IT’S OFFICIAL: DIWALI IS NOW A NYC SCHOOL HOLIDAY
CITYWIDE — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL SIGNED LEGISLATION ON TUESDAY, making Diwali a school holiday for New York City public schools. From here on out, public schools in the city will be closed on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Indian calendar each year. More than a billion people worldwide of the Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist faiths observe the festival. “New York City is rich in different religions and cultures, and we’re taking an important step to recognize and celebrate this diversity in the school calendar,” Hochul said in a release.
Diwali holiday’s message is “the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-15 Queens) said in a release.
HORSE ESCAPE FORCES PLANE BACK TO JFK
QUEENS — A TRANSATLANTIC CARGO FLIGHT FROM NEW YORK TO BELGIUM HAD TO turn around and return to JFK Airport on Thursday, reports ABC News, after a horse being transported managed to escape its stall by unknown means. The breakout occurred shortly after takeoff, according to a recording of the air traffic control audio obtained by ABC, forcing the flight crew to dump 20 tons of fuel off the coast of Boston in order to maintain a stable weight while the horse remained loose on the plane until landing. No further difficulties were reported.
“The horse managed to escape its stall. There’s no issue with flying, but we need to go back to New York as we can’t resecure the horse,” the pilot told ATC.
SENATOR PARKER PAYS TRIBUTE TO RUBY BRIDGES TAKING PART IN AAA’S WALK TO SCHOOL DAY
EAST FLATBUSH — STATE SENATOR KEVIN PARKER (D-21) let his feet do the talking on the 63rd anniversary of Ruby Bridges’ walking to school on Nov. 14, 1960, after schools in the South were desegregated. Sen. Parker partnered with AAA Northeast to participate in the Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day this week on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The annual walk, initiated by AAA School Safety Patrollers, was established in 2018 to honor the legacy of Ruby Bridges, a Civil Rights icon who became a symbol of courage and equality on her first day of school. Students from P.S. 198 and P.S. 109, both in East Flatbush, engaged in fruitful dialogue about civil rights and the significance of equality in education.
The Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day, a student-led movement, originated from a question posed by a group of AAA School Safety Patrollers from Martin Elementary in South San Francisco.
DAUGHTER-IN-LAW HEADING TO PRISON FOR RETIREMENT FUND FRAUD
BROOKLYN — THE FAILURE TO REPORT THE DEATH OF A BROOKLYN WOMAN TO RETIREMENT FUND ADMINISTRATORS has landed her daughter-in-law in prison. Sandra Smith, 50, has been sentenced to more than a year in federal prison and ordered to pay full restitution after admitting she stole $459,050 in New York state pension and federal Social Security payments from her deceased mother-in-law’s bank account, according to a report from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The mother-in-law, Minnie Smith, was a longtime Brooklyn resident who had worked for the State Insurance Fund from 1985 until her retirement in 2005. She died in September 2006 after having moved to Florida, but her family did not notify the New York state retirement system or the Social Security Administration (SSA) of her death. Instead, the retirement system received a change of address form purportedly signed and dated by the deceased.
After her mother-in-law died, Sandra Smith kept the bank account open while the retirement system and SSA continued to deposit a total of $264,699 in retirement system payments and $194,351 in Social Security payments until early 2021, when Minnie Smith’s death was discovered.
PLANNED VERRAZZANO BRIDGE FLYOVER SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY AFTERNOON
NEW YORK UPPER BAY — BROOKLYNITES AND STATEN ISLANDERS NEAR THE VERRAZZANO-NARROWS BRIDGE are being advised of a planned Hudson River flyover of two F/A-18 aircraft Thursday afternoon, Nov. 16, around 3:30 p.m. According to a notice distributed Wednesday, Nov. 15, from Notify NYC, the aircraft will fly at approximately 2,500 feet.
The Code of Federal Regulations Title 14, most recently updated on Nov. 3, contains the codified federal laws and regulations that are in effect, as of the date of the publication, concerning aeronautics, air transportation/aviation (including large and small aircraft, such as commercial airplanes, helicopters, balloons and gliders) and space exploration, including areas overseen by the FAA and NASA.
LUNA PARK WINTER FROST FEST LAUNCHES THIS WEEKEND
CONEY ISLAND — LUNA PARK IS KICKING OFF ITS INAUGURAL FROST FEST HOLIDAY celebration this weekend, extending its season for the first time ever with a winter wonderland for guests of all ages. The Saturday opening will be marked by a community Christmas tree lighting along with the park’s usual attractions. Throughout the festival, guests can enjoy ice skating, holiday lights, a winter market featuring local gifts and treats and, of course, Santa’s Workshop, offering opportunities to capture family memories with the big man himself.
Frost Fest’s tree lighting will take place on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 5:15 p.m.; the festival is then set to run through Jan. 7. More information about ride operations can be found on Luna Park’s website.
PARENT ANGER AFTER MAYOR THREATENS GUARD BUDGET CUTS
CITYWIDE – MAYOR ADAMS CAME UNDER FIRE FROM ALL SIDES AFTER the mayor on Tuesday claimed that budget woes forced the city to cut a class of 250 new school safety officers, reports the New York Post, and suggested that parents volunteer for the guard posts instead. Parents and caregivers who spoke to the Post reacted with derision – “turning to parents for help in doing their own jobs!” – and frustration – “I usually don’t even have the time to pick up my kid,” – while union reps said that taxes should be used to pay for safety officer services; Adams has repeatedly claimed that harsh budget cuts would be needed to pay for the increasing costs of housing asylum-seekers and migrants from the southern border as the immigration crisis continues.
The mayor has not yet proposed a concrete plan to solicit parent volunteers, but said City Hall would work with parent groups “to get this done correctly.”
BRIC TO GET $75K IN TOURISM GRANT
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – EMPIRE STATE DEVELOPMENT ON WEDNESDAY announced the awarding of $15 million in funding to support 59 tourism capital improvement and marketing projects across New York state through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Downtown Brooklyn’s BRIC Arts Media was chosen to receive a $75,000 grant to support marketing and promotional activities for its Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, a 45-year crowd favorite summer music and performing arts concert series, attended by more than 250,000 people annually.
Celebrate Brooklyn’s 2024 lineup has not been announced yet; the 2023 setlist featured two months of performers every weekend at Prospect Park’s Lena Horne Bandshell.
NEW SUNSET PARK LIBRARY AND APARTMENTS MARKS FIRST-OF-KIND MODEL FOR DEVELOPMENT
SUNSET PARK — A RIBBON-CUTTING FOR THE NEW SUNSET PARK LIBRARY AND APARTMENTS CELEBRATED A FIRST-OF-A-KIND DEVELOPMENT MODEL IN NEW YORK CITY. Leaders from the Brooklyn Public Library and the Fifth Avenue Committee joined local and state elected officials for the Wednesday, Nov. 15 ceremony opening the complex, the first of its kind, which has created 100 percent affordable housing paired with new and expanded public library facilities. Part of an innovative partnership between the Brooklyn Public Library and the Fifth Avenue Committee, this building contains over 50,000 square feet of residential space ranging from one to three-bedroom units for several income levels. Eight units have a Section 8 subsidy, and nine are for formerly homeless households.
The new library features the largest dedicated space for teens of any library in the borough, as well as a community program room available for scheduled community functions both during and outside of library hours.
‘TEENSPACE’ OFFERS FREE THERAPY FOR YOUTHS VIA ONLINE PLATFORM
CITYWIDE — YOUTHS IN NEED OF MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY WILL NOW BE ABLE TO AVAIL THEMSELVES OF “TEENSPACE,” Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan announced on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The “TeenSpace” service, which the city and the digital therapy platform TalkSpace designed with input from NYC teenagers, is available at no cost to youths ages 13-17 and will allow them to connect with a licensed therapist through phone, video, and text.
As levels of anxiety and depression among youth and teenagers have risen during and since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this new program will help connect teens with appropriate support and referrals to more care if needed.
CITY OFFICIALS CELEBRATE PLAYGROUND’S RECONSTRUCTION
OCEAN HILL/BROWNSVILLE — A CEREMONY TO OFFICIALLY MARK THE FULL RECONSTRUCTION OF CALLAHAN-KELLY PLAYGROUND in Ocean Hill-Brownsville will take place on Thursday morning, Nov. 16. The NYC Parks Department has transformed an entire street that sits adjacent to the Broadway Junction subway hub, turning it into a vibrant Greenspace and installing new amenities as part of a major $21.6 million park redesign. The reconstructed 3-acre playground features new dog runs, upgraded fitness and sports equipment, children’s play structures, two new dog runs, as well as the landscape improvements. The project received funding through the East New York Neighborhood Plan, and the Office of the Mayor. The park is named for two U.S. soldiers who were killed in combat during World War I: William E. Callahan (whose home was at nearby 98 Hinsdale Street) and Edward E. Kelly (who resided on Herkimer Street).
The Brooklyn Eagle covered the renovation process from groundbreaking: Read more here.
BISHOPS ELECT TWO BROOKLYNITES TO CHAIR COMMITTEES PROSPECT HEIGHTS AND NATIONWIDE — TWO PRELATES FROM
THE DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN HAVE BEEN ELECTED TO PROMINENT LEAD COMMITTEES within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), according to that legislative body and to the Tablet diocesan newspaper. The USCCB, convening this week in Baltimore for its annual Fall Plenary Assembly on Tuesday, Nov. 14, elected Brooklyn Diocesan Bishop Robert Brennan as chairman-elect of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. This committee is tasked with bringing different cultures, races and communities “into fuller participation in the faith, life, and evangelizing mission of the Church,” according to its mandate. Likewise, Auxiliary Bishop James Massa was elected as chairman-elect of the Committee on Doctrine, which is in charge of “providing expertise and guidance concerning theological and moral issues that confront the Church in the United States.”
Brennan and Massa will each serve as chairman-elect for the next year and then take over as chairman of their respective committees next November, following the 2024 USCCB general assembly.