‘A General Feeling of Neglect And Disrespect From the City’
Niou Allocates $20 Million for Asian Communities, Argues Against Proliferation of Shelters in Chinatown
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou: “We must acknowledge that these initiatives, meant to serve the entire City, are disproportionately concentrated in communities of color—specifically, Chinatown.”
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, who represents Lower Manhattan in Albany, has secured $20 million in State funding for what she calls an Asian-American, Pacific Island Equity budget. Half of this allocation is earmarked specifically for confronting hate crimes, with the other half divided among a broad range of community organizations.
Ms. Niou testified about this initiative on May 3 before a joint meeting of the City Council’s Human Rights Committee and Public Safety Committee, where she noted that, “the dual pandemics of COVID and hateful violence have hurt our community deeply. Our people are scared and our neighborhoods are struggling.”
“These attacks are not just a manifestation of COVID-induced racism,” she continued. “They are the latest chapter in a long history of violence towards—and disinvestment from—Asian-American communities that has been ongoing since the first immigrants arrived here hundreds of years ago.”
Ms. Niou’s proposed Equity Budget seeks to prevent racial violence, combat high levels of poverty in the Asian-American community, and to provide culturally sensitive social services. Her original plan called for a total allocation of $64.5 million, but this amount was negotiated downward during the State budget process.
She noted that the final $20-million allocation “is a massive increase over years past and a significant win for our community, but it is less than a third of what the original proposal called for. While this year’s increase in funds from the State is a victory, needs remain and it is time for the City—where most of the State’s hate crimes occur—to rise to the occasion as well.”
“Asian-Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in New York City,” Ms. Niou continued. “Our population grew 12.2 percent between 2010 and 2019 and we now constitute 18 percent of the five boroughs’ total population. But the need for services is great, with a quarter of Asian-American Pacific Island [AAPI] adults living in poverty.”
“Our community feels unheard due to language barriers and a lack of cultural sensitivity in City services, including public safety measures and social services,” she noted. “Many of our seniors have told me that when they try to collaborate with law enforcement or City officials, the translation apps used are miserably ineffective. Another barrier to successful collaboration between AAPI communities and City resources is a general feeling of neglect and disrespect from the City. We feel disrespected, because all too often our neighborhoods are expected to bear a disproportionate number of facilities that serve the entire City.”
“I believe in the importance of shelters and safe havens and the need to close Rikers Island,” Ms. Niou added. “But Chinatown has absorbed more than its fair share. No one denies that there is a dire need for these critical services. Safe havens are important spaces that provide life-saving services, and our City needs more of them if we want to phase out our existing, insufficient shelter system. But we must also acknowledge that these initiatives, meant to serve the entire City, are disproportionately concentrated in communities of color—specifically, Chinatown.”
These were references to a pair of City plans that have aroused collective fury within the Chinatown community—one to construct the world’s tallest jail within the community, and the other to locate as many as ten homeless shelters in a catchment smaller than one square mile.
“There are systemic issues of racism and mental health that have brought us to the point where we are today, and it is only systemic responses that will get us past it,” Ms. Niou argued. “Unfortunately, the solution is not just adding a few extra patrol cars on a given street, a few more police officers on a beat, or a few more surveillance cameras at a subway station. The City has tried that and it clearly does not work. A large part of the solution is ending a history of neglect and elevating our communities as partners. I urge the City to heed the recommendations that our community organizations and community members have made. This means working with our organizations and advocates across all communities of color, increasing dedicated funding for AAPI needs, promoting and implementing community engagement, and increasing language accessibility and cultural competency across all current and future City services.”
NEWS ANALYSIS AND OPINION
A Bittersweet Mother’s Day
A Community Leader Reflects on Parenting, Privacy, and Personal Freedom
My role as the mother of two wonderful daughters has been the defining grace and privlege of my life. But yesterday, I had reason to reflect on this blessing in a new and troubling way.
New Sculpture at World Trade Center Evokes the Innocence of Childhood
Lower Manhattan’s newest piece of monumental public art, “XO World,” stands 12 feet tall and 24 feet wide, and is located on the West Street side of One World Trade Center (near the corner of Vesey Street). The sculpture is comprised of more than 20,000 pounds of stainless steel, wrought into the shapes of a globe and a giant piece from the game of jacks.
Battery Park City Resident Indicted by Feds for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
A Battery Park City resident has been indicted by federal prosecutors for allegedly taking part in an elaborate, years-long scheme that defrauded Protegrity, a Connecticut-based data security firm at which his brother served as chief executive officer, of more than $6 million. On April 13, Suresh Munshani (who lives in Gateway Plaza) and Suni Munshani (who resides in Connecticut), were arrested by federal agents and charged with a complex scam that began with the brothers creating multiple front companies.
For the past several years I have noticed that the beautiful stone streets are in need of repair. I mostly have noticed the stones on Stone Street, the first paved road in the United States. I had thought it was or should be the responsibility of the collective restaurants on Stone Street to care for the historic stone street, since they have been awarded the exclusive use of this street.
Whenever I am in an area where there are cobblestone streets I am delighted that this part of New York has been preserved, even if it’s disappointing how neglected they currently are.
If the complaint is that it is dangerous for people with walkers, wheelchairs and canes crossing these streets, I recommend that the crosswalks be paved, leaving the street to retain the authentic history of the area. Those willing to jaywalk, should take care, as one should anywhere else in the city.
To insist that artisans from other countries would be needed to do the work properly is a bit insulting to the abilities of New Yorkers. If there is currently no one at the NY DOT, who can do this work, then, it would be an excellent opportunity to train some people, thus creating new jobs.
It’s dismissive to sum up the cobblestone streets, calling them “charming.” They are part of New York’s history. New York City paved roads are also in dire need of maintenance throughout the city. There are uneven sidewalks that trip people, potholes and road work repair leaving uneven pavement.
