MAYOR OF NEW ROCHELLE

NOAM BRAMSON

Leadership That’s Working… For All Of Us.

New Rochelle is on a roll, with the lowest crime rate in generations, the best bond rating in 80 years, major new investments in roads, parks and infrastructure, a comprehensive focus on our environment, and the most ambitious downtown development in the city’s history.  Noam Bramson’s progressive, responsible, and effective leadership is working . . . for all of us.

Featured News

Passing the Baton

The new mayor in 2006 and the old(er) mayor in 2022

Today, I am sharing the news with friends and neighbors that I will not be a candidate in next year’s election for Mayor of New Rochelle.  (My decision is also detailed in this press release.)

I make this announcement with a deep sense of gratitude – for the partnership of colleagues in government, for the energy, wisdom, and generosity of supporters, and, above all, for the trust and confidence of the people of New Rochelle. I have never taken these things for granted, and have always worked my hardest to earn the privilege of public office.

And what a great privilege it has been! To shape a community for the better, to help lead its growth and evolution, to give voice to its values, to learn from and share in the lives of its residents – these are rare opportunities, afforded only to a few people. Although every position, including this one, has its frustrations and disappointments, for me the good days have far outnumbered the bad – and every one of those days was made more special by the knowledge that this is my hometown, the place where I grew up, the place where I went to school, the place where I am raising my own children.

When you love a job this much, it’s not easy to leave, so let me explain the reasons for my decision.

First, the major goals I set for myself and our community are either accomplished or well underway.

Our downtown is booming with new growth and vitality; we are making unprecedented investments in infrastructure, parks, and other capital priorities; environmental sustainability has been integrated more fully into our local policy-making; and New Rochelle has been notably successful in securing competitive grants for exciting initiatives like the LINC.

Our progress today is made even more gratifying by the memory of challenges overcome. I assumed office just before the onset of the Great Recession and recall well the years of painful choices when it was difficult to imagine a better tomorrow. Now, far and wide, New Rochelle is viewed as an innovative leader with an exceptionally bright future.

Through it all, we have preserved what is best in our civic character – an inclusive spirit that celebrates diversity and welcomes people of every tradition and circumstance.

To be sure, it will take additional time for the full benefit of our accomplishments to be realized, and I cannot deny that there would be some personal pleasure in remaining mayor for such things as the completion of our downtown plans, the opening of the Echo Bay waterfront, and other initiatives that are still mid-stream.

But this would be a pleasure of observation more than action. To a great degree, the major decisions are already behind us, the foundations already laid, the plans already set, with their own self-sustaining momentum.   Regardless of my continued service, I feel confident that New Rochelle will remain on a positive course, and a new mayor perhaps would be in a better position to establish fresh goals, moving beyond mere completion of the work already underway.

Second, I don’t want to overstay my welcome.

When this term ends, I will have served as mayor for eighteen years, with another ten years prior on the City Council. In all, that’s nearly three decades in local office – the great majority of my adult life.

Since I first joined the Council, a whole new generation of residents with fresh perspectives has grown up or moved in, while many old friends have passed on or moved out. New Rochelle is a different place.

It’s just a fact of political life that people start itching for change after a leader has been in office for a long while. I respect this impulse on the part of voters – periodic change is necessary and healthy – and I shouldn’t impose myself on a community that seems primed for its next chapter.

Third and finally, I am ready for new challenges.

Don’t get me wrong – the work of municipal government could not be more meaningful or engaging. You can see and hear from the people whose problems you have solved. You can visit and touch the physical spaces – the parks and towers and roads – you have changed or wholly created. On rare occasions, you can use the bully pulpit to confront cruelty, or bigotry, or selfishness, and stand up for someone who truly needs a champion. Even the opportunity to officiate weddings, an honor I never expected to have, can be genuinely moving. Everything is tangible and immediate, and you always feel like you’re making a difference.

