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Hospitals Operating at Capacity, Curve Flattening, BUT …

The Next Battle is to Stay Disciplined to Avoid a Resurgence

Will New Yorkers Comply during Passover & Easter Week?

April 6, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNYC Hospitals are reportedly operating at full capacity, and in some cases operating at capacity plus.

The good news is that the supply chain of personal protective equipment [PPE], respirators and gowns has been holding – albeit on a tight supply. And there are still anecdotal reports, generally by the alarmist TV networks, that indicate there are a few spot shortages. If true, these shortages are the result of distribution issues, rather than any out-of-stocks by the city and state.

Nonetheless, the needs for protective gear and life saving equipment remain high priorities for both the Governor and the Mayor, as the supply chain is on a tight turnaround and the CoVid pandemic continues, albeit at a slackening pace, in the city and parts of the state.

The good news, as previously reported, is that we may be approaching the apex. The social distancing appears to have thwarted the worst case scenario, and may even have contained the spread from reaching the middle case scenario.

But the danger persists.

The chart at right shows the daily CoVid deaths stabilizing. But a number of the morgues are over capacity, and some of the bodies reportedly had to be stored in refrigerated trucks, which are affectionately referred to as mobile morgues.

 

The Real Challenge this Week is Getting Through Passover & Easter without Breaking the NYC & NYS Healthcare System

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAnd the real test of it comes this week as both Passover and Easter come to play, when people generally come together to celebrate these traditional religious holidays.

To discourage people coming together in large numbers the Governor doubled the fine for violations of social distancing from $500 to $1000. Cuomo also extended the non-essential store closure policy for another two weeks – through the end of April.

In the Governor's daily press conference, he called upon local law enforcement to give tickets to people regardless of their religious affiliation, if they violate the call for social distancing. In doing so, Cuomo noted that not only are those who gather in such a manner putting themselves and their communities at risk, but they are also adding to the pandemic crisis, by putting first responders including FDNY, the NYPD, the MTA workers and the NYC / NYS Healthcare system workers at risk. A risk, which in many cases, ends up in death.

And given the hospital / healthcare system is operating at full capacity, if people start to break formation and begin disregarding the government social distancing guidance, they could potentially tip the balance of what seems a well managed pandemic crisis, into an all out disaster.

The chart above shows some good news, whereby the NYS daily CoVid hospitalizations are exceeded by the number of CoVid patients leaving the hospital. Remember - these numbers are driven up or down by our behavior as a whole community.

 

Early Passover & Easter Greeting

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysWe all can do our part, by continuing to stay at home, continuing to wash our hands, practice social distancing and something which I believe is not emphasized enough – upping our personal cleanliness regimen. By this I mean regularly washing our countertops, table tops, appliances like cell phones, TV remotes, keyboards, computer mice [plural for mouse], telephones, door knobs, light switches, steering wheels in cars, radios in cars, and so forth. If we only wash our hands, and then touch an infected surface, what good was washing our hands?

The chart at right shows that the number of people testing positive for CoVid is still quite high - over 8,000 per day - so this is no time for us to become complacent.

In any case, Passover and Easter are times of reflection, and where better to do some personal reflection than in our own homes, while we’re cleaning and sanitizing all of our worldly possesions?

Have a Happy Passover and Happy Easter.

Stay tuned.


CoVid Testing Now Widespread, Growth Continues but doesn't Accelerate, Severe Cases Appear to be Levelling

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 4, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

It's been a while since we've had much good news. At right is a graph shown by Governor Cuomo at a press conference today. Over the past week or so, Andrew Cuomo appears to be moving toward one of the more optimistic scenarios. He expects that we may POSSIBLY hit the Apex sometime next week.

Mayor de Blasio also seemed focused on the immediate needs of next week, but the Mayor has not yet adjusted his long term view of what's needed. Perhaps the Mayor hasn't yet received 'the memo'.

 

New Daily Discharges Exceed New Daily Hospitalizations

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAs you can see from the graph presented at right, the daily discharges at hospitals now exceeds the number of new daily admissions to the hospitals. Obviously that's a good sign, as more capacity is being freed up, as is being committed, providing breathing room for the entire system, which has been under some significant stress the past week or so.

Now be advised, the Network TV personalities are paid on the basis of their ratings performance - not keeping you properly and contextually informed - which is why you've been hearing that the sky is falling these past couple ofweeks.

To be sure, some hospitals that are under great duress. Elmhurst Hospital in Queens has been one of them, and I've heard, but haven't visited, Mount Sinai in Queens and Jacobi in the Bronx. But other hospitals aren't making the news because they're operating just fine. So bear in mind when you watch TV news you aren't necessarily getting the full picture - you're getting the ratings driven network TV news picture.

The bubbleheads on TV news seem to be paid on how well they read teleprompters, not on their intellectual or journalistic acumen.

 

Testing vs Testing Positive NYC

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe Corona Virus is going to be a rolling / spreading problem. That should already be obvious by the fact that it began in China, spread to South Korea, Singapore and Japan, crossed Asia into Europe hitting Italy, Spain, Germany and most recently the U.K. Meanwhile it also crossed the Pacific to the U.S. and has also been spreading through Latin America and Africa.

We're seeing a microcosm of that here in NYS and the tristate area. NYC was hit first and the hardest. We're still 'taking on water' so-to-speak, but as you can see from the chart while there's been a sharp rise in the number of tests administered, there's not been an attendant rise in the number of those who tested positive.

So that indicates that the curve is flattening, but that only means we can now begin to calibrate how much longer we have to go, not that it is by any means over. This also assumes we continue to discipline ourselves with respect to the same social distancing, hands washing and general enhanced cleanliness regimens.

 

Masks - To Wear or Not to Wear - that is the Question

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe most intelligent report I found on this subject was done by the Atlantic Magazine - which by the way has been doing some great reporting on this pandemic and also on the 2020 campaign. In it the reporter investigated the airborne characteristics of the virus vis a vis masks and the studies which advised not to wear a mask. He also took a look at the one on the fly study that has turned conventional wisdom / guidance on its head.

He doesn't directly accuse government officials for reacting by the seat of their pants in a sort of unscientific political panic. But like some of the best writers, he seems to hint at it. It's worth a read, if for no other reason than to understand the airborne characteristics of the virus so you can decide for yourself how best to manage the issue.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-pandemic-airborne-go-outside-masks/609235/

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThankfully the LA Mayor, the NYC Mayor and the Donald-in-Chief all said it was suggested guidance - not a requirement. The Trump CDC changed its guidance too, while NYS Commissioner of Health, Zucker stuck to the original guidance of recommending only those that are ill wear the mask to keep their germs to themselves.

The problem I've noted with the masks is as follows: The primary means of catching the disease is said to be people touching a surface with the germ, and then touching their face. Most people get the disease that way.

So last week while riding the subway I entered a car that one would consider near empty in normal times, but felt crowded given the situation. Everyone had a mask on, so for the first time I donned a mask that I had with me. What I noticed is that I had to fiddle with it [with my dirty hands?] and once off the train, I took it off with my [dirty?] hands. I decided not to use it again because I could have already contaminated it without knowing.

Surgeons and those in the medical community change them at the drop of a hat to maintain sanitary environment. And yet we see people of the TV news giving their report with their surgical mask dropped down. I saw many people drop their mask to talk and then put it back on. And so forth. I think they should have continued with the WHO guidance pending better information which they didn't have at the time.

 

We're #1 in the World with Corona Virus Infections & Yet Somehow the Donald in Chief Says He's Doing a Great Job?

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe photo at right was taken of the National Guardsmen congregating outside of the Jacob Javits Center in West Midtown on Monday, March 30th. They do not appear to be practicing social distancing.

The Donald in Chief's 'Acting' Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly fired career Navy man, Brett Crozier, Captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt because the Captain had pleaded for help in quarantining the 137 members of his nuclear submarine as soon as possible. There are about 5,000 crew members, and as of this writing just over half had been tested.

 

You can view the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew cheer as Captain Crozier left his ship for the last time on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUosuzrY8gg


NYC Curve Appears to be Flattening, NYS Numbers are Still Rising

Hospitalizations, ICU Patients, Intubations & Discharges

April 2, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Well, there seems to be some good news, and Governor Cuomo has started hinting at it in his daily CoVid press conferences. A week ago, the Governor was talking about NYS hitting the apex of the curve in 21 days, which is in late April. This week the Governor started hinting that we may hit the top of the curve within the week. The Mayor, meanwhile has been saying that next week could be the start of the apex / wave.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMy assessment differs from both of the Governor's and the Mayor's. And while it's based on information provided by the Governor, I'm drawing a different, more optimistic conclusion. Part of that may be that I haven't been able to talk to anyone from the Governor's office who knows precisely what's in / not in the numbers the Governor has been providing. And it's worth noting that both the Governor and the Mayor don't have the luxury of planning for the optimistic scenario.

 

Assumptions for the Analysis in this Report - Beware the Hype & Distortions of Anecdotal Reporting

Assuming the numbers hold and New Yorkers’ behavior holds, NYC may have already hit its apex of the CoVid pandemic. Note that those are big assumptions, but they’re assumptions based on current numbers and behaviors.

As I am sure you can appreciate, that’s good news, as some NYC hospitals had reached their capacity in terms of beds and / or Intensive Care Unit bed with / without respirators. But while maxing out the capacity at some of the eleven hospitals that are run by the NYC Health & Hospital System - like Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and possibly Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx – it is not true for the privately run hospitals that represent a significant portion of the medical infrastructure of NYC. Except Mount Sinai in Astoria Queens which today was reporting that they're handling an influx of a lot of CoVid patients.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOn Monday afternoon, March 30th, I spoke very unofficially to professionals from both Mount Sinai and also at Memorial Sloan Kettering – both in Manhattan – who told me at that time, that the operations at both of these hospitals were pretty much functioning somewhat normally.

So I think it's important for people to bear in mind, a shortage or over-capacity in one hospital doesn't mean there's a shortage system-wide. The flip side of that coin is that we may have more capacity and supplies than is needed - but it might not be available in the places where it's most needed.

 

The Gossips on Network TV News Seem to Hype the Crisis for Ratings

So if you listen to the gossips on the alarmist network TV media, you might think things are horrible, and that we’re all going to die. Network TV seemed to mimic social media, providing anecdotal accounts that weren’t contextualized, enabling one to believe that the system was breaking. They took a couple of personal stressed out accounts, and amplified them into the de facto reality.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysBut that does not seem to be the case, and in fact I found a number of positive indications in the data provided by Governor Cuomo, that seem to show that the CoVid situation here in NYC has largely stabilized.

Fox News seems to do this sort of reality distortion nearly daily – especially when it comes to social issues and politics. The Washington Post caught them in their dishonest, deceptive reporting of CoVid and I urge you to share this video with your family and friends, so that the Australian born billionaire’s [Rupert Murdoch] propaganda machine loses some of its Jedi mind trick on the gullible who live in the Fox / NY Post / WSJ bubble of reality distorting narratives.

 

Murdoch's Fox Fake News Irresponsible Reporting

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysCLICK here to view the video showing Fox Fake News spinning its web of fake news and then pivoting and pretending that they never said otherwise.

And CLICK here to learn more about how Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Fake News, NY Post and WSJ propaganda machine create, what seems alternative facts that divide this nation, so that the Australian born billionaire may plunder the public purse.

But I digress. So why do I say things are improving – that we seems to have been successful in flattening the curve?

 

Governor Cuomo's Data Shows Positive Trends

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysBecause I’ve been tracking and analyzing the numbers provided by Governor Cuomo regarding the testing and spread of the Corona Virus. Initially I had tuned into the number of tested people versus the number of those who tested positive. What happened there is that the numbers surged as the number of tests conducted surged. What nobody knew – and likely still don’t – is what percent of the increased cases were attributable to the increase in testing.

Eventually I shifted focus to the raw numbers of those who tested positively for CoVid for NYS, NYC and the rest of NY State, as NYS continued to climb, while NYC seemed to level off – or reach a flattening of the curve.

 

Independent Reporting from the Front Line - Not Alarmist, Ratings-Driven Reporting as Seen on Lemming TV

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysI expected this as you can likely tell from some of my prior reporting, as when I went out to cover things, I found empty subways, closed restaurants, bars and stores, and people walking around in masks and with gloves. This showed me that the denizens of our fair city were taking the issue seriously and in pretty short order had adjusted their behaviors. Mind you – there were many who did not – but they were in the minority. You can see photos of this in my prior reports in the CoVid section - see link at start of this report.

Some of the violators of the recommended guidelines turned out to be folks in the media, and government and in our military as you can see from some of the included photos. They didn’t seem to follow the guidance they were giving, communicating and to which they were responding.

 

A Rolling Spread of the Virus - First NYC, then Long Island & then ...?

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAnyhow, so the total NYS chart shows the numbers continuing to grow for the state, but that obscures the fact that the curve for NYC appears to have flattened. What seems to be happening now, and time should bear this out, is that the non-NYC state numbers are now driving the new CoVid cases. A couple of weeks ago, NYC comprised over 62% of the total CoVid cases. Today NYC comprises about 56% of the cases, and as of Governor Cuomo’s report today, half the reported newly reported CoVid cases came from parts of the state outside of NYC. So yes, the CoVid virus is spreading, but it appears to have slowed in NYC.

That’s good news for NYC, and while the rest of NYS is still under siege so-to-speak, in the long haul that’s also good news for them, because the social distancing and washing hands is working – and they need to step up calls for people to raise the bar on their overall cleanliness routines, because that’s not just an important part of stemming the spread, but it’s is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for us to return to work. What’s the sense of washing your hands all the time if you keep touching infected surfaces?

In my mind that is one of the great failures of the Trump Administration’s CDC’s handling of this crisis. But it’s not the only one.

 

Positive Tests for NYC Residents Seem to Stabilize - the Governor's Comments Hint at the Change

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo NYS continues to rise, but NYC seems to have stabilized. NYS should stabilize as soon as the rest of the state gets it together and increases their compliance with the guidelines continually repeated almost everywhere [please start including cleaning in the discussion – as it will also give folks something to do while home].

The next few contributors to my optimism are also based on data provided by Governor Cuomo in his daily press briefings. I have tried to reach Cuomo’s press office for comment, but they’ve yet to get back to me after morethan two days of requests. They must be too busy managing the alarmist Network TV media.

Be advised that the data shown in the graphs I had in small part to manipulate, as Governor Cuomo began SCRAMBLING the data provided in his charts, possibly to avoid enabling someone like me to announce the good news, before they were ready to announce it themselves.

 

Danger of NYC Passing the Curve Apex - Hubris Resurgence?

Note that there’s a danger in announcing success sooner, rather than later, as people will likely go back out there, get infected, and there could be a CoVid resurgence. That’s going to be a risk whether they announce it sooner or later, so they should step up efforts to urge everyone to clean and scrub any surface they touch, while they are still homebound. That’s where CoVid is and disinfecting / washing is how you get rid of it.

So originally Governor Cuomo provided the total hospitalizations, but later switched to showing the daily NEW in hospitalizations. I think what happened here is the DISCHARGES started shooting up and the NET hospitalizations actually started going down – see chart. Since the Governor’s press office hasn’t responded to my inquiries, I’m not 100% sure of this, but given where things were headed before the Governor started scrambling the data, I feel at the very least that it’s directionally correct.

I’ve been sitting on this story for a week and the new data coming in seems to affirm my theories.

 

Intensive Care Unit Patients & Discharges

So then I started looking at new daily admissions into the Intensive Care Units [ICU]. The new admits keeps rising as you can see from the graph. That early spike is likely a timing of reporting issue, as I noticed the data changed periodically, so they were likely correcting on the fly, for which I give them kudos. But again the Governor shifted from reporting the total ICU admits, to reporting the new daily admits to ICU.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysHere again, I suspect it’s because those on the respirators for a long while, who were very old and very immune system compromised, started dying. So I started subtracting the daily dead from the daily ICU admits which showed that ICU capacity was being freed up, not being taken up.

