Greenpoint-based film studio Pure Magic Pictures’ newest movie, “Skye Hoshi: Anime Girl,” will soon fall out of posters and into reality.
On April 21, the film will have a digital premiere on Pure Magic Pictures’ streaming platform.
Skye Hoshi: Anime Girl follows the laser-gun happy anime character Skye Hoshi as she falls out of her poster, comes to life and tries to return home before her anime is destroyed.
“It is a super fun, fantasy film with lots of comedy and a lot of heart,” writer and director Kalani Hubbard said.“One of the main themes is just finding the beauty in the mundane, finding the beauty in your everyday life and making those parts of your life magical,” he said.
Olivia Roldan will play the titular character, and Hunter Kohl will play Atom, the lackadaisical comic store employee whose help she enlists.
The film was shot in various locations in Brooklyn, as well as Everyone Comics x Collectibles in Long Island City and the Javits Center during the Anime NYC convention.
As a writer and director, Hubbard draws inspiration from the ‘80s and ‘90s classics that he grew up with, such as “Back to the Future” and the Indiana Jones franchise.
“Those movies gave me the feeling of magic that I always want to give people when I make movies,” he said. “And so anytime I make something, I try to distill that feeling that I always got watching these movies and infuse that into the movies that I create.”
It was precisely this feeling of magic that inspired both the idea and the title of Pure Magic Pictures.
After Kalani and Stefanie Hubbard got married, they started a video production company and learned the ins and outs of filming, editing, producing, audio and visual effects and the like.
They started to make original films in 2019, and they have made three movies and several different TV shows since then.
They come out with new releases on the Pure Magic Pictures streaming platform almost every week.
Pure Magic Pictures is both an independent, mom-and-pop film studio and a streaming service to which fans can subscribe.
“The inspiration behind that name is that feeling that you get when you watch a movie that just gives you that feeling of pure magic when you watch it. But it’s also the experience that we have when we’re on set making the movies. It’s a really magical experience for us, the process all along the way,” Stefanie said.
Originally from the Bay Area in California, the Hubbards have lived in Greenpoint for eight years, and they have become well-acquainted with the Brooklyn film community.
“[Brooklyn] just feels completely like home to us. We absolutely love living here. And we have met so many amazing people along the way,” Stefanie said. “I really do feel like the people we work with are also very passionate artists who are here for the love of it, and so when we all get together and make things to
New York’s cannabis regulators issued a flurry of new dispensary licenses Monday, including the first three to individuals who will operate in Brooklyn, after a federal court lifted an injunction that had blocked licenses for the borough.
The Cannabis Control Board of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) met Monday at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights to issue 99 new licenses statewide, with 53 going to New York City applicants. In total, the state has issued 155 of the 300 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) business licenses, which are for people who have been impacted by cannabis-related convictions. Ten other licenses have gone to nonprofits.
“We’re absolutely thrilled that we’re able to expand the rollout of legalized cannabis across almost every region of this state, and that New Yorkers in these regions will soon have access to locally grown and tested, safe cannabis,” said Tremaine Wright, the board’s chair.
The OCM was barred by a November injunction from issuing licenses in Brooklyn and four other regions elsewhere in the state due to a lawsuit by cannabis company Variscite NY One. The suit by majority owner Kenneth Gay, of Michigan, charged that the eligibility criteria is unconstitutional because it favors New York residents over out-of-state residents.
Initially applicants had ranked their top five regions — with each borough a region — when submitting their requests for licenses. After receiving over 900 applications, however, the Office of Cannabis Management stated the applicants would only be considered for their first choice.
Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan lifted the injunction for Brooklyn and three other regions (though not yet for the Finger Lakes region, Variscite NY One’s top pick).
Misha Morse-Buch, one of the new Brooklyn licensees, was buzzing at the meeting. It wasn’t until Tuesday last week that he learned of the injunction being lifted, after expecting that the case could drag on through the year or longer. Two days later, he learned he would be receiving a CAURD license.
Now, he was one of dozens in a second-floor room at Medgar Evers, celebrating another round of CAURD licenses. To add to the surrealness of the occasion, Morse-Buch’s company I Love My Pet Food and Supplies, which he’s been running for eight years, is located on Nostrand Avenue two blocks from the college, and he is a graduate of another CUNY school, Brooklyn College.
