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The Briefly for June 12, 2020 – The "Mr Mayor, Unlock This Playground" Edition
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Has the pandemic and protests made you think about starting getting involved on a hyper-local level? Maybe you've thought about starting a neighborhood association? The Times breaks down how to do it. (Katherine Cusumano for NY Times) Do you know the Muffin House? The Muffin House? The Muffin House. The roots of the nooks and crannies of Thomas' English Muffins are in New York. (Nicholas Loud for Untapped New York) Governor Cuomo says that pools and playgrounds across the state can reopen. The city's pools and playgrounds remain closed. (Rachel Holliday Smith for The City) In the 1970s, the NYPD's unions distributed a flyer called "WELCOME TO FEAR CITY" meant to keep tourists out of New York City, teaching them how to survive with the city's crime. A new version of "WELCOME TO FEAR CITY" has begun to be distributed, but with the twist of how to survive the police when protesting in New York. (Jeremiah Moss for Jeremiah's Vanishing New York) The City has created a searchable memorial of nearly 1,000 New York City victims of Covid-19. Right now it only covers a little over 4% of the city's victims, but they are working with journalism schools to expand the memorials one person at a time. (The City) Governor Cuomo is deciding to use the political capital he earned on defending statues of Christopher Columbus, saying Columbus represents Italian-American pride. This argument seems to pop up more and more often, making me think it's not a matter of if but when the statue of Columbus in Columbus Circle is taken down. (Zack Fink for NY1) People are calling for Police Seargeant Terri Napolitano to be fired for sharing a racist message on Facebook which showed President Obama being lynched with Hillary Clinton next in line for hanging. The Office of Court Administration suspended her for 30 days without pay, took away her gun, and launched an investigation. Napolitano has since deleted her social media accounts. (Jeanine Ramirez for NY1) It shouldn't be a surprise, but Manhattan's rental vacancy rate is the highest it's been in fourteen years. (Erin Hudson for The Real Deal) "Unless people are interfering with a Barclays Center event, or there are safety concerns, we would not take action to have someone removed from our plaza." Unfortunately, the NYPD has had a different opinion about how people should use the plaza outside the Barclays Center. (Norman Oder for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report) Jahmel Leach is a teenager who was tasered in the face by the NYPD. After the NYPD tasered and arrested the minor, they never notified his family he was in custody because he was tall and they thought he was an adult. The mayor says he's "really troubled" by what happened to Leach but hasn't vowed any specific actions he's going to take to get answers. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)
America has historically sought to arrest and prosecute its way through community issues that could be dealt with by understanding the history of this nation, our states & our community. Frustration comes from a lot of these things being ignored in impoverished communities: education, finances and health services. COVID-19 has exposed these inequities. So what will the city do beyond policing? We should build a comprehensive plan that addresses these shortfalls and provide the community with a say in how it defines the safety of its own neighborhoods.
– Taylonn Murphy Sr. for Gothamist, New York City Must Actually Invest In Black Communities—Right Now
How to celebrate Pride in quarantine. (Gabrielle Lenart for Brooklyn Based) Phase one of reopening has begun, but there has been an uptick in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, which trails about two weeks behind New York City's massive protests. We are still under the threshold for phase two. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch) Politicians in Queens are calling to make a 1.3 mile stretch of 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights permanently car-free. (Steven Vago for Streetsblog) Render Stetson-Shanahan was found guilty of manslaughter for brutally killing Carolyn Bush, at their apartment on Sept. 28, 2016. He avoided murder charges by testifying that he had a mental lapse. (Christian Murray for Queens Post) If you've wondered why there hasn't been a leader to step up and speak for all of the city's protesters, it because there isn't one. The city isn't being led by one voice, but by the voices of many. (Jan Ransom and Annie Correal for NY Times) "The commissioner held a Twitter Q&A on Thursday morning, but took no questions." Great job Commissioner Shea, great job. (Todd Maisel for amNewYork Metro) The award for most questionable headline and lead image combination goes to "Gay Pride embraces its roots by teaming up with U.S. black activists" by amNewYork Metro. Congressmembers Max Rose and Yvette D. Clarke along with Mayor de Blasio ar asking the military to rename General Lee Avenue in Brooklyn's Fort Hamilton army base. (Michael Gold for NY Times) The city will spend $3 million to helping 100 restaurants in the city forced to close by the novel coronavirus pandemic subsidize paying 1,000 furloughed or fired workers at $20 per hour for at least six weeks and serve 53,000 free meals to people in communities hardest hit by the virus. (Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech for amNewYork Metro) A dumpling automat is opening in the East Village, confusingly named Brooklyn Dumpling Shop. (Emma Orlow for Time Out) The city will spend $3.65 million to give roughly 3,300 young people in paid 6 to 8-week online summer youth programs this year. (Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech for amNewYork Metro)
As a resident of New York City, I am writing to demand that a moratorium be placed on proceeding with the Gowanus Rezone Proposal, which incorporates parts of Boerum Hill, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens, until the city’s needs can be reassesed. In the wake of COVID-19, with both the city and state budgets in crisis, the economy in free fall, and as many as 20% of Americans having lost their jobs—including a disproportionate number of people of color— this plan is woefully out of step with what the city needs right now, or what it can afford.
– Voice of Gowanus, Demand a Moratorium on the Gowanus Rezone
The Alliance for Quality Education and The Dignity in Schools Campaign NY today denounced the mayor’s comments and refusal to remove NYPD officers from public schools. (Allie Griffin for Queens Post) The Yankees are distributing $50,000 in scholarships among five different college-bound seniors, at $10,000 apiece, with one student coming from each borough through The Stonewall Scholars initiative. (Matt Tracy for Gay City News) Demonstrations and protests continue into week three as protesters spilled red paint to represent "blood in the streets" on Thursday, symbolizing "the blood militant forces such as the police cause black people to shed." It created a powerful image. (Debora Fougere for NY1) How to calculate how much rent you can afford right now. (Localize.City) 1,109 Civilian Complaint Review Board investigations are awaiting police officer interviews, but the police union will not allow officers to be interviewed online. What bullshit. (Eileen Grench for The City) Where to get a restaurant-made picnic spread in the city. (Luke Fortney for Eater) Thanks to reader Jenny for today's featured photo!