Sunday, October 31, 2021

Councilman Mark Gjonaj's NYC Moving Forward Week in Review - 10/29/2021


Dear Friends,

I hope you and your families are continuing to do well as we are nearing the end of another month.

On October 28th the Albanian, Bosnian and Croatian Communities came together to denounce the unpunished Serbian war crimes and rape as a weapon of war in a Rally in NYC. Thank you to the survivors, elected officials, human rights groups as well as US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Congress-members Ritchie Torres, Adriano Espaillat, Lee Zeldin, Joe Morrelle, Dina Titus, Gregory Meeks and William Keating for listening to the survivors and committing to fight until justice is served.

As Chair of the Committee on Small Business, this morning I held an oversight hearing to explore the impact that the Key to NYC vaccine mandate has had on small businesses and how going forward the City must be more carefully attuned to our already-struggling small businesses.

Due to noise complaints in the community I was glad to join the NYPD 49th Precinct Community Council Meeting where we heard from constituents and the Precinct on what they have been doing and how to address this issue in the future. 

As every year I am humbled to sponsor the Veteran’s Breakfast kicking off the 37th Annual Bronx Veterans Day on November 14th 2021.

We are looking forward to celebrate Halloween in the District with many children and families in Morris Park, Westchester Square and City Island.

Please remember we are here for you, contact my office with issues or concerns at 718-931-1721 or email at


NYC Councilman Mark Gjonaj
District 13, Bronx

62 Days amnd Counting


All right, let's get today's media briefing underway. What's that today is Sunday, and I don't have a media briefing today. I am getting ready for tomorrows media briefing as you can see. I am trying to be ready for any question that those pesky reporters may ask me. 

Let's see there is a vaccination mandate for Fire, Police, Health and Hospitals, Department of Education, Department of Correction, is there any city agency that I may have left out? Board of Elections, Hmmm. Some pesky reporter is going to ask me why we have extended the deadline for Board of Elections employees and not for any other city agencies. We are in the middle of an election, and all those absentee ballots have to be counted. It's a good thing that Rank Choice Voting is not being used in the general election, or it would take us more than a month to determine who the winners are. Here we only have to extend the vaccination deadline for two weeks after the deadline, because all the votes should be counted, as if we don't already know who the winners are. 

Governor Hochul Marks East Side Access Milestone With LIRR Test Ride to Grand Central

Long Island Railroad

East Side Access Officially Opens December 2022 Bringing Faster, Direct Service for Long Island & Queens commuters to the East Side of Manhattan  

Increased Rail Capacity Will Reduce Crowding on Trains, Subways and in Penn Station 

 Governor Kathy Hochul today joined the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to take a special Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) test train to Grand Central Terminal and gave the public one of the first-ever looks at the new 350,000-square-foot East Side Access passenger terminal there. This is the largest new train terminal to be built in the United States since the 1950s and the first expansion of the LIRR in more than 100 years. Together with the LIRR third track project, the new connection will add 50 percent to the LIRR's capacity into Manhattan with up to 24 trains per hour and cut travel time for Queens and Long Island commuters traveling to the east side by 40 minutes per day. It will also reduce crowding on commuter rail, at Penn Station and on the subway by dispersing commuters and allowing passengers to go directly to Grand Central Terminal from destinations across Queens and Long Island. The new commuter rail route and concourse officially open in December 2022. 

"The East Side Access concourse is a model for modern transportation systems as we look to the post-pandemic future," Governor Hochul said. "As the first modern train terminal to be built in more than a half century, the East Side Access concourse will expand rail service, cut down on travel times into East Manhattan from Queens and Long Island, and reduce crowding. This is yet another example of New York leading the way as we recover from the pandemic, and I look forward to the East Side Access concourse and route fully opening in December 2022."

The East Side Access concourse at Grand Central Terminal includes a 350,000-square-foot LIRR passenger concourse just below street level that will offer new entrances along Madison Avenue, 25 retail storefronts, WiFi and cell service, new art installations and digital signage with real-time train information. The entrance at 347 Madison Avenue being built at 45th Street as part of the redevelopment of the MTA's former headquarters alone is expected to serve 10,000 people a day.  

Seventeen high-rise escalators, 182 feet in length and the longest in the MTA system, will connect commuters between the new world-class concourse and mezzanine of the train terminal 140 feet below Park Avenue. The mezzanine in turn leads to an upper train level that has two platforms and four tracks, and a lower train level that similarly has two platforms and four tracks.  

