It's a Corona Virus Weekend NYC III
CoVid 19 Pandemic Continues to Keep Life in NYC & NYS on Hold
The Following Includes a Compendium of Closures & Expected Activity Resumption Dates [Subject to Change]
Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's Friday, dropping to 50 on Saturday and rising a bit to the mid 50's on Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid to high 40's all weekend. There is an 80% - 100% chance of a half inch of Rain on Saturday mid to late afternoon [3 - 5 pm] and a bit more than a half inch early Sunday morning [before 7 am]. Winds will be 5 - 10 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be rise from the mid 20% range Friday, to 60% Saturday and 80% Sunday. Click for NYC Weather.
MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.
The photo at right shows a man in Bryant Park last weekend enjoying a rare moment of solitude in the middle of a very densely populated city during the CoVid 19 shutdown.
On Thursday, March 26th, I headed toward CitiField to photograph it on what was supposed to be opening day. Major Leaugue Baseball was to begin that day with the Mets playing Washington at home, while the Yankees were to play Baltimore away.
Elmhurst Hospital is the Epicenter of Queens, which is Epicenter of NYC, which is Epicenter of NYS, which is Epicenter of the America
On my way I stopped to visit Elmhurst Hospital which had been labeled the CoVid epicenter of Queens that same day. Queens had become the epicenter of NYC by reporting the most cases in the city, and New York City is the epicenter of NYS, which is the epicenter of the U.S.
I visited Elmhurst Hospital just as they had closed the testing tents, which ran from 6 am – 4 pm. I spoke to one of the healthcare professionals there, inquiring as to whether they thought that there had been an overreaction to the spreading virus.
I was told that the virus was new, mutating, very contagious, and more lethal than the flu – so it should be taken seriously and managed in accordance with the general health risks it poses. Within the prior 24 hours thirteen people had died at Elmhurst Hospital.
On the subway the number of people wearing masks over their faces had grown significantly. I also noticed, for the first time, that a number of people were also wearing plastic gloves. Not long from now, everyone will be wearing Hazmat suits.
Well, at least it was easy to get a seat, and even easy to maintain the social distancing.
The photo above shows the testing tent outside of the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Thursday. In the prior 24 hour period 13 people reportedly died.
Small Businesses Have Closed or are Closing - Nothing's Moving
On my home I stopped at a few small businesses I generally frequent. One had completely closed its doors for the past couple of days because business had been softening. I imagine staying open just wasn’t worth the effort and expense. Another small business had shortened their hours, as business there had also softened, but there was still business moving. And at the third place I stopped, the owner told me they were going to close for a while, until things started moving again, as there just wasn’t much / any business moving.
When I arrived at my own personal self quarantine station – which I used to think of as my apartment - I flipped on the tube. There in front of me were so many people, talking endlessly and saying so, so little. So I turned it off to restore a sense of calm.
What follows is a compendium of some of the major closings and announcements made over the past couple of weeks, as well as the anticipated time they plan to resume activity, but all subject to change.
The photo at right shows the business district on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights Queens during the middle of the day. As you can see, most businesses had closed.
National Sports Seasons Postponed or on Hiatus including Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League & the National Basketball Association
All Major League Baseball games were cancelled, at first until April 9th, but opening day was subsequently pushed back to May 11th, but that – like most resumption dates – remains tentative. As you can imagine, the CitiField and the parking lot were empty.
On March 11th the NBA suspended their season, when a player tested positive for the Corona Virus. Resumption of play remains uncertain at this time.
The National Hockey League suspended play on March 12th. When NHL play will resume also remains uncertain, and their draft has also been postponed.
And the Big East Conference of NCAA Basketball cancelled the remainder of its tournament on March 12th.
In the photo at right you can see the taxi stand on 42nd Street outside of Grand Central Station. The wait was very short.
CDC Proposes Social Gathering Limit of 50 People
NYC and NYS Go Further - First Suggesting a Limit of 50 People, then Reducing the Limit to 10 People, & Now Limiting Gatherings to Members of the Same Household - 'Social Distancing'
In March of 2020 the CDC began recommending no events more than 50 people [knbr.com 3/16/20]. But since the CDC announcement, NYC reduced limits to 10 people, before advising its denizens to limit their get togethers to only members of the same household.
In addition to limiting gatherings the CDC, NYC and NYS government authorities have advised people to try to maintain a six foot distance between each other [social distancing] in order to stop the spread of CoVid 19, which is highly transmissible via surfaces and also the air.
And it has an estimated fatality rate appears to be significantly higher than the flu. I've seen estimates that indicate the CoVid fatality rate is 10x - 20x more lethal than the flu, but I've also seen much lower estimates of the fatality multiple vis a vis the flu [eg. 2x - 3x], although those estimates seemed to come from less reliable sources.
Arts, Cultural and Sporting Venues Close Until ...
Naturally this sent shockwaves through the artistic, sports and cultural centers of New York City and its boroughs. But limiting the size of social gatherings wasn't all that was done to slow the spread of the virus and its attendant impact on the healthcare infrastructure and the death rate associated with the virus.
In the photo at right is Times Square last Saturday near lunchtime. There wasn't much moving, even though it was a nice day.
Governor Cuomo Puts NYS Public Schools on Hiatus & Mayor de Blasio does the Same for NYC Public Schools
On March 12th, 2020 Governor Cuomo announced that CUNY / SUNY were closed for the semester beginning March 18th. The Governor had closed NYS public schools through March 30th. This week Governor Cuomo announced that the opening of NYS public schools would be pushed back as necessary, and he then extended the NYS Public School closure through Wednesday, April 15th.
Mayor de Blasio held off making the dramatic decision to close NYC Public schools, but eventually relented, responding to parental and union pressure, announcing on March 15th that - beginning March 16th through Monday, April 20th - that the NYC Public School System would be closed. Bear in mind all closure dates are subject to extension or even cancellations.
Public Transportation & MTA Changes
On the transportation front there were a number of announcements this past week including the suspension of Alternate Side Parking until March 31, 2020, but Parking Meters remain in effect. I believe this will be updated on a week by week basis, so please pay attention by visiting - https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/alternate-side-parking.shtml
This week the subway schedule during weekdays was reduced to weekend frequency, except during rush hour as ridership has plummeted.
This week NYC announced it is opening up a street in every borough where folks can walk around, stretch without worrying about traffic in a manner akin to the Summer Streets program in August and practice social distancing. The NYC Spring Streets are
Park Ave. etc.
The photo at right shows an empty Times Square Subway station last Saturday in the late morning.
NYC Citywide CoVid Closures
Tax filing deadline for U.S. federal returns is july 15, 2020. NYS State tax deadline followed the deadline postponement of the U.S. federal government. But if you file on time, your tax refund will be remitted as normal. And you can use the extra time to contribute to your IRA if you have one. NYS sales tax filing is still required, but the fees and interest on late payments will be waived.
At first the New York Public Library announced it would only be open to lend books., but by March 12th had announced it would be closed until March 31st. On March 20th the NYPL announced it would be closed indefinitely and the time period on books would be extended until after they had opened again.
The Archdiocese of NY is asking parishoners to celebrate mass at home until further notice.
In the photo above you can see that the subways were largely empty [this was around 3 pm Thursday 3/26/20] and that many people are now wearing masks as they ride them. It's also possible to practice social distancing on the subway at present, and I've noticed an increasing number of people wearing plastic gloves.
Bronx Borough CoVid Closures NYC
The NY Botanical Garden was closed March 15th and will announce its reopening when the CoVid situation become more clear.
Brooklyn Borough CoVid Closures NYC
The NY Transit Museum is closed until further notice.
The Brooklyn Museum closed March 13th. It will open when the CoVid situation becomes more clear. They plan to use this time to undertake a thorough cleaning.
Using this time to sanitize facilities seems like something everyone should be using this time to do.****
Manhattan Borough CoVid Closures NYC
The Tribeca Film Festival scheduled for April 15 – 26 was postponed until further notice.
Lincoln Center will be closed until May 17, 2020, assuming it’s safe at that time to resume.
The photo below shows Lincoln Center on a nice Saturday mid morning [3/21/20] - completely empty.
The next event scheduled at the Javits Center, as of this report is June 4th – the Small Business Expo.
The Auto Show has been re-scheduled at the Javits Center for August 18th – September 6th. There are two press days immediately preceding the show.
All three locations of the Metropolitan Museum, including the Met Breuer and the Met Cloisters and the Met Museum on the East Side will close indefinitely. The Met will make an announcement on its website as to when it will reopen.
The Frick cancelled events through April 3rd and said it will monitor the situation before making any announcement to reopen.
Carnegie Hall cancelled all events through May 10th, 2020. They will refund tickets between the announcement and the planned reopening – from March 12th to May 10th – but they asked patrons to consider making a donation of their ticket price to the Carnegie.
