38 THE QUEENS COURIER • WELLNESS • SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
MTA chief wants cops to wear masks on public transit
BY KEVIN DUGGAN
MTA’s chief wants police to be better
at wearing face masks, the transit bigwig
said during a public meeting last week.
“We’re keeping to push the message
Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters
New York Blood Center to host monthlong series of blood drives
BY JULIA MORO
For the 20th anniversary of the attack
on the World Trade Center, the New
York Blood Center (NYBC) is hosting a
monthlong series of blood drives.
Th e NYBC said that on 9/11, New
Yorkers showed up covered in dust to
pop-up donation centers across the city
to donate blood. Now, the NYBC wants
to hold needed blood drives in remembrance
to that time.
“It’s been 20 years since the twin towers
fell and New York will never forget
what happened that day or the lives we
lost. We are so grateful to the community
organizations who have stepped up
for the 20th anniversary — the donations
made today will surely save lives tomorrow,”
said Andrea Cefarelli, senior executive
director at NYBC.
Th e NYBC said this series comes at an
important time, as the blood supply in
New York has dropped in recent weeks.
“Th e region is currently experiencing
a shortage and we need more New
Yorkers to show up for each other
and visit a blood drive near them,”
Blood drives will be held
Tuesday, Sept. 14, from noon to
6 p.m. at 71-01 Parsons Blvd.
in Flushing; on Wednesday,
Sept. 15, from noon to 6
p.m. at 168-02 91st Ave. in
Jamaica; and on Friday,
Sept. 17, from noon to
6 p.m. at the Shops at
Atlas Park in Glendale.
Peter DeLucia Jr.,
the general manager
of the Shops at Atlas
Park, said he is proud
to be involved in the
series to remember the
lives lost in 9/11.
“We are proud to support
the New York Blood Center, New
York State Senator Addabbo
and Councilman Holden and
their eff orts to remember and
honor the 20th anniversary of
Sept. 11,” DeLucia said. “With
over 125 events hosted, Atlas Park
and its shoppers have a long track
record of supporting the community
through its blood drives and we
look forward to continuing to open our
doors to make an impact on the community
Th e NYBC said donating blood is safe
and only takes an hour. Blood centers
won’t accept donations if you are experiencing
a cold, sore throat, respiratory
infection or fl u-like symptoms.
Holden said he is proud to co-sponsor
this blood drive series with Addabbo.
“Donating blood is always important
since blood can’t be synthesized and
there’s no substitute for it,” Holden said.
“But as we refl ect on the anniversary of
9/11, it has a special meaning. What better
way to honor the fi rst responders who
rushed toward the danger that morning
than to give blood and save lives ourselves?
You may very well save the life of
an injured fi rst responder.”
Donors can schedule appointments by
calling 800-933-2566 or visiting nybc.org.
out,” said acting Metropolitan
Transportation Authority chairperson
and CEO Janno Lieber during a public
Sept. 9 meeting of the Permanent
Citizens Advisory Committee (PCAC). “I
would like it if the police themselves were
a little better.”
Th e PCAC, which is the MTA’s rider
advocacy group, held the meeting in a
hybrid format, virtually via Zoom and
in-person at MTA headquarters at 2
Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Th e acting
mass transit leader prefaced his comments
at the public gathering as being
“off the record” — an agreement that
requires consent by all parties — noting
he didn’t want to ruffl e NYPD’s feathers.
“I’m dealing with it. We have to deal
with it in an appropriate manner — can’t
just, you know, get into another huge
fi ght with the NYPD,” he said.
Senior MTA spokesman Tim Minton
said there was an agreement “by those
in the room” with reporters about the
off -the-record nature of his statements.
However, no agreement was given by
participants tuning in via Zoom, including
Th e meeting’s recording is also slated
to be uploaded to YouTube in the future,
according to the PCAC.
“Janno Lieber made a comment that
was agreed by those in the room to be off
the record about his hope that police offi -
cers will join him in wearing masks while
in the transit system,” Minton said in a
statement. “Of course, as he’s said publicly
many times, he expects MTAPD offi -
cers, NYC Transit workers and railroad
employees to wear masks as required
while on duty in public areas, and appreciates
our NYPD partners doing what
they can to help keep New Yorkers safe.”
Th e statements come weeks aft er another
senior MTA offi cial, New York City
Transit Chief Customer Offi cer Sarah
Meyer, pleaded with enforcement offi cers
in the city to wear masks, including the
MTA’s own Police Department.
“We’re going to continue to work with
our partners and ask our friends at MTA
PD, NYPD and other enforcement agencies
to please wear their masks in the system,”
said Meyer at a July 19 committee
meeting. “Th ere’s nothing more important
from my perspective than seeing
Riders have documented police offi cers
repeatedly not wearing masks or wearing
them incorrectly in the subways, including
one cop in Queens who taunted a
straphanger for pointing it out.
MTA followsfederal guidance by
the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention that mandates people wear
masks while riding public transit, and
cops can fi ne New Yorkers without face
“We expect our offi cers to comply with
the requirement that masks are worn
while on trains and in the transit system,”
said NYPD spokesperson Sergeant
Edward Riley in a statement.
Riders overall have been complying
with the mask mandates on subways and
buses, with Lieber attributing the success
to the omnipresent MTA ad campaigns.
“Th ose yellow campaigns were great.
Our ‘how to wear a mask’ campaigns were
great, and it really shows the MTA can do
eff ective marketing,” Lieber said. “Let’s
give people credit. People are complying.
It’s been a long time, being respectful of
each other, most of the time, and we just
need to get through this and encourage
people to comply as much as possible.”
Most recent MTA stats show mask
compliance among subway riders was
87% between Aug. 23 to Sept. 3 and 93%
on the buses from Aug. 9 to 20. Th e fi gures
have been trending back up on both
modes of transit aft er a slight dip during
June and July.
In August, the number of riders ejected
from trains or stations sank to the lowest
level in almost a year, and offi cers doled
out zero fi nes for violations, Th e City
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
An MTA PD offi cer at Grand Central Terminal.