Friday, July 3, 2020


Bernadette Ferrara - 

10:42 PM (20 minutes ago)

Marie H. Santillana was our Sergeant-at-Arms
for the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance. She passed on the 4th of July 2019.
Please join us at this candle-light vigil to remember Marie who was the eyes and ears of Van Nest.

VNNA Candle Vigil_Marie S_7.5.2020.jpg

Senator Brian A. Benjamin - Harlem BLACK LIVES MATTER Street Mural Kickoff

Senator Benjamin & Harlem Park to Park Kickoff Painting of Harlem BLACK LIVES MATTER Street Mural 
(Harlem, NY) Harlem, the global center of Black culture, is installing a Black Lives Matter street mural that will stretch across Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, between 125th and 127th streets. Senator Benjamin has helped to secure the use of both sides of the median, so the words ​BLACK LIVES MATTER will read in both directions, heading north and south along the 2 blocks.
"It is incredibly important to me that as we place Black Lives Matter street murals across New York City that we place one in Harlem. These street murals are not only a statement of resistance to institutional racism and oppression but they are also a symbol of pride to those who have been historically marginalized. It is just as important that young Black children in Harlem see signs that say Black Lives Matter as it is for prosecutors, police and President Trump," said State Senator Brian A. Benjamin. "Harlem is the epicenter of Black culture, arts and music as well as a historic symbol of the African American struggle for social and economic equality in the United States. I am thankful that the Harlem community has stepped up to the challenge and is delivering a top quality street mural for the world to see." 
The Harlem street mural is presented by ​Harlem Park to Park in partnership with ​Got To Stop Social Impact Agency and will feature commissioned work by a selection of multigenerational and multidisciplinary Harlem artists curated by LeRone Wilson who have all made equity for space and visibility a part of their practice. Artists include ​LeRone Wilson, Dianne Smith, Thomas Heath, Guy Stanley Philoche, Lesny Flex, Jason Wallace, Joyous Pierce and Omo Misha​. The artists will create their work on the north facing mural. Joining with artists to paint the lane heading south will be representatives of 16 community groups that will each send representatives to paint one of the letters. The groups include: ​Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, Harlem Pride, Mama Foundation for the Arts/Sing Harlem, New York Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc - Delta GEMS, Got to Stop Social Impact Agency, Harlem Park to Park, Harlem Grown, Jackie Robinson Foundation​, among several others.

Strategy For Black Lives - March to End Qualified Immunity

On Saturday, July 4th, Strategy for Black Lives partners with Warriors in the Garden in marching to end qualified immunity. Morally lacking and systemically destabilizing from its inception, qualified immunity has protected the worst offenders among the police for too long. While America celebrates its independence, we will march boldly in the spirit of Fredrick Douglas, who asked on July 5th, 1852, "What to the slave is the Fourth of July?" and answered, "To Him, your celebration is a sham." He recognized the cruel irony of celebrating a nation's liberty while that very nation held men in bondage. 155 years after slavery, Black people are still murdered relentlessly at the hands of the state. The state relegates Black students to segregated schools and imprisons millions of Black people through private corporations that profit off next-to-free labor. 155 years after slavery, we are not yet free.

We march on the Fourth of July to demand that our democracy, both national and local, live up to its professed ideals.

This day immortalizes the moment when the indignities, injustices, exploitation, and violence, became too intolerable, and fundamental change became necessary. Black America will not tolerate this knee on our neck. We march here in New York and from coast-to-coast, to create a nation whose Independence Day we can all proudly celebrate, knowing all people are created equal.

Who: Strategy for Black Lives, Warriors in the Garden

Where: 42nd Street and 5th Avenue

When: Saturday, July 4th, 12:00pm

United Mexicans of America - March For Freedom

  On July 4th, United Mexicans of America, community residents, and local organizers will be organizing a 'March for Freedom' rally calling on the federal government to immediately release detained children and parents from their detention centers and find all of the currently still missing children. Recently, a federal judge in Los Angeles ordered the release of migrant children from family detention centers. However, the release of parents was not secured and there are still many concerns as to what will happen with the children that are released.

In addition to the coalitions call for the reunification of immigrant families, they will be demanding that the City of New York help the struggling immigrant families. Recent reports show that approximately half of all immigrants living in New York City are now unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. COVID-19 has predominantly impacted Latino and Black neighborhoods both of whom have large immigrant communities. The coalition will March on this symbolic day that is supposed to signify freedom and liberty to ask the Nation to provide those same privileges to Latino and Black immigrant communities.