The South Street Seaport Museum is closed effective March 13th until further notice.
Queens Borough CoVid Closures NYC
The Queens World Film Festival scheduled for March 19 – 29 moved the program to an online show.
The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens is closed at least through April 3rd, but based on other reports we’re seeing, that is likely to be extended.
No notices were posted on the Jamaica Center for Performing Arts and Jamaica Center for Arts & Leanring websites, but I suspect they too are closed pending a clearer picture of the CoVid 19 outbreak.
Staten Island Borough CoVid Closures NYC
The National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island is closed pending a more clear outlook on CoVid 19. The next event they have scheduled is May 20th for Fleet Week.
Effective March 20, Snug Harbor suspended all events at all sites at the center pending a more clear the outlook on CoVid 19.
Old Saying 'Cleanliness is Next to Godliness'
Probably Because Those Who Kept Things Clean, Likely Weren't as Ravaged by Illnesses
*** Note that all dates suggesting the resumption of activity or reopening are subject to change, pending a more clear outlook of the health risks and potential mitigations regarding the CoVid 19 pandemic. One aspect of this pandemic that both government officials and the media have NOT emphasized enough is the importance of cleanliness.
On the Home Front Now is a good time to clean all of the devices and surfaces you touch regularly to reduce your chances of contracting the virus. Things like door knobs, TV clickers, mouses and keyboards, cell phones are likely the most touched, least cleaned surfaces. But there are others too, like table tops, sinks, floors and bathrooms. The CoVid germs can remain contagious on these surfaces for days, so clean them regularly.
On the Business Front, given things are slow, now is a good time to sanitize your infrastructure especially if you serve the public. I suspect that the importance of the cleanliness of an establishment will rise markedly in post CoVid NYC and could become a factor in helping you win or lose business. In the old movies the bartenders and owners at diners were shown regularly wiping the bars and counters as this was a time when the threat of germs was of greater concern than here in America in recent times.
In the photo above right, a man wears a plastic glove to hold onto the subway pole. I found somewhere between a quarter and half of the people riding in the same subway car as me that day, to be wearing plastic gloves. And even though is was in the middle of the afternoon, on the second busiest subway line in NYC, that only amounted to about three or four people.
Stay calm and collected, and eventually - like all joys and miseries - this too shall pass.
CoVid - The Virus Everyone is Talking About
Ghost Town: One of Every 200 New Yorkers has been Tested
Last weekend I headed into Manhattan to take a few photos of what I expected to be a ghost town. While some folks were moving about - relative to normal activity - Manhattan seemed empty. With this report are a few of the photos. I'll include more of them in the upcoming weekend update.
I've also been fairly closely following Governor Cuomo's daily press briefing. The numbers, as mentioned in my last report, that I've been keeping a close eye on are the number of infections vis a vis the number of tests completed. The reason for this is that I have not yet heard anyone explain how they can truly ascertain the transmission rate, without being able to separate out the growth in the number of people who have tested positively, from the growth in the number of people they have tested.
NYC & NYS CoVid 19 Testing Metrics vs Infected Numbers
So I put together a chart, in which I had to make a few estimates using the data the Governor provided, as I had not captured all of it. Friday, March 20, 2020 is the starting point, where Cuomo reported 32,427 tests completed in NYS, of which 44% or 14,386 were completed in NYC. At that time there were 7102 and 4408 infected in NYS and NYC respectively, which means that 22% of those tested in NYS were infected, while 31% of those tested in NYC were infected.
In the briefing today, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 there were an estimated [my copy of Cuomo's NYS total number was unreadable] 94,289 tests completed in NYS, of which 41% or 38,390 were completed in NYC. At this time there were 25,665 infected in NYS, of which 14,904 of the infected were found in NYC. This translates to 27% of those tested in NYS being infected, while 39% of those tested in NYC were infected.
What does this mean? Actually since this virus is new, we don't really know for sure. What we do know is that about 26,000 people in NYS are infected, of which 15,000 of them live in NYC. And, according to Cuomo on Monday, the testing per capita in NYS is higher than anywhere else in the world including South Korea [see fact check correction below].
We're Coming up on the Two Week Anniversary of NYC's Behavior Change
Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency on March 7, 2020. Mayor de Blasio followed suit on Thursday, March 12, 2020. So we're right around two weeks away from when people first really started to change some of their habits [assume a couple / few days lag time between the declarations and people making changes].
At the time there was a run on supplies at grocery stores and pharmacies and toilet paper. But NYC's intrepid grocers and other critical retailers withstood the onslaught, and early this week I noticed that the emptied shelves were quickly being restocked. The photo at right shows the emptied shelves at a local grocery store in NYC.
The incubation period is about two weeks, so assuming those who are feeling the effects have been tested, then maybe the numbers will rise a bit more before descending as this allows lag time for the behavior change. By this time last week, people were seriously digging in, so perhaps by Sunday, March 29, 2020 [which is two weeks after the abrupt halt to normal life], we'll begin to see some impact from our collective response to the pandemic - show up in the number of infected - via a slowing of the newly infected.
The photo at right shows a number of grocery store and food delivery men working to restock the shelves of an NYC grocery early Monday morning.
Since declaring a State of Emergency Governor Cuomo first asked 50%, then 75% and eventually 100% of office personnel of non-essential services to work from home. This mandate was made between March 18 - 20, 2020 and essential services were defined as follows [copy & paste into your browser bar to go to NY.gov website page listing them],
Are the Growing Numbers of Infected, Mostly a Matter of the Testing Catching up to the Reality?
South Korea tested 327,000 people out of a population of 51 million, which is a 0.6% testing rate. New York has tested 94,289 out of a population of 19.6 million or 0.5% testing rate. Cuomo claimed NYS had done more testing per capita than South Korea, so one of us is using incorrect information to make the calculation above as my numbers indicate that South Korea has done more per capita testing [the South Korea testing number is from NBC 3/17/20 and the South Korea population is from Wikipedia 2018].
In any case, the testing per capita for NYS, is very high vis a vis the rest of world. So it seems by the end of this week, we should begin to be able to obtain a measure of things. Governor Cuomo says the rate of infection is doubling every three days - but is it the rate of infection or is it that the testing is just catching up to what's already out there?
As of March 13th, there were only 11,000 tests that had been conducted in the entire United States of America, so we had a long way to go. In the photo at right Governor Cuomo shows a chart depicting the rising infected numbers, which have increased greatly since the Trump Administration CDC testing snafu was worked through about a week ago, thus enabling healthcare professionals to begin to test / measure how many people have been infected by CoVid 19.
Government & Media Focus on Facilities & Supplies
A lot of the media coverage and government officials' focus has been on securing equipment for what they expect will be a wave of Corona Virus sick patients sweeping the healthcare system. Specifically they've been looking at beds, respirators, surgical masks and gowns, and trained staff to attend the patients.
One of the centers they're preparing is a 1,000 bed facility at the Jacob Javits Center in West Midtown. I went there on Monday to look things over at one of Governor Cuomo's press conferences. On the north end of the building there was a huge empty convention space, where there were already a good number of huge crates stacked, ostensibly with supplies needed to equip the facility into a medical treatment center - should that become necessary.
I spoke to a couple of people, one of whom who told me that there 100 National Guardsmen already there, and there were more on their way. And that the Javits Center could - if necessary - be converted into a 2,000 bed facility. I asked some of the other folks covering the conference whether they thought the Governor and Mayor were responding disproportionately to the virus. The reporters I questioned said no.
The photo at right shows the National Guardsmen at the Jacob Javits Center in West Midtown, with the supplies needed to equip the center as a hospital facility, should that become necessary to accommodate the growing numbers of infected from the Corona Virus.
Quarantine Most of Society or the 1% - 2% at Risk?
Governor Cuomo said that he had shut down the economy to save lives. But in thinking about things, I'm coming to question that judgment - allowing for the fact that it's easy to second guess people - and that hindsight is 20/20. My question is why are we quarantining everyone, when the real at risk people represent about 1% - 2% of the population? Shouldn't the 1% - 2% be quarantined - not all of us?
In the prior report we did, we looked at a report published in the Atlantic Magazine, which identified: 1) demographics as a contributor to Italy's high death rate [second oldest population on the planet, with youth living in or near them], and 2) the sudden spike in sickness overwhelmed their healthcare infrastructure, so many people weren't able to obtain the proper care.
So far 593 deaths and 46,805 cases of illness have been attributed to the Corona Virus in the United States. I couldn't track down when the first case was reported, but a graph on an NYT chart indicated it was February 26, 2020.
It's worth putting this in perspective. According to a March 19, 2020 Live Science report,
" ... In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 36 million illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... "
When seen in light of the flu, the Corona Virus doesn't seem as much a threat. But the broadcasters on the nightly TV news aren't so much journalists, as they are well groomed teleprompter readers. So none of them are asking the Governor the right questions, and perhaps Governor Cuomo and his staff aren't either.
