News You Can Use
December 12, 2016
From: New York City Mayor’s Office
Our Mayor has continued reminding us of the power of togetherness, and to reaffirm our shared values as New Yorkers. We are #AlwaysNewYork. Last week, the Mayor introduced the city to Officer Aml Elsokary, of the 90th Precinct. She proudly wears her hijab to work. She has served her fellow New Yorkers with distinction; yet, she recently experienced a man allegedly yelling at her and her son, “Go back to your country.” The NYPD acted swiftly: the individual has been arrested and charged. And that is an example of what we will do every time we see an act of bias and hatred.
Last week, Mayor de Blasio stopped by the Clearview Senior Center in Bayside to discuss the $183 water bill credit the Water Board approved in April. The water credit is for 600,000 homeowners, all over the City, all five boroughs. This holiday season, DCA issued Holiday Shopping Tips to protect your identity and money… the NYC Commission on Human Rights continues to educate concerned New Yorkers on anti-discrimination protections under the law in the wake of the presidential election, including protections for Muslim, LGBTQ, and immigrant New Yorkers…the Health Department released its 2015 HIV Surveillance Annual Report, which shows there were no HIV infections diagnosed among infants born in NYC in 2015 – a major achievement within the overall elimination of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV…Small Business Services launched the NYC Building Operator Training Program to help residential buildings cut energy costs by up to 20 percent…the “Look Before You Eat” campaign is reminding New Yorkers to look for the sodium warning icons on menus…we’re growing the City’s electric vehicle fleet with 50 new GM Chevy Bolts…NYCEDC announced that Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center will be the first awardee to receive the City’s Industrial Developer Fund… NYCHA completed one of the biggest capital improvements projects in its portfolio, placing new roofs on all 26 residential buildings at Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the nation…Health Department issued a Health Alert this week informing health care providers that four additional babies have been born with congenital Zika virus syndrome in New York City since the Department announced the first case of Zika-related microcephaly in July…DCA, MOIA and Make the Road took to the streets to educate New Yorkers about immigration services fraud and to “PROTECT yourself, REPORT fraud, and SEEK help”…the Health Department is calling for blood equity, which could help save the lives of more than 1.8 million people…the Buildings Department canvassed neighborhoods citywide as part of its Living Safely program, distributing multi-lingual flyers on the dangers of illegal conversions… the Health Department hosted the third annual R.E.D. (Remembering. Empowering. Doing.) Ball…CUNY students are receiving paid, on-the-job experience and exposure to the many pathways open to them in our city’s vibrant cultural sector… the Schools Chancellor celebrated Computer Science Education Week in Brooklyn…NYCEDC and Hornblower unveiled the completion of the first Citywide Ferry Vessel superstructure…the Health Department announced the launch of “Stay Sure,” a new sexual health media campaign that promotes HIV prevention services in New York City… the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs released the United Nations Impact Report 2016 at the United Nations, which outlines the economic benefit of having the United Nations in New York…a new art exhibition, “Re-Enliven”, explores reuse as a creative solution to waste reduction… the DOE launched their first citywide literacy-focused after school effort in shelters…Build it Back is moving forward… we’re investing $194 million into infrastructure improvements and construction in the South Bronx…and 19 food stores were recognized for participating in Shop Healthy NYC, a program that works to increase access and promotion of healthier food and beverages.
What We’re Sharing:
Meet Officer Aml Elsokary of the 90th Precinct. Share her story on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NYCMayor/status/805936843464249344
Fair access to water for New York’s most vulnerable under attack by special interests: “This city is blessed with an extraordinary water system and some of the purest water in the world. But today, the hardworking New Yorkers who pay the bills that send water through our taps are under attack from a small group of landlords. We need to defend the hardworking New Yorkers.” Read and share Mayor de Blasio’s article in the Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/fair-access-water-new-york-vulnerable-attack-article-1.2898761
Answers to Common Questions about PrEP: In recognition of World AIDS Day, Dr. Simona Bratu, medical director of NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem’s Infectious Disease/HIV Clinic, addressed common questions about PrEP, a prevention method to protect HIV-negative people at risk for infection. Her answers appeared in two publications, MyCityPaper.com and Harlem World Magazine. NYC Health + Hospitals also took the opportunity to remind New Yorkers that fast, easy and confidential HIV tests are available at little or no cost at all public hospitals and NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health centers in the five boroughs.
