Saturday, March 17, 2018


  State Senator Gustavo Rivera released the following statement after voting against the State Senate One House Budget Resolution. 

"The Senate One House Budget Resolution makes it clear that the Republican majority is comfortable blocking New York's progress. It outright guts and dismisses common sense measures that have proven to foster a more equitable and thriving society, whether we are talking about the DREAM Act, true bail reform, early voting, or the Child Victims Act.

This budget proposal focuses on cutting or withholding funding from those New Yorkers who are most in need. It underfunds programs that help low-income students pursue a higher education, like the College Discovery Program, which will not only hurt our youth's access to education, but the future of our workforce. As New York City faces an affordable housing crisis, including a half million public housing residents living within crumbling infrastructure, this version of the budget fails to provide any capital funds to address NYCHA's most pressing problems and works to defund programs aimed at protecting tenants from unnecessary harassment and overcharges. It targets funds that go to help needy children in foster programs and refuses to provide New Yorkers upstate who are living with HIV/AIDS rental assistance so they can get the care they need. Additionally, those who serve these vulnerable populations are denied a Cost of Living Adjustment, so that, under the guise of saving the state money, our human service agencies and caretakers are forced to cut critical services. 

We need a budget that works to build a better state and future for all New Yorkers in every district and I am committed to continue fighting for a budget that truly addresses the issues we face throughout our state."


Despite Trump Administration wind-down of DACA, past and current recipients can currently apply for renewals due to court injunctions

TPS re-registration period for Haiti and El Salvador ends on March 19

  The de Blasio Administration urges New Yorkers who have or have had DACA, as well as eligible TPS recipients, to connect with qualified immigration attorneys in order to avoid lapses in their status. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have work authorization and protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs. But the Trump Administration’s terminations of these programs have put many immigrant beneficiaries at risk. The City has conducted extensive outreach to impacted communities to raise awareness on DACA and TPS. It is critical that impacted New Yorkers access free and safe immigration legal services available for all residents through ActionNYC by calling 311 and saying “ActionNYC.” 

“In spite of repeated failures of leadership in Washington, the City is stepping up to ensure immigrant New Yorkers have access to needed legal assistance,” said Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “We encourage DACA recipients – as well as TPS recipients from Haiti, El Salvador, and Syria – to reach out to qualified immigration attorneys to review their options as soon as possible. TPS recipients from Haiti and El Salvador in particular need to take action before the March 19 re-registration deadline. Any New Yorker can call 311 and ask for ‘ActionNYC’ to connect with free and safe immigration legal services. In New York City, where immigrants are central to our identity, we will continue to fight for a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers and long-term TPS recipients.”

While the Trump Administration announced its plans to rescind the DACA program last fall, DACA recipients are currently able to renew their status. Thanks to court orders, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is required to accept renewal applications from individuals with active DACA status, as well as from those who previously had DACA. While we applaud the courts’ injunctions requiring U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to accept DACA renewals, DACA recipients are still at risk of losing their status and a permanent solution is needed. The Center for American Progress estimates that over 20,000 DACA recipients have fallen out of status since the Trump Administration rescinded the DACA program last fall.

While USCIS is currently required to accept DACA renewals, the City urges USCIS to make every effort to allow DACA recipients to maintain their status with minimal disruptions. USCIS has publicly stated that they will process applications in the order received, not in the order in which applicants’ statuses will expire. This does not account for the reality that a lapse in DACA status could be personally devastating to applicants, who could lose their jobs and protection from deportation as a result. While Congress continues to debate protections for Dreamers, the City urges the Trump Administration to process DACA renewal applications expeditiously.