This is especially true during crises. Think of New Rochelle’s intense experience at the initial center of the COVID outbreak, or the storms that periodically paralyze whole neighborhoods for days on end, or the human tragedies that can, with horrible suddenness, tear apart families and communities.

In these difficult moments, I have done my best to serve New Rochelle calmly and steadily. I have tried to find the right words and take the right steps, offering empathy, decisiveness, advocacy, or just information, as needed, especially when the vulnerable or marginalized have been threatened. I hope this has inspired confidence when confidence has been needed most.

And, yet, even the best responsibilities can wear thin with time and repetition, especially in a position lacking boundaries and perpetually on call. It will be nice once again simply to stand in awe of a great windstorm, without worrying about fallen power lines, or to wake up to the hushed, magical beauty of a snow-draped dawn, without thinking about plows and salt, or even to spend Tuesday evening with my family, instead of a public hearing.

What’s next for me? The short answer is: I don’t know. I plan to take some time in the months ahead to polish up my resume, seek advice from friends, and explore the landscape of possibilities in both the public and private sectors. Being mayor imparts useful skills and experiences, but how they match up with specific opportunities is still to be determined. It’s a little nerve-wracking to be so uncertain of next steps, yet also exciting to find new ways to add a little bit of value to the world. If you have any suggestions, I am all ears!

Although a different elected office is not among the options on my radar right now, I remain deeply committed to our democracy and to the cause of a just, free, and forward-looking society. For all its problems and frustrations, and there are many, politics is still the means through which we improve – or wreck – lives at scale. As a citizen, if not a mayor, I intend to remain active in civic affairs, and I hope those who have supported me will do the same.

To give individual shout-outs in a note like this is risky, because, undoubtedly, I will exclude someone who deserves special recognition, but I would be remiss if I did not mention just a few people: my assistants (now Judge) Eileen Songer McCarthy in my first year as mayor and Angela Derecas Taylor in all the years since; City Managers Charlene Indelicato, Peter Korn, and Chuck Strome, with a fourth City Manager on the way next year; innumerable City Commissioners and other staff, most of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and several with whom I have worked very closely; and 24(!) members of the City Council, representing both parties and every viewpoint, who have been friends, partners, teachers, competitors, adversaries, and sometimes all of the above at once. Not to mention the hundreds of front line workers, first responders, and other city employees who perform the rarely glamorous, occasionally dangerous, and always essential tasks that enable a community to function. Nothing I achieved in office was an individual accomplishment; everything was the product of teamwork.

(The foregoing list doesn’t even include invaluable community partners, colleagues at other levels of government, and the many other people to whom I am indebted in a political or campaign context, and whom I will recognize another day.)

Most importantly, my family.

Jeremy and Owen, who have always been sources of joy and have matured into thoughtful and kind young men. Having a father in the public eye comes with both good and bad, and my sons have taken each in stride, never showing even a hint of entitlement to special treatment. I could not be more proud of them.

And Catie. She has been patient, wise, supportive, tough, and understanding in exactly the right measures, endured with (mostly) good humor the negative comments that come at elected officials, carried an entirely disproportionate share of parenting responsibilities, pursued with great success her own professional career, and demonstrated an unerring instinct for deflating the sometimes swollen ego of her spouse. How very fortunate I am.

Before closing, let me make clear that this is not a good-bye, at least not yet. The current term still runs for more than a year, and I will remain focused on my responsibilities until the last day in office. I am writing now, well in advance of the next election, in order to give prospective candidates and the larger community sufficient time to sort through options, without any last-minute surprises.

Ultimately, it will be for others to judge the quality and effect of my service; often it takes the passage of time to bring a legacy into clear focus, for better or worse. What I can say with certainty is that I will depart office with gratitude and satisfaction, thankful for the greatest privilege of my professional life, and ready with a full heart to pass the baton.

WAG Spotlights New Rochelle

I am flattered to make the cover of the June issue of WAG.  While the framing of the cover article overstates my role in City government, the magazine as a whole shines a very positive spotlight on New Rochelle’s growth and vibrancy, as well as the partnerships and teamwork that have helped our community achieve tremendous progress.  Take a look.

