Amid Coron-Apocalypse, City Offers Loans and Grants for Struggling Small Businesses
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has inaugurated a program to aid small businesses that have experienced financial hardship because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Firms with fewer than 100 employees, which have undergone sales decreases of 25 percent or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. The City’s Department of Small Business Services is also offering small businesses with fewer than five employees a grant to cover 40 percent of payroll costs for two months, to help retain employees.
While this program is available City-wide, it is likely to be especially relevant and valuable for in Lower Manhattan, where small businesses were already under siege — buffeted by encroachment from larger, national brands, and facing higher fixed costs (such as rent) than many other communities. This distress will be compounded by the fact that many of the 1,000-plus shops and restaurants below Chambers Street are dependent on tourism and business travel for their livelihood, and both of these customer bases have largely disappeared for the foreseeable future.
Businesses owned by families or individuals are families, such as restaurants, are particularly vulnerable, given the order issued over the weekend to close eating and drinking establishments, except for takeout and delivery.
A case in point is Miramar, a family-owned restaurant in Battery Park City, located at 21 South End Avenue. Una Eskandar, who (with her husband Sam, and two sons, Chad and Sam) owns the eatery, says, “we’ve been here for almost ten years, working seven days every week to build this business. And now, we are not sure how long we can hang on. We are still responsible for very high rent, and invoices from suppliers, and all the other bills — even with very little money coming in.”
She adds that, “even if I take out a loan, that would still have to be paid back. So we’re better off drawing down our saving first. And we’re too big for the grant program, because we have more than five employees. I am hoping we can survive for a few weeks — maybe a month or two. And that might be enough time for things to get better.”
The City’s program reprises (and indeed, may be modeled on) similar efforts that sought to help Downtown small businesses in years past. Two of these were launched by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, to combat the local malaise that afflicted small firms in the following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and again during the economic downturn that began in 2008.
More recently, the Downtown Alliance spearheaded the Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program, which supported local retailers, restaurants and service providers affected by Hurricane Sandy, in 2012. The Alliance, which operates the local Business Improvement District, contributed $1 million to a fund that offered $20,000 allocations to Lower Manhattan small businesses that could document losses.
“Small businesses are what make New York, well, New York. We are committed to supporting them, and larger businesses too, through this tough unprecedented time. For now, we are focused on relaying updates, sharing info on available resources like the City grant application process, and adapting on a daily basis to their needs as best we can,” said Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin. “New Yorkers have always banded together, especially during tough times. We know that what impacts some of us impacts all of us. I am thankful to be part of such a strong community, one that knows that we are all in this together.”
To apply for (or find more information about) grants from the City’s Department of Small Business Services, please browse:
Lower Manhattan Goes Quiet in Response to Corona Virus Pandemic
Tourists on Broadway and Wall Street
The local impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to widen over the weekend. Multiple new confirmed cases of infection were reported, including at the office of the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York (One Saint Andrews Plaza, next to Police Headquarters), the Hebrew School of the Jewish Community Project (146 Duane Street, between Church and West Broadway), and New York Law School (185 West Broadway, at the corner of Leonard Street).
These are in addition to confirmed cases reported earlier last week at Brookfield Asset Management (250 Vesey Street, within Brookfield Place), Meridian Capital Group (One Battery Park Plaza, at the corner of State and Pearl Streets), and an employee 100 Church Street (at the corner of Barclay Street), a building that houses multiple City and State agencies.
Church Street School of Music and Art could not have made it to its 30th birthday without the support of families like the Kleimans of Battery Park City. This year, in celebration of 30 years of music and art making, the school honored the Kleiman family on March 10 at its annual fundraiser, The Event.
Charlie, Daryl and Gabe, and their parents Laurie and Norman, discovered Church Street School in 1993. On March 10, Charlie performed on the drums for The Event guests. Church Street School’s longest-enrolled student, Charlie started lessons when he was three. Following him to the school, his sister Darryl was a student, then a part-time receptionist, and is now the first alumna member of the school’s Board of Directors.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer with Lisa Ecklund Flores and
Council Member Margaret Chin
Norman and Laurie could not be more proud. “For almost three decades, Church Street School has had a profound impact on the Kleiman family,” they wrote in The Event program, “not only by enhancing our appreciation of music and art, but also by providing multiple creative avenues for all of us to connect with our downtown community, and in particular Charlie’s ability to connect with and relate to the world and those around him.”
Downtown Community Notices
Fraunces Taven Museum
In an effort to support New York City’s public health efforts, the Museum will be close to the public as of March 17, through March 30.
Our administrative staff will contine to work hard to fulfill our mission.
Battery Park City Authority
In an effort to limit crowding in public spaces, BPCA programming is canceled until further notice.
The Community Center at Stuyvesant High School is closed until further notice
All Battery Park City parks and BPCA offices remain otherwise open for business. (Parks lawns, currently closed for winter, are scheduled to re-open next month.)
Church Street School of Music
Dear Church Street School Community,
Out of an abundance of caution, and in adherence with the requests for social distancing from authorities, the decision has been made to close Church Street School’s in-person programs at both onsite and offsite locations through the end of March, when we will reassess the situation.
