Tomorrow: FREE Pet Food Giveaways and Workshops with Celebrity Dog Groomer Jorge Bendersky

Tomorrow, please join Melissa at our Responsible Pet Ownership Day to send an important message about cleaning up after our dogs and keeping our streets and sidewalks clean.

We will have FREE dog and cat food giveaways, raffles and special workshops with Dog Groomer to the Stars Jorge Bendersky from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Jefferson Park Recreation Center (112th Street and 1st Avenue). Don’t miss it!

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Follow Me to… La Marqueta!

FMF La MarquetaEl Barrio/East Harlem is home to one of our city’s most iconic cultural landmarks – the traditional marketplace known as “La Marqueta”.

Located in the heart of El Barrio, this historic marketplace once served as our community’s social and economic center – a place where families from all over could come together to celebrate culture and buy foods and goods not available anywhere elsewhere in the city.

Bringing the spirit of El Barrio back to La Marqueta and turning it into a bustling cultural, food, and recreational hub once again has been a top priority for me and many others.

As part of these efforts, I would like to invite you to a very special Follow Me Friday this Friday, July 25th at the outdoor space known as “La Placita,” located at 116th Street and Park Avenue inside of La Marqueta. 

There will be live cultural performances and music, as well as pop-up booths featuring local designers, artists and jewelers.  And as with previous Follow Me Fridays highlighting local destinations in our district, folks will have an opportunity to catch up with me while supporting some of the great local businesses working in our community.

La Marqueta and La Placita will be the center of lots of activity this summer, so please stop by this Friday for a preview.  Attendees will also have an opportunity to share their thoughts on the type of programming they would like to see at La Marqueta in the coming months.  La Placita will be open from 2 pm to 6 pm, and I’ll be there from 3 pm to 4:30 pm.

Directions:

116th St. & Park Ave., El Barrio, NYC 10029

Subway – #6 train to 116th Street Station.  There is a cross-town bus on 116th Street, and there are North & Southbound buses on 3rd, Lexington and Madison Avenues nearby.

Thanks and I look forward to seeing you this Friday!

Gracias,
Melissa

Introducing Follow Me Fridays!

Follow Me FridayDear Friends,

This week, I will launch a new way to stay connected with my constituents. It’s called Follow Me Fridays… and I’m not talking about Twitter.

On at least one Friday each month, I will visit a business, community center, outdoor location or other destination in the district and invite all of my constituents to join me.

Follow Me Fridays will be a great way of highlighting our diverse and vibrant district while giving an opportunity for local residents to get one-on-one time with me. I got the idea from Chicago Alderman Joe Moore (who also inspired our local Participatory Budgeting process).

This Friday, May 23rd, we will be visiting The Mix Pop Up Coffee Shop at 127 Lincoln Ave (between Bruckner Blvd and E 134th St) in Mott Haven. Please stop by anytime from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm to say hello and grab a great cup of coffee.

I look forward to seeing you there! And please stay tuned for upcoming Follow Me Fridays in the coming weeks.

Gracias,

MMV

 

How You Can Help

Since Wednesday’s tragic building collapse, so many of you have reached out to offer your help and support. Today, I am pleased to announce that, at the request and urging of my office, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC has established a special East Harlem Building Collapse Relief fundraising effort. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for working with my office to establish this relief fund and for all that they have done in the days since this tragedy.

The East Harlem Relief Effort will aim to address the short and long term needs of the individuals, families and businesses stemming from Wednesday morning’s building collapse. Contributing to this effort – in any amount you can – is the best way to get help directly to those in need. Click here to donate and be sure to select East Harlem Building Collapse Relief Effort.

Funding will be utilized to create a victims assistance fund for expenses related to housing, funerals and replacing lost possessions, long-term case management and counseling services, and specialized outreach to El Barrio’s immigrant communities. Local community based organizations like Union Settlement and Little Sisters of the Assumption will be among those providing these important services.

The fund has already received pledges from a range of entities, including the families and Board members of the East Harlem Tutorial Program, the Real Estate Board of New York, Con Edison and the Association for a Better New York. I thank them for their generosity.

I invite you to join these organizations and businesses by making a contribution now to help our neighbors recover from this tragedy.

Together, we will provide the immediate relief and ongoing support that our neighbors need in this difficult time.

Gracias,
Melissa

Join Us for a Screening of ‘The House I Live In’

MMV THILI 10.16.13

You are invited to attend a FREE community screening of the award-winning documentary The House I Live In hosted by NYC Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. FLYER Attached

Filmed in more than twenty states, The House I Live In tells the stories of individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs. From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America’s criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy. View the trailer of The House I Live Inhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0atL1HSwi8

THE HOUSE I LIVE IN 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 6:30 PM

@ Manhattan Neighborhood Network

El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center

175 East 104th Street

New York, NY 10029

Following the screening will be a panel discussion with:

  • Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, District 8
  • Jazz Hayden, All Things Harlem
  • Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Christopher St. John, Producer, The House I Live In

SPACE IS LIMITED, so please RSVP to: https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8173931449

We hope that you can join us!

SAVE THE DATE: Community Discussion on Our Transgender Community

By now, you’ve surely heard about the tragic murder of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman in Harlem. We simply cannot tolerate this kind of hate violence in our communities. On Tuesday, Melissa attended a vigil in Islan’s memory.

Even before this tragedy, Melissa’s office had been working with community groups to organize a discussion on our transgender community. We hope that you will join us for “No More Invisibility: Our Transgender Community, Who Are They and What Do They Have to Say?,” to be held on Thursday, September 19th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College (2180 3rd Ave @ East 119th Street, 2nd Floor Auditorium).

This discussion is also co-sponsored by State Senator Jose M. Serrano, Harlem United, CK Life, BOOM!Health, Iris House, The Center, NYC DOHMH, Destination Tomorrow and Harlem Pride. Dinner and refreshments will be served.

Seating is limited and RSVP is required. Please arrive promptly. For more information, please contact Joe Pressley at jpressley@council.nyc.gov or 212-828-9800.

Gender Forum Flyer

New Murals Coming to El Barrio and the South Bronx!

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Not long ago, Melissa learned about an annual art festival held in Puerto Rico where murals are simultaneously painted throughout the neighborhood of Santurce. Beginning this Monday, August 19th, this festival will come to El Barrio and the South Bronx for the first time. Next week, Melissa will join El Museo del Barrio in welcoming a host of artists from right here in New York City, Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America, to our district to help bring some of our empty walls to life.

We hope all of you will join us at this weeklong international art festival. Click here for the latest information on the planned activities, including a free concert and block party on Saturday, August 24th, and a community tour of all the completed murals the following day.

Our neighborhoods are home to so many vibrant and historic murals, and these artists look forward to adding to our communities’ public art, focusing in particular on one common theme that resonates with so many of us: diaspora. We’re particularly thrilled to be able to continue to build and strengthen linkages between our communities and Puerto Rico.

For all the latest information on Los Muros Hablan, stay connected with www.losmuroshablannyc.com.

7th Annual East Harlem Youth Fair: Step Up, Speak Out, Take Action

Please join us on Tuesday, August 20th from 1 pm – 4 pm for our 7th Annual Step Up, Speak Out, Take Action East Harlem Youth Fair! As always, we’ll have food, music, live entertainment, back to school giveaways and a chance to connect with local organizations offering services in our community. Don’t miss it!!

Youth Fair 2013

Los Muros Hablan NYC: Coming to El Barrio & the South Bronx This Month

This month, Melissa will sponsor an international urban art festival right here in El Barrio and the South Bronx entitled “Los Muros Hablan NYC.” This weeklong festival, which involves the simultaneous painting of murals throughout the community, is based on a similar festival held annually in Puerto Rico. This first-time event in New York City will be held from August 19th through August 25th. Melissa is sponsoring the event in conjunction with El Museo del Barrio.

While additional details are still forthcoming, one of the artists, Viajero, will hold a community conversation this Wednesday to gather ideas that will inform the design of his mural. All of the new murals will be designed around the common theme of “diaspora.” Next week’s meeting will give us the opportunity to share what diaspora means to all of us. Please join us at El Museo’s Third Floor Taller on Wednesday, August 7th at 6:00 pm!

Los Muros Hablan Event

Update: EDC Announces Process to Reserve Space at Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center

In response to concerns expressed by community and at Melissa’s urging, the city’s Economic Development Corporation has announced a process whereby the community can reserve space at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center. This process is expected to be in place until a final agreement is reached between the City and the new operator of the space. EDC will begin accepting reservations on Thursday, July 25th. Please note that reservation requests must be made at least 14 business days prior to the event.

Click here to download this document from EDC for information on the process. Community organizations interested in renting the space should review these guidelines carefully and contact Julliard Lin, Project Manager at 212-312-3728 or jlin@nycedc.com, with any questions.

No-Cost Digital Mammograms and Clinical Breast Exams Coming to El Barrio

Early detection of breast cancer can save lives. Recognizing this important fact, Soluna Holistic Spa (143 E. 103rd Street) will be hosting a mobile care clinic on Wednesday, July 31st from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm in El Barrio/East Harlem. You must sign up by July 8th by calling 877-628-9090. This event is being coordinated in conjunction with the American Italian Cancer Foundation. For more information, please contact Soluna Holistic Spa at 212-876-1326.

Only women age 40 and older who have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months and have a New York City mailing address qualify for these no-cost mammogram services.

Please help spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors!

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

SNS_1210-header2_0Stop ‘N’ Swap is coming to East Harlem! A Stop ‘N’ Swap is a community-based event where residents bring in items they no longer want, and come to take things they do want. The events are free and residents don’t have to bring something to take something.  The items are sorted upon arrival, and at the end of the day all leftovers are either donated or recycled.

WHO: GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education and the Urban Garden Center
WHAT: Stop ‘N’ Swap
WHEN: Sunday, June 30, 2013. 12 PM – 3 PM
WHERE: La Placita at La Marqueta (116th St & Park Ave) with Urban Garden Center’s FleaMarqueta
Click here for the flyer in English and Spanish.

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Please note that NYC’s plastic recycling guidelines just got a whole lot easier! Recycling is one of the simplest and most effective ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, so please – do your part. If you have any questions about what you should or should not be recycling, you can refer to NYC Recycles.

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Did You Know That The G.E.D. Test Will Change in 2014?

On January 1, 2014 the G.E.D. exam is going to change, which means that if you’ve been working towards your G.E.D. but have yet to complete it, your scores will become invalid and you will have to start all over again. Come learn about the changes and how you can finish your G.E.D. in 2013 at the Union Settlement Association Youth Center at Washington Houses (1775 Third Avenue at 98th Street) on Wednesday, June 26th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Whether you are planning to continue your education, find better employment, or want to assist a family member with his or her studies – obtaining your G.E.D. is an essential step in the process. Regardless of when you dropped out of high school, now is as good a time as ever to complete your G.E.D., especially if you already began the process.

GEDWHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
WHAT: Finish Your GED in 2013
WHEN: Wednesday, June 26th – 5:30 to 7:30 PM
WHERE: Union Settlement Association Youth Center at Washington Houses – 1775 Third Avenue (at 98th Street)

For more information, contact Lauren Quinones at (212) 828-9800 or lquinones@council.nyc.gov.

NEW DATE: Join Us For The 7th Annual Power of Aging Well Health Festival

We have identified a NEW DATE for the Power of Aging Well Health Festival for our older adults. It will take place on Thursday, September 5th from 10 am to 2 pm at Thomas Jefferson Park. Please join us!

In one week from today, Thursday, June 13, 2013, from 10 AM to 2 PM, Melissa, in collaboration with Metropolitan Hospital Center and NYC Department of Aging will hold their Power of Aging Well Annual Health Festival at Thomas Jefferson Park. Please join us for this annual festival that’s dedicated to our senior population. It is always a enjoyable day filled with entertainment, art, exercise and even health screenings. Please help us spread the word to your older family members or neighbors who could benefit from this festival. We hope to see you there!

Senior Fair 2013 English Senior Fair 2013 Spanish

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Metropolitan Hospital Center, NYC Department for the Aging, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation, and Metroplus Medicare
WHAT: The Power of Aging Well Annual Health Festival
WHEN: Thursday, September 5, 2013. 10 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: Thomas Jefferson Park (First Avenue between East 112th and East 114th Streets)

El Barrio/East Harlem: Volunteer to Clean Up Our Streets!

It is not news that East Harlem faces a challenge with littering. This is a problem that Melissa has previously addressed and is now calling for your help. If you are as tired of litter in our community as we are, please volunteer and  join Melissa and our office on Saturday, June 22nd from 10 AM to 1 PM  in sweeping our sidewalks, showing our community that we take pride in our neighborhood! For the full flyer and schedule of the days events, please click here. We hope to see you there!

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Boys and Girls Harbor, SCAN NY La Isla Beacon Program, ABV and more to be announced.
WHAT: East Harlem Community Clean-Up
WHEN: Saturday, June 22, 2013. 10 AM to 1 PM
WHERE: Meeting at 10 AM at Council Member Mark-Viverito’s District Office (105 East 116th Street, between Lexington & Park Avenues)
RSVP OR FOR MORE INFO: Email NewsFromMelissa@gmail.com or call (212) 828-9800

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Melissa Co-Sponsored a Memorial Day “Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament” in East Harlem

0_0_0_0_250_185_csupload_48858404On Monday, May 27th , Melissa co-sponsored Hoops by the River’s annual ‘Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament‘ which was attended by over 300 youth in East Harlem’s Jefferson Park. Melissa has been a very strong supporter of the Hoops by the River (HBTR) basketball league, which provides hundreds of children and teenagers with quality and competitive sports programming, serving as a tool for youth development to combat violence and obesity in the community. League Director Will Kelly presented an award to Melissa for her continuous support.

