This is It's Not You, It's the Subway, the newsletter of OptOut New York, a program of the OptOut Media Foundation led by Samira Asma-Sadeque. OptOut maintains a free news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's available for Apple and Android devices. Find out more about the app at

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Hey there, New York!

I’m OptOut New York Editor Samira Asma-Sadeque, here to bring you the most important New York updates from the best of independent media. Follow along for all things New York: our stories, rants, and GIFs.

Last week marked 10 years after the Sandy Hook, Connecticut, mass shooting that killed 20 elementary school children and six staff members. It’s probably safe to say that those of us who were old enough at the time remember exactly where we were sitting when we heard the news. I wasn’t even living in America and I remember where I was. Ten years on, we’re still hearing cries of elementary school children on the other side of guns.

It didn’t have to be this way.

We’ll take a moment to remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Jessica Rekos, 6
Olivia Engel, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Jesse Lewis, 6
Grace Audrey McDonnell, 7
Noah Pozner, 6
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Emilie Parker, 6
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Daniel Barden, 7
James Mattioli, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jack Pinto, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Victoria Soto, 27
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Mary Sherlach, 56
Rachel Davino, 29
Anne Marie Murphy, 52

'Tis the Union Season

In New York, ‘tis the season of unionizing like never before. We’re just on the heels of a big part-time faculty strike at The New School (which appears to be on the path of a resolution). Meanwhile, an estimated 1,000 New York Times employees held a walkout on Thursday, Dec. 8, to protest management’s refusal to increase the salary floor for employees.

“It's just telling two different stories. When it benefits them, the company is doing awesome, we’re the lone media company doing great. And then when it comes time to actually give the rewards of that success back to the people who created it, they pretend the company's in a dire situation,” NYT correspondent Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs told HELL GATE.

It’s Thursday and Real New Yorkers Don’t Cross a Picket Line to Read the NY Times - Hell Gate
A NYT staffer talks about the historic walkout, and some scab-free links to start your day.
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The strike also included members beyond its journalistic staff, such as security professionals who work to protect the writers inside. THE CITY told their stories:

The Other New York Times Workers On Strike
The newspaper’s IT specialists, security guards and sales coordinators — some of whom earn as little as $52,000 a year — strike alongside reporters for better wages.
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Are you a journalist who covers NYC or New York? If so, apply to join our forthcoming Discord chat community, where you can network with other journalists, discuss solutions for problems in the industry, share your work, and lots more.


who filled the streets and bars of New York to support their community in the world cup? New York City’s Astoria lit up in red smoke and cheers following Morocco’s historic win against Portugal last week.

Even days before Argentina won what some (me) say is one of the most intense World Cup finals ever, New York’s Argentinians knew where to find each other in their moments of suspense and victory alike. A common thread for so many New Yorkers is that we’re transplants from somewhere else, which means we know how to make it our own—whether painting the streets red or finding a cafe that reminds us of where we came from.

HELL GATE documented glimpses of this longing at an Argentinian restaurant in Queens, New York.

In Queens With the Heart Attack Argentina Fandom - Hell Gate
At Boca Juniors restaurant on Queens Boulevard, an anxiety-ridden fanbase finds release during the World Cup semifinal.
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Can you pitch in to help grow our New York program? We're raising money to make this New York newsletter weekly, expand our network of New York-focused outlets, and manage a communications channel for New York journalists. All donations are tax-deductible.

what kinds of cracks do immigrant workers fall through in the construction field? The workers brave some of the most dangerous conditions on the job but remain unprotected, an issue of special concern in New York, where 80% of private construction is done by non-union workers. There have been 24 deaths of construction workers this year, and there were 39 deaths in 2021, up from 29 deaths the year prior.

The decline this year comes amid hopes for a law that would mean criminal penalties for contractors that can’t ensure the safety of workers. Carlos’ Law was named after the 2015 death of immigrant construction worker Carlos Moncayo, DOCUMENTED NY reports.

“We need common sense legislation to prevent more workers from dying—legislation like Carlos’ Law that would lead to real consequences for employers who willfully disregard health and safety laws,” said Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health.

After Construction Worker Falls to His Death, Advocates Pressure Hochul - Documented
Another construction worker fell to his death while Gov. Hochul waits to pass a law that would introduce hefty penalties for worker deaths.
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when is Gov. Kathy Hochul going to enact her campaign promise of reforming the clemency and pardoning process for incarcerated women? Previous administrations have pardoned few women, and under Hochul’s leadership as amidst proposals for a new, much less complicated application process, incarcerated women are hopeful about their pardons. But progress has been slow.

HELL GATE has the story:

Incarcerated Women Wonder When Governor Hochul Will Actually Start Using Her ‘Overhauled’ Pardon System - Hell Gate
The governor hasn’t issued a commutation or a pardon since boasting of major changes this summer.
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where there is a prison population, there is a way for the state to exploit it. Inmates across New York state have been made to do slave labor, more so during the pandemic, which included jobs that are hazardous such as “asbestos abatement” and lead paint removal, according to a recent investigation by THE INTERCEPT.

“Literally the chairs that members of the legislature sit on are made by incarcerated people. When you call the Department of Motor Vehicles, you are talking to someone incarcerated at the Bedford Women’s Facility,” New York Civil Liberties Union senior attorney Lisa Zucker told the publication.

Incarcerated People Forced to Do Dangerous Work for “Slave” Wages at Height of Pandemic
New documents show the extent of the prison labor in New York, including jobs like asbestos removal.
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why is there a chance—a tiny sliver of hope—that something will come of the investigation against the Trump Organization in New York? The Manhattan DA’s office recently brought on a prosecutor who should be able to put up a pretty strong case against Trump.

Watch RING OF FIRE’s commentary on this.

Happy holidays, and stay warm! Remember to support the many unionizing efforts across the city. Because if they don’t win, this guy does.

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Share your story!

A newsletter for New Yorkers is nothing without the voice of New Yorkers. Send us your favorite or annoying New York moment, whether it’s on the subway or with the pigeons or overhearing tourists. We’ll pick our favorite to highlight in the next newsletter. Email!

🗽See you again on the first Tuesday of 2023🗽

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