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THE VILLAGE SUN’s STORY ON MY FIGHT VS GOV CUOMO’s 10 SKYSCRAPERS ON TOP OF PENN STATION: Attended the Humanscale protest to fight irresponsible development that is a giveaway to real estate giant Vornado, instead of truly creating a better Penn Station and transit system for New Yorkers. Penn Station might need to be cleaned, upgraded and the tunnels fixed due to Superstorm Sandy — but it does NOT need luxury monstrosities that do hyper gentrify our District, make rents spike and the area unaffordable. Nor should we demolish entire city streets, existing small businesses, tenants homes or the second oldest Roman Catholic Church. The community needs to come FIRST.


#communitydrivendevelopment #communitycontrol #gateway #demollitionisviolence #VORNADO #sohorezoning #rezoning #irresponsibledevelopment #marniforcouncil2021 #marniforcouncil #marnihalasa #pennsylvaniahotel #racistrezonings #rezonings #MIH


WE NEED CHANGE IN CITY COUNCIL IN 2021: That means we need to re-purpose empty buildings into deeply affordable housing for regular people, save our small businesses and jobs with rent relief and the SBJSA, stop the privatization of public housing by fully-funding NYCHA and take a hard look at luxury development projects that will gentrify and make our district more unaffordable like Cuomo’s Penn15 — which will bring 10 skyscrapers to Penn station.

Read what I said to AM New York about my candidacy.

New York’s unemployment system overwhelmed as coronavirus pandemic shutters businesses across the state

NY Daily News

“I’ve called all the toll-free numbers, which are recordings that redirect you to a main menu or a message saying that all the operators are overloaded now and to call back,” said Lee. “Can’t reach a human to help.”

David Stollings, a sound engineer at a now-shuttered Broadway theater, called the situation “a doozy.”

“I got the site to load once,” said Stollings. “Before this it was just not loading at all.”

Marnia Halasa, a Manhattan-based figure skating coach, said she was also unable to apply and became worried about paying rent.

“What if I have to blow the New York popsicle joint and run back to Ohio to live with my father?,” asked Halasa, who’s lived in the city for 28 years.

It’s not clear how many New Yorkers will be left unemployed due to the pandemic — but Empire Center founder E.J. McMahon said the hit could be worse than the Great Recession of the late 2000s, when roughly 370,000 people lost their jobs in a more than two-year span.

Off the Beat Sports: Sky Rink’s All Stars Team Third in Nation

West View News

In 1969, the twin-rink ice arena called Sky Rink opened its doors to the public at Pier 61. It is one of the three major facilities at Chelsea Piers that has an entire pier to itself.

It was renovated in 1995 and is the only indoor ice arena in Chelsea, and the only one near the Village.

Chelsea Piers’ Vice President of Corporate Communications Erica Bates says that “New York University uses Sky Rink because they never had their own ice rink.” Sky Rink is open seven days a week to Villagers for general skating, figure skating, birthday parties, special events, and adult league ice hockey.

Marni Halasa has coached figure skating at Sky Rink for the past 27 years. She also ran for City Council District 3 against Corey Johnson in 2017 and lost. She explained, “What Chelsea Piers offers us coaches is a unique place for us to work; but we also socialize, we help parents raise children, and we really build long-lasting relationships together. There is an intergenerational thing—where we have tots who are three and four years old, and pre-teens, teenagers, young adults, and older adults all learning to ice skate.”

OPINION: Freeze store evictions until S.B.J.S.A. is OK’d

AMNY Newsletter

A protest, led by Marni Halasa, owner of a family business recently forced to close in Chelsea, was held last week in front of the former Cornelia St. Cafe.

Unlike other protests where customers, joining with shop owners, focus their wrath upon landlords, this one centered on what the demonstrators called City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s failure.

“Cornelia St. Cafe and my own wouldn’t be closed if Johnson had kept his campaign pledge to promote progressive legislation like the Small Business Jobs Survival Act,” she said. “My poster holds Speaker Corey Johnson responsible and spells out why,” Halasa said. “Johnson turned his back on mom-and-pop businesses and the future of the Village by joining the rigging by REBNY’s lobby — creating sham hearings, phony initiatives, worthless bills and useless studies to ensure the status quo for big real estate.

“Under Johnson’s watch, an estimated 18,000 businesses have closed. Yet, with the growing crisis, the speaker continues to do nothing but collude with the Real Estate Board of New York to orchestrate ‘political theater’ and fake proposals that won’t save a single business or job.

Blame Corey: Johnson Jeered For Sitting On Small Business Jobs Survival Act As NYC Shops Go Bust

Labor Press

NEW YORK, N.Y.—About 20 small-business activists marched on City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Chelsea district office Oct. 24, lambasting his failure to enact legislation to protect local businesses from rent increases. 

The Council held a hearing on the bill, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), just over a year ago, in October 2018, but has not taken any action since then. Johnson “hasn’t done a damn thing” to pass it, Marni Halasa, who lost the tiny Ninth Avenue coffee shop she and her husband ran to a rent increase late last year, said at a small rally outside Madison Square Garden. “This is collusion with the real-estate lobby.”

