NYC trata de devolver oportunidades a pequeños negocios

By Ana B. Nieto

Con acordes de música latina que llega de la radio como fondo, Carlos Ventura apura el recorte de la barba de su cliente con detalle y cuidado. Concentrado. Es miércoles, en su negocio La Magia Barbershop y hay una cierta calma a primeras horas de la tarde. “Los fines de semana, a partir del viernes es cuando más gente hay. Trabajamos 12 horas”, explica este dominicano de 31 años cuando ya se ha despedido del meticulosamente rasurado cliente.

A la hora de hablar de su experiencia como inmigrante, dueño de un peqeño negocio en Cypress Hills (Brooklyn) Ventura explica que tuvo que cambiar el toldo y ponerlo más pequeño hace seis meses porque vió las multas que estaban llegando a quienes no lo tenían en regla.

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Amendment to close zoning loophole ‘misses the point wildly,’ says city council committee

By Caroline Splvack

City Council members are pushing to revert a contested zoning amendment that seeks to shrink mechanical voids used to beef up building heights back to the city’s initial, slightly stricter proposal.

The Department of City Planning (DCP) originally set out to cap voids, which have been exploited by developers to dramatically boost mostly residential towers, at 25 feet before those spaces are counted toward a building’s overall footprint and mandate that the voids be 75 feet apart from one another. But after a slew of concerned engineers and architects argued for more space, the City Planning Commission tweaked the amendment to allow for a maximum height of 30 feet—despite a chorus of elected officials and advocates urging for greater restrictions.

City Council members slammed the limited scope of the amendment at a Tuesday zoning and franchises subcommittee hearing, arguing that the city has zeroed in on capping void heights while not doing enough to address other areas that builders can exploit.

“I feel that we have gotten lost in technicality and are losing sight of the big picture here,” said Council member Mark Levine, who represents a stretch of Manhattan’s west side. “This is a battle over height and if you close one technical route to excessive height while leaving several more open, developers are certainly going to divert to the other avenues.”

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Jameela Jamil Says She's 'Not Nervous' to Call Out Celebrities Who Promote Weight Loss Products

By Brianne Tracy

Jameela Jamil isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

Over the past several months, the outspoken Good Place actress, 33, has become known for calling out celebrities — including Kim Kardashian West, Khloé Kardashian and Cardi B — for promoting weight loss teas and appetite-suppressing lollipops to their millions of followers.

“I’m not nervous to call anyone out,” Jamil told PEOPLE ahead of her keynote speech on Saturday at the Create & Cultivate pop up held in Palm Springs, Calif., during weekend one of Coachella.

“I think people are just scared and greedy. I think girls, in particular, are scared because we’re always told to not be unlikable, and not to be difficult, and to be perfect. I would like to, hopefully, be a force of change in that [and] show people that sometimes you have to be scary, and you have to be intimidating, and you have to be bold, and you have to be unlikable in order to protect yourself and to protect other people.”

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UWS Councilman Pushes For Dual-Language Yiddish Program: Report

By Brendan Krisel

A City Councilman representing parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem and Washington Heights is pushing the city to create a secular dual-language Yiddish-English public school program in his district, according to reports.

Mark Levine told the Jewish publication Forward that the dual-language program could be launched at a school in his district by the 2020-2021 school year. The program would be the first of its kind in New York City, Forward reported.

Levine told the publication that meeting with young Jewish activists spurred him to support the program.

"I've been inspired by young activists who are looking to keep this language alive, and keep its literature and theater and culture alive by passing it on to the next generation," Levine told Forward.

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Measles outbreak tests limits of religious freedom in New York City

By Laura Nahmias, Dan Goldberg, and Amanda Eisenberg

A quick fix to New York City’s measles outbreak is proving elusive, and the reasons are as much political as they are medical.

A powerful voting bloc, the ultra-Orthodox community has managed to carve out what is arguably a separate system of city services with their own ambulances, school buses and police. They run their own private schools for which they receive city, state and federal funds.

That insularity coupled with measles outbreaks in Europe and Israel — two popular destinations for Hasidic Jews — made it only a matter of time before the virus spread out of control.

