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Another fire breaks out at Chinatown e-bike shop where blaze killed four this week

Gothamist, Michelle Bocanegra, June 24, 2023 

A second fire erupted Friday at the e-bike service store where a blaze killed four people earlier this week, officials said.

Firefighters responded to reports of smoke and fire shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, citing a rekindling at 80 Madison Street in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown. Officials got the latest fire under control shortly before 7 p.m. Friday, and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The initial blaze began around midnight Tuesday and spread throughout the six-story building, which houses businesses and apartments. Police said that, of the people who died on Tuesday, there were two women — 62 and 65 years old — and two men, aged 71 and 80 years old. Another 23 were displaced by the blaze.

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said on Tuesday morning that the earlier fire was “caused by lithium-ion batteries and e-bikes.” Fire officials said the store had been written up for several violations prior to the deadly blaze but continued to operate in an unsafe manner.

Source: Gothamist

West Side Funding Makes a Difference in Midtown South

(CHELSEA COMMUNITY NEWS) Scott Stiffler, March 3, 2023

Working hard to address the challenges of housing, health, and hunger, Midtown South Community Council (MSCC) recently received some help—and hope—of its own, in the form of a $7,500 grant given to further the organization’s goal of “building better neighborhoods and stronger relationships within the Midtown South community of Manhattan.”

MSCC was one of 15 grantees whose worthy neighborhood initiatives earned them the recognition and support of the West Side Community Fund (WSCF), a consortium of leading companies based on the west side of Manhattan whose grant program supports efforts along the West Side of Chelsea, Hudson Yards, and Hell’s Kitchen.

“We need more of it [grants like WSCF]. The grant itself has to grow and really build communities,” said MSCC president John Mudd, at an October 11, 2022 gathering in celebration of WSCF grant winners. “We need a balance between communities and businesses, said Mudd, adding, “We have to be respectful of each other and live with each other.” (Chelsea Community News was among the grantees. For our coverage of the October event, click here).

At the time, MSCC summarized their Grant Project Goals thusly:

(more…)

Community Board Five, Penn South Residents + Transit Advocates Rally to Launch Comprehensive Penn Station Planning


(CB5) Friday, October 14, 2022 
MEDIA ADVISORY 

Community Board Five Unanimously Passed Community-led Planning Kick-Off, Beginning Community-Led Zoning Framework 

Contact: Layla Law-Gisiko – 646-420-6044

On Monday, Community Board Five will be joined by Penn South residents, transit advocates and others to announce the launch of their community-led plan for the Penn Station area. 

Past efforts to address urban planning needs in the area have failed to be comprehensive, to provide solutions to the myriad issues the area knows (infrastructure, public realm, transportation, etc.) or to receive support from the local communities and elected officials alike. 

Community-based planning provides alternatives to traditional top-down or development-controlled planning and decision-making and emphasizes comprehensive, multi-sectoral approaches to complex and persistent urban problems. 

As recently as last summer, the controversial State plan for Penn Station – which failed to secure approval from the Public Authorities Control Board – only provided for a massive office towers upzoning while ignoring community needs as well as its broad opposition.  

Community Board Five unanimously passed a resolution kick-starting a community-led zoning framework for Penn Station Area.

Community Board Five’s initiative, whether under the formal 197-a article of the NYC Charter, granting authority to a community board to formulate their own zoning plan, or under a zoning framework, will be a commitment to broad community participation, developing collaborative partnerships, and strengthening local capacities.
 
WHO
Community Board Five, Penn South residents, transit advocates
 
WHAT
Community Board Five, Penn South Residents + Transit Advocates Rally to Launch a community-led Penn Station Plan

WHEN 
Monday, October 17, 10:00 AM
 
WHERE
Penn Station, East Corner of 31st Street & 8th Avenue

Happy Birthday, Occupy Wall Street

(THE INTERCEPT), Jonathan Smucker, September 15, 2022

Ten years later, the Democratic Party ignores Occupy Wall Street’s warnings at its own peril.

WHAT SHOULD WE make of Occupy Wall Street 10 years later? My friend Guido Girgenti put it plainly when I talked with him last week: “There are parts of Occupy I would not want to return to or romanticize.” Don’t misunderstand Guido. He was 19 years old when Occupy exploded onto the scene, and he dove headlong into Occupy Los Angeles and Occupy Colleges. He was, like me, deeply inspired by the movement and thinks it was enormously important.