The Mayoral Photography Office’s stunning Pictures of the Week:
We are #AlwaysNewYork: Officer Aml Elsokary, of the 90th Precinct, proudly wears her hijab to work. She has served her fellow New Yorkers with distinction; yet, she recently had to experience a man allegedly yelling at her and her son, “Go back to your country.” If you see something, say something, and that includes when you see an act of hate. When you see violence toward your fellow New Yorker because of who they are, we need you to step forward and report it and help us stamp out hate. We are #AlwaysNewYork, and in New York we stand up for each other and we respect people of all faiths – that’s the New York way.
We’re calling on all New Yorkers to do a few things right now:
- Sign up for IDNYC. We will never turn over the paperwork to the federal government.
- Help your friends and family members sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
- We need everyone to register to vote.
- We need to pray – but not just in our own house of worship. We need to go to a different faith’s house of worship and stand alongside our neighbors in solidarity.
- Volunteer to help those in need.
- If you see someone in danger because of a bias attack, call 9-1-1. If you have information about acts of hatred and harassment, call 3-1-1.
- To parents and anyone who have young people in your lives – talk and listen to them about their fears and concerns. Show them by your example that you are doing something in the face of this challenge, and teach them that hate is not the way.
Fighting for New Yorkers – Keeping Money In Their Pockets: Last week, Mayor de Blasio stopped by the Clearview Senior Center in Bayside to discuss the $183 water bill credit the Water Board approved in April. The water credit is for 600,000 homeowners, all over the City, all five boroughs. Homeowners who pay the water bill, every single one of them will get the $183 credit. On top of that, seniors who are lower income can get relief from the water bill in addition.
Holiday Shopping Tips: DCA issued Holiday Shopping Tips to protect consumers’ identities and dollars during the holiday season. This annual effort is set to kick off the holiday shopping season and make consumers aware of their rights – including new gift card protections, helping them spend wisely, and protecting them from scams.
Anti-Discrimination “Know Your Rights” Outreach: The Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis joined Hot 97’s Street Soldiers, El Diario, and PBS Metrofocus last week to discuss anti-discrimination protections under the City’s Human Rights Law in the wake of the presidential election. The Commission will also participate in the “Inmigrantes: Conozcan Sus Derechos” phone-a-thon alongside Univision, El Diario, the New York Immigration Coalition and other partners to help inform Spanish speaking New Yorkers about their rights if they are the victims of discrimination, harassment or intimidation. People with questions can call 1-800-566-7636 this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 4:00pm and 7:00 pm to speak with a Spanish speaking Commission staff about their rights. A promotional flyer of the phone-a-thon is available online for download here. The Commission also created a webpage www.nyc.gov/NYCValues with information and resources for concerned New Yorkers.
Historic HIV Surveillance Data: The Health Department released its 2015 HIV Surveillance Annual Report, which shows that the annual number of new HIV diagnoses in New York City has fallen below 2,500 for the first time in the history of the epidemic, and there were no HIV infections diagnosed among infants born in NYC in 2015 – a major achievement within the overall elimination of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV. In 2015, 2,493 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in NYC, compared to 2,718 in 2014 and 5,902 in 2001, the highest recorded number of new HIV diagnoses since HIV case reporting began in New York State. While new diagnoses are down, communities of color continue to be disproportionally affected by HIV and AIDS – Black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to account for a major proportion of new HIV diagnoses. Additionally, this year’s HIV Surveillance Report features a dedicated section with data on HIV among transgender people and, for the first time, presents data by current gender instead of sex at birth and classifies transgender women as women and transgender men as men. New York City is the first jurisdiction to present HIV data in this way.
Conserving Energy In Buildings: The NYC Department of Small Business Services launched the NYC Building Operator Training Program to help residential buildings cut energy costs by up to 20 percent. The program is part of Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to work to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. NYC buildings make up roughly three-quarters of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions. This program will offer a no-cost, 30-hour training for small, multifamily building maintenance staff on ways to reduce energy consumption. Participants will learn about energy and resource conservation techniques related to a building’s heating, electrical and water systems. Apartment buildings with five to 50 units are eligible. The first group of participants will begin training on December 6 and the program will fully launch early next year.
