NY1 is continuing its "One City, Many Mayors" series this week, this time in the Bronx. In part one, Erin Clarke introduces us to a man many say knows everyone and everything about the neighborhood of Melrose.
You can catch Ed Garcia Conde walking streets of the Bronx neighborhood of Melrose every day.
"I go up to 161st, back down, different streets," Conde said. "Stop by the Bronx Documentary Center."
"There's nobody that knows as many people," said Michael Kamber, director of the Bronx Documentary Center. "He knows the old lady on the street corner. He also knows what the developers are planning and what the permits are from the city and what the politicians are doing."
"It's always every block, I'm stopping by to say hi to someone," Conde said.
Or to find out something.
"I'll see someone inside of a vacant property, and if they're fixing it up, I'm always knocking on the window like the stereotypical old lady on the second floor looking out the windows? That's me," he said. "When I see work going on and curious."
Caring for the community was matter of course. Conde comes from a civic-minded family, three generations in Melrose.
"My parents are church leaders at Immaculate Conception Church. It just always felt natural always advocating for people in the neighborhood and just keeping on top of information," Conde said. "I was doing petitions when I was in high school, in my building whenever things were going wrong."
Years later, that advocacy has developed. Conde writes about everything from new businesses to local issues in the blog Welcome2TheBronx.
"The sidewalks were actually broken for over 15 years," Conde said. "I put a lot of pressure on the city and said, 'Listen, I'm going to write a bad story if you don't do this.'"
Conde isn't just concerned about Melrose. He writes about the whole borough, something that's gained him the title of mayor. Seriously. That's his email address.
"I did that because so many people were always calling me Mr. Mayor or Mayor Ed," he said. "For the last couple of years now, it's the mayor of the Bronx."
But as any mayor will say, the job isn't easy. Conde does ruffle feathers.
"I don't sugarcoat anything," he said. "If a politician is doing something they shouldn't be doing or taking a stance that's not in the best interest of our community, I'm going to say."
Forever looking out for folks here and in the rest of the Bronx.