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Melissa recently allocated $300,000 to renovate the Jefferson basketball courts, after the proposal won over 500 community votes as part of our district’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. This was largely due to the participation, hard work and advocacy of HBTR director Will Kelly and his son, Will Kelly II, in the PB process. The upgraded courts will provide East Harlem’s young athletes with a safe and attractive space to compete year round.

Join Melissa for East Harlem Family Day on Saturday, June 1st

Melissa will be attending East Harlem Family Day on Saturday, June 1st at PS 7’s playground on East 119th & Lexington Avenue. East Harlem Family Day is going to be a day filled with fun activities for the entire family, like rock climbing and pro basketball training – so make sure to stop by!

EHfamilyday

WHAT: East Harlem Family Day
WHEN: Saturday, June 1, 2013. Noon – 4 PM
WHERE: East 119th Street & Lexington Avenue (P.S. 7’s playground)

Stop the Bullying Candlelight Memorial Walk in Memory of Joel Morales

Please join Melissa at the upcoming Stop the Bullying Candlelight Memorial Walk, in memory of  Joel Morales, who tragically was driven to commit suicide last year at the age of just 12 years old after enduring relentless bullying. This event is being spearheaded by Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez and gives all of us in El Barrio/East Harlem the opportunity to come together, remember Joel and renew our fight against bullying in our schools and communities.

Check out the flyer below for details.

Stop the Bullying Flyer

Let’s Combat Stigma, Homophobia & Transphobia in Our Community

Melissa, State Senator José Serrano, and the East Harlem Immigrant Service Network are sponsoring an all-inclusive roundtable discussion entitled “Bridging the Gap; Expanding the Dialogue” that will be held on Friday, June 7th from 9 AM to 11:30 AM at the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence. This dialogue is intended to broaden conversations about sexuality and gender identity in El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx. This is a chance for you to have an interactive discussion between elected officials and other members of the community about the best ways we can combat stigma, homophobia and transphobia in our community.

bridgingthegap

WHO: Sponsored by: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, State Senator José Serrano, Jr., the East Harlem Immigrant Service Network; along with co-sponsors: Anti-Violence Project, Bailey House, Harlem United, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
WHAT: Bridging the Gap; Expanding the Dialogue: Combating Stigma, Homophobia, and Transphobia in our Communities
WHEN: Friday, June 7th from 9 AM to 11:30 AM
WHERE: East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence. 161-169 East 110th Street, 1st floor (between Lexington & Third Avenues)
MANDATORY RSVP: Joe Pressley at (212) 828-9800 or jpressley@council.nyc.gov 

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa’s Plans to Keep East Harlem Clean

Melissa and NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty unveiled a set of upgraded litter baskets on 18 corners in El Barrio/East Harlem on Friday, in an effort to reduce litter along the 3rd Avenue commercial corridor. Melissa allocated $10,000 in discretionary funding in the current fiscal year to cover the cost of the baskets. The upgraded litter baskets offer 25-30% more capacity and help discourage individuals from using these public baskets to deposit commercial or household refuse. Melissa funded the litter baskets after hearing from many residents about the persistent litter problem in the community, including during neighborhood assemblies that are held annually as part of the district’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. We would like to thank the Sanitation Department their swift response once we brought the concerns to their attention. 

“We have been hearing from across the community a level of frustration regarding the amount of litter on our streets and sidewalks, and I share that frustration,” said Melissa. “Efforts to reduce litter must be multi-pronged and my office is prepared to work with other concerned community stakeholders in seeking to address this persistent problem. The upgraded litter baskets are an important first step in a larger community response to this issue.”

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Check out the segment on the upgraded litter baskets on NY1.

This is just the beginning of Melissa’s efforts to keep East Harlem clean. Our office will be undertaking three programs, in collaboration with the community, to discourage littering and to keep East Harlem clean.

  • Adopt-A-Basket Program
    Melissa and our office are engaging in efforts to increase participation in the Department of Sanitation’s “Adopt-A-Basket” program among El Barrio/East Harlem businesses. The program is a volunteer program, in which a business, organization or individual agrees to monitor an existing DSNY litter Basket to help prevent overflowing of baskets in areas of high pedestrian traffic. The Department supplies plastic bag liners, a collection schedule and a contact person at the Department’s local district operations office. Participants change the liners when the basket is three quarters full and place the full securely tied liners next to the basket for collection. We hope that East Harlem businesses will commit to sponsor additional upgraded baskets for the community.
  • Community Clean Sweep Day
    Melissa and our office will work with a committee of concerned residents to organize a “Community Clean Sweep Day,” currently scheduled for Saturday, June 22, 2013, which will focus on key areas in the El Barrio/East Harlem neighborhood to not only sweep up litter, but to raise the visibility of anti-littering efforts. 
  • Local Heroes Campaign
    We will be moving forward with a public campaign to celebrate those who go the extra mile to keep the community clean by designating them “local heroes.” Stay tuned for more details.

If  you are interested in getting involved in any of these efforts and/or would like to share other ideas of how to address littering in the community, please contact us through this form.

Affordable Apartments in East Harlem: Apply by June 27th

Applications are currently being accepted for 172 affordable housing rental apartments now under construction at 1951 Park Avenue & 121 East 131st Street in East Harlem.  The size, rent, and targeted income distribution for the apartments are listed here.

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Harlem River Point North, Artist Rendering

These buildings are being constructed through the Low Income Rental Program (LIRP) of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, the Low Income Affordable Marketplace Program (LAMP) of the New York City Housing Development Corporation, and the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (SLIHC) of New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR).

Manhattan Community Board 11 has made the cover letter and application available for download here. You can also visit www.HRPNorth.com for more on the building, as well as the cover letter and application in two different downloadable PDF files.

Completed applications must be returned by regular mail only to: Harlem River Point North, LLC, P.O Box 820, New York, NY 10113, and must be postmarked by June 27, 2013. Applications postmarked after June 27, 2013 will be set aside for possible future consideration. Applicants will be selected by lottery. Applicants who submit more than one application will be disqualified. Disqualified applications will not be accepted.

Eligible households that include persons with mobility impairments will receive preference for 2% of the units. Current and eligible residents of Manhattan Community Board 11 will receive preference for 50% of the units. Applicants who can document displacement by Hurricane Sandy and/or or its related storms will receive preference for 25% of the units; and eligible City of New York Municipal Employees will receive a 5% preference.

Please see Community Board 11 of Manhattan for more information.

Volunteer for Search & Care and Help A Local Senior

31133_121696691179678_7861730_nEver wonder who’s helping that frail elderly person in your building? Search and Care is probably the answer. Search and Care is a local nonprofit social service agency that provides free help for seniors who want to stay in their apartments but have a hard time managing on their own in East Harlem, Yorkville and Carnegie Hill. They will be holding an open house tomorrow, Saturday, May 18th, looking for volunteers who want to make a difference in a life of a senior. Volunteers help in many essential ways.  As one of Search and Care’s volunteers, you might choose to a visit with a neighborhood senior, walk a dog for an elder, read to a client who is legally blind, help a frail senior get to and from doctor appointments, or shop for someone who is homebound. If you’re 18 or older (bilingual is a plus) and want to know if this would be a great way for you to give back, or if you want to learn about Search and Care’s services, please RSVP to attend and bring a friend or neighbor. Refreshments will be served.

Courtesy of Search and Care

Courtesy of Search and Care

WHO: Search and Care
WHAT: Volunteer Open House
WHEN:  Saturday, May 18th, 11 AM – 12:30 PM
WHERE:  St Francis De Sales Church, 135 East 96th Street (down the stairs)
RSVP:  Robin at 212-289-5300 X203 or by email to strashun@searchandcare.org

PHOTO: AP

Join Our Community Briefing on Proposed Immigration Reform Legislation, Next Thursday

Melissa, along with the East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, CUNY Citizenship Now, Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition, will be conducting a community briefing regarding pending federal-level legislation concerning immigration reform on Thursday, May 16th at the Union Settlement Association. Please join us in reviewing the overview of the proposed legislation and discussing everything from the good to the bad and how you can advocate for it.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, CUNY Citizenship Now, Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition
WHAT: Community Briefing on Proposed Federal-Level Immigration Reform
WHEN: Thursday, May 16th from 9:15 AM to 11:30 AM
WHERE: Union Settlement Association (237 East 104th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
All attendees should RSVP to Joe Pressley at jpressley@council.nyc.gov or via telephone at 212-828-9800.

Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies

healthymomshealthybabiesIt is a sad fact that mothers and newborns living in low-income communities like East Harlem suffer from preventable illnesses and serious health risks that tragically take or undermine lives. Just because there are mothers and babies that live in poverty and do not have access to health care or may lack the presence of family or mentors that can help and teach them how to keep their babies well, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to knowledge about completely preventable health problems. The Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA) has made it their priority to bring maternal awareness to this travesty. And there are two ways you can get involved:

  1. LSA is hosting a Virtual Baby Shower through Amazon.com, where you can donate necessities to those who need it most – it includes everything from diapers to baby formula.
  2. Additionally, they are holding a Mother’s Day Haiku and Short Poem Contest. The deadline is May 10th at noon, and you can submit your work (Spanish and English accepted) online or tweet it to @LSA_EastHarlem. The First Place prize is a $100 Macy’s gift card; Second Place prize is a Mother’s Day brunch for two at Kings’ Carriage House; and Third Place prize is a beautiful spring bouquet by Kathy Flowers.

We hope you have a very Happy Mothers Day this weekend & don’t forget about the mothers and babies in our community that could use an extra hand.

FREE Screening Of “A Place at the Table” on Thursday

The NYC Food Policy Center, Hunter’s Graduate Student Nutrition Club and the NYC Coalition Against Hunger will be hosting a FREE screening of A Place at the Table, a new groundbreaking film on hunger in America, on Thursday, May 9th  from 2 to 4 PM at the CUNY School of Public Health.

From the people that brought us An Inconvenient Truth, The Help, Food Inc. and Waiting for Superman, this documentary examines the issue of hunger in America. It is in our best interest that we make healthy food available and affordable because right now we are facing serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation. One in four children in the United States do not know where their next meal is coming from.

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WHO: NYC Coalition Against Hunger, Hunter’s Graduate Student Nutrition Club and the NYC Food Policy Center
WHAT: FREE Screening of A Place at the Table
WHEN: Thursday, May 9th from 2 to 4 PM
WHERE: CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College,  2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street
RSVP HERE

Immigration Reform: What You Need To Know

We are happy to share with you a very clear rundown on Immigration Reform, provided by CUNY Citizenship Now:

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Visit CUNY Citizenship Now’s website. It’s a great resource to learn about everything from  protecting yourself from immigration fraud to finding English language classes and preparing for the citizenship test.

You can download the PDF of this flyer to share with your network through this link.

Teens: How Would You Like to Spend Your Summer at Randall’s Island?

Get creative this summer at the Bronx Museum’s The People Make the Park Teen Summer Program at Randall’s Island! This is your chance to spend July with teens just like you, interviewing community members, park staff, artists, activists and professionals in order to create audio podcasts that will be placed on exhibit at Randall’s Island Park. Additionally, there will be free lunches on program days and a stipend for your travel and hard work. Think of the people you could meet and uncharted experiences to be had — sounds like a winning college application essay! Check out The People Make the Park 2012’s Tumblr for a better idea of the program.

TeenSummerProgramFlyer

Applications are due by Sunday, June 9, 2013 – so apply today. You must be entering the 10th, 11th or 12th grade in the fall of 2013. The program will be held from July 8 – 26, 2013, Mondays through Thursday, 1 PM to 5 PM.

Looking Back on Our Second Year of Participatory Budgeting

Melissa unveiled the 2012-2013 Participatory Budgeting (PB) vote results for the 8th Council District on Monday evening at a celebration featuring San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto. In response to the growing participation and excitement around the process in its second year, Melissa nearly doubled her initial commitment of $1 million to the process. This year, 1,770 District 8 residents voted in the process, as compared to just over 1,000 last year.

The $1.9 million in projects funded through PB for the Fiscal Year 2014 budget are:

  1. Security cameras for Douglass, East River, Johnson and Millbrook houses — 964 votes
  2. New Laptops for 9 Schools in District 8– 857 votes
  3. Technology Centers for Seniors and Youth — 706 votes
  4. Mobile cooking classroom for SMART  (Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment)   — 534 votes
  5. Solar powered Greenhouse — 533 votes
  6. Hoops by the River — upgrade Jefferson B-ball Courts — 501 votes

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“I could not be more thrilled with the level of participation or the results,” Melissa said. “The winning projects are a reflection of the community’s concerns about public health, safety, youth, seniors and public parks. I thank all of our incredible partners in this process including Community Voices Heard, the Participatory Budgeting Project and the budget delegates for their hard work throughout the process.”

The tireless dedication and commitment from the community volunteers, otherwise known as ‘budget delegates’, was truly inspiring. Delegates came together from all different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds to work as a team of urban planners, community organizers, and decision-makers. Together they analyzed hundreds of project ideas, and through a long and grueling process they narrowed them down to twenty-one project proposals to address a wide variety of community needs such as more access to technology in our public schools, senior-friendly spaces, safe public housing, quality recreational spaces, transportation improvements, community gardens and urban agriculture.

