Saturday, June 19, 2021

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combatting COVID-19


Statewide 7-Day Average Positivity is 0.39%—Record Low for 22 Consecutive Days, Has Declined for 75 Consecutive Days

63,095 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours—Vaccination Rate is 70.7%

9 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combatting COVID-19.

"New Yorkers are getting a new lease on life as we defeat this pandemic and reopen our state's economy for the future," Governor Cuomo said. "Vaccination is the key to beating COVID-19, so we're offering incentives to encourage the remaining New Yorkers to take the shot. We're getting back to living, not just surviving, but I encourage anyone who hasn't been vaccinated yet to do so immediately for themselves and their families' safety."

Today's data is summarized briefly below

  • Test Results Reported - 107,751
  • Total Positive - 418
  • Percent Positive - 0.39%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 0.39%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 532 (-16)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 65
  • Patients in ICU - 126 (-17)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 73 (-6)
  • Total Discharges - 184,129 (64)
  • Deaths - 9
  • Total Deaths - 42,914
  • Total vaccine doses administered - 20,514,127
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 63,095
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 498,084
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 68.2%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 61.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 70.7%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 62.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 56.5%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 50.6%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 58.6%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 51.6%



 Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson announced the City will commit $40.5 million in the FY22 Budget to raise City contracted shelter security guards' wages to meet the prevailing wage rate for security guards. These security guards will see their wages increase from as low as $15 dollars per hour to approximately $18 an hour, in addition to benefits such as family health care. This investment will improve recruitment and retention and impact nearly 4,000 security guards and their families. The new wages will take effect October 1, 2021.

“A Recovery for All of Us includes supporting essential workers. Security officers safeguard some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are proud to invest $40.5 million to ensure the essential security officers in shelters run by private contractors stay in their jobs and receive the wages and benefits they deserve.”


"Security officers in shelters are protecting our most vulnerable New Yorkers, but for too long they were not getting the wages they deserve. This agreement finally guarantees these essential workers a prevailing wage. This is great news, and comes at an important time. They’ve spent the past year helping our city through its darkest hours, and now we’re looking out for them,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.


“The challenging reality that so many shelter security officers continue to endure is changing, starting now,” said Kyle Bragg, President of 32BJ. “Today marks a critical turning point for these officers and their families. We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Diana Ayala and Francisco Moya for making sure no shelter security officer goes home hungry. We will continue to fight until all security officers receive the dignity, respect, and good, family-sustaining jobs they deserve.”

Attorney General James’ Office of Special Investigation Releases Report Related to the Death of Matthew Felix


 New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI), formerly known as the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit (SIPU), released its report on the death of Matthew Felix. Following a thorough and comprehensive investigation, OSI concluded that the actions that led to Mr. Felix’s death did not rise to the level of criminal conduct by officers from the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD). Based on OSI’s exhaustive review of the incident, including but not limited to, video footage from surveillance cameras, medical records, and hours of interviews with relevant witnesses, it could not be concluded that the use of deadly force by the NCPD officers in connection with this incident was unjustified beyond a reasonable doubt.

On February 25, 2020, Matthew Felix responded to an online advertisement about a car that was for sale and asked the owner if he could test-drive the car. While test-driving the car, Mr. Felix pulled a firearm on the owner of the car and forced him to get out. The owner complied and shortly thereafter called 911 to report the stolen car. Detectives from the NCPD were able to track the stolen car through a tracking app associated with a laptop that was in the vehicle when it was stolen and traced it to Mr. Felix’s home in Queens.

Several hours later, NCPD officers, who were stationed nearby Mr. Felix’s residence, witnessed him leaving the residence in a different car and began to follow him. Officers made multiple attempts to signal to Mr. Felix to pull over. Mr. Felix did not initially comply with the officers’ directives to pull over, and finally, when he did slow down the vehicle down, officers positioned their cars both in front of and behind his vehicle in an attempt to stop the car. Officers then got out of their vehicles and approached Mr. Felix, demanding that he show his hands. Mr. Felix put the vehicle in reverse, striking the NCPD vehicle stationed behind him, and then began to accelerate the car forward in the direction of an NCPD officer.  

