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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Council Member Mark Levine

Lawrence --


This weekend we celebrate Labor Day, which recognizes the contributions and achievements of American Workers. On this day we pay tribute to the strength of our society, and to our working class friends and neighbors who add to the vitality of our community. This holiday was born from the action of workers making their voices heard, with the labor movement that followed leading to just, progressive labor laws. We must acknowledge the work that has been done – and the work we must continue to do – to protect and empower our workers.

Labor Day also acts as the ceremonial end of summer, with outdoor celebrations such as barbecues, swimming at local pools and beaches, and a parade. As Chair of the New York City Parks Committee, I’m especially excited to announce that thanks to big wins in this year’s budget, our city pools and beaches will be open an extra week after Labor Day. Below I have included a list of local places for you and your family to enjoy.

I wish you a safe and fun weekend!


Parks, Pools, Beaches, & Barbecues

With Tropical Storm Hermine headed in our direction, it’s possible we may receive some dangerous weather over the weekend. All New York City beaches will be closed to swimming on Sunday, September 4th. Please stay safe and make sure you and your neighbors are prepared. For a preparedness guide, click here. For info on the storm and current city announcements, click here.

With that being said, pools and beaches will still be open for an extra week after Labor Day, and next week’s weather is perfect for a day out with your family.Â

Grilling.jpgParks for open grilling
  • Morningside Park
  • Riverside Park
  • Fort Washington Park
Public pools in our district(Pools are open 11am - 3pm, and 4pm - 7pm)
  • Sheltering Arms Pool West 129th Street and Amsterdam Ave.
  • Jackie Robinson Pool Bradhurst Avenue and West 146th Street
  • Highbridge Pool Amsterdam Avenue and West 173rd Street
  • Lasker Pool 110th Street and Lenox Avenue
  • Frederick Douglass Pool Amsterdam Avenue between 100th and 102nd Streets

Public Park Events

Summer on the Hudson: West Side County Fair

WHAT: A full day of county fair magic in Manhattan with carnival rides and games, awesome bands, sideshow performers, aerialists, local food and merchandise vendors, and more!
WHEN: Sunday, September 4, 2016,1:00pm - 6:00pm
WHERE: Pier 1 in Riverside Park South, West 70th Street

For more information, please click here.
The Baylander in Harlem
The historic Baylander, a former active military ship, is docked at the West Harlem Piers Park and open for tours. The 130-foot vessel is a former US Navy IX-514 Helicopter Landing Trainer that served many branches of the military dating back to the 1960s. The Baylander is open for free tours Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00pm – 4:00pm throughout the fall season - no advance notice required. For more information, please click here.

Public Transportation Service Changes

While traveling around the city this weekend, please be aware of service changes that may impact your commute.
12:01am Saturday to 5:00am Monday (September 3rd - 5th)

pasted_image_0.pngDowntown A trains run local from 125 St to 59 St Columbus Circle

pasted_image_0_(1).pngDowntown D trains run local from 125 St to 59 St Columbus Circle

11:30pm to 5:00am (September 6th - 9th)
pasted_image_0_(2).pngNo 2 trains between 96 St and 149 St-Grand Concourse - Free shuttle buses provide alternate service
pasted_image_0_(3).pngNo 3 train service - 2 trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service
pasted_image_0_(1).pngConey Island-bound D trains run local from 125 St to 59 St Columbus Circle
For full information on current and planned transit service, click here.

More Victories for Tenants

OCJ.pngThis past Tuesday, I joined Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce the findings of the first annual report of the New York City Office of the Civil Justice. This landmark report provides us the most complete picture we've ever had of the New Yorkers whose lives hang in the balance in housing court. The report finds that more than 75% of eviction cases in housing court are of families with children under 18 and that more than 60% of families have annual income of less than 200% of the poverty line.

Thankfully, over the past two years we have rapidly increased investment in tenant legal services, from only $6 million in fiscal year 2014 to as much as $62 million today. And our unprecedented investment is paying off.  The report finds that today 27% of tenants in housing court facing eviction have legal representation, and that increased funding for legal services and rental assistance programs have contributed to a 24% reduction in marshals’ evictions over the last two years.

