Showing posts with label NYC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NYC. Show all posts

April 7, 2020

There is Talk in NYC Government of Mass Temp Burials in a Park

                              Prisoners are digging mass graves in New York City |

The grim possibility drove home the toll of the virus in New York, a day after some data suggested that its spread might be slowing.

                              Bodies are seen inside a makeshift morgue outside Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn, April 4.   Handout via REUTERS

RIGHT NOW A New York City Council member said that some virus victims could be temporarily buried in mass graves in a park.
Here’s what you need to know:

People who die of the virus could be temporarily buried in mass graves in a park.
The one-day death toll in N.Y. fell for the first time.

People who die of the virus could be temporarily buried in mass graves in a park.

With the number of people dying of the coronavirus in New York City outpacing the system’s capacity to handle them, the city is considering temporarily burying people in mass graves in a park, the chairman of the City Council’s health committee, said on Monday.

“It will be done in a dignified, orderly — and temporary — manner,” the chairman, City Councilman Mark Levine, wrote on Twitter. “But it will be tough for NYers to take.”

Mark D. Levine
 · 2h
Replying to @MarkLevineNYC
And still the number of bodies continues to increase. The freezers at OCME facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn will soon be full. And then what?  8/

Mark D. Levine
Soon we'll start “temporary interment”. This likely will be done by using a NYC park for burials (yes you read that right). Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line.
It will be done in a dignified, orderly--and temporary--manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take.  9/

9:36 AM - Apr 6, 2020
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Mr. Levine said  the goal of “temporary interment” would be “to avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets.” 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said no such plan had been put in place.

“If we need to do temporary burials to be able to tide us over to pass the crisis and then work with each family on their appropriate arrangements, we have the ability to do that,” he said when asked about Mr. Levine’s comment on Monday.  

But he said the city was “not at the point that we’re going to go into that.”

In an interview on Monday, Mr. Levine, who represents Upper Manhattan, declined to name the park or parks that were under consideration but said, “I presume it would have to be a large park with some inaccessible areas that are out of the way of the public.”

Temporary burials are part of a plan the city medical examiner’s office put together in 2008 to deal with a pandemic. “Tier One” of the plan involves storing bodies in freezer trucks and easing restrictions on crematories. The city is already doing that.

“We are relying on freezers now to hold bodies, but that capacity is almost entirely used up,” Mr. Levine said.

In recent days, the virus has tripled the number of people dying in the city compared with an average day. 

Temporary burials are described in “Tier Two” of the medical examiner’s plan.

Mr. Levine said the only possible sites for mass burials would be a  city park or Hart Island off the Bronx, the Potter’s Field where prison labor is used to bury the dead.

Hart Island has logistical challenges because it is inaccessible and it is a secure Department of Corrections facility, so there are limitations on who can go there and under what circumstances, Mr. Levin said, adding, “I think it would be preferable to have something that didn’t have the security issues of Hart Island.” 

For days, officials in New York have been searching for signs that the coronavirus is nearing a peak in the state and will start to ebb.

On Sunday, there were some hopeful signs, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cautioned that it was too soon to say whether they indicated a trend:

The one-day death toll from the virus, which had increased each day since the outbreak’s early days, fell slightly for the first time, to 594 deaths reported Sunday, from 630 deaths reported Saturday. The state’s total stands at 4,159.

While the number of people currently hospitalized is still increasing, the one-day increase reported Sunday was the smallest in at least two weeks. The number grew by 574, to 16,479, from 15,905. That is a 4 percent increase. The increase the day before was 7 percent. Two weeks ago, the number was growing by more than 20 percent per day.

The number of people in intensive-care units, which are equipped with ventilators, is still increasing, too. But the rate of increase is slowing. Sunday’s count — 4,376 — was 6 percent higher than Saturday’s — the first single-digit percentage increase recorded in at least two weeks.

“You could argue that you’re seeing a slight plateauing in the data, which obviously would be good news,” Mr. Cuomo said Sunday at his daily briefing in Albany, citing “the interesting blip maybe in the data, or hopeful beginning of a shift in the data.”