Trains will enter the concourse from a newly activated tunnel that carries two tracks as it passes under the East River at 63rd Street. The two tracks then fan out to four, then eight on the two levels.   

In Queens, crews have built a new yard with space for up to 300 rail cars, and fully updated Harold Interlocking, the busiest passenger railroad intersection in North America, including the installation of 97 new track switches, 295 poles that carry overhead wires used by Amtrak, five new steel railroad bridges, and 8,445 feet of retaining walls. Overall, the project includes more than 40 miles of new track, nearly 13 miles of newly excavated tunnels, 44 ventilation fans, 550 miles of cable and 975 security cameras, 15 overhead gantries that display train control signals, and 14 huts alongside the tracks containing signal system components.  

Originally conceived of in the 1960s, the project was developed in the 1990s with work beginning in earnest in Queens and Manhattan in 2006. East Side Access contractors have accomplished several engineering feats over the years, including blasting under Grand Central Terminal with limited impact to rail operations, mining under both Northern Boulevard and the elevated and underground subways in Queens and expanding the capacity of Harold Interlocking. 

In addition to relieving congestion at Penn Station, East Side Access will enhance New York's competitive standing in the global economy by providing a new link to business centers on the East Side and supporting job growth around Grand Central Terminal. When the project is complete, operational efficiency through Harold Interlocking will be greatly improved, benefiting travelers all along the Northeast Corridor. For the first time, ADDRD tracks will make reverse commuting from New York City to Long Island a realistic option for the region and will allow East Midtown and Metro-North Railroad customers to be able to connect to JFK Airport via the Long Island Rail Road and the Jamaica AirTrain.  

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

 Clinical specimen testing for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Wadsworth Laboratory

103,348 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours  

32 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday  

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

"The vaccine is the best tool we have to prevent a spike in our numbers like we saw last year," Governor Hochul said. "Now with booster shots available, it is crucial that New Yorkers continue to do what's best for their communities and their loved ones. If you haven't already, please get your vaccine today. It's safe, effective, free, and readily available."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 199,641
  • Total Positive - 3,977
  • Percent Positive - 1.99%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 2.13%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 1,864 (-49)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 219
  • Patients in ICU - 455 (-14)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 254 (-2)
  • Total Discharges - 208,169 (+244)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 32
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 45,541

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 - 57,913

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 - 27,133,175
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 103,348
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 545,740
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose -84.2%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series -76.5%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 87.4%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 78.6%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 71.4%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 64.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 74.1%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 66.5%

AOC vs. CEOs


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress

Alexandria isn’t afraid to speak truth to power and yesterday was no different.

For the first time ever, oil executives were questioned under oath about whether their companies misled the public about the reality of climate change.

Alexandria had the chance to ask Exxon CEO, Darren Woods, about the company's lobbying efforts – specifically in regards to the two pieces of legislation currently being negotiated in Congress. Through her questioning, he admitted to meeting with members of Congress during the reconciliation and infrastructure process.

She then confronted the President of the American Petroleum Institute about their $55.6 million in lobbying over the last 10 months alone. But she didn’t just focus on figures alone, because this crisis is personal.

She said: “I think one of the things that often gets lost in these conversations is some of us have to actually live in the future that you all are setting on fire for us.”

Exposing the role of dark money and Big Oil lobbying in Washington is vital, but it also makes our campaign a key target of attacks.

The American Petroleum Institute spent almost half a million dollars on ads opposing Democratic members of Congress. Those ads, which include ads that targeted individual members of Congress for their support of climate action policies, were viewed at least 21 million times, according to Facebook data.1

We’re nearly one year out until Alexandria’s re-election and we need to be prepared to fight back against Big Oil’s disinformation campaigns. We’re counting on the power of many small-dollar donations to go up against their millions.

Alexandria will continue to fight for climate justice and to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their lies. 

