Friday, April 26, 2019

OFFICE OF THE BRONX DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO HOST 3rd ANNUAL CHILD SAFETY FAIR ON APRIL 27, 2019


April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month Bronx Children and Parents Can Learn About Safety Issues Among Fun Activities

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that her office, along with the New York City Police Department, Safe Horizon, the NYC Administration for Children’s Services and the New York City Fire Department, will host the third annual Bronx Child Safety Fair. The event will allow families to hear from experts on safety concerns, obtain a free New York State Safe Child Identification Card, and enjoy a day filled with games, music and other fun activities. 

 The Child Safety Fair, which marks Child Abuse Prevention Month, will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at St. Margaret Mary School, located at 1914 Morris Avenue, between East 177th Street and East Tremont Avenue. Children ages 3 to 13 and their families are encouraged to take part in the event. 

 District Attorney Clark said “Keeping Bronx children safe is a top priority, and learning how to prevent harm towards our kids is extremely important. We had great turnouts for our first two fairs, and I hope you will join us this year for this educational, fun event.”

 The fair will cover a wide range of safety topics, including bicycle safety, bullying prevention, tips on staying safe while surfing the Internet, safe sleeping for infants, and safe/unsafe touching. Assistant District Attorneys will be on hand to answer questions.

 Besides educational opportunities, there will also be a live DJ, face painting, a bouncy castle and a raffle. Free food will also be offered. The NYPD will distribute free SAFE Child Identification cards, which includes the child’s name, biographical information and a fingerprint image of both index fingers. The ID cards are used by the New York State AMBER Alert and Missing Child Alert programs. Additionally, the NYPD will be taking sign-ups for their summer youth programs.

BRONX WOMAN INDICTED FOR ASSAULT FOR ILLEGAL SILICONE INJECTIONS IN HER BRONX HOME


Other Possible Victims Are Encouraged To Contact Police 

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx woman has been indicted for Assault and other charges for allegedly carrying out an illegal silicone cosmetic procedure on a 39-year-old woman. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant allegedly conducted a dangerous, illegal cosmetic procedure that left the victim with substantial pain. We hope this indictment reminds the public that they should not undergo these unauthorized procedures that can gravely threaten their health.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Whalesca Castillo, 44, of 2219 Seward Avenue, was arraigned today on second-degree Assault, Unauthorized Practice and third-degree Assault before Bronx Supreme Court Justice George Villegas. The defendant is due back in court on June 3, 2019. 

 According to the investigation, on or about February 10, 2018, in the defendant’s home, Castillo conducted an unauthorized cosmetic procedure and injected silicone substance into the body of a 39-year-old Bronx woman. The botched procedure, which was done in an effort to enhance the buttocks of the victim, left her with extensive infections and pain in her buttocks and thighs. The victim also has to undergo surgery to remove most of the tissue in the affected area

 The defendant, who does not have a license to practice medicine or cosmetic surgery, was indicted in second-degree Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide and Unauthorized Practice earlier this year for a separate procedure in which a woman died. Anyone with information about other possible victims of the defendant are encouraged to call the 43rd Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 542-5530.

 District Attorney Clark thanked NYPD Detectives Carmen Torres of the 43rd Precinct Detective Squad and Anthony Velez of the Bronx Homicide Squad for their assistance.

 An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

SENTENCES OF 16 YEARS, 17 YEARS IN PRISON FOR TWO MEN IN FATAL SHOOTING OF TEEN DURING ROBBERY IN HIS HOME


Defendants Pleaded Guilty to First-Degree Manslaughter; Had Gone To Victim’s Home To Steal Insurance Settlement

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that two men have been sentenced to prison—one for 16 years, the other for 17 years--for fatally shooting a teen in his Bronx home in 2016. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendants went to the 19-year-old victim’s home to commit a robbery and shot him during a struggle. The defendants’ actions ended the life of a young man over money that wasn’t even in the victim’s home.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Andy Encarnacion, 24, of 596 Riverside Drive, Manhattan, was sentenced today to 17 years in prison and 5 years post-release supervision by Bronx Supreme Court Justice James McCarty. Matthew Wulah, 25, of 2632 Davidson Avenue, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and 5 years post-release supervision by Judge McCarty on April 11, 2019. Encarnacion and Wulah pleaded guilty to first-degree Manslaughter in March 2019 before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Barry E. Warhit. 

 According to the investigation, in the early morning on November 20, 2016, inside 1058 Southern Boulevard, the defendants, in concert with each other, shot Jose Hart, 19, causing his death. Prior to the shooting, the victim’s mother had recently won a $50,000 car insurance settlement, and Hart had told a woman he was dating, Kayla Moreno, about the money. After the victim shared a sexually explicit video of them, she allegedly planned the robbery with others. Moreno told Wulah and Encarnacion about the money and let the defendants into Hart’s apartment. While trying to find the money, the victim struggled with the defendants and he was shot in the chest.

