Friday, July 31, 2020

Bronx Council for Environmental Quality - Harlem River Working Group Meeting 4PM 8.6.2020

BCEQ Logo Name-002
Harlem River Working Group

of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality
Thursday, August 6, 2020 - 4 to 6 pm

We know, you want to know where we have been. 
Well, life took over, but now we are ready to get going.
Chauncy, Joyce and Karen are taking the lead.  Join us.

Topic: Harlem River Working Group Meeting
Time: Aug 6, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 962 3622 0495
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  1.  Updates / Status
    1. Highbridge Steps
    2. DPR Response to remove Mullaly name from Park
    3. Depot Place / Bridge Park South
    4. Park Playground Naming for Dr. Evelina Antonetty on the Grand Concourse near Hostos College in the Bronx NY
  2. Actions Needed
    1. Access to the new Park at Depot Place / Bridge Park South Ext.. - DOT Winter meeting
    2. Petition to gather supporters to remove Mullaly’s name from Park
    3. DPR letter of intent to the estuary program to create a living shoreline and dock at depot place.
  3. Announcements
    1. Disconnected River: A Public Humanities Walk of the Harlem River, Monday, August 10, 2020 - 6:00pm.  Sign up at
    2. Bronx Council for Environmental Quality Annual Membership Meeting, Election of Board Member Classes, This Year’s Accomplishments and Looking to the 50 Year Celebration.  ​Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 5:00 pm, followed by the Board Meeting for the Election of Officers, 6:00 pm.
    3. City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood. Saturday, September 12, 2020
    4. More to come...
 Adjourn 6 pm

Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza, and Test and Trace Ted Long on Reopening Public Schools

  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Well, this morning, we're going to talk about the most important piece of reopening this city, restarting this city, the thing that matters so deeply to our children and our families, and that's starting our schools up again. And it is something we all feel deeply about passionately about because it's about our kids and it's about their futures and it's about their health and safety. So, we're going to talk about that today to give you a sense of what will come up ahead in September. But first I want to take a moment because it's an important time of year for so many New Yorkers. So, I want to wish our Muslim sisters and brothers a safe and blessed Eid Al-Adha. And this is a celebration that is so important in the Muslim community. It will be different this year, obviously, because of what we're all facing with the coronavirus but the community is strong. Like every community in New York City, people are sticking together, helping each other out. So, I want to say to everyone, Eid Mubarak, wish you a wonderful holiday.


Now, when we think each year about going back to school, this is a very, very important time of the year, it’s a time filled with anticipation in normal years, anticipation, hope, possibility, worries, anxiety. We all know what that felt like when we were kids. And I can say this as someone who was a public school parent for the entire education of both of my kids that back to school time was always a very, very special time each year. Now this year it's filled with so many other strong emotions and this year it's filled with a whole different reality because this year it's about health and safety first. That's what we're going to be talking about today. Everything we do is going to be focused on health and safety – health and safety for our kids, our families, our educators, our school staff. And every one of us who's going to talk today is going to talk from the perspective, not just as leaders, but as parents – what we would need and expect for our own kids is exactly the way we've approached this here today. I'm not going to do anything when it comes to New York City public schools that is anything less but then – the standard I would set for my very own children. I want to know, every parent wants to know, every day are your kids safe? We have to make sure that everything we do meets that standard constantly. And if it isn't safe, we don't do it. It's as simple as that. So, a huge amount of effort has gone in to getting our schools ready, months and months of preparation. We are sparing no expense. We're going to do whatever it takes. And we understand the anxiety. We understand the fear because this city has been through so much, because we look around the country and we see really, really troubling things happening. But we also have to remember how this city has fought back.


