC was launched in March 2017 by the Mayor and First Lady of New York City, with the goal of reducing opioid overdose deaths by 35 percent over the next five years. Approximately 20,000 patients are treated for opioid use disorder in emergency departments across NYC Health + Hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln cares for the second highest rate of patients with opioid use disorder in the health system.

In May, under HealingNYC, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln announced it was expanding naloxone distribution through the hospital, creating a hospital-based support system for nonfatal opioid overdoses. Since that announcement, the hospital has distributed 250 naloxone kits.

The Health Department worked closely with NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln’s Emergency Department to establish their Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, providing technical assistance and training. The Health Department has been partnering with NYC Health + Hospitals to support roll out of naloxone dispensing throughout the health system.    

To obtain a naloxone kit, individuals need to complete a form to account for the kit being distributed. No prescription is necessary.

To find additional locations that provide naloxone without prescription, call 311 or visit

Oscar Gamble’s Heart was Bigger than his Famous Hair

Oscar Gamble’s Heart was Bigger than his Famous Hair

By Ray Negron

SPORTS- When I first started with the Yankees as a batboy in 1973, Ron Blomberg used to tease me about my Afro hairdo. He and Bobby Murcer used to say that I was the Oscar Gamble of batboys.

George Steinbrenner used to get on my case about getting a haircut and I always said that I would but I never did. One day the Yankees were playing the Cleveland Indians and Oscar Gamble hit a double. The next hitter was Walt “No Neck” Williams who got a base hit to centerfield. Bobby Murcer fielded the ball and threw a bullet to catcher Thurman Munson who collided and in one motion tagged Oscar Gamble out. The first thing that the fans noticed was that with all the dust coming up all you could see was Oscar’s giant Afro. I think the fans appreciated his hair raising Afro as much as they loved Bobby Murcer’s great throw.

In the spring of 1976, Gamble joined the Yankees along with Mickey Rivers, Dock Ellis and Willie Randolph. The First thing that the players on the team noticed was how quickly Gamble cut his hair. A lot of the guys didn’t think he would cut it because his hair was his trade mark, also like Samson in the Bible, that’s where he got his home run power from. Also you know how superstitious baseball players are. Not Oscar though. He wanted to be a Yankee at all costs and that first year he would Always say, ” I’m just happy to be here.”

Mr Steinbrenner really got to know the real Oscar Gamble for the first time at a team function that spring. The Boss had a lot of his old college buddies there along with the head of U.S. Steel and other major corporations. As the Boss was talking at the podium about the importance of that season for New York, Oscar screamed out that it was also important for the new Mercedes that he wanted to buy. The Boss and all the players broke out in crazy laughter. Oscar also said, “Excuse me Mr Steinbrenner, I heard that Lou Piniella is a neighbor of yours in Tampa and in the winter in order to make extra income he is your landscaper.” “Well I can detail your cars if you’d like.” That night, Oscar was as funny as Richard Pryor could ever be and the Boss loved it.

On the drive back to the hotel I will never forget Mr Steinbrenner say that Gamble would be great for the clubhouse because his humor would keep everyone loose.

In the Spring of 1977, the Boss knew that he had to upgrade the short stop position and the thought of getting Bucky Dent was something that he could not pass up on. The only way this deal was going to get done was Oscar Gamble. As much as the Boss did not want to trade Gamble, the betterment of the team always came first. However, I always knew that the first chance that the Boss got to get Gamble back, he would jump at it. That opportunity came in July of 1979. He got Oscar back from the Texas Rangers for one of his all time favorite players Mickey Rivers. The reason for this trade is too personal and complex to explain but when you find out why, you would understand the true human and loving side of George Steinbrenner through both of these players.

When Thurman Munson died, Oscar and Rivers held hands like the brothers that they were and along with the Boss and the rest of the team, cried uncontrollably and unashamed. Thurman loved and respected Oscar so much that it made you proud. Oscar loved playing cards with Thurman and picked up many tricks that Thurman had learned from Gene Michael. In those days, we only had one bus on the road so we were always together. The players were closer then they are today. When we got on the bus after games everyone had their set seats.

That meant that the show was about to begin. Oscar usually would be in rare form so like Don Rickles, Oscar was gonna verbally get you. The funny thing was that you wanted to be zapped by Oscar. I will never forget that when we got Oscar back he had already signed a big free agent contract and would dress in all Gucci clothes-shoes hat, and he would carry a Gucci attaché case. Our bullpen catcher Dom Scala, a jokester in his own right and popular guy with the players, started to call him “Gucci Gamble” and the nick name stuck.

In 1989, I was the General manager of the St Lucie Legends, the now defunct Senior Baseball League in Florida. My Manager was Graig Nettles and among the many ex Yankees on the team, I had Oscar Gamble. By the time the season started, both of Oscar’s knees were shot. He could still put on a show in batting practice but come game time he would hit a line drive to the out field and because his knees would not let him get out of the batters box, he would get thrown out at first. I tried to keep Oscar on as a coach for as long as I could but my owner Joe Sprung finally ordered me to release him and that if I wanted to keep my job not to sign anymore friends.

