In 2 Boroughs, 2 Rallies Over NYPD Actions

ilovenypdHundreds have attended rallies over the actions of New York City police officers – one in protest, the other in support.

In Brooklyn, about two hundred people marched Saturday in support of a five-month pregnant woman taken to the ground by an officer last week.

Her lawyer says they’re meeting with prosecutors on Tuesday.

Resident Evelyn Garcia attended the rally to call attention to what she said was increased police brutality. Video of the altercation has sparked anger.

But on Staten Island about 700 people attended to show their support for officers from the borough who have died in the line of duty.

The Staten Island Advance reports the gathering was put together by retired officers to honor the sacrifice NYPD officers make.
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Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Closures

The Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel will be fully closed in both directions for several hours on Sunday, September 28th, for the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run. One tube will be closed beginning tonight at 10:00 PM. The other will remain open until 8:00 AM on Sunday, 9/28, when both tubes will be fully closed until 3:00 PM for the event. Consider alternate routes and allow for additional travel time.

NYC City Council Hosts Celebration of Russian-Speaking New Yorkers in City Hall

The culture, food and contributions of Russian-speaking New Yorkers were on full display at City Hall on Monday evening at a celebration hosted by Council Member Mark Treyger, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Chaim Deutsch, David Greenfield and Karen Koslowitz and the Council’s Jewish Caucus in the City Council Chambers. Council Member Treyger was especially proud to host this event in his capacity as the first ever Russian speaking member of the New York City Council and a first generation New Yorker. Assembly Members Alec Brook-Krasny, Bill Colton and Helene Weinstein, who all represent large Russian speaking communities in southern Brooklyn, were also in attendance.

The Celebration of Russian-Speaking New Yorkers featured a reception with food from Russian restaurants from around Brooklyn and Queens and performances by the Brighton Beach Ballet. In addition, leaders from throughout New York’s Russian-speaking community were presented with Council proclamations in recognition of all of their contributions to our city, including President of the Association of Holocaust Survivors from the Former Soviet Union Boris Lerman, Gregory Davidzon of Davidzon Media, journalist Ari Kagan, Inna Stavitsky of JASA and businessman Boris Kandov. This event marked the return of this great celebration to City Hall and will hopefully become an annual event once again, especially as the city’s Russian-speaking population continues to grow in communities across the five boroughs.

“It was great to see our proud heritage being celebrated in City Hall by so many members of New York’s Russian-speaking community. It is important that we always remember where we came from, so I was extremely proud to host this celebration with my colleagues. Russian-speaking New Yorkers have added so much to our city throughout the years, and this was a great chance to honor those contributions and achievements,” said Council Member Treyger.

“I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my fellow co-hosts Council Member Mark Treyger, Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Council Member David Greenfield, and Council Member Mark Levine and the Jewish Caucus for working together to celebrate the Russian-speaking community in NYC. In particular I want to congratulate my honoree, Inna Stavitsky, a hardworking, dedicated community activist. I also extend my congratulations to the other honorees, Gregory Davidzon, Boris Lerman, and Ari Kagan,” said Council Member Deutsch.

“I am proud to represent the growing and important Russian-American community of Southern Brooklyn. My great thanks to Councilman Mark Treyger and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for hosting this important event honoring Russian speaking New Yorkers. Our honorees are truly extraordinary New Yorkers deserving of praise,” said Council Member Greenfield.

“It was a pleasure to be part of this Celebration of Russian Speaking New Yorkers. New York has been and continues to be the dream of a better tomorrow for so many Russian speaking men and women who come here with nothing BUT their dreams, in search of freedom and opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families. I’d like to thank Council Member Treyger and my colleagues for hosting this special event in honoring our city’s Russian Speaking New Yorkers,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“The Russian speaking people in my community are hardworking, entrepreneurial and above all, family oriented. They are proud of their heritage and grateful to be American. I am delighted that so many have decided to live and work in my district,” said Council Member Koslowitz.

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Local Assemblyman Asks Public School to Better Manage It’s Piles of Trash

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Assemblyman Hikind is asking Public School 160 to better manage its piles of garbage, which residents say are destroying their quality of life. The Assemblyman spoke with school Principal Margaret Russo yesterday about the situation.

Residents near P.S. 160 on 51st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway have been complaining that huge piles of garbage, resulting from the daily meals of nearly 1400 students and faculty, are left out twice each day in front of the school for sanitation to remove at night. The result is an all-day stench that has become unbearable to people living in the neighborhood. The residents say they have been complaining for a long time but nothing has been done so they turned to Hikind.

“Public schools need to work with the community,” said Hikind. “At the request of residents, I visited the neighborhood and I saw with my own eyes—and smelled with my own nose—how bad the situation is. There are trails of wet debris from leaking garbage bags that run down the street and, quite frankly, it stinks. This situation has brought vermin and is destroying the quality of life for residents in the neighborhood. This intolerable situation must be addressed.”