 The defendants fled the scene and allegedly took with them a flat screen TV, the victim’s cell phone, PlayStation console, sneakers and his jacket. The victim’s body was found by his mother when she arrived home several hours after the shooting. 

 The cases against Moreno and other co-defendants are still pending. 

 District Attorney Clark thanked Beryl Wright, Clerical Associate in the Homicide Bureau. District Attorney Clark also thanked Detective Gregory Casvikes of the 41st Precinct Squad and Detective Robert Klein of the Bronx Homicide Task Force.

BRONX MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR WEAPON POSSESSION IN INCIDENT THAT LEFT 5-YEAR-OLD BOY SHOT IN HEAD ON A BRONX STREET


  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of weapon possession involving a shooting that left a 5-year-old boy critically wounded. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “Any defendant on parole, carrying a gun in broad daylight should receive the maximum sentence under the law, which is 15 years. The young victim miraculously survived a gunshot to the head but continues to struggle with the injuries. An innocent child’s life has been utterly changed.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Michael Quiles, 29, of Washington Avenue, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison and 5 years post-release supervision by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus. A jury found the defendant guilty of second-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon on March 26, 2019. The defendant was acquitted of Attempted Murder and first-degree Assault.

 According to the investigation, on June 5, 2017, in the area of 167th Street and Washington Avenue, the defendant was in possession of a loaded firearm while arguing with two men with whom he was having a dispute. The men were armed with knives and approached the defendant. Quiles, who was on parole at the time, then fired multiple shots during the argument. One bullet struck Jaheem Hunter, who was to celebrate his fifth birthday that day. His father and sister rushed him to the hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries. He suffered severe brain damage and continues to live with the repercussions from the shooting.

Former S&P Analyst Convicted In Insider Trading Schemes


  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SEBASTIAN PINTO-THOMAZ, a former credit ratings analyst at Standard & Poor’s, was convicted today of participating in two schemes to trade on material, nonpublic information in advance of the Sherwin-Williams Company’s acquisition of the Valspar Corporation, following a seven-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said:  “Sebastian Pinto-Thomaz stole confidential information from his employer and passed it to two men he had known for years – and he did it for his own personal benefit.  While the defendant attempted to blame his mother for this conduct at trial, as a unanimous jury found, it was Pinto-Thomaz who committed insider trading.”
According to the evidence presented during the trial and statements made in related court filings and proceedings:
Rating Evaluation Services and the Insider
When a company announces an acquisition, the acquiring company often seeks the opinion of a credit rating agency regarding the potential impact that the acquisition could have on the acquiring company’s creditworthiness.  Therefore, companies often contact rating agencies before an acquisition is publicly announced.  All the major rating agencies offer a service – sometimes known as a Rating Evaluation Service (“RES”) – that provides the company with a rating committee decision with respect to a proposed acquisition.
In March 2016, Standard and Poor’s (“S&P”), a credit rating agency in New York, New York, assigned SEBASTIAN PINTO-THOMAZ, a credit ratings analyst, to work on a RES for the Sherwin-Williams Company (“Sherwin-Williams”) in advance of its contemplated but unannounced acquisition of the Valspar Corporation (“Valspar”).  In connection with this assignment, PINTO-THOMAZ received material, nonpublic information (the “Inside Information”) about Sherwin-Williams’s planned acquisition of Valspar prior to the public announcement of the acquisition.  S&P’s written policies prohibited the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, which included the Inside Information.  During his tenure at S&P, PINTO-THOMAZ reviewed and certified his duties of loyalty and confidentiality to S&P and its clients.
The Insider Trading Scheme
In March 2016, PINTO-THOMAZ misappropriated the Inside Information about Sherwin-Williams’s acquisition of Valspar and passed it to Jeremy Millul, his friend, and Abell Oujaddou, his hairdresser, so that they could use it to make profitable trades in Valspar stock and options.  On March 21, 2016, the first trading day after the public announcement of the acquisition, the price of Valspar stock increased approximately 23 percent over the prior day’s close.
Millul is a Manhattan jeweler who had a close personal friendship with PINTO-THOMAZ.  After receiving a tip about the impending Valspar deal from PINTO-THOMAZ, Millul opened a brokerage account on March 13, 2016, and shortly thereafter purchased 480 shares of Valspar common stock.  On March 18, 2016, the last trading day before the acquisition was publicly announced, Millul also purchased 75 out-of-the-money Valspar call options.  After the acquisition was publicly announced, Millul sold his Valspar stock and options for approximately $106,806 in profits.
Oujaddou is a Manhattan hairstylist and salon owner who has known PINTO-THOMAZ for years, and who is close friends with PINTO-THOMAZ’s mother.  During a haircut on March 8, 2016, or March 9, 2016, PINTO-THOMAZ provided Oujaddou with the Inside Information about the impending Valspar deal in exchange for a portion of his trading profits.  Then, from March 10, 2016, through March 18, 2016, Oujaddou, who had never previously purchased Valspar or Sherwin-Williams securities, used the Inside Information he had received from PINTO-THOMAZ to purchase 8,630 shares of Valspar stock.  After the acquisition was publicly announced, Oujaddou sold his Valspar shares for approximately $192,080 in profits.  Following his successful trading, Oujaddou met PINTO-THOMAZ in the paint aisle of a hardware store and paid him a kickback.
Later, in June 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) sent S&P a list of individuals and entities that had traded in Valspar in advance of the public announcement of the acquisition (the “List”).  S&P forwarded the List to its employees who had worked on the Sherwin-Williams RES, including PINTO-THOMAZ, asking the employees to respond by stating whether they had a past or present relationship with any individual or entity on the List. Although both Oujaddou and Millul were on the List, PINTO-THOMAZ denied having a relationship with anyone on the List.
SEBASTIAN PINTO-THOMAZ, 32, of New York, New York, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud.  The conspiracy counts each carry a maximum prison term of five years; the securities fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.  The securities fraud charges also carry a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the Court.
PINTO-THOMAZ is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Rakoff on July 29, 2019, at 4:00 p.m.
Abell Oujaddou and Jeremy Millul each previously pled guilty and await sentencing before Judge Rakoff.
Mr. Berman praised the work of the FBI, and thanked the SEC for its assistance.

