Saturday, April 23, 2022

Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) - Rocking the Market opens May 6th at BRAC Gallery

 

Bronx River Art Center Presents:

ROCKING THE MARKET
 An Exhibition of Performance Art by Three Queer Latina/x Artists from New York and California 

Nao Bustamante, Carmelita Tropicana and Marga Gomez

Curated by Bronx-based artist Nicolås Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles

May 6 - June 11, 2022

Opening Reception May 12th 6:30 - 9:00pm
Nao Bustamante Performing Live at 7:30pm

In ROCKING THE MARKET three queer Latina/x performance artists, Nao Bustamante, Carmelita Tropicana and Marga Gomez, experiment with food through performance, video, audio and written art forms. 

Photo: Nao Bustamante in collaboration with Miguel Calderon, The Chain South, 1998
Video Still. Image courtesy of the artist

Food embodies life in all of its manifestations and nuances. Taste is the idiom the tongue usually remembers even when native languages have been suppressed, surrendered, hybridized, slowly forgotten or eradicated. Food is political — encompassing non-human animal rights, eco-activism, veganism, vegetarianism, food justice, and hunger. These food “conversations” include what is eaten and who gets to eat on our generous, but exploited planet. Forget sexuality, politics and religion; they are all contained in any given dish. Buen provecho

Nao Bustamante’s intimate dialogues with flour, water, and salt, while baking bread during the isolating Covid pandemic is an act of reclaiming somatic connections in her West Coast kitchen; the act of which ultimately transforms into the likes of an 80’s discotheque. In a podcast, Carmelita Tropicana talks to us about her obsession with food while simultaneously using humor as a weapon to decolonize a number of food items that are no longer associated with their actual birthplaces. Marga Gomez shares the script for a Cuban Mojito, a drink that has been so utterly gentrified that she has to argue against a white-washed recipe that calls for vodka instead of Caribbean rum, because the latter is “…too dark.” Any way you experience it, be certain that this exhibition will not prompt you to fast.

ROCKING THE MARKET refers to two interpretations of “to rock.” In the case of a baby, it means security and comfort for the newborn, as we move them gently from side to side. However, it also points to an iconoclastic reading, which expresses shaking something to the core of its foundations until the house crumbles like a coffee cake. Likewise, this exhibition delves into food and eating as it pertains to immigration, hybridization, memories, indigeneity, and appropriation within the context of the United States. ROCKING THE MARKET‘s understanding of the “Market” is that of the elite establishment propagating oppressive and outdated systems overdue to be rocked by a furious public. Once these systems are broken down there will be hope for regeneration.

This exhibition finds its home in the South Bronx, a place that houses the biggest produce market in the U.S. and yet is where the majority of our neighbors experience a food apartheid on a daily basis. The three cult figure artists in ROCKING THE MARKET stir a cast iron cauldron of ingredients in their performance and comedy that spices up the presentations! 

Along with the exhibition, there will be a series of live actions including Hamburger Hands by Nao Bustamante to be performed live during the opening on May 12th. In June, Carmelita Tropicana will do a performance for children and families involving fruits and vegetables, while Marga GĂłmez will join us online with a cabaret style comedy. Check our website in late May for updates and more information. 

This exhibition is dedicated to the late José Esteban Muñoz.
-- NicolĂĄs Dumit EstĂ©vez Raful Espejo Ovalles

This exhibition is a prelude to INDECENCIA! opening at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art this coming Fall. 
Photo: Carmelita Tropicana roof top, Photo by Uzi Parnes
COVID-19 vaccination proof requirements have expanded to include younger children and to require full vaccination:

Children: Children ages 5 to 11 are now required to have proof of vaccination for the public indoor activities. They must show they have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Full Vaccination: People 12 and older participating in public indoor activities are now required to show proof they have received two vaccine doses, except for those who have received the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Starting January 29, 2022, children ages 5 to 11 must also show proof of full vaccination.

Attendees will also be required to be masked.