So, every place in the country is different, every place has different approaches, but in this city over five months, we went from the worst possible situation to now being in one of the strongest situations in our nation. We fought our way back because we were all disciplined and smart about it. And now we're ready to reopen schools the right way and to serve our kids. And our kids have been through so much. Let’s remember, we have to think about the needs of parents, educators, staff, all the time. We have to make sure everyone's safe, but we also have to remember our kids and what they've been through, the challenges, the trauma, the dislocation. We owe it to them to give them anything we can to help them move forward after what they've been through. And I know for a fact – and I've talked to a lot of educators about this – that when kids are in school, there's the greatest possibility that they can learn better, that they can continue to grow and develop socially. There's so many reasons for a child to be in school, including the food they get, the health care they get, the emotional support they get. This is why it matters so much, but it has to be done safely. Now, the people have spoken. We surveyed parents – 400,000 responses to our survey, 75 percent want their kids back in the classroom, and that is exactly what we are going to do.


The plan – the essence of this plan is safety for everyone. And I need people to hear that because I know there's tremendous concern out there, but whether you're a student, parent, educator, staff member, your safety is the essence of this plan. And I can prove that by showing you all the different things that have gone into this plan and the fact that we're going to have an extremely rigorous standard for opening schools, or, if necessary, closing schools, because we are putting health and safety first. So, what are we doing? You've heard some of it before – we're using blended learning. Kids in school when they could be in school, remote when they can't, remote learning for any child, any family that prefers remote learning all the time. Social distancing guidelines in every part of the school, in the classroom and every other part of the school. Face coverings for everyone, free priority testing for everyone in the school community, making sure that teachers, kids, staff all have the personal protective equipment for free.


We are going to go to the farthest extent and what we're going to do is the thing that has helped New York City come back the whole time, which is focus on science, focus on fact, focus on data. And so, we are going to hold New York City to a very high standard, our schools to a very high standard. We will not reopen our schools unless the city infection rate is below three percent. So, every day I go over the daily indicators with you, number of people testing positive for COVID-19 citywide, unless that number is below three percent, we will not reopen schools. That number is below three percent, we will move ahead with our plan. Now, let's be clear, I'm very hopeful when I say that because New York City, thanks to all of your good efforts, has been under three percent since June 10th, six weeks in a row now. That's extraordinary. And today's indicators are very strong again. We know we can do it, but I want to hold that very tough, tough standard, because I want to keep us all focused on what we have to do to keep safety first. And this is a way of proving that we will do things the right way, setting a very tough bar, but also one I am convinced we can achieve.


So, look, we have to remember, nothing is more important in New York City than protecting our kids, helping our kids grow, helping them learn. They are our future in every sense, every family feels that. That's the path we've been on over seven years. That's what we're going to keep doing. As I turned to the Chancellor, I want to say the Chancellor and his team have worked incessantly to get this right. They've looked at examples from all over the world of what will keep the school community safe. And they've made a series of choices of how to do things from a health and safety lens first, while also making sure we can educate our kids. And I want to thank you, Chancellor, and your whole team for the work you're doing. Please give us an update.


Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. First, I want to acknowledge what we all know to be true. March was extremely challenging for all of us – the entire city, the doctors, our scientists included. We're learning about this disease in real time in many cases with information that just wasn't known. It was one of the toughest times that we have faced as a city and as a school system. I also remember the fear and the confusion and the worry. So, it's important to me that we build on everything we've learned over these past five months and everything we have been through since then. We are approaching reopening by centering health and safety as our foundational approach, basing our policies on the expertise of health professionals, period. We are focusing on the science, not science fiction.


So, here's what that looks like. In New York City, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are being tested every day. And we will be asking staff to get tested in the days prior to school. The City will prioritize free testing for school-based staff with 24-hour turnaround time results at any of the 34 City-run testing locations. School-based staff members are also encouraged to opt into monthly COVID-19 testing, which is critically important. We are thoughtfully opening schools with physical distancing and cohorting of students requiring face coverings and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day and night. If an illness does occur, we will respond quickly, communicate clearly during investigations and promptly to share decisions to quarantine classrooms, or if necessary, close schools. This approach means that we are well equipped to mitigate risk and share critical information with our school communities. You'll hear in a moment about the different scenarios we've mapped out in partnership with our colleagues at NYC Test and Trace Corps, and the procedures that will be followed if someone tests positive in a school.