I’m less sure of the above conclusion given what government officials are saying to the public. And I did the same with the daily intubations, which are shown rising each day, but when you start subtracting the dead from these figures, it shows a very different picture.

PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM SEEKING CLARIFICATION FROM GOVERNOR'S OFFICE - so the last four charts, where I subtract new deaths from new admissions to the ICU and Intubations needs clarification as to whether the new admits are a net number.

 

Intubations & Deaths & Respirators

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysI’m sending this to the Governor’s office for comment and will update you if / when I hear back from them. But don’t hold your breath or you too will have to be put on a respirator.

The bottom line is they need to start talking about how they’re going to get people back to work. I think sanitation / cleanliness is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT component to doing that. Yes, social distance and yes wash your hands, but none of that matters if you’re touching infected surfaces.

I’ll have more coming within the next few days about how we can get back to work. Stay tuned.


The CoVid Curve Appears to be Flattening

Hospitalizations and ICU Patient Numbers Appear to be Slowing

March 31, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Please note I tried to contact the Governor's Office for comment on this and have not yet heard back from them. I know they're busy and we're not from the MainStream Media.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNearly three weeks ago, Governor Cuomo issued an order for social distancing, by initially limiting social gatherings to fifty people or less. Mayor de Blasio supported the move that same day. As such most of the cultural venues in New York City suspended normal operations and events pending further notification or some future date. That was nearly three weeks ago.

That action was subsequently followed by further actions, limiting social gatherings to ten people and eventually just immediate households. On March 15, 2020 Mayor de Blasio issued an order asking bars and restaurants to close their doors except for deliveries / take out. That was more than two weeks ago.

A week ago while I was out photographing the empty, eerie NYC landscape, I noticed somewhat casually that somewhere between 10% - 25% of retail outlets were still open in Manhattan / Queens. Just a few days ago, while making another sweep through a couple of neighborhoods, the percent of those open had dropped to ghost town levels of 10% and less.

The bad news is that there’s been a near stop to ‘non-essential’ life here and that there’s an economic reckoning most folks are facing tomorrow on April 1st as bills come due.

The good news is that I’ve been tracking the numbers provided by Governor Cuomo and the curve does appear to already be flattening. The Governor has hinted at this by noting that the hospitalization rate had gone from doubling every 2 – 3 days at the outset a few weeks ago, to doubling every six days as of about a day ago.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysBut the good news goes beyond that. A couple of days ago, the Governor changed what numbers he was releasing to the public. On Thursday, March 26th the Governor started including the number of people being discharged after arriving for CoVid treatment [I don’t know whether the discharged numbers include deaths].

On Friday March 27, he started including the daily change / uptick in the number of ICU [Intensive Care Units] required for CoVid, as well as showing the uptick / changes in the number of people Discharged. The ICU numbers were jumping. But he dropped highlighting the changes for the ICU numbers the very next day, while keeping the daily changes for the discharged. Around this time he noted that some of the reporting wasn’t reported daily, which means some days could be either up or down more than what was real – due to when the figures were reported - versus when someone actually entered into one of the reported figures. At this time he also introduced a chart showing the total number of CoVid patients hospitalized.

On Saturday, March 28th Governor Cuomo dropped the change number of the CoVid ICU patients, and instead started showing a chart depicting the Daily ICU admissions. The difference being that people were coming out of intensive care, thus reducing or muting the total number of patients in the Intensive Care Unit vis a vis new cases which are likely to continue for a while.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOn Sunday, March 29, Governor Cuomo changed showing us total hospitalizations, to showing us new hospitalizations, in the same manner as he’d begun depicting the numbers for the patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

On Sunday the Governor discontinued showing the ‘Tested’ chart.

It was at this time that the Governor introduced another new chart – that of Daily Intubations. I believe this depicts those in the Intensive Care Unit who needed respirators.

And Governor Cuomo also showed the number of people being discharged, which is a fast growing number that is reducing the estimates for what is needed from the healthcare infrastructure to properly service the ‘surge’ or ‘apex’.

On Monday, March 30, 2020 Governor Cuomo discontinued showing the ‘Tested Positives’ chart.

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Governor Cuomo introduced a new chart for Discharges transitioning it from a cumulative chart to a daily chart.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe problem with the Governor’s reporting changes, is that the new charts obscure to us, the press and thus the public, exactly where we are in this crisis.

I believe we are close to moving beyond the apex and the following explains why.

The Hospitalizations, based on Governor Cuomo’s numbers between March 23rd and March 30th [the last time he showed this on a chart], had risen from 2635 to 9517, which is almost a fourfold rise in eight days. BUT the increases, on a percentage basis fell from 22% - 40%, down to 12% - 16% the last three days. And I don’t have access to new information beginning March 31st. Likewise the raw numbers increases had peaked on Thursday, March 26th at an increase of 1522, while since then it’s averaged about 1,000 increase per day.

My question here, is whether the discharged patients, are beginning to reduce the total hospitalizations. The total discharged patients based on the last chart shown, was 4,206 on Monday, and the net change was up to 771 in the chart shown on Tuesday, bringing the total to 4977 or nearly 5,000.

The same trend appears to materialize in the Intensive Care Unit data. In the first four days the numbers spiked between 17% - 45%, while in the last three days of the data set they ranged from 4% - 16%. Ditto with the raw numbers which ranged from 571 – 1522 in the first four days, and then seemed to settle in at between 847 – 1175 the last three days.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe question here is what are the current total numbers, as the new Hospitalizations and the patients in ICU numbers, will be offset by a reduction coming from the discharges and I’m not sure where / how deaths factor into any of these numbers.

In addition to being able to scrape together data that suggests we’re beginning to see a flattening of the curve based on the Hospitalizations and ICU numbers provided by Governor Cuomo, I’ve also been paying attention anecdotally.

What I mean by that is that – unlike the wealthy boobcasters you see on TV – I actually ride the subway, and walk around town, and talk to people without a camera on them. What I’ve witnessed first hand, is people responding to the social distancing message and the wash your hands warnings. And while it didn’t begin immediately after the call for it, the lag time and compliance seemed to be swift, which is why I believe we as a community, may have been successful in mitigating the scourge vis a vis the doomsday scenarios.

MORE COMING WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON - to include: Talks with HC professionals at Memorial Sloan, Elmhurts and Mount Sinai show skewed impact. Signs of success in Teaneck, NJ and also Washington State with social distancing. Failures of Trump Administration CDC, government officials at all levels, and the dumbass TV Networks to emphasize cleanliness as a key component of the solution. The Alarmist media hypes the fear instead of doing their job and informing people. They seem more like gossips than journalists. And the problem with successful social distancing is that people might quickly start 'non-complying' and thus igniting a resurgence. Hotspots in GA & NJ & WA.

Also follow numbers Wednesday.


It's a Corona Virus Weekend NYC III

CoVid 19 Pandemic Continues to Keep Life in NYC & NYS on Hold

The Following Includes a Compendium of Closures & Expected Activity Resumption Dates [Subject to Change]

March 28, 2020 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysWeather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's Friday, dropping to 50 on Saturday and rising a bit to the mid 50's on Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid to high 40's all weekend. There is an 80% - 100% chance of a half inch of Rain on Saturday mid to late afternoon [3 - 5 pm] and a bit more than a half inch early Sunday morning [before 7 am]. Winds will be 5 - 10 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be rise from the mid 20% range Friday, to 60% Saturday and 80% Sunday. Click for NYC Weather.

MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

The photo at right shows a man in Bryant Park last weekend enjoying a rare moment of solitude in the middle of a very densely populated city during the CoVid 19 shutdown.

 

On Thursday, March 26th, I headed toward CitiField to photograph it on what was supposed to be opening day. Major Leaugue Baseball was to begin that day with the Mets playing Washington at home, while the Yankees were to play Baltimore away.

 

Elmhurst Hospital is the Epicenter of Queens, which is Epicenter of NYC, which is Epicenter of NYS, which is Epicenter of the America

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOn my way I stopped to visit Elmhurst Hospital which had been labeled the CoVid epicenter of Queens that same day. Queens had become the epicenter of NYC by reporting the most cases in the city, and New York City is the epicenter of NYS, which is the epicenter of the U.S.

I visited Elmhurst Hospital just as they had closed the testing tents, which ran from 6 am – 4 pm. I spoke to one of the healthcare professionals there, inquiring as to whether they thought that there had been an overreaction to the spreading virus.

I was told that the virus was new, mutating, very contagious, and more lethal than the flu – so it should be taken seriously and managed in accordance with the general health risks it poses. Within the prior 24 hours thirteen people had died at Elmhurst Hospital.

On the subway the number of people wearing masks over their faces had grown significantly. I also noticed, for the first time, that a number of people were also wearing plastic gloves. Not long from now, everyone will be wearing Hazmat suits.

Well, at least it was easy to get a seat, and even easy to maintain the social distancing.

The photo above shows the testing tent outside of the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Thursday. In the prior 24 hour period 13 people reportedly died.

 

Small Businesses Have Closed or are Closing - Nothing's Moving

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOn my home I stopped at a few small businesses I generally frequent. One had completely closed its doors for the past couple of days because business had been softening. I imagine staying open just wasn’t worth the effort and expense. Another small business had shortened their hours, as business there had also softened, but there was still business moving. And at the third place I stopped, the owner told me they were going to close for a while, until things started moving again, as there just wasn’t much / any business moving.

When I arrived at my own personal self quarantine station – which I used to think of as my apartment - I flipped on the tube. There in front of me were so many people, talking endlessly and saying so, so little. So I turned it off to restore a sense of calm.

What follows is a compendium of some of the major closings and announcements made over the past couple of weeks, as well as the anticipated time they plan to resume activity, but all subject to change.

The photo at right shows the business district on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights Queens during the middle of the day. As you can see, most businesses had closed.

 

National Sports Seasons Postponed or on Hiatus including Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League & the National Basketball Association

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAll Major League Baseball games were cancelled, at first until April 9th, but opening day was subsequently pushed back to May 11th, but that – like most resumption dates – remains tentative. As you can imagine, the CitiField and the parking lot were empty.

On March 11th the NBA suspended their season, when a player tested positive for the Corona Virus. Resumption of play remains uncertain at this time.

The National Hockey League suspended play on March 12th. When NHL play will resume also remains uncertain, and their draft has also been postponed.

And the Big East Conference of NCAA Basketball cancelled the remainder of its tournament on March 12th.

In the photo at right you can see the empty parking lot at CitiField on what was supposed to be opening day of the 2020 Spring season. The MLB tentatively postponed opening day to May - see details above.

 

CDC Proposes Social Gathering Limit of 50 People

CoVid is Reportedly More Transmissible & Fatal than the Flu

NYC and NYS Go Further - First Suggesting a Limit of 50 People, then Reducing the Limit to 10 People, & Now Limiting Gatherings to Members of the Same Household - 'Social Distancing'

In March of 2020 the CDC began recommending no events more than 50 people [knbr.com 3/16/20]. But since the CDC announcement, NYC reduced limits to 10 people, before advising its denizens to limit their gatherings to only members of the same household.

In addition to limiting gatherings the CDC, NYC and NYS government authorities have advised people to try to maintain six feet of distance between each other [social distancing] in order to stop the spread of CoVid 19, which is highly transmissible via surfaces and also the air.

At present, CoVid has an estimated fatality rate appears to be significantly higher than the flu. I've seen estimates that indicate the CoVid fatality rate is 10x - 20x more lethal than the flu, but I've also seen much lower estimates of the fatality multiple vis a vis the flu [eg. 2x - 3x], although those estimates seemed to come from less reliable sources.

 

Arts, Cultural and Sporting Venues Close Until ...

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNaturally these pandemic thwarting directives sent shockwaves through the artistic, sports and cultural centers of New York City and its boroughs.

But limiting the size of social gatherings wasn't all that was done to slow the spread of the virus and its attendant impact on the healthcare infrastructure and the death rate associated with the virus.

In the photo at right is Times Square last Saturday near lunch time. There wasn't much moving, even though it was a beautiful Spring day.

 

*** Note that all dates suggesting the resumption of activity or reopening are subject to change, pending a more clear outlook of the health risks and potential mitigations regarding the CoVid 19 pandemic.

 

Governor Cuomo Puts NYS Public Schools on Hiatus & Mayor de Blasio Follows Suit for NYC Public Schools

On March 12th, 2020 Governor Cuomo announced that CUNY / SUNY were closed for the semester beginning March 18th. The Governor had closed NYS public schools through March 30th. This week Governor Cuomo announced that the opening of NYS public schools would be pushed back as necessary, and he then extended the NYS Public School closure through Wednesday, April 15th.

Mayor de Blasio held off making the dramatic decision to close NYC Public schools, but eventually relented, responding to parental and union pressure, announcing on March 15th that - beginning March 16th through Monday, April 20th - that the NYC Public School System would be closed. Bear in mind all closure dates are subject to extension or even cancellations.

 

Public Transportation & MTA Changes

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo what’s closed down and when will it open?

On the transportation front there were a number of announcements this past week including the suspension of Alternate Side Parking until March 31, 2020, but Parking Meters remain in effect. I believe this will be updated on a week by week basis, so please pay attention by visiting - https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/alternate-side-parking.shtml

This week the subway schedule during weekdays was reduced to weekend frequency, except during rush hour as ridership has plummeted.

This week NYC announced it is closing a street in every borough so folks can walk around on it, without worrying about traffic. The program is akin to the Summer Streets program in August so people can practice social distancing.

The NYC Spring Streets are: 1) along Park Avenue from 28th to 34th streets in Manhattan, 2) along Bushwick Avenue from Johnson to Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn, 3) along 34th Avenue between 73rd and 80th streets in Queens, and 4) along the Grand Concourse between Burnside and 184th Street in the Bronx. No designation was made for Staten Island as the population density there is far lower than in the other boroughs. The closures are temporary, running from Friday through Monday from 10 am - 7 pm.

The photo at right shows an empty Times Square Subway station last Saturday in the late morning.

 

NYC Citywide CoVid Closures

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNY Courts are open for essential business only.

Tax filing deadline for U.S. federal returns is july 15, 2020. NYS State tax deadline followed the deadline postponement of the U.S. federal government. But if you file on time, your tax refund will be remitted as normal. And you can use the extra time to contribute to your IRA if you have one. NYS sales tax filing is still required, but the fees and interest on late payments will be waived.

At first the New York Public Library announced it would only be open to lend books., but by March 12th had announced it would be closed until March 31st. On March 20th the NYPL announced it would be closed indefinitely and the time period on books would be extended until after they had opened again.

The Archdiocese of NY is asking parishoners to celebrate mass at home until further notice.

In the photo above you can see that the subways were largely empty [this was around 3 pm Thursday 3/26/20] and that many people are now wearing masks as they ride them. It's also possible to practice social distancing on the subway at present, and I've noticed an increasing number of people wearing plastic gloves.

This week Governor Cuomo announced that the 2020 presidential election primary in NYS will be moved back from April 28th to June 23rd.

On March 20, 2020 Governor Cuomo announced a 90 day moratorium on both residential and commercial evictions until June 20th.

 

Bronx Borough CoVid Closures NYC

The Bronx Zoo closed in order to protect the animals from catching CoVid 19 from us.

The NY Botanical Garden was closed March 15th and will announce its reopening when the CoVid situation become more clear.

 

Brooklyn Borough CoVid Closures NYC

The NY Transit Museum is closed until further notice.

The Brooklyn Museum closed March 13th. It will open when the CoVid situation becomes more clear. They plan to use this time to undertake a thorough cleaning.

Using this time to sanitize facilities seems like something everyone should be using this time to do.****

 

Manhattan Borough CoVid Closures NYC

The Tribeca Film Festival scheduled for April 15 – 26 was postponed until further notice.

Lincoln Center will be closed until May 17, 2020, assuming it’s safe at that time to resume.

