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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell

September 2016 Monthly Update

A Message from Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell

Dear Neighbor,

With the last days of summer winding down, the transition to autumn brings many of our neighbors back to our wonderful community -- to our parks, our schools, our institutions, and our businesses. Over the summer I have enjoyed greeting new and old faces at various community events, and I look forward to engaging with you all over the next several months before my return to Albany. In this update I am pleased to highlight fantastic community events, report on important legislative updates, and showcase the great work that many of our neighbors have accomplished to maintain the grandeur and integrity of our district. 
As many of you may know, residents of Morningside Gardens and Grant Houses have been fighting for accessible polling sites since many of their sites were moved for the Federal Election in June. Last week, I joined the community at Morningside Gardens and Grant to speak with representatives from the Board of Elections, who came to survey the properties. I am pleased to announce that a polling site at 80 La Salle Street in Morningside Gardens will be open in time for the Primary Election on September 13th. In addition, the Board is considering opening polling sites in other buildings within Morningside Gardens and Grant in time for the General Election on November 8th. The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy and I am proud of our community's work to ensure everyone has access to it.
The terrible fire of January 2014 that struck the Citibank building on Broadway may seem long past, but concerns with the site remain today. To date, the site remains vacant and the temporary structures around it have created new issues. For over a year I have been in regular conversations with Citibank, neighbors and local business owners to discuss the construction delay, conditions surrounding the building, and general safety in the area. I am pleased to share updates and a reconstruction timeline for the site further along in this publication.  
Finally, I am proud of the many organizations and volunteers that gave their time to my 12th Annual Community Health Service Day. I was happy to see so many familiar faces and connect the community with health resources during Grant Houses' Family Day. I extend my appreciation to St Luke's Hospital, Roosevelt Hospital, Harlem Hospital, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation, the New York Common Pantry, the NYC Department of Health And Mental Hygiene, the William F. Ryan Community Health Network - Ryan Network, SAFE In Harlem, General Ulysses S. Grant Housing, Morningside Gardens, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, and OrigamiUSA for participating in this hallmark community event.
As always, should you need assistance or information, my Community Office is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM. Feel free to call my office at (212) 866-3970 or email me at I also encourage you to follow my official New York State Assembly Twitter & Facebook accounts to get exclusive insight into the work I'm doing in my district and for all New Yorkers by visiting and
Very truly yours,
Daniel O'Donnell

This is a big election year for New York!
As this is a big election year for New York, here is some important information to share with your friends and family.
September 13 2016 is the State and Local Primary. The last day to register to vote in this election was on August 19 2016. The General Election is on November 8 2016and the last day to vote in this election will be on October 14 2016.
You can register, re-register, and make address changes at many state and local offices, including the departments of Labor, Social Services, Motor Vehicles, and state and city universities. Voter registration applications are available at Please note:
  1. 17-year-olds can register if they will reach their 18th birthday by the end of the calendar year.
  2. If you need to change your name/address, use the voter registration form to submit these changes.
  3. If you need an absentee ballot, go to your county Board of Elections or download the online form here:
  4. You can also register as an organ and tissue donor on the form.
If you have any questions or concerns about your polling site location, voter registrations, or general inquiries on voting, contact my Community Office at (212) 866-3970. You can also call the NYC Board of Elections' Manhattan office at (212) 866-2100, or visit their website at

Assembly Member O'Donnell News Features
 In case you missed it, check out these news features of Assembly Member O'Donnell in August 2016.
              Prison Reform & Criminal Justice
  • The New York Times highlights Assembly Member O'Donnell's call to establish independent oversight of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. 
  •  The New York Daily Newspublishes Assembly Member O'Donnell's letter to the editor regarding police accountability, speaking on his Assembly bill to repeal the State law that keeps officers' personnel records private.
  • Politico covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's legislative push to allow public access to police disciplinary information.
  • Prison Legal News discusses Assembly Member O'Donnell's push to reform the State's parole system.
  • DNA Info mentions Assembly Member O'Donnell's support of Council Member Ben Kallo's housing bill, which would subject companies that compile so-called "tenant blacklists" to new regulations and allow tenants to bring their objections to court.
Community Issues
  • The Washington BladeThe West Side Rag, and DNA Info cover Assembly Member O'Donnell's response to the violent incident that took place on 110th and Broadway which is being investigated as a possible anti-LGBT hate crime. 

