Saturday, July 25, 2020

Mask and Hand Sanitizer Giveaway Monday July 27, 2020

Mask & Hand Sanitizer Giveaway
Monday, July 27 from 2pm-4pm (while supplies last)
Corner of East 233rd Street & Carpenter Avenue
• Bring Your Own (Clean) Bottle/Container •

Governor Cuomo Announces Multi-Agency Task Force Has Inspected Nearly 1,100 Bars and Restaurants for COVID-19 Violations, Leading to Dozens of Charges and Ten License Suspensions This Week

Investigators from Newly-Announced Task Force Documented 84 Violations Over Three Days

Ten Businesses' Liquor Licenses Suspended This Week, Including Six New Suspensions Announced Today

List of Bars and Restaurants Facing SLA Charges or Summary Liquor License Suspensions Can be Found HERE 

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the multi-agency task force to combat violations of coronavirus-related regulations at bars and restaurants conducted nearly 1,100 compliance checks between July 21 and July 23, documenting violations at 84 establishments. The task force is led by State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley and State Police Lieutenant Colonel Dominick Chiumento. Businesses found in violation of COVID-19 regulations face fines up to $10,000 per violation, while egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant's liquor license. This week, the SLA has summarily suspended the liquor licenses of ten establishments in New York City and on Long Island - including six in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens that were announced today.

"We are very proud of what New Yorkers did to flatten the curve of the virus, but we have to protect our progress because no one wants to do that again," Governor Cuomo said. "That's why we're watching the bar and restaurant violations and the congregations in front of these establishments, as we believe it's connected to the increased infection rate with young people. We've tasked the State Liquor Authority and the State Police to help local governments more aggressively enforce the law and they are doing just that, with dozens of violations found last night alone."  

Over the last three days, investigators from the newly-announced task force led by the State Police and SLA conducted 1,080 compliance checks across the state. During that time, the investigators documented 84 violations. Since the start of the pandemic emergency, the SLA has brought 443 charges against licensees statewide and imposed 33 Emergency Orders of Suspension, immediately closing establishments in order to protect public health and safety. A list of licensees charged, and businesses served with summary suspension orders, can be found HERE.    

The ten establishments facing emergency orders of summary suspension from the State Liquor Authority Board this week include:

"Aqua" at 2241 Washington Avenue in the Bronx, on July 24, 2020
On July 22nd, Chairman Bradley conducted a compliance check of Aqua in the Bronx and found 12 patrons consuming alcohol inside the premises -- which is currently not allowed in New York City. In addition, kitchen staff and servers were observed without facial coverings and patrons were illegally smoking hookah both inside and in front of the premises. 

"Cipriani Downtown" at 372-376 West Broadway in Manhattan, on July 23, 2020
Following numerous complaints, Chairman Bradley conducted a compliance check of "Cipriani Downtown" in Manhattan on July 21st. During the check, he observed 17 patrons drinking and standing around tables with no chairs in front of the business, most without facial coverings. The Chairman entered the premises and observed an employee behind the bar with no facial covering and four patrons purchasing alcoholic beverages at the bar, in direct violation of the Governor's EOs.

"Guaro's Tapas Bar Lounge" at 86-01 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, on July 24, 2020
During the evening of July 18th, SLA investigators observed over 20 patrons congregating in front of Guaro's Tapas Bar Lounge in Jackson Heights, Queens without facial coverings or social distancing. Shortly before midnight -- well past New York City's 11 p.m. curfew for outside service -- SLA investigators returned to find over 25 patrons in a nightclub-like atmosphere, with music blaring and patrons not wearing facial coverings or practicing social distancing. The restaurant was also using an unapproved trade name. In addition, the NYPD reports this location was found in violation of the Governor's EOs on June 26th and June 30th.

"Set L.E.S" at 127 Ludlow Street in Manhattan, on July 24, 2020
On July 23rd, Chairman Bradley conducted a compliance check of "Set L.E.S" in Manhattan, finding eight patrons drinking directly in front of the restaurant and approximately 30 patrons congregating near the premises, all without facial coverings and not practicing social distancing. The establishment was operating an obvious outdoor, self-service bar from a window -- exactly the kind of service the Executive Orders and SLA restrictions do not allow.

