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The Bronx Shopper
Vol. 6 No.14 Saturday, April 5, 1997

BOROUGH'S PRESENCE FELT ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB
By Joseph P. Griffith

If you make a foray into cyberspace via the Internet, you will find that the Bronx's heart is beating rapidly, to measure its electronic pulse on the World Wide Web.

The Bronx Mall (http://www.bronxmall.com) is a resource page about community organizations and marketplace for more than 50 businesses and professionals. It includes stories by and about young people and a calendar of events.

The Bronx Mall was created by The I - Word. Barbara Tallerman, its president, said she envisioned the Internet becoming the standard form of communication in the near future. She believes that "giving Bronxites an opportunity to experiment with this global universe close to home will be less intimidating, and will enable them to position themselves now for what surely will change the way we do most everything."

The site was launched last November. On May 1 it will change its look and add features like bulletin boards and classifieds. "We are very pleased with what we consider tremendous success, as more and more people from the Bronx and many other countries visit and comment," Tallerman said. "We are all excited about this venture, which is helping to build the image of the Bronx as a great place in which to live, work and play."

 

 
   
The Bronx Shopper
Vol. 7 No. 13, Saturday, March 28, 1998

An Online Bazaar
by Joseph P. Griffith

The Bronx Mall gives virtual shoppers a place to buy, and support the borough

Malls are where people do their shopping, so it makes sense that they should do their online shopping at a virtual mall. For almost 1-1/2 years, the Bronx Mall has given them a place to do that, with some added attractions that are not found in real malls.

The World Wide Web page (http://www.bronxmall.com/) was started in November 1996 by Barbara Tallerman, who operates a database service in Riverdale called Trend Track. She said she started the page as a resource of information about the Bronx, with an accent on upbeat and positive news about it.

"I wanted to change the image of this much-maligned borough in the eyes of the rest of the world," she said. "Those who live and work here should be shown some respect. I thought the fastest way would be through the Internet."

Mirroring the popularity of that vast network of networks, the site saw the number of advertisers grow from the original 30 to almost three times that many at present. Some of them have had Tallerman develop their own websites for them in the last year. She said she thought that by building the site and making it a place to come and look around, the businesses would follow.

The goods and services found include the following: toys, auto parts and accessories, food, funeral homes, restaurants, bakeries, office services, photography, beepers and wireless communications, police, entertainment, arts, travel, Bronx tourism, nutrition, health, restaurants, animal hospitals, clubs and organizations.

The resources and information include: editorials, news, Bronx politics, education, radio, libraries, museums, communications, Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, Wave Hill, the New York Botanical Garden, Fordham University, Manhattan College, Arthur Avenue, parks, churches and religions.

There are many "links" to sites, on which the user can click a mouse and obtain information. A calendar of events, for instance, is available and clicking the link to Bay Plaza Cinema 13, one of the advertisers, gives a listing of what films are playing and the times. One section outlines plans for the New York City 100 Centennial Weekend in June, the celebration of the consolidation of the five boroughs into a single city. Another pays tribute to the 75th anniversary of Yankee Stadium this year.

There are many feature stories, written by Tallerman and her staff, on various aspects of life in the borough. Non-profit and cultural organizations are featured, along with stories about the arts and well-known people. "As big and worldwide as the Internet is, it is made up of small communities of people," she said. "I've been able to build a virtual community which in real life is thriving right here on Earth."

Reinforcing the view of the Web as a global community, she said that many of the visitors who leave comments on the site are from abroad, which can be verified by their e-mail addresses. "We're happy to have this opportunity to show off the amazing talent and energy that does exist here," she said. "The Bronx as a culture is as diverse as the whole World Wide Web."

She said that when the site started out it was getting 5,000 hits, or visits, a month, and is now getting almost 100,000. It was redesigned last July to make it easier to navigate, and another redesign will take place at some time in the future as part of the search for ways to keep viewers coming back.

One area, a Kids' Connection, was built as "a showplace for kids' creativity," she said. District 10, which comprises more than 40 schools, publishes a magazine with art, stories and poems by teachers, students and parents. The Bronx Mall has given them an online forum, which caused "A great deal of excitement. When children have the opportunity to show off their work in public, they aspire to greater heights," said Tallerman, adding that she hopes to expand the area to include other school districts.

Visitors can sign up to receive e-mail about happenings at the site. About 600 are currently signed up, 70 percent of them from the Bronx, and they receive discounts or special incentives from advertisers in return. Tallerman said many people relocating to the borough have used the site to obtain information about housing or community events.

The site has also been a supporter of the effort by actor Joe Governali to create a documentary called "The Hidden Treasures of the Bronx." It has assisted him and posted information online about the effort to raise funds.

Tallerman writes most of the features, with help from her staff. Articles are occasionally excerpted from other media and she said she would love to have more people make contributions. "We do a tremendous amount of networking in the Bronx," she said. "We go to meetings, and whatever is noteworthy we write a story about."

The price of advertising on the site begins at $125 for a full page ad for three months, which includes two pictures, a logo and up to 200 words. Some ads are more extensive, with several pages and pictures.

Tallerman originally started a data processing business called Trend Track, which was designed to perform functions for businesses that would be too complicated or costly for them to do themselves. Her involvement there is now minimal, as she puts most of her energies into the Bronx Mall and the I-World, the formal name of the company that operates it.

The site has a section in which viewers can submit memories of the borough. It is currently looking for a new name, and e-mailed suggestions are being accepted. There is also a series of columns written by a Bronx historian. Tallerman said, however, that the site is not otherwise concerned with the past.

"We're concentrating on the Bronx today and its impact on the future," she said. "It's a very big, competitive marketplace right now. We want to be important to people who actually work and do business here. " She said she thought the site would grow to include more sites, pages, organizations and businesses. Eventually, she would like to create a database search engine that would help visitors find whatever they are looking for.

"We're always looking to expand," she said. "The Bronx Mall should create more opportunities and cultural resources for us to promote ourselves, and for more businesses to become involved."

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