Saturday, September 12, 2020

Bridgeport Police Chief And Personnel Director Charged With Fraud, False Statements In Connection With City’s Hiring Of The Police Chief


Defendants Alleged to Have Rigged Police Chief Exam, Misappropriated City’s Confidential Information

  Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, and David Sundberg, Special Agent-in-Charge, New Haven Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the arrest of ARMANDO J. PEREZ, the Chief of Police of the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut (the “City”), and DAVID DUNN, the City’s acting personnel director, for defrauding the City by rigging the 2018 police chief examination, mandated by the City’s Charter, to ensure PEREZ would be selected for the position.  PEREZ and DUNN were also charged with making false statements to federal agents in the course of the investigation.  Both defendants are expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport federal court this afternoon.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, Chief Perez and Personnel Director Dunn schemed to rig the purportedly impartial and objective search for a permanent police chief to ensure the position was awarded to Perez, and then repeatedly lied to federal agents in order to conceal their conduct.  Bridgeport’s citizens and police officers deserve leaders with integrity who are committed to enforcing, not breaking, the law, and we thank the FBI for their partnership in investigating and uncovering the scheme alleged.”   

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge David Sundberg said:  “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the members of the United States Attorney’s Offices in both the Southern District of New York as well as Connecticut for their professionalism and invaluable assistance in this case. Today’s arrest of city officials including a high ranking, long-time law enforcement officer is a stark reminder that the betrayal of public trust and community members by a public servant is not only unethical but often illegal. We recognize these arrests are not a reflection on the Bridgeport Police Department as a whole, but it is our responsibility to root out injustice and corruption by any and all elected and appointed officials entrusted to protect and serve with honor. We at the FBI will continue to aggressively pursue all those engaged in matters of public corruption throughout Connecticut.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint unsealed upon the defendants’ arrest, and publicly available information:[1]

The Scheme to Rig the City of Bridgeport’s Police Chief Exam

The charges alleged in the Complaint arise from a criminal scheme to rig the City’s search for a new Bridgeport Police Department (“BPD”) chief in 2018.  During the course of this scheme, PEREZ – who was serving as the acting BPD chief at the time – conspired with DUNN, who is and was at that time the City’s acting personnel director, to deceive the City by secretly rigging the supposedly independent search process for a new BPD chief to ensure that PEREZ was ranked as one of the top three candidates and could therefore be awarded a five-year contract to serve as the BPD chief.

More specifically, in or about February 2018, the City commenced a search to fill the position of permanent Chief of Police.  Under the City’s Charter, the City was required to conduct an “open and competitive examination” to determine the top three scoring candidates for the position, from which the mayor could then choose.  DUNN, in his role as the personnel director, oversaw the police chief examination process, and retained an outside consultant (“Consultant-1”) to assist with developing and carrying out the exam.  DUNN and PEREZ then manipulated that examination process in multiple ways:  DUNN stole confidential examination questions and related information developed by Consultant-1, and provided those materials to PEREZ, including by email; DUNN had Consultant-1 tailor the examination scoring criteria to favor PEREZ; PEREZ enlisted two BPD officers to secretly draft and write PEREZ’s written exam; and DUNN attempted to influence a panelist, tasked with ranking the candidates in the last stage of the exam, to ensure that PEREZ was scored as one of the top three candidates. 

As a result of the scheme, the City was deceived into ranking PEREZ among the top three candidates, which rendered him eligible for the permanent police chief position.  The mayor ultimately offered the position to PEREZ, and the City, under the assurance that PEREZ had been appointed in accordance with the City Charter, entered into a five-year contract with PEREZ, the terms of which included a payout of more than $300,000 to PEREZ for accrued leave.

False Statements by PEREZ and DUNN

PEREZ and DUNN were each voluntarily interviewed in connection with the FBI’s investigation.  In an attempt to conceal their conduct, during those interviews they both lied to FBI agents about facts material to the criminal investigation.  PEREZ provided false and misleading information about the assistance DUNN and others had provided him in connection with the examination process, including his requests to a BPD officer to sneak into headquarters to retrieve stolen confidential information provided by DUNN.  DUNN falsely denied requesting an exam panelist ensure that PEREZ was scored as one of the top three candidates.

