Lower Manhattan’s Local News
‘As Sick as I’ve Ever Been in My Life’
One Survivor’s First-Person Account of Grappling with the Coronavirus
(Editor’s Note: This narrative was supplied to the Broadsheet by a Battery Park City resident who has asked to remain anonymous.)
When I first heard about this, back in late January or early February, I wasn’t sure how it was different from a more serious version of seasonal flu, because the narrative was familiar — starting in Asia, and coming from some kind of animal population. The one difference I remember noting was that this sounded much more contagious.
After that, I didn’t think much more about it for several weeks, other than to frame it as a kind of “second” flu season. But near the end of February, the beginning of March, my perception changed, along with everybody else’s. This was clearly different, because of how it had jumped to humans, and how aggressively it was spreading.
When it hit Italy as hard as it did, I though this might be something to worry about. Maybe not for me, personally, but it was clear that a lot of people were going to be harmed by this, that a lot of people were going to do — especially the elderly and the most vulnerable.
Then the world suddenly shut down, which was dumbfounding. That made it seem more immediate and real. But I still didn’t think it would happen to me. I had been sick with a mild case of the flu, back in November. So for some reason, I wasn’t worried — at least about me. I was concerned for other people, but certainly not for myself.
I was wrong. I got this very early on, a few days after the quarantine began. At first, it didn’t seem like a big deal, and I wasn’t convinced that I was infected by the coronavirus. I had mild symptoms for three days, mostly a low-grade fever. The only thing that seemed weird about this was that I lost my sense of smell, and most of my ability to taste. This was before these symptoms had been widely reported, so I had to look them up, and found they were linked to coronavirus.
But still, it was so mild that I thought, if this is the virus they’re talking about, we’ve all gone way overboard. By day four and five, I felt much better. Not one hundred percent, but it was pretty clear that the worst part was over. At that point, I was thinking: This is it? You’ve got to be kidding me.
But then, it hits you in the head with a bat. On day six, I was flattened — so weak and exhausted that I literally couldn’t sit up in bed. I rarely get headaches, but suddenly had debilitating pounding in my head, and I couldn’t eat. I began sleeping 16 hours each day. As long as I was laying in bed, I was relatively okay.
The respiratory part started as a dry cough, and never progressed to phlegm. It stayed dry, which is worse, because it’s grating on your lungs. And while you’re coughing, you get dizzy, because you can feel that you’re not getting oxygen into your lungs.
As long as I stayed in bed, the coughing was almost manageable. But if I needed to get up, to get a glass of water from the kitchen, or use the bathroom, I had to lie there and gather my strength, because I wasn’t sure I could manage either of these things. Whenever I had to exert myself in any way, I would start coughing uncontrollably. The handful of times I managed to take a shower, I would cough for 15 minutes afterward. But once I could lie down again, I would feel more stable.
My experience might be somewhat unusual in terms of fever. It never really spiked for me. My temperature, which is usually around 97 degrees, never got much about 100 degrees. But my breathing was very labored. That part was frightening. I would lie in bed and just focus on inhaling and exhaling. Although I didn’t really intend to, I cut off communication with family and friends, because — without exaggeration — I didn’t have enough energy to answer text messages.
The worst part was not being able to stay awake. I would sleep for ten hours, which is very unusual for me. And then I would take two or three naps, of two hours each. That was a little bit scary.
I knew I had to stay hydrated, so I drank tons of water and tea, which helped. I could handle fluids, but eating was a problem — I had zero appetite. I would force myself take three or four bites of a meal and then couldn’t find the willpower to eat any more. In the course of a week, I lost 14 pounds.
This went on for five days, during which I was as sick as I’ve ever been in my life. By the end of that day, I thought I had better see a doctor, and decided that I would reach out tomorrow, and try to get an appointment. And suddenly, the next day, I felt much better.
When this is gone, you know it — even though symptoms don’t disappear overnight, you know that it has turned a corner. The second week is very different. The turning point was like a light switch being flipped. Everything went away very quickly. It was three days, at most, until I was much better.