As Mr. Felix appeared to pose an imminent threat to the officer directly in front of him and nearby civilians by driving onto a sidewalk, NCPD officers opened fire. Mr. Felix was struck by three bullets and pronounced dead at the scene.

At the time the officers pulled over Mr. Felix’s vehicle for the purpose of taking him into custody, they reasonably believed that Mr. Felix had committed an offense — namely, the gunpoint theft earlier that day. In light of the nature of the offense (armed robbery), coupled with other information suggesting Mr. Felix’s readiness to use a firearm, the officers’ decision to draw their weapons when approaching Mr. Felix, in order to protect their safety and to effect the arrest, did not appear to be objectively unreasonable.

The NCPD officers’ belief that Mr. Felix continued to present an imminent threat at each stage of the pursuit, to both the officers and nearby civilians, created a legal justification for the use of deadly force. Additionally, when Mr. Felix was directed to show his hands, it appeared as though he was reaching into the center console of the vehicle; a loaded firearm was later recovered from that center console.

In order to bring criminal charges against the officers, it must have been clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Felix did not pose an imminent threat to cause serious physical injury or death to an officer or others and, in this case, OSI could not determine that he posed no such threat.  

Though this matter did not rise to a criminal charge, OSI remains seriously concerned about how the incident was handled by NCPD, especially the lack of body-worn cameras (BWC) and vehicles outfitted with dashboard cameras. The Office of the Attorney General has previously recommended that NCPD outfit its officers with BWCs and is issuing this recommendation again with the understanding that Nassau County recently committed to outfitting its officers with BWCs. OSI also recommends better use of police practices when it comes to taking control of a potentially dangerous car stop. Safety policies exist to protect all involved in these incidents and failure to follow them can lead to unnecessary escalation of an encounter, such as the one we saw in this matter.

New York State Announces First-Ever Loyalty/Reward Program at State Campgrounds


Reservations Now Open for 2022 Camping Season

 New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the first-ever Camper Loyalty/Reward Program for overnight stays at state campgrounds across New York. The introduction of the new Loyalty program coincides with the opening of the nine-month online reservation window for the 2022 Camping Season.  

The new Loyalty program will allow visitors to earn points for every dollar spent on overnight accommodations and redeem the points toward use fees on future stays. Points are awarded upon departure for all camping stays, so campers can earn points on already-booked reservations and any new reservations as soon as they enroll in the program, either online or by phone. For convenience, the user-friendly program is applied to the account without the need for a physical card. 

“We know there are many outdoor destinations and lodging options available across New York, and this new Loyalty/Reward program is a way of saying thanks to those visitors who enjoy our state campgrounds and return with their families and friends time and time again,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “If an overnight stay among gorgeous parkland sounds like the perfect getaway, I encourage visitors to enroll in the program and book those vacations to start earning points!”

“DEC is thrilled to partner with State Parks to launch the Camping Loyalty/Reward Program to show our appreciation for loyal visitors to our campgrounds across the state. New York State’s new loyalty program is easy to use and encourages visitors to return to our campgrounds year after year,” said DEC Commissioner Seggos. “All DEC campgrounds will be open this summer and I encourage campers both expert and novice to experience the great outdoors with us.”  

While occupancy at state facilities remains high, there is still availability for the 2021 season, particularly on weekdays and during non-peak seasons.  Additionally, the nine-month booking window for the 2022 season advanced reservations has opened and 2022 season dates are now reservable in accordance with the nine-month window. Camping reservations can be made online at or by contacting the ReserveAmerica call center at 1-800-456-CAMP.

There are currently 120 campgrounds operated by New York State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation including 15,000 campsites for tents and RVs, and more than 800 cabins, cottages, yurts, and a lighthouse. Campers can choose from tranquil tent sites in the woods to boat-access only waterfront sites to luxe cottages, and everything in between. Many campgrounds are conveniently located near day-use parks, trails, historic sites, golf courses and other family-friendly destinations. 

Points have no cash value and can only be used for the rewards offered by New York State campgrounds. Earning and redemption rates may be adjusted by New York State-operated campgrounds at any time. Details about the new Loyalty program and steps to enroll are available at

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram Twitter or on the State Parks blog.