Trump Tax Plan Plunders America's Youth ... Again
Once again the Trump Administration is poised to dig into the piggy bank of future generations of Americans by doling out another big tax brea - compliments of those who are too young to vote, or those who haven't yet been born.
It seems to me the Trump Administration could avoid the huge (multi-)trillion bailout by declaring a moratorium on all monthly bills for everyone - and then figure out on the back end, who needs to be subsidized because of the a disproportionate hit because of such a moratorium. In this manner young Americans' finances wouldn't be plundered to the tune of trillion(s) of dollars ... again.
We can't keep doing this to them. It's just not right to burden future generations with our debt.
In the photo Dr. Fauci, Head of the Corona Virus task force, is shown at far right - while the Donald is talking a blue streak about the Corona Virus. Look at the faces of the doctor and the other people in the photo.
It's a Corona Virus Weekend NYC II
Even more than Last Week, the Corona Virus Pandemic Shuts Down NYC
* Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the mid 70's on Friday, dropping to 50 on Saturday and the mid 40's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid 40's on Friday, dropping to the mid 30's Saturday, rising a bit to the high 30's on Sunday. There is a 40% chance of a minuscule amount of Rain on Friday afternoon, for which the peaking probability is at 5 pm. Then no rain for the rest of the weekend, but cloudy Saturday morning. Winds will be 10 - 15 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to the mid 40% range for the rest of the weekend. Click for NYC Weather.
* MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.
A Racist President Applies a Demagogue Label to CoVid
Unfortunately we have a president, who oftentimes makes situations worse, because of his ignorant and childish behavior. The Donald seems to be trying to label the Corona Virus the China virus and quite frankly, is doing more to confirm some of the labels given to him - like he's a racist - than convincing anyone other than his Fox 'News' toadies - to go along with his not-helpful-in-addressing-the-CoVid-crisis ploy.
It seems that our babyman president, won't even act like an adult, even in the midst of what appears to be the world's worst pandemic in this millenia.
A demagogue is
"a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument."
MTA Sanitizes Subway Cars and Buses
The NYC MTA moves between four and six million people daily. That's a mind boggling figure when you think about it. But last week ridership began falling significantly. And by this week, about a million or more people, had found some other way to get around, or were staying home. Thus the MTA is seeking federal funding to the tune of about $4 billion to help it shore up the lost revenue. And the ridership reductions are expected to continue for a while.
The MTA stepped up its cleaning regimen effective March 3, 2020. It now santizes its subway cars and buses on a rotating schedule every three days. Have the subways ever been so clean? In spite of the effort folks are still encouraged to practice social distancing meaning keeping six feet apart from others when possible. Anyone who is ill is asked to stay home.
The photo above right shows a placard on the subway, artistically depicting the diversity of our city. We live at the crossroads of the world, which means we are both the beneficiaries of that intellectual and cultural diversity, but also carry risks which are associated with that openess, because of our societal exposure. Like everything in life, we must strive to find the right balance of cultivating our openess, while managing and minimizing the associative risks. Data, science, education and discipline can help us strike the right balance.
NYS Steps Up Corona Virus Testing - Now Leads Nation
Governor Cuomo informed us that effective today that NYS had conducted more tests per capita than South Korea, who had been the world leader. Since NYS stepped up its Corona Virus testing, it found that 23 MTA employees had contracted CoVid. They were sent home or to appropriate healthcare facilities. The report indicated that they weren't train operators.
In addition to the mass transit workers, 20 members of the NYPD, 14 members of the NYFD and seven members of the NYC Sanitation Department tested positive. To put things in context, the NY Police Department has a workforce of over 38,000, the NY Fire Department has a workforce of about 17,000, the NY Sanitation Department has a workforce of 9,000 and the MTA has a workforce of over 50,000. So the number of cases testing positive vis a vis the total are miniscule.
NYS has tested over 32,000 people, of which 7,102 tested positive, and 35 people had died. About 10,000 of those tests were done within the past day, of which 3,000 people tested positive. Prior to that 22,000 tests had been conducted and 4,000 people tested positive. So the positive test rate rose from 18% for what was essentially the first week to 30% in the past day.
These testing numbers and percents are going to be the numbers to watch.
As such Governor Cuomo is asking non-essential workers to stay home. To that end he asked offices to reduce their in office workforces by 75% by having them work from home. See details at,
Trump Administration MisManagement of Preventative Health
The Corona Virus pandemic is what one pundit called,
"The first crisis not actually caused by Donald Trump himself."
Trump reportedly has tried to cut the Center for Disease Control [CDC] budget every year he's been in office. But Congress kept successfully reinstating the cuts, and even added funding to the CDC, so that while Trump has tried to make cuts, he actually signed off on increases. Trump claims it was his 'negotiating stance', but other facts seem to dispel that notion.
The real damage done by the Trump Administration has been through other actions. Trump cut the UN budget for disease control. Trump fired the head of pandemic response unit on the National Security team. Trump's Center for Disease Control [CDC] bungled the CoVid tests rollout by first refusing to use the World Health Organization test [they reportedly wanted an 'America First' test which ironically made 'America one of the Last' of developed nations]. They then followed up on that arrogant incompetence by blocking a decentralized labs approach that would have enabled qualified labs to begin testing by the various states. And, in alignment with the Pinocchio pundits on Fox Fake News, Trump also called the Corona Virus a hoax, and to this day seems to keep making factually incorrect statements.
CLICK here to watch Rupert Murdoch's mendacity machine, turn on the Corona Virus spin cycle - Fox Fake News coverage of the Corona Virus.
Italy Surpasses China - Italian Death Toll More than 3,400
I believe one of the metrics Governor Cuomo is watching, is what's happening in Italy where they had over 41,000 cases of the Corona Virus, for which 3,400 died. Part of the problem is that the rapid surge in the spread of the virus overwhelmed the healthcare infrastructure in terms of beds and respirators.
Wired Magazine in a March 17, 2020 report posted a story on what factors caused the Italian scourge. In it they cited the following,
"... The reason why Italy is suffering so badly, write University of Oxford researchers in a new paper in the journal Demographic Science, may be twofold: The country has the second-oldest population on earth, and its young tend to mingle more often with the elderly, like their grandparents..."
We have been fortunate enough to be behind Italy, so that we may learn from them. To that end the term 'social distancing' has caught on like wildfire - not just in conversation - but in action.
This is, in part, why I'm somewhat optimistic we're going to avoid the doomsday scenarios discussed on TV and online.
When Will this End?
The forecasts for us getting back to a normal life vary widely. Some say two weeks, which is unlikely, some say three to five weeks, which I think is a fair guess at a time frame for which folks begin resuming some level of normalcy. But the truth is that normal as we knew it, might not return for a far longer time.
In spite of what our dishonest president says, nobody is going to agree to giving millions of Americans vaccines that haven't first been tested. If there's something wrong with it, it would only make things even worse. So a vaccine is likely a year or more away.
And diseases of this nature somehow seem to keep coming back - like the recent Ebola resurgence in December of 2019. So we're heading into a new normal of greater cleanliness, more social distancing, and paying attention to the spread of germs. Back in the 1950's and 1960's people were concerned about germs, because they were aware of the health implications of not keeping germs at bay through cleanliness. But over time, with the passing of generations, came the passing of concern for germs, because germs had been beaten back in this country through cleanliness. But as the cleanliness habits abated, the germs were given more of an opportunity to come back, which is where we are today.
So I think the new normal is just beginning. But like everything, once you make the adjustment, the maintenance of it can be done in stride. Have a relaxing weekend and stay healthy.
Democrats Choice: A Stuttering Biden or An Intransigent Bernie?
Most Folks Don't Know that Biden has a Stuttering Handicap which is Why he doesn't do so Well in Debates & his 'Circumlocution' Remedy is Likely the Primary Cause of his Verbal Gaffes
Most Sanders Supporters Probably Haven't Taken a Look at Sanders' Record of Accomplishment which During his 29 Years in Congress is Comprised of his Leadership on Only Three Passed Senate Bills - Two of Which were Naming Post Offices
This past week, as we all watched the Democratic race for the presidency unfold, we witnessed a bit of history. Former Vice President Joe Biden's incredible comeback from what seemed like a campaign on life support, ended with him sweeping the south and decisively winning victories in most of the states up for grabs on Super Tuesday.
Biden's Coalition - The Moderates, The Working Class & The Realists
But like all victories, Biden didn't do it alone. Biden first received a boost via the endorsement of Congressman James Clyburn only days before the South Carolina primary. On Monday, Amy Klobuchar ended her campaign and endorsed Biden, followed shortly that same day by Pete Buttigieg, who had ended his campaign a day earlier. And Beto O'Rourke reappeared, to throw his support behind Biden in Texas.
