Friday, July 3, 2020

Van Nest Community Association - CANDLE-LIGHT VIGIL FOR MARIE H. SANTILLANA



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 parks.ny.gov 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: https://parks.ny.gov/covid19 

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. 

GHISLAINE MAXWELL CHARGED IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT FOR CONSPIRING WITH JEFFREY EPSTEIN TO SEXUALLY ABUSE MINORS


Maxwell is Alleged to Have Facilitated, Participated in Acts of Abuse

Additionally Charged With Perjury in Connection With 2016 Depositions
  Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Dermot Shea, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced that GHISLANE MAXWELL was arrested this morning and charged with enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit both of those offenses, and perjury in connection with a sworn deposition.  The Indictment unsealed today alleges that between at least in or about 1994 through 1997, MAXWELL and co-conspirator Jeffrey Epstein exploited girls as young as 14, including by enticing them to travel and transporting them for the purpose of engaging in illegal sex acts.  As alleged, knowing that Epstein had a preference for young girls, MAXWELL played a critical role in the grooming and abuse of minor victims that took place in locations including New York, Florida, and New Mexico.  In addition, as alleged, MAXWELL made several false statements in sworn depositions in 2016.  MAXWELL is expected to be presented this afternoon in the in federal court in New Hampshire. This case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated, aided, and participated in acts of sexual abuse of minors.  Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, and then delivered them into the trap that she and Jeffrey Epstein had set. She pretended to be a woman they could trust.  All the while, she was setting them up to be abused sexually by Epstein and, in some cases, Maxwell herself.  Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Preserving the innocence of children is among the most important responsibilities we carry as adults.  Like Epstein, Ms. Maxwell chose to blatantly disregard the law and her responsibility as an adult, using whatever means she had at her disposal to lure vulnerable youth into behavior they should never have been exposed to, creating the potential for lasting harm. We know the quest for justice has been met with great disappointment for the victims, and that reliving these events is traumatic. The example set by the women involved has been a powerful one. They persevered against the rich and connected, and they did so without a badge, a gun, or a subpoena - and they stood together. I have no doubt the bravery exhibited by the women involved here has empowered others to speak up about the crimes of which they've been subjected.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said:  “The heinous crimes these charges allege are, and always will be abhorrent for the lasting trauma they inflict on victims. I commend our investigators, and law enforcement partners, for their continuing commitment to bringing justice to the survivors of sexual assault, everywhere.”
If you believe you are a victim of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI, and reference this case.
According to the Indictment[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
From at least 1994 through at least 1997, GHISLAINE MAXWELL assisted, facilitated, and participated in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Jeffrey Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to MAXWELL and Epstein to be under the age of 18.  The victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by MAXWELL and Epstein, both of whom knew that their victims were in fact minors.  As a part and in furtherance of their scheme to abuse minor victims, MAXWELL and Epstein enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences in different states, which MAXWELL knew and intended would result in their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse.
As alleged, MAXWELL enticed and groomed minor girls to be abused in multiple ways. For example, MAXWELL attempted to befriend certain victims by asking them about their lives, taking them to the movies or taking them on shopping trips, and encouraging their interactions with Epstein.  MAXWELL also acclimated victims to Epstein’s conduct simply by being present for victim interactions with Epstein, which put victims at ease by providing the assurance and comfort of an adult woman who seemingly approved of Epstein’s behavior.  Additionally, to make victims feel indebted to Epstein, MAXWELL would encourage victims to accept offers of financial assistance from Epstein, including offers to pay for travel or educational expenses.  MAXWELL also normalized and facilitated sexual abuse by discussing sexual topics with victims, encouraging them to massage Epstein, and undressing in front of a victim.
As MAXWELL and Epstein intended, these grooming behaviors left minor victims vulnerable and susceptible to sexual abuse by Epstein.  MAXWELL was then present for certain sexual encounters between minor victims and Epstein, such as interactions where a minor victim was undressed, and ultimately MAXWELL was present for sex acts perpetrated by Epstein on minor victims.  That abuse included sexualized massages during which a minor victim was fully or partially nude, as well as group sexualized massages of Epstein involving a minor victim where MAXWELL was present.
As alleged, minor victims were subjected to sexual abuse that included, among other things, the touching of a victim’s breasts or genitals, placing a sex toy such a vibrator on a victim’s genitals, directing a victim to touch Epstein while he masturbated, and directing a victim to touch Epstein’s genitals.  MAXWELL and Epstein’s victims were groomed or abused at Epstein’s residences in New York, Florida, and New Mexico, as well as MAXWELL’s residence in London, England.
Additionally, in 2016, while testifying under oath in a civil proceeding, MAXWELL repeatedly made false statements, including about certain specific acts and events alleged in the Indictment.
GHISLAINE MAXWELL, 58, is charged with one count of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one count of conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one count of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, one count of conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and two counts of perjury, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described therein should be treated as an allegation.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES $80 MILLION IN FUNDING TO REBUILD 70 MULBERRY STREET, CREATION OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE


A three-month visioning process will solicit public ideas and feedback

  Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo today announced $80 million in funding to rebuild 70 Mulberry Street, the creation of an advisory committee to support community engagement, and a three-month visioning process to gather public input about the future of the site. The City will explore available options to preserve the existing structure and seek to build consensus about the rebuilding process. To date, the City has participated in extensive conversations with the local community board, elected officials, building tenants, small business owners, and the public about the building and its future.

"In January, Chinatown lost the beating heart of its community: 70 Mulberry Street," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We're working hand-in-hand with the community to preserve this building's rich history and bring it back to life again."

“Working with the residents of Chinatown, we have secured the funding necessary to rebuild this treasured site at the heart of the community,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “This historic building is important to the entire neighborhood and we want local voices to help drive its redevelopment.”

The City will prioritize options to preserve what is salvageable from the existing structure and a re-development that acknowledges the history and significance of the site. All building tenants who were displaced will be welcomed back when construction is completed. Since the January fire, the City successfully recovered the vast majority of tenant possessions that remained in the building, assisted with the relocation of tenants, and undertook work at the site to best ensure public safety. 

Members of the advisory committee will include each of the building’s tenants, as well as representatives appointed by Congresswoman Nydia Velằuez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Councilmember Margaret Chin, and Manhattan Community Board 3. The committee will assist with the visioning process and engage community stakeholders.

The community visioning process is expected to begin this summer and stretch into the fall. Community visioning will gather public input about the future of the site and provide a forum to discuss all available options for its redevelopment.

The morning of the fire at 70 Mulberry Street, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged the extensive damage to the building and expressed his commitment to either restore or replace the building for the benefit of the community and its cultural and non-profit tenants. Today’s announcement builds upon this commitment and will further empower the community to shape redevelopment efforts.  

“Chen Dance Center is absolutely thrilled and deeply appreciative of Mayor Bill de Blasio and DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo’s solid commitment for the rebuilding of 70 Mulberry Street, and their thoughtful actions to meet the needs of the tenants and the community,” said H.T. Chen from Chen Dance Center. “We look forward to joining the tenant organizations, city and state advisory members, and community stakeholders for the envisioning of the restored building and services for the community. 

“On behalf of the seniors served by the Chinatown Senior Center, CPC thanks Mayor de Blasio and DCAS Commissioner Camilo for their commitment to rebuilding 70 Mulberry Street,” said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). “We recognize that this is a difficult fiscal year, so we greatly appreciate the $80 million allocation for the rebuilding effort. We look forward to working with elected officials, city agencies, and local leaders in the community engagement process to envision the future of this historic building, ensuring it can continue to serve the Chinatown community. The seniors of the CPC Chinatown Senior Center are eager to return home to 70 Mulberry Street, which for more than 40 years has provided a hot meal, human services, arts and cultural activities, ESOL classes, and more to over 300 seniors per day.”

“CMP is grateful for the Mayor and City Council's commitment of $80 million toward rebuilding 70 Mulberry Street despite this challenging time,” said Hong Shing Lee, Chinese Manpower Group. “It not only provides the tenant organizations a bright prospective for the immediate future, it also offers the community a positive and definitive reassurance that 70 Mulberry Street will continue to be a beacon of the community.” 

“The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is emboldened and encouraged by the prioritization that Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo have placed on rebuilding 70 Mulberry Street for the Chinatown community,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). “They have listened deeply to the tenants and community in the tragic aftermath of the fire on January 23, 2020. DCAS’ commitment to preserving salvageable components of the existing structure and upgrading the building construction for broad community use reassures MOCA that the $80 million funding investment in 70 Mulberry, its tenants, and the community will contribute to a stronger New York City overall and will provide dividends for generations.”

Councilman Mark Gjonaj's NYC Moving Forward Week in Review - 7/2/2020 - Part 2


There has been an increase in car and bicycle thefts in Council District 13. Lock your cars, bicycles and keep your valuable items hidden to prevent theft and damage. Please find the list of NCOs in the NYPD 45th and 49th Precincts below.
As we get closer to the 4th of July, our office has received many complaints about fireworks being set off around the clock, disturbing communities and quality of life in our district. An astounding 8,967 complaints of illegal fireworks have been reported to the City’s 311 system. In NY, fireworks are illegal and using them can be dangerous. Let's all be safe this July 4th!