On Earth Day, Council Announces New Environmental Legislation

 

Legislative package would accelerate phase-out of dirty fuel, and expand organic waste collection, community recycling, electric vehicle chargers, greenways, resource conservation by buildings, and tree plantings 

 On Earth Day, the New York City Council continued its legacy as a leader on environmental policies by announcing a new package of environmental legislation. It includes bills to accelerate the phase-out of dirty fuels, expand curbside organic waste collection citywide, establish community recycling centers, and increase tree plantings, the availability of electric vehicle chargers, greenways, and tree plantings. The package would also include legislation to build upon the City’s groundbreaking energy and water usage benchmarking law to cover buildings of at least 10,000 square feet, creating greater transparency around usage and greater efficiencies to reduce waste. The legislation will be introduced in the coming days, with hearings to follow in the coming months. 

“The New York City Council has a history of advancing local laws for successful environmental policies and programs that have become global examples of responsible leadership,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “This Council will continue to build on that record of promoting sustainability, reducing pollution, and protecting the environment. We celebrate Earth Day by establishing a commitment to always do our part in confronting the climate crisis with action. I look forward to working with my Council colleagues to advance these important bills during this session, while supporting global efforts to preserve our planet for future generations.” 

The environment-focused legislative package includes the following bills: 

Citywide Curbside Organic Collection (sponsored by Council Member Hanif, Speaker Adams, Council Members Won, Nurse, Bottcher, Gennaro, Menin, Hudson and CabĂĄn, by request of the Brooklyn Borough President) – Establishing a mandatory citywide organic waste curbside collection program for the diversion of organic waste from residences. An earlier pilot program that covered only a portion of the City was discontinued during the pandemic. This local law would require a permanent citywide program for organics collection, just as programs currently exist for the collection of metal, glass, plastics and paper. 

Accelerated Phase Out of Dirty Fuel Oils (sponsored by Council Member Gennaro, by request of the Queens Borough President) – Requiring that no newly installed boiler shall burn fuel oil grade no. 4 and that no boiler in the City, regardless of when installed, shall burn fuel oil grade no. 4 after January 1, 2025. This would be a significant acceleration of the current phase out date, which is in 2030, and would hasten the further cleaning of our local air from pollutants. 

Electric Vehicle Chargers in Parking Lots (sponsored by Council Member Brannan, by request of the Queens Borough President) – Requiring parking lots above a certain size have certain percentages of spots either electric ready or supplied with electric vehicle charging equipment by certain dates. By making electric vehicle charging more accessible, it encourages the transition to emissions free vehicles and reduces air pollution in the City. 

Encourage Community Recycling (sponsored by Council Member Powers, at the request of the Brooklyn Borough President) – Two pieces of legislation, aimed at establishing permanent drop off points and community recycling centers where New Yorkers can drop off waste, including materials that are not otherwise accepted for curbside collection, such as hazardous materials. 

Citywide Greenway Master Plan (sponsored by Council Members Rivera and Brooks-Powers) – Requiring the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation to develop and regularly update a master plan on maintaining and expanding the City’s greenway network. Greenways are open spaces developed for use by pedestrians or non-motorized vehicles and a stronger greenway network encourages the public use of open space and eco-friendly travel. 

Tree Pit Plantings (sponsored by Council Member Bottcher) – Requiring the planting of a tree or other vegetation in abandoned tree pits within a certain amount of time, to encourage the further greening of the City. An abandoned tree pit is one in which only dirt, or sometimes a tree stump from a previously removed tree, remains. 

Expanded Benchmarking of Buildings (sponsored by Council Member Gennaro) – Expanding the City’s groundbreaking energy and water usage benchmarking law to cover buildings of 10,000 square feet or more. By creating greater transparency around the usage of energy and water by buildings, greater efficiencies and waste reductions can be encouraged and the success of conservation programs can be better understood. 

From passing groundbreaking legislation that has become a global model on how to reduce carbon emissions from buildings (Local Law 97 of 2019), to requiring the electrification of newly constructed buildings (Local Law 154 of 2021), to requiring a transition to a zero emission City school bus fleet (Local Law 120 of 2021) to championing a green future for Rikers Island (Local Laws 16, 17, and 31 of 2021), and even to reforming the commercial trade waste industry to ensure emissions reductions and a greater emphasis on environmental goals (Local Laws 198 and 199 of 2021), in recent years the City Council has advanced significant environmental policies that have served as models for New York State and jurisdictions around the world. 

In fact, the Council’s history of pushing forward local laws advancing environmental policies extends further back as well, with many of those policies having now established themselves as successful programs and global policy examples. The New York City Panel on Climate Change’s regular reports are a trusted source for local climate science; the phasing out of the dirtiest heating fuel oils has already helped clean our local air; restrictions on engine idling have helped clean the air and reduce fuel consumption; and the establishing of larger citywide emissions goals established targets that all City agencies are expected to work towards meeting. 

