NYC News Updates June 2022
CoVid Guidelines Issued by State & Federal Govt Sometimes at Cross Purposes, NYC Tourism Coming Back, Why There are Two NYS Primaries in 2022, Former Mayor de Blasio Running for Congress, Inflation & Wages are Up but Expected to Slow, Public Schools End School Year on 6/27/22, Will the Rangers take the Stanley Cup, Will the Celtics Win the Championship & Will the Mets & Yankees hold onto their Leads?
This report is a catch up on some of the key local news items over the past couple of months. Our last news update was at the end of February [2/22/22].
CoVid Regulatory Guidelines Differ at Federal & State Levels
On March 17, 2022 the NYS CoVid general restrictions under the H.E.R.O. Act expired. The expiration did not include the masks mandate requirement on NYC & NYS public transit.
On April 18, 2022 the CDC / Federal rescinded their mask mandates on federal transportation, while - as noted above - NYS has kept its mask mandate in effect. As one might expect, this has led to some confusion. So to be clear, when using the MTA, LIRR or Metro North trains, masks are still required.
Be advised that local businesses have the right to decide what rules apply to customers who enter their facilities. For example, Broadway theaters and many other entertainment venues still request proof of vaccination and / or masks indoors. Broadway theaters extended their mask mandate requirement of attendees at performances through June 2022. Conversely, most NYC restaurateurs no longer check vaccination status, let their customers decide whether or not to wear masks, and most restaurateurs provide the option of indoor / outdoor dining, which was established as an economic response to CoVid, in support of local restaurants by the de Blasio Administration.
Vaccination rates for NYC and NYS continue to inch up quite slowly, but that's now a somewhat dated metric, because if one is not boosted, the CoVid immunity and protection fades over time. The CoVid vaccination protection generally recedes significantly while approaching 6 months after the first two shots, so getting boosted is important, particularly if you are immuno-compromised, have an underlying condition, or fall into an elderly age group [over 50 years].
NYC Tourism Bouncing Back
NYC tourism is coming back and the city economy is picking up. The past month or so, we've been inundated with notices of public events and entertainment venues coming back to life. We've not yet gotten back into the full rhythm to accommodate as many as we'd like, but we're getting there. Our monthly things to do calendars will be coming back to life bit by bit, starting this weekend. The calendar is accessible from the top tool bar, by clicking the first button from the left.
Mayor Adams said yesterday [6/6/22] that NYC hotels are booking at 95% of pre-pandemic levels. The NY Post stated in an April 20, 2022 report, that the NYC hotel business would be down 55%. We'll see how this plays out by the end of the year.
- CLICK here to read the rest of our report on CoVid resurgence, the NYC economy, and how Rupert Murdoch seemed to trade Fox News access / open mic for special favors from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in exchange for use of NYC's television infrastructure and support in threatening to complicate Time Warner's cable franchise renewal.
Why There are Two NYS Primary Elections This Summer
Speaking of pols. There's an election this month, on June 28th for all NYS offices and another on August 23rd for U.S. congressional and state senate races. The reason for the bifurcated primary this year, is because a court threw out a redrawing of the election district maps approved by the Democrats, stating the maps were not fair. The court ordered a redrawing of the maps by an independent group. Hence the primary races affected by those election district maps will be held in August, instead of proceeding along with the other primaries later this month.
One of the losers in this change is either going to be Jerry Nadler of the Upper West Side or Carolyn Maloney of the Upper East Side because their homes are now located in the same congressional district [12th]. One of the potential winners of this change could be former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who lives in the redrawn 10th congressional district.
Former Mayor de Blasio Running for Congress vs Murdoch Mass Media
A couple of weeks ago [May 20, 2022] former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he is running for Congress. De Blasio was a hard working mayor who tried, and succeeded, in doing some good. The folks I converse with who support the former Mayor, are aware of de Blasio's record of accomplishment, which includes helping push through Universal Pre-K, lobbying aggressively to tamp down rent stabilized price increases, improved public school academic performance, significantly slowing the growth of NYC homelessness [which had nearly doubled under the Bloomberg Administration], increased the number of affordable housing units in NYC - the most since Mayor Koch in the 1980's - and reduced crime to record low levels, all the while balancing the budget without raising tax rates. This is all pre-pandemic.
But even after the pandemic began, de Blasio was adept at managing the budget, murders in NYC continued to trail the national average, and affordable housing continued to be built. We don't know about the academic performance post pandemic, because testing metrics weren't available [some tests are still on hiatus], and we couldn't obtain equitable, comparable year-to-year college admissions data, in time for this report.
Unfortunately, the reporting by the half of NYC mass media outlets controlled by the Australian born Oligarch, Rupert Murdoch, leaves half of NYC voters in the dark.