Operator Of Online Retailer Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court For Running Fraudulent Eyewear Business


  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that VITALY BORKER was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison for one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with his operation of the eyewear retail and repair website Opticsfast.com. 

BORKER pled guilty on March 20, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe, who imposed today’s sentence.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:  “Vitaly Borker twice perpetrated criminal schemes involving the online sale and repair of eyewear, and today he was rightfully sentenced to prison for a second time.  Perhaps his second stint in federal prison will impress upon this shady businessman that seeking to make money by fraud and intimidation is a path to prison and not success.”
According to allegations made in the Complaint and Indictment to which BORKER pled guilty, as well as statements made in court proceedings:
BORKER founded Opticsfast.com in 2011 as an e-commerce eyeglass retail and repair business.  From at least 2011 through 2017, the defendant conducted a scheme to defraud individuals by inducing them to send their glasses to Opticsfast.com for repairs, then demanded exorbitant fees for repairs or return shipping, intimidated and harassed customers who requested refunds by subjecting them to a campaign of abusive emails and text messages, and threatened to discard glasses when customers disputed the fees.  In furtherance of the scheme, the defendant posted material false statements on Opticsfast.com’s website, falsely claiming the company used in-house laboratories staffed by trained technicians to perform repair work.  BORKER launched and operated Opticsfast.com after he was charged in a federal criminal case for his fraudulent operation of another eyewear retail and repair website, Decormyeyes.com, for which he was ultimately convicted and sentenced in a separate case.  BORKER continued his involvement in Opticsfast.com from prison even after he was incarcerated, and following his release from prison.
BORKER, 42, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, a $50,000 fine, and a $300 special assessment.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Attorney General James Announces Investigation Into Facebook


Company Harvested 1.5 Million Users’ Contact Databases Without Authorization 

  Attorney General Letitia James today announced an investigation into Facebook’s unauthorized collection of 1.5 million Facebook users’ email contact databases. While Facebook claims that 1.5 million contact databases were directly harvested by its email password verification process for new users, the total number of people whose information was improperly obtained may be hundreds of millions.  

“It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers' personal information,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data. Facebook’s announcement that it harvested 1.5 million users’ email address books, potentially gaining access to contact information for hundreds of millions of individual consumers without their knowledge, is the latest demonstration that Facebook does not take seriously its role in protecting our personal information.”  
Email verification is a standard practice for online services such as Facebook. Typically, when a consumer signs up to a new service, they are asked to provide an email address, where they then receive an email with a link to verify that the email account belongs to them. Facebook's procedure requested certain users to hand over their password to their personal email account. Additionally, reports indicate that Facebook proceeded to access those user’s contacts and upload all of those contacts to Facebook to be used for targeted advertising. While Facebook has admitted that 1.5 million people's contact books were directly harvested, the total number of people whose contact information was improperly obtained by Facebook may be hundreds of millions, as people can have hundreds of contacts stored on their contact databases.  
The office has previously enforced New York’s consumer protection laws against social networking websites that misappropriated user’s contact lists. In January 2019, Attorney General James announced an investigation into Apple over their failure to warn consumers about the FaceTime bug that jeopardized the privacy of consumers in New York by allowing users to receive audio and video from the device of the person they are calling even before the person has accepted or rejected the call. In March 2018, the Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation into Facebook over the reported misuse of user data with Cambridge Analytica.    

Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. Prepares to Fight Proposed City Adult Men's Shelter


  Located in a former garage at 2008 Westchester Avenue City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. held a pre demonstration that brought out over 100 people to protest a proposed adult men's shelter. Samaritan Village will be in charge of the 165 bed adult men's shelter which Councilman Diaz Sr. says does not belong within walking distance of two schools and across the street from a public library. Councilman Diaz Sr. says that he would rather see a family shelter for the community rather than an adult men's shelter. A full community protest where it is expected that over 500 people will show up is scheduled for Monday April 29th at 6 PM.

87th Male District Leader John Perez who was once homeless after serving his country in the Army agreed that the site is better suited as a family shelter than an adult male shelter. He said that while he was homeless that he went to Samaritan Village for help, but since Mr. Perez was not a drug addict or had a criminal record Samaritan Village would not help him.

 It seems that while construction is under way to convert the once garage into an adult men's shelter run by Samaritan Village, there has been no public meeting as required New York state law. Normally this meeting is with the local community board, but there seems to have been a private meeting on March 15th between Samaritan Village and the District Manager of Community Board 9.

Upon checking with Community Board 9, The minutes of the April 2nd Social Services Committee shows in the DM Report there will be notes from the 2008 Westchester Avenue shelter meeting that happened on March 15th.

Other items include a Town Hall meeting on April 12th at St. Helena's Church, with DHS in attendance. Samaritan Village will do a presentation at the May 7th Social Services Committee meeting. DHS will be coming to the April General Board meeting, and that CB 9 will have nime shelters when 2008 Westchester Avenue opened.


Above - City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr, reads from a Department of Homeless paper with facts of the number of homeless people in the Bronx.
Below - 87th Assembly District Leader John Perez says that Samaritan Village (who will run the proposed adult men's shelter) that while he was homeless he went to Samaritan Village for help. He was told that he had to be either a drug addict or have a criminal background in order for Samaritan Village to be able to help him. Mr. Perez had neither.



Miracle City Center Presents its Plans to CB 10




Tuesday's Community Board 10 Health Committee brought out a crowd for the presentation by Miracle Mile City Center at 2800 Bruckner Boulevard. The Health and Human Services Committee is chaired by Ms. Nancy Rosario. 

 Chief Compliance Officer Andrea L. Carson gave a vague presentation of what Miracle City was currently doing in the CB 10 community. She said that it is a home based at the moment, but that an 822 application has been submitted to the state to be able to give counseling to people on site at 2800 Bruckner Boulevard. Sessions could be thirty, forty-five, or sixty minutes long depending on the subject and severity of problem. She added that the counseling could be on alcoholism, drug problems, gambling, smoking, opioid, or other addictions. She stressed that there would be no drugs stored on site. 

  Board members first asked questions which were answered that the program is needed in the community and the Bronx. A security guard would be on site, and that Miracle City would only occupy half of the second floor having no more than eighty people including staff in the building. The hours would be 9 AM to 6 or 7 PM, six days a week. The official start date was not known yet as the application still has to be submitted to the state. 

Questions from the public included the need for a facility like this in Throggs Neck, if the facility would dispense any drugs, security to the nearby schools and homes, how are the owners of the building involved. 

Miracle City CCP Corson replied by saying the facility is needed in the community board 10 area of Throggs Neck, Coop-City, as well as the entire Bronx. She repeated that no drugs would be given out. That there would be no security problems with their security on site. Mark Bassori and James Pecletta two of the owners of 2800 Bruckner Boulevard were in attendance and said yes they were involved in Miracle City.

John Collazzi representing Assemblyman Michael Benedetto was very concerned about the TOTS school for special needs children that has an open school yard one block away from 2800 Bruckner Boulevard. He said that Assemblyman Benedetto has three concerns that need to be satisfied.
1 - That Community Board 10 is satisfied with the program.
2 - That the Community Advisory Board is satisfied with the program.
3 - That the Community is satisfied with the program.
From the impression of the public hearing at least the firs two of the three items have been met. It will have to be seen if item three will be met.