But it’s also true that the movement’s excesses and shortcomings were not hard to spot — for any casual visitor to Zuccotti Park or most any of the other hundreds of sister occupations that popped off across the U.S. in the fall of 2011. Occupy was scrappy and wholly authentic — a beautiful mess. As a defiant stand against the status quo, it attracted participants who were deeply alienated from that status quo, and that often presented its own set of problems. Occupy’s celebrated hyperdemocratic decision-making processes, while electrifying, were in the end so dysfunctional that much of the real decision-making moved into informal and unacknowledged power centers. If you were trying to steer it, you had about as much chance of success as “a pebble in a volcanic eruption,” as my friend and fellow Occupier Han Shan liked to put it at the time.

Source: The Intercept

NYC Council Updates: March 2021

(NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson) March 9, 2021

Dear Friends,  This month marks one year since New York became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., bringing with it previously unimaginable challenges.

After twelve long months, coordinated prevention efforts and vaccinations are helping us make real progress in returning to some sense of normalcy in every state in the nation, including New York State.

New York City, however, is still struggling with the pandemic.

Although  new cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease in New York City, the rate of decline hasn’t been as dramatic here as in other parts of the country. Logistical challenges in our distribution of the vaccine persist as well. And while COVID-19 has taken far too many lives, upended countless others, and ravaged our economy, the pandemic has not impacted everyone equally. Data from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene shows that individuals who are older, lower income, Latino/Latina, and Black have disproportionately been hospitalized and have died from COVID-19. We are also mindful that available data may not be adequate to fully ascertain the impact of COVID-19 on other populations, including those who are homeless, disabled, religious minorities, and Asian American ethnic minorities. This is why the City Council has continually championed a more equitable response, particularly in terms of health care, economic relief, and the vaccination rollout.

As we work towards solutions in the City Council, my district office continues to help constituents on the many issues facing our community. Last month my office hosted a virtual Department of Buildings Office Hours where constituents were able to speak directly with an agency representative about their building issues. We’re also making sure that neighbors who may be facing food insecurity have meals delivered; and our Senior Wellness Calls program continues as we reach out to our neighbors who may be struggling during this pandemic. This month, we’re hosting two events that will provide guidance on taking charge of your health and information on what benefits are available for older New Yorkers.

Our city’s progress depends largely on what we do as individuals. So please, continue to do everything that you can to protect yourself and others, including wearing a mask (or, better yet, two masks) and maintaining physical distance. If you’re not vaccine-eligible yet, consider helping a senior or other eligible New Yorker reserve and/or get to their appointment. As always, we’re here to help. You can leave a message at my district office at (212) 564-7757 or send us an email at speakerjohnson@council.nyc.gov and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

Working together, we will beat this virus. Let’s keep going.

Thank you and stay safe. 
In service,

Corey Johnson
Speaker
New York City Council

CB4 COVID And Community News

(CB4) February 22, 2021

vr-header

Resources and Upcoming Events


CONTENTS

Neighborhood Curbside Canvas Project
Eviction/Foreclosure Hardship Declaration Form
Grab & Go Meals Map
Paycheck Protection Program Applications
COVID-19 Vaccine Community Conversations
Helpers for COVID-19
Design Corps: Small Business Reopening Network
MTA Mask Force
Intrepid Museum’s Virtual Kids Week
Organics Grants Program
Capital Funding for Schools, Nonprofits, and Organizations
Manhattan Community Board Applications
DOB Virtual Office Hours
High School Admissions
ASD NEST Program
CAMBA’s What is Love
Meet the Experts Series: Taylor Morton
FIT Online Exhibition and Virtual Talks
Individual Support Grant
Sock and Undergarment Drive
NYC Free Tax Prep
Affordable Housing Applications
Virtual Senior Chair Yoga
Employment & Internship Opportunities

COVID-19 Data and Vaccine Info 

COVID-19 Data                                        Travel Guidance
Holiday Guidance                                     Travel Advisory
COVID-19 Report Card                             Cluster Guidance
Antibody Testing                                      DOE Testing