Who: United Mexicans of America, Community Residents, Strategy for Black Lives, New Sanctuary Coalition, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Where: 86th St and Colonial Road (Start)
  • Walk on 86th to 5th Avenue 
  • Walk from 5th avenue to Sunset Park
  • Walk from Sunset Park to Barclays Center
Time: 12:15pm

When: Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces State Park Swimming Pools to Open July 4th Weekend

Patrons Are Reminded to Practice Social Distancing and Respect the Rules

State Park Police and Operations Staff to Patrol Grounds to Ensure Public Safety

Restrictions and Safety Measures are Consistent with the New York State Department of Health's Interim Guidance for Pools and Recreational Aquatic Spray Grounds

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced state outdoor pools across New York will open for swimming for the July 4 weekend under the standard operating schedule of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Pool-goers are reminded to practice social distancing, respect the rules, and do their part to keep the pool area safe for everyone. Pool capacity will be reduced and is expected to fill quickly. New Yorkers are urged to plan ahead by having alternate destinations ready.

"As we are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, we must remember all the sacrifices New Yorkers have made to flatten the curve of the pandemic and be cautious in everything we do," Governor Cuomo said. "The virus does not take a holiday, and so I urge New Yorkers who are visiting swimming pools to follow all the social distancing guidelines in effect to protect themselves and each other. When you're not in a pool, where a mask if you can't socially distance. The bottom line is be vigilant and stay safe while enjoying some time outside."
State Park Police and operational staff will help manage capacity to ensure compliance with social distancing and crowd control measures. 

The following social distance guidelines in effect to protect public health:
  • Visitors will be asked to sign-in with contact information to enable potential contact tracing measures.
  • Pool capacity will be limited to 50 percent to help maintain 6-feet of distance in the water between swimmers who are not members of the same household or family unit. 
  • Lounge chairs, benches and picnic tables will be kept 10-feet apart from others.
  • Face coverings or masks must be worn at all times in interior building spaces, including partially enclosed or covered outdoor areas; and at times outside (except in the pool) if social distancing cannot or is unlikely to be maintained.
  • No group gatherings of 10 people or more will be allowed.

Swimming availability varies by park. Visitors can check the individual park's swimming hours of operation before they visit. A listing of State parks with swimming pools can be found on the here.

Restroom facilities will be cleaned per established protocols and guidance and park staff will help manage traffic flow as needed to achieve reduced capacity goals and minimize density. Toilets and showers and other high touch/common areas will be cleaned, and disinfected utilizing approved enhanced cleaning products.

New York State Parks will review the weekend's operations and make any adjustments needed to keep the public and park staff safe.

Know Before You Go
New Yorkers are strongly advised to plan pool visits and outdoor adventures ahead of time and choose alternate destinations if their first choice is closed or crowded. Check and 511NY for park capacity closure alert.

The New York State Parks Explorer App is a free, user-friendly resource for visitors to plan outdoor adventures while staying connected to long-time favorite parks and sites. Users can learn more about top destinations and discover new must-see locations with rotating curated content, and will enjoy quick access to park information, including directions, hours, amenities, fees and rates, trail maps, helpful know-before-you-go details, and the ability to receive important updates and alerts.

Visitors can also link directly to online camping reservations and easily access select State Parks' social media channels to share their experiences. The New York State Parks Explorer mobile app is available at no cost for download for iOS and Android devices. To download, visit: 

For information on visiting New York State Parks during the public health crisis, visit: 

Governor Cuomo Announces State Police Crackdown on DWI During the July 4 Holiday

"Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" Campaign to Begin This Friday and Run Through Sunday

Troopers to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints Statewide and Target Reckless and Distracted Drivers

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies will increase patrols to crack down on drunk and drugged driving and other traffic infractions during the 4th of July holiday, beginning Friday, July 3 and running through Sunday, July 5. State Troopers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and target reckless and aggressive driving statewide in an effort to keep New York highways safe during one of the busiest summer holidays for travel.  

"While the July Fourth weekend is a time to celebrate and spend time with family and friends, too often drinking leads to poor decisions when it is time to go home. To ensure safety on our roads this holiday, State Police and local law enforcement will be cracking down on impaired driving of any kind," Governor Cuomo said. "I urge all New Yorkers to act responsibly and make arrangements to find a safe way home - never drink and drive." 

Last year, the State Police issued nearly 13,410 vehicle and traffic tickets during the 4th of July weekend. Troopers arrested 249 people for DWI and investigated 187 crashes, which resulted in two fatalities.