The topic should be about when the cobblestone streets will be redone, not eliminate them.
Amending the Authority
Niou and CB1 Push Longer Leases, Caps on Cost Hikes, and a Voice for Residents
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou has introduced a pair of bills in the Albany legislature that closely track recent resolutions by Community Board 1 (CB1), and address a trio of issues that have long vexed local leaders.
Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training and a lot of fun. Free.
Dr. Julius G. Mendel was born on August 17, 1931 to a Jewish family in Germany. His father, Dr. Herbert Mendel, served in the German military during WWI and later became a doctor. In 1938, the family fled to Cuba. The Mendels immigrated to the United States in 1940. Julius went on to become a psychiatrist and has donated over twenty objects to the Museum related to his family’s experiences in WWI and their escape from the Nazis. Free; suggested $10 donation.
Observe and sketch the human figure. Each week a model will strike short and long poses for participants to draw. An artist/educator will offer constructive suggestions and critique. Drawing materials provided, and artists are encouraged to bring their own favorite media. Free.
Lunchtime talk sponsored by the Museum of American Financial History
with the host of NPR’s Planet Money. Before Bill Gross was known among investors as the Bond King, he was a gambler. In 1966, a fresh college grad, he went to Vegas armed with his net worth ($200) and a knack for counting cards. $10,000 and countless casino bans later, he was hooked: so he enrolled in business school. The Bond King is the story of how that whiz kid made American finance his casino. Over the course of decades, Bill Gross turned the sleepy bond market into a destabilized game of high risk, high reward; founded Pimco, one of today’s most powerful, secretive and cutthroat investment firms; helped to reshape our financial system in the aftermath of the Great Recession—to his own advantage; and gained legions of admirers, and enemies, along the way. Like every American antihero, his ambition would also be his undoing. Talk followed by audience Q&A. Advance registration is required. Registered guests will receive the link prior to the program. Free.
Immerse yourself in this meditative practice, surrounded by the Hudson’s peaceful aura. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Bring your own mat. Free.
Elise Engler’s book, A Diary of the Plague Year: An Illustrated Chronicle of 2020, is one year of a daily drawing/painting project that recapture what it was like to live through 2020- bringing texture, feeling, and even charm to what we might not remember and what we will never forget. Free.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC.
$2.00 per notarized signature.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturday 11:30am-5pm, May through Thanksgiving
Today in History
This is the Maeslantkering, a storm surge barrier on the Nieuwe Waterweg, in the Netherlands. One of the world’s largest moving structures, it closes when Rotterdam is threatened by floods.
28 BC – A sunspot is observed by Han dynasty astronomers during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han, one of the earliest dated sunspot observations in China.
1497 – Amerigo Vespucci said to leave Cádiz for his first voyage to the New World.
1503 – Christopher Columbus visits the Cayman Islands and names them Las Tortugas after the numerous turtles there.
1768 – John Wilkes is imprisoned for writing an article for The North Briton severelycriticizing King George III. This action provokes rioting in London.
1773 – The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.
1774 – Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette become King and Queen of France.
1801 – The Barbary pirates of Tripoli declare war on the United States.
1837 – Panic of 1837: New York City banks fail, and unemployment reaches record levels.
1849 – Astor Place Riot: A riot breaks out at the Astor Opera House in Manhattan, New York City over a dispute between actors Edwin Forrest and William Charles Macready, killing at least 25 and injuring more than 120.
1865 – In the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis is captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.
1869 – The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, is completed at Promontory Summit, Utah with the golden spike.
1872 – Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman nominated for President of the United States.
1893 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Nix v. Hedden that a tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit, under the Tariff Act of 1883.
1904 – The Horch & Cir. Motorwagenwerke AG is founded. It would eventually become the Audi company.
1924 – J. Edgar Hoover is appointed first Director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and remains so until his death in 1972.
1933 – In Germany, the Nazis stage massive public book burnings.
1940 – Winston Churchill is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain.
1941 – Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to try to negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany.
1954 – Bill Haley & His Comets release Rock Around the Clock, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.
1960 – The nuclear submarine USS Triton completes the first underwater circumnavigation of the earth.
1994 – Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president.
1997 – The Maeslantkering, a storm surge barrier in the Netherlands that is one of the world’s largest moving structures, is opened by Queen Beatrix.
2002 – F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen is sentenced to life imprisonment for selling United States secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.
2005 – A hand grenade thrown by Vladimir Arutyunian lands about 65 feet from President George W. Bush while he is giving a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia, but it does not detonate.
2013 – One World Trade Center becomes the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
2017 – US President Donald Trump shares classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
213 – Claudius Gothicus, Roman emperor (d. 270)
1838 – John Wilkes Booth, actor, assassin of Abraham Lincoln (d. 1865)
1899 – Fred Astaire, actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1987)
1946 – Donovan, singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor
1946 – Dave Mason, singer-songwriter and guitarist (Traffic and Fleetwood Mac)
1957 – Sid Vicious, English singer and bass player (Sex Pistols) (d. 1979)
1960 – Bono, Irish singer-songwriter, humanitarian, and activist (U2)
884 – Ahmad ibn Tulun, ruler of Egypt and Syria (b. 835)
1482 – Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, Italian mathematician and astronomer (b. 1397)
1566 – Leonhart Fuchs, German physician and botanist (b. 1501)
1774 – Louis XV of France (b. 1710)
1818 – Paul Revere, American engraver and soldier (b. 1735)
1999 – Shel Silverstein, American poet, author, and illustrator (b. 1930)
2012 – Carroll Shelby, American race car driver and designer (b. 1923)
2015 – Chris Burden, American sculptor, illustrator, and academic (b. 1946)