We are planning to initiate our online program offerings beginning Monday March 23rd, and you will hear more about that in the coming days. The most important thing right now is for all of us to stay calm and stay connected.
Lisa Ecklund-Flores, PHD Executive Director, Founder
Church Street School for Music and Art
At this unsettled moment, I hope this message finds you and your family healthy, safe and taking appropriate precautions as we all grapple with the implications of COVID-19.
The impacts of the coronavirus are felt citywide, and while we are cognizant of disruptions that may alter all of our routines, we have also taken great comfort in the vigilant and prudent response by businesses, individuals and organizations to maintain composure while protecting those who are most vulnerable.
New Yorkers have always banded together, especially during tough times. We know that what impacts some of us impacts all of us. I am thankful to be part of such a strong community, one that knows that we are all in this together.
As news has developed over the day, our leadership team has determined that the best course of action for the immediate future is the following:
Beginning Monday, March 16th our building will be open from 9:00am – 6:00pm daily. This will allow us to provide critical care for families that need it during this time.
Our Community Center programs will continue to be here for you. Please make the choice that is best for you and your family in determining your visits to the Center.
Please understand that we may ask anyone exhibiting symptoms of illness to return home until they are feeling better.
Founder and Executive Director
New York Public Library
After carefully considering a multitude of factors and the rapidly changing situation in New York City around novel coronavirus (COVID-19),all New York Public Library locations will be closed to the public beginning on Saturday, March 14 through at least Tuesday, March 31.
All late fees will be suspended and due dates extended during the closure period.
The Library is working to expand access to e-books and increase awareness of our vast array of online resources.
Patrons can access the Library’s Census resources online.
All branches will be sanitized before they reopen.
Anthony W. Marx
President, The New York Public Library
In support of efforts to diminish the spread of COVID-19, Poets House is postponing all public programs scheduled throughout the rest of March. For the time being most workshops will go forward as planned since they are smaller gatherings and do not entail crowding. Participants who feel anxious about attending may request a refund for the sessions missed.
The library will be closed, as of Saturday, March 14, until further notice.
We send support and warm wishes to you and thank you for the ways you build community by protecting each other. We will remain agile and continue to post information about our openings & closings, and be active online.
The decision was made to be responsive to current conditions and suspend march programs. We are setting up live-streaming options for programs moving forward and we already have online learning options for adult language and literature classes for our spring semester starting on April 6. Kids classes will follow.
South Street Seaport Museum will temporarily close to the public beginning March 13, 2020 for at least two weeks.
Capt. Jonathan Boulware, President of the South Street Seaport Museum said, “We’ve been planning for this possibility. It’s painful to do, but we must take care of our staff and visitors. We have a duty, too, as a civic organization, as a convener of people, to do our part to help stem the spread of this virus. When and at what pace the Seaport Museum will reopen to the public will be determined through thoughtful consideration of this rapidly evolving situation. We continue to follow guidance from our City and State governmental partners as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).”
National Museum of the American Indian
To our visitors and supporters,
I wanted to reach out to you and let you know directly that as a public health precaution due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), the National Museum of the American Indian will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14.
We are diligently focused on ensuring the continued health and safety of all our visitors, employees, and volunteers. We are in close communication with local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, we are not announcing a re-opening date at this time.
We will provide updates on a week-to-week basis via our website.
We appreciate your understanding at this time. The museum staff and I look forward to welcoming you back when we reopen.
Kevin Gover (Pawnee) Director
Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
It is with an abundance of caution that we have decided to postpone the majority of our public programming, including the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art’s gallery hours, until March 31.
Snug Harbor’s main outdoor grounds and gardens will remain open to all. We hope that despite the disruptions to daily life that this situation presents, you will still be able to enjoy the beauty and comfort of springtime at Snug Harbor.
The following events and attractions in March will remain scheduled as planned:
• New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden – Regular operating hours in effect
• Signs of Spring Tour: March 19 and 21, 1:00 PM
• Choose the Right Bin for You (NYC Compost Project): March 14, 11:00 AM
• Turn & Learn Compost Work Day (NYC Compost Project): March 14, 1:00 PM
• Turn & Learn Compost Work Day (NYC Compost Project): March 24, 1:00 PM
As this situation is constantly evolving, please continue to check snug-harbor.org/covid19 for news and updates of postponements and cancellations at Snug Harbor.
Lower Manhattan Property Values Catch the Flu
Wall Street’s Bear Market Extends to Condominium Prices
The pandemic Covid-19 virus and stock market meltdown are accelerating a trend that was already gripping Lower Manhattan: declining property values. The prices for condominium apartments Downtown peaked in late 2017, and have never since recovered their previous highs.
