Guest editorial: A tribute to working New Yorkers

By New York City Mayor Eric Adams

In order to make the world a better and fairer place, first, we agitate, then, we negotiate and finally, we legislate.  We experienced the rewards of this three-pronged approach last week, when I announced that the Adams Administration has provided 1,000 taxi medallion owners and drivers with more than $225 million in taxi medallion debt relief. And we expect to help thousands more.  

Going all the way back to 1907, taxicabs have been a lifeline for this city.  No matter the weather, or the time of day or night, drivers are there for New Yorkers when we need them.  But recently, medallion debt has hit owners and drivers hard, and pushed many to despair.  Men like Kenny Chow, who came to America from Taiwan, and tragically took his own life when he could no longer keep up with payments on the loan for his $750,000 medallion.   

But taxi owners agitated, and found purpose from Kenny and his fellow drivers’ pain. Now, regardless of their original loan amount, over 3,000 owners can have their medallion debt reduced to $170,000 and monthly payments will be capped to $1,234. 

This puts money back in the pockets of these everyday heroes, it puts dinner on the table, it helps them pay their mortgages or for their children’s education.  My administration is committed to providing relief to our taxi medallion owners, and to supporting all working New Yorkers, including the 65,000 deliveristas who bike around town bringing us food from our favorite restaurants.

Relief for NYC taxi drivers: $225 million in medallion debt reduction

New York City is pioneering first-of -their-kind hubs where our food delivery workers can take shelter from inclement weather, rest, and recharge their cellphone or e-bike batteries.  We will be repurposing existing infrastructure, such as unused newsstands, and designing the hubs with input from delivery workers and local communities. 

I worked with Senator Schumer on the hubs program (as well as Taxi Medallion Debt Relief), and $1.1 million in federal grant funds will be allocated to Los Deliveristas Unidos.  This is yet another example of people power, and of the transformations that can happen when working New Yorkers organize.  It’s also a great example of ‘Getting Stuff Done,’ and thinking creatively. 

On Wednesday, October 5th, we said goodbye to one of New York’s best and bravest.  Lt. Alison Russo of the FDNY’s Emergency Medical Services was stabbed in an unprovoked attack near EMS Station 49 in Astoria, Queens. We are forever grateful to her 24 years of service, and along with her family, and her FDNY brothers and sisters, mourn her passing.

Her killer, who has been apprehended, suffers from serious mental illness. Health Commissioner Vasan and I, along with the newly-created Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health, are working hard to make sure vulnerable New Yorkers receive the care they need, and that senseless tragedies like Lt. Russo death never happen again.

Stay strong, New York.  Together, we will build a better future.

© The FilAm 2022

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