Sodium Campaign: The Health Department this week launched the “Look Before You Eat” campaign, which reminds New Yorkers to look for the sodium warning icons on menus when dining in chain restaurants throughout New York City. The salt shaker icon – part of the City’s new mandated sodium warning rule for chain restaurants – must be posted next to menu items with 2,300 mg of sodium or more, the total daily recommended limit. The campaign is appearing on television, in the subway, online, in daily newspapers, on bus shelters, and on the sides of buses throughout the city.
Increasing our Electric Vehicle Fleet: New York City is growing its electric vehicle fleet by ordering 50 new GM Chevy Bolts. These will be part of what is already the largest electric vehicle fleet of any municipal fleet in the country. Since December 2015, the City has grown its electric fleet to more than 500 vehicles.
NYCEDC Grants First IDF Award to Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center: Last week, NYCEDC announced that Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) will be the first awardee to receive the City’s Industrial Developer Fund (IDF). GMDC will use the $10million grant to develop 90,000 sq. ft. of industrial space in Ozone Park, Queens, with capacity for 24 small and medium-sized industrial and light manufacturing businesses and 80 living wage jobs. The IDF was first announced in November of 2015 as part of Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito’s ten-point plan to grow industrial and manufacturing jobs.
Creating safer, cleaner, and more connected public housing communities: Last week, NYCHA completed one of the biggest capital improvements projects in its portfolio, placing new roofs on all 26 residential buildings at Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the nation. The new roofs will improve quality of life for more than 6,500 residents by addressing the root causes of mold and reducing incidences of leaks, and will save NYCHA millions of dollars on maintenance costs. The $87-million Queensbridge roof replacement project is one of the biggest projects to take place under Mayor de Blasio’s unprecedented $300-million investment in roof replacements across NYCHA––a commitment that will place new roofs on 263 NYCHA buildings citywide. Additionally, this week saw young NYCHA residents from Todt Hill Houses enthusiastically participating in STEM-education-focused after-school programs, building bridges, learning basic engineering, and working collaboratively in Staten Island; while young NYCHA residents from Red Hook Houses helped shape the vision for a new playground coming to Red Hook as part of Sandy recovery work. And NYCHA’s Director of Public-Private Partnerships and the Fund for Public Housing hit the airwaves to make the case for private investment in public housing communities, part of the Authority’s goal to raise $200 million over three years to bring enhanced services to NYCHA residents through innovative collaborations.
Congenital Zika virus syndrome: The Health Department issued a Health Alert this week informing health care providers that four additional babies have been born with congenital Zika virus syndrome in New York City since the Department announced the first case of Zika-related microcephaly in July. In total, the Department has identified five infants with congenital Zika virus syndrome. Eight additional infants in New York City have tested positive for Zika virus, but have not shown evidence of congenital Zika virus syndrome. Since January 2016, more than 200 infants have been born to women with Zika virus infection during pregnancy in New York City. The Health Department is following these infants for the first year of life to assess the effect of the mother’s Zika infection on the infant. Children with birth abnormalities who were suspected of having a developmental delay, and continue to reside in New York City have access to the City’s Early Intervention Program. This program assists families in identifying appropriate therapeutic and education services for their child.
Immigration Service Provider Day of Action: DCA, MOIA and Make the Road took to the streets in Queens, the country’s most diverse county, during the morning commute to educate New Yorkers about immigration services fraud and to “PROTECT yourself, REPORT fraud, and SEEK help.” Teams at subway stations along the 7 line in Corona and Jackson Heights distributed approximately 4,000 guides that warn immigrant New Yorkers about the increase in immigration services scams, directed them to free, trusted resources for immigration assistance through City-supported legal services programs, and armed them with DCA’s new consumer protection tips for immigrants. Also in attendance were City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Member Espinal, Council Member Ferraras-Copeland, and representatives from the Attorney General’s Office, Queens District Attorney’s Office and Catholic Migration Services.