It was a long evening for Andrea Corson, but Miracle City by meeting with Community Board 10 during a public hearing of the Health and Human Services Committee has met its requirement to meet with the community.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. - OFFICIAL BRONX 2020 CENSUS KICK-OFF


Tomorrow is Car Free Day!


Tomorrow, April 27th New York City will go Car Free! We are excited to announce that tomorrow is the 4th Annual Car Free Day NYC. New Yorkers will have the opportunity to roam freely, taking advantage of the good weather while learning to be more environmentally friendly! Washington Heights will open St. Nicholas Avenue from 181st to 190th Street; Midtown will open Broadway between Union Square to 42nd Street.

There will be many activities for people of all ages to enjoy like performances, dance classes, puppet-shows, and much more can be expected. This year we have partnered with close to 100 unique organizations to make this year the biggest one to date! Citi Bike will provide free day passes at both the uptown and downtown locations as well as one location in Brooklyn. I hope to see you all tomorrow! 

Car Free Day Programming

Uptown Car Free Day (10AM - 4PM): 
  • 181st to 182nd Street: Join City College STEM Institute's team to explore robotics and computer programming. Participants can also cross the open space to climb aboard a New York City FDNY truck. WellCare, TD Bank and other partners will have tables to welcome guests with free giveaways.
  • 182nd and 183rd Street: Main stage, offering performances by local partners, such as Dance Project of Washington Height and Jazz Power, as well as acts such as Carnegie Hall and El Chaval.
  • 183rd and 184th Street: Bike New York and DOT have partnered again this year for a Bike Bonanza, from 11:00AM to 2:30 PM. Bring an outgrown children's bike and you can upgrade for a current size. Once again, we will be providing free bike helmets to all participants.
  • 184th and 185th Street: Try out a Citi Bike, learn your route to work with Uptown & Boogie Bike, or challenge yourself to an obstacle course provided by Asphalt Green and The Armory. Participants can also stop by the WellCare to get a free health screening.
  • 185th and 186th Street: Sports all day! Participants can play volleyball with BAMESA USA, tennis with Washington Heights Tennis Association, football with the Van Courtland Titans or soccer with the Charles Street Soccer.
  • 186th St and 187th Street: WeAct for Environmental Justice will be hosting a Swap, Shop, and Repair Fair from 12:00pm - 3:00pm. Bring your old clothes, dishware or toys and swap with neighbors. Attend one of their workshops to learn how to reuse and repair everyday items. You can also chat with many of our citywide agencies, Department of Environmental Protection. Mayor's office of Sustainability, Commission on Human Rights, or the Office of Emergency Management.
  • West 187th Street: The Children will love the performance space! They can enjoy puppet shows by the Wildlife Conservation Society; Bronx Zoo, as well as Repartorio EspaƱol. Participants can also take dance or theater workshops with People's Theatre Project or DPWH.
  • 187th St to 190th Street: More children's activities! Activities include face painting, balloon animals, and environmental design. Children can also make art projects with the mind-blowing Children's Museum of Art. Participants can pick up a free book from Literacy Inc and write a poem with Uptown Stories. At this site, you can learn to row with Row NY or explore sailing with Hudson River Community Sailing. To close it out, there will be amazing Zumba or yoga classes at 190th Street.
Broadway, from Union Square to Times Square from 9 am to 3 pm:  


