NYC: New Laws

There have been some new laws passed in New York City for local residents as of late.  The 185 and 186 went into effect on March 18, 2019 to extend rights of mothers who are nursing in the workplace.  What this means in practice is that employers now have an added responsibility toward working mothers:  the provision of a lactation room.  As well, lactation room accommodation policies must be written out.  These two laws are amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law.

Another new law was put in place in an attempt to help support people on the street who are being searched by the police.  These new laws took place last October via the Right to Know Act. What this means is that before performing a search, a police officer must give the individual a business card and only thereafter ask for permission to perform their search.

The Climate Mobilization Act completed 6 climate mitigation laws.  This predominantly transforms New York’s approach to climate change, and is also known as The Green New York Deal.  The fact is, 70 percent of New York’s carbon footprint is brought about by heating and cooling for buildings.  A third of that comes from 50,000 of the city’s huge skyscrapers.  Thus this bill is requesting that owners of buildings will cut emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Apple Pay and NYC’s MTA

Finally, after around two years of waiting, it seems that this summer will see the rollout of Apple Pay.  it’s been a long time coming but with this new system, MTA users will have their payment method significantly facilitated.  Apple Pay will enable customers to instantly pay their fares by simply tapping their phone/watch.  Known as OMNY, its launch date for Staten Island buses and the 4 5 6 subway Grand Central-42 Street and Atlantic Avenue Barclays Center lines is May 31.  The full system is set to be in place by next year.  

There is a very good chance that Apple Pay will not be the only show in town since New York City’s contactless payment system can also support other phone systems as well as contactless credit cards.

NYC: Industries Generating Income

income

Industries ebb and flow with how they generate income.  The two sectors we will focus on here are: beer and fitness.  They are currently providing New Yorkers with jobs and the economy with wealth.

It seems that beer is good business.  At least in New York.  The industry’s growth has been so impressive that last year a staggering $3.5 billion was generated in “direct economic impact, through beer production, sales and the operation of brewery tasting rooms” according to a report undertaken by John Dunham and Associates (JDA). 

More than the revenue is the job market.  The industry in New York alone is giving 11,000 people jobs, equaling $722 million in salaries.  In fact, it’s estimated that without a trace of the beer industry, 20,000 jobs wouldn’t exist.  Add this to the mix  and the value generated by the beer industry was $5.4 billion for 2018. And that doesn’t even include the $1.1 billion that comes from the purchase of supplies, marketing, sales, etc. It’s a big industry.

Fitness has long been a growing industry.  New Yorkers are not alone in their love of the fitness industry.  In fact sometimes it seems that every other week there is a new class or fitness factory.  Throughout America, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there is at least a 3 to 4 percent annual increase within the industry and around 20% of US adults have a fitness club membership. According to Statista, US consumers are spending $30 billion per year on gym memberships.

Looking into New York’s East Village we find the growth of Crunch Fitness.  The firm opened its doors over three decades ago and since then has expanded significantly.  With an app that syncs with the Apple Watch, over 100 online workouts for those who want to stay home and 25,000 square feet for those who want to actually go to the gym, this seems to be an example of how seriously New Yorkers take their workouts.

Michellene Davis: A Woman of Many Firsts

The 19thThurgood Marshall College Fund’s Annual New Jersey Award of Excellence ceremony was held at the end of March in Belleville, NJ.  Winning an award is good for any business for many reasons: it recognizes excellent work; elevates a company’s reputation; bolsters morale at a firm and sparks supplementary customer interest.  But with this particular award, winners such as RWJBarnabas Health’s Michellene Davis can also take pride in the parallel being made with the award’s founder.  As Davis said:

“This award means so much to me, because Justice Marshall embodied that which the premise of my life’s work is premised upon, such as advocacy, education, justice and civil rights. I am honored that my very small contributions were deemed worthy of this amazing award.”

Michellene Davis is a woman of many firsts.  She was Barnabas Health’s first female (and black) individual to become Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs.  In addition, she was the first ever African American to hold the position of Chief Policy Counsel to New Jersey Governor, Jon Corzine.  

