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Sen. Chuck Schumer Aims to Deliver Infrastructure Dollars to Help Food Couriers

Louis Menand

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Sen. Chuck Schumer Aims to Deliver Infrastructure Dollars to Help Food Couriers



Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hopes to steer funds from the federal infrastructure bill to build rest areas for New York City’s delivery workers, he announced during a Wednesday ride-along in Harlem with the labor group Los Deliveristas Unidos.
“I’m going to tell them about the Deliveristas,” the Senate majority leader promised regarding his colleagues in Washington. “For instance, they want little kiosks, little shelters where they can rest, go to the bathroom — infrastructure money could be used for that. We’d give it to the city and we’d put pressure on the city to do that.”
He was referring to the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package the Senate passed last month, which includes funds for roads, bridges and more.
Shortly before a group ride down Amsterdam Avenue near City College, Schumer listened as more than a dozen delivery workers described the serious accidents they’ve encountered on the job, from getting hit by cars to crashing their bikes attempting to avoid potholes and oil slicks on city streets.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks with Jonán, a member of Los Deliveristas Unidos, in Harlem.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Workers also talked about their wages, with most saying they rarely made more than $90 to $100 during a 12-hour day — far lower than the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage.
And the largely immigrant workers digested the value of having one of the nation’s most powerful leaders — a fellow New York City cyclist — at their side.
“We’re grateful that the senator reached out to us, and we hope that he learned more about the work, and that he got a feel for how we live day in and day out,” Jonán, a Washington Heights delivery worker whom Schumer accompanied, told THE CITY in Spanish.
“One delivery is not enough to understand the full experience, it’s something you have to do every day to truly feel what we feel,” said Jonán, who asked that his last name be withheld out of fear of retaliation from the apps.
Said Schumer of his two hours with Los Deliveristas Unidos: “This was a whole education, and I want to educate a whole lot of people about them.”
‘Essential’ Workers
Schumer is the latest elected official to respond to pleas from Los Deliveristas Unidos, a group of app-based delivery workers who’ve organized around job conditions.
Last month, the City Council approved a landmark slate of bills, including mandating minimum per-trip payments and a right to use restaurant bathrooms — making New York the first major U.S. city to set such protections for app-based food delivery workers.
Theft of expensive e-bikes and muggings on the job have become increasingly urgent issues, prompting workers to band together for safety, communicating by WhatsApp and keeping an eye on one another as they navigate city streets.
In March, Harlem delivery worker Francisco Villalva Vitinio was fatally shot by a stranger who tried to steal his e-bike, his family told THE CITY. A Queens man was arrested and charged with murder in May.

Delivery workers participating in the ride with Schumer.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Schumer on Wednesday praised delivery workers as “essential.”
“It’s not an easy job. It’s both hard work, and it’s dangerous,” he said. “Sometimes the people don’t treat you very nicely, they don’t even know that they should give you a tip like they give a waiter in a restaurant. So there’s a lot that has to be done to educate the public.”
New York City’s roughly 65,000 food delivery workers earn an average of $7.87 an hour before tips, a survey released last month of more than 500 app-based workers found.
More than 85% of respondents said that app-based delivery work was their main and only job — challenging the portrayal of so-called “gig” work by tech companies such as DoorDash and Uber Eats.
Nearly half said they’ve been in a crash while doing a delivery, according to the survey done by the Workers Justice Project and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Workers who endured injuries on the job were among those who rode with Schumer Wednesday.
Manny Ramírez, a Washington Heights delivery worker, required emergency care when a driver struck him mid-delivery in late September.
Rufino Marcelo has a scar across his left cheek from an accident he suffered on the job four years ago. He shot off of his bike after slipping on an oil slick on the street, and landed face-first on shattered glass on the pavement.
“This is why we are demanding safer roads, to avoid more accidents,” Marcelo, 39, said in Spanish.

Deliverista Rufino Marcelo showed a scar he endured after falling off his bike.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

And 28-year-old Orquídea, who declined to give her last name, said she braved flood waters in The Bronx during Hurricane Ida last month — only to get pennies in return.
“Because of the rain, I only did three deliveries all night,” she said in Spanish. “Each one only paid $4 or $7 dollars.”
Ordering Cheesecake
Following local reforms, the Deliveristas are looking at legislation at the state or federal level.
On the agenda: the federal Protect the Right to Organize, or PRO, Act — a sweeping reform of national labor law that would grant full employment rights to independent contractors nationwide, among other things.
Approved by the House in March, the bill remains in gridlock in the 50-50 split Senate, which needs at least 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.
While elements of the PRO Act found their way into the infrastructure bill, for procedural reasons they are unlikely to survive a process known as budget reconciliation that would enable the package to pass with 51 votes.

Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks to delivery workers in Harlem.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Schumer reiterated his support for the PRO Act in remarks to THE CITY about the deliveristas. “We have to make sure that they can organize. There shouldn’t be barriers in the way of them organizing, and we’re going to look at every different way for them to do that.”
Schumer said that he usually orders delivery directly from restaurants, but that he’s used Grubhub in the past to get food.
“One thing I do order is cheesecake,” he said. “Junior’s cheesecake. It’s my favorite thing.”

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City Hall Rejected Top-Dollar Offer for Bronx Golf Course Over Trump Threats

Louis Menand

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NYC Moves to Turn Trump’s Bronx Golf Course Over to Homeless Shelter Operator



The company that offered the most money to take over the Bronx golf course run by Donald Trump says it wasn’t picked because the city refused its demand to protect it against any lawsuits from the ex-president.
Morningstar Golf & Hospitality LLC, a New Jersey-based outfit, promised the city more than double the amount proposed by the now-defunct team of Bobby Jones Links and CORE, which runs homeless shelters, documents obtained by THE CITY show.
Morningstar’s package would have guaranteed $8.5 million to the city Department of Parks and Recreation over 13 years, versus $3.9 million from the CORE/Bobby Jones partnership.
But Morningstar had one condition it refused to budge on: that the business be shielded from any lawsuit the Trump Organization might bring against the company — a stipulation the city’s legal department wouldn’t agree to, Morningstar CEO Matthew Galvin said.
“I initially asked the city for an indemnification because I don’t want to get pulled into their lawsuit with Trump,” Galvin told THE CITY. “I simply didn’t want to get dragged through the mud between him and the city, and so I’d asked for an indemnification from the city for that. And they indicated they could not give it.”
The Trump Organization sued the city in June to maintain control of the public course, and later threatened Morningstar for its interest in the greens — telling executives they’d “proceed at their own peril,” according to court filings.
Insurrection Cited
The legal fight ignited when Mayor Bill de Blasio moved to boot Trump from the 18-hole course in the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge, citing the then-president’s role in provoking the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
De Blasio has set a Nov. 14 deadline for a management switchover at the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. But Trump’s lawyers insist that even if they lose the legal battle to stay, the former president will maintain control of the operation pending an appeal.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told THE CITY its legal team has “made clear that we will continue to fight vigorously to defend our right to possession and control of the property for the remainder of our 20-year term.”
“Despite the lack of transparency in this flawed process, we have acted professionally and with integrity in absolutely every aspect, which is much more than we can say for some of the elected officials involved,” said the spokesperson, Amanda Miller.

The city wants Trump out by Nov. 14. The former president’s lawyers say he isn’t budging.

John Hanson Pye/Shutterstock

Documents show that Morning Star offered the city a minimum of $500,000 a year, or 15% of earnings, for the first five years of the contract, whichever is higher. The proposal increased the floor to $750,000 annually after five years.
CORE and Bobby Jones Links proposed a $300,000 annual concession fee, or 5% of revenues, whichever was higher. The firm also offered $900,000 for capital improvements.
The contract ultimately approved Oct. 13 by de Blasio’s appointees to the Franchise and Concession Review Committee upped the revenue figure to 7% in the first eight years and rising up to 10% in the final year.
The CORE/Bobby Jones venture also requested indemnification against any legal action by Trump, but did not receive it, documents show.
Parks Defends Deal
Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department, said in a statement that the agency “engaged in lengthy good faith negotiations with both Bobby Jones and Morningstar.”
“However, [Parks] was only able to come to a mutual agreement regarding the terms and conditions of the license with one of these entities, Bobby Jones, by the deadline set by the city to get a new operator,” she added.
Lalor did not respond to Galvin’s contention the Morningstar deal broke down over the lack of an indemnity clause.
Galvin said his firm didn’t “want to spend a million bucks on legal fees” without indemnification, but toured the facility as recently as early September in hopes the city would make an offer anyway.
The city informed Morningstar around Sept. 24 that it was going with Bobby Jones Links and CORE, Galvin said.
The city “called me for the courtesy call to let me know it was not going to be our firm, and that the issue was the indemnity, that that was the primary issue,” he added.