I am relatively strong and healthy, but I think this would have killed me if I were at higher risk. If my elderly parents are infected, I’m not at all confident they will come through it.
I can’t say with certainty that I had the coronavirus, because I never got tested. But I am reasonably certain that this is what I had.
My advice to anybody in a similar situation is to do the opposite of what I did. If you think you may be sick — particularly if you are in a risk group, such as people with respiratory or cardiac issues, or a compromised immune system — get help immediately, on day one.
NEWS FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS
OF THE BROADSHEETDAILY
A Personal Appreciation: Michael Sorkin
A Friend and Comrade of the Late Architect Recalls Battles Waged on Behalf of the Community
Author, architect, critic, and scholar, Michael Sorkin: “Tribeca – and its surrounding neighborhoods — are among the most ‘at risk’ for the loss of an architecture and an aura that is unique not just in New York, but in the world. To fail to protect this brilliant and beloved environment is nothing less than vandalism.”
Tribeca resident, professor, architect, and critic Michael Sorkin died on March 26 from the coronavirus. You might have seen the tributes pouring in from the architectural world. A chorus of accolades attested to Michael’s astonishing career and accomplishments, among them authoring 18 highly regarded books, being awarded multiple prizes and fellowships, writing criticism for the Village Voice, The Nation, and founding Terreform, a non-profit that published books on urban research.
Unbeknownst to many, Michael was also our neighbor and a fellow comrade-in-arms for Tribeca’s historic districts. I first met him when he moved to the corner of Chambers and Broadway in Tribeca, from Greenwich Village (where he documented his walk to work in the wonderful book of essays, “Twenty Minutes in Manhattan”). To read more…
To the editor:
A disturbing report showed that runners shed the coronavirus over 40 feet spraying it in every direction. It is disturbing that every park is closed and the only place the elderly can walk to get some air is esplanade. The esplanade is filled day and night with young runners sweating without shirts running in parallel. There is absolutely no way to social distance,
For the life of me even pre virus, I never understood why bikes were allowed to speed on the south BPC esplanade with the entire West Side Highway a bike path.
It is incredibly dangerous for the children playing and elderly. Now with the pandemic and the only place where senior can walk seems to be the perfect time to stop this danger!
In every other shut down state due to the danger of runners shedding the virus, they have been stopped. It is so incredibly arrogant and selfish but there is no police or BPC enforcement.
While the playgrounds, dog parks, and sports fields are closed for now, Hudson River Park remains open to those who are looking for some space, greenery and open skies.
The Park is experiencing a record-early spring bloom including cherry blossoms, magnolias, tulips, daffodils and more. You can explore this vibrant display from home with our Bloom Guide and Spring Gallery. Photos of the Park’s plants unfurling in color have brought some brightness to our days during this sad and stressful time, and I hope they do the same for you.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and rest assured that Hudson River Park will be there to welcome you back soon.
, Executive Director
To the editor:
I’m curious if the BPCA is going to implement any programs to support local small businesses.
For example, giving landlords a break in ground leases if savings are passed on to small business tenants as rent discounts? As a state agency I would hope they are at least considering steps that can be taken to support local businesses.
A Bear Market for Apartments
Downtown Residential Real Estate on Life Support
As business activity ground to a halt in March due to the pandemic coronavirus, the market for apartments in Lower Manhattan experienced something akin to a heart attack during the first quarter on this year, according to analyses from two real estate data firms.
A pair of reports from Platinum Properties, a brokerage firm headquartered in the Financial District, documents the carnage in Battery Park City and the Financial District. The first notes that the median price for condominiums sold in Battery Park City dropped from $1.515 million in the first quarter of 2019 to $1.005 million in the same period this year. That represents a 33.7 percent decline in 12 months, and a 14 percent decline just since the last quarter of 2019, when the median price was $1.168 million. To read more…
Doing Good, Even When Not Doing Well
A Local Business Struggles to Survive, By Helping Those Less Fortunate
In happier times: Karen Barwick (right) and her staff, at Tribeca’s Boomerang Toys
Karen Barwick, the proprietress of Boomerang Toys in Tribeca, which has been a fixture in the lives of generations of Lower Manhattan kids, is leading a push to bring a smile to the faces of homeless children, who are quarantined in shelters, while also helping small businesses.
