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Queens Opinions II - Op Eds On Queens Buzz

Jul 08, 2024 at 12:15 am by mikewood


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Queens OpEds / Queens Opinions - Audience Opinions Posted on Queens Buzz

queens opinions editorials on queens buzzQueens Buzz Audience Opinions. This section contains opinions of our readers.  These opinions reflect the perspective of those who authored them, not of Queens Buzz, unless stated to the contrary

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Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Say No to the City of Yes This Week - Final Public Meeting Wednesday 7/10/24

Dear New Yorkers,

Each year, the same scenario unfolds. July rolls in and you think you can take a break, slow down, chill. Carpe Diem. But not quite yet. As always, the most significant and existential land use decisions are made over the summer. As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, the French critic and journalist wrote: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Remember last year with Madison Square Garden.

Well, the 2024 vintage is City of Yes for Housing Opportunity.

The City of Yes for Housing Opportunity is the most consequential zoning action since the 1961 zoning text overall. The ambitious citywide, one size fits all proposal aims to solve NYC housing crisis by removing many land use regulations which in turn would result in more supply.

Editor's Note - The following links were provided to enable you to view the original source documents.

https://www.nyc.gov/site/planning/plans/city-of-yes/city-of-yes-housing-opportunity.page

https://www.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/plans-studies/city-of-yes/housing-opportunity/annotated-zoning-text.pdf#r=1

After trudging through six weeks of community board deliberations, it seemed we were finally on the brink of seizing the day at the beach. But hold off on the beach umbrella and the sunscreen. The City Planning Commission will hold their only public hearing on the matter on Wednesday, July 10.

I am not going to lie: this hearing may be gruesome. But the City Of Yes will grew-some-more.

As of now, the city predicts that the hearing may be a 12-hour marathon or more. No carpe on that diem! Yet, we shall remain mobilized.

Whether you are already vacationing in Bar Harbor, Bend, Boulder or Boca, or still strolling the sidewalks of Bay Ridge, Battery Park City, Bushwick or Broadway, I urge you to testify on zoom or in person [see links below].

Remember: Advocacy Works

The City of Yes for Housing Opportunity aims to address the housing affordability crisis with a main focus on increasing supply. Supply is undoubtedly critical. But supply of what exactly? Will the multimillion-dollar penthouses on Billionaires' Row solve the housing shortage? They will only exacerbate the affordability crisis. Compulsory affordable housing, public housing, and Mitchell-Lama programs are tried-and-tested remedies that demand prioritization, yet tragically remain absent from the proposal.

One major critique is that City of Yes relies on market forces to achieve its goals. Alas, the market is not in the business of brewing up equitable policies. Abundant housing is a mirage. The market tends to favor luxury housing developments in already prosperous neighborhoods. And the market has a love-affair with scarcity.

Joyce Matz, a longtime member of Manhattan Community Board 5 was one of the most influential New Yorkers of her time. She always told me: "When you say no, [to a zoning proposal] they will come with a better plan".

Say No to the City of Yes. Say No, so that our friends at the Department of City Planning are compelled to go back to the drawing board and improve their ambitious proposal. Say No so that we can all get a better plan: a plan that will serve the middle-class. It is not a punishing No. Rather, it is a civic and responsible No. A Warren Buffet kind of No, a Tony Blair kind of No.

Warren Buffet: "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that the really successful people say no to almost everything."

Tony Blair: "The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes.  It is very easy to say yes."

CITY OF YES TALKING POINTS

Here are six talking points that summarize my concerns. These worries are held by many, and are shaped by the multitude of public hearings I've attended and comments I've gathered.

  1. Lack of Mandatory Affordable Housing: The initiative does not include mandatory affordable housing provisions, which means affluent neighborhoods are likely to see very little affordable housing development. This exacerbates economic segregation and limits housing options for low- and middle- income residents.
  1. Lowering Housing Quality: The proposal allows for reduced standards in housing quality, including less air and light (smaller windows, smaller setbacks), and no minimum unit sizes. This could lead to the construction of substandard living conditions, affecting residents' health and well-being.
  1. Reduction of Council Members' Powers: By converting many Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) actions into discretionary certifications, the initiative reduces the power of elected council members. This diminishes local oversight and accountability in land use decisions.
  1. No Community Impact Assessment: The initiative fails to assess the impact of new housing on communities, including the need for additional infrastructure like hospital beds, school seats, and other essential services. This oversight can lead to strained resources and diminished quality of life.
  1. TDR from Landmarks: The transfer of development rights (TDR) from landmarks could result in the creation of disproportionately large towers, which may disrupt the character of neighborhoods, creating "Frankenstein" buildings that overshadow their surroundings.
  1. Campus Infill: The initiative allows for infill development on public land, which would take away much-needed open space. Moreover, there is no requirement for this new housing to be 100% affordable, which undermines efforts to support low-income residents.

WHAT: Public Hearing for City of Yes Housing Opportunity

WHEN: Wednesday, July 10, 10AM

HOW TO ATTEND: In Person or via Zoom

  1. In-Person - City Planning Commission Hearing Room, Lower Concourse 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271

Map Link - https://www.google.com/maps/place/Equitable+Life+Building,+120+Broadway,+New+York,+NY+10271/@40.7084773,-74.0105984,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x89c25a17137b6b13:0x133a7a83e17bb1cc!8m2!3d40.7084773!4d-74.0105984!16s%2Fm%2F02x8s_g?entry=ttu

  1. On Zoom: REGISTER 1 HOUR PRIOR TO THE MEETING by copying & pasting this link.

https://www.nyc.gov/site/nycengage/events/city-planning-commission-public-meeting/461618/1

 

Layla Law-Gisiko
Community Activist / Manhattan District Leader
July 8, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Fighting for Safer, Cleaner Streets

Last week, we celebrated Independence Day — an opportunity to reflect on the values that make the American Dream possible in our city. Public safety and livability are two such foundational commitments — allowing every New Yorker to pursue their dreams without fear for their safety and with a better quality of life.

I am proud to say that New York remains the safest big city in America — and continues to get safer every day.

As a result of our administration’s successful public safety strategy, New York City has seen six straight months of crime reduction. Overall crime continues to trend downward and is down year to date. Homicides are down double digits for the year, as well as for this quarter and for last month. Grand Larceny Auto is also down double digits. Shootings are down. And burglaries are down, too.

Our public transit system is the lifeblood of our city, so keeping New Yorkers safe on the subway is key to ensuring that New York remains the safest big city in America. That is why we surged more than 1,000 additional officers in the subway system in February and introduced additional technology, including cameras and data driven officer deployment. As a result, transit crime remains down for the year, and if you take out one of the pandemic years, we have reached the lowest level of transit crime in 14 years.

We know that community input is critical to improving public safety. That is why we are bringing partners from across the city together to find innovative approaches to reducing crime and improving quality of life. Last week, we announced the creation of our fifth quality of life improvement hub, located in Midtown Manhattan. These hubs bring together law enforcement, elected officials, and community and business leaders to address retail theft, substance use, the mental health crisis, beautification, illegal scaffolding, unlicensed cannabis shops, and more.

The coalition deploys teams to conduct regular walk throughs where they observe issues in real time and speak with local community members and businesses on the ground. They also identify specific individuals in the area who may need connections to services, such as housing or medical care, and make referrals to the appropriate city agency or service provider.

Similar coalitions across the city are already at work making our neighborhoods safer and our streets cleaner. Our administration is committed to supporting their work and leading the way in the fight for cleaner streets and against rats. I have long been clear: I hate rats. And so do New Yorkers. That is why our administration has been ready to do whatever it takes to cut them off from their all-you-can-eat buffet. We have made enormous progress replacing black trash bags that have long cluttered our streets and fed rats.

This week, we announced the next step in our ‘Trash Revolution’ to get bags off our streets. Starting November 12th, buildings with one to nine residential units will be required to put their trash into wheelie trash bins for easy removal. And to make sure that cost is not a barrier for building owners, we had our own bins made. These bins are high-quality and affordable, with the most common size costing less than $50 — approximately three times cheaper than what you could expect to spend at a store.

For half a century, New York City’s most valuable and limited resource — our public space — has been hijacked by 14 billion pounds of stinky, leaking black trash bags every year. Together, we are changing that. Thanks to our administration’s efforts, as of November 12th, we will have containerized 70 percent of our city’s trash in just two years; that’s nearly 10 billion pounds of trash off our streets.

As part of the ‘Trash Revolution,’ we have changed set-out times for residential and commercial waste, so trash doesn’t sit on our streets for hours on end. We have designed a brand-new model of garbage truck years ahead of schedule. And we have a plan to get containerization done for every building and every business in New York City.

We came into office with the clear goal of improving public safety, rebuilding our economy, and making New York City more livable for all New Yorkers. We are making improvements that New Yorkers feel every day. And every step we take — whether it’s driving down crime or improving quality of life — is in service of creating a safer, more livable city for everyone.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
July 8, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Ensuring Integrity: A Call for Heightened Independence of Advisory Bodies

Dear Editor,

Mayor Adams recently appointed a Charter Revision Commission. This commission, chaired by Carlo Scissura, faces an exceptionally tight timeline, emphasizing the urgency of our involvement. The deadline for submitting comments is July 12th, making it imperative for us to act swiftly.

The City Club of New York has chosen to prioritize a single recommendation, aligned with our mission to promote good governance: registered lobbyists should be restricted from appointment to city-sponsored official task forces, working groups, and boards. Lobbyists’ appointment to these roles raises significant concerns about undue special interest influence.

Our recommendation is clear and necessary. This step is essential to ensure transparency and to eliminate conflicts of interest in our decision-making processes.

Please take action now by endorsing the City Club's recommendation. Use the following instructions to send an email directly to the Charter Revision Commission in support of our recommendation.  Send Your Comments or copy & Paste the Recommendation Below into an email addressed to charterinfo@citycharter.nyc.gov & then send.

The next public hearing on the Charter revision is scheduled for July 8th from 5pm to 8pm, and the deadline for submitting comments is July 12th at 5pm. Your active participation is crucial.

Best regards,

Layla Law-Gisiko, President
The City Club of New York
July 3, 2024

 

Recommendation to the Charter Revision Commission:

Registered lobbyists should be restricted from appointment to official task forces, working groups, and boards. Their participation in these roles raises significant concerns about conflicts of interest. To maintain the highest standards of impartiality and integrity in our community decision-making processes, it is crucial that these bodies remain free from undue influence. Allowing registered lobbyists to occupy positions within these entities could potentially skew decisions towards special interest groups rather than the public good and risks undermining public trust . This poses a serious threat to the integrity of our decision-making processes and could erode confidence in the fairness and transparency of our governance structures. 

By implementing this restriction, we aim to ensure that task forces, working groups, and boards are dedicated solely to serving the public interest. This measure will help limit bias, reduce external pressures, and safeguard against undue influence, thereby maintaining the integrity and trustworthiness of our community's decision-making processes. 

Restrictions on Appointment of Registered Lobbyists 

(a) Prohibition on Appointment: No individual who is a registered lobbyist shall be appointed to any official task force, working group, or board established by the City. 

(b) Definition of Registered Lobbyist: For the purposes of this section, a "registered lobbyist" is defined as any individual who is required to register as a lobbyist under federal, state or local law due to their engagement in lobbying activities. 

(c) Definitions of Task Force, Working Group, and Board:

  1. Task Force: A task force is a temporary committee established by the City to address specific issues, provide recommendations, or solve particular problems within a defined timeframe.
  1. Working Group: A working group is an assembly of individuals appointed by the City to focus on ongoing issues or projects, often requiring collaborative efforts and specialized expertise.
  2. Board: A board is a permanent or semi-permanent body created by the City to oversee, manage, or advise on particular functions, services, or policies, and includes community boards.

 (d) Conflict of Interest and Impartiality: This prohibition is established to prevent conflicts of interest and to maintain the highest standards of independence, impartiality and integrity in the decision-making processes of the City.

 (e) Public Interest: The City reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that the actions and decisions of its task forces, working groups, and boards are focused on the public interest and are free from undue influence by special interest groups.

New York, NY, July 2nd, 2024

 

Send Your Comments or copy & Paste this Recommendation into an email addressed to charterinfo@citycharter.nyc.gov & then send.


 

Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

A Budget That Prioritizes Working-Class New Yorkers and Seeks to Make Our City More Affordable

New Yorkers deserve a city budget that delivers for them and tackles our affordability crisis head-on. Alongside Speaker Adams and our City Council partners, we are proud to announce the passage of a $112.4 billion Adopted Budget that invests in the future of our city and the people who make New York the greatest city in the world.

Thanks to our strong fiscal management, as well as better-than-expected revenue growth, we have passed a collaborative budget that addresses the three things that cost New Yorkers the most: childcare, health care, and housing. What’s more is, this was done despite facing unprecedented challenges, including a $7.1 billion budget gap, an international humanitarian crisis that has already cost our city $4.9 billion and is expected to cost billions more, and hundreds of millions of short-term stimulus dollars previously used to fund crucial long-term programs — a major feat.

So, what does the city’s budget deliver for you?

We are investing $100 million in early childhood education to reimagine the outdated 3-K system that was no longer working for working-class families. With a $20 million investment for up to 1,700 new seats this school year, we will make sure the seats are filled and children and families are served immediately. We’re also going further to ensure 3-K is more equitable than ever, with additional investments totaling $80 million for extended day seats and to serve undocumented families and students with disabilities.

Additionally, we are deepening our commitment to our public education system with over $600 million to protect programs previously funded with short-term federal stimulus dollars like teacher recruitment, restorative justice, computer science and arts programming, and more. And, because we want our children to start out ahead in the coming school year, we are investing $75 million to ensure schools do not lose funding even if they face declining enrollment.

We know that our investments in young people don’t end when the school day runs out. That is why we are restoring extended days for Summer Rising, Friday programming for middle school Summer Rising participants, and supporting community schools. This allows young people to learn and grow during the summer, and families to work without worrying about their kids. For older students, we are funding essential programs like CUNY ACE, CUNY STEM, and Brooklyn Recovery Corps at Medgar Evers College.

Our cultural institutions and our libraries are also a critical part of our city’s social fabric, and with the City Council, we are investing $53 million in our cultural institutions. And we know that our libraries provide a lifeline to countless communities, so we are putting over $58 million back into their operations, so they can keep their doors open seven days a week and provide the services New Yorkers rely on.

Public safety has been our top priority from the start, and one of the ways we’re protecting New Yorkers is by stopping illegal cannabis sales. This budget allows us to continue our crackdown on illegal cannabis sales while supporting legal outlets.

We are also continuing to support our efforts to make our streets safer by providing funds for staff positions at our new 116th Precinct in Queens, which is due to open this fall, and by funding security at 55 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings to protect our senior residents.

New Yorkers love their parks, and we are taking care of our green spaces by funding additional park rangers, Green Thumb programs, and tree stump removals.

We are committed to improving the physical, emotional, and mental health of all New Yorkers. That is why our administration previously launched "HealthyNYC," an ambitious plan to extend the lifespan of all New Yorkers. We have also released a sweeping mental health agenda with $20 million in commitments to invest in the mental health of children and families and canceled $2 billion in medical debt that New Yorkers owe. This year’s Adopted Budget further invests in programs to help keep New Yorkers healthy by expanding the Office of Health Care Accountability to bring rising health care costs down and ensure hospitals and health care providers are not gouging New Yorkers, as well as by investing in key services, such as HIV related programs.

Finally, affordable housing is critical to making our city more affordable and more livable. With this in mind, we have added $2 billion in capital funds to NYCHA and the Department of Housing Preservation & Development to develop more affordable housing. This will support our administration’s moonshot goal of building 500,000 new homes by 2032, as well as our commitment to transforming NYCHA so every New Yorker has a clean, safe place to live. This $2 billion investment will bring our investment in affordable housing over our current 10-year capital plan to more than $26 billion — a new record level.

Early in our administration, we made it clear that our mission is to support working-class New Yorkers by protecting public safety, investing in our economy, and making the city more livable. The budget we just passed delivers on that mission, as it helps us continue to build a city that is safer, cleaner, and more affordable for all New Yorkers.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
July 1, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Education that Lifts Up All of Our Students

As New York City’s first openly dyslexic mayor, I know what it is like to not have the support I needed in school growing up. School was often difficult for me. I was scared of being called on by the teacher and my fellow students made fun of me. I know how important it is that our children have a bright start and the support they need for a bold future.

That is why this administration is investing in upstream solutions in our education system, creating conditions that improve outcomes for all our students. We don’t want our children to fall behind because they learn differently, we want them to start out ahead. And this week we are taking another big step forward with two major initiatives: a new vision for special education and a new math curriculum, “NYC Solves.”

“NYC Solves,” is a major citywide initiative to make mathematics more accessible for all students — no matter where they go to school or what language they speak at home. This new program will revolutionize how algebra is taught in schools and ensure that all our students have foundational math skills and are being encouraged to excel in mathematics at every level.

We are also creating the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning (DIAL), which will be led by a new Deputy Chancellor for Inclusive and Accessible Learning Christina Foti. This new division will utilize a $750 million budget and 1,300 staff to focus on supporting multilingual learners and students with disabilities, so that every student can be prepared for a rewarding career and long-term economic security — no matter their background or ability.

The work of DIAL will be guided by external voices through a new advisory council charged with helping shape support systems for immigrant students and their families, so that we can improve educational opportunities and outcomes for every student.

These two new initiatives build on the generational investments we have already made in public education.

In just two years, our administration has implemented a major initiative, “NYC Reads,” to fundamentally change how students learn to read literacy as the core focus and priority of New York City’s public schools. We have also invested over $600 million to protect critical programs that were funded with temporary stimulus dollars, including arts funding, teacher recruitment efforts, restorative justice programming, computer science programs, “Civics for All,” school social workers and psychologists, and much more.  Our mandated universal dyslexia screening

for all students are helping us get students the support they need early on, and we have created the first-ever public school dedicated to supporting students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities. 

We have also provided over 42,000 students with offers for a 3-K seat — an increase of 300 percent in the last five years, and we are continuing to work to ensure that every child who wants an early childhood education seat will have access to one. We have also added 57 Gifted and Talented programs citywide and added over 26,000 classroom seats through major construction and modernization projects. I am also pleased to report that nine new schools will open in the coming school year, including a new high school focused on health care.

And because we know that learning doesn’t only take place in the classroom and during the school year, we have expanded popular programs like Summer Rising to bring 110,000 students summer programming. We are committed to helping students enter the workforce with programs like FutureReadyNYC that connect our students to apprenticeships that lead to good-paying careers. This work has resulted in students earning a cumulative $8.2 million from paid work experiences at top companies over the past two years alone.

Our New York City Public Schools chancellor, David Banks, and I are both graduates of the New York City school system, and we are committed to continuing our city’s legacy of excellence in public education. We are not going to allow another Eric to sit in the classroom, hoping not to be called on. We are making sure that every student has access to the support and resources they need. We are lifting up our young people and putting them on a pathway to a bright future and making sure that our education system remains unmatched anywhere in this nation.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
June 24, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Celebrating Juneteenth with a New Heritage Walk, Landmark, and Progress

As the second Black mayor of New York City, I am proud to celebrate Juneteenth, a day that commemorates June 19, 1865, when every enslaved Black American was finally free. This is a day of importance not just for Black Americans, but for all Americans. It is a day when the promise of freedom finally matched Black Americans’ lived reality. It is a day when the freedom for which America is known for around the world finally became available to a wider group of citizens.

However, as we all know, that was only the start of a longer struggle — a struggle for equal access from housing and health care to the ballot box and boardrooms that continues to the present day. In honor of Juneteenth and the progress we have made over the past centuries and decades, our administration wants to play its part in using the present to reckon with our past so we can build a better future.

New Yorkers walk through neighborhoods like Brooklyn every day, unaware of the history right under their feet and surrounding them. To tell that history, we launched “More Than a Brook: Brooklyn Abolitionist Heritage Walk" an interactive audio tour that explores Brooklyn’s history as a critical neighborhood for the National Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad. The 4.5-mile walkable path incorporates 19 stops highlighting the many landmark sites that capture the borough’s rich abolitionist history. Along the way, in addition to seeing famous abolitionist sites, you can learn about important local historic figures, including businesswoman Elizabeth Gloucester, pioneering sisters Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward and educator Sarah J. Tompkins Garnet, and Plymouth Church preacher Henry Ward Beecher. The tour can be accessed on your smartphone, tablet, or other device through the Landmark Preservation Commission’s website. With this interactive tour, our city can celebrate the heroes who stood up against injustice, risked their lives, and fought for the freedom they deserved.

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - More Than a Brook: Brooklyn Abolitionist Heritage Walk - COPY & PASTE -  https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/787cf87e6c52439bad2dde32d19775d1/page/HOME/

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - Brooklyn’s history as a critical neighborhood - COPY & PASTE - https://app.box.com/s/y854vxrd6t7lerholbzub4nha347sygt

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - Landmark Preservation Commission’s website - COPY & PASTE - https://www.nyc.gov/site/lpc/index.page

The city’s abolitionist history lives across all five boroughs. In Staten Island’s Oakwood Heights, we are commemorating our shared history by designating the Frederick Douglass Memorial Park as a landmark. The Frederick Douglass Memorial Park is the only non-sectarian cemetery founded by — and specifically for — New York City’s Black community. The memorial park opened in 1935, offering a dignified cemetery for Black New Yorkers at a time when discrimination and segregation excluded them from other burial sites and limited them to substandard facilities and services. In a time when others turned their backs on Black New Yorkers, this park chose to open its doors. The 14.88-acre burial site memorializes Black heritage and honors the generations of Black Americans who are buried there. Frederick Douglass Memorial Park offered a dignified and dedicated space for the Black community to honor those who transitioned. But, our remembrance of Juneteenth cannot be just symbolic, but substantive.

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - Frederick Douglass Memorial Park - COPY & PASTE - https://app.box.com/s/2rkvmk1iq736zvz15o10e5s1jyywxoyv

As recently as last January, Black New Yorkers were four times more likely to be unemployed than white New Yorkers, but, thanks to our efforts, we have been able to narrow this gap, and now the unemployment rate for Black New Yorkers is at its lowest point in half a decade. This marks the first time since 2019 that the Black unemployment rate in New York City has been below 8 percent. And between January 1, 2022, and April 1, 2024, the Black unemployment rate in the five boroughs decreased from 10.7 percent to 7.9 percent — a 26 percent decrease. While our work is never done, our city is making real progress in delivering economic equity.

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - unemployment rate for Black New Yorkers is at its lowest point in half a decade - COPY & PASTE - https://edc.nyc/sites/default/files/2024-04/NYCEDC-NYC-Economic-Snapshot-April-2024.pdf

This Juneteenth, I call on all New Yorkers to learn about and honor our city and nation’s inspiring and troubled past and continue to build on the progress we have made. Let us celebrate American ideals, American freedoms, and American potential, together. And let us start right here, in the most diverse city on the globe, a place where those from all walks of life live side by side, proud to call themselves by one name: New Yorkers.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
June 16, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Celebrating Juneteenth with a New Heritage Walk, Landmark, and Progress

As the second Black mayor of New York City, I am proud to celebrate Juneteenth, a day that commemorates June 19, 1865, when every enslaved Black American was finally free. This is a day of importance not just for Black Americans, but for all Americans. It is a day when the promise of freedom finally matched Black Americans’ lived reality. It is a day when the freedom for which America is known for around the world finally became available to a wider group of citizens.

However, as we all know, that was only the start of a longer struggle — a struggle for equal access from housing and health care to the ballot box and boardrooms that continues to the present day. In honor of Juneteenth and the progress we have made over the past centuries and decades, our administration wants to play its part in using the present to reckon with our past so we can build a better future.

New Yorkers walk through neighborhoods like Brooklyn every day, unaware of the history right under their feet and surrounding them. To tell that history, we launched “More Than a Brook: Brooklyn Abolitionist Heritage Walk" an interactive audio tour that explores Brooklyn’s history as a critical neighborhood for the National Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad. The 4.5-mile walkable path incorporates 19 stops highlighting the many landmark sites that capture the borough’s rich abolitionist history. Along the way, in addition to seeing famous abolitionist sites, you can learn about important local historic figures, including businesswoman Elizabeth Gloucester, pioneering sisters Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward and educator Sarah J. Tompkins Garnet, and Plymouth Church preacher Henry Ward Beecher. The tour can be accessed on your smartphone, tablet, or other device through the Landmark Preservation Commission’s website. With this interactive tour, our city can celebrate the heroes who stood up against injustice, risked their lives, and fought for the freedom they deserved.

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - More Than a Brook: Brooklyn Abolitionist Heritage Walk - COPY & PASTE -  https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/787cf87e6c52439bad2dde32d19775d1/page/HOME/

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - Brooklyn’s history as a critical neighborhood - COPY & PASTE - https://app.box.com/s/y854vxrd6t7lerholbzub4nha347sygt

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - Landmark Preservation Commission’s website - COPY & PASTE - https://www.nyc.gov/site/lpc/index.page

The city’s abolitionist history lives across all five boroughs. In Staten Island’s Oakwood Heights, we are commemorating our shared history by designating the Frederick Douglass Memorial Park as a landmark. The Frederick Douglass Memorial Park is the only non-sectarian cemetery founded by — and specifically for — New York City’s Black community. The memorial park opened in 1935, offering a dignified cemetery for Black New Yorkers at a time when discrimination and segregation excluded them from other burial sites and limited them to substandard facilities and services. In a time when others turned their backs on Black New Yorkers, this park chose to open its doors. The 14.88-acre burial site memorializes Black heritage and honors the generations of Black Americans who are buried there. Frederick Douglass Memorial Park offered a dignified and dedicated space for the Black community to honor those who transitioned. But, our remembrance of Juneteenth cannot be just symbolic, but substantive.

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - Frederick Douglass Memorial Park - COPY & PASTE - https://app.box.com/s/2rkvmk1iq736zvz15o10e5s1jyywxoyv

As recently as last January, Black New Yorkers were four times more likely to be unemployed than white New Yorkers, but, thanks to our efforts, we have been able to narrow this gap, and now the unemployment rate for Black New Yorkers is at its lowest point in half a decade. This marks the first time since 2019 that the Black unemployment rate in New York City has been below 8 percent. And between January 1, 2022, and April 1, 2024, the Black unemployment rate in the five boroughs decreased from 10.7 percent to 7.9 percent — a 26 percent decrease. While our work is never done, our city is making real progress in delivering economic equity.

TO VIEW HYPERLINK for - unemployment rate for Black New Yorkers is at its lowest point in half a decade - COPY & PASTE - https://edc.nyc/sites/default/files/2024-04/NYCEDC-NYC-Economic-Snapshot-April-2024.pdf

This Juneteenth, I call on all New Yorkers to learn about and honor our city and nation’s inspiring and troubled past and continue to build on the progress we have made. Let us celebrate American ideals, American freedoms, and American potential, together. And let us start right here, in the most diverse city on the globe, a place where those from all walks of life live side by side, proud to call themselves by one name: New Yorkers.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
June 16, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Last Week of the Legislative Session - Take Action!

As you may know, the 2024 State Legislative Session is coming to a close in New York. That means, the State Assembly and State Senate have until this Thursday, June 6th, to pass any legislation on to the Governor's desk.

Now is the time to take action and tell your legislators that you want them to take environmental action!

At NYLCV, we have a long list of environmental priorities we would like to see passed into law, but we believe that with enough advocacy from our members like you, we can guarantee that the The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act is passed.

The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act: 

  • aims to reduce waste and put consumers first by shifting the responsibility of reducing waste and increasing recycling to large producers
  • requiring producing companies to not only reduce the amount of packaging they use, but also to invest in recycling infrastructure

Take Action to Reduce Packaging Waste Product packaging and paper products (PPP) waste has grown dramatically in volume with the rise of e-commerce. Municipal governments and taxpayers are responsible for recycling this waste, and the cost of doing so has increased in recent years due to changes in the global recycling market.

The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act would shift the burden of recycling products back to the producer, similar to product stewardship programs that are already in use in New York for electronic waste, paint, pharmaceutical drugs, and carpets.

Successful waste reduction programs create financial incentives for producers to minimize the amount of waste they produce in the first place and use more readily recyclable materials in production.

The bill would also incentivize the reduction of packaging by producers by 30% over the next 12 years. This would improve New York’s recycling rate, divert materials from landfills, and ease financial burdens on municipal recycling programs.

Thank you for your support, we will keep you updated on the status of this important piece of environmental legislation.

Sincerely,

Patrick McClellan
Policy Director, NYLCV
June 4, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

NYC Summer Safety: Enjoy NYC More This Summer Thanks to Additional Lifeguards and New Cooling Centers

Last weekend, we unofficially kicked off the summer in New York City during Memorial Day weekend. Our beaches are open for the season, and our public pools will open June 27. New York City has so much to see and do that people forget that this is a beach town, with two of the best beaches in the entire country just a subway ride away!

We want to make sure summer in the city is fun and safe, no matter what the weather conditions. That’s why we are hitting the ground running this season, with good news about lifeguard staffing and expanded plans to protect New Yorkers from extreme heat and other emergencies.

Let’s start with lifeguards. As many New Yorkers are aware, there is a national lifeguard shortage. It’s not just an issue in the greatest city in the world. But lifeguard shortages mean fewer places to swim. That’s why the city has been working to change some of the rules in the contract with the union representing city lifeguards to allow us to hire more New Yorkers to keep more of our beaches open longer.

Last week, we announced commonsense changes that will modernize our lifeguard requirements and align them with state regulations and industry standards. It will allow us to hire more fully qualified lifeguards, keep our beaches and pools open, and improve overall safety for our swimmers, especially our children and young people.

Remember: Swimming and bathing are allowed ONLY when a lifeguard is on duty. Lifeguards are on duty 7 days a week, from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM through September 8. They are looking out for your safety, but everyone needs to do their part. Be aware of surf conditions, especially riptide warnings, which can sweep even experienced swimmers out to sea with little warning.

While a perfect day at the beach is one of the best things about summer, extreme heat can be dangerous and even deadly.

Summers are different than they used to be. With climate change leading to more frequent and intense heat, a heat wave can be more than just uncomfortable — it can be dangerous or even life threatening. That is why New York City is getting ready in advance — and we want all New Yorkers to be ready, too.

Having a working air conditioner or a fan in your home is one of the most effective ways to guard against heat emergencies. If you need help purchasing an air conditioner or fan, you may be able to get help from the Home Energy Assistance Program. Dial 311 or visit nyc.gov/311 for more information and to learn about eligibility.

Editor's Note.  Links which may be copy & pasted into your browser are listed at the end of the Mayor's OpEd.

Our city has also expanded the number of cooling centers available this year, and our new “Cool Options” map will now be available 24/7 online, starting this week. This map will show a broad variety of cooling center options available in our city. These include many of our public libraries, older adult centers, and museums, in addition to official New York City Cooling centers.

It’s not too early to plan for an extreme heat event. Just like you locate the emergency exit on an airplane ahead of time, it’s a good idea to locate a nearby cooling option before you need it. Make sure your family, friends, and neighbors have cooling plans, too — especially those who are vulnerable to extreme heat, including older folks, families with young children, and people who need to bring their pets with them. While service animals are welcome at all centers, there are also designated pet-friendly cooling centers in every borough, so plan ahead to make sure everyone is safe.

In addition to opening cooling centers citywide, we are also expanding our city’s natural cooling system — our tree canopy. Our Parks Department has planted over 15,000 new trees in 2024, and we are on pace to plant more than 18,000 trees this year — the highest total in eight years.

Prolonged heat is not our only concern. Our city must be prepared for other extreme weather events like hurricanes, flash floods, and wildfire smoke. Last year, we saw how quickly dangerous wildfire smoke could blanket our city, even from fires thousands of miles away.

This year, we have updated our air quality emergency guidelines with new protocols and monitoring. We are doing more outreach to vulnerable populations, and expanding protections for critical services and infrastructure, such as public transportation and hospitals. If there are serious air quality concerns, we can modify school operations and outdoor events, and distribute high-quality masks to the public.

New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the city’s free emergency notification system, which keeps everyone updated about weather, air quality, and other emergency issues. Notify NYC is available in 14 languages, including American Sign Language. Visit nyc.gov/notify to sign up or call 3-1-1. You can also visit airnow.gov for up-to-date information on air quality in your area.

As we saw during Superstorm Sandy, a hurricane heading towards New York City is one of the biggest threats we face, and the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be worse than usual because of near-record warm ocean temperatures, among other factors.

New Yorkers can find out if they live in one of the six hurricane evacuation zones by visiting NYC.gov/knowyourzone or by calling 3-1-1. Make a plan to evacuate by knowing where you will go and how you will get there.

Flash flooding is also a concern for our city. If you live in a below grade, low-lying or low drainage area, make sure you have a plan for extreme flash flooding. As with every other emergency, make sure you are prepared in advance. There are great resources online at nyc.gov/readynewyork.

This administration has made public safety the center of everything we do, and that includes preparing for weather emergencies and protecting people at our pools and beaches. Let’s work together to make the summer of 2024 our safest summer ever.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
June 3, 2024

 

LINKS

Home Energy Assistance Program
https://portal.311.nyc.gov/article/?kanumber=KA-02552

nyc.gov/311
same as above

“Cool Options” map will now be available 24/7 online
https://finder-test.nyc.aws.esri-ps.com/coolingcenters

nyc.gov/notify
https://a858-nycnotify.nyc.gov/notifynyc/

airnow.gov
https://www.airnow.gov

NYC.gov/knowyourzone
https://www.nyc.gov/site/em/ready/coastal-storms-hurricanes.page

nyc.gov/readynewyork
https://www.nyc.gov/site/em/ready/ready-new-york.page


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Mayor Adams - Memorial Day

Every year, we are proud to welcome our nation’s sea servicemembers to New York City for Fleet Week, a celebration of the courage and commitment of all those who serve our nation — and those who have given their lives to protect it.

As a patriotic American and proud mayor, I want to extend my personal welcome to each and every servicemember joining us for the longstanding Memorial Day Weekend tradition.

Fleet Week is much more than just the official start of summer in New York. It is our city’s way of saying thank you to members of the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard for their courage and commitment to serving our nation. It is because of your work and your sacrifices that we are able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of this nation, free to live our lives and uphold our values.

New York City is proud to be the first municipality in the country with a stand-alone agency dedicated to serving veterans and their families. We cannot thank them enough, and for those who have left us, we can never forget.

As a major port city and a symbol of freedom around the globe, New York City will always stand up and salute those who defend our nation and our values. And as a city that was attacked by foreign enemies on 9/11, we bear a special responsibility to honor those who gave their lives in the conflicts that followed. 

That is why we are proud to announce plans to build a new memorial honoring the 99 fallen post-9/11 servicemembers from New York City. The memorial will be built on the waterfront in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens, the borough home to the largest number of post-9/11 servicemembers who were killed in action. The memorial will honor a new generation of souls who lost their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have served our country in these wars.

I often think about servicemembers like my Uncle Joe, who lost his life in Vietnam at the age of 19. He was a patriot, a young man who was willing to serve his country, no matter who was president because he cared about our country. And it breaks my heart when I see a poll that says 52 percent of Americans would not defend this country if it was attacked by foreign enemies.

I want every New Yorker to know:  I'm one of the 48 percenters. And I know that when it comes down to it, New Yorkers would give their all for this city and their fellow New Yorkers. I saw it on 9/11, when strangers rushed to help each other, and I see it now, when people stand together against hate and division.

This Memorial Day, let us remember all the Uncle Joes in our families, the ones that lived their values and served proudly. Let us re-ignite the American spirit in ourselves and each other — and share those values with the next generation. Patriotism is more than just love of country. It is an act of defiant optimism, a commitment to building a more just and equitable future together. 

This is the greatest city in the greatest country in the world, and we should be proud to uphold the values of democracy and freedom. 

Once again, my deepest thanks to all those who serve.

I want every single servicemember here for Fleet Week to enjoy their time with us, and I hope all New Yorkers will join me in welcoming you to our city and saluting your service.

Thank you for all you do for our country, and may God continue to bless New York and the United States of America.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
May 24, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Is a Housing “Shortage” Really the Cause of Unaffordability?

 things to do nyc this weekend events nyc manhattan queens brooklyn bronx staten island nyc weekend events

With the recent conditional repeal of the state’s cap on the allowable density of new residential construction in New York City, and the Mayor’s “City of Yes” proposal making its way through the public approval process, it’s an opportune time to look at the arguments behind this ever-growing push to increase the permitted size and amount of new residential development in New York City. Undergirding all of these is the contention that housing prices are up in New York City because we’re not building enough market-rate housing, and that certain parts of the city, like most of Manhattan south of Harlem, aren’t doing their fair share to address New York City’s housing needs. Let’s look at how well these claims line up with the facts.

Some data points often cited include the large increase in New York City’s population, which according to the census rose from 8.175 million in 2010 to 8.804 million in 2020, or a 7.7% increase. Figures from this same period say housing prices in New York City also rose dramatically, and the recent NYC housing vacancy survey shows record low housing vacancy rates in the city. Taken alone, this would seem to present a compelling argument that housing construction in New York City is not keeping up with population growth, leading to insufficient supply and rising prices.

But the complete picture tells a very different story.

We took these same figures and superimposed the rate of housing growth in New York City over the last 60 years with the population growth. Based upon what our city and state leaders, and other advocates for loosening rules to increase the size and density of new housing have been saying, you’d expect to see a higher rate of growth in our city’s population than in its housing supply, resulting in a tighter market and therefore inflated prices.

things to do nyc this weekend events nyc manhattan queens brooklyn bronx staten island nyc weekend events 

Source: 2023 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey and U.S. Census

In fact, as you can see, housing growth has not only kept up with population growth, even during the recent population boomlet of the 2010s, it’s actually exceeded it — particularly in the last three years. It should be noted that according to the census, New York City’s population has decreased by nearly 600,000 people in the last three years — across every borough and every income group — nearly wiping out the entire population gain of the 2010s. But while the population gain was nearly wiped out, the additional housing built during that time period has remained, and more has been added — leaving New York City with its highest ratio of housing units to people in the last sixty-plus years.

