Okay, this really, really seems about as stupid as you can get. The NY State Republican Party has invited Texas Senator Ted Cruz to be the guest of honor at their May 29 annual dinner. This is the same Texas Senator whose very first major act upon entering Congress was to OPPOSE Hurricane Sandy relief funds, calling them "pork." Yes, Ted Cruz said a great big "drop dead" to all the New Yorkers whose homes were destroyed in the hurricane, all the devastation in the Rockaways was just "pork" and New York should just buck up and move on. Our devastated hospitals are just "pork." Ted Cruz voted AGAINST helping New Yorkers in their time of need...though he ALSO is greedily grabbing for the same kind of relief funds to help Texas when it needed help after the West Fertilizer Co explosion (an avoidable disaster basically caused by Republican deregulation of safety standards).
Let that sink in: the invited guest of honor for the NY State Republican Party's annual dinner voted AGAINST Hurricane Sandy aid but wants the same kind of aid for Texas.
Okay, Ted Cruz is a hypocritical scum who hates New York and loves Texas. Fine. He represents Texas so that makes some sense in the selfish, unfair and nasty sort of way Republicans seem to love. But for the NY State Greedy Oil Party to invite someone who blatantly wanted to screw New York after Hurricane Sandy to be their guest of honor at their annual dinner is just beyond stupid. Does the NY State Greedy Oil Party also like Texas better than New York? It sure seems that way.
No one likes it. But it is a MUCH bigger health hazard than most people think, affecting many people without them even realizing it.
And when Hurricane Sandy swept through New York, though my home was barely affected, one of my first thoughts after it passed was about mold.
Having suffered through years of black mold in my apartment (due to leaks and retained moisture) I am very aware of the increasing mold problem in any part of America that isn't bone dry. I never really had to deal with mold when I lived in California. But when I moved to NYC I noticed two things: I got upper respiratory infections a lot more often and I had to deal with mold a lot more.
They may even be linked. Turns out allergies and asthma may to a large degree involve our body's reaction to a substance called "chitin." I wrote about this some years back (here's a fairly recent version). Scientists have found that a lot of allergic and asthma responses involve a large up-regulation of a gene called "chitinase" in our bodies...which makes a protein that breaks down chitin. What does chitin come from? Well, many people will think of insects and related arthropods (including things like bed bugs) all of which are encased in chitin. The "skin" of an insect is made of chitin. In fact people who work in crab or lobster processing plants often get severe allergic reactions that involve up-regulating chitinase. However, molds and other fungi ALSO contain a lot of chitin...and my bet is that the reason why allergies and asthma correlate so well with an up-regulation of chitinase is that the increasing mold problem in our damper cities (including NYC) is causing an increase in upper respiratory responses due to inhalation of mold spores which then become chronic allergies or asthma.
Currently a hypothesis, not proven, but a hypothesis that seems increasingly well supported. In fact, according to a 1999 Mayo Clinic study, nearly all chronic sinus infections (afflicting about 37 million Americans) are a result of mold. Again, discussed in more detail in this article, including a discussion of why asthma hits poorer neighborhoods so hard.
Mold, respiratory infections, allergies, asthma...all somehow connected with chitin as one of the links. I have to say that once I was able to get all the leaks in my apartment fixed and I learned how to best battle mold in my apartment (discussed here), my health has improved immensely. I used to have a chronic cough starting with my first cold of the winter and continuing until the next time I visited California. Literally! Now it doesn't really happen and I strongly suspect the mold in my apartment was the major cause of the chronic cough.
Any homeowner can do a lot to deal with mold, sometimes with help, often without it. Again, I have written the solutions that worked for me here and occasionally post it again as a reminder.
But NYC suffered a massive influx of water during Hurricane Sandy. I wrote at the time that in the aftermath mold would be an issue. It seems that at least some politicians in NYC have had the same idea. Bottom line is, if we all, with help from the government, don't work to prevent mold from taking advantage of the moisture Hurricane Sandy threw at us (and some of that moisture is still inside the walls of many buildings), respiratory infections, allergy and asthma will spike in NYC.
I was reminded of all of this by a press release from City Councilmember Lew Fidler. From Lew Fidler's office:
Councilman Lew Fidler Announces Local Trainings on Mold Remediation… and Calls on the Mayor to Help ALL of the Affected Neighborhoods
Councilman Lew Fidler has received word from the Mayor’s Office that training sessions on mold remediation will be held in our community.
“I applaud the Mayor for finally hearing what our communities have been calling for. Gerritsen Beach suffered tremendously in Hurricane Sandy and mold remediation is a real need for the neighborhood. But, I also must request that he bring these trainings to ALL of the communities that were affected by the storm – including both Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach and Canarsie. My entire District is on the coastline and the water wasn’t choosy about where it decided to come onto land. So thank you, but more is needed. Everyone needs access to this information and these supplies,” said Councilman Fidler.