The photo below shows Lincoln Center on a nice Saturday mid morning [3/21/20] - completely empty.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe American Museum of Natural History on the West Side announced it would close. It has ramped up some of its online programming in the interim.

The next event scheduled at the Javits Center, as of this report is June 4th – the Small Business Expo.

The Auto Show has been re-scheduled at the Javits Center for August 18th – September 6th. There are two press days immediately preceding the show.

All three locations of the Metropolitan Museum, including the Met Breuer and the Met Cloisters and the Met Museum on the East Side will close indefinitely. The Met will make an announcement on its website as to when it will reopen.

The Frick cancelled events through April 3rd and said it will monitor the situation before making any announcement to reopen.

Carnegie Hall cancelled all events through May 10th, 2020. They will refund tickets between the announcement and the planned reopening – from March 12th to May 10th – but they asked patrons to consider making a donation of their ticket price to the Carnegie.

The South Street Seaport Museum is closed effective March 13th until further notice.

 

Queens Borough CoVid Closures NYC

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe Queens World Film Festival scheduled for March 19 – 29 moved the program to an online show.

The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens is closed at least through April 3rd, but based on other reports we’re seeing, that is likely to be extended.

Flushing Town Hall and the Queens Museum are closed pending a more clear outlook on the Corona Virus.

No notices were posted on the Jamaica Center for Performing Arts and Jamaica Center for Arts & Leanring websites, but I suspect they too are closed pending a clearer picture of the CoVid 19 outbreak.

In the photo at right you can see the taxi stand on 42nd Street outside of Grand Central Station. The wait was very short.

 

Staten Island Borough CoVid Closures NYC

The National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island is closed pending a more clear outlook on CoVid 19. The next event they have scheduled is May 20th for Fleet Week.

Effective March 20, Snug Harbor suspended all events at all sites at the center pending a more clear the outlook on CoVid 19.

 

Old Saying 'Cleanliness is Next to Godliness'

Probably Because Those Who Kept Things Clean, Likely Weren't as Ravaged by Illnesses

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOne aspect of this pandemic that both government officials and the media have NOT emphasized enough is the importance of CLEANLINESS.

On the Home Front Now is a good time to clean all of the devices and surfaces you touch regularly to reduce your chances of contracting the virus. Things like door knobs, light switches, TV clickers, mouses, keyboards, cell phones, auto steering wheels, radios and climate control dials, are likely the most touched, least cleaned surfaces in your various abodes. But there are other surfaces that should be kept clean too, like table tops, sinks, floors and bathrooms. The CoVid germs can remain contagious on these surfaces for days, so clean them regularly. One cleaning doesn't do it. It has to become a new routine.

On the Business Front, given things are slow, now is a good time to sanitize your infrastructure especially if you serve the public. I suspect that the importance of the cleanliness of an establishment will rise markedly in post CoVid NYC and could become a factor in helping you win or lose business. In the old movies the bartenders and owners at diners were shown regularly wiping the bars and counters as this was a time when the threat of germs was of greater concern than here in America in recent times.

In the photo above right, a man wears a plastic glove to hold onto the subway pole. I found somewhere between a quarter and half of the people riding in the same subway car as me that day, to be wearing plastic gloves. And even though is was in the middle of the afternoon, on the second busiest subway line in NYC, that only amounted to about three or four people.

Stay calm and collected, and eventually - like all joys and miseries - this too shall pass.


CoVid - The Virus Everyone is Talking About

Ghost Town: One of Every 200 New Yorkers has been Tested

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMarch 23, 2020 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Last weekend I headed into Manhattan to take a few photos of what I expected to be a ghost town. While some folks were moving about - relative to normal activity - Manhattan seemed empty. With this report are a few of the photos. I'll include more of them in the upcoming weekend update.

I've also been fairly closely following Governor Cuomo's daily press briefing. The numbers, as mentioned in my last report, that I've been keeping a close eye on are the number of infections vis a vis the number of tests completed. The reason for this is that I have not yet heard anyone explain how they can truly ascertain the transmission rate, without being able to separate out the growth in the number of people who have tested positively, from the growth in the number of people they have tested.

 

NYC & NYS CoVid 19 Testing Metrics vs Infected Numbers

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo I put together a chart, in which I had to make a few estimates using the data the Governor provided, as I had not captured all of it. Friday, March 20, 2020 is the starting point, where Cuomo reported 32,427 tests completed in NYS, of which 44% or 14,386 were completed in NYC. At that time there were 7102 and 4408 infected in NYS and NYC respectively, which means that 22% of those tested in NYS were infected, while 31% of those tested in NYC were infected.

In the briefing today, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 there were an estimated [my copy of Cuomo's NYS total number was unreadable] 94,289 tests completed in NYS, of which 41% or 38,390 were completed in NYC. At this time there were 25,665 infected in NYS, of which 14,904 of the infected were found in NYC. This translates to 27% of those tested in NYS being infected, while 39% of those tested in NYC were infected.

What does this mean? Actually since this virus is new, we don't really know for sure. What we do know is that about 26,000 people in NYS are infected, of which 15,000 of them live in NYC. And, according to Cuomo on Monday, the testing per capita in NYS is higher than anywhere else in the world including South Korea [see fact check correction below].

 

We're Coming up on the Two Week Anniversary of NYC's Behavior Change

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysGovernor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency on March 7, 2020. Mayor de Blasio followed suit on Thursday, March 12, 2020. So we're right around two weeks away from when people first really started to change some of their habits [assume a couple / few days lag time between the declarations and people making changes].

At the time there was a run on supplies at grocery stores and pharmacies and toilet paper. But NYC's intrepid grocers and other critical retailers withstood the onslaught, and early this week I noticed that the emptied shelves were quickly being restocked. The photo at right shows the emptied shelves at a local grocery store in NYC.

The incubation period is about two weeks, so assuming those who are feeling the effects have been tested, then maybe the numbers will rise a bit more before descending as this allows lag time for the behavior change. By this time last week, people were seriously digging in, so perhaps by Sunday, March 29, 2020 [which is two weeks after the abrupt halt to normal life], we'll begin to see some impact from our collective response to the pandemic - show up in the number of infected - via a slowing of the newly infected.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysGovernor Cuomo didn't paint such a rosy scenario, as he believes the number of infected will grow nearly exponentially and that the epidemic will peak in two to three weeks.

The photo at right shows a number of grocery store and food delivery men working to restock the shelves of an NYC grocery early Monday morning.

Since declaring a State of Emergency Governor Cuomo first asked 50%, then 75% and eventually 100% of office personnel of non-essential services to work from home. This mandate was made between March 18 - 20, 2020 and essential services were defined as follows [copy & paste into your browser bar to go to NY.gov website page listing them],

https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026?fbclid=IwAR2mh0PltvwXiLyMERva1N3EM-nh6vYYqCvlzBj0KsdZ24bTJoExAn93Imo

 

Are the Growing Numbers of Infected, Mostly a Matter of the Testing Catching up to the Reality?

South Korea tested 347,000 people out of a population of 51 million, which is a 0.7% testing rate. New York has tested 94,289 out of a population of 19.6 million or 0.5% testing rate. Cuomo claimed NYS had done more testing per capita than South Korea, so one of us is using incorrect information to make the calculation above as my numbers indicate that South Korea has done more per capita testing [the South Korea testing number is from NBC 3/17/20 and the South Korea population is from Wikipedia 2018].

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysIn any case, the testing per capita for NYS, is very high vis a vis the rest of world. So it seems by the end of this week, we should begin to be able to obtain a measure of things. Governor Cuomo says the rate of infection is doubling every three days - but is it the rate of infection or is it that the testing is just catching up to what's already out there?

As of March 13th, there were only 11,000 tests that had been conducted in the entire United States of America, so we had a long way to go. In the photo at right Governor Cuomo shows a chart depicting the rising infected numbers, which have increased greatly since the Trump Administration CDC testing snafu was worked through about a week ago, thus enabling healthcare professionals to begin to test / measure how many people have been infected by CoVid 19.

 

Government & Media Focus on Facilities & Supplies

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysA lot of the media coverage and government officials' focus has been on securing equipment for what they expect will be a wave of Corona Virus sick patients sweeping the healthcare system. Specifically they've been looking at beds, respirators, surgical masks and gowns, and trained staff to attend the patients.

One of the centers they're preparing is a 1,000 bed facility at the Jacob Javits Center in West Midtown. I went there on Monday to look things over at one of Governor Cuomo's press conferences. On the north end of the building there was a huge empty convention space, where there were already a good number of huge crates stacked, ostensibly with supplies needed to equip the facility into a medical treatment center - should that become necessary.

I spoke to a couple of people, one of whom who told me that there 100 National Guardsmen already there, and there were more on their way. And that the Javits Center could - if necessary - be converted into a 2,000 bed facility. I asked some of the other folks covering the conference whether they thought the Governor and Mayor were responding disproportionately to the virus. The reporters I questioned said no.

The photo at right shows the National Guardsmen at the Jacob Javits Center in West Midtown, with the supplies needed to equip the center as a hospital facility, should that become necessary to accommodate the growing numbers of infected from the Corona Virus.

 

Quarantine Most of Society or the 1% - 2% at Risk?

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysGovernor Cuomo said that he had shut down the economy to save lives. But in thinking about things, I'm coming to question that judgment - allowing for the fact that it's easy to second guess people - and that hindsight is 20/20. My question is why are we quarantining everyone, when the real at risk people represent about 1% - 2% of the population? Shouldn't the 1% - 2% be quarantined - not all of us?

In the prior report we did, we looked at a report published in the Atlantic Magazine, which identified: 1) demographics as a contributor to Italy's high death rate [second oldest population on the planet, with youth living in or near them], and 2) the sudden spike in sickness overwhelmed their healthcare infrastructure, so many people weren't able to obtain the proper care.

So far 593 deaths and 46,805 cases of illness have been attributed to the Corona Virus in the United States. I couldn't track down when the first case was reported, but a graph on an NYT chart indicated it was February 26, 2020.

It's worth putting this in perspective. According to a March 19, 2020 Live Science report,

" ... In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 36 million illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... "

When seen in light of the flu, the Corona Virus doesn't seem as much a threat. But the broadcasters on the nightly TV news aren't so much journalists, as they are well groomed teleprompter readers. So none of them are asking the Governor the right questions, and perhaps Governor Cuomo and his staff aren't either.

 

Trump Tax Plan Plunders America's Youth ... Again

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOnce again the Trump Administration is poised to dig into the piggy bank of future generations of Americans by doling out another big tax brea - compliments of those who are too young to vote, or those who haven't yet been born.

It seems to me the Trump Administration could avoid the huge (multi-)trillion bailout by declaring a moratorium on all monthly bills for everyone - and then figure out on the back end, who needs to be subsidized because of the a disproportionate hit because of such a moratorium. In this manner young Americans' finances wouldn't be plundered to the tune of trillion(s) of dollars ... again.

We can't keep doing this to them. It's just not right to burden future generations with our debt.

In the photo Dr. Fauci, Head of the Corona Virus task force, is shown at far right - while the Donald is talking a blue streak about the Corona Virus. Look at the faces of the doctor and the other people in the photo.


It's a Corona Virus Weekend NYC II

Even more than Last Week, the Corona Virus Pandemic Shuts Down NYC

* March 20, 2020 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

* Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the mid 70's on Friday, dropping to 50 on Saturday and the mid 40's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid 40's on Friday, dropping to the mid 30's Saturday, rising a bit to the high 30's on Sunday. There is a 40% chance of a minuscule amount of Rain on Friday afternoon, for which the peaking probability is at 5 pm. Then no rain for the rest of the weekend, but cloudy Saturday morning. Winds will be 10 - 15 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to the mid 40% range for the rest of the weekend. Click for NYC Weather.

* MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

 

A Racist President Applies a Demagogue Label to CoVid

queens things to doUnfortunately we have a president, who oftentimes makes situations worse, because of his ignorant and childish behavior. The Donald seems to be trying to label the Corona Virus the China virus and quite frankly, is doing more to confirm some of the labels given to him - like he's a racist - than convincing anyone other than his Fox 'News' toadies - to go along with his not-helpful-in-addressing-the-CoVid-crisis ploy.

It seems that our babyman president, won't even act like an adult, even in the midst of what appears to be the world's worst pandemic in this millenia.

A demagogue is

"a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument."

 

MTA Sanitizes Subway Cars and Buses

queens things to doThe NYC MTA moves between four and six million people daily. That's a mind boggling figure when you think about it. But last week ridership began falling significantly. And by this week, about a million or more people, had found some other way to get around, or were staying home. Thus the MTA is seeking federal funding to the tune of about $4 billion to help it shore up the lost revenue. And the ridership reductions are expected to continue for a while.

The MTA stepped up its cleaning regimen effective March 3, 2020. It now santizes its subway cars and buses on a rotating schedule every three days. Have the subways ever been so clean? In spite of the effort folks are still encouraged to practice social distancing meaning keeping six feet apart from others when possible. Anyone who is ill is asked to stay home.

The photo above right shows a placard on the subway, artistically depicting the diversity of our city. We live at the crossroads of the world, which means we are both the beneficiaries of that intellectual and cultural diversity, but also carry risks which are associated with that openess, because of our societal exposure. Like everything in life, we must strive to find the right balance of cultivating our openess, while managing and minimizing the associative risks. Data, science, education and discipline can help us strike the right balance.

 

NYS Steps Up Corona Virus Testing - Now Leads Nation

Governor Cuomo informed us that effective today that NYS had conducted more tests per capita than South Korea, who had been the world leader. Since NYS stepped up its Corona Virus testing, it found that 23 MTA employees had contracted CoVid. They were sent home or to appropriate healthcare facilities. The report indicated that they weren't train operators.

In addition to the mass transit workers, 20 members of the NYPD, 14 members of the NYFD and seven members of the NYC Sanitation Department tested positive. To put things in context, the NY Police Department has a workforce of over 38,000, the NY Fire Department has a workforce of about 17,000, the NY Sanitation Department has a workforce of 9,000 and the MTA has a workforce of over 50,000. So the number of cases testing positive vis a vis the total are miniscule.

NYS has tested over 32,000 people, of which 7,102 tested positive, and 35 people had died. About 10,000 of those tests were done within the past day, of which 3,000 people tested positive. Prior to that 22,000 tests had been conducted and 4,000 people tested positive. So the positive test rate rose from 18% for what was essentially the first week to 30% in the past day.

These testing numbers and percents are going to be the numbers to watch.

As such Governor Cuomo is asking non-essential workers to stay home. To that end he asked offices to reduce their in office workforces by 75% by having them work from home. See details at,

https://www.governor.ny.gov/

 

Trump Administration MisManagement of Preventative Health

The Corona Virus pandemic is what one pundit called,

"The first crisis not actually caused by Donald Trump himself."

Unfortunately that statement isn't entirely true. Trump reportedly has tried to cut the Center for Disease Control [CDC] budgets every year he's been in office. But Congress has kept reinstating the cuts and has even added funding to the CDC. So while Trump has tried to make cuts, he actually signed off on increases.

FYI - NEED TO DO MORE WORK / ADD DETAIL TO THIS PARAGRAPH. The real damage done by the Trump Administration has been through other actions. Cuts UN budget for disease control. Fires head of pandemic response unit in National Security. Bungles CoVid tests rollout by CDC. Calls CoVid a hoax in alignment with propagandists on Fox Fake News. And keeps making factually incorrect statements. I'll have details including a link to video later today.

 

Italy Surpasses China - Italian Death Toll More than 3,400

I believe one of the metrics Governor Cuomo is watching, is what's happening in Italy where they had over 41,000 cases of the Corona Virus, for which 3,400 died. Part of the problem is that the rapid surge in the spread of the virus overwhelmed the healthcare infrastructure in terms of beds and respirators.

