Outdoor dining isn’t done with NYC- POLITICO

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One of the most sweeping transformations of the New York City’s streetscape in memory happened literally over one night in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city was slowly reopening after a brutal first wave of infections, and restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor but not indoor dining. So then-Mayor Bill de Blasio decreed that eateries could set their tables up in parking spaces and on sidewalks across the city. On a Monday in June, thousands did, and the city hasn’t been the same since.

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It’s the sort of thing that under normal circumstances, would have taken years of hearings, design plans, hand-wringing, advocating and counter-protesting. Instead, the city just did it. All of that debate and rancor is now happening after the fact. But possession being nine-tenths of the law, it looks almost certain that outdoor dining is here to stay.

The City Council is poised to vote on a law making the outdoor dining program permanent. It took the first step Thursday, voting 43-6 to approve zoning changes that allow outdoor dining in parts of the city where sidewalk cafes were previously prohibited.

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Opponents have cited concerns about the loss of parking spaces and complained that outdoor dining structures have become eyesores, attracting rats and noisy patrons. But other New Yorkers have voted with their feet by filling up outdoor tables in pleasant weather, and nine out of ten restaurants said in a survey by a trade group that permanent outdoor dining is very important for the future survival and success of their business.

The future of outdoor dining won’t look quite like the current iteration. City officials say they don’t envision sheds like the ones many restaurants have erected during the pandemic, instead favoring tents and umbrellas. Restaurants will have to pay a fee to join the now-free program, potentially creating a gulf in participation between restaurants in well-off Manhattan neighborhoods and more modest spots in the outer boroughs. “There’s a lot more work to be done,” the NYC Hospitality Alliance’s Andrew Rigie said Thursday, but called the Council’s move “an important milestone for the future of alfresco dining and New York City’s economic recovery.”

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IT’S FRIDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: [email protected] and [email protected], or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin and @annagronewold

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WHERE’S KATHY? In Florida for a Democratic Governors Association event.

WHERE’S ERIC? Appearing on Pix 11, WCBS 880, NY1, and 1010 WINS and speaking at a Staten Island Ferry commissioning.

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LGBTQ politicians, activists descend on City Hall to protest NYC Mayor Adams’ ‘hateful’ appointments,” by New York Daily News’ Peter Senzamici, Michael Gartland and Chris Sommerfeldt: “LGBTQ lawmakers and activists brought rage to Mayor Adams’ doorstep Thursday as they gathered outside City Hall to protest Hizzoner’s decision to hire three men with histories of anti-gay views for high-profile jobs in his administration. The demonstration, which was held in City Hall Park and involved nearly 100 people, marked a culmination of weeks of anger over Adams’ appointments of Fernando Cabrera, Erick Salgado and Gilford Monrose, Christian pastors in Brooklyn and the Bronx who have used homophobic and anti-gay rhetoric.”

Hundreds of people are living in NYC subway stations and tunnels, MTA says,” by New York Post’s David Meyer: “Some 350 homeless individuals were recently found living in encampments in subway stations and tunnels, transit officials said Thursday. The individuals were spread between 29 encampments in tunnels and 89 in stations, according to an MTA survey conducted on Feb. 2 and 3 as part of a ‘track trespass’ task force formed in December to address an uptick in track intrusions.”

NYC Council approves Mayor Adams’ picks for watchdog commissioner and lawyer post,” by New York Daily News’ Michael Gartland: “The City Council approved two of Mayor Adams’ top appointments Thursday, paving the way for him to install a new corporation counsel and Department of Investigation head. The Council voted unanimously in consenting to one of Adams’ picks — Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix — and was nearly unanimous in its approval of, Jocelyn Strauber, the new Department of Investigation commissioner. Councilman Charles Barron abstained in that vote.”

How Long Is Long Covid? How Long Would It Keep Him From Music?” by The New York Times’ Sharon Otterman: “On the morning that Broadway shut down in March 2020, Joel Fram woke up feeling like a steamroller had rolled over him on its way somewhere else. He had a high fever, which evolved into a terrible sore throat and trouble breathing. Like countless other New Yorkers, Mr. Fram, the conductor of the Broadway show Company, had gotten Covid-19 in the city’s crushing first wave. Two years later, he is still recovering. His initial symptoms faded after a few weeks but then returned in the familiar constellation we now know as long Covid. Fatigue so deep that he would fall asleep during a conversation. Shortness of breath. A constant, painful migraine behind his eye.”

— Cultural institutions are trying to lure back New Yorkers with discounts and special offers.