But he added, “You can’t do this day to day. You have to look at three or four days to see a pattern.”

Even if the curve of infection is slowing, the virus’s daily toll remains horrific.

New York City reported a one-day total of 351 deaths on Sunday morning. On a normal day in New York City, 158 people die, so more than twice as many people in the city are dying of the virus than of all other causes combined.

April 6, 2020

A Little Good News From NYC It Might Be We Are Doing Something Right Despite D.C.

How to protect dogs from canine coronavirus | Metro News
 Get the best mask you can to protect yourself. From the beginning D.C and the CDC have not been honest afraid the people in hospitals wont have enough masks. Question? Do you need to go to the hospital to get the correct one? I don't think so. Protect yourself the best you can, try to protect yourself and others and don't over buy anything. Adamfoxie

The number of infections and deaths in New York, the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak, is dropping for the first time, officials say.
But in a news conference on Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said it is too early to know the data's significance.
It comes as the virus continues to spread around the US and health officials say the worst is yet to come.
The US Surgeon General warned that this will be "the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives".
"This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment," Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Fox News on Sunday.
"Only it's not going to be localised. It's going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that."
Across the US more than 325,000 people have been infected and over 9,260 have died.

What's the latest in New York? 

On Sunday, Mr Cuomo reported 594 new deaths for a total of 4,159 deaths in New York, the state hit hardest by the coronavirus so far.
He said there are now 122,000 New York residents who have been infected. But he added that nearly 75% of patients who have required hospitalisation have now been discharged.
Bodies are loaded onto a refrigerated lorry which is serving as a makeshift morgue.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionBodies are loaded onto a refrigerated lorry which is serving as a makeshift morgue.
Patients requiring hospital are down for the first time in a week, and deaths are down from the prior day, he said.
There were 630 deaths reported in the previous 24 hours. 
"The coronavirus is truly vicious and effective at what the virus does," he told reporters in Albany, the state's capitol. "It's an effective killer."
It's too early to know if New York is currently experiencing its apex - the highest rate of infection that graphics behind Mr Cuomo referred to as "the Battle on the Mountain Top".
He also said it is too early to know if cases will drop off quickly after the apex, or if they will decline slowly - and at a rate that still will overwhelm hospitals.
"The statisticians will not give you a straight answer on anything," he said about the so-called "curve" - the chart that tracks the rate of infections. 
"At first it was straight up and straight down, or a total 'V'. Or maybe its up with a plateau and we're somewhere on the plateau. They don't know."
Mr Cuomo said that despite "cabin fever" from staying home, people must continue to remain inside except for essential activities such as exercise and food shopping. Mr Cuomo, who has frequently called upon his own family members in an effort to humanise the pandemic, said that he has taken up jogging and hopes to soon beat his daughter Cara who runs five miles each day.
"Give me a couple weeks, I'm going to be right there, right there," he said. "Fast like lightning."
Banner image reading 'more about coronavirus'

What is the situation around the US?

Infection rates and new deaths are growing in cities such as Washington DC, Detroit and New Orleans, even as around 90% of American are under some form of mandatory lockdown requiring them to stay home. 
Governors of states continue to warn of a dire shortage of needed medical supplies, including ventilators and face masks.
New Jersey, a state that borders New York, reported more than 3,000 new infections on Sunday, bringing the state-wide total to 37,505. There have been 917 coronavirus-related deaths in New Jersey.
The southern state of Louisiana - one of the hardest hit in the US - reported a 20% increase on Sunday with 3,010 news cases. It also reported 477 deaths.
Speaking to NBC News on Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci - the nation's chief immunologist - said its too early to say the situation is "under control," as President Donald Trump has frequently claimed.
"That would be a false statement. We are struggling to get it under control and that's the issue that's at hand right now."
Surgeon General Adams said that California and Washington have seen their transmission rates slow due to mitigation efforts, but warned that everyone must follow the federal government's health guidance, including wearing a face mask in public.
"I want Americans to understand that, as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days," he said.
graphic showing deaths in 4 countries
Presentational white space
Elsewhere in the US:
  • Several governors say Mr Trump should issue a national 'stay-at-home' order, after nine mostly southern and Midwestern states have resisted enforcing a lockdown
  • A pastor in Florida, who has already been hit with several misdemeanours, says he will defy orders banning large gatherings to hold a Palm Sunday celebration
  • The White House is not holding its daily Covid-19 briefing, due to the Christian holiday
  • Mr Trump says he will defy the government's guidance to wear masks in public, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the new mandate last week