“It almost feels not real, I still can’t almost comprehend that it’s happened the way that it’s happened,” he said. “Literally went from the people trying to lock me in a little box to here’s a life possibly.”
Few New Stores
Other Brooklyn applicants walked away disappointed, because other regions got far more licenses than the state’s most populous county, with more than 2.5 million residents. Manhattan got 21 new licenses, Queens 17 and Long Island 24 in the newest round.
OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander told THE CITY that the reason his agency presented just three Brooklyn licenses to the board for a vote was because that’s where the agency was in the process of reviewing applications before the injunction.
“We got a lot to do in terms of catching Brooklyn up, so we’re going to get on it,” Alexander said. “Hopefully by the May meeting we get a bunch more ready.”
Jessica Naissant, 29, confirmed to THE CITY via text that she was not one of three licensees. She has been hoping to open a dispensary in her native Brooklyn regardless.
“God forbid I don’t receive a CAURD license, I’m going to enter the market some way somehow,” Naissant said to THE CITY last week after the injunction was lifted but before Monday’s announcement.
Naissant said with the injunction forcing her to wait on the sidelines, she took the time to participate in cannabis incubator and mentorship programs. She previously operated a CBD store called Wake & Bake Cafe for four and a half years in Valley Stream in Nassau County, but she closed the store shortly after the village voted against allowing cannabis dispensaries in its jurisdiction.
Even though the state has already issued dozens of licenses, stores have been slow to open. The OCM lists just seven legal recreational dispensaries on its website: three of which are in Manhattan, another in Queens, which had opened earlier this week, and the others upstate.
Meanwhile, the illicit cannabis retail market has eclipsed the legal one, with city officials estimating 1,500 illegal cannabis stores are operating in the city. While enforcement agencies have had little recourse to rein in the stores, Gov. Kathy Hochul has introduced legislation that would allow for stricter financial and tax penalties.
Only one legal store opened last year, and it is operated by nonprofit Housing Works, located in Greenwich Village. The first store to open that’s owned by an individual with a cannabis-related conviction was Smacked, also in the Village, which opened back in January.
The Smacked store is supported by The Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, a joint venture between a subsidiary of the state’s Dormitory Authority and private partner Social Equity Impact Ventures LLC, which counts former basketball player Chris Webber, entrepreneur Lavetta Willis and former city Comptroller William Thompson among its leaders. The fund is meant to secure retail spaces and build out dispensaries for the licensees, who will then pay back the loans.
However, Social Equity Impact Ventures has yet to announce whether it’s generated any of the $150 million that it’s supposed to raise from the private sector. THE CITY reported the fund’s competitive practices to secure retail spots have thwarted efforts for license-holders who are seeking their own retail locations.
The Variscite lawsuit isn’t the only one threatening the CAURD program. A group that includes medical cannabis companies sued the state earlier this month in the Albany County Supreme Court to force the state to open up retail dispensary licensing to all, which would effectively derail the CAURD program’s goal of putting those negatively affected by cannabis prohibition first in line for the state’s growing legal cannabis retail industry.
THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.
When George Esposito was eight-years-old, his first job at his Grandfather’s store was selling garlic by the pound for 25 cents. 55 years later, he’s now ready to close shop.
The over a century old and four generation family-owned G. Esposito & Sons Pork Store, located on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, will be closing its doors on April 10.
In an interview with the Brooklyn Star, Esposito said that he would have liked to keep the store open for the decades long customers who have enjoyed the store but buyers were intimidated.
“Lots of people were interested [in buying the business] but when they see what we do here – it scared them away. We make everything. You know this isn’t a Trader Joes,” he said. “This is a homemade family business that makes everything from scratch.”
Esposito’s & Sons Pork Store is known for a lot more than just their pork: they serve hot and cold sandwiches, are well-known for their sausage and rice balls, and offer everything from cavatelli to potato salad.
The store was originally founded by Esposito’s grandfather, Giovanni Esposito. Originally from Naples, Giovanni immigrated to the United States in 1922 and opened up shop on Columbia and Union Street the same year. The store moved over to the Court Street location in 1977 when the original location’s nabe started to get more dangerous, said Esposito.