"Kandela" at 150-03 Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens, on July 23, 2020  
On July 16th, SLA investigators responding to numerous complaints about "Kandela" in Queens conducted a compliance check, finding loud music and dancing directly in front of the business. On follow up inspections on July 17th and July 20th, SLA investigators observed a DJ playing music outside the premises, creating a nightclub-like atmosphere where patrons were clustered, in addition to a bouncer and waitstaff serving patrons without facial coverings. The conduct observed was consistent with complaints received from neighbors. The location was also observed in the past week serving well past New York City's 11 p.m. curfew for outside service. 

"La Pollera Colorada II" at 82-13 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, on July 22, 2020
La Pollera Colorada II's non-compliance began on May 4th, when NYPD officers found patrons drinking inside the restaurant who refused to disperse. On June 17th, the SLA charged the licensee with violating the Governor's EO based on an NYPD referral that intoxicated patrons were consuming alcohol directly in front of the establishment. On June 26th, SLA investigators observed servers without facial coverings, in addition to patrons drinking and lingering in front of the business, and on July 18 -- after multiple charges and multiple warnings -- an SLA investigator observed continuing non-compliance at the location, with over 25 patrons congregating without facial coverings and without exercising social distancing.  

"Brik Bar" at 32-16 Steinway Street in Astoria, on July 20, 2020
Brik Bar is one of the worst offenders on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens, where large crowds have assembled for drinking and partying. The bar had been warned and served with SLA violations for allowing crowds to congregate and drink outside on multiple occasions in June. They were observed again in flagrant violation of the Governor's EOs this past weekend on July 16th and again on July 18th, ultimately resulting in the NYC Sheriff 's Office serving the location with a cease and desist order on outdoor service, issued by the New York City of Department of Transportation.

"Maspeth Pizza House" at 55-60 60th Street in Maspeth on July 20, 2020
Another repeat offender, Maspeth Pizza had been cited and warned on multiple occasions for serving alcohol to standing patrons who were congregating outside its location. On July 10th and 19th, SLA Investigators observed this premises continuing its unlawful service, including after the 11 p.m. curfew, with numerous patrons standing, dancing and drinking alcoholic beverages in violation of social distancing rules. Investigators also witnessed servers with no facial coverings and patrons smoking hookah, in violation of the establishment's license.

"M.I.A Made in Astoria" at 27-35 21st Street in Astoria, on July 20, 2020
In another problematic section of Astoria, M.I.A was found to be serving alcohol to dozens of patrons who were standing, drinking, and congregating -- and not dining -- well past the 11 p.m. NYC curfew for outside dining.   M.I.A. had previously been cited and warned for earlier violations of the Governor's Executive Orders.

"Secrets Gentleman's Club" at 3A Saxwood Street in Deer Park, on July 20, 2020
On July 17th, investigators with the SLA and Suffolk County Police Department conducted an undercover inspection of Secrets Gentleman's Club in Deer Park. The detail observed employees and patrons inside the premises without facial coverings, including dancers performing while sharing the same stage pole and giving lap dances in violation of the Governor's EOs and SLA Guidelines.  When the owner was confronted by an SLA investigator about the problematic conduct, he claimed it must have started without his knowledge after he had left -- unaware that he had already been caught on videotape buying drinks for the undercover agents and bragging about getting away with violating the Executive Orders.

On July 23rd Governor Cuomo announced the creation of a multi-agency task force to crack down on violations of regulations meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 at restaurants and bars across the state. New York State Police and SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley will lead the effort, employing real time data to enhance enforcement efforts by rapidly deploying investigators to respond to dangerous social distancing violations as they happen. The Task Force will include investigators from the Department of Health, Department of Financial Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Taxation and Finance, the New York State Insurance Fund and the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Governor Cuomo Announces Start of Construction on Major Project to Renovate and Replace Bridges in Westchester County

Flood Mitigation Will Enhance Safety and Improve Resiliency

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction has begun on a major, multi-faceted project in Westchester County to replace four bridges, renovate another, and convert a large culvert into a small bridge. The project, which includes drainage improvements and the reconstruction of roadways prone to flooding, will enhance safety and improve the region's resiliency during storm events.

