Monthly Archives

October 2016


A New Historic District, Medicare Info Session, Health and Labor Legislation, November Events and more!

October 31, 2016

Dear Friends,

Happy Halloween! Council District 3 has been anything but a ‘Sleepy Hollow’ in the month of October. We made significant progress on the creation of a new historic district in the South Village. My legislation to improve mental health services for the formerly incarcerated was signed into law by the Mayor, and I introduced legislation to create benefits for tax and for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City.

I’m pleased to forward this update on my recent initiatives, as well as a listing of free and low-cost events happening in and around the District in November.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

In service,

Corey Johnson
Council Member, 3rd Council District

E-News Table of Contents


Breakthrough Reached on a New South Village Historic District

Since my earliest days in office, I have been advocating for a much needed expansion of the South Village Historic District. The neighborhood is home to innumerable architectural and historic treasures that are definitive of our great City, and it’s crucial that we preserve the character and history that will continue to make it a world-class destination for generations to come.

I’m proud to report that after much advocacy by myself, Council Member Margaret Chin, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and so many outstanding community advocates, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will finally consider this much-needed expansion.

The first public hearing will be scheduled on November 1, so stay tuned for updates!

Click here to read an article in The Villager about this breakthrough.

Tomorrow: Medicare Rights Presentation

Tomorrow, November 1, I’m hosting a Medicare Rights Open Enrollment Presentation for seniors at the Hudson Guild Senior Center Auditorium (119 Ninth Avenue).

This event will feature Medicare Rights representatives who will discuss the enrollment process for Medicare and describe the assistance that’s available for seniors to lower their medical costs.  Details are as follows:

Medicare Rights Open Enrollment Presentation
Monday, November 1
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Hudson Guild Senior Center Auditorium, 119 Ninth Avenue (between West 17th and West 18th Streets)


Traffic Safety at P.S. 41

On October 17, I organized an inter-agency site visit to the streets and intersections surrounding P.S. 41 with State Senator Brad Hoylman, representatives from the Department of Transportation, parent leaders and school administrators. We discussed much needed pedestrian and traffic safety features that have been requested by the P.S. 41 community for several years.

I want to thank the Department of Transportation for agreeing to enact some of these measures, as well as P.S. 41’s outstanding Principal Kelly Shannon, the parents who are so actively engaging on this issue, and Community Board 2, which has been pushing for these improvements for years.

Click here to read our letter to the Department of Transportation on this matter.

Select Bus Service at 23rd Street

Over the past year, the Department of Transportation and the MTA have studied the 23rd Street corridor and M23 bus route to improve bus performance, which is often cited as slow and unreliable. With 23rd Street being a Vision Zero Priority corridor, improving pedestrian safety along this route is a high priority.

As a result, the MTA is introducing a Select Bus Service (SBS) route on 23rd Street from 12th Avenue to Avenue C. SBS buses allow customers to board through all open doors once the bus pulls into the stop. This is achieved by the use of off-board fare payment machines. In addition, the installation of Bus-Only lanes keep buses from getting stuck in traffic, and this bus lane was designed to improve bus travel times and reliability along the slowest parts of the bus route for the 15,000 daily riders.

Click here to read an article in DNAInfo about this recent development.

Governor Cuomo to Fund Major Infrastructure Transformation

On October 5, I attended an announcement by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo regarding a transformation of MTA tolls and bridges. With flood and earthquake reinforcements, automatic tolling and more, these infrastructure investments promise to help make our roads safer, less congested and better equipped to meet today’s transportation needs.

Click here to read more about this transformation.


75 Morton Middle School to Incubate at Clinton School for First Year

This week, the Department of Education and the School Construction Authority announced that because of construction complications, the opening of the new middle school facility at 75 Morton Street must be postponed by one year. Fortunately, the DOE has developed a plan to incubate the first class of this middle school at another location: the Clinton School for Writers and Artists.

Click here to read a letter from Superintendent Bonnie Laboy about this development.

Public Safety and Criminal Justice

Signed! Mental Health and Recidivism

Photo by William Alatriste

October 18, Mayor de Blasio signed into law my bill that will help our City end the cycle of incarceration for New Yorkers with mental health issues. Introduction 1014-A does this by requiring the NYC Department of Correction to report and release data that will inform us on the rates of recidivism among New Yorkers with mental health diagnoses.

This legislation will help improve public safety while guiding us towards a fairer and more effective correctional system. This Council has been fully engaged on matters of social justice, and I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for being a leader on criminal justice reform, as well as my colleagues in the Council who co-sponsored this legislation.

Click here to read more about this legislation.


PB Budget Delegate Meeting: Thursday, November 10

Participatory Budgeting (PB) – the process that allows the community to decide how to spend $1 million in City funding – is moving full steam ahead until voting takes place between March 25 and April 2, 2017.  Next up, PB Budget Delegates will convene and start developing the ideas collected from the community into proposals you can vote for at Hudson Guild’s Elliott Community Center on November 10 at 6:30 pm.

If you’re interested in taking part in this exciting process, please click here or contact Matt Green in my office at (212) 564-7757 or by email at

Honored by Local Block Associations

On October 24, I was humbled to be an honoree at the annual meeting of the 300 West 23rd, 22nd, 21st Streets Block Association. I was also very pleased this month to visit with the West 400 Street Block Association and the Jane Street Block Association.

Block Associations are crucial organizations that epitomize neighborliness and public services, and it is truly a privilege to work with them every day.

Visiting Penn South

On October 27, I had the privilege of addressing Penn South at a meeting of the Co-op Council. I always cherish the opportunity to update constituents on my efforts, and more importantly to hear from them and discuss the issues they face every day. Manhattan’s West Side is home to a lot of change, but through the work of concerned citizens like those at Penn South, I know we can continue to move our neighborhoods in the right direction.

Apply for a Love Your Block Grant

Citizens Committee for New York City and the NYC Service invites your neighborhood group to apply for a Love Your Block Grant.  Grants of up to $1,000 are awarded for block beautification projects that utilize City services from the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation, NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection,  NYC Dept. of Transportation, and the Dept. of Sanitation of NYC. The grant deadline is November 7, 2016 and the online application link and forms can be found by clicking here.

For more information, please contact Shawn Whitehorn at  (212) 822-9563 or by email at

Grants for Hell’s Kitchen Artists

The Hell’s Kitchen Foundation is accepting applications for a new round of grants to be awarded to local visual artists this December. Grants range from $2,000 to $5,000, and new and under-recognized neighborhood artists are encouraged to apply. Applications for this round of grant awards must be received by the foundation by November 20, 2016. To access the application and read more, please click here.