COVID-19 Citywide Information Portal
The NYC COVID-19 Map and Case Count by Zip Code
Find your COVID zone
Find a COVID Testing site online or text “COVID TEST” to 855-48
Test and Trace Corps
Open Restaurants Program: Winter Weather Guidelines
Indoor Dining Safety for Restaurant Workers

Get COVID-19 Exposure Alerts via the COVID Alert NY App available in the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store

Have Complaints:
Outdoor Dining Structure issues
Social Distancing violations

COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline:
For any New Yorker: 1 (844) 863-9314
For Health Care Workers: text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741


Remember to…

  • Wear a mask or face covering
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Practice social distancing and keep 6 feet away from others
  • Stay home if sick
covid-germs-poster


COVID-19 Vaccines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized applications for emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. In clinical trials, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were shown to be safe and be greater than 94% effective at preventing symptoms and decreasing severe COVID-19 infection among study volunteers. The 2 vaccines work by teaching the body to create an immune response for a virus that is not present in the body.
Both have shown to have mild to moderate side effects (soreness or swelling on the arm where administered, headache, body aches, tiredness, and fever) and usually go away within 2 to 3 days.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will each require 2 doses, through shots in the arm, 3 or 4 weeks apart (depending on the vaccine you get).

Learn More at the CDC page on vaccines or the NYC page on vaccines.

  • You must complete and bring this form with you on the day of your appointment
What You Need to Know After Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine
V-Safe: After Vaccination Health Checker: Use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the vaccine.COVID-19 FAQs

Report Suspected Fraud in the Vaccine Distribution Process: (833) 829-7226 or stopvaxfraud@health.ny.gov

Vaccine Registration User Survey: fill this out if you live in Manhattan and are currently eligible for the vaccine and have attempted to schedule an appointment.


           COVID-19 Related Events          

Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance Announces:


Neighborhood Curbside Canvas Project

This is a volunteer neighborhood-recovery effort, uniting local artists with NYC restaurants to transform pop-up dining patios into street art, for the purposes of driving greater interest, energy and business back into our COVID-coping communities.

Learn More

View one-pager

The State of NY Announces: EVICTIONS

All Eviction and Foreclosure cases are halted through February 28. To halt evictions/foreclosures until Saturday, May 1, all tenants and owners of buildings that contain less than 10 units, can submit ahardship declaration form, attesting they have lost income, have had increased costs during the pandemic, or would be an increased risk for severe illness from COVID due to an underlying medical condition if forced to move. Housing courts will send the form to defendents in pending cases and the form can be submitted to NewYorkHardshipDeclaration@nycourts.gov. All tenants who are behind in rent or mortgage payments and are seekign to preemptively head off evictions/foreclosures in March and April can submit the form to their landlord/mortgage lender and keep a copy for themselves.


GetFoodNYC Announces:


Grab & Go Meals Map

Use the map to find locations that offer free food as well as grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

View the Map


The US Small Business Administration Announces:


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Applications have Reopened!

First draw PPP loans for first time participants and second draw PPP loans for certain businesses who have previously received a PPP loan are available. Applications close on March 31 but the sooner you apply, the better.

New Applicant Form
Information for New Applicants

Learn more

Sign up for an Upcoming SBS Webinar


NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Host:


Virtual COVID-19 Vaccine Community Conversations

Learn about the COVID-19 vaccines and how to get vaccinated.

Tuesdays and Thursdays in February

5:30pm

Register


Helpers for COVID-19 Announce:


This organization delivers essential goods to the immunocompromised. You can volunteer or request assistance. Assistance is available in English, Hindi, Russian, Mandarin, Spanish, and Hebrew.Volunteer

Request Assistance Online
Or Call (862) 621-9614

Learn More


NYCxDesign Announces:


Design Corps: Small Business Reopening NetworkThis program connects restaurant owners to volunteer design professionals who can help them enroll in the City’s Open Restaurants program, ensure compliance or improve their outdoor dining spaces.

Learn More


MTA Announces:


Mask Force

On two days out of each month, volunteers meet up in subway stations and partner up with another volunteer to hand out masks to folks who need one or could use an extra. They’ll hand out masks on trains, buses, or inside stations. Volunteers wear bright yellow “Stop the Spread. Wear a Mask” t-shirts or buttons to remind everyone to stay safe while riding public transportation.