But I want to speak directly to families and members of our school communities and affirm this – your health and safety remained our highest priority. I know how hard this is. I've been a public school parent. I've been a teacher for over a decade in a classroom. I've been a principal. And I know what it feels like to want to do the best you can in education for your child or for your students while ensuring that their health and safety and your health and safety is also being attended to, that's why we're taking this approach. That's why we won't settle for anything, but the strictest and most rigorous processes for coming back to school, we have your back and that will never change.


Mayor: Thank you so much, Chancellor. And I want to – I really want to emphasize that everything the Chancellor says, everything the Chancellor's team has been working on is about the health and safety of our kids and the whole school community. They've also been putting a lot of time and energy into thinking about the emotional needs of our kids, the mental health challenges our kids have gone through. So, I wanted to just give a special thank you to you, Chancellor, to Deputy Chancellor Lashawn Robinson and her whole team. So many people at the Department of Education are really thinking about what our kids will need after going through this trauma and how coming back to school is an opportunity to really address that trauma and help them and support them. So, I want to thank you, because that's a really important part of this equation as well.


Now, when we plan with a health and safety-first perspective, we think of it very, very rigorously. That's why we're setting this really tough, rigorous standard to determine if and when we reopened. And again, right now, we are clearly meeting that standard, but we also have to be realistic when we plan. We plan for every eventuality, including when there's a problem, what you do about that problem. So, we need to be ready if a child in a classroom becomes sick, if a child in the classroom was identified as positive with COVID-19, we need a plan for that. If it happens in more than one classroom, we need a plan for that. I want to emphasize the goal of this approach is that kids in a single classroom stay together as much as possible the whole school day with very few adults in contact with them. The whole idea of this plan is to limit the amount of movement in the school, limit the amount of people coming in contact with each other, keep kids as much as possible in the same group all day long for everyone's protection, but it also allows us, if there is, God forbid, a case to be able to act on it a lot more effectively. So, here to tell you about what we do, if there is a case in a school is the Director of our city Test and Trace Corps, Dr. Ted Long.


Executive Director Ted Long, Test and Trace Corps: Thank you, sir. As a parent myself, the safety and health of my son is always my highest priority. We've designed a tracing operation for our schools that puts the safety and health of our teachers, students, and kids like my son at the center at all times. And I'm going to walk you through some of the high points today.


Now, for a positive case, it could be reported by a parent teacher or another student. Importantly, a positive case must be laboratory confirmed. For any laboratory confirmed positive case, we have a simple rule that we use that rule – that rule is that any – the entire classroom, meaning all of the teachers – the teacher of the classroom and all of the students in the classroom will quarantine for 14 days after when that positive cases identified. Before that positive case would have been reported, if there is a child that's symptomatic in the school, we have the child or the teacher that's symptomatic in the school leave the school as soon as possible to prevent transmission of the virus to anybody else in the school. The same way any good health care policy starts with prevention, if the child or teacher is symptomatic at home, we require that the child or student stay at home and not come to this school and potentially risk infecting other people in the school. The next step in either of those two scenarios is that we want the child or the teacher to get tested at one of our more than 200 sites across New York City, free of charge.


Now, we've talked about what we want to do before the child or the teacher comes into the school. We've talked about our simple rule – again, if there’s a case in a classroom, the kids, students and the teacher are going to quarantine for 14 days, no matter what. Now, what we do in addition to having that rule come into effect is we do an investigation. The investigation is done between the Department of Health and the New York City Test and Trace Corps. That investigation we'll have one of two outcomes. If there's a single case in a school – again, the rule was invoked, the classroom, meaning the students in the classroom and the teacher are going to quarantine for two weeks, 14 days, no matter what, and in addition that investigation may find that there are other close contacts of the case in the school. Those other close contacts will also quarantine at home for two weeks. During the investigation, if it's relegated to one case, the school will remain open, and when the investigation concludes the classroom and any close contact to a quarantine for two weeks.


