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Dear Neighbors,

A reminder to all that my office will be closing at the end of the month. Our incoming Council Member, Borough President Brewer, will have the same constituent office at 563 Columbus Avenue and the same phone number: (212) 873-0282. We will send out a final e-blast next week.

NYC "Streets Plan" Listening Sessions
On December 1, the NYC Dept of Transportation (DOT) released the NYC Streets Plan, which was mandated by the City Council. The five-year Plan is geared towards improving the safety, accessibility, and quality of the city’s streets for all New Yorkers. This summer, the DOT collected feedback from roughly 14,000 New York City residents, which has also assisted in the development of the plan.

DOT is hosting virtual listening sessions to present the NYC Streets Plan and hear public feedback. Listening sessions will occur on Tuesday, December 14, from 1-3pm and Thursday, December 16, from 6-8pm.
  • Click here to read the NYC Streets Plan and register for a listening session. Sessions will be conducted in English and Spanish with the opportunity to request live interpretation services in other languages.
  • Please email [email protected] with questions.

Congestion Pricing Forum This Wednesday 
Join the UWS Coalition of Block Associations for an informational forum about congestion pricing this Wednesday (12/15) at 6:30pm. The MTA is about to begin a 16-month environmental assessment as they prepare for implementation. Learn about the MTA's congestion pricing plan here.
Watch Wednesday's forum here. Advance registration not required.

The forum will feature Charles Komanoff, an energy-policy analyst, transport economist, and environmental activist in New York City. He was a prime mover in the successful campaign to pass a congestion pricing plan for New York City, both as creator of the spreadsheet model used by state government and transit advocates to evaluate different tolls, and as an advocate for the idea of balancing transit investment with traffic-pricing.


Holiday Dinner at Goddard Riverside
All are Welcome! Goddard Riverside Older Adult Center will be providing holiday meals for pick-up only on Christmas Day-- Saturday, December 25th, from 12pm-3pm.

Location: 593 Columbus Avenue (at W. 88th St). Click here to learn more.


The NYC Dept of Transportation (DOT) is accepting applications for both the 2022 Open Streets and Public Spaces Programming initiatives.

The City’s Open Streets program transforms streets into public spaces that improve our neighborhoods. Applications are open to community-based organizations, schools and restaurant groups until April 29, 2022, with additional application periods to follow. Apply here
  • Non-profit Open Street partners can apply for funding to cover certain costs needed to run their program, such as operations or materials.
  • DOT will provide Open Streets partners with tools such as metal barriers, traffic signs or movable furniture.
  • Returning Open Streets partners only need to complete a short-form application. DOT will work with returning applicants on streetscape changes if requested, such as planters, barriers, or street redesigns. 
The City's Public Space Programming initiative provides free activities on Open Streets, pedestrian plazas, and other car free DOT public spaces by partnering with host organizations. Applications can include arts, culture, fitness, or educational activities and will be accepted until January 28, 2022Apply here
  • Activities must be open to New Yorkers of all ages and abilities.
  • Funding for providers may be available and is based on their proposed fees. Regardless, DOT provides assistance with permitting and logistics to all providers.
  • Approved providers are added to the Public Space Programming list and may be called upon throughout the season.   
  • Returning Public Space partners only need to complete a short-form application.   

Final Reminder: Discounts for City Fines Imposed During the Pandemic
Until December 20th, 2021, the City of NY will be offering residents and small businesses discounts of up to 75% for fines imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more via the City's FAIRER (Fines and Interest Reduction Enabling Recovery) program. Scroll to the “How to Participate” section and click the link. Questions? Call 311.
  • Unpaid Environmental Control Board (ECB) judgments may be eligible for a reduction under the FAIRER program. Depending upon whether you had a hearing and whether the judgment was entered during the COVID-19 pandemic, your savings can be up to 75%. This savings includes the abatement of any interest associated with your judgment.

COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for New Yorkers ages 16 and older. These shots boost your immunity from an initial vaccination series. Please read the latest guidance from the NYC Dept of Health here

It's easier than ever to get vaccinated! 

Lifeguard Positions & Training Available

The NYC Parks Dept is recruiting now for lifeguards who will serve next summer! New York City beaches open on Memorial Day weekend, and pools open in late June; both close the Sunday after Labor Day. City of NY lifeguards work 48 hours each week and first-year lifeguards earn a minimum of $16 an hour, for a weekly salary of about $800. 
  • Training is free for those who pass qualifying tests in December and January. For a list of testing locations and additional information, click here.
The YMCA of Greater New York is offering new rounds of FREE lifeguard training and certification this winter at locations across the city. The Harlem and Flushing Ys are offering a winter break intensive training from December 26th - 30th; and Ys in each borough are offering ongoing winter classes from January 3rd to February 22nd.
  • Pre-tests are required and are currently underway at various locations and times. Experienced swimmers should click here for details and scheduling. People who are interested in the December accelerated session should reach out immediately!
COVID-19 Vaccination Updates
COVID-19 has made it more important than ever to get your flu shot! Everyone 6 months and older should receive a seasonal flu vaccination each year. It is best to get vaccinated in the fall, but you can be vaccinated through late spring.

