Farewell to local shops, state senator

Posted

2008

Great Recession

When the nation's economy crumbled, Riverdale wasn't immune.

The last bookstore in the area, PaperbacksPlus on Riverdale Avenue, closed. Other stores also shut their doors on the south Riverdale shopping strip, leading many to wonder where they would have to go to get basics, including groceries.

Though home prices continued to rise in the first part of the year, sales began to slow dramatically. The planned mall in a Kingsbridge parking lot began to shrink as tenants proved hard to find. Ground was never broken.

Cost overruns at the Croton Water Filtration Plant began to affect people's water bills, as the price of construction was paid for out of that tap. The city's comptroller began an audit on activities at the plant site.

In elections that year, Riverdalians were faced with a strange choice: State Sen. Efrain Gonzalez Jr., who was under indictment for allegedly funneling $400,000 in state funds to his family, was challenged by former state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., who had faced ethics issues of his own. The Riverdale/Kingsbridge area's dominant political group, the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, went with Mr. Gonzalez. The voters picked the current officeholder, Mr. Espada.

Questions over the location of gifted and talented programs for elementary school children raised specters of racial and class divisions that still lingered after the creation of the David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, MS/ HS 141, and IN-Tech Academy, MS/HS 368.

Also in 2008, the milkman made his last stop in Riverdale after telling Elizabeth Pimentel of Fieldston that there simply wasn't enough demand to justify future deliveries.

In June, The Riverdale Press passed from the hands of the Stein family to another pair of brothers, Stuart and Clifford Richner, owners of the Herald newspapers on Long Island.

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