An estimated 15,000 New Yorkers have TPS, including 5,400 Haitian New Yorkers and 4,000 Salvadoran New Yorkers. The City encourages TPS recipients from Haiti, El Salvador, and Syria to speak with an immigration attorney and review their options ahead of upcoming re-registration deadlines. TPS designations grant work authorization and protection from deportation to certain qualifying nationals, subject to periodic review by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Due to Trump Administration’s decisions to terminate TPS designations for Haiti and El Salvador, in disregard of the facts on the ground, Haitian and Salvadoran TPS recipients must re-register by Monday, March 19, to maintain their status before their TPS termination dates, July 22, 2019 and September 9, 2019, respectively. Additionally, Syria’s TPS designation was renewed for 18 months, but Syrian TPS recipients must re-register by May 4, 2018 to maintain their status.

The de Blasio Administration stands with Dreamers and TPS recipients in this time of uncertainty, and has fought for years to lower barriers to obtaining immigration benefits and protections for eligible NYC residents. The City is working with legal service providers across the five boroughs to provide resources and information to eligible DACA and TPS recipients. For the latest updates on DACA and TPS, New Yorkers can go to and

Any New Yorker in need of any type of immigration legal help can call 311 and say “ActionNYC” to connect with safe and confidential legal services, in their neighborhood and in their language. The City encourages all DACA recipients to contact a qualified immigration attorney before submitting their materials. Resources may be available for DACA recipients seeking financial assistance to pay for DACA filing fees. New Yorkers can consult the New Economy Project NYC Dreamer Fund for more information.

Wave Hill Events Mar 30‒April 6

Sat, March 31    Family Art Project: Pastel Eggs in Watercolors
Not all eggs are created alike. Notice the difference between a speckled turkey egg and the cool, blue eggshell of the American Robin. Listen to the story An Egg is Quiet, by Dianna Hutts Aston. Then make your own poetic painting with wax-resist in colors of pastel, speckled eggs. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Sun, April 1    Family Art Project: Pastel Eggs in Watercolors
Not all eggs are created alike. Notice the difference between a speckled turkey egg and the cool, blue eggshell of the American Robin. Listen to the story An Egg is Quiet, by Dianna Hutts Aston. Then make your own poetic painting with wax-resist in colors of pastel, speckled eggs. Free with admission to the grounds.

Sun, April 1    Garden Highlights Walk
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Mon, April 2
Closed to the public.

Mon‒Fri, April 2‒6    Middle School Field Course: Woodland Ecology at Wave Hill 
Over spring break, middle schoolers spend a week as ecologists, immersing themselves in nature, conducting investigations and discovering the ecological importance of urban woodlands and the wildlife that rely on them. Participants will also use their creativity to document their learning in a nature journal. Grades 6–8 drop-off program. Space is limited! Course cost: $450; 10% discount to Wave Hill Member. Inquire about limited discounts based on financial need. Registration required; call 718.549.3200 x237.

Tue, April 3    Garden Highlights Walk
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM–4:30PM, November 1–March 14. Closes 5:30PM, starting March 15.

ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6–18. Free Saturday and Tuesday mornings until noon. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the W. 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at


Rachel Godsil named Vice Chair, Matt Gewolb named Executive Director and Counsel

  Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Cesar Perales as Chair of the City’s newly formed Charter Revision Commission. The Commission, announced at this year’s State of the City and part of the Mayor’s DemocracyNYC agenda, is charged with proposing a plan to deepen New York City’s campaign finance system and empower New York City government to enhance voter participation and improve the electoral process. As required by law, the Commission will also examine the entire Charter to identify additional areas for potential revision.

Perales’ appointment follows a 50-year career in public service and advocacy. Most recently, he served as New York State’s Secretary of State, where he was directly involved in the state’s economic development, government efficiency, local government services and anti-poverty efforts. He was also the co-founder of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund (PRLDEF). In 1981, as President and General Counsel of PRLDEF, he initiated successful anti-racial gerrymandering litigation in New York City. Previously, Perales successfully sued to require New York to provide language assistance at the ballot box-a requirement that was subsequently made an amendment to the national Voting Rights Act. He also has expansive experience in the health and human services field, working as senior vice-president for community health at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services under Mayor Dinkins and Assistant Secretary for the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

“For democracy to truly function, we have to get big money out of politics,” said Mayor de Blasio. “With Cesar at its head, the Charter Revision Commission will help New York City lead the nation in improving our democracy.”

