Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • We’re All Exhausted, But Don’t Let that Stop You from Taking Essential Health Precautions Amid a Triple Threat

    Getting vaccinated (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    While COVID-19 has exhausted us, vigilance is critical as RSV and the flu also threaten our health, our loved ones, and our city.

    Last year around the holiday season, many of us were gift shopping and preparing to see loved ones when we were alerted to news about the latest COVID-19 variant, the fast-spreading Omicron. We then had to access the latest information about the ever-evolving threat and reassess some of our plans and approach, trying to keep

  • New York Overpaid $194 Million for Medicaid During the Pandemic, Comptroller Audit Finds

    Then-Gov. Cuomo holds a health care meeting (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor's Office)

    New York State overpaid more than $194 million in Medicaid payments during the pandemic after state officials failed to move eligible recipients to a cheaper funding plan, according to the Office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

    An audit of Medicaid payments from March 2021 to March 2022 found the state Department of Health continued to pay higher premiums to care management organizations even after receiving federal authorization to move some Medicaid recipients to a different plan at a fraction of

  • Fires, Storms, Covid, and Asylum-Seekers: Emergency Spending and the New York City Budget

    Mayor Adams at a City Hall press conference (photo: Violet Mendelsund/Mayor's Office)

    Earlier this year, Mayor Eric Adams pleaded with the federal government for $500 million in emergency funding to address the “humanitarian crisis” of thousands of migrant asylum seekers who have arrived in New York City in the last few months. But despite the clear health and safety risk to thousands of people, who have the right to shelter under New York law, the crisis is not the type of emergency – like the COVID-19 pandemic or

  • Hochul Launches Long-Awaited Covid Response Review, Releases Request for Proposals

    Gov. Hochul discussing COVID-19 (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

    The state is soliciting bids for outside consultants to conduct a long-awaited review of New York's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.

    The governor is seeking a consulting firm that was not involved in the state's response to do a comprehensive assessment of the steps New York took to curtail the virus and develop an action plan to correct response systems for future emergencies. The announcement came two weeks after ...

  • NYC Emergency Management Releases New 5-Year Strategic Plan

    NYC Emergency Management preparing flood prevention (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM), the city agency tasked with emergency planning, coordination, and response, recently released its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, laying the groundwork for the department’s goals, both internal and external, for this and the next four years.

    The second of its kind, the plan aims to improve the city’s preparedness, response, and

  • Hochul Moves Ahead Slowly on Promised Review of New York's Pandemic Response

    Gov. Kathy Hochul (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)

    Governor Kathy Hochul has yet to hire independent consultants, or even solicit contract bids, for a COVID-19 after-action review the administration said in April was already "underway.”

    After having said in March that she told her team to do a full investigation of the state’s pandemic response, in May Hochul said the state would be working with independent consultants to conduct the investigation. Mark Johnson, a spokesperson for State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli,

  • Republican Gubernatorial Primary Debates Rife with Misinformation about 2020 Election, January 6 Insurrection, Covid, and More

    Republican primary debate in race for NY Governor (photo: pool)

    The four Republican candidates running for governor have faced off in three debates ahead of the June 28 primary, each attempting to set themselves apart from the others and from the Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, who they want to replace. But in their appeals to the party faithful, three of the candidates have indulged in misinformation, half-truths, and outright lies about the 2020 presidential election, the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, the covid vaccine, criminal justice reforms in

  • In Response to Covid, Manhattan Borough President Seeks to Mandate Improved Indoor Air Quality Standards

    Manhattan BP Mark Levine (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

    Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine is planning to introduce legislation to mandate improved indoor air quality standards to preempt future disease outbreaks and limit successive waves of COVID-19. 

