BY BRONX TIMES
Several violent stabbings on the
A train in Queens and Manhattan
over the weekend prompted the city
to boost NYPD presence in the entire
subway system. It was a long time in
This time last year, the addition
of 500 police offi cers into New York’s
subway system was one of the most
hotly-debated issues in the public theater.
The mayor, police commissioner
and MTA wanted to bring extra cops
into the transit system to help fi ght
crime. Civil rights advocates, however,
argued that more cops would
likely mean more violent, unjustifi ed
confrontations with individuals that
would only infl ame racial injustice
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit
New York City, and suddenly the issue
went to the backburner. Commuters
fl ed the subway system; ridership
was down 90% at the height of the
pandemic before beginning a steady
rebound in the summer.
The MTA launched a disinfection
program that led to the unprecedented
overnight closure of the entire
subway system, interrupting the 24-
hour service the city has come to rely
upon. The closure is being cut by two
hours next week as the MTA prepares
for 24-hour service restoration.
For a city as hard hit socially and
economically as New York, having
a safe public transit system — both
from the virus and from crime — is
essential toward a full recovery. It
will help enable businesses to reopen
and workers to return to their offi ces.
It will also ensure that tourists don’t
rely upon cabs or ride-sharing services
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BRONX TIMES REPORTER, F 12 EB. 19-25, 2021
when they come to visit our city
The MTA’s leadership — including
Chair and CEO Pat Foye and interim
New York City Transit President
Sarah Feinberg — have said as
much in appealing for additional police
in the subways. Mayor Bill de Blasio
agreed during his Tuesday press
Of course, this raises the same
civil rights concerns voiced in the last
year. Will more cops lead to more injustice
The answer, however, isn’t completely
subtracting the NYPD from
the equation. Their presence is essential,
yet they must also perform their
duties without malice or bias.
It behooves the NYPD, in this respect,
to ensure their transit details
receive the most up-to-date training
and protocols — and abide by them.
They should be able to keep our subways
safe without infringing upon
anyone’s civil rights.
And, like the safety of our subways,
their compliance is needed now
more than ever.
From Councilman Mark Gjomaj
BY COUNCILMAN MARK GJONAJ
With the introduction of the
vaccine and continued efforts to
push the threat of COVID-19 to
zero in the city, my office, and
the city more broadly, have undertaken
efforts to vaccinate, test
and protect our borough.
Earlier this week in City Island,
we offered free rapid testing.
Testing, as you know, is essential
to stopping the spread by identifying
those infected, and especially
those that are asymptotic or with
mild, ambiguous symptoms. The
day prior, NYC Health and Hospitals
offered a van for free PCR and
rapid COVID tests on Tremont Avenue.
Tuesday through Sunday of
this week, this mobile testing station
will be moved to the Derosa-
O’Boyle Triangle from 8am to
As of this week, those with underlying
conditions are eligible for
vaccination, per update from the
state vaccination website, which
can be checked at eligible.covid-
ny.gov>. This site can also be used
to schedule appointments. Over
the Valentine’s Day Weekend, veterans
enrolled at the James J. Peter
VAMC center were eligible for
vaccination. The Montefiore-Einstein
system is now offering individual
which can be scheduled at 1-844-
Seniors unable to travel to vaccination
are eligible for a city program
that will provide transportation,
via Access-a-Ride, Ambulate
and Curb taxi service. Seniors,
65 years of age and older, can
call 877-VAX-4NYC or use vaccinefinder.
nyc.gov> to schedule
vaccine center transportation.
I applaud the city for providing
these opportunities to allow our
most vulnerable to be immunized
with ease and safety.
The giveaways have also continued,
with our Valentine’s Day
Weekend giveaway distribution
of f lowers and masks, in partnership
with the Throggs Neck BID,
the Pelham Parkway Association
on a later day, as well as a good
giveaway in cooperation with the
Food Pantry on Cruger Avenue
and Toli Management.
For all else related to COVID-19
PPE giveaways, testing and vaccination
rollouts, call my office at
(718) 931-1721 or at MGjonaj@council
council.nyc.gov>. Thank you, and