DEC operates 52 campgrounds and five day-use areas in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves. The camping season runs through the summer, with some facilities remaining open during fall foliage and hunting season. For more information on DEC-operated campgrounds, including a list of campgrounds and schedules, visit DEC's website, or call DEC's Bureau of Recreation at 518-457-2500.

Governor Cuomo Announces Investigation into National Grid's Downstate Operations


Former Company Managers Allegedly Took Bribes and Kickbacks Worth Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Exchange for Steering of Lucrative Contracts

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Public Service has commenced an investigation into National Grid's downstate gas business after several former National Grid employees were charged in a bribery and kickback scheme involving contracts worth tens of millions of dollars.

"New York has zero tolerance for utility employees who violate the law in order to line their own pockets," Governor Cuomo said. "We're launching an investigation into this allegedly egregious conduct to ensure we get to the bottom of it immediately and that justice is served. Our investigation will thoroughly examine and determine if the company failed to have the appropriate safeguards in place to prevent criminal activities on the part of employees, and if not, the utility will be held accountable."

A federal complaint unsealed in Brooklyn against five former National Grid managers employed in the company's facilities department with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for steering contracts to certain Long Island-based contractors with whom the company did business. One contractor, according to the complaint, secured more than $50 million in facility maintenance contracts from the company during the time that the contractor was paying bribes to the defendants.

"As a result of this alleged criminal activity by employees of a regulated utility, the Department has launched an immediate investigation into this matter to determine if the utility's customers were financially harmed by this scheme and, if so, to seek full restitution on behalf of the customers," said DPS CEO John B. Howard. "The company stated that the contracts did not involve critical gas infrastructure, so public safety is not at risk. The Department's investigation will work to confirm that fact." 

The investigation into National Grid's contracts will likewise focus on identifying any financial impacts of the criminal activity on ratepayers, securing recovery of such costs for ratepayer benefit, determining how the activity was not uncovered for such a long period of time, and identifying changes that must be made at National Grid to ensure that such a situation does not arise again. 

The Department has conducted investigations of utilities involving similar employee misconduct. In early 2009, ten Con Edison supervisors and employees and one retired supervisor were arrested by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for arranging to have the utility pay inflated claims by a contractor in return for more than $1 million in bribes and kickbacks to the employees over a nine-year period ending in 2009. Con Edison was not aware of the illegal activities. In response to the arrests, the Public Service Commission launched an investigation. That case eventually resulted in PSC securing $171 million for Con Edison's customers. 



Today, the Bronx Democratic Party announced their second choice ranked endorsement of Corey Johnson for NYC Comptroller. The Bronx Dems previously endorsed Brian Benjamin as their first choice. 

“The Bronx Democratic Party is thrilled to support Corey Johnson for Comptroller. Corey has been a tireless leader on the City Council, taking on some of our city’s toughest challenges and getting results for all New Yorkers. As Speaker, he passed historic legislation championing food security, tenant protections, criminal justice reforms, affordable access to public transportation, and held city agencies accountable. After negotiating three city budgets that invested in our communities, Corey understands the city's finances inside and out. He has the experience and commitment necessary to lead our economic recovery as Comptroller and ensure we invest in a stronger, fairer, and more equitable economy,” said Chair Jamaal T. Bailey.

“I’m running for Comptroller with one mission: to better the lives of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. No matter your race, gender, income or zip code, you deserve a city government that works for you. That's why I'm so excited to be building a diverse citywide coalition that will power us to victory on June 22nd. I'm honored to receive the endorsement of the Bronx Democratic Party, and grateful to Chair Jamaal Bailey and all the Bronx Democrats for their ranked choice support," said Corey Johnson.


One would have to think that the Bronx Democratic Party is giving up on its first choice for City Comptroller State Senator Brian Benjamin polling near the bottom, for someone who is polling in the top three names running for City Comptroller.

We wonder what the vote was by the executive committee with many of the district leaders not happy with their county leader for not endorsing them, and now slapping them in the face by choosing a second candidate for City Comptroller. We now wonder why the county leader Senator Jamaal Bailey did not do that in the Bronx City Council races where he passed over many of his district leaders to endorse other candidates in the districts he passed over the leaders.