Back then the menu was different: selling traditional Italian foods like lamb heads and calf lungs. Around the mid to late 80s is when the store started to sell more Italian-American dishes and added sandwiches to their menus, as the nabe changed.
“I’ll never eat sausage again anywhere. That’s a fact. I bought a shrink wrap machine just for myself,” Esposito said.
Since the announcement of the store’s closing, Esposito said he has been inundated with orders. For the first time in the store’s history they are running low on inventory.
“I have like 30 trays ordered. Whole trays that people are going to freeze. I don’t know if you like eggplant parmesan, but there’s okay and there’s bad and there’s great. Our’s is outstanding,” said Esposito.
“I was heartbroken,” Brian Geltner, a 20 year customer of G. Esposito & Sons Pork Store said in an interview while munching on an Italian combo.
Some of his favorite things to order over the years have been the sausage parm, the italian combo and the eggplant parm – “but it’s all good,” he said.
“Whenever I buy sausages here to make tomato sauce, the sauce always comes out better than any other place,” Geltner said. “I don’t know why, but I go out of my way to come here before work.”
Last week Brooklyn Beep Antonio Reynoso appointed Reverend Kimberly Council as Deputy Borough President.
The Deputy will serve as a surrogate for the Borough President as well as leading faith-based work for the administration, according to a Friday announcement.
Prior to her appointment she served as Assistant Pastor of Greater Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Crown Heights since 2021.
“Rev. Council’s history of specialized community service and faith-based work in Brooklyn will bring the work our administration has been dedicated to for the past year to the next level,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said in a statement. “Our borough and this city are facing serious challenges right now – issues like undignified and unaffordable housing, food insecurity, and the looming fear of violence and loss. For many years, Kim has worked alongside our communities to address these inequities and invoke change that people can feel in their everyday lives.
The former Sunday School teacher has worked on issues such as building affordable housing, fighting hunger through food pantries and violence prevention programs as the Executive Director of the Berean Community Center in Crown Heights.
She has also served as the President of the East Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation and sits on the Executive Board of Women of Faith Advocating Change – a group of female pastors, elected officials and community service providers. In 2019, she was appointed to the HBCU International Task Force
“I’ve dedicated my career to the communities and people of Brooklyn, focusing on finding ways to better lives and strengthen opportunities for all. Being appointed Deputy Borough President gives me the opportunity to carry this work out at a larger, borough-wide level alongside a colleague I’ve long respected,” Reverend Kim Council said in a statement. “Agreeing with Borough President Reynoso’s approach, policy priorities, and general strategy to reach the strongest, most sustainable future for all Brooklynites, I look forward to building that vision for the millions of people who call this beautiful borough home.”
The appointment will be effective starting on April 17, 2023.
With stickers, markers and post-its in hand, North Brooklyn residents set out to redesign some of the most widely used, and problematic, corridors in their neighborhood.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted the revisioning event on Thursday evening at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center on Ainslie Street. With over a hundred community members in attendance, no seat was left empty. The strong turnout and vocal attendees reflected the desire for a long awaited redesign that prioritizes safety and accessibility in the community.
The conversation centered around three main roadways — Grand Street, Metropolitan Avenue and Morgan Avenue — which are heavily utilized by pedestrians, cars, bus commuters, bicyclists and trucks on a daily basis. The event directly showed that accommodating everyone’s interests is tricky, with several possible solutions to consider.
A presentation by Lauren Rennée, a DOT project manager, outlined the changes implemented at these three locations over the past decade to address usability, especially for the growing number of cyclists. A “toolbox” of possibilities to address the issues that remain included one-way car conversion, removing a lane of parking, reducing travel lanes and sheltering bike lanes with either parking or jersey barriers.
The area that encompasses Williamsburg and Greenpoint ranks in the top-third of high-crash corridors in Brooklyn, according to the DOT. On Grand Street, 22 people were seriously injured between 2016 and 2020. Since 2016, there have also been seven fatalities. The crash rates were only slightly lower on Metropolitan Ave and Morgan Ave.
