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Census: It's Time for NYC & NYS to Step Up

Current Census Participation Rate is 53% & 56% for NYC & NYS Respectively - Will New Yorkers Give Up $347 Billion for Ten Minutes Time?

isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nycAugust 10, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

In the midst of all the chaos, the census must go on. The census deadline was pushed back to October 31st, before it was pulled forward to September 30th.

That leaves New York City and New York State only 51 days to complete the census.

What's at stake? Mostly money and representation in government, as federal program funding is allocated to the states based on the census - and this lasts ten years. So we're talking a possible loss of billions in funding annually for the city and state if we collectively don't step up and fill out the census.

The census is designed to count every person LIVING in the city and state - NOT JUST CITIZENS.

By law this information cannot be shared, on an individual basis, with any other government agency for over 70 years. The aggregate information is shared so that decisions, like allocating funding, can be made using the best information available.

I'll have plenty more detail later today, including statistics that indicate that $1.3 trillion in federal funding is allocated annually based on the census data. That's likely over $13 trillion in the course of the next ten years. There are 330 million people in the U.S. so that translates to $40,000 per person over the next ten years. The share of this money that NYS should receive is $788 billion if everyone filled out the census [assumes a population of 20 million for NYS]. At the current census participation rate New Yorkers are giving up $347 BILLION in federal funding.

Please click here to fill out the census now. It literally takes less than ten minutes.



Weekend Wondering NYC

NYS Eviction Moratorium Extension, is Unemployment Rate 10% or 20% & Other News

isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nycAugust 7, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Rent Moratorium Extension

Well this is good news for far more people than for who it will be bad news. Governor Cuomo has extended the eviction moratorium in NYS for another month [technically until September 4, 2020], and possibly longer, as he seeks to give those who are rent challenged in the midst of this pandemic, an opportunity to turn things around or find other housing.

Mayor de Blasio had simultaneously stepped in to help those facing eviction, telling New Yorkers to call 311 for help from an attorney funded by NYC. There are reportedly 14,000 NYC evictions pending with the City Marshall.

Nationally, the Republicans can't seem to agree on a follow on the terms of the next stimulus bill, which would include extending the eviction moratorium nationally. So it seems - like the handling of the Corona Virus itself - the Governors of each state will have to make their own rent moratorium decisions.

 

Many NYC Restaurateurs are also Rent Challenged

isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nycAn August 3, 2020 report in Eater New York informs us that the NYC Hospitality Alliance did a survey of 471 bars / restaurants and found that 83% weren't able to make the full rent, and that included a whopping 37% weren't able to pay any rent. The silver lining in the report was that for 30% of them, their landlords didn't require full rent, and in many cases giving them a temporary 50% off price. The curbside / street dining program implemented by the Mayor seems to be helping, as I see a fair amount of business being done daily, in spite of the weather.

 

Total Unemployed and the Unemployment Rates

In another Trump first, GDP broke all historic records in the second quarter, sinking 9.5% [at an annual rate of 33%], beating George W. Bush's record in the fourth quarter of 2008, during the financial meltdown.

Jobless claims continued to come in at over a million plus this week [1.18 million], continuing to set records for the longest string of million plus unemploymenbt claims since the end of March / beginning of April of this year, when the pandemic began impacting the economy. The silver lining in this news is that it is the lowest number of new unemployment claims, since mid March.

isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nycOn June 15th I pointed to the discrepancy between the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics [around 12% - 13%] and the headlines / news reports of some 30 million plus unemployment claims, which would put the unemployment rate at closer to 19%. An August 6, 2020 report by CNBC did the best job of clearing up why there's such a huge discrepancy between the reported unemployment claims of 32 million which translates into an unemployment rate of 20%, and the lower figure that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been reporting of about 10 - 12%. The CNBC report stated the following,

"... The four-week moving average, which smooths volatility in the numbers, fell by 413,250 to 16.6 million. But the damage to the labor remains deep and this was the 20th consecutive week that claims have run above 1 million. The total of those claiming benefits, which lags the current data by two weeks, rose to 32.1 million as of July 18, an increase of 1.3 million from the previous week... "

The ADP payroll report was up 167,000 jobs in July, way below the 4.3 million gains made in June.

 

Economic Look Ahead - July Consumer Sentiment & Debt Down

isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nycThe University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment gauge fell back to 73, down 6 points versus June and tied with May for a six year low. The resurgence of the Corona Virus in the southern and western states likely led to the lower expectations.

 

Given all of the layoffs planned in the Fall, following the expiration of the $3 trillion in stimulus spending, my optimism is very restrained. The hospitality, retail, restaurants and travel businesses have all been hit really hard and most don't expect a return to what was once normal for at least a year or better. And Trump and the Republicans are still wrangling over yet another stimulus bill, after already spending $3 trillion this spring.

Consumer credit card debt was down a bit, as people paid down cards and didn't use them as much.

 

Isaias NYC Power Outages Update

Con Ed Power is still out for about 116,000 customers as of Thursday night - of which none were in Manhattan, over 10,000 apiece in both Queens and on Staten Island, a significantly lesser amount in both Bronx and Brooklyn [low thousands apiece], and the bulk of the ongoing outages being located in Westchester County.isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nyc

MTA Reduced Service Weekdays and Weekends August 10 - 28

Subway service on the 4/5/6 lines will provide reduced service for Manhattan and Brooklyn beginning next Monday, August 10, 2020 thru Friday, August 28th. The MTA is updating the switches at the 14th and Union Square Station, so they will run far fewer trains and less often. Service from Brooklyn through Grand Central will be affected. See www.mta.info for details. I hear that the weekday work begins at 9.30 pm, so plan accordingly.

NYC Public Schools Plans for Reopening

The plan for NYC is going to be a blended program with a mix of staggered classroom schedules to effect social distancing, class 'bubbles' meaning groups will be contained to minimize CoVid spread should there be an outbreak and coupled with online learning to augment classroom instruction. Cleaning protocols will also be in place. We'll post more as we learn more, but so far it seems an intelligent plan / approach given the situation. Teachers and children who live in households with people with underlying health conditions are going to have to think long and hard about safety / possibly sitting this year out?

Most parents want their kids to return to school (a survery showed over 70%), while anecdotally teachers tell me they are concerned about their safety - especially with respect to CoVid protocol compliance by special ed / younger children.

There will be Two 911 Memorial Services - Online & In Person

There will be two 911 celebrations - one live at the nearby firehouse and the other via the web. Both start just after 8.40 am.

Hang in there. I suspect it will get a bit worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Have a nice weekend.


Isaias Rips thru NYC Leaving 210,000 Powerless

About Half of Outages have Already been Restored

isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nycAugust 4, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

The Tropical Storm Isaias ripped through the five boroughs of NYC with winds ranging from 40 mph in Manhattan and Brooklyn to high winds topping 70 mph in Jackson Heights in Queens and topping 60 mph on Staten Island according to a National Weather Service report posted today.

Bronx wasn't mentioned in the report, but winds topped 60 mph in nearby Westchester, so that's likely a good benchmark.

The visit by Tropical Storm Isaias to NYC was a fairly quick and brief one, arriving enmasse around 11 am and well on its way out of here by 4 pm. Perhaps Isaias had heard prior to its visit, that there's a pandemic raging in the U.S., and thus decided to cut its stay short? There was concern prior to the arrival of Isaias that heavy rain would accompany the storm, and flooding would ensue. But as of this report there appears to have been relatively light rainfall for a tropical storm and little real flooding in the NYC area.

 

Mayor de Blasio said that the Tropical Storm Isaias was primarly about high winds. The winds appear to have wreaked havoc with Con Edison's isaias storm nyc damage from isaias storm in nycpower network, as at its peark 210,000 were without power in the five boroughs of NYC. Around the time of this writing about 130,000 people were still without power. Manhattan was relatively unscathed, while nearly 100,000 residents in Staten Island and Queens were left without power, and about half that in Bronx and Brooklyn.

Because this storm was not accompanied by a lot of water I'm going to take an educated guess that power will be restored in less time than usual, following a big storm like this, even though Con Edison informs us that this is the second highest number of people left without power in NYC in its history.

The NYC Parks Department lost no time in rolling out its clean up of the fallen trees, as within hours many of the fallen branches and trees had been identified and cut through to enable the smooth flow of traffic and pedestrians, awaiting pick up sometime later this week.

I found little difficulty in finding a number of fallen trees, and so included a couple photos of them which accompany this report.


Joe Biden & Michelle Obama?

Appointing a Woman or Minority to the Democratic Ticket Adds Risk, but so does Not Adding One

July 30, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

No woman was ever on a ticket that won the presidency.  Hillary Clinton came close, but failed to win the electoral vote.  No ticket with a woman on it ever won, even when the woman was a vice presidential candidate. Geraldine Ferraro and Walter Mondale can attest to that.  And the only minority candidate ever elected into the presidential suite was Barack Obama. 

So running with a woman or a non-white on the ticket greatly increases the risk of the ticket as we approach one of the most important elections of our lifetimes.

But the converse is also true.  Both women and minorities are large, key constituencies of the Democratic party.  So both of these gender and ethnic groups need to be energized to get out and vote, particularly in a politicized pandemic atmosphere.  So running without a woman and without a minority also increases the risk of the Biden / Democratic ticket.

So what to do?

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020Run with someone who is both a woman and an ethnic minority.  A number of women who can check both of those boxes have been mentioned, but some have never campaigned for public office, some have never held very high offices, and the few who have been elected and held high office, come with some baggage that inevitably accompanies holding those offices.  And none have undergone the intense scrutiny to which anyone who runs for the executive branch of government is subjected.

That is - save one person - who’s generally not been mentioned as a potential Vice Presidential contender.

Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama eliminates the risk of adding both a woman and a minority to the ticket, while having the potential to energize both of these constituencies.

She adds no risk as a minority because she was the First Lady during the Obama Administration, and based on the 2018 and 2019 Gallup polls, a majority of the American people like and trust her. 

She is one of the most educated First Ladies, as like Hillary Clinton and her husband Barack, Michelle Obama has a law degree [from Harvard University].

She adds no baggage to the ticket as she would be defending the same record Biden is – that of the Obama Administration.

Michelle Obama has been named the ‘most admired woman’ in the world, for last two years running, in the Gallup poll.

She has personality, class - and like Biden - she’s very likeable and a uniter.

Biden could trust her, and god forbid, should a President Biden pass away during his presidency, she would be qualified to carry on his work.

Michelle Obama would be an exciting, energizing, Solomon-like choice for the Vice Presidential position on the Democratic party ticket.

As for Michelle and the Obama family, this is a request to them to return to public service, as it seems the nation needs them now. Michelle is uniquely qualified to ascend into this position at this time and in this place.

Michelle and her family wouldn’t have to hang in there very long [four years], as the primary objective of this nomination would be to create a winning ticket to displace Donald Trump who seems a threat to the American democratic republic itself. I see both Michelle Obama and Joe Biden as reluctant candidates, as they both seem to realize that there's more to life than money and power, which is very much unlike the Donald.

Based upon my understanding of American history, no other president has ever brought upon the American people the combination of misery, debt and divisiveness in such a short period of time, as has the Donald. 

And the Donald appears to have no respect for rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. So as the bicycling protesters in the video say, “Hey, hey, ho, ho Donald Trump has got to go.”



The Evolution of an Interesting Year

Interesting Doesn't Connote Good or Bad, but Rather One About which the Grandkids will Inquire

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020July 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

The CoVid pandemic for most of us began just over four months ago in mid March. In the early stages the Governor and Mayor seemed a bit alarmist, but as events unfolded, they began to appear wise.

New York City is one of the world's great cities and thus one of the great global gathering places. So it's not surprising that NYC was one of the first American cities hit, and because of the city population density, we were hit hard.

The photo at right shows a few guys relaxing at the end of the day in Greenpoint Brooklyn.

But here we are four months out and - knock on wood - we seem to be operating at one of the higher functional levels, vis a vis other states and other nations. But as both the Mayor and Governor caution us - the pandemic is still alive and well and still being transmitted - and not likely to depart anytime soon. It will remain a threat for some time, for the same reasons it first arrived here, which is that we are a national and global destination / gathering place. And so we must continue to manage the viral threat by continuing to take the same precautionary steps we did to flatten the curve and beat the virus back.

George Floyd Protests, the Police, CoVid & the Economy

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020The year was further discombobulated by the death of George Floyd in the hands of the Minneapolis Police.  The video of what could be a murder, went viral and caused a national outrage at the use of excessive force in a situation that didn’t appear to necessitate it.  A single incident of this nature likely wouldn’t have caused a national outrage on its own. But because Floyd's untimely death seems to reflect a pattern of use of excessive force by individual policemen [repeated many times over the past couple of decades, in multiple locales, and captured and disseminated on video] that the death of George Floyd was the spark that ignited what seems to be national outrage at this sort of abuse of power by individual members of police forces around the nation.

The good news is that the demonstrations were generally peaceful, in recognition that it’s not the police departments per se, but rather bad actors within the police departments around the nation - who time and again seem to be protected by the police unions. Many of the policemen involved in these sorts of incidents, are reported to have histories of repeated failures to perform their fiduciary responsibilities in a proper manner, and yet are kept on the police force. This makes it possible for these bad actors to become repeat offenders.

The photo at right was taken of the protesters encamped outside of City Hall earlier this month, not long before the Mayor moved them out.

So I keep asking myself where are we now?

We’re in the midst of a raging pandemic, with social unrest vis a vis law enforcement, and then the Donald seems to exacerbate the situation by deploying the Department of Homeland Security to Portland, Oregon in what seems an effort to provoke protesters, not de-escalate the situation. The Donald has been accused of trying to inflame the situation in an effort to land bigger headlines and create the perception – with the help of mass media manipulator Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, Wall St Journal and NY Post – that the world is on fire and America needs an authoritarian strong man who will use decisive force to quell the masses.

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020Trump has also been accused of attempting to use the DHS deployment to Portland as a distraction from the Administration’s failed response to the pandemic, his failure to respond to reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has paid bounties for the heads of U.S. G.I's in Afghanistan and a rallying cry to get the Donald (aka Rupert Murdoch’s choice) re-elected in November - in spite of what can only be described as the Administration's horrific record of dysfunctionality over the past four years.

The photo at right is a mural on the Richard Rodgers Theater near Times Square in Midtown Manhattan.

What Trump Administration dysfunctionality am I talking about?  In addition to the colossal failed response to the CoVid pandemic, there's a near record of unemployment which the BLS appears to be consistently understating (the BLS says 12% unemployment, but that doesn’t jibe with the fact that some 30 million are collecting unemployment insurance out of a labor force of 160 million aka 19% unemployment), America’s worst deficit ever by a country mile [in the month of June alone Trump racked up an $864 BILLION federal deficit], failure to effect any meaningful healthcare reform, stagnating or worsening reading and math scores by America's students, the alienation of our closest trading and military allies, and the list could go on.  Those are the failures of the Trump Administration and unfortunately for both Trump and America there’s little to offset their failures with any meaningful accomplishments.

But despite these enormous failures at the federal level, life does go on. Thanks in part to the leadership of local government officials.

Re-Openings in NYC in Phase IV aren’t Complete, but Evolving

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020NYS Phase IV re-openings began last week and continue.  This phase included the zoos which re-opened, albeit not completely [indoor exhibits off limits] but enough for a satisfactory visit.  The Botanical Gardens are in various stages of reopening.  The Aquarium hasn’t yet opened, but they’re still working on it. NYC film production also resumed. This industry employs a fair number of people.