    Levine, who previously served on the City Council and made a name for himself during the pandemic as chair of the Council’s health committee, is working with Council Member Keith Powers, a fellow Manhattan Democrat, and has requested the Council’s legislative

  • Winning the Public Health Recovery from Covid

    Mayor Adams visits health care workers (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    In its battle against COVID-19, New York City, even under a notably disorganized mayor, arrived at an impressive level of health organization. As may be recalled, Mayor de Blasio switched the lead role in the covid fight to Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital system, from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which retained major responsibilities but not its usual lead position in epidemics. It is to the credit of both agencies that, under this forced and

  • Max Politics Podcast: New York City Economic and Workplace Trends, with Kathryn Wylde


    Opening One Vanderbilt in East Midtown (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    May 11, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: NYC Economic and Workplace Trends, with Kathryn Wylde

    Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City, a business association of the city's largest employers and business leaders, joined the show to discuss economic and workplace trends, the future of work, the health of the city's office sector and central businesses districts, Mayor Adams' leadership, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us

  • Max Politics Podcast: The Future of Lower Manhattan, with Jessica Lappin

    Lower Manhattan (photo: @DowntownNYC)

    May 10, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: The Future of Lower Manhattan, with Jessica Lappin

    Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York and former City Council member, joined the show to discuss the future of Lower Manhattan, including the area's evolution over time, office occupancy, tourism, affordable housing, and more. That includes the work of The Downtown Alliance, which manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District, publishes research, provides services, and advocates on behalf of

  • We Need a Comprehensive Education Plan to Get Our Children Back on Track

    Helping students recover (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    “Have you been reading to your child and teaching them about letters daily? Ever since the pandemic, we have seen a delay in letter recognition and this is a very important skill for kindergarten children.”

    This is what was conveyed to each of us individually when we brought our children to tutors to assess whether they were on track to learn to read. As working mothers who engage with schools on a daily basis, it was very difficult for us to

  • Experts Analyze Future of New York City's Central Business Districts

    At the stock exchange (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on New York City’s core Central Business Districts – particularly Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan – which are home to the businesses and industries that are the biggest drivers of the city’s economy.

    The lockdown and stay-at-home orders forced by the pandemic changed the nature of work in the city and beyond, and though the office sector – including the information, financial and real estate, and professional and business services industries that occupy so much of the space

  • Hochul's Ordered Review of New York's Covid Response 'Underway'

    Then-Gov. Cuomo & then-Lt. Gov. Hochul (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)

    An internal review of New York State's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is quietly "underway," a spokesperson for Governor Kathy Hochul has confirmed, though what stage it is in remains unclear.

    The governor's office has been tight-lipped about its scope and timeline but acknowledged that a review is being discussed, at least among top administration officials, in response to Gotham Gazette inquiries. Those questions followed Gotham Gazette reporting last month on the possibility of an investigatory

  • Divorce Got Easier During Covid; That Shouldn’t Change

    Brooklyn municipal building (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    A few months ago, in my role as a family attorney, I settled a fairly ugly child custody dispute in Queens Family Court. As my client and I debriefed, he asked me, “I probably saved some money with this being entirely online, huh?” I didn’t have to think twice. “Absolutely,” I told him. “At least a thousand dollars.”

    I was underestimating. After I did the math, I estimated that my client saved around $3,750 solely because the case was

  • Will New York Form a Covid Response Review Commission?

    Gov. Cuomo holding a covid briefing (photo: Governor's Office)

    In 2018, a sight-seeing helicopter crashed into the East River near Manhattan's Upper East Side, killing five passengers. A year later it happened again on the roof of a skyscraper in midtown. The pilot died. After the second crash, Senator Chuck Schumer called for the FAA to require helicopters be equipped with "black boxes," like airplanes, so officials could examine what goes on in the cockpit before a wreck and avoid future tragedies.