State of the City 2022

It’s not a good idea just yet for us to gather in a big crowd at City Hall for a traditional State of the City Address, so, instead, I recorded a message to report on the opportunities and challenges confronting New Rochelle, and on the progress we have made together as a community.  Please watch a video of the speech or read my remarks.

 

 

Even through the worst of the pandemic, New Rochelle kept making big strides on the essential priorities that will shape our future. When it comes to our economy and our budget, our environment and our neighborhoods, and our commitment to the dignity and worth of all people, we are poised to emerge from the crisis with fresh momentum and a renewed sense of possibility and optimism.  The State of our City is strong.

New Rochelle Updates Downtown Development Plan

The New Rochelle City Council has unanimously approved a significant update to our downtown development plan. These amendments include an extension of the Downtown Overlay Zone (DOZ) to encompass the Echo Bay waterfront, provisions for new open space and parkland, additional housing to meet surging demand, and enhanced requirements/incentives for sustainable building design, green infrastructure, and climate resiliency, including an allowance for offsite improvements that advance environmental justice. The refreshed development framework is bolstered by parallel efforts to expand opportunities for local Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), strengthen New Rochelle’s affordable housing policy, and create new recreational and pedestrian amenities, such as the LINC.

At regional and national conferences, New Rochelle is often cited as a model of intelligent, successful planning.  Our combination of a form-based zoning code, completed environmental review, and master developer for publicly-owned sites has created an ideal regulatory environment that reduces risk, ensures predictability, and requires every project to advance community-based goals and design criteria.  Since the inception of this framework in 2015, New Rochelle has experienced unprecedented economic growth, attracting $2.2 billion in private investment, with thirty-two projects approved, totaling 9.2 million square feet. Six are already completed, with lease-up exceeding 90%, and twelve more are under construction, all within an area that is compact, walkable, transit-served, and highly diverse — exactly the kind of setting in which growth makes the most sense and does the most good.  Ongoing development is also making a positive, and escalating, contribution to City and School District finances.

The amended DOZ will extend New Rochelle’s impressive economic momentum, while guiding the next wave of projects more fully toward principles of environmental and social governance (ESG) — achieving development that is sustainable, equitable, and inclusive, and also creating a powerful magnet for ESG-focused capital.

To be sure, New Rochelle’s redevelopment is still a work in progress: the growing pains of construction are widespread and intense; completion of all the approved projects is years away; and we have not yet experienced the street-level commercial activation that really makes a downtown come alive.  There is much still to do . . . and yet every reason to be confident of our trajectory.

I am grateful for the outstanding teamwork and robust public engagement that made these accomplishments possible, eager to grab hold of the important work still ahead, and optimistic as never before about the future of our city.

Follow our progress at ideallynewrochelle.com.

Huge News: New Ro Receives $12 Million Federal Grant for LINC Project

Big, big news.  New Rochelle has been awarded a $12 million federal grant for the LINC project.

The LINC is among the most significant and transformative initiatives in New Rochelle’s history. By repurposing a portion of Memorial Highway (and its overpass extension to I-95) into a linear park, the LINC will bind together the Lincoln Avenue neighborhood with New Rochelle’s burgeoning downtown — enabling better, safer access to transit and employment, while also creating an expansive new open space and recreational amenity for tens of thousands of residents.  Combining our federal award with State dollars already allocated to the LINC through the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative), the City is now in a position to fully implement this exciting vision.

Memorial Highway in its current form is a classic example of a car-centric planning disaster — a six-lane overbuilt thoroughfare, originally intended to connect the New England Thruway with the Hutchinson River and Cross County Parkways, but instead simply dumping excess traffic into local roads never designed to accept it.  Even worse, it is emblematic of the injustice visited upon many Black and Brown neighborhoods around the country that were either bulldozed or severed from their surroundings by acres of concrete.  The LINC presents a rare opportunity to heal a historic wound and build a better, more equitable future for everyone in New Rochelle.