One might say that this demonstrates the biggest difference between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Joe has been able to bring many of his former challengers into his tent, while Bernie Sanders has not.
Don't get me wrong. I like Bernie Sanders. I think he has great integrity, he is a strong advocate for the working class, and he has clearly demonstrated that he has an admirable talent for running an organization during his two presidential bids.
But the difference between Sanders and Biden is that Sanders appears to be a purest ... an ideologue ... someone who does not compromise. And people who don't compromise can make great thought leaders, but they rarely - if ever - make great leaders.
Great Leaders Know How To Compromise & That's How They Get Things Done
Leaders need to make compromises in order to get things done. They generally don't get everything they want because vested interests will do everything in their power to thwart them when they try. So what real leaders do, is stake out the next evolution, by moving the ball a bit forward, hoping that someone else will pick it up at a later date and move it forward again.
It's a Corona Virus Weekend
This Weekend Many Events Cancelled & Many Institutions Closing Doors for a Couple of Weeks due to the Corona Virus Pandemic
Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's on Friday, dropping to the high 50's on Saturday and low 50's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be around 40 on Friday & Saturday, dropping to the low 30's by Sunday. Rain is in the forecast for Friday ONLY, likely gone by 11 am. It will be cloudy later in the day on Saturday only. Winds will be 15 mph on Friday, dropping to between 5 - 10 mph for the rest of the weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to about 40% for the rest of the weekend. Click for NYC Weather.
MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.
The photo at right shows some folks riding the subway this week who've taken the precaution of wearing surgical masks to prevent getting infected by the Corona Virus - see details below.
Corona Virus - A Brief History of Growing Awareness
The Corona Virus outbreak was first reported by the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan in China.
By January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
On Saturday, March 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo called a NYS State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what at the time was the Corona Virus epidemic, as there was a rapid spike in the number of reported cases in NYS. At the time NYC had reported about a dozen known cases.
On March 10, 2020 Governor Cuomo ordered a quarantine of a neighborhood in New Rochelle.
On March 11, 2020, Mayor de Blasio followed suit, and declared NYC in a State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what was called a pandemic by the World Health Organization on the same day.
And today, March 13, 2020, last but not least, Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency in the United States in order to accelerate the nation's slow response to the evolving public health crisis.
Corona Virus Precautions - Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
By now you'd have to be blind, deaf and mute not to have heard that you should thoroughly wash your hands and not touch your face without having cleaned your hands.
In a March 11, 2020 report, the Sacramento Bee, which is a well respected news outlet run by McClatchy Newspapers, informed us that the National Institute of Health conducted a study that shows that the Corona Virus can remain alive for up to three days on some surfaces under the right conditions.
As such you should also step up your cleaning practices, specifically with respect to things and places that you touch regularly - like the TV clicker or your mouse and keypad and cell phone and keys.
Corona Virus Transmission by Air
And that same National Institute of Health Study also showed that the virus could remain alive in the air for a few hours. This discharge would have to come from an infected person, most likely with a cough, but I reckon just talking and breathing could do it too.
This is why scientists recommend we keep some distance - some six feet - from one another. Especially people coughing and that is why ill people are advised to remain home until they feel better - so that they don't infect the rest of us. But that said, infected people may take between two and fourteen days to show signs of the illness and thus realize it. The median incubation period for the Corona Virus is five days, 98% of the people who contract it show signs by 12 days, so by 14 days it is believed that those who have contracted the Corona Virus will show it. This is why most places have been shuttered for two weeks at a minimum.*
Some say masks won't necessarily prevent infection, because the masks aren't built to filter out the micro organisms one might inhale and the masks are not tightly fastened to the face. They may be correct, but the masks can't hurt and may reduce what you breathe in. There's a secondary problem with the masks in that some folks have been hoarding them, making it more difficult for health professionals who are working on the front line of this crisis, to obtain them.*
The disease is believed to be highly transmittable, with conflicting reports on whether it is more or less transmittable than the flu. Live Science, states that it's more than two times more transmittable than the flu, while another source says it's not as transmittable as the flu. This discrepancy may be due to the fact that there are two strains.*
The Corona Virus is Potentially Lethal - but Skews Older
At present, it is estimated to have a 2.3% death rate versus something like a 0.1% death rate for the flu. So that means it's over 20 times more lethal than the flu, and at present without any existing cure nor vaccine. Which is why there's so much concern.
But that said, to put this in context, a March 7, 2020 Live Science report informs us that,
" ... So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 100,000 illnesses and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that's nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... "
According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that the risk for people varies according to age, as it is believed people who are ill, have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems are most likely to die from the disease - see chart at right.
Living Your Life in the Age of the Corona Virus
So, as part of the NYS State of Emergency both the Governor and the Mayor are in agreement that all events of 500 or more people are presently banned. Governor Cuomo also issued an order to close CUNY and SUNY effective March 18, 2020 for the rest of the semester.
The Mayor and Governor have decided to keep the primary and secondary public school system open, but advise anyone who is not feeling well to stay home. While tests reportedly show that children can contract the disease as easily as adults, you can see by the chart above, that children don't die from it at anywhere near the same rate as older people. I know - not dying from a disease - isn't exactly comforting.
But, unlike better resourced students attending private institutions, the students attending public school aren't as able to 'go remote' and conduct classes and homework electronically. Another part of this equation is that many of these students' parents aren't in a position to stay home with them [the collateral damage being having 1.1 million school age children, many unsupervised, roaming around NYC during a pandemic], and many of their parents are critical to the healthcare, educational, law enforcement, fire and emergency response and transportation infrastructure. Lastly many public school kids don't have a home, and the public school lunch program is the one place where they can obtain a healthy meal.*
I've provided the above information to help folks better understand the complexiities the Governor and Mayor are dealing with in making these decisions. And this doesn't include how badly the small business entities are getting hit, which closing things only makes worse. This affects them paying the rent, paying their employees - all of whom have to make ends meet ... somehow.
Things to Do This Weekend in NYC?
Not much really. Most institutions are taking the position of exercising an abundance of caution and thus have closed.
Bloomberg Ends Campaign
Bloomberg Ends Campaign & Endorses Former VP Biden
Update - 11.50 am - Michael Bloomberg announced that he was ending his campaign and threw his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders remain in contention for the race, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren far, far behind. And while Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard hasn't officially announced the end of her campaign, she's been out of contention, pretty much from the start.
Bloomberg Wins Big in American Samoa
Mike "Gets it Done" with Convincing Victory in Samoa
But Mike's convincing victory didn't come cheaply. To date Bloomberg reportedly spent $556 million in his effort to become our fearless leader. Bloomberg claimed he had began his campaign for that reason - to replace our existing leader - rather than a myriad of other reasons I can think of including: 1) to satisfy Michael Bloomberg's billion dollar ego, 2) to take control of the fiscal, economic and power apparatus of the American federal government - like he did the NYC municipal government apparatus as Mayor, and / or 3) to fulfill what has likely been his life long dream of becoming one of the world's most powerful men.
Going into the race this morning, Bloomberg said he was in it for the long haul. But by the end of the night, he appeared to be reconsidering. As of this report Bloomberg was estimated to have won 33 of the 1991 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination, which means he spent $16.8 million per pledged delegate.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, on the other hand, has been the low spender in the election so far. Biden spent only $25 million, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders reportedly spent $73 million. Sanders spending was 8 times smaller than what Bloomberg spent, while former Vice President Biden's spending was 22 times smaller. I guess the Sanders and Biden names carry some good measure of value, because as of this report Biden had 414 delegates, Sanders 334 delegates, and Bloomberg - as mentioned above - 33 delegates. That means that Biden spent $60,000 per delegate, Sanders spent $218,000 per delegate, while Bloomberg spent $16.8 million per delegate. Thus Bloomberg spent 280 times more per delegate than Joe Biden.
Ironically, the only thing Bloomberg appears to have achieved, is to have strengthened the hand of the one Democratic candidate Bloomberg has essentially said he would not like to see become our next president - democratic socialism advocate, Bernie Sanders.
The message that came out of the election results of Super Tuesday last night, is that the 2020 Democrats don't seem to be as ignorant as the 2016 Republicans. But then the Democrats generally don't rely on the Australian born billionaire, Rupert Murdoch, to feed them what seems to be his cleverly packaged doses of ignorance, which he appears to deliver via his multiple, branded, propaganda 'news' outlets.
If you don't know who Rupert Murdoch is, then perhaps it's time you looked him up. He's running Australia and Britain using their conservative party members as surrogates. The Conservative Parties in these nations appear to be held hostage by Murdoch's overwhelming share of media, which he seems to use propagandistically to support or attack those who toe or don't toe his Fox-like Nationalist party line. In this country Fox 'conservatives' are not really Republicans anymore - just ask Sean Hannity.