“It is an honor to serve as Chair of this commission,” said Cesar Perales. “I have spent my entire career trying to make government more democratic. I look forward to this opportunity to review our City’s charter to help make New York a more fair and equitable place for all of us.”

Today’s announcement also marks the appointment of Rachel Godsil as Vice Chair of the Commission. Godsil, a Professor of Law and Chancellor's Scholar at Rutgers Law School, is the co-founder and director of research for the Perception Institute, a national consortium of social scientists, law professors, and advocates focusing on the role of the mind sciences in law, policy, and institutional practices.  She collaborates with social scientists on empirical research to identify the efficacy of interventions to address implicit bias and racial anxiety. She is also a former Chair of the Rent Guidelines Board, worked previously as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and as an Associate Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. 

Joining full time in May, Matt Gewolb will be the Commission’s Executive Director and counsel. At present, Gewolb is the Assistant Dean and General Counsel of New York Law School. In his current role, Gewolb advises the Dean and President, Members of the Board and the senior administration on significant policy, management and legal issues and coordinates work on institutional regulatory and accreditation matters. He was previously the director of legislation for the New York City Council. He is the former Director of Government Programs at Columbia Law School and teaches State and Local Government and Law of the City of New York at Fordham Law School.

“I am honored to join the Commission led by Chair Perales in a thorough review of the New York City Charter with the goals of promoting democracy and equity in City governance,” said Rachel Godsil.

“It is a tremendous privilege to have the opportunity to work with Chair Perales and the Commission,” said Matt Gewolb. “I am looking forward to a robust public process and extensive stakeholder engagement as we engage in this critical work.”

The remaining members of the commission will be announced in the coming weeks. Their first public meeting will be held by early next month.


  We wonder if this mayor and mostly outgoing City Council will try to change the Term-Limit Law as was done in the past. Mayor Bill de Blasio knew that he would be mayor for four years and another four years only if he was re-elected (as did those who ran for City Council) according to the Term Limit Law. 

Bronx Democratic County Organization Endorses Nathalia Fernandez for Assembly 80th A.D.

  It seemed to sum up the atmosphere at the Sanz Banquet Hall on Allerton Avenue when Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said that he would do everything he could to help elect Nathalia Fernandez as the new Assemblywoman for the 80th Assembly District. He added as did everyone who spoke afterwards of Ms. Fernandez's experience in the district as the former Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, and the Bronx liaison for Governor Andrew Cuomo's office.

  Standing with her mentor now Councilman Mark Gjonaj, and many other Bronx elected officials from Borough President Diaz Jr., Congressman Eliot Engel, State Senator Jamaal Bailey, several City Council members, and some assembly members she hopes to join after the April 24th Special Election Nathalia Fernandez's campaign shifted into high gear as she received the endorsement of the Bronx Democratic County organization. 

  Congressman Engel said that he was once a member of the State Assembly. State Senator Jamaal Bailey said that he would like to continue the relationship he had with the former Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj's office which he would continue with Assemblywoman Fernandez. Assembly members Jeffrey Dinowitz and Michael Benedetto who represent the 81st and 82nd Assembly Districts said that Assemblywoman Fernandez would be a great neighbor to help to continue to improve the Bronx as former Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj did. City Council members Ritchie Torres and Andrew Cohen said that Assemblywoman Fernandez would help them in Albany as both their council districts cover the 80th A.D. Last but not least former Assemblyman now City Councilman Mark Gjonaj said that Nathalia's experience as his former Chief of Staff and as the liaison to the Bronx for the governor's office gives her the distinct edge in the special election April 24th. 

