Uptown Grand Central’s Clean Team has been doing an amazing job in keeping the area around Park/Lex and 125th Street tidy. But now, this funding is being threatened!
Now that the City just passed its next budget, we’ve heard that the Corps’ time with us will end June 30. The CCC has put thousands of people to work in cleaning and greening across the city, as part of COVID recovery — but its funding has now been cut to a fraction of last year’s.
We’ve been hearing from longtime residents and small businesses that it’s been decades since they’ve seen East 125 looking this good.
You’re looking at about a third of our City Cleanup Corps members — a.k.a. Jason, Bryan, Christian, Deja, Nyaja and Tiereecha.
They joined our Positive Workforce Clean Team last fall to be aforce multiplier here along East 125th Street, increasing our Clean Team size from 5 to 40 people — and have been keeping our sidewalks cleaner than ever before.
You can sign-up for an in-person Rat Academy now.
DOHMH will be raffling off rodent-resistant garbage bins and if you are interested in attending, please visit the rat academy website for more information on upcoming Rat Academy events.
Hello Harlem Neighbors, mark your calendar for 7:00 PM on Tuesday, November 9th. HNBA will have Michael Lythcott attend to explain the new National Black Theater building project that will replace the former building on 5th Avenue between 125/126.
This large new cultural center and residence will be a major landmark in our community. Learn more about the project, the theater, the residences, and much, much more.
(Note that Michael had been unable to attend an earlier HNBA meeting due to a scheduling conflict but is now excited about presenting the project to us on November 9th)
In addition to the National Black Theater, we will also have representatives from the NYC Department of Health’s Rat team who will talk about how we can all best deal with the rats who’ve also been profoundly impacted by changes stemming from our behavior during COVID, as well as the recent storms/flooding.
Lastly, we’ll have representatives from Chelton Loft, which is located on East 126th Street between Park and Lex. They serve people with mental illness and run a strong program that includes wellness classes, job placement and cooking vegetables from our farmers market.
It’s a great lineup, and we hope to see you there. If you’d like to attend, make sure to subscribe to this newsletter:
The City has a great newsletter (below) that details everything you ever needed to know about registering to vote, and how to help register others: your colleagues, friends, neighbors, family, etc.
Can you vote in New York’s June 22 primary election?
We’re officially six weeks out from Election Day on June 22.
But there’s another date you need to mark on your calendar: May 28. That’s the last day you can register to vote in the June 22 primary.
To help make sure that as many New Yorkers as possible participate in choosing our next leaders, we’re going to break down who has the right to vote in New York, how to register and how to help someone register to vote.
If you’re already registered to vote, feel free to share this with others. As we’ve said what seems like a million times, these elections will be momentous in shaping the future of the city.
Who has the right to vote in New York?
To be able to cast a ballot in New York, you need to be a U.S. citizen who has lived in the city/state for at least 30 days, not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction and at least 18 years old.
If you turn 18 on or before June 22, you’ll be able to vote, so make sure you register now. And remember, all 16 and 17 year olds can pre-register to vote, which means you automatically become a registered voter the day you turn 18.
Can I vote if I am an immigrant?
If you have become a naturalized U.S. citizen since moving here, you can vote.
Otherwise, you can’t vote in New York… yet. A coalition of nonprofit organizations has been pushing to expand city voting to nearly 900,000 immigrants across the five boroughs, including green card holders, DACA recipients and people with certain work permits.
Paul Westrick, senior manager of democracy policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, said: “It’s a huge population of New Yorkers who may not have the piece of paper that they’re a citizen, but they’re New Yorkers. We have folks who are woven into the fabric of New York City and who are being taxed but not represented.”
The expansion has broad support in the City Council, among a few borough presidents, numerous local state and federal elected officials and even from some mayoral candidates, but it will not pass before the 2021 elections. If the measure passes later, it would mean non-citizen immigrants with certain statuses could vote in New York City municipal elections, but not in statewide or national contests. Keep your eyes out for 2023.
What if I’ve been convicted of a felony?
Big news: Just last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that gives people back their right to register to vote as soon as they’re released from prison. That includes everyone still on parole or probation, even those convicted of a felony.
“Anyone who has been formerly incarcerated and is now out in the community has the right to vote. There’s no sort of question or anything like that,” said Nick Encalada-Malinowski, Civic Rights Campaign Director for VOCAL-NY.