1.) "Key to NYC" Vaccination Mandate is Expanding
As ordered by the City, indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment establishments require proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. To enter one of these establishments, you need to show your paper CDC card, Excelsior Pass, NYC COVID Safe App, or any other vaccine record. 
  • Beginning tomorrow (12/14) the mandate now applies to anyone age 5 and older.
  • Beginning December 27th, people 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received two vaccine doses, except for those who have received the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • Learn more at or by calling 311.
  • Applies to customers, workers, patrons -- with reasonable accommodations for health, disability, and religion.
  • Businesses with questions should call: 1-888-SBS-4NYC or visit and search for “Key to NYC Guidelines and Resources to Help Your Business."
Information about the new vaccination requirement for private sector businesses is being posted here.

2.) Have you lost your COVID-19 vaccination card?
If you are fully vaccinated and need verification of your vaccine status, you can request a record of your COVID-19 vaccination online, or via fax or mail. Click here to learn more!

New Yorkers can meet vaccine and/or testing requirements by carrying their paper vaccination card with them or scanning and storing it in one of two authorized mobile apps - Excelsior Pass Wallet and NYC Covid Safe. Learn more here.

3.) In-home COVID-19 testing is now available to all immunocompromised New Yorkers and those ages 65 and older. Appointments are available seven days per week, from 9am to 7pm. Please call 929-298-9400 to schedule.
  • The City will provide a molecular PCR test administered by a trained clinician at no cost.
  • Once a test is requested, it will be performed the next day or the day following, depending on when the patient is available.
  • Results will be returned within two days by text, e-mail or phone.
4.) Vaccination Incentives 
For New Yorkers
New Yorkers receiving their first vaccine dose at a City-run vaccine location are now eligible for incentives, including a $100 pre-paid debit card. Click here to learn more.

New Yorkers 18 and older can also win exclusive prizes. Once your first vaccine dose is complete, you will receive an email with instructions on how to select your money or incentive and enter the contest.

For Community Organizations
The City is offering $100 to community and faith-based organizations for each person they refer for a first vaccine dose at a City-run vaccination site.

New Yorkers who make an appointment ahead of time, or who use a walk-in vaccination site, simply need to identify which community organization referred them. Organizations can earn up to $20,000 each. Interested organizations should sign up at

5.) Stay Informed! Helpful COVID-19 information sources include: 
Resources for Tenants & Landlords
The NYS Eviction Moratorium was extended to January 15th, 2022. 

Important: tenants can still be evicted in certain cases. Read our overview of the moratorium here. 

Tenants facing eviction must submit a declaration of pandemic-related hardship. Landlords can challenge these declarations in certain cases. Visit Eviction Free NY to learn more and use their online tool which automatically sends the hardship declaration to housing court, and your landlord, at no cost.

Tenants whose eviction cases are scheduled for appearance in Housing Court --including hearings about Hardship Declarations-- have access to free legal services, regardless of ZIP code, under NYC’s right-to-counsel law.
  • Call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline
  • Visit the NYC Human Resources Administration’s Office of Civil Justice online at
  • Call Housing Court Answers at (718) 557-1379 
  • Find additional free legal services on our website, by looking under "Housing"
  • Read about other resources for tenants here
Assistance with Rental Arrears
Our December Housing Clinic featured a presentation on troubleshooting the NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) & other Rental Arrears assistance, led by TakeRoot Justice.
As we discussed, New York State reports that total requests for assistance exceed available federal funding for ERAP. 

Exhausted funding is an issue that can be solved! We strongly encourage all New Yorkers to reach out to their federal and NYS representatives, including Governor Hochul, to ask them to push for more funding for ERAP.

Government must act now to provide more rent relief and avert a catastrophic wave of evictions next year. We must also move more aggressively to preserve and build new housing. For constituents with rental arrears:
  • If you have applied to ERAP and have not received any information about your application status, you may email our office and we will follow up on your behalf.
  • For questions about ERAP: call New York State at 844-NY1-RENT (844-691-7368; or the TTY phone number, 833-843-8829, for the hearing impaired.).
  • To be notified of possible future opportunities to apply for ERAP, please complete this NYS ERAP - Notify Me Form.
  • Learn about "One-Shot" Emergency Financial Assistance from the City here.
  • Learn about CityFHEPS, a City rental assistance supplement here.

Click here to read the City's summary of resources for property owners-- including assistance with securing rent payments, loans, foreclosure protections, and individualized assistance.