  The special election to fill the currently vacant 80th Assembly District will be held on April 24th. There are two candidates in the race Ms. Nathalia Fernandez the candidate of the Democrat and Independence parties, and Mr. Gene DeFrancis the candidate of the Republican, Conservative, and Reform Parties. With an overwhelming Democratic party enrollment Ms. Nathalia Fernandez is expected to win the special election. 

Above - Ms. Nathalia Fernandez shows  excitement in receiving the endorsement of the Bronx Democratic County organization.
Below - Bronx Democratic County Leadr Assemblyman Marcos Crespo announces that the Bronx Democratic County organization is endorsing Ms. Nathalia Fernandez as their candidate in the upcoming April 24th special election. 

Above - Congressman Eliot Engel went down memory lane as he spoke of different locations in the 80th A.D. that he once represented as a member of the State Assembly.
Below - Left and Right, Assembly members Jeffrey Dinowitz and Michael Benedetto speak of the asset in having Ms. Fernandez as their neighbor in the State Assembly.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bronx Chamber of Commerce Irish Heritage Celebration Luncheon

  The Bronx Chamber of Commerce celebrated another one of the Chambers traditions by hosting its Annual Irish Heritage Luncheon at the Famous Rambling House in Woodlawn Thursday Afternoon.  

The six honorees were Chief Terence Monahan of the NYPD, Ms. Noreen O'Donoghue a founding member of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center of Woodlawn, Mr. Michael McNerney President of the Country Club Civic Association, Mr. Martin Galvin Esq. Chair of Freedom for All Ireland-AOH, Mr. Kevin Alter Senior Vice-President Dougert Management Corp., and Mr. Brian Murphy Retired NYC Transit Maintenance Supervisor. 

Above - Honoree Chief Terence Monahan with Bronx Chamber President and CEO Nunzio Del Greco, and BCC Chairman Joseph Kelleher.
Below - Honoree Ms. Noreen O'Donoghue with BCC President and CEO Nunzio Del Greco, BCC Chairman Joseph Kelleher,former Councilwoman June Eisland, her husband and Master of Ceremonies Robert Nolan..

Above - Honoree Michael McNerney with BCC President and CEO Nunzio Del Greco, BCC Chairman Joseph Kelleher, and MC Robert Nolan.
Below - Honoree Martin Galvin with BCC President and CEO Nunzio Del Greco,
BCC Chairman Joseph Kelleher, and MC Robert Nolan.

Above - Honoree Kevin Alter with BCC President and CEO Nunzio Del Greco, BCC Chairman Joseph Kelleher, and BCC Vice President Geri Sciortino.
Below - Honoree Brian Murphy with BCC President and CEO Nunzio Del Greco,
BCC Chairman Joseph Kelleher, and BCC Vice President Geri Sciortino.

A group photo of the six honorees, with BCC President and CEO Nunzio Del Greco, BCC Chairman Joseph Kelleher, and MC Robert Nolan.

Klein & Benedetto to SLA: Take Action Against the Vapor Lounge

Legislators demand State Liquor Authority suspend license of troublesome bar where a violent stabbing occurred

Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx) demanded the New York State Liquor Authority investigate and suspend the liquor license of Vapor Lounge following a violent stabbing and lewd incident in a letter to the authority.

The lounge, located at 3758 East Tremont Avenue, has become a nuisance in the neighborhood and sparked outrage when social media posts showed a woman dancing in her underwear at a bachelor party hosted there on Super Bowl Sunday. More recently, three men were caught on video beating and stabbing a man inside the bar on March 7.

“The most recent incident at Vapor Lounge, demands the need for consistent monitoring and enforcement at this location.  We respectfully request your agency take all measures to restrict their operation and suspend their license upon a formal investigation.  This coordinated action by your office would be a positive development for the Throggs Neck community and deeply appreciated by our offices,” Klein and Benedetto wrote to the SLA.

In addition to the incidents that have occured in the last two months the establishment was also fined $10,000 in 2016 for employing unlicensed security and assaults.
The letter to the State Liquor Authority is below.