Ending the Exploitation of Exotic Animals in NYC

As we learn more about the proper treatment of wild and exotic animals over time, it’s important that we revisit certain longstanding practices. This month I co-sponsored legislation with Council Member Rosie Mendez to ban wild and exotic animals from being used for entertainment purposes in our City. New York can take a leadership role for the rest of our nation on this important issue, and I look  forward to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation.

Click here to watch some of my remarks from a hearing on this legislation.

No Cost Flu Shot Day!

On October 27, I was thrilled to host 101 community members at my district office for our annual Flu Shot Day. Dr. Mary Bassett, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene stopped by and administered my flu shot!

As Health Commissioner, Dr. Bassett has done a remarkable job addressing our City’s complex health issues and I’m so glad that she was able to join me for this opportunity to highlight just how important it is that New Yorkers get their shots. I want to thank Duane Reade/Walgreens and their staff for providing this great service to the community.


ACE Beginning Regular Cleanup Service in the District

In this year’s municipal budget, I allocated $100,000 to ACE, a not-for-profit organization that provides supplemental cleaning services to neighborhoods around New York City. Starting this Thursday, ACE employees will be sweeping up litter and bagging overflowing waste baskets at highly trafficked corridors throughout Council District 3.

In addition, I allocated $20,000 to the Department of Sanitation for Manual Litter Patrol services that will also target problematic locations. As in previous years, I also allocated funds for new waste baskets that will replace the older wire baskets, and increased garbage collection.

To recommend locations that could use supplemental cleaning service, please email my office at

Employment Opportunity: Emergency Snow Laborer

Individuals interested in working as an emergency snow laborer for the upcoming snow season may now register at their local Sanitation garage. Snow laborers are per-diem workers who shovel snow and ice from bus stops, crosswalks, fire hydrants and step streets in the City after heavy snowfalls.

Individuals interested in registering with the DSNY can do so weekdays between 7 am and 3 pm. The list of garage locations can be found at Snow laborers will be paid $15 per hour, and $22.50 per hour after 40 hours are worked in a week, an increase from the previous year.

Find and Give Secondhand Goods with DonateNYC

DonateNYC makes finding and giving second-hand goods easier by providing an easy-to-use mobile app and searchable online directory where New Yorkers can locate hundreds of thrift shops, flea markets, antique stores and more! 

By donating and reusing goods, New Yorkers can reduce waste, conserve resources, save money, and help provide jobs and services for New Yorkers in need. donateNYC also provides support for NYC’s reuse community, helping local nonprofits and businesses promote their reuse efforts. Learn about donateNYC Partner organizations, and find out how you can donate and find goods at


Benefits for Taxi and For-Hire Vehicle Drivers

On October 13, I proudly introduced legislation that would compel the Taxi & Limousine Commission to create a benefit fund so that taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers could receive the same benefits that so many of us already receive.

Taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers are an important part of our City’s workforce. They work long, difficult hours, and it’s time that they get the benefits to which they’re entitled. I want to thank Council Members Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin and Helen Rosenthal for joining with me on this important legislation.

Click here to read more about this legislation.

Small Business

Touring the District with Small Business Services Commissioner 

Photo by William Alatriste

Protecting the character and livability of our neighborhoods means protecting our small businesses. On October 26, I toured small business and vacant storefronts in the district with Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop. This was an opportunity for us to hear from business owners, survey the problems they face and discuss important next steps to help our businesses not only survive, but thrive.

Meeting with the Village Alliance and the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce

On October 5, the Village Alliance and the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce graciously asked me to address their members at a business networking event. We talked about some of the biggest issues facing our businesses, and I updated them on my efforts to assist small businesses both in the district and citywide.

Click here to read more about this event.

Neighborhood Leadership and Digital Toolkit

Neighborhood Leadership, a partnership between SBS and the Coro New York Leadership Center, selects 20 individuals from communities across the five boroughs to develop their leadership skills and hone their commercial revitalization expertise under Coro’s proven leadership development model.

Now entering its seventh year, the program has graduated over 100 neighborhood leaders and attracted national recognition for its success. Thanks to the support of the City Council and SBS, the six-month program is free and participants receive micro-grants for their district projects upon completion.

The application deadline for this program is November 21, 2016. You can find the application on Coro’s website by clicking here.


Fighting for Tenants of Three-Quarter Houses

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Defender Services

In recent years, we have seen a rise in landlords who exploit low-income individuals by renting out substandard “three-quarter” houses, often in exchange for money that is meant for other necessities. On October 6, the General Welfare Committee discussed a package of legislation to address this problem, including my bill to expand outreach so that tenants know their rights against eviction. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring greater fairness to these tenants.

Click here to watch remarks I gave at the press conference before this hearing.

Forum on Homelessness

Manhattan is faced with many issues, but there is perhaps none more heartbreaking and difficult than homelessness. The suffering experienced by homeless New Yorkers is hard to imagine. And when we see homeless men, women and children abound in our neighborhoods, it’s a source of daily heartbreak. We start to feel our quality of life slip away, and our faith in our City suffers.

On October 25, I spoke at a forum on homelessness hosted by the Department of Homeless Services and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Addressing homelessness takes an all-encompassing approach, one that involves residents and community leaders, advocates, elected officials, law enforcement and City agencies, as well as the creation of a significant amount of affordable housing. I was proud to take part in this important discussion and I look forward to working with all parties to make progress on this crucial issue.

City Planning Commission Weighs In on St. John’s Terminal Site

Photo courtesy of DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

On Monday, after several alterations to the project were agreed to, the St. John’s Terminal development at 550 Washington Street received approval from the City Planning Commission (CPC). Using CB2’s July resolution as a guide, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the applicant to achieve a final product ‎that provides much-needed emergency repair funds for Pier 40, desperately needed affordable housing for the West Village and other community benefits.

As it comes before the City Council, I will continue to push for several key components like landmark protections for the South Village, additional capital funding for Pier 40, and new traffic mitigation measures and pedestrian improvements. I look forward to working with my colleagues to further maximize the public benefit of this project.

Click here to read a DNAInfo article about the CPC’s decision.


City Council Transgender Training

On October 19, the Council’s LGBT Caucus hosted an important training for City Council staff on best practices for working with members of the transgender community. Our City is making great strides on creating equality and fairness for our transgender citizens, from a recent executive order by Mayor de Blasio to my legislation that allows New Yorkers to more easily amend the gender on their birth certificates. Still, there is much more work to be done, and I am always happy to participate in events like these to honor our City’s obligation to this community.

Anti-LGBT Assault in the District

On October 2, an outrageous apparent hate crime took place on West 4th Street. When any New Yorker is attacked, particularly when it is because of his or her identity, we need to band together as a City and demonstrate our refusal to tolerate bigotry. I ask that anybody with information about this crime immediately contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

Click here to read an article in Gothamist about this incident.