Murdoch appears well on his way to achieving the same sort of manipulative media control here in America. It was Murdoch - more than anyone besides Trump himself - who was responsible for the Trump campaign victory in 2016. The impact of the Russians on the 2016 election, versus the impact of Murdoch's overwhelming share of mass media brands [which include Fox News, Wall Street Journal, NY Post, Market Watch, Barron's and at the time he controlled National Geographic], is the difference between day and night.
In 2019 the Trump Administration greenlighted Murdoch's inverted takeover of Disney / ABC, which Murdoch appears to be insidiously corrupting, as we speak. Disney / ABC's new CEO announcement on February 25, 2020 was a complete surprise to nearly all of the observers of that organization. But you can rest assured that it was no surprise to Keith Rupert Murdoch - because that's how Murdoch operates ... by quietly slithering around behind the scenes.
See our report series about the Fox Fake News, the NY Post propaganda and the Wall St Journal to learn more about one of the not well known, but most powerful people on the planet: Rupert Murdoch.
Is Picking One of Two NYC Republican Billionaires Who Govern for the 1% Really a Choice?
Democrats Should Take a Hard Look at the Billionaire Republican Bloomberg's Record Before Casting Their Votes
Any American with Half a Brain should Know that Relying Soley on an Ad for all the Information You use to make a Decision is Not a Good Idea
Bloomberg's Ads Talk About his Recent Donations - NOT About his Record as Mayor
If you watch Bloomberg's commercials closely you'll notice that he doesn't talk much about his record as NYC Mayor, but rather talks mostly about the donations he has made over the past two or three years.
Most of these donations were made AFTER the Donald won the presidency, and showing Bloomberg - the other NYC Republican Billionaire seeking the presidency - that it's possible that super rich people can fool enough of the electorate to vote for someone who has little to no idea what it's really like living in the middle class or working class - let alone the poor.
Bloomberg's donations include addressing gun control or lack thereof, addressing climate change and donations to women's groups. Bloomberg's donations, while very laudable, also appear to be very politically calculated.
Bloomberg Donations to Republican Senators Help McConnell Keep a Majority
Bloomberg has given to a number of Democratic candidates over the past few years, even though Bloomberg governed as NYC Mayor mostly while calling himself a Republican. But it's important to note that the former NYC Mayor also gave to Republican candidates, including senators who supported the Trump / Mitch McConnell agenda, such as South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham [$250,000] and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey [$11,700,000].
According to a November 26, 2019 report in the New York Times,
"... The former mayor of New York poured in $11.7 million to help re-elect the Republican incumbent, Senator Pat Toomey ... Federal records show that political committees funded by Mr. Bloomberg have spent more than $86 million since 2012 -- the bulk devoted to promoting Democrats. Yet more than $17 million went to boost Republicans. In addition, Mr. Bloomberg has personally donated another $950,000 to Republican campaigns and political action committees ... "
Bloomberg claimed he supported Pennsylvanian Pro Lifer Toomey for Senator because he was an advocate for gun control. But according to NY Magazine, so was the Democratic challenger, Kate McGinty. McGinty was also an environmental policy expert, while Toomey was also a Pro Life advocate. Sources for this paragraph are NYT 11/26/2019 and NY Mag 2/18/2020.
Another political donation the former NYC Republican billionaire made was in 2014 when he supported the gubernatorial campaign of former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder with a $3 million contribution. According to a February 18, 2020 report in NY Magazine,
"In 2014, Bloomberg gave $3 million to Michigan governor Rick Snyder, the conservative Republican who presided over the mass poisoning of Flint's water supply. The supposedly "socially liberal" billionaire's rationale for backing a self-described "pro-life, pro-Second Amendment" Republican? Snyder was, in Bloomberg's words, a guy "who took on the unions to get Detroit and Michigan going in the right direction. And he was re-elected despite being attacked by the unions.""
How Many Voters Can Billionaires & Mass Media Deceive?
Are Billionaires Corrupting the One Man / One Vote Promise of Our Democracy?
Bloomberg said he spent this money to "get it done", essentially claiming he can buy his way into the democratic process. Americans need to take note, because when they relinquish their votes to the siren call of the billionaires, they are relinquishing their role in what has been the American democratic process.
Voters have come to the fork in the road where they must choose between that which is easy and that which is right. Voters can make a difference by donating small sums of money over the internet, and if they can't do that. they can do a search for candidates or government officials they like and help them make calls or sign up voters or canvass neighborhood getting the word out the old fashioned way - the human way.
When Government Power is Personalized, You Have a Failed Democracy
Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch & the Personalization of the Power of the American Presidency
I've been watching events unfold on the national stage rather closely these past four years. I imagine most everybody in this country has.
It seems what we are witnessing is a gradual and insidious failure of our democratic institutions - because "We The People" haven't been paying an appropriate level of attention, nor fully participating in the functioning of our democracy, for far, far too long.
Thomas Jefferson said that,
"... if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was & never will be."
We have been ignoring the signs of the American Oligarchy usurpation of government power for decades, lead in part by Australian born and bred billionaire propagandist Rupert Murdoch. And their encroachment upon our rights, and their abuse of public power continue to accelerate, so much so, that it is no longer done surreptitiously.
Monarchs are Dictators: King George III was America's Last Authoritarian in 1783
If Americans don't start making the right choices - then due process, checks and balances and the rule of law are going to slip away from us. The result will be that a few people will make most of the important decisions for the rest of us, just like when King George III ruled the colonies, and just as authoritarians like 'President' Xi JinPing of China and 'President' Vladimir Putin of Russia rule their nations today.
Trump appears to embody the usurpation, but Rupert Murdoch seems to be the man who started us on the not-so-long journey back to ignorance. Since the Australian born and bred billionaire arrived on our shores, his accumulation of an overwhelming share of our mass media, has led to the election of numerous representatives who don't keep their pledge to represent their constituencies, uphold the Constitution, and no longer even pretend to adhere to the rule of law. This has been on clear display since Donald Trump became president.
We should have seen this coming. Billionaire propagandist Rupert Murdoch has nearly single-handedly ruled Australia and Britain through surrogates for decades through a mix of 'dirty digging' - a name Murdoch earned for himself in Britain, possibly using that dirt to extort favors from politicians, and using his overwhelming share of mass media to both attack those who oppose him, and support those who agree to bend to his will.
Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush collectively relinquished our ability to have access to numerous independent information sources, by allowing transformational media mergers, which have reduced our media diversity from about 50 unique entities in the 1980's to about five today. And contrary to what Murdoch's Fox Fake News repeatedly promotes, it's not the voters who are now deciding - but rather those like Murdoch who provide the voters with the information they use to make their electoral decisions. The mass media owners are the real deciders.
So that's how we got where we are today. As we're facing the possibility of a non-choice election in 2020 - between two autocratic NYC billionaires who seem to rule in favor of the top 1% - the choice between Donald J. Trump and Michael Bloomberg.
If we let the billionaire class take and keep the top spot, it will become increasingly difficult to win back our democracy and hear the diverse voices of the people.
The rest of this Presidents Day report includes a look into the Trump Administration:
State of the Union Dividers: Rupert & the Donald
February 4, 2020 / U.S. Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The Donald delivered his State of the Union Address in what was yet another one of his divisive speeches. It seems he's no longer talking to the nation as a whole - but that he's primarily talking to Rupert Murdoch's Fox Nation.
Plunderers always seek to divide, to destructively exploit community divisions, in order to further their own agenda.
Conversely real leaders seek to unite people around issues they can agree upon, in order to move forward with efforts that benefit the whole community.
Founding Father John Dickinson told the American people, prior to the Revolutionary War, that "United we stand. Divided we fall.". This is as true today as it was back then.
And Benjamin Franklin warned Americans at the Constitutional Convention that we had "A republic ... if you can keep it." Right now there are numerous powerful, deceptive and manipulative forces - both domestic and foreign - working relentlessly and insidiously to take our democracy and the rule of law away from us.
This year we, as a nation, will decide who we really are, and whether we can keep the republic.
Australia and Britain currently have failed democracies due to Murdoch's mass media manipulations. Murdoch through his overwhelming share of media in those nations, appears to nearly single-handedly pick their leaders.
The pinocchio pundits on Murdoch's monopolistic & oligopolistic share of national media outlets cry out "Let the Voters Decide", because they know the majority of voters will decide using Murdoch's corrupt presentation of the news. So what they're really saying is "Let Murdoch & Us Decide." Here's just one example of seemingly innumerable Murdoch mass media reports that distort the truth to their audience - this one was in the NY Propaganda Post.
Murdoch & the Rise of the 21st Century Propaganda Press Report Series. Click on the image above to see our report series on Rupert Murdoch's Fox Fake News Machine. You'll find our reports showing Murdoch's fake news is the biggest, possibly the first, and one of the most - if not the most - deceptive and thus dishonest media corporations in modern times in many areas of the English-speaking western world.