The federal RAISE program, the source of our grant, is highly-competitive; only a fraction of applications from the entire nation receive awards.  New Rochelle’s win is, therefore, a powerful vote of confidence in the project and in our community.  I am deeply grateful for the leadership of President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg and for the exceptional advocacy of our federal delegation, led by Senator Schumer, who championed New Rochelle’s grant application, with strong support from Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Bowman.

Thank you also to the City’s planning and development team.  Their persistence and hard work were instrumental in New Rochelle putting forward a compelling application and making the best possible case to federal officials.

There’s more about this announcement in the Journal News, and here’s additional information about the LINC.

Build Back Better – New Ro

Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), New Rochelle has been awarded nearly $37 million over two years to address the impacts of the COVID pandemic and “build back better.”  Last night, the City Administration presented a proposed plan of action for utilizing our ARPA allocation.  In addition to complying with the ARPA’s guidelines and restrictions, this plan is also designed to “(1) avoid duplication with Federal, State, and County programming; (2) achieve a whole-of-community, not just governmental, recovery; (3) prioritize one-time expenditures with sustained, long-term impact; and (4) reach for transformative opportunities that might be unattainable without the ARPA’s unique infusion of resources.”  Read the whole plan here, as well as backup documentation related to green infrastructure, social infrastructure, and economic infrastructure.  The City Council will consider this proposal in the context of our 2022 budget.

One Year of COVID – Personal Reflections

Exactly one year ago today, on the morning of March 3, 2020, my cell phone buzzed with a call from a colleague in New York City government.  “What’s up?” I asked.  In a subdued, slightly stunned tone, she delivered the news: a New Rochelle resident, who worked in Manhattan, had tested positive for coronavirus.  Until that moment, the virus had seemed a remote problem.  Suddenly it was here.  In New Rochelle.  And just like that, our little corner of the world changed dramatically . . . with the rest of American soon to follow.

Since then, what was once unimaginable has settled into routine.  We’ve gotten used to keeping our distance and wearing masks, made the shift to virtual meetings and social engagements, and become sophisticated consumers of epidemiological data and public health guidance.  We have even learned to carry on, most of us, in the face of a staggering, soul-crushing death toll: 515,710 and counting, too big to grasp.

So it can be difficult now to recall the chaotic and frightening quality of those first days, when everything was still unfamiliar.  The precautionary quarantine of hundreds of families, the creation of the “containment zone,” the arrival of the National Guard, the shortages of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, the frantic scramble for tests, the swirling uncertainties about schooling, the abrupt closure of businesses, the chilling need for mobile morgues.  Real life playing out like the script of an apocalyptic movie.  And most surreal and improbable of all: playing out here in our own hometown, thrust into the spotlight, the first place in the nation to confront a community outbreak.

This one-year anniversary is prompting many people to take stock.  The following is my small contribution to the larger, communal exercise of sorting out and recording remembrances, as we piece together from our different vantage points the experience and meaning of the past year, and then consider our path forward.  My dominant feeling is one of gratitude for the things we all got right together, but I am compelled to begin first with a critical assessment of what I got wrong.

At the pandemic’s onset, I simultaneously overestimated and underestimated the challenge, showing both too much and too little imagination.

What if essential supply chains break down?  What if there are food riots?  What if the virus sweeps through our essential workforce?  These were the sorts of dark questions that literally kept me awake at night as the crisis began — fears about local civic breakdown that were reinforced by news from beyond our municipal borders, where, for a while, everything seemed to be in free fall: the stock market collapsing, a second great depression looming, hospitals on the cusp of being overwhelmed.  As awful as the past year has been, we can thank goodness none of the worst-case scenarios came to pass.  Civil society held.

But I also figured, in a kind of muddled contradiction, that we’d get back to normal(ish) in a matter of weeks, as the virus somehow burned itself out. The sheer duration of the pandemic — its stubborn persistence, its capacity to alter life fundamentally, for month upon month, stretching now into a year and beyond — was simply beyond my comprehension.