Sign up to join the Mask Force


          Upcoming District Events       


The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Invites You To:


Virtual Kids Week

During Kids Week, children of all ages and interests will learn more about STEAM through virtual presentations, workshops, and demonstrations designed to educate and inspire. The featured themes for this year’s event will be Space & Science, Music & Arts, and Safari & Nature.

Through Friday, February 19

View the full schedule


The Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and Citizens Committee for NYC Announce:


Organics Grants Program

MSWAB will fund three grant proposals for $1000 each to build a compost system that will be available to the public; constructed by April 30, 2021; and sustained for at least 3 years to help buffer the temporary suspension of organics collections by the DSNY and public organics dropoff sites due to the COVID-19 driven budget cuts.

Application Deadline

Sunday, February 21

Apply Today!


Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer Announces:


Apply for Capital FundingManhattan nonprofits, schools, and other organizations that serve NYC can now apply for capital funding.

Schools: The application deadline is Sunday, February 21, 5pm

Apply via the Grants Portal Schools Application

Parks, Gardens, Libraries, NYCHA Developments, H+H Hospitals, etc.:

The application deadline is Sunday, February 21, 5pm.

Apply via the Grants Portal City Application

Nonprofits: The application deadline is Thursday, February 25, 5pm

Apply via the NYC Office of Management and Budget Capital Grants Portal

For questions, ideas, or assistance: make an appointment or review capital funding training videos and materials.


Join Your Manhattan Community Board

Join your local community board. The application deadline has been extended and must be submitted online* or postmarked no later than:

Monday, February 22

5pm

Apply Today!

*Please be aware if completing online, the aplication must be done in one sitting. You will not be able to save and return to it at a later time.


NYC Council Speaker Johnson and NYC Department of Buildings Invite You To:


Department of Buildings Virtual Office Hours

Schedule a 15 minute consultation with members of the Department of Buildings’ Community Engagement Division and the Office of the Tenant Advocate to discuss any building issues you may have. By appointment only.

Tuesday, February 23

11am – 2pm

Make an Appointment:
(212) 564-7757
SpeakerJohnson@council.nyc.gov

dob-office-hours-2.23


NYC Department of Education Announces:


The High School admissions deadline is

Tuesday, February 23

Watch a video series with more information

View the High School Admissions Guide

Watch the High School Admissions Presentation to learn more about the HS admissions process.


Community Education Council District 2 Hosts:


ASD Nest Program

Find out if the NEST Program is right for your child, learn about the benefits of the program to general ed students, hear from an ASD NEST teacher, and learn about other existing programs in District 2.

Tuesday, February 23

6pm

Register

cecd2-nest-ptogram-2.23


CAMBA Where You Can Invites You To:


What is Love?

Join CAMBA for their monthly events discussing healthy relationships.

February 24

1pm-2pm

Register

what-is-love-2.24


NYC DOE Office of Sustainability Hosts:


Meet the Expert Series: Taylor Morton

Join for presentations and Q&A from practitioners of sustainability across different disciplines. The first speaker will be Taylor Morton with WE ACT for Environmental Justice. All teachers, administrators, staff, and other interested adults are invited to learn about the relevance, importance, and growing demand to integrate topics in climate and environmental justice and education into every school and community.

Thursday, February 25

1pm – 2pm

Register


Fashion Institute of Technology Invites You To:


Online Exhibition and Virtual Artists Talks: Back to the Present

The Black Student Union (BSU) at FIT presents Back to the Present, an online exhibition drawing comparisons between activism, police brutality, and racism from the 1960s to 2020 through art submitted from all over the country. At each talk five to seven artists featured in the exhibition will speak about their work, themselves, and their practice.

February 25

1pm-2pm

Register


The Gottlieb Foundation Announces:


Individual Support Grant

The Foundation wishes to encourage artists who have dedicated 20+ years to developing their art, regardless of their level of commercial success to apply.

Application Deadline

Friday, February 26

Apply Today!


Manhattan Community Board 4 and Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries Host:


Sock and Undergarment Drive

This drive is to collect socks and undergarments for families and individuals living in shelters in our community. Please donate new socks and undergarments for children and adults.