“There are a lot of challenges with the current design,” said Jennifer Gutiérrez, Council Member of District 34 representing Bushwick and Williamsburg, in her opening remarks. “We’re also here because there have been very real collisions and deaths along these corridors. Our goal before anything is to prevent all of those deaths.”
The central complaint of the evening was that the majority of the time, the bike lanes in all three locations were unusable due to parked cars or trucks blocking them. With poor access and visibility, bicyclists are forced to either disturb pedestrians on the sidewalks or put themselves at risk by riding into car designated lanes. But some business owners countered that bike lanes pose curb access challenges for deliveries and limited parking for visitors.
“I bike on Grand St and it’s very problematic, depending on which way you’re going,” said Francesca Romana Caputo, a Williamsburg resident. “There is always something parked on the bike lane.”
Attendees were seperated into a dozen breakout groups where they spent 45 minutes discussing possibilities for solutions with a map of the area open between them. Using color coded stickers, they marked problematic areas with a corresponding note.
Each group had a DOT representative to guide the conversation, offer their expertise while another representative diligently took notes of popular solutions. It was suggested 15 minutes of discussion is allotted to each corridor, but Metropolitan Ave received the most attention, and complaints.
“We want to design streets that enforce themselves,” said Preston Johnson, a DOT Project Manager who led the discussion in one of the groups.
Metropolitan Ave’s current design bans parking on the peak direction side during rush hour west of the Metropolitan Ave Bridge. And over 1,700 vehicles cross that bridge during the morning rush, according to DOT data. And east of the bridge, the wider section of the road is separated by a median with just a standard bike lane in place.
Cyclists are growing at a fast rate in the city and are a central population that will be considered in the redesign. According to DOT data, 1.8 million Citi bike trips originated in Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 in 2022, not including personal bikes. It is also the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation.
A popular solution was to implement protected bike lanes that provide a safer dedicated space for cyclists. According to the DOT it is the “most appropriate treatment in areas with commercial and industrial activity.” Pedestrian injuries decreased by 21 percent and motor vehicle occupant injuries went down by 15 percent when protected bike lanes were introduced.
Grand St, which connects western Queens and Bushwick to Brooklyn and Manhattan via bridges and the BQE, generates high truck volumes and loading demand by serving commercial and industrial areas. Much progress has been made since 2008, when travel lanes had no separation or designation for bike riders. The following year, standard bike lanes were added and in 2018 they became parking protected curbside bike lanes. Last year, jersey barrier protection was also added.
Some bus riders complained that buses are forced to operate at slower speeds due to traffic, which leads to longer commute times for riders. They also complained that there is no enforcement of people illegally parking on bike lanes or blocking bus stops and lanes.
High truck rates stem from North Brooklyn being a hub for Industrial Business Zones. On Grand St, a lack of designated loading zones for trucks is a strong contributor to blocked bike lanes.
Many attendees proposed converting one or more of the three corridors into one-way roads to create more space for bike lanes and reduce congestion created by cars and trucks. Some attendees worried that by redesigning a large street as a one-way, smaller side streets that are currently favorable to biking will receive an influx of truck traffic.
Morgan Ave is one of the few north-south streets in Williamsburg that intersects Grand St and Metropolitan Ave. While a curbside bike lane was installed from Grand St to Grattan St in 2018, there is currently a bike network gap north of Grand St to Meeker Ave, Queens via the Kosciuszko and Pulaski Bridges.
Physically narrower roadways, one example of self-enforcing design, tend to discourage speeding that is present in wider roadways. They will also shorten crossing distances for pedestrians, a significant challenge for seniors.
Seniors make up less than 15 percent of the city’s population but over 45 percent of pedestrian fatalities. And 90 percent of senior and non-senior adult injuries occur at intersections. A proposed solution with seniors in mind is to include a halfway pedestrian island to split up intersection crossing into two parts.
”The other thing that no one has mentioned during this presentation is the pollution,” said Caputo, who lives directly on Grand St. She said that every morning a thick layer of black residue accumulates on the windowsill in her bedroom. “It’s insane. This is what we’re breathing everyday.”
The DOT plans to unveil their redesign proposal, created with resident suggestions in mind, at an upcoming Community Board 1 meeting.