Wired Magazine posted a story on what factors caused the Italian scourge in a March 17, 2020 report. In it they cited the following,

"... The reason why Italy is suffering so badly, write University of Oxford researchers in a new paper in the journal Demographic Science, may be twofold: The country has the second-oldest population on earth, and its young tend to mingle more often with the elderly, like their grandparents..."

We have been fortunate enough to be behind Italy, so that we may learn from them. To that end the term 'social distancing' has caught on like wildfire - not just in conversation - but in action.

This is in part why I'm somewhat optimistic we're going to avoid some of the doomsday scenarios discussed on TV and online.

 

When Will this End?

The forecasts for us getting back to a normal life vary widely. Some say two weeks, which is unlikely, some say three to five weeks, which I think is a fair guess at a time frame for which folks begin resuming some level of normalcy. But the truth is that normal as we knew it, might not return for a far longer time.

In spite of what our dishonest president says, nobody is going to agree to giving millions of Americans vaccines that haven't first been tested. If there's something wrong with it, it would only make things even worse. So a vaccine is likely a year or more away.

And diseases of this nature somehow seem to keep coming back - like the recent Ebola resurgence in December of 2019. So we're heading into a new normal of greater cleanliness, more social distancing, and paying attention to the spread of germs. Back in the 1950's and 1960's people were concerned about germs, because they were aware of the health implications of not keeping germs at bay through cleanliness. But over time, with the passing of generations, came the passing of concern for germs, because germs had been beaten back in this country through cleanliness. But as the cleanliness habits abated, the germs were given more of an opportunity to come back, which is where we are today.

So I think the new normal is just beginning. But like everything, once you make the adjustment, the maintenance of it can be done in stride. Have a relaxing weekend and stay healthy.


Democrats Choice: A Stuttering Biden or An Intransigent Bernie?

Most Folks Don't Know that Biden has a Stuttering Handicap which is Why he doesn't do so Well in Debates & his 'Circumlocution' Remedy is Likely the Primary Cause of his Verbal Gaffes

Most Sanders Supporters Probably Haven't Taken a Look at Sanders' Record of Accomplishment which During his 29 Years in Congress is Comprised of his Leadership on Only Three Passed Senate Bills - Two of Which were Naming Post Offices

job biden stutters joe biden stutterer bernie sanders legislative records bernie sanders intransigenceMarch 9, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / National Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

 

This past week, as we all watched the Democratic race for the presidency unfold, we witnessed a bit of history. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s incredible comeback from what seemed like a campaign on life support, ended with him sweeping the south and decisively winning victories in most of the states up for grabs on Super Tuesday.

 

Biden’s Coalition – The Moderates, The Working Class & The Realists

But like all victories, Biden didn’t do it alone. Biden first received a boost via the endorsement of Congressman James Clyburn only days before the South Carolina primary. On Monday, Amy Klobuchar ended her campaign and endorsed Biden, followed shortly that same day by Pete Buttigieg, who had ended his campaign a day earlier. And Beto O’Rourke reappeared, to throw his support behind Biden in Texas.

job biden stutters joe biden stutterer bernie sanders legislative records bernie sanders intransigenceAs a result, Biden became the front runner, eclipsing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders following Biden’s electoral sweep on Super Tuesday.

One might say that this demonstrates the biggest difference between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Joe has been able to bring many of his former challengers into his tent, while Bernie Sanders has not.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Bernie Sanders. I think he has great integrity, he is a strong advocate for the working class, and he has clearly demonstrated that he has an admirable talent for running an organization during his two presidential bids.

But the difference between Sanders and Biden is that Sanders appears to be a purest … an ideologue … someone who does not compromise. And people who don't compromise can make great thought leaders, but they rarely - if ever - make great leaders.

 

Great Leaders Know How To Compromise & That’s How They Get Things Done

Leaders need to make compromises in order to get things done. They generally don’t get everything they want because vested interests will do everything in their power to thwart them when they try. So what real leaders do, is stake out the next evolution, by moving the ball a bit forward, hoping that someone else will pick it up at a later date and move it forward again.

  • CLICK here to read the rest of our report on Joe Biden is a Stutterer & Bernie Sanders Legislative Record. The report includes: 1) a synopsis of an Atlantic report whereby a journalist who has a stutter followed Biden on the campaign trail and shared his insights with us, 2) a look at Sanders legislative record by another reporter writing in the Washington Post, and 3) a Case Study in leadership regarding moving the nation forward through compromise.

Things To Do in Queens This Weekend

This Weekend Many Events Cancelled & Many Institutions Closing Doors for a Couple of Weeks due to the Corona Virus Pandemic

queens things to doMarch 13, 2020 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's on Friday, dropping to the high 50's on Saturday and low 50's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be around 40 on Friday & Saturday, dropping to the low 30's by Sunday. Rain is in the forecast for Friday ONLY, likely gone by 11 am. It will be cloudy later in the day on Saturday only. Winds will be 15 mph on Friday, dropping to between 5 - 10 mph for the rest of the weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to about 40% for the rest of the weekend. Click for Queens Weather.

MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

The photo at right shows some folks riding the subway this week who've taken the precaution of wearing surgical masks to prevent getting infected by the Corona Virus - see details below.

 

Corona Virus - A Brief History of Growing Awareness

The Corona Virus outbreak was first reported by the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan in China.

By January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo called a NYS State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what at the time was the Corona Virus epidemic, as there was a rapid spike in the number of reported cases in NYS. At the time NYC had reported about a dozen known cases.

On March 10, 2020 Governor Cuomo ordered a quarantine of a neighborhood in New Rochelle.

On March 11, 2020, Mayor de Blasio followed suit, and declared NYC in a State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what was called a pandemic by the World Health Organization on the same day.

And today, March 13, 2020, last but not least, Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency in the United States in order to accelerate the nation's slow response to the evolving public health crisis.

 

Corona Virus Precautions - Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

By now you'd have to be blind, deaf and mute not to have heard that you should thoroughly wash your hands and not touch your face without having cleaned your hands.

In a March 11, 2020 report, the Sacramento Bee, which is a well respected news outlet run by McClatchy Newspapers, informed us that the National Institute of Health conducted a study that shows that the Corona Virus can remain alive for up to three days on some surfaces under the right conditions.

As such you should also step up your cleaning practices, specifically with respect to things and places that you touch regularly - like the TV clicker or your mouse and keypad and cell phone and keys.

 

Corona Virus Transmission by Air

And that same National Institute of Health Study also showed that the virus could remain alive in the air for a few hours. This discharge would have to come from an infected person, most likely with a cough, but I reckon just talking and breathing could do it too.

This is why scientists recommend we keep some distance - some six feet - from one another. Especially people coughing and that is why ill people are advised to remain home until they feel better - so that they don't infect the rest of us. But that said, infected people may take between two and fourteen days to show signs of the illness and thus realize it. The median incubation period for the Corona Virus is five days, 98% of the people who contract it show signs by 12 days, so by 14 days it is believed that those who have contracted the Corona Virus will show it. This is why most places have been shuttered for two weeks at a minimum.*

Some say masks won't necessarily prevent infection, because the masks aren't built to filter out the micro organisms one might inhale and the masks are not tightly fastened to the face. They may be correct, but the masks can't hurt and may reduce what you breathe in. There's a secondary problem with the masks in that some folks have been hoarding them, making it more difficult for health professionals who are working on the front line of this crisis, to obtain them.*

The disease is believed to be highly transmittable, with conflicting reports on whether it is more or less transmittable than the flu. Live Science, states that it's more than two times more transmittable than the flu, while another source says it's not as transmittable as the flu. This discrepancy may be due to the fact that there are two strains.*

 

The Corona Virus is Potentially Lethal - but Skews Older

queens things to doAt present, it is estimated to have a 2.3% death rate versus something like a 0.1% death rate for the flu. So that means it's over 20 times more lethal than the flu, and at present without any existing cure nor vaccine. Which is why there's so much concern.

But that said, to put this in context, a March 7, 2020 Live Science report informs us that,

" ... So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 100,000 illnesses and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that's nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... "

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that the risk for people varies according to age, as it is believed people who are ill, have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems are most likely to die from the disease - see chart at right.

 

Living Your Life in the Age of the Corona Virus

So, as part of the NYS State of Emergency both the Governor and the Mayor are in agreement that all events of 500 or more people are presently banned. Governor Cuomo also issued an order to close CUNY and SUNY effective March 18, 2020 for the rest of the semester.

The Mayor and Governor have decided to keep the primary and secondary public school system open, but advise anyone who is not feeling well to stay home. While tests reportedly show that children can contract the disease as easily as adults, you can see by the chart above, that children don't die from it at anywhere near the same rate as older people. I know - not dying from a disease - isn't exactly comforting.

But, unlike better resourced students attending private institutions, the students attending public school aren't as able to 'go remote' and conduct classes and homework electronically. Another part of this equation is that many of these students' parents aren't in a position to stay home with them [the collateral damage being having 1.1 million school age children, many unsupervised, roaming around NYC during a pandemic], and many of their parents are critical to the healthcare, educational, law enforcement, fire and emergency response and transportation infrastructure. Lastly many public school kids don't have a home, and the public school lunch program is the one place where they can obtain a healthy meal.*.

I've provided the above information to help folks better understand the complexiities the Governor and Mayor are dealing with in making these decisions. And this doesn't include how badly the small business entities are getting hit, which closing things only makes worse. This affects them paying the rent, paying their employees - all of whom have to make ends meet ... somehow.

 

Things to Do This Weekend in Queens?

Not much really. Here's a link to the things to do in Queens last weekend, which contains a number of web addresses, should you want to look for yourself, but most institutions are taking the position of exercising an abundance of caution and thus have closed.

 

Farmers Mkts, Holiday Markets & Member Events Calendar

March 2020 - Click here for here for Queens holiday markets & shopping and here for Queens holiday events / holiday things to do in Queens, Queens farmers markets, or here for Queens Events Member Calendar or click for reports about Queens street fairs and other weekend events. Also click here for free summer concerts in Queens, free summer movies in Queens and free things to do and free summer theater in Queens & things to do.

CLICK here for Queens Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa holiday events and click here for Queens New Years parties and here for shopping venues in Queens.

 

WORK IN PROCESS. ASTERISKED events above have NOT been updated.

psmoma qtip


Queens Borough President Forum - Chhaya at Jamaica Performing Arts Center | queens borough president forum jamaica performing arts center queens boro president debate 2020 queens borough president candidates anthony miranda donovan richards costa constantinides elizabeth crowley
Queens Borough President Forum - Chhaya at Jamaica Performing Arts Center

Queens Borough President Candidates Forum

Queens Boro President Candidates Discuss the Issues

March 6, 2020 / Queens Politics & Government / Queens Neighborhoods /Queens Buzz NYC.

On Thursday evening I headed down to Jamaica town to watch and listen to four candidates vying for the office of Queens Borough President. The forum was hosted by Chhaya Community Development Corporation in tandem with several other South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community non profits seeking to enable their groups to become better informed regarding the candidates vying for the important office of Queens Borough President. I have included the names of these organizations at the end of this report.

In the photo at right are the Queens Borough President candidates [left to right]: Costa Constantinides, Donovan Richards, Anthony Miranda and Elizabeth Crowley.

 

Queens Borough President Budget is About $70 Million

The Queens Borough President Office controls a budget of approximately $70 million. The budget is a % allocation of the total revenue taken in by the NYC municipality. The money is used to fund improvements and programs in the parks, schools, libraries, as well as healthcare and cultural institutions. The Queens Borough President also has use of the ‘bully pulpit’ - a phrase coined by President Theodore Roosevelt – meaning that when someone at the bully pulpit talked, people listened / took notice.

It was a sort of balmy early March evening with temperatures near 50 as I rode the subway down to Jamaica town. Riders were a bit on edge, keeping their distance amid fears of contagion from the CoronaVirus. One man held the subway pole with a newspaper, others wore gloves in spite of the unseasonably warm temperatures, and at the end of the ride a subway maintenance man, wearing a surgical mask and gloves, did a bit of cleaning.

  • CLICK here to read the rest of our report which includes some video of the Queens Borough President Forum hosted by Chhaya and held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.
  • Early voting begins Saturday, March 14th and the election is on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020.


Identity Crisis Theater Opening, at Brick Theater BK | rough draft festival 2020 laguardia performing arts center lic rough draft fest march 2020
Identity Crisis Theater Opening, at Brick Theater BK

Identity Crisis Theater Opens at the Brick in Greenpoint

The Event Included a Preview of a Performance Coming to The LaGuardia Rough Draft Festival 3/16 & Another of a Play Returning to the Brick Theater Beginning May 28th

March 2, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Theater / Queens Buzz NYC.

In early February I attended the opening of a new theater ensemble - Identity Crisis Theater - at the Brick Theater in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The theater group is comprised of three NYC artists, some of Turkish descent, who will "... feature English translations of works from Turkey, the Balkans, the Middle East and surrounding Mediterranean cultures." Their goal is to develop "... a platform for exploration, conversation, revelation and the celebration of our common humanity."

It was a cold, wet, miserable night outside, as I made my way to the Brick, which is located only a couple of blocks from the G line Metropolitan subway stop. As I stepped inside, the atmosphere changed to warm and dry as I took my place amongst a crowd filled with anticipation. The audience had packed the theater in advance to view performances by some of NYC’s emerging dance, musical and theatrical artists.

I met the Brick Theater management team comprised of Ryan Downey and Theresa Buchheister. This past year they took over the operation of the Brick Theater, after years of working there. They seemed to have the theater production well in hand, as there are events and performances at this warm, rustic Greenpoint Brooklyn theater every week, and quite often every day.

 

Identity Crisis Theater Presents 'Triggerman' at the Brick Theater in Greenpoint BK

On the stage at the back of the theater, a performance had just begun. The piece was entitled Triggerman and it was about the step-by-step planning of an assassination, alongside the moral struggle of a young man, trying to wrest himself free from the anger and hate, being imposed on him by a few members of his own ethnic tribe.



Queens St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants & Irish pubs In Queens NYC | queens st patricks day bars restaurants queens st pat's da irish pubs restaurants queens st pats day bars restaurants irish pubs astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights st patrick's day restaurants queens nyc
Queens St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants & Irish pubs In Queens NYC

St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants, Irish Pubs in Queens

St Pat's Day Irish Pubs & Restaurants in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

February 25, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants & Bars / St Pat's Parade Queens NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

Here's a listing of some of the fun Irish pubs open on St. Patrick's Day in Queens.

There are a lot of celebrations planned for St Pat's Day in Queens. There are a at least three St Patrick's Day Parades in Queens, but they are generally held on the weekends before or after the actual St. Patrick's Day feast on March 17th.

The photo to your right was taken on St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2019 at Donovan's Pub in Woodside.

This report contains a number of brief suggestions for St. Patrick's Day bars, restaurants and Irish pubs in Queens, including in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside [near Jackson Heights], Bayside [near Flushing], the Rockaways [near Jamaica] and in Maspeth / Ridgewood which are near Kew Gardens and Forest Hills. At the end of the report we've included links to St. Patrick's Day celebrations in other boroughs.

Please drink responsibly and let someone else drive if you're impaired. St. Patrick's Day is a bit like New Years Eve, in that the amateur consumers of alcohol of all ethnicities come out to celebrate, and if they are not properly managed / or cared for, accidents may occur, and some of them with life changing consequences.



Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Queens Events Presidents Day Weekend Queens NYC | things to do presidents Day weekend in queens things to do presidents day weekend  events queens nyc jamaica astoria lic sunnyside woodside flushing jackson heights presidents day weekend things to do events queens nyc
Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Queens Events Presidents Day Weekend Queens NYC

Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend Queens

Things To Do In Queens Over The Presidents Day Weekend

February 10, 2020 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

Presidents Day Weekend Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the mid 30's on Friday, dropping to the high 20's on Saturday and rising into the 40's on Sunday and Monday. The temperature lows will be in the low teens Friday, the mid 20's on Saturday, rising into the 30's Sunday and Monday. Precipitation - There's a small chance [30%] of a small amount of precipitation [way under an inch] later Sunday and early morning Monday. Winds will be around 15 mph Friday, dropping into the single digits for the rest of the long weekend. The Humidity will be in the high 30% range on Friday & Saturday, rising to about 60% on Sunday and Monday. Click for Queens Weather.