Now, if there's more than one case in a school, and it's not in the same classroom, during the investigation by the Test and Trace Corps and the Department of Health, the school will close for 24 hours. The reason for that is we want to keep everybody safe while we do the investigation. When the investigation concludes, one of two things will happen. The first outcome could be that the classroom, again, all of the students and the teacher, would quarantine for two weeks – that's the rule that's going to happen no matter what – and any close contacts identified from either of the two or more cases would also quarantine for two weeks, but the school can reopen. That will be outcome number one. The second outcome would be that if we believe there is transmission or risk of transmission in this school between those more than one cases, then the school has already been closed for at least 24 hours during the investigation, the school remain closed – both the classrooms, which happens either way per our rule, but also the rest of the school to ensure that everybody in the school can be safe. And then, everybody in the school quarantine for the 14-day period.


Again, as a parent myself, the safety and health of our teachers, students, and kids like my son, Dave, must be at the center of everything we do. Thank you.


Mayor: Thank you very much, Dr. Long. Everybody I'm going to go over the indicators now, and this really puts a point on the progress we've made and the progress we've got to stick with to be able to open schools effectively and then go on from there as we restart and rebuild. So, indicator number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, threshold is 200 – today's report, 65 patients. Number two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICU’s, threshold 375 – today's report, 268. And here is the most important one, percentage of people testing citywide positive for COVID-19, threshold is 15 percent – today's report, one percent. So, again, that's the lowest we have been and that is credit to every one of you. And let's double down on that, that's how we move forward, is keeping number low.

Partnership For Parks IMP-ACT DAY

Now more than ever, we need community support to keep our parks clean, green, and vital. Join us to make an IMP-act on August 8th or apply for a matching fund grant to care for your local park. Also, check out SummerStage Anywhere for live performances and more all summer.


As the city recovers from COVID-19, emerging from the epicenter of this global pandemic, we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and a new wave of challenges. With the Parks budget cut by 14%, we need community support to ensure our parks can thrive.

We invite you to take action by joining us on It’s My Park IMP-act Day!  After a five-month suspension of It’s My Park—our signature service program engaging volunteers in local parks across the city—on Saturday, August 8th, we will welcome back dedicated community groups and new volunteers alike at beautification projects across the city, ushering in a new way of working with your community in your local greenspace safely. Find a project below.  

Can’t volunteer on August 8th? Contact us to join a project, volunteer as a group, or lead your own project as we continue to reopen It’s My Park, or find out about ways to engage with us online.



Planning for the future of your park? The Partnerships for Parks Crowdfunding Challenge provides up to $2,500 in matching funds to approved community projects that are hosted through an ioby crowdfunding campaign.

Projects benefiting an NYC green space—including parks, community gardens, street trees, and green streets—are eligible to have their ioby crowdfunding campaign matched. If approved, Partnerships for Parks contributes one dollar for every dollar raised up to $2,500. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis so apply now!



Join us for Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Anywhere, a free digital series highlighting genres that deeply represent New York City: Contemporary Dance, Global, Indie Rock, Latin, Hip Hop, and Jazz.  

From Brazilian pop star Pabllo Vittar to indie darling Waxahatchee to jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and more, join us on the SummerStage social channels (Facebook, InstagramYouTube, Twitch). Tune in for live performances, one-on-one interviews, arts programs for families, exclusive DJ sets, and more this summer! 

Partnerships for Parks is a joint program of City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks that supports and champions a growing network of leaders caring and advocating for neighborhood parks and green spaces. We equip people and organizations with the skills and tools needed to transform these spaces into dynamic community assets.

KRVC - Open Streets Sundays on Johnson Avenue!

Open Streets Sundays to Riverdale!

Join us for the first one this Sunday, August 2nd.

Email for more information

This innovative and timely New York City Program was brought to our community due to the hard work of community members, local businesses, KRVC, Community Board 8 and our dedicated local elected officials. We are looking forward to spending Sundays serving, enriching and building our special community!  