One story that stands out in this process was the engagement of formerly incarcerate youth of color who worked on the education committee and developed one of the winning project proposals for new computers and technology in local schools. Another is that of Susan Rodriguez who works with SMART (Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/ HIV Research and Treatment), who has been very concerned about public health and the lack of nutritious food options in her community.

“First of all, just meeting and speaking with the Mayor of San Juan and knowing that she wants to bring PB to her city was one of the highlights of the evening!” said Rodriguez.  “Of course, I was overjoyed when SMART’s Mobile Cooking Classroom won and I thank everyone who came out to vote! This has been an extraordinary process for me, meeting and working with other budget delegates, community organizers and residents, especially in Millbrook Houses/Mott Haven, and learning how to make our community and city the best it can be.”

Last year, which was the first year of PBNYC, Ray Figueroa proposed a solar-powered greenhouse to teach urban agriculture to court-involved youth in the South Bronx, but it did not receive enough votes to win. This year however, the greenhouse pulled through.

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“Participatory Budgeting re-enfranchises the dis-enfranchised,” said Figueroa. “It reaches out to the most marginalized residents in the most underserved sectors of our community and honors them as the experts of our community.  Participatory Budgeting respects their human dignity in this regard, and, by so doing, helps to galvanize their sense of ownership as community stakeholders and re-defines what it means to be civically engaged.”

DSC_0437The last winning project with 501 votes, was the Jefferson Park basketball courts which have not been renovated in decades. These courts are heavily used by the Hoops by the River basketball league, run by Will Kelly and his son, Will Kelly II. “It is wonderful that we were able to mobilize our youth and community residents to finally make these much needed safety upgrades to this court,” said Kelly. “This way we can run a quality league and expand our work to combat youth violence and promote health.”

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More information on all of this year’s projects is available here

The full voting tally is available here.

Senior Health Fair for Living Healthy & Aging Actively, Tomorrow

Hope Community will be holding a Senior Health Fair tomorrow, Wednesday, April 17th from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Carlos Rios Community Room. Stop by and take advantage of the free health screenings that will be held throughout the day and the “Eating for Good Health” cooking demonstration at 12:30 PM.

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WHO: Hope Community, Inc., Visiting Nurse Services Legal Aid Society, Elder Smile Program, Iris House, IPRO, Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, Mt. Sinai Medical Center (H.E.A.L.S.), NY Coalition for Smoke Free NY

WHAT: Senior Health Fair for Living Healthy and Aging Actively

WHEN: Wednesday, April 17th from 10 AM to 3 PM

WHERE: Carlos Rios Community Room, 335 East 105th Street (between First & Second Avenues)

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Bike Helmet Fitting & Giveaway This Saturday

As many of you know, we in East Harlem/El Barrio love bike lanes; which means that bike safety is a top priority in our book. As the beautiful weather rolls in, we need to practice bike safety whether it’s while enjoying a leisurely bike ride or on our daily commute. Melissa is sponsoring a Bicycle Helmet Fitting Event this Saturday, April 13th from 10 AM to 2 PM in Union Settlement’s garden area. You can be one of the 300 recipients of free bicycle helmets that will be given out to both adults and children.  There’s only one (very reasonable and responsible) catch: you must first properly learn how to fit the helmet for optimum safety. Please join us and bring the family!

Helmets

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYC DOT, and Union Settlement Association
WHAT: Bicycle Helmet Fitting Event
WHEN: Saturday, April 13th from 10 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: Union Settlement’s Garden Area. 237 East 104th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Rain Site: Union Settlement’s Auditorium.

Click on the corresponding link for the PDF flyer in English, Spanish and Chinese.

And The Winners Are…

We want to thank everyone that participated in PB this year, whether you volunteered, were a delegate, voted or even talked about the PB process to a neighbor. It’s because of District 8’s participation that our second year of PB was such a great success. And because of that, Melissa decided to allocate a whopping $1.9 million to the projects that were chosen and voted on by you, the people.

Last night Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto spoke at our Participatory Budgeting Unveiling Celebration. We were thrilled to hear her affirm that she would be launching the first PB process  in San Juan, Puerto Rico soon; where select areas in the city would decide on how to spend $1.5 million. Stay tuned in the coming days  for photos and reflections on the PB celebration and the Mayor’s visit. 

So without further ado, we are proud to present the winning projects:

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PB Celebration PPT_tech

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Total Vote Counts:

7. Play for All: PS 155 Playground Renovation (#1 – 416 Votes)
8. Air Conditioning Wiring for PS 72 (#9 – 362 Votes)
9. SMART Board Technology for Schools (#8 – 355 Votes)
10. Lighting Upgrade in Douglass (#5 – 353 Votes)
11. Auditorium Upgrade at Manhattan Center HS (#10 – 307 Votes)
12. Upgrades for Gaylord White Senior Center (#15 -304 Votes)
13. Peaceful Valley Community Garden (#3 – 301 Votes)
14. Playground Upgrades at Washington (#6 – 285 Votes)
15. New Fitness Equipment for Cherry Tree Park (#14 – 278 Votes)
16. Safety Upgrades at the Heckscher Building (#13 – 231 Votes)
17. History/Media Lab for PS 171 (#11 – 215 votes)
18. Backyard Renovations for UPACA 6 (#16 – 199 votes)
19. Layered Access at UPACA 6 (#17 – 148 votes)
20. New Subway Canopy (#21 – 139 votes)
21. Multi-Media Information Kiosks (#20 – 106 votes)

Join Us for the Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration, with Special Guest San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto

PBNYC vote image small_1It has been a great week in District 8, with hundreds of community members coming out to vote for projects that they believe in. If you haven’t had a chance to vote yet, there’s still time – check out the list of voting sites and times on our PB site, www.mmviverito.com/pbnycTo conclude the weeklong voting process, the Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration, unveiling the winning projects, will be held on Monday, April 8th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Avenue).

We are very excited to announce that our Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration will feature a very special guest, San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto.  As you may remember, Melissa had the honor to deliver the keynote at her inauguration. Mayor Carmen Yulín  has pledged to implement a PB process in San Juan and is coming to see how the process works in our district.

“It is an incredible honor for me to welcome such an incredible woman and inspiring leader to our city for the first time since being elected Mayor of San Juan,” said Council Member Mark-Viverito. “Mayor Carmen Yulín is bringing a new style of democracy to San Juan. I am truly excited that she has committed to roll out a PB process in the city, which will help bring transparency and direct public input in how the government allocates resources. I look forward to continued collaboration with the Mayor’s administration in continuing to strengthen ties between our two cities and across the Puerto Rican diaspora.”

PB Celebration Flyer_eng

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

WHATSecond Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration
WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, PBNYC, and Community Voices Heard
WHEN: Monday, April 8th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
WHERE:  Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Avenue)
RSVP: mmvbudget@gmail.com or (212) 828-9800

Tato Laviera, the “Chronicler of Life in El Barrio,” Needs Our Help

Nuyorican poet Tato Laviera’s works have reached out to the hearts and souls of the Puerto Rican community and nourished us for decades. Now this poet, novelist and cultural icon needs us to reach out to him.

Tato Laviera has been in intensive care for two and a half months and his health is deteriorating rapidly. Doctors have not been able to identify his illness and he needs financial support. His family is reaching out to literary and cultural groups, friends, colleagues and Laviera fans for help with donations.

Three years ago, Laviera became homeless after undergoing brain surgery. At that time, community members helped him secure the living conditions necessary for him to continue to work. Since then, he has kept busy until his more recent illness, producing  the play The King of Cans, a musical that takes place in New York City and tells the story of homeless can collectors who strive to rebuild their lives while dealing with day-to-day survival on the streets. He also completed a draft of the novel, El Barrio.

The writer, poet, essayist, playwright, who was born Jesus Abraham Laviera in Puerto Rico and has lived has lived in New York City since 1960, committed himself to the social and cultural development of Puerto Ricans in New York. He has taught creative writing at universities. His poetry and plays are linguistic and artistic celebrations of Puerto Rican culture, African Caribbean traditions, and life in the city.  Laviera writes in English, Spanish, and Spanglish and has been dubbed as a “chronicler of life in El Barrio.”

If you can help with a contribution of any amount to this literary legend who has done so much for us, please click here to find out where you can send a check to. 

Source: Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro)

Safer Neighborhood Streets: Apply for a Slow Zone by May 31st

slowzoneNeighborhood Slow Zones reduce the speed limit on residential streets from 30 mph to 20 mph. Slow Zones grant local families peace of mind because they know drivers in their communities will stick to safer speeds. Communities that apply for a Slow Zone can get safety improvements that reduce traffic crashes, cut-through traffic and traffic noise, making residential streets safer for biking and walking.

NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is currently accepting applications to the Neighborhood Slow Zone program. Community boards, civic associations, BIDs, or other community institutions such as schools or churches can apply. If you’re interested in applying, you can download the application, and follow NYCDOT’s application instructionsApplications must demonstrate local support for the Neighborhood Slow Zone. Applications that include letters of support from key community stakeholders will be prioritized.  

Applications are due by Friday, May 31st. Are you interested, but don’t know where to begin? Need help drumming up local support? Transportation Alternatives will help! E-mail safety@transalt.org, or call at (212) 629-8080.

Participatory Budgeting Voting to Commence In April

Starting Monday, April 1st, voting for Participatory Budgeting (PB) projects in our community will be open to all residents of District 8 that are 16 years of age and older. Not sure if you’re in the district? Check the map or look it up on the City Council website. You’ll need to bring at least one document proving current address and age. You can check out our PB page (mmviverito.com/pbnyc) for a list of examples of documents that will be accepted at the voting polls. This is your chance to vote on how we should spend $1 million in our community! Can we get your commitment to vote? If we can count on your vote, please fill out this form for us.  

MOBILE VOTING SITES:

This year, mobile voting sites will be held throughout the district. We will post the dates and locations as they are announced. Keep checking back for updates.

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Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Join Us For A Town Hall Meeting About Stop And Frisk

On Monday, March 18th, please come join us at a Town Hall Meeting in the Bronx, where you can share your thoughts about Stop and Frisk practices. We are looking forward to having open conversation about ways to improve public safety and working towards a real solution.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller John C. Liu, Senators Jose Serrano and Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Members Vanessa Gibson and Eric Stevenson, Council Members Fernando Cabrera and Helen Foster; and community partners
WHAT: Town Hall Meeting
WHEN: Monday, March 18, 2013. 6 to 8 PM
WHERE: Latino Pastoral Action Center. 14 West 170th Street, Bronx, NY 10452

Learn About Free Elementary School Options in East Harlem

This Saturday, East Harlem Scholars Academies will be hosting a School Choice Carnival where you can learn about free elementary school options in East Harlem and even apply on the spot. Of course, there will also be obligatory carnival fun for the whole family to enjoy. This free event is on, rain or shine.

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WHO: East Harlem Scholars Academies, DREAM Charter School, NYCA Charter School, and Amber Charter School
WHAT: School Choice Free Carnival
WHEN: Saturday, March 16th – 11 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: Jackie Robinson Educational Complex, 106th Street between Park and Madison Avenues
For more information, contact Theresa Cothern at tcothern@ehtp.org or 212.831.0650
Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Join NYCHA For Their Infill Development Meetings: Washington & Douglass Houses

NYCHA has already held their first public meeting about “Infill Development” at Carver Houses this week, but there are two additional upcoming meetings – one at the Washington Houses and the other at the Douglass Houses. NYCHA is proposing to lease their land to private developers so that they can create ’80-20′ housing  (80% market-rate and 20% affordable/low-income) that will fill critical budget shortfalls and meet its capital obligations. This is an opportunity for residents and community members to ask questions and express their opinions before NYCHA submits their Request for Proposals (RFPs) for their target properties by the end of April. If approved, this will impact District 8 residents and community members of Carver, Washington and Douglass Houses, and the surrounding community. 

While NYCHA is not privatizing the developments or taking anyone’s apartments away, this is an important community issue, and we encourage all concerned residents to attend this meeting.

WASHINGTON HOUSES:

This Thursday, March 14, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, NYCHA will be at the Union Settlement Association’s White Community Center (237 East 104th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) to speak about their infill development proposal for two sites affecting Washington Houses’ residents:

  1. Southeast Corner of East 99th Street & 3rd Avenue (Parking Lot & Community Center)
  2. North Side of East 99th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues (East of El Barrio Artspace PS109)

NYCHA

DOUGLASS HOUSES I & II:

Next Thursday, March 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, NYCHA will be at the Douglass Community Center/Children’s Aid Society (885 Columbus Avenue on 104th Street) to speak about their infill development proposal of three sites affecting Douglass Houses residents:

  1. West 104th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot)
  2. West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot, Garden and Play Area)
  3. Manhattan Avenue between West 101st & 102nd Streets (Parking Lot)

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Melissa Reaches Out to the NYPD & DOT After Last Week’s Fatal Accident

In the wake of last week’s tragic accident that resulted in the death of a 6-year-old boy named Amar Diarrassouba, it is imperative that we address and correct the causes of this tragedy to ensure that an accident like this does not happen again in our district. Melissa, along with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and State Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, held a press conference outside of Diarrassouba’s school. They called on the DOT and NYPD to take a zero tolerance measure against large trucks on non-designated streets, such as the narrow, one-way residential East 117th Street towards First Avenue, where the accident occurred; and to address the possible need for additional crossing guards at busier intersections.