Tuesday, November 8 is Election Day

On Tuesday, November 8, millions of Americans will vote for elected representatives from President of the United States to local judges. I strongly encourage everybody who is able to take part in the democratic process by casting a ballot.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for Election Day:

  1. Find your poll site at
  2. Write down your poll site address and your Election District and Assembly District (as they determine your sign-in table).
  3. Click on “Ballot Information” to see the candidates that will appear on your ballot, and the offices for which they’re running.

And if you haven’t registered to vote, please click here to get more information and a registration form. While it’s too late to register to vote in this election, I still recommend registering now if you have yet to do so!

Free Monthly Housing Clinic

My office helps constituents around the district with a wide range of issues. However, housing issues – particularly those that have to do with landlord harassment/disputes – account for an outstanding number of these constituent cases. We offer housing clinics at my District Office (224 West 30th Street, Suite 1206) once a month from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Please note that because of election night, the next clinic will be on Wednesday, November 9.

At these clinics, you can receive free legal advice from housing attorneys who will be volunteering their time. You will be seen on a first come, first serve basis.

November Events Calendar

City Council Land Use Committee: St. John’s Terminal Application
Tuesday, November 1 at 9:30 am
City Hall, Council Chambers (enter at Broadway and Murray Street)

Tomorrow, the Land Use Committee of the New York City Council will consider the application of 550 Washington Street (often referred to as the St. John’s Terminal site). At this hearing, the public is welcome to attend and speak.

Fall Films at Jefferson Market Library
Each Monday at 6:00 pm
Jefferson Market Library, First Floor. 425 Avenue of the Americas (Between Ninth and Tenth Streets)

Full schedule as follows. Please click here for more information.

November 7: This Modern Age
November 14: Masquerade
November 21: Mermaids
November 28: Boys

Dream and Create: Open Sewing Workshop
Each Tuesday from 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Jefferson Market Library, third floor Mae West Community Room. 425 Avenue of the Americas (Between Ninth and Tenth Streets)

In this hands-on course students will learn sewing techniques to create their own unique projects. Bring a project that you’d like to tackle with confidence and then sew it on Jefferson Market’s very own sewing machines! There will be additional fabrics and materials available, and the workshop will be led by Lesley Ware, an author, designer and fashion educator. Register online by clicking here.

Prepare for the High School Equivalency Exam
Every Friday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Jefferson Market Library, First Floor. 425 Avenue of the Americas (Between Ninth and Tenth Streets)

This free course will help adults improve their literacy skills and prepare for the TASC (formerly known as the GED). The HSE classes covers all of the five subjects such as Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics. Classes are ongoing throughout the year and with open enrollment. For more information, please click here or contact instructor Vulcanus Levi at or (347) 299-9721.

Teens: Board Game Bonanza
Each Thursday at 3:30 pm
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Teens! Challenge your friends to board games including Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Pandemic, Bananagrams, Uno, chess, and more. For more information, please click here.

Teens: Game On!
Each Tuesday at 3:30 pm
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Got the gaming moves? Show off your skill with the Wii remote and challenge your friends to a game in the library. Take part in our tournaments! For ages 12 to 18. For more information, please click here.

Ch’an Coloring and Conversation for Adults
Each Tuesday from 12:00 to 1:30 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Join others for a relaxing afternoon of coloring unique and intricate coloring pages. Coloring can help you de-stress, by focusing on a particular activity. This activity will stimulate the brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. Coloring sheets and pencil crayons will be provided or you can bring your own supplies. Tea will be served and soft music played to put your mind at ease. Adults only please! Please click here for more information.

Bryant Park Juggling
Weekdays from 12:00 to 1:00 pm
Upper Terrace or 42nd Street Plaza of Bryant Park

Test your coordination and dexterity with free juggling lessons in the park. All skill levels are welcome to join in the fun. Equipment is provided. The Bryant Park Jugglers use the park throughout the year. They’re a friendly group and open to drop-ins, even if you catch them outside of the regular juggling lessons. For more information, please click here.

Knit + Club
Each Monday, 11 am to 1 pm
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Bring a project, an idea, or a desire to learn and they will teach you! For all skill levels. If you have them, please bring knitting needles, size 9-10.5. For more information, please click here.

Early Literacy: Baby and Me
Each Wednesday from 10:15 to 10:45 am and 11:15 to 11:45 am (No class on November 9)
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Babies and their caregivers can enjoy simple stories,  lively songs and rhymes, and meet other neighborhood babies. For ages birth-18 months; limited to 30. Please click here for more information.

Early Literacy: Family Storytime
Each Wednesday from 3:30 to 4:30 pm
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Join others for read alouds and songs for all ages! The librarian will share favorite, new, and seasonal stories. Coloring pages and crayons will be on hand to share after the reading. Click here for more information.

Early Literacy: Preschool Read, Make, & Take
Each Monday from 4:00 to 4:45 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Pre-schoolers and their caregivers can enjoy classic fairy tales, folk tales, and new picture books. Each session  ends with a craft. For ages 3-5; limited to 25. For more information, please click here.

High Line Winter Tour: From Freight to Flowers
Each Saturday from 12:00 to 12:45 pm
Gansevoort Street entrance, on the High Line at Gansevoort Street

Hear the story behind NYC’s park in the sky on a special walking tour! This free 45-minute long tour is led by High Line Docents, knowledgeable volunteer guides who offer you an insider’s perspective on the park’s history, design, and landscape. Tours are subject to cancellation due to weather. Check or follow @highlinenyc on Twitter for updates prior to arriving. For more information, please click here.

Rudy’s Barbershop Offers Complimentary Shaves To Benefit The Movember Foundation
Monday, October 31 and Tuesday, November 1 from 11 am to 7 pm
Rudy’s Barbershop, 14 West 29th Street (Between Broadway and Fifth Avenue)

Rudy’s Barbershop is officially partnering with the Movember Foundation for a shave off event and offering complimentary trims and shaves.  Patrons will receive a complimentary moustache or beard trim (valued at $15) when they donate $5 and a straight razor shave (valued at $50) when they donate $10, with all revenue generated going directly to the Movember Foundation. Call (212) 532-7200 to make an appointment, and click here for more information.

Grand Opening of the Bryant Park Skating Rink
Tuesday, November 1 from 5:00 to 6:00 pm
Bryant Park, 41st Street and Fifth Avenue

Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of Winter Village. Performances from synchronized skaters Team Image and the first ever Winter Village Skating Ambassador, an internationally renowned Olympic skater. First 50 people in line at the Skating Pavilion at 5:00pm will receive a free skate rental. 