Local kids help break ground for the Battery Playscape
Joined by elected officials, Lower Manhattan leaders, and a couple of excited Downtown kids, the Battery Conservancy broke ground on March 12 for the Battery Playscape, an unusual playground for children of all ages and abilities. To open in Spring of 2021, the Battery Playscape will feature resilient design that evokes five geographical zones created when water shapes land: bluff, marsh, dune, meadow, and riverbed. Each of the zones will offer unique play elements, such as large granite slides; multilevel, interconnected playhouses, including an ADA-accessible treehouse; and an improv/puppet theater.
The Battery Playscape is designed by BKSK Architects and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, and is located across from the SeaGlass Carousel. On March 12, three-year-old James Callegari and his one-year-old friend Cecilia Petrilli, helped shovel dirt at the construction site. “James didn’t want to stop shoveling!” noted his mom Angela Callegari before she whisked him off for a thrilling ride on an iridescent fish in the SeaGlass Carousel.
Photos courtesy Angela Callegari
Eyes to the Sky
March 16 – 29, 2020
Find Orion and tell “Globe at Night”
March 16, through next Tuesday, March 24, when the moon is dark, known as new moon, there will be only morning crescents during the early hours before sunrise. This period is optimum for stargazing and for contributing in a small but significant way to astronomical research. Astronomers need eyes in the field all over the world to learn about stargazing conditions beyond their observatories – including hearing from cities. This is an easy and enlightening assignment. It can be fun to share with family and friends, too.
CB1 Mulls Tolling Plan, While Albany Feuds with Washington
Dr. Betty Kay: “The bottom line is tolls must generate $1 billion per year. The idea is to encourage people not to bring their cars in.”
A recent meeting of the Transportation Committee of Community Board 1 became the forum for a heated discussion about the merits of the congestion pricing plan that is slated to bring tolls to vehicles entering Lower Manhattan (including those of residents) as soon as next January.
Committee chair Dr. Betty Kay began by outlining the rationale for the plan, saying, “there are some benefits to doing this. The State’s Climate Leadership law requires that we reduce carbon output to 40 recent of 1990 levels by 2030. And the Department of Transportation says that the transportation sector is responsible 35 percent of the State’s carbon. It’s transportation that has been lagging, while buildings and waste have already made cuts. So we need a lot of cuts to transportation carbon.” Other projected benefits of congestion pricing, she noted, “would include reductions in air pollution and noise pollution.”
I usually never, and I mean NEVER read the paper which is common for a teenager like myself, but today was different. I was working as a security guard in Tribeca today, and a guy came in to deliver your papers to the residents and to my surprise he handed me a paper for myself to read.
I opened the paper and a section immediately caught my attention and this section was called “Affordability Elsewhere” by Matthew Fenton. To start off, I do not live in Manhattan, I live in the Bronx and while living in the Bronx for so long you become very aware that it is way easier to find an affordable apartment there than in Manhattan, but nobody would look at statistics or the facts to back up this statement.
With that being said, I want to thank Matthew for his section in your paper and I hope he and the Broadsheet overall continue to make more sections like this and continue to shine light on the problems in finding affordable housing especially in Manhattan; Although I am unsure if the Broadsheet cares about who reads and doesn’t read their papers, I want them to know they have gained a new reader, a young one at that!
Inbound 5:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm; Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 3:30 pm; Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Many ships pass Battery Park City on their way to and from the midtown passenger ship terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from docks in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate Clock and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. they are also subject to tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Today In History March 17
Gottlieb Daimler’s first motorcycle
45 BC – In his last victory, Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda.
455 – Roman senator Petronius Maximus becomes Emperor
1190 – A wave of anti-Semitic riots culminated in the massacre of an estimated 150 Jews – the entire Jewish community of York – who had taken refuge in the royal castle where Clifford’s Tower now stands. The chronicler William of Newburgh described the rioters as York acting “without any scruple of Christian conscientiousness” in wiping out the Jewish community.
1755 – Transylvania Land Company buys Kentucky for $50,000 from a Cherokee chief
1756 – St Patrick’s Day first celebrated in NYC at Crown & Thistle Tavern
1762 – First St Patrick’s Day parade in NYC
1845 – Rubber band patented by Stephen Perry of London
John Holland in his submarine
1898 – On St. Patrick’s Day, 1898, John Philip Holland has his first successful, full-fledged trial run of diving and surfacing while underway in his Holland VI. It occurred in the Kill Van Kull off Staten Island.
1899 – Windsor luxury hotel in NYC catches fire, 92 die
1901 – A showing of seventy-one Vincent van Gogh paintings in Paris, 11 years after his death, creates a sensation
1966 – US sub locates missing H-bomb in Mediterranean
1987 – IBM releases PC-DOS version 3.3
2008 – New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer resigns after a scandal involving a high-end prostitute. David Paterson becomes acting New York State governor
1834 – Gottlieb Daimler, Germany, engineer/inventor/designed first motorcycle
1944 – John Sebastian, singer Loving Spoonful born in NYC
1945 – Michael Hayden, General USAF, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Marriage 1955 – Writer Anaïs Nin marries actor Rupert Pole at Quartzsite, Arizona, while still married to her first husband
2008 – Paul McCartney divorces Heather Mills on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour
180 – Antonius Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, dies at 58