This Week in New York City Government



Mayor de Blasio Signs “Fair Chance Act”

Mayor de Blasio signed into law eight pieces of legislation – Intro. 318-A, in relation to prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s arrest record or criminal conviction; Intro. 125-B, in relation to licensing car wash businesses; and Intros 456-A, 723-A, 724-A, 725-A, 726-A, and 729-A, related to the City’s outreach and accessibility efforts for small businesses.

The first bill, Intro. 318-A, strengthens provisions of the City’s Human Rights Law that prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s record of arrest or criminal conviction. In order to combat employment discrimination, the bill will prohibit employers from inquiring about candidates’ criminal records until after they have made a conditional offer of employment, and require them to provide a written copy of the inquiry, analysis, and supporting documentation to applicants. The bill imposes similar restrictions on licensing agencies, with exemptions for licensing activities in relation to explosives, pistols, handguns, rifles, shotguns, and other deadly weapons. The employment provisions include exemptions for public and private employers who are required by law to conduct criminal background checks, and for several City agencies including the Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Correction, and Department of Probation. This bill was passed by the City Council on June 10.

The second bill, Intro. 125-B, will amend the administrative code of the City of New York in relation to licensing car washes. The bill will require that car wash businesses obtain a two-year license from the Department of Consumer Affairs. Applicants must certify that they have complied with local environmental laws and regulations, and obtained the required surety bond in order to obtain, renew, or maintain a car wash license. Applicants also must certify that there are no outstanding final judgments or warrants arising out of a violation of this law. This bill was passed by the City Council on June 10. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsors, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Miller.

The final package of bills, Intros. 456-A, 723-A, 724-A, 725-A, 726-A, and 729-A, will educate small businesses on rules and regulations, as well as provide mechanisms for the analysis of fines and feedback from business owners. Intro. 456-A would require the Office of Administrative Trial and Hearings to issue monthly reports on dismissals of civil penalty violations, and to help identify and address issues that may be leading to such dismissals. Intro. 723-A will require the development of protocols for inspector interactions with non-English speakers during agency inspections. Intro. 724-A will create small business advocates within the Department of Small Business Services that will help business owners obtain appropriate services from the Department and help businesses navigate New York City’s regulatory environment. Intro. 725-A requires the Mayor’s Office of Operations to do additional outreach to inspected businesses, and to provide and publicize an online customer service survey for business owners to share their experience after being inspected by City agencies. Intro. 726-A will require the Department of Consumer Affairs to organize, conduct, and report on business education events twice a year in each borough in order to educate local business about DCA rules in a given industry. Lastly, Intro. 729-A will require the Department of Consumer Affairs to issue an annual report cataloguing and analyzing the violations that it dismissed through its tribunal. These laws were passed by the City Council on June 10. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bills’ sponsors, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Member Rosenthal, Council Member Chin, Council Member Cornegy, Council Member Espinal, and Council Member Gentile.

Mayor de Blasio Appoints Maria Torres-Springer as Next Economic Development Corporation President

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his appointment of Maria Torres-Springer as the next President of the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Torres-Springer has served as Commissioner for Small Business Services since 2014, spearheading the administration’s efforts to raise wages and expand skill-building in workforce placement programs, grow women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, streamline the regulatory environment for small businesses, and launch path-breaking initiatives like the Tech Talent Pipeline to grow the tech sector and prepare New Yorkers for 21st century jobs. As the first woman to head EDC, Torres-Springer will prioritize the development of advanced manufacturing, life-sciences and tech in New York City, ensuring businesses have the infrastructure and human capital they need to thrive and catalyzing equitable and sustainable growth in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

“Maria has a proven track-record opening doors for New Yorkers and working closely with businesses to grow our economy. We are proud to have her lead EDC. Maria will focus on growing vital sectors in our economy, and preparing New Yorkers to seize those opportunities so they can be a part of our economic success story,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mayor de Blasio Appoints Jessica Ramos as Communications Advisor to Deputy Mayor Buery

Mayor de Blasio appointed Jessica Ramos as Communications Advisor to Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery.

As Communications Advisor, Ramos will develop and advance communications strategy and policy for Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. Ramos has extensive communications experience, and most recently served as Communications Director for Build Up NYC. In her new role, she will be charged with planning and implementing long-term strategic communications and innovative ways to relay information to New Yorkers regarding issues that fall under Deputy Mayor Buery’s scope, which includes universal pre-K. Ramos will also be responsible for providing reports and updates to senior administration officials on communications outreach, and coordinating communications across various departments.