March 15, 2018

New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley, Esq. Commissioner Greeley T. Ford 80 S. Swan Street, 9th Floor Albany, New York • 12210-8002

New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley, Esq. Commissioner Greeley T. Ford 80 S. Swan Street, 9th Floor Albany, New York • 12210-8002

RE: Vapor Lounge #1270813 Dear Chairman Bradley:

We are writing to inform you of a disturbing incident that occurred at the Vapor Lounge, located at 3758 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, New York 10465, State Liquor Authority License within the establishment that resulted in an individual being stabbed and beaten unconscious. #1270813. According to police reports, on March 7, 2018 at 2:30 a.m., an altercation occurred take action against the establishment. Neighbors expressed concerns about this violent incident to our offices. We contacted Community Board #10, whose members plan to urge the New York State Liquor Authority to urge the New York State Liquor Authority to take action against the establishment.

Recent incidents at Vapor Lounge, which has become a troublesome nightlife location within our district, is of concern to the Throggs Neck community and our offices. Over the past year due to violent incidents and other quality of life concerns, community opposition has been galvanized by this establishment’s lack of compliance with law and order.
This year alone, Vapor Lounge has been the host to one registered assault in January and hosted a lewd unlicensed event during the Super Bowl. There have also been community complaints regarding violence outside the establishment allegedly committed by patrons within. In 2016, the lounge was fined $10,000 for unlicensed security personal and several assault incidents.

The most recent violent incident at Vapor Lounge, demands the need for consistent monitoring and enforcement at this location. We respectfully request your agency take all measures to restrict their operation and suspend their license upon a formal investigation. This coordinated action by your office would be a positive development for the Throggs Neck community and deeply appreciated by our offices.
By way of this correspondence, we urge your consideration of these matters as you move forward with reviewing actions against Vapor Lounge. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Should you require any additional information, please contact Jose Rodriguez at Senator Klein’s District Office at (718) 822-2049, John Collazi at Assemblyman Benedetto’s office at (718)-892-2235.

Sincerely, Jeffery Klein State Senator
Michael Benedetto Assembly Member

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce and New York Life invite you to attend a Free Seminar: How Do Taxes Fit into your Retirement Planning?

Doors open at 5:00pm 


  On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his annual Irish Heritage & Culture Celebration at the Rambling House in Woodlawn.

This year’s honorees included Anne Marie Anzalone, Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley; Mike McGuire, Director of the Mason Tenders’ District Council and Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

“Irish immigrants and Irish-Americans helped build this borough and this city, and have been one of New York City's and The Bronx’s most significant ethnic groups since the late 19th century,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “New York City’s Irish community has been a shining example of the American Dream and the positives that come with our city and our nation serving as a melting pot of different cultures. I want to thank all of our honorees and recognize these individuals for their outstanding achievements while we pay tribute to our Irish population and its storied heritage and culture.”

This year Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. and host Derek Woods did something different by interviewing the honorees about their careers. 

Above - Honoree Michael McGuire the Director of the Mason Tenders District Council Political Action Committee is interviewed.
Below - Honoree Monsignor Kevin Sullivan the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is interviewed. 

Above - Honoree Anne Marie Anzalone the Chief of Staff for Congressman Joseph Crowley is interviewed.
Below - A group photo of the three honorees with Mr. Thomas Messina also of Congressman Crowley's office, Bp Diaz Jr., and the deputy BP.


Changes would extend and expand speed enforcement cameras, escalate fines and revoke vehicle registrations for worst offenders, and require DMV notification of medical incidents that cause a driver to lose vehicle control

  Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new package of State legislation to keep dangerous drivers from getting behind the wheel. Following last week’s crash that claimed the lives of two children in Park Slope, the City is seeking to extend and expand its speed enforcement camera program, escalate fines and suspend the vehicle registrations of repeat offenders, and require physicians to notify the DMV following medical events that could cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle.