  • Union Square features an intriguing pop-up streetscape intervention by the American Institute of Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects of New York, and the American Planning Association that will help New Yorkers visualize the future of Broadway, in which the street functions as social public space, privileging the pedestrian experience.Future Streets engages Car Free Earth Day participants in an immersive experience focused on public right-of-way design. The design features temporary potted plantings on Broadway's surface; an engagement booth with exhibition boards illustrating potential street designs and precedent images from around the world; places for musicians to entertain, as well as moveable tables and chairs open to the public, and grassy play areas. This rest stop also includes fitness classes all day provided by the NY Health and Racquet Club, and an historical walking tour of Union Square and Gramercy Park provided by Big Onion Walking Tours.
  • At Flatiron, participants can find bike programming sponsored by Citi Bike. Willing participants can learn about Citi Bike and sign up for a membership. New and existing members are also eligible for a special gift. This site has a range of other environmental and sustainability focused programming from organizations such as: Earth Day Initiative, Earth Institute at Columbia and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The performance area features family fitness classes hosted by WRKNYC, PopFit Kids, Exhale Spa and Vibrate Higher, a dynamic musical performance by Fogo Azul NYC, and our signature Earth Day performance by the Artichoke Dance Company.
  • At Worth Square, there is an abundance of fitness activities including free inline skate rentals provided by Go!Sports USA and  family-oriented parkour activations from The Movement Creative. Big Onion Tours is providing an historical walking tour underscoring the importance of art, literature, and Rock & Roll.
  • This year, the City Zone is a one stop shop for all educational, environmental and sustainability programming. City Agencies including DEP, DSNY, DOH, DCP, TLC, and the Parks Department are hosting information tents in the area. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability is also on site to encourage New Yorkers to think green and learn how to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Herald Square features various fitness classes including cardio, dance, boot camp and Iron Strength, provided by the 34th Street Partnership. Also, in collaboration with 511 NY Rideshare, Bike New York, and the 5 Borough Bicycle Club, participants can learn more about transportation advocacy and the proper bike check process. DOT Safety Education and Bike and Greenway divisions are also on site to provide participants with bike safety resources. Transportation Alternatives and DOT Transit Development team are showing New Yorkers other viable transportation options---whether by foot, bike, or mass transit.
  • In the Garment District, there are spectacular musical performances by the Rockness Music and The Marching Cobras, a cultural Afro- Brazilian martial arts performance by the New York Capoeira Center, a dance performance by Ori Manea Tahitian Polynesian Dance, and lastly entertainment by the Bryant Park Jugglers.
  • Also in the Garment District, participants can find some environmentally savvy public art by Willie Cole, titled 14000 Reasons, which message is to emphasize the significance of recycling while giving discarded items new life. This installation consists of two works of art, H20 TBR and Big Drink of Water, which both use plastic bottles to convey the artist's message. Other green inspired arts and crafts workshops are available by organizations such as Materials for the Arts and the Manhattan Graphics Center.
  • The Times Square rest stop includes a fascinating walking tour provided by Big Onions Tours. With this being such a vibrant area, it has many layers of identity hidden and this tour will help participants learn about the ups and downs of Midtown--- its transformation from the center of the horse and carriage trade to present day as it stands as the heart of New York City. Stops may include: the former site of the American Horse Exchange, the Astor Hotel, the Paramount Building, the Lamb's Club, the former Aeolian Hall, and sites associated with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Flo Zeigfeld, Mary Pickford, and many others.
  • Also returning to Times Square this year is Project Dance's annual dance festival offering a variety of local and international dance artistry in ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop and tap from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Outer-Borough Car-Free Events:
  • Car Free Earth Day Downtown Brooklyn: Albee Square West from Willoughby Street to Fulton Street and Albee Square Plaza, Brooklyn (11:00am - 3:00pm) Hosted by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
  • Songkran Weekend Walk: Woodside Ave from 75th Street to 77th Street, Queens (11:30am - 6:00pm) Hosted by Thai Community USA NYC
  • Earth Day: Forsyth Street and Eldridge Street from Canal Street to East Broadway, Manhattan (9:00am - 3:00pm) Hosted by Chinatown District Management Association
  • Castleton Avenue Street Festival: Castleton Avenue from Oakland Avenue to Davis Avenue, Staten Island (12:00pm - 6:00pm) Hosted by West Brighton Community LDC
  • Circle the Square Earth Day: Lane Avenue from Westchester Avenue to East Tremont Avenue, The Bronx (12:00pm - 3:00pm) Hosted by Westchester Square BID

ENGEL DENOUNCES TRUMP DECISION TO WITHDRAW FROM ARMS TREATY


  Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement after President Trump announced in a speech to the National Rifle Association that he plans to withdraw the United States from the Arms Trade Treaty:

“Today the President withdrew the U.S. from a global treaty to control the trafficking in weapons, as a politically-motivated appeasement of the National Rifle Association. President Trump finds it more important to feed his right-wing base than to exercise U.S. leadership on the world stage.

“It is abhorrent to use international diplomacy for blatant political pandering. It’s even more appalling when that policy decision concerns dangerous weapons that endanger the lives of Americans and people around the world.

“The Foreign Affairs Committee will convene a hearing to shine a bright light on this shameful decision.”

MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF FIVE MEMBERS TO THE RENT GUIDELINES BOARD


TodayMayor de Blasio announced five appointments to the Rent Guidelines Board. The Mayor appointed David Reiss as Chair; May Yu, German Tejeda, and Alex Schwartz as public members; and Patti Stone as an owner member.

The Rent Guidelines Board determines annual rent adjustments for approximately one million apartments across the city subject to the Rent Stabilization Law.

David Reiss
David Reiss is a Professor at Brooklyn Law School. He concentrates on real estate finance, housing policy, and community development, and is the founding director of the Community Development Clinic. He is the Research Director of the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE). He is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  He was an associate in the New York office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and at Morrison & Foerster. He also clerked for Judge Timothy Lewis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to attending law school, he worked for Community Access, a not-for-profit organization that assists people who have psychiatric disabilities as they make the transition from shelters and hospitals to independent living.