Thursday Afternoon Film Matinees
Thursday, November 3, 10 and 17 at 2:00 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Full schedule below. Please click here for more information.

  • November 3: Fathers and Daughters
  • November 10: Money Monster
  • November 17: Now You See Me 2

Early Literacy: Tummy Time
Thursday, November 3, 10 and 17 from 10:30 to 11:30 am
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Infants and their caregivers will get down on their tummies and do simple finger plays, and songs. There will be time to interact with other infants, read together, and learn an easy to remember developmental tip. For young infants (pre-walkers); limited to 30 Please, only pre-walkers and their caregivers and families! Different story times are available for older, more active children. Click here for more information.

Early Literacy: Play, Move, and Sing
Thursday, November 3, 10 and 17 from 12:00 to 12:45 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Grown-ups and children will move their bodies to the beat and use instruments to make rhythms as well as learn some simple story songs and rhymes.  For ages 18 months-4 years; limited to 35. Click here for more information.

Ageism: Why It Matters
Thursday, November 3 from 6:15 to 8:00 pm
St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue(at East 54th Street)

Presented by the Yale Alumni Non Profit Alliance and Gray Panthers, this important forum will feature author Ashton Applewhite and professor and researcher Becca Levy. For more information, please contact Jack Kupferman at (917) 535-0457 or by email at To purchase tickets, please click here.

New York City Marathon
Sunday, November 6 at 8:00 am

The race starts in Staten Island at the Western end of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and passes through Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx before finish in Manhattan’s iconic Central Park, outside the famous Tavern on the Green. Please click here for a map of the course. If you can’t watch the race in person, find other ways to view it by clicking here.

Yoga in the High Line Hotel’s Refectory
Sunday, November 6 at 1:30 pm
The High Line Hotel, 180 Tenth Avenue (Between West 20th and West 21st Streets)

The High Line Hotel and Haven Collective apparel host a free new yoga series in the hotel’s historic Refectory space. Classes feature expert instructors from Modo Yoga NYC, Sky Ting Yoga and Yogamaya. RSVP:

Flatiron Partnership Holds Free Weekly Historic Walking Tours of the District
Sunday, November 6 at 11:00 am
Southwest corner of Madison Square Park, at 23rd Street and Broadway)

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) provides free, year-round historic walking tours of the district, led by local professional guides. Experience some of the city’s most notable landmarks, including the Flatiron Building, New York Life Insurance Building, MetLife Clock Tower, and Appellate Courthouse. Tours take place every Sunday starting at 11:00 a.m., and meet at the southwest corner of Madison Square Park (in front of the William Seward statue) at 23rd Street and Broadway. No advance registration is required. Please click here for more information.

Election Film Festival: All The President’s Men
Tuesday, November 1 at 12:00 pm
Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue (Between West 50th and West 51st Street)

The story of the investigation of the Watergate break-in by two Washington Post reporters that drove a U.S. president from office.  Based on the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, and directed by Alan J. Pakula. Click here for more information.

Election Film Festival: All The King’s Men
Wednesday, November 2 at 12:00 pm
Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue (Between West 50th and West 51st Street)

This is the story of Willie Stark–rising from the mud of the back country–and his long climb to the top, followed by his longer drop to the bottom. Stark’s career begins with running for county treasurer and losing. In his second run for governor, Willie vows to give the people new hospitals, schools, roads — and when he’s elected, he delivers. But the more power he gets, the more corrupt he acts, until he’s unrecognizable.  Click here for more information.

Teens: Perler Parlor
Wednesday, November 2 and November 16 at 3:30 pm
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Stretch your creative skills and hang out with friends as we fuse colorful Perler® beads into fun patterns!  Materials will be provided. Limit to 10. Please click here for more information.

Election Film Festival: Down Went McGinty
Thursday, November 3 at 11:00 am
Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue (Between West 50th and West 51st Street)

An opportunist turns corruption into a promising political career but struggles to stay on top when he tries to go honest. Starring Brian Donlev, Muriel Angelus and Akim Tamiroff. Please click here for more information.

The River Project’s Release of the Fishes
Thursday, November 3 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm
The Wetlab, Pier 40 at Houston and West Streets

Help return the fishes, crabs, snails, and other animals of the 2016 season to the Hudson River, and watch a live dive!  Refreshments will be served and prizes will be raffled. Click here for more information.

Election Film Festival: The Ides of March
Friday, November 4 at 1:00 pm
Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue (Between West 50th and West 51st Street)

During the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, an up-and-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei. Please click here for more information.

Chelsea Nights: A Concert Series
Friday, November 4 at 6:30 pm
Chelsea Market, Main Concourse. 75 Ninth Avenue (Between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets)

“Chelsea Nights” is a free concert hosted by Brooklyn-based Paper Garden Records and Chelsea Market that occurs the first Friday of each month. Each show features indie bands from the Paper Garden Records label. The concert is held in the main concourse of Chelsea Market and will begin at 6:30 PM. During the event, attendees can shop around, grab a bite to eat and drink, and listen to the bands. For more information, please click here.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan: Target Free First Friday Nights
Friday, November 4 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
The Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam)

On the first Friday of each month, admission to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is free to all from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Instant Shakespeare Company’s Performance of The Tragedy of Macbeth
Saturday, November 5 at 1:00 pm
Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue (Between West 50th and West 51st Street)

Come and hear select Shakespeare readings presented by performers from the Instant Shakespeare Company. This is the Instant Shakespeare’s 17th Season of presenting free readings of ALL of Shakespeare’s plays annually. For more information on the company find them on facebook or check out their website by clicking here.

Open Mic Poetry Reading 
Saturday, November 5 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

The National Writers Union welcome all to read their poetry in an open mic poetry reading. Poets who are members of the union will also participate by reading from their works. Please click here for more information.

Readings and Performances in Response to Zoe Leonard’s “I Want a President”
Sunday, November 6 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm
Chelsea Market Passage, on the High Line at West 16th Street

High Line Art hosts an afternoon of readings and performances in response to Zoe Leonard’s I want a president (1992), which is currently on view on the western pillar of The Standard, High Line, through November 17. The event is free with RSVP and open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, please click here.

Monday, November 7 at 10:30 am
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Children are immersed in the richness of the Spanish language as they participate in lively educational songs and typical rhymes and movements. Two native musicians guide students through using call and response techniques, visual aids, instruments and more. Best for children ages 0-3 years old with parent/caregiver.  Click here for more information.

Election Film Festival: W.
Monday, November 7 at 12:00 pm
Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue (Between West 50th and West 51st Street)

A look at the life of the 43rd President of the United States. Starring Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Banks and directed by Oliver Stone. Click here for more information.

