December 2, 2020

Hi. I’m Noel Hidalgo and am the cofounder of BetaNYC. This month, I’m going to tell you a personal story that guides me on how I look at leadership within BetaNYC’s activities.

If you ask me how I’m doing, I will say, “Ok. I miss my family dearly, but I have hope.”

In the summer of 2008, I was a New York City yellow cab driver in the morning and part-time project manager at night. I could barely pay my rent, buy food, or spend time with my friends. On September 11, 2008, I was laid off from the project manager bit and spent the rest of that year begging for freelance jobs to buy food. 

Click here to continue reading Noel's message and about his hope for the future on BetaNYC...

Recent News

NYC Open Data Week 2021 is ON! The CALL FOR PROPOSALS is now open.

It's our favorite week of the year — we can't wait to host NYC Open Data Week again with the Mayor's Office of Data Analytics and Data Through Design. This year we are helping produce the week long event and in it, bringing you Home School of Data— a rendition of our annual conference. With your help, the week will be stacked with virtual events, workshops and fun activities (and fingers crossed, some socially distanced outdoors events!) celebrating the open data law and spreading community lessons on government, technology and design. Join us!

Got a great idea for an open data event? We're looking for organizers! Our call for proposals is open through Jan 7. Submit your ideas for workshops, demos, talks, mapathons, activities, and other creative ways to engage New Yorkers in open data.
Learn more at and submit your proposal here by Jan 7, 2021.

We need your support! Join BetaNYC's 20$21 campaign.

On Giving Tuesday we launched a month-long campaign to raise funds that will employ BetaNYC’s Civic Innovation Fellows and Apprentices into the summer of 2021. We need help reaching our goal of raising 400 donations of $21 before the end of the year. Please consider taking part with us today to bridge digital literacy gaps and build an inclusive public interest tech talent pipeline by making a tax-deductible end-of-year donation. Your participation ensures that four NYC students and recent grads are employed and able to pursue their ambitions.

Donate $21

19 questions about NYC Open Data — answered!

In our first Open Data Community Hours event held on Nov 18, 2020, Zachary Feder from the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics and NYC Open Data Team joined us to answer your questions about open data. We loved your questions, thank you for joining us everyone! Stay tuned to our Meetup to submit for info on the next session.
There were SO many questions. Some personal faves include: 
  • Are personal names / info included in any open datasets?
  • Do you ever encounter pushback about making data available? 
  • How do you prioritize incoming datasets?
  • How do I get updates to datasets that are on NYC Open Data?
  • Are there any amendments to the Open Data Law to help incentivize opening data by default?
Check out the other great questions and watch the event recording here. Thank you to our friends at for giving us access to their live Q&A tools. We love the integration with our google slides for events.

A bill that would regulate the use of automated employment decision tools.

BetaNYC has signed onto a collective letter that flags a number of concerns within Int. 1894-2020, a bill that would regulate the use of automated employment decision tools. Read our full statement.

NY's FOIL Process is failing during the pandemic.

We joined other watchdogs to urge COOG to address NY’s Failing FOIL Process. Office of Information technology services BetaNYC Reinvent Albany, Citizens Union of the City of New York, League of Women Voters of New York State, Common Cause New York, and New York Public Interest Research Group. Read our the full letter here. NYC foil process is failing and comittee for open gov should work to fix it. pandemic has made a backlog of foil 

What's up?

With so much content out there, it's fun to hear what people have been into lately. Here are some picks from our team and community.
Submit yours to our next newsletter here.


How are you gathering your community? We enjoyed listening to the Art of the Gathering episode with Priya Parker on Brené Brown’s podcast.  

Preserving Black history. Listen to the story of 227 Duffield, Brooklyn, NY and its ties to New York's abolitionist movement and underground railroad on GovLov Episode 391.

Is inequality inevitable? Hear Bill Gates and Rashida Jones chat it up in their podcast. (Note: there is always room for reducing inequities.)


Want to make a 3d population map? Check out Alasdair Rae
@undertheraeda's instructional blog post.

We love FabRider's Virtual Session Design Canvas. Use it for your next event. Thanks, Dirk!

How are you connecting from afar with the elderly and your loved ones this holiday season? Here are some tech tips.