CORE Services Group CEO Jack Brown

CORE Services Group/Facebook

The city published a notice the following Monday stating that CORE and Bobby Jones Links won the bid. But CORE later pulled out of the project after reporting by THE CITY revealed the surprise partnership.
The New York Times later published an investigation revealing that CORE was under city audit for steering city funds to related for-profit security, food service and building maintenance companies — earning its CEO, Jack Brown, a million-dollar annual payday.
A Vow to Outdo Trump
Bobby Jones Links is now going solo on the deal. The firm’s co-founder recently told THE CITY that CORE approached his Atlanta-based firm earlier this year about putting in a bid to take over the Bronx golf course.
The homeless-services provider didn’t have any experience running a golf course, but pitched a joint-venture that would focus its role on local hiring. Bobby Jones Links would operate the golf course, while CORE would work on the clubhouse operation, restaurant concession and facilities maintenance, joint proposal obtained by THE CITY shows.
In a presentation submitted this summer to the Parks Department, the unlikely partners touted CORE’s for-profit entities as key assets, part of a “service model” that “creates job opportunities for clients rather than waiting for them to appear.”
By then, all three of those companies were the subject of the city audit — as well as to orders to CORE to reinvest any profits from the entities into services, a corrective action plan signed between CORE and the city’s Department of Social Services in April 2020 shows.

The Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point rests in the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge.

Spencer T Tucker/Mayoral Photography Office

In September 2021, as Parks was readying to award the golf course to an LLC registered by CORE Services Group head Brown, the city’s Department of Homeless Services ordered him to dissolve or restructure those companies, according to the city and New York Times.
“To ensure CORE’s compliance with city procurement policy, we’ve required a forensic audit, directed a salary study, disapproved their subcontractors, and required them to dissolve or restructure those subs,” Isaac McGinn, a DHS spokesperson, said in a statement.
The directive followed the company’s failure to comply with the corrective action plan, according to DHS.
A spokesperson for CORE said the firm is “exploring the future role of its subsidiaries.”
Last week, Whitney Crouse, founding partner of Bobby Jones Links, said the firm didn’t know of any issues with CORE when it teamed with the homeless service provider on the proposal.
Crouse promised to bring more diversity — and better maintenance — to the Bronx golf course.
“We’re going to spend more on golf maintenance than Donald Trump did,” he told THE CITY.

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Man’s Legs Pinned Between Cars Outside Midtown Hotel After Brake Unlocks: Police

Shannnon Morgan

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Man's Legs Pinned Between Cars Outside Midtown Hotel After Brake Unlocks: Police



A man suffered serious leg injuries in an incident outside a Midtown hotel Sunday after a car’s emergency brake unlocked, police say.

According to the NYPD, the man was attempting to load the trunk of a Porsche parked outside a hotel when the car behind him rolled into him.

The collision happened around 11 a.m. outside Le Meridien Hotel on West 57th Street.

Police say the car rolled into the man after its emergency brake became unlocked, crushing his legs between the two cars.

The man is expected to survive. So far, there’s no word of any criminal charges.

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Anti-Vax Mandate Supporters to Rally Outside Barclays Before Nets Home Opener

Shannnon Morgan

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Anti-Vax Mandate Supporters to Rally Outside Barclays Before Nets Home Opener



The Brooklyn Nets tip off at their home opener Sunday at Barclays Center, but they’ll do so without their star point guard.

Kyrie Irving cannot play until he gets vaccinated against COVID-19, and he says he has no plans to do that. Some New Yorkers are coming to the player’s defense in an afternoon rally outside the arena.

It’s unclear how many supporters are expected to turnout for the 2 p.m. gathering, but organizers say they expect a sizeable crowd. Some of that group will include teachers who are against New York and its vaccine mandate.

Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving has said he loved basketball and isn’t going to retire.

“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is,” Irving said. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”

Irving would have been able to practice with the Nets and play in road games outside New York. The Nets will pay him for those but he is giving up about half of his $35 million salary by missing the home games.

The Nets decided Irving wouldn’t play or practice with the team at all until he could be a full participant. He can’t play home games because of a New York City vaccination mandate.

“Obviously we would love to have Kyrie here, we respect it. We all love Ky. But as far as us, we have a job to do,” Irving’s teammate, James Harden, has said.

About 96% of NBA players have been vaccinated, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. That means that about 20, or less than one per team on average, are not. Anyone working games in proximity to players this season, from referees to stat-crew employees, must be vaccinated by league mandate.

The Nets are championship contenders and Irving said he didn’t want to miss the opportunity he has with them. General manager Sean Marks said the team would gladly welcome Irving back under the right circumstances, and Irving made clear he was going to play again.

“No, I’m not retiring and no I’m not going and leaving this game like this,” Irving said. “There’s still so much more work to do and there still so many other (youngsters) to inspire, because I know they want to be better than me.”

The Brooklyn Nets host the Charlotte Hornets at 4 p.m.

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