The photo at right was taken at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island which commemorates Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1941 speech declarating the inalienable rights of all people. The four freedoms are 1) Freedom of Speech, 2) Freedom of Worship, 3) Freedom of Want and 4) Freedom of Fear.

Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the performance of our current presidents and legislators, and how they stack up against their historical peers. And in that reflection it's worth asking ourselves what we've done to contribute or detract from the national conversation.

Brief History of Presidents Day Holiday in NYC

queens presidents day weekend queens presidents day weekend things to do queens presidents day weekend events queens nycA day commemorating Lincoln's birthday was first passed in Buffalo, New York in the early 1870's. Presidents Day originated as Washington's Birthday which was a holiday narrowly prescribed for federal government offices in Washington, D.C. in 1879. The holiday was dedicated to honoring the memory of the first American president, George Washington who was born on February 22, 1732.

In 1885 the holiday was expanded to include all federal government offices around the nation. In 1951 there was a push to create a Presidents Day holiday [vs a George Washington's birthday holiday] to include President Lincoln whose birthday is February 12, 1809 and was also celebrated by localities, but it didn't pass.

In 1971 the holiday was moved off of George Washington's birth date to being the third Monday in February. Thus while it never falls upon Washington's birthday 2/22, the official name of the holiday remains Washington's Birthday. But today, most folks refer to it as Presidents Day and to recognize the presidents who honored the U.S. Constitution and served the interests of the people.



Queens Romantic Restaurants for Valentines Day - Queens NYC | valentines dinners in queens valentines day in Queens romantic restaurants in queens astoria lic long island city jamaica sunnyside jackson heights flushing corona romantic dinners romantic restaurants in queens
Queens Romantic Restaurants for Valentines Day - Queens NYC

Valentine's Day Restaurants & Events in Queens

Romantic Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

February 4, 2020 / Queens Restaurants / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

Valentine's Day is a week away. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and dinner are always welcome treats, and / or some thoughtful gesture that shows that the lady [or man] you're with still means a lot to you.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice at a romantic Queens restaurant on Valentine's Day, and sometimes it's difficult to make them for the weekend of Valentine's Day. So if you're thinking about doing something this Valentine's Day for dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.

Valentine's Day Brief History - Queens Romantic V Day Restaurants

The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It's believed to have been named after Saint Valentine who was apparently a Catholic martyr who died over 1500 years ago. Today the holiday is not associated with religion so much as flowers, candies, cards and romantic dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and quite a mischief maker.

The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Click this link to view a brief guide of Valentine's Day restaurants in Queens / V Day events & romantic restaurants Queens NYC where you will find links to Queens restaurants we've reviewed. Enjoy.



Rikers Island Closing Queens & Bronx - Neighborhood Jails in Brooklyn Bronx Manhattan Queens & not Staten Island | rikers island correctional facility closing rikers island neighborhood jails brooklyn queens bronx manhattan staten island neighborhood jails replacing rikers island
Rikers Island Closing Queens & Bronx - Neighborhood Jails in Brooklyn Bronx Manhattan Queens & not Staten Island

Closure of Rikers Island Moves Another Step Forward

In Oct 2019 NYC Council Designated Neighborhood Jail Locations in Four Boroughs

Community Board One in Astoria Only Approved the Closure of Rikers Island

January 26, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics / Bronx Politics & Government / Queens Buzz NYC & Bronx Buzz NYC.

A week ago, on Tuesday, January 21st I attended the Community Board One meeting at the Astoria World Manor where the board was asked to approve the closing of the Rikers Island Detention Facility effective sometime before the end of the year 2026.

The photo at right was taken from an airplane while landing at LaGuardia in a prior year. Rikers Island Correctional Facility is a stone's throw away from LGA.

 

Queens Community Board One in Astoria Votes on Rikers Closure

The presentation consisted of two slides. One highlighted the social / moral blight that Rikers Island had become. The second slide simply proposed the request in very limited terms - the closing of Rikers Island and the conversion of it to a ‘public place’. The presentation to the Committee was done by a team lead by Dana Kaplan, Deputy Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

So please note that the Community Board had no role in the placement of neighborhood jails, nor did they sign off on anything that may become of Rikers Island going forward. They only approved the closing of the Correctional Facility and the allowance of use for it as a "public place".

I spoke with CB1 District Manager Florence Kolouris after the meeting about what exactly that meant. She told me that there isn’t any definition, per se, given for public place – but a couple of examples of prior public places include Lincoln Center, Fort Totten and Queens Borough Hall.

The Community Board approved the measure with a recommendation that CB1 be kept in the loop throughout the closing process, including any demolition. Plenty of questions followed regarding what would become of the 400 acre island. Nothing concrete was proposed at this time, but the audience was assured that any changes would have to come through the Community Board via the ULURP process [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure].

 

The Bronx & Queens - Rikers Island Community Jurisdiction & Prison Population

rikers island closing rikers island correctional facility history rikers island development astoria queens rikers island hunts point bronxIt’s worth noting that technically Rikers Island is a part of the Bronx – not Queens – even though the only road traveling onto the island originates in the Astoria / East Elmhurst neighborhoods of Queens. In addition to Queens Community Board One, Bronx Community Board Two, representing the Hunts Point neighborhood, also has influence over the island. Since the Dinkins Administration in the 1990's, there's been a floating barge facility that's docked in Hunts Point, that is considered a part of the Rikers Island Correctional Facility.

Currently there are an estimated 7,000 plus inmates on Rikers Island. At its height, in 1991, Rikers Island held an estimated overcapacity inmate population of nearly 22,000. By the time the facility is to be closed in 2026, the inmate population is expected to have declined to between 3,000 and 4,000.

The photo at right shows the Rikers Island Correctional Facility which will be closed by the end of 2026.



Van Bramer Ends QBP Campaign

January 21, 2020 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Politics / Queens Buzz NYC.

We received this missive today from the Van Bramer campaign, which explains why he didn't attend the Queens Borough President Forum in Jamaica on Sunday [see related report below].

Dear Friends,
 
I love serving the people of Queens as a Council Member, which is why I was excited to continue that work as Queens Borough President. 
 
My family is the reason I love this borough and its residents; they are the ones who instilled Queens values in me and inspired me to be an advocate for working families. But family circumstances have been weighing on me for some time, causing me to reconsider the timing and feasibility of this campaign. 
 
Prioritizing my responsibilities as a son and brother is where my attention needs to be right now. And so I am ending my campaign today. While this is a difficult decision, this is the right one for me and my family at this time. 
 
I will, of course, continue to fight for the working people of our borough and city every day on the New York City Council and beyond. 
 
I want to thank all of you -- our campaign’s amazing supporters, volunteers, and donors for your faith in me and our shared vision to build a brighter future for Queens.
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Jimmy


Queens Borough President Candidates - Queens BP Office Election 2020 | queens borough president candidates queens BP candidates queens boro president election queens borough president election candidates queens boro prez 2020 nyc
Queens Borough President Candidates - Queens BP Office Election 2020

First Impressions: Queens Borough President Forum

Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth Crowley, Danniel Maio, Anthony Miranda, Donovan Richards & James Quinn

January 19, 2020 / Jamaica Neighborhood NYC / Queens Politics NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Sunday I went down to Jamaica town to watch the candidates for Queens Borough President talk about themselves, their qualifications and their take on the issues facing Queens. The following is an account of what I saw and heard.

The photo at right shows six of the nine Queens Borough President candidates [from left to right] - Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth Crowley, Danniel Maio, Anthony Miranda, Donovan Richards & James Quinn - at a forum in Jamaica on Sunday.

Queens Boro President Candidates Forum in Jamaica

The event was held at the Harvest Room, which is on 160th Street just off Jamaica Avenue and adjacent to the Jamaica Market. The forum was moderated by NYS Senator John Liu and an attorney Soma Syed, and organized by the Community Alliance Group and the American Pakistani Advocacy Group. The moderators, John Liu and Soma Syed, are shown in the photo below.

Queens Borough President Office Election is on March 24th, 2020

queens borough president candidates 2020 queens bp election 2020They started the forum about an hour late, as they postponed the start time, while waiting on some of the candidates’ arrivals. There are currently nine people running for the Queens Borough President Office, and the election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24th, 2020. Of the nine candidates, six participated in the forum. Notably absent was one of the leading Progressive candidates, NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, as well as two far lesser known candidates, Dao Yin and Everly Brown.

The 2020 Queens Borough President Candidates in Attendance at the Forum

Those participating included: 1) former NYC Councilmember from Ridgewood and former Queens Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley’s cousin, Elizabeth Crowley, 2) Progressive NYC Councilmember Costa Constantinides of Astoria, 3) Democratic Party Machine favorite NYC Councilmember Donovan Richards of Jamaica, 4) former map maker and the only Republican in the running Danniel Maio, 5) former Assistant District Attorney James Quinn, and 6) former NYPD Sergeant Anthony Miranda.

Queens Borough President Candidates Introductions

I stayed for about 90 minutes, which covered the candidate introductions and six major questions. I didn’t stay for the short answer questions, nor for the audience questions, which sometimes can be the best.



Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in Queens | things to do Martin Luther King Day weekend in queens things to do MLK day weekend queens nyc jamaica astoria lic sunnyside woodside flushing jackson heights
Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in Queens

Things To Do MLK Day Weekend Events Queens

Things To Do In Queens Over The Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 14, 2020 / Things To Do Queens NY / Queens Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will range between 30 and 40 throughout the three day weekend. The temperature lows will be in the low 20's throughout the weekend - except on Saturday when the low will be in the high 30's. Rain or Snow is forecast on Saturday, but NOT on Friday, Sunday & Monday. Winds will range from 10 - 15 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 50% throughout the weekend, except on Friday when it will be in the low 30% range. Click for Queens Weather.

Brief History of Martin Luther King Holiday in NYC

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist Minister who became the leading voice for African Americans' non-violent civil rights movement beginning in the mid 1950's through to his assassination in 1968. In 1983, the third Monday of every year was set aside to honor Martin Luther King for his service to the nation. The third Monday was chosen, as it was the nearest Monday to the anniversary of King's birthday, which was January 15, 1929.

Martin Luther King Day has grown to take on an even larger meaning, as it is oftentimes referred to as a day on, versus a day off. Organizations around the city and nation have used the day to call people into action to address the needs of the community through volunteering and service.

 

Martin Luther King Holiday Special Events in Queens NYC

The Queens College Student Association is organizing a week long bus tour of many of the most famous civil rights movement sites in the southern U.S. The tour is entitled In the Footsteps of Dr. King and begins on Sunday, January 19, 2020 and ends on Thursday, January 23rd. For more information about the trip email - Rabbi Moshe Shur at footsteps@qc.cuny.edu.

On Monday beginning at 11 am the Greater Allen AME Cathedral, which is an African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 110-13 Merrick Blvd in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, will host a luncheon followed by a theatrical performance by the Shades of Truth Theatre entitled The Day Harlem Saved Dr. King. The show follows the luncheon and begins about 12 - 12.30 pm [just after noon]. Tickets cost $35 and may be purchased through the Allen AME Cathedral at 718.206.4600.

On Monday generally starting around 9 am and running until 12 noon, the NYC Parks Department in tandem with local groups is organizing a day of service to clean up a few of the NYC neighborhood parks. In Queens the only park mentioned as of this post was the Forest Park near the Forest Hills neighborhood in central Queens. Cut and paste this link for details - https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/mlk-day-of-service.

On Monday from 6 - 10 pm there are a number of visual arts exhibits and performances organized by 39th Avenue Arts N' Performance at 38-12 30th Avenue in Long Island City. Tickets cost $5 online at Eventbrite or $10 at the door. Of special note is that Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech will be performed.

The venues below may also have MLK Day programs, or other cultural and historic programs.



Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as NYC Mayor

This Contains the Part of Bloomberg's Record You Won't See in His Ad Campaign

michael bloombergs record as nyc mayor mike bloomberg accomplishments mike bloomberg record mayor nyc record of mayor bloomberg while mayor nycDecember 16, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I started reporting for Queens Buzz in the second half of 2007, in anticipation of the website opening in 2008. At the time, politics wasn't in the docket. But over time, as I watched government and political events unfold, I couldn't ignore the huge gap between what was happening - versus what was reported to be happening.

Thus over time I began reporting on NYC, NYS and eventually national politics, doing in-depth research along the way, so that I could provide our readers with a fresh point of view, based on facts and knowledge, with scant pandering to the politicial spin.

While I only began tuning into NYC politics as a reporter during Michael Bloomberg's third term, I had picked up information about him prior to that as an aware NYC resident / voter. My first glimpse into Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-democratic tendencies came about in 2004, during the Republican Presidential Convention, when Bloomberg appeared to illegally lock up people protesting the wars and policies of then president George W. Bush. But before I delve into that aspect of Bloomberg's performance, I want to highlight a few others.

 

Disdains Democracy: Overturns Mayoral Term Limits

michael bloomberg mayor bloomberg corruption bloomberg record as nyc mayorIn 2008, just a year before former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was about to be term limited out of the Mayor's Office, he convinced the NYC City Council to override the plebiscite that term limited his time in office as the Mayor.

Thus Michael Bloomberg sought and won a third term - which he essentially bought - by funding his campaign with nearly $100 million of his own money, to defeat an relatively unknown candidate, retiring City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Thompson was not given much support by the Democratic Party in that election, likely because they didn't believe he would do anywhere near as well as he did, and they were competing with a billionaire who could / would and did greatly outspend the competition. The final vote was 50.7% for Bloomberg and 46.3% for Thompson.

 

Did Former Mayor Bloomberg Override Term Limits in Order to Cash In NYC's Municipal Real Estate Holdings?

The deals on the Bronx Terminal Market, Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South & Flushing Meadow Corona Park were all begun in 2007. So were the two multi-billion dollar [each] subway line extension projects - the Q and the #7.

All of the real estate developments and the two major subway infrastructure projects seemed to greatly benefit one person - Stephen Ross and his privately held Related Companies. Stephen Ross went from not being counted as a billionaire at the beginning of Bloomberg's Mayoralty, to becoming the richest real estate developer in New York City within a couple of years after he took office.

It's worth noting that Bloomberg's net worth during this period shot up too. And that Bloomberg LLP, the company he founded, also operates in NYC and is also privately held.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as Mayor

The Real Record of Mike Bloomberg's Accomplishments as Mayor - Doubling of Homelessnes, Taxpayer Funded but Privately Owned Luxury Apartments, Massive Public Land Giveaways to Friendly Developer, Massive Public Transit Spending Benefitting Same Developer, Privatization / Profitization of Many Public Schools, Failure to Negotiate with Unions, City Time Scandal & Racist Stop N' Frisk Policing Program

The report includes:

michael bloombergs record as nyc mayor mike bloomberg accomplishments mike bloomberg record mayor nyc1) HOMELESSNESS: Bloomberg had a horrendous record on homelessness which broke all records & doubled during his Mayoralty.

2) AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Bloomberg sold the public on funding 'affordable' apartments that rented for $48,000 per year. These were publicly funded but privately owned apartment units that Bloomberg sold to the public as 'affordable' in order to gain passage of the bills authorizing them.

3) PUBLIC LAND GRAB. Four huge real estate developments appeared to be given to Stephen Ross & Related Companies which are now worth billions. The public lands reportedly sold for $1 apiece include Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South and the still pending Flushing Meadows Corona Park development. I'm not sure but Bronx Terminal was also transferred in a sweet deal to the real estate developer Stephen Ross & Related Companies.