For the most part, these sorts of private misperceptions didn’t manifest in public statements, but there were unfortunate exceptions.  I cringe when I think of a press event that the County Executive and I held on March 5th to urge residents to dine out at local restaurants.  Trying to set an example of confidence in the face of crisis, we gathered around packed tables, all maskless, sharing dishes and conversation, as the cameras rolled.  “If you’re healthy, carry on with your life,” was our basic message.  This advice aged poorly, to put it mildly.

The “containment zone” is another instructive example of policy that looks dubious in hindsight.  It was intended to prevent the virus from spreading out of its presumed toehold in the Wykagyl neighborhood, as though we were dealing with an isolated kitchen fire that could be knocked down with a hand extinguisher.  We know now that there were already some 10,000 other cases in the New York area, circulating without detection, so any measure focused specifically on New Rochelle had no chance whatsoever of success; the fire was already way past the kitchen, raging through the walls and ducts.  Sure enough, within a week, all of our local restrictions were overtaken and exceeded by Statewide standards.

An anecdote I haven’t previously shared illustrates the improvisational quality of those early days and of the “containment zone” in particular.  The State first suggested an area with a two-mile radius.  We pointed out that this would sweep in many institutions quite removed from the presumed outbreak area, a wider net than the State wanted.  Okay, came the response, what about one mile?  Equally arbitrary, but maybe better.  This back-and-forth was up against the clock — with a press conference from the Governor only minutes away.  The City’s planners, who would ordinarily be the right folks for any geographic analysis, were out of the office at an event, so I sat at my desk, with a ruler, a pencil, and a map of New Rochelle, scribbling a rough circle, trying feverishly to figure out what would fall within the new boundary.  Was Ward School in or out?  How about Barnard?  And then time was up.  There was the Governor on TV, announcing the containment zone.  In the hours and days to follow, we would all defend the policy, including me at the City’s own press conference that same afternoon, the most pressure-filled experience of my entire service as Mayor.  I still believe strongly that it was important for those of us in leadership positions to speak with a clear, consistent, confident voice — plus, in fairness, the idea of restricting large gatherings had real merit, and the details got straightened out soon enough.  But at the moment of the announcement, I remember looking down at my ridiculous, crudely-drawn diagram, and thinking: this is nuts.

Fortunately, with time, knowledge, and experience, decision-making improved, and the State and County proved to be focused and effective crisis managers.  I paid frequent visits to the de facto command center at 145 Huguenot Street, where I observed sleepless professionals applying themselves with the utmost intensity to an emergent and expanding challenge of overwhelming dimensions, often surviving, as I semi-joked to a reporter, only on coffee, M&Ms, and adrenaline, and giving the sense, at once alarming and reassuring, that the weight and attention of a fully mobilized government was bent entirely on our little city.  Their early and successful efforts, evident in accomplishments like the quick standing-up of the Glen Island testing center, deserve to be remembered with admiration.

For its part, the City, lacking a public health apparatus, played more of a supporting role, but I think we played it well — public communications that were informative and reassuring, appearances on national and international media that demonstrated competence and resisted the false narrative of New Rochelle as plague ship, guidance for residents sometimes bewildered by fast-changing circumstances and requirements, and constant dialogue with regional authorities and hospital administrators to provide the best understanding of local conditions, as well as advocacy for local needs.

Most importantly, initial errors were counterbalanced by something outside the direction of any individual leader: the character of our community as a whole.  And here is where the story takes a really positive turn.  Not-for-profit agencies extending themselves beyond precedent to address human needs, front-line health care workers and First Responders bearing the brunt of the crisis in heroic fashion, volunteers coming forward in impressive numbers to assist their neighbors, the house of worship at the center of the first outbreak exemplifying courage and moral leadership, developers demonstrating corporate citizenship by making significant financial contributions, entrepreneurs adjusting creatively to every obstacle and opportunity, lawn signs, banners, and ribbons displaying pride and determination.  A wave of civic energy that we are now trying to mobilize on a permanent basis through our Director of Community Engagement, a role created as a result of this crisis.  From the very beginning, I was inspired by and proud of the calm maturity with which the people of New Rochelle faced adversity and rose to the moment, never panicking, never turning on each other, earning in word and deed, when it counted most, the brand and hashtag #NewRoStrong.