Dysfunctional Donald Report Series. Click here to read prior reports posted on the dysfunctional presidency of Donald Trump, including reports on his early attacks on the media, on his increase in the Defense budget even though the U.S. spends more on Defense than the next seven other nations in the world COMBINED, Trump's tax cut giveaway to the richest people on the planet which he funded by taking loans out on the backs of America's children, Trump's attacks on America's law enforcement and judicial institutions, his prior association with mobsters and the Russians, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, his losses in the 2016 midterm elections, and his endless stream of lies.
It's not a pretty picture, but it's based on the facts.
Closure of Rikers Island Moves Another Step Forward
In Oct 2019 NYC Council Designated Neighborhood Jail Locations in Four Boroughs
Community Board One in Astoria Only Approved the Closure of Rikers Island
A week ago, on Tuesday, January 21st I attended the Community Board One meeting at the Astoria World Manor where the board was asked to approve the closing of the Rikers Island Detention Facility effective sometime before the end of the year 2026.
The photo at right was taken from an airplane while landing at LaGuardia in a prior year. Rikers Island Correctional Facility is a stone's throw away from LGA.
Queens Community Board One in Astoria Votes on Rikers Closure
The presentation consisted of two slides. One highlighted the social / moral blight that Rikers Island had become. The second slide simply proposed the request in very limited terms - the closing of Rikers Island and the conversion of it to a ‘public place’. The presentation to the Committee was done by a team lead by Dana Kaplan, Deputy Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.
So please note that the Community Board had no role in the placement of neighborhood jails, nor did they sign off on anything that may become of Rikers Island going forward. They only approved the closing of the Correctional Facility and the allowance of use for it as a "public place".
I spoke with CB1 District Manager Florence Kolouris after the meeting about what exactly that meant. She told me that there isn’t any definition, per se, given for public place – but a couple of examples of prior public places include Lincoln Center, Fort Totten and Queens Borough Hall.
The Community Board approved the measure with a recommendation that CB1 be kept in the loop throughout the closing process, including any demolition. Plenty of questions followed regarding what would become of the 400 acre island. Nothing concrete was proposed at this time, but the audience was assured that any changes would have to come through the Community Board via the ULURP process [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure].
The Bronx & Queens - Rikers Island Community Jurisdiction & Prison Population
It’s worth noting that technically Rikers Island is a part of the Bronx – not Queens – even though the only road traveling onto the island originates in the Astoria / East Elmhurst neighborhoods of Queens. In addition to Queens Community Board One, Bronx Community Board Two, representing the Hunts Point neighborhood, also has influence over the island. Since the Dinkins Administration in the 1990's, there's been a floating barge facility that's docked in Hunts Point, that is considered a part of the Rikers Island Correctional Facility.
Currently there are an estimated 7,000 plus inmates on Rikers Island. At its height, in 1991, Rikers Island held an estimated overcapacity inmate population of nearly 22,000. By the time the facility is to be closed in 2026, the inmate population is expected to have declined to between 3,000 and 4,000.
The photo at right shows the Rikers Island Correctional Facility which will be closed by the end of 2026.
- CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the Rikers Island closing in Queens & the Bronx approved by Community Board One in Astoria / Queens. The designated Rikers replacement jail sites in four of the five boroughs was approved in an October NYC Council meeting.
Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as NYC Mayor
This Contains the Part of Bloomberg's Record You Won't See in His Ad Campaign
I started reporting for Queens Buzz in the second half of 2007, in anticipation of the website opening in 2008. At the time, politics wasn't in the docket. But over time, as I watched government and political events unfold, I couldn't ignore the huge gap between what was happening - versus what was reported to be happening.
Thus over time I began reporting on NYC, NYS and eventually national politics, doing in-depth research along the way, so that I could provide our readers with a fresh point of view, based on facts and knowledge, with scant pandering to the politicial spin.
While I only began tuning into NYC politics as a reporter during Michael Bloomberg's third term, I had picked up information about him prior to that as an aware NYC resident / voter. My first glimpse into Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-democratic tendencies came about in 2004, during the Republican Presidential Convention, when Bloomberg appeared to illegally lock up people protesting the wars and policies of then president George W. Bush. But before I delve into that aspect of Bloomberg's performance, I want to highlight a few others.
Disdains Democracy: Overturns Mayoral Term Limits
In 2008, just a year before former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was about to be term limited out of the Mayor's Office, he convinced the NYC City Council to override the plebiscite that term limited his time in office as the Mayor.
Thus Michael Bloomberg sought and won a third term - which he essentially bought - by funding his campaign with nearly $100 million of his own money, to defeat an relatively unknown candidate, retiring City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
Thompson was not given much support by the Democratic Party in that election, likely because they didn't believe he would do anywhere near as well as he did, and they were competing with a billionaire who could / would and did greatly outspend the competition. The final vote was 50.7% for Bloomberg and 46.3% for Thompson.
Did Former Mayor Bloomberg Override Term Limits in Order to Cash In NYC's Municipal Real Estate Holdings?
The deals on the Bronx Terminal Market, Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South & Flushing Meadow Corona Park were all begun in 2007. So were the two multi-billion dollar [each] subway line extension projects - the Q and the #7.
All of the real estate developments and the two major subway infrastructure projects seemed to greatly benefit one person - Stephen Ross and his privately held Related Companies. Stephen Ross went from not being counted as a billionaire at the beginning of Bloomberg's Mayoralty, to becoming the richest real estate developer in New York City within a couple of years after he took office.
It's worth noting that Bloomberg's net worth during this period shot up too. And that Bloomberg LLP, the company he founded, also operates in NYC and is also privately held.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as Mayor
The Real Record of Mike Bloomberg's Accomplishments as Mayor - Doubling of Homelessnes, Taxpayer Funded but Privately Owned Luxury Apartments, Massive Public Land Giveaways to Friendly Developer, Massive Public Transit Spending Benefitting Same Developer, Privatization / Profitization of Many Public Schools, Failure to Negotiate with Unions, City Time Scandal & Racist Stop N' Frisk Policing Program
The report includes:
2) AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Bloomberg sold the public on funding 'affordable' apartments that rented for $48,000 per year. These were publicly funded but privately owned apartment units that Bloomberg sold to the public as 'affordable' in order to gain passage of the bills authorizing them.
3) PUBLIC LAND GRAB. Four huge real estate developments appeared to be given to Stephen Ross & Related Companies which are now worth billions. The public lands reportedly sold for $1 apiece include Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South and the still pending Flushing Meadows Corona Park development. I'm not sure but Bronx Terminal was also transferred in a sweet deal to the real estate developer Stephen Ross & Related Companies.
4) PUBLIC SPENDING BENEFITTING FRIENDLY DEVELOPER. Bloomberg pushed two subway line extensions that seemed to disproportionately benefit Stephen Ross & Related Companies. The subway line extensions were 1) the #7 subway line extension that supported Stephen Ross & Related Companies Hudson Yard development and 2) the Q subway line extension which greatly enhanced the value of Stephen Ross and Related Companies Upper East Side properties.
5) PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Bloomberg's privatization of a significant portion of the NYC public school system which appeared to tear apart the NYC public school system by enabling for profit private charter schools, disproportionately favoring Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy, to recruit the best students of the NYC public school system, while leaving the rest behind in the hands of the public and unions;
6) UNION BUSTER? Bloomberg's failure to sign a single major union contract during his 12 year administration and the
7) GIULIANI / BLOOMBERG CORRUPTION. City Time corruption scandal.
8) RACIST POLICING POLICY. Presided over racist Stop N' Frisk policing policy.
CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the part of the Mike Bloomberg's record of Mayor. The part of the Bloomberg record you won't see in his $33 million ad campaign to convince Democrats to vote for him. Billionaire Bloomberg, like the billionaire President, seems to have an inclination to distort the truth.
The Road Ahead 2020
A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year
For all of us, tomorrow starts the beginning of the new year.
I used to make new years resolutions that generally lasted a few days or few weeks. Over time I've given that up and have focused on a few guiding principles that I work toward throughout the year, every year.
MB - S.
1. The first guidepost is to keep things as simple as possible by letting things go, so you can change and evolve who you are. Over time it's important to learn to let go of the past which includes letting many of the people, projects and things - once so meaningful and relevant - to fade away with time. This process involves discarding much of what one collects, in order to open up space in your life to make room for new possibilities.