And lest one think (as the NYC Department of City Planning claims) the issue is that household sizes in New York City are shrinking, thus requiring more housing units for the same population, think again: according to the city’s own figures, New York City household sizes have remained remarkably steady since 1980, and are actually slightly larger than they were forty years ago.

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So if anything, the need for the number of housing units relative to the population of NYC has gone down slightly over the last forty years (each 1,000 people only require 392 units of housing when the average household size is 2.55, as it was in 2020; they required 402 units of housing, or about 2.5% more, when the average household size was 2.49, as it was forty years ago in New York City).

So the cost of housing in New York City seems to have little if anything to do with the amount housing we have relative to our population or number of households. Nevertheless, housing prices have continued to rise in New York City, placing good, affordable homes farther and farther out of reach of more and more New Yorkers.

Why? Well the answer to that question may be complex, but it seems pretty clear it’s not because we’re just not building enough housing, or that housing construction is not keeping up with population growth — in fact, it’s surpassing it. Perhaps it’s because we’re building mostly expensive housing which many New Yorkers can’t afford, and losing existing affordable housing, including the nearly 120,000 units of rent regulated housing lost in NYC in just the three years between 2019 and 2022. Perhaps it’s because we have among the highest housing construction costs in the world. Perhaps housing prices are rising for a multitude of other reasons unrelated to a simple supply vs. demand relationship, which should, according to those who claim this is the cause of our housing woes, have shown prices holding steady in the 2010s and dropping noticeably in the last three years.

Problem is, they haven’t. And more of the same — merely expecting an increase in supply to bring prices down — is unlikely to change that.

Part and parcel of this theory that proponents of increasing housing production put forward is that certain parts of the city aren’t doing enough to provide housing. This is again based on the notion that just having more housing, of any kind, helps bring down prices for everyone — the classic “trickle down” approach to economics.

Let’s just say for the sake of argument that simply building more housing, no matter what kind or how expensive, brings prices down for everyone. It’s worth considering then which parts of the city are in fact providing more, or less, than their fair share of housing for New Yorkers.things to do nyc this weekend events nyc manhattan queens brooklyn bronx staten island nyc weekend events

The maps below show this quite clearly:

 

As you can see, multiple Community Boards in Manhattan provide housing units at a density of three or more times the citywide average for all Community Boards, at 40,000 units/sq. mi. and above. Behind them, multiple Community Boards in Manhattan and inner Brooklyn and the Bronx provide housing at two to three times the citywide community board average, typically at 25,000 to 40,000 units/sq. mi., and so on.

 

things to do nyc this weekend events nyc manhattan queens brooklyn bronx staten island nyc weekend eventsBringing up the rear? Several community boards in the more suburban parts of Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and even the Bronx, where housing densities can be as low as nearly 90% below the citywide average for community boards, and under 3,000 units/sq. mi.

Looked at another way, if all of New York City were as dense with residents as Community Board 2, Manhattan (Greenwich Village, SoHo, NoHo, Hudson Square, Little Italy), it would house about 20 million people, or about 12 million more than it does now. If it were as dense with residents as Community Board 3, Manhattan (East Village, Lower East Side), it would house nearly 29 million people, or nearly 21 million more than it does now.

None of this is to say that every neighborhood should have the exact same housing density. Each neighborhood is different and contributes to what makes New York special and unique in different ways, and a city of neighborhoods that were all the same density would be mind-numbingly boring. And given the direct evidence that merely increasing housing doesn’t bring down housing prices for everyone, it would be no more affordable than the existing, much more varied city.

But it is worth noting just how densely built up with housing some parts of the city are compared to others, and even compared to the citywide average. The city’s densest community board in terms of housing, Manhattan’s Community Board 6 in East Midtown, is about thirty times as dense as Community Board 2 in central Staten Island, for example, and about five and a half times as dense as the average NYC community board. But it’s often within those parts of the city that are already contributing the most in terms of housing that those seeking to change zoning and land use rules are most obsessed with spurring more development.

This of course merely compares density among New York neighborhoods. A perhaps more telling comparison is just how dense some parts of New York — particularly those areas where policymakers are demanding ever denser and larger construction — are compared to cities around the globe. While we don’t have figures for the number of housing units in cities worldwide (as the above maps show for NYC community boards), we do have population densities for cities around the globe, shown below in comparison to Community Board 2 (Greenwich Village, SoHo, NoHo, Hudson Square, and Little Italy) and Community Board 3 (the East Village and Lower East Side, incl. parts of Chinatown) in Manhattan, the two Community Boards in which Village Preservation works:

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As you can see, compared to some of the densest urban environments in the world, our neighborhoods are even more tightly packed with people — and that’s only counting the residents (daily visitors, workers, students, etc., of which there are many in each of these areas, are not included). In fact, Community Board 3 is denser than any of them, and even Community Board 2 is denser than all but India’s Kolkata (Calcutta) and Bangladesh’s Dhaka — and it’s only slightly less tightly packed with residents than those. Other cities that epitomize urban density, such as Tokyo, Mexico City, Lagos, Nigeria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo, and Shanghai, all fall well below the density of our neighborhoods — in some cases 60 to 90% below.

And it should be noted that Community Board 2 includes considerable space taken up by non-residential uses, such as educational institutions (NYU, for example), offices (which occupy the majority of land in Hudson Square, SoHo, and NoHo), and industrial/manufacturing space and transportation/utilities, like the massive Pier 40 or the four-block-long UPS facility on Washington Street. Fully 42% of Community Board 2’s land area is dedicated to non-residential uses, attesting to just how dense the residential development here truly is, while Community Board 3 gives over 37% of its land area to non-residential uses — meaning if those offices, manufacturing facilities, educational institutions, and other non-residential spaces were used for housing rather than their existing uses, the density of these neighborhoods would be more than a third greater than they are now — well surpassing, or (in the case of Community Board 3) nearly doubling Kolkata-levels of density.

things to do nyc this weekend events nyc manhattan queens brooklyn bronx staten island nyc weekend events 

Community Boards 2 (top) and 3 (bottom), Manhattan land use allocation. Source: NYC Deptartment of City Planning

For those who would like to see even more residential development in these parts of town (in spite of the current undeniably high level of density) and question why so much of the area is given over to non-residential uses, look no further than the same city government and upzoning advocates who decry the current conditions. Hudson Square in Community Board 2 was rezoned in 2013, ostensibly in large part to allow and encourage residential development. And while some such development has taken place there as a result, that rezoning — like so many initiated by the city — didn’t produce the results it was supposed to, with a much higher percentage of office development taking place than the public was told would occur. These false projections were made by the same city government and agencies that want you to believe that just building more housing, no matter how expensive, will bring housing prices down for everyone.

things to do nyc this weekend events nyc manhattan queens brooklyn bronx staten island nyc weekend events

While some residential development has taken place in Hudson Square since the 2013 rezoning, such as 570 Broome Street (l.), it’s only been about half what the city predicted, whereas office development in the neighborhood, like the Disney Headquarters (r.), has been three times the predicted levels.

Look a few blocks east and you’ll see the same phenomenon repeated. The controversial SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown Upzoning adopted by the city in 2021 is yet to produce a single unit of housing, much less the affordable ones promised. Some new housing is ostensibly in the pipeline, including a project of the sort the city said would not be possible under the rezoning — an all-luxury condo project with no affordable units, but in-unit swimming pools for the lucky (and very rich) residents. And other developers have chosen to build the commercial (non-residential) developments the rezoning allows, on sites where the city predicted housing (including affordable housing) would be built, much as we warned was likely to happen.

In the East Village, in 2017 Village Preservation pressed hard for a rezoning of the Third and Fourth Avenue corridors — one of the few areas in the neighborhood that encouraged commercial (i.e. hotel and office) development over residential development. Our rezoning would have reduced the possibilities for commercial development in order to encourage residential uses instead. The city refused, and the same advocates pushing for greater density of residential development in these neighborhoods opposed it as well — more evidence that they’re not actually motivated by a desire to see housing built to bring down prices, but to promote real estate interests and remove as many restrictions on development of any sort as possible.

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Five walk ups at 112-120 East 11th Street (l.) containing over a hundred units of housing, incl. many affordable rent-regulated units, were demolished to make way for the Moxy Hotel (r.). The same city agencies decrying a housing shortage refused to rezone this area as we proposed to prevent more of the same, and the same advocates for upzonings to allow larger and denser housing opposed our efforts.

It should be noted that in 2008, Village Preservation was part of a coalition that successfully secured a rezoning of the rest of the East Village which put an end to the proliferation of private university dorms in the neighborhood and encouraged new residential development instead, albeit at a scale contextual with the surrounding neighborhood — anathema to many of these upzoning advocates.

None of this should be taken to mean that we believe that new housing shouldn’t be developed in New York City. In fact, current rules in New York City already allow an additional 1.8 billion square feet of residential development to take place, which is enough to comfortably house 3.6 million additional New Yorkers, at a time when we’re actually losing population. And according to published reports, New York saw a “record-setting” filing of building permits for just shy of 20,000 residential and hotel units in the first quarter of 2024, under the existing rules which the city says aren’t allowing enough housing to be built in New York City.

Which leads one to question why politicians in Albany and City Hall, and advocates who claim to care about housing prices, are so obsessed with changing rules to allow bigger, denser housing than the current rules allow.

There’s clearly a lack of affordable housing in New York City now. So what’s the solution? Well, creating more affordable housing for one, and making sure that existing affordable housing stays affordable and available to those who need it. Some steps have been taken towards the latter by elected officials, but other actions by those same officials undermine it.

The types of upzonings being promoted by policy-makers and advocates give great financial incentives for developers to destroy existing affordable housing and force out current, less-well-off residents. We’ve seen affordable rent regulated apartments in our neighborhoods destroyed to make way for exactly the kind of developments the city has promoted, which not only don’t have any affordable housing, but sometimes have less housing than the smaller, older, and significantly more affordable buildings they destroyed.

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14-16 Fifth Avene (l.) contained 20 units of housing, half of them rent-regulated and affordable. The city approved its demolition over our objections to allow construction of a new luxury high-rise more than four times its height but with fewer housing units, none of which are affordable.

Other cities around the world have bought up existing housing stock to turn it into affordable housing. In our own neighborhood, in the past, government agencies came together with non-profits to turn disused industrial buildings like the massive former Bell Telephone Labs into the permanent affordable housing now known as Westbeth, which it remains today. We would welcome such efforts in our neighborhoods, and have lauded and awarded projects turning empty buildings into housing for the formerly homeless. So far, the city has not chosen to go down this path.

 

TO HELP

things to do nyc this weekend events nyc manhattan queens brooklyn bronx staten island nyc weekend eventsWrite City officials and community boards urging them to oppose these provisions of the “City of Yes” — CLICK HERE

Learn more about Village Preservation’s campaigns to protect affordability and promote new affordable housing in our neighborhoods here, and prevent the construction of supersized buildings here.



Andrew Berman
Executive Director
Village Preservation
May 15, 2024

 

Editor's Note. Click here to learn more about the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

“Operation Padlock to Protect” — How New York City is Taking Action to Shut Down Illegal Smoke and Cannabis Shops

When we came to office two years ago, we had a clear vision: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable for hardworking New Yorkers.  But the increase of unlicensed smoke and cannabis shops across the five boroughs is one of the biggest quality-of-life issues facing our city. That’s why now that we have been granted the authority, we’re taking action against unlicensed smoke and cannabis shops, while still supporting those that have played by the rules.

Illegal businesses prey on and target our most vulnerable, including children, selling dangerous, counterfeit products, and creating eyesores across our city. Illegal smoke and cannabis shops stand in the way of the legal cannabis market, taking money out of the registers of small business owners trying to earn a living, many of whom are formerly justice-involved. To help the emerging legal cannabis economy and protect our streets, we must permanently shut down these illegal storefronts and their unlawful business practices.

That’s exactly what “Operation Padlock to Protect” will do. The multi-agency operation is the start of a five-borough strategic plan — that will accelerate in the coming weeks — to shut down even more unlicensed smoke and cannabis shops in the City of New York. Thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul and our partners in the state Legislature, New York City can now use the full force of the law to padlock and protect our streets. With these new enforcement powers and legal authority granted by the state, we are making it clear that any operator acting illegally will face swift consequences as we protect our city’s children, improve quality of life, and facilitate a safe and thriving legal cannabis market.

Operation Padlock to Protect is bringing together the New York City Sheriff’s Office, the New York City Police Department, and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection in partnership as the agencies padlock these illegal and unlicensed shops. Businesses that operate near a church or school, sell to minors, or have gotten customers sick in the past can now see their doors sealed and padlocked that very same day.

Prior to securing these powers from the state, we could only use the limited tools available to us to protect children and crack down on these illegal stores. Our interagency Sheriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force was able to conduct limited enforcement against unlicensed establishments, but we were still able to conduct over 46,000 inspections, collect over $18 million dollars in fines, issue 17,000 summonses, and close down 160 illegal businesses. Real numbers showing the real impact of our interagency efforts.

The legal cannabis industry offers a once-in-a-generation chance for those disproportionately impacted by the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ to build wealth, especially in our Black and Brown communities. For too long, these communities faced high rates of drug-related incarceration and were denied economic opportunities. But thanks to the equitable, legal cannabis industry, they have the chance to get in on the industry from the ground up and our administration wants to ensure that this emerging economy has a chance to burn bright in our city.

Those who flout the cannabis laws and regulations are robbing the very communities that are finally on the cusp of benefiting from a just and equitable system. These new enforcement powers make it clear: if you operate an illegal smoke shop, you will be shut down.

We are going to continue to protect our city’s children, improve quality of life, and facilitate a safe and thriving legal cannabis market in New York City.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
May 13, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Ineffective Tax Break for Wealthy, Gets More Generous, & Gets New Name

Dear Editor,

A hot minute ago, in a galaxy not that far, far away that we call Albany, the state just passed a budget. There, the real estate tax break 421-a is better known than R2D2, but not as cute. Discontinued in 2022 because it was deemed ineffective, it is now revived under a new code name. Please let me introduce you to 485-x. More or less the same as the old tax incentive, only more generous.

tax breaks for the richThe program will offer a lavish tax abatement to NYC developers who chose to set aside 20 to 30 % of their rental units for low-income renters. The units would be set aside for 30 years. It is unclear how many units of housing it will produce, or what exact level of affordability it will contain, as most of it remains at the discretion of developers. The M-Word (Mandatory) is not to be uttered in this Empire State!

Housing has been the talk of the town lately, with a narrative strongly anchored in the theory that housing abundance is the only serious solution. The housing crisis is pinned to the lack of supply, a discourse pushed by both state and city legislators. The theory, and the solution being offered, lack nuance: increase supply, problem solved. It’s Econ 101, the theory goes. Data tells a different story. In NYC, population has increased by 18% since. The number of dwelling units have increased by 64% in the same time span. The theory falls short. The economic mechanisms that rule housing markets are much more complex than the simplistic supply/demand dichotomy. Interest rates, land valuation are critical factors to name a few. It's also crucial to acknowledge that the housing market isn't a monolith; rather, it comprises various submarkets, each influenced by its own unique dynamics.To those who claim that housing supply and demand theory is Econ 101, I urge them to take Econ 102.

A couple of months ago, I sat down with Mary Brosnahan. Mary, the former President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless, is one of the sharpest minds when it comes to discussing housing.Take a listen to our lively conversation, as Mary has Carte Blanche to talk about housing, homelessness and proven solutions to vexingly complicated problems. 

About Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche isn't just another talk show; it's a platform for long-format, in-depth interviews that give our guests Carte Blanche to share their views. I'm passionate about sparking thought-provoking conversations that offer a deeper understanding of issues relevant to our lives as New Yorkers. 

Watch the replays on-demand.

  • Channel: MNN, Spectrum Channel 1993, MNNHD, and Carte Blanche YouTube Channel

For more information and to catch the latest episodes, be sure to tune in to the Carte Blanche website and our social media channels.

About MNN: Established in 1992, Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) is a media learning, production, and distribution hub that promotes creative expression, independent voices, and community engagement. Operating two state-of-the-art media production facilities in Manhattan, MNN reaches 400,000 cable subscribers in the borough and is available in various states and countries through live streams and online archives.

 

Layla Law-Gisiko
Executive Producer & Host Carte Blanche
April 22, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

An Update on QueensLink Funding

After months of hard work, the New York State budget is completed, and we are disappointed to announce that it did NOT include any funding for QueensLink. While this is certainly not the outcome for which we hoped, the QueensLink team is profoundly thankful for the incredible outpouring of support throughout the budget process. We made tremendous progress over these last few months, with over 14,000 letters and countless phone calls made to state leadership. Doubters have often claimed that neighborhoods in central Queens never wanted rail restoration, but we have shown that this is demonstrably false. QueensLink has only grown stronger with all of your support.

We were able to make some small victories along the way. In the preliminary negotiations, the NY State Senate One-House Budget did include QueensLink funding. We also gained ground on the federal level, with a recommendation for federal funding from Congresswoman Grace Meng’s office.

The demand for better transit in Queens will only intensify in the coming years. With new developments like Innovation QNS, the Resorts World casino expansion, JFK Airport expansion, and new housing from Queens Blvd to the Rockaways, only a project like QueensLink can solve the transportation problems we face today and into the future. We are working with our allies in the City Council to secure funding for an economic study that will show what Queens and New York City have to gain from an investment like the QueensLink. Some of our leaders have truly taken this challenge head-on, and we would like to thank the following elected officials for their dedicated work:

NY Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato

NY Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson

NY Assemblymember Ron Kim

NY Assemblymember Jessica Gonzales-Rojas

NY Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani

NY Assemblymember Juan Ardila

NY Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi

NY State Senator James Sanders Jr

NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo

NY State Senator Leroy Comrie

NY State Senator Kristen Gonzalez

NY State Senator Julia Salazar

NY State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal

NY State Senator Jessica Ramos

Going forward, we’re still focused on other opportunities to acquire funding for an Environmental Impact Statement. We’ll also be fighting Mayor Adams’ Queensway park so that it does not block future rail reactivation. In Parks Dept. meetings, residents have spoken up to make sure that the city knows how important transit is on this corridor. We look forward to the day when the Rockaway Beach Branch will support all forms of sustainable transportation; walking, biking, and rail.

To get involved and help us pursue this agenda, please copy & paste this link - https://thequeenslink.org/get-involved/

 

The QueensLink Team
April 22, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

New York City’s Accomplishments

Halfway through our first term, it is time to look back on and celebrate all we have accomplished together.

Four years after COVID-19 forced our city to a standstill, New York is back. With crime down, jobs up, a historic boom in tourism, and an economy firing on all cylinders, we are having one of our best years ever.

Even for a city as resilient as New York, recovering from the pandemic was no simple task. But with strategic thinking and supportive programs, we created the right conditions for the economy to flourish and for New Yorkers to succeed.

Over the past two years, we not only recovered all of the private-sector jobs lost during the pandemic but set the all-time record for the highest number of total jobs in our city’s history. We have raised wages for working people — including our municipal workers, delivery workers, for-hire drivers, and non-profit workers. We have negotiated contracts with 95 percent of the unionized city workforce, including 100 percent of the city’s uniformed workforce, to give our public servants the pay and benefits they deserve. And we are not stopping there — we are bringing jobs directly to the people with our “Jobs NYC” initiative, connecting New Yorkers with well-paying job opportunities in both the public and private sectors at hiring halls across the five boroughs.

In addition to the robust economic growth we are seeing, we are helping more New Yorkers connect with affordable housing. Thanks to our partners in Albany, the state budget this year delivers EVERY single piece of the housing agenda we have been fighting for, giving us the tools to build the affordable housing New Yorkers need and deserve. These new programs and incentives will get us closer to our moonshot goal of building 500,000new units of housing in the next 10 years.

We have also launched major legacy projects, including the city’s largest all-affordable housing project in Willets Point, Queens. This project will transform an entire neighborhood by building 2,500 units of housing and the city’s first-ever soccer stadium, so 25,000 fans can go crazy when the New York City Football Club brings home another trophy.

And just last week, I was proud to announce another dramatic new addition to our city’s skyline— a new 62-story office tower in Midtown.  This building, alone, will house 6,000 workers, and it will be the New York City headquarters of one of our leading financial firms, Citadel and Citadel Securities.

There is much more to come in Midtown Manhattan, including our “Broadway Vision” plan to create new public spaces and make streets safer between Madison and Herald Squares, as well as a $10 billion expansion of the Midtown Bus Terminal.

We are also re-imagining our city’s most famous retail mecca for the first time in over century, with plans to create a pedestrian-focused boulevard that will welcome more New Yorkers and visitors to Fifth Avenue. This plan will create more green space for our city and burnish the glamour of the midtown district as the world’s ultimate shopping destination.

These are big, visionary public projects that will define our city for generations to come. We’re investing in our city, our future, and every hardworking New Yorker who loves this town.

We achieved all this by focusing on the fundamentals, especially when it comes to protecting public safety. This year, crime is down across the five boroughs, with month after month decreases. In the past year, homicides and shootings have plummeted by double digits — that’s after they dropped by double digits last year and after they dropped by double digits in 2022.

Transit crime was down 15 percent in February, and nearly 24 percent in March — bringing transit crime down through the end of the first quarter of this year.

But it is not just about the numbers. It is also about making sure that New Yorkers feel safe in our city and are confident that we are moving in the right direction. That is why our administration intends to invest even more in upstream solutions, creating conditions that improve outcomes for all New Yorkers — especially our young people.

We’re investing in our Fair Futures program to support kids in foster care, which has boosted college enrollment by 50 percent since we took office, and the ACS College Choice program that makes sure they can afford college when they get there.

We have also expanded our dyslexia screening programs so that EVERY child is screened for dyslexia, and that those children get the support they need to read and succeed.

We’re proud of all we have accomplished in our first two years, but we know there is so much more to do going forward. We are going to continue to make the safest big city in America even safer, expand economic opportunity for all, and improve quality of life across the five boroughs. With two years of success to guide us, we intend to keep our success story going far into the future.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
April 22, 2024


Editor's Note

See - Tax Breaks for the Wealthy Gets a New Name 4/22/24 [above] for a view that differs from the Mayor's regarding the budgeted housing tax breaks.

And click this link to see how Mayor Bloomberg and his Billionaire friends used government money and power to oust the former owners of the land near CitiField in Flushing Meadows Corona Park to enrich themselves.  And, in time, we'll post a report about how the Flushing Meadows Corona Park development puts added pressure on the existing infrastructure to the breaking point, thus forcing taxpayers to fund upgrades for two of the billionaire owned stadiums new hotel and apartment buildings there.


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Delivering Fair Pay to New York City’s Delivery Workers

Since day one, our administration has had a clear mission, protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make our city more livable for hard-working New Yorkers.

Every day, we are delivering on that vision. We’ve recovered all the private-sector jobs lost during the pandemic, one year ahead of schedule; overall crime is down in our city this year; and our city is getting cleaner and greener.

But we know that our economic recovery hasn’t reached everyone, and it has not benefitted everyone equitably. That is why we are doing everything we can to make sure New York City remains a city for working-class people.

Last week, our administration delivered a well-deserved pay raise for our app-based food delivery workers. Delivery workers who work for UberEATS, DoorDash, and Grubhub will now receive at least $19.56 per hour before tips. This is fair pay for a fair day’s work. This means that more than 60,000 of the hardest-working New Yorkers out there will have their wages boosted. 

This puts money back into the pockets of delivery workers, it puts dinner on the table, it helps pay their mortgages, and it supports working families, especially those struggling to get by, across the five boroughs.

Delivery workers are an essential part of our city, but just months ago, they were making an average of just $5.39 per hour before tips.

Our administration knew this was unacceptable, so, in June 2023, we announced the nation’s first minimum pay rate rule for app-based food delivery workers. Since this new pay rate went into effect, delivery workers have already seen a 165 percent increase in their pay per week and they are earning nearly $850 million more annually.

And this minimum pay rate is increased to reflect inflation, because we know that New Yorkers continue to feel the burden of the cost of living. People are working harder and harder to get by. I know the hustle is real. I know what it is like to struggle. I was raised by a working mother who struggled to support my five siblings and me. Thousands of our delivery workers are doing the same to support themselves and their families every day.

But we also know that there is more to be done. We have heard that some delivery apps are making it harder to tip and that some apps are locking out workers from shifts. This is wrong, and we made that very clear last week when we stood with our Deliveristas and delivery workers.

That is why we are pioneering first-of -their-kind hubs where our food delivery workers can take shelter from inclement weather, rest, and recharge their cellphone or e-bike batteries.

And it is why we announced five public e-battery charging locations to test safe, public charging of lithium-ion batteries for 100 delivery workers.

That is also why we plan to create the Department of Sustainable Delivery. This will be a first-in-the-nation entity that regulates new forms of delivery transit and helps keep our workers and our streets safe.

We know that when things get tough, we must invest in our most valued asset: our people.

This is how you build a city where all New Yorkers share in our prosperity, no matter what line of work they are in, or what borough they live in. We are delivering fair pay for working-class New Yorkers.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
April 8, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Jobs NYC: Connecting More New Yorkers to Good-Paying Jobs

Since day one, this administration has had a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make our city more livable for everyday New Yorkers. Every day, we are delivering on that vision. We have recovered all of the private-sector jobs lost during the pandemic, one year ahead of schedule; overall crime is down across the city this year, as it was last year; and we are improving the quality of life for the 8.3 million New Yorkers who call this city home.

But while our city has recovered from the pandemic, our recovery has not benefitted every New Yorker equitably. Black unemployment still remains far too high in our city and we cannot allow this trend to continue — that is why we are doing everything we can to make sure New York City remains a city for working-class people. 

Last week, we took a big step forward with the launch of Jobs NYC, a whole-of-government approach to bringing job and career training opportunities to communities that have been overlooked for too long. As part of Jobs NYC, we are kicking off a series of hiring halls in neighborhoods facing employment disparities. These events meet New Yorkers where they are, bringing well-paying public- and private-sector job opportunities to New Yorkers across the five boroughs.

We also launched an all-new jobs portal, jobs.nyc.gov. Job seekers can now pick up their phones to visit this brand-new website or go in-person to a hiring hall to find new job opportunities. This is all-hands-on-deck effort to make it easier and more accessible than ever for all New Yorkers to participate in our thriving economy.

Further, Jobs NYC builds on action we took last year to reform our minimal qualification requirements for certain entry level city jobs, including removing college degree requirements for numerous positions. We have thousands of open jobs in city government, from school safety agents to tech roles. In the past, there have been too many historical barriers preventing New Yorkers from becoming employed. These commonsense reforms are making good-paying jobs more accessible than ever because we want more New Yorkers to join Team New York.

We also want people to who work for city government to have access to the many benefits that meet the needs of working-class families. Last month, we made city government more family-friendly for thousands of employees [https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/092-24/mayor-adams-takes-steps-help-support-working-families-expands-paid-parental-family-leave-for] by expanding both paid parental and family leave for non-union city workers. Impacting over 10,000 municipal employees and making the city more competitive with municipalities and private employers across the country, we doubled paid parental leave for non-union employees, from six to 12 weeks, and began providing up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for those caring for a seriously ill family member.

I am proud to be a blue-collar mayor who was formerly in a union. That is also why we have worked tirelessly to ensure that the City of New York’s labor sector have updated and improved contracts. In the last 13 months, we have negotiated contracts with unions representing 95 percent of the city’s workforce and 100 percent of the city’s uniformed workforce, securing our hard-working public servants better benefits and higher pay.

Our administration understands that a job is more than what we do in the waking hours of our lives; a job is what enables us to achieve the American Dream. That is why we have made historic investments to connect New Yorkers with the career and training opportunities they need to earn good-paying jobs.

And we are committed to making sure that all New Yorkers, particularly those in Black and Brown communities, share in the prosperity of our city. Jobs NYC will help us recruit the next generation of public servants and leaders who will help us build a more equitable New York City, in which everyone has access to a good job that will help them support a family and build a sense of mission and pride.

Together, let’s keep New York City the best city in the world to live — and work — in.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
April 1, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

The Education Debate: Legislators Counter Executive Spending Restraint

Legislative proposals preserve current spending rather than providing transformative investments

 

ALBANY, NY | March 26, 2024 — The Fiscal Policy Institute released a new analysis of the education funding

debate, as legislators counter the executive budget's spending restraint.

 

The fiscal year 2025 executive budget attempts to curb State spending across major State-funded programs. In

doing so, the executive budget proposes restraining the growth of school aid — the State’s largest single

spending program. Further, the executive budget provides little additional support for public universities,

despite growing fiscal strain on many campuses. Executive budget proposals are discussed in greater detail in

FPI’s fiscal year 2025 annual budget briefing. The legislative budget proposals would roll back the executive

budget’s proposed cuts to school aid and provide additional support for public higher education. This funding

would preserve the current scope of New York’s education system, rather than representing transformative new

investments.

 

School Aid: Legislature rejects executive budget’s Foundation Aid changes

Support for local school districts is New York’s largest single spending program, accounting for more than onequarter

of State spending. After fast spending growth over the last three years, the fiscal year 2025 executive

budget aims to curb school aid spending growth. To cut spending growth, the executive budget would change

the inflation factor in the formula that determines Foundation Aid — the largest component of school aid

funding — and eliminate the formula’s hold harmless provision, which prevents a school district’s aid from

falling in any given year. These changes would reduce spending growth in fiscal year 2025 by $454 million. If

adopted, the modified inflation adjustment would have a compounding effect, restricting school further in

subsequent years.

 

Both the Senate and Assembly reject proposed changes to school aid, and instead propose higher school aid

funding that more than makes up for the executive budget’s proposed cuts:

 

  • The Senate would increase State-funded school aid by $1.16 billion, above the level proposed by the executive budget. The Senate’s additional funding would guarantee school districts a minimum annual increase of 3 percent, and add $150 million for statewide universal pre-kindergarten grants and $125million for universal school meals.
  • The Assembly would increase State-funded school aid by $1.02 billion above the level proposed by theexecutive budget. Like the Senate, the Assembly additional funding would guarantee school districts aminimum annual increase of 3 percent.

 

School aid planned by fiscal year 2024 enacted budget and fiscal year 2025 executive budget, and legislative proposals

Higher Education: Legislature proposes modest operating support to maintain services

The State’s higher education systems — the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New

York (CUNY) — both have campuses facing fiscal strain despite recent upticks in enrollment. The executive

budget makes no new investments in higher education systems, proposing to hold funding for SUNY and

CUNY flat in fiscal year 2025. Meanwhile, the governor is advancing a plan to close SUNY Downstate, a Stateoperated

hospital and medical school in Brooklyn.

 

Both legislative plans reject the Governor’s lack of investment with proposed operating support for SUNY and

CUNY and plan to keep SUNY Downstate open. Further, both houses propose significant expansions to the

tuition assistance program (TAP), which provides grants to students from low- and middle-income families:

 

  1. SUNY colleges

The executive budget would hold State funding for SUNY’s four-year colleges and universities flat in fiscal year

  1. While the executive budget appears to make modest new operating support available, this funding is

offset by the expiration of one-off funding passed last year.

 

The Senate and Assembly would each appropriate $100 million in additional operating support for SUNY

colleges beyond the level proposed by the executive budget:

 

  • The Senate’s $100 million appropriation would be divided among community colleges, the State operated colleges (the system’s four-year campuses), and statutory colleges (state-supported institutions housed within non-state universities, such as the specialty schools at Cornell University).
  • The Assembly’s $100 million appropriation would be divided only between State-operated and statutory colleges. The Assembly proposes a separate $11 million appropriation for community colleges. For this reason, the State’s four-year campuses would benefit from greater operating support under the Assembly plan.

 

While these legislative proposals would increase operating support for SUNY, they would not fully bridge the

fiscal gaps faced by many campuses. An estimated 19 SUNY campuses have operating deficits collectively

totaling $138 million per year. Campuses with severe deficits — including SUNY Potsdam and Fredonia —

have entered into restructuring agreements with the SUNY central administration, eliminating degree programs

in exchange for emergency fiscal support. SUNY central administration expects this problem to worsen, with

collective annual deficits exceeding $1 billion over the next decade. While the legislative proposals are a step

in the right direction, deep, recurring funding will be necessary to shore up the SUNY system.

 

Finally, both the Senate and Assembly propose $670 million for capital investments. The State would be

authorized to apportion this additional capital funding among SUNY campuses.

 

  1. SUNY Downstate

In January 2024, SUNY announced a plan to close SUNY Downstate, a teaching hospital in Brooklyn. As part

of the amended executive budget, the State committed $100 million in operating support and $300 million in

capital funding to implement a “transformation plan,” a State-developed plan to relocate certain SUNY

Downstate services to the adjacent Kings County Hospital Center, a City-supported hospital.

 

The Senate and Assembly both accept the executive budget’s proposed spending levels. The Senate,

however, would make the capital funding conditional on a “sustainability plan.” The sustainability plan, which

would be developed by a commission made up by executive, legislative, labor, and community appointees,

would outline a strategy for retaining SUNY Downstate’s teaching and service capacity in five core medical

practices defined by the Senate. Operating support would be used to support current services while the

sustainability plan is finalized. The Assembly budget resolution expresses support for maintaining services at

SUNY Downstate, though it does not include legislation conditioning capital funds.

 

Finally, both houses would add $79 million to support SUNY hospitals’ debt service, offsetting costs for the

system’s three teaching hospitals, and $150 million in capital funding for SUNY hospitals.

 

III. CUNY

New York City’s public higher education system faces fiscal shortfalls as the City implements multiple rounds of

across-the-board budget cuts. In its November 2023 and January 2024 budget modifications, the City

implemented cuts to CUNY totaling $40 million annually. These reductions follow cuts totaling $155 million

enacted the prior year. Despite a recent uptick in enrollment, the City appears poised to continue cutting CUNY

funding, focusing on nine campuses judged to be “colleges of concern.”

 

The executive budget maintains status quo support for CUNY, proposing an increase in operating support of

$65 million, or 3.3 percent. At the same time, the State proposes dramatically reducing funding for CUNY

capital projects, from $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2024 to $441 million in fiscal year 2025.

 

The Senate and Assembly would add an additional $67 million and $75 million, respectively, to the executive

budget’s proposed operating support. Both houses would increase capital funding to $1.0 billion, $535 million

above the executive budget level.

 

  1. Tuition Assistance Program

New York’s tuition assistance program (TAP) provides grants to students from low- and middle-income families

to pay for tuition at colleges and universities in New York State, whether public or private. The executive budget

took a step to extend TAP by making permanent an existing tuition credit that allows TAP recipients to attend a

SUNY or CUNY school tuition free.

 

The Senate and Assembly would enact a more sweeping expansion of TAP, proposing, respectively, $138

million and $118 million plans to broaden the program. Both houses would increase the current income

threshold for TAP liability from $80,000 to $125,000 for dependent students and increase the minimum award

level from $500 to $1,000. The Senate would further increase the maximum TAP award by $500 to $6,125.

Both houses would expand access to TAP to part-time students in private colleges approved to be part of TAP.

Finally, each house takes differing steps to incrementally expand TAP, with the Senate expanding access for

students with disabilities and the Assembly extending the maximum duration of awards to five years.

 

Conclusion

Broad, well-funded school and higher education systems are essential to New York’s competitiveness. The

fiscal year 2025 executive budget attempts to curb spending growth by restricting school aid to districts across

the state and failing to address deficits at State- and City-operated public university campuses. The Senate

and Assembly instead reject the proposed executive changes to school aid and add supplemental funding

above the planned level prior to the cuts. The legislature also appropriates additional funding for the State and

City’s public university systems. While the legislative proposals do not represent transformative investments in

the State’s education system, they would shore up the precarious fiscal situations facing school and public

universities across the state.

 

Comparison of executive and legislative education plans.  Copy & paste this link to view the full analysis.

https://fiscalpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/One-Houses-Education-Summary-Final-1.pdf

 

Fiscal Policy Institute
March 26, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Community Op-Ed: Yes to Housing in God’s Backyard

When we came into office, we had a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy as quickly as possible, and make our city more livable for everyday New Yorkers. The key to livability is affordable housing. It is the bedrock on which New Yorkers can build a family, build a life, or simply continue to live in the city they love. But there is currently not enough affordable housing to meet our city’s needs.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s 2023 Housing and Vacancy Survey showed that our city has a vacancy rate of 1.4 percent, the lowest this measurement has been since 1968. The only way to create more rental availability and lower prices is to build more housing.  To build more affordable housing, we must think creatively and bring every partner to the table. No partner has been more willing to answer the call than our faith-based organizations. They have been on the frontline of every crisis — from the COVID-19 pandemic to the asylum seeker crisis. Houses of worships have always opened their doors to those most in need. Now, they want to lend a helping hand in creating critically-needed affordable housing. However, because of outdated and antiquated zoning laws that go back generations, houses of worship have been told ‘no.’ But those days are over.

Our city must stop saying ‘no,’ and instead say ‘yes’: ‘yes’ to housing in God’s backyard.  Under our ‘City of Yes’ plan — the most pro-housing plan in our city’s history — we are using every tool at our disposal to build a little more housing in every neighborhood, including doing away with outdated zoning rules that prevent us from developing the housing we desperately need. This means giving our houses of worship the flexibility to build homes on their campuses, permitting the creation of much-needed three-to-five story buildings on large lots owned by faith-based organizations, and allowing landmarked houses of worship to permit unused land on their sites to be used for development.

