Thomas Jefferson Park Renovation Plan

Generosity, As Often, From Those Who Have The Least

NYTimes, David Gonzalez:

From San Juan to New York, He Offers Help and Hope for the Uprooted

David Gonzalez/The New York Times

“I have nothing,” he said. “Whatever I have is to be shared. We know struggle. To be in a bad way. But I always try to help people get something, even if only for one day. Tomorrow is another story.”

Rafael Ocasio Barreto refused to leave Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria tore through his part of San Juan…He soldiered on for two weeks… Finally, his friends forced him — wearing just the clothes on his back — to get on a plane to the States.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency resettled him at a suite motel in Queens…plump winter coats and new sneakers are piled atop the bed. The kitchen is stocked with food. Just as he cared little for material possessions in Puerto Rico, these items are not for him, but to share with other uprooted Puerto Ricans also staying at the motel as they await the next steps when FEMA stops covering their hotel costs on Feb. 14.

…“In Puerto Rico, even with all its dire needs, you can get someone to help. Here, that really doesn’t exist. Here, it’s about individualism. You feel the racism. It’s not the affection you felt back home. Fortunately, even in this motel, I have found Dominicans, Hondurans and Ecuadoreans who identify with us and extend their hand like a brother nation.”

Think we could learn a thing or two from him?

NYCHA is now recruiting for its upcoming Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Training Class in the Lower East Side.

LES Sandy-impacted NYCHA Residents are given first priority for the spring 2018 session. Graduates receive interviews with Building and Construction Trade Unions; this is the first step to not just landing a job but to starting a career in the unionized construction industry.

Please disseminate widely to NYCHA residents interested in a long term career in construction.

A Walk in the Park

We love SDR Park. Funky, unique, charming, beautiful, humble, anarchic, often dirty, mostly safe, welcoming, wild, frustratingly cluttered with cars & trucks. Never too tidy, never too tamable, built by people for the people’s use. Still an all-comers meeting place – democracy in action – where  imaginations can still be unleashed, where attempts to tightly order its chaos are thwarted by the people who use it (and sometimes abuse it), care for it, and consider it theirs.

A quintessential New York City Park.

“When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough” – Fran Lebowitz

Brad Landers Op-Ed: On the NYC Plastic Bag Law That Was


From Brad Landers City & State website:

“Every month, NYC residents send 750 million plastic bags to landfills, which is more than 7,500 tons of solid waste….

Plastic bags aren’t just needless solid waste. They are made from petroleum. They litter our trees and parks, clog our storm drains and recycling equipment, and foul our oceans and beaches.

In 2016, with NYC Councilwoman Margaret Chin, I led the effort in the New York City Council to do something about plastic bag waste. Our Bring Your Own Bag Law, which was passed by the City Council in May 2016, would have placed a 5-cent fee on all carryout bags. In cities, states and countries around the world, bag fees have reduced plastic bag waste by 50 to 90%. It would have worked here.

Unfortunately, [GovernorCuomo, state Sen. Simcha Felder and the state Legislature killed the city’s plastic bag law before it went into effect…”

Read more here.

L Train Shutdown: Open House Date and Questions Re: This Park Neighborhood

East Side Open House Jan. 31

From the Lo-Down  (more details on the Lo-Down website):

“The MTA and the city’s Department of Transportation are kicking off a series of public meetings ahead of the L Train shutdown that’s scheduled to take place in the spring of 2019.

There are open houses on both sides of the Manhattan Bridge. The East Side session takes place Wed., Jan. 31 from 5-8 p.m. at the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th St.


Questions regarding the Shut Down of the L Train impact on the SDR Park community

The plan to mitigate the transportation needs during the shut down of the L train would entail 70 Diesel buses an hour coming through our community across Delancey Street (and returning down Chrystie Street). This will increase pollution, bring unprecedented traffic down Chrystie/Delancey Streets alongside and through the park in a high-density area with children, seniors, deaf residents, blind gardeners, students, ball players, bikers, families, small businesses and workers.

We understand that this is a massive, unplanned and necessary shut down to fix the Sandy -damaged tunnel.