New Rochelle’s time as an unusual outlier ended in a matter of weeks, as it became clear that this was no local crisis, and that every community would be impacted.  Eventually, our early distress over a few dozen cases would come to seem almost quaint in a nation with millions of cases.  And by the end of the spring, all of America would embark together on an extended, painful odyssey of ups and downs, the virus waxing and waning, restrictions coming, going, and coming again, against a backdrop of politics and science, social activism and social unrest, with every major sector of society — government, medicine, education, business — undergoing disruptive and still-unfinished changes, some of which may prove permanent.  A year like no other.  But New Rochelle will always have been first, and we can draw some grim satisfaction from the knowledge that we met our test with dignity and common purpose.

Now, today, we all find ourselves in a place much different from where we began — both better and worse.  Better in the sense that the whole infrastructure of virus detection and response is well-established, therapeutic treatments are far more effective, the sheer psychological shock of mass disruption has worn off, and, most importantly, vaccines provide true light at the end of the tunnel.  Worse in the sense that so many families are in mourning, so many businesses and livelihoods have been wrecked, and so many of the divisions and inequalities of American society have been exposed and exacerbated.  This last challenge will demand continuing attention long after the virus is finally tamed, including here in New Rochelle, where the prevalence of COVID shifted from its initial locus in the north end to more densely populated areas in the city’s center and south, a preview of the upsetting racial disparities that impact infection rates, mortality, and now vaccine access and hesitancy.

And yet, looking ahead, I feel confident that New Rochelle will recover well, particularly if we can confront these inequities with honesty and persistence.  Downtown development, a primary focus of municipal policy-making for a generation, kept going strong throughout the pandemic and shows no sign of slowing down.  The new federal Administration is likely to deliver a package of state and local relief, which will stabilize our finances.  And through it all, New Rochelle continued addressing longer-term priorities like environmental sustainability, infrastructure investment, and public safety reform, areas where we are poised to make meaningful progress.  Indeed, to borrow a term from Washington, we have an opportunity to “build back better,” incorporating lessons from our COVID experience into everything from people-oriented design of streets and open spaces, to stronger collaboration between the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, to enhanced standards for inclusive, equitable urban growth.  As a whole, New Rochelle will be alright.

As individuals, however, each of us will process and move on from the past year in different ways, easier or harder depending on the burdens carried, and it’s important to look out for each other.

For me and Catie: we feel lucky that our boys have managed distance learning without much complaint, knowing that this has been such a tough challenge for many families.  We lost Catie’s father during the course of the year (not from COVID) and our grief was compounded, like so many others’, by restrictions that limited Catie from being with him as much as she wanted in his final days, and yet we are also grateful that our mothers made it through without falling ill.  And we are thankful for the nurturing comfort that comes with deep connection to a community.

If you and your family have been fortunate enough to escape the worst of the pandemic, I hope you have acquired through this year a fuller appreciation for life’s blessings.  If you have been touched by loss, then I hope the support and love of friends and neighbors has brought healing.  And if the sheer weight of isolation and uncertainty has been almost too much to bear, then I hope the prospect of better days, now finally in sight, will sustain you until those days come at last.

To help commemorate New Rochelle’s COVID experience and our place in the larger national story, the City invited residents and institutions to submit photos from the past year.  Many of these images are powerful — far more meaningful than any words I can muster — so please take a look at a sampling here.  This video from the Journal News is also well worth viewing.

In addition, Westchester County is sponsoring a remembrance at 11:00am today, followed by a moment of silence at noon, and then a region-wide clap for health care workers at 7:00pm tonight.  Let’s join these observances.

