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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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.

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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.

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.”

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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)

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.”

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.

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.

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!

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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.

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.

 

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!

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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