These changes to our zoning rules will help faith-based groups generate revenue, add more affordable housing across the five boroughs, and develop new resources and facilities for congregations at a moment when some are struggling to make ends meet. The changes will support both everyday New Yorkers who need affordable homes as well as our communities of faith. This April, our ‘City of Yes for Housing Opportunity’ plan will enter public review and the City Council will vote on it by end of the year.

While we are doing everything we can on a city level with our ‘City of Yes’ plan, we also need the state to act. At this moment, state leaders are negotiating a budget deal in Albany. We need their deal to include a new incentive for affordable housing construction and a tax incentive for office to residential conversions. We also need the state to repeal the outdated FAR Cap, which will allow us to add more housing in residential neighborhoods, and to give New York City the power to legalize existing basement apartments so that they can meet health and safety standards. Finally, we need Albany to pass the Faith Based Affordable Housing Act, which says ‘yes’ to building affordable housing on the properties of faith institutions.

This fight is personal for me. I know what feels like to live without the security of housing because I grew up on the edge of homelessness. My siblings and I had to carry trash bags full of clothes to school because we didn’t know where we would sleep the next night. That is no way to live.

And it’s no way to live for countless New Yorkers who want to continue to live in the city they love so much. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that affordable housing was critical to our country’s future, and we know today that it is critical for the future of our city. It was Dr. King who called out discriminatory practices by landlords and realtors that kept Black Americans out of certain neighborhoods. And it was Dr. King who advocated for the Fair Housing Act, the landmark legislation that was finally passed by Congress the week after he was assassinated.

But his life’s work did not end with that bullet. We are continuing to fight for it today so that all New Yorkers can live with the dignity, security, and peace of mind that they deserve.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
March 25, 2024


Editor's Note About the City of Yes Text Amendments

We've begun tracking and researching this legislation which is about 1,200 pages long. After talking with a number of community activists, we're far less sure that this is as good a proposal as the Mayor portrays it to be. But that said, our analysis and reporting on it are not yet done, so we're reserving full judgment at this time. 

Here's a link to our reporting on the City of Yes Text Amendments Part II, which we will be updating weekly [or so] from here on in, until the NYC Council votes on it, which could be as early as April, when they take it up.  Also scroll down to a January 4, 2024 Editorial where we identify Alicia Boyd and MTOPP in Brooklyn, who've done an analysis of the City of Yes Text Amendments Part II proposal of their own. 

For further reading on City of Yes Text Amendments, see MTOPP blog
https://mtopp.org/index.php/2024/01/02/mtopp-answers-questions-on-the-city-of-yes/

MTOPP has an entire section dedicated to the City of Yes
https://mtopp.org/index.php/category/city-of-yes-text-amendments/

Be advised that these are huge zoning law changes which will strip away a lot of local input to the real estate development process, and put the authority and right to do things in the hands of the real estate developers and landowners, who are supporting this legislation, because they stand to make huge profits because of it.

Also note that while the legislation includes a whole lot of incentives to build all housing, including affordable, there are few mandates to build affordable, which seems a huge flaw in the legislation, and calls into question the selling of this legislation as a solution to affordable housing. There are also questions as to what this will do to the NYC property tax base in the long term, because - if property owners switch from commercial real estate to residential - NYC could stand to lose a huge amount of revenue, as commercial real estate brings in higher revenue than residential.

Stay tuned because these zoning law changes will affect everyone, as you will see, in our next report coming next week.

Mike Wood
Publisher
March 26, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Giving a Raise for New York City’s Human Services Workers

When I was a child, my family lived on the edge of homelessness. My five siblings and I would go to school with black trash bags full of our clothes in case we were evicted from our apartment. I am mayor of the City of New York today because human services workers were there to support my family when we needed it most. Standing up for these workers as their mayor is not just a professional concern for me; it is personal, too.

But it wasn’t just my family. Human services workers were there for all of us during the pandemic. When so many were in isolation, they were endangering their health as they worked with New Yorkers in need. Today, they are helping our neighbors get mental health care, connecting our homeless brothers and sisters with housing, running community centers across the five boroughs, caring for asylum seekers, and so much more.

This work is 24/7. It can be thankless, and it is often mentally and physically exhausting, but it is absolutely essential. It is no exaggeration to say that these men and women are the hands and hearts of New York City. We owe them everything.

When we came into office two years ago, we had a mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable for everyday New Yorkers. But for too long, the pay of our human services workers has not even kept up with the rising cost of living. Last week, we changed that by once again delivering on our vision to make this city more livable and putting money back into the pockets of these working-class New Yorkers.

We announced that our administration will be investing $741 million to deliver fair wages for the more than 80,000 nonprofit employees working within this city — finally giving our human services workers the pay raise they have earned. This will amount to a 9.27 percent pay increase over the next three years. This was a day one priority of our administration, and it is going to lift up a workforce that is majority women and women of color.

If you dedicate your life to serving New Yorkers, we should make sure that you get paid fairly. Because of this new investment and past wage enhancements we made for the sector, we have now invested $1.4 billion to improve pay for human service workers. This is how we build equity and give workers the support they deserve. And this is what it looks like to help our nonprofit partners attract and retain top talent going forward.

This announcement builds on our administration’s track record of standing with working-class New Yorkers and not only ensuring that they get paid fairly for their hard work, but also finding ways to get more money back in their pockets. In two years, we have negotiated historic contracts with unions representing 95 percent of the city’s workforce and 100 percent of the city's uniformed workforce, and we have hit this milestone faster than any administration in modern history.

We also fulfilled a campaign pledge to work with Albany lawmakers and secure an enhancement of the New York City Earned Income Tax Credit [link - https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/212-22/mayor-adams-applauds-earned-income-tax-credit-enhancement-state-budget-fulfilling-pledge-to], benefitting over 800,000 families and strengthening the city’s social safety net. That’s money for families to put towards rent, bills, and groceries. As part of our multi-billion child care blueprint, we reduced the per child co-payment or out-of-pocket cost [link - https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/984-23/mayor-adams-continues-get-stuff-done-working-class-new-yorkers-halfway-first-term] of subsidized child care for a family of four earning $55,000 a year from $55 a week in 2022 to $4.80 a week. Now, parents don’t have to decide between their career or child care.

I am proud to be a blue-collar mayor, and by offering fair pay, we are creating a fairer and more equitable city for all. By delivering on our vision for a more livable city, we are ensuring that New York City is not only the greatest city in the world to live, but also one of the greatest places to work, especially for those who sacrifice so much for all of us.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
March 21, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Building a City of Opportunity

As I often say, we live in a city of 8.3 million people — and 35 million opinions. But one thing all New Yorkers can agree on is that people come to our city to make it.  They come here to work, build lives, and fulfill the American Dream. And the Adams administration is committed to creating the conditions for that dream to flourish. This means doing everything we can to protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make all five boroughs more livable for all New Yorkers. 

As part of our ongoing efforts, we have developed “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity” — a set of 18 zoning changes that will help businesses find space and grow, support entrepreneurs and freelancers, boost growing industries, and make our streetscapes more vibrant.

For far too long, outdated regulations have made it difficult for small businesses in our city to flourish. These regulations, enacted in 1961, no longer make sense for the modern city in which we live. They include zoning laws that prevent certain kinds of businesses in specific neighborhoods — for example banning hardware stores or repair shops on Madison Avenue; or being allowed to have music and DJs at some bars, but not being allowed to set aside space for customers to dance to the music. Worse still, these outdated rules prevent businesses owners and entrepreneurs from meeting real needs.

With the City Council’s support, we can sweep aside these senseless restrictions and create more opportunities for New Yorkers and their businesses to flourish.  We have successfully partnered with the Council on “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality,” which makes it easier for New Yorkers to go green with clean energy, solar panels, composting, electric vehicles, and more. Now, we can do the same with City of Yes for Economic Opportunity.

Along the same lines, we have made outdoor dining permanent. The temporary outdoor dining program saved 100,000 jobs during COVID and showed us a bright future for our streets — but it also led to abandoned sheds and sanitation issues. Our permanent program works for locals, tourists, and restaurant owners and keeps our streets attractive, safe, and trash-free. And we’re making it easier for restaurants to create clean and safe outdoor dining setups through our new Dining Out NYC portal [https://diningout.nyc.gov/application/], which will allow more New Yorkers across the five boroughs to enjoy outdoor dining. The portal offers restaurant owners a wide range of free resources and ideas for how to design their space, and the new rules ensure that the areas around outdoor dining spaces are kept clean, so they look good and don’t attract rodents and other pests.

Running a city like New York is never easy, and for all New Yorkers to flourish, we must continue to adapt to new realities. Whether it’s responding to climate change, getting rid of outdated zoning rules, creating new economic opportunities, or implementing new commonsense rules to keep us all safe and healthy, the Adams administration puts the health and prosperity of New Yorkers front and center every day.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
March 11, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

What To Look For in the One House Budget Proposals

Ahead of the release of the legislature's budget proposals, the Fiscal Policy Institute today released a new briefing on What To Look For in the One House Budget Proposals.

Overview

 Following last week’s revenue consensus, the legislature will be able to propose $1.3 billion more in spending than the executive budget. This additional revenue will allow the legislature to restore many of the budget cuts proposed by the executive budget, especially to school aid and home care. The legislature can, however, go beyond restoring the proposed cuts and put forward deeper investments in public services that address New York’s affordability crisis. These investments will require raising additional revenue.

The Fiscal Policy Institute recommends three sets of revenue options necessary to support deeper investments in education and higher education, health care, housing, and climate policy. Further background on each revenue option and policy area can be found in FPI’s fiscal year 2025 budget briefing book.

Tax & Revenue - Policy Recommendations

The legislature can reject proposed spending cuts while deepening investment to make the state more affordable by enacting the following tax policy measures:

  • Rationalize the Personal Income Tax Brackets: Reform the top personal income tax brackets by applying the current highest tax rate of 10.9 percent to all millionaire-earners (single filers earning over $1 million and married filers earning over $2 million); increase the tax rates for multi-millionaire-earners;add a new 8.85 percent bracket for top earners below the million-dollar threshold ($500,000 for single filers; $750,000 for joint filers). This change would raise over $4 billion annually.
  • Tax Capital Gains: Offset the federal tax benefit for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends by creating a progressive capital gains surtax for high-income filers. This change would create an additional 2 percent capital gains tax for all filers with incomes over $500,000 and an additional 4 percent capital gains tax for filers with incomes over $1 million. This change would raise $3.5 billion annually.
  • Reform Corporate & Business Taxes: Raise the corporate tax rate in light of the dramatic 2017 corporate tax break; enact measures to combat multinational corporate tax avoidance, either by including global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) in the state corporate tax base or by requiring worldwide combined reporting for corporations; tax the profits of high-earning pass-through businesses that are exempt from the corporate tax. These changes would raise $5 to $7 billion annually.
  • Enhance the Child Tax Credit: Enact changes (such as those in the “Working Families Tax Credit” proposal) that would improve the State’s current tax credit programs (the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Empire State Child Credit). Sound changes to the program would increase the total credit amount for each child for the neediest families, eliminate phase-ins that prevent the poorest families from receiving any benefit, and make the credit available to immigrants who file based on an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Education & Higher Education - Policy Recommendations

The legislature should reject the proposed change to the school aid funding formula and undertake a study on how to best update the formula. Further, rather than shifting the burden of SUNY deficits to current and future students through reduced academic offerings or tuition hikes, the legislature should appropriate State operating funding to balance campus budgets.

  • Maintain the Foundation Aid Formula: Reject the executive budget’s change to the foundation aid formula, increasing school funding growth by $454 million over the executive budget; undertake a study of how to best modernize the formula.
  • Invest in a New Deal for High Education: Increase operating support for SUNY and CUNY campuses, balancing their budgets and correcting for a decade of fiscal retrenchment. Further pursue a “new deal for higher education,” including lowering or eliminating tuition, investing in capital repairs, hiring new faculty, and professionalizing adjunct compensation. These actions would require a multibillion-dollar annual investment.

Healthcare - Policy Recommendations

While Medicaid costs have grown sharply in recent years, cutting home care worker wages and restricting access to care is an ill-advised cost saving strategy. A more efficient and equitable approach would be to eliminate Managed Long-Term Care (MLTC) plans — a program that contracts with costly private organizations to coordinate long-term care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Further, rather than allow hospitals serving primarily low-income populations to teeter on the brink of closure and pursue ad-hoc bailouts or mergers, the State should develop a comprehensive plan for ensuring adequate statewide hospital coverage while allocating sufficient resources for safety net hospitals.

  • Reject Wage Cuts to Home Care Workers: Reject the executive budget’s proposed cuts of $300 million in fiscal year 2025 and $600 million per year thereafter.
  • Fund Financially Distressed Hospitals: Direct $1.5 billion in targeted funding to hospitals serving primarily Medicaid-covered and uninsured patients; invest adequately to prevent the closure of SUNY Downstate Medical Center; raise the Medicaid reimbursement rate.
  • Invest in the Healthcare Workforce: Invest in rebuilding the state’s healthcare workforce, which has seen high attrition during and after the Covid pandemic; ensure safe staffing levels at hospitals statewide.
  • Expand the Essential Plan: Use $1 billion in surplus federal funding to expand the Essential Plan to cover 150,000 undocumented immigrants (as well as providing ACA marketplace subsidies).

Housing - Policy Recommendations

An ambitious social housing policy that rises to the scale of the state’s housing shortage would 1) increase housing production, 2) protect tenants from displacement, and 3) create units with below-market rents. The first two goals could be accomplished by policies proposed last year that would have loosened local land use regulations and protected tenants from exorbitant rent increases. Enacting these policies, however, would not have ensured a supply of units with below-market rents. This key complementary policy could be achieved with the creation of a social housing authority.

  • Reform Land Use: Unlike last year, comprehensive changes to local land use appear unlikely to be enacted in the fiscal year 2025 budget. Nevertheless, proposed legislation to streamline permitting for affordable housing, allow religious institutions to create housing on their land, and require the public reporting of statewide housing data would represent progress toward easing restrictive local land use regulations.
  • Invest in Social Housing: Commit up to $5 billion in capital funding to an authority in order create social housing, building on the executive budget’s proposal to build new housing on state-owned land.
  • Impose Tenant Protections: Protect tenants of unregulated rental units from unwarranted evictions and excessive rent increases.

Climate - Policy Recommendations

The State should implement an effective cap-and-invest program, as detailed in the FPI Budget Briefing, and commit additional funding beyond that program to ensure the State meets its decarbonization targets. Without public funding for the climate transition, the State’s pursuit of its climate goals will increase energy costs for working New Yorkers.

  • Invest in the Renewable Energy Transition: Appropriate $2-3 billion in capital funding to support greater deployment of renewable energy resources, building electrification programs, and investments in transmission infrastructure.
  • Adopt the Affordability Requirements of the NY Heat Act: The executive budget includes portions of the NY HEAT Act, including elimination of the “100-foot rule,” which ends the law stating that gas companies must extend new lines to all requesting customers and must spread the cost of the first 100 feet of the new hook-up across all ratepayers. This change will accelerate the transition away from fossil fuel infrastructure. However, the budget excludes provisions that would shelter low-income households from the effects of the transition by capping utility payments at 6 percent of household income. These provisions should be included.

State Workforce - Policy Recommendations

  • Improve Public Sector Pensions and Benefits: Improve benefits for public sector employees to increase retention and recruitment in the public sector. 
  • Invest in Health and Human Services Workers: Implement policies designed to recruit and retain healthcare staff at hospitals in compliance with the 2021 Safe Staffing law that was intended to ensure safe and decent job conditions. The State can further leverage $694 million in funding for the healthcare workforce as part of the recently approved 1115 Medicaid waiver. Additionally, a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for human services workers is necessary to bolster this workforce in the face of a mental health and substance misuse crisis.
  • Invest in State Tax and Labor Enforcement: Increase funding for civil services positions such as tax auditors and labor enforcement staff that protect State revenue and workers’ rights.

Fiscal Policy Institute
Albany, New York
March 6, 2024

https://fiscalpolicy.org


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Building a legal, equitable cannabis industry that works for us all.

When we came to office two years ago, we had a clear vision: protect public safety, revitalize the economy, and make this city more livable for hardworking New Yorkers. And building a legal, equitable cannabis industry is part of every part of that vision.

Legal cannabis remains the right choice for New York City. This budding, emerging industry offers a once-in-a-generation chance for those disproportionately impacted by the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ to build wealth, especially in our Black and Brown communities. For too long, these communities faced high rates of drug-related incarceration and were denied economic opportunities. But thanks to the equitable, legal cannabis industry, they have a chance to get in on the industry from the ground up. We know, however, that it’s not enough to just support the opening of new legal cannabis shops — we must have Albany grant local authorities the power to close down the illegal operators that threaten the economic success of legal shops and put the safety of our communities at risk.

Last week, I was proud to celebrate the opening of the first legal dispensary in Brooklyn owned by a Black woman. Matawana Dispensary is an example of how we can build an equitable cannabis industry that rights the wrongs of the past. Leeann Mata, the owner of Matawana Dispensary, was justice-impacted by the previous ‘War on Drugs,’ but turned her pain into purpose. Now, she is a proud small business owner in the borough she calls home.

For many years, people of color in our communities were routinely targeted when it came to cannabis law enforcement. Cannabis criminalization was used to harass, arrest, and prosecute so many of our brothers and sisters. And that’s why New York City is making sure that the New Yorkers who were harmed by the mistakes of the past are first in line for the economic opportunities that legal cannabis offers in the future.

Through the city’s Cannabis NYC initiative, we have supported the opening of 26 legal cannabis shops across the five boroughs, and, every day, we are working to create a more thriving, equitable, and legal cannabis industry.

Our commitment stems from a moral obligation to make sure that the people who were adversely affected by cannabis criminalization get their fair share of this emerging market. But these legitimate businesses are facing stiff competition from shops that are not following the rules.

To support the legal cannabis market, New York City must have the tools necessary to stop the illegal market from growing even further. These illegal shops take money out of the registers of legal businesses, while simultaneously posing both a public safety and a public health concern — selling counterfeit products that are unsafe and often targeted towards kids.

We know that New Yorkers are fed up with illegal storefronts and their unlawful business practices. Legalization is about following the law, not a free pass to sell unregulated cannabis products.

That’s why our administration is working with all our partners in Albany and New York State to get the local authority to shut down illegal smoke shops.

With the limited tools the city has, we have played our part to crack down on these illegal stores. We created the interagency Sheriff’s Joint Compliance Task Force to conduct enforcement against unlicensed establishments. And, since the start of this administration, we have closed 160 illegal businesses, conducted over 46,000 inspections, collected over 18 million dollars in fines, and issued 17,000 summonses.

But, to protect legal dispensaries like Leeann Mata’s, New York City needs the proper authority from Albany lawmakers to proactively inspect and shutdown illegal cannabis shops. Those who flout the cannabis laws and regulations are robbing the very communities that are finally on the cusp of benefiting from a just and equitable system.

We will continue to work with our partners in Albany to give aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those who have been justice-involved, a chance to succeed. Together, we can continue to roll equity into our economy.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
March 6, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Making it Easier for Working-Class New Yorkers to File Their Taxes and Put Money Back Into Their Pockets

New York City was built on the backs of working-class New Yorkers; people like my mother, Dorothy Mae Adams, a single mother who worked multiple jobs to support my five siblings and myself. She sacrificed everything for us, and I know that there are thousands of New Yorkers doing the same today in our city for their families.

Those are the people we have been fighting for since day one of this administration. We’ve been clear that our mission has been to deliver those working-class New Yorkers a city that protects public safety, revitalizes the economy, and is more livable.

We’ve made our city safer, created 270,000 private-sector jobs, set a first-of-its-kind minimum wage for deliveristas, and worked with our brothers and sisters in labor to get them the pay and benefits they deserve.

We have broken affordable housing records — financing the most affordable homes in city history and connecting more New Yorkers to affordable homes than any other year in our city’s history.

We drove down the cost of childcare for working parents, increased public school enrollment, boosted test scores, and revolutionized reading in our classrooms.

Jobs are up, crime is down, and our streets are cleaner, but we know the hustle is still real for so many across our city. That is why we are fighting to put money back into New Yorkers’ pockets — money they have earned and need to support their families.

We know that filing taxes can be overwhelming, so, this tax season, our administration is making it easier for New Yorkers to file.

If your family earns $85,000 or less or you make $59,000 or less as a single filer, you can get your taxes done for free with NYC Free Tax Prep. New Yorkers can file their taxes for free at any one of our NYC Tax Prep locations across the five boroughs or online at  getyourrefund.org/nyc.

Some of these locations also offer tax services for self-employed New Yorkers, including freelance workers, gig workers, and small business owners.

And a number of New York City Health + Hospitals locations are also offering free, in-person and virtual tax prep for eligible New Yorkers. Select sites offer support in Spanish, Chinese, and Bengali, and virtual tax preparation is available in Spanish as well, so New Yorkers from different backgrounds can get their taxes filed for free.

New Yorkers can schedule an appointment at a NYC Free Tax Prep location in advance at nyc.gov/taxprep and must bring identification and proof of income to their appointment. For virtual services, New Yorkers can upload their documents and meet virtually with a tax preparer to review their tax return before submission.

Free tax prep is another simple and straightforward way our administration is making sure working-class New Yorkers get their fair share, and it is the easiest way to get the maximum tax credits and the full refund you deserve.

Putting money back into your pockets is also exactly why our administration went to Albany to secure the first increase in the city’s Earned Income Tax Credit in 20 years — to ensure that New Yorkers get to keep the money that helps them pay for the essentials like bills, rent, and food.

Our administration will continue working every day to ensure working-class New Yorkers can keep their fair share, and this tax season, we’re making it easier than ever to do so.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
February 26, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Connecting Communities with Rails & Trails / New Year, New Momentum

The fight for QueensLink is reaching a crucial phase! We’re fighting on THREE fronts, while continuing our community outreach.

I. Help Us Get State Funding!

QueensLink advocates in the state legislature have submitted funding letters for an Environmental Impact Statement, the first step in getting funding in the state budget. Senator James Sanders, Jr. submitted the letter to the Senate Majority Leader, with Senators Leroy Comrie, Jessica Ramos, Kristen Gonzalez, and Julia Salazar as signatories. Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato submitted the letter to Assembly Speaker, with Assembly Members Kahleel Anderson, Juan Ardila, Andrew Hevesi, Zohran Mandani, Ron Kim, and Jessica Gonzalez Rojas as signatories.

However, we need to get more signatures by the end of March! Use our letter writing tool to tell your Representatives! Tell our leaders how QueensLink would improve your life! Or if they’ve already signed our budget request, write to say thank you! 

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Threads posts for legislators to address.

II. A Metro Hub Park that Would NOT Block Transit

The New York City Parks Dept. and EDC are working on a plan for the Metro Hub section of the QueensWay. At public scoping sessions, attendees were vocal about their wish for transit to be included. But the Parks Dept. and EDC will not take transit into account, promising to design their park first and ask the MTA about their thoughts later.

We’re preparing an alternative plan for the Metro Hub Park that would give residents the scenic walking/bike path to Forest Park that originally inspired QueensWay. However, our solution would preserve much of the right-of-way for future transit infrastructure.

Though the Mayor has promised that QueensWay won’t block potential rail reactivation, the NYC Parks Department and NYC EDC’s community engagement sessions have made clear that they are NOT leaving space for future transit development. If the park is built as in the preliminary plan, future transit development would require tearing up much of the park and a lengthy park land alienation process–two measures that would face insurmountable push back.

We will present our ideas to preserve future rail reactivation at a meeting of Queens Community Board 6’s Special Committee on the Rockaway Beach Branch, on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 PM, in the Rego Park Center Mall Community Room, on the corner of 97th and Horace Harding. Please show up to show support!

III. What Do Rockaways Residents Want?

A new transit group in the Rockaways is launching on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 6 pm in the Arverne East Welcome Center at Beach 44 and the Boardwalk. Participants will have a chance to talk about the problems they face getting around the long, thin peninsula, and into Queens and the rest of the City. Then, QueensLink and other local organizations will present their proposals for improving transportation.

If you live in Rockaway, we want to hear from you! Get Involved! Sign Our Petition.

The Queens Link Organizing Committee
February 20, 2024
https://thequeenslink.org


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Social Media and Youth Mental Health

New York City has always been a hub for technology and innovation. And while technology has helped create jobs, opportunities, and prosperity, it has also the potential to cause new dangers, especially when it comes to social media and the mental health of our children.

 Our administration came into office two years ago with a mission to protect public safety, and protecting our young people’s mental health is very much a part of that agenda. That is why, last week — along with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City Health + Hospitals, and the New York City Department of Education — we filed a lawsuit against the companies that own and operate five social media companies in an effort to hold these companies accountable for role they have played in fueling a mental health crisis among our young people.

Our most recent data found that young people in New York City are experiencing anxiety, hopelessness, and are even attempting suicide at rates we have never seen before. You don’t need to be a parent or caregiver to realize the effects of social media on our children’s lives. Instead of talking to each other over lunch at the cafeteria, our youth are absorbed in their screens. Instead of playing at the park with friends, they are inside on a sunny day clicking and scrolling. And instead of learning confidence and resilience, they are being exposed to content that often leads to insecurity and depression.

New York City teens are spending an average of three hours or more per day in front of screens — not including time spent on schoolwork — much of it focused on the endless stream of social media that has been designed with one goal in mind: keeping users hooked for as long as possible.

Adults find it hard enough to moderate the use of social media, but it's even more difficult for our young people. We know these platforms are designed with addictive and dangerous features that take advantage of a child's natural interest in novelty and play.

Social media can damage self-esteem, promote addiction, and often encourages reckless behavior like subway surfing and car theft challenges. We have also seen a dangerous rise in misinformation, xenophobia, radicalization, and incitement to hateful acts.

Instead of connecting people to one another, as our social media companies initially promised, their platforms too often tear us apart. Internal TikTok documents reveal that more than 20 percent of children are active on the platform between midnight and 5:00 AM when they should be sleeping. In recent years, there was a 40 percent increase in high school students reporting persistent sadness and hopelessness.

Dr. Vasan, our city’s health commissioner, released an advisory last month declaring social media a public health hazard, and New York is the first major American city to call out the danger of social media clearly and directly, just as past surgeons general did with tobacco and guns. We are treating social media like other public health hazards.

Last week, we also released our Social Media Action Plan, which will help us chart a new course forward in several key areas. First, we are advocating for state and federal policymakers to put in place laws that require social media companies to ensure that their platforms are safe for youth mental health. 

Second, we will be providing media literacy and education to support our young people and families. This includes promoting tech-free zones to encourage young people to socialize in person.

And finally, our action plan will study the long-term impacts of social media on our youth to understand how New York City can better address the harms caused by these platforms. 

We know that some have begun working to tackle these issues. While we welcome those efforts, this entire industry must do far more. We must have enforceable and agreed upon standards, not a patchwork of voluntary fixes that ultimately shift the burden back to parents, teachers, and young people.

Our children, our families, and our future are more important than profit. That is why we are taking bold actions on behalf of millions of New Yorkers. This is a crucial step in a larger reckoning that will shape the lives of our young people, our city, and society for years to come.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
February 20, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Op-Ed: What We Need From Albany

New York City is all about what is possible. It’s a place where you can start a business, raise a family, and make a difference. Our administration came into office with the aim of keeping that American Dream alive by protecting public safety, rebuilding our economy, and making our city more livable for everyday New Yorkers. I went to our state capital last week with the goal of furthering that vision.

 We laid out an agenda to advance working-class families by extending mayoral accountability of our public schools for four years, granting the city the authority to shut down illegal smoke shops, and creating more affordable housing. Finally, we outlined the city’s fiscal challenges, including state funding for asylum seekers and increasing New York City’s debt limit.

New York City public schools are leading the way in New York state and across the nation because of mayoral accountability. Thanks to mayoral accountability we were able to launch New York City Reads, a nation-leading curriculum that teaches our kids the fundamentals of reading. This is more than a curriculum change — it is a reading revolution. And Governor Hochul announced that she is following our model and bringing our approach to every school district statewide. We also became the first city in the country to screen every child for dyslexia to make sure no child falls through the cracks, like I almost did as a young undiagnosed dyslexic child.

Mayoral accountability allowed us to deliver on countless wins: gifted and talented programs in every neighborhood, full-time mental health professionals for every school, outpacing the state in reading and math while closing racial disparities, and more. Prior to mayoral accountability, high school graduation rates stagnated at 50 percent — they are now over 80 percent. Again, all of this is possible because of mayoral accountability. If Albany fails to extend mayoral accountability, we risk seeing test scores and graduation rates fall back.

Additionally, New Yorkers should be able to walk down our streets without worrying about illegal smoke shops selling cannabis to our children. Legal cannabis remains the right choice for our city and our state, but New Yorkers are fed up with these illegal storefronts and their unlawful business practices. We asked Albany to grant us the authority to inspect and permanently shut down these shops.

Rebuilding our economy means creating homes that working-class New Yorkers can afford. Our administration is playing our part and becoming a City of Yes — “yes” to building more in our backyards, neighborhoods, and everywhere else. Now, Albany needs to play its part. We are calling for a new affordable housing tax incentive; a pathway to legalize safe, existing basement and cellar apartments; incentives for office conversions; and lifting the cap on density for new construction. These measures will enable us to build more affordable homes that working-class New Yorkers urgently need.

Finally, New York City is proud to uphold our legacy as a city of immigrants. And we are proud that we have demonstrated leadership and compassion, when so many others showed only cruelty. We have helped tens of thousands file Temporary Protected Status, asylum, and work authorization applications, bringing them one step closer to living a more stable life. However, right now, there are more than 66,000 asylum seekers still in the city’s care.

When you add in the over 55,000 longtime New Yorkers in the city’s care, that means we have close to three times the number of people in our shelter system than when we came into office. While we appreciate the commitment the governor made last year to cover one-third of the city’s asylum seeker costs, this was based on the premise that the city, the state, and the federal government would split the costs three ways. We are again asking the state to increase its commitment and cover at least 50 percent of New Yorkers’ costs. Then, to meet ongoing capital needs, we are asking the state to increase the city’s debt capacity. All of these financial investments will allow us to continue to invest in cleaner streets and welcoming public spaces that benefit all New Yorkers.

Our administration looks forward to turning our agenda into a reality and working with our colleagues in Albany to improve the lives of everyday New Yorkers now, and for generations to come.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
February 16, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Getting Every Single Trash Bag Off Our Streets

New Yorkers deserve clean streets, free of smelly trash bags and rats. That’s why we are taking the next leap forward in the Trash Revolution — our initiative to reimagine trash collection and remove every single trash bag from New York City’s streets.

When we came into office two years ago, we had a mission: Protect public safety, revitalize the economy, and make this city more livable for hardworking New Yorkers.

Our Trash Revolution is a key part of this mission, giving New Yorkers the world-class sanitation services they deserve. New Yorkers shouldn’t have to hold their noses or dodge trash mountains as they walk home.

Our administration is rejecting that status quo, and is delivering for everyday New Yorkers. We are making our streets cleaner by picking up trash more efficiently and cracking down on illegal dumping across the city.

But we are just getting started. Last week, we unveiled the prototype of a new kind of garbage truck that uses a mechanical arm to empty trash from new, on-street containers, like those you might see in European or Asian cities. This will allow us to pick up New Yorkers’ trash quicker, cleaner, and smarter — and we developed this truck in a fifth of the time experts said it would take.

We also announced the next stage of containerization: a full-scale pilot in Harlem’s Community Board 9, expanding from our initial 10-block pilot. This will be the first neighborhood in the city with zero black bags sitting on the street waiting for pickup. Rat sightings in those 10 blocks fell by more than two-thirds year-over-year. That represents real progress, real fast.

The strategies we are testing in Harlem will make a huge difference in some of our biggest and densest neighborhoods, helping us tackle mountains of black bags at the source.

Since our administration came into office, we have been making history in the fight for cleaner streets. We established later set out times for trash, and we are providing the highest level of street litter basket service ever for 23,000 baskets across our city.

By this fall, every single New Yorker in all five boroughs will have access to free, pain-free weekly curbside compost collection.

We are cracking down on illegal dumping and stepping up enforcement efforts. In fact, over the past fiscal year, we issued 24 percent more violations than the year prior.

We have containerized trash for restaurants, delis, bodegas, bars, and grocery stores. And, as of March 1, 2024, all businesses in New York City will have to put out their trash in containers. By this fall, all buildings with one to nine residential units will need to containerize their trash as well.

Here in America, New York City is leading the way, as we use proven solutions that have been adopted in cities all over the world. Add it all up, and we will already have 70 percent of New York City’s black bags off our streets by this fall. This is the most significant progress toward clean streets that New Yorkers have seen in generations.

No one thought this would be possible, but we are getting it done. As a result, New York City, which used to be known for its mean streets, will now be known for our clean streets.

Rats are moving on and moving out. And our city is becoming more livable than ever for everyday New Yorkers.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
February 5, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

The State of Our City: You Can Make It Here

Last week, in the Bronx, the borough where hip hop was born, I reported to New Yorkers on the state of our city. 

When our administration came into office 24 months ago, we had a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make this city more livable for New Yorkers.

Two years in, we are seeing real results. Crime is down, jobs are up, and every day we are delivering for the hard-working people of New York.

We took 14,000 illegal guns off our streets and drove down shootings and homicides by double digits, while getting millions of people back on our subways.

We created 270,000 private-sector jobs and set a first-of-its-kind minimum wage for deliveristas, as we worked with our brothers and sisters in labor to get them the pay and the benefits they deserve.

We unlocked billions of dollars for public housing through the NYCHA Preservation Trust, and broke affordable housing records — financing the most affordable homes in city history and connecting more New Yorkers to affordable homes than any other year.

We drove down the cost of child care for working parents, increased public school enrollment, boosted test scores, and revolutionized reading in our classrooms.

We made our streets cleaner and greener with more parks and less garbage bags and rats. And we did all of this while marshaling our entire city government to respond to the asylum seeker humanitarian crisis.

The last two years have been about resetting and renewal. Now, it is time to make the future together.

That starts with public safety. While New Yorkers welcome the future of transit, we cannot have mopeds speeding down our sidewalks or dangerous lithium-ion batteries burning down our buildings.

We are going to work with the City Council to create the “Department of Sustainable Delivery” — a first-in-the-nation entity that will regulate new forms of delivery transit and ensure the safety of drivers, delivery workers, and pedestrians.

And while we are doing everything in our power to keep our streets safe, we all know there’s a secret weapon inside our bedrooms, kitchens, and on our living room sofas. We are protecting our children from online harm by becoming the first major American city to designate social media as a public health hazard, just as past U.S. surgeons general have done with tobacco and firearms. We cannot stand by and let big tech monetize our children's privacy and jeopardize their mental health.

The future of our economy is green, and that’s why we announced the “Harbor of the Future” — our plan to create 53,000 temporary and permanent jobs, generate $95 billion in economic impact, and establish New York City as the global destination for green technology, innovation, and opportunity.

Our administration has already advanced projects from the Bronx to Brooklyn to Manhattan and Staten Island that will drive research and innovation in emerging fields. This year, we will add a new stop along the Harbor of the Future with a $100 million Climate Innovation Hub at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. This hub will bring business development, incubation, and research to Sunset Park as we invest in clean tech innovation and manufacturing.

And while we’re rebuilding our economy, we must also make sure New York remains a livable city that is cleaner, greener, and more affordable. Chief among our priorities here is to ensure that people are not priced out of their homes. That is why our administration is advancing a powerful agenda both to build more housing and keep people in the homes they already have. 

This year, we will build on our past success with our ‘24 in 24’ initiative, advancing 24 housing projects on public sites to create or preserve over 12,000 units. We will also expand our Homeowner Help Desk, which provides counseling and resources to keep people in their homes, to the entire city. We are going to be a city of yes when it comes to housing: “yes” in my backyard, “yes” on my block, and “yes” in my neighborhood.

COVID taught us that people don’t just want public spaces — but that public spaces are essential. We are going to continue reimagining the urban experience for all New Yorkers, including a complete makeover of Kimlau Plaza in Chinatown. And we are going to build and refurbish four major public skate parks in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Additionally, we must make sure that all New Yorkers can share in our city’s success. Last week, we released a more than $40 million action plan — “Women Forward NYC” — to connect more women to job opportunities, dismantle barriers to health care, reduce violence against women, and so much more.

We also announced the cancellation of over $2 billion in medical debt for up to half a million working-class New Yorkers, a life-changing policy that will keep money in New Yorkers’ pockets.

Thanks to these investments, and the dedication of our public servants and millions of hardworking people across the five boroughs, New York City will remain a place where anyone can make it. Without a doubt, the state of our city is strong. We Can Make It Here | State of the City 2024 (youtube.com).

Mayor Adams
City Hall
January 29, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Tell Governor Hochul Not to Cut Clean Water and EPF Funding

Investments in clean water infrastructure and other environmental projects are in jeopardy and we need your help. Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget for FY25 proposes cutting $500 million ($250 million per year for two years) from the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and allowing up to $25 million from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to be raided for agency staffing.

Tell Governor Hochul her cuts to clean water and environmental protection are unacceptable.

Cut & paste the following link to show your support - https://actions.nylcv.org/a/fund-clean-water-epf?sourceid=1014473&emci=cf7e580f-07ba-ee11-bea1-002248223848&emdi=72792899-21ba-ee11-bea1-002248223848&ceid=1384937

One of the League’s top priorities for 2024 is the allocation of at least $4 billion in clean water infrastructure funding over the next five years, with $600 million in the 2024-2025 budget to reduce the backlog of projects. But the governor’s proposed budget takes us in the wrong direction, and the impacts won’t be academic; it will mean fewer jobs and fewer protections for public health.