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City Councilman Looks To Ban Sale Of Detox Teas To Minors

New legislation introduced to the City Council is looking to ban the sale of detox teas and appetite suppressors to minors.

Councilman Mark Levine says the so-called “detox teas” are really just laxatives and likened them to “get skinny fast” products.

Several companies that have been advertising the detox products claim they are weight loss supplements that can increase metabolism, improve digestion and boost energy levels. But, the problem is that these products are hardly regulated.

“They are considered food additives and so they aren't under the same intense regulatory oversight that traditional medications or pharmaceuticals would see,” Levine said.

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Yiddish Kindergarten May Be Coming To A New York City Public School Read more:

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Three generations ago, before the Holocaust decimated European Jewry, tens of thousands of students studied at more than a thousand secular Yiddish elementary schools dotted across Eastern Europe.

Today, there is only one secular Yiddish school in the world, and it’s in south Australia.

Next year, that could change, and in a dramatic way: Secular Yiddish education might be coming to a New York City public school.

A member of the New York City Council, Mark Levine, is proposing the creation of a dual-language Yiddish-English program in a New York City public school starting in the fall of 2020. The students would spend half of their day learning in English, and half learning in Yiddish.

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NY City Council bill would ban sale of celebrity-endorsed detox teas to minors

By Morgan Gstalter

Legislation introduced in the New York City Council would ban the sale to minors of detox teas and appetite-suppressant lollipops endorsed on social media by celebrities like the Kardashians.

Councilman Mark Levine introduced the bill to take aim at the sale of teas and similar “get skinny fast” products, NY 1 reported on Thursday.

“We learned about the rising prevalence of these products by social media. Appetite suppressants have been around since the '80s, but it’s really Instagram, celebrity endorsers of no less fame than the Kardashians who have been pushing this,” Levine said.

The legislation would require customers to provide proof of age when purchasing these supplements. Those caught selling detox teas to minors could face a $500 fine, NY 1 reported.

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NYC Councilman Aims to Ban 'Flat Tummy' Tea, Lollipop Sales to Minors

By Jessica Sun

New York City councilman Mark Levine has introduced legislation that would ban the sale of "detox teas" and "flat-tummy" lollipops to anyone under the age of 18. 

Advertisements for detox teas, or "skinny teas," promise they will guarantee near-effortless weightloss and flat stomachs.

Though the products are extremely popular and endorsed by social media influencers and celebrities alike, awareness about the tea's harmful effects is growing. 

Levine, who is also the City Council's health chair, is particularly concerned about detox teas being marketed to young people because they give the impression that "the repeated intake of laxatives is part of a healthy lifestyle," he said. Young girls in particular are especially at risk of body-image issues and eating disorders.

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NYC Legislation Would Curb Detox Tea Industry

By Jen Carlson

Just last year, a giant pink billboard went up in Times Square instructing women to "just have [a lollipop]" when your body desires life-fueling food. The billboard was for Flat Tummy Lollipops, and reached eyes far from the Crossroads of the World. "EVEN TIMES SQUARE IS TELLING WOMEN TO EAT LESS NOW? Have we actually gone mad?" actress Jameela Jamil (maybe you know her as Tahani on The Good Place) tweeted at the time, questioning the dangerous detox-branded diet supplement industry.

S. Bryn Austin, a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health, lauded Jamil for her efforts recently, saying "Jamil has opened the eyes of millions around the globe to the corrupt and deceptive detox tea market. Arguably, she’s done this more efficiently and expeditiously than a quarter century of well-intentioned but utterly unglamorous communications from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)." And her efforts have now reached New York.

According to NY1, Councilman Mark Levine "has introduced legislation to ban the sale of the tea and other similar products to minors after learning about their danger from a staffer whose relative died after consuming them." Under Levine's legislation, the unregulated products wouldn't go away, but purveyors of the product would need to "require proof of ID to purchase the products and impose violations of up to $500 for those caught selling to minors." It's unclear how much Levine's legislation will do to slow down this industry, but it's a step.

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