Brewer Intros New Bike Legislation
Following last week’s news from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that they will be unleashing a new education and enforcement team for commercial cyclists on the Upper West Side, Council Member Gale Brewer announced that she’s also introducing a new bill to reform the city’s commercial cycling laws at a Council meeting on July 25. Brewer teamed up with Queens Councilman and Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca to craft legislation that will give the DOT more enforcement power over businesses whose delivery cyclists break the law.
“The legislation…will relieve the burden on the NYPD to chase down commercial bicycle scofflaws and grant enforcement responsibilities to the DOT,” said Brewer in the statement. “We are all working together to come up with a new way to educate businesses and delivery cyclists about relevant laws. If businesses and their delivery cyclists don’t know the laws, we will educate them. Once they know the laws, DOT will have discretion to enforce them.”
“I am tired of hearing complaints from every corner of the city about commercial cyclists riding recklessly and with abandon,” said Vacca. “The creation of a civil penalty will give DOT what it needs to enforce the laws on the books.”
Right now, if a business fails to post signage explaining the rules of the road to their cyclists, it’s up to the NYPD to enforce the rule. Vacca’s bill would create a civil penalty up to $100 per violation for breaking the existing laws, and Brewer’s gives a special team of DOT inspectors enforcement power.
Former UWS Officer Remembered
Long time Upper West Siders may remember Det. Vincent Lupinacci as a community affairs officer who truly cared about the neighborhood. Lupinacci retired from the NYPD in 1992 after serving on the force since 1960; he passed away on Friday, July 13 of complications from a series of strokes, according to Sam Katz, the former 20th Precinct Community Council president.
Katz remembered Lupinacci as a “fixture” in the 20th Precinct and noted that he was promoted to the rank of detective in 1988. Current precinct Community Council President Ian Alterman said in an email that Lupinacci was the first police officer he got to know personally, meeting him when he was a teenager at I.S. 44 in the early ’70s. “Although he was no pushover, all the kids loved him,” Alterman recalled. “It may well be that his example (he practiced ‘courtesy, professionalism and respect’ long before it became an NYPD slogan) helped give me a view of the NYPD that ultimately led to my presidency of the Council four decades later.”
Land Mark West! Screens Indie Doc
Upper West Side preservation advocacy group Landmark West! is hosting a screening of the film The Vanishing City on Thursday, July 26 at 6 p.m. The movie takes a critical look at New York’s luxury developments and zoning policies while chronicling the loss of some of the city’s old neighborhoods. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.
At the Macaulay Honors College Screening Room, 35 W. 67th St. Tickets are $15, $10 for Landmark West! members. Space is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 212-496-8110.
Meltzer Publishes Short Story book
Upper West Sider Dan Meltzer has been chronicling the goings-on of his neighborhood for years, and has now has released a book collecting his short fiction, often inspired by real life. The book is entitled Outsiders. Meltzer, who is also a playwright and a journalist, has won O. Henry and Pushcart prizes for his short fiction, and he brings his best work to the collection. The unidentified first-person narrator of many of the stories offers stark observations of a city that many will recognize as one they almost know. The characters could be real New Yorkers—only a touch stranger than reality.
Meltzer says in his author’s note that the stories are all about “individuals who live outside the fold, who can’t or won’t conform to the demands and customs of society. Some thrive; others either seem to get by or they don’t or they just drive those around them crazy, usually thanks to some peculiar need or idiosyncrasy.” The book is available on Lulu.com.
Economic Boom from Same-Sex Marriage
A year after the Marriage Equality Act was enacted, the city estimates that the law has generated $259 million in economic impact and $16 million in direct city revenue. The city issued 8,200 same-sex marriage licenses over the past year, resulting in a boost in the tourism and hospitality industries, as half of those couples held wedding celebrations somewhere in the five boroughs. NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism agency, and the city clerk’s office conducted an economic impact survey that found that over 200,000 guests traveled from outside the city for their same-sex weddings, leading to over 235,000 hotel room bookings.
The news follows the economic predictions many made before marriage equality was passed in the state.
“Marriage equality has made our city more open, inclusive and free—and it has also helped create jobs and support our economy,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement.
“As the legislative sponsor of the Marriage Equality Act, I couldn’t be more proud that so many same-sex couples have taken advantage of their long-awaited right to marry across our great state this past year,” said Upper West Side Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, who married his longtime partner last year in the city.
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