Similarly, allowing the EPF to be raided for agency staffing sets a dangerous precedent. It amounts to a cut for environmental protection and climate mitigation projects in the near term and all but ensures the program will be used as a bargaining chip for years to come. This is the wrong approach.

Urge Governor Hochul to fully fund the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and EPF.

 Cut & paste the following link to show your support - https://actions.nylcv.org/a/fund-clean-water-epf?sourceid=1014473&emci=cf7e580f-07ba-ee11-bea1-002248223848&emdi=72792899-21ba-ee11-bea1-002248223848&ceid=1384937

We will do our part in Albany as we meet with lawmakers over the coming weeks and months to advocate for these programs to be fully funded, but it is very important that the governor hear from all of us as soon as possible that these cuts are simply unacceptable.

It may only be January, but this is a key moment in the 2024 legislative calendar and we need to make our collective voices heard on this issue now, before negotiations begin in earnest.

Thank you for joining us in this fight for clean water and environmental protection, and thank you for all you do for the environment.

TAKE ACTION

Patrick McClellan
Policy Director, NYLCV/EF
New York League of Conservation Voters
January 23, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Balancing Our City’s Budget While Delivering for Working-Class New Yorkers

Our administration came into office with a clear mission: to protect public safety, revitalize our economy, and make all five boroughs more livable for the 8.3 million people who call New York City their home. For the last two years, we have worked every day to make our vision a reality. And the recently released Fiscal Year 2025 Preliminary Budget keeps us on track.

I am proud to report that jobs are up, crime is down, tourists are back, our streets are cleaner, and our children’s test scores are better. We have accomplished all this and delivered a balanced budget for New Yorkers.

It is important for New Yorkers to understand how we achieved this balanced budget that invests in working-class families, despite a perfect storm of COVID-19 stimulus funding drying up, tax revenue growth slowing, labor contracts that went years overdue, and an ongoing national humanitarian crisis that has brought more than 170,000 asylum seekers to our city in less than two years.

Despite a record $7.1 billion gap, we were able to balance and stabilize our budget without laying off a single city worker, raising taxes, and with minimal disruption to services that New Yorkers rely on. This is the result of careful fiscal planning and management.

 We made tough but necessary decisions like implementing a hiring freeze and a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) savings program. These steps, along with an unexpectedly strong economy, and lowering asylum seeker costs helped balance the budget.

And to properly manage the asylum seeker crisis, we helped file over 27,000 applications for asylum, work authorization, and temporary protected status. We also helped more than 60 percent of migrants take the next steps in their journeys.

Our strong fiscal management also helped to make restorations that put dollars back towards public safety, public space, and young people. We restored funding for the April Police Academy Class, which means 600 additional officers out on our streets this fall. Additionally, we restored the fifth firefighter at 20 of the city’s engine companies because more firefighters on the job always helps.

We will maintain 23,000 litter baskets across the five boroughs, and continue to install the award-winning “Litter Basket of the Future,” so we can keep can winning the war against rats. And we will continue to fund our Parks Opportunity Program, which keeps our public spaces clean and green while helping our neighbors find job opportunities.

And to support one of our young people, our administration restored funding for 170 community schools so that students and families can continue to get the support they need, both in and out of the classroom. In addition, for the first time ever, our city will invest new funds into and entirely pay for Summer Rising, a program that impacts 110,000 children, and had originally been funded with temporary federal stimulus dollars.

Finally, libraries across all five boroughs will maintain their current level of funding so they do not have to further reduce the library programs and services that New Yorkers of all ages love. 

All of these wins are possible because of our fiscal planning and discipline that keep our city safe and clean and open the doors of opportunity for everyone.

But we must continue to be cautious.

Experts expect the economy and job markets to slow this year, and asylum seekers will continue to arrive, so we must be vigilant and remain focused on making government more efficient and spending taxpayer dollars carefully. That is why we are proud that our preliminary budget includes a near-record Rainy-Day Fund of $8.2 billion.

Running a city of any size is never easy. And balancing the many competing needs of a city like New York requires us to think ahead and make the best decisions we can for today and tomorrow. Everything we do is about making this city safer and making it work better for working-class New Yorkers. That is what this budget delivers.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
January 22, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy by Fighting for Fair Housing

This week, we celebrate the life of one of our greatest American leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is a moment to honor his accomplishments, but it’s also an opportunity to reflect on what he fought for and to carry his legacy forward. We must find new strength to continue his work by breaking down barriers and building true equality — here in New York City, and all across this nation.

That means fighting for fair housing and building a city where working people can afford to stay and thrive. This is one of the major issues that Dr. King fought for during his lifetime and it remains urgent in 2024.

Many forget that Dr. King called out discriminatory practices by landlords and realtors who were keeping Black Americans out of certain neighborhoods. He also advocated for the Fair Housing Act to make those discriminatory practices illegal. This landmark legislation was finally passed by Congress the week after Dr. King’s assassination.

Here in New York City, we have much to be proud of about our civil rights record. But there is a dark side to our history that has yet to be reckoned with — a deep legacy of discrimination and segregation that we must dismantle in order to finally build more housing and create an equitable city.

New Yorkers are still living under zoning laws written more than 60 years ago. Many who pushed for these laws aimed to promote racial segregation. As a result of these laws, New Yorkers of color have suffered from a housing crisis for decades. Costs are too high, and too many parts of our city are “off limits” to housing opportunity. This is a direct cause of gentrification and soaring rents, and it’s driving New Yorkers away from family, community, and jobs. These outdated and unfair zoning laws must be changed, and they must be changed now.

That’s why our administration has put forward our “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” proposal, which will promote new housing in every neighborhood. And it is why we’re calling for action in Albany this session to deliver the housing affordability New Yorkers need.

Our “City of Yes” plan delivers on the promise of the Fair Housing Act. It calls for every neighborhood to carry its fair share of the housing crisis. It will pave the way to converting unused offices into houses; help families add space for parents, children, and caregivers; and give our houses of worship the flexibility to use their property to build homes and generate income.

When we came into office two years ago, we had a mission: protect public safety, revitalize the economy, and make this city more livable for hardworking New Yorkers. Making our city more livable means building more housing for more people, especially people of color.

We delivered on that promise by creating the second-highest number of new affordable homes in one year, and the highest number of homes for formerly homeless New Yorkers. Using CityFHEPS vouchers, we have connected more New Yorkers than ever before to permanent housing, made record investments in improvements at NYCHA developments, and established the NYCHA Trust to unlock billions more for repairs.

For so many New Yorkers, this is personal. I know what feels like to live without the security of housing. I grew up on the edge of homelessness. My siblings and I had to take trash bags full of clothes to school because we didn’t know where we would sleep the next night. That’s no way to live. You cannot plan for the future if you are worried about today.

We cannot say "no" to our neighbors and our fellow New Yorkers. We must be a “City of Yes”: “yes” in my backyard, “yes” on my block, “yes” in my city. We must say “yes” to housing opportunity, and we must continue Dr. King’s legacy through action, not just words.

Together, we can build a fairer, more equitable New York City.


Mayor Adams
City Hall
January 16, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Alternative View of City of Yes by MTOPP a Brooklyn Community Non-Profit

MTOPP is doing a series on the Mayor Adams's City of Yes, "COY" Business/Economic Text Amendments, that will change where, how and what types of businesses will be allowed to exist in the City.

The Business Text Amendments are currently being reviewed by all 59 Community Boards who have up until December 30th 2023, to comment on them, with the City stating they will continue to accept these comments until the New York City Planning Commission votes on these amendments in early February!

After reviewing almost 700 pages of these amendments we found at least 10 major changes that have a serious impact upon the community, and its residents. [Editor's Note - the following points are all separate blog pieces on their website - for details see url below].

  1. Allowing Commercial Businesses into all Residential Areas.
  2. Allowing “Small Businesses” to exist in people’s apartments and homes.
  3. Eliminating restrictive business within Residential buildings.
  4. Allowing manufacturing businesses to exist in commercial and residential zones.
  5. Allowing all businesses to exist in all commercial zones.
  6. Allowing businesses to exists on residential floors and on rooftops.
  7. Allowing cabaret/dancing to exist on all commercial zones. and New Text Amendment: Casinos!!!
  8. The Scariest Changes!
  9. Q & A on COY
  10. Removal of Environmental Reviews for Developers. (New Text Amendment, just given to the Community Boards on December 15, 2023]

Alicia Boyd
MTOPP [Movement to Protect the People]
Brooklyn, NY
January 4, 2024

For further reading on City of Yes Text Amendments, see MTOPP blog
https://mtopp.org/index.php/2024/01/02/mtopp-answers-questions-on-the-city-of-yes/

MTOPP has an entire section dedicated to the City of Yes
https://mtopp.org/index.php/category/city-of-yes-text-amendments/


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Key Considerations Ahead of New York State's Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget

Budget Growth

  • The total budget for fiscal year 2024 is $229 billion, including $123.8 billion in state funds — reflecting no growth in state spending over fiscal year 2023's $123.8 billion in state funds, or a

3% decrease after adjusting for inflation.

  • Despite spending growth during the Covid pandemic, the State budget has shrunk by nearly 10% in relation to the state economy as a whole over the last 15 years due to a decade of constrained spending (as measured in relation to personal income, the state’s most important tax base).

Budget Gaps

  • Future year budget gaps are routinely projected and often disappear.
  • Because of conservative forecasting, in typical years, enacted budget financial plan gaps projected for the first outyear are generally 2 – 6% of general fund spending.
  • The current $4.3 billion budget gap for fiscal year 2025 is within the routine range and will likely resolve without significant policy intervention.
  • Routine gaps like the current FY25 gap (4.1% of general fund spending) typically reflect conservative revenue projections rather than a significant revenue shortfall.
  • Budget gaps of this size have historically resolved without significant policy intervention.
  • Expiring tax rates will drive a larger budget gap in fiscal year 2028.
  • The fiscal year 2028 budget gap will reflect approximately $2.4 billion lost from the expiration of the top Personal Income Tax and Corporate Tax rates.
  • The State can ensure future fiscal stability by making these tax rates permanent.

Economic Outlook

  • New York’s economy continues its recovery from the Covid recession; however, inequality and poverty continue to rise.
  • Stable tax receipts recently drove a 50% reduction of the projected budget gap for fiscal year 2025.
  • The poverty rate rose to 14% in the last three years.
  • The average income of the top 1% of earners in New York State is approximately $2.6 million in annual earnings, compared to just over $49,000 for the bottom 90%.

Expenditures

  • The State remains on a trajectory of modest overall spending growth.
  • State spending in fiscal year 2024 is $123.8 billion — on par with the level it would have been had Covid not occurred and had the budget continued to grow at an inflation-adjusted rate of 0.8% per year.

Revenue

  • While fiscal year 2024 revenues will likely fall below fiscal year 2023 levels, this decline does not reflect an economic downturn, but rather a step down from last year’s capital gains-driven, above-trend revenue.
  • State revenue has returned to an ordinary level of growth after a period of Covid-era surpluses.

Population Loss

  • New York’s population loss poses a long-term economic challenge.
  • New York’s population fell by 102,000 residents over the last year. Since 2020, the population has fallen by 533,200, or 2.7%.
  • Working- and middle-class New Yorkers are leading the State’s population loss — reflecting the growing affordability crisis.
  • Working- and middle-class New Yorkers are leaving the state at 4x the rate of wealthy New Yorkers.

The Fiscal Policy Institute
New York, NY
January 16, 2024
https://fiscalpolicy.org 

The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank.


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Statement from Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director on Governor Hochul’s FY2025 Proposed Executive Budget

In response to today’s Executive budget announcement presented by Governor Hochul, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Executive Director Renae Reynolds said:

“The Tri-State Transportation Campaign applauds Governor Hochul’s proposed FY25 Executive Budget for its substantial investment in public transit. This funding is a major win for our region's mobility and environment. However, the budget's commitment to highway expansion projects across the state, like Route 17 in Sullivan and Orange Counties and the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo, is a step backward. More highways mean more cars, more pollution, and more traffic - undoing the good work of our transit investment.

“We urge Governor Hochul to rethink this strategy. Our future depends on sustainable transportation and mobility options, not in paving the way for more cars. Let's invest in solutions that match the urgency of our climate crisis and the needs of our communities. It's time to prioritize transit, not traffic.”

Tri-State Transportation Campaign
New York, NY
January 16, 2024
https://tstc.org

Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable transportation


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

The Safest Big City in America

Since day one, our administration has been clear about our vision for the five boroughs — creating a city that is safer, more economically viable, and more livable for the 8.3 million hardworking New Yorkers who call the greatest city in the world home. I always say that “public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity.” That’s why, since coming into office 24 months ago, we’ve been dedicated to making sure New Yorkers are safer and feel safer.

Two years later, the results are in. Crime has gone down across the city and jobs have gone up. We have recovered all of the nearly 1 million private sector jobs we lost during the pandemic, and New York remains the economic engine of this nation.

When we came into office in January 2022, the city was emerging from the devastating effects of the COVID-19  pandemic, and, in just one week, an 11-month-old baby was shot in the head, police officers were shot night after night, and NYPD Detectives Rivera and Mora were both murdered. The memory of that week will remain with me always.

But, as of December 31, 2023, it’s official: overall crime was down in 2023. Both murders and shootings were down double digits once again in 2023, with murders down 12 percent, and shooting incidents down 25 percent — the highest decrease in shooting incidents in our city since 1995.

These decreases build off of reductions that had already begun under our administration in 2022. And I want to be clear: these aren’t just numbers — these are lives saved, families kept together, and neighborhoods and communities spared from tragedy and trauma.

Shootings were also down in all five boroughs — all across our city — in 2023 as compared to 2022. This means our model of precision policing and our 360-degree approach to tackling crime have been working. Our administration continues to support our officers and find upstream solutions to uplift the most vulnerable in all our communities.

Additionally, transit crime declined in 2023, and we have made almost 2,000 arrests related to auto theft — the highest number in 20 years. And in the last two years, we removed more than 13,500 illegal guns from our streets.

We know that traffic violence is also violence, and so we cracked down on illegal scooters and mopeds, seizing more than 12,500 illegal mopeds and scooters in 2023 — this was a 74 percent increase over 2022, and the highest number of mopeds and scooters confiscated in New York City history.

All these measures taken together, along with our efforts to continue the fight against illegal and “ghost” guns, have laid the foundation for our economic recovery. And, in just two years, more than 285,000 jobs have been created under our administration.

Thanks to the hard work of NYPD Commissioner Caban, the brave men and women of the NYPD, Deputy Mayor Banks and his public safety team, and the other commissioners and agencies that have worked hand-in-hand on our public safety efforts, New York City remains the safest big city in this country.

And we are going to make sure it remains that way by working hard for New Yorkers each and every day of 2024, and in the years to come.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
January 8, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Keeping Nightlife Safe in New York City

New York City is the city that never sleeps. We are a 24-hour city that is the nightlife capital of the world. And we remain the safest big city in America. When I came into office two years ago, we had a mission: Protect public safety, revitalize the economy, and make this city more livable for hardworking New Yorkers.

Our bars, restaurants, music venues, and nightclubs employ workers across the city and are home to every level of our live performance industry. But across the five boroughs, local residents often deal with noise, trash, and crime from nightlife. Complaints can lead to unannounced inspections that shutter nightlife businesses, sometimes  permanently.

Just because our nightlife establishments throw a great party, residents and businesses should not be stuck with a hangover the next day. We want to protect public safety, while keeping our nightlife businesses open.

So, last week, I joined the owners of the nightlife venue, Paragon in Brooklyn, to announce a new public safety program to keep our nightlife venues safe. CURE, or Coordinating a United Resolution with Establishments, brings together the NYPD, Small Business Services, and the Office of Nightlife to improve public safety responses to nightlife establishments and better engage business owners by focusing on compliance and education, not punitive enforcement.

Previously, nightlife establishments had faced unannounced, late night, multi-agency inspections, through a program created in the 90s called MARCH. We heard directly from the nightlife industry that this program wasn’t working. We listened to our business owners and residents, and together with multiple agencies, we went work to make sure we were improving safety while keeping nightlife venues open.

CURE creates direct lines of communication between the Office of Nightlife and local establishments and gives businesses a chance to correct issues before enforcement takes place. No more demonizing nightlife in our city. When a noise complaint or trash complaint about a venue comes in, we will work with businesses to resolve the issues, so residents can have peace of mind and quiet and businesses can keep their doors open. CURE is how we protect public safety, cut red tape, ensure better quality of life, and keep business doors open.

And it is all part of our efforts to drive down crime while supporting our local economy and making our city more livable. This year, jobs are up, and crime is down, our streets are cleaner, and we remain the safest big city in America. 

We are going to continue to roll out programs that make living in this city easier for residents and business owners — programs that make our neighborhoods quieter, keep our streets clean, support small businesses, and reduce crime. And we are creating a better-quality of life for everyone who lives, rests, and plays in our city.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
January 2, 2024


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

A Year of Getting Stuff Done for working-class New Yorkers

When we came into office in January 2022, New York City was on the brink. The pandemic was still raging. Our economy was in bad shape. Crime was on the rise. And our mission from day one was to fight for the people who make New York City the greatest city in the world.

We went to work to build back our economy and begin the long road to recovery. And we did this by focusing on public safety, investing in public spaces, and supporting working people.

Twenty-four months later, thanks to the efforts of our city, our people, and across city government, we have turned things around.

Jobs are up, crime is down, our streets are cleaner, and every day we are delivering for working New Yorkers.

Thanks to our efforts, 2023 saw overall crime go down, with a drop in five of the seven major crime categories. We have taken more than 6,200 illegal guns off our streets this year, and more than 13,000 illegal guns since the start of the administration. Additionally, we have pumped the brakes on auto theft and have taken on retail theft head on.

As we have brought crime down, we have made our economy stronger. In 2023, we regained all of the private sector jobs we lost during the pandemic — more than a year ahead of predictions — and we have created good paying jobs for working people. Over 282,000 private sector jobs and more than 44,000 businesses have been created since the start of our administration — with one in seven New York City businesses opening this year alone.

But we know more can and must be done for working families. Raising a family in this city can be hard. That is why we are helping more people find affordable child care. When we came into office, a family earning $55,000 a year was paying $55 a week for child care. Today, they’re paying just $4.80.

We are also investing in our young people at every stage of their education. This year, we launched “New York City Reads,” a historic curriculum shift, enabling our public schools to switch to a reading curriculum based on proven science-of-reading techniques. And the numbers speak for themselves. Combined with initiatives we put in place during year one of the administration, reading numbers increased by almost 3 percent and math scores improved by almost 14 percent compared to the same period last year.

While education is key to economic opportunity, so is housing. And we are delivering more affordable housing for all New Yorkers. Our historic “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” plan is focused on “building a little more housing in every neighborhood.” Over the last year, we created nearly 27,000 affordable homes, broke ground on the largest 100 percent affordable housing project in 40 years at Willets Points in Queens and helped amplify the voices of our public housing residents with the historic vote for the NYCHA Trust.

Now, we know that a safe and prosperous New York City is also a clean city. And we are winning our war on rats. Today, we receive fewer rat complaints, garbage sits out on the street for less time, and all of our commercial waste is now placed in containers. New Yorkers no longer have to dodge black garbage bags on their way to work or school.

We are also removing longstanding and unsightly sidewalk sheds from our streets while returning sidewalk space to New Yorkers. And we have created new public spaces across all five boroughs and strengthened street safety by daylighting streets and creating more protected bike lanes.

While we have achieved so much this year, we know our city still faces challenges. We continue to meet the national asylum seeker crisis with compassion. Our city has helped the more than 157,000 migrants who have arrived at our doors seeking shelter. This is a city built by immigrants and we are focused on resettlement and helping people take the next steps in their journeys. But we have been very clear that in order to continue to manage this crisis going forward, we need more support from the state and federal governments.

Our city is safer, cleaner, and more prosperous than it was two years ago. As 2023 draws to a close, there is much to be optimistic about. In 2024, we are going to build on our historic wins and continue to Get Stuff Done so all New Yorkers can share in our prosperity. Happy Holidays!

Mayor Adams
City Hall
December 22, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Pathways to Success for Our Young People

Our city’s future depends on being able to help our young people grow, fulfill their potential, and thrive in an ever-changing economy. These days, it’s rare to think about spending decades at the same job, and education is the key to developing the flexibility and resourcefulness that our youth need to succeed. Helping each child find their way and achieve the career of their dreams has been a goal of our administration since day one.

That is why we expanded our Summer Youth Employment Program and Summer Rising to serve a record number of young people and launched FutureReadyNYC with Google and Northwell Health to provide our youth with apprenticeships and opportunities in in-demand sectors, like tech and health care.

And now, we are building on those initiatives with Pathways to an Inclusive Economy: An Action Plan for Young Adult Career Success. This is a more than $600 million, forward-thinking roadmap that will position 250,000 young people to thrive in our city’s economy.

The plan includes notable new investments like $10 million in the CUNY 2x Tech initiative, which offers our young people a pipeline to the tech sector, by bringing the initiative to five new CUNY campuses, including community colleges for the first time ever.

Additionally, we have secured a $130 million grant from the federal government to become the first city to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor Jobs Corps Program. This will allow us to train, place, and provide wraparound support to 2,000 young adults in fast-growing industries — all free of charge.

We also know that all young people don't start at the same place. We must be able to serve our youth where they are. The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are piloting new electrical pre-apprenticeship programs for 50 out-of-school and out-of-work young adults, thanks to a $1.7 million grant from the Department of Labor.

It is important for New Yorkers to understand what all these programs mean for our young people. Right now, a middle schooler has the opportunity to attend Summer Rising, visit a CUNY college, and realize that college is a possibility. Each of these steps are crucial. Helping them visit a CUNY college expands their horizons and allows them to dream big.

In high school, our young people can get a paid internship at a tech firm through the Summer Youth Employment Program, and perhaps realize they love computers. After that, they can attend that same CUNY college they visited when they were younger, major in computer science, and become an apprentice for a tech company, gaining a mentor and hands-on experience.

Our goal for our young people is to have them graduate with a degree in one hand, and a job offer in the other because government has been creating the right environment for them every step of the way.

Our message is clear. We are telling employers your future talent is right here in New York City. Not only are you going to get young people with technical skills, but you're going to get real New Yorkers — people who are able to handle a variety of situations and bring a diversity of backgrounds and experience to their work.

This plan is for our young people because New York City is still the place where anything is possible.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
December 18, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Saving New Yorkers from the Opioid Crisis

A fatal overdose occurs in New York City every 3 hours. The opioid epidemic is a growing public health crisis that we must end.

It has inflicted too much heartache in our city. Manufacturers and distributors have hooked thousands of New Yorkers on opioids and other painkillers. They have raked in billions of dollars — profiting off of addiction and tragedy while people’s lives have been lost and destroyed.

Last year was the deadliest year on record for overdose deaths in our city. In 2022 alone, over 3,000 New Yorkers died of a drug overdose — a 12 percent increase from 2021 — and fentanyl overdoses made up 81 percent of those overdoses.

I know the destruction that overdose epidemics can cause. I was a police officer during the 1980s, and I saw how firsthand how crack devastated our communities. We cannot sit back and let what happened to prior generations happen to our families. This is the moment where we must do everything in our power to confront and defeat the opioid crisis.

Thanks to the efforts of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who secured billions of dollars from opioid manufacturers and distributors, we are investing in our neighborhoods across the five boroughs to fight this epidemic and save lives.

Just last week, our administration announced $12 million in new funding for Staten Island, which has been hit hard by the overdose epidemic. Staten Island accounts for five percent of all overdose deaths citywide and has the city’s second highest overdose rate of the five boroughs. We listened to the concerns of leaders on the ground in Staten Island, and we’re proud that this critical funding will make a real difference, and ensure more New Yorkers can live long, healthy lives with their loved ones.

This work goes hand-in-hand with the significant steps we have already taken to combat the opioid crisis. Earlier this year, we released our mental health agenda, which outlines how we will expand access to high-quality harm reduction services, and we set a bold goal of reducing overdose deaths by 15 percent by 2025.

We also held the first ever two-day summit on the fentanyl crisis that brought elected leaders, public health officials, and law enforcement professionals from across the country to New York City to work towards a national strategy to combat fentanyl overdoses.

And through intensive enforcement, we have made hundreds of arrests of drug dealers and traffickers. In addition to expanded enforcement, we have increased our support for prevention, harm reduction, substance use disorder treatment, and recovery programs citywide, and have distributed more than 200,000 Naloxone kits and tens of thousands of fentanyl and xylazine test strips.

It is devastating to lose a loved one to an overdose. It impacts your family, friends, and community. It impacts this city. Every overdose death is a tragedy, but every overdose is also preventable.

We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past, and with these critical funds, we are tackling the opioid crisis head on. Together, we are going to reduce overdoses, save lives, and protect our communities.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
December 11, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

NYCHA Residents Make History

Access to safe and affordable housing is one of the keys to prosperity. I understand that just as much as anyone else. As a child, I grew up on the edge of homelessness. There were days when I had to take a trash bag full of clothes to school because we didn’t know where we would sleep the next night. No child should have to feel the angst or worry my siblings and I felt when we were younger. You cannot plan for the future if you are worried about the present, and that’s why our administration has acted urgently to tackle the housing crisis across our city, especially for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents.

One in 17 New Yorkers live in NYCHA, our city’s public housing system. It is a critical piece of our city’s infrastructure, and we cannot solve our housing shortage without also fixing the problems that NYCHA faces. But for too long, NYCHA residents have been left out of the conversation and have not had a say in the future of their own homes. That is changing under this administration.

Our administration was the first to include NYCHA in our housing plan, recognizing that the federal government had abandoned its responsibility to adequately fund our public housing system, leaving residents living in unacceptable and dangerous conditions in crumbling buildings that need $80 billion in repairs. We knew the status quo could not continue. That is why we fought to create the NYCHA Trust, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give residents control over their futures while simultaneously unlocking billions for repairs by tapping new federal funding streams.

Under the Trust, a development is kept 100 percent public while ensuring residents always maintain their rights — including permanently affordable rent. Another choice is the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program, which similarly ensures that residents maintain their rights and permanently affordable rent, but unlocks funding for third-party PACT partners to complete comprehensive repairs.

Last month, the residents of NYCHA’s Nostrand Houses became the first development to vote on how they will fund much-needed renovations and repairs. After 100 days of public engagement, in which residents at Nostrand Houses learned about their options, they exercised the historic opportunity to decide what was right for them: enter the Trust, enter the PACT program, or maintain the traditional public housing financing model.

Their decision, and the decisions of other NYCHA residents to come, will shape the future of public housing in New York City for decades to come. NYCHA residents are now making their voices heard and making their own choices. That is how good government should work — and this is just the beginning. Next up is the Bronx River Addition, which has dealt with several severe infrastructure issues in recent years that caused tenants to be relocated in one of its two buildings. And in the coming weeks and months, other NYCHA campuses will vote as well.

As a blue-collar New Yorker, I know what it takes to survive and thrive in this city. Safe and affordable housing is the cornerstone to the American Dream. By fixing NYCHA housing and putting decisions into residents’ hands, we are on track to turn that dream into a reality.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
December 4, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Alternative Views - NYCHA Residents Making History

NYCHA property is worth billions.  Up until now, NYCHA was not encumbered with legal deals, restrictive financing, and it has been owned, free and clear, by the people of NYC, NYS and the USA. It appears that this is changing - all too quickly - and the corporate broadcast media has turned a nearly completely blind eye to this, as they seem to do on so many issues of the day.

Click the following links to learn more about the NYCHA / PACT program from another point of view by Human Rights Watch.  The first report is headlined 'The Tenant Never Wins / Private Takeover of Public Housing'.  The second is headlined the Risky Fix of NY Housing Woes.

Queens Buzz Editor
December 4, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Staying Safe for the Holidays

The upcoming holiday season is a festive time of year. It’s getting colder, so we try to stay warm, we invite friends and family over, cook more, light candles, maybe burn a fire in the fireplace or use space heaters, buy Christmas trees and string them up with lights, and fill our homes with other decorations. That is why the winter season is also unfortunately known as the fire season, and more than one-third of all home fires occur between December, January, and February.

Early during our administration, in January 2022, 17 people were killed and many more were injured in a tragic fire at the Twin Parks apartment building in the Bronx. The fire was caused by a defective space heater and self closing doors that didn’t work properly. That loss and devastation remains with us, which is why we are asking all New  Yorkers to work together and take some basic precautions this winter season so that we can make this a safe and happy time of celebration.

 Smoking materials, like cigarette butts, ashes, lighters, and matches, are the leading cause of home fires. Make sure they are discarded properly in large, deep ashtrays. Smoking is followed by home heating as the second leading cause of home fires. Make sure your equipment —including central heating units, portable and fixed space heaters, as well as fireplaces — are installed by a qualified technician, and inspected and cleaned regularly. All space heaters should have the “Underwriters Laboratories” (UL) mark on them. Never use an extension cord with a space heater, and avoid using space heaters in places like bathrooms, where they can come into contact with water. And make sure to put out the fire in your fireplace completely before you go to sleep.

Candle fires have tripled in the past 10 years — most of these happen when the candles are left unattended or are lit next to combustible materials like paper or fabric. If you enjoy candles in your home, make sure to be present at all times while the candle is burning; keep candles away from flammable materials like curtains, decorations, and bedding; and also place them out of reach of children and pets.

Electric blankets and extension cords are another source of potential danger. They should also have the (UL) mark. Please replace your electric blanket if it is more than 10 years old and buy ones with an automatic shut-off. Also, inspect the condition of your extension cords, make sure that all outlets and switches have cover plates that are not discolored (a possible sign of overheating), and however much you have going on, please don’t overload your outlets with more than two appliances.

If you are buying an artificial Christmas tree, buy one that is flame retardant. Position your trees near outlets so that you don’t have to use extension cords and unplug tree lights when you are not in the room or are going to sleep.

If you own an e-bike or other micro-mobility device, never charge it overnight or leave batteries unattended while charging. Don't store devices between you and the exit of your home (the batteries can explode, trapping you inside.) Ideally, do not store your batteries or devices indoors at all.

Finally, remember that smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors save lives. Make sure to check your smoke alarms and replace the batteries twice a year. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is released during fires or by malfunctioning heating equipment. Carbon monoxide kills, so a working carbon monoxide detector is essential. It is also required by law in New York City.

Let’s make 2023 the safest holiday season ever so that we can all celebrate our festivals, families, friends, and this beautiful city we call home. Happy holidays!

For more fire safety information, please visit FDNYSMART.ORG.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
November 27, 2023


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Saying “Yes” to New Zoning, New Businesses, and New Opportunities

Last month, New York City hit an economic milestone, with more total jobs than ever before in our city’s history. Our administration is proud of the work we have done to ensure our economy has made a full recovery — and we are determined to keep working to create jobs and opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Our “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity” proposal is one of the many ways we are aiming to create new pathways to prosperity. We are seeing transformative changes in how we live and work, and our city’s rules and regulations must adapt to these new realities — especially when it comes to antiquated zoning laws from decades ago. Rules that made sense in the days of the rotary telephone are getting in the way of doing business in the age of the smartphone.

We recently kicked off the public review process for this ambitious proposal to advance 18 essential changes to our citywide zoning code that will boost our economic recovery, help New Yorkers access goods and services in their neighborhood, and make it easier to expand or start new businesses. Over the next several months, all New Yorkers will have the chance to learn about this proposal and make their voices heard.

The “City of Yes for Economic Opportunity” initiative includes plans to foster vibrant neighborhoods with more kinds of businesses in more kinds of places. For example, our plan would allow a successful bakery to expand closer to your neighborhood, rather than having to move to a different area zoned for heavy manufacturing and away from  customers who would benefit most from having that business nearby.

The plan is also the largest initiative to support industrial jobs and businesses in the history of New York’s zoning, including by making more space available for small-scale clean manufacturing — including designers, retailers, artists, craftspeople, and makers of all kinds — and creating new zoning tools for industrial businesses.

The current zoning was crafted for the industrial businesses that existed 60 years ago, and our proposal will update these rules to allow businesses to grow in New York, providing good-paying jobs for New Yorkers. Our plan will modernize regulations for New Yorkers who want to run a business from their home and set new standards for using existing buildings in new ways, something that is clearly a priority with the rise of remote work.

This plan will also address the ongoing issue of vacant storefronts in our city, getting more of them re-rented and re-activated by loosening rules about which types of businesses can locate where, and by modifying a counterproductive regulation that prevents some storefronts from being reoccupied if they are vacant for more than two years.

We are also upgrading and reforming zoning to support our café and nightlife sector, the life sciences, film production, urban agriculture, and more.

From food to fashion to tech and art, these small and specific changes will have an outsized impact on our economy. This new way of doing things will create a new and more collaborative culture going forward — one where city government is a partner working to streamline solutions, not an obstacle to be overcome.

That is what being a City of Yes is all about. Yes, to new businesses, new industries, and new ideas. Yes, to new housing and opportunity. Yes, to change and creativity. And yes, to ensuring that New York remains a place where you can put your ideas into action and succeed.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
November 21, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Helping New Yorkers Live Longer

When we came into office, we promised that we would ensure that our prosperity would be felt across the five boroughs. And the health of our people is key to that prosperity.

But despite coming out of a once-in-a-century pandemic, life expectancy in this city has not fully recovered. Between 2019 and 2020, overall life expectancy in New York City fell to 78 years. So, it is time we gave New Yorkers some extra life.

That is why we recently launched HealthyNYC, our ambitious plan to extend and improve the lifespan of all New Yorkers to 83 years by 2030. HealthyNYC sets clear goals to reduce the greatest drivers of premature death, including chronic and diet-related diseases, overdose, suicide, maternal mortality, violence, and COVID-19.

Pill boxes, injections, and doctor's appointments should not define the lives of New Yorkers — we can and we must invest in helping all New Yorkers enjoy healthier, quality lives. This is personal to me. I have seen up close how chronic disease can hijack your life. Many New Yorkers know my personal story, but they don’t know my mother’s story. Dorothy Adams was a diabetic for 15 years, and I watched her inject herself with insulin for seven of those years. But she changed her diet and her lifestyle, and she was able to live until she was 83. I believe if we had caught the chronic diseases she was facing earlier, she would have been with us even longer.

Many New Yorkers have someone in their life impacted by a chronic disease, by addiction, by cancer. They worry about the next examination, the next injection. New Yorkers shouldn’t face anxiety and worry about their health and the health of their families. With HealthyNYC, we are going to refocus our public health work around the goal of helping people live longer lives.

And we are going to do that by addressing health inequities in our Black and Brown communities. This includes increasing access to quality health care to reduce pregnancy-associated mortality among Black women, through programs like our citywide doula initiative.

We also know that unhealthy foods — fast food, processed foods, and sugary drinks — contribute to chronic diseases. Much of the problem lies in the fact that oftentimes, only higher-income neighborhoods have access to healthy food and the Whole Foods of the world, while our low-income neighborhoods are left with junk food options. Eighty percent of health care dollars in America go toward treating diet-related chronic diseases that these kinds of foods fuel. We don’t want to keep feeding this crisis, so we are going to increase access to healthy foods and promote plant-forward diets to reduce chronic and diet-related disease deaths.

Through HealthyNYC, we are also going to expand access to mental health care and social support services, including early intervention for communities of color and LGBTQIA+ youth, as well as address the impact of social media on youth mental health and suicidal ideation to reduce suicide deaths.

Additionally, we are going to take on the overdose crisis in our city. New York City has lost too many people to overdoses. Too many families and communities have faced the pain and heartache of seeing a loved one go through addiction. So, we are going to increase access to proven harm reduction and treatment and recovery centers to reduce overdose deaths.

Increasing life expectancy across our city is an all-hands-on deck moment because every New Yorker deserves a healthier, longer life. With HealthyNYC, we are going to build a healthier, more prosperous city for all.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
November 13, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

New Yorkers are Spreading the Love. Here’s how you can get involved.

We all love New York City. And this year, New Yorkers have been showing their love by lending a helping hand as part of our Spread Love campaign. Since March, nearly 30,000 New Yorkers have given more than 235,000 hours of their time to help out our neighbors in need.

Thanks in no small part to the sacrifices of volunteers, our city is back better than ever. Jobs are at an all-time high and crime is down. We overcame the darkest days of the pandemic because of the selfless work of everyday volunteers. But so many of our neighbors — especially young people, families, and older adults — still need our help. Imagine what would happen if every New Yorker committed just one hour a week to an act of service. The result would be transformative.

There are so many opportunities to get involved. It can be as simple as helping an older neighbor shovel snow or pitching in to clean up your local park. If you don’t have time to spare, you can also donate directly to community organizations that support New Yorkers in need. Organizations are happy to take extra food items, clothing, hygiene products, technology, and supplies.

As cold weather approaches, you can also donate winter coats and jackets to keep your fellow New Yorkers warm. Just this past week, we launched the annual New York Cares coat drive, with the goal of collecting and distributing a record 250,000 coats. You can help make history by reaching into your closet and dropping off old or unused coats at a location near you. Find out where at newyorkcares.org/coat-drive.

When you give to others, you won’t just be helping New Yorkers in need — you’ll also be helping yourself. I have felt the joy of giving back firsthand. Every Wednesday, I hand out food to our brothers and sisters in need. It is one of the most meaningful moments in my week. And that’s why we launched the We <3 New York campaign: to help every New Yorker discover the satisfaction of engaging with their communities.

