Rarely do I accept public recognition for the work I do in representing the communities I serve. On September 14th, however, I accepted The Bronx Business Award presented by The Bronx County Historical Society (BCHS). This award was special to me as the two most influential men in my life have served BCHS well. Both men were with me that evening: one in spirit, Dr. Elias “Mr. Bronx” Karman; and the other was physically present, Mark Engel, CEO of Langsam Property Services.
The evening was special because I shared the stage with Joseph Kelleher, president of Simone Metro Properties, who also received The Bronx Business Award. I have great admiration for Joe; not just because of all of his professional accomplishments, but because he is champion for our youth. Joe, like me, knows that our youth are worth it. My lovely wife, Fiordaliza, my two boys, Miguel and Cristian, and my mother-in-law, Nelly, were present to make the evening even more special.
Receiving The Bronx Business Award is meaningful because it is a Bronx award. I got married in the Bronx; I own a home in the Bronx; my two boys went to PS 108 in the Bronx; my office is in the Bronx; I serve on the Board of Managers for the Bronx Y; and I serve on Bronx Community Board #11. I am in love with the Bronx! The message that was going through my head as I addressed the crowd that attended the award ceremony was, “It’s All About The Bronx.”
I encouraged the crowd to pay more attention to the needs of the Bronx. It is time for all of us to do everything possible to make the Bronx the best it can be. If you own a business in the Bronx, especially, if you also live in the Bronx, are you doing all you can to make the Bronx better? Are we doing all we can to support our local businesses?
If you are a Realtor, a Realtor by definition is a real estate professional with a membership in any Realtor association; if you are a Realtor with an office in the Bronx, and your membership is not with The Bronx Manhattan North Association of Realtors (BMNAR), it’s time for you to come home. BMNAR is your local Realtor home. We are your Realtor family and your dues will allow us to fight to preserve the American dream of home ownership for our neighbors. Your lack of membership with BMNAR is a clear indication that you can do more to make the Bronx better. Let me remind you “there is no place like home.”
To make BMNAR even better, we need help from our local elected officials, business improvement districts, neighborhood associations and community boards to encourage real estate offices in the Bronx to become members of BMNAR. BMNAR is doing great things. Earlier this year, BMNAR received local, state, and national recognition for receiving one of six national awards for community service. Most recently, the little league baseball team that BMNAR sponsored in 2017, The Bronxchester Realtors, won the Bronx Borough President’s Cup Championship at Yankee Stadium. To compete in the Bronx Borough President’s Cup Tournament, players have to meet a set of requirements unrelated to their performance on the field: maintain a “B” average in school; have 90% or greater school attendance; and, have a demonstrated commitment to community service.
BMNAR is taking steps to making The Bronx the best it can be. If we all take similar steps, we will set that staircase in place and collectively we will make the Bronx better. We have to; because “It’s all about the Bronx.”
Eliezer Rodriguez, Esq. is the chief executive officer of The Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors, Bronx, N.Y.