Small outside arts and cultural events are also allowed, but with social distancing, masks and possibly other CoVid prevention protocols in place.

The photo at right shows some entrepreneurial food selling in Corona Queens.

Gyms, malls, museums and movie theaters have not yet received the greenlight to reopen.  The Metropolitan Museum had planned to reopen at the end of August, but that's not a timeframe set in stone as they’re still trying to figure out how to make that work safely. Theres concern that some of the airconditioning / ventillation systems may spread the disease indoors, so they're looking at the filtration component of these systems to determine whether that's true, and if it's true, how to remedy it.

A limited number of swimming pools opened last weekend in each borough.  They include the Wagner pool, Liberty pool, Kociuzsko pool, Sunset pool, Mullaly pool, Fisher pool, Tottenville and Lyons pool on Staten Island are set to open Saturday, August 1st. Astoria pool in Queens is also set to reopen on August 1st.  A number of safety protocols are in place so visit the NYC Parks website for details before going.  And be aware because of social distancing, capacity will be limited compared to prior years.

The Empire State Building Deck reopened. This is a great tourist attraction, but not a bad option for locals either, especially given the lines are likely to be far shorter.

Courts Remain Mostly Closed, as Public Cries for their Reopening

The NYS Civil Courts continue to remain mostly closed.  This is one of the reasons cited as contributing to the gun violence problem in NYC as after the NYPD apprehends an alleged criminal, they are set free oftentimes without bail due to recent legislative changes made in the criminal justice system. Hence the processing of the alleged criminals is put on hold, pending the full reopening of the courts. The recent social unrest and some of the changes made to law enforcement protocols are also mentioned as contributors, but until the former contributors are again working properly it will be difficult to make a fair assessment of those recent changes.

Economically Speaking, A Little Good News, but Mostly Bad News

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020The good news is that 8,600 restaurants were reported to be participating in the curbside dining.  As I travel around the boroughs, this effort to revive the restaurant business in the midst of the pandemic, seems to be working as it adds a lot of life to the city and appears to be a lifeline to cash strapped restaurateurs.

The photo at right shows Restaurant Row on 46th Street off Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.

The weekly jobless claims actually started climbing back up this past week, due to the raging CoVid pandemic in the southern and western states [Trump maskless country].

The national eviction moratorium and the added $600 stimulus payments expire at the end of July.  What happens next is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely not pretty. I overheard a report that noted that 338,000 cell phone users are behind in paying their bills. The only reason I note this, is that in the current environment many people are faced with having to juggle their bills. So it's not just the rent.

Nieman Marcus announced that it would be closing its store in the Hudson Yards.  Bloomberg Business reported that an estimated 400,000 airline employees would lose their jobs fairly soon as airline travel is about 80% below prior years, and the U.S. is currently banned from visiting Europe because Trump appears to have succeeded, through his negligence, in making America first in CoVid infections and deaths.

As noted below in the Real Estate section, Bloomberg News noted that only about 5% - 30% of white collar workers have returned to their jobs.  This will continue to depress restaurant and retail sales here and around the nation.  And Google extended its estimated return to office date for its workers from December 2020, to July 2021, which might provide a benchmark in terms of expectations.

NYC Real Estate - Prices Up, Inventory & Sales Activity Down

According to a July 14, 2020 Property Shark report, the NYC real estate market has had a rough first half with overall sales down 42%, driven by tight inventory. But because of the tight inventory, prices were up 3% versus a year ago, as buyers competed for the available stock. There was significant variability among the boroughs.

Manhattan took the biggest price hit, down 13% versus year ago, and while sales were also down (-31%), that was better than the NYC average of down 42%. Queens and the Bronx did relatively well, as prices were up 10% and 8% respectively, while sales were down 22% and 25% respectively. Both of these boroughs are undergoing significant development, which is likely driving the price increases. Brooklyn prices were down 3% for the first half and sales were down 21%. According to a July 11, 2020 SI Live report [note these are not apples to apples vis a vis the numbers reported for the other boroughs] the prices in June for residential real estate on Staten Island rose 7%, while inventory for sale dropped about 26%.

Commercial real estate is taking the biggest hit a result of the pandemic. A July 22, 2020 Bloomberg report said that commercial real estate rents were expected to fall 26%, but Mary Tighe, CBRE NY Tristate Region CEO, said that so far they're only down 6%. She also noted that in downtown Manhattan white collar workers were showing up in the office at levels of 6% of pre-pandemic levels [that's down 94%], and at levels of 7% in Midtown [down 93%), and at about 30% in surrounding boroughs / suburbs [down 70%].

Testing & CoVid Therapies Update

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020NYC has a 2 – 3 day turnaround for CoVid testing results.  It’s one of the best turnaround times in the nation.  See the ad below this report to find a testing center near you.  This ad expires at the end of the month, so you might want to check out website now for current use or future reference.

The Moderna vaccination goes to Phase 3 trials, as does a Pfizer and BioNTECH [a German biotech] vaccine, which may has also begun Phase 3 trials.  Phase 3 studies are done to gain a better gauge of how a vaccine will function in a large population, after completing a Phase I study for safety and a Phase II study for efficacy.

Some symptoms seem to linger for weeks after infection for those with ‘light’ symptoms.  And as we mentioned previously, it’s unclear how long the anti-bodies / immunity lingers, as in one study only about 5% still had anti-bodies after three months – but there seems to be some issue with the testing quality.

The photo at right was taken in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx.

The Reopening of Schools is being Hotly Debated

Governor Cuomo said any region in Phase IV with an infection rate below 5% can reopen. If the infection rate in that region rises to above 9%, then the schools will close.  Generally the NYC schools opening game plan involves staggered schedules, as well as blended on / off days and remote learning, coupled with CoVid safety protocols of masks and social distancing and a higher standard of cleanliness as schools. The American Federation of Teachers or AFT, the largest union of teachers in the nation, authorized their teachers at any school to go on strike if certain safety protocols aren't in place when the schools reopen.

Universities seem to be all over the map on reopening and it changes, so stay tuned. 

Pro Sports

Major League Baseball was the first league to begin play post CoVid outbreak in America. The Yankees and Mets began play last weekend with a subway series. This week about 15 players on the Miami Marlins tested positive for CoVid.  As a result their game with the Yankees was cancelled [to be rescheduled?], and it had a domino effect, reportedly affecting 15 other games.  The Marlins had just played the Phillies who cancelled their next game pending new tests.  And the Yankees called off their home opener against the Phillies this week, as they headed to Baltimore.

The National Hockey League had zero positive CoVid tests of 4,200 players which bodes well for the league to complete its abbreviated 2020 season.

life in manhattan brooklyn queens bronx staten island during CoVid 2020The National Basketball Association, which is also planning to complete its abbreviated 2020 season, had no positive tests for the players living in the ‘bubble’ in Orlando.  Play resumes Thursday, July 30th.

A couple of players out of 800 total in the National Football League tested positive.  The NFL announced this week that they had cancelled all preseason games and I know at least one franchise [the Green Bay Packers] has offered recurring ticket holders the option to opt out of their season tickets for this year.  This is in recognition that there may not be any fans, or a reduced number of fans, in the stands this year.

The photo at right shows the Empire Outlets shopping center along the northwest coast of St. George on Staten Island. The shopping center is adjacent to the ferry station and had opened in May of 2019.

Life During CoVid

The hot summer of CoVid in the city hasn't been fun. Normally there's so many enjoyable cultural things to do, that the hardest part of the summer is deciding what you can't find the time to do. There are concerts, movies and theater in the parks. Add to that food festivals, street fairs, religious and cultural events and the normal menu of arts, theater, museum exhibits and film and ... well ... you get the picture.

This is the year of wearing masks which fog up the glasses, cabin fever and a growing waistline due to inactivity and being cooped up. But there's an increasing number of things to do. The beaches are open even if capacity limited. A number of pools just opened, which should help. The zoos are open, as are the botanical gardens, as well as special locales like the 911 Memorial and the Empire State Building. And the curbside dining, while perhaps not ideal, does seem to be working and adds a sort of lively, festive feeling to the streets in the absence of so many other activities. And the tourists aren't due back anytime soon. because of the incredible mismanagement of America's CoVid pandemic.

So like life itself, some good, some bad - but there's always a silver lining in the events we think are terrible. But you have to be open to the good, and pay attention to it, or you'll miss it like a passing train. And that’s the news from Lake Wobegon NYC. 



Law Enforcement, the Economy, but First Home Sweet Home?

Is Home is Where the Heart is or Where We Sleep?

July 20, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThere’s no doubt we’re living in an unusual time.  At least when compared to the times of the last hundred years or so.  There’s a pandemic raging across the nation, which has resulted in over 140,000 Americans’ deaths, and approaching four million infections in America alone.

The economic fallout seems to be in its nascent stages, as businesses struggle to stay open, unable to adapt sufficiently and quickly enough, to keep on keepin’ on. And furloughed workers, once under the assumption they would be called back into service in a few weeks or few months, are coming to the realization that the position they once held, may no longer exist.

I believe the photo at right shows the ‘home’ of a few people who seem to periodically return at night.  When I pass by this abode, I think about their lifestyle, living by their hard work and / or wits, with little to no worldly possessions or real comforts. I started mentally writing an ad for this living space. 

The ad goes something like this. This 2BR with spacious Living Rm is pre-furnished with a couple of chairs, a couple of beds, great ventilation, including plenty of space to move around.  There’s no kitchen, no air conditioning or heat, no security [but there’s nothing to steal] – and depending on how willing you are to stretch things, either no bathroom - or at the very least - not a private one. But the limited utilities and rent are free, so this living space is workable for any budget, and there’s plenty of ambient sunlight.

The ad is a humorous look at what's a very poignant situation, but then my thoughts take me further ... These people are still struggling to survive. They're making do with the little they have. They're very organized and pretty clean. And occasionally they give me a friendly wave when I pass. That is the power, strength and resilience of the human spirit.

More coming later today, including photos and video regarding the economy and law enforcement.



Law Enforcement, the Economy, but First Home Sweet Home?

Is Home is Where the Heart is or Where We Sleep?

July 20, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. Continued.

Casino Royale:  Will the Donald Bankrupt America with Trillions in Spending?

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe Administration, meanwhile, seems terribly out of touch with reality.  Their retarded response to the CoVid pandemic paved the way for the viral explosion.  One of their greatest mistakes was that they politicized Americans’ choice to defend themselves from the virus by wearing a mask, and they squandered away trillions of the public’s money – with the enabling help of the Democrats – to keep businesses functioning, without obtaining much in the way of concessions from them.

If the Donald is a great negotiator, then he’s negotiating away American’s future, in exchange for a junkie boost to his reelection prospects, and self-enrichment [there was a $160 billion tax break given to real estate developers like Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner and he fired five Inspector Generals within the six weeks that the largest spending bills in American history were passed totallying $3 trillion].

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel obtained an equity stake of 20% - 25% from Lufthansa, in exchange for the German government bailout of that airline. And now the Donald and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are in discussions to throw away another trillion or more in added stimulus - again without obtaining any concessions from those who will receive it. 

The image at right shows the headline of a January 9, 2019 report in Vanity Fair. This report was published over a year before the $3 trillion in stimulus spending done in March / April of 2020.

Bread Crumbs for the Masses & Melania's "I Don’t Care Do U?"

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThere was $3 trillion in stimulus spending bills passed in late March and early April of 2020.  But the money that working class Americans [161 million people] received in the form of U.S. Treasury $1,200 checks amounts to only $193 million [161 x $1,200] of the $3 trillion stimulus spending done to date.  And then there was the extra $600 per week in added stimulus payments - which paid many unemployed workers more than they had been making and reportedly cost the American taxpayer over $15 billion per week according to a July 17, 2020 CNBC report. 

The CNBC report noted that 25.6 million were on this $600 per week government payout program.  According to the report the reason the total pandemic relief recipients are higher than the unemployed is because the package includes people who are,

“… business owners, self-employed Americans, gig workers and independent contractors who are not typically eligible for unemployment.”

So a rough estimate of the cost of this $600 per week program is 13 weeks x $600 per person per week x 26 million = $203 million.  If you add the payments from these two payout programs together then the total payout to working Americans was [$203 billion plus $193 billion] was $396 billion or 13% of the stimulus spending. Thus it seems - a relatively small number of mega millionaire and billionaire real estate developers like Donald Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and their [industry segment] friends - collected over a third as much as what all working classs Americans collectively received in stimulus handouts.

This self dealing doesn't seem to be anything new for the Trumps. And the Trump insensitivity to those who less fortunate than they are, appears equally legendary. As you can see in the June of 2018 Bazaar report above, Melania Trump demonstrated an incredible insensitivity during a visit to the Texas border detention centers for immigrant children, when she wore a jacket that had the words "I don't care do u" on it.

Did a Seemingly Corrupt President Enrich his Industry Friends?

dysfunctional presidency of donald trump dysfunctional president usa

There was an estimated $160 billion in tax breaks for real estate developers reportedly hidden in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March 2020 [more details coming below].  A relatively tiny number of real estate developers get more than 5% of the CARES Act, while – as noted above - the entire rest of the nation's working class collectively received a bit more than double that (13%).

What’s most disturbing about this most recent blatant effort by Trump to enrich himself and his friends is that there’s a huge segment of the American populace that will either never hear this because they are media ignorant [Fox News, Wall Street Journal, NY Post and in time ABC]  or they will hear of it and ignore it as ‘fake news’ about their Republican lord and saviour.

In the photo at right you can see McConnell, Ryan, Trump and Pence celebrating the tax cut package they passed in December 2017 which borrowed $1 - $2 trillion on the backs of America's children in exchange for an estimated 0.5% - 1% of extra growth at a time when the U.S. was already operating at what economists categorize as full employment [5% or less of unemployment].

Like the Republicans, so too the Timid & Naive Democrats?

According to a May 19, 2020 Time Magazine report,

“House Democrats passed a largely symbolic bill on May 15 rolling back two controversial tax provisions that had been slipped into the CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus law that Congress passed in March with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. The two tax provisions, which remove caps on individuals’ and businesses’ ability to write off net operating losses, are expected to deliver a $160 billion windfall to the wealthiest Americans, disproportionately benefiting hedge fund and real estate investors.”

The report goes on to note that this benefits the least needy in our society.  The Time Magazine report also noted that the Democrats said it was “a Republican provision” and that the Democrats “failed to appreciate its significance”.

So why don’t the Democrats include the repeal of those provisions for real estate developers in the stimulus bill upon which they’re currently working?  By inserting a clause removing the gift to the Donald's cronies in the new bill - it would at the very least - make Americans aware of what seems to be Trump, McConnell and the Republican party's corruption. The Republican 'fiscal conservatives' who complain about welfare mothers - who get scraps, - say nary a word about these huge payouts to the richest people in the nation / world.

The Donald Gasses the American People, but Stands up for Confederate Statues

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysWe not only live in an unusual time, but we live in a twisted one.  On Monday, June 1st the Donald gassed protesters as he and Attorney General William Barr, the top law enforcement official in the nation, walked across the Washington mall so Trump could wave an upside down bible in front of the cameras.  The Minister of the Church was not present, and was horrified that Trump would prostitute the Bible and her Church for a campaign like photo op event.

 

On June 23rd Trump signed yet another Executive Order authorizing Homeland Security to step in to ‘protect’ our national monuments.  Two and half weeks later, on July 10th Trump confirmed he had sent Homeland Security to Portland, Oregon to ‘protect’ the national statues there.  He was not asked by the Mayor of Portland nor the Governor of Oregon for any law enforcement help and the only damage done there to national statues was a bit of graffiti which can be cleaned up.