The opportunities to help out are nearly limitless and our city’s NYC Service office can help connect you. At NYC.gov/Service you can easily find volunteer postings near you from more than 500 community organizations across the city. You can search by interest, keyword, location, and more. You can sign up by yourself or with family and friends, because volunteering together is even more fun!

Recent volunteer opportunities include a chance to work with furry friends, helping older New Yorkers take care of their pets. You can also sign up to develop your green thumb by volunteering at a local garden, help neighbors get access to healthy food by working at a food pantry, tutor local high school students in language, or support our newest New Yorkers through an asylum seeker volunteer opportunity.

Love means taking action. Love means serving others. Love means getting stuff done for New Yorkers in need. Now is the time to spread that love to every block and borough. Together we can make a real difference in the lives of our fellow New Yorkers.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
October 30, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Community Op-Ed: New York City is Back – With More Jobs Than Ever

Less than two years ago, I was sworn in as the 110th mayor of New York City. Our city was still reeling from the devastation of a global pandemic. Commercial neighborhoods and office buildings were deserted. Headlines questioned the future of New York City.

But I knew then what every New Yorker has always known: this city would be back.

And right now, that comeback is official: We have regained the nearly one million private sector jobs that were lost during COVID-19, and New York City has more total jobs than EVER before in our city’s history, totaling 4,709,400 million jobs. Not just private sector jobs. Total jobs. And more than 280,500 of those jobs were created since the beginning of this administration.

This is more than just a recovery, and I am proud to say we got there ahead of schedule. Before we took office, experts were projecting the city wouldn’t regain pre-pandemic job levels until 2025, but this is the “Get Stuff Done” administration. And we got it done in 22 months.

Our plan was straightforward: Protect public safety, invest in public spaces, and support working people, or as we have been calling it, the “Triangle Offense.”

As I have said for so long, public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity.  It is what I campaigned on, what I was elected to do, and what we have delivered for New Yorkers.

That is why we took immediate action and invested $171 million in our Subway Safety Plan; took action on gun violence, car theft, and retail crime; and boosted enforcement of quality of life and criminal offenses alike.

This simple equation — jobs are up, crime is down, and every day we are delivering for working people — is the foundation of everything else we want to accomplish moving forward.

And the results speak for themselves: Riders are back on our transit system heading back to work, and New Yorkers are safer — and feel safer — and it makes all the difference.

We are embarking on the most ambitious housing effort in generations, investing in sustainability and resiliency projects across the five boroughs, and making transformative changes in how we keep our city clean.

We are also delivering billions into the pockets of working people across the city, but when it comes to lifting up working people, we are going to go even further.

Too many people have been left out Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYCof this recovery. Black unemployment is too high. Our wealth gap is too wide. Equity remains a serious issue in communities of color across the board.

We must build a fairer, more inclusive economy. And we are going to start with a “Working People’s Tour” of the five boroughs — one that highlights the New Yorkers powering our recovery, introduces new economic solutions, and allows us to hear directly from those who are still lacking access to good jobs. We will create new interventions to help boost growth and build on-ramps to opportunity across the five boroughs because all New Yorkers must share in our city’s prosperity, no matter what line of work they are in or what borough they hail from.

New York City has a history of coming back stronger no matter how tough things get. Going forward, we are going to make sure that every New Yorker can share in our city’s legendary opportunity and prosperity as well.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
October 23, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Investing in clean, green public space for all New Yorkers

So much of New York City’s history was about changing the natural environment – cutting it down, clearing it out, paving it over.

But going forward, we know that the future is about working with nature, building a greener, cleaner, safer city for all. From parks and playgrounds to streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and even beaches, our Administration is committed to investing in the quality and cleanliness of our public spaces all across the five boroughs.

This past week, we announced two major initiatives that will transform what it feels like be outside in New York City: A historic expansion of our greenway network, and an ambitious citywide trash containerization effort that will revolutionize the way we keep our streets clean.

For far too long, New Yorkers in the outer boroughs have not had the same level of access to bike lanes and greenways that people in Manhattan have, and our Administration is determined to change that.

That is why we have announced a historic expansion of New York City’s greenway corridors in our outer boroughs. We will be adding over 60 miles of bikeways and walkways that will connect every corner of our city with new transportation options and transform the ways New Yorkers live, work, and get around.

These greenways will ultimately cover 16 miles of Queens waterfront, connect Coney Island to Highland Park and Randall’s Island Park to SUNY Maritime, as well as linking the Goethals Bridge to the Verrazzano on Staten Island. It will also connect the Spring Creek Park to Brookville Park in Southern Queens and JFK Airport.

This expansion of our existing greenway network will begin with a collaborative, community-driven process – so that every New Yorker can have a say in the future of our city. And it will build on the improvements we are already making in cycling infrastructure all over our city, including double-wide bike lanes on Third and Tenth Avenues in Manhattan, new protected bike infrastructure in the Bronx on Soundview and Lafayette Avenues; the longest-ever protected bike lanes in East New York, and the expansion of our protected bike lane network in Long Island City.

Cycling ridership in New York City has reached an all-time high, with 2 million annual trips taken by bike this year. We want to make sure people who want to ride can get around this city safely and smoothly.

We also want to make sure that our city streets are as clean as possible – and that means changing the way to put out and pick up our trash.

 Earlier this year, we mandated later set out times for residential trash pickup, and beginning in 2024, we will be implementing a citywide containerization program that will get trash bags off the streets and into specially designed wheelie bins. No more piles of black bags that impede sidewalks and attract rats – we are taking our trash directly into the future. This program is modeled after systems that have been successfully implemented in so many global cities – and will now improve life in our city, too.

More bikes, more paths, more parks – and less trash and garbage. That is what we want for our city – and what our administration is working hard to deliver. Working together, we can clear the way to a more equitable, beautiful, and connected city.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
October 16, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Keeping Our Communities Safe From Fentanyl

Public safety is our administration’s top priority, and keeping New Yorkers safe from the growing threat of fentanyl is a core part of that mission. All of us have heard about the danger fentanyl poses to our children and our communities. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. It is inexpensive, widely available, highly addictive, and extremely dangerous. Drug traffickers are increasingly mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs to drive addiction and create repeat business. Over 3,000 people fatally overdosed in New York City in 2022, with fentanyl detected in 81 percent of drug overdose deaths.

The tragic death of Nicholas Dominici, the toddler who died after being exposed to fentanyl at a daycare center, was a shocking and heartbreaking reminder that we must take immediate action to get this crisis under control. Last week, we hosted a two-day summit on the fentanyl crisis that brought elected leaders, public health officials, and law enforcement professionals from across the country to New York City to work towards a national strategy to combat fentanyl overdoses.

The summit included representatives from major cities across the nation, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Laredo, New Haven, Austin, Dallas, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Portland, San Diego, Atlanta, and more. We focused on all aspects of the crisis – including education, enforcement, awareness, prevention, and treatment. Over the course of two days and multiple strategy sessions, we were able to exchange ideas, learn from intervention models across municipalities, and help build a comprehensive strategy to address one of the most important public health and public safety issues of our time.

New York City has already taken significant steps to combat the fentanyl crisis, including intensive enforcement that has resulted in multiple arrests of drug dealers and traffickers, including the recent arrest of a man transporting almost 30 pounds of fentanyl bricks in a rolling suitcase on the subway and on the sidewalks of a busy Bronx neighborhood.

In addition to expanded enforcement, we are actively working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other agencies to bolster our harm reduction strategies. We have increased our support for prevention, substance use disorder treatment and recovery programs citywide, and distributed more than 77,000 Naloxone kits and tens of thousands of fentanyl and xylazine test strips. We have also made Naloxone more available in primary care offices, emergency rooms, correctional, reentry, and homeless outreach settings.

At the conclusion of the summit, participants agreed on key actions to address the ongoing fentanyl crisis, including:

  • Creating a multi-city task force that will meet again before the end of the year;
  • Drafting a comprehensive plan outlining national best practices and opportunities;
  • Expanding data-sharing to the national level to ensure accurate and timely coordination around lab and overdose data;
  • Identifying and securing city, state, and national funding and legislative needs to prevent overdose deaths and save lives,
  • Developing community outreach strategies to better understand behavioral dynamics associated with drug abuse, and
  • Taking steps to reduce the stigma around addiction and substance abuse so that those suffering from addiction can get help before it is too late.

We all came away from this summit with a renewed determination to stop the flow of fentanyl into our cities, hold bad actors accountable, and invest in evidence-based interventions that protect New Yorkers and all Americans from this dangerous drug.

We cannot sit back and let what happened to prior generations happen to our babies and families. We cannot repeat the mistakes that were made that led to the epidemics of heroin in the 1960s and crack cocaine in the 1980s.

I was working as a police officer during the 1980s, and I saw how crack devastated our communities because the resources were not there. We must do everything in our power to confront — and defeat —the fentanyl crisis. That means education, that means treatment, and that means enforcement. The summit reminded us that we are always stronger and better when we work together. I know that, with our partners from across the country, we can and we will reduce overdoses, save lives, and protect our children and our communities.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
October 6, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

MTA Ignores QueensLink Communities in 20yr Needs Report

In the 2025-2044 20 Year Needs Assessment, the MTA has denied transit equity for south-east Queens communities. This shocking announcement comes on the heels of QueensLink's City Hall Rally, where elected representatives and supporting community organizations from across the political spectrum stood in support of QueensLink’s Rails & Trails vision.

Since the last LIRR train traversed the Rockaway Beach Branch in 1962, numerous community groups have advocated for adaptive reuse of this neighborhood treasure. With QueensLink's visionary Rails & Trails concept, the borough finally has a consensus plan to turn this 3.5 mile abandoned line into both transit and public space. The organization’s sheer breadth of political support only serves to underline its unanimity, yet today, the MTA ignored the decades of arduous community activism of Queens residents by rejecting the Rockaway Beach Branch from the next Capital Construction Program.

 In response to the recent report, QueensLink’s Executive Director, Rick Horan, announced that “once again, the MTA has broken their promise with regards to the Rockaway Beach Branch.” Mere weeks ago, the MTA assured the public that the agency would not let a competing park plan preclude transit reactivation on the right of way. “As we can clearly tell from today’s report, the MTA has never been interested in listening to the local communities and representatives who want transit on the Rockaway Beach Branch. We’ve always been skeptical of the city’s promises because they never added up. Today, that skepticism has turned into grave confirmation.” said Mr. Horan.

The MTA’s 20 Year Needs Assessment is a report that evaluates long term investments in public transportation for the metropolitan region in preparation for its next five-year Capital Program. The report includes reviewing required maintenance, enhancements to the existing system and ensuring a state of good repair. This assessment also comparatively evaluates potential expansions of New York’s transit network. In order to provide a public and transparent look at investment priorities within the agency, the 20 Year Needs Assessment is released every five years in conjunction with MTA Capital Programs. The last Needs Assessment was released ten years ago in 2013, prior to the 2015-2019 Capital Program. The MTA did not release its Needs Assessment for the current 2020-2024 Capital Program.

As a means of evaluating the different capital program possibilities, the MTA identified five key principles that represent the region’s current needs. QueensLink believes that the Rails & Trails plan not only thoroughly satisfies these principles, but also exceeds the region’s mobility goals. By creating the first North-South subway corridor through Queens, QueensLink’s vision both strengthens overall network resiliency and serves changing commuting patterns in the post- COVID era. Instead of traveling to Manhattan every day, residents now find that utilizing crosstown connections are much more valuable to their day-to-day needs. Work-from-home is reorienting the arteries of New York, making it imperative to build out a modern transportation network that better serves these inter-borough and intra-borough journeys.

 By ignoring QueensLink, the city also loses out on substantial economic growth that such a vital link could bring. The Rockaways have gained new affordable housing units at an unprecedented rate, and the Aqueduct Racetrack site stands to unlock 110 acres of land for development.

 Neighborhoods around the Rockaway Beach Branch continue to gain population, which presents a considerable strain on the area’s existing transportation infrastructure. QueensLink would help better serve these existing developments and set the stage for bigger economic investments to come.

Equity remains at the center of recent efforts to bring better access to all New Yorkers, making QueensLink a strategic project for future infrastructure investment. Not only will this rails & trails plan help connect communities of color, but it will also create over 150,000 more jobs and 47,000+ daily riders. South Queens has faced historic disinvestment, and new transit connections would help reverse this glaring societal inequity.

In the recent 20 Year Needs Assessment, the MTA also claims that there will only be a timessaving of 4 min per person, which is a highly questionable claim when travel times for South Queens residents remain some of the highest in the nation. An independent report contradicts the MTA’s findings, asserting that QueensLink would save riders about 30 minutes for a round trip.

Although the 20 Year Needs Assessment holds substantial weight with the MTA, it remains a guide, not an official policy. Despite the MTA’s rejection of these vital community benefits, QueensLink will continue to advocate for transit equity by fighting for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Branch. The organization has several upcoming community events, including a Rego Park Town Hall on October 12th, where residents will continue to be able to share their thoughts. Mr. Horan noted that “We can’t let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity go to waste. Our rails and trails plan stands to help so many New Yorkers, and our coalition of support strongly believes in this potential. We’re not backing down.”


QueensLink
October 4, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

The Future of Housing in NYC

Our administration recently proposed the most ambitious pro-housing zoning changes in the history of New York City — changes that would rewrite the wrongs of the past and clear the way toward building the kinds of housing New York City so desperately needs.

The 1961 Zoning Resolution drastically changed the way our city would build housing and office space for over six decades, restricting the kinds of housing that could be built in certain neighborhoods, and effectively deciding who was allowed to live where.

We can never lose sight of the fact that many of those who pushed for the 1961 Zoning Code aimed to promote racial segregation.

In addition to that injustice, the 1961 code prioritized highways and cars over housing and mass transit, and limited growth rather than encouraging it.

 These restrictive and increasingly complicated zoning rules are ultimately what got us to where we are today: a city that has failed to create enough housing for New Yorkers.

Our plan will end this longstanding history of injustice and allow us to build a little more housing in every neighborhood. The zoning updates we are proposing will help build the new housing so many New Yorkers want: modern apartment buildings, beautiful brownstones, and affordable condos — all in mixed-use neighborhoods with multiple transit options.

Our proposal will incentivize affordable housing, build more housing near transit hubs, convert unused office space into apartments, and allow homeowners to build so-called “granny flats” on their property. We are also proposing that campuses, including houses of worship and other faith-based institutions, be allowed to develop housing on their existing properties — effectively saying, “Yes in God’s backyard.” And finally, we are determined to prioritize people over parking by lifting parking mandates for new developments, a major shift that will bring down costs of new housing all over the five boroughs. Under this proposal, while people will still be allowed to add parking, no one will be forced to build parking they don’t want.

This plan aims to boost housing supply by 100,000 homes in neighborhoods across the city over the next 15 years — supporting a quarter of a million New Yorkers — while simultaneously creating 250,000 family-sustaining jobs. It will help us get the housing we need for working people, growing families, new arrivals, young people just starting out, and older folks looking to age in place.

Half of all New Yorkers today are rent burdened, which means that they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. In some communities, that number is even higher. Too many New Yorkers struggle with rent, and far too many New Yorkers are at risk of poverty and homelessness.

 Our administration has already done important things to combat the housing crisis, including increasing the number of affordable homes, producing the most new supportive homes and homes for formerly homeless New Yorkers, and connecting more New Yorkers to permanent homes with CityFHEPS housing vouchers than ever in the program’s history.

 But increasing supply is the surest path to bringing down rents and giving New Yorkers a break from the constant pressure of housing costs.

 These are major, transformational changes that have succeeded at providing more affordable, stable housing in other cities, which virtually every housing expert and city planner agree on. In order to make them a reality, these rules will have to be approved by our City Council.

 Department of City Planning has just begun the process to advance this proposal. With public support, these changes could be in effect starting next fall.

We look forward to working with New Yorkers, housing advocates, community leaders, elected officials, and our brothers and sisters in labor unions to help make this a reality.

Because the future of housing is the future of New York City.

If we do this right, decades from now, New Yorkers will see this moment for what it was: a turning point away from exclusionary policies and outdated ideas, and towards a more equitable future.

It will be the moment when we came together and decided to be a ‘City of Yes.’

Mayor Adams
City Hall
October 2, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Open Letter: Fix Penn Station, Don’t Demolish the Neighborhood!

Dear Governor Hochul, Attorney General Leticia James, Mayor Eric Adams, Borough President Mark Levine, Head of NJ Transit Kevin Corbett and Head of the LIRR Phillip Eng,

2,371 residents of the Penn Station neighborhood live under threat of eviction, many from affordable housing where they’ve lived for decades.

1,296 businesses also await eviction, and iconic New York architecture like the Hotel Pennsylvania, the Gimbel’s Sky Bridge and the 1872 St. John the Baptist Catholic church are slated for demolition.

It’s all due to the Empire State Development Corp’s plan to bulldoze more than 40 buildings and give the land to private developers to create a “Vornado Campus” of supertall office towers.

Every single neighborhood organization in the area has come out in opposition, as have both affected community boards and multiple civic and nonprofit organizations. Public Advocate Williams has come out against it, and 15 New York State Senators.

It’s time to junk this plan.

The financing scheme is vague, risky to taxpayers, and simply unnecessary given the high level of matching support of the Federal government for Penn Station improvements.

The plan doesn’t address the issues behind Penn Station’s dysfunction, and fails to consider cheaper alternatives that would make Penn Station the crowning center of a regional, unified train network.

Please withdraw support for this project and investigate alternatives for a transit plan and a new Penn Station worthy of this City and Region — one that doesn’t evict hard working New Yorkers and destroy the culture and history that draw millions of visitors every year. 

 

October 2, 2023

Originally Published by The Empire State Coalition - March 23, 2022

Distributed by Human Scale NY - https://www.humanscale.nyc/ and Change.org - https://www.change.org/p/fix-penn-station-don-t-demolish-the-neighborhood


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Delivering for New Yorkers Year After Year

When we came into office 20 months ago, we promised we would ‘Get Stuff Done’ for New Yorkers and New York City. Our most recent “Mayor’s Management Report” (MMR) shows that our administration has been doing just that in ways that improve our quality of life and our city’s economic recovery.

The MMR uses data that allows us to measure our progress and be transparent about areas that need improvement and areas in which we are doing well. We have made great strides in a variety of fields, and I am proud to share some of our key successes with you.

Our young people are our city’s present and future, and we have focused on helping them build the skills they need to succeed. We have increased participation in the Summer Youth Employment Program by 22 percent, after we increased the number of available seats to 100,000 last year.

We don’t want any of our youth to fall through the cracks, which is why we have continued our investment in our foster youth by increasing the number receiving life coaching through our Fair Futures program. In addition, we have helped provided much needed relief to working parents with an increase in families using our child care vouchers and enrolling their K-8 students in the city’s Summer Rising program — critical to creating a more equitable city.

When it comes to promoting a broad-based and sustainable economic recovery, we are seeing great things. We know tourism and culture are drivers of the economy, and the heartbeat of our city. Today, we are seeing that visitors to the city’s cultural institutions have increased by a full 9 percent — this is the largest increase since 2019, before the pandemic.

We care about our environment, which is why we are working hard to create a greener city. Public transportation is a pillar of our environmental agenda, and we are seeing increased ferry ridership and Citi Bike ridership. We are also in the process of expanding curbside composting citywide and have diverted 200 million pounds of organic waste from landfills for the first time ever. Now, our organic waste no longer goes to waste, nor is it contributing to the production of greenhouse gases that feed the climate crisis. Instead, our organic waste can now be used to nourish our soil and help plants and trees grow.

Housing remains a key priority of our administration, and our investments helped increase the percentage of new affordable housing developments by nearly 50 percent to 24,090. We saw an increase in families experiencing homelessness who moved into affordable units, and a massive 222 percent increase in applicants formerly experiencing homelessness being placed in public housing. We also performed 426 percent more lead abatements on NYCHA homes.

In terms of quality of life, we want our city to look as good as we know it is. We have removed substantial amounts of graffiti, increased our  street garbage collection, and performed 179,000 pest control inspections. A cleaner city is how we finally win the war against rats and I’m proud to let New Yorkers know we are moving in the right direction. Additionally, to spare New Yorkers’ ears, we have also issued the highest number of noise summonses since 2017.

And we know how important outdoor space is to both our physical and mental health — now a staggering 84.6 percent of New Yorkers live within walking distance to a park.

Keeping New York City vital and a great place to live means getting the big and little things correct. We came into office with the goal of bringing our city back, and we are proud to tell New Yorkers that we are not coming back — we are back. From street cleaning and summer programs to climate change and Citi Bike, the numbers show our city’s best days still lie ahead.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
September 18, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Slamming the Brakes on Car Theft

Not only is New York the greatest city in the world, it is the safest big city in America. Since day one of this administration, public safety has been our priority. And for the last 20 months, we have delivered on our promise to drive down crime. Our precision policing model is working.

Our streets, neighborhoods, and subways are safer. In almost every major category, crime is down. Shootings have declined 26 % for the year, homicides are down nearly 10%, and transit crime is down over 4% for the year.

This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the NYPD. Every day, they are making our city safer—and New Yorkers can feel the results. They feel safer.

But we can always do more and one category we are zeroing in on is Grand Larceny Auto, or as many New Yorkers know it by, car theft. This year, Grand Larceny Auto has gone up by 19%, and a whopping 24% in August alone.

This is not the video game Grand Theft Auto, this is real life. Car theft has real consequences for those stealing cars and poses a real danger for innocent New Yorkers on our streets.

Especially our young people. Since September 2022, 51% of those arrested for Grand Theft Larceny have been under the age of 18, and more than 88% are aged 25 and under.

We want to protect our car owners and prevent our young people from going further down the wrong path.

That’s why we are taking action to slam the brakes on car theft.

Last week, we announced a comprehensive suite of policies to tackle car theft in this city. And just like we are doing with gun violence, we are taking a holistic 360-degree approach.

That means enhanced enforcement along with education, partnerships, and outreach to our communities.

Each police precinct across the city will now have a vehicle dedicated to combatting car thefts that will be on patrol 24/7. They will be able to flag vehicles that have been reported stolen or missing so that our officers on patrol can respond swiftly.

We will also deploy additional investigators to identify trends in vehiclerelated crimes and stop violent crimes that involve the use of a stolen vehicle.

And we are partnering with car dealerships across the city to proactively educate buyers about car theft and how to better protect their vehicle, as well as fixing the problem in Kia and Hyundai vehicles that has led to social media car theft challenges.

We are also extending our outreach to young people by working with violence interrupters, school administrators, and others to deter them from car theft.

Car theft is often a crime of opportunity, and New Yorkers can do some easy things to prevent it. It may sound simple, but don’t forget to lock your doors, never leave your keys in your vehicle overnight, and don’t get out of your vehicle and leave the engine running.

New Yorkers shouldn’t have to wonder whether their car will be where they left it. Car thieves do not have a license to steal in this city. And they should know that the law and New York City is coming for them.

We have recovered 99 percent of pre-pandemic private sector jobs lost, subway ridership is up, tourists are filling our Broadway theaters, and spending money across the five boroughs. This is progress. And this administration is making sure that New York City remains the safest big city in America.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
September 12, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Save (What's Left of) East River Park / The Esplanade is Under Grave Threat / Take Action

The city plans to cut off our only access to the last half-mile of our beautiful waterfront in October. They intend to erect a tall fence, shrouded in construction netting. They will strip away all nearby trees, shrubs, and greenery. That will close access to the river for the entire length of East River Park for at least three years.

 The river view and breezes along the Northern half mile of esplanade will be blocked by a fence. Other parts of East River Park need to be finished and open before this Northern section is closed. Your voice can stop this ugly, mean-spirited, unhealthy, bad faith plan.

Ask the City what's going on (read on to learn specific, polite ways of saying it) via the East Side Coastal Resiliency overseer, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Their inquiry form is here.  https://eastriverparkaction.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=08cd86aace4f65dfd0122e760&id=82744df5d8&e=34a2059615

Contact your City and State legislators: Let them know that the current plan for closing the entire promenade East River Park is utterly unacceptable. You can find a list of their email addresses here.   https://eastriverparkaction.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=08cd86aace4f65dfd0122e760&id=9efa1c82ac&e=34a2059615

  • "Demand alternative solutions: Insist that other parts of East River Park are opened before the destruction of this northern section begins. This was the original plan. We cannot let this precious green space be amputated bit by bit.
  • "Hold them accountable: Challenge the bad faith of the Department ofDesign and Construction and our elected officials.  Demand transparency and accountability.

Below is more information to help you make your case to our elected officials and the DDC:

In place of the current half-mile of open promenade, a meager eight-foot-wide path will be built, barely half the width of the current esplanade. Bikers and walkers will be crammed together. Park users will face constant noise and dust from both the riverside esplanade demolition and the construction road (where they have already cut dozens of trees) along the FDR.

According to the DDC and our elected officials, 42 percent of East River Park is to remain open and accessible throughout the entire course of the East Side Coastal Resiliency (sic) (ESCR) project. As new parts of the park are opened more of the existing park would be destroyed and rebuilt.

They may be adhering to the agreement to keep 42 percent open, but the way they are doing it–closing off all access to the waterfront and leaving remaining park space completely surrounded by heavy construction–is contemptuous, cynical, unjust and immoral.

As school starts today, local sports teams and youth groups are using the north end of the park hourly on weekdays. Adult groups are using it fully each weekend. The proposal to close and destroy the esplanade and surrounding areas in the North end BEFORE the South end of the park is completed and open for use will severely impact healthful park usage for our local schoolchildren and families.

AND: Support greening initiatives: Take part in the Department of Transportation's Waterfront Access Study. Your comments can contribute to a greener neighborhood as we endure the disruptions caused by this construction project, which is projected to continue until 2026. You can fill out the survey here.

Thank you for taking a stand and making a difference in our community.

Jon Lefkowitz
East River Park Action
September 7, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Back to School

Later this week, our children will head back to school for the first day of the new school year. School supplies have been gathered, backpacks are being filled, and alarms will soon be set for the early mornings once again. Whether you’re new to New York City public schools or a returning student and family, there’s always going to be some amount of nervousness mixed in with the excitement.

We want to reassure all our students that we have a great year planned ahead. We are making a historic shift in the way we teach our young people reading through NYC Reads — an initiative that brings proven, evidencebased English Language Arts curricula into classrooms. We will teach students how to decode words so that even when the reading level becomes more challenging, they will have the skills and   foundation to be able to sound out new words and understand new material. Reading is a fundamental skill, it is necessary academically, professionally, and personally, and we will make sure that all of our students graduate as confident readers. In the end, this will lead to a brighter future for the entire city.

Being able to read confidently is personal to me. I have dyslexia, and even today, when I enter a classroom as mayor, I remember how I was laughed at and humiliated for not being able to read properly as a student. Not long ago, when a young student heard that I had dyslexia, he came to visit me at City Hall. He has benefitted tremendously from the help he received through our programs, and now he is recommending books to his friends, and his nickname is “College.” We want all our students to benefit the way this young man did. We want college to be a goal for all our children. Our screenings for dyslexia and other learning disabilities will ensure that no young person suffers unnecessarily the way I did, and that all our students receive the support they need to fulfill their potential.

But school is about more than just academics; it also involves learning social and emotional skills. At school, we learn how to make friends, manage our emotions, and grow as human beings. This school year, we will introduce our students to mindful breathing techniques. A few simple breathing exercises can help calm our minds, deal with stressful situations, and improve focus. The techniques that our students will learn can be used anytime, anywhere, and at any age. Mindful breathing is a lifelong lesson: I wish I had been taught it when I was in school, but now I practice it regularly. Just a few minutes a day makes a big difference.

We’re also improving the dining experience for our students, with over 80 enhanced cafeterias that make socializing with friends easier and lunchtime more pleasant. We are offering more plant-based, as well as halal meal options, so all our students can eat healthy and according to their culture and faith. New York City is a city for everyone — and our school cafeterias should reflect that.

These are just some of the initiatives that we have prepared for the upcoming year, and now we have a few requests of you and our students as well. Please attend your child’s Parent-Teacher meeting, or a PTA meeting, ask your child’s teacher or the school’s parent coordinator questions, and try to join your child when they read or do their homework whenever possible.

The more effort you put into learning about your child’s school experience, the more you and they will get out of it. But in the end, the final responsibility for learning and growing lies with our young people themselves.

School is like life — but with constant guidance and guard rails. We want our young people to think critically, to ask questions, to become better human beings and citizens, and, sometimes, even to learn how to fail. School is where you can raise your hand, take risks, and try new things. School prepares our young people for the future. Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year!

For more information see: www.schools.nyc.gov

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
September 1, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Labor Day: A celebration of working people and the unions that support them

Here in New York City, the three-day Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of a new year in many ways. Many of us are enjoying the last days of summer, traveling or spending time with friends and family, and our children are getting ready to return to school.

This chance to relax and recharge is possible thanks to the American labor movement, whose members fought for so many workplace benefits that we now take for granted — from basic safety protections to the 40-hour workweek. Labor Day celebrates those landmark achievements and the people who continue to fight for workers and their rights.

As New York City’s blue-collar mayor, I have stood shoulder to shoulder with working people all my life. As a former union member and the son of a union member, I’ve experienced firsthand the transformative power of labor organizing. Being part of a union was what allowed my mother — a single mom raising her six children in a modest home — to provide for our family and keep a roof over our heads.

Now that I am in City Hall, our administration is working hard to create jobs, support labor unions, and ensure that working people get the wages, rights, and benefits they deserve. We have actively worked to promote a Working People’s Agenda that calls for investments in housing, job training, and education — as well as support for those who serve our city every day.

I am proud our administration has actively worked to support our municipal unions, reaching landmark contract agreements with the Uniformed Officers Coalition, a group that includes the NYPD, FDNY, DSNY, and the Department of Corrections. We also reached new and improved labor contracts with the United Federation of Teachers, PBA, and DC 37, New York City’s largest public sector union. All of these labor agreements support the thousands of New York City workers who support us — and keep us the greatest city in the world.

Our economy continues to show record growth and recovery. In fact, we have recovered 99% of the private-sector jobs lost during the pandemic. And we are focused on creating more jobs than ever before — jobs you can build your life around, and you can build our city and our economy around.

We’re bringing jobs directly to the people by creating the Office of Community Hiring. Community hiring will use the city’s immense purchasing power to create a more equitable economy by ensuring that contractors who benefit from the city’s spending to hire from oftenoverlooked communities. Once fully implemented, community hiring has the potential to create 186,000 jobs for economically disadvantaged workers and residents over the next five years.

We have also launched a number of new job training programs, including New York City PINCC, or Pathways to Industrial and Construction Careers. This program would train and place over 2,000 New Yorkers into highwage, career-track jobs in the construction, transportation, and utility sectors over the next three years.

Workers are the bedrock of our city’s prosperity, and as more asylum seekers continue to arrive, we want to make sure they are getting an opportunity to support themselves and integrate into our society. That is why we continue to call for work authorization for asylum seekers, who have so much to contribute to our economy, and who can help fill the jobs New Yorkers do not want.

We have thousands of unfilled jobs right here in New York City, including openings in manufacturing, food service, home care, and transportation. And, just as so many previous immigrants did, we must help new arrivals get a job and do their part of pursuing the American Dream.

New York City is America’s largest union town, and union solidarity is what makes so many American Dreams  possible. As a proud supporter of workers from all walks of life, I’ll continue to fight for the same things unions do: fairer wages, better benefits, and a higher quality of life. Happy Labor Day!

Mayor Adams
City Hall
August 28, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Outdoor dining is here to stay in New York City

This past week we made it official: outdoor dining is here to stay. New Yorkers were hungry for an outdoor dining program that was cleaner, safer, and healthier. And by signing a new bill to bring al fresco dining to all five boroughs, we’ve delivered for them.

Our new outdoor dining program, “Dining Out NYC,” will be the largest outdoor dining program in the nation and will shape New York City’s streets going forward. It’s going to help our small businesses thrive, get visitors and residents alike to spend money in our  neighborhoods, and support good jobs for working-class New Yorkers.

Before the pandemic, outdoor dining was largely limited to Manhattan — and only allowed on the sidewalks. On top of that, the city charged thousands of dollars in fees to restaurant  owners, many of them small business owners. When the pandemic started, outdoor dining was temporarily expanded to every borough in the city and included the use of roadway space.

The expansion was a resounding success. Outdoor dining kept our worldfamous restaurants alive through the pandemic, and, without  question, helped save 100,000 jobs while keeping our neighborhoods vibrant. With Dining Out NYC, we are building on the best of outdoor dining and throwing the worst in the trash. Now New Yorkers won’t have to leave the city for great outdoor dining; they will be able to enjoy all that New York City’s restaurants have to offer, all outdoors in the fresh air.

And I want New Yorkers to know: we heard your concerns about outdoor dining. Abandoned dining sheds attracted rats and detracted from the beauty of our city. That’s why in the last year, we removed over 430 abandoned and egregious sheds — I even took a sledgehammer to help dismantle one. Dining Out NYC will have specific cleanliness guidelines and allow roadway dining during the eight warmest months of the year, which will allow us to keep our streets cleaner, fight rats, and keep getting rid of abandoned sheds when setups come down in the winter.

This is how we get outdoor dining done right. This is how we create jobs for working-class New Yorkers. And this is how we stand with our small businesses. Our administration is committed to working with every restaurant to give them the support they need to take advantage of this program.

Just like it takes a team in the kitchen working together to make a great meal, historic change takes all of us working together. I want to thank all the restaurant owners, workers, diners, and communities who made this program possible.

I look forward to dining out with you on a New York City street soon. Bon appétit!

Mayor Adams
City Hall
August 20, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Affordable Homes for New Yorkers

New York City is home to people from all over the world. We may eat different foods and speak different languages, but in the end, we all want things: jobs, good schools for our children, public safety, and a chance to live the American Dream. A central part of that dream is an affordable home, and our city, like the rest of the state and country, urgently needs to create much more housing for people of all incomes.

Today, less than 1 percent of apartments in New York City listed below $1,500 in rent are available for new tenants. That’s the lowest in 30 years. And there are more families and children in need of affordable housing than ever before. I have talked to hard-working New Yorkers who struggle to afford rent for their families. I have met with our brothers and sisters living in shelters and tents. But I also know what happens when they get the key to an affordable home. I have seen the smiles and relief when they finally have a stable, safe place to build their dreams. That is why our administration announced a “moonshot” goal of 500,000 new homes for New Yorkers over the next decade. And we are working tirelessly to make that goal a reality.

We are speeding the production of affordable housing, preserving the housing stock we already have, taking steps to allow unused office space to be converted to homes, and removing bureaucratic barriers to get New Yorkers out of shelters and into permanent homes swiftly.

Over the last year, we created and preserved nearly 27,000 affordable new homes; and we lifted the 90-day rule so that, instead of having to wait for 90 days, those in shelter can now receive housing vouchers immediately and move into permanent homes as quickly as possible. In fact, this year, we moved the most people from shelter into permanent housing in the history of the voucher program.

One in 17 New Yorkers live in public housing. And we are giving them more power through the NYCHA Trust, which will allow thousands of NYCHA residents to have a say in their own future and unlock billions of dollars for much-needed repairs.

We also need action from the state Legislature to pass a tax incentive (421- A) to get new housing built. Last year, projects that relied on 421-A made up half of all newly built affordable housing. And we need the Legislature to help us convert empty offices into affordable homes for New Yorkers. Without state lawmakers’ assistance, the progress we made last year will stall. We are also working on removing outdated state regulations that prevent us from building more housing in crowded areas like Midtown Manhattan, and we are sparing no efforts to make sure that state lawmakers do their part to support us with the necessary legislation.

Building more affordable homes isn’t easy in a place like New York City. You need creativity and persistence to get it done. But as someone who lived on the edge of homelessness as a child, I know how important it is to have a place to call home. Having your own home can change your destiny. And that is what our administration aims to deliver for all New Yorkers.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
August 14, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions - QNS NYC

How We Make New York City Safer

As mayor, it is my sacred duty to keep New Yorkers safe. I campaigned on making New York City a safer place to live, work, and raise a family, and now, after a little over a year and a half in office, we continue to see the results.  Shootings are down an incredible 27% through the first 7-months of this year, and, so far this year, we have removed almost 4,000 illegal guns from our streets. Murder, robberies, and burglaries are all down, it is safer to ride on the subway, and hate crimes have declined.

This is the result of intervention–targeted, precision policing, but also a prevention-based approach to tackle the root causes of crime. The loss of even a single life due to violence is a tragedy. So, while we can all acknowledge the progress made, we must also keep working proactively in order to remain the safest big city in America.

That is where our recently released Blueprint for Community Safety comes in. The blueprint — developed by our Gun Violence Prevention Task Force with support from Governor Kathy Hochul — is a $485 million-dollar plan that will double down on our public safety efforts. It will take a 360-degree, holistic approach to further reduce gun violence by investing in our most impacted communities, supporting our young people, and mobilizing every level of city government to make prevention-based approaches to public safety their top priority.

Ending gun violence requires more than enforcement. It requires attention and investment, and the blueprint is built on a community development approach that focuses on preventive measures and long-term strategies. 

We sought to answer a key question: How can we stop the violence before it happens on our streets? With the help of community members, our task force landed on seven key strategies. These include: trauma-informed care, housing, employment, benefits access, improving the relationship between the police and the community, community vitality, and early interventions to protect our youth.

Those investments are going towards programs with a proven-success rate, such as $22.5 million towards the “Work, Learn, Grow” program that offers year-round employment opportunities, and $6.6 million for job training for out of school and out of work youth.

We are also addressing the need for quality affordable housing, career training, and are involving violence interrupters, who can defuse violence before it starts.