What goes into COVID numbers? What are we even tracking? Calculating SARS-CoV-2 via the CDC

Crowded subways? Lower-wage workers, who tend to be people of color with long commutes, are venturing to jobs daily even as the virus resurges via the New York Times

Biden Cabinet appointees raise new hopes for "smart" cities projects via Axios

How Taiwanese activists are using tech tools to turn a social movement into real policy change via New America

Who Will Succeed Mayor de Blasio? New York’s future may ride on the answer via the New York Times

What Went Wrong With Polling? Some early theories by Nate Cohn via The New York Times

New mobility! The pandemic gives us a chance to change how we get around. via Wired

Cyclists Don’t Cause Congestion: ‘Must Get In Front’ maneuvers by motorists pointless, finds study via Forbes

The streets are alive! New York’s streets have brought relief, how will we continue to re-imagine them post-pandemic? via the New York Times 

Who doesn't love a good ole fashion controversy? Here are 5 controversial facts about Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System 

Data Literacy is the key to Helping Underserved Communities - submitted by Allen Hillery

MISSING THEM: A Three-Day Event to Honor the Memories of New Yorkers Lost to COVID-19


Explore the largest collection of drawings and text by Leonard Da Vinci 

During the pandemic, low-wage workers manage risk and rudeness. Explore the Faces of a Fast Food Nation via the New Yorker. 


A Promised Land by Barack Obama 

Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton


Share what you're consuming in our next newsletter! Submit podcasts, articles, events, etc here.

 🤩 Accounts we’re following

Gwynne Hogan - @GwynneFitz
NYC Health + Hospitals - @NYCHealthSystem
Emma G. Fitzsimmons - @emmagf
City of New York - @nycgov
Meag Doherty - @EmDohh
Tech:NYC - @TechNYC
The Legal Aid Society - @LegalAidNYC
Chris Whong - @chris_whong
Riders Alliance - @RidersAlliance

#️⃣ Hashtags we're watching

#Giving Tuesday

📅 Upcoming Events

Dec 3 at 7pm Designing against a Data Dystopia 
Dec 9 at 6pm BetaTalks: Feeding NYC and other Airtable stories for Public Interest Tech
Dec 9-10 DeveloperWeek New York 2020 
Dec 10 Happy Hanukkah!
Dec 22 BetaNYC Civic Tech Holiday Happy Hour Party - Stay tuned for more details.
Dec 22 Code for Syracuse - Monthly Hack Night
Dec 25 Merry Christmas! 
Dec 26 Happy Kwanzaa!
Dec 31 New Year’s Eve!
Jan 1 Happy New Year!
Jan 6 Merry Three Kings Day!
Jan 8 BetaNYC Civic Innovation Fellows Alumni Event
Jan TBD BetaNYC Open Data Journey to the park with Council Member Koo - Stay tuned for more details.
Jan TBD BetaBagels 🥯returns, yay! Join us for a morning schmooze w the CTO's office - Stay tuned for more details.

Mar 6 NYC Open Data Week
Mar 8 Mozilla Festival

📢 Announcements and Opportunities

This space is for community announcements, job opportunities, and requests. We are here to help get your message out. To contribute to our next newsletter listings, be sure it is mission aligned and submit it here.

The holiday season is officially here! There is plenty you can do to help people in need. If you can, take the time to check on your family, friends, neighbors and loved ones. Let’s stick together during these upcoming months.  

  • BetaNYC 20$21 - We are raising 400 donations of $21 by the end of the month to employ Civic Innovation Fellows and Apprentices through 2021. Please consider donating what you can today. 
  • Georgia Runoff Elections: If you live in Georgia, the deadline to register to vote for the January 5th runoff Senate election is this Saturday December 7th. Even if you don’t live in Georgia, you can donate to both Senate campaigns, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities to ensure we elect competent leaders to the Senate.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals is recruiting a Business Analyst, and a Senior Systems Analyst among THOUSANDS of additional roles. Browse through their career portal!
  • Call for NYC Open Data Week Organizers:  Our call for proposals is open through Jan 7 and we're looking for workshops, demos, talks, mapathons, activities, and other creative ways to engage New Yorkers in open data. Learn more at and submit your proposal here by Jan 7, 2021.

Fun Fact of the Month

On December 10, 1869, then-territory Wyoming became the first state to allow women the right to vote, serve on juries and hold public office. Read about the groundbreaking legislature and the politics behind the scenes. And if that isn’t exciting, we’re currently living in a time of history; in just under 50 days, the first female Vice President of the United States will be sworn in!  


Are you a member of our community? 

Stay up to date with BetaNYC and connect with other civic techies in the following forums, and join our public groups on Meetup and Slack and Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Facebook Facebook
YouTube YouTube
Website Website
GitHub GitHub

Contribute to our next newsletter.

Our next newsletter goes out to 3,339+ readers & 5,700+ Meetup members. Have you got something that you’d like to amplify to the BetaNYC community?
Submit to The Message
BetaNYC is a 501c3 organization supported by
Fund for the City of New York, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and YOU!

Please consider donating to BetaNYC to sustain our programing.
Creative Commons  BY  2020 BetaNYC, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences