Tuesday, August 31, 2021



PfP and New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) are collaborating once again on the Daffodil Project to brighten green spaces citywide when New Yorkers need it the most. Launched by NYC Parks and NY4P in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a living memorial to the victims, symbolizing rebirth and bringing hope when the flowers bloom each spring. PfP has been a key partner since the first planting, distributing nearly 700,000 bulbs to thousands of volunteers to plant across the city.

NY4P is doubling the size of the program this year to recognize the 20th anniversary of the project and to incorporate a memorial to the New Yorkers we’ve lost to COVID-19. NY4P will distribute nearly one million free daffodil bulbs starting in September, twice the usual amount, and we’ll be helping with the distribution—providing 80,0000 bulbs to volunteers and community groups in all five boroughs. We will also give away crocus bulbs as part of the memorial planting we initiated last year to honor the lives we’ve lost to the pandemic.

Part of an established community group that hosts It's My Park projects with us? Request your daffodil bulbs below. 


The return of outdoor programming in New York has been a breath of fresh air and community groups across the city are taking full advantage with our support. Friends of Francis Lewis Park (FOFLP) in Queens recently hosted their first ever "Paint in the Park" session for kids after receiving our Capacity Fund Grant.

The event connecting art, nature, and community was born from a public engagement effort in which FOFLP surveyed park goers around what they want to see most in the park. Dorian Mecir, co-president of FOFLP, noted that the arts have been stifled during the pandemic, leaving kids yearning for an outlet. “The combination of sunshine, music, fresh air, and creativity made for the perfect day,” exclaimed Mecir.

Have a creative idea for your local park? Bring it to life with our Capacity Fund Grant! Our next deadline is in January, with info sessions happening this fall.


Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive planthopper, first discovered in New York City in July 2020. It is a significant threat to a wide range of agricultural crops including walnut, grapes, hops, apples, blueberries, and stone fruits. The Tree of Heaven is its preferred host tree and is required for its reproduction. SLF has the potential of damaging natural areas and becoming a nuisance in landscapes.

Harming our city’s wildlife is usually prohibited, but in an effort to slow the spread of this troublesome species, NYC Parks is putting out a one-time call: if you see a spotted lanternfly, please squish and dispose of this invasive pest. Report any findings to NYC Parks by emailing Forest.Health@parks.nyc.gov. Please include photos, location of infestation, and details of property damage. 

Our mailing address is:
City Parks Foundation
830 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10065

49th Precinct Book Bag Giveaway


This was the second book bag giveaway by the 49th precinct, and several children received new book bags from the Youth Coordinator Officers of the 49th Precinct. below are two photo of the event.

This is a photo of the children holding their new book bags.

In this photo the children are wearing their new book bags.

Governor Hochul Announces Extraordinary Session of the State Legislature Set to Begin September 1


Governor Hochul: "We've gone through extraordinary times and we need to take steps now to protect the people of the State of New York, and I want to let them know that we are going to continue fighting for them in partnership with our legislative leaders."
Hochul: "Recently the Supreme Court rendered a heartless decision that blocked the Biden administration's eviction plan. Under my watch, here in the State of New York we are not going to exacerbate what is already a crisis ... We are not going to abandon our neighbors in need, especially since the State of New York failed in its responsibility to get the money that was allocated by Congress out to the people in need earlier this summer."
Hochul: "We need to amend the Open Meetings Law to make meetings more accessible, more safe, including for those with disabilities across the state."
Hochul: "I also have an agenda item that's very important to me and that is to jumpstart a long overdue decision pertaining to establishing cannabis in the State of New York."

 Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced an extraordinary session of the New York State Legislature is set to begin Wednesday, September 1, to address New York's rent and eviction crisis, the Open Meetings Law, and the state's long-overdue cannabis program. Governor Hochul also announced she is extending New York State's eviction moratorium to January 15, 2021.

I am happy to be able to make some announcements which I think will be well received by the people of the State of New York.

I also want to say I have worked tirelessly through the weekend with the leadership of the Assembly, Carl Heastie, his team, as well the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins. I thank them and my team for putting in an unlimited number of hours to make sure that we address the crisis that we are facing in the State of New York.

When I was officially sworn in this room one week ago today, I made a commitment to the people of the state that I would fight for them to make sure we get our kids back to school, get people back to work, and get rental relief to the families in need.
The pandemic has created unimaginable stress and anxiety for tenants and landlords who are struggling through no fault of their own. Many of them lost jobs, lost the ability to pay their bills, and now the debt has been mounting - and the fact is that we are not out of the pandemic yet as much as we had hoped months ago when the numbers were trending in a different direction.
We could not have foreseen there would be another variant, a deadly variant known as the Delta variant that would continue to suppress our ability to come back fully. Therefore we still need assistance for our families.
Recently the Supreme Court rendered a heartless decision that blocked the Biden administration's eviction plan. Under my watch, here in the State of New York we are not going to exacerbate what is already a crisis in terms of the homelessness problem. We are not going to allow people who through no fault of their own lost income, not able to pay, and facing eviction. We are not going to allow that to happen here in the great State of New York. We are not going to abandon our neighbors in need, especially since the State of New York failed in its responsibility to get the money that was allocated by Congress out to the people in need earlier this summer.
Therefore, we want to expand the safety net for people who qualify for rental and landlord assistance, and we can no longer wait nor can they.
I also need to assure people, and I've heard from many, many elected officials across the state, that we need to amend the Open Meetings Law to make meetings more accessible, more safe, including for those with disabilities across the state. We need to address a situation and we need to continue what we put in place during the pandemic to allow the meetings continue but not in person.
I also have an agenda item that's very important to me and that is to jumpstart a long overdue decision pertaining to establishing cannabis in the State of New York. I'll be appointing my nominations to start process to legally produce and distribute cannabis in the State of New York. There is no reason why simple announcements in terms of who the executive director is and who the chair person is were not done in time, but I'm going to make up for that lost time and I want those decisions made. I've made the decision as to who I want but they need confirmation from the Legislature.
It is my goal to extend the eviction moratorium to expand rental assistance programs from today to January 15. We also know that landlords are struggling and we need to make sure that small businesses are protected as well, and that's why I will be starting today, and I'll be signing the proclamation momentarily.
Pursuant to the power vested in me by Article 4, Section 3 of the Constitution, I am hereby convening the Senate and the Assembly of the State of New York in an extraordinary session to commence tomorrow, September 1, at noon.
The focus will be narrow. As I mentioned it will address the rental and eviction crisis. It will address the Open Meetings Law to allow more access to meetings, and it will also deal with the freeing up of the cannabis program which is long overdue.
I know it's a tall and extraordinary session. It is indeed extraordinary but we've gone through extraordinary times and we need to take steps now to protect the people of the State of New York, and I want to let them know that we are going to continue fighting for them in partnership with our legislative leaders, and again, I thank them for their willingness to come back during this time and to be willing to roll up their sleeves and get the job done for the people the State of New York. That is something I promised and it's a promise I intend to keep.

Brooklyn Woman Pleads Guilty to Unauthorized Intrusion into Credit Union’s Computer System


The Defendant Destroyed More Than 20 Gigabytes of Data, Including Financial Records, in Retaliation for Being Fired

 Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Juliana Barile pleaded guilty to one count of computer intrusion arising from the defendant’s unauthorized intrusion into, and destruction of data on, the computer system of a New York credit union (the “Credit Union”) following her termination as an employee of the Credit Union.  The guilty plea took place before United States District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano.  When sentenced, Barile faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine. 

Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty plea.

“In an act of revenge for being terminated, Barile surreptitiously accessed the computer system of her former employer, a New York Credit Union, and deleted mortgage loan applications and other sensitive information maintained on its file server,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis.  “Protecting private financial data from being compromised or destroyed by unauthorized computer intrusions is an important priority of this Office.”  Ms. Kasulis also thanked New York City Police Department for their valuable assistance with the case.

“Ms. Barile may have thought she was getting back at her employer by deleting files, however she did just as much harm to customers.  Her petty revenge not only created a huge security risk for the bank, but customers also depending on paperwork and approvals to pay for their homes were left scrambling,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.  “An insider threat can wreak just as much havoc, if not more, than an external criminal. The bank and customers are now faced with the tremendous headache of fixing one employee's selfish actions.”

According to court filings, Barile was fired from her position as a part-time employee with the Credit Union on May 19, 2021.  Two days later, on May 21, 2021, Barile remotely accessed the Credit Union’s file server and deleted more than 20,000 files and almost 3,500 directories, totaling approximately 21.3 gigabytes of data.  The deleted data included files related to mortgage loan applications and the Credit Union’s anti-ransomware protection software.  Barile also opened confidential files.  After she accessed the computer server without authorization and destroyed files, Barile sent text messages to a friend explaining that “I deleted their shared network documents,” referring to the Credit Union’s share drive.  To date, the Credit Union has spent approximately $10,000 in remediating Barile’s unauthorized intrusion and destruction of data.

127 Days and Counting


It looks like I am going to have to go back to the Bronx, and show off my hoop  experience once again. My good friend to my right can help by having one of his peace rallies again, since he couldn't drop a basket. 

Now the community is demonstrating at the precinct house. I wonder why Joe Biden is the president, not Donald Trump. 

Office of Mental Health Announces New Video Series to Help Parents and Students Prepare for Return to School


Series of YouTube Videos Addresses Concerns from New Yorkers and Offers Tips for Coping

The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced a series of ‘Back to School 2021’ videos to assist and support parents, caregivers and students as they prepare for the new school year.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “This has been an extremely trying year for the students of New York and for their parents. Some students haven’t been in the classroom for 18 months. Others have had to juggle hybrid learning. It’s been a period of extreme sacrifice and now, as we prepare to enter the 2021-22 school year, we want parents and students to know that we are here to support you and your mental health.”

The videos are targeted to parents and caregivers as well students with topics that include:

  • the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children and adolescents,
  • ways to support yourself and others,
  • how to get help when you need it,
  • age-specific information on promoting mental wellness in children- from birth to young adulthood.
  • an overview of the Crisis Text Line, a national, text-based crisis counselor service.

OMH surveyed hundreds of New York children and families to learn what might be causing anxiety and concern ahead of this school year. The videos will help kids and parents deal with the stress and other issues caused by the pandemic over the last 18 months, and also offer additional resources that have been compiled by the Office of Mental Health, including:

  • Resiliency tips for New Yorkers,
  • Conversation starters to check in on someone’s mental health,
  • Brochures on supporting children’s Emotional Development by age group, and
  • NY Project Hope resources for teens, parents, and young children.

Additionally, OMH’s NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline (1-844-863-9314) continues to help support students and caregivers during this transition. The Helpline is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday through Friday. Trained crisis counselors can listen to your concerns and offer suggestions for coping. It also provides linkages for callers who need additional support.

OMH launched the Emotional Support Helpline in March 2020 as part of the agency’s COVID-19 response and to date the line has handled 70,000 calls and provided free, confidential, and anonymous assistance to New Yorkers across the state.

Senator Biaggi's Back to School Event 09/03/2021 / Evento Regreso a Clases de la Senadora Biaggi 03/09/21

Senator Alessandra Biaggi 

Dear Community, 

Hope you are well. Unfortunately, due to poor weather conditions this past weekend, my office had to cancel our annual Backpack Giveaway. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. Today, I am excited to announce we have rescheduled our back to school event for this week! 

Please join me for a Backpack Giveaway at 894 Garrison Ave Bronx, NY 10474 this Friday, September 3rd from 2PM to 4PM, while supplies last. Our event will be held rain or shine!

As we are approaching the end of summer and the start of school, it is important that our community is well equipped to return back to school safely. I look forward to hosting my annual Back to School event for the 34th Senate District that will honor our shared community and the progress we have made this year, especially after the difficult year it has been for students, teachers and families.  Our teams have worked hard throughout the past year to provide for our communities, and this year's back to school event is a prime example of our continued work. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and my team at biaggi@nysenate.gov or by calling our office at 718-822-2049. 

With Gratitude, 

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Governor Hochul Announces New Measures to Combat COVID-19 Delta Variant


Announces Plan for New Statewide Weekly Testing Requirement for Unvaccinated School Staff 
Decentralizes Booster Shot Distribution to Local Health Departments, Announces $65 Million Available to Local Health Departments to Support These Efforts 

State Exploring Vaccine Mandate for All Staff in All State Regulated Facilities 

New Measures Build on Governor's Comprehensive Plan to Help Ensure a Safe, Productive Return to Schools This Fall 
Follows Universal Mask Requirement in All Schools Enacted on Governor's First Day in Office and $585 Million School Testing Program Using $585 Million in Federal Funds

 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced new measures to combat the COVID-19 Delta variant and updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating the virus.

Speaking at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine, the Governor announced she will be working with localities, the state health department and the Public Health and Health Planning Council in the days ahead to put in place mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated public and charter school employees, and to establish a vaccination requirement for all staff at state-regulated facilities and congregate settings. The governor announced $65 million will be available to local health departments across the state to support the quick and reliable distribution of booster shots.

"Last year every community across the state came together in a profound way to say, 'we can do this'," Governor Hochul said. "This war is not over and the Delta variant is a serious threat, especially for people who are still unvaccinated. We all need to remain vigilant to protect each other - and that means coming in to get your shot and booster shot, wearing masks in indoor spaces, and exercising basic safety measures that we are all familiar with by now."

Getting children back to school where they can learn most effectively and protecting the students, teachers and staff are top priorities for Governor Hochul. Building on the state department of health's directive requiring universal masking for anyone entering schools, the governor will be working with localities, the department of health and the Public Health and Health Planning Council in the days ahead to implement a mandatory weekly COVID testing for school staff who are not vaccinated.

Following the department of health's announcement last week that all staff in health care facilities need to be vaccinated, the state is exploring how to expand this requirement to include staff at all state-regulated facilities.Local health departments will be supporting the distribution of booster shots in New York, enabling them to use their knowledge and workforce to quickly deliver booster shots to their communities. The governor is making $65 million available to local health departments to build the infrastructure for these efforts.

COVID-19 Numbers for New York as of August 30: 

  • Test Results Reported - 95,579  
  • Total Positive - 3,789  
  • Percent Positive - 3.96% 
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 3.35%  
  • Patient Hospitalization - 2,234 (+48) 
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 232 
  • Patients in ICU - 484 (+16) 
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 247 (+18) 
  • Total Discharges - 192,839 (+185) 
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 22 
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 43,573 
  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 55,602 

COVID-19 Vaccination Data for New York as of August 31, 11 a.m.: 

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 23,665,694 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 46,143 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 367,128 
  • Ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 77.0% 
  • Ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 69.9% 
  • Ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 79.7% 
  • Ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 71.6% 
  • New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 64.9% 
  • New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 58.5% 
  • New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 67.3% 
  • New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 60.0% 

AOC Book Bag Giveaway in Parkchester


There were about one thousand book bags waiting for Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to give them out to the children of Parkchester. In the parking lot at the corner of Westchester Avenue and White Plains Road the Mujumder Foundation had finished giving out awards to outstanding students going into high school, and community leaders. 

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez arrived shortly afterwards to say a few words on the stage, greeted the next Bronx Borough President, current Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, and then went over to her booth, set up by her team to give out all the book bags that were there. As you will see in the photos everyone loved Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez.

There is talk that during redistricting next year Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez could pick up Coop-City, while giving up some of her Queens part of the district. That could make it a  50/50 district between queens and the Bronx.

Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez, is with Councilwoman Vanesz Gibson, the presumed next Bronx Borough President

The Ocasio-Cortez booth is all ready, the only thing missing is Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez asked this young girl, 'Which book bag would you like'?

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez suggests this book bag to this young girl.

Having such a wonderful way with children, the young girl takes the book bag the congresswoman suggested. 

It wasn't only the girls, but also the boys, as this young man was happy to get this book bag from the congresswoman.

The congresswoman poses with this young girl, as her mother takes the picture.

Affordable Housing Lottery Launches For Muller Residences At 555 Nereid Avenue In Wakefield, The Bronx


Muller Residences in Wakefield, The Bronx. Courtesy of The Doe Fund

The affordable housing lottery has launched for Muller Apartments, a four-story residential building at 555 Nereid Avenue in Wakefield, The Bronx. Designed by MHG Architects and developed by The Doe Fund as supportive housing for veterans, the structure yields 90 residences with 54 of the units allocated for formerly homeless military veterans. Available on NYC Housing Connect are 35 units for residents at 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), ranging in eligible income from $30,583 to $57,300

Amenities include an on-site resident manager, elevator, bike storage lockers, a shared laundry room, gym, green space, and a community center with a 123-seat auditorium. On-site supportive services for tenants include comprehensive case management, health care support, job preparedness, employment training, and drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

At 60 percent of the AMI, there are 35 studios with a monthly rent of $892 for incomes ranging from $30,583 to $57,300.

Prospective renters must meet income and household size requirements to apply for these apartments. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than October 25, 2021.

Monday, August 30, 2021

State Senator Gustavo Rivera on Sunday's Police Involved Shooting in his District



 State Senator Gustavo Rivera on Sunday's Police Involved Shooting in his District

"It is disheartening that a 24-year-old father lost his life in my district early Sunday morning. As police officers were involved in the shooting, the Attorney General will be tasked with investigating the incident, which is a policy I fought to implement in an effort to bring transparency and accountability to such devastating incidents. It is my hope that the investigation will bring clarity and justice to our community."

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Statement on Withdrawal of Last U.S. Troops from Afghanistan


Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) issued the following statement Monday after the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan:


“We never should have begun America's longest war in the first place — a war of endless suffering and needless death. Let us now envision a future that is based on peace, security, dignity, diplomacy, and human rights, not destruction and profiteering by military contractors. A top priority right now must be raising the refugee cap and assisting as many Afghans as possible with resettlement. My office stands ready to help, and we will be working with the State Department to help ensure all those still trying to leave Afghanistan can safely leave. We are praying for the active service members and veterans who are dealing with the trauma of this war, and hope they know they are not alone and help is available to them.”

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - AUGUST 30, 2021


36,132 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours  

18 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday   

 Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.  

"While we have come so far in containing COVID, the virus is still a threat to our communities - it is up to us to prevent it from spreading any further," Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Wear a mask, wash your hands and, if you haven't already, get vaccinated today. The vaccine is effective, it's safe, and it's available free of charge. It is the best protection we have against COVID."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 107,325
  • Total Positive - 4,147
  • Percent Positive - 3.86%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 3.31%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 2,186 (+38)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 235
  • Patients in ICU - 468 (+23)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 229 (+7)
  • Total Discharges - 192,654 (+201)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 18
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 43,551

The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only.

  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 55,533

This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings.

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 23,619,551
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 36,132
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 356,922
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 76.8%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 69.7%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 79.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 71.5%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 64.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 58.4%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 67.2%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 59.9%

PPNA and Open Hands Book Bag School Supply and More Giveaway


The Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association and The Albanian Open Hands Association joined with Councilman Mark Gjonaj, Assemblywoman Nathelia Fernandez, and State Senator Alessandra Biaggi for a book bag, school supplies, and more giveaway inside the new Destination Tomorrow building on Lydig Avenue. 

A line of tables were set up so when children walked in they first received a new book bag from the hundreds that were on hand. The children would then walk down the line of tables with their parents, who would choose which schools supplies their child/children would need. When the book bags were full as they went outside, Councilman Mark Gjonaj was there with a cooler full of delicious fruit bars, and other snacks for the children to enjoy.

Louis Lutnick, Jacqueline Lutnick, Steve Glosser (V-P), Lance Zavin, Edith Blitzer (President), and Elio Morales of the PPNA.

Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez Joins members of the Albanian Open Hands Association to give out book bags. 

Tables filled with all the school supplies a student would need are lined up waiting for the students and their parents.

Councilman Mark Gjonaj was outside with a large cooler filled with delicious fruit bars, also gave out face masks, and had hand sanitizer on hand. 

Councilman Gjonaj stands between two of his favorite women. Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez on his right, and PPNA President Edith Blitzer on his left.

Being in different parts of the state legislature, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez chat at the PPNA Open Hands  event.

The line of children and their parents stretched all the way down the block.

A father with new book bags and lots of school supplies for his children.

128 Days and Counting


O.K. It's back to business now that I finished up my City Hall in Staten Island week. I wanted to see Staten Island Chuck and ask him if he saw his shadow this year, but I was banned from the Staten Island Zoo when I dropped Chuck a few years ago. It's nice to be back with the Democrats, as Staten Island has the only Republican borough president. I am sure that Curtis Swila will win Staten Island, but that is all.

Today's subject is the backlog in the court system. We have much crime going on, and the alleged suspects are not getting their day in court. I have with me a bright young Councilman from one of the highest crime areas, Bronx Councilman Oswald Feliz. Now Oswald just read what my staff gave you and don't go off script. Thank you Mayor de Blasio.

Governor Hochul Directs Review of System Breakdown That Led to Subway Service Disruption in New York City

Governor Hochul holds a briefing with MTA officials in NYC

Governor Hochul: "Let me be very clear. Last night was unacceptable. If you're one of those riders or people relying on safe transport, the system failed you. The MTA is the lifeblood of the city, and a disruption of this magnitude can be catastrophic ... I'm immediately directing a review to find out the root cause of the service issues last night. We need to know why the system broke down and why there's a breakdown of communications between the rail center, the rail control center and the trains."

