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.