NYC: Budgets and Infrastructure

budgets

With April 1st marking the beginning of a new fiscal year, New York – along with other states – had to have handed their budgets in.  One aspect of this is the permanence of the yearly 2 percent property tax cap will become permanent and $1billion will be added to the education budget.  Another is the creation of the public campaign finance system which is valued at $100 million . 

Regarding transportation and infrastructure issues, Manhattan is about to be subject to a congestion-pricing system.  In addition, taxes on NYC real estate transactions will see an increase.  And “mansion houses” (those that sell for more than $25 million) will be subject to more taxes.

According to chairman of the Regional Plan Association, Scott Rechler:

“If our transit system is the beating heart of our city, then our arteries are severely clogged, Congestion pricing is the right solution at the right time, and it is only fitting that New York City be the first city in the U.S. to incorporate it.”

Much of the budget was focused on earmarking funds for the MTA for New York’s transit system and commuter railroads.

Workers in New York: Fighting for Rights

workers’ rights

It seems Mayor de Blasio wants to fight for more rights for New York City workers, in particular, for paid vacation.  He is attempting to make New York the first US state to “require private businesses to provide time off with pay.”

Some small business owners in the region are not in favor of this, especially given the additional strain the increased minimum wage has put on them.  If the proposal becomes law, business owners would be forced to give their full time employees a minimum of 10 paid vacation days a year; a number that would be pro-rated for part-time employees.  This would be in addition to paid sick leave.

While some business owners would like to do this, they claim it is just not realistic and that the Mayor is not looking out for SME owners to help them “make ends meet.”

Meanwhile around 150 people are set to lose their jobs altogether as AT&T closes its Syracuse call center.  The center is moving to Orange Park, Florida where lower wages will be paid.  According to the Communications Workers of America Union, approximately 50 people have accepted the transfers, leaving 100 without work.  So now union workers are calling upon the Save NY Call Center Jobs Coalition to pass a bill to require NY call center operators to inform the Department of Labor should they move 30 percent or more of their workers out of the state.  Should they still go ahead, they would not be privy to any state benefits for five years.

Role Models for International Women’s Day: Michellene Davis, Christine Stearns and Trish Zita

Just in time for International Women’s Day, three out of the ten people named to the ROI Power List Influencers of 2019 are women! Michellene Davis, Christine Stearns and Trish Zita were recognized for their unique and valuable contributions to the government.

Of these women, Michellene Davis is the only minority woman who was recognized as an Influencer. Michellene Davis is a trailblazer with an impressive list of accomplishments: a noted trial attorney, she created the New Jersey’s Department of the Treasury’s Office of Supplier Diversity and Division of Minority and Women-owned Businesses and was the youngest lottery CEO for the state of New Jersey. Michellene Davis is a public advocate and lobbyist who is also an inspirational speaker.

Christine Stearns is an attorney and healthcare lobbyist who specializes in the healthcare industry. She is an attorney who serves on the board of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice. In 2005, she co-chaired the Governor of New Jersey’s Health Care and Senior Service Policy Group.

Trish Zita is the co-founder of the Kaufman Zita Group and the firm’s managing business partner. A powerful and effective lobbyist, she also represents companies as well as non-profit organizations. She was selected by Governor Phil Murphy to serve on the Environment and Energy Transition Committee and has received several awards for her work.

These three women set an inspiring example of leadership.

Upcoming Conferences

This month and next month there are a variety of conferences and meet-ups in New York.  Here we take a look at three of them:

On March 11th, starting at 8am and continuing until March 12th at 4.30pm, New York’s Grand Hyatt will be home to the Local Online Advertising Conference.  Hosted by Borrell Associates, a whole slew of industry leaders will come together at the largest gathering of local digital media executives. Now in its 10th year, attendees will be privy to top speakers tackle paramount trends within the industry. Note:  the conference is all about local, digital, and advertising. Between 300 and 500 executives attend each year.