PEREZ, 64, of Trumbull, Connecticut, and DUNN, 72, of Stratford, Connecticut, are each charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. PEREZ is also charged with two counts of false statements to federal investigators, and DUNN is charged with one count of false statements to federal investigators, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of the FBI and the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitutes only allegations, and every fact described therein should be treated as an allegation.

Attorney General Letitia James Obtains Refunds for Consumers Who Purchased Simply Certificates Gift Cards

For Over Two Years, Simply Certificates Sold Illegal Gift Certificates to Western New Yorkers

 Attorney General James secured refunds for New Yorkers who had purchased gift cards that expired earlier than legally permitted. The court order resolves a lawsuit filed earlier this year in Erie County against gift card company “Simply Certificates,” which profited by selling gift cards to consumers with illegal expiration dates. New Yorkers purchased gift cards from Simply Certificates that expired one year from the purchase date, in violation of New York state law that requires a 5-year period before a gift card can expire.

“At a time when so many are hurting financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, this will put money back in the pockets of New Yorkers,” said Attorney General James.“The greedy practices of Simply Certificates are simply unacceptable and illegal. Let this serve as a warning to any company that seeks to steal from New Yorkers: We will hold you accountable.” 

Consumers were also charged reissuance fees for expired gift cards — terms which were not disclosed to the consumer at the time of purchase. Simply Certificates has agreed to offer eligible consumers the ability to get a refund or exchange their certificate via mail, free of charge. Additionally, they are also required to pay a penalty of $10,000 to the state of New York.

Eligible consumers must have purchased a certificate any time between December 25, 2016 and August 4, 2020. Consumers may request an exchange at any time, but those seeking a refund must submit their refund request by December 31, 2020. Those that are eligible can access further instructions on Simply Certificates’ website, where a form can be accessed to begin the process of receiving an exchange or a refund.



Schumer, Gillibrand Say Federal $$ Awarded To Albany, Herkimer, Niagara, Erie, Cattaraugus, And Steuben Counties Will Invest in Economic Revitalization of Counties 

Senators: EDA Funding Will Help Upstate NY Small Businesses Recover

  U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced federal funding totaling $19,135,194 allocated by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for Albany, Herkimer, Niagara, Erie, Cattaraugus, and Steuben Counties. This funding will help capitalize a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) for counties to provide assistance to small business and entrepreneurs impacted by the pandemic, with additional funding to cover administrative costs for deploying that business assistance.

“In these trying and unprecedented times, the federal government should do everything in its power to support our small businesses and put local economies on track to recovery and that is why I insisted this EDA funding be included in the CARES Act Congress passed to deal with COVID-19,” said Senator Schumer. “This federal funding will begin that process by helping small businesses and entrepreneurs in Upstate New York weather this crisis and help the economy bounce back. I will continue to fight and make sure that small businesses and local New York economies have the tools and support they need to rebuild from this crisis.”

“Communities across New York are hurting from the devastating economic impact of the ongoing pandemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This critical federal funding will help Upstate New York recover from the pandemic’s economic disruptions, and will ensure local businesses have the tools needed drive growth and create meaningful jobs. I will keep fighting in the Senate for the resources needed to stimulate the economy and ensure New York communities are stronger than ever before.”

Specifically, Albany County Business Development Corporation will receive $8,755,500, Mohawk Valley Economic Development District in Herkimer County will receive $3,014,000, Niagara County Industrial Development Authority will receive $737,000, Erie County Industrial Development Agency will receive $5,415,694, Southern Tier Enterprise Development Organization in Cattaraugus County will receive $660,000, and Regional Economic Development & Energy Corporation will receive $550,000.

Schumer played an integral role in the Senate to negotiate EDA funding for economic development assistance programs into the CARES Act to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID crisis.

Governor Cuomo Announces 35th Straight Day with COVID-19 Infection Rate Below 1 Percent


0.98 Percent of Yesterday's COVID-19 Tests were Positive

5 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

SLA and State Police Task Force Visits 1,380 Establishments; Observes 7 Establishments Not in Compliance

Confirms 880 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 442,791; New Cases in 48 Counties

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 35th straight day that New York State's COVID-19 infection rate has been below 1 percent. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at

"New York's ability to beat back COVID-19 and slow the spread depends on what we do. That's why it's so important to wear a mask, socially distance and wash your hands, and why local governments are critical partners in enforcing state guidance," Governor Cuomo said. "When informed citizens stay safe and play by the rules, 35 straight days with an infection rate below 1 percent is what you get. Now we have to stay New York Tough and maintain a vigilant attitude so we don't go back to the hell we experienced."

Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 1,380 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed 7 establishments that were not in compliance with state requirements. A county breakdown of yesterday's observed violations is below:

  • Manhattan - 1
  • Nassau - 1
  • Suffolk - 5

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization - 474 (-8)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 68
  • Hospital Counties - 32
  • Number ICU - 120 (+0)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 54 (-1)
  • Total Discharges - 75,649 (+65)
  • Deaths - 5
  • Total Deaths - 25,382

Friday, September 11, 2020

District 13 Clean Up 9/17 and Food, Face Mask, and Hand Sanitizer Giveaway 9/15


Bronx Jewish Community Council - Pelham Parkway Jewish Community Needs Your Help


The hard pressed remaining synagogues in the 
Pelham Parkway neighborhood are facing
unprecedented challenges in reopening for 
High Holiday services.

Some need to rent space because their existing
sanctuaries are too small to accommodate synagogue
services while enforcing Social Distancing rules.
All need to do greater measures of cleaning and
disinfecting. Masks and hand sanitizers have to be 
readily available. 

The synagogues have all appealed to the Council for help in meeting 
these needs. Our goal is to have $7200 available for these 
new emergency costs.

Please help us meet our goal.

Please put Pelham Parkway in dedication



  Bronx Jewish Community Council

2930 Wallace AvenueBronx, NY 10467



Open Streets: Restaurants initiative is now on 87 streets citywide each weekend, joining more than 10,000 participating Open Restaurants

  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced seven new locations for car-free weekend outdoor dining as part of a City initiative that combines the Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs. The “Open Streets: Restaurants” program expands socially distant seating options onto car-free streets along select corridors throughout the weekends. Today's additions bring the citywide total to 87 participating streets, along with nine pedestrian plazas.
“As we prepare for the return of indoor dining on September 30th, we’re proud to continue supporting businesses by expanding car-free outdoor dining in neighborhoods across the city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Open Restaurants has been a popular program from the beginning, and Open Streets: Restaurants has expanded options even further while changing the way we think about our streets. We look forward to continuing to expand it.”
“In just over three months, our Open Restaurants initiative has saved more than 90,000 jobs, with more than 10,000 businesses now participating across the five boroughs, and this weekend new car-free locations are coming to more neighborhoods – including New Dorp on Staten Island, Williamsburg and the Lower East Side,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Mayor de Blasio’s vision and the dedication of our agency and community partners have transformed the cityscape, allowing us to use street space and pedestrian plazas to strengthen our local economy and quality of life during the COVID-19 crisis.” 
Most of the new locations will begin weekend closures the evening Friday, September 11th. Earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio announced that the partner organizations managing these streets can also apply for hours of weekday street closures. As of last week, the Open Restaurants initiative, which began in June, now has over 10,000 participating businesses.
New Open Streets: Restaurants Locations:
Organization            On street       From Street    To Street         Borough        
Gerlie                       Grand St.       Marcy Ave.     Roebling St.        BK
Restaurant LLC

KioRestaurant        Duane St.       Hudson St.      West Bway.         MN
LLC(dba Khe-Yo)

Restaurant              Reade St.       West Bway.     Greenwich St.     MN
Marc Forgione

Ray's Bar           Rivington St.      Chrystie St.     Bowery               MN

St. Marks           St. Marks Pl.       1st. Ave.           Ave. A                MN
Business Center

Times Square        W.47th St.        Broadway        8th Ave.             MN

New Dorp BID       9th St.           New Dorp Ln.   Rose Ave            SI

The hours of operation for Open Streets: Restaurants corridors are generally from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday nights, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Some hours will vary by location. 

Parkchester - "Healthy Lifestyle Day" inauguration


"Healthy Lifestyle Day" inauguration

"Healthy Lifestyle Day" inauguration
Healthy Lifestyle Day/Lifestyle Lifespan/Healthy Lifestyle campaign

Never Forget.