May Yu
May Yu is the Senior Director of Real Estate & Economic Development at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Prior to this role, Yu served as the Director of Neighborhood Planning within the Neighborhood Development Division at the New York City Department of Small Business Services. She began her career in municipal government as a Senior Project Manager in Development at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Previously, Yu was a Founding Staff Member & Partner Manager at Citizen Effect, and a Plenary Associate at the Clinton Global Initiative. Yu is an alum of the University of Chicago and a Fellow of the Urban Design Forum.

German Tejeda
German Tejeda currently serves as the National Director of Financial Programs at Single Stop, a nonprofit agency dedicated to reducing poverty by improving access to benefits and helping low-income students across the country stay in college and graduate. Previously, Tejeda worked at the Food Bank for New York City, serving as the Vice President of Anti-Poverty Programming from 2016 to 2018 and as the Senior Director of Income Policy from 2002 to 2016. From 1992 to 2002, Tejeda served as the Director of Homelessness Prevention at the Community Food Resource Center. In his spare time, Tejeda serves on the Board of Directors for the Bronx Legal Services.

Alex Schwartz
Alex Schwartz is a Professor of Urban Policy at the New School.  He served as Program Chair in the Department of Public and Urban Policy from 2001 to 2012. He holds a doctorate in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers University. Professor Schwartz’s research centers on housing and community development, including public housing and other affordable housing programs, mixed-income housing, fair housing, and community development corporations.  Professor Schwartz is Director of the New School's Urban Policy Lab, in which teams of graduate students advise government agencies and nonprofit organizations on a wide array of policy and management issues. He is the author of Housing Policy in the United States and co-author of Policy Analysis as Problem Solving, both published by Routledge.

Patti Stone
Patti Stone is a Member of Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. within the firm's Administrative Law Department. Ms. Stone has more than thirty years of experience in New York City real estate and has an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day business needs of owners in New York City.  Ms. Stone has successfully handled all types of cases, such as demolition, luxury deregulation, harassment, overcharge, and service issues before the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, from the administrative level through appeals to the Supreme Court and the Appellate Division. Ms. Stone specializes in advice and consultation regarding rent regulatory compliance with the Rent Stabilization Law to prospective purchasers of residential real estate.

WILLIAMS RESPONDS TO THE DE BLASIO EXECUTIVE BUDGET


OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC ADVOCATE
FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK
JUMAANE D. WILLIAMS


"The true test of a progressive government is whether, when funding is cut or curtailed, progressive values persist in our budgetary priorities. This is a test that has primarily been kicked down the road with the current executive budget. Fortunately, some of the major fears raised by the preliminary budget have been abated by an increase in revenue. As we move toward adoption, though, fiscal responsibility must be paired with human responsibility. I expect the final budget to be one that recognizes and supports the services and programs that are vital to New Yorkers."

FACT SHEET: MAYOR DE BLASIO RELEASES EXECUTIVE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2020



“In February, I spoke about uncertainty in our economic future and announced my Administration’s first-ever mandatory savings program. We’re still in an era defined by fiscal caution, which means we’re focused on deepening our savings and making strategic investments in core priorities that continue to make New York a fairer city.”

-Mayor Bill de Blasio

The FY20 Executive Budget is balanced, totaling $92.5 billion. This budget:

  • Achieves $916 million in savings over FY19 and FY20, exceeding the City’s original target of $750 million in order to meet over $150 million in additional critical needs identified since February. Of the $916 million in savings, $629 million were achieved through the Administration’s first ever Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG), a mandatory savings program that includes agency efficiencies, programmatic cuts and a hiring freeze. The original target for the PEG was $545 million.
  • Maintains funding for more than $300 million in cuts and unfunded mandates from the State’s Executive Budget related to vital services and recently enacted State legislation.
  • Covers additional critical needs to keep the City in a strong fiscal standing and makes strategic investments in vital programs that build upon continued efforts to make New York City the fairest big city in America.

Click here to view the FY20 Executive Budget.

Cuts and Unfunded Mandates from Albany:
In February, the City faced over $600 million in cuts and unfunded mandates from the State. Through the hard work of this Administration and our partners in Albany, the cuts and cost shifts to New York City in the State Executive Budget were limited to over $300 million. These cuts and unfunded mandates include:

  • $125 million: financial assistance to families in need (TANF).
  • $96 million: unfunded election reform mandates.
  • $59 million: vital health services for vulnerable New Yorkers, including services that help combat measles.
  • $25 million: education funding shortfall.

