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It’s Thursday. At about 8:10 a.m., Mayor de Blasio will appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” where he is expected to announce his plans to enter the 2020 presidential race.
A Democratic club in Iowa has posted an event for Friday that was being billed as Mr. de Blasio’s “first stop on his presidential announcement tour.” The mayor is also scheduled to visit South Carolina, another early primary state, on Saturday.
Weather: Live on the edge and leave the umbrella at home: The chance of showers this morning is slim. The afternoon will be partly sunny and warm, up to the low 70s.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until May 27 (Memorial Day).
Have you ever looked closely at New York City’s official seal?
Those two rodents on the crest are not big rats — though the city is known for those, too — but beavers, whose valuable pelts helped fuel the early fur trade, one of the oldest industries in New York City.
When Henry Hudson explored the region in 1609, he found French traders bartering for furs with Native Americans. As the area became a thriving trading post, beaver and other skins traveled through New York Harbor and to Europe for the creation of hats and coats.
It was the beginning of a centuries-long relationship the city has had with fur, which would be disrupted if the City Council passes a proposed bill to ban fur sales, as San Francisco and Los Angeles have.
Who wants to ban the sale of fur?
For much of the 20th century, perhaps nothing was more emblematic of high style and luxury than fur. Whether draped over the shoulders of Marilyn Monroe or Joe Namath, or a street hustler in the once-seedy Times Square, it was the epitome of glamour.
But now, many animal rights activists are calling attention to what they say are inhumane aspects of the industry.
[A proposed fur ban pits animal rights advocates against a diverse set of opponents.]
Dan Mathews, a senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told The Times that “electrocuting and skinning animals alive for a luxury product is something that just turns people’s stomach, and that’s why it’s going by the wayside.”
The bill was introduced by Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, who called the fur industry brutal in its treatment of animals raised or killed for their pelts.
Is there still a fur industry in New York City?
Yes, but it has declined.
The city’s Fur District, south of Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan, once teemed with manufacturers and dealers. Its sidewalks were busy with rack runners pushing coats.
A few decades ago, 80 percent of the fur coats made domestically came out of New York.
The city still has the largest retail fur market in the country, according to FurNYC, a trade group, which says the 150 remaining fur businesses here create 1,100 jobs and produce $400 million in revenue per year.
Shop owners and manufacturers say a ban would decimate what is left of the industry and its centuries-old tradition in New York.
Who else opposes the fur ban?
Black ministers and Hasidic rabbis.
Before and during a Council hearing on the proposal yesterday, some ministers protested outside City Hall, saying that furs are an essential African-American tradition.
Rabbis also objected, noting that many Hasidic men wear fur hats on the Sabbath.
The Rev. Johnnie Green Jr., the pastor of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, said, “When the activists are more concerned about saving black lives than black minks, let me know.”
Would a city ban apply to wearing fur?
No, and it would not ban the sale of used fur garments and new apparel using fur from older garments.
Photo of the day
A helicopter ended up in the Hudson River yesterday afternoon after it fell short of a landing pad, police and fire officials said. The pilot was removed from the water, and no serious injuries were reported.
From The Times
Just like the subway, public transit for New York’s disabled riders is maddening.
A gay theater and James Baldwin’s New York apartment may get landmark protection.
A Keystone XL-like pipeline has opened a fierce battle over New York’s energy future.
The Met will turn down money from the Sackler family amid the fury over the opioid crisis.
[Want more news from New York and around the region? Check out our full coverage.]
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
The beach is back: A stretch of Rockaway Beach will reopen this summer after being closed to swimmers last year because of erosion. [Curbed N.Y.]
The Staten Island Yankees will again play some games as the Pizza Rats, a marketing ploy that annoyed some Italian fans last year but lifted attendance. [Staten Island Advance]
Texting while crossing the street already carries its own risk. Now some state legislators want to make it illegal. [Gothamist]
Coming up today
Watch the newest “RuPaul’s Drag Race” at Club Cumming in Manhattan. 7 p.m. [Free]
A Q. and A. with Ash Mayfair, the director, writer and producer of “The Third Wife,” a film set in rural Vietnam, at Film Forum in Manhattan. 7 p.m. [$15]
— Vivian Ewing
Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.
And finally: New York is at ‘the top of the world’s bucket list’
Today, the new Statue of Liberty Museum opens on Liberty Island, and Empire Outlets — which calls itself New York City’s first outlet mall — opens near the ferry terminal on Staten Island.
“We call all these things ‘demand generators,’ and they are creating an urgency to visit New York now,” said Chris Heywood, a spokesman for NYC & Company, the city’s tourism marketing agency. “They’re helping to move New York City to the top of the world’s bucket list.”
[Take a tour of the Statue of Liberty’s torch.]
It’s official: Tourism in New York City is off the hook.
Last year, the city had a record high of more than 65 million visitors, the ninth consecutive annual increase. Expect more than 67 million in 2019, Mr. Heywood said.
Roughly 80 percent of the tourists are Americans, but the 20 percent who hail from other countries account for $45 billion in tourist dollars spent in the city last year, Mr. Heywood said.
Foreign tourists tend to stay longer and spend more, he said.
These are the city’s leading sources of foreign tourists:
1. Britain (1.24 million visitors last year)
2. China (1.1 million)
3. Canada (one million)
Mr. Heywood said there were concerns that President Trump’s tough immigration stance and comments about other countries might deter tourism. So, he said, NYC & Company began marketing New York City to Mexico and other countries the president may have alienated.
“Our marketing material doesn’t actually name the president, but we put in language like, ‘Despite what you’ve heard, all are welcome here always,’” he said.
Metropolitan Diary: Cherry blossom special
I was strolling along the Central Park bridle path near the reservoir on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The cherry trees were in full bloom, and the path was crowded with people of all kinds.
Two folk singers who appeared to be in their early 20s were strumming guitars and singing a song of emerging love. They said they had composed it themselves as a reflection of their own relationship.
A gust of wind shook the trees and sent blossoms showering down on the crowd. Children, shouting gleefully, tried to catch the tiny petals.
Amid all the movement and excitement, I noticed an older couple, possibly in their early 90s. The man, wrinkled and thin, was pushing the woman, who seemed even more fragile, in a wheelchair.
I looked at them and smiled. Catching my eye, the man gestured toward the surrounding scene, and then he pointed to the woman.
“This is what makes her happy,” he said.
— Wendy Katkin
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