January 6, 2020

Sex Abuser and Mogul Weinstein Is Going To Trial In NY

 Which one is He? I think we got two but one is going on trial now

By Daniel Arkin

Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul whose alleged pattern of sexual misconduct helped power the #MeToo reckoning and rocked the entertainment industry, is scheduled to stand trial on rape charges in New York this week.
The criminal trial, expected to begin with jury selection Tuesday, comes more than two years after The New York Times and The New Yorker published investigative reports detailing several allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and rape.
In all, more than 80 women have accused the producer of sexual misconduct going back decades. Weinstein, 67, who in recent months has been spotted at New York City nightclubs, has denied all accusations of unlawful, nonconsensual sex.
The trial begins almost a month after Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio, The Weinstein Company, reached a tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of women who have accused him of preying on them. The news of the settlement devastated some of his alleged victims.
In a joint statement released Friday, 25 women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct — including actresses Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette — said: "the world will be watching as Harvey Weinstein walks into court to stand trial for a fraction of the egregious crimes he has committed."
"This trial is critical to show that predators everywhere will be held accountable and that speaking up can bring about real change," the statement said. "We refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice."

The charges

The court case in New York focuses on felony charges that Weinstein raped a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on another woman in 2006. Weinstein, who is currently free on bail, has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
The top charge, felony predatory sexual assault, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. He faces four counts of that charge, along with one count of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. "It's important to note that predatory sexual assault is viewed almost as seriously as murder. In the state of New York, it's one of the most serious felonies you can commit," NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos said.
Donna Rotunno, one of Weinstein's lawyers, said at a news conference in August that her client had been "railroaded," adding she had proof the relevant sexual activity was consensual.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who was criticized for declining to pursue criminal charges against Weinstein when he was accused of groping an Italian model in 2015, is prosecuting this case.
The trial is expected to run for roughly eight weeks, according to a spokesperson for the New York State Unified Court System.

The judge

Weinstein will be tried in the courtroom of the Honorable James Burke, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office who was appointed to the bench by then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Burke has presided over various pretrial hearings and motions in the case, including a ruling denying Weinstein's bid to toss the most serious charges, derailing the ex-mogul's attempts to sharply limit the scope of the trial.

The key witness

Annabella Sciorra, an actress best known for her role in "The Sopranos," is expected to testify. Sciorra, who first shared her story with The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow, has accused Weinstein of bursting into her Manhattan apartment and raping her in the early 1990s. 
In late November, Burke ruled that while Sciorra's rape allegation was too old to support a formal charge, also known as falling outside the statute of limitations, prosecutors could use it to bolster their case that Weinstein exhibited a pattern of predatory sexual behavior.
"It's not that celebrities are any better at being witnesses than regular people are, but jurors sure are interested in what celebrities have to say," Cevallos said of Sciorra's expected testimony.

Image: Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek clap for Annabella Sciorra, center, at the 90th Academy Awards on April 3, 2018. All three actresses have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct.
Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek clap for Annabella Sciorra, center, at the 90th Academy Awards on April 3, 2018. All three actresses have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct.Lucas Jackson / Reuters file

Those watching in the courtroom will most likely include other women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault, and potentially public figures affiliated with the Time's Up group.
"I think this trial could become a very somber parade of witnesses and victims, a global airing of many of the bad things Harvey Weinstein is accused of," Cevallos said.