The expansion of civil legal services has been among my highest priorities since taking office.  And this report is the strongest confirmation we've had to date of the impact of this important work.  No one should have to face an eviction or other life-altering judgement without the resources to hire an attorney.  I am proud that we are laying the groundwork to ensure that this standard of justice is met for more and more New Yorkers.

Apply for Affordable Housing

My office will be hosting a Housing Connect workshop on September 12, 2016, at 898 Saint Nicholas Avenue from 6 - 8 pm. The workshop will serve as an in-depth two-hour visual and audio guide that will introduce the public to the housing connect website and show individuals how to navigate it successfully for all of their affordable housing needs. The event also includes a number of computers set up specifically to go through the step by step process of creating a profile and instructions on how to follow-up on your lottery applications after they are submitted.

To RSVP for the Housing Connect Workshop, please click here.

Fun Times at the Back-to-School Block Party

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to our 3rd Annual Back-to-School Block Party! This was our most successful block party to date, with over 1000 parents and children in attendance. My office was proud to host this educational event and for the opportunity to distribute nearly 600 book bags to children in our community.

Thanks to the dozens of organizations that participated we were able to distribute 800 nutritious summer meals, hundreds of free books, take home arts and crafts projects, as well as dozens of health screenings. To learn about future events my office is organizing, please visit

Big Investment in Anchor Parks

This month I was thrilled to join Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver in announcing our Anchor Parks program, committing $150 million for major improvements at five large parks in areas of need, including our own Highbridge Park. These parks are within walking distance to more than 750,000 New Yorkers who rely on these safe, healthy and entertaining public spaces. With this funding we will make critical improvements to our neighborhood parks such as new soccer fields, comfort stations, running tracks and hiking trails.

You can watch the announcement here.

How Would You Spend $1,000,000 in Our Neighborhoods?

The time for participatory budgeting is here again, and that means this is your chance as District 7 residents to submit your ideas on how to spend public funds on community improvements. We had an incredible first of three assemblies this past week at George Bruce Library as dozens of residents presented ideas on how to fund positive programs in the community. I encourage you to attend one of our next two assemblies and make your voice heard!

Do you want to improve a park? Make a street safer? Give a school new technology? My office has set aside $1 million to fund the most popular projects as voted on by you, the residents! Join one of the two upcoming Participatory Budget Neighborhood Assemblies to brainstorm possibilities:
 UWS.png WashingtonHeights.png
September 14

6:30 PM

Bloomingdale Library
150 W. 100 St.
September 28

6:30 PM

Riverstone Senior Center
99 Fort Washington Ave.

For more info and to RSVP, click here. To submit your idea, click here.

Zika Update

zika.pngAs of August 26th, 531 New York City Residents, including 56 pregnant women have acquired the Zika virus while travelling to Zika-affected areas in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America. While thankfully there have been no cases originating from New York, this is a real problem that we must all take seriously.

I want to remind everyone that we need to do all we can to keep Zika from taking root in our city. Before travelling abroad, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks of Zika. Pregnant women should never travel to areas affected by Zika. If you must travel, learn how to protect yourself from mosquitos. Zika can also be transmitted through unprotected sex. If you or a partner travelled to a Zika area, I strongly encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested. For more information on how to protect yourself from the Zika virus, please click here or call (888) 364-4723.

Community Updates

Rent Workshop
The Harlem Community Law Office of The Legal Aid Society will be conducting a tenants rights workshop on determining which rent increases are legal or illegal, and what to do if you suspect you are being overcharged for rent.
WHAT: Tenants Rights Workshop
WHEN: Tuesday,September 13th, 6:00pm
WHERE: The Harlem Community Law Office of The Legal Aid Society, 230 East 106th Street

For more info or to reserve a seat, contact Javier Chuck at 212-426-3001 or

Annual Job/Career Fair
For those looking to find a job, this September Columbia University is hosting its annual Career and Resource Expo, giving you access to dozens of employers. The opportunity to receive assistance from job skills training providers and partake in a job readiness workshop will also be available. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. For more info and to register, click here.