We are starting our efforts by targeting six police precincts in the Bronx and Brooklyn, neighborhoods where we have seen the highest rates of gun violence, and we will expand to other neighborhoods over time. Bringing down crime and gun violence doesn’t happen overnight. It takes precision policing combined with prevention-based strategies that look at the different causes of violence and take steps to address them.

Our men and women in uniform are tireless in their efforts to make New York City a better place to live and work. Our many agencies, social workers, and violence interrupters help defuse tensions and create opportunities for New Yorkers to live meaningful lives outside the web of violence. The numbers confirm that we are making great progress. But the work of public safety never finishes, and we must dam up every river that leads to the sea of violence. With this plan, we can create a stronger, safer, more livable city for all.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
August 7, 2023


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Getting Sidewalk Sheds Down

Last week, we announced our plan to take down unsightly sidewalk sheds and reclaim our streets. Sidewalk sheds — which many New Yorkers also known as scaffolding — are the ugly green and metal boxes that cover our sidewalks. They block the sunlight, keep pedestrians away from  businesses, and are a magnet for illegal activity.

New Yorkers have gotten so used to sidewalk  sheds that it’s easy to forget our city’s beautiful architecture underneath. While sidewalk sheds were created to protect New Yorkers from unsafe buildings and construction sites, their appearance has gotten out of control.

Current city rules incentivize property owners to leave sidewalk sheds up and put off critical safety work. Most sheds stay up for longer than a year and some have darkened our streets for more than a decade. All too often, sheds stay up while no repair work is happening, and property owners are not required to pay a penny in fines.

As a result, we have nearly 400 miles of sheds across our city taking up public space that belongs to New Yorkers. This is New York City.  We are back better than ever; we cannot continue to be a skeleton city covered in sidewalk sheds.

That’s why my administration is overhauling construction shed rules from the ground up, with our “Get Sheds Down” plan. This plan will flip the script so that property owners are incentivized to complete safety work and Get Sheds Down instead of leaving them up year after year. We are also going to tap into the talent of our city to design other options while doubling down on the alternatives we already have, such as netting.

We are also going to increase oversight and enforcement of sidewalk sheds. Because if you take public space that belongs to New Yorkers, you should have to pay for it. We are going to focus these changes on business districts, where property owners have the resources for repair work. Let me be clear: these changes will not burden small property owners who are still recovering from the pandemic. And, as always, public safety will remain our number one priority.

The city is going to lead the way with our own construction and repair projects. We will be running a pilot at the Queens County Supreme Court in Jamaica, taking down a shed that has been up for 6 years and replacing it with netting.

This administration is all about promises made, promises kept. Last year, together with Governor Hochul, we released the “New” New York report, which highlighted the importance of public space to our city’s recovery. Addressing sidewalk sheds is also key part of our Working People’s Agenda introduced in January.

New Yorkers are going to see a big difference in their neighborhoods: more light and space; less crime and mess. This is how we reimagine our city and revitalize our business districts. This is how we get people to spend money in New York City. And this is how we build a safer, more beautiful city for all.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
July 31, 2023


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Too many drownings already...pls share widely!

Greetings All!

Our beaches are open and we want everyone to be safe while enjoying them! Pls share this with your families along with our PSA Here. https://twitter.com /SwimStrongNYswimstrong-2015-infrographic.png

Beach Forecasts and Text Alerts

The daily beach forecast by the National Weather Service (NWS), located at https://www.weather.gov/beach/okx , includes rip current risk levels and information about other hazards at the beach. Sign up for text alerts for beach conditions by texting “Beach” or “Playa” to 877877. To check on beach water quality go to: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/beach-homepage.page 

Rip Currents

Rip currents are narrow channels of fast moving water that pull bathers away from the shore. They move at speeds of up to 8 feet per second, faster than any Olympic swimmer and can easily overpower a person. Panicked swimmers often try to “fight” the current by swimming directly back to shore. Drowning due to fatigue is often the result. These are responsible for numerous water rescue attempts along the New York City beaches every year. Rather than struggling through a rip current and exhausting yourself, turn onto your back and float, until you feel the current break, then swim at an angle, away from the current toward the shore. Float don’t fight.

Ocean, Bay and Beach Safety Tips

  • "Swimming in the Ocean, Bay or any open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. Open water swimming can be very physically taxing and may exacerbate underlying medical issues in older swimmers.
  • "A perfect day on the beach doesn’t mean that it’s a perfect day in the water. If in doubt, don’t go out.
  • "Swim only where Lifeguard is present. Even with LG, never swim alone. Swim with a buddy. Have dedicated adult supervision for all children. Have someone on shore watch you while you swim/surf/wade in the water.
  • "Many people drown while trying to save someone else. Know your own limits. Make safe choices.
  • "Be aware of additional hazards, such as lightning, high surf, shore break, jelly fish, marine predators, dehydration and sun stroke.
  • "Avoid wearing shiny objects that may attract sharks and other fish.
  • "Do not mix alcohol/drugs and swimming.
  • "Sandbars are formed by waves and tides. They are not permanent structures.
  • "Avoid swimming where danger is present: in rough seas; inlets; around groins, piers and surfers; at night; or during thunderstorms.
  • "Signs are posted for a reason. Follow the instruction for your safety.

Watch this 3 min video to understand water safety very differently - https://youtu.be/Hy49qY3QN_s

64 schools (GK-12) are using this training now. What are you waiting for? https://www.swimstrongfoundation.org/know-before-you-go/

Stay safe ; stay healthy.

Shawn M. Slevin
(pronouns: she/her)
www.SwimStrongFoundation.org


Queens OpEds & Opinions - QNS NYC

The new leadership keeping New York City Safe

As Mayor of New York, I know just how important public safety is to our city, and how important the right leadership is in achieving it. Over the last 18 months, this Administration has made major progress driving down major crime, and last week I named a new leadership team at the NYPD that will continue to improve safety across our city and keep New York the safest big city in America.

This new team is not just making news – they are making history. Police Commissioner Edward Caban is the first Hispanic Police Commissioner in our city’s history, bringing decades of experience and leadership to this role. Our incoming First Deputy Commissioner, Tania Kinsella, is the first woman of color to serve in this role. Rebecca Weiner, our new Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, is also the first woman to serve in her position.

And when I reflect on my time as being mayor of this great city, the appointment of Edward Caban as the new Police Commissioner will probably be one of the most significant and emotional moments for me. Eddie is blue-collar. He is a working New Yorker. His story is a New York City story. His father was a transit cop when I was a transit cop. And as the head of the Transit Police Hispanic Society, Eddie’s father fought for diversity every day to improve the rank and file of the NYPD. And now his son is the Police Commissioner.

These are the new faces of the NYPD. They are from immigrant families, Hispanic, Black, and female. This is an NYPD that looks like the people they serve. They all bring impressive credentials and a record of success to their roles and will build on the historic work begun by Police Commissioner Sewell.

When we came into office in January 2022, our city was on the brink. Together with Commissioner Sewell’s  leadership, we made major strides and turned the tide on the most violent crimes. Shootings are down. Murders are down. Overall crime is down. We have seized over 10,000 guns from our streets since coming into office, disrupting the iron pipeline. Hate crimes are down. And our subways are getting safer.

We have recovered 99.9% of pre-pandemic private sector jobs, and tourists are filling our Broadway theaters and spending money across the five boroughs. This is progress. And it is clear, New York City is not coming back, we are back. But we still have much to left to do.

This new leadership team will continue to bring crime down, reduce transit crime, reduce car thefts and enhance the NYPD’s focus on quality-of-life issues like retail theft. They are New York's finest and understand the importance of both safety and justice. And they reflect who we are as a city. Diverse and full of hustle. This is an amazing moment for our city. This team has the right leaders for right now.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
July 24, 2023


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Protecting Our Youth from Flavored Vapes

One of my most sacred obligations as Mayor is keeping our children safe from harm. And one of the leading risks to their health is nicotine-based products, including cigarettes and e-cigarettes, also known as vapes.

We have made great progress, as a city and nation, keeping our youth safe from traditional cigarette smoking—bringing down youth smoking rates from 23% in 2000 to 2.3% in 2021. But with the rise of vaping, nicotine addiction among middle and high school students is once again on the rise. Vapes are packed with nicotine, a toxic and highly addictive chemical that is particularly damaging to adolescent minds and bodies.

Worse still, companies are luring our children by advertising youth friendly vape flavors such as “strawberry milkshake,” “cola,” and “pina colada.” Their product packaging often features colorful, child-friendly cartoon characters designed to catch the eye of young people.

This is illegal. And my administration will not stand by while companies put our children at risk.

Last week, we announced a major, federal lawsuit against four distributors of flavored, disposable e-cigarettes. Our lawsuit names four distributors of flavored vape that are putting profits over people and hurting our young people. We are seeking a court order that will prevent these distributors from further delivering their dangerous flavored products into New York City. And we are asking them to pay for the harm they have already caused our children.

When children see youth-friendly packaging, they may think: ‘This is something I’d like to try. This is something that won’t hurt me.’ Families should be clear: that is 100% false. Nicotine may affect the ability to learn and concentrate and withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, and depression, worsening mental health at a time when our young people are already struggling.

In 2021, more than 1 in 10 public high school students across the country reported using e-cigarettes in a 30-day sample period. And flavored e-cigarettes with their colorful packaging and appealing flavors are the gateway to long term e-cigarette use. 81% of first-time users, ages 12-17, started with flavored products. Most have never previously smoked. An overwhelming majority of youth e-cigarette users choose to vape because they were attracted to the flavors.

We will not allow this greedy, harmful, and openly illegal behavior to continue. We will not allow these nicotine-pushers to harm the health of our children, to put our students on the path to addiction, make them customers and users for life, and expose them to unknown long-term health effects.

We will do whatever it takes to keep our children safe, and our lawsuit seeks to stop these four companies dead in their tracks.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
July 17, 2023


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Keeping Our Communities Safe: One Young Person at a Time

The old saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ is truer than ever today. There are many problems that we face now, which—if we deal with them at the source—can be handled effectively and with less suffering. Gun violence among our young people is one of them. Our administration’s historic $89 million investment in New York City’s Crisis Management System as well as landmark investments in our Summer Youth Employment Program and Summer Rising will give our young people a sense of purpose and keep them engaged and safe. Our Crisis Management System is based on a widely recognized public health  approach to addressing violent conflict and aims to change New Yorkers’ attitudes towards using violence in tense situations. Taken together, our Crisis Management System and the summer programs will provide our young people with the opportunities and skills they need to build a better future and help prevent gun violence before it arises.

These efforts will build on our success in preventing crime: shootings have declined by 24% in the first six months of 2023, and more generally, crime has fallen in five of the seven major  categories during the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2022. We will continue to bring crime down and keep New York the safest large city in the nation.

Our Crisis Management System deploys local residents, "violence interrupters,” and community leaders to mediate disputes and connect young people aged 16 to 24 most at risk of gun violence to mentorship. Violence interrupters are often people with a history of violent behavior who have succeeded in turning their own lives around. They are well positioned to defuse tensions before they become dangerous, and can connect high-risk individuals to mental health services, job training, employment opportunities, and more, giving young people a sense of purpose and decreasing the risk of violence. Our CMS teams will operate in 31 neighborhoods that account for more than two-thirds of shooting incidents citywide.

We’re also getting more of our young people on the right track with summer enrichment and employment programs that will keep them challenged and engaged so that we reduce the need for these kinds of interventions later on. Our Summer Rising Program serves 110,00 young people in grades K-8. The program, which runs for 6 to 7 weeks starting on July 5th, will help students close the COVID learning gap and allow them to enjoy a fun summer in a secure and supervised environment. It allows our parents and caregivers to work without worrying about how their children will stay occupied. Our Summer Youth Employment Program will reach 100,000 youth this summer; it provides paid opportunities in a variety of fields including business, tech, and healthcare.

Gun violence doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It occurs when young people lack a sense of purpose and turn to violence or other antisocial behavior instead. With the right social-emotional skills, and with paid and engaging internship opportunities, our at risk-youth can turn their lives around. I should know. When I was a young man, I got into trouble with law and now, I’m mayor of New York City.

I want all our young people to have the same second chance that I did, and for New York to remain a safe and a thriving beacon for all.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
July 10, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions QNS NYC

New York City’s Budget: Investing in Working Families and New Yorkers in Need.

Our city’s budget reflects our values, and for my administration, the needs of everyday people come first. This year, we navigated many significant financial challenges and have reached a budget agreement with our colleagues on the City Council—a budget that is smart, strategic and fiscally responsible, a budget that advances our administration’s Working People’s Agenda, and puts the needs of working New Yorkers front and center.

The Fiscal Year 2024 Adopted Budget comes in at approximately $107 billion and allows us to spend on services and programs that benefit all New Yorkers, while continuing to address the costs created by the asylum seeker crisis and adding to the $4.7 billion in budget savings that the administration has achieved over Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024 since last Adoption.

While we can’t predict with certainty which challenges tomorrow will bring, our near-record $8 billion in Fiscal Year 2024 reserves will help us ensure that New York City remains strong regardless of the issues we face.

Even as we prepare for the future however, we want New Yorkers to have the resources they need to thrive in the present. That’s why this budget protects and builds on our historic investments: in summer youth jobs and career pathways for students, in public safety and trash pickup, in connecting New Yorkers in need to mental health services or stable housing, and in maintaining the commitment we made last year to fund affordable housing and NYCHA at historic levels.

Thanks to careful budgeting and in partnership with the City Council, we have been able to restore a total of $36 million dollars in funding for our city’s libraries. When New Yorkers speak, we listen. Parents told us they need preschool hours that better match their workdays, so we added $15 million dollars in funding to convert nearly 1,900 early childhood education seats into extended-day seats starting this fall.

Working New Yorkers have told us that getting to their jobs eats up too much of their paychecks, so we are expanding our Fair Fares Program. This program provides reduced-price transit fares to those who are eligible, leaving hard working New Yorkers with more money in their pockets to spend on other necessities.

We also know that public education is vital to all New Yorkers, so we invested in our public schools—and will not allow enrollment declines to negatively affect initial school funding levels.

And we are helping our students get on the pathway to good paying jobs and careers through college programs and internships like College Now, CUNY Explorers and Career Launch. We are ensuring that our young people can continue their education and achieve their dreams.

As you know I am deeply committed to improving public safety and ending gun violence, which destroys lives and communities. This budget provides resources for violence interrupters and other services that help do this important work for our city.

We are also increasing resources for supervised release and support services for justice involved New Yorkers.

When it comes to those experiencing homelessness and mental health issues, we have already made progress in helping people turn their lives around. This budget ensures we can continue to assist New Yorkers in crisis and get them off the streets and into long-term care.

We are providing wage increases for hundreds of thousands of city employees, putting more money into the pockets of working families across the city. We are also raising the wages of those who keep our social services up and running, like our nonprofit contractors, childcare centers and homeless outreach providers, and those who care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

We are making sure we can continue food delivery programs for older New Yorkers as well as meals at Older Adult Centers.

And because New Yorkers deserve clean streets, we are adding funding to clean commercial corridors and highways in all five boroughs.

With the hot days of summer upon us, we want all our children to have access to swimming pools and learn how to swim. We want to make sure all our kids are safe this summer and are not at risk of drowning due to them not having access to a neighborhood pool for lessons.

Public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity, and that means we must protect our kids while ensuring equity. So, we are adding funding to increase pool access across the five boroughs and provide swimming lessons to more children than ever before.

This budget balances the long-term needs of our city and the everyday needs of our people. Not all our investments are big dollar, but they are strategic, fiscally responsible and they put New Yorkers first.

I want to thank Speaker Adrienne Adams, Finance Chair Justice Brannan, and Budget Director Jacques Jiha and his team for their hard work making this budget happen. Most of all, I want to thank you—my fellow New Yorkers—for all you do to make New York the greatest city in the world.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
July 3, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Risky Business Kills. We Can Stop It.

Last week, our city witnessed two tragedies that could have been prevented: A deadly fire at an e-bike shop and a subway surfing attempt that resulted in the death of a 14-year-old boy and serious injury for another young person.

Our hearts go out to the families of those who were lost or injured in these tragedies. This pain is real, because each of us know – that could have been me. That could havebeen my child. We must turn that pain into purpose and do all we can to keep our city safe – and that means taking action to reduce the risks of these accidents.

Last week, we announced a massive new education and enforcement campaign that will reach out to E-bike shops and riders all over the city. While most of the micro-mobility devices in our city are safe, there are some that do not meet safety standards and contain uncertified lithium-ion batteries. These faulty devices are causing fires and explosions, putting New Yorkers and our first responders in danger.

We need New Yorkers to be aware of how to safely charge the lithium-ion batteries that power these vehicles, and what to do if they observe unsafe conditions in their building or on their block.

First and foremost, purchase only legal, nationally recognized safety certified e-bikes and e-scooters. Never use refurbished batteries. Use only the charger and battery made specifically for your device. Keep batteries away from heat sources like radiators and exit paths and doorways. If a battery is damaged, stop using it. Do not store batteries near the exit of a room or apartment. And never, never leave batteries unattended when charging, especially overnight.

And if you observe unsafe or dangerous conditions at an E-bike shop, your building, or elsewhere in the community, call 311 and report it.

The FDNY is ramping up response time and increasing enforcement. Effective immediately, all 311 calls regarding questionable activity at bike repair shops or any other location where batteries are being charged will get a response from the local fire company within 12 hours, instead of the 72 hours currently required.

Examples of questionable activity include: Large numbers of batteries being charged close together, mazes of extension cords, the sale of batteries that appear to be refurbished, and informal charging centers that do not appear to be properly licensed businesses – including garages or the basement of a restaurant.

Lithium-ion battery fires can start quickly and spread instantly. The FDNY needs every New Yorker to be on the lookout for dangerous conditions and to report them.

The same principle applies to the deadly fad of subway surfing. This is not a game or a sport – subway surfing kills. From 2021 to 2022, there was a 366% increase in people riding outside the subway, and we must push back in every way possible, especially when it comes to social media.

Our young people are spending far too many hours each day on social media and other related platforms, and they are being exposed to dangerous content that encourages illegal activity, crime, and risky behavior. This kind of content includes viral videos that make young people try dangerous things like subway surfing and stealing cars – the consequences of which can be deadly and life-altering.

The NYPD is doing all it can to reverse this dangerous trend. Our precinct Youth Coordination Officers and Neighborhood Coordination officers have focused on visiting the homes of young people who have been known to engage in subway surfing. As of last month, they carried out 69 such visits, speaking with the kids or their parents and guardians in 44 of those instances. Their message is clear: To reinforce the fact that such reckless behavior can have devastating consequences – and inspire copycat behavior that puts other young people at risk.

We are also warning of the dangers of subway surfing through public service announcements. Last month I joined Norma Nazario, a mother who lost her young son Zackery in a subway surfing incident, to record a PSA on this dangerous trend. Zackery was already a talented athlete and music fan, and he was looking to join the Marines. But as a result of a viral social media trend, he lost his life riding on top of a subway. We want to keep other young New Yorkers from taking these risks.

The consequences of social media and other addictive online content are tragic and real, and those who host and financially profit from that content must be held responsible. I am calling on TikTok and other platforms to ban these videos immediately, and I urge parents to discuss the dangers of subway surfing with their children, even if you think they would never engage in such behavior.

Living in a city means looking out for each other and our children and taking steps to keep each other safe. Public safety involves every one of us. The FDNY and the NYPD are doing everything we can to reverse these dangerous trends, and I urge all New Yorkers to do their part to reduce risky behavior that too often leads to tragedy.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
June 26, 2023


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Summer Streets is Coming to All Five Boroughs

In New York City, our streets aren’t just streets. They are where we walk, eat, play, and come together as one city. As mayor, I am committed to reclaiming our streets for everyone to enjoy safely. New Yorkers shouldn’t have to travel to Europe to experience open summer streets. We have them right here in our own backyard. And this summer we are expanding Summer Streets to all five boroughs.

On five Saturdays in July and August, from 7am to 1pm, select streets will be open to pedestrians citywide. New Yorkers will be able to enjoy outdoor activities with their neighbors, all car free. And now they can enjoy Summer Streets in their own borough for the first time.

Last year, we added two miles, brought the program to East Harlem, and brought back the third Saturday of Summer Streets. This year, we are bringing Summer Streets to all five boroughs and doubling the overall size of the program to 20 miles of streets citywide. And we’re continuing to grow in Manhattan, bringing Summer Streets all the way up to 125th Street in Harlem for the first time.

We are opening major corridors like Eastern Parkway and Grand Concourse even further with this bold approach.

Summer Streets will take place in Queens on July 29th, on Vernon Boulevard between 44 Drive and 30 Drive.

Staten Islanders can also enjoy Summer Streets on July 29th, along Richmond Terrace, between York Avenue and Bard Avenue.

Manhattan will see three weekends of Summer Streets, on August 5th, 12th & 19th, from Brooklyn Bridge to West 125 Street.

In Brooklyn, New Yorkers can enjoy Summer Streets on the 26th of August, along Eastern Parkway between Grand Army Plaza and Buffalo Avenue.

And Summer Streets in the boogie down Bronx will also take place on the 26th of August, along Grand Concourse, between East Tremont Avenue and Mosholu Parkway.

We also want to hear from organizations and performers who may be interested in being featured as part of the program this summer. Organizations can visit  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XS957NZ and fill out a survey to be part of Summer Streets.

We are bringing joy back to New York City streets. New Yorkers can also enjoy expanded Open Streets at nearly 160 locations across the city, as well as 400,000 square feet of new, permanent pedestrian space that we have added over the past year. That’s in addition to the new public  spaces we are building every day and in every borough. And we are making history by opening up new street space to pedestrians. In December, we opened 5th Avenue to people for the first time in more than 50 years. And I am proud that we are making history once again by bringing Summer Streets to New Yorkers in every borough.

Summer is a time for everyone — no matter where you live, how old you are, or how much money you make — to come together and relax. On Summer Streets, you can walk, run, play, dance, ride a bike, cool off in mists and sprinklers, paint a picture, get a temporary tattoo, appreciate art, join a dance party, or just take a selfie. It will be lots of fun — and we will be reducing traffic congestion, greenhouse gases and air pollution at the same time.

Happy summer, and I look forward to seeing you on a Summer Street.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
June 16, 2023


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School Food: The Complete Picture

Here in New York City, we are lucky to have an abundance of food from all over the world, yet many of our families face food insecurity, and for some of our children, the breakfast and lunch they eat at school are their only meals for the day. This makes it even more important that we serve our students healthy, nutritious meals that look good, taste good, and are culturally appropriate.

As a city, we have taken important steps in this regard: we follow strict nutritional guidelines; we are offering more plant-based choices, especially on Plant Powered Fridays and Meatless Mondays; we’ve expanded Halal Kitchens so that 87 public schools are now certified to serve Halal meals; this year, we’ve committed $50 million to create a welcoming environment in more than 80 school cafeterias; $5 million to train our school food workers; and now we are adding a vital food education component to the mix.

Living in New York City, many of our young people only see food as a finished product on the shelf of a supermarket, in a bodega, or in a package. We want to help them understand how the food system works—everything from how we grow our food to how it arrives in our grocery stores and on our plates. We want them to be able to make healthy food choices and to analyze how the food system affects the climate, our economy, our diverse communities, and our health. Comprehensive food education can also help students develop an appreciation of the culinary traditions of our city’s many different cultures.

In order to achieve this, we must weave food education throughout the regular school day. Students can learn how to prepare food in the school cafeteria, visit a grocery store for a math or science class, take a trip to a farmers’ market, and so much more. Over 1,000 New York City public schools have gardens where students can learn how to plant and grow their own food as well.

In some of our low-income neighborhoods, families do not have access to supermarkets or other nutritious food sources. And since processed foods (like junk food) is often cheaper and more readily accessible than unprocessed foods, 40% of our students, particularly our Black and Latino students, are overweight or obese. This puts them at greater risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma. By eating better at school and exercising more they can improve their health and the health of the planet. I know this firsthand: I was able to preserve my eyesight and reverse my Type 2 diabetes by adopting a plant-based diet.

Food insecurity and inequity is an ongoing problem in our city that affects New Yorkers’ physical and mental health. By serving healthier food in our schools and through comprehensive food education, we can transform our young people’s health and wellbeing, the health of their communities, our city, and our planet.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
June 12, 2023


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Uber Riders Must Pay Their Fair Share Under Congestion Pricing

The Federal Highway Administration recently signed off on New York City’s first-inthe-nation congestion pricing plan, which means that, with few exceptions, every car and truck entering Manhattan’s Central Business District will be charged a toll. To secure FHWA approval, New York had to add a robust package of measures specifically designed to protect the health and livelihoods of New York’s minority and immigrant communities.

Unfortunately, one element of this package misses the mark: Companies like Uber and Lyft will only have to pay the toll to enter the congestion zone once a day. Uber has made it clear that it intends to spend millions in a campaign to protect this loophole and they will claim concern for the well-being of the drivers, but their goal is to maximize market share and enrich their shareholders, all while continuing to clog our streets and pollute our air.

We have both spent years advocating for congestion pricing and are eager to see it up and running. But if New York is serious about curbing traffic congestion, we must address the excessive use of ride-hail companies. In 2022, over 52 million for-hire vehicle rides started and ended in Manhattan below 60th Street, most of them Uber or Lyft, despite that same area being served by 19 subway lines.

An Uber trip from Tribeca to Midtown is a luxury and should be treated as such. The once-per-day toll on for-hire vehicles will do nothing to reduce traffic and will invariably be charged to the working-class drivers the FHWA and MTA are trying to protect, instead of their more well-off passengers.

The solution is to replace the once-per-day toll with a significant increase to the current $2.75 surcharge on every for-hire trip that begins in or enters Manhattan below 96th street, with the surcharge paid by the passenger, not the driver.

For trips entering the zone the increased surcharge should be half of the peak toll and somewhat more than this for trips that begin and end in the zone, with discounts for both at night.

Yellow cabs should be exempt from the new increase; cab drivers paid as much as $1 million each to the city to obtain medallions, but the value of those once coveted medallions was destroyed by the city's failure to properly manage and regulate the introduction of Uber and Lyft to city streets.

Concerns about worker dislocation should be taken with utmost seriousness during the shift to new policies and technologies, but we should not accept the argument that polluting industries and practices be protected for the sake of preserving jobs and profits. If congestion pricing works and demand for for-hire rides softens, we could, for example, create a fast track for former Uber and Lyft drivers to work for the MTA.

Done right, New York’s congestion pricing program will markedly reduce traffic, improve air quality and street safety, modernize mass transit, and create an overall healthier and more livable city. But to do so in a way that is truly equitable, for-hire companies and their customers must pay their fair share. Only then can we claim to be a model program other U.S. cities should follow.

June 7, 2023
Assemblymember Robert Carroll
Alex Matthiessen

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-WF) represents Brooklyn’s 44th Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Victorian Flatbush, Borough Park, Ditmas Park, and Midwood

Alex Matthiessen founded Move NY, a campaign which led to the passage of congestion pricing in 2019.

Editor's Note.  Click here to view a fairly good deep dive we did a few years ago, regarding the issue of Congestion Pricing in NYC.  The gist is we're not fans, it favors the rich and penalizes everyone else, and doesn't solve the problem, which would be to build more / better infrastructure that enables folks to get around using public transit.


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - Queens NYC

Making Outdoor Dining Permanent

Summer weather is here, and there is no better time to be on the streets of New York—especially at our city’s bustling outdoor restaurants.

At the height of the pandemic, our temporary outdoor dining program served millions of New Yorkers and saved 100,000 jobs. It allowed cooks, waiters, busboys, and all those who depend on the restaurant industry to get back to work – and New Yorkers to get back to socializing safely after being cooped up indoors.

Outdoor dining transformed our cityscape for the better, making our sidewalks and neighborhoods livelier and more welcoming and helping our small businesses thrive. While it may have been an improvised solution at first, outdoor dining helped us reimagine how we use our public spaces, and quickly became a beloved feature of New York City life.

But outdoor dining brought challenges too. Abandoned and poorly maintained sheds became a haven for rats and an eyesore for residents. We’ve removed more than 300 of these problem sheds from our neighborhoods.

And now, our new permanent outdoor dining program will build on what we learned during the pandemic and in subsequent years, and make outdoor dining more streamlined, sanitary and sustainable. It will provide clear design guidelines that will help keep our streets clean and rat-free while giving restaurant owners the opportunity to exercise their creativity. It will significantly expand sidewalk dining from an option that was available almost exclusively in Manhattan to become a year-round feature in all five boroughs. Now, all New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the many benefits of outdoor dining. This equitable and inclusive approach will continue to bring vibrancy to our diverse neighborhoods and help our city’s economic recovery.

The new program will also make street dining possible for eight months out of the year. This will allow the city to clean and repair streets in the offseason, and ensure that unused structures are not left up indefinitely. This new vision for outdoor dining addresses many different needs: it will deliver outdoor space for restaurants, clean streets, and a high quality of life in our communities.

Finally, our new program will make life easier for all the small restaurant owners who are pillars of our communities. There will be one process for all outdoor dining, housed under one city agency. From the Upper West Side to Far Rockaway, we want to partner with restaurants, not penalize them.

I’d like to thank Councilmember Marjorie Velasquez and the many others who have worked tirelessly to bring New York City a permanent outdoor dining program that helps communities thrive and creates quality jobs for hardworking New Yorkers.

Our new permanent outdoor dining program allows us to expand the opportunities that were created during the  pandemic and continues to build the New York City of tomorrow.

Mayor Adams
City Hall
June 6, 2023


Queens Op Eds & Opinions - Queens NYC

Summer in New York City: Let’s Get Outside

The flowers are blooming, the weather is warming up, and it’s starting to feel a lot like summer in New York City. It’s a great time to get outside, go for a run or walk, or just breathe in the fresh air. Summer also means that I get to do my favorite thing as Mayor: get on a Citi Bike and enjoy the outdoors with my fellow New Yorkers.

This year, we are making improvements to your experience in your neighborhood and across the five boroughs. This summer alone, 72 of our parks are getting improvements: from renovated playgrounds to new skate parks, and cleaner spaces for everyone. We will have 240 new city employees dedicated to cleaning parks, removing graffiti, and helping to take out trash at our city’s most popular parks during peak use hours. That means no more overflowing garbage cans — and no more rats. I hate them, you hate them, and as we welcome New Yorkers to our parks this summer, we are going to send rats packing.

For parents and families, we are hosting over 300 Movies Under the Stars screenings in parks in all five boroughs. Grab your popcorn and curl up on a blanket with family and friends to take in classic films and popular movies on the big screen, all for free.

We are investing in more activities at our parks and playgrounds. That includes Kids in Motion, which is hosting New York City children at 50 playgrounds across the city to get in shape and have fun. We will also have free classes for children to learn about nature and their environment. To find out more about programming in a park near you, visit https://www.nycgovparks.org/.

And if you prefer indoor activity, we are expanding the hours at nine of our city’s recreation centers. That means more opportunities for New Yorkers to play sports, swim, dance, and lift weights at recreation centers on nights and weekends.

We are also opening up streets across the city as part of our Open Streets program. You can step right outside your door to enjoy food, games, music, and more with friends and neighbors. This summer, Open Streets is expanding to 160 locations across the city. We also added over 400,000 square feet of permanent new pedestrian space in 2022, including six new pedestrian plazas. Street space is for everybody, and with Open Streets and new pedestrian spaces, it has never been safer or easier to enjoy your neighborhood.

This is the time to take advantage of all New York City has to offer. From live concerts to food festivals, outdoor markets, and Broadway performances, there is something for everyone. Check out https://www.nycgo.com/things-to-do/ to find events. I look forward to seeing you out there.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
May 26, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions - Queens NYC

The People’s Money—Your Money to Improve Your Community

Have you ever looked around your neighborhood and thought—it would be great if we could have a community garden here, or maybe more afterschool programs for students, or special services for seniors? Now, you can bring those ideas to life. “The People’s Money” is the first ever citywide participatory budgeting process run by our Civic Engagement Commission (CEC), and from today until June 25th, all New York City residents ages 11 and older - regardless of immigration status - can vote on how to spend $5 million dollars of our city’s budget. To do so, go to our website: on.nyc.gov/pb and vote on projects that your fellow New Yorkers have proposed.

You can vote on projects for your borough, and the residents of 33 equity neighborhoods can vote on one additional project that will be funded in their neighborhood. The projects have been carefully selected from hundreds of proposals that were brainstormed by New Yorkers in workshops across all five boroughs earlier this year. In fact, the CEC facilitated 523 Idea Generation sessions across the city in which 12,344 New Yorkers participated. If you have ideas that you would like to suggest, please consider participating in this phase of the process next year.

Participatory budgeting gives you a direct say in the future of your community. You decide how our money is spent. Participatory Budgeting strengthens our democracy and deepens civic engagement. I championed the program as Brooklyn Borough President, and as mayor, I have made it even bigger, giving New Yorkers more money to invest directly in their communities.

Some of this year’s proposals include: a youth multicultural arts program in Manhattan; workplace skills training for adults with autism in the Bronx; an intergenerational mentoring program in Brooklyn; a young entrepreneurs program in Queens; and a women and young girls health center on Staten Island.

Proposals in the equity neighborhoods include: teaching Bed-Stuy history in Bedford Stuyvesant; coding 101 for BIPOC youth in Fordham Heights and University Heights; food access support on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown; multilingual job fairs in Corona; and outreach to unhoused people with disabilities in St. George, Stapleton, Port Richmond and Tompkinsville.

Most projects can be implemented in a year. So you don’t have to wait endlessly to see the results. The winners will be announced by July and the CEC will work closely with the organizations to make sure that all projects are completed successfully.

You may have voted on Participatory Budgeting projects through your City Council Member, but “The People’s Money” is the first citywide process, and it uses mayoral funds.

Don’t miss this opportunity to vote on how to spend $5 million of your money.

Visit https://cecpb.decision21.org/the-peoples-money-2023 and vote today.

 

Mayor Adams
City Hall
May 22, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions Queens NYC

A Historic Shift in How We Teach Our Children To Read

New York City has the largest public school system in the nation, and we are proud of our dedicated teachers and administrators who do so much to educate our talented students from so many different backgrounds and countries. We want to set up our students for success, and teaching them to read confidently is crucial to our efforts.

That is why we are making a historic shift in our curriculum, and launching NYC Reads, a program based on proven science-of-reading techniques. We will teach our students skills that they can fall back on to decode words when the level becomes difficult, and we will train our teachers so they can provide instruction effectively.

When our young people don’t learn to read properly they are more likely to struggle, and they can fall into a cycle of poverty and even incarceration. A staggering 40% of our jail population cannot read properly, and 80% don't have a high school diploma or equivalency  diploma.

The inability to read is not our students’ fault nor our teachers’ fault. It doesn’t mean that a teacher isn’t doing her job well or that a child is lazy or lacking in ability. We have been using the wrong methods to teach our children, and now we are shifting course so we can give our young people a chance at a better future.

NYC Reads is personal for me. Even now, when I enter a classroom as mayor, I’m reminded of my life as a child walking into class, hoping and praying that the teacher didn’t call on me to read. I had dyslexia but it wasn’t diagnosed—and every day I was laughed at and humiliated. I was told that I was dumb. Now, in addition to making sure that all our students are screened for dyslexia, we will be teaching them reading and mathematics through a proven, scientific, and methodical approach—so that they don’t have to suffer the way I did.

As we switch to NYC Reads, we are asking our parents and community leaders to step up as well. Attend an Open House at your child’s school, where you can learn about NYC Reads and ask questions. Ask your children or the children in your care what they are reading about. Can they tell you about the stories they are reading? And if possible, spend some time reading with them, or let your children see you reading as well!

A child’s best day should not be the day their teacher doesn’t call on them. Their best day should be when their teacher does call on them, and they can stand up and read. NYC Reads will make that possible.

Learn more about NYC Reads at:  https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learning/subjects/literacy

Mayor Adams
City Hall
May 15, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions Queens NYC

The Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG) opposes legislation to alienate parkland in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

A bill that would allow Mets owner, Steve Cohen, to build a casino in the parking lot of Citi Field is before the NYS Assembly. Though the parking lot has been paved over for decades, its 50 acres are official New York City parkland. If the legislation were to pass, “alienating” or decertifying its status as parkland, it would never again be available as parkland to future generations.

The borough of Queens already suffers from a shortage of parkland, we rank fourth out of the five boroughs. Removing park status from this land and allowing its development would be a terrible mistake, forever depriving residents of something in too short a supply—a place for recreation and to enjoy nature.

We wish Steve Cohen and the Mets well in their baseball endeavors, but considering the above the Jackson Heights Beautification Group’s Board of Directors approved the following resolution.

The JHBG strongly opposes the alienation of parkland, particularly in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which for too long has been the destination for the endless series of sports and business proposals that have no place in a public park.

These developments would never be acceptable in Central Park, Prospect Park, or Van Cortlandt Park, but are deemed acceptable for Queens’ premier park.

It is time to say no to this loss of our public park space. We agree with the Queens Civic Congress, the Flushing Bay Guardians and other  organizations and stand opposed to the bill introduced in the New York State Assembly as A5688. Link to the proposed bill https://outlook.office.com/mail/inbox/id/AAMkAGRhNDNmNjkxLT...

