Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Remembering a Fallen Healer
A Local Leader Recalls Tribeca’s Nisar Quraishi
Nisar A. Quraishi, MD (1947 – 2020)
Russ Schulman, a longtime resident of Tribeca and the associate executive director at Manhattan Youth, says of Dr. Nisar A. Quraishi, “he was my primary care physician for decades, and a trusted friend.”
Dr. Quraishi, who died from COVID-19 (the disease caused by the pandemic coronavirus) in April, at age 73, was a Tribeca pioneer, hanging out a shingle in 1976 at the then-new Independence Plaza, just a few years after earning a degree in medicine in his native Pakistan.
“I loved him from the first moment,” Mr. Schulman recalls. “He was always very thoughtful, very kind and reassuring. A great doctor, in every sense.”
“He was one of those rare physicians who always listened very carefully and took seriously whatever a patient told him, devoting however much time was necessary to reassure you,” Mr. Schulman remembers. “He never rushed through visits, like so many physicians have to, because of pressure put on them by insurance companies, to see the maximum number of patients.”
Mr. Schulman also remembers that Dr. Quraishi would sometimes display a surprising vulnerability. “Visiting his office over the course of several years, I noticed that he kept a collection of small elephant sculptures on a bookshelf. I was reminded of this one year, when I visited Thailand on vacation, and saw a beautiful wooden elephant statuette in a market.”
Although Mr. Schulman didn’t know it at the time, elephants are a deeply resonant symbol in the folklore of South Asia, where they represent wisdom, gentle strength, and divine knowledge.
“So I bought the sculpture,” Mr. Schulman recalls. “Then I took it with me to his office the next time I was scheduled for a visit, and presented it to him as a gift.”
“He asked me why I had done this, and I explained that I seen his collection and thought he might like it,” Mr. Schulman says. “I told him he was a great doctor and that I thought of this as a small thank you for always being so wonderful.”
The normally reserved Dr. Quraishi, “just looked at me for about a minute, like he was trying to make sense of this,” Mr. Schulman reflects. “He asked, as if he didn’t quite understand, ‘you were thinking of me during your vacation, on the other side of the world?’ And then tears welled up in his eyes. It seemed like something so small, but it meant so much to him.”
A surprising indication of how many lives Dr. Quraishi touched in his four-plus decades of practice came in 2014, when burglars broke into the Jersey City storage facility where he kept his medical records. They were confronted by the life stories of more than 40,000 people.
“He was the kind of physician you never forget,” Mr. Schulman observes. “And to lose him in this way is a reminder of how important the doctors and healers and caregivers are in all of our lives, and how much they sacrifice to do those jobs.”
Dr. Quraishi is survived by his two sons — one a federal judge in New Jersey, and the other a physician who spent the first years of his career practicing alongside his father — as well as the wife he married shortly before opening in practice in 1976.
To the editor:
I am finding it impossible to walk on the esplanade with all the speeding bicyclists and runners (most not wearing face masks).
After the bike path was built on West Street, I believe biking on the esplanade where elderly and children walk is far too dangerous – even pre-pandemic.
The Food Chain
More than 30 Lower Manhattan restaurants and bars have set up GoFundMe pages to raise money that will help them pay employees and otherwise remain viable during the economic downturn induced by the pandemic coronavirus.
Each of these campaigns is an opportunity not only to help your favorite eatery, but also to make less likely the very real prospect that—come the next recovery—our streetscape will be populated entirely by corporate chains and denuded of locally owned small businesses.
The Downtown Alliance has set up a page with links to each, click here.
C.V. Stands for More Than Just Coronavirus
LMHQ, the collaborative workspace operated by the Downtown Alliance for companies in the technology, advertising, media, and information industries, will offer an online workshop, “Cultivating Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty,” on Tuesday, May 5, at 12 noon.
Hosted by Rose Chan Siow (founder and principal of SCOUT, a talent acquisition and recruitment firm that specialized in women and non-profits), this virtual session is free to attend.
Where the Sidewalk Forfends
Data Scientist Finds That Downtown Footpaths Impede Social Distancing
This online data visualization map shows the prevalence of streets in Lower Manhattan deemed too narrow for effective distancing from passersby.
Although Lower Manhattan is among the communities least affected by the pandemic coronavirus anywhere in the five boroughs, it faces one increased risk that most other neighborhoods do not. A new analysis shows that narrow sidewalk widths in the square mile below Chambers Street make it especially difficult to practice social distancing here.