So far, two trainings have been scheduled locally. Both information and mold remediation supply kits will be provided:
February 4th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM - at Gerritsen Beach Fire Department, 43 Seba Avenue
February 13th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM - at P.S. 277, 2529 Gerritsen Avenue
“Mold remediation has been a real concern from day one,” said Councilman Fidler. “When I held post-storm community meetings, across my District, this was one of the issues that kept getting brought up again and again. We raised it with the City agencies present and we asked them for additional support and I am pleased to see that we are finally receiving it. Mold is a serious long-term health concern and I do not want our community to suffer anymore than it already has. I encourage all of my constituents affected by the storm to attend these meetings.”
For More Information:
Councilman Lew Fidler – (718) 241-9330
I am glad Lew Fidler is on this. I have not heard similar press releases from my local Councilmembers (Levin and Lander) but then again my area didn't get hit so hard. Still, mold WILL still be a problem.
I urge people to pay attention to this issue. Moisture tends to collect and stay within walls for months. When weather gets warmer, mold thrives within the wall. In the worst case scenarios, buildings have had to be condemned because of mold within the walls, sometimes due to one major leak. And many who suffer from chronic allergies, asthma or respiratory infections, may well be suffering partly because of mold in their walls. Pay attention to Lew Fidler's press release and call 311 for more information for what is being done in your area. And for homeowners anywhere, pay attention to my tips for keeping mold at bay. It improved my health!
I have worked at the NYU Medical Center (including Bellevue Hospital and with a 2 year break at the downtown campus) since 1998. And food trucks didn't really play a role. Food CARTS of the standard Halal chicken on rice format were around. AND there was a fruit cart that people LOVED.
Now there is something new. It happened since Hurricane Sandy. Not sure if they are connected, but after Hurricane Sandy the area was somewhat cut off from reliable sources of food and the NYU Medical Center provided food throughout the day for few weeks. No great food, mind you, but at least they provided the residents and employees of the Medical Center with food and water when there wasn't much available. Mostly basic breakfast danishes and lunch/dinner sandwiches. Though some departments (like the one I work for) independently provided additional food and even discussed reimbursements for students and post-docs for food expenses. Not sure the ultimate status of their plans, but I do know some pizza got through to some hungry people thanks to the administration of the department I work for.
Then, shortly after all that ended, food trucks started showing up outside the Medical Center. Now I have seen food trucks in several places near my home in Park Slope, including outside the Key Food near my home as well as at Grand Army Plaza. But I haven't seen them before outside my work at NYU.
Seems they found reason to come here, Sandy related or not, and may be here to stay. I tend to starve myself during my long hours of work (stupid but it has more to do with lack of time than lack of appetite) so I have yet to try them. But I have tried enough food trucks hear where I live to know they are a force to be reckoned with and worth trying even if they tend to be pricier than you'd expect from what, back in Los Angeles, we referred to as "roach coaches." The image has been improved but I suspect the reality is the same. Still, anything that brings a wider of variety of food right to where you live or work is potentially a good thing.
Here is a schedule of the food trucks outside the NYU Medical Center between 30th and 33rd street along 1st Ave. The old style Halal food carts are still there as well. I don't think I have seen the fruit cart recently though they may have moved to 33rd and 2nd Ave (at least in good weather).
The cart schedule in front of the Medical Center is below: I would love to hear from people how they are so that when I actually have some cash on my person I can try them. Cash is short for me these days.
Friday Jan. 25: Hibachi Heaven
Monday Jan. 28: Korilla Korean BBQ
Tuesday Jan. 29: Hibachi Heaven
Wednesday Jan. 30: Go Burger by BLT Burger
Thursday Jan. 31: Munchie Mobile
Friday Feb. 1: Hibachi Heaven
Munchie Moblie: https://twitter.com/MunchieMobileNY
This truck offers a variety of creative variations on the sandwich theme, focusing on three general varieties: burgers, grilled cheese, and chicken. Examples include the Grille alla Vodka, a grilled cheese with mozerella, asiago, parmesean, romano and vodka sauce, and The Magician, a burger with bacon, an onion ring, barbecue sauce and smoked gouda.
Hibachi Heaven: https://twitter.com/hibachiheaven
Available in a wrap or bowl, Hibachi Heaven serves beef, chicken, shrimp, and tofu with fried or brown rice and vegetables, topped off by your choice of three special sauces: Heavenly Ginger Sauce, Yum Yum Sauce, or Wasabi-infused Mayo. Check its Twitter account for the word of the day for a free upgrade.
Korilla Korean BBQ: https://twitter.com/KorillaBBQ
Korilla is consistently rated among the city's top food trucks—find out why on Thursday by trying one of their tacos, burritos, or rice bowls filled with Korean-syle meats like beef bulgogi, braised short ribs and spicy chicken. Don't miss the house-made kimchi and even though "BBQ” is in the name, vegetarian options are also available.
Go Burger by BLT Burger: https://twitter.com/GOBurger
Burgers, milkshakes, and floats are just some of the options you can find in the Go Burger truck. It has an extensive menu with something for everyone, including vegetarian options. If you've been to BLT Burger some of the menu options will be familiar to you, like the burgers, hotdogs, salads, fries, and shakes, all made using fresh and high-quality ingredients.