Closing down two of only three remaining immunization clinics in the city seems especially thoughtless and cruel even for an administration that, like Mayor Bloomberg’s, is notorious for its blindness when it comes to the most vulnerable New Yorkers.
Yet that’s what the city’s Department of Health is planning to do at the end of this month.
The clinics are in Corona, Queens, and Tremont in the Bronx, and thousands of people visit them for free vaccinations every year. Their disappearance will impact mostly poor immigrants and low-income people, who will be left with only one immunization center miles away in Fort Greene.
According to plans set in place by the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Corona Health Center on Junction Boulevard is set to close weeks before the start of school.
The services provided by the Corona and Tremont Health Center in the Bronx will no longer be available to children, particularly low-income and immigrant families, in need of a public health functions.
On Aug. 14, elected officials along with Local 436 at District Council 37 rallied in front of the Corona Health Center, demanding the City to push back the closing date.
“We are hoping to keep the pressure on the City at least through the school rush,” said Judith Arroyo, president of Local 436 at District Council 37.
At the height of the back-to-school vaccination rush and in a month dedicated to spreading immunization awareness, the city Department of Health is shutting down the only free-immunization clinic in Queens next week.
Closures at both the Corona, Queens and Tremont, Bronx health centers are scheduled to take place at the crucial time before children need the required immunizations to attend school. The families depending on these services must make their way to the Fort Greene Health Center in Greenpoint, Brooklyn starting Aug. 21.
District Council 37, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), Commissioner on the Public’s Health System Anthony Feliciano, and other community leaders gathered at the Corona Clinic Wednesday to protest what they called “a threat to public health and safety.” The threat came without warning or community input, according to District Council 37.
While New York struggles to recover from the recession of 2008, it is clear that at least one of its major industries is thriving like never before–New York City tourism.
In 2012, the city welcomed a record-breaking 52 million visitors, despite the devastation wrought by Sandy. According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, these tourists, who paid for a total of 29 million hotel room nights, poured more than $55 billion into the city’s economy.
What’s more, the city’s hotel occupancy stands at 87 percent, the highest in the nation. Better yet, there is good reason to believe that tourism remains a growing industry, with much of its potential still untapped, particularly outside of Manhattan. In the past six years, 72 new hotels have been built in boroughs other than Manhattan and a record-high percentage of non-Manhattan hotels are under development for the next four years.
For Pat Martin, president of Friends of LeFrak Library, it is only a matter of time before a child gets seriously injured at a Rego Park intersection near PS 206 – unless, she and other community leaders said, the city does something about it.
“We’re all so scared of the day a child gets hurt there – and after that, the city will put in a crossing guard, but we shouldn’t have to wait for that,” Martin said of the intersection at Junction Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway that is routinely crossed by elementary school students on their way to PS 206.
If City Hall put a wrecking ball to 2,000 units of affordable housing to make room for a shopping mall, it would be front-page news and there would be no end to the outrage.
That’s essentially what’s happening at Willets Point. Unfortunately, it’s hardly causing a stir with anyone other than local affordable housing advocates.
The Willets Point development plan agreed to by the City Council in 2008 called for a a mix of retail space and housing, including the construction of 820 homes for families making $38,400 a year or less; 330 homes for families earning between $38,400 and $46,080; and 770 units for families earning from $46,080 to $99,840.
A dangerous Queens intersection near an elementary school may get a lot safer.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) has asked the city to place a speed camera at Junction Blvd. and Horace Harding Expressway. He co-sponsored a recently passed law to provide 20 speed cameras in various school zones.
The Rego Park intersection is about two blocks from Public School 206, which lost its crossing guard there several years back due to budget cuts, Peralta said.“It will at least slow people down when they realize there’s a camera there,” Peralta said. “We don’t want any kids injured when they’re crossing the street.”
Elected officials and Transport Workers Union Local 100 representatives gathered in Astoria last week to demand the MTA restore station agents at subway booths who were removed throughout New York City in 2010.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who spearheaded the rally, joined members of TWU Local 100, along with City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), outside the Steinway Street-Broadway station in Astoria June 6 as part of a citywide day of action and petitioning to highlight the need for restoring station agents and booths across the city’s subway system.
Senator Jose Peralta is inviting all students in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in the New York State Senate's Summer Reading Program. This program is aimed at assisting children keep their reading skills honed and minds sharp during their time away from school.
With the end of the school year in sight, many students are anxiously awaiting the summer months. To keep school age children in the mindset of learning, the New York State Senate, in conjunction with the New York State Library, offers the Summer Reading Program to students across the State.
Participating students will use an online journal to keep track of their reading progress throughout the summer. Children who submit a completed journal will receive a Summer Reading Certificate. To have the children register, please visit www.nyread.com.
The debate over the Willets Point redevelopment plan continues, as the City Council and community members calling for more affordable housing seemingly refuse to move towards middle ground.
One side wants to see affordable housing built in Willets Point right away, or at least see a guarantee of affordable housing, while the other wants to build a community in a an undeveloped area before building housing complexes, which would include affordable housing units.
Housing advocates, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods chanted “What do we want? Affordable housing!” across the street from Citi Field on Friday, decrying what they considered a lackluster push for it in Willets Point and calling for a new agreement between the city and the development group selected to rejuvenate the Iron Triangle.
Developers of the $3 million Willets Point project are not contractually required to build affordable housing in part because the city wants to shield itself from a potential lawsuit.
The Bloomberg administration did not want to risk paying out legal damages to the developers — Related Cos. and Sterling Equities, the real estate arm of the New York Mets — should the city fail to build additional ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway, an essential precursor to constructing the housing component of the project, officials and the companies said at a recent meeting.