It is imperative that you share your opinion on the alienation of Queens parkland with our elected officials: 

NYS Assemblyperson Jefrion Aubry, aubryj@nyassembly.gov

718 457 3615

NYS Senator Jessica Ramos ramos@nysenate.gov

718 205 3881

City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, [mailto:skrishnan@council.nyc.gov

%C2%A0]skrishnan@council.nyc.gov[mailto:skrishnan@council.nyc.gov

%C2%A0]

718 809 6373

City Councilmember Francisco Moya [mailto:fmoya@council.nyc.gov

%C2%A0]fmoya@council.nyc.gov[mailto:fmoya@council.nyc.gov%C2%A0]

718 651 1917

NYS Assemblyperson Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas

[mailto:gonzalezroj@nyassembly.com

%C2%A0]gonzalezroj@nyassembly.com[mailto:gonzalezroj@nyassembly.com

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718 457 0384

NYS Assemblyperson Catalina Cruz ccruz@nyassembly.gov

718 458 5367

 

Leslie Ellman
JHBG President
May 9, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions Queens NYC

Amnesty for Unpaid Water Bills

Water is a precious resource, and New York City has some of the best municipal drinking water on the planet. Our water comes from reservoirs in the Catskills and beyond, and travels hundreds of miles to reach our taps. New Yorkers pay just one cent per gallon for our exceptional drinking water. And we use that money to maintain and improve the critical infrastructure that keeps our water flowing and keeps New Yorkers hydrated and healthy.

However, we know that some New Yorkers have trouble paying their water bills, so we are extending our Water Bill Amnesty program to May 31st. If you pay the principal of your water bill in FULL, all of the interest will be forgiven. That is correct: you won’t have to pay any interest. If you are not able to pay in full, we will help you set up a payment plan, and depending on the amount that is paid, a portion of the interest may be forgiven.

You can find out more by calling (718) 595-7890 or you can visit the Department of Environmental Protection’s water amnesty website: nyc.gov/dep/amnesty.

We want to work with you. We helped the residents of the Shorehaven affordable housing community in the Bronx save $400,000 on their unpaid water bills. This will allow the community to invest in other important upgrades.

We are constantly looking for ways to make your life easier and more affordable, and the Water Bill Amnesty program is part of our working people’s agenda. It was launched in January and has brought in $80 million from overdue accounts so far, and allowed New Yorkers to save more than $12 million in interest.

At the same time, we’re not going to look the other way while millionaires and billionaires who can afford to pay their water bills choose not to – and drive up your water rates as a result. Last week, five properties – all valued above $4 million, and all with unpaid water debt above $100,000 – were informed that if they didn’t pay within two weeks, we’d shut off their water. And already, four have paid or entered into payment plans.

But we don’t want to shut off anyone’s water, so we encourage all New Yorkers with unpaid water bills to check in with the Department of Environmental Protection and find out what their options are. By paying our water bills, we keep costs low and our wonderful water flowing for everyone.

Please take advantage of the extension of the Water Bill Amnesty and pay any unpaid bills. Remember: you have until the end of this month, May 31st to sign up.

Mayor Eric Adams

City Hall

May 8, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions - QNS NYC

Elected Officials, Community Board 1, and Community Advocates Oppose State Decision to Proceed with Development at 5 World Trade Center without Securing Greater Affordability

State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Congressman Dan Goldman, Assembly Member Charles Fall, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Council Member Christopher Marte, Manhattan Community Board 1 -- all of whom represent the site of 5 World Trade Center -- and the Coalition for a 100% Affordable 5 World Trade Center today voiced unanimous opposition to the announcement by the Empire State Development (ESD), the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that they will proceed with public approvals for the proposed residential development of the site without securing the additional resources necessary to increase affordability at the site.

The agencies originally proposed developing a building with 1,200 apartments, 300 of which would be affordable and 900 of which would be luxury market-rate housing. Having identified no new funding source that they would dedicate to affordability at the project, they now propose either to proceed with the original proposal or with an alternative that would include 360 income-restricted units, but with much fewer units affordable to lower-income residents.

Over the course of the past two years, elected officials, the Community Board, and community advocates have engaged in numerous  discussions with the agencies and urged them to find a path to providing more affordability in the proposed building, which is located in a community that has lost affordable housing at a particularly high rate for decades. All the elected officials, the Board, and the Coalition have consistently emphasized that additional affordability, with clearly identified sources of funding to support it, is a prerequisite to their support for the project. The decision by the agencies to unilaterally proceed to seek formal public approvals at this time comes as a surprise to those who have been involved in these discussions on behalf of the community and undermines the basis for those discussions.

“It is completely unacceptable that these agencies are attempting to move forward with a public approvals timeline without coming to an agreement on how to maximize affordability at the site,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “It is reasonable to expect that public agencies that control a major development site in a community where affordable housing is so scarce would work to provide significantly greater levels of affordability than we might expect from the sorts of deals that have typically been done on private development sites. I am disappointed that these agencies are now rejecting that premise, and I strongly urge them to reconsider.”

“The current housing crisis in New York City already leaves far too many households unable to pay rent and places huge financial strain on the most vulnerable families,” said Congressman Dan Goldman. “Access to affordable housing is a lifeline, and is sorely needed in the area surrounding the 9/11 site. The lower Manhattan community, including 9/11 survivors and elected officials, have repeatedly stressed the need for maximizing affordability at 5WTC. It is imperative that this project not move forward until there are significant steps to achieving that goal.”

“While 5 World Trade Center is primarily designed to be built as a residential tower, the surrounding community has made its voices heard in making sure there are affordable units. Ensuring real affordable housing for 5 World Trade Center gives us the unique opportunity to give back to the 9/11 responders, survivors and their families who have sacrificed so much. I stand with my colleagues in government and community partners to strongly oppose any agreement that doesn't prioritize actualaffordability for 5 World Trade Center,” said Assembly Member Charles Fall.

"With 5 World Trade, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide a significant amount of affordable apartments in Lower Manhattan," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "While I recognize that this project must move forward, I also believe that we cannot undermine this opportunity by imposing a one-year timeframe to maximize affordability. ESD and the development team must hold off on approvals and work with stakeholders to find the funding that will maximize the number of affordable homes in this project. In doing so, they will win the support necessary to have a successful development.”

"It is unacceptable that ESD would seek approvals for 5 World Trade Center when the unanimous call for more affordability on site has not been addressed. There is no reason to move forward now while the State has failed to answer our call to find necessary funds for this essential project. We are not asking for the potential for more affordability, but for a serious commitment from ESD to find the financing we need before entering any approval processes. I am confident that a combination of state and city tools can result in significantly more affordable units at lower income brackets, and I will continue to support the community in their call for a truly affordable 5 World Trade,” said Council Member Christopher Marte.

“CB 1 doesn’t take rain checks for affordable housing,” said Tammy Meltzer, Chairperson of Manhattan Community Board 1. “Punting the conversation to some uncertain date, while moving forward on all the other approvals is tantamount to ESD shrugging its shoulders. We are not ready to give up and we ask the State to match our willingness to find a solution before proceeding.”

“The Coalition for 100% Affordable 5WTC is appalled that the LMDC would put forth a plan that ignores the community's needs. This community has fought for over two decades to build fully, deeply affordable housing that would promote diversity and give 9/11 survivors & first responders a home in the neighborhood they helped rebuild. The proposed plan is unacceptable both in quantity of affordable units as well as the level of affordability. And it is unacceptable that the public agencies effectively wash their hands of any responsibility for the search for and provision of funding for this desperately needed affordable housing,” said The Coalition for a 100% Affordable 5WTC.

May 4, 2023
Brian Kavanagh
NYS Senator
27th Senate District in Manhattan


Queens OpEds & Opinions NYC

NYC Executive Budget

Last week, the Adams Administration released our Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget. As President Joe Biden has often said: “Show me yourbudget and I will show you your values.” That is why this budget invests in our Working People’s Agenda, prioritizing education, jobs, housing, health care, and public safety.

As Mayor, I'm committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of our people. But the challenges we face are real. It is no secret that our city is still recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as spending over millions on the ongoing asylum seeker crisis. These are unavoidable realities that have made a massive dent in our city’s resources.

The good news is that we were able to balance this year's budget with better than expected revenues and efficient budgeting. We were able to create $1.6 billion in savings across the two fiscal years – without layoffs or service cuts. This $ 106.7 billion executive budget preserves essential services and continues to improve the lives of everyday New Yorkers.

 Almost 60 percent of this budget, $62.5 billion in total, goes to education, healthcare, and social services. It provides money for schools that lost enrollment, as well as funding childcare, summer youth employment, and affordable housing. From expanding education to increasing our sustainability to investing in our infrastructure, this budget delivers on the essentials. And we did not cut a single penny from our libraries or cultural institutions.

 This budget continues our efforts to put money back into the hands of working people. We will continue to support programs that help people claim all available benefits, including the Earning Income Tax Credit, cash assistance, SNAP, and more. We are bringing more attorneys on board to make sure that our neighbors who rely on government-funded housing vouchers can utilize them without being discriminated against by landlords.

We're expanding broadband in NYCHA developments so that New Yorkers at every income level can access the high-speed internet that is indispensable to so many aspects of daily life, from work to education to telemedicine. And we are adding online portals for childcare, workforce, and business services to our MyCity platform, making it easier for all New Yorkers to access city service they need.

 New Yorkers are rightfully concerned about ensuring that education is strong and fully funded, and our Administration supports this vision. We’re investing in job training and apprentices and continuing education, including Supporting the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Inclusive Economy Initiative programs, which provide internships, mentoring, and job opportunities for students. We are also funding and expanding the CUNY Reconnect program, which helps students who left CUNY because of extenuating circumstances return and earn their degrees.

We are also investing more than half-a-billion dollars to redevelop the CUNY Brookdale Campus and create a world-class science park and research center.

This will generate billions of dollars in economic impact, lead to thousands of good jobs, and confirm New York City’s role as a global leader in public health and life sciences.

 We’re investing in the Medgar Evers College Brooklyn Recovery Corps, which connects 200 students a year with nonprofits and small businesses in Brooklyn to work on projects that spur economic recovery and growth. And we are supporting the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities’ plan to promote workforce development for people living with disabilities.

 This budget also strengthens our mental health resources by continuing the expansion of the Behavioral Health Emergency

Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD) program, supporting mental health services for high school students and children in family shelters, and increasing the capacity of the clubhouses that provide peer-led mental health support.

Paying our workforce a fair wage is one of our priorities. It puts more money in the pockets of working families and helps us recruit and retain top talent. Earlier this year, we settled long-expired labor contracts with DC 37 and the Police Benevolent Association. These contracts set the pattern for wage increases across the city.

 We are proud that our Administration is supporting working families, creating providing access to good jobs, and improving public safety. This budget supports all those goals and more – ensuring that we can continue to Get Stuff Done for New Yorkers now and in the years to come.

 Mayor Eric Adams

City Hall

May 1, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions NYC

Gov. Hochul Shifts Focus Away from Education Equity to Push for Zombie Charters

Expansion of Privately Run Charter Schools Comes at an Historic Moment for Equity in NY Public Schools

In response to Governor Hochul’s announcement that a conceptual agreement has been reached on the 2023-24 New York State enacted budget, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement:

“Thirty years after the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit was filed and 15 years after the Foundation Aid formula was enacted, the New York State enacted budget will fully fund public schools, for the first time in its history. The completion of this historic investment brings public schools to the level of funding they have needed for decades, and will be particularly transformative for children in the predominantly Black, brown and low-income schools that have been shortchanged for so many years,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“It is unfortunate that, at this historic moment of opportunity for public education in our state, Governor Hochul was more concerned in doing the bidding of her billionaire donors than what is in the best interest of children.

 “The Governor's initial proposal, which in addition to reauthorizing “zombie” charters, was extreme and would have created chaos and destabilized all New York’s education system, including both public and privately run charter schools. With the decline of school age children, pushing to open more schools with not enough students to attend them would have set everyone up for failure.

 “As it is, the reauthorization of “zombie” charters will cost New York City’s public school system tens of millions a year going forward. Had Governor Hochul gotten her way in this budget deal, it would have caused even greater chaos in all New York’s public schools. We owe great thanks to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who over these past weeks and months of negotiations have championed New York’s children, and fought hard to limit the most harmful impact of the Governor’s efforts to expand charter schools.

“This year’s fight over charters was never about what’s best for the people of New York, and it should never have been part of budget negotiations to begin with. New York’s children and families deserve better than being reduced to a political bargaining chip.

 “We applaud the Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Assembly Speaker for pushing back against the Governor's proposal and fighting on behalf of the children of New York State. We look forward to celebrating the CFE victory and continuing to progress toward equity for all New York’s students.”

Jasmine Gripper
Executive Director
Alliance for Quality Education
April 27, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions Queens NYC

PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done

Last week, New York City celebrated Earth Week by powering up new rooftop solar panels in Brooklyn, cleaning up parks in Queens, and releasing PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done, our new plan to create a more climate-resilient city for all.

This strategic climate plan builds on our city’s ongoing efforts to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather, improve quality of life, and support our new green economy. Most importantly, these new initiatives are not happening in some far-off future, but right now, in your neighborhood.

The plan includes a new public solar program that will help everyday New Yorkers afford the cost of installing rooftop solar panels, heat pumps, and other energy efficiency retrofits. The plan also includes provisions to advocate for Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) reform – reforms that will help people afford new air conditioners and assist with their utility costs to keep cool during increasingly hot weather.

Thanks to our robust public transit system, New Yorkers already have some of the lowest carbon emissions per capita in this country, but we can go further. We’re going to help more New Yorkers join the clean energy revolution by expanding our electric vehicle charging network across the five boroughs, so every New Yorker who chooses to drive can drive electric – especially our for-hire vehicle drivers. We are already electrifying our schools and our entire school bus fleet and working to reduce our emissions from every major source — buildings, transportation, and food.

The city will install solar energy, electric building infrastructure, green roofs, and other renewable energy on as much city-owned property as possible, including our DOE schools and our NYCHA buildings.

We will also phase out capital spending on new fossil fuel equipment and infrastructure and update our zoning practices to facilitate building retrofits and eliminate barriers to electrification. This is not only good news for our environment, but a path to more jobs and opportunity for New Yorkers working in the building trades.

Building a renewable energy future will bring down emissions and mitigate climate damage in the years to come, and it will also drive down pollution and improve air quality. We’re going to amplify that effort by getting polluting trucks off our streets, creating new low-emissions zones in neighborhoods that have seen far too much traffic and congestion in the past. And plans are already in motion to expand New York City’s tree canopy by 30%, planting thousands of new trees and iimproving our green spaces, parks, and recreation areas as well.

We’ve already seen what climate-driven storms can do to our city. From Hurricane Sandy to Tropical Storm Ida, we know that lives are at stake, and our homes and our infrastructure are at risk. This plan expands our efforts to prevent flooding and sewage problems, from building new overflow tanks along the Gowanus Canal to improving drainage in flood-prone neighborhoods.

All of these efforts will protect and sustain our environment, as well as lay the foundation for a new green economy. That’s why a big part of this new plan is about providing education, training and opportunity for New Yorkers to acquire the skills and training they need to succeed in this new job market, one that will protect our future and support a new generation of workers.

There is so much more to this plan, which New Yorkers can read at https://climate.cityofnewyork.us/initiatives/planyc-getting-sustainabilitydone/.

New York City has always been a leader when it comes to climate solutions and environmental justice. We have so much to be proud of, and so much to protect. This new plan is a positive and practical roadmap to creating a cleaner, greener, and more just city for all.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
April 24, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions NYC

Summer Rising: A Free Program for Grades K Through 8

Summer is a great time for children, but it's a challenging time for working parents. No parent wants to leave their child at home if they don't have family or trusted friends to look after them. Learning loss also happens over the summer. Studies have shown that during the summer students can lose about 40% of what they have learned during the school year. Summer Rising — a free program for New York City public school students in Grades K through 8—provides a safe, fun, and enriching alternative.

Summer Rising includes a full day (8am to 6pm) of in-person academics combined with social-emotional learning, art activities, field trips, and sports. Last summer, students participated in a variety of programs including "World Explorer," which focused on the food, language, and culture of different countries. They played ping pong and kickball; took part in nutrition classes and learned to cook with fresh vegetables; they went on trips to the Bronx Zoo, the Aquarium, Lincoln Center, NY Liberty basketball games, and visited the BioBus.

The Summer Rising session runs from July 5th to August 18th for students in Grades K-5, and from July 5th to August 11th for students in Grades 6-8. Students receive breakfast, lunch, and a snack, and students with disabilities receive the supports they need. Priority for the 110,000 Summer Rising seats will be given to students in temporary housing, foster care, and with 12 - month IEP.

You can enroll your child now at [cut & paste this link] https://www.schools.nyc.gov/enrollment/summer/grades-k-8

The deadline to apply is May 1st, and you will find out whether your child has received a seat via email about a week afterward.

I cannot emphasize how important it is for our young New Yorkers to be in a safe environment learning and socializing with their friends, and experiencing the attractions of our city, instead of sitting at home and surfing the internet. Summer Rising makes that possible—and our city offers it at no cost to you. As the child of a mother who had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, I wish I had a program like Summer Rising to keep me and my siblings learning and engaged.

I hope you will apply, and please spread the information to other parents you think will be interested in this wonderful opportunity. And if your child was born in 2020 and lives in New York City, they are eligible to attend one of our city’s free 3-K programs this Fall. You can apply now at [cut & paste this link] www.myschools.nyc.

 

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
April 17, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions NYC

Making New York City the Future for Women’s Health

Every New Yorker has strong women in their life. The women who birthed and nurtured them: our mothers, sisters, aunties, and grandmas.

Our teachers, our doctors, nurses, engineers and scientists. The hardworking women who make life in this city possible and inspire us.

We owe so much to women. Yet for generations, women's health has not been prioritized. For decades the health care system has been centered around men.

This is personal for me. I am who I am because of a woman: my mother, Dorothy Adams. I watched my mom and my sister suffer as they navigated the health system. They were ignored, forgotten and struggled to get the care they needed.

Far too many New Yorkers know a woman who has gone through this.

My administration is already hard at work to change this. Last week, we held the first-ever Women’s Health Summit to lay the groundwork to shape what the future of women's health care can be in this city.

We are going to make New York City the national model for supporting health for women and girls, including those in our LGBTQ+ community.

The summit brought together more than 100 experts from a wide variety of sectors to shape New York City’s first “Women’s Health Agenda.”

It focused on four key areas critical to women’s health: chronic disease, birth equity, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health.

Working mothers shouldn’t have to choose between a paycheck or nursing their newborn child. Women shouldn’t have to wait decades for an accurate diagnosis.

Black and Latina women shouldn’t live with inequities that deny them access and care. And women shouldn’t have to fight for their right to choose.

Black women are nine times more likely to die of pregnancy and birth related causes than white women. And maternal mortality among Black women increased during COVID. So, we are going to expand access to high quality maternal health care, including the use of doulas and midwives, to eliminate disparities in maternal mortality and reduce mortality overall.

It’s no secret mental health was impacted during the pandemic. In fact, 14% of women in NYC experience depression. Rates are even higher among LGBTQ+ communities. So, we are going to build a mental health care system designed for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community to best serve their needs.

One in five women experience infertility. For this and many other reasons, we are going to ensure the city’s sexual and reproductive health care system provides comprehensive care to women and girls, including menopause care, infertility, birth control and access to abortion medication.

Many don’t realize this, but heart disease is the leading cause of death for adult women in NYC. And so many folks delayed critical preventive health screening during COVID. So, we are going to work to increase utilization of preventive care and lifestyle medicine approaches to reduce the rates of, and deaths from, chronic diseases.

We are also going to develop women-friendly workplaces – and this includes throughout city government – that promote health and wellness through space accommodations and policy reforms.

Women are diagnosed on average four years later than men across many of the most common health conditions. So, we are going to expand research into women’s health issues and reduce disparities in medical research to reduce this gap in knowledge and outcomes.

This entire administration is committed to building a city that is here for all women and girls.

The result of last week’s summit will provide the basis for the New York City’s Women’s Health Agenda report, which will be released this summer.

We have seen how quickly women’s rights to health care can be taken away, with last year’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Health is wealth, and women need both.

We must make sure the women who have so often taken care of us are getting taken care of when they need it most. Last month was Women’s History Month, and we must rededicate ourselves to the women we owe everything to. Together, we can make New York City the future for women’s health.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
April 7, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions NYC

Swim Strong Foundation Seeks Support for Water Safety Bill

Dear Fellow New Yorkers,

I hope this note finds you well. I am reaching out to you today with a request for you to support legislation, Senate Bill S2545A and sister Assembly Bill A4846, which at the heart of these bills encourages that water safety training be taught as part of curriculum in NY State schools grades K-12.

Please follow this link to sign the petition in support: Make Water Safety Education an Essential Right for All in NY | New Mode - https://act.newmode.net/action/surfrider-foundation/make-water-safety-education-essential-right-all-ny

This legislation is critical for the safety and welfare of our children who are inheriting a much more watery world. Between rising sea levels; storms which are increasing in strength, speed and frequency and waterfronts being developed providing much more access to open water our youth need to understand water much more deeply. The New York City Panel on Climate Change anticipates by end of century that New York will experience 25% more annual rainfall than today. The intensity of rainfall is increasing and more water is falling in shorter period of time. Frankly, we ALL need to develop a different relationship to water.

As friends of Swim Strong Foundation, you must know the simple fact is, we can no longer avoid water and so we must understand how to navigate safely through our changing world.

You also understand the criticality of swimming skills and water safety knowledge. Thank you in advance for your advocacy to help pass these life saving bills.

Happy to address any questions you may have or to introduce you to Swim Strong's programming which you can share with schools or purchase for your family.

https://www.swimstrongfoundation.org/know-before-you-go/

Share with your NY City and State family, friends and colleagues. Thank you!!

 

Shawn Slevin
shawn.slevin@SwimStrongFoundation.org
March 30, 2023


Queens OpEds & Opinions NYC

Supercharging Safety for E-bikes

Electronic transportation devices are everywhere in New York City now – and from daily commuting to food delivery, they are revolutionizing how we get around. E-bikes and e-scooters are a convenient and low-cost alternative to cars. They help reduce congestion on our streets and make our city cleaner

and greener. Tens of thousands of our delivery workers rely on them for their livelihoods, and we all rely on them when we have goods delivered.

E-bikes are here to stay, and our city wants to make sure they are safe and reliable for all - both on the street and when they are being stored and recharged. While most of the e-bikes and e-scooters in our city are safe, there are some that do not meet safety standards and contain uncertified lithium-ion batteries.

These faulty devices are causing fires and explosions, putting New Yorkers and our first responders in danger. Last week, the City Council and our Administration took action to protect New Yorkers and delivery workers from these faulty devices. We are also taking action to crack down on illegal electric mopeds that endanger pedestrians and cyclists.

Last week, I signed five bills that ban the sale of uncertified e-vehicles as well as refurbished batteries. And we released our Charge Safe, Ride Safe plan to help New Yorkers use e-bikes and e-scooters safely. New Yorkers deserve access to safe devices and batteries, and we are committed to helping them transition away from faulty and unsafe ones.

New York City is leading the charge on safety, and we will continue to support a transition to safe electric mobility devices. We are going to pilot options like battery swapping and safe charging systems for our delivery workers and identify opportunities to make safe and legal devices accessible and affordable. And we are going to work with Los Deliveristas Unidos and other community groups, visiting all corners of New York City to train people on safety measures.

We are expanding education, increasing enforcement on high-risk situations, and pursuing additional regulation from the Federal government to ensure that illegal devices are not on our streets.

Many people store batteries and battery-operated scooters in their homes, places of business, and in their restaurants. And every New Yorker who uses these devices can help keep themselves and the city safe by following these tips:

Purchase only legal, UL-certified e-bikes and e-scooters. Never use refurbished batteries. Use only the charger and battery made specifically for your device. Keep batteries away from heat sources like radiators. If a battery is damaged, stop using it. Do not store batteries near the exit of a room or apartment. And never leave batteries unattended when charging, especially overnight.

New Yorkers can dispose of lithium-ion batteries safely at DSNY drop-off sites or pop-up events, which you can find at nyc.gov/batteries.

All New Yorkers and our delivery workers deserve to be safe in their homes and on our streets. Thousands of New Yorkers are choosing a healthier and greener way to travel around this city, and we are going to ensure they can do so safely.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
March 27, 2023


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

More Frequent Transit Service & New York’s Climate Mandates

Dear Governor Hochul:

As you well know, climate change poses an existential threat to New York communities while our path breaking Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates a robust response. As organizers and advocates for bold action to stop the worst of climate change, we strongly support a broad and deep approach to mitigation. We accordingly urge you to fund $300 million for more frequent subway and bus service to make public transit a better alternative to driving and help reduce vehicle miles traveled in New York.

Public transit has long been New York’s competitive edge over other cities’ and states’ carbon footprints. New York City residents produce an estimated two-thirds less carbon emissions per capita than the average American. Public transit accounts for a large portion of the difference, with the MTA estimated to lower the tri-state region’s carbon emissions by 30%. It should go without saying that any climate action is predicated on maintaining that edge and saving the MTA – and millions of daily riders – from the approaching cliff. And of course, the CLCPA requires that we even do better, reducing emissions 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050. Indeed, the CLCPA scoping plan approved by the Climate Action Council last month identified improvements to MTA service as a key strategy to reduce transportation emissions.

Investing in more frequent service, which will cut wait times and speed trips overall, will enhance transit’s competitiveness with driving. While vehicle electrification is an essential component of our response to climate change, reducing vehicle miles traveled is also of great importance. With the edge afforded by our legacy transit infrastructure, New York is uniquely positioned to cut emissions just by making the most of the subway and bus network we have today. Simply running more service on existing routes that serve densely populated communities will bring more riders on board and make travel times – particularly outside of the traditional rush hour when service is most frequent – more attractive to New Yorkers with multiple transit options.

Given the enormity of the emergency, we call on your leadership to take every opportunity to mitigate climate change. More frequent transit is a crucial complementary policy to all of the others in the state’s growing climate action toolkit. As you negotiate a final budget, we urge you to make more frequent public transit service a top funding priority. 

 

Sincerely,

Sent to Governor Kathy Hochul via email by

E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs

Earthjustice

Environmental Advocates of New York

Long Island Progressive Coalition

Natural Resources Defense Council

New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYCEJA)

New Yorkers for Clean Power

New York League of Conservation Voters

New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)

Sierra Club

Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Union of Concerned Scientists

Cc: 

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

Deputy Secretary of Transportation Nivardo Lopez

March 24, 2023


Queens Op-Eds

Earned Income Tax Credit: You earned it – and NYC will help you get

My mission as Mayor of New York City is to focus on the needs of working people of this city. One of the best ways we can do that is to get money back in your pocket – money you have earned, money you need to support your family.

Last year we went to Albany to get the Earned Income Tax Credit, better known as the EITC, expanded for the first time in 20 years. The EITC is a refundable tax credit provided to working New Yorkers and families. And I am proud to say that together with our state partners we got it done.

Promises made, promises kept.

The enhanced EITC put $350 million dollars in the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers. That means more money for the essentials: food, groceries, bills & rent. It is a lifeline for so many working people and families across New York City. This tax credit has helped 800,000 New Yorkers and this year we want to reach even more.

And last week we launched a $1.5 million television, print, subway, social media and radio marketing campaign on the enhanced EITC to spread the word to New Yorkers.

This tax season, we want to help more working people get the support they need through the Earned Income Tax Credit.

New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/getcredit to see if they qualify for this cash back.  If you do, you can apply for this credit while filing your taxes. It is that simple. New Yorkers can file their taxes for free at any one of our NYC Tax Prep locations across the five boroughs or online at getyourrefund.org/nyc

The EITC is a simple and straightforward way to make sure working New Yorkers get their fair share.

Under the enhanced EITC a single parent with one child with an income of $14,750 has seen their benefit increase from $187 to $933. And a married couple with two children and an income of $25,000 has seen their New York City benefit increase from $308 to $925 under the city payment.

I come from a working-class background. My mother worked a double shift as a cleaner to support my siblings and me. There are thousands of New Yorkers doing the same today in our city.

We know many New Yorkers are struggling right now. Rent is going up and inflation is driving up the cost of living.  People are worried about whether they can keep a roof over their heads. And due to the pandemic, many have lost wages and childcare.

I know the hustle is real. And I want every hardworking New Yorker to know: We’re looking out for you.

The EITC is one of the most effective support programs in history, helping low-income families and workers get a boost as they climb the ladder of success.

Through the EITC we are putting more money in working peoples' wallets and helping lift some of the burdens they face.  Working New Yorkers deserve their fair share and credit, and we are giving it to them.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
March 6, 2023


Queens Op-Eds / Opinions

On Track to a Safer New York City Subway

I started my career as a transit police officer, so I know firsthand that subway safety is public safety. Our transit system is the key to getting to work, to school, visiting family and friends, and experiencing all that New York City has to offer. It makes life in our city possible. And everyone who uses this essential resource — regardless of their ethnicity, age, or gender — has the right to feel safe doing it.

One year ago, Governor Kathy Hochul and I announced a Subway Safety plan, where we promised to devote more resources to helping those experiencing homelessness and facing mental health crisis get the shelter and the care they need. We announced our plan to disburse more homeless outreach teams in our subways and train NYPD officers to enforce the system’s rules of conduct in a fair and transparent way, addressing the fare evasion and disorder that contributes to an unsafe environment. And we committed to improving collaboration between the state and city to effectively address safety concerns.

And this past fall, Governor Hochul and I took another bold step, announcing a historic surge of police officers to patrol subway platforms and trains. We added roughly 1,200 additional overtime officer shifts each day on the subway, dramatically increasing the police presence across the system.

We now have more police officers available to assist riders. Overall station inspections are up 43% in 2023 so far, compared to the same period in 2022. And we have stopped the cruel practice of just walking by people in need. Since announcing the first phase of our plan last February, we have removed the homeless encampments from our system and successfully connected more than 4,000 people facing homelessness with shelter and the assistance they deserve.

During the pandemic, subway ridership declined, and crime grew. Many riders, particularly women and people of color, sought alternative options, like the nanny who decided to bike to work in Brooklyn because of concerns about anti-Asian hate or the bartender who opted to split a cab with her co-workers because she didn’t feel safe on the system late at night.

It’s clear that our approach to making a safer subway system for these riders is working. As a result of our efforts, major crime in transit stations is down 18% since the beginning of 2023 through February 26th, compared with the same period in 2022. We are seeing the most riders on the system since the pandemic, and they are reporting an increased sense of security. In December, subway ridership topped 3.9 million people in one day, the highest number since the pre-pandemic period. Over 1 billion riders used the system last year. And with more people on the train looking out for each other, our system is feeling safer every day.

I take the subway and I talk to riders, transit officers, and MTA employees. They tell me that the feeling of normalcy is returning, and they encourage me to push forward. I hear them: we must continue to remain vigilant and keep building a safer system for all.

The New York City subway is the symbol of the greatest city on earth. It creates economic opportunities and access, improves traffic congestion, and makes the air better for everyone. Together, we will keep it safe and ensure that New York City remains the safest big city in the nation.

Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall
February 27, 2023


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

Cannabis Justice for All

Legalizing cannabis was a major step forward for equity and justice in our city. But legalization is about following the new laws, not a free pass to sell unregulated cannabis products.

Over the last few months, illegal cannabis retailers have taken advantage of decriminalization efforts, with unlicensed smoke shops popping up all over the city. This “Wild West” attempt to gain market share will not be tolerated. New York City has changed the laws, but we intend to enforce them — fairly, equitably, and thoroughly.

For many years, people of color in our communities were routinely targeted when it came to cannabis law enforcement. Cannabis criminalization was used to harass, arrest, and prosecute our brothers and sisters.

Advocates rightly pushed for an end to these practices, and fought hard to put racial equity at the center of New York's cannabis legalization 

efforts. Past convictions were automatically expunged or suppressed. People with past convictions for marijuana and their family members are being given priority for these licenses. 50 percent of licenses have been set aside for social and economic equity applicants.

An open and democratic process resulted in the progress so many wanted to see  an end to the “war on drugs” mentality, the establishment of a safe and sanctioned cannabis industry for adults, and a pathway to restorative justice for those who were unfairly prosecuted in the past.

Legal cannabis is expected to be a $1.3 billion industry that will create thousands of jobs and generate approximately $40 million per year in tax revenue for our city. And 40 percent of the tax revenues from legal cannabis will be invested back in the communities that were most harmed by prohibition.

We have a moral obligation to make sure that the people who were adversely affected by marijuan criminalization get their fair share of this emerging market. That’s part of the mission of the new CannabisNYC Office. his is a city agency that will make New Yorkers aware of opportunities to participate in this industry, promote equity, and help applicants navigate the licensing process.

In the last month, the first licensed cannabis dispensaries in our city have opened for business. One is owned by a not-for-profit that supports people living with H.I.V. and A.I.D.S., the other by a formerly incarcerated entrepreneur who received priority for a license because he is one of countless Black men who was harmed by the drug war in the 1990s.

But these legitimate businesses are facing stiff competition from shops that are not following the rules. Instead of respect for the law, what we have seen recently is the proliferation of storefronts across New York City, selling unlicensed, unregulated untaxed cannabis products.

Those who flout the cannabis tax laws and regulations are robbing the very communities that are finally on the cusp of benefiting from a just and equitable system.

We cannot allow that.  We’re not going to take two steps back by letting illegal smoke shops take over this emerging market, especially when so many of them are selling unlawful and unlicensed products that could seriously harm consumers.

It is time for the operation of illegal cannabis dispensaries to end.

Sheriff Miranda and our partners at the N.Y.P.D. recently took direct action to counter this trend. Over a two-week enforcement blitz,  the Sheriff's Office issued 566 violations and seized $4.1 million worth of product at 53 locations.

And this week, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office sent letters to approximately 400 unlicensed smoke shops in Manhattan. The letters state that the city will commence legal eviction proceedings against commercial tenants who are engaged in illegal business activity. That includes the unlicensed sale of cannabis, the sale of untaxed cigarettes, and the sale of adulterated products.  If owners and landlords fail to initiate timely eviction proceedings against these commercial tenants, the Sheriff's Office will take over and pursue eviction proceedings.

While we are not ruling out criminal prosecutions for tax evasion, money laundering, or the sale of cannabis to minors, the focus of this initiative at this time is civil enforcement. We want to give New York's legal cannabis market a chance to thrive — and deliver on the vision of safety, equity and justice that advocates fought for so long.

February 13, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

Composting for All

New Yorkers know that rats love trash bags full of food waste. And they know that I hate rats. This week, our Administration declared that Restaurant Week for rats in this City is finally over. 

For too long, New Yorkers have had to bring their compost to neighborhood drop off sites, or deal with one-off collection programs that weren’t designed to reach everyone. This meant mountains of trash bags on our sidewalks, attracting rats day and night. 

New Yorkers have been saying loudly that they want a compost program across the City – they want the rat food out of the black bags and out of the landfills once and for all. For over twenty years, New York City has been trying to achieve citywide curbside composting that actually WORKS for everyone.

We are finally getting it done. By the fall of next year, New Yorkers in all five boroughs will be able to put their yard waste and food scraps out on the curb year-round, in the simplest, easiest, most efficient curbside composting program ever.

No more carrying your banana peels to neighborhood drop off sites or bagging up fall leaves to be thrown in the garbage. New Yorkers across all five boroughs will be able to compost kitchen scraps and yard waste every week on their recycling day. What could be more convenient for us, or more upsetting for the rats?

Starting March 27 of this year, composting service will restart in Queens after a brief winter pause. It will never take a seasonal break again. On October 2, we will roll out a composting in all of Brooklyn, followed by service in Staten Island and the Bronx in March 2024.  And on October 7, 2024, we will expand composting to all of Manhattan, creating the largest citywide composting program in the country.

This is a new, free, universal service for New Yorkers, and we’re making it as easy and straightforward as possible. You can use our Brown Bin or your own bin – no more complicated rules. And you can compost everything from vegetable scraps to coffee grounds and chicken bones. We like to say, "If you cook it or you grow it, you can throw it."

Our pilot program in Queens kept nearly 13 million pounds of kitchen and yard waste out of our landfills in just three months. That’s more than the weight of 300 city busses! Imagine the impact when we expand that to 8.5 million New Yorkers across all five boroughs.

This is about more than making life easier for families and homeowners – and worse for rats. It’s about improving our environment and quality of life across the board. New York City produces over a million tons of food waste every single year. Right now, we know that 1/3 of all material in our refuse stream is compostable material, which goes to landfill and decomposes over YEARS, releasing harmful methane gas.

Instead, we’re going to capture and use that waste ourselves to make usable soil, biosolids, and renewable energy. Under this new program, some of the material will be composted at our facility on Staten Island and other places around the country; other material will be turned into usable natural gas and biosolids by the Department of Environmental Protection right in Brooklyn.

And all of that compost can be used by New Yorkers to grow healthy food. The soil will return to our parks, planters, and personal gardens. People will be able to pick this up for free. And those who love gardening or growing urban farms can grow fresh, healthy food right here in New York City.

I want to thank everyone who has made this possible, including the Queens residents who led the way, separating their compost and making the pilot program a success.

We are making composting easy in every corner and in every neighborhood in New York City.

This is huge win for cleanliness, a huge win for sustainability, and the environment we all share as New Yorkers. The only ones that lose are those rats.

February 6, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams
City Hall


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

Activists to Bring Rail Corridor Use to Community Since Mayor Didn't

Feb 4, 2023 1pm–4pm -- Rego Park, Woodhaven, Ozone Park. QueensLink activists will ask residents of three communities along the long-defunct Rockaway Beach Branch (RBB) line what they’d like to see built on the city-owned rail corridor, where the Mayor decided to build a park without community review.

Park and train advocates have been arguing over use of the 3.5 mile-long right-of-way for a dozen years. But five years ago, train advocates put forth a compromise proposal called the QueensLink, which includes both rails and trails. Last August, fifteen city, state and federal elected officials asked the Mayor and Governor to fund an Environmental Impact Statement on the QueensLink proposal, but Mayor Eric Adams announced in September that he was earmarking $35 million for the design of a new MetroHub park between Metropolitan Avenue and Union Turnpike. It would be designated for Phase 1 of a park-only proposal called the QueensWay, which would run from Rego Park to Ozone Park.