Council Member Viverito During the Press Conference on Six Year Old's Death at an East Harlem Intersection 2-Credit to William Alatriste New York City Council

Following the press conference, Melissa wrote to Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan of the DOT and Commissioner Ray Kelly of the NYPD, to open up conversation about traffic enforcement and to make some requests. Please find the letters below. We will make sure to keep you updated on our further collaborative work with the DOT and NYPD on this matter.

Pictures From Our Black History Month Celebration

Melissa hosted a Black History Month celebration at Taino Towers last Thursday, which was co-sponsored by Senator Jose Serrano, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

The evening was filled with friends and neighbors, along with excellent entertainment. East Harlem Repertory Theatre Company singers and actors paid tribute to Madam CJ Walker, Marvin Gaye, Harriet Tubman and Michael Jackson with dazzling and moving performances. Additionally, we had the opportunity to honor two extraordinary women in our community with the Black History Month AwardPrincella Jamerson, a South Bronx community activist, community safety advocate and the President of Millbrook Houses Resident Association; and Kioka Jackson, an East Harlem community activist, youth services advocate and the Chair of the Tony Mendez Houses Tenants Board.

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Free Digital Mammograms and Clinical Breast Exams on Friday, March 8th

The American-Italian Cancer Foundation and Multi-Diagnostic Services (MDS) will be providing no-cost mobile breast cancer screening services to East Harlem on Friday, March 8th, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Early detection of breast cancer can save lives, so call to make an appointment today – (877) 628-9090. Your results will be sent to you and/or your doctor within 10 business days.

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Professional medical services from MDS:

  • Mammogram performed by a certified, licensed mammography technologist.
  • Clinical breast exam and instruction in breast self-exam by a trained professional.
  • Radiological interpretations performed by Board Certified Radiologists.

For more information about MDS, you can visit their website or call (877) 628-9090

ON THE DAY OF YOUR VISIT:

  • You are recommended to wear a two-piece outfit.
  • Please do not use any oil, powder, deodorant, or perfume in the breast, underarm or chest area.
  • If you have Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurance, you must bring your card with you. Your insurance will be billed for services; however you will not be charged a co-pay and will not receive a bill.
  • For women without health insurance, services will be paid for by the Screening Partnerships of the New York State Cancer Services Program (NYS CSP) or through generous contributions by the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s donors. For more information about the NYS CSP, please call (866) 442-CANCER (2262).
  • Comparison radiological studies are important. If you provide MDS with previous mammogram films, this comparison will be performed. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for additional testing.
  • If you would like your results sent to your doctor, please provide MDS with his or her full name and address.

WHO: New York City Council, The American-Italian Cancer Foundation, Multi-Diagnostic Services, East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc. Bilingual Head Start, Avon Foundation Breast Health Outreach Program, National Breast Cancer Foundation, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, The Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and New York State Department of Health
WHAT: Mobile No-Cost Breast Cancer Screening Program
WHEN: Friday, March 8, 2013. 9 AM to 4:30 PM
WHERE: East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc.  Bilingual Head Start – 440 E 116th St (between 1st Avenue and Pleasant Avenue)
AN APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY – CALL (877) 628-9090
Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa Responds To Accident Killing 6 Year-Old Boy in East Harlem

Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito released the following statement in response to the tragic accident that resulted in the killing of a 6-year-old boy at 117th Street and 1st Avenue in El Barrio/East Harlem this morning.

“This morning’s heartbreaking accident which led to the death of a 6-year-old boy is an absolute tragedy,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “My office has been in touch with the local police precinct throughout the day as investigations continue so that we can understand the specifics of what took place and see what action might be needed to prevent a similar horrific accident from occurring in the future. I offer my most sincere condolences to this child’s family in this extremely difficult time.”

Join Us At Our Upcoming Participatory Budgeting Project Expos

Yesterday marked the first Participatory Budget (PB) Project Expo in District 8 for 2013 – our second year partaking in the PB process. Yesterday’s expo was the first of three, where our Budget Delegates unveil the projects that will appear on the ballot for a public vote this April.  Nearly 100 residents came out in East Harlem to learn about the unveiled projects, which range from new computers for schools and youth centers, basketball court renovations and new community gardens.

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Who are our budget delegates & what do they do?  The budget delegates are volunteers who come from all different ethnic and economic backgrounds, and walks of life. Although they are all members of our community, it is because of PB that many of them crossed paths for the very first time.  And for the past few months they have worked together to analyze all of the great ideas that were generated in the neighborhood assemblies. Splitting up into seven different committees (including our awesome Youth Committee), the budget delegates assessed our community’s needs and delved deeper into 20 amazing project ideas that they are presenting at the Project Expos.

If you weren’t able to make it to yesterday’s Project Expo, please join us at either of our upcoming expos. PB gives local residents the power to decide how at least $1 million gets allocated in our community; and the Project Expos gives you a chance to be an informed voter. We hope to see you there!

  • Tuesday, March 5th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Frederick Douglass Center (885 Columbus Avenue)
  • Thursday, March 7th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Millbrook Community Center (201 St Ann’s Avenue, Bronx)

Re-Imagine The East Harlem Waterfront, This Thursday

How do you envision the East Harlem Waterfront? Please stop by and share your ideas and learn about community resources and opportunities for the East River Esplanade/El Paseo/El Malecon, on Thursday, February 28th at the Johnson Community Center. Refreshments will be provided.

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WHO: Trees New York, Greening The Gap, Hunter College Urban Planning Studio, and CIVITAS
WHAT: Re-Imagine The East Harlem Waterfront Community Visioning Session
WHEN: Thursday, February 28, 2013. 7 PM – 9 PM.
WHERE: Johnson Community Center; 1820 Lexington Avenue (btwn East 112 & East 115th Streets)
RSVP HERE

WIN $100– Do you live or work in East Harlem?  Please complete this survey to share your opinion about the East Harlem waterfront, and to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 prize.

East Harlem High School Students: Sign Up For MCNY’s Free SAT Prep Classes & More

mcny-whiteWe are urging East Harlem high school students to take advantage of the Museum of the City of New York’s excellent and free Saturday Academy program. Saturday Academy is a free six-week program for students in grades 8 – 12 interested in American History or SAT preparation. There’s no homework or testing and all course materials are provided. Saturday Academy was the recipient of the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House, and was featured in New York Magazine’s “Best of New York 2011” issue.

Spring 2013 courses meet on Saturdays April 6, 13, 20, May 4, 11, and 18. Course offerings include:

  • Activist New York
  • Public Art in East Harlem: Interpreting Latino-American History in the 20th Century
  • Performing History: The Federal Theater Project and the Great Depression
  • The Many Meanings of Feminism in the 20th Century
  • Freedom and Slavery in the Age of the American Revolution
  • Bell Curves SAT Skills

For more information on the courses offered, please click here.

All applications must be received online. TO APPLY, please click on this link  and fill out all the required information. The application deadline is Tuesday, March 12. Although East Harlem and Central Harlem students will be given priority seating, enrollment is first-come, first-serve, so please apply early since space is limited!  Should you experience any trouble applying online, you may email Saturday.academy@mcny.org or call 917-492-3401 to request that an application be mailed to your home address for you to fill out and return to the Museum of the City of New York.

A Special Message From Melissa: 2012 Annual Report

Though we are already well into the new year, I thought it would be important to reflect on 2012 and some of the important accomplishments that we all achieved together. We held the first-ever Participatory Budgeting vote in the City of New York. We united to defend our community from district lines that would have cut out some of our most vital institutions. We also won protected bike lanes for First and Second Avenues, and helped save two of our local public schools from closure. And those are just a few examples.

Last year was an exciting one for our community and for my office. And there’s a lot to look forward to in 2013.

Learn About NEW Local Legislation To Further Protect Arrested Immigrants, Next Thursday

Please join Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network and Make the Road New York in learning about new local legislation that will further protect arrested immigrants on Thursday, February 21st, 9:15 AM at the Hunter School of Social Work.

The proposed City Council legislation will:

  • Further limit unfair deportations;
  • Build on existing local law and is meant to promote public safety and community engagement; and
  • Relieve damaging effects of the federal government’s Secure Communities initiative.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, and Make the Road New York
WHAT: NEW Local Legislation To Further Protect Arrested Immigrants Informational Session
WHEN: Thursday, February 21, 2013. 9:15 (prompt) to 11:30 AM
WHERE: Hunter School of Social Work at East 119th Street and 3rd Avenue. Second floor classroom.
For more info and/or to RSVP, please contact Joe Pressley in the Office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito at 212-828-9800 or via email at jpressley@council.nyc.gov.  

Participatory Budgeting: Join Us At An Upcoming Project Expo

We are about to enter the third phase of the Participatory Budgeting (PB) process – Project Expos. In the first phase, we held seven neighborhood assemblies, which were attended by hundreds of community members and where we gathered even more great ideas on how to spend $1 million in District 8. Then in the second phase, the budget delegates worked hard on turning the ideas you helped generate in our neighborhood assemblies into concrete proposals for a public vote.

Please join us at one of our Project Expos, where our budget delegates will unveil the projects that will appear on the ballot for a public vote this April. This is a great way to learn more about the projects before you cast your vote. Hope to see you there!

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Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

For more information on PB in District 8, visit mmviverito.com/pbnyc.

Melissa Celebrates Breaking Ground at The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning

Melissa joined Harlem RBI , Jonathan Rose Companies, Enterprise, NYCHANYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Housing Development Corporation, Chase, and the New York Yankee’s Mark Teixeira in celebrating the groundbreaking of The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning today.

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Official NYC Council Photograph by William Alatriste

The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning is located on 104th Street, between Second and Third Avenues on the land within the Washington Houses complex. Thanks to additional Participatory Budgeting funding, Harlem RBI’s K-8 DREAM Charter School will have a permanent home in this new development – and a 54,000-square-foot home to boot. Joining the DREAM Charter School at The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning will be 11-stories that consist of 89 affordable housing units and 6,000-square-feet of non-profit office space. The housing component of this project will be named Yomo Toro Houses, after the legendary Puerto Rican musician who died in July 2012.

The development will further serve the East Harlem community, where the unemployment rate is 16.8% and a median income of $23,000 per year, by providing jobs at Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School. There will be additional benefits to NYCHA residents of Washington Houses, including a 50% set-aside for the children of Washington Houses for the Harlem RBI charter school enrollment lottery and new playground equipment and trash compactors.

“Harlem RBI continues to find new and innovative ways to help make El Barrio/East Harlem a better place for our youth and families,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This groundbreaking is an incredible milestone on a project that will provide so many benefits to our neighborhood from affordable housing, to improved community space and parkland for El Barrio/East Harlem residents. I thank Harlem RBI for their continued commitment to East Harlem, as well as Jonathan Rose Companies, the Yankees’ Mark Texeira, and of course all the city agencies involved in making this project happen.”

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Official NYC Council Photographs by William Alatriste

The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning’s affordable apartments are scheduled to open in August 2014, with the school and office facilities opening for the 2014-2015 school year. To read more about The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning, click here.

Help End Discriminatory Policing

Please join us tonight, Tuesday, February 5th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM for a Know Your Rights! training that will be hosted by Picture the Homeless. Here, you will learn your rights with the NYPD and how to exercise those rights as safely as possible. We will also be holding a Cop Watch! training next Tuesday, February 12th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, hosted by the Justice Committee. At this training, we will learn how to observe and document police activity in your neighborhood. The ultimate goal of these trainings are to help end discriminatory policing – we believe in standing up and being a part of the solution.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Picture the Homeless, The Bronx Defenders, Justice Committee, and Communities United for Police Reform
WHAT & WHEN: East Harlem Stand Up! Trainings

  • Know Your Rights! Training: Tuesday, February 5th; 6:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Cop Watch! Training: Tuesday, February 12th; 6:30 – 8:30 PM

WHERE: Taino Towers, Crystal Room. 240 East 123rd Street (4/5/6 to 125th St)
For more information or to RSVP:

  • Know Your Rights! Training: shaun@picturethehomeless.org
  • Cop Watch! Training: info@justicecommittee.org

Celebrate the Chinese New Year With Us on Friday, February 8th

Please join us in celebrating the Chinese New Year and welcoming the Year of the Snake on Friday, February 8th at the Union Settlement Association. There will be food, refreshments and entertainment; so make sure to come by for an enjoyable afternoon.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The Carter Burden/Covello Senior Center, City Hall Senior Center Dance & Chorus Group, Tahl Propp Equities, Union Settlement Association, and the Yorkville Common Pantry
WHAT: Celebrating the Year of the Snake
WHEN: Friday, February 8, 2013. Noon to 2 PM
WHERE: Union Settlement Association, 237 East 104th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
For additional information, please call 212-828-9800

Please click here for the flyer in Chinese

Melissa Responds to the Arrest of a Suspect in Eight Muggings of Asian American East Harlem Residents

Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito released the following statement today in response to the arrest of Jason Commisso, the suspect in a string of eight muggings targeting Asian American residents of El Barrio/East Harlem:

“Today, we are all breathing a sigh of relief as the suspect behind eight vicious muggings of Asian American East Harlem residents has finally been apprehended by police. These brutal robberies have shaken all of us in the community, but I am happy to say that we had a unified response and came together to denounce this kind of violence.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, and all of the officers of the 23rd Precinct, who demonstrated such a strong response to this string of attacks. I would also like to thank all of my colleagues in government, Asian American community leaders and residents of El Barrio/East Harlem, who joined me in distributing flyers in the neighborhood this weekend. In particular, I would like to thank Comptroller John Liu and Asian Americans for Equality.