“Jessica is a truly adept communications professional and a seasoned advocate for New Yorkers – having spent years fighting for workers’ rights. She also boasts a strong presence in her local community as a member of her Community Board in Queens, and holds a sincere commitment to uplifting New Yorkers in all five boroughs. I am thrilled to welcome her on board and look forward to this strong addition to our communications team at City Hall,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, New York City Police Department and Queens District Attorney’s Office Announce Expansion of Anti-Stalking Program to Queens

The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, in collaboration with the New York Police Department and Queens District Attorney’s Office, announced the expansion of the Coordinated Approach to Preventing Stalking (CAPS) program to Queens. The CAPS program aims to increase the identification and reporting of stalking incidents, enhance stalking arrests and prosecution, and link stalking victims to services through OCDV’s Family Justice Centers and High Risk Domestic Violence Response Teams.

The program’s proven success on Staten Island – where specially trained police officers, District Attorney’s Office legal and support staff, and advocates worked together to more than double the number of identified stalking cases during the first year of the initiative in 2014 – is setting in motion a citywide expansion of the program. OCDV and NYPD paired with the Queens District Attorney’s Office to rollout the program in four precincts – the 101, 103, 105 and 113 precincts – all of which have a high incidence of domestic violence.

The CAPS initiative is a homicide prevention program, linking stalking victims to critical services before the pattern of behavior escalates to physical assault or homicide. National statistics find that 54 percent of homicide victims reported stalking to the police before they were killed by their intimate partner. Since launching CAPS in June 2014 on Staten Island, stalking cases identified by NYPD increased by 233 percent in the borough. This success is driving the City to expand the program to Queens, with the intent of ultimately implementing the anti-stalking program in all five boroughs. The Washington D.C.-based Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crimes believes the CAPS program is a model program that could be replicated in other communities across the country.

Mayor de Blasio Announces Third NYC Panel on Climate Change – Ensuring Best Available Science Informs City’s Policies

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of the third New York City Panel on Climate Change, which will ensure that the best available climate science continues to inform the City’s resiliency planning. NPCC3 will build on previous NPCC reports and look at climate risks through the lens of inequality at a neighborhood scale, as well as focus on ways to enhance coordination of mitigation and resiliency across the entire New York metropolitan region.

The New York City Panel on Climate Change is an independent body that advises the City on climate risks and resiliency. As the best available data, NPCC science informs the City’s comprehensive climate policies, including its multilayered, city-wide resiliency plan and sweeping sustainability initiatives – in line with President Obama’s recent Executive Order. The NPCC works in partnership with the City, including with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

In April 2015, Mayor de Blasio released One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, highlighting the crucial need to take increasing climate risks into account in all City capital investments and integrating growth, resiliency, sustainability, and equity to further the City’s role as a global leader in the fight against climate change.

The third NPCC report will be released in 2016 and will build on previous NPCC reports, as well as evaluate new topics and focus areas that include:

De Blasio Administration Launches Volunteer App Promoting Volunteerism And Expanding Access To Volunteer Opportunities In NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin announced that the City has taken the volunteer process mobile with the launch of the NYC Service Volunteer App for iPhone. Created in partnership with SocialEffort and Sid Lee NY, the NYC Service Volunteer App allows users to discover New York City service opportunities on the go, according to their interests, skills, and schedules.

With the app, users can:

Click here to download the app.

In addition to partnering with SocialEffort and Sid Lee NY on the app, the City also announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with VolunteerMatch. New York City is the first City of Service in the nation to adopt VolunteerMatch’s Public Use API, making every VolunteerMatch opportunity in New York City also available on and increasing the number of volunteer opportunities available on the city’s website by 60 percent.

Mayor Bill de Blasio Joins State, Federal and Local Officials to Announce Major Milestones to Activate New Maritime Shipping Hub in Southwest Brooklyn

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined state, federal and local officials to announce the reactivation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park as a working maritime port facility. SBMT is a key maritime asset owned by the City that will be turned into a hub for maritime commerce, creating hundreds of good jobs.

The U.S. Maritime Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation recognized SBMT’s importance by designating it and nearby Red Hook Container Terminal as part of America’s Marine Highway System, which will make cargo operations in Southwest Brooklyn eligible for future federal support.  These announcements represent key milestones in ongoing efforts to reestablish Southwest Brooklyn as a vital shipping hub, and they reflect the City’s interest in the long-term phased development of a deep water container port in New York’s harbor.