 

I. Doesn’t the Trump Administration have more Pressing Things to do?

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysProtecting statues from graffiti, would seem to fall under the purview of municipal policing or state policing. I would think the federal government is facing bigger issues, than getting involved in apprehending people for illegal graffiti.  Doesn’t the federal government / Trump Administration have more pressing things to do like:

  • Bringing the raging CoVid pandemic under control?
  • Taming the record breaking, out-of-control federal budget deficit / spending / borrowing?
  • Addressing the double digit unemployment rate that spiked this year in the Trump economy?
  • Halting or turning around the loss of affordable healthcare by millions of Americans since Trump took office?
  • Addressing the declining reading and math scores achieved by the nation’s schools since Trump took office?
  • Addressing the U.S. immigration crisis?  As of 2016 there were 10.7 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S.  Of them, there are about 700,000 to 800,000 children who were brought here by their parents, who grew up in the U.S., and who know no other country, and yet do not have citizenship rights.
  • And then there's Climate Change for which the Donald has let four more years pass, while seeming to enable the fossil fuel industry, stifle scientific reports and ignore the realities in the same manner as he's done with CoVid.

It seems the Donald has screwed up just about everything at the national level. Perhaps he won't be satisfied until he throws the entire nation, including states and cities, into chaos.

 

II.  Inexperienced, Uneducated & Incompetent?

The Donald never held public office prior to becoming president.  So he has no government EXPERIENCE.

The Donald doesn’t hold any higher education degrees related to governance.  He threatens to sue anyone who releases his transcripts.  His niece tells us that he paid someone to take his SAT test so he could get into the University of Pennsylvania / Wharton.  So we know he wasn’t prepared for the office of president via his EDUCATION.

The INCOMPETENCY is cited in the bankruptcies and money laudering below.

 

III.  Trump Disregard for the Law is Legendary – Bankruptcies & Money Laundering

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksThe Donald has been a real estate developer all of his life. He reportedly established ties to Italian mob figures early in life, and his alleged association with Russian mob figures continued not long before he began his run for the presidency.

Trump’s competency in managing developments is highly questionable given he’s been associated with six bankruptcies.  A September 26, 2016 report in the Washington Post tells us the following,

“.. PolitiFact uncovered two more bankruptcies filed after 1992, totaling six. Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts filed for bankruptcy again in 2004, after accruing about $1.8 billion in debt. Trump Entertainment Resorts also declared bankruptcy in 2009, after being hit hard during the 2008 recession…”

A September 26, 2016 report in Mother Jones tells us that in 1990 Trump’s father, Fred, reportedly helped him navigate through his financial troubles including with a $3.3 million chip buying bailout that was used to circumvent the law and / or legal covenants.  A July 13, 2017 report by the New Republic informs us that in the early 2000’s the Donald was selling condos and taking in loads of Russian cash, including from reportedly shadowy companies, as another part of his holdings declared bankruptcy.  And according to a December 14, 2018 report in the San Francisco Chronicle, in July 2008 a Russian Oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev paid $95 million for a mansion for which Trump had recently paid $42 million – netting Trump $53 million and bailing him out again?

I think it’s also important to remind readers that according to a February 11, 2015 report by Reuters that,

“… Trump Taj Mahal casino settles U.S. money laundering claims … Trump Taj Mahal admitted to have willfully violated reporting and record-keeping requirements under the federal Bank Secrecy Act from 2010 to 2012 ...”

 

Trump Seems Not Just Corrupt, but Clever at Concealing his Scams

A May 19, 2020 report by CBS News tells us,

"... In a span of six weeks, Mr. Trump has removed five officials from posts leading their respective agencies' inspector general offices, three of whom were working in an acting capacity..."

These included Michael Atkinson of the Intelligence Committee, Mitch Behm of the Transportation Department, Glenn Fine of the Defense Department, Christi Grimm of Health and Human Services and Steve Linick of the State Department.

 

IV. Trump’s True Talent: One of the Greatest Con Men in History?

Trump appears to be a legendary con man.  In addition to not paying his debts, and laundering money for alleged criminals, Trump has a long history of a number of other wide ranging cheap and clever cons such as the following.

STIFFING EMPLOYEES & CONTRACTORS?  His repertoire seems to range from cheap tricks like not paying his employees to stiffing contractors telling them their work was subpar.  According to Wikipedia,

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucks“ … An analysis by USA Today published in June 2016 found that over the previous three decades, Donald Trump and his businesses have been involved in 3,500 legal cases in U.S. federal courts and state court, an unprecedented number for a U.S. president …”

REAL ESTATE FRAUD?  Trump is alleged to have defrauded people who enrolled in Trump University, paying $25 million to settle.  An April 9, 2018 ABC News report provides the following statement from former Attorney General Schneiderman saying,

“ … This settlement marked a stunning reversal by President Trump, who for years refused to compensate the victims of his sham university…"

IN HIS ALLEGED CONS ENLISTING HIS CHILDREN?  An August 2017 report in Intelligencer tells us that after the 2008 market crash,

“ … condo sales at Trump Soho dried up, although Ivanka and Don Jr. continued to boast, falsely, that a majority of the buildings units had been sold … “

MOBSTER STYLE CORRUPTION?  Trump closed down a charity after being sued for using it to further his own business interests and for his 2016 election campaign. According to a December 10, 2019 report by AP News, bout $2 million was paid in fines and another $1.8 million distributed to other [more legitiimate?] non profits.

An October 4, 2017 report by Business Insider tells us that the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance dropped the fraud charges against Ivanka and Don Jr. after receiving a $25,000 campaign donation from a Trump lawyer, Marc Kasowitz in the 2011 / 2012 time frame.  Vance returned it, and Kasowitz reportedly make another $50,000 donation just six months later.  The report also discussed whether it would be possible for the Manhattan DA to win the case.

The Business Insider report also informs us,

“ … Bayrock was co-founded by Felix Sater, a Russia-born businessman who advised the Trump Organization on real estate deals from the early 2000's and into late 2015 … A lawsuit brought in 2010 against Sater and his partner, Tevfik Arik, alleged that "for most of its existence [Bayrock] was substantially and covertly [Russian] mob-owned and operated," engaging "in a pattern of continuous, related crimes, including mail, wire, and bank fraud; tax evasion; money laundering; conspiracy; bribery; extortion; and embezzlement."

Birds of a feather flock together?

PETTY THIEVERY? A July 25, 2020 report in The Hill tells us that the 2020 Trump campaign and Republican National Committee has been asked by the Reagan Foundation to cease and desist in using Reagan's name and image for Trump campaign trinkets. The campaign appears to have been in the process of using Reagan's image and name without obtaining their authorization.

And a June 28, 2020 report in Forbes Magazine tells us that The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Elton John, Neil Young, Queen, Earth Wind and Fire, Twisted Sister, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna Williams, Guns & Roses, R.E.M., Tom Petty and Prince or heirs thereof, have either sent cease and desist letters to the Trump campaign, or asked them not to use their music at Trump or Republican Party events. It seems the Trump campaign, which has raised over a billion dollars, won't pay the musicians for the use of their music in campaign events. This seems very much like how Trump seemed to stiff employees and contractors as noted above.

My point in giving you a brief and incomplete history of what appears to be the Donald’s mob associations, shady deals and near total disregard for the law, is to use this historical context to help you evaluate whether he is abusing the power of the presidency in order to serve his own ends, in a manner not unlike how he appears to have betrayed the trust of so many others previously - as documented above - in order to enrich himself.

Trump Violating the Constitution: Not Preserving & Protecting it

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksThe legality of the Trump directive to the Department of Homeland Security to essentially police an area within Portland is a highly questionable use of federal police power. The Fourth and Tenth Amendments are the most relevant articles [of impeachment] here.  The Fourth Amendment states,

 

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

 

And the Tenth Amendment states,

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe U.S. Constitution and these Amendments are written so as to guide us away from the usurpation, centralization and abuse of government power.  The U.S. Constitution is predicated on the will of the people, meaning a majority of us or our representatives, have to agree on something in order for it to move forward. And it specifically protects us from the government, by outlining the conditions which must be present, in order for the government power to be used. So in the FOURTH AMENDMENT no searches and seizures without probable cause – keep that in mind as we move forward.

Also, no domestic police powers are granted to the federal government in the Constitution, and by the omission are granted to the states in the TENTH AMENDMENT. The only state level powers granted to the federal government are in the Constitution are the use of the state militias, which are by definition, supplements to the regular army.

At right the Department of Homeland Security is shown marching in Portland, Oregon the week ending July 24, 2020. The U.S. Constitution generally assigns general police powers to the states with the exceptions primarily being: 1) helping localities at their request (not the case in Portland as both the Mayor and Governor have asked the DHS to leave), 2) collaborating with state / local officials in cases involving criminal activity that moves things across state lines [an example is drugs and this does not apply here], and 3) enforcing federal laws when the states fail to [an example is in allowing African Americans to attend college in the 1960's]. The Donald seems to have stretched the truth on the last one, using graffiti on a federal building as the pretext for sending in the Department of Homeland Security.

 

The Checks & Balances of the U.S. Democratic Republic are Under Siege

The Founding Fathers wisely ensured that the federal government did NOT have control of a domestic police force, as part of their checks and balances approach to governing.  By dispersing power among the legislative, judicial and executive branches – they hoped to preserve the power of the people, by making it difficult for anyone or any group of people to take control of the government and personalize government power, as had been done by tyrannical royals in the past.

Personalization of Power: Donald the Duplicitous

The Donald seems to have made great strides in personalizing the power of the U.S. federal government since he taking office just three and a half years ago. Click this link to read more our report about Trump and the Personalization of the U.S. Government Power. Adolph Hitler had pursued the same course toward personalizing the power of the government beginning in the early 1930's. Let's see how they compare.

donald trump and the personalization of power us government power

The Evolution of Federal Police Powers in the U.S.

Since the Constitution became law of the land in 1788 – 1789, the nation has grown and its institutions have evolved.  The federal government does control a number of law enforcement agencies including,

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation aka FBI
  • The U.S. Marshal’s Service
  • The U.S. Customs Service
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco
  • The Drug Enforcement Agency
  • The U.S. Customs Service

All of these agencies are supplemental to the municipal and state police forces which collectively are far larger than any of these agencies.

 

Usurpation of Police Power by the Trump Administration & DHS

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksWikipedia does a good job of drawing the distinction between federal and state police powers, stating the following.

“… the national (federal) government is not authorized to execute general police powers by the Constitution of the United States of America. The power to have a police force is given to each of the United States' 50 federated states. The US Constitution gives the federal government the power to deal with foreign affairs and interstate affairs (affairs between the states). For police, this means that if a non-federal crime is committed in a US state and the fugitive does not flee the state, the federal government has no jurisdiction. However, once the fugitive crosses a state line, he violates the federal law of interstate flight and is subject to federal jurisdiction, at which time federal law enforcement agencies may become involved… “

 

So it seems, the president’s use of the Department of Homeland Security to address a low level property destruction crime, is yet another Trump abuse of power.  Comparisons have been made of Trump’s use of the DHS to the Gestapo in Nazi Germany in 1933.

Wikipedia informs us,

“ … Göring took over the Gestapo in 1934 and urged Hitler to extend the agency's authority throughout Germany. This represented a radical departure from German tradition, which held that law enforcement was (mostly) a Land (state) and local matter…

REICHSTAGE FIRE

 

Lobbyist Turned Lackey: Is Chad Wolf a Legitimate Acting DHS Secretary?

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksIn November 2019, Chad Wolf became the FIFTH Secretary of Homeland Security since the Donald took office in 2017.  Wolf is a staunch Trump supporter, which seems to be the most important requirement for any Trump appointee. 

Wolf is Trump's fifth DHS secretary and Trump's third ‘acting’ Secretary – meaning he hasn’t been confirmed for this position by Mitch McConnell’s Republican dominated Senate. He had been confirmed by the Senate for the DHS position he had previously held.

 

Chad Wolf was formerly a lobbyist for the now defunct Washington, D.C. lobbying firm of Wexler | Walker. 

Chad Wolf was appointed acting Secretary of Homeland Security on November 13, 2019.  A vacancy may be filled by an Acting Secretary for 210 days, so Chad Wolf has been illegitimately holding that post since about June 10, 2020.  The Senate is responsible for confirming executive level appointees.  So this begs the question, what is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his staff doing with their time? Are they not paying attention while the nation burns?

 

Department of Homeland Security Mission & Departments Not for Domestic Policing

According to the DHS.gov website, the mission of the Department of Homeland Security is defined as follows,

“… With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our Homeland, and our Values …”

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucks‘Safeguarding our homeland’ is not the same as municipal policing. This is particularly true when the police actions are directed at generally peaceful Portland residents who are American citizens. And as noted above - per the U.S. Constitution - using the Department of Homeland Security for domestic police action is illegal.  But the Donald has neither the education, experience nor disposition to listen to the advice of those more knowledgeable than him, because he generally doesn’t operate within the legal or moral framework of our society, as I pointed out above.

There are fourteen departments within the Department of Homeland Security.  Let’s see if any of them seem directed toward municipal policing.  They are:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG) – protects maritime trade and borders. Becomes a part of the Defense Department in wartime.
  • United States Customs and Border Protection - one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws.
  • Security and Infrastructure Security Agency – protect and enhance cyber security.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency – (FEMA) supports our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – training.
  • trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksUnited States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – “(ICE) promotes homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration.
  • United States Secret Service (USSS) – protection of leaders, dignitaries & financial system.
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – focus on transportation conduits.
  • Management Directorate – budget & procurement.
  • Science and Technology Directorate – R&D and technology.
  • Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office – focus on WMD.
  • Office of Intelligence and Analysis – staying abreast of events.
  • Office of Operations Coordination – internal communications.

It would seem all of these departments are designed to address policing actions that primarily involve the illegal crossing of our national borders.  The protesters in Portland are generally reported to be Portland and Oregon residents, which would indicate that the DHS has lost its way.

 

Trump Purges DHS & Uses Protests to Exercise Police Powers

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksMORE COMING ON THE Scourge of the DHS by Trump. This is currently being investigated by the House – but these investigations seem so lame in asserting the only real power the Congress has – the power of the purse. 

Why aren’t the Democrats using their majority position in the House to hold up bills [like Mitch McConnell does] until they get some satisfaction on Trump’s tax records; his purge of the DHS, use of it as a federal police force and for re-election campaign theater; his inclusion of the real estate developer tax break in the $3 trillion stimulus bills passed in March / April 2020?  It would seem that Trump and the Republicans need that stimulus bill for the November election far more than the Democrats. 

Which makes me ask why the Democrats aren't taking more of a stand on these issues - if for no other reason than to bring them to the attention of the American public?

Trump sent the Department of Homeland Security to Portland, Oregon - without invitation by either the Portland Mayor or the Oregon Governor.  In fact both the mayor and the governor have filed lawsuits – along with the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU – to get Trump’s Department of Homeland Security out of the public spaces - as they are reportedly only making things worse by escalating tensions between law enforcement and the community.

In the ten days that the Department of Homeland Security has ‘occupied Portland’ a number of disturbing reports have come from the city describing events that seem too closely to resemble the early use of police power by Adolph Hitler during his ascendance to dictatorial control in Germany in the 1930’s.

