Yonkers – It’s been a great week for the Yonkers rap trio and Ruff Ryders representers, The LOX. Three days after the destroying Dipset at Verzuz, the Yonkers rap titans received the key to the city, at Milan Stefanik Memorial Park, Friday afternoon, during the group’s unveiling of a new workout station and the renovated park.
Mayor Mike Spano announced Wednesday, August 4th, that the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation invested $250,000 in state-of-the-art fitness equipment at Stefanik (Nepperhan Avenue), Coyne (McLean Avenue) and other area parks. In celebration of the new gyms and the promotion of health and fitness among adults and children, renowned rapper and Yonkers native Styles P will host a community celebration with the City.
“Public parks are the epicenters of our neighborhoods and by continually investing in them, we are creating healthier options and improving the quality of life for residents to enjoy,” said Mayor Spano. “I am proud to partner with Styles P, who has been a long-time advocate for our community, in encouraging residents young and old to be active and enjoy the newest amenities our city has to offer.”
They unveiled the latest renovation to Stefanik Park, which includes new workout ladders, parallel bars, jump steps and a combination street workout pro. The opening of the park also included a community celebration where fitness trainers The Bartendaz were on hand to assist residents on the use of the equipment and also feature music, refreshments, and a backpack give-away, while supplies lasted.
Styles P talked about to the purpose for all of this is to make better lives for the children, make Yonkers a better city… (see video below);
Stefanik is now the fifth park in Yonkers equipped with workout necessities. The $75,000 fitness station features parallel bars, workout ladders and jump steps. Black Westchester was told the goal is to have outdoor fitness area at all parks in the city to promote an overall feeling of wellbeing for residents, something Styles P has been promoting for a while even in his first conversations with Mayor Spano and Councilwoman Shanae Williams who served the the 1st district of Yonkers where Stefanik Park is located.
We caught up to Styles P to discuss the event and the his dedication to bring health and wellness to the hood.
“We’re continually looking for ways to approve our city, and the fitness stations are unique, it something simple, it gives you the ability to exercise and we can all use a little more exercise, certainly I can,” Mayor Mike Spano told the crowd. “The five parks across our city that we have chosen and hopefully we will do even more, because of Styles P we have there. That was the first things he said to me, a few years back, we need a place to exercise. Why not just put it in our parks and he was 100% right and we been really able to really build on that.”
The voice of Westchester, DJ Tri-State Jericko entertained the crowd on the ones and twos. Spano, surrounded by local officials at the park – including Congressman Jamaal Bowman, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Yonkers City Court Judge Karen Best, Councilwomen, Shanae Williams, Tasha Diaz and Corazon Pineda-Isaac, Council President Mike Khader and the Democratic nominee for Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy and Parks Commissioner Steve Sansone, to name a few, – gave the key to the city to local lyrical legend Styles P.
(all pictures below by AJ Woodson and Lorraine Lopez and should not be used without the permission of Black Westchester Magazine)
Congressman Jamaal Bowman spoke about the importance of park renovation and Styles P championing health and wellness in Yonkers and beyond.
“This is something I wouldn’t miss for the world. Anything focused on uplifting our children, uplifting our young people, our families and the people of Yonkers is something I want to be a part of. Anything to do with expanding our parks and expanding more exercise opportunities, that’s something I want to be a part of. Health is Wealth! We can not get to wealth without health first and Styles P is someone who has been a champion of that his entire life. especially the last decade with his Juices For Life Bar and so much other work that he is doing. So shout to Styles P for his work with Health and Wellness,” The freshman Congressman shared with the crowd.
Bowman also shared a few word with Black Westchester on Styles P (see video below).
Tuesday, August 3rd, the LOX put a lyrical lynching of Dipset at Tuesday night Verzuz battle at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“There’s nothing like being able to brag about your hometown. Brag about you homeboy,” the Senate Majority Leader shared. “And to watch him win Verzuz. Styles said to me, ‘you know about Verzuz?’ I said are you kidding me?”
Mayor Spano also discussed the battle and how the LOX always represent where they come from;
“We all saw what Styles P, what the LOX did. Put Yonkers on the map as they always do. There’s a lot of talent that comes out of this city. But very often they don’t come back. Very often they don’t even mention where they’re from. But not our guys, they’re always right there top of the world, talking about where they’re from and who they are.”
Now something many are just finding out and Black Westchester knew before the election, not only do we now have a Congressman who watches Verzus, but Congressman Bowman is a Hip-Hop Head. So you know he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to discuss the Verzuz Battle;
“As a personal point of privilege, I just want to acknowledge Styles P as a dope emcee and one of the best emcees of all time. I don’t know if you saw the Verzuz Battle the other day, but I’ve been watching it on a loop ever since the battle took place. I’m like I’m from Harlem, why the do Dipset like that? I’m from Harlem but I live in Yonkers… This is a moment for Styles. He’s representing The LOX, he’s representing Hip-Hop and a lot of times our culture gets a bad rap. But it’s done more for me, I wouldn’t be in congress with Hip-Hop, let me just say that.”
I will end this, the way I started, it has been a great week for the LOX, a great week for Yonkers, a great week for the 914 area code, a great week for Hip-Hop and the work Styles is doing with the city will make it a great future for the next generation!
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.