"This project will ease travel and enhance safety in one of the Hudson's Valley's busiest corridors, while addressing the chronic flooding that has tormented drivers in the area for decades," Governor Cuomo said. "We are committed to building a transportation network that meets the demands of the 21st Century, facilitating economic growth and improving quality of life, and these projects will significantly advance our efforts."

The New York State Department of Transportation is replacing two bridges and a large culvert at East Lincoln Avenue over the Hutchinson River Parkway and Hutchinson River between Pelham and Mount Vernon, as well as two bridges on the Saw Mill River Parkway over Saw Mill River in Pleasantville. A bridge on U.S. Route 1 over Mamaroneck River in Mamaroneck is being upgraded.
The project also will reconstruct bridge approaches and nearby highway intersections, enhance pedestrian safety by upgrading sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks and pedestrian signals to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, modernize traffic signal operations with new coordinated and interconnected signals, and install new barriers and bridge railings.   
During construction of the East Lincoln Avenue bridge, traffic will be maintained on a temporary bridge to be installed this summer. To withstand 50-year storm events, the Hutchinson River Parkway stormwater system will be replaced and flood walls will be installed, along with a bypass culvert to convey precipitation from large storm events directly into Pelham Lake.

The new bridges on the Saw Mill River Parkway over the Saw Mill River will be elevated to meet 100-year flood projections. A 1.3-mile stretch of newly constructed roadway will be stabilized to divert water from the road and mitigate settling. During construction, lane closures will be required on the Parkway.

The U.S. Route 1 stone arch bridge over the Mamaroneck River in Mamaroneck will be reinforced and strengthened with a steel liner installed underneath the bridge. The structure supporting part of Harbor Island Park at the southeast corner of U.S. Route 1 and Mamaroneck Avenue will be removed and replaced. The park will be reconstructed. Two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained throughout construction.

Field preparation, surveying and utility work will be underway this summer, with project construction beginning in the fall. The $115 million project is scheduled for completion in fall 2022.  

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Governor Cuomo is making unprecedented investments in transportation infrastructure across New York State, including strengthening and modernizing our bridges and highways to enhance mobility and support commerce into the 21st century. Replacing and updating these bridges in Westchester County will help reduce highway flooding and the congestion and inconvenience it causes, easing travel, ensuring reliability and improving the quality of life for decades to come."


City announces new Open Streets while removing some locations in coordination with community partners and local elected officials

 Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced Play Streets, a new initiative to provide families with safe, structured activities on 12 Open Streets during weekdays, in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund, Building Healthy Communities and the Police Athletic League. The Administration is also continuing the expansion of its nation-leading Open Streets programmoving the City further toward the goal of 100 miles laid out in late April, while removing some underused locations in coordination with local elected officials and community partners.
“Young people deserve the chance to play freely in their neighborhoods while staying safe from COVID-19, and Play Streets will go a long way toward easing the burden of a summer unlike any other,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Rebuilding a fairer and better city means using our urban landscape creatively, and I’m proud to build on the success of our Open Streets program by finding exciting and productive uses for city streets.”
At Play Streets locations, children will participate in independent crafting and art projects that include making kaleidoscopes, birdhouses, rhythm drums, and cloud climbers. Giant board games such as Connect 4 and Jenga will also be available. Sports drills will include basketball, frisbee, softball, Wiffle ball, kickball, and laser tag. Reading corners, dance classes, cardio and yoga exercises will also be provided. Street Lab, an NYC-based nonprofit that creates outdoor furniture and programming for public space, is providing 160 custom benches, and a new no-touch obstacle course called PLAY NYC. All programming is creatively designed to meet social distancing guidelines.
“As Open Streets continues to grow, providing New Yorkers with space to walk, bike, cool off, and enjoy outdoor dining, we are now proud to roll out Play Streets for children and their families in some of the City’s most COVID-impacted neighborhoods,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and to our Play Streets partners, including the Fresh Air Fund, Building Healthy Communities, the Police Athletic League and the Central Family Life Center.”
“Streets are meant to connect people to each other. The expansion of Open Streets demonstrates how we can continue to reimagine and transform our roads to better serve New Yorkers, keep our air cleaner with less polluting vehicles, and stay safer during the summer heat waves,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “The program announced today allows our young people to reengage the outdoors, their neighborhoods, and their communities.”
“The global pandemic has hit working families of color disproportionately hard, and our kids still need safe, active spaces for play within their communities,” said Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety Executive Director Renita Francois. “We’re grateful to Mayor de Blasio, the Department of Transportation, the Police Athletic League, and the Fresh Air Fund for their partnership in opening our streets for young New Yorkers to enjoy their neighborhoods this summer.”
Play Streets locations will launch on a rolling basis beginning next week and will operate Monday through Friday through September 4th. Hours vary by location, but will generally be from 10 AM to 5 PM and include streets adjacent to NYCHA developments as part of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Vehicles are not permitted to enter the streets during the hours of the full street closure. Organizing Partners will be responsible for setting up barricades and posting signage, as well as restoring the Open Street condition at the end of their programming. They will also post No Parking signage with days and times ahead of starting their activations.   
Play Streets locations include:
NeighborhoodBoroStreetFromToPartnerStart DateEnd DateDaysTimes
Sunset ParkBK6th Ave44th St45th StFresh Air Fund8/5/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
Crown HeightsBKPark PlNew York AveKingston AveFresh Air Fund8/3/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
BrownsvilleBKBlake AvePowell StMother Gaston BlvdPAL7/27/209/4/20M,T,W,Th12pm - 5pm
BushwickBKHumboldt StMoore StVaret StPAL7/27/209/4/20M,T,W,Th12pm - 5pm
Quarry Ballfields/BelmontBXOak Tree PlHughes AveQuarry RdFresh Air Fund8/3/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
Mt. Eden / HighbridgeBXCromwell AveMcClellan StJerome AveFresh Air Fund8/3/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
HarlemMN150th StSt. Nicholas PlEdgecombe AveFresh Air Fund8/5/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
HarlemMN129th StAdam Clayton Powell BlvdFrederick Douglas BlvdPAL7/27/209/4/20M,T,W,Th12pm - 5pm
Jackson Heights/CoronaQN34th Ave72nd St74th StFresh Air Fund7/30/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
Jackson Heights/CoronaQN34th Ave79th St80th StFresh Air Fund7/30/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
Jackson Heights/CoronaQN34th Ave92nd St94th StFresh Air Fund7/30/209/4/20M,T,W,Th10am -4pm
StapletonSIWright StCanal StThompson StThe Central Family Life Center8/7/209/4/20F12pm -4pm
Open Streets will be added in:
Local Partner Management
Good Shepherd ServicesBKWolcott StConover StVan Brunt St0.09
700 Jefferson Avenue Block AssociationBKJefferson AvePatchen AveMalcolm X Blvd0.15
Judson Memorial ChurchMNThompson StreetWest 3rd StWashington Sq South0.05
LES BIDMNBroome StAllen StLudlow St0.06
31st Ave Open Street CollectiveQN31st Ave31st St36th St0.25
RockroseQNDutch KillsJackson AveSunnyside Yards0.09
39th Ave Open Street CoalitionQN47th St39th AveSkillman Ave0.19
39th Ave Open Street CoalitionQN49th St39th AveSkillman Ave0.19
Streets LabSIWright StCanal StThompson St0.04
Local Precinct Management
ClaremontBX169th St3rd AveWebster Ave0.19
West VillageMNJane StHudson St8th Ave0.07
UESMNEast 90th St5th AveMadison Ave0.10
Port RichmondSIHenderson AveBroadwayAlaska St0.16
Port RichmondSINew StCottage PlJewett Ave0.09
The following streets will be removed from the Open Streets program, and returned to normal vehicle traffic:
BXLouis Nine BlvdIntervale AveSouthern Blvd0.13
BKProspect Park WestGarfield Pl3rd St0.15
BKParkside AvePark CircleOcean Ave0.56
BKEast 7th StreetCaton StDitmas Ave0.78
MN29th StBroadwayMadison Ave0.19
QNCenter Blvd57th AveBorden Ave0.23
QN27 St43rd AveQueens Plaza North0.16
QN85 St25th Ave30th Ave0.13
Under Open Streets, pedestrians and cyclists are free to use the roadbed of each street. No through traffic is permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service, utility, and emergency vehicles only. Such drivers are alerted to be hyper-vigilant and to drive at 5 MPH along these routes. Regular Open Streets operate from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, with timing varying slightly depending on staff availability. 
If you have questions about Open Streets or would like to request an Open Street in your community, please contact your NYC DOT Borough Commissioner's office.
“Children in New York City need to be able to play outside in safe spaces now more than ever. The Fresh Air Fund is excited to serve children citywide as part of the new Open Streets: Play Streets program,” said Fatima Shama, executive director of The Fresh Air Fund.  “On open streets across the city, Fresh Air Summer Spaces will provide opportunities for art, movement and recreation activities that will have children engaged within their communities, following all physical-distancing guidelines, and experiencing some of the joys of summer amid these challenging times.”
“This is a unique moment to stand up for NYC kids, giving them a place to play and learn, while also expanding our city’s sense of what’s possible for streets and public space,” said Leslie Davol, Executive Director of Street Lab. “We’re all in, and we’re proud to play a role in supporting play streets.”
“The Police Athletic League is grateful for the City's support in allowing us to provide safe recreational activities for youth this summer.  PAL feels it is important to provide safe recreational options for young people, and our Play Street model allows us to do that. Health and safety for our participants and staff is our highest priority. We are looking forward to serving young people this summer,” said Frederick J. Watts, Executive Director of the Police Athletic League.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Nayor de Blasio Daily Update July 24, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Well, I want to talk to you about a couple of quick updates today, but I especially want to focus on our young people. The kids in this city have been through so much in the last few months, and I've talked about it a lot, because I think it's something we really need to focus on. Every one of us has dealt with the strain of this crisis, but our young people, imagine, for so many of them, trying to make sense of this, dealing with a lot of pain around them. The reality of being cooped up, not getting to see their friends, so many challenges – but look, there's some good news starting to emerge here, because with every step we take forward, we're able to open up more and more opportunity for our young people. You go back to March and April, things were very dire. We didn't know what we'd be able to do this summer, but because we've made so much progress, thanks to all of you, we're now able to do a lot more to engage our young people positively and productively this summer and, of course, beyond. So, I want to talk about that. I want to talk about the ways we're going to help them not only have a fun summer, but also have a summer where they grow and they develop and they prepare for their futures.