 

Comparison of Early use of Police in Germany 1933 – 1934

Hitler didn’t become Hitler overnight. Time Magazine did a number of stories pondering Hitler's intentions before they became crystal clear - but by then it was too late.  Hitler repeatedly lied and deceived the German nation, while grabbing power through police force and mass media manipulation, eventually silencing critics by labeling them traitors accompanied by police force. This latest move by Trump to use the Department of Homeland Security as a national police force is not unlike what Hitler did as he consolidated power after becoming Chancellor, following the Reichstag fire of 1933.

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucks

According to an April 10, 2019 History report,

“… The Reichstag Fire was a dramatic arson attack occurring on February 27, 1933, which burned the building that housed the Reichstag (German parliament) in Berlin. Claiming the fire was part of a Communist attempt to overthrow the government, the newly named Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler used the fire as an excuse to seize absolute power in Germany, paving the way for the rise of his Nazi regime…”

 

In addition to using a pretext for sending in the Department of Homeland Security forces, Trump also appears to be illegally morphing the role of the DHS as a police force, in a manner that has striking similarities to the early moves taken by Heinrich Goring and Hermann Himmler who morphed the Gestapo and SS from a small police force when Hitler came to power, into an invasive ubiquitous force throughout Germany by the end of the war.

 

The comparisons here include not just the Gestapo [an abbreviation for Secret State Police], but also the Schutzstaffel which evolved into the umbrella for most of the policing in Germany including the Gestapo.  Wikipedia tells us,

 

“… The Allgemeine SS was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of Nazi Germany and general policing, whereas the Waffen-SS consisted of combat units within Nazi Germany's military. A third component of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV; literally "Death's Head Units"[2]), ran the concentration camps and extermination camps…”

 

Is the DHS Becoming a Racial Enforcement Agency like the Gestapo?

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksLet’s compare this to the Department of Homeland Security was created during the Bush Administration. 

It is the youngest agency and therefore has the least in traditions and thus least amount of American Constitutional culture as to its role in our government.  The Department of Homeland Security has run ‘immigration detention centers’ on our southern border, where they keep illegal immigrants.  So it’s not a stretch to think that Trump is transforming the agency into one that enforces ‘racial policy’ not unlike what the SS did in Nazi Germany. 

 

Since Trump took office the Department of Homeland Security separated children from their parents in an act not much different from what we saw in the movie ‘Sophie’s Choice’ wherein Jewish children were separated from their parents.  And then, under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security, six plus immigrant children and another 18 adults have died in their custody.

 

Murdoch's Fox News Propaganda Support for Trump’s Inhumanity

In 2018, Fox News Laura Ingraham provided media cover for the DHS, comparing their detention centers to summer camp.

This is why there is a divide in American society on important issues.  Australian born, Rupert Murdoch controls about half of the large news media brands in this nation [Fox News, Wall St Journal, NY Post and he’s now the largest shareholder of ABC News] and he appears to use his media outlets to disinform voters about policies and pols. He seems to do this to get ‘his pols’ elected, so they will give Murdoch what he wants, and he seems not to care what else they do.

More coming including images and video later today / this week.



Things To This Weekend & Phase IV NYC Reopening

Governor’s Island Opened 7/15, Statue of Liberty Island Opens 7/20 while Ellis Remains Closed, Subway Series this Weekend w/ o Fans, Evolving CoVid Science Update & More Economic News

July 17, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysWell another CoVid influenced weekend in NYC has arrived.  It’s the weekend before the NYS Phase IV reopening of the economy, which is happening on Monday, July 20th – but with an important modification.  The important modification is that indoor cultural centers and shopping will remain on hold indefinitely. 

CoVid Droplets Can Linger in Air for up to 16 Hours

The rationale is that CoVid 19 appears to be transmitted significantly – if not primarily – via the air droplets of infected people who may or may not be symptomatic.  In the outdoor environment, the droplets are diffused by the planetary volume of air, while in the indoor environment they can linger for up to 16 hours.  It was previously believed that the droplets could linger for up to three hours.

In the photo at right is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez handing out food bags at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Corona, Queens. The Congresswoman's campaign raised funds to put together 250 food bags for the folks in the community. Our Lady of Sorrows Church has been the locale for a number of such prior distributions by various donors, including by the Catholic Charities Built In Queens.

Things To Do NYC / Events This Weekend

Mets host Yankees at 7.10 pm Saturday at Citi Field and Yankees host Mets at 7.05 pm at Yankee Stadium Sunday.  No attendees will be allowed, but the games will be shown on the Yes Network on TV and WFAN radio.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe Statue of Liberty island will open on Monday, July 20th.  The statue itself will remain closed, but there will be limited souvenir and food shopping along with restrooms.  The Ellis Island and the Liberty Museums will remain closed at this time. Both sites are part of the National Parks System.  There are also new rules for a visit - https://www.nps.gov/stli/

St. John the Divine opened its doors to visitors from 7.30 am – 1 pm daily.  No word yet on when services will resume.   https://www.stjohndivine.org/

St Patrick’s Cathedral reopened on June 28th for two daily services at 25% capacity on weekdays and two to three services daily on the weekend. They are suffering a $4 million revenue shortfall as a result of the Corona Virus pandemic - https://saintpatrickscathedral.org/

The piazza style dining in cordoned off streets continues on weekends beginning 5 pm Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday – ending at 11 pm each night.  New streets and restaurants continue to be added to the original list, as clusters of restaurants apply and receive authorization for piazza style dining on their blocks / streets.
https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/pedestrians/openstreets-restaurants.shtml

The implementation of the curbside / sidewalk dining by local restaurants has been well received and appears to be a success. Thus this week the Mayor announced that it will be extended through October 31st.

Just over a week ago, on Thursday, July 9th, the Mayor extended the ban on large events requiring a city permit, through September 30th.  The rationale for this extension is that states like Florida and Texas have seen surges due to large scale gatherings, where social distancing and mask norms were difficult to enforce and hence violated, leading to huge surges of the number of CoVid infections in those states.  This ban extension includes NYC street fairs.

NYC & NYS Lags the Nation in Filling out the Census

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNYS ranks 38th in response to the 2020 Census.  The census determines how much representation and funding each state has in / gets from the federal government.  Please encourage friends and family members to participate before it's too late.  Filling out the census literally takes only a few minutes and it can be done online at https://my2020census.gov/

The census taking deadline has been pushed back from July 31st to October 31st.  Getting an accurate census count is worth billions in federal to state funding for education, social programs, infrastructure and the like annually - for the next ten years.

NYC Shootings Up / Other Crimes Down & Causes

NYC shootings are up significantly, while other crime stats for NYC are down.  Most of the shootings are taking place in 10 of the 77 NYPD precincts.  Government and law enforcement officials aren’t in total sync over the causes, but among them are the recently passed NYC Bail Reform Bill, the economic hardship and displacement caused by the CoVid pandemic, including early inmate dismissals without having the transitioning apparatus fully functioning, the near shutdown of NYS Courts for the processing of charged offenders, the new City Council bill changing some of the rules for engagement by the police, the disbandment of the plain clothes unit, the unrest of the George Floyd Protests, and rising temperatures. Crime generally rises following social unrest and also with higher temperatures.

The Mayor, NY Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and NYPD Chief Monahan began a concerted effort to address the problem a couple of weeks ago.  And while things have improved since the July 4th weekend, they have quite a way to go. It’s a tumultuous time, and it’s likely going to take a while to get all involved back on the same page.

One of the reasons not cited for the increased unrest is that large numbers of African Americans and Latinos are rent challenged.  A CNN report on June 5th, 2020 cites an Urban Policy Institute Study done in May showed that 19% of all Americans had not paid their rent, versus 27% of African Americans and 25% of Latinos.  Add to this that African Americans and Latinos are more likely to have been furloughed or lost their jobs, and you get a clearer view of an increasingly bleak picture that shows the kind of stress and pressure minorities in the lower income brackets are managing.

NYC Economy - MTA Ridership Over a Million Daily

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMTA ridership is still down significantly [about 75% - 80%], versus prior year, but has held relatively steady at over a million rides each weekday and over a half million each weekend day.  This seems in line with what the airlines are seeing, and according to an Amtrak estimate, next year will be double this year, but still half of last year.  Those estimates indicate a slow recovery.

U.S. consumer sentiment stalled in the July release of the University of Michigan report.  After an uptick last month, the sentiment fell back to the low 70’s, which is where it was in mid April, following the largest drop in consumer sentiment ever in the index.  Consumer sentiment is seen as a predictor of economic activity in the following months. So after the beginning of a recovery, we may see things level or stall for a while.

 

Economy & More Layoffs Coming to NYC, NYS & US

Delta to add back 500 flights daily – not 1000 as previously announced, because travel is about pacing at only 20% – 25% of prior years volume.  Part of the problem is that the U.S. failed response to CoVid has resulted in most international flights being cancelled.  Delta said 17,000 employees took buyouts / early retirement.  According to a July 14, 2020 report by CNN Business, this represents about 20% of their staff.  According to the terms of the federal government bailout, Delta will not be able to terminate employees prior to October 1st – involuntarily.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysJet Blue and American Airlines announced a strategic partnership in the northeast. According to a July 16, 2020 CNBC report, American could furlough as many as 25,000 employees after the federal stimulus expires in the fall [10/1/20]. Both stocks fell a few dollars following the announcement.

There have been 5,500 store closings announced to date according to a July 15th Business Insider report. They include the closings of more than a hundred stores by Victoria’s Secret / Modell’s / Macy’s / GNC / Gap / Chidren’s Place / JC Penneys / Guess. A number of other stores announced closings of under 100 stores including Brooks Brothers / Bed Bath & Beyond / Express / Nieman Marcus / Nordstrom / Kmart / Microsoft & Sears.  According to the report there were 9,000 store closings in 2019, which beat the previous high in 2017 of 8,300.  This year may set a new record as many of the traditional bricks and mortar retail outlets go the way of the horse and buggy. But some measure of bricks and mortar will survive, likely more as showrooms and pick up locations, rather than as full service in stock inventory and transaction locations.

For the 17th week in a row, over a million first time unemployment claims were filed. Approximately 33 million people were reported to be collecting unemployment insurance as of June 20, 2020 according to a July 9, 2020 CNBC report. Given America has a workforce of 161 million, this suggests a real unemployment figure of over 20%, which is well above the unemployment rate reported by the Trump Administration Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]. See our prior report earlier this month for errors made by the BLS in compiling their unemployment reports.

America First in CoVid Infections & Deaths

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysTo date the U.S. has had 3.7 million infections and over 140,000 deaths, representing 27% of the infections worldwide [13.9 million] and 24% of all deaths [593,000].  The Trump Administration’s abject failure becomes even more apparent when one notes that the United States represents less than 5% of the world population.

Large Chain Store Retailers Require the Wearing of Masks

Masks are increasingly becoming a requirement to enter most major retailers.  A number of large chain stores, including Target, CVS and Walgreens, were followed by Walmart, Kroger and Kohl’s, in making mask wearing a requirement to enter their stores this week, in the wake of surging CoVid cases nationwide.

The Trump Administration has been woefully retarded in responding to the CoVid pandemic. The Administration's most recent snafus include failing to address an overall national shortage of testing supplies, as well as failing to address testing labs capacity shortages which has lengthened the testing results turnaround times, which can take over a week in many of the currently hard hit states. Delays of a week or more, in receiving CoVid testing results reduces or eliminates the efficacy of testing in containing outbreaks - as by the time someone knows they're infected - they could have infected hundreds or more other people.  NYC has a reported CoVid testing turnaround time of about two to three days.

Federal Reserve Does a 'Fred Trump' - Bails out Donald's Failure

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysI want to take a moment to dispel the Fox / Trump propaganda myth that the economy was doing well because of the Donald.  If you include all of the behind-the-scenes moves by the Federal Reserve – moving trillions around behind the scenes - it becomes apparent that the only reason the economy hasn’t cratered is because of the Fed, not the Donald.

The Fed seems to be picking up where the Donald’s father, Fred Trump, left off.  Mega millionaire Fred Trump famously bailed out the Donald in December 1990 as his failing Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City was about to miss an interest payment. Fred reportedly bought $3.3 million in chips, which the Donald was able to use without limitation. This was a work around because the Donald's casino business had already defaulted on its debt. 

A year later Fred Trump's chip buying scheme was reportedly ruled to be an illegal loan by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and they were fined $65,000.  The Donald ultimately had to give up about half of his interest in Trump Castle to creditors after it went into bankruptcy.

Reckless Fiscal Management: Borrow & Spend Republicans?

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe Donald & Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appear to show no concern nor respect for America’s children because they’re running up massive multi-trillion dollar debts to cover the Trump Administration’s abject failed response to the CoVid 19 pandemic.  Unfortunately both Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Congressional Speaker Nancy Pelosi seem to be the great enablers. Collectively they have spent about $2.5 trillion on this mess - and near as I can tell - they’ve accomplished somewhere between little to nothing, meaningful. The deficit this year [2020] is now projected to be about $3.8 trillion - the largest deficit in American history by a wide margin.

The Trump Administration has been looting the U.S. Treasury by cutting taxes for the rich without cutting any government spending [December 2016].  And most recently the Trump Administration has given away of trillion(s) in unrecoverable stimulus to the mostly wealthy - in return for nothing – save perhaps the mitigation of his upcoming November landslide loss.

If the Donald is a Great Negotiator - Then it's We Who've Been Conned

FDR was called a ‘traitor to his class’ as he used the government to raise the living standards for all Americans.  The Donald isn’t a traitor to his economic class because he's thrown trillions their way in tax cuts and stimulus checks in the four years he's been in office.

Unlike FDR Trump is a president who seems to have betrayed the trust of the American people – particularly America’s children and future generations of Americans - by his reckless mismanagement of the federal budget and debt.

Trump Protects Privileged Profits & Plunders the Public Purse by 'Socializing' Stimulus Costs

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe Trump Administration has failed to negotiate any real concessions from the industries we taxpayers have funded, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel did with Lufthansa, the German airline.  The German government acquired a large equity stake in the airline in exchange for the bailout.  By comparison the Donald has dumped trillions of dollars of debt on the American public, while saving the investments of the wealthy and banks, who will privatize future profits, while we either lose services or are taxed more - or both. 

Trump's niece, Mary Trump, released a pyschological look at the Donald on Tuesday, July 14th, 2020. The book is entitled Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. It sold 950,000 copies within hours of its release. The book was published by Simon & Schuster and retails for $18 - $20.

CoVid Update - Herd Immunity May be Elusive

In early July the results of a study conducted in tandem with the Spanish government found that the sacred ‘herd immunity’ may not be achievable with CoVid 19.  The test included 61,000 people which found that only 5% of those who tested positive for antibodies, still had them for a measured time after the infection. This indicates that ‘herd immunity’ may not be achievable as over 60% of the population needs to have the antibodies, and the study suggests that most folks systems don’t keep the antibodies for very long after the infection has ended.

This is bad news for Sweden, which took the approach of letting things happen, so the nation could achieve herd immunity. Sweden has one of the highest - if not the highest - per capita CoVid death rates in the world. Also note the CoVid Droplets advisory [linger in the air for up to 16 hours] posted in the beginning of this report.



Things to do This Weekend in NYC

Bit by Bit NYC Emerges from the CoVid Pandemic Shock ...

... but it's Increasingly Looking Like It Will be a Slow Recovery

July 10, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysWeather.  The temperature highs will be in the high 70’s Friday, rising to about 90 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday.  There’s a 100% chance of inches of rain throughout the day Friday, with some rain – about an inch - in the late morning / early afternoon on Saturday, and then clear on Sunday.  Humidity will be in the 90% plus range on Friday, dropping to 80% on Saturday and down to 65% on Sunday. There will be wind gusts of up to 20 – 26 mph on Friday, settling down to 5 – 10 mph on Saturday and Sunday.

