Today we got a press release from the Bronx Community Pride Center announcing that they are moving out of their run-down building in Mott Haven and into swanky new digs in Hunts Point/Longwood in a facility called…The Reverend Ruben Diaz Gardens Building.
Yes, you read that right, and we admit we had to pick ourselves off the floor laughing after reading this. But yes, a gay community center is in fact moving into a building named for that Ruben Diaz.
Press releases from non-profits are usually devoid of humor, and they often avoid political conflict with elected officials (and their potential revenue streams). But the Bronx Community Pride Center dove right into the obvious aspect of their move, noting in the first paragraph:
The Bronx Community Pride Center (BCPC) has moved from its location of 17 years in Mott Haven, on East 149th Street, to a brand new space at 975 Kelly Street, 2nd Floor, in Hunts Point/Longwood, ironically in the Rev. Ruben Diaz Gardens Building, a building developed by the Arker Companies, partially through funding secured by the local State Senator, and ardent opponent of marriage equality.
A ribbon cutting will happen at the new center next Wednesday, December 7, from 5-7 PM. BCPC Executive Director Dirk McCall tells us Rev. Ruben Diaz’s son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., will be cutting the ribbon.
As we noted in the Voice feature “Diaz Family Values” right before the Marriage Equality Act passed, Diaz. Jr. often tries to have it both ways when it comes to gay constituents and gay rights. He was opposed to marriage equality, did not denounce his father’s hate-filled anti-gay march on the steps of his office, and unlike most of the other borough presidents, was nowhere to be found on the first day of same-sex marriages in Bronx Borough Hall.
The BCPC press release also says that “An open house to show community members the space will be held on Friday, December 16, from 6-8 p.m.” Will the good Reverend be there with his son to welcome the gay center into the building bearing his name? McCall says Sr.’s been invited but hasn’t responded yet. (Maybe he’ll participate in the “religious interdenominational blessing of the space by local clergy” that will happen later in December?)
We have a long personal history with Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, as well as with the building the BCPC is moving vacating. That East 149th St. building is, coincidentally, where we had our first media job in 1997. It was a falling apart shithole then, and it still is today, so we wish the BCPC well as they move into their better Hunts Point digs, which McCall describes as “beautiful and modern.”
Just like Rev. Diaz!