The Council is dedicated to continuing with sound environmental policies for the City – by establishing new initiatives and fine-tuning existing policies to increase their impact. This work does not begin or end on Earth Day, and will continue throughout the legislative session, with more announcements expected. 

WITH 65% OF SOUTHWEST YONKERS HOUSEHOLDS UNABLE TO AFFORD THE COST OF LIVING IN WESTCHESTER, SCHUMER, BOWMAN DELIVER $500,000 TO WESTHAB TO ADDRESS AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS; REPS SAY FUNDING WILL MAKE CRITICAL UPGRADES TO AGING HOUSING UNITS, ADDRESS URGENT HEALTH & SAFETY NEEDS, & IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR YONKERS FAMILIES

 

In Southwest Yonkers Roughly 65% Of Households - Roughly 24,000 Families – Are Unable To Afford The High Cost Of Living In Westchester County; Exasperating Historic Inequities & Limiting Economic Opportunity,

Reps Deliver Half A Million To Directly Address Urgent Health & Safety Needs, Increase Affordable Housing Access, And Improve Quality Of Life  

Schumer, Bowman: Housing Is A Human Right, This Fed Funding Will Ensure Yonkers Families Have Access To The Safe & Affordable Housing They Deserve

 Continuing their strong partnership in delivering funding to address historic inequities in Westchester County, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) today announced that they have secured $500,000 in federal funding for WestHab, Inc. to make critical upgrades to affordable housing and promote housing equity in Southwest Yonkers. The funding was secured as a part of the Fiscal Year 2022 end of the year spending package. The lawmakers said that the funding will make critical repairs to nearly 80 units of affordable housing, immediately improving quality of life for dozens of Yonkers families.

“Every Westchester family deserves a safe and secure place to call home, but historic underinvestment has created a housing crisis in places like Southwest Yonkers. Access to affordable housing is a fundamental right, and this funding gets to the issue at its core by making critical upgrades and repairs so that Yonkers residents can have the quality of life they deserve,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to have worked in lock step with Congressman Bowman to deliver this funding for Westhab and I will keep fighting to get every dollar of federal support needed to help lay the foundation here in Yonkers for a brighter, more equitable future for all residents.”

“Safe, reliable and affordable housing should be guaranteed for everyone,” said Congressman Jamaal Bowman. “In Yonkers many of our neighbors are experiencing housing insecurity and Westhab is perfectly positioned to address this crisis by offering affordable housing and fighting to end homelessness. I am honored to support Westhab and have worked alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to deliver $500,000 to Westhab as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Process. This money is critical to not only repair 79 units that house our neighbors, but also ensure the overall well-being and quality of life is improved for anyone living in those units. I am proud to deliver federal funding to uplift Westhab's work and support their mission to ensure people have the resources to thrive and I look forward to every opportunity to support their efforts further.”

“While Westhab works to develop beautiful, new affordable housing, it is equally important that we preserve existing affordable housing so that all members of our community have a high-quality home. Westhab is grateful for the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Congressman Bowman for delivering these critical funds to preserve nine multi-family buildings in Yonkers where seventy-nine families call home,” said Rich Nightingale, Westhab President & CEO.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “I want to thank Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Bowman for their leadership towards transforming the Westhab property in Yonkers into an affordable housing opportunity for 79 Westchester County families. It is our responsibility in government to make sure that accessible, affordable housing is always there, and that every resident has a safe and decent place to call home. We are filling a critical need people have when we transform a property into something new, and we are helping Westchester’s families when we get them into a high-quality home at a price point they can afford.”

Schumer and Bowman explained that this funding would boost Westhab to repair 79 units of affordable housing, spanning across 9 multi-family apartment buildings. Specifically, funding will allow for critical improvements to the roof, fire safety systems, window replacement, utility upgrades, and apartment renovations. This funding comes at a critical time when 65% of households - roughly 24,000 families – in Southwest Yonkers are unable to afford the cost of living in Westchester County.