197 Day and Counting


Tonight could be the end of the road for the Brooklyn Nets. My doctors here at City Hall told me that I have a little more than six months to go as your mayor. 

I thought my name was good enough to land me something on TV like Donald Trump had, but there seems to be only one job for me.

Yeah, and this job is taken.

Is Early Voting Working?


This is the second year of Early Voting in New York, with figures coming in from the Board of Elections showing that the cost may outweigh the need for it. BOE daily tallies of the number of voters is cumulative.

Day 1 - Bronx - 2,247. Day 2 - Bronx - 3,919.

Day 3 - Bronx - 5,175. Day 4 - Bronx - 7,591. 

Day 5 - Bronx - 9,848. Day 6 - Bronx - 12,241.

Day 7 - Bronx - 14,493.

Only Saturday and Sunday remain for Early Voting, Monday is an off day to prepare for Tuesday Primary Day for Democrats and Republicans. 

When you vote you will receive two pieces of paper one has on its front the citywide elections for Mayor, Public Advocate, and City Comptroller. You must turn the paper over to vote for Borough President and City Council. In the first page all these races come under Rank Choice Voting, where you can rank up to five different choices by your preference 1 - 5, but you can still vote for only one candidate by filling in the #1 circle next to that candidate. The second piece of paper contains the judicial delegates on it. for those on the West side of the Bronx there will be five judge candidates of which you may select up to two only. This sheet which contains the judicial delegates and judge candidates on the West Side of the Bronx is not Rank Choice Voting, hence the separate piece of paper. 

Now to the action outside the poll sites. 

Day one outside Bronx Science High school.

Day two at Bronx Science we ran into Judge candidate Jessica Flores and her crew who posed for this photo.

We caught up with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz at In-Tech. 

We also caught these workers outside In-Tech. 

The place to be was the Monroe College poll site where 14th City Council candidate Perina Sanchez just happen to have her campaign office on the next block. She is 2nd from the right.

This was what you saw as you went to vote at Monroe College candidate after candidate set up like street vendors.

Candidates signs everywhere, and tents set up across the street, and along the side of Monroe College below.

Monroe College on Jerome Avenue for early voting has people coming from the 11th, 14th, and 15th Council Districts to vote.

Governor Cuomo Announces Mass Vaccination Sites to Begin Downscaling


State to Continue to Focus on Communities with Low Vaccination Rates
Following Major Milestones with 70% of Adult New Yorkers Receiving First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine, State Will Shift Resources to Communities Where Vaccination Rate Is Below State Average

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that given the statewide progress on vaccinations and the achievement of milestones that allowed the State to lift COVID-19 restrictions, certain State-run mass vaccination sites will begin to downscale and shift their resources for localized vaccination efforts. Over the course of weeks and months, a number of sites will downscale based on demand, proximity to other vaccination sites, and other locally focused efforts. The transition reflects the State's plan to focus resources on areas where zip code data shows the vaccination rate is lower than the statewide average. 

"Our network of mass vaccination sites administered the biggest throughput of vaccinations in a short period of time, and thanks to their success we hit the milestones we needed to hit to get back to life as we know it," Governor Cuomo said. "Our statewide progress has been remarkable, but we still need to get more shots into people's arms, particularly in areas that are still lagging on vaccinations. We have to go where the need is greatest, and so many of our mass sites will gradually start downscaling so that we can use our resources to target communities where vaccination rates are still low."

Starting Monday, June 21, the first phase of downscaling will begin with the closing of the mass sites in Corning, Oneonta, Potsdam and York College.

Earlier this month, the Governor announced a series of pop-up vaccination sites will open in areas with lower vaccination rates, building on the State's commitment to make the vaccine accessible in all communities across the state. New York State is expanding this program and will open additional sites in the coming weeks.

New Yorkers are encouraged to continue to utilize the Am I Eligible tool to make appointments and check on the availability of vaccine at State-run mass vaccination sites.  All open sites continue to offer walk-in vaccinations for all eligible individuals.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker Dashboard is available to update New Yorkers on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and includes vaccination data by zip code. The New York State Department of Health requires vaccinating facilities to report all COVID-19 vaccine administration data within 24 hours; the vaccine administration data on the dashboard is updated daily to reflect the most up-to-date metrics in the state's vaccination effort.