“In the wrong hands, a car can be a deadly weapon. We are fighting on every front to make our streets safer, but we need Albany’s help to keep dangerous drivers off the road, before we lose another life,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“The NYPD continues to make New York City streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, resulting in the fewest traffic fatalities ever last year,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This proposed legislation would provide us with additional tools to enhance safety, enforce the law, and keep dangerous drivers off the street.”

“After last week’s tragedy in Park Slope, we must act to prevent future tragedies—whether via legislation, street redesign or enforcement,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Through the Mayor’s leadership we are continuing our fight for a range of state legislation to tackle dangerous driving, including more school zone speed cameras. Despite complaints about speeding along 9th Street in Park Slope, current law does not allow us to put a speed camera there. With more enforcement tools at our disposal, the Administration’s Vision Zero agencies can continue doing more important work—like the Dusk and Darkness campaign that just ended – that are helping reduce fatalities.”

The Mayor also announced the results of the second year of the Vision Zero Dusk and Darkness campaign, a partnership between DOT, NYPD and TLC to reduce pedestrian crashes during the fall and winter evening hours that are most dangerous to pedestrians. In the most recent four-month period of this initiative that ended last week, pedestrian traffic fatalities dropped by 24 percent compared to the prior year.

Proposed Changes to State Law
Extend & Expand School Zone Speed Camera Program: The Mayor will push for the State Legislature to pass S6046/A7798 to expand the City’s speed camera program. Speed cameras have been proven to reduce speeding in school zones by 63%. This bill would authorize the City to install speed cameras at an additional 150 school zones and would also revise the definition of a school zone to allow DOT to address speeding on streets that are near a school, as opposed to only the street or streets on which a school is located.  Under current law, 75 percent of children who are killed or severely injured in a traffic crash are struck at times or places at which a speed camera cannot be activated.

Fee Escalation and Registration Suspension for Photo Violations: The Mayor will ask the Legislature to introduce legislation escalating the fees on red light and speed camera violations. Currently, there is a flat $50 fine for any photo violation, and fines do not increase with recurring violations. Insurers are prohibited from using camera violation data when setting rates. This proposal would escalate fines for multiple violations within a 2-year period as follows:

Number of Red Light and Speed Camera Violations         Fines Approximate Vehicles in This Class FY 16-17
1st $50.00 949272
2nd $50.00 298952
3rd $150.00 121393
4th $250.00 55469
5th $300 + insurance informed 27838
6th or more $350 + registration suspended 34134
Require Physicians to Notify the DMV Following Specific Medical Events: The Mayor also proposes requiring physicians to report certain medical conditions or incidents that may cause a driver to suddenly lose consciousness. This law would be narrowly tailored to those drivers at highest risk of losing consciousness or vehicle control, and will be modeled on a longstanding law in place in New Jersey and other states.

Dusk and Darkness
The Mayor also announced the results of the Dusk and Darkness campaign, which is ending this month and has shown promising results in reducing pedestrian crashes in evening hours. Now in its second year, DOT, NYPD and the TLC have since late October partnered on an enforcement and awareness campaign during the fall and winter evening hours that are most dangerous to pedestrians. Before the first campaign launched in October of 2016, severe crashes involving pedestrians increased by nearly 40 percent in the early evening hours compared to crashes outside the fall and winter.  Pedestrian fatalities during the current Dusk and Darkness initiative have once again decreased from the previous year: from November 1 to March 7, pedestrian fatalities declined to 38 from 50 over the same period in 2016/17, which in turn was a decrease from 62 over the same pre-initiative period in 2015/16.

Last year was the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths under Vision Zero, with the fewest-ever overall traffic fatalities citywide, driven by a 32 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities. 