Good morning. I'm Governor Kathy Hochul. I thank you for joining us on this beautiful Monday morning. I'm joined by Janno Lieber, the MTA acting chair and CEO, and Demetrius Crichlow, the senior vice president in the department of subways. Last night, one half of the New York subway system experienced an unprecedented system breakdown. Approximately 8:25 p.m., Con Ed reported losing a feeder for a short period of time that resulted in a voltage dip across New York City. At about the same time, two power plants and generators went offline. It was a momentary outage that did go to the backup system. When it tried to go back to normal, there was a surge, an unprecedented surge that resulted in the subway losing signalization and communication ability and it lost that between its command center and the trains throughout the system.

The trains that were affected were the numbers lines 1 through 7, as well as the L train. Eighty-three trains were affected but what was most concerning was the five trains that had been stuck between stations. This ended up leading to evacuations in the tunnels and two of those evacuations were orderly and directed by the emergency personnel. In two other cases, the experience was what was known as self-evacuation, where riders decided to leave on their own. We never, ever want riders to do that. It is dangerous and it caused a delay in the restoration of power. The tracks are dangerous and the last train was re-platformed.

What we experienced was a lot of anxiety for the citizens of the city who happened to be on the trains, and on the five trains in particular that were between the stations over 550 people were affected. Again, this is a scary situation, something we don't want New Yorkers to ever have to experience again. And again, I say this was unprecedented. The confluence of events that led to this has never happened before to our knowledge. So we did have a rolling restoration. It would have happened earlier, and this happened at 1:30 a.m. It could have happened around midnight, except we had to make sure, working closely with the FDNY, that because of the self-evacuation that they had to go examine all the tracks to make sure that there were no people on them. That was a very dangerous situation. So that did delay the restoration of power. It could have been restored by midnight. But by 1:30, all trains are restored in the morning, commute operations are going normally.

Let me be very clear. Last night was unacceptable. If you're one of those riders or people relying on safe transport, the system failed you. The MTA is the lifeblood of the city, and a disruption of this magnitude can be catastrophic. And thank God, when you think about the time that this happened. It was a time of low ridership. It was on a weekend night, late at night. And I can only imagine how devastating this would have been for thousands of New Yorkers had this occurred during a morning commute like this morning. So I'm immediately directing a review to find out the root cause of the service issues last night. We need to know why the system broke down and why there's a breakdown of communications between the rail center, the rail control center and the trains. I would also be clear that we've had no indication of any malicious actions that would, that would have created the situation, and that's why I want to find out exactly what happened to prevent it from happening again.

We are in regular communications with City Hall throughout this and the Office of Emergency Management, they are participating directly. So it was a collaborative effort between the state and the city, the MTA. And I do want to thank all the transit workers, particularly the conductors who had the weight of responsibility on their shoulders to go to all through the trains, sometimes 10 in number, to let people know verbally what were experiencing. Again, there was no communication other than what the conductor could say on the PA system or verbally went to the trains because the overall system was not functioning.

So I also want to think all the transit workers, the NYPD was fabulous. We enjoyed working with them and their professionalism. FDNY was right there on the scene doing their work, and all the first responders who worked tirelessly through the night to rescue people who had been stranded, make sure that it was safe, and ultimately the restoration of power. So I want to commend the work of all these New Yorkers and the work that's going in every single day at the MTA to make sure that everything is working right.

Again, this was triggered by an incident at 8:25, when Con Ed reported losing a feeder. Now I want to thank you very much, and I want to thank the leadership of these individuals. They worked tirelessly through the night. I trust their professionalism and I trust their ability to get to the bottom of this and give me a full report once they've had an opportunity to examine the circumstances that led to this. Once again, an unprecedented system breakdown in half of the New York City subway system.

Kicking Off Labor Rights Week, Comptroller Stringer Announces $7.5 Million in Stolen Prevailing Wages Returned to Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic


Bureau of Labor Law recoups unpaid wages with interest for workers regardless of their immigration status, whether or not they still live in New York City

Today, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer kicked off Labor Rights Week by announcing that nearly $7.5 million in stolen prevailing wages has been returned to more than 400 workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Comptroller Stringer also launched a series of “Know Your Rights” virtual events in collaboration with labor rights groups, community organizations and the Consulate of Mexico.

The Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law enforces prevailing wage and benefit rates for construction and building service workers employed by contractors on City public work projects. When companies on these public contracts fail to pay the proper wages and benefits, the Comptroller enforces the law to recover the money owed to workers and ensures that they receive the money through outreach. Amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Comptroller’s office launched a phone banking campaign in April to return unclaimed wages to workers cheated out of pay. Since March 2020, the Comptroller’s Office has returned nearly $7.5 million to more than 400 workers.

“During the economic hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that workers get the wages they are rightfully owed,” said Comptroller Stringer. “I am proud that my office, in partnership with labor and community-based organizations, has connected more than 400 workers with $7.5 million in stolen wages. I always say that every week should be Labor Rights Week, because workers are most empowered when they know their rights and can advocate for what they deserve.”

The Mexican Consulate in New York hosts Labor Rights Week every year just before Labor Day. This year’s Labor Rights Week will be a virtual event and will take place from August 30 through September 5, 2021. An MOU is signed every two years in commitment to the partnership between the Comptroller’s office and the Mexican Consulate to promote labor rights and advocate for workers. The Mexican Consulate has similar MOUs with New York State and the United States Departments of Labor. For the Comptroller’s office, the object of the MOU is to ensure workers are aware of their rights to prevailing wages on City-funded public work sites.

The Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law will participate at “Know Your Rights”  virtual events and workshops across the City throughout Labor Rights week. For more information, please click here.

Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said:  “With immigrants representing more than half of our front line workers and thousands still fighting for relief, it is vital that workers receive every cent owed them. Even during the best of times, rampant wage theft remains a reality for all too many hard-working New Yorkers. We applaud the Comptroller’s efforts through the covid-19 pandemic recouping 7.5 million in stolen prevailing wages for more than 400 hundred workers regardless of their immigration status and ensuring all workers get the compensation they deserve for their labor.”

Kyle Bragg, President of 32BJ SEIU, said: “An honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay. That’s why this work by Comptroller Stringer and his Bureau of Labor Law is so important. Contractors who cheat workers and cut corners can never be tolerated – and especially not during a global pandemic. These returned wages will help send a powerful message to all that, in New York City, we honor workers’ rights – each and every day.”

Angeles Solis, Lead Organizer of Make the Road New York, said: “Thousands of immigrant New Yorkers leveled by the devastation of COVID-19 are still hurting on the path to economic recovery. Comptroller Stringer’s initiative put money in the hands of workers that have been cheated out of pay regardless of their immigration status. Wage theft is a persistent and pervasive problem in New York, with employers consistently cheating workers out of money they rightfully earned. We commend the Comptroller for fighting to recoup wages for workers and sending a clear message to employers that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Maf Misbah Uddin, Founder and President of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor, said: “The Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL) is proud to continue it’s partnership with the City Comptroller’s Office, all labor-based groups, and our concerned citizens to fight for economic justice for workers. Wage theft is a serious crime and we all must do everything in our power to protect the workers in getting their fair share of pay that they earned regardless of their immigration status. We commend Comptroller Stringer’s Bureau of Labor Law for overcoming all challenges through the pandemic and bringing justice to 400 workers during this public health crisis.”

Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change, said: “Employers across the City continue to cheat workers out of their hard-earned wages. We applaud Comptroller Stringer for standing up and helping workers who are owed thousands of dollars in compensation. We will continue to work hand in hand with the Comptroller to combat wage theft across the city.”

Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation, said: “Workers, who have always been vulnerable, are hurting more than ever, and the economic and social fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect their livelihoods.  It is even more critical in this economic climate that contractors who take public dollars do right by their workers and pay their workers fairly. We thank Comptroller Stringer for championing workers, especially during these difficult economic times. We commend his bureau of labor law for their tireless efforts through the pandemic that led to returning $7.5 million in prevailing wages to more than 400 workers. We are happy that workers have an opportunity to claim their stolen wages and we will work with our pan-Asian member agencies to spread the word to the Asian community.”

Since 2014, Comptroller Stringer’s office has assessed more than $35 million in prevailing wage violations and paid over $22 million to employees who were cheated out of their wages. It has also debarred over 60 contractors who took advantage of workers – setting an office record.