Saturday, February 27
Sunday, February 28

12:30pm – 4:30pm

Metro Baptist Church
410 W. 40th Street

(between 9/10 Aves.)

Sock and Undergarment Drive 2.2.21


The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Announces:


NYC Free Tax Prep

You may be eligible to file your taxes for free if you earned $68,000 or less in 2020. If you didn’t receive one or both Pandemic stimulus checks, NYC Free Tax Prep can assist with claiming the equivalent amounts as a “Recovery Rebate Credit.” Filers may also take advantage of a one-time look-back provision, allowing them to choose to use their 2019 or 2020 income for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. This service is offered online or in person to help you stay safe and avoid tax preparer fees.

Learn More


NYC Housing Connect Announces:


Applications Now Open:
225 W. 28th Street

Applications are being accepted on Housing Connect until April 5, 2021 and paper applications must be postmarked no later than this date.

Apply Today!

225-w28-housing


Shape UP NYC Hosts:


Virtual Senior Chair Yoga

Join instructor Anita for an invigorating and grounding chair yoga session. The session is accessible for seniors with mobility impairments, and it is fun and beneficial for everyone. You’ll need a stable chair and enough space to stretch your arms and legs.

Tuesday, March 2

1:15pm

Register


R.A.I.N. Announces:


Now Hiring!

Several positions are open and accepting applications. To apply, email your resume to jobs@raintotalcare.orgwith the position listed in the subject line.

Learn More

rain-hiring-feb


The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Announce:


Now Hiring!

Make carpentry your career. They are seeking potential apprentice applicants, who are problem solvers, disciplined, thrive on challenges, and are physically able to perform the work of the trade. Join the next information session to learn more about the apprenticeship program.

Monday, March 1

6pm

Register

carpentry-info-session-3.1


Little Island Announces:


Now Hiring: Seasonal Stage Technician

This position is to install, operate, and maintain the audio, lighting, and scenic elements for a variety of multi-disciplinary events and performances. An ideal candidate will be an adaptable team member with a passion for supporting artistic needs and strong problem-solving skills. Candidates with experience in a variety of performance settings are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with interviews beginning in February and continuing throughout the Spring.

Apply Today!


The Green City Force Service Corps Announces:


Now Hiring: NYCHA Residents for AmeriCorp Opportunities

NYCHA residents aged 18-24 with a GED or HS diploma can apply for this 8-month, paid AmeriCorps opportunity, which prepares members for roles in the green jobs industry.

Information Sessions are held on
Tuesdays at 2pm

Call (646) 622-6778 or email recruitment@greencityforce.org to sign up

Apply for the Service Corps

green-force-recruit


The Encampment Announces:


Virtual Encampment for Youth

This is a civic training program for teens ages 15-18. It is an experience in democracy where young people who would otherwise never meet can form a self-governing community, learn to think critically about pressing social and political issues that affect their communities and our world as a whole, and take action.

Application Deadline

Monday, March 1

Apply Today!


NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer Announces:


Now Hiring: Paid Summer Internship

Over the course of a nine-week internship program, interns will participate in hands-on departmental projects in their assigned bureau as well as an overall enrichment program that includes networking opportunities, professional development programming and community service activities. Students are expected to work 28 hours a week on a Monday to Thursday schedule.

Application Deadline

Friday, March 5

Apply Today!


FDNY Announces:


Free Virtual CPR Training

The importance of getting trained in CPR and AED instruction cannot be overstated and is proven invaluable in emergency situations. The FDNY Mobile CPR Unit can help you learn what to do in case of a cardiac emergency.

Classes take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am and 4pm.  Additionally, the CPR Training Unit can also schedule specific group presentations for community based organizations.

Apply Today

(more…)

Manhattan Community Board Applications Deadline Extended

(MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT) January 30, 2021

Applications for those wishing to serve on a Manhattan Community Board are now available. I am writing you as a community organization leader or active community member to ask that you notify members and/or clients of your organizations of this opportunity to serve as an independent and representative voice for the local community. If we can help you get the word out, such as by tabling or by providing assistance with postering in building lobbies, please let me know!

As a brief reminder, here is an overview on Community Boards from our website: https://www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov/communityboards/

Manhattan’s 12 community boards are local organizations each composed of 50 volunteer members serving staggered two-year terms.  Community boards are tasked with being the independent and representative voices of their communities, the most grass-roots form of local government. The boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods.