Election Film Festival: The Manchurian Candidate
Tuesday, November 8 at 12:00 pm
Columbus Library, 742 Tenth Avenue (Between West 50thand West 51st Street)

When a decorated Korean War veteran who has been brainwashed starts to commit political assassinations, his old military commander begins to suspect and must stop him. Starring Frank Sinatra and directed by John Frankenheimer. Please click here for more information.

14th Street PeopleWay Workshop
Thursday, November 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Fulton Auditorium, 119 Ninth Avenue (between West 17th and West 18th Streets)

L Train service along 14th Street is going to shut down for a year and a half, starting in fewer than 800 days. Transportation Alternatives has proposed a “PeopleWay” to prioritize buses, biking and walking on 14th Street, a plan that could double the corridor’s capacity to move stranded commuters. To make the best possible case to the City, we need your ideas. This is an opportunity to talk with expert urban planners and help solve the upcoming L-Train closure.

Meditation:The Ultimate Peaceful Experience
Thursday, November 10 at 5:30 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Jim Rose long- time meditator will help you discover the best way to integrate meditation into your life and unlock the doorway to deep, inner peace and happiness. He will show you how you can awaken to the power within through meditation. The more you meditate, the more you experience the peace and joy inside you. This transforms you and those around you. There will even be a short meditation sitting. For more information, please click here.

LGBT Philosophy Forum
Saturday, November 12 from 2:45 to 4:45 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Conference Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

For over 15 years the Forum has provided the LGBT community and its friends an open opportunity to gather and informally discuss important works of philosophy. They meet monthly on the second Saturday, from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.  All are welcome and the texts to be discussed (up to 50 pages) or links to the texts can be found by clicking here.

Human Sexuality 101; or (Real Deal Comics)
Tuesday, November 15 at 3:30 pm
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

A basic course of the different types of gender and sexual orientation. We create art and characters of different genders and orientations to inspire empathy and practical knowledge, and give basic lessons on gender, diversity, and orientation, and how to treat people who are different with respect. Students are then asked to create a team of heroes that are interesting in their gender diversity as well as their orientation. Recommended for teens, ages 12 to 18 years old. Please lick here for more information.

Patti Smith: Chelsea Talks at Muhlenberg
Tuesday, November 15 from 5:30 to 6:45 pm
Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist who gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She has released twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time by Rolling Stone. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. She resides in New York City and has lived in the famous Chelsea Hotel. Please click here for more information.

Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimers
Thursday, November 17 from 5:45 to 6:45 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

A workshop presented by the Alzheimer’s Association If you or someone you know is experiencing memory loss or behavioral changes, it’s time to learn the facts. Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease gives you a chance to begin drug therapy, enroll in clinical studies and plan for the future. This interactive workshop features video clips of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Please click here for more information.

Opera Concert Series at Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
Saturday, November 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, 40 West 20th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)  

The New York Opera Forum performs complete concert versions of operas with piano accompaniment.  Programs with act-by-act plot summaries will be provided in large print and braille so come to Don Carlo by Verdi for secret identities, love triangles, and politics. Please click here for more information.

Gotham Pulp Collectors Club
Saturday, November 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Muhlenberg Library, Community Room. 209 West 23rd Street (Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)

If you collect, read, or are just interested in classic Pulp magazines and you live in or near NYC, you want to know about the Gotham Pulp Collectors Club. We are pulp readers and collectors who meet once a month to talk about our favorite subject: popular fiction magazines from the first half of the 20th century. We discuss what we’ve been reading along with new developments in the fields of reprints, movies, TV, auctions, conventions, “New Pulp” fiction, and more. For more information, please click here.

Free Thanksgiving Dinner at Le Souk
Thursday, November 24
Le Souk Restaurant & Lounge, 510 La Guardia Place (Between Bleeker and Houston Streets)

Le Souk is the place to be on Thanksgiving Day. In an annual tradition, the restaurant and hookah hot spot will once again serve up free dinners with all the fixin’s, plus good times all around. Although dinner is complimentary, donations were accepted and all proceeds go to Visiting Neighbors, a local nonprofit that provides a helping hand to the community’s elderly and will be matched by Le Souk, nearby Falucka restaurant and lounge and BAMRA (Bleecker Area Merchants’ and Residents’ Association).


Community Board 2
Thursday, November 17 at 6:30 pm
Scholastic Building, 557 Broadway (between Prince and Spring Streets)

Community Board 4
Wednesday, November 2 at 6:30 pm
Fulton Auditorium, 119 Ninth Avenue (between West 17th and West 18th Streets)

Community Board 5
Thursday, November 10 at 6:00 pm
Xavier High School, 30 West 16th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)

Community Board 7
Tuesday, November 1 at 6:30 pm
Mount Sinai West Hospital, 1000 Tenth Avenue (at West 59th Street)


1st Precinct Community Council
Thursday, November 24 at 7:00 pm
16 Ericsson Place (corner of Bleecker Street)

6th Precinct Community Council
Wednesday, November 30 at 7:00 pm
Our Lady of Pompeii, 25 Carmine Street (between Beach & N. Moore Streets)

10th Precinct Community Council
Wednesday, November 30 at 7:00 pm
230 West 20th Street (between Seventh & Eighth Avenues)

13th Precinct Community Council
Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30 pm
230 East 21st Street (between Second and Third Avenues)

Midtown South Community Council
Thursday, November 17 at 7:00 pm
New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Avenue (between West 34th and West 35th Streets)

Midtown North Community Council
Tuesday, November 15 at 7:00 pm
306 West 54th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues)

20th Precinct Community Council
Monday, November 28 at 7:00 pm
120 West 82nd Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues)


Letter from School District 2 Superintendent Bonnie Laboy Regarding 75 Morton

October 27, 2016

Dear District 2 Community,

The new school building being constructed at 75 Morton Street in Manhattan is now anticipated to open for the 2018-19 school year. Contractors are working diligently to complete the project, but due to unforeseen structural steel conditions that could present significant safety concerns, the opening is being pushed back.

As a result of this change, the Department of Education intends to propose the incubation of M.S. 297 in building M868 for the 2017-18 school year until construction on the school’s permanent space at 75 Morton Street is completed. Located at 10 East 15th Street, building M868 is a new facility with robust middle school amenities that currently houses The Clinton School for Writers and Artists and has space available to serve incoming M.S. 297 6th graders.

We are committed to working with the Clinton School for Writers and Artists and M.S. 297 communities to ensure that the needs of both schools are met. The proposal to incubate M.S. 297 and temporarily co-locate the school for the 2017-18 school year will follow Chancellors’ Regulation A-190 and require approval from the Panel for Educational Policy. Additional details regarding this process will be available shortly.