“We have teamed up with several other neighborhood toy stores that are struggling, because of being locked down,” she explains, “and partnered with Homeless Services United” (HSU) — a coalition of nearly sixty non-profit agencies serving homeless families. By browsing www.BoomerangToys.com
, and clicking on the Donate button, users can purchase a toy that will be delivered to a shelter by the HSU’S existing distribution network, which already parcels out clothing and food. To read more…
COVID-19 and your pets.
A Guide from the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare
how to care for your pet during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated Pandemic Statistics
City Releases Data about Local Rates of Infection
Lower Manhattan’s eight zip codes are the site of 402 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from 309 cases on April 2, which represents an increase of approximately 30 percent.
A total of 402 residents of Lower Manhattan (among 973 who have been tested) are confirmed to have been infected by the pandemic coronavirus, according to statistics released by the City’s Department of Health (DOH). The current local mortality rate for COVID-19 is approximately 5.8 percent. To read more…
Your Coronavirus story in one hundred words.
Federal Legislator Backs Proposal to Extend September 11 Safeguards to Coronavirus
A screen shot from Monday evening’s online meeting of the Downtown Independent Democrats political club (to which all participants linked remotely, via the Internet, from their homes), during which Lower Manhattan community leader Justine Cuccia (upper right) proposed to United States Congressman (center) that federal programs aiding September 11 first responders and survivors be expanded to cover the pandemic coronavirus
United States Congressman Jerry Nadler has endorsed a proposal by a Lower Manhattan community leader to expand the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) to cover illness and death from the pandemic coronavirus among the populations of first responders and survivors whose health was impacted by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
An an online meeting of the Downtown Independent Democrats political club on Monday evening, Mr. Nadler was asked by Justine Cuccia, a co-founder of the grassroots organization, Democracy for Battery Park City, whether he would, “support an expansion of the Health Program and the VCF to cover COVID-19, because the survivor population are among those who are at heightened risk of complications from this disease?” To read more…
Resilience, in the Original Sense of the Word
Facing Adversity, One Community Leader Tries to Lead By Example
In the days following September 11, 2001, Bob Townley called the community together at the basketball court at the intersection of Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas.
Bob Townley, the founder and executive director of Manhattan Youth, reflects, “I’ve been through this before — twice, actually.” He is referring to a pair of previous cataclysms that seemed to threaten the viability of the Lower Manhattan community he serves, as well as the organization he leads.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the inundation of Hurricane Sandy, 11 years later, both wrecked the neighborhood. And both raised questions about whether Manhattan Youth, which provides services to thousands of school children, families, and seniors, could remain viable. So the ongoing crisis related to the pandemic coronavirus is not without precedent for him.
“In the fall of 2001,” he recalls, “pieces of the World Trade Center were in a pool on Rector Place, where we had been giving toddlers swimming lessons a few days before. And when I finally got back into our Downtown Community Center in November, 2012, we had 20 feet of water in the basement. The entire bottom level, and a second story below the street, were both submerged.”
A pair of peregrin falcons are back in Lower Manhattan, high above 55 Water Street. Click to watch
a live camera as they care for their clutch of eggs that are expected to hatch in the coming weeks.
Virtual Events Available to All
Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field
National Museum of the American Indian
Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field is a pair of sequential photo essays created by Native photojournalists Russel Albert Daniels and Tailyr Irvine in collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian. The work of both photographers springs from the same desires—to break down stereotypes of Native peoples and to portray stories that show the diversity and complexity of their contemporary lives.
