News from Helen
Hope everyone is staying warm! If you need emergency assistance paying your heating bills, please reach out to HEAP, the Home Energy Assistance Program. Remember, you have a right to heat, so if your landlord is not providing heat, call 311 and file a complaint.
Important upcoming events in our District
Street Safety Forum: Jan. 21
Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Jill Abramson, Dana Lerner, and I will be on a panel about street safety hosted by the West Side Spirit and moderated by its Editor-in-Chief Kyle Pope. The event will be on Wednesday, January 21 from 6pm-8pm at the Society for Ethical Culture, and the topic is “Pedestrians vs. Cars: Manhattan’s Deadly Traffic Problem and What Can Be Done About It”. RSVPs encouraged! Learn more here.
Calling All Small Businesses! Chamber on the Go: Feb. 9
Chamber on the Go, a mobile van with free legal, financial, health insurance, and marketing services for small businesses, is coming to the Upper West Side! This is a great opportunity to get direct information and help for all your business questions and issues without having to leave the neighborhood. The van will be parked at 78th and Amsterdam Avenue on Monday, February 9 from 10am – 5pm. See the flyer.
February Housing Clinic, Feb. 4: City-Wide Housing Related Campaigns
Learn from housing advocates about coalition campaigns to address homeless policy issues, new affordable housing production and housing preservation. Preserving our rent-regulated housing will be a critically important campaign in 2015 as the NYS legislation that enact the rents laws must be renewed by June. Learn how you can join and support these efforts. As always you can meet with an attorney, free of charge. The clinic will be on Wednesday, February 4 from 6pm – 8pm at Goddard Riverside, 593 Columbus Avenue (between 88th & 89th Streets). See the flyer.
Goddard Riverside’s Big Read Kickoff: Jan. 24
I’m thrilled to participate in Goddard Riverside’s kick off “Big Read” event, which features The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu. This book covers issues we face on the Upper West Side, like gentrification, small businesses, and immigration. The event Saturday, January 24 from 7pm-9pm, and it will include live Ethiopian music, re-enactments from scenes in the book, and home-cooked Ethiopian food. Learn more.
Updates from the Council
NY1’s Inside City Hall
I was pleased to be asked to join three of my colleagues recently to speak about our first year in the City Council on NY1’s Inside City Hall. While much of the discussion focused on recent events with the NYPD, I also highlighted my work on pedestrian safety and the need for job training. (The interview is in two parts: the first video is on the NYPD, and the second one — which plays automatically after the first — is on first year accomplishments.)
This past week, the Council voted to approve the updates to the City’s $76 billion budget. I was the lone vote opposed to passing the budget, calling for additional transparency. Much work still needs to be done so taxpayers can understand the city’s policy priorities as seen through the lens of the budget.
If you are seeking discretionary funds from my office, please submit your requests directly on my website, and you can contact Marisa Maack at email@example.com or 212-873-0282 x.200 with any questions. Application deadlines are much earlier this year, so don’t delay!
IDNYC is here! This new city ID is a free way to get a year’s membership at 33 of the city’s cultural institutions, including Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History, and it’s available to all New York City residents age 14 and over. You can find the application, enrollment locations, and required documents at nyc.gov/idnyc. Be sure to book an appointment ahead of time! I have set my appointment, and I can’t wait.
Happening in the District
Traffic Signal Timing at 96th and Broadway
This past Monday, Department of Transportation Manhattan Commissioner Margaret Forgione joined me for a site visit on the southeast corner of 96th and Broadway. The left-turn light at that intersection turns green about two seconds after the other street lights have turned red, leaving a dangerous moment when pedestrians believe they are able to cross — since all the street lights are red — and they place themselves right in front of a lane of cars about to turn left. I wrote to DOT about this problem last week, and I am grateful for their speedy response in this pressing matter. The DOT street engineer agreed to change the signal timing and will complete that work within a month (several of the lights need to be rewired).
Volunteer Opportunity: Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Count
On Monday, January 26 the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will conduct its annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Count, and they need your help! DHS is looking for approximately 3,000 volunteers to help survey the number of homeless individuals living on city streets, parks, and in other public spaces throughout New York City. If you are interested in volunteering, please register here. Volunteers will assist from approximately 10:30pm – 4am. I will be joining their effort to survey the homeless in our district.