Keeping Buildings Free of Rats & Other Pests
Rats pose an ongoing threat to public health. Click here to view City rat inspection results and follow-up actions on an interactive map, and to learn about resources for property owners. The NYC Dept of Health has prepared these helpful materials for residents, and building owners and managers.
The NYC Dept of Health offers "Rat Academy" virtual trainings which focus on rat prevention methods. Free, virtual trainings are available for: building supers & staff, homeowners & tenants, and managing companies. See the schedule of trainings here
Resources for UWS Families

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for children ages 5 to 11. The vaccine dose for this age group is smaller than the dose given to people 12 and older. Children can be vaccinated at their doctor’s office, pharmacies and vaccine sites across the city. Learn more here and here.

****NYC schools are also offering vaccinations to eligible students ages 5-11. Learn more here.


Save up to $50 Per Month on Internet Service
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched the short-term Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB), which provides eligible households with a temporary discount on monthly broadband internet bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All households with a student enrolled in a NYC Dept of Education school or program are eligible for two types of benefits:
  • Monthly Benefit: Provides a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband service, equipment, and device rentals; and
  • One-Time Device Discount: This is a one-time discount of up to $100 on a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer, where available.
These benefits are also available to residents receiving certain types of income-based supports, like SNAP or Medicaid. Click here to learn more and see if you are eligible!

Information Sessions: 3-K, Pre-K, & Kindergarten Admissions
The NYC Dept of Education is hosting a series of virtual information sessions (in multiple languages) for NYC families with children born in 2017, 2018, and 2019. For families who are unable to attend any of the sessions, a recording of the presentation will be posted on the DOE's website in December. Browse upcoming admissions events here.

Free, Self-Paced Classes to Help Families Navigate School Applications.
On-line classes in English or Spanish walk families through how to find the best pre-K, elementary, and high school for their child, and how to apply. InsideSchools offers these classes via its InsideSchools+ platform (families must create a profile and request access). Learn more here.

Free Tutoring for Students with IEPS
The Hunter College Learning Lab offers free one-on-one tutoring for students with IEPs, provided by teacher candidates in Hunter's Graduate Program for Learning Disabilities. Tutoring is offered twice per week for three locations in Manhattan. Learn more about the program and apply here.

Helpful Resources for Our Community

Employee Rights in NYC

The Fair Fares NYC program provides a 50 percent discount on subway and certain bus fares or Access-A-Ride paratransit trips to New York City residents ages 18 to 64. Find out if you are eligible for Fair Fares and apply here!

Free Legal Services
Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) provides free, civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers. VOLS serves seniors, older veterans, small business owners, immigrant youth, unemployed workers, mothers in prison or jail, as well as children and their families.

VOLS is currently offering remote services. Please call (212) 966-4400 or reach out to their specific programs:
  • Small businesses/ VOLS Microenterprise Project: (347) 521-5729
  • Seniors/ VOLS Elderly Project: (347) 521-5704
  • Older Veterans/ VOLS Veterans Initiative: (347) 521-5725
  • Immigrant Youth/ VOLS Immigration Project: (347) 521-5722
  • Unemployed Workers/ VOLS Unemployed Workers Project: (347) 521-5735

Older adults may be eligible for a wide range of benefits, including assistance with food, medical, and utility costs, as well as rent freezes and lower property taxes.

For benefits screening and application assistance, phone (212) 398-5045, or email [email protected]. You can also complete an intake form with LiveOn NY here. 

Have questions about Medicare? You can make an appointment to speak individually with a counselor at the Medicare Rights Center. Contact info for the MRC can be found in English here and Spanish here.

Mental Health Resources for District 6 Residents
Don't suffer alone. Support is available for any New Yorker coping with issues like depression, anxiety, substance misuse, crime victimization, and serious mental illness. Targeted services are being offered to older New Yorkers, veterans, families with young children, students, and people harmed by crime or abuse.
  • NYC Well is the City's confidential helpline for mental health and substance misuse services. Trained counselors can provide you with support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 200 languages. Click here; call: 1-888-NYC-Well (1-888-692-9355); or text: “Well” to 65173.

Free Membership at City Recreation Centers
Free membership at City of NY recreation centers is available to any New Yorker who signs up before December 31, 2021. The membership term will last for one year from the date of sign-up, and will grant access to facilities across the city. Learn more here

Free Wellness Classes: a wide variety of free, on-line wellness programs are available from:
We're Here to Help

My office assists people with housing issues, seniors, the disabled, the recently un (or under) employed, the food insecure, and all those suffering the many consequences of this pandemic, to help in any way we can. We also provide on-going advocacy with our public schools and other public services.

Please call (212) 873-0282, leave a message and we will call you back as soon as possible; email [email protected]; or check our website, We update it on a regular basis with information about public benefits, non-profit resources, and health facts Upper West Siders need to get through this crisis. 


Copyright © 2021 Council Member Helen Rosenthal, All rights reserved.
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Council Member Helen Rosenthal
563 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024

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