The representatives explained that the needs are especially evident in Southwest Yonkers. According to the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, a majority of households living in the 10701 and 10705 zip codes, which represent Southwest Yonkers, are deemed ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households. This population earns more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living in their county. In 10701, 66% of 22,535 households are ALICE, while in 10705, 64% of 14,260 households are also ALICE. (United Way of Westchester and Putnam, 2020 New York Report. ALICE in Westchester)

Schumer and Bowman have a long history of fighting for expanding access to affordable housing. Since the start of the pandemic, the representatives have championed numerous programs across the American Rescue Plan and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. These have included:

  • $5 billion in HOME funding to combat homelessness by supporting service providers and providing permanent housing ($4.6 million to Yonkers)
  • $46.5 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance
  • $10 billion in Homeowner Assistance Fund
  • $5 billion in Emergency Housing Vouchers, prioritized for families and individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Permanent 4% floor for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), adding an estimated 125,000 more affordable rental homes.
  • $3.6 million for CDBG and $1.3 million for HOME in FY22 for the City of Yonkers

Two Leaders Of ‘We Build The Wall’ Online Fundraising Campaign Plead Guilty To Defrauding Hundreds Of Thousands Of Donors

 

Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato Admitted to Participating in Wire Fraud Conspiracy

 Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that BRIAN KOLFAGE and ANDREW BADOLATO pled guilty today in connection with their roles in defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to an online crowdfunding campaign known as “We Build the Wall.”  Both defendants pled guilty before United States District Judge Analisa Torres.

According to the Indictment filed in the case:

Starting in approximately December 2018, BRIAN KOLFAGE, ANDREW BADOLATO, and others orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors, including donors in the Southern District of New York, in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign ultimately known as “We Build The Wall” that raised more than $25,000,000 to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.  In particular, to induce donors to donate to the campaign, KOLFAGE repeatedly and falsely assured the public that he would “not take a penny in salary or compensation” and that “100% of the funds raised . . . will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose.”

Those representations were false.  In truth, KOLFAGE, BADOLATO, and others received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations.  For example, KOLFAGE covertly took for his personal use more than $350,000 in funds that donors had given to We Build the Wall.  To conceal the payments to KOLFAGE from We Build the Wall, KOLFAGE, BADOLATO, and others devised a scheme to route those payments from We Build the Wall to KOLFAGE indirectly.  They did so by using fake invoices and sham “vendor” arrangements, among other ways, to ensure, as KOLFAGE noted in a text message to BADOLATO, that his pay arrangement remained “completely confidential” and kept on a “need to know” basis.  

KOLFAGE, 39, and BADOLATO, 57, both residents of Florida, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  In the same proceeding, KOLFAGE also pled guilty to tax and wire fraud charges filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida. 

The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the judge.

Both KOLFAGE and BADOLATO are scheduled to be sentenced at 1:00 pm on September 6, 2022, by Judge Torres.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

On Earth Day, Governor Hochul Announces $59 Million Now Available for 'Clean Green Schools' Initiative

 

Program Will Improve Air Quality, Advance Clean Energy and Reduce Carbon Emissions in Pre-K-12 Public Schools 

Would be Significantly Expanded Under $4.2 Billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act Going Before Voters This Fall    

Builds Upon New York's First in the Nation Requirement for All New School Buses to be Zero-Emission by 2027 to Further Improve Air Quality for School-age Children 

Supports New York State's Nation-Leading Goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Including an 85 Percent Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050 


 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $59 million in funding is now available for the Clean Green Schools initiative, which will advance clean energy and energy efficiency solutions to improve indoor air quality and reduce emissions for more than 600 under-resourced public Pre-K-12 schools across the state. All public school buildings across New York State that are designated as high-needs by the New York State Education Department or located in a disadvantaged community will be eligible to participate in the program. First announced during Climate Week 2021, the initiative was developed with input from education leaders and low carbon building experts. Today's announcement builds on the historic achievements in the enacted FY 2023 Budget, including the expanded Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, as well as New York's first in the nation requirement for all new school buses to be zero-emission by 2027. It also supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"Providing cleaner and healthier places for children to learn and grow is an absolute must if we want to deliver on a green transition that benefits all," Governor Hochul said. "This Earth Day, we reflect on the ways New York has made strides to fight climate change and will continue to lead the nation with our climate goals. The Clean Green Schools initiative will bring meaningful change to communities that have been too often left behind, allowing our schools to be models of innovation while giving educators and students the type of learning environment they deserve."