4) PUBLIC SPENDING BENEFITTING FRIENDLY DEVELOPER. Bloomberg pushed two subway line extensions that seemed to disproportionately benefit Stephen Ross & Related Companies. The subway line extensions were 1) the #7 subway line extension that supported Stephen Ross & Related Companies Hudson Yard development and 2) the Q subway line extension which greatly enhanced the value of Stephen Ross and Related Companies Upper East Side properties.

5) PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Bloomberg's privatization of a significant portion of the NYC public school system which appeared to tear apart the NYC public school system by enabling for profit private charter schools, disproportionately favoring Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy, to recruit the best students of the NYC public school system, while leaving the rest behind in the hands of the public and unions;

6) UNION BUSTER? Bloomberg's failure to sign a single major union contract during his 12 year administration and the

7) GIULIANI / BLOOMBERG CORRUPTION. City Time corruption scandal.

8) RACIST POLICING POLICY. Presided over racist Stop N' Frisk policing policy.

CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the part of the Mike Bloomberg's record of Mayor. The part of the Bloomberg record you won't see in his $33 million ad campaign to convince Democrats to vote for him. Billionaire Bloomberg, like the billionaire President, seems to have an inclination to distort the truth.


New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants In Queens | new years eve parties & restaurants in queens parties & restaurants new years eve in astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights new years restaurants & parties in queens nyc
New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants In Queens

New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants 2020 Queens

Fun Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside & Jackson Heights on New Years Eve

December 30, 2019 / Queens New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC. New Years Eve 2020 is almost upon us.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice for New Years Eve. And sometimes it's difficult to make them for the New Years Eve parties in Queens. So if you're thinking about going to dinner or to a party this New Years Eve in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.

New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants In Queens

The origins of New Years Eve celebrations will be referenced at a later date.

Click this link to view a brief guide of New Years Eve parties & restaurants in Queens where you will find links to Queens restaurants we've reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Enjoy.



Holiday Events In Queens - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Events Queens | xmas tree holiday lightings in queens astoria lic long island city sunnyside woodside jackson heights corona flushing jamaica christmas tree lightings in queens
Holiday Events In Queens - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Events Queens

Holiday Events In Queens

Christmas Tree Lightings, Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, & Kwanzaa Candle Lightings in Queens

December 15, 2019 / Astoria Neighborhood / Long Island City LIC Neighborhood / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Woodside Neighborhood / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Corona Neighborhood / Flushing Neighborhood / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Things To Do Holidays / Queens Buzz NYC.

Holiday lighting festivals and ceremonies have been on the rise in Queens in recent years. While some date back many years, most are traditions that started within the past five or ten years.

What does an increase in holiday lightings mean? It means you have ample opportunity to go yourself, or with friends, or to take your kids to one or more of them to learn a bit more about your own culture or the culture of others.

Each lighting is a bit different, as some are community and business-oriented, some are religiously oriented, a few have arts organizations behind them, and some are backed by non-religious cultural organizations. Please feel free to send us a notice of your holiday lighting event if it's not posted herein.

Queens Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Holiday Events Begin in Earnest

This is not meant to be a complete list, but rather a list of the holiday lighting events, many of which I’ve attended one or more times since late 2007. The holiday lighting events are organized individually by each Queens neighborhood including Astoria, Long Island City LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica and Whitestone. Many include the serving of some beverage like hot chocolate and generally something to munch on like cookies.



Something New & Strange at the Tiny Box Theater

queens things to doDecember 6, 2019 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Theater in Queens NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

This weekend only, there's the performance of an avante garde theatrical production entitled The House We Never Lived In at the Tiny Box Theater which is performing at the 11th Street Arts Center in Long Island City Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

The production is something totally interactive, meaning we were guided through the play by our hosts - CoDirectors Joy Tomasko and Sarah Murphy - but each of us embarked on our own unique journey wearing headsets and making choices which would ultimately determine how the play ended ... for us ... alone ... or shared - but only shared if others had made the same choices that we did. If you're not totally understanding this, that's ok, because until it was over, neither did I.

The photo at right shows several members of the audience in the foreground, pursuing their own journey in the play, while the Co-Directors, Joy Tomasko at left and Sarah Murphy at right in the background, look on.

The play takes us on a journey from a tiny apartment in NYC, to purchasing a fixer upper home upstate, and then going there ...

You will need a fully charged cell phone to attend the play, as that will be plugged into your headset which they provide. The cell phone is then used to scan the recordings you'll hear, which are chosen based upon the choices you make, which you then use as a guide - along with the assistance of the Co-Directors, into a world that is new and strange.

The play is well written [or at least based on the choices I made], containing a number of near poetic insights, and the experience is reality ... virtually ... ? ... dunno ... as I'm still processing it.

This weekend only - performances at 4.30 pm, 6 pm, 7.30 and 9 pm on Friday and at 3 pm, 4.30 pm and 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $20 and you can purchase them at www.tinyboxtheater.com. And remember to bring a fully charged cell phone.

Seating is very limited, so if you want to see this play, waiting isn't an option. This play was funded in part through a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts.


Conversational Baseball: Mets End Season on High Note

The Mets Won Their Last Game, Yet Missed a Playoff Berth, But the Season Wasn't a Total Loss

queens things to doOctober 1, 2019 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Sunday, September 29th, the NY Mets played their last game of the 2019 Major League Baseball season. The Mets came in third in the National League East, behind the Atlanta Braves [#1] and the Washington Nationals [#2]. Their record of 86 wins and 76 losses represented a solid improvement over the 2018 season, where they won 77 and lost 85 coming in fourth place that year.

The Mets new slugger Pete Alonso, broke the rookie home run record on the second to the last game of the season on Saturday 9/28/19. Pete Alonso hit his 53rd home run of the season against the starting pitcher [Mike Foltynewicz] for the National League East Champion Atlanta Braves, besting the record set by Yankee Aaron Judge in 2017. Aaron had hit 52 home runs that season.

The Mets Pitcher Jacob Degrom also had another good year, after a slow start, and seems to be a favored contender for the Cy Young Award for the second year running. Jacob Degrom has been with the Mets since 2014, having picked him in the 9th round draft.

And Mets Manager Mickey Callaway's fate is apparently undecided at this point in the season. Mickey Callaway became the Mets Manager in October 2017, and had a disappointing first season after the strongest start that season, in Mets' history. The 2019 season was much better at .531 vs .475 in 2018.

So while the Mets season may be over, the Yankees are still in it. The Yankees enter the post season with some handicaps [lost a pitcher due to domestic abuse allegations], but that said they've been fighting handicaps all season. Stay tuned.


Sunnyside Yard Development - SS Yard Real Estate Development LIC Queens Astoria Sunnyside NYC | sunnyside yard development long island city queens nyc sunnyside yard master plan sunnyside astoria queens nyc
Sunnyside Yard Development - SS Yard Real Estate Development LIC Queens Astoria Sunnyside NYC

Sunnyside Yard Plan Moving Ahead

The Whopper of All 21st Century Real Estate Developments in NYC

September 25, 2019 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Long Island City Neighborhood / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Real Estate / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

I attended the Sunnyside Yard Master Planning meeting last week at Aviation High School in Sunnyside / LIC. Given the significance of the real estate development being planned - at the nexus of Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside - I was surprised by the low turnout of members in the community. Perhaps it's because the NYC EDC didn't seem to do a very good job of notifying the community that there would be a meeting.

 

sunnyside yard development queens sunnyside yard real estate development lic sunnyside astoria real estate queens nycThe illustration at right shows how a Sunnyside Yard development might look sometime in the foreseeable future.

There was a protest group there, possibly comprising somewhere between a quarter and half of those who attended during the second [of two] sessions that I attended. The sessions were held in a regular sized classroom, which contained an overflowing crowd, and most of the protesters, who were fairly disruptive, were also kept outside.

Exploring the possibility of the Sunnyside Yard real estate development project began a number of years ago [I've seen documents that indicate work began in 2014]. The concept was first presented to the public in Mayor de Blasio's first State of the City Address in 2015. Governor Cuomo seemed to try to upstage the Mayor earlier that same day, by pre-emptively mentioning it, only hours before the Mayor gave his Address.

 

sunnyside yard development queens sunnyside yard real estate development lic sunnyside astoria real estate queens nycThe photo below right shows how the Sunnyside Yard looks today.

Much has been done since then, both in planning and in preparing the site for development. So if you want a say in how the 180 acres of space that is adjacent to Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnysideis going to be developed, you'd best begin ramping up to speed now - and fast - because the first pass at a relatively concrete Master Plan is expected this winter. The proverbial train is about to leave the station - or in this case the Sunnyside Yard.



Queens District Attorney Candidates - Queens DA Office Election

Why do Real Estate Developers Favor Katz for Queens District Attorney?

Tenants Pay Heed: Katz Became a Real Estate Development Lobbyist for Greenberg Traurig After Chairing the Land Use Committee in the NYC Council

This report covers campaign tricks, the phony Queens Library 'corruption scandal', the alleged Curtis Sliwa affair and something about a Katz Fundraiser at restaurant with Alleged Mob ties ...

queens district attorney candidates queens da race queensJune 17, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

We’re a week away from Election Day for the Queens District Attorney Office. Melinda Katz, whose candidacy was once believed to be a shoo-in - based on her Borough-wide name recognition and the unmitigated support of the Queens Democratic machine.

 

Is Melinda Katz Candidacy for District Attorney Faltering?

It now appears that her candidacy may be in jeopardy as the Queens Democratic machine called upon Governor Cuomo to help raise funds to either stop or slow Katz’s accelerating slide in the polls. It’s worth mentioning that the Cuomo’s June 10th fundraiser was not held in Queens – where it should have been – but rather in Manhattan [where the real estate developers are?].

 

IT'S NOT FUNDING - The Real Estate Cash has been Pouring In

Is Melinda Katz’s Candidacy Faltering Because she doesn’t have the Qualifications or Because she has shown little interest in Criminal Justice until she Began Running for the Queens DA Office?

queens district attorney candidates queens da candidates melinda katz tiffany caban gregory lasak queens district atty candidatesBut it’s not funding that Katz needs help with. It’s her lack of criminal justice education, her complete lack of experience in the criminal justice system, and her lack of interest in criminal justice issues over her entire career until about six months ago.

As a point of contrast it’s worth noting that Queens District Attorney candidate and NYC Councilmember Rory Lancman also lacks a criminal justice degree and experience – but at least he served on committees that focused on the topic and dealt with the issues – which Melinda Katz has not. The focus of Katz’s early political career was on women’s and health issues, and the rest of her public career largely centered on Land Use / real estate development, as she was Chair of the Standing Committee on Land Use during her time as a NYC Councilmember.

Both she and Lancman are in term limited positions which expire at the end of 2021, which in political terms, is just around the corner. The Queens District Attorney Office is not term limited and the last Queens DA, Richard Brown, served in that position nearly three decades [28 years]. Richard Brown recently died, at age 86, at home on May 3, 2019.

 

Real Estate Development Lawsuits in Queens

In recent years there have been a myriad of lawsuits involving real estate developers in Queens. These center around harassment, contested evictions and around safe work practices for contractors and employees. Unfortunately I don’t have time to enumerate them, but you can do a search on this yourself using the search string ‘Queens real estate developers lawsuits’.


queens da candidates rory lancman betty lugo jose nieves mina malik queens district atty candidates queens district attorney race


Queens Voters have a Couple of Other Very Qualified Candidates – One Conservative & One Liberal

queens da candidates rory lancman betty lugo jose nieves mina malik queens district atty candidates queens district attorney raceThe two leading candidates with criminal justice degrees and experience are former Judge Gregory Lasak and Public Defender Tiffany Caban. Former Judge Gregory Lasak has a career spanning more than three decades working in the criminal justice system, and Tiffany Caban has spent seven years working in the criminal justice system as a Legal Aid Society attorney and Public Defender. The choice here is pretty clear as Judge Lasak is a go-slow advocate of reform, while Tiffany Caban is a passionate advocate of reform. But at least both of these candidates have qualifications that fit the job.

There’s an old saying in business that goes something like this, “You can’t manage a process you don’t understand. And you can’t understand a process unless you’ve done it.”

 

 

Melinda Katz runs as both the Establishment & Reform Candidate

FLIP FLOPS: Is Katz Really the Candidate of Developers & Landlords?

queens da candidates rory lancman betty lugo jose nieves mina malik queens district atty candidates queens district attorney raceAs for Katz’s message – it’s unclear for what she really stands. At times she claims she’s a reformer, but we’ve seen little in the way of reform initiated by Katz over the past decade - and likely far longer - possibly ending in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s when she became a City Councilmember on the Land Use committee.

Not that long ago she reportedly backed capital punishment. And up until recently she backed cash bail, reportedly flip flopping on the issue particulars. And while she has said she supports the closing of Rikers Island and replacing it with borough centric jails [so the inmates can maintain their connections to family and community while awaiting trial], she appears to have taken the position of “not in my backyard” as the proposed replacement in Queens would be near Borough Hall where there’s already a jail. To help put this in perspective it’s worth noting that Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. submitted a request that that is where the Bronx replacement facility for Rikers be placed.

 

 

Melinda Katz becomes a Real Estate Lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig in 2010

queens district attorney candidates queens da candidates melinda katz tiffany caban gregory lasak queens district atty candidatesIn 2010 Katz took a lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig, working on real estate development deals, which seemed to strengthen her ties to the real estate development community in general, and Boston Properties controlled by billionaire real estate developer and [at the time] the NY Daily News Publisher Mortimer Zuckerman in particular. Essentially she helped clients navigate their way through city and state government bodies [some of which she had previously worked on as a representative of the public] in order to get the real estate development deals deals done.

 

  • CLICK for the rest of our report on Melinda Katz - Queens DA candidates - the report covers 'dirty tricks', the phony Queens Library 'corruption scandal', the alleged Curtis Sliwa affair and something about a mob restaurant.


Queens District Attorney Debate

Includes Video of Highlights from the Debate in Jamaica

melinda katz queens da candidate tiffany caban queens district attorney office candidates queens da debate queens nycJune 11, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

In May I had the opportunity to attend the Queens District Attorney debate at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. It was the second event, featuring the candidates running for the Queens District Attorney's office, that I attended. This time I focused more intently how well versed each candidate was on the issues to be addressed by the person winning that position, and what qualifications, experience and vision they might bring to the office.

I have noted my first impressions below, which were gleaned while attending a forum in April, to which all candidates were invited to participate at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center. In the second debate, some of these impressions were altered and some of them were confirmed.

The photo above shows the two leading candidates [based on endorsements] running for the Queens District Attorney office - queens DA office candidates 2019 queens District attorney candidates debate queensMelinda Katz and Tiffany Caban. The photo below shows the other two leading candidates running for the Queens District Attorney office - Gregory Lasak and Rory Lancman.

Tiffany Caban has, by far, received donations from more small contributors than any of the candidates. Melinda Katz leads in fundraising, with strong support from the real estate development community for which she spent years [2009 - 2013] working as a lobbyist.

Gregory Lasak and Rory Lancman have also been competitive fundraisers - but neither matching Tiffany Caban's small donor support, nor Melinda Katz's big donor support.

The following video captures about 17 minutes of highlights from the three hour long debate. I decided not to give equal time because many of the statements made were either repetitive or laden with platitudes. Thus former Justice Gregory Lasak and Public Defender Tiffany Caban received the most air time, as they provided real world anecdotes, as well as real world insights into how our criminal justice system functions and how it can be reformed.



Plans for Sunnyside Yard Moving Along

Window of Opportunity Closing for Residents' Input into Likely the Single Most Important Real Estate Development in Queens in a Lifetime

May 14, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Real Estate / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens things to doThe Sunnyside Yard development effort began on February 9, 2015, when Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a vision for the development of Sunnyside Yard in his first State of the City Address. The first effort in the project was a Feasibility Study, which began soon thereafter.