Pin on Come Fly with Me

Mayor de Blasio on the State of the City and COVID-19 numbers 9, 10, 2020


 Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. You know, this month, September 2020, is shaping up to be one of the most important in the City's history. So much is going to happen this month that's going to say so much about our future, and we're going to be talking throughout the month of September about what New Yorkers are doing to help this city move forward and what we need to do to keep moving forward. There's a lot to focus on, but before we talk about the present and the future, let's take a moment to think about our past. Tomorrow, an anniversary that every year we feel so deeply on September 11th. For so many of us, it is a very personal moment. For so many of us, it brings back the deepest feelings – what we felt that moment, what we felt that day. And it particularly brings back the memories of those we lost. So many New Yorkers, have a family member, a friend, a colleague, someone in their life they lost. So many New Yorkers come to know the stories of the heroes who served us that day so selflessly and so many who have been lost even since then from the work they did that day, and in the rescue and recovery efforts. This is an anniversary that brings out so much feeling, and, of course, there's a lot of pain, but I hope people every year – and I hope tomorrow you will feel this as well – remember the heroism of not just our first responders, but every-day New Yorkers as well. The compassion, the strength, the resiliency this city showed in our most difficult moment. We will always remember the men and women who served us. We’ll always remember the first responders. They are the best of us. But we also have to remember how this city showed the whole world the strength, the meaning of New York City – each person there for the other, no matter who they were or where they came from – people united to see our community forward. And that spirit can never be forgotten.


So, tomorrow. we mourn again. We honor those we lost, their greatness. We miss them, but we take inspiration from them as we move forward. And on that horrible day, we never could have imagined this moment in history. But I think those heroes we lost would tell us to, once again, believe in New York City, believe in each other and move forward. So, God blessed them all. And to all the families grieving again, as we approach this memorial, God bless you.


Well, as I said, this month – now, in 2020, this month will be so important to everything that happens in the future of this city, because we are talking about the beginning of our rebirth. That's what September 2020 will be. We're coming off the summer. Kids are coming back to school. Businesses are reopening. We're fighting back the coronavirus. We are leading the nation in showing that we can get it right. So, there's so much we have to do right now, but there's also something going on in this month that will determine much of the future of our city. And it still doesn't get all the attention it deserves, but it literally will determine so much of what happens over the next decade in this city, and that is the census – 20 days to go, less than three weeks to go. Again, I don't blame a single person who says, what does the census mean to me?

Why is it such a big deal? It's abstract to say the least, but here's, again, why it matters. The census, it's in the United States Constitution. The founding fathers understood the importance of this – it will determine how much representation we get in Washington, and we know that means decisions will be made that will affect every single one of us for years and years ahead, based on how much representation we have and billions – hundreds of billions of dollars of funding get determined according to the census. And if New York City is accurately represented in the census, we get our fair share. And if we're not accurately represented, we lose a huge amount of money. And don't just think about that in terms of a budget, think about that money for your kid's school, for your subway ride to make it better, for affordable housing, your family needs. If we don't have that money, it doesn't happen the way it should. If we have it, we can do so much, but it all depends on the census, and only 20 days left.


Now, where do we stand? As you can see, we've made some progress and our census team is doing a fantastic job going out to the people this city, but we're still behind the national average. And that's what matters here, how we compare to every place else. So, right now, as of the 9th, our response rate – 58.9 percent. Now, the national rate is 65.5 percent. We have to do everything we can to catch up. And, look, it's a horrible time to try and do this, I know – the pandemic, all the dislocation, all the challenges we faced, it's not surprising we're behind the national average, but we have to catch up as best we can. And every effort we all know was made to try and discourage people – and this is a very cynical strategy that came out of Washington. Every effort was made to discourage people from participating in the census, changing the rules, changing the questions, changing the deadline, and particularly attacking immigrants and discouraging them from participating. But you know what, again, the U.S. Constitution says everyone should be counted, regardless of where they come from, regardless documentation status. So, we need to get that word out. This has to be a supreme group effort in this city, everyone together, just like we fought back the coronavirus. So, our Census 2020 team is out there and going to the grassroots, they’re knocking on doors, they’re making those calls. They're doing amazing work to get people to sign up. Every single New Yorker can make a difference. Remember, if you haven't done it, it takes just 10 minutes to fill out the census form for your whole household. So, please, everybody. We need you.