2. The second guidepost is to take care of the vessel that carries one's being - meaning take care of your body because it's the only one you'll ever get, and it has to last an entire lifetime. This means consuming the foods that will enable the body to function properly and ward off disease, while recognizing that satisfying the mind is important too, as it's a part of the body. There are three elements to this guideline.
a _ Try to maximize consumption of natural foods while managing / minimalizing consumption of the delicious processed foods that come in packages. Read package container nutrition labels which indicate the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol consumed per serving. You can manage the balance of natural and processed foods depending on what's going on in life, meaning leaning toward natural foods to take care of the body, and leaning toward tasty processed foods to treat your mind.
b _ Reduce consumption of toxins by first paying attention to the quantities consumed of them, and then by substituting the toxins with healthier choices. For example dilute a soft drink with seltzer water [cuts sugar], or swap in a lemonade for a beer [cuts alcohol], or swap in pretzels for potato chips [cuts salt and fat]. Over the years these little substitutions can add up to some fair measure of weight loss or stability, and can aid in maintaining generally good health. But it's also important not to deprive oneself, too much, of some of the simple pleasures in life that keep one going - experience tells us not to be too draconian, or you can expect a subconscious rebellion, and then your program doesn't work.
c _ The third element of this guidepost is to try to walk and bike whenever possible. It's a good way to kill two birds with one stone, as it enables getting somewhere, while also getting some exercise. And be sure to carve out enough time each night, for a proper rest.
3. The third guidepost is to try to move your life in the direction of your interests. This will likely take a great many years, as well as needing to make a good number of economic and other lifestyle trade offs. But if successful, you can then spend most of your time doing the things that totally engage you. It's said that "when someone is doing something they truly love, they'll never have to work another day in their life."
4. The fourth guidepost is to keep on learning, because "luck is when preparation meets opportunity". So the more you learn, and the more experience you get, the better prepared you'll be ... come what may.
May your new year be filled with promise and possibilities. Best wishes for a happy and successful 2020.
HOLIDAY MKTS BROOKLYN & STATEN respectively 1468 / 1469
Brooklyn Holiday Events & Things To Do NYC
Brooklyn Holiday Things To Do - Christmas Tree Lightings, Brooklyn Hanukkah Menorah Lightings & Kwanzaa Holiday Candle Lightings
Community holiday events have been on the rise in Brooklyn since the start of the 21st century. While some date back many years, even prior to the start of the 21st century, many are relatively new.
Enjoying a community get together around the holidays is a good way to share in other people's cultures and strengthen the human bonds that transcend cultural variation. Or conversely, an opportunity to share your cultural upbringing with others.
Each of the Brooklyn holiday events is a bit different, as some are organized by community groups, local government officials and others by business organizations. Oftentimes one can find artisanal products that are made in NYC or NYS for sale, but we've dedicated a special section to announcing Brooklyn Holiday Markets & Shopping - Brooklyn NYC.
Brooklyn Holiday Events & Things To Do Getting Underway
The Brooklyn holiday events get underway shortly after Halloween, with some coming opening up about the time of Thanksgiving. The Brooklyn holiday events are located in or near the following Brooklyn neighborhoods - Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Prospect Park, Park Slope, Sunset Park, Bayridge, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Dyker Heights. Many either include the serving of some beverage like hot chocolate and generally snacks like cookies - or are near food vendors and restaurants.
Click here to read our report about Brooklyn Holiday Events / Holiday Things To Do in Brooklyn NYC.
|Brooklyn Holiday Markets & Holiday Shopping - Brooklyn NYC|
Brooklyn Holiday Markets, Christmas Shopping & Hanukkah Shopping
Brooklyn Christmas Shopping, Hanukkah Shopping & Brooklyn Holiday Markets
Holiday outdoor markets have been on the rise in Brooklyn since the dawn of the 21st century. While some date back many years, some are relatively new.
Shopping at holiday markets alone, with friends, or with the kids gives folks a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor and satisfy some of their yearnings and some of the yearnings of those we love.
Each of the Brooklyn holiday markets is a bit different, as some are organized by community groups and others by business organizations. Oftentimes one can find artisanal products that are made in NYC or NYS.
Brooklyn Holiday Markets Getting Underway
The Brooklyn holiday markets get underway shortly after Halloween, with some coming opening up about the time of Thanksgiving. The Brooklyn holiday markets are located in or near the following Brooklyn neighborhoods - Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Prospect Park, Park Slope, Sunset Park, Bayridge, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Dyker Heights. Many either include the serving of some beverage like hot chocolate and generally snacks like cookies - or are near food vendors and restaurants.
Click here to read our report about Brooklyn Holiday Markets & Shopping - Brooklyn NYC.
Staten Island Holiday Markets, Holiday Events, Christmas Shopping & Holiday Things To Do
Staten Island Christmas Tree Lightings, Staten Island Menorah Lightings Hanukkah, Staten Island Holiday Markets & Holiday Shopping
The holidays are a special time of the year. In ancient times there were harvest celebrations to give thanks and enjoy the bounty after a long growing and harvesting season aka a year of work.
THESE HOLIDAY EVENT & HOLIDAY MARKETS ARE ORGANIZED
1. BY NEIGHBORHOODS OF STATEN ISLAND
2. And BY DATE
Watch carefully as some locales have multiple dates, and all dates for a given locale are shown at the time the venue is first listed.
And there were also winter solstice celebrations to commemorate the end of the darkening of the skies. Some cultures celebrate with a festival of lights, and in Christian cultures the holidays are marked with holiday lightings including tree lightings and candle lightings - as well as the celebration of giving through the most well known and most generous man in the world - Santa Claus.
Meanwhile, back on Staten Island we celebrate in a number of ways, which carry on some of these ancient traditions. The following provides the dates / times / locales and some details regarding many of the various Staten Island holiday celebrations and Staten Island holiday markets and shopping for folks to enjoy between now and the end of the year.
Click here to read our report about Staten Island Holiday Events / Holiday Things To Do & Staten Island Holiday Markets & Shopping.
THANKSGIVING / VOTE NOV 2019
Thanksgiving - America's Communal Holiday
The Pilgrims Legacy: Love, Sharing & Community Empowerment
Last year I happened upon a childhood book of fables and fairytales that I had saved since I was a first grader. I was young enough to still like fairytales and old enough to be learning and loving to read. The book, A Gateway to Storyland, by Platt & Munk Co, was given to me around the holidays, and the book still gives me a warm, loved feeling when I periodically open it [see photo at right and it's still in print]. I read it numerous times after I received it, as the illustrations fed the imagination, and lessons embedded in the words resonated with wisdom.
Unselfish Parental Love Manifested by Empowering Progeny
Love comes in many forms, but the purest form is unselfish love. The love of truly giving something with no thought of anything in return. That love is oftentimes given intergenerationally - from grandparents to parents to children.
Perhaps the greatest gifts are those that cost us nothing but our time. Like the gift of teaching someone something that they will be able to put to good use throughout their lives. Parents do this all the time, when they teach their children's skills and impart some knowledge and wisdom ... just as my parents did many years ago, by giving me a well illustrated fairytale book to encourage my learning to read, while sharing the time tested wisdom of the ages, handed down in fables and fairytales.
The Pilgrims Shared Communal Resources to Actualize a Dream
At Thanksgiving time we commemorate one of America's first settlements, founded by the risk-taking, resource-pooling, hardworking, spiritual community of Pilgrims.
The Pilgrims were early English settlers who arrived on American shores in the early 17th century [1600's]. They came here because they wanted a measure of freedom and self-determination that they were forbidden in Europe or what was called the 'old country'. The Pilgrims wanted to practice their faith, unencumbered, in a way that differed from the established Church of England. They pooled their money to obtain a ship, the Mayflower, to cross the Atlantic in mid September of 1620, landing on America's shores at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts on November 9, 1620.
The Pilgrims Receive Help from the Native People of a Strange Land
Per Wikipedia, the Piligrims survived a hard winter in 1621 with the help of the Wampanoag, an American Indian tribe. The Pilgrims were the immigrants, and the first Americans, the Indian natives, welcomed them. The Wampanaog taught the Pilgrims how to catch eels, and how to grow and harvest corn. Thus the Pilgrims ended 1621 with a good harvest which they celebrated and shared with their new friends, expressing their thanks to a higher power, aka God, for the success of their endeavors.
Thus it was that the first Thanksgiving celebration happened in America ... or did it?
Please Vote Tuesday, 11/5 NYC Municipal Elections
NYC Public Advocate, Queens District Attorney, Brooklyn District 45 NYC Councilmember Races & Changes to NYC Charter to be Decided
The polling booths will be open from 6 am to 9 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
To find your poll location click on the graphic above.
Once on the website, input your address, and then click the icon to get the results of the search.
PLEASE BE ADVISED that as of Sunday evening, the first poll site shown was the one used for EARLY VOTING, which at this point has ended, so scroll down to be sure you are going to the correct Poll site on Election Day.
NYC MARATHON 2019
NYC Marathon Coming Through All Five Boroughs
New York Road Runners 49th NYC Marathon on Sunday
The New York Road Runners / NYRR is hosting its 49th NYC Marathon on Sunday. The NYRR was founded in 1958 and has been organizing the NYC Marathon since 1970. The proceeds from the race go toward the programs of the runner non-profit. They report that the NYRR serves 670,000 people, of which 250,000 are youth, annually.