But before I do that – first, something we should all be celebrating, because this is another sign of rebirth and renewal, opening day of baseball. For so many of us, this is one of the great symbols each year that tells us, you know, good things are ahead – little delayed this time, but, you know, it did happen and I think it's a blessing. For all of you, whether you're a baseball fan or not – I'm a huge baseball fan, but even if you're not, it's something to celebrate. So, congratulations to the New York Yankees, winning their first game of the season. And Dr. Fauci was there, and I want to really celebrate him – a great new Yorker, a great Brooklynite. Look at that, I think he's 79 years old – good form there, Dr. Fauci, that looks pretty good. So, what a great moment for New York City to see a New Yorker celebrated there and the first game of the season in this way and how much he has done for us. It's been absolutely amazing. Well, today, opening day here in New York City. Dr. Fauci thew out that pitch in Washington, but today it's opening day in New York City. Four o'clock at Citi Field, the New York Mets take the field. And yeah, it'll be different – there won't be fans in the stands, it'll feel a little weird, but still what a wonderful thing. And I'm wishing a great season for the Mets as well. And this is something we can really feel good about as New Yorkers, baseball is back.

So, now, let's go back to our young people. And you know, sports is going to be a part of their summer again, because, finally, we're able to open stuff up, and the things that we do to support our young people, like we know baseball is a great tradition. Another tradition in this city is that every summer we do a lot to help our young people have a better summer and to support them. Summer Youth Employment, a longstanding tradition in this city that's done a lot of good for so many tens of thousands of kids each year. This year, the Summer Bridge program, a specially designed program for the reality that we're dealing with now – it begins on Monday, and 35,000 teens and young adults will benefit. And then, they’ll get the kind of support and training that's going to help them with their future. So, this is great for them now, but also for what it means for where they're going. The young people who will be part of this program, they'll be building career skills, there'll be a part of workshops. They'll really be learning and they'll get compensation to help them and to help their families in the middle of everything we're dealing with. A lot of the young people come from public housing, a lot were referred by social service organizations. These are kids who need the most support and the most help, and they're going to get it through the Summer Bridge program.