I think what bothered me the most was that Oscar felt more badly for me than I for him. He was one of my heroes and he knew that. He also felt that he let me down but in reality I let him down because I knew that he wasn’t one hundred percent. My trainer, Steve Davis, told me that he wasn’t ready but I let Oscar charm me with one of his classic lines, “GAMBLE WITH GAMBLE!” It was a line that he used with the Yankees often before hitting big home runs. So, I hoped that history would repeat itself. In Oscars case, this time it didn’t.

As years passed, I would see Oscar at Old Timers Day and Yankees fantasy camp and was always so happy to see him, Rivers, Bucky, Chambliss and all the boys from that era.

One time when I walked into the locker room at a fantasy camp, the great Paul Blair saw me and screamed out, “Oscar, Ray is here, is he going to release you again.?” Oscar screamed out, "Oh no not again!” Everyone laughed and when I explained to the players that Oscar couldn’t get out of the batters box, Oscar said, “I didn’t get out of the box because I thought you wanted a photo op for the year book cover.” That was Oscar.

This morning I received a call from Doc Gooden and he told me that Oscar had died.
Oscar had been suffering from mouth cancer, even though he never chewed tobacco and didn’t smoke. He suffered from this painful disease for several years and he fought like a champion because he loved life so much. The last time we talked he said, “When you write about me, don’t write about the baseball player, write about the guy that loved being with his teammates and family.”

In 1995, when I spent that summer helping Doc Gooden with his rehabilitation, he used to tell me about how close the 1986 Mets were and I would argue with him that there is no remote way that the Mets that year were closer then the Yankees of the 70s. When Gooden started to attend Yankees Fantasy camp he got to know Oscar and Bucky and so many others and he saw the love. He will never admit that the Yankees of the 70s were closer because he is loyal to the Mets but he did admit that he gained big respect for them.

I spoke to Bucky Dent, Ron Blomberg, Chris Chambliss, Willie Randolph Dom Scala Mickey Rivers and many others. To say that they cried for one of their brothers and that the missing process has begun is an understatement. The last time that I heard Mickey Rivers cry like that was on August 3rd 1979 when Bobby Murcer and George Steinbrenner were painfully and tearfully explaining to the team how our beloved captain, Thurman Munson had died.

Oscar Gamble was a beloved roomie to Chris Chambliss in Cleveland. Bucky Dent considered the Big O a true brother as did Blomberg. While sick, Blomberg always checked on Oscar. Willie Randolph probably played with Oscar the longest of all the players and, like me and Bucky, have lost loved ones within the last couple of years but we still have a lot of tears left for our dear friend and brother Oscar Gamble.
When it came to Oscar Gamble, “Mr October” Reggie Jackson said it best. “Oscar was a sweet, decent man without a single ounce of malice in his heart. He was a cool breeze out of Alabama.”

Oscar wanted people to know that he was a good person that loved his family and friends very much and loved and appreciated the fans of this great game. To that end I can honestly say that Oscar was always grateful to the Yankees because he was always able to put on the pinstripes at Old Timers Day and fantasy camp.

Rest In Peace my friend.

Hammer Killer Gets 25 Years

Hammer Killer Gets 25 Years

BRONX- A Bronx man will spend the next 25 years behind bars for beating his girlfriend to death with a hammer.

District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “The defendant horrifically bludgeoned to death the woman he had shared a life and children with. He was relentless in his attack, repeatedly striking the victim who bravely tried to fight back. He will now be behind bars for 25 years and we hope the family receives a measure of peace with this sentence.”

District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Darrell Gibbs, 53, who worked as a plasterer for the NYC Housing Authority, pleaded guilty to first-degree Manslaughter before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Judith Lieb. He will be sentenced to 25 years followed by 5 years post-release supervision on February 21, 2018.

According to the investigation, on the night of July 9, 2015, in their apartment in the Mitchell Houses in Mott Haven, the defendant repeatedly struck Wanda Martin Stevens, 53, with a hammer following a domestic dispute. During the altercation, he also grabbed the victim by the neck and smashed a broken glass bottle on her head, resulting in her death. The defendant and the victim had lived together for 12 years and had adopted six children.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nancy Borko, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Homicide Bureau under the supervision of Christine Scaccia, Chief of the Homicide Bureau and the overall supervision of Nicole Keary, Deputy Chief of the Trial Division.

District Attorney Clark thanked her Office’s Crime Victim Advocate Adrienne Navarro who supported the victim’s family at every court appearance.

Two Brothers Charged in School Bomb Plot

  TEACHER WANTED TO BOMB BRONX SCHOOL? Two Brothers Charged in School Bomb Plot By David Greene BRONX- A day after a Florid...