The jurors

Cevallos said prospective jurors will likely be closely vetted by both the prosecution and the defense, and the selection process could take weeks as both sides try to ferret out biases and potential conflicts of interest.
"If you've been tweeting about the #MeToo movement or Weinstein, that can be looked up easily," Cevallos said, adding that both sides in the case will likely question prospective jurors about their general views on sexual abuse and celebrity culture, among other relevant subjects.
Rotunno told Reuters the defense team will be scrutinizing potential jurors' social media posts, adding she was confident that could detect biased candidates.
"Obviously, this case has a lot more notoriety and press involved with it, but that's a concern in any case," Rotunno said. "Once 12 people are put on that bench and they realize the gravity of it, they really want to be fair." 

November 20, 2019

First Openly Gay NYer Who Should Become The First Gay Congressman in DC

                     Image result for mondaire jones

By Tim Fitzsimons

When Mondaire Jones was growing up in Spring Valley, New York, the way the world worked already seemed clear to him: “People like me don’t get close to the halls of Congress,” he said. But his mother taught him he could be anything he wanted. “It was a radical idea,” Jones wrote on Medium.

After completing his studies at Stanford University and Harvard Law School and working at the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama, the world looks different from the 32-year-old. Jones is now a candidate for New York’s 17th Congressional District, and if elected, he could be the first openly gay black man elected to Congress. (The other potential first, fellow New York Democrat Ritchie Torres, would also be elected in 2020.)

The way he tells his life story to voters, as seen in a recent campaign advertisement, draws from his background as the son of a family that fled the South to escape the persecution of Jim Crow — and links that to the Trump administration's response to the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jones opens with a story about his grandfather walking to school in segregated Virginia, as white students rode by in a school bus that only they were permitted to ride. "And they would spit on him through the school bus windows as he was walking a dirt path on his way to school," Jones says in the ad over images of a child drawing.

"For me, the policy is personal," Jones told NBC News.

'We cannot be compromising on values'

While working for the Obama Justice Department, Jones said that part of his job was vetting candidates for federal judgeships. “These were folks who would have had no problem saying on the record during the Senate confirmation hearing that they agree with the decision in Brown v Board,” Jones said, referring to the recurring issue of Trump-nominated judges declining to take a public position on the landmark desegregation case.

“I was part of the administration in the early years when we were having an extremely tough time getting judges confirmed by the Senate,” he said. “That’s because, respectfully, we were not fighting hard enough." 

Gay lawmaker says his congressional run against 'homophobe' is personal
Jones lamented that it took continuous GOP obstruction of judicial nominees before Democrats changed the rules of the Senate so that judges could be confirmed by a majority vote.

“I think that should have been done at the very beginning of the administration when it was clear that Republicans were not going to engage in reasonable behavior," Jones added. “I think there was this naïveté, not felt by myself, but certainly naïveté among certain decision-makers early on in the Obama presidency,” Jones said.

He said his experiences in Washington showed him that Obama’s middle-of-the-road, bipartisan approach won’t cut it in the face of GOP intransigence. “The Republican Party of today is very different from the Republican Party of even a decade ago,” Jones said. “And certainly it is different from what it was three decades ago when my member of Congress first took office.” 
For Jones, that means that the way he wants to fight for his political goals puts him more in line with his progressive neighbor, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow Democrat, than Nita Lowey, the incumbent Democrat in NY-17 who was first elected in 1988.

“I’m part of a generation that stands to inherit a planet that's devastated by climate catastrophe,” Jones said. “For me, there's no alternative to a Green New Deal, we have to be fighting for a thing that will make our planet inhabitable for ourselves and our children and their children.”

“In broad strokes, my generation recognizes that in 2021, when I hope to take office, we need to bring an energy to the role of Congress member and president of the United States that is that of a fire,” he added. “Someone who is going to fight tooth and nail for the things we say we believe in as the Democratic Party.”

'Struggling with my self-acceptance'

“I’m proud to be part of a movement of young people, including young people of color and young queer people and young women,” Jones said. But he added that coming out as gay was "hard."

Jones never imagined he could run for office, in part, he said, “because it would mean that I had to be my authentic self.”

“Not only had I not yet come to terms with that aspect of myself, but I certainly doubted that other people would be accepting of it,” he said. “But so much has changed over the past decade, and even over the past five years.” 