Master Principal Jacqui Getz, who oversees the development of M.S. 297, will continue to visit schools with zoned families and hold community meetings. Families interested in attending M.S. 297 should follow the Middle School Admissions Process outlined in the District 2 Middle School Directory.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process. Please feel free to reach out to Jacqui Getz at or District 2 Family Leadership Coordinator Jennifer Greenblatt at with any questions.


Bonnie Laboy
Community School District 2


The Villager: City set to designate ‘Phase III’ of South Village Historic District

October 27, 2016

October 27, 2016

Back in 2006, George W. Bush was still president, “Borat” was a top movie and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” was the year’s No. 1 song.

Well, it’s “crazy” that it took this long, but after 10 years of foot-dragging by City Hall over two administrations, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has finally agreed to consider designating the last unprotected part of the South Village as a historic district.

According to a source, the agency, as soon as next week, will announce that it has “calendared” the district for a public hearing. The calendaring announcement will reportedly come on Nov. 1. Word is that the actual hearing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 22.

While the exact boundaries of the proposed area will not be known until L.P.C. calendars it, it will reportedly cover roughly “95 percent” of the 10 blocks that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has been lobbying for years to add to the two already designated parts of the South Village Historic District.

Roughly speaking, this third phase of the district would stretch from the south side of Houston St. down to Watts St., with its western boundary along Sixth Ave. and its eastern boundary along West Broadway and Thompson St.

In a statement to The Villager, Damaris Olivo, a spokesperson for L.P.C., said, “The agency has been studying this area for some time, most recently, in light of the commission’s efforts to identify historic resources in neighborhoods undergoing change. As a result, the agency has prioritized this area.”

City Councilmember Corey Johnson said finishing the job and protecting the final vulnerable portion of the South Village was critical to protect the area from increasing development pressures.

“One of my top priorities since taking office has been to achieve landmark protections for the historic South Village,” Johnson said. “New York is growing and changing rapidly, but there are some historic neighborhoods that are so special they should be protected for future generations. The South Village is one of these neighborhoods, and we can’t let it slip away. I look forward to testifying before the Landmarks Preservation Commission in favor of a new historic district that will grace our city for generations to come.”

Andrew Berman, executive director of G.V.S.H.P., said the proposed addition to the historic district includes mostly tenement buildings from the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

“They were purpose-built to house the last great wave of immigrants,” the preservationist said. “These were the kind of buildings that during the first wave of landmarking in the 1960s were excluded by the city, but these are really quite beautiful buildings. The storefronts and the fire escapes are often incredibly ornate. These were often tough places to live on the inside, but the architects didn’t hold back their exuberance in designing the outside.”

The district also notably includes St. Anthony’s Church, at Sullivan and Houston Sts.

Berman and G.V.S.H.P., with the strong support of Community Board 2, used the rezoning application for the pending mega-project at the St. John’s Center site in Hudson Square as leverage to get the city to finally calendar the final portion of the South Village Historic District.

Developers are currently nearing the end of a ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) application process, seeking to rezone the St. John’s site to allow residential use. The sought-after rezoning would also increase the site’s F.A.R. (floor-area ratio) from 5 to 8.7 — a massive 75 percent boost in the allowable bulk.

Under a deal between the developers and the Hudson River Park Trust, the developers would pay $100 million to buy 200,000 square feet of unused development rights from Pier 40 to use at the St. John’s site, which is located directly across the West Side Highway from the ailing 14-acre pier at W. Houston St. The money, in turn, would be used to repair the corroded steel support piles for Pier 40, which, with its artificial-turf ball fields, has become a vital amenity for Downtown families.

Twenty-five percent of the St. John’s project’s more than 1,500 apartments would be affordable housing, including a portion for senior affordable housing.

The City Planning Commission last week gave its approval to the St. John’s project application. In earlier votes that were both only advisory, C.B. 2 approved the project with caveats, though Borough President Gale Brewer voted a sweeping no against the whole plan.

Now, in the final phase of the ULURP review, the City Council will next vote on the application. As usually happens in such votes, Johnson’s Council colleagues will likely follow his lead since his district contains the project, and councilmembers generally defer to the local councilmember.

Berman of G.V.S.H.P. said, yes, there was definitely an effort to leverage the St. John’s project rezoning to help push the South Village landmarking through to completion.

“We’ve been fighting for this district for 10 years,” Berman said. “Our position has been that it’s unacceptable and unthinkable for the city to rezone the St. John’s site for a developer when phase three of the South Village next door has been waiting and being completely ignored. Rezoning the St. John’s site would only increase the pressure on the South Village.”

With regard to the St. John’s rezoning, G.V.S.H.P. pushed for three main things: landmarking of the last unprotected one-third of the South Village; no more air rights transfers from Hudson River Park into the C.B. 2 district after the St. John’s project; and no big-box or destination retail stores in the St. John’s Partners project.

So far, it looks like the first of the society’s “wants” will be achieved.

One pro-development media outlet said the city’s expected landmarking of the South Village’s final portion increases the chances the City Council will approve the mega-project. Crain’s called it “a move that will…help grease the wheels for a massive mixed-use project nearby.”

But Berman cautioned that nothing should be taken for granted about the historic district at this point.

“It’s not done yet,” he said. “We’re certainly going to have to turn out in record numbers at the hearing to make sure this happens.”

G.V.S.H.P. had also been calling for rezoning for the South Village as a way to block development there, but Berman said historic district designation actually is better.

“We’re going to continue to ask for rezoning,” he said. “But landmarking is stronger. So I would always ask for landmarking over rezoning.”


Chelsea Now: Block Association Commends Pols, Police, Peers

October 26, 2016

October 26, 2016

The 300 West 23rd, 22nd, 21st Streets Block Association honored and heard from local community leaders, pols, and law enforcement officers at their annual community meeting at St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) on Oct. 24. The block association gave each honoree a framed print of the buildings on the 300 block of 21st St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves., the same iconic image the association uses as its logo.

The association honored Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Councilmember Corey Johnson, longtime President of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations Bill Borock, and the NYPD’s Chelsea-based 10th Precinct.

The 10th Precinct sent 26-year veteran, Detective Mike Petrillo (of the Community Affairs office) and their crime prevention officer, Jarret DiLorenzo, to accept the gift. Petrillo said it was the work that all precinct officers do, not just those tasked with community affairs, that should be credited with building a positive rapport with locals.

“For the precinct itself, it’s a great honor. It’s more about the work we do as a whole, and the relationships we’ve built over the years with our community,” he said.

The block association’s co-chair, Zazel Loven, had glowing praise for the precinct, and Petrillo in particular.

“He supports everything we do in the neighborhood. He’s out there walking around; he will listen to people from the neighborhood that have something they want to air, or just want to tell him about. He’s a very accessible community affairs officer,” she said.