The bill, sponsored by Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) and 27 other Councilmembers, would require landlords to tell commercial tenants 180 days before their lease expires whether they intend to renew it, and if not, to give a legally valid reason why. Tenants would have the right to get a 10-year lease, and could demand arbitration if they believe a rent increase is too much.

Similar measures have been introduced since 1986. Johnson told the 2018 hearing that it was unreasonable not to expect that the bill would be amended.

NYC public housing residents fear privatization of buildings

NY Daily News

His decision to return to his childhood home to care for his ailing mother three years ago could leave Williams Latimore and his two children without a place to live, thanks to management changes at the city’s housing authority.

After his mother died, Latimore, his 10-year-old daughter and his 14-year-old son found themselves living his mother’s Boerum Hill NYCHA apartment even though his name is not on the lease. They now face eviction — even though members of the Latimore family have lived in the building for more than 50 years.

“It’s a very stressful situation,” Latimore said.

The New York City Housing Authority is transferring control of the building on Warren St. to a private company, which Latimore, 53, fears will be less lenient when it comes to the lease.

His predicament is one that many NYCHA tenants fear they’ll face under what Mayor de Blasio has touted as a key tool to saving public housing.

NYCHA residents pack town hall in Chelsea


CHELSEA, Manhattan — The city is going ahead with the plan to create a public/private partnership to fix NYCHA, but one group of residents in Chelsea say they are starting their own fight to keep public housing public.

A group called Fight for NYCHA held a town hall Wednesday night in Chelsea at PS 33, where over 200 people packed the auditorium.

The tenants are opposed to RAD — Rental Assistance Demonstration — a program that turns over management and repairs of public housing to private developers. It has people like Vera Naseva, who lives in the Chelsea Houses, saying “RAD is bad.”

“How else are we coming up with the money? There is no other plan on the table,” said Miguel Acevedo, the Fulton Houses Tenant Association president. Acevedo is for a public/private partnership to fix NYCHA.

The cost to fix NYCHA is estimated to be about $32 billion. Mayor Bill de Blasio has introduced a plan called NYCHA 2.0, which RAD is a big part of, to create a new and improved NYCHA.

Fulton Houses fearful over RAD’ical plan

AMNY Newsletter

Activists and residents have been rallying at the Robert Fulton Houses to demand their voices be heard against the city’s proposed plan to let a private developer build on part of the complex’s land.

Groups at the rally included Fight for NYCHA, Community Control of Land Use, and Not One More Block. Noted civil-rights attorney Norman Siegel also spoke at the protest on Sun., April 28, which drew about 60 people, most them local residents at the Fulton Houses.

The Chelsea public housing development includes 11 buildings between Ninth to Tenth Aves. and W. 16th and 19th Sts.

“How else are we coming up with the money? There is no other plan on the table,” said Miguel Acevedo, the Fulton Houses Tenant Association president. Acevedo is for a public/private partnership to fix NYCHA.

“You can fight back,” Siegel told the Fulton denizens. “You don’t have to accept this,” he said of the city’s plan.

Give us a break! Mom-and-pops to city

AMNY Newsletter

Councilmembers, merchants, restaurateurs and small business advocates recently rallied on the City Hall steps to slam the crushing fees and regulations that they say are making it ever harder for mom-and-pop shops to survive.

Councilmember Mark Gjonaj, chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Small Business, led the Wed., June 26, rally, which was swelled by more than 100 business owners.

The event was punctuated by bilingual chants, including “Wake up, City Hall!” “Salve Nuestra Bodega!” (save our bodegas), “Our Jobs Matter!” and “También Somos Inmigrantes!” (we are also immigrants).

Bronx Councilmember Mark Gjonaj led the rally against burdensome regulations and fees for small businesses.

Gjonaj was first to speak, and mostly addressed the burdensome regulations, taxes, fines and fees put on small business by local government.

“This Is A Revolution,”


La concurrencia en Union Square, plaza central de Manhattan, acoge con vítores la acción de este joven y blanco, dos de las señas de identidad de esta nueva época de protesta racial.

Los rótulos dejan claro que esta es una lucha de siglos, incluso de antes de la fundación de Estados Unidos, que ha cobrado la vitalidad de la sangre nueva.

Los vítores se transforman en un ¡buuuu! cuando cinco policías –cinco– se acercan al escalador y le ponen las esposas.

Uno más en la lista de los miles de detenidos en estas jornadas de agitación. Una lista que no discrimina entre saqueadores y pacíficos (la gran mayoría) que protestan estos días, inspirados por el ideal de combatir la desigualdad social y la brutalidad uniformada contra los negros tras la muerte de George Floyd en Minneapolis.



More than 2,000 demonstrators have been arrested or given summonses but several district attorneys in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx say they will not prosecute those arrested and accused of low level offenses like unlawful assembly or violating the curfew.

For demonstrator Emil Gee, these marches opened his eyes to injustice: “Until this happened, I didn’t engage in a conversation about Black Lives Matter,” Gee said. “How some people who don’t have the privileges and need to get them,” he added.

Many demonstrating were struck by the diversity of the thousands in the crowd.

“It’s multi generational and I think the main thing it’s not just protesting police brutality, but it’s also economic injustice, the ability to have affordable housing,” said Marni Halasa. “It’s a convergence of crises and people want change.”

And to many in the crowd, this is just the beginning of a whole new movement.