In 2018, Cuomo issued an executive order that granted the right to vote to most but not all people on parole through a pardon process. It was a little confusing, so the new law clears it up and makes the right permanent for anyone who has been formerly incarcerated.
Once again, because there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about this: State law now says if you were incarcerated and now you’re out, you have the right to register to vote.
When someone is released from prison, they do need to *re-register* to vote, even if they were a registered voter before they were incarcerated.
What if I’ve moved? Do I need to re-register?
If you’ve moved from out of state, you need to re-register, but if you’ve moved from somewhere else in New York, you just need to file a change of address request with the BOE/Post Office/DMV so you can vote in your current district. You can do that here.
How do I register to vote?
You have a few options…
If you have a New York driver’s license or state ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register online using a tool from NYC Votes and TurboVote, here.
If you don’t have a New York driver’s license or state ID, the law requires that you sign an actual form and mail it to the Board of Elections office.
You can use this site to have the forms mailed to you, or you can download and print the forms yourself to fill out and mail in. If you request to have them sent to you, they come with a pre-addressed envelope to send them back.
You will be asked to plug in your name as it appears on your state ID. If you don’t have one, that’s ok. Just put how your name appears on official documents.
If you need language access or you want to help someone register to vote in another language, you can download the registration forms and FAQs in a bunch of languages here.
You can also request voter registration forms in various languages by calling 1-866-VOTENYC.
Lastly, you can pick up voter registration forms at any library branch, any post office or any city agency office.
After you fill them out, mail them to the BOE’s main office:
Board of Elections 32 Broadway, 7 Fl New York, NY 10004-1609
And make sure it’s postmarked by May 28.
Other materials needed: If you don’t have a state ID, you will need to provide the last four digits of your social security number.
To vote in the June 22 election, you have to register with a party.
If you want to vote in the primary election next month, you need to register with a party. This is because New York has what’s called a closed primary.
For example, to choose from the 13 Democratic candidates for mayor, you need to be registered as a Democrat. If you’re not affiliated with a party or you’re registered as an independent, you can’t vote in the primaries.
According to city Campaign Finance Board officials, there are nearly 5 million registered voters in New York City as of March. Of those, about 3.3 million are registered Democrats and eligible to vote in the Democratic primaries. There are just under 500,000 registered Republicans in the city who may vote in Republican primaries. About a million voters are either registered with a third party or have no party affiliation, so they can’t vote in the primary. So if you’re planning on voting June 22, check your party.
The deadline to switch parties was Feb. 14, so it’s too late to change your party before the primary.
Don’t miss the deadline!
Once again, you have to register by May 28. New York does not have same-day registration. If you aren’t already registered and you don’t apply either online or send your forms in postmarked by May 28, you will not be able to vote in the June 22 primary. Remember: Early voting starts June 12.
What are *your* election questions?
If you have any questions about the election process, the candidates or any other information when it comes to voting in New York, let us know by replying to this email or sending a note to [email protected].
To subscribe to The City’s awesome newsletter, go to:
You can join the virtual Rat Academy, put on by the Department of Health on May 24th and sponsored by the amazing MMPCIA. Learn about preventing rats, and dealing with rats if they arrive. It’s a great and very informative program. Highly recommended for the rat-curious and it certainly falls into the news-you-can-use category of time spent.
You have likely heard (and perhaps seen) that rats have made a comeback in the COVID era. With so many restaurants closed, or open in a reduced presence, rats have had to head toward residential garbage for their food needs.
In New York City, property owners are required (PDF) to keep their properties rat-free and address conditions that can lead to rats. They may have to hire a pest management professional when appropriate. Tenants can do their part by following our prevention tips below and promptly reporting rats to property owners, building managers or co-op associations.
If property owners are not fulfilling their legal requirement to prevent and manage rats and repair conditions that can attract rats, tenants can report the issue online or by calling 311. The Health Department will send inspectors to investigate the situation.
Learn more about what you can do prevent rat infestation, or how you can drive them out if they have already settled in your home or property:
The best way to prevent rats from settling in your home and property is to carefully dispose of your garbage. Be sure to:
Provide enough garbage cans with tight fitting lids to hold all garbage between pickups.
Bring garbage to the curb as close to pick-up time as possible. Garbage left on the curb for too long attracts rats.
Follow your building’s policy for garbage disposal and recycling.
If your building has a garbage chute, bag and tie your garbage before putting it down the chute.