Borock took the opportunity to speak about what his organization has been involved in over the last year, including their successful efforts campaigning for a park on W. 20th St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.), and establishing micro gardens along bike lanes on Sixth Ave. He also reported that the council will testify at a State Liquor Authority hearing regarding the license held by what he called the troublesome Seventh Ave. bar Il Bastardo, and of the council’s establishment of a task force to study Transportation Alternatives’ PeopleWay plan for 14th St.

Volunteers have carts, will travel — to deliver your pumpkins to a better place. Photo by Pat Cooke.
Representatives from the Lower East Side Ecology Center ( discussed the upcoming Pumpkin Smash composting event set for Sat., Nov. 5, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., at PS 11 (320 W. 21st St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) and Clement Clarke Moore Park (195 10th Ave., btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts.).

Anyone can bring their over-the-hill jack-o’-lantern to smash up in big barrels and be hauled off for compost at the ecology center.

There will also be a worm composting demonstration, activities for kids, and refreshments. Anyone who cannot bring their pumpkin can email to have block association volunteers scoop up their pumpkins from their stoops.


Statement by Council Member Corey Johnson on City Planning Commission’s Consideration of 550 Washington Street

October 17, 2016

I thank the City Planning Commission for its careful consideration of this application. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the applicant to achieve a final product ‎that provides much-needed emergency repair funds for Pier 40, desperately needed affordable housing for the West Village and other community benefits. As it comes before the City Council, I will continue to push for several key components like landmark protections for the South Village, additional capital funding for Pier 40 and new traffic mitigation measures and pedestrian improvements. I look forward to working with my colleagues to further maximize the public benefit of this project.




October 13, 2016

Bill would extend benefits that could include health care, disability and life insurance to drivers of taxis and for-hire vehicles

CITY HALL — New York City Council Members Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin and Helen Rosenthal introduced legislation today that would direct the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to establish a “drivers benefit fund,” which would provide taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers with access to benefits that could include health care, disability and life insurance. Covered under this legislation are drivers of yellow and green taxi cabs, livery cabs and Uber and Lyft vehicles, among others.

This bill is one of the concrete steps that New York City legislators are proposing to modernize labor protections and ensure all workers have the rights, protections, and benefits they deserve.

In order to fund the program, the TLC would establish a surcharge of no more than ten cents to be added to all fares. Before the program takes effect, the TLC would be required to conduct a study assessing the feasibility and cost of providing certain benefits to drivers and report its findings to the Council.

“Driving a cab or for-hire vehicle in New York City is defined by long hours and stressful conditions,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. “These drivers deserve the same standard of fairness and dignity that we expect for New Yorkers across our economy. Cab service is a quintessential mode of transportation in our City, and it’s crucial that we do right by the hardworking people who operate these vehicles. I’m proud to stand with Council Members Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin and Helen Rosenthal Rosenthal in demanding fairness for these drivers and for all ‘gig economy’ employees in our City.”

“More and more workers – including TLC licensed drivers – lack the benefits they need to be able to provide a decent standard of living for themselves and their family,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “A portable benefits fund is a step toward keeping workers whole and improving the quality of life for thousands of NYC’s drivers. Thanks to Council Member Corey Johnson for introducing this bill and for finding an innovative way to ensure all workers – including “gig” workers and independent contractors – have access to the benefits they need. With this bill, I’m optimistic that we can both authorize the TLC to provide critical benefits and create a model for portable benefits in other sectors, to ease the uncertainty that workers in the gig economy face.”

“Taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers deserve a safety net to provide the kind of benefits millions of employees already enjoy,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Now more than ever, drivers are entitled to improved access to primary health providers, mental health care, and other benefits to maintain their health and wellbeing.”

“Everyone who drives a vehicle for hire in New York City deserves the benefits enjoyed by employees in almost all other sectors in our city,” said Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “The hard working men and women in this industry face unique working conditions. Long hours behind the wheel, a greater chance that they will be involved in a crash, even if by no fault of their own, and a need to be at their most attentive at all times. This bill will support the workers in this industry, one that so many have worked and continue to work in on their way to the middle class. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation with Council Member Johnson and I look forward to its prompt passage.”

“Healthcare is a right, not a privilege for those lucky enough to afford it, or fortunate enough to work full-time for a traditional employer. For-hire and taxi drivers often work long and hard hours, and it is time these workers get the healthcare and other vital benefits they deserve,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “This legislation addresses a problem afflicting thousands of workers in the ‘gig economy’ by requiring the TLC to administer a program to provide healthcare insurance and other necessary protections for drivers and their families. With this legislation, we are making sensible adjustments to public policy to reflect the reality of a new for-hire and freelance economy that demands more flexible and portable benefits. I thank Council Member Johnson for leading this effort, and Council Members Rodriguez and Lander for their advocacy on behalf of drivers and freelance workers across our City.”


Corey Johnson represents the 3rd District in the New York City Council, covering neighborhoods on the West Side of Manhattan including Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and parts of SoHo and the Upper West Side. He also serves as Chair of the Committee on Health.


NY Business Journal: N.Y.C. legislators propose ‘drivers benefit fund’ for yellow cabs and Uber too

October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016

New legislation has been put in place to make sure N.Y.C.’s taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers have access to a slate of benefits that were not available to them before, including health care, disability and life insurance.

The move comes as yet another blow to Uber and other on-demand car services, underscoring a change in attitude toward their classifying drivers as independent contractors.

New York City council members Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Stephen Levin, Margaret Chin and Helen Rosenthal introduced the legislation today. It would direct the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to establish a “drivers benefit fund.” Covered under this legislation are drivers of yellow and green taxi cabs, livery cabs and Uber and Lyft vehicles, among others.

The bill, according to a statement, is “one of the concrete steps that New York City legislators are proposing to modernize labor protections.” It comes on the heels of a New York State ruling giving Uber drivers jobless benefits— something observers say could have a nationwide impact.

In order to fund the program, the TLC would establish a 10-cent surcharge added to all fares, and conduct a study assessing the feasibility and cost of providing certain benefits.

“Driving a cab or for-hire vehicle in New York City is defined by long hours and stressful conditions,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, chair of the committee on health. “These drivers deserve the same standard of fairness and dignity that we expect for New Yorkers across our economy.”


NY Daily News: Health Department: Nearly one-third of New Yorkers binge drink

October 11, 2016

October 11, 2016

The city that never sleeps is probably just passed out somewhere.

The majority of New Yorkers drink booze at least once a month, and nearly one in three engage in dangerous bouts of “binge” drinking, according to data released by the city’s Health Department on Tuesday.