We began to return to some measure of normalcy this week as NYC moved into Phase III of the reopening.  Restaurants sprung back to life with sidewalk and curbside seating which seemed to fill up pretty well in the first week of opening.  Rain will dampen that enthusiasm today and through mid afternoon tomorrow, but I expect seatings to resume later in the day Saturday.

Things to do in NYC This Weekend

The Mayor also announced the opening of 22 European piazza style dining streets in all five boroughs [scroll down to July 2nd post for a listing of them].  Some of these NYC ‘piazzas’ opened last weekend. I visited the one on Restaurant Row in Manhattan and it looked to be a success – see photo.

While things haven’t returned to normal, and likely won’t for some time, they are becoming more normal from week to week.  And there’s more to do these days, than there has been for a long while, for those who want to get out and about. 

New openings this past week include:

  • corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe 911 Memorial waterfall which reopened last Sunday, July 5th to the public between the hours of 1 and 8 pm.  The 911 Museum will remain closed.
  • NYC public park golf courses opened this week as part of the Phase III reopening.  So you can get out and shoot a few rounds at a reasonable price.  LINKS.
  • Tennis courts, basketball courts and dog walks also opened in NYC parks as part of the Phase III reopening.
  • Many of the Long Island shopping malls reopen today, Friday July 10th with social distancing and other CoVid precautions in effect. The New Jersey shopping malls reopened a week and a half ago on Monday, June 29th.

Upcoming openings include:

  • On Monday, July 13th twenty-two of the public libraries in all five boroughs will reopen.  They include:
    • Queens - Bayside Library, Bellerose Library, East Elmhurst Library,  Kew Gardens Hills Library, Laurelton Library, Long Island City Library and Peninsula Library.
    • Brooklyn - Bay Ridge Library, Bushwick Library, Kings Highway Library, Central Library, New Lots Library, Flatbush Library and the Red Hook Library.
    • Manhattan - George Bruce Library, Epiphany Library and the Mid-Manhattan Library which has been renamed to Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL).
    • Bronx - Belmont Library, Francis Martin Library and the Parkchester Library.
    • Staten Island - Richmondtown Library and the Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library.
    • NYC will see the reopening of 3,000 daycare centers beginning Monday, July 13th with various measures in place to mitigate or eliminate the possible spread of CoVid 19 at the centers.
  • The Highline Park will open Thursday, July 16 in Chelsea at Gansevoort Street with one way walking up to 23rd Street.  It’s capacity limited and will be open from 12 noon to 8 pm and you're encouraged to reserve a spot.
  • The New York Botanical Garden is expected to reopen on Tuesday, July 21st to members, neighbors and healthcare responders as a part of the Phase IV reopening of NYS. They will open to the general public on Tuesday July 28th.
  • The Wildlife Conservation Society will reopen the New York Aquarium, Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo to members on Monday, July 20th and to the general public on Friday, July 24th.
  • Movie theaters are tentatively planning to reopen on Saturday, August 15th.
  • The Western & Southern Open [tennis] is expected to be played at the Billie Jean Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park beginning Saturday, August 15th and two weeks later by the U.S. Open - BUT these will not be open to the general public.
  • The Met Museum is expected to reopen at the end of August.
  • The Museum of Modern Art is expected to reopen sometime between now and the end of September. The last update on this I could find was in late May.
  • As mentioned in a prior post, most of the major performing arts centers like Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall have cancelled their fall seasons.

Some of the activities that opened in prior Phases were:

  • The beaches were opened for swimming.
  • The piazza style dining mentioned above opened last weekend.

And major league sports will be returning beginning July 22 – 23 with the return of Major League Baseball – but it won’t be live – but rather on TV.  The NBA has also resumed practice for the end of season play planned to begin at the end of July / early August. The NHL begins practice on July 13th with 16 of its 31 franchise teams playing eight best of five series to compete for the Stanley Cup.  The season resumes August 1st.  And the NFL has shortened preseason play to two games [down from four] in August and continues to maintain its September 7th season start date.

CoVid Reminders & Update

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysIt seems the scientists are beginning to zero in on how the virus is transmitted.  Originally it was thought to be spread via surfaces and air droplets, with no weight given to either method of transmission.  It now seems that the air droplets may be the most prevalent method of transmission, which is why the mask wearing has been so heavily emphasized. The significance of the role played by asymptomatic CoVid carriers has fluctuated, but seems a real risk. The same seems true for person-to-surface-to-person transmission, which also still seems not to have been assessed with any strong level of certainty. 

So my advice would be to continue practicing the three W’s: 1) Wash [your hands], 2) Wear [your mask] and 3) Watch [your distance].  When it comes to your health – better safe than dead.

Vaccine and therapies hype or reality?  Talk is cheap.  We’ll see when the science comes in.  And then we’ll really see, a few weeks / months after they distribute these therapies to large segments of the population.  We all wish for a workable vaccine and / or remedial therapies very soon.  But as my father used to caution me, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

The Mail In Vote – Sure Fire Recipe for Disaster in November?

So here we are – nearly three weeks after the June 23rd NYS primary election – and still no definitive results in a number of races because the mail in votes have not yet been tabulated.  This is a disgrace and what seems a sure fire recipe for chaos come November.  It’s worth noting that Politico did a study of the 2018 mail in votes which showed that 8% of them weren’t counted for various reasons.  I voted by mail in the primary in 2018 and my mailed in ballot was thrown out because I forgot to sign the envelope.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysWithin the past three weeks the Supreme Court has shot down two separate efforts by Democrats to require the state governments in Texas and Alabama to provide all voters with mail in ballots. 

In Washington State where mail in ballots are the method used, the system was implemented piece meal beginning in 1983 [and even before].  The method was authorized at the state level in 2005, allowing the counties to decide how best to manage the elections.  And in 2011 it was mandated state wide.  The Washington [state] Secretary of State said there isn’t nearly enough time nor budget money for states considering the change to properly implement it by the November 2020 election.

In the long haul, however, it does seem to have significant advantages as a pandemic wouldn’t affect voting, it has a solid paper trail, polls and poll workers become a thing of the past – but it requires skilled personnel and processing equipment to properly collect and tabulate the ballots.  It would seem that NYS didn’t tend to those ‘details’ and thus – here we are nearly three weeks after voting – without knowing definitively who won and who lost most of the contests on the ballot.

Retail Bankruptcies & Layoffs & Fairway Stores Closings / Sale

The CoVid pandemic has been something of a bloodbath for traditional retailers.  This month Bed Bath and Beyond announced that it’s shuttering about 20% of its 950 stores.  And this past week on Wednesday, July 8, Brooks Brothers which was founded in 1818 announced it may be laying off about 780 employees while closing about 50 of its 250 stores in North America [includes Canada and Mexico] close three factories - one of which is located in Queens. This follows our previous report, that on June 25th Macy’s announced staff reductions of 3900 people to save about $630 million.  And in May retailers - JC Penney, Nieman Marcus, J. Crew and Pier 1 - all declared bankruptcy.

And at the hyper local level [even more than Macy’s] Fairway had announced on June 26th that it was closing three stores in / near NYC including its Red Hook  Brooklyn store [previously reported], its store at 125th Street in Harlem store,  and its Plainview Long Island store as well as its NYC corporate headquarters and distribution center affecting as many as 2,412 employees. The brand and five of its NYC stores were purchased by the operator of Shop Rite: Village Super Market.

Tale of Two Economies – Tech Laden NASDAQ & Dow(n) Jones ‘Industrials’

Those adept at online sales, however, have been faring far better.  Amazon is up about 66% from the beginning of the pandemic, while Best Buy is trading at about the same as it was before the pandemic.  And Apple Computer is up about 20% versus its pre-pandemic level.

The stock market indices have followed suit.  Australian born billionaire elitest Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 14% from the pre-pandemic level, while the NASDAQ is up about 9% versus its pre-pandemic level.  That’s 25% difference in returns between the aging old Dow[ager] and the Nasdaq.

More Layoffs in the Works – The Airlines & Transportation

A July 6th report on CNBC noted that air travel in early July [including the 4th holiday weekend] was up 90% vs June – but that is still down 70% vs year ago.  As such United Airlines announced plans to layoff 36,000 employees by October 1st, which is about 45% of its frontline workforce.  American Airlines announced plans to layoff as much as 30% [39,000] of its 130,000 workforceDelta, one of the big three, is also working on staff reductions, but I couldn’t find anything definitive.  Their staff was reported to be about 91,000.  Airline demand is expected to be down about 75% vs year ago in the third quarter 2020 and – according to one report - not expected to recover until 2023.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThis affects the NYC economy as we are the destination of at least three major airports [LaGuardia, JFK and Newark], and many people who live here, work in the airline transportation industry – not to mention the airports which service airline travel.

It seems the Donald & Mitch McConnell have pissed away $25 billion of America’s children’s money [loans taken out on their backs], which they gave to the airline industry in what seemed an effort to save their re-election bids, more than having anything to do with anything else.  A July 2, 2020 Motley Fool report noted that just under a third of the $25 billion is expected to be paid back. In contrast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel negotiated for the government to take an equity stake in the German airline Lufthansa, in exchange for the bailout.

Amtrak is planning to cut its workforce by 20% or 3,700 employees out of its 18,000 employees.  Ridership at the height of the pandemic was down about 95% and it’s not expected to come back soon, as they estimate they will have about 50% of traffic [they had in 2019] in the coming fiscal year which begins October 1, 2020.

More Layoffs in the Works – Restaurants & Hotels

National chain restaurants are also closing enmasseSubway, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Boston Market, Applebee’s and TGI Fridays, Perkins, Cosi, Friendlys, Taco Bell and Benihani are all planning multiple closings. Most of these chains have outlets in NYC or surrounding NYS suburbs, but that said, it’s difficult to assess the potential impact in NYC and NYS.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysA June 23, 2020 Real Deal report noted that the American Hotel and Lodging Association said that at the end of March 2020 some 200,000 of the half million people working in the NYS hotel industry were [expected to be] losing their jobs. Nationally the comparable figure was four million.  They also said a CBRE report noted that April hotel employment was at 28% of pre-pandemic levels, while in June it had risen to 40%. They also said that hotels were filing notice of more layoffs.

The reason, of course, is that the resumption of the hotel business to pre-pandemic levels isn’t likely anytime soon.  In recent years NYC has generally welcomed over 60 million visitors annually.  And as I walk the streets, I can see that even many NYC natives who fled the pandemic for their second homes, have not yet returned to the city – let alone tourists. As mentioned in a prior report [June 29, 2020] the European Union kept the pandemic restrictions on U.S. travelers because of how poorly we’re faring in managing the spread of CoVid at the NATIONAL LEVEL.

More Layoffs in the Works – Banks, Financial Services & Real Estate

The next shoe to drop is in the financial services sector as Wells Fargo is eyeing layoffs, as is Deutche Bank and HSBC.  Since the pandemic slowdown began, many borrowers are using more of their credit lines, business activity has slowed for many and won’t likely bounce back soon, and the real estate sector / landowners are sitting on tons of unpaid rent. 

So this could be the beginning of a financial services adjustment, as bricks and mortar retail banking begins to go the way of a lot of other bricks and mortar businesses.  All seeming to advance a worsening outlook for commercial real estate [restaurants / hotels / retailers / retail banks / telecommuting office workers and so on].

More Layoffs in the Works – Municipal and State Government?

And lastly, there are government related layoffs which could occur at the municipal and state levels given the billions of dollars in tax revenue shortfall.  Mayor de Blasio has managed to find ways to manage through the estimated $9 billion revenue shortfall this year, including using his rainy day fund [now people may see that he was wise to do so], but we’re not out of the woods yet, as up to 22,000 in NYC municipal employee layoffs may be needed by October 1st. 

Meanwhile NYS faces a $10 - $15 billion shortfall.  Governor Cuomo has already begun withholding state funds from counties and municipalities in order to make up the shortfall.  And the state also employs 80,000 people, for whom the Governor froze pay raises in anticipation of the financial crunch. But there's likely more to come on this front.

Reminder – Taxes Due July 15th

The time has run out for those who have not yet filed their taxes.  On Wednesday, July 15th taxes are due.

Have a relaxing weekend.  Stay warm? And stay dry : )



Video of July 4th Fireworks From NYC Streets

This Year the Macy's July 4th Fireworks were Launched from Numerous Sites including the Empire State Bldg

July 7, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Here's a video of the Fireworks, which includes some street activity and commentary & music. Click the box in the lower right corner to max it up to the full screen for best view. Hit the escape key (esc) to exit the full screen view.

Have a good week. Enjoy.



July 4th Weekend NYC: The New Normal is About Adjustment & Simplicity

The NYC Budget, NYC Events, the Economy & CoVid Update

July 2, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

George Floyd Protests, the NYPD and other NYC Budget Cuts

nyc budget cuts nyc things to do manhattan bronx brooklyn staten island queens piazza style dining nyc misleading unemployment statistics bls phony fiscal conservatives & unemployment numbers

The George Floyd protests seem to have abated, over a month after his death.  The new NYC budget does cut about a billion from the NYPD budget by reducing the staff from 36,000 to 34,000 employees, cancelling the most current class of new cadets, and reallocating school security to the Department of Education and homeless engagement to social services units. About 5,000 people work in the school security program and that will be transferred over a period of time to make sure it works properly.  Another$160 million was allocated to summer youth programs [$115 million], as well as to address food insecurity [$33 million] and housing [$8 million]

The overnight Staten Island Ferry service was also cut for the time being.  That affects about 4,250 riders per night based on 2019 statistics.  Other cuts included in the NYC budget include an $800 million cut for schools, a 5% - 7% cut to all departments, some labor savings [$1 billion].  The labor savings could result in NYC layoffs in the Fall if other solutions aren’t found.  The cuts were due to a mix of actual and expected NYC revenue shortfall of about $8 – $9 billion.  City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal of the Upper West Side tells us that about $4 billion of the shortfall will be made up by the Mayor’s rainy day fund, which de Blasio had prudently set aside to address unexpected events.

The Mayor also announced that NYC public schools would be reopening in the Fall.  He said he was working with the unions to implement safe plans which would include social distancing measures which would possibly take larger classes online, stagger schedules to fill the school with fewer students at any given time, implement cleaning efforts and staggered lunchtimes.  The Governor noted that ultimately it’s his call on school reopenings.  Nonetheless, the Mayor said that NYC was working to submit a plan by late July / early August.

NYC Moving to Phase III Monday but Indoor Dining on Hold

Because of the upturn in CoVid infections in other states as noted below, the Governor and Mayor have put indoor dining in NYC on hold.  Nonetheless, the rest of Phase III will continue as planned on Monday, July 6th. Phase III also includes the opening of personal care businesses such as tanning, waxing & nail salons and spas.

 

Piazza Style Dining to come to 22 Streets in all Five Boroughs

nyc budget cuts nyc things to do manhattan bronx brooklyn staten island queens piazza style dining nyc misleading unemployment statistics bls phony fiscal conservatives & unemployment numbers

The Mayor announced efforts to mitigate the impact of the delay of the opening of restaurants indoor areas by further opening the streets to restaurateurs over the weekends beginning Friday evenings  -  in what was described as piazza style dining.  Expanded dining areas are planned for 22 streets around all five boroughs in the city including Restaurant Row in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, Mulberry Street in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan, and streets in Chinatown at Doyers Street, the East Village at Broome and Orchard Street, Harlem at 101st Street and Lexington, Gansevoort & 13th in the West Village, Broadway and 25th in the Flatiron District.

In the outer boroughs there’s Arthur Avenue in the Little Italy / Belmont neighborhood of Bronx [7/10], New Dorp at Hylan Blvd in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island, Bell Blvd in the Bayside neighborhood of Queens, and in Brooklyn a number of streets in DUMBO between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge near the water in Brooklyn, 5th Avenue in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, at Reed Street and Van Brunt near the Fairway in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn.  And speaking of Fairway – they’re planning to close three stores as a result of the pandemic including the one in Red Hook, another in Harlem and one on Long Island.

In Phase II NYC had started to clear the way for restaurants to occupy the curbside parking spaces in front of their dining / drinking establishments to allow the serving patrons outdoors.  This appears to have worked well, with – thus far – no attendant substantive increase in CoVid cases.  This is even though many to most of the folks I see dining and drinking outside aren’t wearing masks.  This is understandable as it’s hard to eat and drink with a mask on, as I tried it a week ago and didn’t like it.

But for the people who are most susceptible to severe illness - and even death - due to CoVid, they are advised to continue to exercise caution, even in the outdoor dining and drinking setting, as the consequences for them are too severe to take the risk.



July 4th Week - NYC Events & Happenings

City Restaurants Turned Inside Out, NYC NYPD Protests Continue, Broadway Cancels Fall Season, Major League Sports Update, Elections Results Still Unknown with Lessons for the Fall &  July 4th Fireworks Begin

nypd protests george floyd protests rupert murdoch fascist ny police union NYPBA Pat Lynch president nyc broadway carnegie cancellations disney / abc propaganda rupert murdoch fascist

June 29, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

NYC entered Phase II of its economic reopening a week ago.  As part of that phase, restaurants were allowed to serve customers on the sidewalks in front of their establishments.  Over the past week or so, more and more people have returned to enjoying a restaurant meal in a social milieu.  Now when I’m returning home around or after dinner time I feel as if I’m walking right through the center of several restaurants.

 

Restaurants Turned Inside Out

It’s kind of interesting, because I get to see the entire clientele without having to enter the restaurant and I can also see what the food looks like.  I reckon the downside is that while it seems generally the customers have masks which I see lying on the tables, they take them off or pull them down while there.  This makes sense as eating and drinking with the mask on is not feasible.  The downside is that while I used to walk around the neighborhood without wearing the mask [it’s ok out of doors when distancing  six feet ], I’ve started wearing my mask out of doors while I’m walking through these restaurant seating areas ... just to be safe.  The photo above was taken in Sunnyside Queens this week.

Phase III is expected to begin next week, and on Wednesday the Governor and Mayor will announce whether or not restaurants will be allowed to serve customers inside.  There's reluctance to do so, as it is believed that the in house social interactions are one of the leading contributors to others states now seeing a surge in CoVid cases. 



Week & Weekend Update of Events in NYC

Planned Openings & Fireworks, Phase II & III Economic Reopening,  Life in the City & Primary Election Results Remain Open Due to Large Mail in Vote

nyc phase II & III reopenings nyc planned cultural reopenings nyc july 4th macy's fireworks cancellations manhattan bronx brooklyn staten island queens economic fallout of CoVid pandemic nyc

June 26, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

On Monday NYC entered Phase II of the economic reopening, which among other things included curbside restaurant service, limited office openings and limited capacity retail.  That put a lot of people back to work and seemed to give the city more of a normal feel.  The Mayor quipped that it was the first time in a while that he got caught in a traffic jam.

 

NYC Plans Move to Phase III on 7/6/20

Assuming New Yorkers maintain their CoVid protocol vigilance, we’ll be moving to Phase III on Monday, July 6th.  This includes the reopening of Personal Care services such as nail salons, gyms, as well as limited capacity in restaurant dining.

A Word of Caution - CoVid Resurgences in Reopened States

But it’s worth making a note of caution, as other states – such as Texas, Florida, California and Arizona which beat us to the punch in reopening their economies – have sparked a huge resurgence of new CoVid infections.  Texas, Florida and Arizona have put their economic re-openings on hold. Florida beat its previous high rate of CoVid infections on Thursday, nearly reaching 9,000 new infections in a single day. And an increasing share [about half] of these infections have been found in people between the ages of 25 – 45.



NYS Primary Elections Today

The Presidential  and Congressional Primaries are Today

nyc poll site locator queens poll site locator manhattan polls locations

June 23, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. 

The long delayed NYS primary election is today.  On the ballot is the presidential primary featuring Joe Biden and I believe others - but the others have suspended their campaigns and Joe Biden has already won enough electoral votes to secure the nomination.  So in the presidential primary you can strengthen Biden's hand by casting your vote for him, or strenghten someone else's hand in influencing the Democratic platform that Joe will run on.

There are also a number of congressional races which I'll have more on by or before 12 noon today.  See Manhattan Buzz, Queens Buzz, Bronx Buzz, Staten Buzz and Brooklyn BLVD for details. 

Click the link for the poll finder website, so you can easily find where to vote in your neighborhood.  Remember this is the land of the free and the home of the brave and many of our ancestors died for our right to vote.  So try to be brave, but also be careful.

The New York City election is Tuesday June 23rd and polls are open from 6 am - 9 pm.



NYC Life: Juneteenth, Summer Begins, Fathers Day, NYC Phase II, Atlanta Shooting & Election

The NYC Boroughs Showing Increasing Signs of Economic Life, but …

June 19, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

nyc phase II reopening things to do nyc nys primary election economy manhattan bronx brooklyn staten island queens economy nyc tucker carlson fox racism nyc

The Mayor announced we’re moving to Phase II of the economic reopening beginning Monday. According to a missive by Councilmember Van Bramer, Phase II means that restaurants can resume serving people on sidewalks, at curbside, in opens streets and plazas and in backyard seating – but they need permits which may be obtained at nyc.gov and he notes that restaurateurs do not need to apply separately for the liquor permit.

Retailers can now serve people in their shops by limiting capacity, while following mask, [barrier?] and cleaning protocols.  The same is true for hair salons and barber shops. And realtors and auto dealers can resume working with clients, as can commercial building operations and offices on a case by case basis.

The photo at right was taken near Borough Hall in Brooklyn earlier this month.

 

On June 19, 1865 the Last Texas Slaves Were Freed

Juneteenth Celebrates the End of Slavery in the U.S.

Juneteenth is the date when the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas and informed all of the slaves there, that they were freeAbraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1, 1863 – but rumor has it that word didn’t reach Texas slaves until two and a half years later.

On Wednesday, June 17th, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order making today a holiday for NYS employees.  There are also a number of marches and rallies to celebrate Juneteenth in all five boroughs, most beginning between 12 noon and 4 pm, which you can find by doing a search for ‘juneteenth nyc’.



Where We At?

These Certainly are Crazy Times & this is a Brief Update

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nys

June 15, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

In mid March we slammed up against a CoVid pandemic and NYS Paused in order to thwart the rapid spread of the sometimes deadly disease.  Then, after we appeared to slow the virus spread, and we were slowly re-opening economic activity - a new crisis of conscience and societal awakening - was layered atop the pandemic. 

The social outrage, at what appears to be the murder of a man at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman, sparked protests across the nation and around New York City at what appears to be unnecessary municipal police violence and brutality targeting racial minorities, acted upon by a few members of the police forces around the nation.

We have covered both of these stories in prior reports and what follows is a bit of a catch up of the past couple of weeks and look forward into the next couple of weeks.

CoVid Science Update

A number of reports have provided updates into the nature of the Corona Virus.  These include what impact wearing the masks has, how the disease spreads via air and via surfaces, and the contagiousness of asymptomatic CoVid carriers on the general population.  I think it’s important to remind folks that we’re not even a year into the spread of the sometimes deadly disease, so look at all of what follows as still being somewhat preliminary.

CoVid Science Update – Wearing Masks

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nys

The wearing of the masks does appear to help, but it is most helpful in containing the spread by limiting the airborne virus by infected carriers.  Defensively it also appears to help, but substantially less so, if you’re in close quarters with an infected person.  According to a May 17, 2020 report in the South China Morning Post a study using hampsters,

“… found the rate of non-contact transmission – in which the virus was transmitted via respiratory droplets or airborne particles – dropped by as much as 75 per cent when masks were present.”

The study was done in a room, which is important to note because out of doors, this same study has not been replicated.  So wearing masks appears generally good.  But it’s important to point out that the reason it’s good goes back to the original WHO [World Health Organization] and CDC [Center for Disease Control] guidance, which is that it is most effective in containing the spread by an infected carrier.  Wearing masks has been found to be less effective in preventing the spread if the carrier is not wearing a mask even if the potentially infected is.



George Floyd Protest Cinematography, Music & Narrative

June 12, 2020 / NYC NeighborhoodsNYC Social Issues & Crime / News Analysis & Opinion /  Gotham Buzz NYC.

The video below is an interpretive depiction of a protest event in McCarren Park early last week. The piece is  meant to be savored - like food, music and cinematography.





George Floyd & Pink Floyd

Trying to Make Sense in a Senseless World

May 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

george floyd protests brooklyn nyc police protests brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens george floyd protests brooklyn nypd police protests bk nycI watched the George Floyd protests unfold on the nightly TV newscasts for a couple of days before venturing out myself to see what I might learn. The protests began on Friday, May 29th in NYC, following the death of George Floyd, an African American who was asphyxiated, apparently due to a Minneapolis policeman holding a knee over George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes which was caught on video.

TV News Appears to Sensationalize More than Inform 

On Saturday night Fox News ran and reran the same footage multiple times of a car burning, seeming to hype and sensationalize the footage into a full blown ‘riot’. The a lot of the Fox footage was taken from the air, in a helicopter which they lease (reportedly) for millions annually, which again repeatedly showed video of the crowd below, which appeared to be mostly our men in blue. So given little good video, they talked about groups dallying into the police and back again – but really didn’t seem to have any video to support their claims. The next day Mayor de Blasio reported that there were no deaths and no serious injuries to members of the NYPD or the crowd. But there was some looting.

An NBC news account made the situation seem far more chaotic than it was by shaking the camera, providing the appearance of chaos. And so on.

More Photos & Video Coming Wednesday

Covering the George Floyd Protests in NYC from the Ground - Not from a Cushy Corporate Media Chopper   

The ‘crisis’ seemed to be more manufactured by the TV news, than by what was actually happening on the streets, which is why I decided I needed to cover this myself. Second hand TV news seems increasingly like garbage news, but before I could make such a claim, I had to see for myself.

Having grown up in a newspaper family, I’ve been watching the news and presentation of it all of my life, beginning with the Kennedy assassination, which my father made all of us watch as he said it was history in the making. Back then the news was owned by dozens, if not hundreds of independent newspapermen and broadcasters, so like social media, there was a variety of news presentations and you could pick from them.

Today large multi-billion dollar corporations control most of the news we see, and it seems their focus is largely centered around profit driven ratings instead of a fair and balanced presentation of the news. This is why they seem to hype, sensationalize and distort Americans’ perceived reality in order to keep them glued to the tube. And the hyping and sensationalizing is not getting better – it’s getting worse.

No longer can you turn on the TV to be informed, but rather to be scared, angered and far too often – to become disinformed.



Unemployment Rises to 40 Million, Trump Fires FIVE Inspectors General Overseeing his Handling of the Largest Stimulus Bill in History & Life on the Ground in NYC

May 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.


covid economy nyc life on the ground during covid brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid outbreak nyc life on the ground econ covid nyc

If things appear to be chaotic these days, that’s because they are.

America First - #1 in CoVid & Record Breaking Unemployment

Since the CoVid Pandemic began, new unemployment claims have risen by 40 million in the nation.  That’s out of an estimated American workforce of 158 million – meaning that 25% of Americans have lost their jobs since the pandemic began. 

The April unemployment was reported at nearly 15%, while the May unemployment report is expected to rise to in the neighborhood of 20% - 23%.  And according to the Federal Reserve, the  June numbers could come in a bit worse than May.  As a point of reference, during the worst days of the Depression, unemployment came in just under 25% before the American people fired Herbert Hoover.

 

Trump’s Litany of Distractions, Enabled by Network TV Boobcasts

But the Donald isn’t talking about the pain Americans are suffering from the pandemic, where over 1.7 million have been infected and over 100,000 have died.  Nor is he talking about the pain and anxiety that is being felt by the 40 million Americans who have lost their jobs.

Nor is he willing to talk about the firings of five Inspector Generals who had been charged with overseeing the integrity of the largest stimulus package in American history – funded by America’s babies and unborn children.  It’s like taking candy from a baby, only this time it’s money – and lots of it. 

The five Inspector Generals include one from  Health & Human Services, Department of Defense, State Department, Intelligence Community and the Department of Transportation.  Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Goebbels-like  propaganda machine - including his Fox News, Wall St Journal and NY Post appeared to support the firings. I wonder what Rupert's share of the predatory propaganda plunder is?         

So what is the Donald talking about, repeated nightly on the TV News broadcasts, who I’ve come to view as the great enablers, and now think of as the nightly news boobcasts ?  Anything else. 

This week the list of TV News amplified Trump outrages included: 1) Twitter exercising its freedom of speech by putting suggestions that Trump Twitter followers get off their lazy bums to click into fair and balanced information checks of the Donald’s disinformational tweets.  2) Prior to that Trump attacked the Governor of North Carolinafor following the CDC guidelines vis a vis reopening the economy.  The reason?  The Donald appears to want a jam packed media extravaganza at the Republican National Convention that was scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina in August.  3) Another of the shock jock president's distractions was his insinuation  that mail ballots are fraudulent – WHICH MIGHT COME TRUE IN November as Trump is replacing the outgoing Postmaster General with a Trump donor / businessman from North Carolina.    4) And the most incredulous of the distractions was Trump’s allegations having to do with MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough and a decade(s) old death of someone who worked for him.



CoVid Vaccine Update, Gauging Timeline for Return to the New Normal,   Economic Snapshot  & ...  

May 25, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

covid vaccines economic recovery nyc life on the ground nyc during covid pandemic in brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid outbreak nyc life in nyc during covid pandemic nyc

Memorial Day was a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures into the 70’s, and dry. Given the month of May is nearly over, I thought I’d do a recap of what has transpired during the month to gauge how far we’ve come and how far we have to go to return to the new normal.

Let’s start with a quick update on the CoVid virus itself. As we entered the month of May, new CoVid hospitalizations were running about 800 per day. As of Governor Cuomo’s last few reports, the number of new hospitalizations is running at between 200 – 300 per day. The net daily intubations have been running negative [meaning more people coming off than going on] for most of the last couple of months ranging from close to zero [meaning folks coming off intubations were about equal to those going on] to nearly 150 more coming off than going on.

As we exited April, NYC and NYS were closing the popup hospitals located primarily around the city, as the existing facilities were moving into a position where they were able to handle the sick patients entering the healthcare system. Overall both NYC and NYS have freed up a considerable amount of hospital and respirator capacity, so that most parts of the state will be economically open in the Phase I stage by this coming week – with the exception being NYC. NYC has met six of the seven metrics required to enter Phase I of the reopening of the economy.  The seventh metric is to free up enough hospital capacity [30% available capacity is the target] in order to reopen safely, according to the guidelines outlined by NYS Governor Cuomo.       

It’s important to remind folks that NYC, with a population of about 8.5 million, represents nearly half of the approximately 19.5 million population of NYS – and that we’re far more densely packed into a far smaller space than likely anywhere else in the nation. I mention this to help folks understand that we, in NYC, have the highest hurdle to transcend to move toward the new normal. But that said both the Mayor and the Governor believe that if the trends continue, NYC should be in a position to move into Phase I sometime within the first two weeks of June.

Phase I allows for construction, manufacturing and curbside retail to resume.

In prior reports we’ve identified the people most at risk of dying from the disease should they contract it. These folks still need to tread cautiously, as well as the folks who surround them, as no cure is in sight – regardless of what you may hear on the ratings-driven TV news or from a flailing president who oftentimes seems more concerned about the impact of the virus on his re-election chances, than on Americans’ health.

Scientists and pharmaceutical organizations around the world on working on numerous different therapies which may help speed recoveries. There are eight new vaccines that are in some stage of clinical trials, and a reported 110 vaccines in the works. The eight in clinical trials are only in the early stages of clinical trials, which are used to determine the efficacy and safety profile of a drug.



Governor Cuomo to End NY Pause on 5/15 but ...

NYS Regions Must Meet Guidelines to Re-Open & While Some NYS Regions Qualify - We in NYC are Not Yet There

May 11, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAs of May 15th the NY Pause program put in place by Governor Cuomo in mid March will come to an end. NY Pause was essentially a state-wide lockdown of residents and businesses deemed ‘non-essential’. We’ll have been in lockdown for two months.

NYS Regions Must Meet the Following Guidelines Prior to Re-Opening

But once the statewide lockdown ends on Friday, regional / municipal lockdowns will continue until such time as each region meets seven guidelines outlined by the Governor. The seven metrics that a region must meet are a two week decline in: 1) total hospitalizations, 2) new hospitalizations, 3) hospitalized deaths, and must have a 30% available share of 4) hospitalized beds and 5) Intensive Care Unit beds, and must have testing capacity / implementation of 6) 30 people per thousand monthly, and 7) 30 contact tracers per thousand in alignment with being able to follow up on potentially infected people.



CoVid Back to Work NYC – Part III

Mayor & Governor Attempt a Balancing Act Worthy of the Flying Wallendas

nyc life on the ground during covid pandemic timeline brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid outbreak nyc life on the ground during covid pandemic in nycMay 3, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Well, at least we had a pleasant weather weekend. People were out and about again in greater droves than they have been in about a month and a half. It was just nice to stretch one’s legs, soak in a bit of sunshine and see people again … albeit at a social distance.

Looking ahead the Mayor and Governor are in a tight spot, as people’s economic needs begin to weigh heavily upon them, given a second month of rent and other payments have come due. Thus these two intrepid leaders need to work out a path to economic recovery, while not letting up on keeping the evil CoVid virus in check. My intent here is to add my two cents in hopes of stimulating dialogue and actions in that direction.

Putting Things In Perspective

Let’s start with what has happened this past week. NYS CoVid Hospitalizations had skyrocketed to about 19,000 the week of April 13th, 2020. By this past weekend they had fallen to about 10,000 – nearly half of the peak.

At the time the Governor and Mayor, with federal government assistance, had put in place plans to accommodate the skyrocketing infected numbers, which as of April 13th had hit 195,000 people in New York State and about 107,000 in New York City. Today the cumulative totals for New York State are 318,000 and for New York City 177,000.

Brief History Of How Covid 19 Started In NYC & NYS

The first person identified with the CoVid virus, was a Manhattan healthcare worker who had picked it up overseas. She tested positive or it became publicly known on March 1st, 2020. A week and a half later, on March 10, 2020, Governor Cuomo set up a containment area in New Rochelle where there was a significant outbreak. The Governor’s NY Pause – essentially shutting down non-essential business – began evolving shortly thereafter.



Many NYC Farmers Markets are Open

Farmers Markets are Essential Businesses, Provide Fresh Food & a Nice Outing

manhattan farmers markets manhattan green markets manhattan nycMay 1, 2020 / NYC Shopping / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Last weekend, on Saturday, I ventured out to enjoy the beautiful weather. I was not alone, as for the first time in a month and a half there were a number of people moving about the neighborhood.

I headed down to the farmers market to see what that looked like under the new normal. The food looked fresh, and there was plenty of it - although this was in mid morning.

The experience wasn't much different than what you'd expect. People wore face masks and there were lines created by social distancing. I was glad to see that farmers markets are essential businesses, as it augments a strained food supply chain, and provides folks with an opportunity to get out of the house in about as safe an environment as you can get. Here's a link to the dates, times, locations and selection of the 2020 Queens farmers markets, Staten Island Farmers Markets, Brooklyn Farmers Markets, Manhattan Farmers Markets and Bronx Farmers Markets.

I can't say people were smiling, not just because their faces were covered by masks, but there's been a gradual mood deterioration as we pass the second rent due date of the CoVid pandemic. Many people aren't standing in the farmers market social distancing line, but rather standing in food pantry lines. And for many, their economic fates are up for grabs, as we collectively try to navigate our way back to work. Many believe that economic activity is likely to be dampened by the CoVid pandemic for some time to come.

On the bright side, the Governor and the Mayor announced plans to begin daily sanitization of the MTA subway system beginning Wednesday, May 6th. The plan is to close the terminal stations of the subway lines from 1 am to 5 am, daily - providing shuttle buses to and from the last stop for passengers. And then, in those four wee hours of the morning, the NYPD and NYC social services will swoop into clear out the homeless population that has started making the subway their new home. It seems a good and humane plan.

Sanitizing the subway lines should go a long way toward preparing us to get back to the new normal by helping to dampen - if not eradicate - the transmission of the CoVid virus. This collaborative effort by both the Mayor and the Governor will help all of us to get back to work and play. So things are moving in the right direction, albeit not at a viral pace.

Have a nice weekend. The weather is going to be in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. And no rain, but some clouds.



Through Wind, Snow, Rain, Sleet & CoVid - Education Goes On

Or … the Wild and Whacky World of Online Learning in the Age of CoVid

covid online learning nyc schools during covid brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid outbreak nyc public private education nyc during covid pandemic spring 2020 nycApril 27, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As we anxiously await the return to the new normal, being bombarded by repetitious daily TV newscasts, the Donald’s Daily Disinformation Show, and what seems Rupert Murdoch’s unending propaganda in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox News, there are a few bright spots, but you have to look for them.

I thought the migration from school classrooms might be one of them, so I set out to find out what that experience felt like to both educators and students at the elementary, high school and college levels. As I interviewed only two students and two teachers, this is an anecdotal report about the migration from classroom to computer.

The mass migration began the week beginning March 9th, 2020. College students around the nation, including the CUNY and SUNY systems, were told their classes were being discontinued and they were instructed to pack their things and return home. By the start of the next week, beginning March 16th, NYC public elementary and high schools were also closed. Private schools more or less closed their doors in tandem with the public schools.

During that week of disbandment, the world of education began a mad scramble to figure out how to continue the education process – without classrooms, schools and interpersonal contact. This was not a mean feat.

Nonetheless, educators scrambled, ramped up to speed using interactive platforms like Zoom and Google Hang Out, which includes Google Meet & Chat, and Google Docs. The educators also started figuring out how replace lectures and moderated classroom discussions by using videos and presentations / documents.

Based on the four interviews I conducted, it seems there wasn’t any one formula used, but rather a whole slew of different approaches. Teachers used more different approaches to online learning – depending not just on the subject matter - but also on the audience aka the class.

College Professor’s Experience Migrating Online

covid online learning nyc schools during covid brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid outbreak nyc public private education nyc during covid pandemic spring 2020 nycThomas Bolin is a religious studies professor at a small liberal arts college. He teaches three classes – one is about American Evangelicalism, which examines the changing face of religion in America. He teaches two classes of Ancient Wisdom, which examines Biblical, Roman and Egyptian philosophies. This course ends with each student creating their own personal philosophy.

Professor Bolin said he started by taking a technology inventory of his students including computer and internet access. The real technological issue wasn’t access to devices as nearly everyone has a smart phone and computer but rather access to internet with enough bandwidth at the times needed.

After he’d completed the technology inventory, he set out devising a teaching game plan. To that end he began developing videos, which he posted so that the students could access asynchronously – meaning on their timeframe. His reasoning was that as some of his students lived in different time zones, and some had issues accessing high speed internet at home because of shared bandwidth and devices, this would enable all to keep pace with their classroom peers.

He said he receives a slew of student emails after each video post, which he answers personally. He said he also checks in with each of his students at least once per week.

Professor Bolin also said that he began creating reading guides for many of the assigned readings to initiate interaction, circular discussions and he paired student to interact.

I asked him if he was working more or less these days. He said more … that the five day week had become a continuous stream of seven day weeks … that work filling his days has become like gas filling a room.

He noted that it’s far more difficult to tell how plugged in each student is to the subject matter. He said that it was likely for that reason that Princeton went to Pass / Fail when they initiated the migration from in class to online. He opined that in spite of the additional work he’s had to do, the students were likely getting a reduced educational experience. And hence, he reasoned, the pass / fail is a means of acknowledging the reduced expectations.

I’m paraphrasing but he said something like, “Education is learning about and through community, interpersonal interactions, which ultimately lead to growth. That’s not something that can be well replicated online.”



CoVid Crisis – Back to Work Part II

Jury Rigging / Do It Yourself Methods to Get Back to Work

covid disease characteristics spread nyc brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid disease mitigation spread characteristics covid nycApril 24, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

NY Pause Continues Through May 15th Pending an Update

First a couple of announcements were made the past couple of weeks which hint at when we will begin returning to the new normal. With hospitalizations declining / stabilizing and intubations and new positives declining, Governor Cuomo extended NY Pause to May 15th, which keeps open essential businesses, but closes the non-essential businesses until such time as there’s enough slack in the healthcare system / hospitals to accommodate any sort of resurgence in Corona Virus patients that may occur as a result of the re-opening.

Governor Cuomo told the Donald NYC and NYS wouldn't need the USNS Comfort any longer, as the emergency crisis has subsided. As noted in an earlier report, the build out at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was put on hold, pending a more definitive direction in the CoVid hospitalization numbers. The photo above shows a retailer temperature screening customers before they enter the store [photo credit Dantanyan].

Large Public NYC Events Cancelled thru May

Biggest Events in June Aren’t Likely to Occur & NYC Public Pools will Likely Remain Closed Through the Summer

covid disease characteristics spread nyc brooklyn manhattan bronx staten island queens covid disease mitigation spread characteristics covid nycAs mentioned previously, Mayor de Blasio seemed to think that the NYC public school system will remain closed through the end of this school year. The Mayor also said that large public gatherings won’t resume until at least June 1st, and even after, that the three largest public events in NYC in June [the Israel Parade, the Puerto Rican Parade and the Gay Pride Parade in both Manhattan and Queens] aren’t likely to take place this year - but no final decision has yet been made. Other large public events including street fairs and other parades will not take place through May and there will be an update before then about what happens beginning in June.

The Mayor also said that NYC public pools will likely not open this summer because of the challenges of keeping people socially distanced / safe from the spread of the Corona Virus. Also, the Plastic Bag ban enforcement was pushed back to May 15th some time ago. As of this report, that enforcement date still stands, but like so much related to the CoVid 19 crisis, the date could be extended further. And the special election for Queens Borough President was cancelled and will be held in tandem with the NYS primary and general election. Lastly, the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks are still planned, but like everything this Spring, is still subject to change.



Back to Work Part I: Understanding the CoVid 19 Enemy

Review SARS-CoV-2 Characteristics – Function & Contagion

covid 19 virus characteristics contagion spread mitigation containment theapies cures covid 19 pandemic 2020April 17, 2020 / / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As noted in my last report, we’ve moved from emergency management to crisis management. That is simultaneously the good news and the bad news. I expect the crisis in one form or another will be with us for some time to come. But forecasting what the future looks like is at best a precarious endeavor.

Everyone is now trying to figure out a way back to the new normal, which means living with a incurable virus in our midst, until such time as therapies, cures or vaccines are found and proven to be successful.

So what does the path forward look like?

The image at right was created by Brooklyn artist Craig Ward of bacteria he collected on the subway and made into artistic renditions.

Governor Cuomo Begins Sketching a Back to Work Plan

covid 19 virus characteristics contagion spread mitigation containment theapies cures covid 19 pandemic 2020For starters Governor Cuomo extended NY Pause through May 15th. NY Pause is the directive to close social gathering places and venues, schools and non-essential businesses. Within the past week Mayor de Blasio said the NYC Public School system would not reopen this school year.

Governor Cuomo laid out a sketch of a conceptual plan, which likely came from one of the consultant groups, as it looked a lot like the growth share matrix devised by Boston Consulting Group. The growth share matrix was designed for companies to use to evaluate the businesses they are in, to determine whether to continue investing in them or to begin cashing out of them. The divisions in high growth businesses that are profitable are the ones to keep backing, while the companies in the low growth low profitability businesses are the ones to sell, close or grind out every last dollar.

Governor Cuomo’s matrix axes [plural for axis] has high and low infection rates along the y axis and more essential / less essential along the x axis. The more essential and less potential infection the quicker you’re back to work. The less essential and the higher the potential infection, the longer before you’re back to work.



Cuomo, de Blasio & YOU have been doing Great

New Yorkers Appear to Turn Corner on the Corona Virus Crisis

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 12, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I hope you had a good Easter / Passover weekend.

Based on what I observed, albeit with very limited movement and anecdotally, New Yorkers appeared to stay at home, self isolating over the holiday weekend.

This sort of compliance with government guidance is what has enabled us to stem the spread of the - at times lethal - Corona Virus. And the levelling happened none too soon, as parts of the NYC hospital system were operating at full capacity - and in some cases over capacity.

Most of the metrics for the virus have been levelling off or even going down, while the only positive metric - daily discharges - continues to rise.

We appear to be transitioning from emergency management, to crisis management, and government officials are now even beginnning to look ahead at transitioning us back to what will be the new normal.

 

NYS & NYC New CoVid 19 Cases Level - Even Show Signs of Falling

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNew CoVid 19 cases in NYS were down fairly sharply yesterday, based on the numbers presented by Governor Cuomo. But the drop may be due to weekend reporting discrepancies. In any case the number of new cases appears to have levelled off in both New York state and in New York City.

The key statistics that the Governor and the Mayor have been closely monitoring include new and net hospitalizations, new and net admissions to the Intensive Care Unit, and new and net intubations aka use of respirators. As you can see from the graphs, all have been falling. This data was collected from the Governor's daily press briefing, as well as from other media outlets such as the New York Times, on the days when the Governor didn't present all of the key metrics in his press briefing.


Riding the Rails During the CoVid Pandemic in NYC

Observations of a Blogger While Covering the CoVid Story

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 9, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I've been covering the CoVid Pandemic since it began in NYC, starting in the first half of March. At first my attention was focused on the closures by the Governor and Mayor as they began shuttering social events, social interactions and ultimately the economy.

It wasn't long before I shifted my attention to the growing numbers of people testing positive for the Corona Virus in NYC and NYS. This was followed by photographing the efforts by the NYC Mayor and the NYS Governor to build out additional healthcare capacity, to accommodate the projected growth of sick people, resulting from the spreading pandemic. They had a very limited time frame to complete this build out, before the influx of new Corona Virus patients overwhelmed the existing NYC and NYS healthcare capacity.

Most recently I've turned my attention to the economic hardships currently being borne by New Yorkers, particularly in small businesses and the folks working in essential services.