D'Agostino's on 110th and Broadway
In April 2016 we lost a valuable establishment when D'Agostino Supermarkets vacated their space on the corner of 110th and Broadway. Fearing another vacant storefront on Broadway, as well as the loss of a fresh food resource, Assembly Member O'Donnell wrote a letter to Columbia University urging them to seek prospective grocers to serve our community. He also asked that the future grocer use union labor as other local supermarkets do.
Assembly Member O'Donnell is pleased to announce that Columbia University has secured a grocer for the D'Agostino space on Broadway. They anticipate that the grocer will open towards the beginning of 2017 after renovation. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 212-866-3970 for more information as we will continue to monitor developments regarding the space.

Morningside Heights Community Coalition
The newly-formed Morningside Heights Community Coalition met on June 20th to discuss strategies and share information regarding the effects and impacts of new large-scale developments in Morningside Heights. Due to recent property sales by Jewish Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary to private developers, four large scale buildings are due for construction between 120th street and 122nd street. The meeting received over 200 people, which led to the beginning of rezoning talks with the City planning commission.
The next Morningside Heights Community Coalition meeting is scheduled for September 19th at Corpus Cristi Church (529 West 121st Street) at 7:00 pm. Assembly Member O'Donnell urges the community to build on the momentum garnered by the last meeting by showing support in numbers at this month's meeting. 

The Citibank Site on 111th Street and Broadway
For over a year, Assembly Member O'Donnell has had regular communications with Citibank, several neighbors, and local business owners to discuss the construction delay, conditions surrounding the building, and general safety in the area. We are pleased to share that Citibank intends to reopen a bank within the existing structure, thus ensuring that the landscape of our neighborhood remains unchanged.
Assembly Member O'Donnell's Community Office continues to monitor the situation and will continue to ensure that conditions in the area are improved. A tentative schedule for the reconstruction is now available:
Phase I: Shell restoration - October 2016 through December 2016
* Demolition
* Building scaffolding
* Restoration of façade
Phase II: Core construction - December 2016 thought July 2017
* Restoration of roof top
* Infrastructure construction, i.e. stairs, elevator and MEP installation:
Phase III: Branch construction - July 2017 through December 2017
* Build out of new branch

If you would like to be kept up to date on developments, or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the office by calling 212-866-3970 or emailing

Twenty-Seventh Annual West 104th Street Block Association Yard Sale
On Saturday, September 24, 2016 on West 104th Street between West End Ave and Riverside Drive, you can enjoy the energy of a bustling street market. Shop in more than 60 vendor stalls, bid on gift certificates and antiques, browse a large selection of books, browse the What-A-Bargain table, and select your family dessert at our Bake Sale all while listening to live music. Take a chance in our raffle. Last year's winner won over $1200.00!
To reserve a vendor table, donate items, such as books, antiques, or nick-knacks, contact Mary Koval at
Free Admission. 10AM to 5PM. 
For more information, visit our website at

Funding for Public Schools & Community Organizations
Assembly Member O'Donnell is pleased to announce that he was able to secure funding to support our schools and local community organizations including: 
Active Citizens Project, Project EATS・Bloomingdale School of Music ・The Center School・The Community Action School・Manhattan School for Children・Morningside Heights Historic District Committee・MS 54 Booker T. Washington・MS 247 Dual Language・MS 256 Academic Athletic Excellence・MS 421 West Prep Academy・MS 862 Mott Hall II・PS9・PS75・PS84・PS125・PS145・PS163・PS165・PS166

Back to School
Believe it or not, it's back to school time again! Assembly Member O'Donnell wanted to share some tips to help familities get back in the swing of things. As always, if you have any education related concerns please feel free to email O'Donnell at or contact the District Office at 212-866-3970. 
Featured on DNA Info's Education section for the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights, here are some helpful tips from education experts on how to get your home and kids ready for back-to-school season: 
1. Clear out the old together.
Before your back-to-school shopping, take inventory and purge last year's supplies of things like non-working pens and crumpled paper, as well as other items that have accumulated.
2. Usher in the new together.
Since transitions can be hard, it's important to involve kids in prepping for the return to school by discussing how to adjust their lifestyle and habits after a long summer break. 
3. Create a workspace for your kids.
It doesn't need to be huge: "a small table in their room, a quiet corner of the living area, a cozy nook, or a shelf at the end of a hall are all great places to start."
4. Create a "drop zone."
 Create a "drop zone" - ideally near your home's entrance - where your family can deposit things you are constantly taking in and out of your house.
5. Create a nerve center for you, too.
To keep your kids on track, you have to keep yourself on track, too. Having a "nerve center," or "command central" where "you can clear your brain for two seconds both at the start and the end of your day" can help.
6. Speak your kids' language to get them on board with organizing.
Parents are advised to describe their own values by saying things like, "In our house we keep things clean," or "In our family we put things away when we're done with them." It shows that parents have feelings that need to be respected without ordering their kids around.