Now, we've tried to make sure that we focus on neighborhoods, where we needed to see that rate go up and we've done a few competitions, including our Census Subway Series. And last week's contestants were Midwood, Brooklyn versus the Upper East Side, battle of the Q train. And the winner is Midwood, Brooklyn prevailed in that contest. Congratulations to everyone in Midwood. Now, let's keep going. Let's keep making sure every neighborhood gets counted and this city gets its fair share.


Alright, now let's go to some important news from the last 24 hours. Again, absolutely crucial to the future of the city is bringing back our economy, bringing back people's livelihoods, making sure that folks have an opportunity after all we've been through to put things back together and move forward. And our restaurant industry is a huge part of this city, it's part of our culture, it's part of our identity, it's part of what we love. Also, businesses built by people who work so hard to create them and an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. So, what a good thing that indoor dining will be back. That is very good news for this city, but I have to emphasize – and I think, throughout, you've heard me say with every part of the life of this city, that every part of our economy, we have to put health and safety first, we have to be careful. So, as indoor dining starts to come back, it will come back with rigorous safety measures with real limits, with careful inspections, because we have to get it right. A lot of conversation over the last few weeks with the State, this was something where a lot of work had to be done to make sure that we balanced the needs – the real needs of the restaurant community, the workers, the owners, the communities that love the restaurants with that thing that we want the most, the ability to beat back the coronavirus. Every New Yorker I've talked to starts with wanting to defeat this disease and recognizing how far we've come. And when I talk to people from around the rest of the country, there's a certain amount of awe at how far New York City has come in terms of beating back this disease, going literally from worst to first, and we've got to keep doing that. So, one of the things that I push very hard and my team pushed hard in these discussions with the State was tight restrictions and smart rules and careful assessment of how we are doing. So, we're talking about, to begin with, a maximum 25 percent capacity in restaurants, tables at least six feet apart. There will not be seating at bars in terms of the bar tops. And then a bunch of additional safety measures, temperature checks at the doors, of course, PPE for all employees provided, regular information kept to make sure there can be testing and tracing as needed. These precautions are going to be necessary, because, unfortunately, what we've seen around a lot of the world is indoor dining has had a direct connection to some of the resurgences we've seen, particularly most recently in Western Europe. So, we have to keep a close eye on this. And I believe firmly that we need to watch our overall trajectory of this disease. And if we get to two percent infection rate on a regular basis on that seven-day average, at that point, we need to immediately reassess indoor dining. Hopefully, we never get there. Hopefully, in fact, we go in the other direction and get better and better all the time. So, it's great that indoor dining is back, but we're going to be very careful – and our health team will certainly emphasize this – we're going to be very careful to make sure it's done right.


Now, talk about doing things right – one of the biggest stories in the last six months of how we have successfully fought back the coronavirus, one of the most essential elements of the whole strategy was also one of the simplest – a face covering.  And most people – I certainly use the paper masks, those blue masks, that's what I see mostly when I go around the city, the most popular choice. Those simple paper masks or the cloth masks that people use have been one of the biggest difference-makers in fighting back this disease. We didn't know that in the beginning – the health community, the scientific community did not recognize in the beginning of this crisis how crucial this would be, but, thank God, it was recognized and, thank God, New Yorkers have taken to face coverings as well as you have, because it's made a huge difference. Now, we want to get clear today about the ground rules for face coverings, because since it is literally possibly the single most important element of the strategy, we want people to really get what to do right. And you're going to hear from our Health Commissioner, but I'm going to tell you just to begin with, think about the face covering, just look at it regularly. Is it in good shape? Has it been soiled? Is it torn? Is there any reason it's time to replace it? Keep an eye on it. Think about how crucial it is to make sure that it's in good working order. And those paper masks, those surgical mask – those can work for days and days, but not if they get wet or dirty. And after something like five days, it's a good time to change them. So, you're going to hear now from the expert, who's going to emphasize these rules. And, as our Health Commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi has really emphasized to me the simple power of face coverings, but how important it is to make sure people use them consistently and use them the right way and maintain them well. So, here to hear directly from him, our Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.


