CB6 Comments on Proposed City Council Redistricting
From left to right: Letty Simon (CB6 Member), Chris Collins (Community Activist), and Kyle Athayde (CB6 Chair)
As we reported in last month’s newsletter, a preliminary plan for the decennial redrawing of city council districts has been released by the New York City Districting Commission. You can find the proposed drawings of City Council districts here. There are several changes in city council district boundaries that affect residents of Manhattan Community District 6, the most notable of them being that the Sutton Place neighborhood would be redrawn into Council District 26 (a Queens City Council district!).
CB6 passed a resolution at an emergency Full Board meeting on August 10th opposing the proposed redistricting, and Board Chair Kyle Athayde testified on behalf of CB6 at the Districting Commission’s August 22nd hearing along with over 75 concerned residents organized by local community activist Chris Collins.
If you weren’t able to attend the hearing last week, you still have an opportunity to make your voice heard. Write to the Districting Commission at PublicTestimony@redistricting.nyc.gov and tell them not to adopt the preliminary district map that would draw Sutton Place and much of the Upper East Side into Council District 26 in Queens. Click on the linked email just above or right here for sample testimony language that you can send to the Districting Commission to add your voice to the chorus opposing the preliminary council map–which includes our sister boards Manhattan CB8 and Queens CB2, elected officials, civic and neighborhood associations and local institutions like Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Hunter College, Hospital for Special Surgery, and Rockefeller University.
The Districting Commission is obliged to submit the next draft of the council districts map to the City Council by September 22, so they are in the process of reviewing all submitted testimony and considering whether to make any changes to the map accordingly. The Commission confirmed to CB6 this morning that they are still accepting public testimony but that you shouldn’t delay. While the Districting Commission has not set a deadline for submitting public testimony, the sooner the better is best.
Changes to City Services on Labor Day
The CB6 office will be closed on Monday, September 5th in observance of Labor Day. Even though the CB6 office is closed on that day, 311 will still be available. Additionally, if you have a service request issue, you can still reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will follow up with you upon our reopening the following day.
Alternate Side Parking will also be suspended on Labor Day. For a complete list of days when Alternate Side Parking will not be in effect in 2022, please view the suspension calendar here.
Finally, please note that there will be no garbage or recycling collection on Labor Day. If your trash day is a Monday, please check the Department of Sanitation’s social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram), their press release page, or 311 for updated direction.
Throughout the city and our district, there are Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) which, as the name implies, are spaces that are owned by private landowners but that, in exchange for certain zoning concessions, must be maintained for public use.
In late 2021, local residents contacted CB6 about a restaurant in our district that was using an outdoor POPS space as an extension of their restaurant. The restaurant took the POPS and constructed an enclosed dining area that enveloped the space, effectively turning it into a private space. This is against the law. What made this issue all the more concerning is that our district has a severe shortage of open spaces that people can use, meaning that an establishment that uses a POPS is taking a portion of the precious little open space our district has.
Our office worked with the Department of Buildings and the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to push for enforcement of the law at the site. Following agency inspections, the POPS owner received a summons from the FDNY for the structure and violations from the Department of Buildings for the illegal use of the POPS space.
CB6 also engaged with the establishment regarding the community complaints. After multiple attempts of following up with the establishment, they agreed to resolve the matter. The POPS is now free for public use again!
Private use of POPS is illegal (except under limited circumstances and with the prior authorization of the Department of City Planning). If you see a POPS that is not properly open to the public, report it to 311 and then let CB6 know by sending us the 311 case number. If you need help with a POPS matter or other service request issue, please fill out our Get Help form, email email@example.com, or call (212) 319-3750.
CB6 at National Night Out
On Tuesday, August 2nd, CB6 was at National Night Out Against Crime events, an annual summer event in which police precincts nationwide organize community festivals with the participation of local business and civic organizations. CB6 was represented at both of our district’s National Night Out events (13th and 17th Precincts), where we distributed information about city services, assisted neighborhood residents with concerns, and even handed out Department of Sanitation coloring books to the younger residents of our community. CB6 thanks everyone who helped organize National Night Out, most especially the Community Councils of the 13th and 17th Precincts.
- United Nations General Assembly: In the next few weeks, the United Nations General Assembly will be in Manhattan Community District 6. The timeframe for the highest impacts will likely be between Sunday, September 18th and Saturday, September 24th, with heavy traffic, motorcades, occasional ferry suspensions, and modifications to bike lanes occurring. As we learn more about the exact impacts of the General Assembly, we will convey them. But for now, if you can make plans to avoid the area during those dates, that would be advisable.