Rep. Maloney introduces a bill to ban taxpayer funding of 'conversion therapy'
Jones ended up coming out when he was 24 years old. Now, people come up to him and thank him for running as an openly gay candidate.

“Growing up — struggling with my self-acceptance — if I had been able to look to an example like what I would provide, someone who is a respectable individual, an openly gay black man in Congress, life would have been a lot better for me," Jones said.

The race and the district

After he announced his candidacy in a June Medium post, the race for NY-17 became a contest among Jones and Lowey, NARAL Pro-Choice America leader Allison Fine, Assemblymember David Buchwald, state Sen. David Carlucci and former Department of Defense official Evelyn Farkas. The primary takes place on June 23, 2020, but for a district like this, the winner of the Democratic primary is likely to win the general election.

And as of last month, it’s a primary race that is wide open after Lowey announced she would not be seeking re-election.

“I have tremendous respect for her and her legacy,” Jones said of Lowey, “and frankly she has made it easier for women and minorities like myself to run for office because she's been such a trailblazer.”

New York’s 17th Congressional District straddles the lower Hudson River and contains all of Rockland County and part of Westchester County. Its neighboring district to the north, NY-18, is represented by out gay Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, another Democrat.

Mondaire Jones’ district is a historically wealthy, former Republican stronghold. But since Lowey was first elected in 1988, the district has swung sharply to the left.

“We had a 13-4 Democratic majority on the county board of legislators and now it’s a 15-2 Democratic majority,” he said of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, the county-level government. “We have an overwhelmingly Democratic voter registration advantage and we have a Democratic county executive.”  

With statistics like that, Jones can tout that he is a "true progressive" and “the only candidate in this race not accepting corporate PAC money” and still hope to pull off a win.

He said he’s focused on local issues, like undoing the $10,000 cap imposed on the state and local tax deduction, a tax change that impacted residents of high-tax states like New York that Jones said “crushed families in Westchester and Rockland.”

And if Jones were to win, southern New York’s congressional districts could transform into a progressive bloc represented by some of the most diverse members in the country. Just several miles away is Ocasio-Cortez’s NY-14 District. And Ritchie Torres, a current New York City Council member who is also gay and black, is running to replace Jose Serrano in NY-15. Both Torres and Jones would be the first black gay men elected to Congress if they were to prevail Nov. 3, 2020.

June 8, 2019

NYC Police Commissioner Apologizes For The Actions of Police in 1969 Outside a Gay Bar

Crowds near the Stonewall Inn several days after the raid on June 29, 1969.
Larry Morris/The New York Time

By Michael Gold and Derek M. Norma (New York Times)

The commissioner, James O’Neill, said he was sorry on behalf of the New York Police Department for officers’ actions during a seminal 1969 clash outside a gay bar.

The violent police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969 is widely regarded as a seminal event in the gay rights movement. But police officials had long refused to admit that officers’ behavior and the raid itself were not justified, leaving a rift between law enforcement and gay-rights supporters that seemed to deepen distrust over the years.

On Thursday, as people around the world began commemorating the 50th anniversary of the clash, New York’s police commissioner took a step toward making amends, issuing an unusual official apology on behalf of the Police Department for the actions of officers during the Stonewall uprising.

“The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong — plain and simple,” the commissioner, James P. O’Neill, said during an event at Police Headquarters.

It was an admission that gay rights leaders said was momentous and unexpected, if overdue.

“To have the N.Y.P.D. commissioner make these very explicit remarks apologizing, it’s really moving,” said Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, who is gay and who had a day earlier called for a police apology. 
Still, some cautioned the Police Department that its future actions needed to back up its words.

“The history of police violence and criminalization of L.G.B.T.Q. people sadly continues to this day,” said Richard Saenz, an attorney at Lambda Legal, a national civil rights organization.

Politicians and gay rights leaders had stepped up their calls for Mr. O’Neill to apologize in recent months, urging a public reckoning as New York hosts World Pride, a global gathering that is taking place in the city this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

During a safety briefing related to World Pride at Police Headquarters, the commissioner offered the formal apology that Police Department officials, including Mr. O’Neill himself, had said for years was unnecessary.