Jessamyn Lee is the newest Brooklyn Representative for the Panel for Education Policy – the citywide board that replaced the formal Board of Education.
Lee has served as a public school English Second Language teacher for over eight years, the Parent Teachers Association Board for her children’s schools and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory council. She also served as District 14 President Council President – a group of PTA presidents representing North Brooklyn.
“When I became a public school parent, I wanted to contribute to my school communities, and then eventually, the larger community in any way that I could, because I feel like I have a couple of different lenses on things because I do have this sort of institutional knowledge from my background working for the Department of Education,” Jessamyn said in a recent phone interview.
When asked about her primary focuses, Lee said that stopping colocation of charter schools was among her top interests.
“I feel like what we’re seeing in New York City, and what we’re seeing really nationally is a momentary drop in public school enrollment. And my main priority is looking at building utilization, which is tied to enrollment numbers to ensure that our public schools remain public schools.”
Lee told the Brooklyn Star that one policy she would like to see changed is that soft spaces – meaning Speech pathology, counseling and other services – would be included in building utilization stats. The figure is often used to make the case for potential co-locations of charters.
Lee said that the lack of soft spaces being included in building utilization rates can alter the numbers. She highlighted how her own son is in a specialized program for Autistic students and although it only has around 19 students, a general education class could hold upwards of 30. Due to the disparity, Lee said that the current models don’t account for that disparity and could incorrectly label a classroom as being underutilized
“When we’re talking about English language learners and special education students, in particular, the preservation of those soft spaces are necessary for the implementation of their mandated services and supports.”
In her interview with the Brooklyn Star, Lee also highly criticized the Mayor’s education cuts, which have been estimated by the Comptroller’s office to total $469 million.
“I obviously, stringently and stridently, oppose the Adams administration’s cuts to the DOE’s budget. I find them indefensible.”
Lee encouraged readers to learn more about their local Community Education Councils in order to get more involved.
“A lot of what I’ve learned over the years is that what it takes for the average person or the typical person to kind of exercise some political power in this city is sort of directly tied to their ability and willingness to sit through long meetings that cover a lot of dry material,” she said.
“But the parents are empowered and they can and should reach out to their city council members and their state assembly members to advocate for our public schools.”
Greenpoint residents are organizing against new proposed lines for their assembly district, claiming that the lines are politically charged.
Assembly District 50, the current district represented by Emily Gallagher covers Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The proposed draft lines submitted by the Independent Redistricting Committee would currently split the district in half, along McGuinness Boulevard with the right half of the district being absorbed into Western Queens-based Assembly District 38, which is currently represented by Juan Ardila.
The current maps boundaries are a result of the earlier redistricting, which after court challenges only was set to be used for the last election. The maps that are currently being considered are to replace the 2023-2024 maps.
“The bifurcation of McGuinness Boulevard under the current redistricting plan will serve to separate the longstanding Greenpoint Polish Community, diminishing its heritage, unique character, heart and spirit, like the BQE did to our Williamsburg neighborhood,” a letter from a group of local activists opposing the proposed lines obtained by the Greenpoint Star. “The split of AD50 along McGuinness Boulevard and lower along Driggs Avenue will also divide a community that has successfully faced environmental challenges threatening our neighborhood. This includes the designation of two federal superfund sites, the building of at least three power plants, and flood resiliency planning.”
Kevin LaCherra, a local Greenpoint activist, told the Greenpoint Star that the lines’ potential impact are dire.
“This is such a critical time not just for our city, but for this community – in terms of climate, housing, resources and planning. In the midst of that the state of New York wants to cut us in half. Divide our power, divide our voice.”
In reference to the unique challenges Eastern Greenpoint faces, LaCherra said that the plan was especially troublesome.
“These are some of our most vulnerable areas of the community that really need the expertise of elected officials that have and will represent the majority of Greenpoint,” he continued. “And that is not the case here.”
Karen Blatt, the co-executive director at the Independent Redistricting Commission, did not answer any questions regarding the decision making behind the change but encouraged people to participate in public hearings about the subject.
“The map that was released on December 1st is just a draft and the commissioners will redraw the lines in March, based on the testimony at our public hearings and the submissions they read on our website. Everyone is encouraged to participate and inform the commissioners how the lines affect them and their community,” Blatt wrote in an email.
Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher urged constituents to testify at the upcoming meeting.
“Greenpoint and Williamsburg are sister communities and have never been separated politically. They share a history, a heritage and many common challenges. The new draft lines proposed by the Independent Redistricting Committee reminds me of the carelessness of Robert Moses driving the BQE through the heart of our residential neighborhoods,” Gallagher said in a statement. “Eastern Greenpoint belongs with Greenpoint and Williamsburg—not in a mostly Queens district.”
The upcoming public hearing for the proposed Greenpoint district, and Brooklyn at-large, will be hosted both online and in-person at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15 at Medgar Evers College.
After years in working in local reformer politics, as an aide for Mayor DeBlasio and stints at local non-profits, Lincoln Restler was ready to take on City Hall.
The politically adept council member represents the 33rd district which stretches waterfront Brooklyn nabes like Greenpoint down to Brooklyn Heights. In his first year of office, he has introduced over a dozen pieces of legislation – ranging in wide scale reforms like the city giving first preference to non-profit developers when selling land to planting over 3,000 trees in the district.. He has released a climate action roadmap, which combines legislative priorities with organizing strategies to try and make the district the first carbon-neutral in the county.
Our paper decided to catch up with the councilmember to reflect about the challenges and successes in his first year of office.
“I’m really proud of the work that we’ve been able to do. I love this job, I thought I would love it. But until you’re actually in it, doing it every day didn’t realize just how much I would enjoy it,” Restler said in a recent interview.
Restler described his legislative philosophy as being driven largely by constituent services complaints. After being inundated with complaints about helicopter noise and placard abuse – he introduced legislation to ban non-essential helicopter use and banning placard abuse.
“The three key prongs of the office are having a really rigorous and robust constituent services operation to solve every problem. You develop proactive organizing plans across our district to address issues at the neighborhood level and then sponsor and pass transformative legislation that addresses the inequities in our city,” said Restler.
While Restler has introduced many pieces of legislation, most of them are still sitting in committee, even while having co-sponsors from a majority of the council.
“2022 was a year for a whole new city government in New York, not just to the mayor setting up this whole administration, but a new speaker and 80 percent of the council are freshmen members,” Restler said.”And so it’s taken us a little bit of time to develop our priorities and consensus in this legislative council, under Speaker Adams, but I think we’re really starting to hit a groove and the passing rate packages built in the summer and fall.”
Back in March, Restler was appointed as co-chair of the Progressive Caucus with Shahana Hanif. The caucus, which represent a majority of the council, unveiled their formal agenda, a cadre of 20 bills that had been introduced throughout the year – including legislation relating to banning solitary confinement, abolishing the gang database and establishing a public bank.
“we’re making steady progress in driving those pieces of legislation forward. You know, as the largest caucus in the council, when we’re organized, we are in a very strong position to see our priorities enacted. The speaker, I think, listens to and cares about what her members want. And when we’re organized as a caucus, we can come forward as a large compelling, you know, influential block of votes to say, these are our priorities,” Restler said.
“The reality is that Eric Adams is committed to austerity, politics and austerity budgeting. City government has been hollowed out as it is, and it is severely hurting our city agency’s ability to generate affordable housing, to connect New Yorkers to public assistance and food stamps,” he added.
When pushed about voting for the original budget, Restler expressed regret.
“I think there was a lot of misinformation and misleading information. I think there was a lot of deliberately misleading information provided by the administration and in advance of the last budget that hid the severity of the cuts that they were imposing on our neighborhood school,” he said. The councilman emphasized that although he has allocated funding out of his discretionary budget and testified in oversight hearings, that “I should have known better, and I should have pushed harder. And I regret voting in favor of a budget that cut funding from our schools.”
Restler took the opportunity to critique the Mayor’s November Plan – a budget update which included cuts to libraries and other services.
“We were sorely disappointed with the November plan that the mayor released imposing nearly an additional billion dollars in cuts to the universal 3k program cuts across our city agencies. It’s clear where his priorities lie. His commitment to austerity budgets is unacceptable. And we as a council, we must fight back to stop.”