 Join us to celebrate Riverdale! 

This Sunday, August 2nd will feature live music by SinuhĂ© Padilla Isunza from 2-6pm.

SinuhĂ© is a Mexican musicologist, producer, composer, and artistic director. With more than 25 years of teaching and research experience, he's led and collaborated in multiple compelling artistic and social projects around the traditional and contemporary Afro-Amerindian music scene. A path that has allowed him to inspire and encourage community-based fandango projects in many cities including New York, Philadelphia, Barcelona, Buenos Aires,  Bello Horizonte, Montreal, Albuquerque, Miami, among others.

We will also feature local artists at this weekend's event and KRVC will be giving out free face masks.  Join us!


City restarts annual no-penalty deck, porch and retaining wall inspections

  The de Blasio Administration today announced the start of a new No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program and the return of the annual No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall Inspection Programs. These initiatives allow small business owners and homeowners to obtain free inspections of the relevant structures, without risk of penalty, to determine if they comply with City safety regulations. Rather than penalize small businesses and homeowners, these initiatives will help New Yorkers comply with the regulations and proactively maintain their properties, saving them time and money by fixing potential problems before they occur.
“Our small businesses are the core of our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That is why we want to work with them to help them keep their businesses safe, and instead of just giving them a fine or violation.”
"We want to ensure all New Yorkers' homes and businesses are safe, and that is why we are re-launching these no-penalty inspections," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. "With everything our City has gone through these last several months, we want to make sure we are helping as much as possible rather than penalizing. I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of this great program."
“Making sure your home and property are in good shape is essential to keeping your loved ones and neighbors safe,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. "Putting off needed home repairs or keeping up a sign that is out of compliance might seem harmless in the short run, but it could end up costing a lot more than you bargained for. We're pleased to offer these programs to help small businesses and property owners comply with the regulations that keep us all safe."
No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program
Beginning July 31st until September 15th, 2020, the Department of Buildings will start accepting business accessory sign inspection requests from small business owners. For the first time, DOB is offering to inspect business signage at no cost and without penalty. During the inspection, DOB's team will come out and verify that business accessory signs comply with City regulations and are safely installed. Small business owners can take advantage of these no penalty inspections and avoid issues later by bringing their signs up to code if any deficiencies are found. Those interested in the No-Penalty Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program can contact 311 to set up an appointment.
As part of a moratorium from February 9, 2019 until February 9, 2021, the Department will not issue violations for business signs that existed on or before February 9, 2019, unless the sign is not eligible for the moratorium for reasons such as being an imminent threat to public health or safety. Businesses are encouraged to contact 311 to have their signs inspected to determine whether they comply with applicable regulations before the end of this moratorium to potentially avoid receiving future violations for signs that are not in compliance. DOB will continue to respond to 311 complaints about signs to determine whether a business’ sign is compliant or eligible for this moratorium. Visit our site for more on the Business Accessory Sign Moratorium 
No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall Inspection Programs
Beginning July 31st, and also ending September 15th, homeowners and property owners can also contact 311 to request a free DOB inspection of their decks, porches, or retaining walls as part of the annual No-Penalty Deck and Porch and Retaining Wall inspection initiatives. By law, homeowners must properly maintain any deck, porch, or retaining wall on their property, and ensure that these structures comply with City regulations. Over time, weather and shifting soil can cause these household structures to deteriorate, and periodic maintenance of these structures is critical to preventing accidents. During the scheduled inspection, a Buildings inspector will look for potential dangers, such as cracking, rotting, bulging, leaning, and conditions that could lead to structural failure. 
The Department first launched the No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program in 2005 and later added the No-Penalty Deck and Porch Inspection Program in 2010. Since the start of these initiatives, the City has dealt with over 1100 properties across the five boroughs, helping to prevent structural failures and saving money for homeowners. New Yorkers concerned about the safety and stability of any of these structures in their neighborhood are also urged to contact 311 to report any unsafe conditions.
“SBS is committed to helping our small businesses get back on their feet. The Business Accessory Sign Inspection Program not only saves business owners time by providing them with the education to remain in compliance with City rules leading up to the moratorium, but it also saves them money by helping them avoid costly fines which may have resulted from non-compliance.  We look forward to working with our colleagues at the Department of Buildings on launching an initiative that puts small businesses first,” said Jonnel DorisCommissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services