These are all funded by the City in the Executive Budget.

Citywide Savings:
In February, the Mayor set a citywide savings target of $750 million, $545 million of which would be reached with the Administration’s first ever PEG. During the budget process, the City identified additional critical needs that pushed the Administration to find additional savings. The end result was $916 million in savings, of which $629 million was the result of the PEG. This brings total savings since last June to $2.5 billion. These savings include:

  • Deepening the hiring freeze by removing 1600 vacant positions ($116 million).
  • More efficient methods for the purchasing of goods and services at DOE ($27 million).
  • $104 million in cuts at the Department of Education, which includes the elimination of extended learning time at Renewal and Rise schools ($19M).
  • Modest cuts cultural institutions, including subsidies ($6 million).
  • Right-sizing classroom slots for afterschool programs ($2.5 million).
  • Providing senior NYCHA residents access to Community Centers by consolidating under-used senior clubs ($900,000).

Responsible Budgeting:
The City is maintaining historic reserves. Specifically:

  • The General Reserve is at $1 billion in FY20 and every year of the financial plan.
  • The Capital Stabilization Reserve that was established by this Administration is at $250 million in FY20 and every year of the financial plan.

The Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund is at $4.47 billion, $3.6 billion the result of actions taken by this Administration.

Meeting Critical Needs:
Taking into account State budget cuts, unfunded mandates, additional critical needs and potential future economic uncertainty, the Administration reached and ultimately exceed its savings goal. Savings were then used to meet additional critical needs, including:

  • Special Education initiatives for DOE, including new and enhanced programs, hiring school psychologists and speech teachers to support evaluations of student needs ($33 million).
  • Additional mandated Charter School Costs ($88 million).
  • State cut to Pre-Trial Mental Health Evaluations ($35 million).

Making Strategic Investments:
The Administration also made strategic investments in crucial programs New Yorkers rely on, including the following in Fiscal Year 2020:

  • Retrofitting City buildings to make them more energy efficient ($60 million).
  • Ramping up for the 2020 Census to ensure a fair count of New York City residents, which will secure fair representation in Congress and the City’s fair share of federal funding ($22 million).
  • Improving EMS response times by expanding the “Fly Car” program in the Bronx ($15 million).
  • Baselining funding for Bridging the Gap to provide support for students in shelters ($12 million).
  • Emergency repairs at NYCHA community centers to refurbish pipes, air conditioning and heating infrastructure ($6 million).

10-Year Capital Strategy:
The City’s 10-Year Capital Strategy is $116.9 billion and includes:

  • Expanding school capacity and enhance facilities ($16.4 billion).
  • Repairing and implementing safety improvements to roads and bridges ($13.1 billion).
  • Building and preserving affordable housing ($9.7 billion).
  • Building smaller, safer, borough-based jails ($8.7 billion).
  • Maintaining clear water ($6.5 billion).

MAYOR DE BLASIO APPOINTS NOAH GENEL AS COMMISSIONER AND CHAIR OF THE BUSINESS INTEGRITY COMMISSION


  Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Noah D. Genel as Commissioner and Chair of the Business Integrity Commission.

Genel is an experienced former prosecutor and has spent the last four years at BIC, most recently as Acting Commissioner and General Counsel for the Commission. He will draw on his two decades in the field to lead the agency’s efforts to eliminate organized crime and various forms of corruption in the trade waste industry and New York City’s public wholesale markets.

Genel will also continue advancing BIC’s initiatives to improve pedestrian and worker safety in the trade waste industry, including joint traffic enforcement operations with the NYPD, registering trade waste unions with BIC, and working with DSNY and the City Council to enact Commercial Waste Zones later this year.

“Noah Genel is a dedicated public servant with a proven track record of fighting organized crime and corruption. As Commissioner, he will ensure the trade waste industry is fair, workers are protected, and our streets are safe,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“It is my honor to serve the City of New York as the Commissioner and Chair of BIC.  BIC will continue to actively enforce its rules and regulations, working to keep the trade waste industry and public wholesale markets free of corruption. We will also pursue companies in the trade waste industry that are operating unsafely, keeping our city’s streets safe for everyone as part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero plan,” said Commissioner and Chair Noah D. Genel.

“Noah Genel is an excellent choice to lead BIC in its critical mission regulating the private carting industry” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. “BIC oversees an industry that is rife with unsafe labor practices, mistreatment of workers, and poor environmental practices. At a time when we are moving toward comprehensive reform of the commercial sanitation system, it is more important than ever that we have a seasoned hand leading BIC. I want to congratulate Commissioner Genel and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming months.”