Two years ago, on April 18, 2017, I attended a session where the NYC Economic Development Corporation presented the results of the Feasibility Study to the Community Board in Sunnyside regarding the building of a deck over Sunnyside Yard, in a fashion similar to what was done over a century ago, when the rail lines heading north from Grand Central Station were decked over and Park Avenue was paved over them. Click here to read our series on the History of Sunnyside Yard.

The photo to your right shows Park Avenue between 1910 - 1920, being decked up above NYC infrastructure.

Sunnyside Yard Public Meetings: Moving Along the Development Curve

queens things to doLast year, on October 24, 2018, the NYC Economic Development Corporation hosted an estimated 375 people at the NYCEDC's first Public Meeting at La Guardia Community College in Long Island City. I was told that they had modified the process and expanded the venue there in order to accommodate the community interest. The goal of the meeting was to obtain community input on how to utlize, the largest publicly controlled space in New York City, likely to be developed in our lifetimes.

The photo at right shows some of the elevated roads traversing Sunnyside Yard, in the same manner as some of the east / west roads traversed Park Avenue in the early 1900's. The plan is to deck it over to make use of the nearly 180 acres that encompass the space.

And on March 26, 2019 the NYCEDC held their second Public Meeting at PS 166Q Henry Gradstein Elementary School in Astoria. At this meeting the NYCEDC and the committee presented the findings of the first Public Meeting, and then oversaw breakout sessions by topic for anyone interested in contributing input into the direction of the Sunnyside Yard development project.

Sunnyside Yard Development & Community Input: Three Categories

queens things to doThe breakout sessions centered around three primary topics: 1) Urban Design, 2) Transportation and 3) Open Space. I chose to attend the transportation session, as it represents the underlying infrastructure - but I must admit that I would have also liked the opportunity to sit in on the two other sessions, as each has its own set of opportunities and costs.

More coming later today. I also placed a request earlier this morning with the NYCEDC as to the timing of next steps, as the information was not available on their website.


NYS Rent Regulations up for Renewal

NYS Assembly and NYS Senate to Strengthen, Renew or let Expire NYS Rent Regulation Laws

queens things to doMarch 19, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Government & Politics / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Saturday I attended an event discussing the upcoming legislation pending in the NYS government in Albany concerning NYS rent regulations. Currently about 2 million of the 8.5 million people who live in NYC will be affected.

The primary topic of the event was MCI or Major Capital Improvements, which is a loophole in rent regulations that allows landlords to initiate projects within their buildings and then pass along the project costs to their tenants, in such manner as to provide the landlord with an incremental revenue increase that lasts into eternity, and which encourages landlords to get creative in originating projects in an effort to raise the rents of their regulated apartments at an accelerating speed in order to grow the monthly rent beyond the legal limit of regulation.

What happens then, is that a significant number of longstanding tenants in regulated housing, are priced out of their homes and neighborhoods. Some of the displaced tenants even become homeless. This is why homelessness nearly doubled under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who looked the other way as NYS rent regulations were being renewed.

The event was held in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, where hundreds - if not a thousand - people came to particpate in the discussion.

I'll have more on this at a later date.


St Pat's For All Parade History & Evolution - Irish Culture in Queens NYC | st pats for all parade sunnyside queens st patricks day parade queens irish culture in queens nyc
St Pat's For All Parade History & Evolution - Irish Culture in Queens NYC

Who is the St Pat’s 'For All' Parade for, Really?

St Patrick’s Day Parade in Sunnyside Continues Hitting High Notes

March 3, 2019 / Sunnyside Neighborhood NYC / Arts & Culture in Queens NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Sunnyside, as I made my way over to Skillman Avenue to watch the annual St. Pat’s For All parade. The speeches had started at noon, but I didn’t arrive until after 1 pm, so I missed them [bummer].

When I arrived, the parade was out in a full march, and behind the first banner there were about a dozen government officials including NYC Councilman Danny Dromm [Jackson Heights / Elmhurst], Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney [Manhattan / Queens], NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson [Manhattan] who’s likely planning a run for Mayor, NYS Attorney General Letitia James, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [Queens / Bronx], NYS Assemblyman David Weprin [Jamaica Estates / Richmond Hill] and the St. Pat’s For All parade co-founders Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Brendan Fay. A few pols who marched in their own groups, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYS Senator Michael Giannaris.

Jimmy Van Bramer Reportedly Threatened & Crowley Resigns as Queens Democratic Chair

st pats for all parade sunnyside queens photos video st pats for all parade queens sunnyside nycNotably absent [at least I didn’t see either of them] were NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and former Congressman Joe Crowley. I reckon Crowley had his reasons, as just last week he resigned as the Queens County Democratic Party Leader. And I reckon Van Bramer had his reasons as well, as this week he was reportedly threatened by a restaurateur who was upset that the Amazon deal fell through. According to Newsweek, the restaurateur texted a message to Van Bramer that included this, “… you can be at the back of the parade or in front of the firing squad …” We posted a couple of reports on the Amazon deal on the two announcements – we’re coming / we’re not coming, which you can read by clicking these links. Amazon coming to LIC Queens NYC / Amazon not coming to LIC Queens NYC.

Origins & History of the St. Pat's For All Parade in Sunnyside Queens

The St. Pat’s For All parade started because the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade wouldn’t allow gays, like Brendan Fay, to march openly. So he, along with Kathleen Walsh, rounded up a rag tag band of Irish folks, along with their friends and began the St. Pat’s For All parade in the year 2000. The ‘For All’ became the moniker and rallying cry, because as mentioned previously, the LGBTQ folks were banned from marching in the large Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan.



Jumaane Williams Wins Public Advocate Election

Williams Bests 16 Other Candidates to Take Second in Succession to Mayor

jumaane williams photo brooklyn public advocate nycFebruary 26, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Jumaane Williams appears to have won the election for Public Advocate. According to Ballotpedia, with 88% of the precincts reporting, Williams had received 120,000 or 33% of the vote.

The sole Republican, Eric Ulrich, received 70,000 votes or 19%, which was the second highest total of votes. The other Democrats included former NYC Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, who received 40,000 or 11% of the votes, was followed by Michael Blake with 29,000 or 8%, Ydanis Rodriguez with 22,000 or 6%, Dawn Smalls with 15,000 or 4%, Rafael Espinal 12,000 or 3%, Ron Kim 11,000 or 3%, Daniel O'Donnell 11,000 or 3% and the others each had less than 10,000 votes with 88% of the precincts reporting.

Jumaane Williams is shown in the photo at right in June 2018, campaigning on the steps of the New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan, for Lieutenant Governor. Williams lost that election in November, but quickly rebounded, winning the position for NYC Public Advocate in February of 2019.

According to a NY Times report Jumaane has eight months before he's up for election again, as this special election - to replace Tish James because she was elected NYS Attorney General - only lasts until the next regularly scheduled election. Congratulations Jumaane.


Chinese New Year of the Pig in Queens

Year of the Pig Celebrated in Flushing Chinese New Year Parade

queens things to doFebruary 10, 2019 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC. By Michael Wood.

On Saturday I made my way east to Flushing to watch the Chinese New Year Parade. It was a nice sunny day with temperatures in the 30's, and a fair wind blowing, adding to the chill. But that doesn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowds that come to attend and witness one of the world's most ancient cultures on full theatrical display.

The sidewalks in Flushing along Main Street had been widened this past year, enabling a far better flow of pedestrian traffic than in prior years. I headed south toward the Flushing branch of the Queens Library, to find an opening into the street where I could - for the first time - take video of the colorful, musical parade.

I'll post the video later today.


Sunnyside Yard Inches Closer to Development

The Wheels have been in Motion Ever Since Mayor de Blasio First Unveiled his Vision for Sunnyside Yard in 2015

sunnyside yard development long island city queens real estate development astoria sunnyside lic queens nycJanuary 7, 2018 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Long Island City Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Real Estate LIC Astoria Sunnyside / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 - in Bill de Blasio's first State of the City Address in Manhattan - the Mayor unveiled a vague vision for for the development of Sunnyside Yard in Queens. Following Mayor de Blasio's announcement, the city initiated a feasibility plan to investigate the issues associated with developing the space atop what is now the open space of Sunnyside Yard. Sunnyside Yard lies near the eastern side of Long Island City and the western side of the Sunnyside neighborhood.

Prior to the Mayor's announcement, and continuing to this day, western Queens - but most specifically Long Island City - has been under siege by real estate developers. They have bid up the prices on old buildings and empty lots, and following the purchase of them, have then erected tall skyscraper buildings at a rapid, mind-boggling pace. By the early 2020's, NYC real estate developers will have added tens of thousands of residential units to the Long Island City neighborhood alone, in less than a decade and a half.

In the photo at right, Mayor de Blasio talking to members of the press and audience, following his first State of the City Address in 2015 in Manhattan.

A Changing & Evolving Landscape in Queens

sunnyside yard development long island city queens real estate development astoria sunnyside lic queens nycLike all change - there are winners and losers and there are good things and bad things - that come of any change. I've tried to capture a bit of both in my reporting of Long Island City's growth over the past decade or so, but for the purpose of this report, I will leave a discussion of the many issues associated with change, here.

In October of 2018 there was a community meeting at LaGuardia Community College regarding future plans for Sunnyside Yard. Over 300 people came to watch the slide show, view the exhibits, and interact with the NYC Economic Development [EDC] team that is spearheading the effort to include community sentiment and address community issues in any future development of Sunnyside Yard.

This is the beginning of an 18 month long process to engage the community in identifying and managing issues associated with the development of Sunnyside Yard.

In the photo at right are various members of the Queens community who came out to view the exhibits and slide show put together by the NYC EDC regarding the future development of Sunnyside Yard.

WORK IN PROGRESS - more to come later this week.


USPS Service Alert for December 5, 2018

December 4, 2018 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Business / Queens Buzz NYC.

Donald Trump proclaimed Wednesday, December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning for former President George H.W. Bush.  Out of respect for the 41st President of the United States ... and consistent with the Presidential Proclamation, the United States Postal Service will suspend regular mail deliveries, retail services and administrative office activity on December 5, 2018. 

The U.S.Postal Service informs us that they,

"will provide limited package delivery service on that day to ensure that our network remains fluid and we do not experience any impacts to our package delivery operations that might negatively affect our customers or business partners during the remainder of our busy holiday season."


World Maker Faire at the NY Hall of Science

Ye Old World Maker Faire was Everything but … old

September 24, 2018 / Corona & Flushing Neighborhoods in Queens / Queens Things To Do / Queens Buzz NYC.

world maker faire ny hall of science queens flushing nycThe 7th annual World Maker Faire was held last weekend at the NY Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. I had been meaning to attend the festival since it had first opened years ago, but never quite squared away the time. Thankfully, that was not the case this year.

The World Maker Faire is billed as a fair of, “invention, creativity, and curiosity [that] showcases … more than 600 projects … focused on making for social good, health, technology, electronics, 3D printing & fabrication, food, robotics, art …”.

The faire really surprised me on the upside. While I had heard of it for years now, I had the impression that it was a bit of a nerd fest. And while there’s certainly some of that embedded in the program, it goes way beyond that. It was like attending an old time county fair, but instead of seeing rides, rodeo contests and animal exhibits, we saw robotics contests, robotics exhibits and feats of mechanical / AI prowess. A bit nerdy, perhaps, but as you will see from the video below – far, far more than that.

One of the first exhibits to catch my attention was a good old-fashioned cock fight – where the roosters were replaced with robots. It seemed kind of an adolescent use of all those majestic brainwaves, but I have to admit that I, along with the rest of a large crowd, found it pretty entertaining.


The Flushing BID Hosts Shopping Market

Flushing Hosts Open Air Market with Food & Shopping

September 18, 2018 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Restaurants / Queens Shopping / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens things to doLast Saturday was a great day to be out and about. The temperatures had finally cooled down a bit and the humidity had subsided. The Business Improvement Districts of Jackson Heights and Flushing were prepared to take full advantage of the changing seasons with event programming designed to draw crowds into their shopping and dining districts.

I arrived at the Flushing BID fair on a two block stretch that included Prince Street and 40th Road off of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Like many things in Flushing Queens Chinatown, it was crowded with all sorts of people – from the very old to the very young.

The very young were enjoying themselves inside inflated romp a rooms, while the adults were busy shopping or grabbing a quick bite to eat. I made my way up Prince Street past many of the shopping stalls and then headed east along 40th Street to take a closer look at many of the offerings.

Behind all the activity are a few of the restaurants serving the Chinese food for which Flushing is well known, but on today’s outing, I forewent that pleasure in favor of the open air.

Perhaps what caught my eye most on this trip was the variety of shopping options, more than the food. I had expected the event to be more food oriented, as other events done by the Flushing BID were. But today it was the shoppers who appeared to have won out, as there was a myriad of offerings, from pots and pans, to fishing gear, to cosmetics, clothing, various foods and all sorts of unique Chinese and Asian objects.

It was a little like traveling through a real Chinese market, complete with sounds and smells, that was only a subway ride away.


Viva La Comida in Jackson Heights

Food & Entertainment Festival at 82nd Street & Roosevelt Ave

September 18, 2018 / Jackson Heights Neighborhood / Queens Restaurants / Queens Shopping / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens things to doMy next stop was the Viva La Comida Festival at Dunningham Triangle at 82nd Street in Jackson Heights. This event had originated as a food truck event about a half dozen years ago, and has continually been morphing into something more.

Each year the configuration changes and this year they had sprinkled picnic tables throughout the venue to enable folks to sit and enjoy the food fare after purchasing it. In prior years the picnic tables were not as plentiful and as I recall many standing in the same area.

The benefit was a more accommodating eating venue, as well as a more integrated social one. There was a cost, and that was that that the foot traffic didn’t move as quickly as the picnic table occupied some of the space. All tolled it seemed a good trade.

As I made my further in, there was music coming from a stage near the Triangle. I had arrived about 5 pm and the Salsa Marsala was entertaining one of the biggest crowds I had seen at this event. Again part of this was owing to a better configured use of the space. And over the years the event has also become a showcase for Jackson Heights performance talent.

While listening to the Salsa Marsala I met a man from the Queens Council for the Arts. He told me how the QCA organization had helped the band with a grant, as well as in providing the group with some of their arts and cultural organization expertise. The band is about to release a new album this fall called Jackson Heights Block Party.

As mentioned above, Viva La Comida has evolving and includes a number of cultural offerings. There was a booth there run by the Queens World Film Festival, with founders Katha and Don Cato on hand to talk about all of the programs that their organization has undertaken.

Also, not far from the stage, there were a couple of booths associated with the John Lennon Bus Tour. Last year they did an event in Travers Park, and this year they were doing it in conjunction with the Viva La Comida festival. The John Lennon Bus Tour brings along buses that have a lot of equipment that their staff introduces to kids interested in pursuing an arts or cultural occupation.

As I made my way back to the subway I was disappointed I couldn’t stay longer. Perhaps next year.


Farmers Mkts, Street Fairs & Member Events Calendar

* Click here for reports about Queens farmers markets, Queens street fairs, shopping venues in Queens and / or click to Queens Events Member Calendar to view a number of additional weekend events.

* Also see Friday & Weekend Events above and click here for free summer concerts in Queens, free summer movies in Queens and free things to do and free summer theater in Queens & things to do.

BOOK REVIEW NEXT WEEK: Under the Mets Grandstands by Seymour Butz.


Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show

JJMS Runway Hits ... Delight the Audience Again

June 19, 2018 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Fashion in Queens / Queens Buzz NYC.

I attended the Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show last Friday at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens. The show highlights some of the great shopping opportunities in downtown Jamaica as it is organized and hosted by the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District [BID].

In the lobby there was food and shopping opportunities, and in the auditorium there was a show not to be missed, featuring the clothing and designs offerred by about a dozen downtown Jamaica retailers which are listed at the end of the video below, along with the Jamaica Center sponsors.