New Yorkers who suspect fraud in the vaccine distribution process can now call 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) toll-free or email the state Department of Health at Hotline staff will route complaints to the appropriate investigative agencies to ensure New Yorkers are not being taken advantage of as the State works to vaccinate the entire eligible population.



Jennifer Jones Austin: We wouldn't be in this moment right now talking about racial justice and racial equity – and not just talking about it but seeking to do something about it in a meaningful way, but for Mayor Bill de Blasio. And so, he's here with us and I'm going to ask him to share a few words with all of us at this moment – or, as many words as he'd like.


Mayor Bill de Blasio: There you go, thank you. No, I'm going to keep it – I'm going to keep it brief and, hopefully, very, very pertinent. First of all, thank you, Dr. Scott. I appreciate everything you've done. I appreciate the passion with which you spoke. And we have got to – I think this is what this moment is all about – feel the history fully, deeply to get us inspired to a higher level of action. It's not enough – I don't think anyone here in this gathering wants to talk about history in abstraction or in a mournful manner without a sense of purpose and transcendence. I think that’s the whole idea of the Racial Justice Commission, is to be a transcendent force, to look at the very laws, the very foundation of our city, our charter, our constitution – and then everything else we do, our policies, our laws across the City of New York, our institutions – and question them in a noble, and positive, and productive, and pointed way, in the sense that we will make change in the here and now; to question what is the legacy of the racism that we've all lived with for generations and how it plays out right now in our city, in our institutions, in our government, and to change it.


And to me, as we went through last year, which was a revelatory year, it became clearer and clearer that we should shine the light inward on the City of New York. And I think with the right people – and the right people are those gathered in this commission – fearlessly looking at what is wrong and needs to be fixed, and then how to fix it – and name it and present the specific, tangible ways to make change.


Jennifer, thank you, you've been leading this commission with a tremendous sense of purpose and energy as with everything you do. And to all the commission members, it’s going to be a lot of work. I know you took on – I talked to all of you before you accepted the assignment, you all understood you were doing something unprecedented for the history of – in the history of this city, you were doing something unprecedented – actually, in this nation. You know, we have all heard powerful discourse about Juneteenth, powerful discourse about reparations, about Tulsa, so many things that are coming to the fore, but I don't know any place else in the country that has formalized a commission of leaders to say now we are going to name the very specific institutional racism that must be stopped right now, the practices, laws that are wrong and can be fixed here and now, and then the actions that will change them. What you're doing, to me, is sacred and it is going to set a pattern for this city, this state, and this nation. I don't need to patriotically tell you that when New York City does something, the rest of the country watches, the rest of the world, watches – that's something we're all proud of as New Yorkers. I can tell you that in this year 2021, this year that must be about rebirth and recovery, and a sense of profound change that you have an opportunity to imprint on this city a path forward, and then that will be a shot heard around the world, because what you do will become a template. I think people will ask themselves in every city in America, in every county and every state, even to the national level, where is our equivalent commission? Where is our process? Where is our pathway of change?


I want to especially thank you today that, as you thought about Juneteenth, you thought about some of the greats of the movement here in this city, in this state. And I see Hazel Dukes, and I see, I think, Una Clarke is with us. I see Reverend Daughtry, Reverend Scott, people who have made a life's work of creating change – and so many others, I'm not seeing everyone on the screen and – forgive me, but I know you're out there. Others, you have made a life's work of fostering change and who had to do it, bluntly, in much more difficult conditions than what we're experiencing now and now's not a walk in the park. But the folks who did this work 20, and 30, and 40, and 50 years ago opened up many, many doors for what we need to do now. But I call upon all of us now to walk through the door and reset the equation and go farther.


In that vein, Jennifer and I talked earlier today about the need to codify, the need to take the changes that we've been making and make them permanent, and then look beyond the changes we've made to the others that need to be made and make them permanent and not allow the backsliding. The history is filled the backsliding. Juneteenth could be – in addition to its noble and positive elements that we honor, it could be a painful lesson in backsliding too. People told me they were emancipated only to be in a different way put through a system of oppression, losing what they had, having the rights stripped away. Juneteenth, I don't think I have to say to anyone here, is a beautiful yet bittersweet holiday. And I think in that vein, the notion that this commission is a commission of justice, it's a commission to ensure that there isn't greatness and progress that slips from us, but that we codify it in a way that no one can assail and no one can undermine. I think we can do that in this city, especially in this moment in history, but it will take really good minds and good hearts putting together the ideas for change.