In May, the City Council approved a long-term Master Lease between the City and NYCEDC to activate an industrial maritime facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. The project will return maritime service to SBMT and allow for calls from a new generation of cargo ships that import consumer goods and raw materials from around the world. In addition, upgraded rail connections at the site make SBMT the only marine terminal in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island capable of handling ocean-going vessels, barges and rail on the east side of New York Harbor. As a result of the agreement reached between the City, NYCEDC and the City Council, the activation of SBMT will result in hundreds of jobs on the working waterfront and provides for the formation of the Sunset Park Waterfront Planning and Jobs Task Force to assist in long-term planning for the future of the waterfront and balance the City’s industrial goals with the needs of the Sunset Park community.

In January 2015, NYCEDC and the Port Authority co-sponsored an application to the U.S. Maritime Administration to designate existing and future barge service across New York Harbor as a segment of the American Marine Highway Program. The new route will provide access to origins and destinations east of the Hudson River for freight arriving and departing the Port Newark Container Terminal, further enhancing New York Harbor’s cross harbor freight network and supporting existing container-on-barge service between Global Container Terminals in Bayonne and Staten Island.

Mayor de Blasio Dedicates Marker Commemorating Wall Street Slave Market

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, and Council Member Jumaane Williams dedicated a plaque marking the site of the colonial-era Wall Street slave market. Standing in Manhattan Park, the plaque is the first official acknowledgement of this slave market.

People of African descent were sold into bondage at the slave market, which operated from 1711 to 1762 by order of the Common Council. Under consecutive Dutch, British and American rule, slave labor was used in New York City homes and industries, including farming and public works. Although the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed by the U.S. Congress in 1807, not all slaves were freed in New York until 1841.

Brooklyn-based artist and writer Chris Cobb first called for the creation of a plaque marking the slave market, and prepared the image on the plaque – a historic map rendering of Lower Manhattan. The language on the plaque was prepared by the Parks Department and Landmarks Preservation Commission, in collaboration with Christopher Moore, former Director of Research at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture.

Citywide and Borough Electeds:

Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, and the New York City’s Library Systems Celebrate the Restoration of Six Day Library Service Citywide

Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, together with Finance Chair, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and Chair of the Committee on the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Group Relations, and newly appointed Chair of the Subcommittee on Libraries, Council Member Andy King celebrated the preservation of full day, 6 day library service for the library systems throughout the five boroughs.  Six-day library service, a top budget priority for the Speaker and the City Council was able to be preserved. Joining the Speaker and Council Members were representatives of the Queens Public Library, New York Public Library, and Brooklyn Library.

The newly adopted FY 16 budget, which will go into effect July 1st, contained a total of $43 million in funding for the City’s three library systems which will be able to increase access to New Yorkers by implementing vital services like improving literacy programs, providing career development, and increasing access to technology.

At this funding level approximately 450 jobs will be created between the library systems, 6-day service across the City at an average 47 hours and at least 6 additional Sundays’ libraries will be open.

New York City’s five boroughs are served by three independent library systems: the New York Public Library, which serves the boroughs of Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx, the Queens Borough Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. The three library systems operate a total of four research libraries and over 209 local library branches, which provide over 65 million books, periodicals and other items to New Yorkers.

Borough President Katz Allcoates $200,000 to Install Real-Time Bus Countdown Clocks in Queens

Borough President Melinda Katz announced an allocation of $200,000 of her Fiscal Year 2016 discretionary capital funds to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) toward the purchase and installation of real-time bus countdown clocks at ten of the borough’s busiest bus stops.

The DOT, which manages the physical infrastructure of bus stops, is in the process of analyzing bus stops in Queens and citywide to determine locations that would benefit the most from the real-time passenger information signs.  Factors that inform this process include ridership levels, the number of bus-to-bus and bus-to-subway transfers, proximity to key facilities (such as hospitals, schools and senior centers) and the surrounding neighborhood’s level of dependency on bus service. Bus stops are also being evaluated based on feasibility constraints at the potential installation sites.

The final locations for the ten bus countdown clocks will be determined in consultation with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority/New York City Transit and Borough President Katz. The estimated cost per countdown clock is approximately $20,000, although the actual cost may vary depending based on terms of the contract award and individual site conditions. The ten countdown clocks are projected to be installed and activated in 2017.

Queens Borough President Katz: Over 1,000 New Yorkers Enroll for IDNYC Card at Queens Borough Hall

Over 1,000 New Yorks have enrolled for the IDNYC municipal ID card at the temporary pop-up enrollment center since it first opened at Queens Borough Hall on June 2. Originally schedules to be up for two weeks, Borough President Melinda Katz Announces she would extend the center’s stay to serve through July 10, 2015 due to strong demand.