Grief and pride, weariness and determination — a strange blend of emotions, befitting a strange time.  May this pandemic year find its rightful place in lasting memory, and may we together make our way to a new year of recovery, health, love, and joy.

A New Day

I stayed home yesterday to watch the inauguration with my family.  Possibly a mistake, as I found myself repeatedly breaking down in tears, much to the kids’ displeasure and disgust.  At first, they made fun of me, but eventually that got old, and their teasing tapered off into exasperated eye-rolling.  Still, I stand by my emotion!

Beyond the positive new policy direction on climate change, immigration, international engagement, racial justice, and more, and beyond the long-overdue prospect of a competent national COVID strategy, yesterday’s changing of the guard felt more fundamental.  An assertion of decency and kindness and truth — a reaffirmation of faith in democracy — after a dark period in which these core American values were under siege.

Nothing is permanent in politics, and if the last few years have demonstrated anything, it is that liberal democracy is fragile, but perhaps that very knowledge will impel us all to be better custodians of the Republic and better examples to the world.

One notable local connection.  I was delighted to learn that Rev. Leo Jeremiah O’Donovan III, who delivered a beautiful invocation at the beginning of the inaugural ceremony, is a graduate of Iona Prep.  Glad that New Rochelle was represented in this small way at such an important occasion.

It’s a new day for America, with the hope that every new day brings.  Let’s make the most of it.  Good luck, President Biden and Vice President Harris, and thank you.

 

 

NYS Expands Vaccine Eligibility to 65+

Following the issuance of new federal guidelines, Governor Cuomo announced today an expansion of COVID eligibility to include New Yorkers 65 and older.  All other eligible categories remain unchanged from those included in the State’s 1b roll-out yesterday.

Reservations are required.  To schedule your vaccine, visit ny.gov/vaccine or call the State hotline at 833-697-4829.

Vaccinating millions of New Yorkers is an overwhelming logistical challenge, and many residents have experienced obstacles and delays. State authorities have committed to expanding the number of vaccination sites, and we expect that the process will become more efficient over time. But, for now, patience and persistence may be necessary.

Please remember also that this phase of vaccination will extend over several months, so while you should try to make your appointment as soon as possible, the scheduled date of your vaccination might still be a ways off.

The vaccine is safe and effective — and essential to the recovery of our community and nation.  Everyone who is eligible should sign up to receive it.  Please spread the word.

COVID Vaccine Now Available for Educators, First Responders, and People 75+

Educators, First Responders, and seniors 75 and over are now eligible for the COVID vaccine.  A moment ago, I sent the following message citywide, encouraging eligible residents to schedule their vaccination.  It’s vitally important that we all do our part.

(Today’s expansion of vaccine eligibility follows a rocky vaccine roll-out in New Rochelle last week, which I explained more fully in this post from yesterday.)

This is the City of New Rochelle with important information about the COVID vaccine.

Para espanol, oprima numero uno.

Effective today, New York State has authorized the COVID vaccine for all educators and first responders, and for all people over the age of 75. If you are eligible, please register and schedule your vaccine through the State website at ny.gov/vaccine.

The vaccination process will take many weeks, so while you can and should sign up immediately, please understand that your scheduled date to receive the vaccine might still be a ways off.

The COVID vaccine is safe and effective. It’s been studied rigorously by scientific and medical experts, and has already been safely administered to millions of people. Vaccination is the only way for our community and nation to overcome the COVID crisis and recover fully. If you’re eligible, please get your vaccine.

In the meantime, with nearly 900 active cases of COVID in New Rochelle, we all need to continue acting responsibly: wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, and avoid large crowds.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not there yet, and each of us must do the right thing to get to the other side.

Again, visit the State website at ny.gov/vaccine for vaccine information, and you can always visit newrochelleny.com/coronavirus for comprehensive local resources.

This has been Mayor Noam Bramson. Thank you for listening, and stay safe.

UPDATE: As an alternative to online scheduling, beginning at 4:00pm on Monday, January 11, the State will maintain a COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

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