WHAT: Columbia Career and Resource Expo
WHEN: 9:30am to 3:00pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Register by Friday, September 2.
WHERE: Columbia University, 116th St & Broadway

Medieval Festival
The 32nd annual Medieval Festival brings to life the customs and spirit of the Middle Ages. Ft. Tryon Park is transformed into a medieval market and visitors are greeted with medieval music, dance, magic, jesters and a live chess game by performers in medieval costumes. The afternoon concludes with a thrilling joust between four knights on horseback starting at 5:00pm. For more info, click here.

WHAT: 32nd Annual Medieval Festival
WHEN: September 18th, 11:30am - 6:00pm (rain date Sunday, September 25)
WHERE:  Fort Tryon Park. The Festival starts at Margaret Corbin Circle/190th Street and Fort Washington Avenue. It will extend all the way around the world famous Cloisters Museum of Medieval Art.

***There is no parking on Sunday, September 18th on Cabrini Boulevard from West 190th Street to Margaret Corbin Circle from Midnight to 8PM. 

Coming Together in Support of The Orlando Shooting Victims
The Morningside Heights Quilters and Sew We Care Group collaborated with members of the community to create a quilt honoring the lives lost in the Orlando nightclub shooting earlier this summer. I was grateful for the opportunity to lend my support to their cause by signing a section of the quilt. The colorful quilt pays tribute to the victims through weaving together different patches to become one inclusive and diverse piece as a symbol of the community which we live in.


Free Films Showing in Hamilton Grange Library This September
September 9: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
September 16: Extraction (2015)
September 23:  The World Is Not Enough (1999)
September 30:  Rent (2005)

WHAT: Free Film Fridays
WHEN: Fridays at 2:00pm
WHERE: 503 West 145th Street,Hamilton Grange Library,Community Room (Lower Lobby)

Get Rid of Your Electronic Waste for Free
Lower East Side Ecology Center is hosting a free electronics waste collection event. This is a great opportunity to have a positive impact on the environment while getting rid of unneeded waste.

WHAT: Free Electronics Waste Collection
WHEN: Sunday, September 18th from 10:00am - 4:00pm
WHERE: Amsterdam Avenue at W 110th Street

For more info, call 212-477-4022

New York Presbyterian Hospital Annual Taxi Driver’s Health Fair
The New York Presbyterian Hospital is hosting the annual Taxi Driver’s Health Fair . There will be various free health screenings to ensure the health of taxi drivers and other giveaways including tablets, and New York Yankees tickets. Taxis park for free.

For more information, please call Kathy Olivo at 646-317-6504

WHAT: Taxi Driver’s Health Fair
WHEN: Saturday, September 10th, 2016 from 12:00pm - 4:00pm
WHERE: Audubon Avenue and West 166th Street

Volunteer Opportunities
  • Inwood Park peninsula volunteers
    Volunteers are needed on Saturday, September 10th from 10am - 1pm at Inwood Park peninsula to turnover the soil in preparation for NYC Parks reseeding the area this fall. Please wear work clothes & bring gloves. All tools & light refreshments will be provided.

    Please email to confirm you'll help. The peninsula is located west of diamond 6. Enter the park at W218th St. & Indian Road.
  • International Coastal Clean-up - Hudson River

    Join the world's largest volunteer effort for our ocean and waterways by participating in our International Coastal Cleanup at Riverside Park. We will be working along the Hudson River to collect and log the garbage we find. Our data is compiled by the Ocean Conservancy for use in policy and education efforts for cleaner waterways. For more info, call 212-870-3073 or email

    WHAT: International Coastal Clean-up - Hudson River
    WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 9:00am - 12:00pm
    WHERE: Riverside Park along the Hudson River
  • National Public Lands Day
    National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands. The purpose is to connect people to public land in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health.

    For more details or to register for any volunteer events, please email
    WHAT: National Public Lands Day
    WHEN: Saturday, September 24th 10:00am - 12:00pm
    RSVP: Email
  • Goddard Riverside Community Center
    Star Learning Center is seeking volunteer tutors who are interested in working with students from 2nd to 12th grade. Star provides one-to-one tutoring to low-income children from across the city.  Each tutor must be able to commit a two-hour block of time once a week to be matched with a student. The program runs from early October through mid-May.  For more info and to apply, click here.

Council Member Mark Levine
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