Now, another great thing – play streets. You know, when you think about all the things that kids have been through, and, again, not being able to get as much physical activity and play, not being able to see their friends as much, a lot of things have been on hold. Well, we're going to open up something – again, a good New York City tradition that has been so great for kids – Play Streets coming back. And that is going to be an important step forward for kids and families to have something to enjoy. We're also going to be opening up 1.5 additional miles of Open Streets, which have been something great for our communities as well. So, more and more opportunities for kids to engage. And on the Play Streets program, the Open Streets with kids, what we're talking about is having a lot of specific things for them to do – arts and crafts, and sports activities, reading corners, dance classes, everything done the smart way. And here's an example, that, that you see on the screen is a touchless obstacle course. So, that's an obstacle course for the age of COVID, but it's still going to give kids a lot of fun and a lot of exercise, and it's going to be great for them.

So, this is the reality of today, but we're going to make it work. We're going to make it work with the right face coverings, social businesses, all the things that we need to do while still giving kids a really rewarding experience. Now, a lot of great activities as you see there. We're going to do them a little bit differently in many ways, but still so many great activities for kids. And I want to thank the partners who would be running these streets for us and providing these great activities for the kids. Street Lab, thank you; Fresh Air Fund, thank you; and the Police Athletic League, thank you. Great activities coming this summer for our kids.

Now, a small, but important matter – I bring it up regularly – and this is an announcement that's actually going to have longer ramifications. Many, many New Yorkers care deeply about alternate side parking because it affects so many people's every-day lives. So, first, for next week, alternate side parking will be suspended next week through Sunday, August 2nd. So, no, alternate side parking anywhere next week. But then, after that, starting Monday, August 3rd, we're going to resume alternate side parking on an ongoing basis. So, we're going to take another step towards something a little more normal, go back to having alternate side parking on a regular basis. That will go all the way from Monday, August 3rd to Saturday, September 5th – the Saturday right before Labor Day. So, for the whole month of August, and the beginning of September, alternate side, parking back the way it was, but with an important change that we're now saying, if you're on one of those streets that has multiple times a week that you have to move your car on your side of the street, we want to address that issue, make it easier for you, make it clear you can only do that one time a week, going forward, and you do that on the last day. We're going to get a lot more information out. But, again, if you're on a street that you have to park your car or honor alternate side multiple times during the week on your side of the street, it will be during this period for this next month only once per week and it will be the last day noted on your side of the street. We'll get a lot more information out on it. And this is – again, why do we do alternate side parking? We do it to be able to clean the curbs, keep our streets clean, keep our sidewalks clean, keep our communities clean. So, we're going back to it, but we're going to try and do it in a way that makes sense and makes it easier for the people of this city.

Now, everybody, I want to tell you, in the midst of this crisis, so many people have been helping out New York City. It's really wonderful. It's really powerful to see. And I want to always give thanks to folks – a particular thanks today to Bank of America that donated $250,000 to provide 100 high school students with college and career readiness and paid internships in the fall. So, this is the kind of thing we want to see our colleagues in the business sector do more and more of, support our young people. Here's a tangible way of doing it. So, thanks to everyone at Bank of America. And then, just want to note some other donors who have been really great and generous. One is a proud New York City public school graduate – his name is Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott. You may not know that name, but you may know the name of the rapper, Joey Bada$$. So, that's who actually made the donation. We are so appreciative for that. And it's great to see a New York City kid, remember his city and give back. Crown Castle, Meevo, and Jessica Seinfeld and the Good Plus Foundation all have made generous donations. So, again, so many people helping out – always like to show our appreciation for the people helping New York City come back.

Now, let's do the indicators. And let me tell you, a lot to be proud of again today. So, this is such an example of what New Yorkers have achieved together. Day after day, we see this progress. So, daily indicator number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for a suspected COVID-19, threshold is 200 patients – today's report, 72. Indicator number two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICU’s threshold 375 – today's report, 295. And percentage of people testing citywide who are positive for COVID-19, threshold 15 percent – today, once again, two percent. That's very extraordinarily consistent. Let's keep it that way and let's see if we can go even farther together.


The New York State Legislature passed two bills this week which would create an automatic voter registration system in New York State and would make technical changes to the independent redistricting process scheduled for 2022.

