US 'Worth the wait': New York marriage bureau reopens for in-person weddings
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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — President Joe Biden’s pick to oversee U.S. lands in the Western states stonewalled a 1989 investigation into the sabotage of an Idaho timber sale, a former federal law enforcement officer alleged in a letter released Thursday. The former U.S. Forest Service special agent claims that as a 23-year-old environmental studies graduate student, Tracy Stone-Manning was suspected in the plot to insert metal spikes into trees in the Clearwater National Forest to prevent them from being cut down but refused to cooperate with investigators. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this June 8, 2021, file photo, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
By Maria Caspani
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sae Feurtado and Richard Kissi's long wait to say "I do" finally ended on Friday, when in-person weddings resumed at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau after a 16-month shutdown.
Before COVID-19, thousands of people from all over the world every year exchanged marriage vows in the two chapels housed inside the late 1920s Art Deco building in lower Manhattan.
After postponing their wedding for nearly two years, it was the New York couple's turn.
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"It was meant to happen today," said a nervous and excited Feurtado, 32, clad in a flowery gown and a dazzling headpiece, clutching a bouquet of purple flowers.
"It was worth the wait," said Kissi, 34, sporting a blue and gray suit, said as the couple emerged from the building.
Under new reopening rules, wedding ceremonies are by reservation only, City Clerk Michael McSweeney said, and couples are allowed to bring only one witness to respect the four-person limit in the pastel-colored East and West chapel.
Typically the civil ceremonies, which had been conducted at nearby City Hall until 2009, last about 10 minutes.
Couples are required to wear a mask. A plexiglass sheet has been mounted on the podiums from which officiants perform ceremonies.
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A small shop in the marble hallway leading to the chapels offers flowers, rings, veils and bowties for anyone who might have forgotten a wedding essential.
"We are delighted," McSweeney said of the reopening, which was announced last week by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Pablo Calderon and Fabian Gavilanes said they were able to lower their masks to seal their vows with a kiss on Friday morning.
Calderon, 31, wore a suit and tie to mark the big day while Gavilanes sported a light pink bowtie over a white shirt.
They said they were thrilled to finally get married after COVID-19 forced them to postpone their wedding, which was originally scheduled for last August.
A long line of celebrity couples have tied the knot at New York City's Marriage Bureau, including baseball legend George Herman "Babe" Ruth, whose signature appears in a ledger book in one of the chapels.
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New York banned underage marriages on Thursday, raising the age of consent to 18 years old. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed the bill into law, which eliminated the previous exception of allowing 17-year-olds to get married with the consent of parents and the courts."This administration fought hard to successfully end child marriage in New York and I'm proud to sign this legislation to strengthen our laws and further protect vulnerable children from exploitation," Cuomo said.
For now, two ceremonies can take place every 15 minutes, said McSweeney.
While the bureau has been issuing marriage licenses throughout the pandemic, virtual weddings only got off the ground in May due to security issues and technical hurdles, McSweeney said. Some 300 were performed between May and July.
Outside the building, George Taxi set up his flower stand on Friday for the first time since March last year. Bouquets of roses adorned with baby's breath and purple statice were showcased in vases next to trays of rings.
"It feels great to be back," said Taxi. "Just being around people who are happy. ... It's one of the happiest days of their life so to be a small part of that is great."
(Reporting by Maria Caspani; Additional reporting by Roselle Chen and Brendan McDermid; Editing by Richard Chang)
New York Jets Flight Connections 8/01/21 .
Good morning, Gang Green Nation! Zach Wilson bounced back nicely yesterday from a rough start to his Jets career the day before. By all accounts Wilson had a very good practice on Saturday, and the offense did not look overmatched against the defense like they had the day before. If this was the regular season and we were hanging on every rep out of practice it would seem a little ridiculous. But we haven’t had football for more than six months now, and we have a brand new coaching staff and quarterback, along with a slew of other exciting rookies, so what can you do? For now we hang on every practice rep, knowing full well it won’t mean much in the bigger picture.