There wasn't any multi-media going on in the background as in previous years, which at first I thought might be a liability. But I found instead, that I soon lost myself in an undistracted focus on the models and the clothing coming down the runway.

There were also about a dozen and a half models, about two thirds of which were female, and all of whom did a great job of keeping our attention on their sculpted forms, theatrical poses and dancer flair. Click the video below to feast your eyes on fashion, form and function and a bit of show biz, provided by rapper Roxanne Chante. A photo of entertainer Destiny Johnson is also included at the end of the video.

Break a leg.


Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show Preview

June 12, 2018 / Jamaica Neighborhood / Queens Fashion NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

I traveled down to Jamaica town on Tuesday afternoon to see a short preview of the upcoming Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show. The show is organized by the Jamaica Center BID and Executive Director Whitney Barrat was on hand to talk about the upcoming show. The gracious Barrat talked about the vibrancy of the downtown Jamaica business district, the excitement of the upcoming show, and commended Jamaica Center BID Associate Valerie Stevens for her efforts in organizing the event. The designs by Michele Walden Mcphee were alluring, complementing the models' shapely figures in an artistic display of finely chosen fabric.

The show begins at 6 pm Friday at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on Jamaica Avenue at 153rd Street. There will be food, music and plenty of fashion not just on the stage but in the crowd as well. It's free but you must rsvp at the Jamaica Center BID website - using the link below.

CLICK - Jamaica Just My Style Fashion Show Friday, June 15 at 6 pm to rsvp for a free ticket.


Small Business Week in Queens

NYC Small Business Services Commissioner in Sunnyside

May 1, 2018 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Queens Business / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

queens small business week queens small businessTuesday afternoon, the NYC Small Business Services Commissioner, Gregg Bishop, visited the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District [BID]. It was the SBS Commissioner's first visit in five years.

NYC City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Sunnyside Shines Board Chairman John Vogt and Executive Director Jaime-Faye Bean were on hand to meet the Commissioner. Jaime welcomed Gregg to Sunnyside, noting the progress that has been made by the Sunnyside BID over the past year [see Sunnyside Shines BID story for details].

Jimmy Van Bramer spoke next, quipping that it's always sunny in Sunnyside, as the sun was out today and the temperatures hit 80 degrees. Jimmy went on to note that he's allocated taxpayer dollars to support the BID in its efforts to promote and aid small businesses in the area. He also mentioned that some improvements were coming to the iconic Sunnyside marquee that stands at 46th Street and Queens Blvd.

Gregg closed out the public comments, applauding the efforts by the BID organization and the councilmember in helping maintain a robust small business sector in Sunnyside in spite of macro trends weighing in against small business. He told us that there are 230,000 small businesses in New York City and that they employ 3.7 million people which using the last census figures constitutes 45% of all New Yorkers' employment.

The Sunnyside BID organizers then hosted the Commissioner on a whistlestop tour of a few of the nearby businesses so that he could hear more about the issues they are facing and learn more about how NYC Small Business Services can help.

In the photo above in the front row, NYC City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is third from left, Sunnyside Shines Executive Director jamie Faye-Bean is fourth from left, NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop is fifth from left. Sunnyside Shines Board Chairman John Vogt is in the second row standing between Gregg and Jaime.


5 Boro Bike Ride Returns Sunday

Bike New York Organizes NYC Bike Ride & Bike Expo New York

5 boro bike ride nyc new york bike expo nycApril 30, 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Bronx Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Brooklyn Neighborhoods / Staten Island Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

This story includes information about the upcoming 5 Boro Bike Ride on Sunday, as well as the Bike Expo New York which precedes it on Friday & Saturday in Red Hook. As of this report, the temperatures are expected to be in the 60's and the chances of rain appear slim. But bear in mind that the forecast probability of 20% chance of rain last Friday, turned into rain on Saturday evening, so check the weather as we get closer in.

 

Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Ride Route

Since 1977, every first Sunday of May, Bike New York has organized and promoted the 5 Boro Bike Ride. The ride begins in lower Manhattan, sweeps northward across the Harlem River Bridge to the Bronx, circles back across the Third Avenue Bridge to Manhattan, where it begins its southward trek crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Queens, heading south to Brooklyn after a quick stop north to Astoria Park, and then comes down past the Brooklyn Navy Yards, continuing southward along the west side of 5 boro bike ride nyc new york bike expo nycBrooklyn, to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge where it crosses over to the Fort Wadsworth neighborhood in Staten Island before terminating in the St. George neighborhood at the Staten Island Ferry.

 

Proceeds from Non-Profit New York Bike Ride go Toward Sustainable Transportation Efforts

The now famous bike ride was capped at 32,000 riders I believe sometime in the 1990’s, where it still stands today. One report noted that the 5 Boro Bike ride is one of – if not the largest - non-profit bike rides in the nation. The proceeds go to Bike New York programs which are designed to teach people about sustainable transportation, most notably bicycle riding and bike maintenance and safety. Another report noted that the NYPD had considered [don’t know the outcome] charging the organization $1 million for erecting, maintaining and terminating road closures during the New York 40 mile family-friendly bike ride.

 

Bike New York Bicyclist Outreach in all Five NYC Boroughs

Bike New York has offices in all five NYC boroughs. In 2015 their cyclist safety and bike maintenance programs reached 15,000 New Yorkers. And they are the organizers of the Bike Expo New York being held at Pier 12 in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday [see details in rest of this story].


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Indie Cade 2018 at Museum of the Moving Image NYC | indie cade 2018 museum of moving image astoria queens nyc indie cade video arcade video game makers video event nyc queens museum of the moving image momi astoria
Indie Cade 2018 at Museum of the Moving Image NYC

Museum of the Moving Image: Indie Cade 2018

MoMI Hosts Community of Evolving Video Art Gamers

February 26, 2018 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film & Video in Queens / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz NYC.

A week ago I attended the Indie Cade East gathering at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. I had been to previous Indie Cade events at the Museum of the Moving Image, and each time I go I try to find something new and different.

It was a relatively balmy February day as I made my way to the Museum of the Moving Image along 35th Avenue at 36th Street. There were people milling about outside, discussing video games, as I entered the museum.

Memories of Astoria Video Mural

Along the left side of the entrance lobby, there was a video mural running along the wall, made by a Brooklyn artist, Ezra Wube, which showed painted scenes of the Astoria neighborhood. And directly in front of me, people were engaged in video games and hanging out on the benches adjacent to the snack bar. After checking in, I headed into the main theater to see what was playing as it was only a couple hours before closing time on Sunday afternoon.

There were people watching and discussing a black and white video, which was a combination of modern video art and representations of nature. The video continually morphing into and out of the real / surreal depictions, accompanied by rhythmic acoustical music, providing a mind bending experience if you gave it time and let it in. Given my time constraints, I decided to continue into the rest of the Indie Cade event, as delving more deeply into this work would likely consume the rest of my visit.

Museum of the Moving Image – Indie Cade East Exhibits

On the second level there was an interactive video that worked a bit like a game show. The player would be prompted by pick up lines / questions that the video game maker had collected, and then prompted for a multiple-choice response. Generally one of the questions was quite rude, and if you chose that one, the game ended more quickly. I suppose a bit like in real life : ) as some of the pick up men in the game would flee – which as one woman told me – isn’t exactly like what happens in real life.

Within that exhibit space there was a video explaining how the game was made. I’m not sure if this is a part of the exhibit entitled Indie Cade Presents: A Decade of Design, so I’m not sure if it will remain at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of that exhibit which is scheduled to run through June 17th, 2018.



Click here for things to do on the Upper East Side UES, or things to do in Midtown Manhattan NYC, or things to do in the East Village and here for Whitestone hair salons.

 


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Chinese New Year Parade - Flushing Queens NYC | chinese new year parade 2018 flushing chinese new year parade 2018 queens chinese & korean culture new year parade & celebrations nyc queens 2018
Chinese New Year Parade - Flushing Queens NYC

Queens Chinese New Year Parade & Celebrations in Flushing

The Year 4716, or the Year of the Dog, has Begun

February 19, 2018 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Holidays / Flushing Chinese New Year Parade & Celebrations / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Saturday I made my way east to Flushing to watch the Chinese New Year parade in Flushing. The Flushing neighborhood of Queens rivals the Chinatown neighborhood in Manhattan for the leading center of Chinese culture in New York City and along the East Coast of the United States.

The photo at right shows a few of the 'dogs' celebrating the year of the dog in the Flushing Chinese New Year Parade.

 

Flushing Chinese New Year Parade 2018

The parade kicked off at 11 am just east of the Queens Crossing Mall at Main Street and 39th Avenue. They headed south along Union Street, west along Sanford Street, before heading north along Main Street terminating just after passing the Queens Crossing Mall.

Literally thousands participate in the parade itself and likely north of 10,000 spectators come out to watch the grand cultural celebration. Participants march in groups, dressed in traditional costumes, harking back to ancient times. And there were also many floats, which were generally associated with local businesses and organizations.

The Flushing Chinese New Year parade is an evolving cultural event as Korean and Japanese marchers and floats also participate in the parade. And in the last few years I’ve noticed westerners marching dressed in traditional costumes, possibly as cross cultural / Americanized couples and friends join in the fun.



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Queens Romantic Restaurants for Valentines Day - Queens NYC | valentines dinners in queens valentines day in Queens romantic restaurants in queens astoria lic long island city jamaica sunnyside jackson heights flushing corona romantic dinners romantic restaurants in queens
Queens Romantic Restaurants for Valentines Day - Queens NYC

Valentine's Day Restaurants & Events in Queens

Romantic Restaurants For Dinner in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

February 4, 2020 / Queens Restaurants / Queens Neighborhoods NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

Valentine's Day is a week away. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and dinner are always welcome treats, and / or some thoughtful gesture that shows that the lady [or man] you're with still means a lot to you.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice at a romantic Queens restaurant on Valentine's Day, and sometimes it's difficult to make them for the weekend of Valentine's Day. So if you're thinking about doing something this Valentine's Day for dinner in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.

Valentine's Day Brief History - Queens Romantic V Day Restaurants

The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It's believed to have been named after Saint Valentine who was apparently a Catholic martyr who died over 1500 years ago. Today the holiday is not associated with religion so much as flowers, candies, cards and romantic dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and quite a mischief maker.

The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Click this link to view a brief guide of Valentine's Day restaurants in Queens / V Day events & romantic restaurants Queens NYC where you will find links to Queens restaurants we've reviewed. Enjoy.



Queens St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants & Irish pubs In Queens NYC | queens st patricks day bars restaurants queens st pat's da irish pubs restaurants queens st pats day bars restaurants irish pubs astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights st patrick's day restaurants queens nyc
Queens St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants & Irish pubs In Queens NYC

St Patrick's Day Bars, Restaurants, Irish Pubs in Queens

St Pat's Day Irish Pubs & Restaurants in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights & Flushing

February 25, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants & Bars / St Pat's Parade Queens NYC / Queens Buzz NYC.

Here's a listing of some of the fun Irish pubs open on St. Patrick's Day in Queens.

There are a lot of celebrations planned for St Pat's Day in Queens. There are a at least three St Patrick's Day Parades in Queens, but they are generally held on the weekends before or after the actual St. Patrick's Day feast on March 17th.

The photo to your right was taken on St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2019 at Donovan's Pub in Woodside.

This report contains a number of brief suggestions for St. Patrick's Day bars, restaurants and Irish pubs in Queens, including in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside [near Jackson Heights], Bayside [near Flushing], the Rockaways [near Jamaica] and in Maspeth / Ridgewood which are near Kew Gardens and Forest Hills. At the end of the report we've included links to St. Patrick's Day celebrations in other boroughs.

Please drink responsibly and let someone else drive if you're impaired. St. Patrick's Day is a bit like New Years Eve, in that the amateur consumers of alcohol of all ethnicities come out to celebrate, and if they are not properly managed / or cared for, accidents may occur, and some of them with life changing consequences.



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Astoria Furniture Stores Have It All - Queens

desk chair furniture stores shops shopping astoria queens nyAstoria Shops / Astoria / Queens Buzz NYC.

The furniture stores located on the southern end of Steinway Street in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens seem to have something to offer to just about everyone. This part of Steinway is a furniture shopper's mecca, offering plenty of choices from classical colonial, to urban apartment living to bedding to suit nearly every spine.

I took a quick trip there, which is easily accessible via the N, W, G, R or V subway lines and within a sturdy walking distance from Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside. Just up the street from Steinway is Broadway and two blocks further north is 30th Avenue, where you'll find a number of great Queens restaurants where after a good morning or afternoon of shopping, you can kick back in an enjoyable ambiance - or in the good weather along one of the sidewalk tables - ane enjoy a bit of coffee and some delicious food. Click here to learn more about the furniture stores in Astoria Queens.


Click for free checking in Queens or to buy eyeglasses Astoria, for Astoria hair salons, for Astoria wine stores, for Jackson Heights immigration lawyers, for Midtown dentists & Midtown Chiropractors, and for things to do in Queens. Eyeglasses in Jamaica NYC and bike stores Queens.


esquire mens clothing store astoria ny queens Mens Clothing Styles - Queens

Shopping Queens / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Buzz NYC.

Esquire Men's Clothing Store continues to serve the greater Astoria and Queens area, as it has for over thirty years. The shop is owned and managed by Frank and Kevin Adhami, and their father, who is in his eighties, still visits the store on an almost weekly basis.

Esquire is located along Steinway Street between 30th and 31st streets. The store contains a wide selection of men's coats, suits, casual wear, shoes and men's accessories like belts and ties.

This story will provide some information about the store itself as well as fashion recommendations for the Spring and for job hunters.

Click this link to view a story written on Men's Clothing In Astoria Queens NY. Click here for men's clothing stores in NYC, and here to buy Stone Rose shirts in NYC, and here to buy Alberto pants in NYC, and here to buy Eton shirts and here to buy Hugo Boss sneakers in NYC. Click here for Astoria / LIC Queens tile stores serving Brooklyn, Greenpoint & Williamsburg or here for abayas in Queens & Brooklyn NYC and for hijabs in Queens & Brooklyn NYC.


Queens Farmers Markets

street fairs queensMarch 25, 2019 / Astoria Sunnyside Woodside Jackson Heights Long Island City LIC Flushing Jamaica / Queens Buzz NYC.

Jackson Heights was the first year 'round farmers market in Queens, Forest Hills was the second year 'round farmers market, and Sunnyside was the third year 'round farmers market in Queens. So now Queens has three farmers markets operating year 'round and nearly a dozen seasonal farmers markets.

Click the link below to see a listing of the Queens Farmers Markets operating during the 2019 season including links to maps. Click the other link below for an updated list of Queens Street Fairs schedule of 2019 through the first couple of months of the 2019 season, including dates and maps showing their locations. We will continue updating and adding to the street fair calendar throughout the season.

Click here for our updated posting of Queens Street Fairs - Queens NY. Click here for a listing of the Queens Farmers Markets. You will always find both street fairs and farmers markets for the current month in the Queens Events section of the site [see top tool bar for button / link]. Click here to view the map of the Jamaica farmers market. Click here for Bronx street fairs.


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Queens Real Estate

Real Estate in Astoria, Jackson Heights, Long Island City LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Flushing, Jamaica

queens real estateQueens NY / 2017. These links will take you into sections & reports on the Queens real estate market in Queens beginning in 2009.

These reports include reviews of apartment rental prices, as well as condo, co-op and home prices and availability in the Queens market.

We have also done neighborhood specific reports about Astoria real estate, LIC / Long Island City real estate, Jackson Heights real estate, Woodside & Sunnyside real estate, Flushing Real Estate and Jamaica Real Estate. Click here to view Long Island City apartments for rent LIC.

While we found these neighborhoods mirrored / trailed many of the national trends, we found some interesting differences, including differences from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Click here to read the Queens Real Estate market analysis 2009. Click here for Jackson Heights realtors and Jackson Heights real estate.


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