Donate your old cellphones at Assembly Member O'Donnell's Office
Throughout the month of September, stop by Assembly Member O'Donnell's office to donate your old cellphones to Secure the Call, which seeks to provide those in need a direct line to help in case of an emergency.
Secure the Call is a program designed to collect old cell phones and redistribute them for free to those who need one - for the purpose of calling 911 in the event of an emergency.
Secure the Call collects cellphones and wipes them clean of any service, numbers, and address books, and then gives them to their coalition partners who distribute them for free to the community. Secure the Call's coalition partners include police and sheriffs offices, battered women's shelters, domestic violence support groups, senior citizen centers and any other organization that demonstrates a need for emergency 911-only phones.

*Secure the Call will only accept cellphones that are in working condition and that are accompanied by their functioning chargers.*

Life After Life in Prison: Sara Bennett's Art Exhibit
In January, Assembly Member O'Donnell hosted a photo exhibit of photog­rapher Sara Bennett's work titled "Life After Life in Prison" in Albany's Legislative Office Build­ing. The exhibit featured photos of women who are formerly in­carcerated and captured the wide diversity of formerly incarcerated women including the struggles and joys they face after com­pleting life sentences. Assembly Member O'Donnell sought to raise awareness among his colleagues in Albany about these challenges and move them to make legislative changes so that reintegration into society is easier.
Now, Bennett's "Life After Life in Prison" is coming to the community! Assembly Member O'Donnell is pleased to announce that his Community Office will serve as an exhibit space to showcase Bennett's work. Dates will be announced soon, stay tuned!

The NYC Organics Collection Program
New York City runs one of the largest food waste recycling programs of its kind, collecting organic waste from residences, schools, city agencies, and institutions in all five boroughs. Every week, the Department of Sanitation collects food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste from participants in pilot areas. Sanitation transports this waste to local and regional processing facilities where it is recycled into compost or turned into renewable energy.
To request NYC Organics Collection in your apartment building, city agency, or non-profit organization, submit an online inquiry at 
Single-Family homes and small apartment buildings in pilot areas automatically receive service, as well as select public schools. If you don't live in a pilot area or if your building does not qualify for NYC Organics Collection, you can still recycle your organic waste by composting at home or bringing your food waste to a drop-off site in our community. Visit for food waste drop off locations and more information.
The office of Assembly Member O'Donnell urges the community to participate in this initiative, as the NYC Organics Collection Program is a proven way to combat rodent infestation on our streets and in our spaces.

How Has Our Community Shaped and Been Shaped By Our Community Board?
On Monday, September 26th 2016 at 6:30pm, hear longtime CB 7 Board Members discuss their diverse choices over the years in Land Use, Transportation, Preservation, et al.
Sponsored by the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group.
At Hostelling International, 891 Amsterdam Avenue (103rd St).
Free and open to all.
For more information: 212-666-9774.

Columbia University Survey:
The Role of Historic Districts in Urban Life
Researchers want to better understand how New Yorkers value the social, environmental, and economic aims of historic districts. Recent scholarship and media coverage have examined how the designation of historic districts influences real estate development, economic vitality, property values, affordable housing, diversity, social justice, environmental sustainability, and more.  To better understand these outcomes and preservation's contribution to them, this survey is soliciting New Yorkers' views on the societal aims of historic district-ing.  By exploring how preservation success is defined through both public policy and the public eye, this research seeks to identify factors that are driving preservation decision-making and contributing to current debates.
The anonymous survey takes about 5 minutes, and it can be accessed online here: 
The survey is being conducted by a team of researchers at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.


If you are visually impaired or feel that you read better in large print, please do not hesitate to request a large print copy of Assembly Member O'Donnell's monthly update. Please call or stop by the Assembly Member's Community Office to request a copy. 

For constituents who need help with legal issues but are unable to come to Assembly Member O'Donnell's Community Office during the workday, Assembly Member O'Donnell hosts a monthly evening opportunity for constituents to consult with a volunteer attorney. 
Call Joyce Goodman at (212) 866-3970 to make an appointment.
** Thursday, September 22nd**

La oficina comunitaria del Asambleísta Daniel O'Donnell tiene empleados que hablan español para asistir al público, tiempo completo, de  lunes a viernes desde 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM. La oficina de la comunidad está localizada en el 245 West 104th St., cercana a la calle Broadway. También se puede contactar la oficina en horario de trabajo al (212) 866-3970.
Assembly Member O'Donnell's community office has full-time Spanish-speaking staff available to assist you, Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The office is located at 245 West 104th Street, just off Broadway. You can also call (212) 866-3970
during business hours.

Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell
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Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, 245 West 104th Street, Suite 1D, New York, NY 10025