Calling For Blood Equity: The Health Department is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men (MSM). This would allow an estimated additional 360,600 men to donate 615,300 additional pints of blood each year, increasing the total annual blood supply in the United States by 2 to 4 percent and helping to save the lives of more than 1.8 million people. New York City is the largest municipality to call for a change to the ban, joining a coalition of advocates including, GMHC, Lambda Legal, and Treatment Action Group (TAG). The comment, submitted to the FDA and co-authored by Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis, and Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo, calls on the FDA to lift its current policy prohibiting men who have had sex with men in the last 12 months from donating blood, and replace it with an evidence-based, three-step screening process that does not exclude potential donors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender of their sex partners. This recommendation is based on the agency’s clinical expertise in sexually transmitted infection management and extensive community consultation and engagement.
Living Safely: This week, the Buildings Department canvassed neighborhoods citywide as part of its annual Living Safely program, distributing multi-lingual flyers on the dangers of illegal conversions, where spaces that are not meant for residential use, like basements or warehouses, are made into makeshift apartments without the city’s approval. Often, these spaces lack essential safety measures, such as two separate ways of exiting the apartment in case of a fire. This issue took on added urgency in the wake of the recent deadly warehouse fire in Oakland, California. NY1, among other outlets, covered the story.
RED Ball: The Health Department joined Kiki Ballroom Hall of Famer Symba McQueen in hosting the third annual R.E.D. (Remembering. Empowering. Doing.) Ball at the Altman Building in Chelsea. Inspired by New York City’s House Ballroom culture, the R.E.D. Ball featured free HIV testing, live performances, information on HIV prevention and treatment, and appearances by House and Ballroom legends. The R.E.D. Ball is a space for individuals to express themselves freely and openly in creative ways, with additional access to HIV prevention services, testing and counseling. Attendees were invited to participate in a World AIDS Day-themed fashion show/runway competition, styled by McQueen.
Expanding Opportunities for CUNY Students at Cultural Institutions: At Carnegie Hall, CUNY students are receiving paid, on-the-job experience and exposure to the many pathways open to them in our city’s vibrant cultural sector. They are part of the CUNY Cultural Corps, established in September with funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs, as part of its cultural workforce diversity initiative. The Cultural Corps has placed students in positions in finance, development, marketing, education, and more at institutions in all five boroughs including Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Queens Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, and New York Botanical Garden. These paid positions open new doors for a diverse group of students, helping to cultivate the next generation of cultural leaders and connecting institutions with CUNY’s extraordinary pool of talent.
Celebrating Computer Science Education Week: Chancellor Fariña also visited PS 241 in Brooklyn to celebrate Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 5-11), a national and global effort encouraging schools to engage students in computer science (CS) education by teaching an “Hour of Code” or hosting other CS activities and events. Computer Science Education Week seeks to include schools with robust computer science programming, as well as schools that do not yet offer computer science. 339 elementary, middle and high schools across every borough of New York City have signed up to participate this week. New York City’s participation in Computer Science Education Week aligns with Computer Science for All (CS4All), a cornerstone initiative in Mayor de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda. By 2025, every student will receive computer science education in elementary, middle and high school. CS4All matches private donations with public funds to result in an $81 million public-private partnership to fund this work.
Citywide Ferry Sails Through Major Milestone: Citywide Ferry Service is on schedule! NYCEDC and Hornblower unveiled the completion of the first Citywide Ferry Vessel superstructure at Horizon Shipyard In Alabama. The completion of the superstructure marks a significant milestone in what will become New York City’s first citywide ferry service and one of the largest commuter ferry operations in the United States. Phase 1 of Citywide Ferry will launch in summer 2017. Check out photos of the citywide ferry’s progress at citywideferry.nyc
Launched New HIV Awareness Campaign, “Stay Sure”: In recognition of World AIDS Day, the Health Department announced the launch of “Stay Sure,” a new sexual health media campaign that promotes HIV prevention services in New York City, including the consistent use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), access to post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and condoms while encouraging New Yorkers living with HIV to stay on treatment for the dual benefit of maintaining their health and making HIV transmission nearly impossible. The announcements were made by Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett during the 29th Annual World AIDS Day, an event at the New York City AIDS Memorial, and organized in partnership with more than 70 community partners working towards ending the HIV epidemic in New York City by 2020.