“The Mayor is spending money on a park plan without asking the community what they want,” says Rick Horan, Executive Director of the QueensLink who lives on the transit-starved Rockaway peninsula. “So, we’re going to ask them. We think we know the answer from years of outreach, and from a Queens College survey [insert link] in 2014.” The survey found that 52% of people in the communities along the right-of-way said they wanted transit or both rails and trails. Only 29% said they preferred the park-only plan.”

“Cities around the world have reused old rail corridors for mass transit and parks,” added Rick Horan. “Queens can have both transit and green spaces, too, if they are planned together. But if a park is built first on this precious transit right of way, it will be difficult for people who enjoy it to accept tearing up some of the park for a subway train later.”  

QueensLink activists will be taking the issue to the streets in Rego Park, Forest Hills and Ozone Park on Saturday, February 4, from 1pm to 4pm, with information tables at:

  • Queens Center Mall (Hoffman Dr, Queens Blvd, and Woodhaven Blvd)
  • Metropolitan Avenue near Metropolitan High School and the proposed MetroHub portion of the QueensWay park
  • Rockaway Blvd in Ozone Park (Liberty Avenue, Cross Bay Boulevard, and 94th Street, near Q52/53 bus stops)

In subsequent weekends, they will provide information tables in other neighborhoods along the line, including Woodhaven, Glendale, Howard Beach and the Rockaways.

The QueensLink would divert the M train south from Rego Park to the Rockaways. Since the rail corridor is wide in various locations, 33 of the 47 acres could be used for parks, cycling and walking trails, and other green spaces. The train would be an alternative to the crowded Q52 and Q53 buses.

“I live in Rockaway … My commute takes an hour and a half,” said Stella, a Q52 rider waiting for the bus. “The bus is too long and too crowded. Sometimes we wait half an hour in the freezing cold.” Another rider chimed in: “[QueensLink] would make people’s lives easier.”

Received February 6, 2023
Rick Horan
Executive Director of QueensLink
Noelle Hunter
Communications Director of QueensLink


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

Governor Hochul Undermines Historic Investment in Public Schools by Pushing for a Permanent & Massive Expansion of Charters Schools in NYC

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 1, 2023) — In response to Governor Hochul’s Executive budget address on Wednesday, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education [AQE] released the following statement:

“We applaud Governor Hochul for keeping her promise to New York’s children by fully funding the Foundation Aid formula at 100 percent for the first time since its creation nearly two decades ago,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “The Foundation Aid formula was created to ensure equity and to strategically drive state resources to the students that need it the most. This means that districts with high populations of students in poverty, students that are English Language Learners and students with disabilities will see a significant increase in state aid.”

“Unfortunately, this historic investment may not reach many of the children in New York City due to the Governor’s proposal to drastically expand the number of charter schools in New York City by removing the regional cap and reauthorizing ‘zombie charters’. Allowing a drastic increase in new charter schools in New York City will siphon off millions of resources that would otherwise be going to public schools, which educate 80 percent of the student population there.  

“New York City currently spends about $3 billion per year on charter schools, a price tag that will continue to increase because it is the only district in the nation required to pay rent for charter schools, and the only school district in the state that does not receive charter school transition aid to offset those costs. At a time when New York City is grappling with a declining population of school age children due to a number of factors, there is no justification for increasing the number of charter schools in New York City.

“We urge the New York State Senate and Assembly to completely reject the Governor’s proposals to remove the regional cap on charters and reauthorize ‘zombie charters.’”

 

Jasmine Gripper
Executive Director
Alliance for Quality Education
Received February 2, 2022


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

A Working People’s Agenda

Last week, in Queens — the borough I grew up in — I reported to New Yorkers on the state of our city. I outlined what we’ve accomplished in the year since I took office, and my vision for the future. We are going to build a city for working people, one that is more affordable, safer, cleaner, and more livable.

We focused on four essential pillars: jobs, safety, housing, and care.

Because without a strong working class, this city cannot survive.

Working people need good jobs and pathways to get those jobs. And those jobs need to be able to support a home for New Yorkers and their families.

That is why we are reimagining our workforce system, connecting 30,000 New Yorkers to apprenticeships through a new Apprenticeship Accelerator. It’s also why we are creating the jobs for the future, through our first of its
kind biotech start up incubator that will be home to the next generation of transformative companies, and our Kips Bay life sciences hub, which will help create jobs and train New Yorkers for high demand careers in the life
sciences, healthcare, and public health.

And we are ensuring that more city dollars go to minority and women-owned businesses as well as creating a new Nursing Education Initiative to support 30,000 current and aspiring nurses over the next five years.

And while we are finally seeing crime begin to decline in New York City, we must continue to make our streets safe, and it starts with getting New York City’s Most Wanted off our streets.

We are going to get the roughly 1,700 known offenders responsible for a disproportionate amount of the city’s violent crime off the streets.

And we are going to keep our streets safe by holding reckless drivers accountable. We are going to go to Albany to get legislation passed that increases the penalties for serious crashes, running red lights, and impaired driving.

Our city cannot be livable unless it is clean and sustainable. So we are investing millions to make our city cleaner and greener.

Last year we launched the country’s largest curbside composting program in Queens in order to Get Stuff Clean, and by the end of 2024, composting will be citywide and year-round. We are electrifying our city vehicles, and we
have reached a deal with Uber and Lyft to have a zero emissions fleet by 2030.

And we are going to build on the success of our Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs by creating permanent community spaces in each borough.

We must have homes for working people. We are working to add 500,000 more homes across all five boroughs—so that everyone has an affordable place to live. We are going to build in every borough and every neighborhood.
And that means creating housing in areas that currently only allow manufacturing and office uses while protecting good jobs in the center of our city's economy. We are going to make Midtown Manhattan a true live work
community. And we are building more housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods and near transit hubs. I recently announced plans for 6,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs around four new metro stations in the Bronx.
And at Willets Point we're working to build the largest new 100 percent affordable housing development in 40 years — that’s 2,500 new, affordable homes for New Yorkers.

Building new houses is essential for our future, but we also need to address the housing crisis today. So we are going to protect tenants and help New Yorkers stay in their homes by investing over $22 million in tenant protection
programs.

We must also ensure that the social safety net is there for working people, so we are expanding it; making it easier for New Yorkers to access public benefits and healthcare. This is an agenda for working people.

As we pursue these programs, we want to keep New Yorkers up to date on the very latest. That’s why we’re launching a new initiative to talk directly to New Yorkers about the issues you care most about. You can sign up for this email newsletter at nyc.gov/hearfromEric to receive breaking news and updates on city initiatives — all tailored to your personal interests. Whether it’s a new park opening, or a new Open Streets in your neighborhood, you’ll be the first to know.

Mayor Eric Adams
Monday, 1/30/2023


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

Willets Point—A Vibrant New Neighborhood in Queens.

It’s time to create a New York City where working New Yorkers can have safe, affordable homes, find well-paying jobs, send their children to good schools, and live close to public transportation so that they don’t have to spend hours commuting.

Willets Point in Queens, previously known as the “Iron Triangle” or the “Valley of Ashes,” was filled with auto repair shops, prone to flooding and lacked infrastructure. Today, it offers our city a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a vibrant, thriving neighborhood from scratch.

The cornerstone of Willets Point will be 2,500 new homes that are 100% affordable. That’s the largest 100% affordable housing project in New York City since the 1970s. Many of these rental homes will be within reach to families making $40,000 a year or less. This is a game changer for so many New Yorkers. Environmental cleanup and infrastructure improvements for sewage, storm lines and water mains are already underway. And we are breaking ground on the first phase of housing in 2023—one year early!

 The neighborhood will also have a 650-seat K-8 school, retail space that serves local residents, 40,000 square feet of open space, as well as a hotel and a Major League Soccer stadium. Both the stadium and the hotel will be 100% privately financed. The city will not be spending a single dollar on their construction. The stadium will be New York City’s first professional soccer-specific stadium, and a permanent home for the 2021 MLS Cup champions: the New York City Football Club.

The stadium and the hotel will be constructed with union labor, and will prioritize working with minority and women-owned businesses, and hiring locally. Through the redevelopment of Willets Points, we will create 14,200 construction jobs, and 1,550 permanent jobs from the stadium, hotel, retail and housing. Because that’s what New Yorkers deserve: good jobs, homes, and the chance to gain a secure financial footing so they can raise their families and grow old in the city that they love.

Willets Point will also cement Queens’ reputation as a world-class sports destination. With the new stadium, the Mets’ Citifield, and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, we will have soccer, baseball and tennis all in one place. World-class sports for the World’s Borough—all just minutes away from the Long Island Railroad, the Mets-Willets Point station on the 7 train, JFK and LaGuardia Airports, and within walking distance from Flushing Meadows Park.

The Willets Point project grows out of a vision first developed by members of the community back in 2018, and local residents will continue to be heard throughout the approval and construction process.

This project delivers on my blueprint for economic recovery and for affordable housing. It is the result of a public-private partnership between New York City, the New York City Football Club, and Queens Development Group (a joint venture of Related Companies and Sterling Equities).

We are delivering housing across the five boroughs, and this Willets Point project, combined with the Innovation Queens project, would have advanced 8,000 housing units in November alone.

Willets Point gives us an opportunity to create a new neighborhood with homes, schools and economic possibilities. It gives us an opportunity to re-envision how our city can meet the challenges of the 21st Century, like housing, climate change and developing pathways to financial stability for all New Yorkers. As our city rebuilds from the pandemic, we are reimagining our neighborhoods and our boroughs to ensure that everyone benefits from our prosperity, not just the few. Willets Point is just the start.

Mayor Adams 11/28/22


Queens OpEds / Opinions NYC

Mayor Eric Adams’ Community Op-Ed: Supporting NYC’s Asylum Seekers

 New York is a city of immigrants. We are made up of hundreds of cultures, more than 700 languages, and people born in more than 150 countries. Immigrants keep our cultural life vibrant and our economy running strong. They are the past, present, and future of New York City.

As New Yorkers as know, we have seen an influx of asylum seekers arriving in our city over the past several months. Migrants from the United States’ Southern border have been placed on buses and sent to our streets in record numbers.

New York City is doing everything in our power to support the newly arrived asylum seekers. We are working around the clock to provide medical care, food, and a safe place to stay. In the past weeks, my Administration has set up 48 emergency shelter sites. We have opened a navigation center to offer case management, settlement options, vaccinations, and more. As of October 12, we have provided assistance to over 19,400 asylum seekers. But New York City is running out of space in our shelter system. We are

now housing a record number of people—and more are arriving every single day. We expect to spend more than $1 billion this fiscal year on support. This is putting a strain on our resources as we continue to provide essential services like education, healthcare, and sanitation to the 8.8 million New Yorkers who are already here and who rely on us for essential services. We need more help to fund all of these priorities. That’s why I have asked the federal government and the State of New York for assistance. But let me be clear: we will not give up. We will not change our fundamental values. We will continue to support those who arrive on our city’s shores.

I want to thank every New Yorker who has volunteered their time and opened their hearts to help our newly arrived brothers and sisters. I also want to recognize our city agencies who have gone above and beyond in the face of this unprecedented event. New Yorkers have risen to the occasion, as they always do. I am so grateful to everyone who has been part of the response. New Yorkers know that diversity is our strength, and it is my privilege to celebrate all of our cultures as your mayor. Just this weekend, I joined our Italian community to celebrate the contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans to our city. Every borough and every block in this city has benefited from their hard work and community spirit.

Whether we are Italian, Venezuelan, or Indian we all share a title: we’re New Yorkers. We’re made from the best stuff on earth.

Mayor Adams 10/17/22


The Trump Train

Fake News or Fake President?

February 19, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Media / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I know a lot of people have found watching the news both addictive and frustrating lately.

They're tired of hearing the president make unsupported false statements every week, and listening to the media rebroadcast or reprint or repeat these false statements before they go onto correct him.

Hitler Said Repeat a Lie Often Enough and it Will Be Believed

Why does the media give these statements life in the first place - by repeating them at all?

It just gives these untruths some sort of strange validation, especially to those voters who make their decisions based on the noise level of soundbytes, instead of doing the research needed to understand the serious issues of the day, and the candidates' positions on them.

Jefferson said that those who believe they can be ignorant and free - believe in something that never was and never will be.

It seems to me that all of us need to start refocusing our attention from the petty distractions of what appears to be a Celebrity Apprentice President all-too-real TV show, to the serious business of addressing the issues facing the nation.

The president seems to be setting the tone for this chaos with his outrageous statements and theatrics. And the media - as during the 2016 campaign - seem to be knee-jerk reacting to almost everything he says.

They are enabling the president to suck up all the news oxygen out of the nation because all we hear about is Trump, Trump, Trump. They cover his antics - like he's media crack.

Enough already.

Special Request of the American Press: Separate the News from the Mockery

If the only thing the Trump Administration offers at its press conferences is of entertainment value, then I recommend that the news organizations treat it as such and forward the video outtakes of the 'fake president's fake press conferences' - which make a mockery of the office - to the 'fake news' outlets - meaning the late night comedy shows.

Folks who don't stay up late to watch these shows, can now catch these fictitious news shows on Youtube. Stephen Colbert of the Late Show, Seth Meyer of Late Night, and Saturday Night Live all seem to be on a tear. It's funny - but then again - it's sad.

As for the news organizations, if you can't get anything of real substance out of the White House / Administration press briefings - then get out of your comfort zones and begin wandering the Capitol in search of the legislators, staffers, policy experts and industry experts who understand the issues and are working to address them. Put them front and center on the front page of your newspapers, websites and news shows, instead of the Trump Train.

By taking away the open mic you've been giving Trump since he began campaigning for the presidency, you will either influence him to start engaging in the issues and start acting like a real president - or begin marginalizing him - thus giving visibility to the people with the education, experience and knowledge to guide the nation in the right direction ... whatever that may be.

Special Request of the American People: Start Engaging in the Democratic Process

But we, the audience, are also part of the problem. Could it be that both Trump and the media are giving the audience 'what they (appear to) want' based on our behavorial response in watching, reading and clicking into the Trump Train News?

Perhaps it's time for us to tune out this show which parodies our system of government, while mocking us as a society. And maybe it's time to start listening to the advice of Mahatma Ghandi who said, "Live the change you want to see."

Instead of helplessly standing by, perhaps it's time for us to get involved at the grass roots level of the causes or issues we care about - on either side of the ideological spectrum. And maybe now is the time for us to get out from behind our computer screens so that we can infuse new energy into our own real lives. Spring is a good time for new initiatives.

Of course, then again, we could keep watching the Trump Train - if we want to keep this unreal TV show on the air - by continuing to contribute to its ratings success.

And even though our role in the process may sometimes feel insignificant, collectively we are each, one of the many deciders.

Special Presidents Day Request for Donald J. Trump

I have a special Presidents Day request to make of Donald J. Trump - and that is that you quit acting like a rich, spoiled brat and start acting like the president of the United States of America.

This request includes NOT encouraging the people who work for you (like Steve Bannon) telling the press to shut up, NOT ignoring 'tough' questions you don't like posed by members of the press who in some measure are asking the questions that many of us have, and most certainly NOT tweeting that the press is the enemy of the American people.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression / free speech / freedom of the press.

These sorts of statements made by you and your Administration, since you've taken office, might be expected of your good friends from less free countries, like RUSSIA - but NOT by the Leader of the Free World - which likie it or not - you are.

Either grow up quickly and quit embarrassing us - or please resign and let Mike Pence become the 46th President of the United States of America.

Have a Happy Presidents Day.


Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee

Statement on the Fatal Hit & Run on 21st Street, April 6, 2016

The TA Queens Activist Committee and the many neighbors and organizations that have come together in the Coalition for Street Calming on 21st Street are deeply saddened by this loss of life on 21st Street. Foremost, the driver has to be found and held accountable. There are 4,000 hit-and-run crashes every year that result in injury or death in NYC, but only 1% of those are investigated by the NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad. We call on Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bratton, and the City’s district attorneys to put together an action plan to combat the scourge of hit-and-run crashes that places all of us at risk.

But the City also has to be held accountable. We are calling on NCYDOT to implement traffic calming on 21st Street that deserves the name. And we call on Councilmembers Costa Constantinides and Van Bramer to stand by our side to insist on these urgent improvements to prevent further loss of life and health.
21st Street feels like a highway that cuts through a residential neighborhood. We repeat: A residential neighborhood. With increasing construction along the corridor, this will worsen. There are many children and elderly who simply cannot cope with the insanity and ugliness of this street. They should not be forced to cope with a street that effectively prioritizes drivers’ desire to speed over the needs for safety of ALL other street users.

For more than two (2) years, TA Queens and the Coalition for Street Calming on 21st Street have requested a full “road diet” for 21st Street--street safety measures that ensure that this street accommodates EVERYONE and is appropriate for a residential neighborhood.

Just over a year ago, in March 2015, NYCDOT presented a plan to Community Board 1 in response to these requests from the community. The plan was approved by CB1—but with the explicit caveat that this is only a beginning and that we need more. We also welcomed these changes, but said then that it was not enough and more needed to be done to make this street safer.

The DOT plan does NOT include the following essential measures that were requested repeatedly:

• Traffic lights at 28th Ave, 30th Road, 33rd Rd, mid-block between 34th and 35th Ave, and 39th Ave.
• Bike infrastructure below Hoyt Ave to both make bicyclists safe and calm the street for pedestrians
• Safety improvements to the dangerous three-way intersection with 27th Ave and Astoria Boulevard
• Other measures to reduce speeding and help pedestrians cross, such as mid-street pedestrian island

The NYCDOT’s argument for not installing traffic lights is that the “federal warrants” for traffic signals are not met at these locations. These federal rules are clearly written for the benefit of car drivers in suburban areas, not for dense city neighborhoods like Astoria and Long Island City. Moreover, it is difficult to accept that the warrants are not satisfied by the deplorably unsafe conditions on this very busy North-South artery. We call on DOT to disclose the engineering study that justifies its conclusions. And if the warrants are insufficient to protect us on our city streets, then NYC DOT should join us in lobbying U.S. DOT to revise the warrants to properly address urban reality.

In any event, we cannot hide behind federal warrants and allow lives to be jeopardized. Even if NYC would not receive federal funding for such traffic signals, we must spend our own funds to protect our residents. In Manhattan almost every intersection has a traffic light, so it is very hard to accept the claim that somehow streets such as 21st Street in Queens do not require the same protections. Lives are literally at stake, and the City must take action now before anyone else is killed or seriously injured on 21st Street.

Signed,

Peter W. Beadle, Chair, Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee
Angela Stach and Steve Scofield, 21st Street Campaign
Jaime Moncayo, TA Queens Organizer

Posted April 11, 2016


Education Law Center says

Governor Cuomo Wrong on Receivership

To Governor Andrew Cuomo:

Last year, you insisted on enacting a receivership law that targeted schools as “failing” or “persistently failing” based upon Common Core test scores. You defined the law and the metrics that schools must meet in order to improve, metrics that many experts consider unreliable and inappropriate for use in prescribing top-down, punitive interventions. Using test scores as a high stakes metric is a blunt and ineffectual instrument as your most recent education task force concluded as it relates to teacher evaluations.

Now 70 out of 144 schools subject to the receivership law have met the metrics you defined in law. They are no longer priority schools and therefore no longer subject to receivership. Yet in negotiations you are currently seeking to force these schools back into receivership. You defined a set of standards that set expectations for these schools and their students— students who, as you have been quick to vocally point out, are overwhelmingly black, Latino and poor. Now that these schools and their students have met that standard, you wish to change it in order to keep these 70 schools classified as “failing.” Doing so would create a mockery of the entire receivership program as it would send the message to students and their schools that if they meet the bar for performance as defined in the law, then you will just redefine the bar.

Paragraphs 1a and 1b of New York Education Law 211-f, the receivership law, define clearly two categories of schools are subject to the law: “failing” and “persistently failing.” Paragraph 1a defines a “failing school” as a school designated as a “priority” school for three consecutive years under the state’s accountability system. Paragraph 1b defines a
“persistently failing” school as a school designated as a “priority” school in the state’s accountability system for ten consecutive years (or the equivalent of “priority” school under the state’s previous accountability system, as the new system is not ten years old). The key to qualifying as either a “failing or “persistently failing” school is the requirement that a school be on the priority schools list for the specified number of consecutive years.

According to the state’s definition of priority schools, a definition that was already in place when the receivership law was enacted, a school is no longer a priority school if for two consecutive years student test scores are high enough to exceed the thresholds for identification (their combined performance index score in ELA and math is higher than the
cut score to be a priority school). The schools that are no longer identified as priority schools made the progress necessary on the defined metrics in 2013-14 and again in 2014-15.

Therefore, the underlying designation justifying their placement on the “failing” or “persistently failing” list no longer exists for the 70 schools. These schools can no longer be defined as either “failing” or “persistently failing” pursuant to the language of the statute itself. Accordingly, they do not fall within the purview of the receivership law, NY Education Law 211-f.

According to your chief advisor and the architect of this policy, these schools must stay under receivership for three years regardless of any progress they make. This is not what the law says. What the law does say is “each school intervention plan shall be authorized for a period of not more than three years.”

The problems with using high stakes Common Core tests to grade schools as “failing” is underlined by the fact that there is a full school year data lag in the publication of these test scores. The improvement in these schools’ metrics was actually based upon test score outcomes for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. So in fact, if not for the data lag, these schools would never have been subject to receivership in the first place. The receivership law, the law ostensibly written to assist these schools, had absolutely no effect on the progress the schools made. These schools should be allowed to continue making progress following these locally-developed plans. They have a track record of success, as contrasted by the as-yet unproven receivership law.

Sincerely,

Wendy Lecker / Senior Attorney

Education Law Center / Newark, NJ

Posted April 11, 2016 / Received 3/31/16


Brian F. Will of Queens Quiet Skies says

Applying the Principles of Resource Management to Airspace Conservation

Fisheries management is heavily scrutinized in the media and by stakeholders in commercial fishing communities. The general public seems to play a dual role in fisheries management, by lamenting the loss of historic fishing ports but also steadfastly determined to restore our aquatic marine resources. Having worked on the management side for 10 years, mostly as a freelance biologist, I have heard compelling arguments from both sides. Our ocean resources are a public resource with multiple user groups, and arguments are usually centered on how to fairly distribute an increasingly limited allotment of that resource. A fisherman’s allotment, or quota, is his livelihood, and management decisions can put his livelihood and community on the line.

Our airspace is also a public resource with multiple user groups. But unlike fisheries resources, when changes to our airspaces are implemented, you’ll find few public meetings, comparatively little scientific data and almost no stakeholder involvement. The allotment of our airspace is divided up among business and government interests with a bare minimum left for noise and pollution mitigation. Airspace is allotted in a one directional way, with no public dialogue, and not even a hint of a willingness to have one.

And our airspace is getting very crowded. Air travel demand will double by 2050, and airport operators from New York to London are calling for extra runways, reduced vertical and horizontal separation between planes and a condensing of flight routes. All this, and we’ll still have to make space for drones. These airspace changes have become necessary, we’re constantly told, to ensure our economic survival.

On the other side of the issue, as yet unheard, is the noise and particulate pollution burden that airspace overutilization has already caused. From Queens to Phoenix, many thousands of people are quietly realizing they cannot live amicably underneath the new superhighways in the sky. With a predisposition to expand and almost no space to do it, the aviation industry effectively cleaves off a small section of human habitat with every new route.

When it comes to our nation’s airspace, perhaps it’s time to take a cue from other conservation disciplines: we are over utilizing this resource, to the detriment of the general public, and it’s going to get worse. Like fisheries and many other public resources, airspace can and should be carefully managed and conserved. Equal stakeholder involvement should be incorporated into management decisions, and land use studies should be used to determine an equitable balance of airspace usage between all the relevant user groups.

If the general public would demand airspace management with the same fervor that they demand management of other resources, we might prevent the degradation of potentially hundreds of communities. Looking up at the sky 10 years from now, and finding that every open patch of air is filled with an aircraft or drone, it will have already been too late.

Queens Quiet Skies was established in 2012 to fight aviation noise pollution problems related to the FAA's NextGen project. The group lobbied intensively for a community aviation roundtable, Part 150 study, and a dramatic increase in noise monitors.

The group can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/QueensQuietSkies/ or directly via email at queensquietskies@aol.com.

Brian F. Will
Biologist & Vice President of QueensQuietSkies.us

Submitted February 22, 2016



Brian F. Will of Queens Quiet Skies says

Need For Straight Talk From FAA & Government Officials

Something that continues to frustrate members of the Queens community is the evasive dialogue of the FAA. It hasn't changed a whole lot in the 3 years since the FAA first implemented NextGen technology at both airports. FAA Administrator Carmine Gallo has appeared in Queens several times during that span, including a recent town hall meeting in Jackson Heights. Still, he has yet to engage in a transparent conversation about the drastic airspace changes that are taking place. When it comes to the FAA, it's always about the weather (or construction).

The reality is that there is a lot more going on above our heads than just weather. Here I will try to summarize some of the more important changes that Administrator Gallo and the FAA often neglect to mention:

1. The Recategorization of Wake Turbulence Separations (RECAT)

nex gen flight paths expand lga jfk capacity airplane noise nycThis initiative was implemented at LaGuardia airport in February of 2015. It was tied to the NextGen project, thus avoiding a proper environmental analysis. RECAT reduces the separations of planes on the same route, such as planes arriving over Jackson Heights into LaGuardia’s runway 4. The separations reduction under RECAT has gone from a standard of 5 miles of separation to as little as 2.5 miles.

The FAA maintains that LaGuardia will handle growth of passenger demand with larger aircraft, but the FAA’s RECAT fact sheet lists capacity increases as a benefit of RECAT. From the FAA’s website: “The new standards are significantly improving the efficiency of operations at Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Atlanta. FedEx boosted capacity by 20 percent”

Yes, FedEx boosted capacity by 20%. And the Memphis airport increased its slot limit from 72 to 99 flights per hour. LaGuardia’s current restriction is at 71 flights per hour.

 

2. Lifting of the “Perimeter Rule”

The perimeter rule mandates that all LaGuardia destinations be within a 1,500 mile radius, thus keeping the airport’s planes of an equitable size and weight. Currently, there are no four engine jets at LaGuardia, largely because of the perimeter rule.

A lifting of the rule would likely bring A380’s and B787’s to LaGuardia. This is something that the Port Authority will decide, likely when the Part 150 study is near completion and can’t be included in the data. The FAA would also like the perimeter rule to end, and have consistently maintained that they will meet passenger demand with “larger aircraft”. The FAA has said this, even before lifting of the rule was being openly debated, which makes one wonder.

The larger aircraft would bring more engines lower to the ground, thus increasing noise. Heavier planes also have a lower takeoff trajectory and cannot turn efficiently, which brings us to the next new FAA initiative…

3. Optimum Profile Descent (OPD)

lga jfk airplane noise nyc OPD optimum profile descentAbove is an FAA rendition of how the NextGen satellite navigation system which will guide aircraft into LaGuardia’s runway 4 in the near future. Whether or not planes will slam into the runway at a 35 degree angle, as implied above, remains to be seen. The plane in the drawing doesn’t look like an Airbus.

Optimum Profile Descent could potentially bring heavier arriving planes closer to Jackson Heights than they already are. The FAA asserts that Optimum Profile Descent will reduce noise because it allows planes to glide right in.

4. JUTES

The JUTES Climb is the route that terrorizes Jackson Heights on most weekends. It is a NextGen RNAV, thus it has never been studied for impact on the human environment. The Port Authority maintains that when capacity enhancing runway construction is finished, the route will subside. We’ll see.

But if it doesn’t, please know that there is an entry in the current LaGuardia Standard Operating Procedure which states: “avoid departing runway 22 to the maximum extent possible”. Runway 22 points directly at Jackson Heights and is the source of JUTES. The statement is in the runway selection guidelines and not the noise abatement section, which leads to the assumption that the FAA is weary of departing too many planes over the area’s very tall structures.

https://nyartcc.org/wiki/index.php/LGA_SOP

5. The FAA’s “hidden” noise data

nex gen flight paths expand lga jfk capacity airplane noise nycA 2013 FAA funded study “Residential Exposure to Aircraft Noise and Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Diseases”, published by Harvard University’s School for Public Health, revealed that the FAA produced noise contours for 89 U.S. airports out to 55 DNL in the year 2010.

MSP Fair Skies investigated the possibility of acquiring all of this data through FOIA requests, as the FAA had never publicized the data. Using the FAA noise data that they received, they produced a map for LaGuardia Airport. The map is available here, in one of MSP Fair Skies superb documentaries: http://mspfairskies.com/videos/

It is the first map of our area that shows noise exposure out to 55 DNL (average decibel level over a 24 hour period). It clearly shows 55 DNL extending from runway 4 all the way into Brooklyn!

Below are two additional noise exposure maps, shown side by side for comparison. Prepared by Boeing and the Port Authority, the maps show the growth of our 65 DNL noise burden over a ten year period.

6. Lastly, a word about “quieter engines”

When the perimeter rule disappears, the number of engines on many planes will increase from two to four. With RECAT, the frequency of noise events will increase. Optimum Profile Descent and larger aircraft could bring the noise source, the engines, closer to the receiver. With the number of slots poised to increase and LaGuardia inching towards 24 hour operations, there is a potential of:

(24 hours) X (81 planes per hour) X (4 engines) = 7776 engines per day.

Quieter engines are great, and should be supported, but not without putting other noise abatement scenarios in proper perspective. Quieter engines are not a cure all, and industry will have to make some concessions. Whether it be noise mitigation flight routes, curfew, late night exceptions, maintenance of slots, altitude restrictions or something else, technology alone will not bail us out.

Respectfully,

Brian F. Will
www.QueensQuietSkies.org
November 3, 2015

Editor's Note: This was sent to us in response to a story we published about a meeting held in Queens to address airplane noise in NYC.


Queens Chronicle says

Keeping Jamaica Bay alive, on film and for real

Here at the Queens Chronicle, the next installment of “Star Wars” isn’t the only film years in the making and set for release in the months ahead that we’re eagerly looking forward to.

No, while we enjoy the events of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away as much as anyone, we’re thinking closer to home and can’t wait for the first full screening of “Jamaica Bay Lives,” the documentary about our favorite big estuary by environmentalist, author and former Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Dan Hendrick. He expects the film, now nearing the end stages of production, to be ready this fall. He hopes to show it on public television, at film festivals and in the communities that surround the bay.

You could hardly find a better topic for an environmental documentary film in New York City. Jamaica Bay has a long and often tortured history and is full of contradictions, but remains vitally important to the ecology of not just the city but really the entire Eastern Seaboard.

Of course it was not always protected as well as it is now, and more must be done to restore it as much as possible. That’s one of the major reasons Hendrick’s film is so important — to draw more awareness and, perhaps, funding and other resources to this 18,000-acre wetland estuary that’s home to hundreds of species of birds, beasts and fish. It is, as he points out, the city’s largest open space, bigger than Central, Prospect and Van Cortlandt parks combined. It’s nearly the size of Manhattan, and occupies almost one-tenth of the city’s entire geographic area.

For a long time it was abused, a dumping ground ringed by landfills and industry. To some degree it still is. On its eastern end, Kennedy Airport is one of the two dozen busiest in the world, with all the pollution that brings. On its western end, Floyd Bennett Field used to be an airport. On the western side of the Floyd Bennett peninsula is Dead Horse Bay, named for just the reason you’d imagine: It’s where they used to dump the bones of the horse carcasses processed there. Charles Park in Howard Beach certainly needs a major cleanup but it’s got nothing on Dead Horse Bay’s Bottle Beach, an utterly filthy stretch of shoreline filled with garbage from a landfill dating back a century. Four sewage treatment plants empty into Jamaica Bay.

Yet the estuary and much of its wildlife survive, demonstrating the power of nature against the worst mankind can throw at it. And for the last several decades, they’ve had a lot of help. Master planner Robert Moses got thousands of acres declared parkland in 1938 and thwarted proposals to build an industrial port and make more landfills. After the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge was established, one Herbert Johnson worked to save and restore the nesting grounds of shorebirds and waterfowl that call the bay home.

In more recent times, the government and environmental groups such as the American Littoral Society, NYC Audubon and the Trust for Public Land have worked together on restoration projects ranging from the rebuilding of the disappearing marshlands to plain old volunteer beach cleanups. Birds in particular are thriving, with the bay being a key stop for many that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway, though sadly, some have been killed out of concerns they could disable planes. And Hurricane Sandy certainly took its toll on the marshes and more.

This is the wondrous place explored in “Jamaica Bay Lives.” The film’s stars, Hendrick says, are four activists working hard to protect the bay: Don Riepe, Dan Mundy Sr., Dan Mundy Jr. and Barbara Brown. But it’s the bay itself that gets top billing. We’re sure the movie will be a fitting tribute to this gem in our midst. Don’t miss it.

by Queens Chronicle Updated August 27, 2015

Posted Here September 2, 2015


Newspapers, Magazines, TV Stations, Filmmakers, Artists, Photographers, Journalists, Actors, Musicians, Writers & Software Developers

Copyright Law Change Alert: Pending Legislation May Curtail Your Ownership Rights

July 5, 2015 / Queens Notices / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz. Click the Queens Notices link to view proposed overhaul of copyright laws which would significantly curtail the ownership rights one has to their own work. It includes a bit about how you can help by sending a notice to the government regarding this effort to overhaul copyright law.

According to the report, the law would weaken content creators' ownership rights and thus their ability to monetize their creations. They also allege that the big internet companies are pushing this. We surmise that this is because the big internet companies are using everyone's content, collecting revenue for organizing and distributing it, and not compensating the content creators for the use of it. This may leave a huge outstanding, unestimated legal liability on their balance sheets.

The weakening of copyright laws has disturbing societal implications as well, as it completely destroys the economic incentive for artists, filmmakers, writers, journalists, photographers, actors, recording artists and software developers to invest their time and resourcess in the creation art, film, journalism, photography, music, software and other media content and entertainment. And in doing so, paves the way for considerable consolidation and control over freedom of speech and what media and entertainment content we as a society consume.

The net effect of the law is to curtail content creator ownership rights, and thus in some good measure transfer the ability to monetize content from the content creators to the content distributors. But it's not too late for you to do something about this.

The deadline for comment is July 23rd, 2015. Click Queens Notices and scroll down to first notice. There are links there to the authors of the report, as well as instructions and links to making a comment to government officials. Is retaining ownership rights to your work worth 10 to 15 minutes of your time?

"Many hands make light work." Chip in and make your concerns heard.


Going Solar Will Solve Many Of America's Biggest Problems

Dear Editor,

Transitioning to solar has the potential to narrow America's trade deficit, reduce America's government deficit, increase America's employment, reduce the probability of trade or military wars with China, and reduce America's carbon footprint.

Most armed conflicts take place in locations that are in or adjacent to large oil production locations or along strategic passageways for oil. It's worth noting that there are rising tensions in the South China Sea over signficant oil & gas resources there. Some believe these rising global tensions may lead to WWIII. As is true in all wars, many innocent men, women and children die. This is going on right now, as as fighting continues in Crimea, Gaza, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Nigeria & D.R. Congo.

Most of these Middle Eastern, African and impending Asian conflicts would likely be resolved if solar and wind energy were the nation's / world's primary energy sources. Instead of fighting over the remaining fossil fuels on the planet and their safe transit into use; let's use the solar and wind technologies we have already mastered, to prevent future military conflicts and mitigate the current ones.

Reduction of our reliance on oil / fossil fuels should be the nation's primary goal as it will:

1) reduce our trade deficit by enabling us to produce more or all of our own energy, thus cutting our reliance on imported oil,

2) enable us to reduce our military spending and hence overall government spending, deficits and taxes by reducing our need to guard oil production and transit ways around the world,

3) keep us out of other people's wars - which would be far easier to settle - if the riches and strategic importance associated with oil began and continued to decline,

4) provide a cleaner environment and slow climate change by reducing our consumption and hence the pollution of fossil fuels and

5) provide more domestic jobs as we could become a clean and net energy producer.

So why don't we do it?

Because those who profit from the current state of affairs will do whatever they can to slow or prevent this change from occurring because it will reduce their wealth and the future value of their holdings.

These not-so-special interests primarily consist of: a) those who profit from wars or the perceived threat of wars like the defense contractors; and b) those who profit from the heavy American reliance on fossil fuels like the big oil companies.

Both the oil companies and the defense contractors use American taxpayer dollars to fund their wealth by: a) collecting hundreds of billions of tax dollars for defense equipment investments and b) demanding that a signficant portion of American Armed Forces budgets [time, manpower and equipment] be directed toward the protection of American oil company transit ways and holdings abroad. They argue that this is because oil is a strategic asset. That is currently true, but it wouldn't be if America transitioned to solar and wind energies.

So in summary, we can mitigate some of the inhumanity of war, lower our trade deficit, lower our government spending, lower our taxes, become energy self-sufficient, pollute less, slow global climate change and increase domestic employment by accelerating our transition to solar and wind energies.

We can transition from fossil fuels to regenerative energy sources by using the same approach used to curb smoking nationally. Educate the public about how to transition and put economic incentives in place to support the transition. This means slowly, like cigarette taxes, commit to increasing taxes on oil consumption by some dollar or percent amount every year. Then take these funds and use them to provide tax deductions and business incentives to move to renewable / regenerative fuels and energy conservation through more energy efficient autos, solar powered homes and the like.

Sincerely,

Francis M.

Posted April 1, 2015



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