The Bronx borough president and the borough's City Council delegation happily shared their inauguration celebration Thursday with the start of a special anniversary. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. couldn't hide his excitement. The start of his second term in office coincides with a year of special significance.
"It's like a double whammy," Diaz Jr. said. "First, I want to thank the voters of the Bronx for giving me their vote of confidence for a second term, to the fact that we're here and celebrating the first hundred years of this county, when we were able to gain our independence as a county."
Diaz's inauguration ceremony was also the kickoff to the Bronx's centennial celebration, and with a nod to the special anniversary, the borough president and the entire Bronx City Council delegation laid their hands on the same bible that the first Bronx officials used in their 1914 swearing-in ceremony.
"This bible was printed in 1864 and was owned by Charles Coleman Ferris," said Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan. "The Ferris family is one of the first families of the Bronx."
The event reflected on the borough's past and how it's changed over the years.
"Its second language, which was Dutch, its third language was English, its fourth language Spanish, and the beat goes on," said Fernando Ferrer, chairman of the Bronx Centennial Committee. "It speaks many languages today, but it speaks many languages saying the same word: welcome."
Ferrer also hinted at a year of events in the works to mark this milestone.
"A year-long schedule of activities, whether they be in commercial strips, schools, colleges and universities, parks, recreation areas that celebrate not only who we are and where we have been, but where we're going as a borough," he said.
The celebration was also marked by the Empire State Building being lit blue, white and orange, the colors of the Bronx flag.