While the installation of the first photo essay by Daniels — The Genízaro People of Abiquiú — is postponed due to coronavirus, the photo essay is online.
Youth Art Contest
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Celebrate Endangered Species Day (May 15) and the 50th anniversary of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by participating in the Greater Atlantic Region’s Marine Endangered Species Art Contest.
Endangered and threatened species need our help. Students’ artwork will showcase their knowledge and commitment to protecting these animals. Throughout 2020, NOAA is celebrating 50 years of science, service, and stewardship. NOAA is a world-class forecasting and resource management agency with a reach that goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor. In the next 50 years, NOAA will advance innovative research and technology, answer tough scientific questions, explored the unexplored, inspire new approaches to conservation, and power the U.S. economy. Through April 24
Today through April 30
Mission to Remember
9/11 Memorial and Museum
This documentary series explores the shared commitment to the mission behind the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. From showing how we create new traditions of tribute, to demonstrating our unique conservation techniques, the short films go beyond the surface to immerse viewers in untold stories of honor and remembrance. Click here to view the series.
Today through April 30
The Stories They Tell
9/11 Memorial and Museum
Family members, survivors, first responders and recovery workers discuss the 9/11 history they are helping to preserve through the material they have shared with the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Click here.
Today through April 30
Battery Dance TV
morning warmup/stretching/conditioning exercises, mid-day classes in contemporary dance with afro, ballet and jazz fusion elements, evening classes in varied ballroom styles, plus a daily short video at 4pm by dancers performing in their living rooms.
Today through April 30
Tourist in Your Own Town Videos
The New York Landmarks Conservancy
Now that most of us are staying home, you can take virtual tours of New York City.
Visit Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, Alexander Hamilton’s home in Upper Manhattan, the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan, the site of the Battle of Brooklyn, the home of one of America’s first female photographers on Staten Island, and Louis Armstrong’s home in Queens. There are 61 sites in all. You’ll be amazed at the discoveries you will make.
Downtown Food Festival Supports Local Restaurants by Feeding Healthcare Workers
The ever-popular Taste of Tribeca food festival has been cancelled for this year, but the organizers are rallying support to help the now-struggling restaurants that have contributed food for decades, by purchasing meals to donate to hospital workers.
Starting today, up to 100 free meals will be arriving daily at local healthcare facilities, prepared by half a dozen Lower Manhattan restaurants, and paid for with contributions solicited by the Downtown parents who organize the Taste of Tribeca food festival.
For the past 25 years, that event has accepted food contributed by dozens of eateries, and sold these “tastes” at a street fair, to raise money for two beloved local public schools: P.S. 234 and P.S. 150. Earlier this month, however, mounting concerns about the pandemic coronavirus forced the first-ever cancellation of the event.
Biking through traffic seven years ago at lunch hour in downtown Manhattan compared to the dearth of people and traffic after the Corona virus epidemic is a huge contrast. Footage is sped up, so although it may look a but scary, the ride was totally safe!
Thanks and be well! -Esther R.
Where to Get Care
Lower Manhattan Health Resources for Residents with Concerns
Government officials are asking that people with non-urgent health problems avoid showing up at hospital emergency rooms, which are already overburdened.
Instead, they ask that patients who have concerns consult with their personal physicians. Those in need of non-emergency medical help can also call (or walk into) one of the five Lower Manhattan urgent care clinics that remain open. As of Thursday afternoon, these are:
• CityMD Financial District (24 Broad Street). No appointment necessary. 646-647-1259.
• CityMD Fulton (138 Fulton Street). No appointment necessary. 212-271-4896.
• CityMD Tribeca (87 Chambers Street). No appointment necessary. 347-745-8321.
• NYU Langone at Trinity (111 Broadway). Appointment required. 212-263-9700.
• Mount Sinai Doctors (225 Greenwich Street, fifth floor). No appointment necessary. 212-298-2720.
That noted, anyone experiencing dangerous symptoms (such as trouble breathing or dangerous spikes in body temperature) is encouraged to go to a hospital emergency room.