N.Y.P.D. Boss’s First Weeks: A Rush of Tragedy, a Rise in Scrutiny,” by The New York Times’ Troy Closson: “For Commissioner Sewell, the first woman to lead the largest police force in the nation, the remarks at the funerals of Detectives Mora and his partner, Jason Rivera, carried the weight of longstanding tradition. And for at least some in the pews, her performance began to answer questions about her readiness for the job: Ms. Sewell was plucked from a comparatively obscure position in the Nassau County Police Department by Mayor Eric Adams. … The moment underscored the challenging landscape into which Commissioner Sewell stepped last month. The city and its new mayor are grappling with an increase in gun violence that began early in the pandemic and has remained higher than the historic lows of 2018 and 2019.”

A ROLE FOR ALBANY IN UKRAINE? Manhattan is quite possibly the location of more investments from Russian oligarchs than any international spot outside London. New York state government could thus play a key role in whatever happens as the global focus turns to imposing sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. The Department of Financial Services, notably, “has numerous levers to ensure that its regulated entities are complying with any sanctions,” said former superintendent Linda Lacewell. 

DFS has the power to tell the hundreds of financial institutions it oversees to detail their business with Russians. It can also work with other agencies to ensure banks are complying with any sanctions “and, if necessary, that assets as appropriate are seized by regulatory authorities,” Lacewell said. And it has some experience with complex issues of global forfeiture: the department includes the Holocaust Claims Processing Office, which helps facilitate the restitution of assets such as artwork that was stolen by Nazis. One other possible role for New York came from state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick. He announced on Wednesday he would introduce a bill to ban state contracts and pension fund investments from companies doing business in Russia. — POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney

— Gov. Kathy Hochul announced late Thursday evening New York State is welcoming refugees from the Ukraine and Russia invasion.

— State officials say New York will lean on federal guidance for any potential resettlement of Ukrainian refugees.

— Hundreds of people protested in Times Square against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

— A Russian conductor who is a supporter of Vladimir Putin will no longer lead a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall.

4 YEARS LATER … “Kaloyeros, ex-Albany Nanotech chief, starts prison term next month,” by Times Union’s Larry Rulison: “Alain Kaloyeros, the founder of Albany Nanotech and one of the leading forces behind the rise of the Capital Region’s computer chip industry, is scheduled to start serving his prison term on a federal bid-rigging conviction next month. Originally scheduled to start his sentence this month, Kaloyeros was able to get his report date moved to March 14 after his attorney wrote a letter to trial judge Valerie Caproni saying that Kaloyeros needed extra time to deal with a ‘recent health concern’ to ensure that it does not become a ‘potentially serious medical condition.’”

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER Carl Heastie is learning how to play guitar.

Elective surgeries, procedures can resume at all New York hospitals,” by Spectrum’s Nick Resiman: “Elective surgeries and procedures can resume at all New York state hospitals following a sharp decline in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday. The decision comes after New York lifted its mask mandate for many indoor spaces, and is considering an end to the mask rule for schools. An end to the mask requirement for businesses has not led to a correpsonding rise in COVID cases over the last several days, Hochul said, as confirmed cases have declined in nearly every region of the state.”

Andrew Cuomo begins comeback attempt with new TV ad,” by New York Post’s Bernadette Hogan, Carl Campanile and Nolan Hicks: “Cuomo’s campaign confirmed it had commissioned ‘a number of ads’ in response to questions from the paper after The Post independently obtained one of the commercials. The 30-second spot reviewed by The Post selectively strings together snippets from TV reports about the outcomes in those cases to bolster Cuomo’s continued claims of exoneration. It highlights recent decisions by five district attorneys to not bring charges against Cuomo for sexual harassment for technical reasons. However, the spot viewed by The Post makes no mention of the fact those officials also said their investigations affirmed the credibility of the women who brought the allegations.”

#UpstateAmerica: An eye doctor sued a Saratoga Springs butcher for requiring him to wear a mask in December saying that because a face mask is a medical device, when someone other than a doctor forces you to wear one, it constitutes practicing medicine without a license. Court filings indicate this ophthalmologist might have some unresolved beef that is unrelated to his local meat merchant.

Trump and his 2 children will not sit for depositions in a civil investigation as they seek to appeal subpoenas, lawyer says,” by Insider’s Laura Italiano and Sonam Sheth: “Former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., will not testify in the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization in the next two weeks as originally ordered by a Manhattan judge, Insider has learned. Instead, the Trumps’ testimony will be delayed — possibly for months — while their lawyers appeal the judge’s order, which was issued last week after a spirited online court hearing, according to legal and court sources.”

— ICE settled a lawsuit with Ravi Ragbir, an immigration activist who claimed he was targeted for deportation.

— The MTA said it will reevaluate rules requiring strollers to be folded on buses after a group of parents objected.

— A Harlem NYPD precinct took over a median meant to calm traffic to use for parking.

— Black New Yorkers made up half of those charged with misdemeanors despite accounting for about a quarter of the city’s population.