Now, even in the creation of this commission, ideas started to flow. And I want to thank a number of you I know care deeply, especially special shout out to Darrick Hamilton for promoting so deeply the baby bonds idea. And our Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity, look at that and a number of other ideas, what we could do here and now with City investment in our Juneteenth. The task force – and I want to thank Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson, because he's a part of both these crucial elements of the equation – the task force, leaders of color in the administration, who are working on, right now, changes, complementing the work of this commission that's going to work on the permanent, big, strategic, and structural changes for the City.


The task force looked at the options of what we could do to honor Juneteenth and came back with three ideas. We announced them yesterday – a recovery task force based at Medgar Evers College, our one of historically Black college – a recovery corps of young people who are going to get opportunities, paid opportunities to make an impact on the community in the recovery and to learn and grow as leaders and professionals in the process; an initiative to provide four-year CUNY scholarships for thousands of young African-American students, so they can create an opportunity to get through CUNY and succeed and have the resources and the support all the way through; and then, most powerfully, the opportunity for a scholarship fund – excuse me – scholarship accounts for individual children. And this idea, we decided to go big and go fast. You know, popularly known as baby bombs, we said, we need to start right now in this year of revelation and change, 2021. Starting in September 2021, every New York City public school student who goes into kindergarten will get a savings account open for them – every single one. We're going to have a process of building those up with contributions from foundations, nonprofits, business, community, and local communities to build that into a powerful force. Those accounts will grow rapidly so that those young people will know by the time that they leave high school, they have a direct, clear pathway to college and to the creation of generational wealth, which is the crying need in this equation. The economic justice part of this equation is the crying need and what I really hope that everyone will focus on, on Juneteenth.


So, I have said enough. I just want to thank everyone. I don't think any of the folks who have been around for a while will mind if I call them the elders, the folks who have really fought the struggle and created this opportunity for all of us, thank you. The members of the commission, who are taking on a historic task, and you are up to it and then some to create profound change. And everyone is going to participate – because one thing you know, if you ask New Yorkers, do you have an opinion on how we make change? The answer will be, yes, every single time. You will not lack for strong views and good ideas. But, in the course, of this year, I think you're going to really profoundly changed the course of New York City history. And I want to thank you, and I can't think of a better thing to think about, and talk about, and do to celebrate Juneteenth than the work of this commission. So, thank you, everyone.

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic


Statewide 7-Day Average Positivity is 0.39% -- Record Low for 3 Consecutive Weeks, Has Declined for 74 Consecutive Days

78,837 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

9 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

Vaccination Data by Zip Code Now Live on Dashboard

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combatting COVID-19.

"While New Yorkers have done a tremendous job fighting COVID and we are returning to normalcy, it's important to remember we are still not yet out of the woods," Governor Cuomo said. "Now is the time to do what you can to keep yourself and your community safe. There are no more excuses -- if you have yet to get your COVID-19 vaccine, take advantage of one of the numerous incentive programs out there and get your shot today."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

·         Test Results Reported - 110,387
·         Total Positive - 370
·         Percent Positive - 0.34%
·         7-Day Average Percent Positive - 0.39%
·         Patient Hospitalization - 548 (-32)
·         Patients Newly Admitted - -161
·         Patients in ICU - 143 (-6)
·         Patients in ICU with Intubation - 79 (-7)
·         Total Discharges - 184,065 (+82)
·         Deaths - 9
·         Total Deaths - 42,905

·         Total vaccine doses administered - 20,451,032
·         Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 78,837
·         Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 539,446
·         Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 68.1%
·         Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 61.4%
·         Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 70.6%
·         Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 62.6%
·         Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 56.4%
·         Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 50.4%
·         Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 58.5%
·         Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 51.4%

Friday, June 18, 2021



Feed Pets Indoors, Secure Garbage, and Take Down Birdfeeders to Reduce Potential for Human-Bear Interactions

 State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today encouraged New Yorkers to take a few simple precautions to avoid conflicts with bears. 