Commissioner Dave Chokshi, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. If there's one thing that the past seven months have taught us, it's that we are truly all in this together. Your health is connected to my health and the choices we make from staying home, to observing our distance, those things protect our fellow New Yorkers. As we head back into the cooler months, now is a good time to remind everyone about a few basic facts regarding face coverings. A face covering can include any well secured disposable mask or cloth that covers your nose and mouth. A disposable mask – like this one – can be reused. But you should immediately replace it if it becomes damaged, dirty, or wet. For a cloth mask or face covering – like this one – I have some simple recommendations. Use it for a day, hand wash it with soap and water. Make sure you dry it completely after doing so and rotate your supply.

Have more than one so that you can alternate them. Most importantly, choose a face covering that fits snugly against the sides of your face and that completely covers your nose and mouth. Don't share them and store them somewhere where they won't be touched. And don't use a mask with an exhalation valve as it allows unfiltered air to escape.


Since we're approaching the first day of school, a word about masks for children as well. First, if you have a child under the age of two, as I do, it's important to know that a mask or face covering is not recommended for them. For older children, check to make sure the mask fits snugly over the nose and mouth and under the chin. If you're able to find a mask that is specifically made for children, I'll note that all children will be given free masks in our public schools, but we're asking parents to ensure that kids wear masks outside of school, as well.


As with everything, and, as the Mayor has said, we're constantly monitoring the science and we will update you if research determined something different about what's best with face coverings. Face coverings, although simple, are such a vital component of reopening and slowly phasing things in like indoor dining. On that, we're pleased to be able to say that indoor dining will be available in a few weeks. Look, I know how important this is for people's livelihoods. I think about the cooks and the waiters whom I've taken care of as my own patients, but we must make sure our restaurants are safe for them and for our communities. Like our school guidelines, the restaurant restrictions are stringent to ensure that if we see the spread of COVID intensifying above that two percent test positivity threshold that the Mayor mentioned, then we'll have to reassess indoor dining. Capacity will be limited to 25 percent. There'll be temperature checks at the front door. Tables will be spaced at least six feet apart. And one member of the party will provide contact information to our tracers, should they need to reach them.


I know everyone is asking the same question, is it safe? The short answer is that we're able to take these gradual steps because the level of COVID has stayed low. All of us have a role to play in keeping that level low and it comes back to distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, getting tested and staying home if you're ill. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.


Mayor: Thank you so much, Dave. And everyone, look, you heard from the city’s doctor. What Dr. Chokshi is saying is, let's get this right and let's always focus on the facts, the data, the science. That's what's gotten us this far in New York City. That's what's going to take us forward. So, I want to thank you, doctor – you and your whole team for always making these decisions with us based on what we are seeing, the pure hard facts, and those facts will actually give us what we need to protect the people of this city. And that leads us perfectly to our daily indicators. Indicator number one, daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals for suspected COVID-19, the threshold is 200 patients – today's report, 78 patients. And the confirmed positive rate for COVID for those patients is 10 percent. Number two, new reported cases on a seven-day average, threshold is 550 cases – today's report, 213. Number three, percentage of people testing citywide positive for COVID-19, the threshold is five percent – today's report, 1.09 percent.


Thursday, September 10, 2020



Roughly 2 Million New Yorkers are Pre-Qualified for Lost Wages Assistance and will Receive Payments Next Week  

Approximately 435,000 New Yorkers Must Submit an Additional Certification to Qualify — Certification System Launches on Sept. 11, Payments Begin on a Rolling Basis Next Week 

New York has Paid $43.7 Billion in Benefits During Pandemic Emergency, Representing Over 20 Typical Years’ Worth of Benefits in Just Six Months   

The New York State Department of Labor today announced that payments for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, which provides an additional $300 in weekly benefits to unemployed New Yorkers, will begin next week. Up to 2.4 million New Yorkers are eligible for the program, including 435,000 who must submit an additional certification to qualify.

During the pandemic emergency, New York State has paid $43.7 billion in unemployment benefits to 3.5 million New Yorkers, representing over 20 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just six months.