During this enforcement period, drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and DWI patrols. Law enforcement will also be looking for motorists who are using their phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Drivers should also remember to "move over" for stopped emergency and hazard vehicles on the side of the road when they travel New York roadways.

New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "Troopers will be highly visible this weekend on the lookout for impaired, drugged, and reckless drivers. Our message is simple: If you drink and drive, it's likely that you will end up in jail. Stay safe and don't make a bad decision that costs your life or the life of someone else."

Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles as part of the operation. The CITE vehicles allow Troopers to more easily identify motorists who are using handheld devices while driving. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "Driving impaired is one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do, especially now at this critical time for our healthcare system. I urge New Yorkers to do the right thing—have a plan to get home safely."

The Fourth of July initiative is partially funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. The GTSC and the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation remind motorists that their "Have a Plan" mobile app, is available for Apple, Droid and Windows smartphones. The app enables New Yorkers to locate and call a taxi or rideshare service and program a designated driver list. It also provides information on DWI laws and penalties, and provides a way to report a suspected impaired driver.

If you drive drunk or drugged, you not only put your life and the lives of others at risk, you could face arrest, jail time, and substantial fines and attorney fees. The average drinking and driving arrest costs up to $10,000.

Arrested drunk and drugged drivers face the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, fines and court costs, car towing and repairs, and lost time at work.

The New York State Police, GTSC and NHTSA recommend these simple tips to prevent impaired driving:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
  • Use your community's sober ride program;
  • If you suspect a driver is drunk or impaired on the road, don't hesitate to contact local law enforcement;
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Mayor de Blasio Daily City update July 2, 2020

  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Well, what we've seen during this crisis is people innovating, people coming up with ingenious ideas to address the challenges we face. New Yorkers doing what New Yorkers do best, being creative, being resourceful. And so, we've seen some great ideas, and sometimes one great idea meets another great idea and they come together and create something even better, something really, really special. And that's what we're going to talk about to begin today, the idea of Open Streets meeting the idea of Open Restaurants, coming together to create something very special for this summer in New York City. So, we have two initiatives that have been tremendously successful. Open Restaurants, fantastic – the impact it’s had helping restaurants come back, bringing back their employees, giving people a livelihood, allowing New Yorkers to enjoy our amazing restaurants again. Open Streets, free space for kids to play, families to come out. Both have come together wonderfully.

Now, let's remember we made a decision that we could not go ahead with indoor dining, given everything that we're seeing around the country, all the problems, really troubling realities in other parts of the country, and a lot of it connected to bars and restaurants. So, we have to double down on Open Streets and Open Restaurants and bring them together to address the situation and give maximum options to our restaurants, to their employees. And also, we know the people want it. We've seen an incredible, incredible response from the people in New York City. So, starting this weekend, 22 Open Streets will also have Open Restaurants on them. And some of them will be existing Open Streets, some will be new, but it's going to be amazing because it’s going to key into some of the places in our city where we have extraordinary restaurants, concentrated in one place. People love to go there in any time, but now imagine being able to enjoy it all alfresco. Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Little Italy Mulberry Street here in Manhattan.

Think about what is possible, if we could make them centerpieces of outdoor dining – taking a tough situation, turning into something good. We're going to do it all over the five boroughs. We're going to work with Business Improvement Districts and local alliances and associations that have been key partners in the Open Streets. And this will be for Friday nights and weekends, the times when people most want to come out to the restaurants and we think it's going to be something very special. So, 2.6 miles of Open Streets will be part of this dining initiative. And this is some initial ones I mentioned, more are coming in places like Dyckman Street in northern Manhattan, others to come as we go along. So, we're very excited. It is going to open up a world of possibilities and get a lot of people back to their jobs. We want to help working people.
This is going to help a lot.

I'm knocking on wood, but we know that if all goes the way we're doing it now we're making steady progress on the health care front. We're making steady progress on the restart. We can bring it together and have a really strong fall, but a lot of it hinges on our schools, reopening our schools safely, successfully. We've said, I believe it, it's going to have to be the greatest school year in the history of New York City public schools. And everyone shares that goal. And you could see the emotion earlier this week when we had the citywide graduation ceremony, how much people are feeling this moment in history, how much we have to support our kids.