- Jobs with the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR): There are several job opportunities ESCR currently offers, which include openings for an Administrative Assistant, an Office Engineer, and an Assistant Office Engineer. Visit the ESCR website to view more details on these job opportunities.
- Grand Central Library Closing: The New York Public Library (NYPL) is closing the Grand Central Library branch on December 1, 2022. Originally opened as a temporary branch in 2009, the Grand Central Library served the community while the 53rd Street Library was undergoing construction. With the 53rd Street Library and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library located nearby in Midtown, NYPL will not renew the lease for the Grand Central Branch. There are two other NYPL branches in Manhattan Community District 6: The Epiphany Library and the Kips Bay Library. For more information, please visit: https://www.nypl.org/
Tuesday, September 6th at 7 PM, the Environment & Parks Committee will discuss opportunities for new publicly accessible greenspace in Manhattan Community District 6 and proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget requests.
You can join the meeting by registering via the button below.
Thursday, September 8th at 7 PM, the Health & Human Services Committee will hear a presentation from NYC Smoke-Free on their organization and the services they provide.
You can join the meeting by registering via the button below.
Monday, September 12th at 6:30 PM, the Budget & Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a Public Hearing on the Community District 6 Needs Statement and Budget Requests for Fiscal Year 2024 and discuss the Fiscal Year 2024 budget requests and District Needs Statement.
You can join the meeting by registering via the button below.
You can view information on these and other upcoming meetings on our website’s meetings calendar page.
Information on the Spotted Lanternfly
The spotted lanternfly was first spotted in New York City in 2020. Since then, they have been spotted in more areas throughout New York City, including in Union Square, which is just outside of our district. Spotted lanternflies are a significant threat to a wide range of agricultural crops including walnut, grapes, hops, apples, blueberries, and stone fruits. Furthermore, they can infest trees.
While harming our city’s wildlife is generally prohibited, the City’s Parks Department is putting out a one-time call: if you see a spotted lanternfly, please squash it and dispose of this invasive pest. Furthermore, you can help prevent the spread of spotted lanternflies by refraining from moving firewood, outdoor furniture, and other outdoor items that may contain spotted lanternfly egg masses.
Read more about the spotted lanternfly on the Parks Department website.
MTA Launches New Rail App
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently launched a totally revamped app – named TrainTime – the new one-stop app for commuter rail customers in the region. The app replaces MTA eTix and adds the functionality of previously separate TrainTime apps for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, merging ticket purchasing, trip planning, and real-time train location data.
Access your tickets purchased in eTix using your existing account information — or create a new account using your Apple ID, Google account, or a text message.
Core Four COVID-19 Prevention Strategies:
- Stay home if sick, tested positive for COVID-19, recently traveled, or if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Wear a face covering when outside your home (whether indoors or outdoors). Note that this includes public transit, and that there is still a mask mandate on buses and subways in New York City.
- Keep six feet of distance from people who are not members of your household.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly.
All New Yorkers 6 months and older are eligible. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines have been authorized by the federal government for those between 6 months old and 4 years old.
Booster shots are now recommended for anyone who is 5 and older. Read more about the difference between getting a third dose and getting a booster shot here, and read more about booster shot eligibility on the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website.
Also note that a second booster shot is now available for:
- All people who are 50 and older.
- People who are 12 to 49 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
- People who are 18 to 49 and received a primary and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Visit the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s website on vaccinations to get more information on the vaccines, including on the latest information for vaccinating kids between 6 months and 4 years old.
Click on the image below to find out where you can get a vaccine appointment.
Getting a COVID Test in Community District 6
New York City has a searchable map through which you can see where you can get a COVID test. Note that some of the testing sites on this map may charge for testing. You can view the map here.
If you want a free COVID test, NYC Health + Hospitals offers free testing at hospitals, health centers, and pop-up locations across the five boroughs, including at Bellevue Hospital, which is in Community District 6. Note that some testing sites have rapid tests. No appointment is necessary! Find all NYC Health + Hospitals testing sites here.
Additionally, those who are 65 and older or are immunocompromised can schedule a free at-home COVID test. You can find more information about the program here.
How to Get Your Free COVID Test Kits from the Federal Government
As you may have heard, the Biden Administration is working with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to deliver four free at-home COVID test kits to every household (two test kits with two tests in each kit).
To order the test kits for your family, go to covidtests.gov and click “Order Free At-Home Tests.” When you click that link, you will be taken to the USPS website where you can enter your shipping information before clicking on “check out now.” Expect 7-12 business days between when you place the order and when the tests arrive for your household.
However, note that the program will be suspended on Friday, September 2nd due to lack of funds for the program from Congress. The program will still accept orders for free COVID tests before then.