Meli Harvey, a senior computational designer at Sidewalk Labs — an urban innovation organization owned by Google, which aims to improve civic infrastructure through technological solutions — has completed an inventory of sidewalk widths throughout the five boroughs.
“It started a few weeks ago, when I was walking around Boreum Hill, where I live,” Ms. Harvey recalls, “and noticed that it was tough to walk while avoiding people. The width of the sidewalks make it necessary to move into the street. And suddenly, I made the connection between sidewalk widths and social distancing. I have also worked in the Financial District, so I immediately thought of that area and its narrow sidewalks, too.” To read more…
An April Intervention
The Hunter and the Hunted, Along with a Haunted Onlooker
Isaiah Berlin famously observed that, “the fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” A Lower Manhattan resident thought of this on a Saturday afternoon in mid-April, when Downtown was locked down, but he ventured outside — desperate for fresh air, seeking signs of life — and was confronted by this tableaux in the Battery. The raptor perched on the park bench knew one big thing: that he was too large to get beneath the seat, where his lunch awaited. And the squirrel below knew one little thing: that he was safe as long as he stayed where he was.
Downtown Hotel Business May Be an Enduring Casualty of Pandemic
Re: The BroadsheetDAILY April 23 Hostel Intentions
Too many hotels downtown, great! That could allow some of the hotel structures to be converted to lower income housing!
Let’s house our minimum wage workers, now known as ESSENTIAL Workers, nearer to their jobs. Relieve them from commuting for hours each day to reach their workplaces! Mayor DeBlasio, please get on this.
Per your article on the hotel glut: Has anyone thought with the looming possibility of empty hotels being built the city might convert them to affordable rental units?
Downtown is in desperate need of new units for young families already priced out of the current NY rental market. Why not create the next Sty Town downtown?
Swaps & Trades
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History of Quarantine
in New York
By Matthew McDonnell Connor
Educational Coordinator National Lighthouse Museum
The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought life as we know it in New York City to a grinding halt with the onset of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order of March 22nd, 2020.
With schools and non-essential businesses closed, New Yorkers find themselves in a quasi-quarantine state, as they are encouraged by public officials to stay home, maintain social distance, avoid using public transportation, and venture outside only for short trips of absolute necessity.
If they are among the unfortunate who find themselves ill, they are subject to more stringent forms of quarantine, either self-isolation for periods of fourteen days or more in their homes, or in separate wards in our local hospitals where they are denied the comfort of visits from family and friends. A general threat to public health of this magnitude may not reside in the memories of New Yorkers during their own lifetimes, yet the threat of infectious disease, and strict quarantine measures are not new to this city’s history.
Here at the National Lighthouse Museum, New York’s historical implementation of quarantine to prevent the spread of infectious disease is part of the heritage of our site. The grounds of the General Depot of the United States Lighthouse Service occupy land that once housed the largest quarantine facility in the United States: The Maritime Hospital of New York, known simply as, the Quarantine.
Today in History April 29
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
1429 – Joan of Arc arrives at the seige of Orleans
1715 – John Flamsteed observes Uranus for 6th time
1784 – Premiere of Mozart’s Sonata in B flat, K454 (Vienna)
1834 – Charles Darwin’s expedition sees top of Andes from Patagonia
1852 – 1st edition of Peter Roget’s Thesaurus published
1927 – Construction of Spirit of St Louis is completed
1930 – Telephone connection England-Australia goes into service
1945 – US liberates 31,601 in Nazi concentration camp in Dachau Germany
1946 – 28 former Japanese leaders indicted in Tokyo as war criminals
1971 – Bill Graham closes down Fillmore and Fillmore East
1974 – President Nixon said he will release edited tapes made in White House
1990 – Wrecking cranes began tearing down Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate
1992 – Jury acquits LA police officers of beating Rodney King, riots begin
1995 – Longest sausage ever, at 28.77 miles, made in Kitchener, Ontario
2004 – Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testify before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.