#NYCxUN: UN Impact Report 2016: This week, the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs released the United Nations Impact Report 2016 at the United Nations. This analysis outlines the economic benefit to New York City due to the presence of the permanent headquarters of the United Nations and the UN Community – a significant $3.69 billion in economic output in 2014 – as well as illustrates how New York City supports this global community in its diverse metropolis.
Exploring the Waste Stream through Creative Reuse: Materials for the Arts unveiled a new art exhibition, “Re-Enliven”, at the Gibney Dance Center in Lower Manhattan. “Re-Enliven” features four NYC-based artists – Jean Shin, Bernard Klevickas, Jean Foos, and Jairo Toro – who explore reuse as a creative solution to waste reduction. From Foos’ used paint cups, Klevickas’ plastic orbs and food containers, Toro’s bicycle inner tubes, and Shin’s leather remnants, “Re-Enliven” challenges viewers to consider the potential for bringing new life to everyday materials that might otherwise be relegated to the waste stream. The exhibition is located at Gibney Dance Agnes Varis Performing Art Center, 53A Chambers through January 16, 2017. It is open Monday through Friday 8 am – 10 pm and Saturday through Sunday 10 am – 10 pm.
Afterschool Reading Club for Students in Shelters: This week, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks visited the Flushing Family Residence to announce the Afterschool Reading Club, a brand-new literacy enrichment pilot for elementary school students living in shelters. This is the DOE’s first citywide literacy-focused after school effort in shelters, and the pilot reflects the Administration’s dedication to supporting the needs of students in temporary housing, and its commitment across all NYC’s public schools to strengthening early literacy instruction and engaging parents as partners in students’ education.
Build It Back – Moving Forward: Recent efforts by the agency created to rebuild Rockaway and other parts of New York City have started a change in the narrative. BIB Director Amy Peterson recently sat down with The Wave at Rockaway Roasters on Rockaway Beach Boulevard after a tour of a house-raising on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel. After months of inactivity, several projects are back on target, and Peterson credits much of the new optimism to Luis Mendes, deputy commissioner at the Department of Design and Construction, who was brought on board to get BIB back on track. The new hire was critical, says Peterson, as much of the lack of progress was blamed a “tangle of bureaucracy.” She says Mendez, has been instrumental in getting the delays untangled. Broad Channel was hit particularly hard by Sandy, and has seen its share of ups and downs with BIB. BC Civic Association President Dan Mundy Jr. says that while many residents have rebuilt their homes, and the street raising project is underway, there still is a lot of work to be done.
City Invests in Infrastructure in the South Bronx To Catalyze Future Development: Over the weekend the New York Times reported on the de Blasio Administration’s blueprint to invest $194 million into infrastructure improvements and construction in a 30 block area on the Harlem River waterfront in the South Bronx. The article expounds on the Administration’s plan to use the funding to make streets pedestrian-friendly, replace water and sewer lines, carve out a new park, expand broadband access, develop mixed-use affordable housing and more.
Shop Healthy NYC: The Health Department’s Center for Health Equity and the Brooklyn Neighborhood Health Action Center joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at Sajoma Deli Grocery, an East New York bodega, to recognize 19 food stores with a special citation for participating in Shop Healthy NYC. The program works to increase access and promotion of healthier food and beverages in neighborhoods with high rates of diet-related chronic illnesses. Over the past three years, Shop Healthy NYC has been working in ZIP codes 11207 and 11208 to increase access and promotion of healthy foods and beverages in community stores. During this time, 137 stores accepted the Shop Healthy Food Retail Challenge to prioritize the stocking and promotion of healthy foods in their stores. In 2014, 21 stores from ZIP code 11208 reached all seven Shop Healthy NYC criteria. Today, as 85 stores in ZIP code 11207 complete participation in the Shop Healthy NYC program, 19 are receiving a citation for achieving all seven of the program’s criteria. The Cypress Hills Local Development Corp. and East New York Restoration Local Development Corp. are being recognized with a citation for their continued work with neighborhood stores and partnership with the program. Shop Healthy NYC’s work is further highlighted by a new Epi Data Brief entitled, “Access to Healthy and Affordable Food in East New York.” The Epi Data Brief characterizes the types of food establishments and the availability and promotion of selected foods and beverages in ZIP code 11208 of East New York.
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