I've witnessed many people thanking the folks working in essential services - including healthcare, public transit, grocery and pharmacy outlets, and first responders - and I want to add my own thanks for all of the work they do, to keep the rest of us moving.

The photo above was taken about a week ago. A little bit of natural beauty helps keep things in perspective.

 

Reporter Travelogue - Startling Beginning With Closures

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThis is a travelogue about riding the MTA rails, along with essential workers, to do my part by providing independent first hand reports and context regarding what's happening here in NYC vis a vis the Corona Virus pandemic. Most of what I report is either not reported by the sensationalist, ratings-driven TV network news, or it's diminished in their reported accounts because it's contextual - not shocking.

The pandemic first hit my radar while I was covering a theater event at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. At that time I first heard that the Governor had started instituting surprising - and what at the time seemed draconian - measures designed to stymie the growing tide of CoVid 19 infections. In short order these actions were followed by the Mayor and it included shutting down restaurants and non-essential services.

The photo at right shows shuttered businesses along Court Avenue in Brooklyn during the NYC CoVid lockdown.

At the moment these governmental measures appear to be working, but I suspect maintaining discipline during the Passover and Easter holidays will be challenging. Afterall we have now spent over a month in communal isolation. But if people don't comply with the guidance provided by government officials, the pandemic will quickly resurge, and lengthen the time before we can all get back to the new normal. The Governor cited several examples from around the world including Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Influenza pandemic of 1918 in the U.S..


NYC Hospitals Operating at Capacity, CoVid 19 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 nysMany NYC 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.


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.


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 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 also 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 beds 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. One exception may be Mount Sinai in Astoria, Queens which today was reporting that they're handling 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 CoVid Curve Appears to be Flattening

Growth in Daily Hospitalizations & ICU Patients Appears to Slow

March 31, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS / NYC Neighborhoods / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / 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.

But the good news goes beyond that. A couple of days ago, the Governor changed what numbers he was releasing to the public.


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]

Updated March 29, 2020 from 3/27/20 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / 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 way 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.


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 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / 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].


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 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / 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

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysUnfortunately 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

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe 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.


 

***************

 

Election 2020: Which Queens Borough President Candidate?

Five Pols are on the Ballot and Three Appear in Contention

queens borough president candidates queens boro presidents race march 2020 elizabeth crowley donovan richards costa constantinides anthony miranda james quinn candidates for queens borough president

June 17, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Tuesday, June 23rd, we go to the polls to exercise our hard fought right to choose those who will represent us in the halls of power.  The majority of the people around the world have not yet won this right, and their governments don’t respect them enough to allow them a voice in the debate of public policy, let alone a seat at the table.

I attended a couple of Queens Borough President candidate forums, to try to make an assessment of the pros and cons associated with each of the candidates running for this office.  Following the debates I did a bit of research to add to my perspective.  The following is a brief synopsis of what I learned.  The photo at right was taken at a March Queens Borough President Forum - seated left to right Constantinides, Richards, Miranda and Crowley.  Yin was not in attendance.   

There are five pols who will be listed on the ballot, as former Queens Assistant District Attorney James Quinn suspended his campaign sometime around the arrival of the CoVid pandemic, which coincided with the postponement of the election.  The candidates are Dao Yin, Anthony Miranda, Donovan Richards, Elizabeth Crowley and Costa Constantinides.

Funding & Support: Who’s Really in the Running?

I started by researching their endorsements and campaign contributions.  According to a June 16, 2020 report in City & State recently shows that of the five candidates, two of them – Dao Yin and Anthony Miranda – each raised less than $100,000 in private contributionsNeither of these two candidates has held publicly elected office, and neither of them appears to have significant community / organizational support.  So votes for them may send some kind of message, but they are both long shots to win.

That leaves us with three highly competitive candidates: Donovan Richards, Elizabeth Crowley and Costa Constantinides.  Richards and Constantinides each raised close to $300,000 from private contributions, while Crowley raised nearly $500,000 in contributions. A closer look begins to hint at what kind of Queens Borough Presidents each will be.

Elizabeth Crowley - Backs Amazon Billion$ Tax Breaks 

For example Crowley has the backing of a number of construction related unions because she appears to support a real estate development agenda.  She’s been pushing for new rail lines in Queens and she was also very supportive of the proposed Amazon deal which would have given a $ billion plus in tax breaks to one of the largest corporations and one of the richest men in the world.  The deal was done behind closed doors. Crowley is also the cousin of former Queens Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley, who endorsed his cousin and likely has been advocating her candidacy with these construction unions who used to endorse him.

Donovan Richards - Backs Amazon Billion$ Tax Breaks

Donovan Richards fundraising kicked up a bit later in the game, as likely the Democratic Party Machine, which has endorsed Richards moved into action.  Richards has the backing of a number of Queens Democratic Machine allied unions.  Richards has worked with real estate developers in his district for many years, taking credit for the real estate developers doing things ‘for’ the community as they began erecting new buildings and improving the infrastructure.  Like Crowley, Richards was also supportive of the closed door, tax break laden, Amazon deal.  And like Crowley, he too appears to be a pro-development candidate.

Folks in the Jamaica neighborhood are likely in the 'sweet phase' of gentrification, when the community gets all sorts of upgrades for 'free'. But they should beware, because there's no such thing as a free lunch as the folks in western Queens found out.  After the freebies ended in western Queens, the rents skyrocketed and landlords have reportedly been making attempts to harass rent stabilized tenants out of their apartments - even though it is illegal to do so.  

Costa Constantinides - Stands up to Amazon & Developers

And then there’s Costa.  Unlike the two primary Queens Borough President candidates above, Costa’s support doesn’t come from organized groups who appear to be positioning themselves to profit from a candidacy, but rather from non-profit groups attempting to address community issues and causes, focusing their efforts on improving the opportunities and quality of life in the communities they serve.   These include groups like the National Association of Social Workers, the Stonewall Democrats [LGBTQ], the Hispanic American Voters Association, the South Asian American Voters Association, the New Queens Democrats [younger], the Muslim Entrepreneurs Association and a host of Progressive government officials around the city.

Costa wasn’t one of the leading voices opposing the Amazon deal -  but unlike the two candidates referenced above, he did oppose the deal -  which was best explained in a November 14, 2018 Democracy Now interview.  In that interview Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim accused Governor Cuomo of bypassing the legislature in order to allocate billion(s) of taxpayer funds, to a company controlled by the wealthiest man in the world. Kim went on to correctly predict that the Governor was subsidizing expansion plans that likely would have occurred with or without the subsidies. [Editor’s Note: Amazon has since made significant investments in growing its footprint in NYC, but without the billions in taxpayer funded credits and grants].

Renters vs Land Lords and Developers?

A Washington Post November 13, 2018 report [the Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos] outlined who were expected to be the winners and losers. The 'winners' would have been [western Queens] property owners and developers and highly skilled workers, while the 'losers' would have been renters, low income residents, commuters due to increased transit volume, some small businesses and rival tech companies.

Winners and losers is a competitive description of what's going on right now. Those who look out for their own interests and act to enhance or preserve them generally win - and those who don't - eventually end up losing. In the case noted above, the 'winners' actually lost and the 'losers' actually won because the would be 'losers' took swift and decisive action with the aid of local pols to thwart the behind closed doors giveaways .  Other pols who came out to fight against what seemed an unnecessary billionaire tax break included Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, NYS Assemblyman Ron Kim, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris and NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

So, on Tuesday, if you back tax breaks for billionaires and real estate developers, you may  want to vote for Donovan Richards or Elizabeth Crowley.  But if you want pols to negotiate tougher deals, you might want to cast your vote for Costa Constantinides.

nyc poll site locator queens poll site locator manhattan polls locations

As this is an oversimplification, here are links to our coverage of the Queens Borough President forum in January and the  Queens Borough President Forum in March, which will give you added insight into each of the candidates' positions.  

Click the link for the poll finder website, so you can easily find where to vote in your neighborhood.  Be brave, but also be careful.  Many of our ancestors died for our right to vote.  Remember this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The New York City election is Tuesday June 23rd and polls are open from 6 am - 9 pm.



Queens Farmers Markets / Green Markets In Queens, Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica, Forest | farmers markets green markets Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica, Glendale farmers markets green markets Queens NY fresh vegetables, produce, meats, poultry, fish, baked goods at farmers markets green markets in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Jamaica, Glendale, Queens NY
Queens Farmers Markets / Green Markets In Queens, Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Flushing, Jamaica, Forest

Queens Farmers Markets

May 7, 2020  / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz.

See HOURS, MAPS, ITEMS / SELECTION of the 18 BEST Farmers Markets / Green Markets in Queens, w/ savvy shoppers' tips. This report includes the Astoria Farmers Market, Sunnyside Farmers Market, Jackson Heights Green Market, LIC Long Island City Green Market, Flushing Farmers Market, Corona Farmers Market, Jamaica Farmers Market, Forest Hills farmers markets and in between.

Click here for dates, times, locations of the Queens Farmers Markets.



Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens | queens restaurants mother's day restaurants in queens mothers day restaurants in astoria lic sunnyside woodside jackson heights mothers day restaurants in queens nyc
Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens

Mother's Day Restaurants In Queens

Mother's Day Restaurants in Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside & Jackson Heights

May 8, 2020 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz NYC.

Mother's Day is this weekend. It's a good day to let your wife or mother or daughter know you appreciate her efforts in the most important role of her life. Flowers, gifts and brunch or dinner are always welcome, as is any thoughtful gesture that provides some measure showing your recognition of her efforts in her role as mother of some children. After all, without mothers, we would all cease to be.

Normally it's best to book a restaurant reservation for Mother's Day brunch, as on Mother's Day in Queens, many restaurants are full. So if you're thinking about eating out at a restaurant this Mother's Day in Astoria, LIC, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside or Flushing; it's best to do your research early, and call ahead to book Mother's Day restaurant reservations - BUT this year reservations, per se, are not an option. But delivery and take out are.

Mother's Day History - Restaurants In Queens

The origins of Mother's Day in the United States began with the efforts by Anna Jarvis to honor her own mother. According to Wikipedia, Anna began the campaign in 1905 - the year her mother died - and in 1910 West Virginia was the first state to adopt Mothers Day as a holiday. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Click this link to view a brief guide of Mother's Day restaurants in Queens 2020 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.

We've identified over a half dozen Queens restaurants that are doing take out / delivery on Mother's Day in Queens. Enjoy.



Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend In Queens | things to do memorial day weekend in queens ny things to do in lic astoria long island city sunnyside woodside jackson heights flushing jamaica forest hills queens ny things to do memorial day weekend
Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend In Queens

Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend in Queens

Things To Do In Queens Over The Memorial Day Weekend of 2020

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

This is a report containing things to do in Queens over the Memorial Day Weekend. 

I know Memorial Day Weekend is fully a week away, but given it's such a changed landscape due to the CoVid pandemic, I thought you might want more time to think about how you're going to spend the weekend.

Weather. As of this posting the weather forecast is as follows. The Temperature highs will be in the low to mid 70's and the temperature lows will be around 60 all three days of the long weekend. There's a 20% chance of rain all weekend. Winds will range between 5 - 10 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 50% throughout the weekend. Click for an up-to-date forecast of Queens Weekend Weather.

Normally the things to do in Queens, include art exhibitions, theater, live music, comedy, dance, shopping, outdoor activities such as soccer, kyaking, baseball, parades, street fairs, museums and dining in the Astoria, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Long Island City, LIC, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jamaica, Forest Hills, Flushing, Corona neighborhoods in Queens NY.

But this year - as you know - is very different, because we're in the beginning or middle of the CoVid pandemic. So while we'll show you a full listing of Memorial Day events, we'll note which are available this year.

Be sure to check our Memorial Day Weekend things to do post mid afternoon Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Brief History of the Memorial Day Holiday in Queens

Memorial Day first started out as Decoration Day in Waterloo, New York on May 30, 1866 - a year after the Civil War - to honor those who fought in it. In the 1880's the day came to be known as Memorial Day.

According to a May 25, 2012 report in Time Magazine, ten states - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee also officially observe some version of a Confederate Memorial Day, sometime between late April and early June [in Texas it's in January]. It's been reported that unofficially most of the former Confederate states still commemorate it, but not without some controversy as to the former Confederate diaspora it's to honor their ancestors, while to the former diaspora of the slaves it seems a remnant of these states racist past.

About ten percent of the nation travels more than 50 miles over the weekend. Memorial Day differs from Veterans Day which is held on November 11th of each year. Veterans Day began by honoring those who fought in World War I which ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Both honor those who served in the U.S. Military. Veterans Day coincides with a similar holiday in Europe for the same reason, which is called Remembrance Day and Armistice Day.

 

Memorial Day Events In Queens 2020

According to a March 27, 2020 report in Military News the U.S. Navy cancelled Fleet Week due to the CoVid pandemic. The annual celebratory week in NYC was originally scheduled to run from Wednesday, May 20 to Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Unfortunately this year attending the Memorial Day Parade in Douglaston - Little Neck that normally begins between 11 am - 12 noon, as well as the Queens street fairs in Queens NYC, don't appear to options due to the CoVid pandemic. That's not the only activity that will not be available to us, as attending Queens parades NYC, watching theater, visiting the Queens art museums NYC, and eating out at one of the Queens restaurants NYC also won't be available come Memorial Day Weekend.

But things are slowly moving in the right direction. For example you can obtain restaurant food via delivery or carry out - we posted some of the restaurants performing this service as of Mother's Day in our Mother's Day Restaurants in Queens report.

Unfortunately shopping in Queens, will also be limited to groceries, pharmacies and home improvement stores [aka essential services], but local Queens farmers markets in Queens NYC are classified as an essential service, so that provides another outing option.

You can also go bicycling around Queens so be mindful to observe the rules of the road [click link]. The 5 Boro Bike Ride 2020 was cancelled and unfortunately could not be re-scheduled, so we'll all have to wait until 2021 [hopefully].

 

So there are some things happening right here in our favorite borough - Queens. Click here to obtain information about things to do Memorial Day Weekend 2020 in Queens. This events calendar is updated monthly with about 100 different Queens fun / cultural events. Visit the front page of Queens Buzz on Friday for updates.

 

Queens Public & Private Parks & Swimming Pools

Queens has a number of New York City Parks, most of which will be open, including the restrooms which will be cleaned daily with disinfectants.

But the normal park service options aren't available during the CoVid pandemic. These include no barbeques, no team sports and both the public swimming pools and the playgrounds will remain closed. But the beaches in other boroughs will be open, although no swimming will be allowed and the beaches will only be open for limited periods - generally from 10 am - 6 pm. NYS public marinas are open for non-commercial activities.

Queens has one of the best collection of parks and golf courses in the NY Metro area, if not the best. Queens has at least 17 great parks. Click here for a listing of the Queens Parks 2020 including maps showing their locations along with a bit of park history.

 

Golfing In Queens - Currently Closed due to CoVid 19

Queens has four golf courses and NORMALLY all of them are open over the Memorial Day Weekend - but not this year [May 2020]. Click here for details about Queens Golf Courses 2020 including maps and links to the operators' websites. Brooklyn also has two golf courses, and both Staten Island and the Bronx each have three golf courses - again normally they're open over the Memorial Day Weekend - but as of this posting they'll be closed.

Click here to view the rest of our report of things to do Memorial Day Weekend in Queens. And we'll have more to add by Friday.



- farmers / mom / mem

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 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 these students parents aren't in a position to stay home with them, and many of their parents are critical to the healthcare, educational, law enforcement, fire and emergency response and transportation infrastructure.

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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