Monday Bulletin: Striking Students Settle; A King’s Cake; City Implements Right to Eviction Counsel

The steps of the First Baptist Church at Broadway an 79th Street. Photo by Alfred Szymanski.

January 10, 2022 Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high of 29 degrees.

Our calendar has lots of local events!

The Student Workers of Columbia, the union representing about 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students, has reached a tentative agreement with the university, “ending a 10-week strike that disrupted some classes and strained relations with administrators,” The New York Times reported. “Among other things, the tentative contract includes a 6 percent raise for workers with annual contracts and an increase in hourly wages to $21 from $15. Columbia has also agreed to cover 75 percent of the cost of student workers’ dental insurance and to create a $300,000 emergency fund that workers can tap for out-of-pocket medical expenses.”

The Riverside Park Conservancy’s President and CEO Dan Garodnick is expected to be tapped by Mayor Eric Adams for chairman of the CIty Planning Commission, “which handles land use changes, like major neighborhood rezonings,” according to The Real Deal and Politico. A former City Councilmember, Garodnick has led the Riverside Park Conservancy since 2018. The question now is, who will handle the running of the goats?

New York State’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on January 15th, with more extensions unlikely, THE CITY reported. Just in time has come “full implementation of the Right to Counsel law in every part of the city,” ensuring that every needy tenant facing eviction in the city has a right to a free attorney, funded by the government. “One grateful beneficiary is Barbara Eubanks, a former opera singer and foster mom who lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In 2019, she got an eviction notice from the landlord of the apartment building where she’d been living for more than 40 years….With the help of the free attorneys, Eubanks said she managed to settle her case after 18 months of back-and-forth negotiations. Late last month, she signed a new lease in the same apartment.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an installation showcasing “the Black utopian community that was destroyed in 1857 to make way for Central Park….Seneca Village had the virtue of being located several miles outside the hostile city center, on the western edge of what is now Central Park, between 83rd and 89th Streets. In addition to allowing Black property owners to vote…the new settlement also provided an ideal setting for fugitives from slavery to pause and refresh themselves while moving north on the Underground Railroad. Among the escapees who passed through the city during the Seneca Village period was the strikingly handsome Frederick Douglass, a fugitive from Baltimore who was soon to become one of the greatest orators of his day.”

In France, “the beginning of the year is synonymous with [the] holiday, l’Épiphanie and its traditional Galette des Rois, called King’s Cake in the United States,” Frenchly explained. “The cake symbolizes the gifts the three wise men brought Jesus at his birth. Here is a list of places where you can continue to satisfy your sweet tooth this January and score a delicious galette….On the Upper West Side, Silver Moon Bakery offers two types of Galettes des Rois, traditional frangipane or raspberry. 2740 Broadway (105-106).

One GoFundMe fundraiser has brought in more than $200k for the families of victims in the horrific Bronx fire that killed at least 19. People can give here.

Finally, a lot of people would like to write for the Rag! We got dozens of responses to our call for writers the day after we posted it — and they’re still coming strong. We are going through them all, with enormous excitement and gratitude. Everyone will be contacted. We look forward to new voices and subjects in the Rag in the months to come. If you haven’t already, sign up for our free email newsletter here, and receive the Rag regularly in your inbox.

COLUMNS, NEWS | 7 comments | permalink
    1. Carlos says:

      Last night 60 Minutes had a segment about how many unfilled jobs there are around the country. Are they perfect jobs? Not necessarily. But are there some decent jobs with decent wages? Yes.

      I don’t understand the continuation of programs like the eviction moratorium that were implemented at the start of Covid. At the time, it made sense. Now, people need to get jobs and pay rent. If that job isn’t your dream job in your dream location, such is life.

      I’m a lifelong Democrat who supports social safety nets, but people also need to take responsibility for themselves.

      • Otis says:

        The woman profiled in the article, Barbara Eubanks, has had trouble with her landlord since 2019 – which is BEFORE the pandemic.

        So a lot of people who have long refused to pay their rent are now exploiting these Covid related relief.

        And correct, there’s no excuse for not having a job these days. My employer can’t fill blue collar positions for its operations.

        • Adam says:

          Per the article, Ms. Eubanks’ case had nothing to do with the Covid eviction moratorium. The article highlights her ability to retain free counsel via the Right to Counsel program which helped her negotiate with the landlord where, presumably, a mutually agreement was reached.

          Now it seems that program is being expanded so that more renters in disputes with landlords will have access to counsel.

          Certainly a worthy goal.

      • cpwpj says:

        Re job shortages, especially for blue-collar workers, why can’t we just add 2 + 2? Our city and country are full of hardworking undocumented immigrants, many living here for years, who could fill those jobs immediately. If a fair wage were paid, employers could strengthen their workforces, and businesses. We’ve come to realize that NYC residents, regardless of immigration status, should be allowed to vote in municipal elections. How about inviting them to work for decent wages, and benefits that come with those jobs?

    2. Irate Partisan says:

      About time for that eviction moratorium to end! Ridiculous to let people live rent free for years when there are bills to be paid.

    3. B.B. says:

      Columbia University has deep enough pockets, they just bought former Fairway supermarket site in Harlem.

    4. susan says:

      I’m glad to see the excellent Silver Moon Bakery highlighted here. You should get on the email list for Silver Moon — the featured items are great & the owner, Judith, writes an entertaining newsletter,