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), applications are now being accepted for the Clean Green Schools initiative, which will help public schools in disadvantaged communities or high-needs areas that traditionally lack resources to invest in infrastructure improvements become healthier, more productive learning environments. This initiative advances climate justice by providing technical, financial, and human resource support to help under-resourced public schools assess and implement energy efficient heating and cooling projects to benefit the most vulnerable New Yorkers. All HVAC projects funded under this initiative will address indoor air quality.

Funding to significantly expand the program will be included in the historic $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which will go before voters in November. If approved, the Bond Act funding will allow the program to serve will serve more than 1,000 under-resourced public schools and benefit nearly 1 million students, driving significant infrastructure upgrades, such as geothermal heating and cooling, solar, green roofs, and indoor air quality/ventilation. The historic Bond Act will also provide the support New York needs to provide safe water to drink; invest in critical water infrastructure; restore critical environmental habitats; reduce flood risks; preserve our outdoor spaces and local farms; and invest in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects that will reduce air pollution, lower carbon emissions, and improve the ability of New York communities to withstand the climate-driven increase in severe weather events and flooding.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "On this Earth Day, New York is sending a resounding message that we are leading the nation by advancing actions to fulfil our commitment under New York's landmark Climate Law in tackling the damaging impacts of climate change. Today with the Clean Green Schools initiative, the Governor is answering that call with real and impactful change that will increase energy efficiency in our schools and electrify our school buses, building a greener, healthier and a more sustainable learning environment for our children."

Applications are open for the two tracks participating in the initiative:

  • Track I will provide professional services, including energy studies, on-site energy managers and fiscal advisors, to help schools evaluate and facilitate comprehensive energy reduction, decarbonization, environmental sustainability, and indoor air quality improvements.
    • Funding for Track I will be provided on an open enrollment, first-come-first-served basis.
  • Track II will provide schools with funding for construction projects that decarbonize their building portfolios, including retrofits that impact energy consumption and overall building load, electrification readiness projects, and conversion of central heating and/or cooling plants to clean energy technologies such as heat pumps.
    • Funding for Track II will be provided on a competitive basis.

Participating schools in either Track may also apply for funding under the initiative to support eligible activities that create or further clean energy educational opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. New York State has over 4,000 public K-12 schools that spend approximately $800 million in annual energy costs, which produce approximately 4.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or other harmful greenhouse gases. Approximately 2,500 of these schools are located in a disadvantaged community or high-needs area and are eligible to participate in the initiative. Schools that are interested in applying to the program should visit the NYSERDA website.

In addition to today's announcements, New York State currently offers incentives for the purchase of new electric school buses through the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYTVIP) administered by NYSERDA. NYTVIP provide incentives up to $220,000 for electric school buses located within disadvantaged communities utilizing up to $12 million in funding from the State's settlement with Volkswagen and the Congestion Mitigation for Air Quality Improvement Program. To date, New York has committed nearly $70 million in VW settlement funds to replace diesel-powered medium-and heavy-duty vehicles with new zero emission vehicles, including electric transit buses, school buses, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and cargo handling equipment. For more information, visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/109784.html.

To further improve air quality for school-age New Yorkers and local communities, the State Budget requires that all new school bus purchases be zero-emissions by 2027 and all school buses on the road be zero-emissions by 2035. The State Budget will provide $500 million through the Bond Act to support school districts in purchases of zero-emission buses and related charging infrastructure including charging stations, aided by technical assistance to be provided by NYSERDA. Additionally, the State Budget authorizes school districts to lease or finance zero-emission buses for 12 years, more than double the current five-year limitation for diesel buses, in order to help districts meet this goal, and ensures Transportation Aid is provided on zero-emission buses and related charging infrastructure.

DURING EARTH WEEK, DEC COMMISSIONER SEGGOS ANNOUNCES OPENING OF HUDSON VALLEY SEGMENT OF STATEWIDE BIRDING TRAIL

 

Logo

Hudson Valley Birding Trail Includes 39 Locations in Six Counties

New Trail Provides Birding Opportunities for All New Yorkers, Regardless of Age, Ability, Identity, or Background

 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the grand opening of the Hudson Valley segment of the New York State Birding Trail to highlight the State’s world-class and wide-ranging birding opportunities. The Hudson Valley segment includes 39 locations on public lands throughout six counties, providing a variety of quality birding experiences for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy. The announcement was made as part of DEC’s annual Earth Week celebration and in conjunction with the annual New York State Tourism Industry Association conference in Westchester.