“Throughout this crisis, states’ unemployment systems have been pushed to the limit and constantly-changing federal guidance — including this haphazard Presidential executive order — have only delayed our efforts to get benefits to New Yorkers in need. But we have worked day and night to stand up this program, and millions of New Yorkers will see payments next week,” Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “We are emailing all New Yorkers who are receiving benefits to inform them of their status and, if needed, provide information about certifying for the Lost Wages Assistance program. All New Yorkers should keep an eye out for these messages and, if an additional certification is required, respond immediately.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released funding for the first three weeks of LWA benefits to New York State, covering the benefit weeks ending August 2nd, August 9th, and August 16th. The DOL estimates that up to 2.4 million New Yorkers may be eligible for the benefits from those weeks, including recipients of both traditional unemployment insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Approximately 2 million New Yorkers are pre-qualified and will receive payments starting next week. The remainder — roughly 435,000 New Yorkers — must submit an additional certification to qualify.

Of the estimated 2.4 million New Yorkers who may be eligible:   

Approximately 2 million are already qualified for the LWA program because they indicated on their initial benefit application that their unemployment was connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. These claimants: 

 - Do not need to take any further action;

 - Will receive LWA payments starting next week; and

 - Will receive an email and text message from DOL informing them they have pre-qualified for LWA.

Roughly 435,000 need to submit an additional certification confirming that their unemployment is related to COVID-19 to qualify for LWA benefits, as required by the federal government. These claimants: 

 - Can certify starting Friday, September 11th either online or via phone:

 - Online: claimants will receive a secure DocuSign email from the DOL on September 11th, with a link to certify for LWA benefits

 - Phone:claimants can call 833-491-0632 to certify via an automated phone system

 - Will receive payments starting next week if their certification is submitted by 5pm on September 15th — after that, payments will be released on a rolling basis.

Eligible New Yorkers will receive LWA payments of $300 per week for the weeks ending August 2nd, 9th, and 16th. Under federal rules, New York State may be eligible for additional weeks of LWA funding.   


According to FEMA, funding for the LWA program will continue until any of the following occur:  
1. The federal Disaster Relief Fund balance falls below $25 billion;   
2. The $44 billion set aside for the LWA program is depleted;  
3. Congress enacts a replacement unemployment relief program; OR   
4. If none of the above scenarios occur before December 27, 2020, funding will terminate on that date.   

Reopening updates and Virtual Wave Hill


We are very happy to announce that Wave Hill is now open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10AM to 5:30PM. Wave Hill House and Glyndor Gallery are also open with reduced hours and limited capacity, and the Cafe is open, too--but just for grab-and-go snacks and beverages. 

Advanced reservation is still required by phone or online--find the link here. If you are already planning your next visit, check out what's new virtually: 

Thursday, September 10
September is National Honey Month! In this how-to video, Chef Aya Mohamed of Great Performances demonstrates her delicious recipe for Honey Nut Brittle with Thyme made with honey from Wave Hill’s own bees. Great Performances is Wave Hill’s exclusive caterer. Find the video on our website today.

Saturday, September 12, 2-3PM
Where does beeswax come from? What do bees eat? Why don’t the bees sting you? How did you become a beekeeper? Join us live with Wave Hill’s beekeeper Junior Schouten as he shares amazing facts about honeybees and the complex social structure within a bee colony. If you are curious about bees and beekeeping, here’s your chance to ask our expert!

The first of our Fall 2020 exhibitions have been installed and we are thrilled to be reopening Glyndor Gallery to the public. Visit for most up-to-date hours and visitor policies so you can see these works in person.

Saturday, September 12, 10AM
What stories blossom and grow in the plants around us? Explore the art of botanical illustration with thoughtful observation that helps us understand plants more intimately. Learn about morphology, the study of botanical form, and how plants tell their own stories by the shapes they take. Using a field journal, learn several drawing techniques that will help you see a plant you know and love differently.

Sundays, through November 8, 9:30AM-10:00AM
Join mindful outdoor guide Cindy Olsen or dosha healer Sara Hart for the healing practice of “sit spot” nature meditation. This experience is open to all who wish to learn simple meditation activities, nature lovers or anyone with an ongoing practice. Your “sit spot” can be anywhere—outdoors in your favorite spot, or your favorite spot at home.

This event is brought to you digitally—and onsite, we hope, one day this fall—as we move through Wave Hill’s planned phases of reopening.

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

HOURS: Special restricted hours as New York City recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic: 10AM–5:30PM, Wednesdays–Sunday.

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at