There are plenty of festivities this week surrounding the affair. Some are held at the NYRR Run Center [NYRR headquarters] at 320 West 57th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan, while others are held at the NYC Marathon Pavilion in Central Park at 67th Street and Central Park West, near the Tavern on the Green in Manhattan.
The other pre-race activities [see location addresses above] include a discussion on Tuesday about the NYC Marathon Book Club from 6 - 8 pm at the NYC Marathon Pavilion. On Wednesday there's a forum of Celebrity Charity Runners who talk about why they are running at the NYC Marathon Pavilion from 7 - 8 pm. On Thursday evening between 6 and 7 pm the NYRR presents the awards for the NYRR Hall of Fame inductees at the NYC Marathon Pavilion. On Friday at the NYRR Run Center there's an NYRR Running History Tour which runs from 10 - 11.30 am.
The pre-race festivities culminate the Saturday evening before the race, when there's an early dinner [3.30 - 8.30 pm] for the runners at the NYC Marathon Pavilion that is prepared by the chefs from Tavern on the Green. They call it the Marathon Eve Dinner. It has a sort of holiday ring to it.
* STATEN ISLAND
Casa Belvedere and the Festa & Motori D'Italia
9th Annual Festa & Motori D'Italia Keeps the Engine Running on All Cylinders
September 23, 2019 / Grymes Hill Neighborhood Staten Island / Things to do on Staten Island / Staten Buzz NYC.
I attended the Festa & Motori D'Italia at the Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere on Staten Island. The following video captures most of what I experienced - save for the delicious aromas floating in the air.
Greta Thunberg at Climate Strike in Battery Park NYC 2019
Tens of Thousands Showed for the Climate Strike - NBC Estimated 60,000
September 20, 2019 / Downtown NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
I attended the Climate Strike in Battery Park Friday late afternoon. It was a beautiful day and thousands had shown up to rally support for changing how we live in order to avert the disaster of irreparably destroying the ecosystem which supports life on the planet. Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg was there and spoke at the rally. The video below provides views of the crowd, some of their signs, a poetry performance, a musical performance and some of Greta's remarks. Stay tuned next week as the United Nations meets and Greta visits the U.N. to implore them to take action.
* QUEENS / NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING LIC
Neighborhood Policing in Queens & NYC
The NYPD Program Helps Build Trust & Stronger Community Relationships
Last night I attended one of the New York Police Department Neighborhood Policing programs. It was held at the Information and Technology High School on 44th Road in LIC beginning at 7 pm. The NYPD Neighborhood Policing program began in 2015 under the leadership of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and was rolled out under the leadership of NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill who replaced Bratton in 2016. The program became citywide in 2019.
In the photo at right are the two NYPD Police Officers in charge of the 108th Precinct Neighborhood Policing program - Jorge Ozuna and Andrew Ali.
The NYPD Neighborhood Policing program is designed to build trust and a robust two-way communication mechanism between the New York Police Department and the neighborhoods they serve. To that end the NYPD works to enable the same officers patrol the same neighborhoods at the same times / shifts in order to build a consistent rapport between the officers and the neighborhoods they serve. By building this two-way conversation about community safety and other policing issues, the NYPD becomes more aware of the concerns of neighborhood businesses and residents. Conversely, the folks living in a neighborhood develop a rapport and trust in the NYPD staff who patrol their communities, which enables the residents to collaborate with the police in ensuring community safety.
It makes perfect sense, which causes one to wonder why we're only getting to this place now.
IDC Challengers' Rallies Sunday
Challenging Republicans Posing as NYS Senate Democrats?
I just received an email notifying me of simultaneous rallies which will be held by IDC [Independent Democratic Caucus] member CHALLENGERS within the NYC Metro area. The members of the IDC, who these challengers are rallying against, have been caucusing with the Republicans since 2010 / 2011. By caucusing with the Republicans, the IDC Democrats have provided Republicans with a majority in the NYS Senate. Thus the IDC members appear to be Republicans running as Democrats on the Democratic ticket.
The IDC CHALLENGER rallies are intended to inform the electorate as to how their IDC electeds have been (mis?) representing them - as well as how the challengers would like to represent them - should they be given the chance.
"In an unprecedented show of strength and unity following the release of their joint statement about their agenda, the candidates will set forth their visions for their districts and will enlist those present at the rallies in registering voters, canvassing, and the like in preparation for the Thursday, September 13, 2018 primary election."
"The rallies will explain the need to replace the former IDC members with true blue Democrats whom we can trust not to turn their backs on the people who elected them. The IDC may have rejoined the Democrats for now, but they've been willing to ally themselves with the GOP since 2011 - and they've claimed to return to the Democratic fold before. The damage is done and we will not forget. New York deserves REAL Democrats who stand for progressive values, not Trump Democrats."
SUNDAY Rally Details:
- Blue Wave Rally for Jessica Ramos, April 29, 2 PM, 31-04 Ditmar Blvd., Intersection at 31st Street Astoria, Queens.
- Blue Wave Rally for Alessandra Biaggi, April 29, 2-3 PM, Memorial Grove in Van Cortland Park, Bronx. Memorial Grove is located in Van Cortlandt Park, near West 246 Street between Broadway and the Van Cortlandt Mansion - see map above.
- Blue Wave Rally for Robert Jackson, April 29, 1:30-2:30 PM, at Bennett Park, W 183rd St & Fort Washington Avenue, Manhattan.
- Blue Wave Rally for Rachel May, April 29, 2-3 PM, State Office Building, 301 East Washington Street, Syracuse.
- Blue Wave Rally for Zellnor Myrie, April 29, 2-3 PM, at the Prospect Park subway stop, on Lincoln Avenue between Flatbush and Ocean Avenues, Brooklyn.
- Blue Wave Rally for Jasmine Robinson, April 29, 2-3 PM, at Tappen Park, Staten Island (near the Stapleton SIR stop).
- Blue Wave Rally to Make NY True Blue in SD38, April 29, 2-3, at 20 South Main Street, New City, NY
- Blue Wave Rally to Make NY True Blue in SD21, April 29, 2-3 PM, Bell Boulevard at 73rd Avenue, Oakland Gardens, Queens
- Rise and Resist: Claire Ullman, 917-679-7120
- True Blue NY: Lisa DellAquila, co-leader, 917-991-0605
- Jackson campaign: Harris Doran, 917-797-6180
- Myrie campaign: Andre Richardson (campaign manager), 201-892-5829, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Robinson campaign: Jane Nixon Willis, 914-584-2833; email@example.com
- Ramos campaign: Monica Klein, 917-565-0715, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Biaggi campaign: Dominique Shuminova, Deputy Campaign Manager, 917-821-7700
- Avella protest: Judy Kirschner from Rise and Resist, 917-270-2705
- Carlucci protest: John Gromada from Rockland Citizens Action, (845) 323-9896
Scroll down for related story or click here for the full story about the Independent Democratic Caucus & members.
* ART & CULTURE
Snug Harbor Fence Show on Staten Island
69th Annual Art Show Organized by the Staten Island Museum
October 1, 2019 / Randall Manor Neighborhood Staten Island / Things to do on Staten Island / Staten Buzz NYC.
I attended the 69th Annual Snug Harbor Fence Show on Staten Island on Saturday. The show included about 150 exhibiting artists, primarily from Staten Island, but also neighboring NYC boroughs and New Jersey. There were food and beverage vendors, an accomplished jazz group - the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble - as well as plenty of interesting artworks that ranged from ceramics, to clothing and jewelry, to all sorts of art on canvass and other materials. The crowd the show attracted was also an eclectic group of art lovers, art exhibitors and curious Staten Islanders [it's free admission]. See video to take in a couple of minutes of the ambiance of the show.
Only in Queens: The U.S. Open & the USTA
Intergenerational Tennis Wins: Nadal Defeats Medvedev & Andreescu Defeats Williams
In the week leading up to the U.S. Open the USTA opens its doors to the Flushing, Queens and NYC community. They host a number of tennis related events, and provide opportunities for those who visit to watch the pros practice on the courts. The week culminated in Arthur Ashe Kid Day at the end of the week and families from the NYC metro area, most notably Queens come in droves to take in the rich atmosphere of the newly renovated USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
I had the opportunity to visit this year, which was enhanced by being able to photograph and video a shirtless Rafael Nadal - who won the men’s title this year, complete with ripped abs - while practicing. See video later in the story.
- CLICK - renovated USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Queens for story about the $60 millon in renovations completed in 2018 and about the 2019 U.S. Open. The report includes video of Rafael Nadal practicing in the week prior to the U.S. Open when the public is welcome to visit the USTA and watch practices for free.