Murdoch controls Fox News, the NY Post, Channel 9 WWOR TV, the Wall St. Journal and he's a major, influential, meddling shareholder in Disney / ABC News. According to an April 3, 2019 report in the NYT, Murdoch is famous for using his mass media outlets as a "... hugely profitable political propaganda machine." Murdoch does this by attacking government officials like Bill de Blasio, by hyping unproven allegations and innuendo, and by omitting his accomplishments from Murdoch controlled mass media outlets. Murdoch appears to do this because the former Mayor stayed true to the electorate instead of trading them in for Murdoch mass media 'protection'. Conversely, Murdoch appears to use his media to promote pols who will support his self-serving agenda.
One such pol is former Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani was apparently given an open mic as a frequent guest on Fox News in exchange for favors granted by the former Mayor, who appeared to leverage the assets of the people of NYC in exchange for personal publicity and profit. Giuliani, famously favored Murdoch's business interests in a cable television dispute with Time Warner back in 1996 [NYT 10/4/1996] by providing Murdoch with access to the city's television facilities, while reportedly threatening to complicate the Time Warner cable franchise renewal, if Time Warner didn't settle / cave into the demands being made by Murdoch. Giuliani's wife at the time was also given a highly lucrative position as a broadcaster on Fox News.
Inflation & Wages Up in Q1, Expected to Moderate in Remainder of 2022
The corporate national TV media appear to hype inflation, while only rarely mentioning that wages have also been climbing fairly robustly - albeit at a slower rate than inflation. But given it's a full employment economy, employees can give themselves a pay hike by finding a new, higher paying job. Wages in the first quarter were up 5%, while inflation was up about 8%, netting a loss of 3% for the average American. By the end of the year the full year numbers are expected to drop to 3% and 6% respectively, thus holding steady. And sometime in 2023, inflation is expected to return to a more manageable level of 3%, according to a May 11, 2022 Kiplinger Report. Energy / gas prices are the driving component of inflation and it's not likely that gas prices will fall significantly anytime soon.
TV Newscasters - Working Hard to Repeatedly Report the Obvious
Speaking of gas, you have to give the TV news people credit for informing us of things we already know, ad nauseum. How many times a day, each day, every week, every month of this year do we need to be told that gas prices have risen? Everyone who needs to know, already knows what gas costs, because they pay for it every time they fill up their vehicle at the pump. Do these TV news people think reporting on gas price increases, penny by penny, is as interesting a story, as it is annoying?
Buy More Oil & Gas and Support the World's Dictators - Or Not?
Speaking of gas again, you can help / support the world's dictators by buying more oil and gas. The world's top seven largest oil producers [excluding the U.S. and Canada] are: #2) Saudi Arabia [dictator-king], #3) Russia [dictator-president], #5) China [dictator-president] and #9) Iran [dictator-cleric]. Conversely, by reducing your consumption of oil and gas you're not only cleaning up / saving the planet, you're also disempowering the destabilizing and frequently violent, dictators of the world.
NYC Public Schools End Year June 27th with Free Days in Between
NYC Public schools end the school year on Monday, June 27th. That's the last day of school for all students. There are a couple of days off between now and then, including the Chancellor's Conference Day on June 9th and the Juneteenth federal holiday [6/20], which President Joe Biden signed into law last year. It's also an NYS paid holiday too, so most state and federal government offices will be closed that day.
Be advised that we've been informed that the NYS Regents Exams in U.S. Government & History have been cancelled. If you have not already been told of this by your school, please check with the administrators to verify it.
Small Update on War in the Ukraine with More to Come
The war in Ukraine wages on, with Russia making progress in the Donbas region which is in the furthest eastern region of their country, bordering with Russia. The Ukrainians are cleaning up / taking back territory nearly everywhere else, which includes clearing out the Russian occupation near Kyiv, pushing back the Russians from the area surrounding Kharkiv [these are the Ukraine's two largest cities], and making some small progress in the southern area east of Odessa and north of the Crimea near Kherson. Kherson was one of the first big Ukrainian cities to fall. We'll provide an update to add to our report series sometime later this summer.
Sports - Rangers Vie for NHL, Celtics Vie for NBA and Mets & Yankees Lead MLB Divisions
The Rangers are vying for the title in the Eastern Division of the NHL against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers currently have a lead in the series 2 - 1. Game 4 of 7 is tonight at 8 pm. If they win the division championship, they will face the Colorado Avalanche who beat the Edmonton Oilers 4 to zip in the Western Division Championship.
And while no NYC teams are competing in the NBA Playoffs or Finals, folks still have an opportunity to see some great basketball. Right now the NBA Championship finals are tied 1 - 1 between the Boston Celtics and the Golden Gate Warriors. It's a best of seven series, so there's still time to watch some great b-ball.
Lastly, both the Mets and the Yankees are leading the National League East and the American League East, respectively. But the season is still young, so who knows what the summer will bring.
Have a good week.