    Two years after the first recorded COVID-19 deaths in New York, facing the threat of a new strain

  • Turn to Communities to Turn Around New York’s Unprecedented Health Disaster

    Mayor Adams promotes good health (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    New York City and State face unprecedented mass illness--from chronic disease that has been allowed to fester for decades, ongoing endemic COVID-19, and uncountable already existing cases of Long Covid--plus rising overdose rates and emergency illness from drug use, and more. With all this, mass trauma has overtaken whole communities. There will never be sufficient professional personnel, from clinicians to police officers, to contend with this unprecedented

  • ‘We Simply Cannot Predict What This Virus Will Do Next’: Dr. Jay Varma’s Reflections and Warnings on New York City’s Covid War

    Covid vaccination (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    As New York City was in the throes of the initial devastating wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio recruited Dr. Jay Varma to help guide his public health policy.

    Varma, a well-respected international expert on infectious disease control and prevention, became de Blasio’s senior advisor for public health in April 2020, relocating back to New York City from work he was doing abroad and helping to craft public health policy for the city through the end of 2021 and de Blasio’s tenure as

  • What is New York City Doing to Boost Covid Vaccination Where Rates Remain Persistently Low?

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Getting vaccinated (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Uptake of COVID-19 vaccines remains persistently low in pockets of New York City two years into the pandemic, despite being shown to reduce the severity and spread of the virus that has killed nearly 40,000 New Yorkers.

    A city health department study in August found a vast majority of covid-related hospitalizations

  • Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Dave Chokshi on Recent Covid Policy Decisions and His Tenure as NYC Health Commissioner

    NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    March 9, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Dave Chokshi on His Tenure as NYC Health Commissioner

    Outgoing New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi joined the show to discuss the city's latest covid policies, what's next in the city's fight against COVID-19, and to reflect on his nearly two-year tenure as city health commissioner. Dr. Chokshi, who stayed on in the role for the first few months of the Adams administration and is now departing city government as planned in mid-March, explained

  • Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Jay Varma on New York City's Battle with COVID-19

    Dr. Jay Varma (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    March 8, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Jay Varma on the Next Phase of NYC Covid Protections

    Dr. Jay Varma, former senior advisor for public health to Mayor Bill de Blasio and international expert on disease control and prevention, joined the show to discuss his views on what covid protections and restrictions New York City should have in place and what's next in managing the pandemic, as well as reflections on the city's long battle with COVID-19.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what

  • Comptroller Lander Launches Tracker for City Spending of $11 Billion in Federal Pandemic Aid

    Comptroller Brad Lander, standing (photo: Office of New York City Comptroller)

    New York City Comptroller Brad Lander on Tuesday unveiled anonline dashboard tracking how the city is spending and allocating more than $11 billion in federal stimulus funds. Lander pointed to several deficiencies in the city’s accounting of those funds, with unclear links between the source of funding and expenditures

  • California’s Moving to Expand Health Coverage to Immigrants; What About New York?

    ca mov expand

    Health care in New York (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a $2.7 billion expansion to his state’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, in his state budget proposal. This transformative policy would extend to all immigrants, regardless of their status, covering an estimated 700,000 individuals. As California moves forward to expand immigrants’ access to health care,

  • Covid Surge in State Psychiatric Centers Kills Two Patients in January, Hundreds Remain Infected

    rockland psychiatric center main buildings

    Rockland Psychiatric Center (photo: @Acroterion via Wikimedia Commons)

    The winter COVID-19 surge in state-run psychiatric centers has continued, killing two patients in January and with roughly 200 patients still infected as of February 2.

    The facilities, 24 in all, are home to New Yorkers deemed to have severe mental illnesses that require segregation from the community and/or on-site treatment. There are currently 4,400

  • Housing Courts Must Change: Every Tenant Should Have Right to Counsel as Eviction Moratorium Lifts

    (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)

    New York housing (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)

    New York City’s Right to Counsel (RTC) has proven to be successful at stopping evictions and protecting tenants’ rights. Evictions in New York City have plummeted, landlords are suing tenants less, and almost everyone who fights their eviction with an RTC attorney stays in their homes. This has been especially true during the pandemic. Amidst ever-changing laws and complicated government relief programs and administrative orders, RTC has been critical.

    And it’s now even more