“We will all continue to remain vigilant and ensure that no group of people within our community is made to feel unsafe. All of us in El Barrio/East Harlem, and in every community throughout the city, have the right to live without fear.

“I urge the District Attorney’s office to prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law in order to send a message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated.”

UPDATE: New Photo of Robbery Suspect Targeting Asian Americans in East Harlem

Police have just released a new photo of the suspect responsible for eight vicious muggings in over a week against our Asian American neighbors in East Harlem (see below).Please share this widely as we continue our efforts to spread the word and help police locate this attacker. If you have any information, please call 1-800-577-TIPS.

Today, we hit the streets for the second day in a row, this time with Comptroller John Liu and other elected officials, to distribute flyers. Please check the blog regularly for any additional updates.

wanted poster

East Harlem Stands Up Against Discriminatory Policing

Last Thursday, Melissa addressed over 200 East Harlem and South Bronx residents at Taino Tower’s Crystal Room at the East Harlem Stand Up event co-sponsored by Melissa, Justice Committee, Picture the Homeless, and the Bronx Defenders. The town hall forum was meant to address discriminatory policing in our community.

The event included speeches by Comptroller John Liu, as well as organizers who educated participants on their constitutional rights, and what to do and say if you are stopped or harassed by the NYPD. Residents were also given the opportunity to speak out about their experiences with stop and frisk.

Melissa called for the East Harlem community to unite and fight this unconstitutional practice:

“East Harlem has had over 17,000 stops in our 23rd Precinct alone, the highest number in Manhattan.  This policy is criminalizing an entire generation of young people in our community!

This is why I introduced a resolution in support of a change in state law that would end the NYPD’s enforcement of small-time marijuana possession during stop-and-frisks, where police would routinely ask individuals to empty their pockets, and upon finding marijuana would arrest them.

This practice was leading to the arrest of more than 50,000 New Yorkers each year, costing over $75 million, money which should instead be invested in youth programs.

This administration has been closing our schools, cutting our after-school programs, and then cracking down on our kids when they’re on the street. This is racial discrimination at its finest! 

If the city wants to combat violence in our communities than we have to look at the Root Causes: poverty, unemployment, lack of decent affordable housing or health care or education or recreational programs for our youth.  ”

Be A Part of the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway Quarterly Public Workshop on Wednesday, January 30th

You are invited to attend an MTA public workshop regarding the construction of the Second Avenue Subway.

The goal of this workshop is to maintain an open dialogue between the MTA and the community at large. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage project representatives about current construction activity and the initiatives implemented by the MTA as a direct response to community input from the previous SAS public workshop.

MTA employees and contractors will attend the workshop to facilitate discussion and answer questions.

inviteworkpage1-1

WHO: MTA
WHAT: Second Avenue Subway Quarterly Public Workshop
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30th from 6:45 to 8:30 PM
WHERE: Temple Israel, 112 East 75th Street (between Park & Lexington Avenues)
RSVP: Reserve your seats online here or by calling (646) 564-5866.

* The capacity of the facility is 200 people and seats are filling quickly, so reserve yours today.
* Photo ID will be required for entry.
* Facility is ADA accessible.

Join Us on Tuesday in Celebrating ‘Las Octavitas,’ the End of the Puerto Rican Christmas Season

As some of you may know, the Christmas season in Puerto Rican culture stretches out into January. First with the celebration of Three Kings Day and then, days later with Las Octavitas; the holiday season in Puerto Rico is the most extensive in the world.

With that being said, we hope you can join us on Tuesday, January 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, in celebrating Las Octavitas with traditional Puerto Rican food and live music. This event is not a religious ceremony, but a celebration of Puerto Rican cultural heritage.

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller John C. Liu, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Senator Bill Perkins, and Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez
WHAT: Las Octavitas Celebration
WHEN: Tuesday, January 22nd; 5:30 – 7:30 PM
WHERE: Taino Towers, 240 East 123rd Street (Gymnasium); between Second & Third Avenues
RSVP: Please reply to the Comptroller’s Office of Special Events: (212) 669-4466; TTY: (212) 669-3450; or eventsrsvp@comptroller.nyc.gov

Handicap-Logo8To arrange special accommodations, please call (212) 669-4315. Fully accessible facility. 

Melissa Testifies to Keep East Harlem Whole

Yesterday, Melissa testified at the NYC Districting Commission’s Manhattan public hearing. In front of the Commission and District 8 constituents, who were the overwhelming majority of those in attendance, Melissa had another chance to speak before the Commission’s next map revision comes on January 23rd.

Melissa testified:

My community of El Barrio/East Harlem has a clear message: we want to remain united within one district. We are asking for the full restoration of the current East Harlem boundaries in the 8th District, which will protect a historic community of interest, keep our public housing developments united and encapsulate critical community and cultural resources within one district. We are also asking for the restoration of Randall’s and Wards Islands and the preservation of Central Park within District 8. All of this is accomplished by the Common Cause map, while greatly expanding District 8’s portion of the Bronx, something I fully welcome. I strongly urge the Commission to use the Common Cause map as the basis for the reconfiguration of the proposed District 8.

For the full testimony, please click here. 

To watch Melissa’s testimony, please fast forward to around the 52-minute mark:

Thank you to everyone who came out to testify and signed our petition. We presented a petition with over 150 signatures to the Commission calling for the full restoration of the East Harlem boundaries. For those who were not able to make it out to testify, the final hearing is on January 15th, so there is still time to submit written testimony to hearings@districting.nyc.gov.

Read more about yesterday’s hearing from City & State.

Learn About HIV Prevention Efforts in Immigrant Communities

Join us on the morning of Thursday, January 17th at the Hunter School of School of Social Work to The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network’s “Maximizing HIV Prevention in Immigrant Communities in 2013 – Programs and Policies Affecting East Harlem and Beyond” panel. Melissa will be speaking at the event, in addition to the Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Iris House and the NYC Department of Health/Mental Hygiene.

Find out about the impact that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other policies can have on maximizing HIV prevention in immigrant communities as well as what resources are available for residents, and more. Did you know that even though death rates due to HIV have decreased in East Harlem in the past decade, our community still has the second highest HIV-related death rate in the city? Stop by to get informed.

EHISNpanel

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Iris House and the NYC Department of Health/Mental Hygiene
WHAT: “Maximizing HIV Prevention in Immigrant Communities in 2013 – Programs and Policies Affecting East Harlem and Beyond” Panel
WHEN: Thursday, January 17th, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
WHERE: Hunter School of Social Work, East 119th Street & 3rd Avenue, 2nd floor
*For more information & to RSVP, please contact Joe Pressley in the Office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito at 212.828.9800 or via email at jpressley@council.nyc.gov OR contact Thierry Ekon at the NYCDOH/MH Harlem District Public Health Office at 347.396.7776 or via email at aekon@health.nyc.gov

The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network is an initiative launched by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Office out of a desire to support each other as service providers and advocates working with the immigrant community in District 8. The network is open to organizations interested in collaborating and sharing information relating to programming and services, and in discussing issues of immigrant rights, the political environment, and the challenges facing the immigrant community in the district.

Speak Out Against Discriminatory Policing at East Harlem’s Town Hall Event on Thursday, January 17

On Thursday, January 17th, Melissa will be co-sponsoring a town hall event about discriminatory policing with the Justice Committee. At “East Harlem Stand Up!”, community members will be encouraged to speak out against the NYPD’s Stop & Frisk policy, and the program will also include Know Your Rights training and a discussion of the Community Safety Act which Melissa is co-sponsoring. East Harlem is disproportionately impacted by this policy, with the highest number of stops in Manhattan.

eastharlemstandupflyer

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The Bronx Defenders, Picture the Homeless, and the Justice Committee
WHAT: Town Hall on Discriminatory Policing
WHEN: Thursday, January 17th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
WHERE: Taino Towers in the Crystal Room – 240 East 123rd Street
* For more information, call 347-676-1878 or email yul-san@justicecommittee.org  
* Spanish translation, childcare and free food will be provided!

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

One Last Chance to Be Heard

Back in October, during the last Districting Commission hearing, Melissa and our office were so moved by how many community members, children included, came out to testify against the commission’s proposed new lines for District 8. Under the original proposed map, East Harlem would be split up beyond recognition. Due to your efforts, the commission revised their lines to bring La Marqueta back to El Barrio, where it belong. There is more work to do though – over 30 blocks in East Harlem have been cut out of the district.

We have one more opportunity to make our voice heard on this important issue. The Districting Commission is holding one more round of hearings in January before passing a final set of district lines. We’ve already showed them how united we are as a community and are being given another chance to prove it to them. Please save these dates and join us in the fight to defend the integrity of our community:

El Barrio/East Harlem Town Hall on Redistricting
Sponsored by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
Thursday, January 3rd | 6:30 pm
Children’s Aid Society (130 E. 101st Street, between Lexington and Park)

Manhattan Districting Commission Hearing
Monday, January 7th | 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hunter College (695 Park Avenue, Auditorium)

Bronx Districting Commission Hearing
Wednesday, January 9th | 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hostos Community College (500 Grand Concourse, Repertory Theatre, Building C)

  redistricting_english     Districting Flyer - Spanish

To view the latest District 8 lines, please follow this link and click on District 8.

We hope to see you all at these important meetings to make clear that splitting up our neighborhood is unacceptable.

Melissa Joins the Call for a Citywide Gun Recovery Initiative

In the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, so many across the country are clamoring for aggressive action to tighten restrictions around guns at the federal level. Right here in NYC, leaders and Council Members are also calling for a large-scale gun recovery initiative.  This initiative would be a way for the city government to do its part and honor the memories of the 20 children and 6 adults whose lives were cut short last Friday by ensuring that we take steps to reduce the scourge of gun violence.

Melissa supports and stands behind a gun recovery initiative that will help prevent another tragedy, like in Newtown, and instances in our district, from happening again. District 8 has not been a stranger to unnecessary gun violence and tragic murders. The fact is that as crime in NYC has been decreasing, it has been increasing in East Harlem, as per NYPD statistics. Just this Monday, a 57 year old woman was wounded by a stray bullet on 116th and Fifth Avenue and not even an hour later, a 17 year old boy was shot in the face on 109th Street and Second Avenue. This is completely unacceptable and scarily becoming the norm.

A parent should never have to question their child’s safety at school or on a street in their neighborhood – a change must be made and Melissa remains dedicated to the cause. By strengthening and implementing gun buyback programs and a homicide reduction program, we can make the streets a safer place. “This is something we all have a role in. This is something we are tired of. We want peace in our streets,” Melissa said.

“We cannot afford to lose one more child in this city to senseless gun violence,” Melissa added. “To truly tighten gun control, we need the help of our partners in state and federal government, but there are things we can do here in New York City to help make our streets safer. A citywide gun recovery initiative is one of those things. The killing of so many young children in Newtown was an unspeakable tragedy. On so many occasions, our communities have also experienced the pain of children being taken from us too soon as a result of gun violence. I thank Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and all of my colleagues who are adding their voice to this effort.”

Reflecting On Last Week’s March for Peace in East Harlem

This past Thursday, December 13th, ironically the night before the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Melissa marched with over 70 young people through El Barrio/ East Harlem calling for peace in our streets and an end to the senseless violence among young people that we’ve seen in recent years.

Everyone could feel the energy and passion in the air as the  teens and their family members chanted  in unison, “Put the Guns down, Throw ya Peace Signs Up,” and “No more silence, Stop the Violence!”, amplifying their voices throughout the neighborhood.

The march ended at 106th Street and 3rd avenue where Melissa spoke, along with Reverend Sean Gardner from East Ward Baptist Church, and several youth about why they were there as well as their visions for positive alternatives to violence. Melissa told us about her experience attending a grief session earlier that afternoon for Aubrey Jackson, a teenager who died last week after having been in a coma for 6 months due to an assault in the Taft Housing Development.  She reiterated that violence and death cannot be tolerated as the norm for East Harlem’s younger generation.

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We could have never foreseen what tragedy would strike the very next morning just 60-miles north of our community.  This tragedy will only strengthen our commitment to ending gun violence and standing up for peace in our community and across the country.

March For Peace With Us This Thursday

Please march with us this Thursday to support peace in El Barrio/East Harlem. “PUT THE GUNS DOWN, THROW THE PEACE SIGNS UP.” We’d love to see you there with anti-violence signs and noise makers. Let’s unite to support peace in our community!

peace march

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito & the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force; to be joined by youth, parents, schools, families, CBO’s and elected officials
WHAT: El Barrio/East Harlem Community Anti-Violence Peace March
WHEN: Thursday, December 13, 2012; 4 PM – 6 PM. Leaving promptly at 4:30 PM.
WHERE: At 4 PM, we will meet at 116th and Madison. Departing promptly at 4:30 PM, we will head east on 116th Street, south on Lexington Avenue and east on 106th Street to 3rd Avenue, where the march will end at the East Harlem Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.

New Video Tells Story of Bike Lanes in El Barrio/East Harlem

https://i0.wp.com/www.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/FirstSecondCompletionRally.jpgAs you may know, protected bike lanes are on their way on First and Second Avenue in El Barrio/East Harlem. Melissa is featured in a new video produced by StreetFilms, How Complete Streets Came to East Harlem, which tells the story of how the East Harlem community fought for this important amenity in our community. Take a look at the video and stay tuned for information how we will kick off and celebrate the completion of the lanes this coming spring!