We are doing the work right now to make September successful, to make the new school year successful. I want to thank the unions who represent the people who do the work that includes, of course, UFT, CSA, DC 37, all the unions that represent the people working in our school system. They have been at the table every day, literally, in the planning of the new school year. And it's been a very cooperative approach. On top of that, we've asked for the voices of parents to guide us. So, this is astounding. The DOE did a survey of parents and they got 400,000 responses – that is not a small sample size – 400,000 people answered the survey. And here's the most important fact, 75 percent of our New York City public school parents want to send their kids back to school in September. They feel ready now. They know that's what they want to do.

So, we're full steam ahead for September – the goal, of course, to have the maximum number of kids in our schools as we begin schools. And we know that there's going to be a lot of challenges. We know there's just sheer logistical challenges with schools that were overcrowded before the coronavirus and now have to practice social distancing. But we're going to make it work to the maximum in each school and we're going to work with the scheduling realities to find a way. And we're going to hope and pray in the meantime that the scientific community makes progress on this disease because that's what will really opened up the ability to get back 100 percent.  But in the meantime, a lot of work going on. Chancellor Carranza, meeting later today with principals to hone their plans specifically on how much each school will be able to bring back its kids. What's the number each school can hit in terms of bringing back kids safely with distancing. And, of course, the goal and the focus will always be health and safety first for our kids, for our families, for all the people that work in our schools.

Now we are going to, of course – as part of the school reopening, what will you see? You'll see daily cleanings – deep cleanings after each day to make sure the schools, top to bottom, are safe. You're going to see constant use of face coverings. They'll be provided for free for anyone who needs them – kids, adults alike. Everyone will be expected to wear face coverings. You'll see social distancing. That six-foot rule will be in effect. You'll see a lot of features to make it easy for kids and adults in the school building to stay safe, hand washing stations, hand sanitizer all over the building. These are the kinds of things that we need to do to give people confidence, make sure they're safe, and we'll be doing that and preparing for that in the months ahead and continuing to stay close to the folks who do the work and parents as we prepare these plants.

Okay. Now I'm going to switch gears quickly and go to another topic that brings out a lot of passion in New Yorkers. Anybody who experiences this has a strong opinion about it. Yes, I'm talking about Alternate Side Parking. So, this week was the first week of a brand new approach in which we are only going to require folks, when alternate side parking is in effect, we're only going to require you to move your car once a week. No more twice a week, which has been the case in some neighborhoods. I think that's just unfair to everyone. It's going to be once a week from now on. Biggest change to Alternate Side Parking in the last two decades. This week has been a cleanup week. We've overall seen the city has stayed pretty clean. A couple of times we've had to do a cleanup. We're doing it this week. And then we will suspend the Alternate Side again the following week. So, from Sunday, July 5th through Sunday, July 12th, Alternate Side Parking will be suspended. And then we'll decide in the meantime if we need to pick it up again and when we need to pick it up again.

Now, I want to talk about one of the really painful stories within the very overall painful story of the coronavirus crisis in the city. When the coronavirus started to be on the minds of New Yorkers, one community already started to feel the pain of this crisis before it manifested for so many of the others, so many of the rest of us. We saw discrimination and bias against the Asian American community very, very early on. It was unfair. It was horrible. It was destructive. It was painful for members of the Asian American community. And we had to fight it then and we have to fight it now. We also know that a lot of the stores, the restaurants, the parts of the community that people depend on, they started to suffer. People weren't going to those stores and restaurants. They were suffering from discrimination early on in an economic way as well. 

Let me just conclude and say, I do want to take a brief moment to pay tribute to two great public servants who will be leaving the administration after long and distinguished stints. Freddi Goldstein, my press secretary after four years on our team and four great years and Wiley Norvell after nine years. So that takes him back to the time I was public advocate. He has been a mainstay of this team and both of them have contributed really, really greatly, not just to this team and the work we do here every day when we're talking to the press and talking to the people, but to helping run New York City in one of its toughest moments in our entire history. So to Freddi and Wiley, thank you on behalf of all of the people of New York City, and it is a reminder and I hope all of you just take a moment to appreciate our public servants because the folks here at City Hall from March 1st to today, the vast majority of them have not even thought about taking a day off. It has been nonstop and very, very long days, people around here 15-hour day is not new to them, and throughout the coronavirus crisis, it's been typical. Our public servants, our healthcare heroes, our first responders and so many more have kept the city running no matter what's been thrown at them. So a lot of times in the public discourse, you know, it's a cheap shot to put down people who work for the government and public servants. But I think our public servants have really, really stepped up in this crisis and they deserve our thanks more than ever. So please take a moment today to be thankful for all who do so much for us. Thank you, everyone.