All New York City residents age 14 and older can get an IDNYC card, regardless of immigration status. The IDNYC card is an accessible and secure document that enables residents to access City services and grant admission to City buildings, such as schools. In additions, the card can be presented as proof of identification for interacting with the police and is an accepted form of identification for opening a banking account at select financial institutions. An IDNYC card can also be used at all branches of all three of New York City’s public library systems and be used to obtain discounts and other benefits at museums and cultural institutions, entertainment venues, pharmacies and fitness centers.

Brooklyn Borough President Adams Announces Role as Host for Return of Seaside Summer Concerts 2015 Festival at MCU Park, Along with 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams announced that he is pleased to be hosting the Seaside Summer Concerts 2015 Festival at MCU Park, the much-awaited return of the 36-year series in Coney Island, as well as the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series, the 33rd season of weekly performances held at Wingate Park in East Flatbush. All shows are free to the public and begin at 7:30 PM; the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series will be held on four consecutive Monday nights starting July 27th, while the Seaside Summer Concerts 2015 Festival will occur on three consecutive evenings beginning Wednesday, July 22nd.

The Seaside Summer Concerts 2015 Festival at MCU Park will kick off on Wednesday, July 22nd with JT Taylor “The Voice”, formerly of Kool & the Gang. Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will perform on Thursday, July 23rd. The festival will close out on Friday, July 24th with Latino Music by the Sea, featuring Eddie Santiago and N’KLABE.

The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series begins on Monday, July 27th with Morris Day and the Time. The Annual Gospel Night will be on Monday, August 3rd, with performances by Ricky Dillard & New G as well as the Christian Cultural Center Choir. On Monday, August 10th, VP Records Presents Reggae Night will include Freddie McGregor, Christopher Martin, and New Kingston. Old School Night will close out the series on Monday, August 17th with Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, and Special Ed.

 City Agencies:

Rent Guidelines Board Approves Freeze on One-Year Leases

For the first time in history, there will be no rent increases for some of the city’s rent-stabilized apartments.

During a meeting Monday evening, the Rent Guidelines Board voted not to increase rents on one-year leases for rent-stabilized units. It’s the first time such action has been taken since the board was empaneled in 1969. The board, however, approved a 2-percent increase for two-year leases.

The board voted, 7-2, in favor of the new rents. The two two tenant members and five public members voted in favor, while the two owner members voted against.

Health: West Nile Virus Detected in New York City Mosquitoes, No Human Cases Reported This Season

For the first time this season, the Health Department has detected West Nile virus in New York City mosquitoes. The infected mosquitoes were collected from the neighborhoods of Glen Oaks in Queens and New Dorp Beach in Staten Island. No human cases have been reported this season. The Health Department will increase mosquito surveillance by setting up additional traps and treating catch basins in the affected areas. The Health Department will continue its efforts to kill mosquito larvae before they can bite by applying larvicide in the city’s catch basins, marshland, and areas with standing water.

Not everyone infected with West Nile virus will become ill. However, West Nile virus can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness with headache, fever and fatigue, weakness and sometimes rash. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away.

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes

Call 311 or visit to learn more about West Nile virus.

Health: Restaurant Letter Grading Marks Five-Year Anniversary

In July 2010, the Health Department began requiring restaurants in all five boroughs to post letter grades summarizing their sanitary inspection scores. Five years later, restaurants are performing better on inspection and are cleaner than they have ever been. The program has had a positive impact on restaurant hygiene, food-safety practices, and public awareness. 95 percent of the City’s 24,000 restaurants now post an A grade, the number of critical violations has decreased, and more restaurant supervisors have completed the Health Department’s food protection course.

Highlights of the last five years include:

More restaurants than ever before are earning A grades at the beginning of their inspection cycle, meaning they pay no fines and are only inspected once a year.

The improvements in grades are due to better practices in important food safety areas.

Restaurants have seen financial relief by way of reduced fines.

The number of restaurant supervisors completing the food protection course has increased each year since letter grading went into effect.

As food safety practices have improved, we’ve seen a drop in Salmonella cases.

Letter grading is extremely popular among New Yorkers.

