Bronx-themed party causes controversy

A celebrity-filled party in Mott Haven last Thursday is causing a firestorm among Bronx residents.

The party was hosted by developer Keith Rubenstein of Somerset Partners, one of the two developers who are celebrating the purchase of five acres in Mott Haven along the Harlem River waterfront to build luxury condos.

The event, which brought about stars like Carmelo Anthony, Naomi Campbell, Adrian Brody and others, was intended to be a welcoming party, encouraging all to recognize the growth of what is being called the Piano District.

Located underneath the Third Avenue Bridge, the party's theme shined a spotlight on the Bronx during some of its worst times. The party had a "Bronx is burning theme." Artwork of cars riddled with bullets, trash cans with fire and other props were found depicted in the event's invitation.

Mott Haven residents have been calling the party's theme insensitive and tacky.

"Every day we work hard to show the world that we are not burning; we're not a crime-ridden community," says Mychal Johnson from South Bronx United.

News 12 attempted to contact Rubenstein for an interview. A spokesperson for Rubenstein sent an email saying "Unfortunately, Keith will not be able to participate in the story at this time. My sincere apologies for any inconvenience."

While many residents are still upset over the party, the focus is now affordable housing in the area. A mandatory inclusionary housing meeting with the borough president is taking place next Thursday, Nov. 12.

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