To the editor: MS 223 students speak out on FreshDirect

Rising fifth graders from MS 223 sound off on whether FreshDirect’s move to Mott Haven will benefit the neighborhood.

Mychal Johnson of South Bronx Unite meets with MS 223 students in Port Morris.
Mychal Johnson of South Bronx Unite meets with MS 223 students in Port Morris.

Students ask: Will FreshDirect be good for Mott Haven?

During the school year, students at MS 223/the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, become experts on the issues that affect their community. This spring, a group of tenth graders investigated the positive and negative effects FreshDirect’s proposed move to their waterfront could have.

Students studied both sides of the issue, by reading a press release from Governor Cuomo’s office and taking a waterfront tour with community activist Mychal Johnson. As a final project, the students wrote letters to Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to express their views. The final vote was seven-to-two opposing the move.

I have lived in the South Bronx all my life. I have lived the struggles of the neighborhood and I can tell you that FreshDirect’s move to the South Bronx will not make it any better… it will take up 500 acres of valuable space. The Bronx doesn’t have many green spaces besides St. Mary’s Park.
Alexis Dominguez

You see, when FreshDirect makes the move, all of their delivery trucks will have to move as well… it will cause the air to become even more polluted making it more likely for young kids to get asthma…I have two younger cousins and a younger sister that are doing well in school. I don’t want [them] getting asthma.
-Christopher Drawhorn

I see a little girl biting into a rotten apple. I can see the brown in certain areas. Can you imagine that happening to one of your fellow Bronx citizens? …FreshDirect should come to the South Bronx because our community will learn how to be healthy. FreshDirect can also increase the access of healthy foods available in the Bronx. Many people refer to the Bronx as the borough facing obesity and diabetes… You, as the borough president, must feel a little shame that your borough out of all the boroughs is the unhealthiest. If I were the borough president, I would take this offer into consideration.
-Eve Fedrick

[Fresh Direct’s] trucks will cause pollution in the air. The pollution will lead to asthma and people with asthma will end up in the hospital.
-Joseph Jasso

Since [Fresh Direct] will move to the Bronx waterfront, your citizens will later lose public access to the waterfront… Many people, including South Bronx Unite, have more fitting ideas for the waterfront instead of Fresh Direct taking perhaps most of the space. One of the ideas people have for the waterfront is make a park, a community center in which people in all ages can roam free and exercise.
-Jorge Mendoza

There are little groceries stores everywhere, on every corner there are bodegas…What is it that FreshDirect has to offer that any other store will not be able to offer?
-Ivana Montano

Where FreshDirect is going to move their headquarters is a beautiful place. I had a chance to visit where FreshDirect is going to be, and being close to river brought relaxation to my mind. Living in the South Bronx there aren’t any places like it, where you could actually see water, and it isn’t far from where I live.
-Albanely Ortiz

Although my community is struggling with trying to have many jobs, our health is what matters… Our air is not healthy, our health is not good, but at least most of us know that we don’t want to be more affected.
-Yarlin Ramirez

The FreshDirect company is mostly the company that gives the senior citizens groceries because they’re too old to get up and get some groceries. Most people would say all of those qualities would be a good thing. I for one am one of those people that thinks that FreshDirect should build their headquarters near the South Bronx waterfront.
-Alex Soto

Alexis Dominguez enjoys playing soccer and learning new things. When he grows up, he wants to be a well-known person with power.

Christopher Drawhorne’s goal is to become an engineer when he is older.

Joseph Jasso would like to become an entrepreneur.

Eve Fedrick is a motivated teenager that lives in the South Bronx and aspires to be a writer.

Jorge Mendoza enjoys making art and learning new things. When he grows up he wants to be an animator.

Ivana Montano likes to play sports. Her goal is to become a pediatrician or psychiatrist.

Albanely Ortiz enjoys listening to music and the city’s view. When she grows up, she wants to have a culinary career.

Yarlin Ramirez enjoys most sports and learning new things. When she is older, she wants to be someone who anyone can look up to. She also wants to help many people.

Alex Soto likes to play football with his friends. His favorite subject is math.

MS 223’s students are always looking for new places to share their writing. You can reach out to them by e-mailing Sophia Weissman at

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