A week later the Marriott, Brooklyn Bridge will open its doors to the Responsible Business Summit. With approximately 500 attendees, the two-day event from 18th-19th March is now in its 7th year.  Speakers include: Assistant Secretary General UN Environment, Satya Tripathi, Mayor of Philadelphia James F. Kennedy, CEO of LanzaTech Jennifer Holmgren, President of the SASB Foundation Matthew Welch and more. Supplemental to the summit, participants can take advantage of the Sunrise EC running club led by Ethical Corporation MD Liam Dowd, a mingling of SDG-focused networking, whereby attendees can share ideas, and the Start-up Showcase where one can benefit from innovators to aid in the acceleration of goals and ambitions.

Next month The Spring Investor Summit arrives in New York between April 1 and 2.  This event facilitates the networking of small and microcap firms with high-level, institutional and retail investors. Set in the stunning Essex House, participants can enjoy the conference while looking out at New York’s Central Park! Hailed as “the fastest growing investor conference in the country,” its goal is “to highlight the most compelling publicly traded companies under $5 billion in market cap across all sectors.”  200 companies will present; 1,200 institutional and retail investors will be present and 2,000 one-on-one meetings will be held.   

Getting Around in New York City

Transportation issues in New York City are nothing new.  Parking is horrendous; driving is awful and the subway has never gotten the best rep.  But now a recent report has found that approximately one third of New Yorkers do not even live within walking distance of a subway stop.  Plus, this issue seems to fall overwhelmingly within lower-income concentrated neighborhoods like Brooklyn and northeast Queens.

NYC’s transportation problem is not limited to the subway.  Dockless bike and scooter firm Lime also commissioned a study and its conclusions were similar in that again it is the poorest neighborhoods taking the fall for lack of viable transportation options.  With Lime, Bird has been lobbying officials in the city to improve micromobility.  And Lime is arguing that if e-scooters became legal, this would improve the mobility of 1.5 million New Yorkers, providing them with much better access to local transit.  With a scooter, they could actually be a mere 10 minutes away from subway stations.

There have been some strides though in this area.  In 2018 an endeavor was taken by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to introduce a dockless bike share program in underserved areas via Citi Bike.

And in other transportation news for the city, we are about to witness the end of the MetroCard.  Plans from the MTA include the testing of a new fare payment system, dubbed OMNY – One Metro New York in an effort to enable New Yorkers to “experience all that the region offers.

NYC Stores: From Reality to Virtual and Back Again

Shopping for clothing has never been easier or more choice-oriented.  Do you want to actually go into a real store, or would you like to browse various outfits from the comfort of your couch?  In other words, if you’re in New York (or other fashion capitals around the world) what is your preference:  online or inhouse?

While online American clothing purchases are on the increase (27% in 2018 compared to 20.7% in 2015), these figures still suggest people are choosing to go into a store and try on the clothing.  It seems that figures are increasing but that people still want to actually put on a piece of clothing to see how it looks and feels.

So where is New York in all of this? Well, Black Friday figures for 2018 instore sales dropped by 7 percent with online sales increasing by 24 percent.  Still, evidence is showing that both options are attractive to shoppers and for different reasons. Therefore, the ultimate answer might be  just that; to keep both online and instore clothing stores stocked.  In New York some stores are getting their heads around that concept.

One example of this is direct-to-consumer brand Wardrobe NYC. Originally launched in 2017 exclusively as an online store, the luxury clothing store founded by Christine Centenera and Josh Goot just opened a pop-up in Soho. Its plan is to remain open temporarily – just until March 24 – and will offer customers all three of the brand’s existing collections: Tailored, Sport and Street.  The concept behind the firm’s anti-fast fashion  brand is the production, manufacture and sale of apparel in a streamlined way to simplify choosing everyday clothing.

It seems that according to a recent Forbes article:

“The current consensus in the retail industry is that, despite falling instore sales, 2019 will not mark the death of the physical store. Instead, it will coexist happily with a digital ecosystem.”

It’s time for clothing stores in the world’s fashion capitals to keep abreast of changes and adapt accordingly.