The online application can be found here: https://rebrand.ly/mbpoCBappBL (case sensitive). Community board applications will be open until 5pm on Monday, February 22nd, 2021.

Physical applications ( downloadable here as a PDF) may also be mailed and postmarked by February 22nd, 2021, but online submissions are strongly preferred.

As your Community Liaison at the Borough Presidents Office, I am always interested in attending any upcoming organization meeting that you run or attend. However, if your organization is holding a meeting before February 1st, please let me know as it is especially important that I attend and promote Community Board service and answer any questions people may have.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with further questions!

Best,

Brian Lewis

Community Liaison

Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale A Brewer

One Centre Street, 19th floor

New York, NY 10007

212-669-8774

Manhattan Community Board 2021 Application Available

On-Line at https://rebrand.ly/mbpoCBappBL

Deadline : 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 22nd, 2021

Follow Gale: :    
Sign up for Gale’s e-news
Or visit manhattanbp.nyc.gov

State Senator Brad Hoylman Updates for November 2020

(State Senator Brad Hoylman) November 15, 2020

Just in time to commemorate Veterans’ Day, the Restoration of Honor Act goes into effect today throughout New York State. This new law I sponsored provides a pathway to eligibility for at least 53 state veterans benefits to New Yorkers who were discharged less than honorably from the U.S. Armed Forces due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The New York State Division of Veterans Services (NYS DVS) began accepting applications from potentially eligible veterans in June 2020, and is expected to provide decisions on those applications as soon as November 12, 2020. Discharged veterans who think they may qualify to restore their access to state veterans benefits under the Restoration of Honor Act can find more information on the NYS DVS website.

Also today, Governor Cuomo signed 2 of my bills into law.

The first is my consumer protection legislation that   will crack down on businesses that mislead consumers through convoluted automatic renewal or continuous service schemes, and allow any New Yorker to conveniently cancel subscriptions and recurring charges. Exercising during this pandemic is hard enough – New Yorkers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops or visit a gym in person simply to quit their membership. You can read more about the legislation here.

The second is my legislation that will require the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to collect, compile and publish an annual report on the demographic makeup of  New York’s judges. You can read more about it here.

According to a recent report , the current composition of judges is far more white than the population of our State. Regular reporting of such information will help the public and policymakers better understand the degree to which New York’s judiciary is reflective of its people and inform efforts to increase diversity in our courts.

Feel free to reach out to my office if you have any questions.

All best,

State Senator Brad Hoylman
80 Eighth Avenue
Suite 1802
New York, NY 10011 United States

NY State Senator Brad Hoylman’s Community Update

(NY STATE BRAD HOYLMAN) October 11, 2020

It’s been a week full of important news in the fight against COVID-19, the run-up to the 2020 elections, and the continued efforts toward economic recovery. My staff and I are, as always, working hard to advocate for our district and get you assistance. If you are in need, please email hoylman@nysenate.gov or call us at 212-633-8052. Please find my latest community updates below.

Apply for an Absentee Ballot Today!

Many of you have written to me with concerns about the coming election. Here’s what you need to know:

  • There are three ways to vote: by mail, early in person, and on Election Day in person.
  • To vote by mail, you must request an absentee ballot by Tuesday, October 27. You can (and should) do this online at nycabsentee.com. You can also call 1-866-VOTE-NYC to request a form. I recommend requesting your absentee ballot now to give the Board of Elections as much time as possible to process your request.
  • You can select the reason as “Temporary illness or disability” due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
  • You must request an absentee ballot to vote by mail this Fall, even if you voted by mail in the June primaries. (Unless you are already on the permanent absentee voter list due to long-term disability or illness.)
  • If you request an absentee ballot, you are still eligible to vote in person (Early Voting or Election Day). Only the in-person vote will be counted.
  • If you’ve already applied for your absentee ballot, you can track its status here. The Board of Elections began sending ballots in batches last week and it may take some time to get to you. Once you receive your ballot, mail it back as soon as you can!
  • You can also drop it off at your early or Election Day poll site or local Board of Elections office to avoid the mail. (I am still fighting to pass my bill to put ballot drop boxes across the city, but unfortunately, we are running out of time).
  • Another great option to avoid the crowds on Election Day, and the one I recommend if it is safe for you to do so, is to vote early October 24th-November 1st.
  • You can find your poll site by searching here: https://findmypollsite.vote.nyc/.

