Good morning on this defrosting Wednesday.
As they are for many working moms, Diana Limongi Gabriele’s mornings are a scramble.
At her apartment in Astoria, Queens, yesterday, she made breakfast for her family, prepared her 6-year-old for school and then got herself ready for work. At one point, she held her infant daughter to her chest to breast-feed with one hand and checked her phone for updates on a work meeting with the other.
“I have to hand her off soon,” said Ms. Limongi Gabriele, 35, pausing to smile at her daughter. “There are things that I would love to do with her just to bond, a lot of stuff during the week that I can’t do if I’m at work.”
Soon, Ms. Limongi Gabriele won’t have to choose between focusing on her daughter or her job as an assistant at New York University: She is set to be among the first beneficiaries of New York State’s new paid family leave policy, which the governor’s office has called the strongest in the nation.
On Jan. 1, New York joined three other states — California, New Jersey and Rhode Island — in offering some form of paid family leave. New Yorkers are now eligible to take paid time off work to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child; to care for a close relative with a serious health condition; or when a family member is deployed on active military service abroad.
The law offers eight weeks off, paid at 50 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage, with a cap of $652.96 per week. It will phase in over four years, until 2021, when New Yorkers will be allowed to take 12 weeks of paid leave at nearly 70 percent of their average wage. Employers do not pay for the benefit — instead, it’s financed through a 0.126 percent payroll contribution from all New Yorkers.
Ms. Limongi Gabriele is familiar with what unpaid leave feels like.
When her daughter, Sofia, was born in March of last year, she and her husband dipped into their savings and charged necessities like groceries to a credit card so she could stretch her time off work to almost four months.
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend time with my baby,” Ms. Limongi Gabriele said, but the financial instability “kind of had me freaked out.”
Under the new law, parents can take the paid leave any time before their child turns 1, giving Ms. Limongi Gabriele five more weeks with Sofia.
Ms. Limongi Gabriele, who has become an advocate for paid family leave on her blog about motherhood, said she was able to take this second leave only because she would be paid.
“I’m glad that as a society we’re realizing that it’s not only benefiting parents that are having children,” she said. “It goes toward helping build a solid foundation for our children, who are going to be contributing members of society someday.”
Still, the current law is not perfect, Ms. Limongi Gabriele said.
It would be hard for some single parents in New York City to make ends meet, she said, “and what we really need is a national law that covers more people.”
“But it’s meaningful and a move in the right direction,” she said. “Four out of 50 states with paid family leave? Baby steps, I guess.”
Here’s what else is happening:
We’re thawing out.
At this point, anything above freezing is fine by us, and today we’re in luck. The high is a nippy, but not nasty, 40.
Wind gusts this afternoon could make it feel a bit colder, but stay strong. Tomorrow could jump into the 50s.
In the News
• A Brooklyn assemblywoman is facing federal charges of defrauding government agencies, including one scheme where she was said to have falsely claimed Hurricane Sandy relief. [New York Times]
• Detectives identified the suspect in a 1994 rape case in Prospect Park, putting an end to an unsolved crime and some controversy that lingered with it. [New York Times]
• The police commissioner is shaking up the department hierarchy in an effort to further its new neighborhood policing initiative, which aims to increase community outreach. [New York Times]
• The police union is arguing in State Supreme Court that the release of body camera videos to the public violates state law protecting officers’ personnel records from disclosure. [New York Times]
• Gov. Chris Christie delivered his final State of the State address, capping his eight-year tenure as the Republican governor of New Jersey. [New York Times]
• The district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn have ordered prosecutors to no longer request bail in nonviolent misdemeanor cases. [New York Times]
• In “About New York,” the columnist Jim Dwyer describes how the end of a lease and impossible rent demands are causing a stalwart Upper Manhattan restaurant to close its doors. [New York Times]
• After bouncing between foster homes since being removed from a toxic home life, a young woman finds strength in theater. [New York Times]
• A nonunion group, invoking a new city law, says it has enlisted enough members to force restaurants to deduct the workers’ dues and forward the money to the group. [New York Times]
• Is it a fair fee or an unjust charge? Times readers reacted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new admission policy. [New York Times]
• Roughly 16,000 Salvadorans living in New York may face deportation under President Trump’s most recent immigration order. [New York Daily News]
• A tunnel or bridge connecting Long Island to Westchester or Connecticut would cost over $55 billion. [CBS New York]
• A school bus carrying children in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, flipped onto its side in the center of an intersection. [NBC New York]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Beige Mule on the Tracks”
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• Learn some of the basics of American Sign Language at Poe Park Visitor Center in the Bronx. 10:45 a.m. [Free]
• The musician Art Garfunkel presents his book, “What Is It All but Luminous: Notes From an Underground Man,” at Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side. 7 p.m. [Free]
• A screening of “Razzia” kicks off the New York Jewish Film Festival (though Jan. 23) at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. 7:30 p.m. [$25]
• The comedians and former “30 Rock” cast members Scott Adsit and John Lutz perform at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hell’s Kitchen. 8 p.m. [$9]
• Looking ahead: A reading of the musical comedy “Viva Max!” at the Actor’s Temple in Midtown. Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. [Free]
• Bulls at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (MSG). Pistons at Nets, 7:30 p.m. (YES).
• Alternate-side parking remains suspended for snow operations.
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
Electric buses are hitting the streets this week.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is rolling out a pilot program of 10 buses that run entirely on electricity, with the goal of reducing emissions from our city’s fleet.
The vehicles are equipped with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports, and are quieter than traditional gas buses.
They’ll be running on the B32 route between Brooklyn and Queens and on the M42 and M50 routes in Midtown Manhattan.
The buses are another step in our city and state’s mission to tackle climate change — New Yorkers can already feel proud that they live in the state with the lowest per capita energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the nation.
If successful, the M.T.A. said it would order 60 more electric buses and expand the program throughout the city.
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