  Amidst the flurry of legislation that passed this week, there are two bills which have gathered acute interest from electoral reform advocates. One bill would create an automatic voter registration system in New York State beginning in 2023, something that advocates have been particularly excited about after a typographical error in the State Senate version of the bill derailed its passage in 2019. Another bill would make technical corrections to the independent redistricting process slated to take place before the 2022 election cycle, including the removal of a provision that would have allowed the redistricting commission rules to be changed midway through the process based on who wins majority control in each legislative chamber.

The automatic voter registration bill would require participating agencies including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Health, Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Department of Labor, NYCHA, and Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities to register people with the Board of Elections who are otherwise eligible to vote in New York State unless the person opts out of the voter registration process. People who do not opt out would also be given the choice whether to enroll in a political party both at the time of automatic voter registration as well as in two subsequent mailers and informed that if they decline to register in a party that they will not be able to participate in primary elections for that party.

This legislation was poised to pass in 2019 until the State Senate passed a version of the bill that would have inadvertently required undocumented immigrants to either disclose their immigration status or improperly submit a voter registration form. That error was corrected in the bill that passed this week.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “Automatic voter registration is a common sense solution to increase voter participation. We should be making it as easy as possible to cast a ballot, and our state agencies are already collecting much of the information required to register to vote. Furthermore, I am pleased with the requirement for party enrollment notification. In some districts, including most of New York City, the winner of a party primary is the de facto winner of the general election due to significant skews in party enrollment statistics. If a resident of one of these districts wants to give up their voice in choosing their representative, that is there prerogative but it should be a decision that was made with intention and not out of ignorance. I am optimistic that the Governor will sign this bill into law and I look forward to a future with higher voter participation.”

The legislation to change the redistricting process is a state constitutional amendment, so it will have to pass once more in 2021 and then be ratified by statewide popular vote in the November 2021 general election. The bill was developed following a joint public hearing on legislative redistricting that identified several flaws with current constitutional provisions and addresses concerns that have recently arisen regarding federal attempts to exclude undocumented immigrants from census population counts for the purposes of legislative districts.

Under the proposed state constitutional amendment, all undocumented immigrants and non-taxed indigenous people would be required to count for the purposes of redistricting (which the Assembly has done for the last three redistricting cycles already). The amendment would clarify that incarcerated persons would be counted at their last place of residence (which is already done in New York State) even if the census fails to identify them. It would also eliminate a formula to determine the number of State Senators in New York State and replace it with a permanent cap of 63. The amendment would adjust the deadlines set by the 2014 constitutional amendment which were established around a September primary date (New York State subsequently moved state and Congressional primaries to June).

Most controversially, the amendment changes internal voting requirements of the redistricting commission which currently depend on which party controls each house. As constructed, a redistricting proposal would have to have the consent of minority parties in both chambers which creates an ability for political parties who were rejected by voters for majority control to have outsize influence on the redistricting process. Under the proposal, a plan would require seven of ten votes (regardless of who appointed the relevant commissioner) to send a plan to the legislature, with a provision that if no plan receives seven votes by a certain date that the commission would submit the plan that received the highest number of votes. The proposal would retain provisions of the 2014 amendment that require a simple majority vote of the legislature if the redistricting plan receives seven of ten votes by the commission or a sixty percent vote of the legislature if the plan receives less than seven votes.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz added: “The existing law on independent redistricting gave outsize veto power to a small group of elected officials who failed to win the approval of voters in New York State. Furthermore, it allowed the rules of the process to be changed midway through depending on who wins more elections. New Yorkers are marching in the streets for equality, and it is unconscionable to allow the tyranny of the minority to threaten the representation of districts.”

Representative Adriano Espaillat Statement on the Inwood Rezoning Appeals Decision

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat issued the following statement in response to the court decision to allow the rezoning of the Inwood neighborhood within New York’s 13th congressional district to proceed.

“Affordable housing and protecting the availability of affordable housing for residents is a cornerstone of our community,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “I am deeply disappointed and concerned by yesterday's ruling to allow for the rezoning of Inwood following our years long efforts to ensure affordable housing for residents. The affects of this week’s decision will be felt throughout our city and will particularly hit communities of color the hardest. It is my hope that the appeal of this decision be allowed to continue to the highest court in the state.”