“I think it would be irresponsible to go through World Pride month, not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969,” Mr. O’Neill said. “I do know what happened should not have happened.” 
“The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize,” he added.
The auditorium erupted in applause.
New York’s police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, apologized on Thursday on behalf of the Police Department for officers’ actions during the Stonewall rebellion. 

The Stonewall uprising began shortly after midnight on June 28, 1969, when officers with the now-defunct Public Morals Squad raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.

The police said they had arrived to disperse the bar’s patrons because the Stonewall Inn had violated liquor laws. Eight officers and an inspector arrived at the club and ordered about 200 people to line up and show their identification. Some were asked to submit to anatomical inspections.

The officers’ behavior that night would quickly become a stain on the department and an electrifying force for the L.G.B.T. movement.

“They came to the bar. They slammed people against the wall. They shoved people, and they hurled insults that you can probably imagine,” said Mark Segal, 68, who participated in the protests that night.    

Stonewall patrons, fed up with longstanding harassment at the hands of law enforcement, pushed back.

As officers conducted the raid, a crowd gathered outside, shouting “gay power.” Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who were forced out of the bar that night taunted the police. Some threw bottles and stones.

The ensuing clash lasted for about an hour, but days of street protests followed, resulting in arrests, injuries, and property damage.
Celebrations followed a rebellion that lasted for several days.
Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images 
Celebrations followed a rebellion that lasted for several days.CreditFred W. McDarrah/Getty Images
Mr. O’Neill’s comments signaled a remarkable moment in the city’s history, a long-awaited acknowledgment of the Police Department’s role in harassing gays in past decades.

In the 1960s, it was common for the police to raid gay bars, arrest cross-dressers and harass customers, often on the pretext of cracking down on prostitution or other organized crime activities. 

Over time, the department’s attitudes toward L.G.B.T. people have shifted, but anti-gay attitudes remained rampant in the police force for decades after the Stonewall uprising. In 1978, the president of the city’s largest police union said in an op-ed in The New York Times that having gay police officers was an “unworkable” idea.

As social attitudes and norms changed, so did the Police Department. In a watershed moment in 1982, Sgt. Charles H. Cochrane started the first Gay Officers Action League chapter, an association of gay police officers.

The department now boasts of hundreds of L.G.B.T. officers in its ranks, and since 1996, gay police officers have marched in uniform in New York City’s pride parade — an event that started to commemorate the uprising at Stonewall.

In his remarks on Thursday, Mr. O’Neill proclaimed that times had drastically changed since the raid.

“I vow to the L.G.B.T.Q. community that this would never happen in the N.Y.P.D. in 2019,” Mr. O’Neill said. “We have, and we do, embrace all New Yorkers.”

The Police Department had resisted calls for an apology in the past. In 2016, at a news conference discussing security for that year’s Pride March, William J. Bratton, the commissioner at the time, said he did not believe an apology was necessary.

The following year, a day after the Pride March, Mr. O’Neill also declined to apologize. “I think that’s been addressed already,” he said. “We’re moving forward.” 

Still, allegations of bias have persisted in the department.

“A lot more action has to be done to undo the history of discrimination and current N.Y.P.D. practices,” said Tina Luongo, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society.

In 2017, an internal watchdog found that the city’s police officers still lacked proper training in how to interact with L.G.B.T. victims and complainants.

A lawsuit filed in January by a transgender woman accused police officers of ridiculing her during her arrest and charging her with incorrectly filling out her gender on an official form.

Mr. Saenz said that transgender people, especially transgender women of color, were particularly vulnerable to police misconduct.

A national survey of nearly 28,000 transgender Americans conducted in 2015 found that 58 percent of respondents had experienced some form of mistreatment by police.

Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement that she believed those police officers in New York continued to harass and abuse transgender people.

“The N.Y.P.D. must commit itself to the true change in practices and policies necessary to address the crisis of violence facing transgender people,” she said. 