When garbage from P.S. 180 was causing a similar problem, Assemblyman Hikind worked with former NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to resolve the matter.

“I look forward to seeing this problem resolved so residents on 51st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway can return to the quality of life they deserve,” said Hikind.

Public Advocate Letitia James Announces Emergency Task Force to Fight Discrimination

IMG_6043.JPGToday, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James announced the creation of a taskforce to take on the rise in hate crimes against Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers. The taskforce, comprised of leaders from the Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths, will be aim to make short term and long-term policy recommendations to mitigate hate crimes in New York, with a focus on crimes that target the Jewish and Muslim communities.

“Our city belongs to all New Yorkers regardless of which religion they adhere to or whether they affiliate with any religion at all,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. “We stand united in supporting every community in New York and creating a climate that fosters acceptance. The Public Advocate’s Task Force on Hate Crimes will examine and advance specific action items to address the rise in hate crimes against Muslim and Jewish New Yorkers. While divisive efforts like the controversial anti-Muslim ads may seek to tear us apart, New Yorkers will rise above and come together as we always do.”

Members of the task force represent a cross-section of New York City and have worked in various capacities to foster understand among the many communities that make up the mosaic of the city.

Members include: Aisha Al-Adawiya, founder of Women in Islam; Chanina Sperlin, Executive Vice President Crown Heights Jewish Community Council; David M. Pollock, Co-Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; Debbie Almontaser, Executive Director of the Muslim Consultative Network; Evan Bernstein, New York Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League; Jacob Itzkowitz, NYPD Clergy Liason, Williamsburg Shomrim Safety Patrol; Imam Khalid Latif, Chaplain at NYPD and NYU; Michael Schmidt, Director of New York City Chapter of the American Jewish Committee; Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition; Shahana Masum, Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group/MUNA; Susie Lozada, Community Organizing and Political Director of Unite Here 100; Victor Kovner of the Brennan Center for Justice and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

The task force will create a list of recommendations to address hate crimes affecting Jewish and Muslim communities throughout New York City.

West 11th Street and Highlawn Avenue Named “Firefighter William ‘Billy’ Tropea Way” in Honor of 9/11 Hero

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Council Member Mark Treyger was joined on Saturday morning by hundreds of Gravesend residents and FDNY members to co-name the corner of West 11th Street and Highlawn Avenue “Firefighter William ‘Billy’ Tropea Way” in honor of the longtime firefighter and 9/11 hero who passed away in 2010 from cancer contracted in the aftermath of the terror attack.

Billy was born on July 14, 1956 and was raised in Gravesend, attending P.S. 215, David A. Boody Intermediate School, John Dewey High School and Brooklyn College. He began his career as a New York City firefighter in 1987 and was honored to give back to his community in this capacity. He served the city for over 22 years at Engine 245, Ladder 161 and Battalion 43 in Coney Island as a firefighter and aide to the Battalion Chief. In addition to being a firefighter, Billy was remembered as an accomplished pianist, competitive athlete, handyman, gardener and dedicated family man, especially to his children, Samantha and Billy.

At Saturday’s ceremony, Billy’s family and friends shared stories highlighting some of the many ways he helped others, including complete strangers, without ever seeking the spotlight. The ceremony featured the FDNY color guard and FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums and was attended by hundreds of Billy’s friends and neighbors and dozens of his former FDNY colleagues. Following remarks from Billy’s wife Janet, friends Chris Bruno, Robert Glynn and Lt. Michael Duran, George Frenzel of the local block association, Council Member Treyger, Senator Marty Golden and Borough President Eric Adams, the family unveiled the new sign at W. 11th Street and Highlawn Avenue designating the block “Firefighter William ‘Billy’ Tropea Way.”

“I am proud to help ensure that Billy Tropea’s life and legacy will be honored for generations to come by dedicating this street in his memory. By all accounts, Billy was a remarkable person who was committed to helping others however possible, whether as a member of the FDNY or simply as a great neighbor. It was incredibly touching to hear his family and friends share their memories and stories of Billy at Saturday’s ceremony. It was also great to see so many of Billy’s friends and nearly the entire block take the time to remember this great individual,” said Council Member Treyger.

“Co-naming W. 11th Street at Highlawn Avenue in my husband’s name was a true honor. He was a man who led his live helping others in any way he possibly could. My family, including our daughter Samantha, son-in-law Joe, grandson Joseph and son Billy are extremely proud, grateful and blessed to have had Billy in our lives. Whenever someone drives or walks past this sign, please remember to show an act of kindness that day, as Billy did every day of his life,” said Janet Tropea.

Council Member Treyger also extended his thanks to the Tropea family, the FDNY and everyone who played a role in making this co-naming happen, including West 11th Street Block Association President George Frenzel, Council Member David Greenfield and Assembly Member Bill Colton.