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please


Engel Cosponsors Bill to Increase Affordability & Undo the Administration’s Sabotage of the ACA

  Congressman Eliot Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees health policy, has cosponsored a comprehensive bill that would improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces by making health care more affordable and reversing the harmful Trump Administration actions that have sabotaged the ACA. 

The legislation would lower health care premiums for consumers by eliminating the cap on eligibility for premium tax credits, and would increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets. The bill would also provide additional support for out-of-pocket costs, and would make cost-sharing subsidies more generous for those below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Line.  In October, President Trump decided to default on cost-sharing subsidies that help more than seven million hardworking Americans afford their out-of-pocket health care costs.

“For the last year, Republicans have worked incessantly to destroy or, at the very least, undermine the Affordable Care Act,” Engel said. “I’m proud to support comprehensive legislation that strengthens our nation's health care system by reducing costs, improving access to care and undoing some of the most harmful Trump Administration policies that sabotage the ACA.”

The legislation, entitled the Undo Sabotage and Expand Affordability of Health Insurance Act of 2018, also reverses harmful actions by the Trump Administration that undermine consumer protections in the health care system.  Specifically, the bill would:

  • Prevent the expansion of Association Health Plans from going into effect. These bare-bones plans are not required to include protections for people with pre-existing conditions or the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) package.
  • Prevent the Trump Administration from moving forward on a proposed rule that would allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions by offering junk plans that provide limited benefits and little financial protection from health care costs.  The legislation would require these short-term limited duration health plans to play by the same rules as ACA-compliant plans.
  • Prevent the Trump Administration from weakening protections for EHBs, which would leave consumers with less comprehensive plans that may not cover needed services, such as prescription drugs, maternity care, and substance use disorder treatment.

The legislation would also restore marketing and outreach funds that were cut by 90 percent during the 2018 ACA open enrollment period.  Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct marketing and outreach, and provides $100 million per year from 2019 through 2021.  It also provides $100 million in Consumer Assistance Program grants for states, which delivers funding for states to conduct educational activities regarding health insurance, and creates a state innovation fund to empower states to implement new approaches to increasing enrollment.  Lastly, this legislation creates a national reinsurance program to help stabilize the market and alleviate potential premium increases resulting from sabotage of the ACA.

Engel Joins Student from NY-16 to Protest Gun Violence During National Walkout Day

   Congressman Eliot Engel, a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, was proud to join constituent Caroline Kirby at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to participate in National Walkout Day, a day when students across the country walked out of school to protest gun violence. Kirby, who attends Bronxville High School in New York’s 16th Congressional District, was one of thousands of students across the country who participated in today’s event, which is intended to spur action at the federal level regarding commonsense gun reforms.

“I am so proud of Caroline and all the students from the Bronx and Westchester who today took part in National Walkout Day,”Engel said. “Their spirit and activism is inspiring and makes me very optimistic about the future of our country. We have a long way to go when it comes to sensible gun reforms, and with a Republican Majority in Congress it’s never easy to pass even the most basic measures, like universal background checks or raising the age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21. But as these young students are proving every day, the day of reckoning for groups like the NRA may finally be at hand.

“As a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I will do all I can to continue to earn the lifetime F rating the NRA has given me for my voting record, by promoting commonsense gun reform in the House.”

Video of Congressman Engel and Ms. Kirby outside the U.S. Capitol can be found here.

Engel Statement On The Passing of Louise Slaughter

  "I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of my dear friend, Louise Slaughter. Louise was a wonderful individual, an effective lawmaker, and true leader for us here in New York. A lifetime public servant, she gave herself fully to her constituents and worked relentlessly on their behalf. As a Member of Congress, Louise did remarkable work on a whole host of issues, and was the first woman to ever chair the Rules Committee. As a chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, she tirelessly led fights to protect women’s health and rights.

“But above all, Louise was just a fantastic person, warm and inviting to everyone she met. My condolences go out to her family—daughters Megan, Amy, Emily, her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Louise was beloved, and I'm going to miss hearing that great accent every day."