Please Complete a Brief Survey Regarding Election Day 2012

https://i1.wp.com/media.silive.com/latest_news/photo/newvotejpg-f440dd42093cdf31_large.jpgOn and following Election Day (November 6th) 2012 there were many reports about long lines and confusion at polling sites across the nation. Media reports cited some similar concerns locally. As such, we have designed a brief survey (just 10 questions) for you to tell us about your experience on the most recent Election Day. The survey is for you to inform us about favorable and problematic experiences on Election Day.

We have developed the survey to gain a better understanding of what transpired recently here in New York City and in the communities that we serve. Even if you did not vote or are not registered to vote in New York City Council’s District 8, we are hoping that you could take the time to complete the survey by visiting the following link: 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M2QRRD3

If you have questions about the survey, please do not hesitate to call Joe Pressley at 212-828-9800. You can also email him at jpressley@council.nyc.gov. The survey will only take about 5 to 10 minutes to complete!

The Coca Cola Foundation Donated $25,000 to Local Organizations in Honor of “Green Exercise Day”

Earlier in October, Coca Cola teamed up with local organizations to celebrate “Green Exercise Day” in East Harlem, which promoted children participating in recreational activities.

As a result of Melissa nominating local organizations for “Active, Healthy Living” grants, The Coca Cola Foundation donated $25,000 to Concrete Safaris and The Children’s Aid Society, among others. This is an exceptional opportunity for Concrete Safaris’ City Surfers program and for The Children’s Aid Society and we are delighted that we got to be a part of such a positive day.

Melissa with representatives of the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans, Concrete Safaris, The Children’s Aid Society and The Coca Cola Foundation. Photos courtesy of Impacto De New York Al Mundo.

Para un artículo sobre “Green Exercise Day” en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa Mourns Loss of Hector “Macho” Camacho

Melissa released the following statement regarding the death of Puerto Rican boxing legend Hector “Macho” Camacho:

The El Barrio community and Puerto Ricans worldwide are mourning the loss of Hector “Macho” Camacho, a boxing legend who was shot last Tuesday and died on Saturday. Camacho was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and moved to East Harlem as a child with his family where he lived in the Johnson Houses NYCHA development. His life was a complicated one but his accomplishments have brought pride to Puerto Ricans on the island, in El Barrio and beyond. He was a dynamic fighter who won world championships in three weight divisions and left an indelible mark on the sport of boxing. He was also a charismatic entertainer and a proud Puerto Rican.

In recent years, there has sadly been a rise in drug-related murders and other violence in Puerto Rico. It appears that Camacho fell victim to this unfortunate trend. My community and I send our condolences to his family and will continue to honor his memory.

Pick Up Your Farm Fresh Thanksgiving Produce Bag this Saturday at La Marqueta

While you’re at La Marqueta for the Clothing & Textile Recycling Day, this Saturday, November 17th, Wholesale Greenmarket will be selling pre-packed fresh produce bags that are perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner. The reusable tote bag consists of potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter greens and more. The pre-packed bag will cost $10, which you can pay for in cash, credit and EBT. Additionally, there will be a Harlem Seeds Thanksgiving themed cooking demo. All is welcome!

WHERE: La Marqueta, 115th St & Park Ave
WHEN: Saturday, November 19th starting at noon
QUESTIONS: GrowNYC  at 212.788.3581 or email egregg@grownyc.org

Free Electronics Recycling and Textile Collection this Saturday

COMPUTER AND ELECTRONICS RECYCLING: UPPER WEST SIDE

Saturday, November 17 – 12 PM to 5 PM

Amsterdam Avenue and 110th Street (south side)

While electronic devices are safe to use in the home or office, they pose an environmental risk when improperly discarded. E-waste accounts for 40% of toxins in household garbage. Recycling helps keep it out of landfills, incinerators and the environment.

This Saturday, WeRecycle! and Upper West Side Recycling will be accepting computers and electronics that you wish to recycle. All collected computers and electronics will go to an EPA-licensed recycler.

The following items will be accepted:

  • Working & non-working computers (laptops & desktops)
  • Peripherals: monitors, printers, keyboards, mice, cables, etc.
  • TVs, stereo equipment, VCRs, DVD players, cable receivers, etc.
  • Cell and wall phones
  • Small appliances: toasters, microwaves, coffee makers, etc.
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) – no long bulbs, please.
  • Flashlight-type batteries (AA, D, etc.)
  • Textiles (clothing, shoes, blankets, sheets, towels, etc.)

The following items will not be accepted:

  • Air conditioners
  • Large appliances such as refrigerators
  • Carpeting

TEXTILE COLLECTION: EAST HARLEM

Saturday, November 17 – 12 PM to 5 PM

La Marqueta, 115th Street and Park Avenue

Recycle your unwanted clothing and textiles. They’re accepting clean & dry clothing, paired shoes, bedding, linens, hats, handbags, belts, fabric scraps 36″ x 36″ or larger and other textiles. No rugs, carpeting or commercial waste. Your contribution to the program is tax deductible.

East Harlem Spa Will Be Providing Free Mammograms & Spa Treatments this Sunday

This Sunday, November 11, 2012, Melissa is proud to announce that Soluna Holistic Spa and the American Italian Cancer Foundation (AICF) will be partnering together to provide free mammograms for up to forty women.

This is a follow-up from an earlier event in September where Soluna Holistic Spa and AICF were pre-screening women for breast cancer and began scheduling appointments for the upcoming free mammograms. Soluna Holistic Spa is still accepting appointments for November 11th. In addition to AICFproviding the mammogram bus and equipment that day, the participating women will be receiving vouchers that will provide them with a much deserved relaxing treat to correspond with their mammograms, compliments of Soluna Holistic Spa. They are offering either a free 15-minute scalp, neck and shoulder massage OR a 15-minute hand massage with paraffin.

Providing breast cancer awareness holds a special place in the heart of Soluna Holistic Spa’s owner, Susu Lespier, being that her great-grandmother passed away from breast cancer and she once had a scare herself. Aware that many Latinas and African American women will unfortunately succumb to this disease due to the lack of regular breast screenings, and passionate about the cause, Susu knew she had to do something.  Along with bringing free screenings and mammograms to Soluna Hoslistic Spa, the spa also continually offers a “Wellness Day.” In conjunction with Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Soluna Holistic Spa’s “Wellness Day” offers women currently partaking in breast cancer treatment a day of wellness and relaxation for free. This is Susu’s way of giving back to women who are going through a very difficult and challenging time in their life.

WHO: Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Office, Soluna Holistica Spa and the American Italian Cancer Foundation
WHAT: Free Mammograms and Complimentary Spa Services
WHEN: Sunday, November 11, 2012 – 12 to 6 PM
WHERE: Soluna Holistic Spa – 143 East 103rd Street (between Lexington and Park Avenues)
CONTACT: Call for an appointment today, 212-876-1326

Collecting Blankets and Coats at Our District Office

We have begun collecting blankets and coats at our District Office (105 East 116th Street) for families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Tens of thousands of people are still without power and heat today, as temperatures continue to drop. Please feel free to call ahead (212-828-9800) or just stop by to leave your donation. For our West Side constituents, we have also learned that Modell’s on W. 98th Street and Columbus Avenue is collecting clothing and blankets.

One of the damaged homes in New Dorp Beach, Staten Island.

This weekend, Melissa joined thousands of New Yorkers who went out to devastated neighborhoods across the city to offer support in these difficult times. In Chinatown, we delivered food to the homebound. In Staten Island, we cleaned up around homes that were completely destroyed. And in Coney Island, we bused supplies over to housing developments and went door-to-door checking in on residents, finding some homebound seniors stuck in 12th floor apartments without elevators to get downstairs.

Sand piled up like snow near Coney Island Houses.

Given the crisis we find ourselves in, with an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 people that could be in need of housing, we encourage all of our constituents to continue to band together to help our fellow New Yorkers. In addition to donating blankets and coats at our office, please also consider making a donation to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York, or continuing to give your time at volunteer sites throughout the city.

Volunteer Opportunities in Manhattan and the Bronx

When considering the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy on other neighborhoods, we are very fortunate to have not sustained extensive damage in Council District 8 and we believe that it’s time to give back to others who have not been as fortunate in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Below are volunteer opportunities that could use your help:

MANHATTAN – 

  • On Friday, November 2nd at around 12:00 noon, we will be meeting up with Council Member Margaret Chin (District 1), where Hurricane Sandy hit the hardest in Manhattan, at the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation (CPLDC) on 60 St. James Place.  From there, volunteers will be assigned to different tasks to assist downtown. While transit is still a challenge downtown, the M15 Select Bus Service on 1st and 2nd Avenues (which will again be free tomorrow) is a great option to get to CPLDC.

BRONX –

  • The Food Bank needs volunteers at their warehouse in the Bronx. People are needed tomorrow (Friday, November 2) to repack donated food for delivery to emergency food organizations. The volunteer shifts are 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM and 1:30 – 3:30 PM. For more information, contact the Food Bank’s Triada Stampas at 917-568-3389. Address: 355 Food Center Drive, Bronx NY 10474. It is accessible by subway/bus combo: 6 to Hunts Pt, then the Bx6 bus to the Hunts Pt Market.
  • Lehman College is currently being used as a shelter and is taking volunteers. Address: 250 Bedford Park Blvd, Bronx NY 10458

Additionally, the Parks Department is accepting volunteers to help aid in clean-up and recovery of parks citywide. For those who would like to volunteer, please follow the provided link to submit a volunteer application. When showing up to help, please remember to dress appropriately – closed-toe shoes and clothes that can get dirty are appropriate. Bring a water bottle and snacks (water refills and restrooms will be available at each site). All supplies for the clean up effort will be provided. Children 12 and older are allowed to lend a hand.

MANHATTAN – Click here to register to volunteer.

  • Randall’s Island (Friday & Saturday only)
  • Happy Warrior Playground (West 98th and Amsterdam Avenue)
  • Annunciation Park (West 135th Street btwn Amsterdam and Convent Avenues)
  • Carl Schurz Park (East 87th Street and East End Avenue)
  • Anne Loftus Playground (at Fort Tyron Park – Broadway at Riverside Drive)

BRONX – Click here to register to volunteer.

  • Van Cortlandt Park (1 Bronx River Parkway)
  • Orchard Beach (Park Drive and Orchard Beach Road)

Melissa Visits the East River & Metro North Houses

Yesterday, Melissa visited NYCHA’s East River and Metro North Houses. Although some of the buildings are still without power and hot water, we are very thankful for NYCHA and Con Edison’s extensive work to make sure that NYCHA residents across New York City will have their power restored shortly.  NYCHA has announced that once building systems are restored, they will be able to focus on proper clean up and recovery efforts.

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Some Subway Service to be Restored Tomorrow

A hopeful sign that we are on our way to recovery: We are happy to report that the MTA will begin restoring select subway lines for tomorrow, November 1st (though there is still no train service below 34th Street).

Click here for the full list of subway lines and the specific routes they will take.

Or you can click here to view a map of available service tomorrow.

If you are driving tomorrow or Friday, please keep in mind that all of the East River bridges, as well as the RFK/Triborough Bridge, Henry Hudson Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel will be required to have 3 or more people in order to enter into Manhattan from 6:30 am to midnight.

Council Members Mark-Viverito and Brewer Urge New Yorkers to Respect Directive to Stay Out of Parks

Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito (Chair of the Parks & Recreation Committee) and Gale A. Brewer, who represent districts on the east and west sides of Central Park, issued the following statement to urge New Yorkers to follow the City’s directive to stay out of parks.

“Hurricane Sandy has had a devastating impact on our city’s public parks, including over 250 downed trees in Central Park alone. As Council Members who surround the park, we are strongly urging our constituents to please heed the directives to stay out of Central Park and all of our parks until further notice. This directive is meant for everyone’s safety. 

“We have already had incidents of people who have tragically been killed by falling trees in the wake of Sandy. Just because the storm is over, it does not mean that branches can no longer shift and fall down. Unfortunately, we have heard reports of individuals trying to defy the directive to stay out of the parks and force their way in. The Parks Department and the Conservancy are hard at work to clean up Central Park and make it safe for everyone’s enjoyment as soon as possible, but in order to do so safely, they need the park to be free of non-essential personnel.

“We are clearly in the process of a long recovery from the storm in areas across the city, including our public parks. This is a time for us all to come together. There are people in neighboring communities who are in desperate need of assistance, and so the most efficient use of our city’s resources has become more important than ever. We ask that everyone please respect directives from the City that are only intended to keep us all safe and allow the clean-up efforts to move forward as quickly as possible.

“Like all New Yorkers, we look forward to the reopening of our parks and thank Parks Department staff, conservancy groups and all those that are helping in the clean-up efforts across the city.”

You Can Still Submit Ideas on How We Should Spend Money in District 8

Just because you missed one of our Participatory Budgeting (PB) neighborhood assemblies doesn’t mean that you can’t brainstorm on ideas on how we should spend capital funding in our district. Please visit District 8′s PBNYC website, created by Project for Public Spaces, where you can submit your ideas, browse other submissions and share your comments. We will be accepting submissions until November 12, 2012 at 9 AM. Anything submitted after 9 AM will not be considered.

District 8 is one of only eight districts in New York City where PB is practiced. Typically, this funding is distributed at the exclusive discretion of Council Members, but this year 1.3 million residents of these eight districts will have an opportunity to brainstorm, shape and vote on capital projects in their district. This revolutionary process ensures that your voice is heard, so please share with us any proposals you have – and who knows, it may be one of the winners. 

