Oral Histories

Interview with Co-Founders of The Point, CDC

THE POINT Community Development Corporation is an organization dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. The Point’s programming main target is the revitalization of the Hunts Point community through Youth Development, Arts and Culture, and Community Development.

Maria Torres is the President, Co-founder, and COO of The Point Community Development Corporation in the borough’s Hunts Point section.  Ms. Torres was born and raised in Valley Stream, NY.  She attended Cornell University and received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1993 from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Following graduation, she pursued a career in community development in Hunts Point. In 1993, she launched the Neighborhood Internship Bank for at-risk youth, the first employment service of its kind in the South Bronx, while working for The Seneca Center Inc. Ms. Torres also established La Marqueta, an outdoor community market aimed at lowering the barriers to the marketplace for neighborhood entrepreneurs

In 2011, she was the recipient of The President’s Award by the Women’s Caucus for Art.  Also that year, she was named one of the 25 Most Influential Women by the Bronx Times and honored by the Audubon Society at their Fall Roost.  Since 2018, Ms. Torres has been named on City & State magazine’s Bronx Power 100. 

In addition to her duties at The Point, Ms. Torres serves as Chair of the Economic and Municipal Services Committee for Bronx Community Board 2.

 Ms. Torres currently lives in Hunts Point with her husband, their two sons, Daniel and Marcus and their three Chihuahuas, Codie, Chula & Flaca.

Carey Clark has been the Visual Arts Directorat THE POINT for over 25 years. Clark is a painter by background with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Through a Creative Stations Grant from the Metropolitan Transit Authorityin 1989, she made 100 feet of murals at Yankee Stadium’s 4 and D-line platform and mezzanine.  The experience of working collaboratively in public art and as set designer in theater has led to commitment to make a “theater” of painting where artists of all ages and professional artists, participate in a grass roots scene where a work of art becomes not just an end in itself, but an integral force in creating community  – through shared imagination.  Clark has developed a visual arts program at THE POINT located in Hunts Point and the South Bronx, New York –  that is a venue for local and visiting artists, and students to make, show, and sell their works in the context of workshops conducted by visiting artists, exhibitions, and public art. She oversees The Village of Murals, a POINT urban design initiative that seeks to create humane pathways through the industrial neighborhoods of The Hunts Point peninsula.  Most notably, Clark has directed several major commissions by local industries, Sims Metal Management and McInnis Cement, which employed  some 50 artists, and a large number of students. These projects were  complex public/private partnerships which have provided over 600 running feet of murals/green walls and 5 artist-designed concrete benches along a 700 foot long riverside pathway dedicated to the community by McInnis Cement.  

Rachelle Fernandez was born and raised in the Bronx. She was Community Event Coordinator, former Chief Financial Officer, and Co-Founder of THE POINT CDC. Fernandez worked at THE POINT for over 25 years before she retired in 2023.

Paul Lipson is an urban solutions consultant and community development practitioner with a specialization in food systems, renewables, and clean transportation solutions for metropolitan areas. He currently advises a number of anchor institutions, community development organizations, and firms in the clean tech sector, each with projects positioned at the interface of public policy and market development in these spaces.

Barretto Bay’s recent clients have included a national developer of affordable housing pursuing a strategy of industrial job creation in a new $300 million mixed-use development; the owner of a former shipyard exploring industrial redevelopment strategies for a site that once em- ployed 50,000 shipbuilders; an offshore wind developer seeking a fabrication and logistics hub in NY harbor; the owner of a 9 acre brownfield working to attract tenants to a new regional food campus; and a global architecture firm that successfully competed for a share of federal “Rebuild By Design” funding to revitalize the world’s largest food distribution center. Barretto Bay has advised two NYS Brownfield Opportunity Area studies and has successfully developed and deployed strategies for attracting new businesses to industrial brownfield sites.

From 2004 – 2011, Lipson served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Jose E. Serrano (NY-16), an 11-term Democrat and senior appropriator from The Bronx, NY. In 2009, Lipson served as principal author of The American Electric Vehicle Manu- facturing Act (HR 4399), a bill introduced with bi-partisan support and aimed at scaling up the domestic electric vehicle industry.

In this interview, Co-founders of The Point, CDC; Maria Torres, Carey Clark; Paul Lipson, and Rachelle Fernandez, gathered together to tell the story of the creation of this organization and the eventual creation of the Fish Parade. In this interview the co-founders tell us their connection to Hunts Point, their own connection and relationship, and describe what it takes to make the Fish Parade come to life.

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Oral Histories

Interview with Danny R. Peralta & Hatuey Ramos-Fermín

Danny R. Peralta was born and raised in New York City and uses multiple mediums to tell stories, examine relationships and elicit dialogue. Danny has been leading community development using the arts and culture for over 20 years. As former Executive Director of The Point, he helped lead the coordination of The Hunts Point Fish Parade and Summer Festival from 2010-2019. 

Hatuey Ramos-Fermín is an artist. He has organized projects at sites ranging from small businesses and community centers to churches, streets, galleries, and museums. He has worked at the Center for Urban Pedagogy, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and The Laundromat Project. He has participated in the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Shift Residency and The Laundromat Project’s Create Change Artist Residency. Ramos-Fermín received his BA from the University of Puerto Rico and his MFA from the St. Joost School of Art and Design.  He is also a recipient of Creatives Rebuild New York’s Artist Employment Program grant. Hatuey is an artist-in-residence at The Point CDC and Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York.

In this interview, Danny R. Peralta and Hatuey Ramos-Fermin, tell us their respective stories on how they came to The Point CDC and their experience leading the Fish Parade at Hunts Point as Executive Directors. Danny describes his childhood, growing up in the Bronx and his desire to pursue community organizing while pursuing his passion for the arts. Hatuey on the other hand describes his childhood in Puerto Rico, arriving in New York City as an Art educator and later becoming involved with The Point and other community groups in Hunts Point. Interwoven in this interview is the story of The Fish Parade, its inception, and the effect that it has had in the Hunts Point neighborhood community.

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