Also: The geography of fitness centers, and what it’s like to be a street food vendor in Mexico City.

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What We’re Following

A Big Apple a day: Inserting the city further into national debates on health care and immigration, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a new guarantee to cover health care costs for the city’s 600,000 uninsured residents, including more than 300,000 undocumented immigrants. The plan, called NYC Care, isn’t a substitute for health insurance. Instead, the city will provide payment for direct comprehensive care, including primary and specialty care, for the uninsured. “This has never been done in the country in a comprehensive way,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Health care isn’t just a right in theory. It must be a right in practice. And we’re doing that here in this city.”

Costs are estimated at about $100 million, though de Blasio says the plan will require no new taxes. He said that money will come from savings generated by reducing the need for public spending in emergency rooms. The New York Times reports that the city’s hospital system has been under severe financial strain, and aides to the mayor told the Times that easing that burden is part of their goal. The move is sure to shape the debate as the state assembly considers its own statewide universal health care bill in Albany. The mayor’s former Republican rival in the 2017 mayoral race, Assembly member Nicole Mallotakis, has already coined a hashtag for it: #deBlasioCare. We’re following along as more details are announced.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Your Fitness Resolution Might Be Easier If You're Rich

The availability of exercise venues reflects broader divides of class and geography.

Richard Florida

Trump Is Grinding the System to a Halt

Thousands of air-traffic controllers and TSA employees continue to work without pay. It’s unfair—and it’s potentially dangerous.

James Fallows

What It’s Like to Be a Street Food Vendor in Mexico City

“Machos don’t like making tortillas, it’s usually only taught to women,” said Margarita Benitez, who has cooked up quesadillas and tlacoyos in the Juarez neighborhood for 40 years.

Feike de Jong and Gustavo Graf

Demise of Les Abattoirs, a Thriving Artists’ Space in Casablanca

Artists in Morocco don’t know why an internationally recognized artists’ venue has been emptied and neglected.

Erika Riley and Ryan Terhune

How the Boston Molasses Disaster Ushered in the Era of Modern Regulation

100 years ago, a massive wave of molasses marked one of the strangest industrial disasters in modern history. It also marked a major moment in U.S. public policy.

Jared Keller


Transit Knitwork

(Sara Weber)

Data visualizations come in all shapes and sizes—and now, stitches. Sara Weber tweeted out this photo of a “rail delay scarf” that her mom knitted last year while commuting in Munich, Germany. Weber’s mother, Claudia, stitched two rows per day with a color-coded system to mark her train delays: Gray means under five minutes, pink between five and 30 minutes, and red means either one trip was delayed over 30 minutes, or there were delays both ways.

Of the six balls of yarn used to knit the portable delay chart, only half were gray. And that big red patch you see? That’s when rails were being replaced over the summer holidays, where the two daily trips took almost two hours each day for six and a half weeks. The scarf is up for auction on eBay, and the proceeds will go to Banhofs Mission, a missionary organization that serve Germany’s train stations.


What We’re Reading

A Florida town grapples with hurricane recovery during the government shutdown (New York Times)

U.S. greenhouse gases spiked in 2018—and it couldn’t happen at a worse time (Washington Post)

How water scarcity brought Juarez and El Paso together as sister cities (Christian Science Monitor)

How an emerging African megacity cut commutes by two hours a day (The Guardian)


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