Vote, and vote safely. If this is helpful, please forward this email to your friends and family so they know what to do too.

Some other important information on the recent issues with absentee ballots in the news:

  • As you may have heard, close to 100,000 Brooklynites received improperly labeled absentee ballot envelopes. This is fundamentally unacceptable. Our office is working to hold the responsible parties accountable. If you or a loved one received an incorrect ballot head here for instructions on what to do.
  • Due to a printing error, absentee ballots are also arriving as an “OFFICIAL ABSENTEE MILITARY BALLOT.” This has no effect on the validity of your ballot, so please send it back as you normally would.
  • It’s important for us to be aware that unlike the primary in June, these absentee ballots require a stamp. Requiring a stamp is a barrier to voting for many New Yorkers. And on top of that inconvenience, there have been some questions about the amount of postage necessary. Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou and I co-authored a letter to the USPS for exact clarification, and we have been told that one Forever stamp is sufficient. If you are told otherwise, please email me at hoylman@nysenate.gov.

COVID-19 Test Rates are Rising

For the first time in months, more than 3% of New York City COVID-19 tests came back positive on Tuesday. While the largest numbers of positive tests are clustered in Brooklyn communities, this is deeply alarming for all of us in New York. No community is an island. It’s as important as ever for all of us, even without symptoms, to get tested so that we can protect ourselves, protect others, and head off this concerning rise before we crest a second wave. Head here to find COVID-19 test sites near you. Chelsea has a rapid test site run by the City which provides results within 24 hours.

None of us want to see the City head back toward closure. I am grateful that the Mayor and the Governor have expressed an intention to aggressively enforce social distancing, impose a fine on those who do not wear their masks in order to get the cases, and further restrict public gathering in these zip codes if necessary. Of course, doing this effectively requires the participation of all New Yorkers, not least our law enforcement officers. Which brings me to my next update…

NYPD: Time to Mask Up

Let’s face it: across the city, we’ve seen an unwillingness from a number of NYPD officers to wear masks when on duty. That’s a problem. It undermines a critical public health protection, ignores the Governor’s Executive Order on the issue, and delegitimizes all of the other work our branches of government are doing to keep New Yorkers safe. Many of you have written to me on this issue, and my daughters even brought it up to me on a recent walk through Greenwich Village. That’s why I wrote this letter to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea urging him to immediately enforce a clear face covering requirement for all officers.

Schools Reopening

School is back in session. Where there is sufficient staffing (still a big issue which I am tracking closely), families who have elected to participate in blended learning have been able to return to in-person elementary school. Today, middle and high schools have begun in-person instruction as well. As the parent of two young girls, I know firsthand how difficult the last months have been, and I am extraordinarily grateful to the teachers, administrators, and staff who are striving to serve our kids under incredibly difficult circumstances.

We still have many major challenges to confront. The Mayor and the Chancellor’s pattern of last-minute decision-making has forced schools to respond to new policies without adequate planning and led to unfathomable levels of stress and anxiety for both students and parents. Far too many families lack adequate access to strong broadband internet that would allow them to fully participate in remote learning, something I think should be a priority for the city to fix moving forward. There are multiple school buildings which still have major ventilation issues. And I would like to see even more progress from the City on setting up its own laboratories to test for new cases, so that we are not subject to delays if testing capacity is threatened across the country. As the Mayor has stated, if NYC’s 7-day rolling average positivity rate jumps above 3%, we may see schools return to all remote instruction.

Dining: Inside and Out

Big news for NYC restaurants and those of us who love eating at them. The DOT-run Open Streets and Open Streets: Restaurants programs will be permanent and year-round. Additionally, starting this week, restaurants will be allowed to have indoor dining at 25% of capacity. While I am wary of this expansion, I also know that the city is doing what it can to help our favorite restaurants survive through the pandemic and simultaneously tracking COVID-19 test rates with preparations to pare back indoor dining if spikes increase.