All that boozing is bad for our health.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said binge drinking — which 29% of New Yorkers engage in, according to the latest stats — is responsible “for preventable injuries, accidents and risky behavior.”

The data, which examines drinking and health among adults living in the five boroughs, also finds that binge drinkers are twice as likely to be smokers than people who drink moderately, and less likely to have a routine health care provider and get preventative dental treatments.

“When nearly 30% of adult drinkers report that they binge drink that means our city has more outreach and education to do,” said City Councilman Corey Johnson, a Democrat who reps the West Side of Manhattan and is the chair of the Council’s Health Committee.

Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks at one sitting within a month for men, and four or more for women.

In the same survey, the Health Department found that 54% of New Yorkers were “current” drinkers, their term for those who imbibe at least once a month.

The Health Department’s survey found that most of the people labeled binge drinkers were men, with 59%, while 48% of men drank but not to excess, while another 40% of men abstained.

And most binge drinkers — 58% — were between the ages of 24 and 44, the study found.

Manhattan had the most big drinkers, with 30% of the binge drinkers reporting living there.

Queens and Brooklyn tied with 25% of reporting binge drinking, followed by 16% in the Bronx and 5% in Staten Island.

There is good news among the sobering stats.

The over-indulging doesn’t seem to be getting any worse. The number of binge drinkers has been holding steady since 2011 — which is something to cheer.


Gay City News: City Council Ready to Move on Safe Injecting Facilities

October 7, 2016

October 7, 2016

New York City’s public health campaign against HIV infection and accidental heroin overdoses took a significant step forward last week.

Safe Injection Facilities are now officially being explored as part of the city’s push to lower the rates of HIV transmission and reduce overdose deaths. A $100,000 study to examine the science and practices involved in SIFs will be included in the City Council’s budget with the support of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

At such harm reduction facilities, a user brings drugs purchased from a dealer and is provided with sterile supplies, including needles, and given a safe place to inject. A health professional is on premise and able to immediately intercede at the first signs of an overdose.

These programs are most beneficial to drug users who are homeless or can’t inject where they live –– a population that gathers under bridges, in vacant lots, or any place that offers a modicum of privacy like stairwells. Often, they lack sterile needles and will share them. Injections under these conditions can spread HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases.

Mark-Viverito said SIFs would provide “a safe, clean haven to high-risk, vulnerable New Yorkers.”

Many users among this vulnerable population also deal with mental health issues, so safe injection facilities can serve as a bridge between the public health community and the user population. While common in Europe and Australia, with a limited number in Canada, as well, SIFs have not yet emerged in the US.

The city’s prospective embrace of SIFs won strong support from Gay Men’s Health Crisis, which in a written release termed the approach “a smart, effective health care policy that has been proven to work.” Kelsey Louie, the agency’s CEO, said in the statement, “For too long, local governments have rejected supervised injection facilities because of our collective discomfort with the painful challenges of drug addiction.”

Equally enthusiastic is VOCAL-NY, a grass-root group that advocates for housing as well as drug law and criminal justice reform. The group described SIFs as “incredibly important,” but Matt Curtis, its policy director, warned against business as usual.

“We just can’t wait,” he said. “People are dying every day.”

Politico broke the news on September 28, quoting Mark-Viverito and featuring a picture of Corey Johnson, the out gay Chelsea city councilmember who chairs the Health Committee. Johnson has long been a supporter of the concept and is exploring what legal framework would need to be in place to implement SIFs in the city.

The proposed Council study will examine available epidemiological data on SIFs and consider whether they should be rolled out in a stand-alone program or integrated into other health programs. The feasibility of employing a mobile facility to house a SIF will also be explored. The study will gather input from city health officials as well as from experts on those communities affected by heroin use.

Groups running needle exchange programs in New York have been eager to start SIFs, often voicing impatience as they waited for official action while the number of overdose deaths has grown markedly. Political backlash, however, is widely expected, with some critics likely to characterize SIFs as government-run and -funded shooting galleries. That kind of attack may have lost its sting with a greater awareness of harm reduction as a public health strategy. Still, it’s unclear at this point whether the city’s support for SIFs could survive a major controversy along those lines.

Not surprisingly, with the Council only committing to study the issue, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is publicly reserving judging, saying, “There are no plans for implementing a SIF in New York City at this time.”

The Council’s announcement follows a major heroin bust –– led by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman –– in which state police seized 33 kilograms of the contraband from a nationwide drug gang alleged to have brought it in from Mexico and then cut it with fentanyl, a potent painkiller often implicated in drug overdoses, roach killer, and other products dangerous to the health of users. At a news conference, Schneiderman railed against the gang’s “callousness” and made clear that adulterating heroin is this manner would bring longer prison sentences.

In other developments in the city’s fight against HIV, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the health department’s assistant commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/ AIDS, has endorsed a consensus statement saying health professionals and activists agree that HIV-positive people with “consistently undetectable viral load for six months and beyond” pose a negligible risk for transmitting the virus. In other words, someone who is poz and sticking to their regimen of meds is not passing the infection on to others.

The emerging public understanding of that science could help overturn laws around the nation that impose criminal penalties on positive people for having sex under certain circumstances.

Recent surveillance data about New York City shows continued improvement in viral suppression among those who are HIV-positive, with 72 percent of that population estimated to have undetectable viral loads. The push to get HIV-positive people into treatment has been accompanied by public health campaigns to get at-risk negative people into pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, treatment to prevent their becoming infected.


Village Alliance: Thriving Local Business Leaders meet Council Member Corey Johnson

October 6, 2016

October 6, 2016

Council Member Corey Johnson headlined last night’s Greenwich Village Business Exchange and Networking Event, co-presented by the Village Alliance and Greenwich Village & Chelsea Chamber of Commerce.

Over forty guests from thriving small businesses in the area joined the event, representing the diverse range of industry which exists in our district including finance, printing, theater, retail and education.

Many of the district’s small business owners often express concern about the impact of high rents on their business. Council Member Johnson spoke extensively about the current policy positions on Commercial Rent Regulation and Commercial Rent Tax, explaining how both Albany & City Hall are working on future legislation. Council Member Johnson also fielded a number of wide ranging questions from guests, while taking time to highlight the collaborative efforts of local stakeholders to help small businesses recover from the recent 23rd Street bombing.

The event, hosted by Some Good Wine and catered by EVA’s Kitchen, presented numerous opportunities for local business owners to meet and network, developing new relationships, contacts and exchanging ideas for best practice.

Earlier this year the Village Alliance and Greenwich Village & Chelsea Chamber of Commerce held a Spring Business Exchange and Networking Event when Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer was the special guest speaker.

Sign up to receive our newsletter to find out about other upcoming Village Alliance events for small businesses.