In the following months, Restler said that he was looking forward to introducing more legislation: specifically relating to rooftop solar, battery storage and improving conditions of homeless shelters.
As the year came to a close, Governor Kathy Hochul had a busy two weeks. She became the first woman to be sworn into a full term as governor of New York on Jan. 1, and in the month prior, she signed numerous pending state legislation into law.
Notably, she signed a bill that prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status and immigration status is illegal in New York.
This law will expand the protections from the NYS Division of Human Rights, which currently investigates cases in which individuals have been potentially discriminated against due to their immigration status.
State Senator John Liu and State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz came together with activists on Dec. 29 in front of Flushing Library to applaud the signing of this bill (S6586A/A6328A).
“We appreciate Governor Hochul for signing this legislation in recognition that our state is made greater by the vast contributions of talented and aspiring people from everywhere in the world who adopt New York as their new home,” Liu said in a statement. “Unfortunately, even as they pursue the American Dream, they are stymied by obsolete federal laws and byzantine bureaucracies that prolong their path to citizenship and subject them to bias and discrimination. This bill will help provide equal opportunity in employment, housing, and other needs that all New Yorkers should have access to.”
The first state program in the nation allowing individuals to be reimbursed for the costs of kidney and liver donations came from the governor’s office this week.
The legislation (S.1594/A.146A) amends the public health, tax and social services laws to enact the “New York State Living Donor Support Act,” which will establish a program to cover the extra costs that come with organ donation for New York residents who donate to a fellow New Yorker. The law comes in an effort to eliminate financial barriers to organ donation and, as a result, reduce wait times for organ transplants and address the organ shortage in New York.
As of publication, there are over 8,000 people on transplant wait lists, most of whom are awaiting a kidney, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
A legislative package (S.3897/A.8936-A) supporting pedestrians, bikers and transit riders included increased funding for “Complete Street” projects.
A Complete Street is a roadway designed for all roadway users — not just drivers.
This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit riders as well as motorists. It also makes an effort to focus on children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
With this legislation, the state’s contribution to the non-federally funded portion of the project increases to 87.5 percent.
New legislation (S.3959-B/A.7822-C) will require the non-voting transit dependent representative be moved into a voting position on transportation authorities’ boards. In short, this new legislation will provide a vote — and a voice — to riders who permanently rely on transit services including bikeshares, buses and paratransit.
To protect existing labor laws on behalf of workers, Hochul signed legislation (S.5994C/A.1338C) that establishes a registration system for contractors and subcontractors engaged in public work and covered private projects. This law will require contractors and subcontractors to provide a series of disclosures about their businesses every two years with the Department of Labor.
The department will determine whether a contractor or subcontractor is fit to registers based on previous labor law and workers compensation law violations, including prevailing wage requirements. This law will create a publicly available database.
Furthermore, notable previously signed laws that are set to go into effect in 2023 include the establishment of a task force and annual report to examine social media and violent extremism.
The Electric Vehicle Rights Act, which prevents a homeowners association from adopting or enforcing any rules or regulations that would effectively prohibit, or impose unreasonable limitations on the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station, is set to go into effect on Jan. 21.
In this year, student-athletes will be able to receive endorsement compensation, and New York schools will be prohibited from taking away the scholarships or eligibility of any athlete making money from such endorsements.
A new oncology center has opened up in Flatbush Brooklyn.
The nearly 39,000 square foot facility, located at 2236 Nostrand Avenue, opened its door to patients on January 2, 2023. The new facility will be operated in conjunction with the New York Cancer and Blood Specialists and Memorial Medical Care, a practice of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center physicians, according to a release.
“Our innovative collaboration will give area residents the best of both worlds — world-class cancer care overseen by some of the best cancer centers in the country, all available closer tohome in a comfortable setting,” Jeff Vacirca CEO of New York Cancer and Blood Specialists, said in a statement. “We are excited to open our doors in this community which has such great culture and diversity, as well as opportunities to make a positive impact.”
Patients who have more complex cancer care, including surgery, will have access to Memorial Sloan Ketterings various outpatient programs across New York City. In King County, there is a Memorial Sloan Kettering Brooklyn Infusion Center located at 557 Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn. There are over a dozen different locations throughout New York City that potential patients could utilize.