Even so, she thanked Mr. O’Neill for his apology.

At the Stonewall Inn, now a national monument, dozens of people were present on Thursday paying homage to the history that had taken place there.

Stacy Lentz, 49, a co-owner of the Stonewall Inn since 2006, called Mr. O’Neill’s remarks a strong first step toward improving relationships between the police and the L.G.B.T. community.

“For the police commissioner to apologize like that — it’s just incredible,” Ms. Lentz said.

But she said there was room for improvement.

“The battle that was started here is not over,” she added. “But today was about visibility, and visibility saves lives.”

Ali Watkins contributed reporting.

December 28, 2018

9pm, Suddenly Parts of NYC Turned Unnatural Blue, People Thought It was A UFO or The 2d Coming

An explosion at a Con Edison substation caused the New York sky to turn blue. Social media users from across the city posted videos of the eerie light, with some fearing an alien invasion.There was a boom; then a hum. The lights flickered. A giant plume of smoke filled the New York City sky around 9:12 p.m., and turned it blue.

The New York Times

 “A sort of unnatural, fluorescent shade of blue,” said Bill San Antonio, 28, who was watching Thursday night from inside a terminal at La Guardia Airport.

“We thought it was a U.F.O.,” said Yiota Androtsakis, a longtime Astoria resident.

Ms. Androtsakis was not the only one. In the earliest moments, hundreds of Twitter users from across the city posted videos of the eerie lights, causing many on social media to fear an alien invasion.
By late Thursday night officials said the event was caused by nothing more than a transformer explosion.

 “No injuries, no fire, no evidence of extraterrestrial activity,” the New York Police Department tweeted, adding later that the explosion was not suspicious. There was one Con Edison employee nearby when the fire started, and the authorities said he was unharmed.

Still, Deputy Inspector Osvaldo Nuñez, the commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, conceded that the episode “was spectacular.”

“You could see it from the precinct, and the precinct is about a half-mile away,” he said. “You felt it in your chest, the explosions, and the night sky turned an electric blue.”
All the excitement caused plenty of problems. Inspector Nuñez said the bright lights and loud bangs caused a surge of 911 calls, with residents reporting explosions and one person calling in a plane crash.

The power went down briefly at La Guardia Airport, forcing a ground stop and causing delays. And the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a tweet that No. 7 train service had been disrupted by the power failures. 

Even the Rikers Island prison complex, which houses about 10,000 inmates, lost power for about 25 minutes, according to a woman who answered the phone at the North Infirmary Command.

“There’s been confusion pretty much from the start,” said Mr. San Antonio, who was waiting to board a flight to Dallas when the power went out at La Guardia. After the power came back on, he got a text message. His flight had been canceled.

Philip O’Brien, a spokesman for Con Edison, at the site of the explosion in Astoria, Queens. La Guardia Airport was briefly shut down when the power went out there.
In a statement on Twitter, Con Edison said there had been “a brief electrical fire” at one of its substations in Astoria, “which involved some electrical transformers and caused a transmission dip in the area.” Mayor Bill de Blasio said the blue light was caused by an electrical surge at the substation.

On Twitter, utility officials apologized to dozens of alarmed customers, saying they were “aware of this situation.” Although power failures were reported in parts of Jackson Heights, the utility said late Thursday that “all power lines serving the area are in service and the system is stable.”
Nonetheless, residents on Thursday night were shaken. Ms. Androtsakis said she heard the “weird noise” even through closed windows; after it ceased, she said, she could still hear it in her ears.

The lights were so bright, she added, that in some places an otherwise dark night was as bright as day.

“It was scary,” said Ms. Androtsakis’s neighbor, Mickey, who declined to give his last name. “It was like something from outer space like we were invaded.” 

Closer to the power plant, Peter Dipietrantonio said he and his girlfriend heard a bang and then saw a “green aura” fill his window. Moments later, he said, he saw people rushing away on the street.

“Once we saw people running, we decided to get out,” he said. His girlfriend, Dana Jefferson, stood on the street, carrying the duffel bag she had quickly packed. “She was ready to go,” he said.

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