“DEC is receiving reports of bears roaming neighborhoods in several parts of upstate New York,” Commissioner Seggos said. “We are encouraging New Yorkers to help reduce the potential for negative interactions with bears by removing the things bears find attractive like pet food and trash.”   

Summer is a busy time for bears. Young bears disperse from family groups, breeding bears search for mates, and all bears forage for food to gain the fat needed for winter. With this increased activity comes a greater potential for human-bear conflicts, when bears find food near people. 

New Yorkers living in bear country, which includes much of upstate New York, are asked to take a few simple steps this summer to protect their communities and bears from harm:

  • Secure garbage indoors or a locked outbuilding until the morning of pickup;
  • Remove birdfeeders;
  • Clean grease from grills; and
  • Secure livestock food and don’t feed pets outdoors. 

For more information, please visit DEC's webpage on reducing human-bear conflicts.

Bronx Progressives Invites You to Our Welcome Summer-City Reopens-Social Gathering!

Join Fellow Progressives for our Bronx Progressives Welcome Summer-City Reopens-Social Gathering!

Greetings Bronx Progressives Members!

Hope you and your loved ones are starting off your summer in good spirits, and are looking forward to a landscape of possibilities of summer fun and relaxation, as we experience a city fully reemerging into a new normal. 

With less than five days to go for the primary elections on June 22, I hope you're making the time to plan out your vote (whether that is voting early, by Absentee, or on Election Day), and using wisely Ranked Choice Voting to vote on the most progressive candidates to lead our city and communities.  

In the spirit of summer upon us and our city emerging into a citywide reopening, the Working Group at Bronx Progressives decided to do something different for our June general meeting. Something we haven't done as a group in a very long time since we went into a lockdown. 

Join us on Sunday, June 27 at 3pm to our In-person Welcome Summer-City Reopens-Social Gathering.

Come join us for some delicious food and beverages, fun and games, music, a safe space to reflect on the elections, our work and what comes next after the New York Health Act and Public Power. We will be visited by two special guests. So come join us to learn who they are! Stay tuned for updates. 

Bronx Progressives Welcome-Summer-City-Reopens-Social- Gathering!

RSVP HERE (So we can accommodate enough food)

Date: Sunday, June 27
Time: 3pm
Location: 2080 Barnes Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462 (Use service entrance at south end of building) Gate will be left open to allow guests to access space behind the building.

2 Train to Pelham Parkway

Governor Cuomo Announces Reopening of New York State Capitol


Empire State Plaza Complex Including the Capitol, Legislative Office Building to Reopen to the Public June 18

Free Tours of Capitol and Empire State Plaza Return

Tour Restrictions Lifted as 70% of Adult New Yorkers Have Received First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

Tour Reservations Available Online Here

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that with 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older having received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series, the Empire State Plaza Complex, which includes the New York State Capitol and the Legislative Office Building, will reopen to the public tomorrow, June 18. Additionally, tours of the Capitol resume on Monday, June 21, and the popular outdoor tours of the Empire State Plaza will start up again on Wednesday, July 7. Unvaccinated individuals will continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance.

"New Yorkers have worked hard against the COVID virus and as a result, landmarks and attractions across the state are reopening to visitors. We are thrilled to welcome New Yorkers and guests from afar back to our beautiful State Capitol and the amazing Empire State Plaza," Governor Cuomo said. "The Capitol is filled with extraordinary history anyone can appreciate. While it was necessary to close its doors during the pandemic, it is time to welcome people back to its grand halls."

Free Capitol Tours

  • When: Monday through Friday
  • Times: 10 a.m. & noon
  • Location: Information Desk in Capitol's State Street lobby
  • Reservations: Space is limited, and reservations are recommended but not required for groups of fewer than 10 people - reserve online hereFor groups of 10 or more, call 518-474-2418 to make arrangements
  • Unvaccinated Visitors to the Capitol are required to wear a mask during indoor Tours

Sitting atop Albany's State Street hill, the New York State Capitol has served as the seat of government for New York since the 1880s. The building is a marvel of late 19th century architectural grandeur, built by hand of solid masonry over a period of 32 years. Highlights of the 45-minute tours can include the legislative chambers, Hall of Governors, Governor's Reception Room, Hall of New York, historic staircases, and carvings.