New plaza seating locations opening this weekend in four boroughs

Mayor de Blasio today revealed 15 more locations for expanded weekend outdoor dining options, under an initiative that combines the popular Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs. Today’s announcement brings the citywide total to 62 participating streets.
The program expands restaurant seating options onto car-free streets on weekends for select corridors throughout the five boroughs. Most new locations will begin the evening of Friday, July 31st. In addition, Pell Street in Chinatown will add seating to the existing outdoor dining space on nearby Doyers Street, while Mott Street will become a shared street to help activate the new restaurant seating areas unveiled on Wednesday.
The City also announced new seating opening this weekend in four outer-borough pedestrian plazas. New plaza locations opening in this round – with exclusive seating, collective dining, and open public seating – include Fowler Square and Old Fulton Plaza in Brooklyn, along with Myrtle-Cooper and Douglaston in Queens.
“New Yorkers deserve more public space in our ongoing fight against COVID-19, and we’re proud to offer more places to get a safe outdoor meal on the weekends,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With two extra months of outdoor dining now approved, restaurants will have more chances than ever to get back on their feet. We’re excited to build on our popular Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs, and we look forward to expanding this idea even further.”
"As we continue to expand Open Streets: Restaurants, New Yorkers across the five boroughs will be able to enjoy these transformed streets in a safe, socially distanced manner," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. "Thanks to the tireless work from DOT, other partner agencies, local BIDS and community groups, restaurants can continue to find creative ways to serve their customers, while thousands of New Yorkers get back to work."
“The last two weekends, New Yorkers have been inspired to visit some of their favorite restaurants as they safely dine outdoors on car-free streets,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We are pleased today to welcome a diverse array of new streets and plazas — from Kingsbridge in the Bronx to Chinatown in Manhattan. Mayor de Blasio’s vision has re-imagined street space to revitalize a critical industry, and I want to thank the teams from DOT, our sister agencies, BIDs and other community groups who have worked so hard to put that vision into place. Go out and eat well!”
New locations include: 


Van Cortlandt

Development Corporation

Johnson Ave

W 235th St

W 236th St


Montague St BID

Montague St

Clinton St

Pierrepont Pl


Prospect Heights NDC

Vanderbilt Ave

Pacific St

Park Pl


Sunset Park BID

5th Ave

45th St

47th St


Bistro Les Amis

Spring St

Thompson St

W Broadway


New York Koreatown


W 32nd St

5th Ave



Gramercy Neighborhood


E 18th St

Park Ave S

Irving Pl


Zouk LTD DBA Palma

Cornelia St

Bleecker St

W 4th St


303 Canary LLC

Broome St

Forsyth St

Eldridge St


Chinatown BID/CCBA

Pell St


Mott St


Times Square Alliance

W 46th St

6th Ave

7th Ave


La Contenta

W 11th Street

5th Ave

6th Ave


il Buco

Bond St

Lafayette St



KC Gourmet Empanadas

Ave B

E 3rd St

E 4th St


Columbus Amsterdam BID

Amsterdam Ave

W 97th St

W 110th St


The first round of Open Restaurant locations, announced July 2
nd, focused on streets that were already participating in the Open Streets program, and on corridors represented by organizations that have worked with DOT on street closures in the past. The second tranche, announced July 17th, added 26 new locations. Today’s expansion comes after the Mayor announced that the City would extend in-street dining through October instead of ending it by Labor Day, giving more than 9500 participating restaurants two extra months to serve diners in safe, socially distant outdoor spaces. 
The hours of operation for this new expanded seating option for restaurants will be from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday nights, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.