Two Lower Manhattan healthcare providers are also offering Virtual Visits, in which patients can consult over the phone or video link with a physician or nurse practitioner.
To schedule such a session with NYU Langone, please browse: NYULangone.org
, and click on Virtual Urgent Care.
To make an appointment with New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, please browse NYP.org
, and click on Virtual Urgent Care.
Patients enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program are advised not to cancel or reschedule existing appointments. Clinic staff will be contacting you to make arrangements to convert these sessions into a tele-visits.
All program participants with prescriptions for their certified WTC-related conditions are strongly encouraged to sign up for Optum Home Delivery which allows for 90-day prescription fills and delivers directly to members by mail.
For more information, please call Optum at 855-640–0005, Option 2. For members who prefer to pick up prescriptions at retail pharmacies, the program is waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications. Please call Optum at 855-640–0005, Option 3 for more information.
The World Trade Center Health Program is also covering limited COVID-19 testing for members with certain certified World Trade Center-related conditions that may put them at higher risk of illness from COVID-19. In addition to testing, treatment for COVID-19 is also covered, contingent on certain criteria being met, including that the member was eligible for COVID-19 testing, the treatment is authorized by the program, and the treatment is not experimental. Coverage of COVID-19 treatment costs requires approval by the program’s administrator, on a case-by-case basis.
Meditations in an Emergency
Our Hometown and the Myth of Eternal Return
You tell yourself that you’ve seen this story before, and more than once: edifices falling; waters rising. And you reflect that the worst situations are not those that can’t get any worse. The worst situations are the ones that are going to get worse before they get better. So you hunker down.
You recall the Old Man deciding, a lifetime ago, that since you were too old for fairy tales, you were perhaps old enough for true confessions. To read more…
Today In History April 16
Wilbur Wright was born today in 1867.
In 1909, he made the first flight over water in New York Harbor.
He took off from Governors Island along a wooden track aided by a tower with a massive weight to propel him fast enough to become airborne. He circled the Statue of Liberty and flew up the Hudson as millions watched. He had a canoe attached to the bottom of his aeroplane just in case he had to ditch in the water. 90 West Street and 17 Battery Place as well as the Singer Tower are visible in the photo.
1178 BC – A solar eclipse may have marked the return of Odysseus, legendary King of Ithaca, to his kingdom after the Trojan War
1705 – Queen Anne of England knights Isaac Newton at Trinity College
1777 – Battle of Bennington-New England’s Green Mountain Boys rout British
1853 – The first passenger rail opens in India, from Bori Bunder, Bombay to Thane.
1862 – Slavery abolished in District of Columbia
1922 – Annie Oakley sets women’s record by breaking 100 clay targets in a row
1943 – Dr. Albert Hofmann discovers the psychedelic effects of LSD
1956 – First solar powered radios go on sale
1962 – Walter Cronkite begins anchoring CBS Evening News
1965 – Test flight of Saturn S-1C-rocket
2004 – The super liner Queen Mary 2 embarks on her first Trans-Atlantic crossing, linking the golden age of ocean travel to the modern age of ocean travel.
778 – King Louis the Pious (d. 840)
1495 – Petrus Apianus, German mathematician (d. 1557)
1660 – Hans Sloane, England, physician/naturalist/founder (British Museum)
1867 – Wilbur Wright, Aviator, inventor
1889 – Charles Chaplin, London UK, actor/comedian (City Lights, Gold Rush)
1919 – Merce Cunningham, choreographer (Acrobat in Every Soul is a Circus)
1947 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, aka Lew Alcindo,
1446 – Filippo Brunelleschi, architect, dies
1756 – Jacques Cassini, French astronomer (Discovered rings of Saturn), dies at 79
1850 – Marie [Gresholtz] Tussaud, maker of wax figures, dies at 88
1859 – Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian (b. 1805)
1946 – Arthur Chevrolet, Swiss-born race car driver and automobile designer (b. 1884)
395 South End Avenue,
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