Free Outdoor Empire State Plaza Tours

  • When: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
  • Time:  2 p.m.
  • Location: Outside at the main entrance to The Egg Center for the Performing Arts on the Empire State Plaza.
  • Reservations: Space is limited to 25 people per tour, and reservations are required - reserve online here or by calling 518-474-2418

The 45-minute tours feature highlights of the world-class, 98-acre complex where state government, unique architecture, and modern art share the same space. No two tours are the same, and highlights can include The Egg Center for the Performing Arts, the Plaza's main platform, Capitol, Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice, Cultural Education Center, Corning Tower, Legislative Office Building, and agency buildings, as well as the memorials that honor those who have dedicated or given their lives in service to others. Those taking the tour will also learn about the Empire State Plaza Art Collection, which is known as the largest publicly owned modern art collection in the country housed outside of a museum.

Attorney General James Ends Discriminatory Housing Practices Against Jewish Community in Orange County


Orange County and Town of Chester Mandated to Comply with Fair Housing Act
Following Concerted Efforts to Stop Jewish Community from Moving to Chester

 New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that her office has reached agreements with Orange County and the Town of Chester to end their use of discriminatory housing practices that were designed to prevent members of the Jewish community from moving to Chester, New York. The agreements mandate that the county and the town comply with the Fair Housing Act and take preventative measures to ensure equitable housing practices moving forward.

“The discriminatory and illegal actions perpetrated by Orange County and the Town of Chester are blatantly antisemitic, and go against the diversity, inclusivity, and tolerance that New York prides itself on,” said Attorney General James. “Every New Yorker deserves equal opportunities in housing, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or their faith. Today and every day, I stand with all communities against hate and discrimination, which will not be tolerated in New York state.”

In May 2020, Attorney General James intervened in lawsuit filed by the developers of the “The Greens at Chester,” alleging that the town and county engaged in a concerted and systematic effort to prevent Hasidic Jewish families from moving to Chester by blocking the construction of a housing development. The original lawsuit, filed in July 2019, outlined countless discriminatory and unnecessary actions that Chester and Orange County took to stop the homes from being built in order to prevent Jewish families from purchasing and occupying them — gross violations of the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act dictates that it is unlawful for anyone to refuse to sell or rent a dwelling based on an individual's religion, race, sex, national origin, or familial status, among other protected classes.

In October 2017, the developers of The Greens purchased a 117-acre property in the Town of Chester in Orange County, New York, which had been fully approved for residential development under the ownership of the previous developer. Since the purchase of the property in 2017, officials from the town repeatedly sought to block development of the site and openly expressed discriminatory intent to block the development at public town meetings — explicitly referencing their desire to keep Hasidic families out of the community. 

Additionally, the town placed multiple obstacles in the way of the developers in an attempt to thwart construction — all in violation of a settlement agreement, reached in 2010, regarding the zoning and construction of the land. They passed a law to restrict the size of the houses that could be built in an attempt to make them uninhabitable for families. The town also advanced proposals to levy extra taxes on the development; to limit the hours that construction could occur on the site; and to require the developer to provide the personal information of its managing partners to local officials. 

The town also imposed costly and unnecessary requirements that the developer had to comply with before construction could commence, including mandating that a new sewer waste line be rerouted and requesting the main road be moved by 10 feet. After the developer complied with each of these unnecessary requests, the town still denied all building permit applications, even though the developer clearly satisfied the requirements necessary to be granted the permits. A separate agreement between the developers, Orange County, and the Town of Chester has resulted in the construction of The Greens moving forward.

The agreements announced today mandate that Orange County and the Town of Chester must enact numerous policies to uphold fair housing regulations, including:

  • Full compliance of the Fair Housing Act;
  • Adopting outreach measures that disseminate information about fair housing to communities;
  • Administering fair housing trainings to county and town employees working in housing or planning;
  • Appointing a fair housing compliance officer; and
  • Documenting and reporting of all housing discrimination complaints to the Office of the Attorney General.