Click here to find out more about the PB overview and process.

Explore El Barrio with the Taste Trolley this Saturday

You have the chance to sample food and drinks from 5 of El Barrio’s finest restaurants for free! Hope Community, with the support of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, is hosting their second El Barrio Taste Trolley this Saturday, October 27th,  from 1 PM to 4 PM.

The tour begins at The Lexington Social, a tapas, wine and cocktail bar, on 1634 Lexington Avenue at East 103rd St and will commence at the three block food festival, the East Harlem Harvest Festival  on East 115th and Park Avenue. The Taste Trolley will also visit: Amor Cubano for authentic Cuban food; Bistro 118 Wine Bar  for French cuisine; the restaurant, bar and lounge Sweet Jane’s; and one of our favorites for a hot latte, East Harlem Café.

Although this is a free event, a $10 donation is suggested. 100% of the funds go to Hope Community to sponsor future taste trolley events.

There’s about a dozen spots left, so reserve your place today to explore El Barrio in the most delicious way – email jcaracino@hopeci.org. Please click here for the official flyer.

 

Make an Appointment Today for Your FREE Mammogram on Monday, October 29

Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (JALBCA) and the Association of Secretaries to Supreme Court Justices (NY County Chapter) are funding FREE mammograms on Monday, October 29. The mammograms will be given by Project Renewal’s ScanVan program.

Project Renewal’s ScanVan is a mobile radiology clinic that provides mammograms and chest x-rays to those without access to other health care providers. The staff provides counseling, education, and initiates and ensures follow-up treatment for all positive screening. Women that are 40 and older should have an annual clinical breast exam and mammogram. Early breast cancer detection can save your life.

Hear the personal journeys of two women whose lives were touched by the ScanVan:

 

WHAT: Free Mammograms
WHEN: Monday, October 29 – starting at 8 AM
WHERE: ScanVan outside of the Harlem Community Justice Center, 170 East 121st Street, between Lexington & Third Avenues

* APPOINTMENTS ARE NECESSARY – Please call 1(800)564-6868
* For women 40 and older who have not had a mammogram in the past year, this is of no cost to you. However, if you have insurance please bring the information with you.

Para un folleto en español, haga clic aquí – MAMMOGRAFIA GRATIS.

East Harlem Rezoning Meeting on Monday, October 22

CIVITAS and Community Board 11 have been working together, brainstorming ways to modify land use and zoning policies in East Harlem. They’re talking about creating affordable housing, promoting economic development, and controlling appropriate building sizes for the area under consideration, which is Madison to Lexington Avenues and 115th to 132nd Streets, excluding the 125th Street corridor.

To learn more about the changes the 2003 rezoning brought to East Harlem, please watch CIVITAS’ 2010 video of an East Harlem walking tour led by land use planner Richard Bass:

Be a part of the conversation and envision a better East Harlem.

WHO: CIVITAS, Community Board 11, land use consultants Insight Associates and George M. Janes & Associates

WHAT: Land Use & Zoning in East Harlem meeting

WHEN: Monday, October 22 at 6:30 PM

WHERE: The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, 2nd floor auditorium. 2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street

RSVP: Community Board 11 office at 212-831-8929

Deferred Action: “The Basics”, an Informational Session, on Thursday, October 18

Melissa, along with New York Immigration Coalition, the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney, and the East Harlem Immigrant Service Network will be holding a general informational session that will focus on the federal Deferred Action policy. The goals of the Deferred Action: “The Basics” session is to give agencies who may come into contact with undocumented individuals basic information on Deferred Action, share preventive measures that participants can use to protect themselves from fraud, and finally share the various resources that exist for people seeking information on this or other policies as it pertains to immigrants.

WHAT: Deferred Action: “The Basics” Informational Session
WHEN: Thursday, October 18 – 9 to 11 AM
WHERE: Hunter College’s School of Social Work, 2180 3rd Avenue (corner of East 119th Street)
RSVP: Joe Pressley at 212-828-9800 or jpressley@council.nyc.gov

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Do You Agree with the Proposed New District 8 Lines?

In light of the NYC Districting Commission’s proposed new lines for District 8, splitting up Manhattan Valley and East Harlem, while extending even further into the Bronx, there is something that we as a district can do to express our concerns in a constructive manner – we can testify in front of the NYC Districting Commission or submit written testimony. Melissa testified before the NYC Districting Commission regarding the proposed draft map on October 4, 2012:

Good Evening. I am Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, and I represent Council District 8 on the City Council. This district currently includes El Barrio/East Harlem, Manhattan Valley, part of the Upper West Side and part of Mott Haven. I am here this evening to express the serious concerns I am hearing across my district about the Commission’s preliminary draft lines.

In the weeks since this proposal was released, I have studied the draft lines closely and have had countless meetings and conversations with members of my community as well as leaders around the city. At this time, I am prepared to state emphatically that these proposed district lines as presented are completely unacceptable to the communities I represent.

In looking at the proposed new district, and the rationale expressed by the Districting Commission, my constituents have expressed deep concerns for a number of reasons, and I share these concerns. First, the proposed lines divide up neighborhoods in a way that is unfair to those communities and does not reflect the realities on the ground. Second, the proposal moves pockets of the current District 8 that are solidly Latino into districts that do not necessarily share their cultural and neighborhood identity. Finally, the proposal to split the 8th District evenly between the Bronx and Manhattan, allegedly done in the spirit or “borough equity,” actually marginalizes residents of Manhattan.

Click here for the remainder of the testimony.

If you are concerned about the future lines of District 8, which you can view here, we urge you to make your voice heard and submit written testimony to the Districting Commission. Every voice matters. 

Read more about redistricting in Council District 8 in the news:

Join Us for the Groundbreaking Celebration of El Barrio’s Artspace PS109

We are proud to announce the groundbreaking of PS109 becoming an affordable live/work space for El Barrio artists thanks to Artspace, America’s leader in arts-driven community transformation. El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, a $52 million project, will serve the East Harlem community by creating 90 units of permanently affordable live/work housing and an additional 12,000 square feet of space for arts and cultural activities on the ground floor and lower level. Along with El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, Artspace will be bringing a new life to the historic former public school, which is expected to take two years.

The residential units in El Barrio’s Artspace PS109 will be reserved for artists whose household income is less than 60% of the Area Median Income. To ensure that East Harlem artists are well-represented in the facility, the project will apply NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development’s (HPD) lottery process, ensuring that at least 50% of the units are set aside for artists who are current residents of East Harlem.

The groundbreaking ceremony for this exciting new project is scheduled for Tuesday, October 2, 2012 from 4 – 8 PM at 215 East 99th Street. Melissa as well as Mayor Bloomberg, National Endowment for the Arts Chair Rocco Landesman, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, HPD Commissioner Matthew Wambua, Community Board 11 Chair Matthew Washington, Ford Foundation President Luis Ubinas, Artspace President Kelly Lindquist and El Barrio’s Operation Fightback Executive Director Gustavo Rosado will be in attendance. There will be performances by salsa legend Johnny Colon and his Orchestra, along with other local artists. The ceremony and performances are free and open to the public, so please join us!

Search and Care is Looking for Volunteers

Search and Care will be holding an Open House for potential volunteers on Tuesday, September 25th from 6 to 7:30 PM. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community by providing free help to seniors who want to stay in their apartments but may have a hard time managing on their own. This rewarding experience can involve anything from just visiting a senior in their home to walking their dog,  assisting a frail senior to and from doctor appointments, or grocery shopping for a homebound senior.

If you’re 18 or older (bilingual is a plus) and want to know if this would be a great way for you to give back, or if you have a parent in East Harlem and want to learn more about Search and Care’s services, please RSVP to attend and bring a friend or neighbor. Refreshments will be served. RSVP today!

WHO: Search and Care

WHAT: Volunteer Open House

WHEN: Tuesday, September 25th, 6 – 7:30 PM

WHERE: Community Board 11, 1664 Park Avenue (117th & 118th)

RSVP: Call Robin at 212-289-5300 x203 or email strashun@searchandcare.org

Opportunity for a Career as a Union Skilled Construction Craft Laborer

Construction & General Building Laborers’ Local 79 will be taking the first 2,000 applications they receive for the opportunity to become a Skilled Construction Craft Laborer Apprentice with the hopes to accept up to 200 Apprentices in the next 9 to 24 months.

As a first-year Apprentice, you will be making $36.80 per hour in wages and benefits. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, you will become a Journey worker, making $59.39 per hour in wages and benefits. This is obviously a great opportunity, not only to be a part of a union, but to have a career.

Minimum Requirements:

  • 18 years of age
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Physically capable of performing the work
  • Pass a pre-entry drug screening at your expense (once you’ve already been selected into the program)

Instructions:

  • Applications will be distributed for 10 business days, or until they reach 2,000 applicants. Beginning September 24, between 9 AM and 11:59 AM, go to WWW.MTTF.org (very important to include the “WWW”)
  • Follow the directions on the website
  • You may only apply once during these ten days
  • Fill out the form no different than if you were ordering a product online. If you are planning on moving in the next 2 years, please include two different addresses – at least one of which is very consistent (ex: a family member that does not plan on moving & will let you know when mail arrives)
  • Click submit

Everyone that applies will be mailed a letter of invitation for an interview. These names will be drawn at random, when needed periodically over the next  9-24 months. This could take up to 2 years depending on economic conditions. If you or anyone else you know is interested, make sure to apply as early as possible so that you’re part of the first 2,000 applicants.

This Thursday: Immigration Fraud Roundtable

Immigration Fraud Roundtable
“New Yorkers, Know Your Rights!”

Where and When?
Hunter College School of Social Work
2180 3rd Avenue @ East 119th Street
Thursday, September 20, 2012  ─ 9:30AM to 11AM

Sponsored by:
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

Co-Sponsored by:
Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, State Senator Jose M. Serrano & Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez

Presented by:
Assistant Attorney General Roberto G. Lebron

 Come hear a discussion on how to protect your community from Immigration Services Fraud and the Unauthorized Practice of Law NY

To RSVP and for more information, please contact Gregory Meyer at Senator Serrano’s office at (212)828-5829 or email him at gregorygmeyer@gmail.com.

 

Melissa’s Statement on Approval of HHC Housing Development on E. 99th Street

On Wednesday, August 23rd, the City Council approved a land use item that will pave the way for the construction of a new housing project E. 99th Street, adjacent to Metropolitan Hospital. The project, which will be built by the City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) will provide housing to 176 low-income elderly and/or disabled New Yorkers who currently reside at HHC’s Coler Goldwater skilled nursing facility on Randall’s Island, but no longer require intensive care. After extensive negotiations with the Bloomberg administration and HHC, I arrived at the decision to support this project.

The move of the Coler Goldwater facility from Randall’s Island to El Barrio/East Harlem was in the works since at least 2010, but the final push to move this plan along came with the announcement that the City was seeking to use the land occupied by Coler Goldwater for a new engineering school on Randall’s Island (which will be operated by Cornell University). The new facility planned for E. 99th Street is one of several new developments coming into the East Harlem community as a result of the closure of Coler Goldwater. A new nursing facility will be built near North General Hospital, and a former North General building will also be renovated to provide acute long-term care (these two sites are outside of my Council district).

The E. 99th Street Sanitation Garage

The community had expressed a number of concerns about the proposed move of Coler Goldwater facilities into El Barrio/East Harlem. The most salient of the issues raised by community stakeholders like the Metropolitan Hospital Community Advisory Board (CAB) and Community Board 11 involved a longstanding concern with the location of the E. 99th Street Department of Sanitation garage.

I share the community’s frustration about the location of such a garage across the street from our public hospital, and now from a planned housing development for low-income seniors and disabled individuals, and I have raised this with the Bloomberg administration, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner and HHC in the past.

In negotiating the Council approval of the 99th Street housing development, I secured several commitments from the administration:

  1. Search for potential new location of sanitation garage: DSNY will work with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to try to identify another City-owned or privately-owned site on which to house the sanitation garage. DSNY has pledged to keep me updated on this process.
  2. Reduction in number of sanitation vehicles: DSNY will reduce the total number of vehicles stationed at E. 99th Street in its summer season (April 2nd through November 11th) by 20%. Additional vehicles will be added in the winter season, but those will only be used for the purposes of cleaning up snow in Community District 11.
  3. Additional parking space for trucks on 1st Avenue: The City has secured additional space to park Sanitation trucks on the corner of 1st Avenue and 99th Street, eliminating the need for trucks to park on 99th Street itself.

I believe that these commitments are an important step in the right direction to mitigating some of the negative impacts of the garage on 99th Street and opening up the possibility that the garage could eventually be moved if the right opportunity presents itself.

Resources from Cornell University

The community also requested that El Barrio/East Harlem receive consideration for resources that Cornell University is planning to provide to schools on Roosevelt Island, considering the burden our community is taking on with the influx of patients formerly located at Coler Goldwater. While we could not receive specific commitments at the present time, I am confident that there is a genuine openness on the part of the administration to help secure resources for our schools from Cornell, as the development of the engineering school moves forward.

Thank you for your continued support. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact my office.

Melissa to ‘Occupy the Corner’ in East Harlem

Occupy the Corner  with Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito

EAST HARLEM – 1st Ave @ 104th Street!

Saturday, September 8th

11:00pm -1:00am

Come take part in a Peaceful Gathering for Change

 Stop the Violence!

Say NO to GUNS!  Yes to more Youth Programs!