"Spring is a fantastic time of year to visit one of the many sites on the newest segment of the New York State Birding Trail," Commissioner Seggos said. “The Hudson Valley region, with its stunning and historic parks and public lands, unique hawk watches, and sweeping Hudson River views, provides a unique and special birding experience for anyone interested in getting started in this fun, accessible activity.”

Birdwatching has quickly become one of New York’s fastest-growing recreation and tourism activities. The New York State Birding Trail is managed by DEC in collaboration with partners including the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The statewide trail includes a network of promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation, providing an inclusive experience for all visitors to enjoy birds amid beautiful natural settings with little or no cost or investment in equipment.

The Hudson Valley segment of the trail includes 39 locations on a mix of public and private lands throughout Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, and Westchester counties. From Bird Conservation Areas (BCAs) including Hudson Highlands State Park, and Rockefeller State Park Preserve, to the tidal swamps and marshes at Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area, and the Mount Peter Hawk Watch that provides a scenic overlook for raptor watching, the Hudson Valley provides unique landscapes and habitats for birding along the Hudson River and beyond. We invite you to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to experience birds firsthand by taking the time to visit one of the sites on the bird trail.

“Exploring the Hudson Valley segment of the New York State Birding Trail is a sure way to grow and enrich an appreciation for the natural world,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “Our State Parks on the trail offer exceptional places for people to see and learn about a diverse species of birds in their native habitats – and we welcome all to visit."

New segments of the Birding Trail are opened in a phased approach. DEC announced the New York City trail segment in October 2021, the Greater Niagara trail segment in February 2022, and Long Island segment in March 2022, totaling more than 130 birding locations. Once finished, the Statewide Birding Trail will provide birding opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, ability, identity, or background, across New York State.

To promote the trail as an inclusive experience for all, DEC and partners are working to select sites that are welcoming and accessible by public transportation. Several Hudson Valley birding trail locations are accessible via the Cold Spring-Beacon Trolley Shuttle which runs from Memorial Day to Veterans Day weekend. DEC also continues to solicit input from a wide range of New Yorkers and organizations that represent Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and is making information available in both English and Spanish. Bird walks will be held in collaboration with organizations working with BIPOC communities.

The New York State Birding Trail map is available at www.ibirdny.org and provides valuable information on each site such as location, available amenities, species likely to be seen, directions, and more. Additional information on birdingeducational and interpretive information, is also available. Digital information on the Birding Trail will be updated periodically, so budding outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to check back often. 

In addition to State-owned and managed locations for the Birding Trail, publicly and privately managed sites can complete a simple self-nomination process to be considered for inclusion on the trail. Sites all meet criteria to help ensure a positive experience for visitors throughout the state. Additionally, each site will post signage noting it as an official location on the birding trail. For information on the nomination process, see www.ibirdny.org.

DEC encourages birding enthusiasts to visit I Bird NY for more information on where and how to observe birds, upcoming bird walks, a downloadable Beginner's Guide to Birding (available in Spanish), and additional resources.

DEC manages and oversees nearly five million acres of public lands and conservation easements and plays a vital role in both protecting New York’s natural resources and providing opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors. From fishing on scenic streams, hiking and rock climbing, swimming and boating, birding, and nature study, or simply relaxing in a tent under the stars, there are endless adventures to be found. Visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/, connect with us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

In the 2022-23 Enacted State Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul succeeded in increasing the EPF from $300 to $400 million, the highest-ever level of funding in the program's history. The EPF supports a number of important objectives that benefit birds and other wildlife in the State, including climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, promoting sustainable agriculture, protecting water sources, advancing open space conservation efforts, and providing recreational opportunities for New Yorkers.