I still believe the safest dining options are outdoors, and as the weather gets colder, the City needs to find an environmentally-sustainable way to keep outdoor spaces warm and hospitable to dining. Although propane and gas heaters are a good short-term solution, cities like Paris were moving to limit their use before the pandemic because of their climate impact. I’m urging the City to work with the private sector to encourage the rapid development of green heating options that can keep restaurants and stores operating outside through the winter to supplement their income. And of course, I will continue my fight for commercial and residential rent relief.

To Chelsea Business Owners Impacted By COVID-19:

As the City re-emerges and rebuilds, the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC) invites you to join an outreach program that will remind everyone about the unshakeable spirit of New Yorkers. GVCCC is partnering with the All In NYC program, which is a city-wide revitalization effort dedicated to boosting businesses city-wide to bring you:

All In Chelsea: a month-long campaign from October 1 to October 31 that is dedicated to promoting Chelsea businesses. The purpose of All In Chelsea is simple; we want to highlight Chelsea and its business community by featuring participating businesses on All in NYC and All in Chelsea websites and social media platforms which will result in:

  • Drawing more attention to and attracting new customers to your business
  • Featuring your business’ products and services
  • Connecting your business to the many resources that the GVCCC has to offer

If you are interested in participating in this program please fill out this intake form.

It’s free for your business to participate! If you have any questions about All In Chelsea, please email the GVCCC at maria@villagechelsea.com.

GrowNYC Food Scrap Drop-off Locations Are Back Open

  • Tompkins Sq. (Sunday, 8 AM – 5  PM)
  • Stuy Town (Sunday, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM)
  • Union Sq. (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 8 AM – 5 PM)

For more information, please follow this link.

Housing Court Answers is a nonprofit organization committed to fighting for the rights of unrepresented litigants in Housing Court. Housing Court Answers provides information on landlord/tenant issues at information tables in NYC’s five Housing Courts, through a hotline, and for NYCHA tenants at the impartial hearing office. HCA also works on policy issues surrounding Housing Court. For more information on the organization, please visit their website at housingcourtanswers.org.

Free Flu Shots in the Village

We’ve partnered with Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Community Boards 2 & 4, and Northwell Health to provide free flu shots at LenoxHealth Greenwich Village (30 Seventh Avenue, between West 12th and West 13th Streets) this month.

Masks are required. To schedule an appointment please contact Wayne Kawadler at wkawadler@northwell.edu or 347-802-7400.

These shots will be available the following times:

  • Wednesday October 7, 4:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Tuesday October 13, 1:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Saturday October 17, 10:00am to 1:00pm
  • Wednesday October 21, 1:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Thursday October 22, 4:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Tuesday October 27, 4:00pm to 7:00pm

Open Arts LES

From October 2 to 10, Open Arts LES, our local cultural organizations invite neighbors to get to know what they do and how to engage with their programs.  For more information, please visit their website here.

Open Arts LES 2020 will include

  • Interviews with 40+ arts and culture leaders in the Lower East Side — so you can get to know them and the organizations they lead
  • Free online programming from theaters, museums, dance companies, and galleries
  • Special socially-distanced visits to arts spaces and limited attendance events
  • The Open Arts LES guide to more than 70 arts and culture organizations in the Lower East Side, with info on programs and opportunities to get involved

Constituent Spotlight

A song written by constituent Brad Ross about the importance of voting: SAY IT WITH YOUR VOTE on SoundCloud.

Source: http://pubfiles.nysenate.gov/crm/hoylman/view/6702742ccf8e1af3

THE CITY Scoop: 911 Texting is Late to the Scene

(THE CITY) September 16, 2019

No matter what kind of phone you use, you’re paying the city a $1 monthly surcharge to support 911 service.

The payment is supposed to also help fund a new system that would let New Yorkers summon emergency responders via text message.

But the texting setup is already about 1½ years late, and won’t arrive until mid-2020, at the earliest.

More here on why — and on why it matters.

Here are some other items of note:

THE KICKER: “The cab driver dropped her off and she was basically in labor.” — Officer Rafalina Collado-Gomez, one of three cops who helped deliver a baby boy on the steps of The Bronx’ 41st Precinct. (Via the New York Post)

Thanks, as always, for reading. Have a great Monday!

Source: https://mailchi.mp/thecity/daily_190408-88939?e=db77ae1a16