Tomorrow: Small Business Job Fair Prescreening

Tomorrow, the Workforce1 Manhattan Career Center is hosting a job fair prescreening event featuring small businesses in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx that are looking to recruit employees in a number of fields. Applicants that meet employer requirements will be asked to return for an interview with the employer. See below for more info!

Image

Thursday, September 6th between 2:30 PM and 3:30 PM

Location: 60 Madison Avenue, Suite 704

Please bring: Valid (non-expired) Photo ID, Social Security Card, and your Resume.

(Applicant must be in proper interview attire)

APPLICANTS WITHOUT RESUMES WILL NOT BE ADMITTED

Best of luck!

PICTURE POST: The Sixth Annual Teen Fair

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Our office had a blast at the Sixth Annual Teen Fair! We thank all the organizations that participated and the talent that performed. Please enjoy just some of the pictures that we took and feel free to share any that you have from that day. We can’t wait to do this again next year!

Participatory Budgeting Enters its Second Year in District 8

It seems like only yesterday when we were finishing up our first year implementing the Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. We had a fantastic turn-out – hundreds of local residents came out to vote for project ideas that were developed by the community, from a Meals-on-Wheels van for seniors to playground renovations for youth. We are excited to announce that we are entering our second year of the PB process. Last year was such a success, some even say “revolutionary,” that four more Council Members have signed on to bring the program to their communities. Through the PB process, community members will directly decide how to spend at least 1 million dollars in capital funds in each of the eight participating districts. Typically, this funding is distributed at the exclusive discretion of Council Members but this year 1.3 million residents of these eight districts will have an opportunity to brainstorm, shape and vote on capital projects in their district.

Have something you’re passionate about? Want to get involved? Our offices, along with PBNYC, will be hosting numerous neighborhood assemblies. Whether you simply want to learn more about the PB process or submit your ideas for projects that you’re passionate about and will make a difference in our community, the neighborhood assemblies are the venues to do so.

Come join us at a Neighborhood Assembly. We even have a specialized one just for seniors and one just for youth (14 to 24 years old). Food & Spanish translation will be provided at all assemblies.

Thursday, September 20th – 10 AM to 12 Noon
* Special Assembly for Seniors
SCAN La Guardia – 307 E. 116th St (@ 2nd Ave)

Tuesday, September 25th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Frederick Douglass Center – 885 Columbus Ave (@ 104th St)

Saturday, September 29th – 11 AM to 1:30 PM
Draper Hall – 1918 1st Ave (@ 99th St)

Thursday, October 4th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Millbrook Community Center – 201 St. Ann’s Ave (@ 137th St)

Thursday, October 11th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Red Oak Apartments – 135 W. 106th St (@ Columbus)

Tuesday, October 16th – 4:30 PM to 7 PM
* Special Assembly for Young People, Ages 14-24
Children’s Aid Society – 130 E. 101st St (@ Lexington)

Wednesday, October 17th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Harlem United El Faro Day Center – 179 East 116th St (btwn Lexington & 3rd)

Here is your chance to be heard and make a difference. See you there!

If you are interested in taking part or have any questions or suggestions, email us at mmvbudget@gmail.com. Click here for our PB Page that includes the outcomes from last year’s vote. General information about the citywide PB process is available at www.pbnyc.org and you can find their rulebook here.

The lead community partner in this project is El Barrio/East Harlem-based Community Voices Heard and the lead technical assistance partner is the Participatory Budgeting Project.

Join Us for Our Sixth Annual Teen Fair!

Join us next Tuesday, August 28th, for our 6th Annual Teen Fair from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on East 104th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues. The annual event, sponsored by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito helps connect our young people with services in the community as they prepare to go back to school.

Stop by and spend an afternoon with us! There will be free food for attendees, live music and dance performances by young people, and a backpack giveaway generously sponsored by Kars 4 Kids. Throughout the afternoon, local organizations will set up tables to recruit teens to take part in their programs. Don’t miss it!!

The event is co-sponsored by the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force, the Office of Senator Jose M. Serrano, the Office of Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez and Manhattan Community Board 11.

Learn About Being a Responsible Pet Owner this Saturday at the Launch of “There is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem” Campaign

It’s undeniable, we love our pets – but there is no excuse for not cleaning up after our dogs. Not only is it offensive to our sense of smell when dog waste is left on the street, but it contains harmful bacteria, pollutes groundwater, and sticks around for a long time. Stepping in it is more than just a nuisance – it’s an opportunity to spread bacteria to your home. Please help keep our neighborhood free of poop piles by joining us in the launch of this important public service health campaign, “There is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem,” this Saturday, August 25. Enjoy a day of six different informative and free workshops, and also get a chance to win a physical examination for your pet at Oliver’s Dog & Cat Clinic of East Harlem, a PetSmart gift certificate or doggie goodie bags; and of course there will be free biodegradable poop bags.

Celebrity Groomer to the Stars, Jorge Bendersky come by to discuss the importance of properly grooming your pet. ASPCA will be joining us to provide free or low cost spay/neuter services as well as providing free tick/flea prevention, rabies and distemper shots. NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene will be administering dog licenses and Animal Care and Control of NYC will be sharing the benefits of the feral cat Catch and Release Program. Come join the discussion about being a pet owner in a NYCHA development and reacquaint yourself with the much improved Jefferson Park Dog Run. For the complete schedule, see below.

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jorge Bendersky, ASPCA, Jefferson Park Dog Run Committee, Animal Care and Control of NYC, New York City Housing Authority, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and Search and Care.

WHAT: There is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem Campaign

WHEN: Saturday, August 25, 2012 – 10 AM to 1 PM

WHERE: Thomas Jefferson Park Recreation Center – 112th Street and First Avenue (dogs are not permitted inside the Center)

To attend the workshops or learn more about the different ways in which you can volunteer, please call 212-828-9800. We hope to see you there!

‘There is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem’ Campaign Needs Volunteers

We can all agree that not cleaning up after your dog on the street is an unsanitary nuisance, so it’s time to do something about it. We’re looking for volunteers to assist with our initiative to promote being a responsible dog owner and member of the community.

On Saturday, August 25, we will be holding a series of events as the launch of the “There is no Poop Fairy in East Harlem” campaign. We will need volunteers to assist in setting up the event as well as going out in the community to help educate dog owners on the need to clean up after their dogs. If you’re available to help out during the morning and early afternoon on that Saturday, please call (212) 828-9800.


Please donate your time to help improve the cleanliness of our neighborhood. We really appreciate it and hope to hear from you soon & see you there!

Back to School Back Pack Drive: Helping Local Families in Need

Now through August 24, 2012, Bishop Joseph Harris, the Senior Pastor and founder of Life Changers Church and Ministries of Manhattan, is on a mission to collect as many book bags with school supplies for children ages 5 to 12 in East Harlem and Porte-Prince, Haiti.

In these hard times, there are many families in our community and in Haiti that cannot afford to provide their children with basic tools that they will need to succeed in school, such as back packs and school supplies. By simply just providing our youth with these tools to learn, we can help take this one burden off of these families’ backs whose burdens include worrying about where their next meal will come from or if they’ll have a roof over their head.

At the end of the Back to School Back Pack Drive, on August 25, 2012, Life Changers Church will throw a “Back 2 School Block Party” for all the young people of our East Harlem community. Stay tuned for more details on this event!

If you would like to contribute, Life Changers Church is suggesting you donate a book bag with school supplies inside such as: a 3-ring binder, erasers, folders, loose-leaf paper, crayons or markers, pens and pencils. Please contact Felipe Ayala to set up your donation: (914) 458-2096 or fayala@lifechangerschurch.org.  

Melissa Attends the Hot Bread Almacen Opening in La Marqueta

On Monday, Melissa, along with Speaker Quinn, attended the inauguration of the latest stall in El Barrio/East Harlem’s historic La Marqueta: Hot Bread Almacen, the first retail location from the Hot Bread Kitchen Bakery, whose thriving kitchen has been located in at La Marqueta since 2010. Funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone made it possible to create the retail outlet for the non-profit Hot Bread Kitchen that provides primarily foreign-born and low-income women a chance to train and work in the growing specialty food industry, combining a workforce development program with a thriving bakery. Hot Bread Almacen currently seats 15 people. Be sure to stop by and check out this culinary destination!

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Summer Camp Spots Still Available for 7 to 11 year olds in East Harlem

Concrete Safaris still has spots left in their East Harlem Summer Camp for children 7 to 11 years old. Camp has already started but runs until August 24th. This is perfect for an active and creative child. Their days will be filled with gardening, swimming, running, cycling, fishing, hiking, media projects, art, and more. Plus, every Friday is a field trip! Concrete Safaris prides themselves on empowering youth to be healthy leaders through green exercise programs that enrich the mind, body, community and environment.

Camp hours: Monday – Thursday, 8 AM – 1 PM; and Friday 8 AM – 2:30 PM

Campers are required to participate for all 5-days of the week.  Three absences and/or failure to comply with the program rules may result in suspension.

For more information about getting your child involved, call Ms. Mac at (347) 267-2903.

Groomer to the Stars, Jorge Bendersky and Melissa to Host a Pet Care Grooming Workshop

Celebrity dog groomer Jorge Bendersky will be at Jefferson Recreation Center with Melissa on Saturday, July 14 hosting a free Pet Care Grooming Workshop.  You may have seen Jorge on Animal Planet’s realty show, “The Groomer Has It,” as a judge on TLC’s “Extreme Poodles” or as the grooming expert on Animal Planet’s “Dogs 101.”

Although most of Jorge’s clients are among the rich and famous and he is the most sought out Manhattan groomer, Jorge is dedicated to giving back. In doing so, he is offering his talents and knowledge to those dogs (and pet owners) who would not normally be able to afford such lavish amenities. Jorge will cover how to properly brush your dog, along with tips and tools for early detection of a wide spectrum of potential canine diseases at the free Pet Care Grooming Workshop. Early detection is essential to not only saving your dog’s life but to saving an enormous amount on vet bills.

Come join us and learn about all of the benefits of proper grooming for your furry best friend! To find out more about Jorge and his work, you can visit his website – planetjorge.com.

WHO: Melissa and Celebrity Dog Groomer Jorge Bendersky

WHAT: Pet Care Grooming Workshop

WHERE: Jefferson Recreation Center (2205 First Avenue, corner of 113th Street)

WHEN: Saturday, July 14 – 10 AM to 12 Noon

East Harlem’s Senior Pool Party to Launch Senior Hours in 14 City-Wide Pools

We are delighted to announce that the Parks Department, Department for The Aging and Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs’ office will be holding the public launch of 14 city-wide swimming pools’ senior hours at our very own Thomas Jefferson Park Pool on Monday, July 9th at 10 AM. But the party doesn’t start then – the East Harlem Senior Pool Party will start at 9 AM on Monday, July 9th to kick-off our senior hours which will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 to 11 AM (July 9 – August 31).

In response to our local seniors’ requests, Melissa pushed for Thomas Jefferson Park Pool to be the first to offer dedicated hours to our seniors as a part of the Age Improvement District initiative alongside with New York Academy of Medicine last summer. Because of Melissa’s efforts, our community will no longer be the only one benefiting from senior hours at public pools, which promotes recreation and physical well-being, but now 13 other pools city-wide will be able to as well. Throughout the summer, a qualified instructor will be at each of these sites teaching organized water exercises and swim instruction.

“I am always proud when our community of El Barrio/East Harlem can serve as a laboratory for successful, innovative initiatives like this one,” Melissa commented.  “We were the first to launch an Age Improvement District with the New York Academy of Medicine and the first to offer dedicated hours at our public pool for seniors.  It is truly wonderful to see these senior pool hours being offered across the five boroughs this year.  I thank Commissioner Benepe and the Parks Department for expanding this program citywide, as well as all of our local partners who are helping to make our community a healthier and more livable place to grow old.”

So come join us for this pool party to kick-off a monumental swim season for our seniors. We welcome all those over the age of 50 to enjoy the free snacks and music with your neighbors.  To get the full list of pools participating in senior hours – click here. We hope to see you there!

WHAT: East Harlem’s Senior Pool Party & the launch of Senior Hours at public pools city-wide

WHERE: Thomas Jefferson Park Pool, First Avenue and East 112th Street

WHEN: Monday, July 9th; 9 AM (the launch of Senior Hours will be at 10 AM)

Forum on Stop & Frisk and Secure Communities in East Harlem

The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network is hosting a forum on civil liberties for immigrant communities and other local residents, focusing in on the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices and the Secure Communities federal immigration enforcement program.  The event will take place at the Hunter School of Social Work (119th Street and 3rd Avenue) on Thursday, June 28th from 6pm to 9pm. Food will be provided, but attendees must pre-register. Translation services for Spanish and French speakers will be provided.

Click here for flyers in English and Spanish and the registration form.

If you have questions, please contact Joe Pressley at 212-828-9800.

Melissa Responds to Stabbing of Officer Loor

“I am deeply sorry to hear of the terrible attack that took place in my district this morning, in which NYPD officer Eder Loor was stabbed in the head by an emotionally disturbed man on Third Avenue and 107th Street. The officer had responded to a 911 call from the man’s mother who said he required hospitalization.

“Officer Loor is currently undergoing surgery.  I wish him a full and speedy recovery. This situation reminds us of the great risks that our police officers must take every day to keep us safe. I understand that his wife is in the hospital today, where the couple’s first child is due. We send our deepest thoughts and prayers to Officer Loor and his family at this time, and we eagerly await news of his recovery.”