Here are our questions/concerns:

Street Congestion

  • There are several buildings in various phases of planned/current construction on Chrystie Street where buses are planned to travel to get to the Williamsburg Bridge via Delancey Street. We see scenarios of backed up buses and traffic bringing yet more pollution and dangerous crossings here unless building on those construction sites are halted during the shut down.
  • Will congestion pricing help with this?
  • Has there been any study of how existing bus traffic (both local MTA buses serving this community and the interstate bus stands) along and near Delancey and Chrystie Streets will be affected by this new influx (deluge?) of buses?
  • Given that we have 4,000 cars per day using the Williamsburg Bridge is it time to demand the EZ Pass toll on this and other downtown bridges that are used as drive-throughs to and from NJ?


Health Affects of 70 Diesel Buses Per Hour on Adjacent/Nearby Corridors 

Vulnerable Populations/Pedestrian & Bike Safety:

  • We have schools alongside SDR Park: Tenzer, Cascade, Satellite Academy, Pace HS, Emma Lazarus, IS 131, Great Oaks, along SDR Park on Forsyth Street.
  • We have deaf housing on Forsyth Street.
  • We have a senior center within the park on Delancey Street/Chrystie. And a senior daycare on Chrystie
  • We have a large homeless population in SDR Park.
  • We have a two-way bike lane that already endangers slower moving people (children/elders) with DOT refusing to install signage warning of pedestrian crossings on Stanton/Rivington/Broome/Hester. (and still waiting for DOT study results to install a speed bump requested by the deaf community on Forsyth Street).
  • Children, families, school classes from nearby daycare, nursery, elementary school and after school programs use 3 playgrounds in SDR Park.
  • Soccer fields/Handball court/Basketball courts are dedicated areas in SDR Park that are always in use.
  • General quality of life decline.
  • Access – A -Ride disruptions


The L train/Williamsburg Bridge Service Area

  • Any data on how many people who use the L train work or shop in the Delancey/Chrystie neighborhood or use it to shop or work along the L train line?
  • Any data on how many of the trucks/cars coming across the Williamsburg Bridge have these communities as their destination?
  • What are the benefits to this neighborhood for enduring the 70 buses per hour, bad air, potential accidents and disruption to our communities?

Other Websites with information

The contribution of motor vehicle emissions to ambient fine particulate matter public health impacts in New York City: a health burden assessment

Asthma facts NYC:

The Public Health impacts of PM2.5 from traffic air pollution

Emissions Inventory System (EIS) Gateway


Air Pollution

Mayor de Blasio’s take on NYC:

Where You Live Determines The Cleanliness Of The Air You Breathe.

“In New York City, we are fighting the climate crisis as though our lives depend on it, and we are fighting inequality with the same sense of urgency. We have to do both at the same time. In fact, the very process of addressing our environmental challenges is part of how we are making New York City the fairest big city in America.”

Global Pollution Struggle:

Huffington Post:

92% of people globally live in places with dangerous levels of air pollution.

Every year, millions of people die as a result of air pollution-related illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, 11.6 percent of all deaths worldwide are associated with air pollution, making it almost as deadly as tobacco.

Watery eyes, wheezing and difficulty breathing are acute and common reactions. But air pollution has other, less perceptible but insidious effects — and it can harm you even before you take your first breath. Exposure to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy has been linked to miscarriages and premature births, as well as autism spectrum disorder and asthma in children

In a comprehensive study [Air Pollution and Mortality in the Medicare Population of the effects of air pollution in the United States, scientists at Harvard University found air pollution is especially dangerous for men, the poor and African-Americans, who are about three times as likely to die from exposure to the tiny pollutants.

HuffPost takes a look at what the WHO has declared a public health emergency.

Town Hall on Discretionary and Capital Budgets Funding with CouncilWomen: Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera




NYC Flood Maps


In New York, Drawing Flood Maps Is a ‘Game of Inches’

As FEMA revises the maps to account for climate change, deciding who is in the flood zone will be a battle with millions of dollars at stake.

With its 520 miles of coastline and thousands of acres of waterfront development, New York has more residents living in high-risk flood zones than any other city in the country. Hurricane Sandy, the devastating October 2012 storm, did $19 billion in damage to the city, and the pace of development along the water has only increased.

Now, after a year in which hurricanes ravaged Houston and the Caribbean, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is substantially redrawing New York’s flood maps for the first time in three decades. It is a painstaking process that will affect tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people, determining how and where buildings can be constructed and the cost of flood insurance on everything from modest bungalows to luxury skyscrapers.”

From NYTimes

Facebook Page for BirdLink Project in SDR Park

There is now a Facebook page for the BirdLink Project

Please “Like” the Page to help the artist continue to raise awareness and funds for the project!

For more information see our past posting here.