The remnants of torrential rain from Hurricane Ida hit the New York-metro area causing mass flooding. The storm prompts the National Weather Service to issue its first-ever flash flood emergency for the city. Flooding causes the subway system to shut down. In total, 18 people are killed across the city, including several people living in basement apartments which got flooded. The storm causes $50 million in damage to New York. A state of emergency is declared in New York City and officials announce new guidelines for future storms. A 9-year-old boy was killed and 11 other people were injured in a fire in a residential building in Ozone Park, Queens. A Texas law banning most abortions in the state takes effect. The law prohibits abortions once a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus, usually around six weeks and before most women know they’re pregnant. Gregg Leakes, the husband of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes, dies after battling cancer at age 66. The school year begins for the city’s 1.1 million public school students for in-person learning. COVID-19 measures include health and temperature screenings, universal mask wearing, social distancing, enhanced cleaning, the availability of more personal protection equipment (PPEs), ongoing surveillance and diagnostic testing, and new closure and quarantine policies. The West Indian American Day parade is held virtually amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Officials in Syracuse, N.Y. unveil a plan to construct the Harriet Tubman Memorial Freedom Bridge. Comedian and actor Anthony “A.J.” Johnson dies at age 55. Three Denver police officers and two paramedics are indicted on manslaughter and other charges in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who was put into a chokehold and injected with a powerful sedative that killed him. Harlem Assemblywoman Inez Dickens tests positive for COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated. Inspiration4, launched by SpaceX, becomes the first all-civilian spaceflight, carrying a four-person crew on a three-day orbit of the Earth. Celebrities and fans commemorate 25 years since the 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur. The murder reamins unsolved. Actor Michael K. Williams, best known for his role on the television drama series “The Wire,” is found dead in his Brooklyn apartment. Officials confirm Williams died from an accidental drug overdose. A 24-year-old man is found dead in his cell at Rikers Island. The man’s death is the ninth at the jail as advocates and elected officials voice their outrage over conditions and continue their call to close the facility. Former Harlem State Senator Brain Benjamin is sworn in as New York’s lieutenant governor. America commemorates 20 years since the Sept. 11th attacks. President Joe Biden announces a new federal vaccine mandate requiring all employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. The MTV Video Music Awards are held in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Lil Nas X wins the Video of the Year Award for his song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” As COVID-19 vaccine mandates begin to take hold, requests grow for religious exemptions. Pregnant, 31-year-old Shanice Young is fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend, 40-year-old Justin Soriano, in Harlem after her baby shower.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signs the “Less is More” law eliminating New York’s practice of incarcerating people for technical parole violations. Actor, filmmaker and playwright Melvin Van Peebles, known as the “Godfather of Black cinema” dies at age 89.
The African American Day Parade is held virtually for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The disappearance and death of white 22-year-old Gabby Petito of Long Island receives hours of national news coverage and attention. Advocates voice their outrage over the lack of coverage for the number of Black girls missing, including 50 in New York state. At the 74th Tony Awards, Audra McDonald and Leslie Odom Jr. serve as hosts. Winners include Adrienne Warren who wins Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her role as Tina Turner in the musical “Tina” and David Alan Grier in the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play category for his role in “A Soldier’s Play” as Sergeant Vernon C. Waters. New Federal Theatre founding director Woodie King Jr. and theater press agent Irene Gandy are honored with the Excellence in Theater awards. Former political prisoner-of-war and the youngest and final MOVE 9 member to be paroled, Charles “Chucky” Sims-Africa, dies at age 61. Officials unveil a statue at Newark City Hall honoring former Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson, the city’s first Black mayor. A New York State judge lifts a temporary restraining order allowing the city to require all public school teachers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The body of Jelani Day, a 25-year-old Black graduate student from Illinois State University who had been missing since Aug. 25, is found in the Illinois River. Police say his cause of death is unknown, however, Day’s family wants the case investigated further. Singer Kelly Price is reported missing by her family after being released from the hospital for COVID-19. Price’s attorney later clarifies that she was recovering at an undisclosed location. A federal jury finds R&B singer R. Kelly guilty on nine counts including racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and sex trafficking. He’s set for sentencing in May 2022 and faces another trial on child pornography charges in Aug. 2022.
The Metropolitan Opera opens after being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic with Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.” It is the first opera by a Black composer in the Met’s nearly 140-year history. “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina is sentenced to 25 years in prison on terror charges. Jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith dies at age 79. Reps. Jim Cooper and Terri Sewell, U.S. Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty introduce legislation to establish Rosa Parks Day as a federal holiday. Sidra Bell becomes the first Black female choreographer commissioned by The New York City Ballet.