1863 – William Randolph Hearst, San Francisco California, newspaper publisher (SF Examiner, Seattle P-I)
1899 – Duke Ellington, Washington, District of Columbia, American bandleader, composer and pianist (Take the A Train)
1901 – Hirohito, Emperor of Japan (1926-89)
1936 – Zubin Mehta, Bombay India, conductor (NY Philharmonic)
1951 – Dale Earnhardt, American race car driver (d. 2001)
1954 – Jerome ‘Jerry’ Seinfeld, New York, comedian/actor
1864 – Charles-Julien Brianchon, math (Brianchon’s theorem), dies at 80
1937 – William Gillette, American actor (b. 1853)
1980 – Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, British director (Psycho, Birds), dies at 80
NEWS FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS
OF THE BROADSHEETDAILY
The Curve Flattens
Rate of Increase for Confirmed Infections Among Downtown Residents Tapers Off
Lower Manhattan’s eight zip codes are the site of 585 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from 529 cases on April 17, which represents an increase of approximately 10.5 percent in one week.
A total of 585 residents of Lower Manhattan (among 1,530 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. According to the DOH data, the local infection rates (outlined out by zip code) break down as follows: To read more…
Downtown Hotel Business May Be an Enduring Casualty of Pandemic
The Conrad Hotel is being used to house healthcare workers battling the pandemic coronavirus.
As local travel and tourism have ground to a halt in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus, one Downtown business sector is undergoing what may be a permanent transformation. By any reasonable yardstick, the hotel business in Lower Manhattan has been drastically overbuilt — the result of nearly two decades of giddy speculation, by developers.
Today, there are 37 hotels operating in the square mile below Chambers Street, offering more than 7,900 rooms, according to the 2019 Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year in Review, a report from the Downtown Alliance.
Beaker takes a seat on Stone Street and wonders, “Where’d everybody go?”
photo by Iphy Murphy
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
It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again
Facing Budget Deficit, City Hall Has Plans for BPCA Funds
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio will be drawing on nearly $10 million in funds from the Battery Park City Authority to help close the budget cap created by the economic slowdown that has arisen from the pandemic coronavirus.
Taste of Tribeca Community Fund
To the community,
Three weeks ago, we launched the Taste of Tribeca Community Fund.
Since then you have given us over $60,000 and with this we have purchased over 4,800 meals from 10 Taste of Tribeca restaurants for delivery to 11 New York City hospitals, plus FDNY Ladder 8, FDNY Engine 7, the NYPD 1st Precinct, and NYC Department of Sanitation Manhattan District 1.
You have helped to keep these restaurants in business, and in turn the restaurant teams have been doing some of the most important cooking and meal service of their careers, for the healthcare workers on the front lines against Covid-19.
The importance of your contribution cannot be emphasized enough. As another organization doing similar work has put it, we are not merely sending care packages as a thank you to the healthcare workers. We are providing them with basic nourishment, which they have no time to buy on their own, and in some areas no one even from whom to buy them.
And in our little corner of the city, we have restaurants willing and able to serve and for whom our large orders are essential to the continued operation of their business.
We are now down to our last few thousand dollars, which, at our current pace, will last us another few days to a week. We would love to keep going until at least May 15, so please consider donating again if you can, and share our mission with your families, friends and colleagues. Your continued generosity and support will directly benefit our restaurants, our neighborhood, and the healthcare heroes in our great city.
Thank you from all of us at Taste of Tribeca!
If you can help us, we would appreciate it.
Here is our most recent campaign update sent to donors, plus our GoFundMe
and Instagram feed
. Our current meal count is over 5,000.
Who remembers Iggy, the 40-foot iguana formerly of the Lone Star Cafe on Lower 5th Avenue and subsequently perched atop Pier 25 by Bob Wade and Bob Townley in the 1980s? For some years now, Iggy has resided at the Fort Worth Texas Zoo reptile exhibit. The charismatic iguana was recently seen practicing social distancing.
EYES TO THE SKY
April 20 – May 3, 2020
Not to be missed: International Dark Sky Week programs reach us at home.
Now in progress, International Dark Sky Week:
The International Dark-Sky Association invites us — with a special nod to homebound families — to engage with dynamic authors, educators, artists, and scientists from around the world. The distinguished presenters are excited to share their passion for astronomy, our cultural connection to the stars, life in the dark, and how we can work together to protect the night.
Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order requiring all people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public, including when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles.
More information: coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
or call 1-888-364-3065.All non-essential workers must continue to work from home and schools will be closed through May 15th
, and everyone is required to maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public photo courtesy: BPCA
‘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.
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…
Your Coronavirus story in one hundred words.
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.
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.
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.
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…
395 South End Avenue,
New York, NY 10280
No part of this document may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher © 2020