Destroy Potential Shelter
Make your home inhospitable to rats by attacking their favorite places to seek shelter and reproduce:
Clean up any clutter or litter in and around your building, including your basement and yard.
Remove piles of newspapers, paper bags, cardboard and bottles.
You can learn about safe and effective methods for rat prevention in your home and community at this 3 hour virtual training.
Giant Step Arts – Free Performances Celebrating John Lewis and the Civil Rights Struggle
Groundbreaking artist-focused non-profit Giant Step Arts continues Walk With The Wind, a free series of performances in Central Park honoring the legacy of U.S. Representative and civil rights leader John Lewis
Finding new ways to support musicians during the pandemicWhen the pandemic hit, Jimmy and Dena Katz, creators of Giant Step Arts, the groundbreaking, artist-focused non-profit dedicated to supporting visionary jazz musicians as they create adventurous new music, realized that it would be a while before they could continue their work commissioning, showcasing and recording music by some of modern jazz’s most innovative artists.
They’ve created Walk with the Wind, a series of free performances in Central Park honoring the memory of John Lewis. Performances, which are acoustic and feature small groups, take place at 1 p.m. on The Mall in Central Park. In the event of bad weather, they will be rescheduled. They will continue as long as the weather allows. Upcoming performances include:• Saturday, October 10 – The Nicole Glover Trio: saxophonist Nicole Glover, bassist Daniel Duke, drummer Nic Cacioppo
• Sunday, October 11 – The Chris Potter Trio: saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Joe Martin, drummer Nasheet Waits
“The pandemic has been disastrous for musicians, many of whom normally earn a living through live performances and tours,” says Katz. “We’ve presented and recorded music in various venues, including partnering with the non-profit Jazz Gallery, but the current circumstances have forced us to improvise. We wanted to find a way to continue supporting musicians, bring them together with audiences, safely, and enable them to have a payday! Walk with the Wind, honoring the legacy of the great American John Lewis, is one way we are accomplishing this, and the response has been tremendous. Our goal is to raise enough money from foundations and donors so that we can have performances each spring and fall.”
The series began with the Wayne Escoffery Trio on August 28th and has included the Eric Mcpherson Trio, Marquis Hill Quartet, Michael Thomas Trio, Marcus/E.J Strickland Trio, Leap Of Faith Trio, Joel Ross Quartet, Immanuel Wilkins Trio, Nasheet Waits Trio, Melissa Aldana Trio and the Darius Jones Trio. From 11-1 p.m. the pre-show festivities have included Arco Yoga specialist Josie Say and the Robert Lotreck Trio.
Giant Step Arts
Founded by renowned photographers Jimmy and Dena Katz in January 2018, Giant Step Arts is an innovative, artist-focused non-profit organization dedicated to commissioning and showcasing the work of some of modern jazz’s most innovative artists. In an era where it is increasingly difficult for musicians to earn a living, Giant Step Arts offers the artistic and financial resources to create bold, adventurous new music free of commercial pressure. Musicians have total control of their artistic projects and Giant Step Arts is committed to fostering their careers by providing promotional material and publicity services.
For the musicians it chooses to work with, by invitation only, Giant Step Arts:
• presents premiere performances and compensates the artists well • records these performances for independent release • provides the artists with 700 CDs and digital downloads to sell directly; artists retain complete ownership of their masters • provides the artists with photos and videos for promotional use • provides PR support for the recordings
“Giant Step Arts does not sell any music,” Katz says. “Our goals are to help musicians make bold artistic statements and to advance their careers. We are also trying to increase our funding so we can help more musicians.”
Through his award-winning photography with wife Dena Katz, and his esteemed work as a recording engineer, Katz has spent nearly 30 years helping to shape the way that audiences see and hear jazz musicians. Katz has photographed more than 550 recording sessions, many historic, and 200 magazine covers. Whether taken in the studio, in the clubs, on the streets or in the musicians’ homes, his photographs offer intimate portraits of the artists at work and in repose and capture the collaborative and improvisatory process of jazz itself. Recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association award for jazz photography in both 2006 and 2011, Katz’s work has been exhibited in Germany, Italy and Japan. Among the world-renowned artists he’s photographed are Sonny Rollins, Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, Cassandra Wilson, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, John Zorn, Pat Metheny, and Dizzy Gillespie. In addition to his well-known visual art, Katz is an esteemed recording engineer who has worked with artists including David S. Ware, Joe Lovano, Harold Mabern, William Parker, Benny Golson, and Chris Potter, among others.