NYCHA & HPD Release Request for Affordable Housing Proposals in Brooklyn and Bronx

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) released the “Request for Proposal” (RFP) for potential developers to expand 100 percent affordable housing opportunities at three NYCHA developments, including Ingersoll (Fort Greene, Brooklyn), Van Dyke (Brownsville, Brooklyn) and Mill Brook (Mott Haven, the Bronx.) The plan to create affordable senior and family housing on underused NYCHA property was the outcome of an extensive and meaningful planning process with hundreds of residents and community advocates.

The proposal advances the goals of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan to build or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units over the next ten years.  It also helps achieve NYCHA’s commitment to contribute 10,000 of those affordable units within the decade as part of NextGeneration NYCHA, the Authority’s 10-year strategic plan.

Through the RFP, the City has invited developers, including non-profit entities and M/WBE firms, to submit proposals for the design, financing, construction, and operations of 100 percent affordable new housing at Ingersoll, Van Dyke, and Mill Brook. For the purposes of this RFP, affordable is considered a senior or family household earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The proposed developments will be 100% affordable and seek to reach households at lower AMI levels.

HPD Commissioner Been Announces Request for Proposals to Build a New Affordable Mixed-Income Development in the Mott Haven Neighborhood of the Bronx

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been announced the release of a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a new mixed-income affordable housing development at 425 Grand Concourse in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx. The development site was previously occupied by the former Public School 31 (P.S. 31) building, which was demolished due to structural issues that posed a safety hazard to the area. The city has taken steps to preserve architectural elements of the original school building and included a requirement in the RFP that proposals incorporate the salvaged elements into the new building’s design. Proposals should provide affordable housing for a mix of incomes, as well as ground-floor retail or a mix of retail and community facility use that will add to the fabric of the neighborhood.

The 425 Grand Concourse site will be developed in under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan to finance the creation and preservation of 200,000 affordable units to house New Yorkers with a range of incomes, from the very lowest to those in the middle class. The plan seeks to use affordable housing as an anchor to foster diverse, livable neighborhoods and promote mixed-use, mixed-income communities.

With an increasing demand for affordable housing, the City is working to leverage its vacant and underused properties, when appropriate, to create new opportunities for affordable housing development. The development site is a rectangular parcel located at 425 Grand Concourse in the Mott Haven neighborhood of Bronx Community District 1. Occupying the southern portion of the block with Grand Concourse to the east, Walton Avenue to the west, and East 144th Street to the south, the approximately 30,049 square foot site consists of Block 2346, Lot 1.

In keeping with the mission of Housing New York to expand affordable housing opportunities for the lowest income populations as well as for middle-income households, the RFP seeks a mix of units that will be affordable to households at a variety of income levels. The mixed-income affordable housing development must include a minimum of 15 percent three-bedroom units and a maximum of 15 percent studio units in order to meet the needs of various family sizes. In addition to the residential component, proposals should include ground-floor retail space that provides local services and/or a community facility space that responds to community needs.

HPD: Greenpoint Landing Associates, L+M Development Partners and City Officials Break Ground on Affordable Housing at Greenpoint Landing

Greenpoint Landing Associates and L+M Development Partners, together with New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, Housing, Preservation & Development Commissioner Vicki Been, Housing Development Corporation President Gary Rodney, Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, and Council Member Stephen Levin marked the progress of Greenpoint Landing, the mixed-income 22-acre development along the East River set to transform a section of long-underutilized Greenpoint waterfront. Of the 5,500 units expected to be built at Greenpoint Landing, approximately 1,400 will be affordable and the first 300 affordable units will be delivered to the community over the next two years.

Greenpoint Landing Associates has collaborated with L+M Development Partners to construct the first three 100 percent affordable housing buildings, totaling nearly 300 units:

Fifty percent of the affordable housing units are two-bedroom apartments, providing more affordable options for families in the community. These permanently-affordable units will contribute to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal to preserve and create 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. Consistent with the de Blasio administration’s commitment to stretching every dollar to produce more affordable housing, the administration worked with the developer to reduce the projected per-unit subsidy by half, from a projected $136,000 per unit to $65,000 per unit.
Gary Handel of Handel Architects designed all three affordable buildings in a style that incorporates Greenpoint’s industrial and historic past.  Handel Architects is known for its innovative residential developments such as the Cornell University Residences underway on Roosevelt Island.
Greenpoint Landing has hired James Corner Field Operations, designer of The High Line and Cornell Tech, to design the four acres of publicly accessible open space across the entire site. For the first time in generations, this portion of Greenpoint will have unencumbered access to the waterfront, including a great lawn, picnic area and the Green Street Pier, providing vantage points for the community and residents to enjoy an unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline.

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Current RFPs: Week of April 6, 2020