With thanks,

Team AOC

THE NEW BXCC - Bronx Business News You Can Use


Legislative Updates, New Grants, Events and Much More
Please click View/Allow Images so you don't miss a thing!
The Friday Extra
This week, Lisa will highlight the following topics:

1. Summary of the Committee on Small Business oversight hearing regarding “Key to NYC.”

2. Support for small businesses this Halloween.

3. Bronx Chamber upcoming events, make sure to view our calendar HERE
Join us for our Annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive on Thursday, December 9th.
What You Should Know
City & State: 2021 Virtual Government Procurement Conference
When all rules changed for procurement during the pandemic many wondered how New York’s business would return. Over the last year or so we have been slowly returning to the city and state and this conference will talk about what it looks like. The Government Procurement Conference will foster business partnerships between the city and state level government, prime contractors, and small, minority, service-disabled veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses.

Join on November 18th to hear answers to all of your pressing procurement questions, discover unique opportunities, and create new business partnerships!

Puerto Rico Government Services
As part of a collaboration between Congressman Ritchie Torres and the Government of Puerto Rico we will be hosting a Puerto Rico Government Services Event

These services include:
 1. Birth Certificates
 2. Marriage Certificates
 3. Death Certificates
 4. Official Seals
 5. ASUME certificates
 6. Apostille Services
 7. Driver records
The event is for people that need services from the Government of Puerto Rico nd will be held at the Banknote Building 1231 Lafayette Avenue 4th floor, Bronx, New York, 10473 on Friday, November 12, 2021 from 2:00pm-5:00pm and Saturday, November 13, 2021
from 10:00am-4:00pm.
To make an appointment call 718-503-9610, Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm or visit and choose “Services to the Puerto Rican community in New York”.
SBA Low-Interest Federal Loans for Disaster Related Damages
Affected by the Remnants of Hurricane Ida?

PHYSICAL DAMAGES-Businesses of all sizes and nonprofits/faith-based org. (Real Estate, Inventory,
ECONOMIC INJURY -Small businesses and most nonprofits (Working capital, no physical damage needed to
Interest rates as low as: 2.855% for businesses, 2% nonprofit organizations. Max. loan, $2 million

HOMEOWNERS: Up to $200,000 for Primary Residence
HOMEOWNERS/RENTERS: Up to $40,000 for Personal Property
Interest rates as low as 1.563% All loans have repayment terms up to 30 years NY

Presidential SBA Declaration # 17147 Physical Deadline: Nov . 4, 2021

For businesses/homeowners, mitigation is available up to 20% of SBA’s verified physical damage amount
  1. Register with FEMA at or download the FEMA mobile App., or call (800) 621621-3362
  2. Apply with SBA:
How to Start Your Business
The Bronx SBDC at Lehman is a program supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration and extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. On November 3rd they will be hosting a workshop on creating a business.

Creating a business of your own can be challenging. You will need adequate funding, time, personal support, and professional support in order to move forward successfully with entrepreneurial dreams.

This workshop attendees will learn:
  • Choose the Right Business Idea
  • Plan Your Business
  • Choose a Business Name

For more information please email at SBDC.BRONX@LEHMAN.CUNY.EDU
NYC M/WBE Certification Webinars
The New York City Department of Small Business Services will be hosting a certification workshop on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

About this event
Join to learn about the following.
  • Certification program overview
  • Registering in the Payee Information Portal (PIP)
  • Registering for product service (NIGP) codes
  • Starting an MWBE certification application
*** You will receive a link to the webinar prior to the start of the event.

CCIA's "Don't Break Our Tech" campaign
Americans have overcome unprecedented challenges over the past year, but now Congress is playing politics with the products that helped us get through it. Before and during the pandemic, Americans turned to tech products to receive deliveries for their favorite products, find directions to local businesses, and to connect with loved ones. These bills could make all these things harder, more expensive, less convenient, and less secure.

We should ask Congress to answer a very simple question: what happens after you implement barriers to innovation in the one area of the economy where competition forces companies to introduce new consumer products and services daily? 

Upcoming Events
Bronx Chamber Annual Holiday Party & Toy Drive

Join us to celebrate at our Bronx Chamber Holiday Party!
Thursday, December 9th
6:30pm - 10:30pm
Villa Barone Manor

Ridgewood Savings Bank Recruitment Event

Ridegewood Savings Bank will be having a recruitment event at the new Norwood branch on Friday, 11/5/2021, from 11am to 3pm. 


Halloweekend is coming to Fordham Plaza. With Bronx Night Market on October 30th and Fordham Flea on October 31st, you are not going to want to miss this spooky time of year in the Bronx. Contests, giveaways, food, live music, and more!