— A juror in the Ghislaine Maxwell case will be questioned under oath by a judge after discussing a history of sexual abuse.

— Two state corrections officers at the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen have been moved out of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee unit amid allegations of racist abuse and medical neglect.

— A burglar broke into a Bronx NYPD precinct house and was caught rummaging through the commanding officer’s office.

— An historic lodge in the Adirondacks — slated for destruction by the state — could get new life if an amendment to New York’s constitution is adopted that would allow for a land swap.

— Albanian American leaders are upset that a City Council member in the Bronx is blocking a street renaming for one of their icons.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides … U.S. Chamber’s Andrew Burk … NFL’s Jonathan Nabavi … CNN’s Hadas Gold and Barbara Levin Bob Schieffer Andy RosenthalLauren KappJessica YellinEric Wall Xholina Nano Madison DonzisJack Dew Anna Albert Rob Goldberg

MEDIAWATCH — “The Pandemic Interpreter: Why are so many liberals mad at David Leonhardt?” by Sam Adler-Bell in New York magazine

… Jonathan Wald is leaving MSNBC after five years as both SVP of programming and development and senior executive producer of “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams,” following Williams’ departure in December. (h/t POLITICO Playbook) …

… Celadon Books and The New Yorker announced today that they will publish the House Jan. 6 committee’s report as a paperback book and e-book as soon as it arrives, with an introduction from David Remnick. (h/t POLITICO Playbook)

MAKING MOVES — Edwin Molina is now NYC press secretary for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). He is the former deputy press secretary for Andrew Yang’s New York City mayor campaign and is an alum of former Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. … Seth Hertlein has been hired as VP and global head of policy at crypto firm Ledger. He most recently was at Stellar Development Foundation, where he oversaw all aspects of the organization’s engagement on digital asset policy, legislation and regulation globally.

WEEKEND WEDDING — Morgan Hitzig, who works on operations and growth strategy at Peregrine and is a Dataminr and NYPD alum, on Feb. 18 married Jack Wilson, an Army officer. The couple met on a military transport plane to Afghanistan this past summer (she’s a Navy reservist). They worked closely as friends and colleagues, mutually supporting each other during the fall of Kabul and subsequent evacuation, and then started dating shortly after they returned home. The couple married at Staten Island Borough Hall. Pic Another pic

OUT AND ABOUT — ​Danielle and David Frum hosted a book party on Thursday night for Jimmy Soni’s “The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley,” which featured former Polish defense minister Radek Sikorski and Anne Applebaum telling the crowd their thoughts on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sikorski said that the war could last a decade and be like Afghanistan in the 1980s and said that even though Poland is much more reliant on Russian energy, they would rather “eat grass” than bend to Russia’s wishes. ($20.24 on Amazon) SPOTTED: George Conway, Ken Weinstein, Juleanna Glover, Jim Acosta, Liz Landers, Tina Nguyen, Molly Jong-Fast, Samantha Dravis, Andrea Coronado, John McConnell, Zach Graves and Rebecca Bernbach Graves.

Will New York City Be Ready to Implement Landmark Building Emissions Law?” by Gotham Gazette’s Samar Khurshid: “New York’s Climate Mobilization Act of 2019, billed a ‘Green New Deal’ for the city, included a groundbreaking law to cut carbon emissions by the biggest buildings, and the biggest polluters, in the city through caps and mandated energy upgrades and retrofits — or face financial penalties. The first set of emissions caps are set to go into effect in 2024, and the city has the complicated task ahead of setting new rules and regulations by the start of 2023, a formidable task with 10 months to go. While Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is confident about meeting that schedule, advocates and elected officials have expressed some concern that his recently proposed budget doesn’t allocate sufficient funding or staff behind the effort.”

Inside One Wall St.: NYC’s largest ever office-to-condo conversion,” by New York Post’s Zachary Kussin: “For nearly a century, One Wall Street has towered over the heart of the Financial District. The former home of the Irving Trust commercial bank, and later the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, it was one of the city’s tallest buildings when it debuted in 1931. Now, the 1.2 million-square-foot, Art Deco office tower masterpiece is once again making an impact. After nearly eight years of construction, the tower has officially debuted as a residential skyscraper.”

Climate resiliency and equity: What NYC is planning for the next decade of its waterfront,” by Gothamist’s Nathan Kensinger: “The city is rolling out a new batch of climate resiliency plans to shore up its coastlines affecting more than 8 million residents living along 520 miles of coastline and hundreds of neighborhoods built on creeks, wetlands and islands. For the last three years, a team of six planners at the Department of City Planning has worked full time to create the New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. And after a yearlong pandemic delay, the 290-page document was released during the final days of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration in December to combat the urgent challenges of climate change and sea level rise.”





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