MAYOR ADAMS ANNOUNCES HISTORIC INVESTMENT OF MORE THAN $900 MILLION IN TRAFFIC SAFETY TO TURN THE TIDE ON TRAFFIC VIOLENCE CRISIS

 

More Than Half-Billion Dollar Capital Investment and Baselined Expense Funds Will Advance Goals of ‘NYC Streets Plan’ and Deliver Safer, Healthier, and Greener City 


With Significant New Funding Commitment, Mayor Adams Will Tackle Traffic Violence Crisis — Protecting Cyclists, Speeding up Public Transportation, and Reclaiming Street Space for Pedestrians 


Administration Already at Work With New Safety Upgrades Beginning for Five Protected Bike Lanes in Four Boroughs, on Track to Keep Promise of 20 Miles of Bike Lanes Hardened by End of 2023 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today
announced a historic investment of more than $900 million to tackle the city’s traffic violence crisis and deliver a safer, healthier, and greener city for all New Yorkers. The Adams administration is committing $904 million over five years — nearly $580 million in capital funding, as well as expense funding that ramps up to more than $65 million annually, or $327 million over five years — to advance the goals laid out in the ‘NYC Streets Plan’ and rapidly build out critical street safety and public transportation infrastructure. With this major new investment, Mayor Adams also today announced that the city was getting to work immediately, designating five protected bike lanes for physical infrastructure upgrades to protect cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians. 


Today’s major investment follows an announcement earlier this week that 150 streets — covering a total of 300 blocks — are participating in the 2022 Open Streets program. It also follows the administration’s plan — announced earlier this year — to redesign 1,000 intersections and the mayor’s
urging Albany to pass local control and give New York City the power to set speed limits and control automated traffic enforcement. Today also marks the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Car-Free Earth Day, which Mayor Adams and DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez kicked off with a Citi Bike ride over the Brooklyn Bridge.  


“This investment is a game-changer,” said Mayor Adams. “Too many New Yorkers have lost their lives to the traffic violence crisis, and we are seeing cities across the country struggle just like us, but this historic investment will allow New Yorkers to walk and cycle around our city without fear. With this historic investment of over $900 million, we are tackling this crisis head-on and setting the tone nationwide. We are going to ‘Get Stuff Done’ and deliver safe streets for New Yorkers. This is how we save lives.” 


“Expansion of car-free streets is a giant step towards aligning New Yorker’s experience with this fundamental truth: To save lives and our planet, streets cannot just be for cars anymore,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Though we have the most heavily driven streets in the nation, today’s action and historic investment show the Adams administration’s deep commitment to ensuring this prime real estate is available to all.” 


“Car-Free Earth Day is a reminder that we can all do our part to shape a better planet. We at the DOT understand we are experiencing a climate crisis, and we must act now,” said DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. “This ‘NYC Streets Plan’ funding will both support sustainable transit and curb the senseless violence on our streets. We thank the mayor for this commitment and show of support for this important work.”  


This $904 million investment will advance the statutory commitments of the ‘NYC Streets Plan,’ the transformative five-year vision to expand the mileage of bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes and busways, and reclaimed pedestrian space on city streets. The plan also aims to reform on-street parking and reduce the number of dangerous vehicles and drivers in New York City — building on work the city has already done to stem the tide of rising traffic violence.  


This five-year budgetary commitment surpasses the city’s statutorily obligated commitment of $1.7 billion over 10 years.  


Vision Zero 


This new ‘NYC Streets Plan’ funding builds on the ongoing budgetary commitments to curb traffic deaths. The city has committed nearly $3 billion in the Capital Budget, from Fiscal Year 2022 to 2031, and roughly $200 million on average per year in the expense budget. The city is already advancing the ‘NYC Streets Plan’ with projects that include the more permanent redesigns of popular Open Streets, including 34th Avenue in Queens and Berry Street in Brooklyn; a new linear park and sidewalk-grade bike lanes on Queens Boulevard; and a host of bus improvement projects in the Bronx tied to the MTA’s Bronx bus network redesign.  


Bike Lane Hardening  


DOT crews have been working to meet the administration’s commitment to upgrade physical infrastructure on 20 miles of bike lanes by the end of 2023. Mayor Adams today announced an additional five bike lanes that have been selected for physical upgrades, keeping the city on track to complete 10 miles of bike lane upgrades in 2022 and 20 miles in 2023. The five locations are:  

·        20th Street, from 7th Avenue to 10th Avenue (Brooklyn) 

·        Northern Blvd, from 41st Avenue to Honeywell Street (Queens) 

·        Grand Street — exact limits to be determined (Brooklyn) 

·        60th Street, from 1st Avenue to York Avenue (Manhattan) 

·        Southern Boulevard — exact limits to be determined (Bronx)