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 and everyone is required to maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public
Downtown Nonprofit Leader Fears for Future of Vital Sector
How to Advance the Values of People, Families, and Communities When Resources Disappear
Katie Leonberger, president and chief executive officer of Community Resource Exchange: “Typically, small nonprofits don’t have enough cash on hand to cover even 90 days of operating expenses. Some have already shut down, and I fear that dozens more of these groups will soon close up shop entirely, and may not return.”
In the recession that has been triggered by the pandemic coronavirus, and is likely to linger long after the disease has been subdued, one vital sector of the economy is likely to suffer especially hard, according to a local expert with a front-line perspective.
“Nonprofits and community-based organizations are already being impacted negatively,” predicts Katie Leonberger, president and chief executive officer of Community Resource Exchange (CRE), a nonprofit based in Lower Manhattan that has advised clients like Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, Riis Settlement, Grace Outreach, and the Brooklyn Public Library on strategy and organizational questions that lead to greater effectiveness as their clients work to reduce poverty, promote equity, increase opportunity, improve people’s lives, and drive social change.
“Money for nonprofits almost always comes with strings attached,” she explains. “For example, a lot of income for nonprofits comes from government contracts, for providing services like after-school programs, or healthcare, or food services. But these contracts often specify that only a small amount of the funds can be used for overhead. It is almost all restricted for services. And even money that comes from donors or foundation grants is more often directed toward outcomes, rather than the inputs that support those services.”
“The reasons for this are well-intentioned and understandable,” Ms. Leonberger continues. “Donors want to drive deep impact, and government officials are under a lot of pressure to be efficient with taxpayer dollars. So the desire for accountability is reasonable.”
“But this same impulse leads to unintended consequences,” she reflects. “The myth that overhead costs are somehow unrelated to the outcomes that organizations achieve can undermine the goals that we all are aiming for. The fact is that strong, healthy organizations, the ones that invest in robust teams and talented management, are the ones that get the best results.”
But as tax revenue has shriveled and corporations and even wealthy individual donors are feeling financially squeezed, “grants are being reduced, and contracts are being cut,” Ms. Leonberger notes, “especially by the government.” As a result, many of the nonprofit groups that CRE advises, “have had to or are considering laying off paid staff, some going down to a few employees, who cannot deliver services to clients on their own.” She adds, “Typically, small nonprofits don’t have enough cash on hand to cover even 90 days of operating expenses. Some have already shut down, and I fear that dozens more of these groups will soon close up shop entirely, and may not return.”
Even in the face of this disaster, some opportunities to help people in need are still being squandered. “Some nonprofits are being paid under government contracts,” she explains, “but are allowed to spend that money only on the purpose for which it was originally allocated. For example, a community-based organization [CBO] that has been contracted to provide after-school services in a given neighborhood is now operating virtually and may be able to provide remote services at an excellent level of quality and on a budget below the value of the contract. This leaves funds that the group theoretically could use for other pressing needs in the community — especially at a time like this. But they aren’t allowed to use those funds to provide food for people in their communities, who may be struggling with hunger. Even though groups like that are the only players with the connections to know who needs help, and how to get it to them.”
“The people with their boots on the ground are the ones with the micro-level perspective to identify problems, quickly formulate solutions, and implement,” Ms. Leonberger notes. “They are agile and they know how to improvise, if they are just given the resources and the flexibility. So one of the reforms we need is a fresh look at archaic ways of managing the funds that are given to nonprofits. We need decision-makers to give more leeway and discretion to the people who actually deliver.”
“One of the challenges for our entire sector,” she notes, “is that because nonprofits tend to be under-funded across the board, they do not have the time or resources to do big picture advocacy. But as unemployment and poverty rates jump, we need to make leaders and the public understand — especially in New York City — the critical services that nonprofits deliver, which can literally make the difference between life and death. We have to convey the message that our nonprofit workforce should be valued in the same way that we respect teachers, and have more recently come to respect health-care workers.”
“The first phase of any crisis is the immediate response,” Ms. Leonberger acknowledges. “But the second stage could, in some ways, be as bad or worse: Government spending dries up and donations go down, at exactly the moment that the most vulnerable among us need these services more than ever before.”
And yet, while individuals, along with businesses large and small, have been targeted with billions of dollars in government largesse, “there is unlikely to be a bailout for the nonprofit sector,” she anticipates. “Even when nonprofits are included, as they were in the Payroll Protection Program [PPP], they are effectively — if unintentionally — excluded, because of the lack of a timely response from banks, even if they were quick to apply. One challenge is that the PPP requires every applicant to identify the owner of the business that would receive the funds. But nonprofits don’t have an owner. Even the small businesses these programs are designed to benefit find them too cumbersome. So what chance can nonprofits, which the programs weren’t designed for, have?”
“Part of the tragedy in all this,” Ms. Leonberger observes, “is that shrinking the nonprofit sector, and losing some of these players entirely, can cut people and communities off from a trusted support or contact with the larger world. Within historically underrepresented communities, local leaders and nonprofits tend to occupy a unique position of trust.” In many cases, such community-based leaders have higher status and greater moral authority than government officials, such as police officers or benefits administrators. “Severing that link will leave many people at risk,” she fears.
Ms. Leonberger stressed that these challenges will continue for some time.
As a case in point, she cites a pair of City programs, which provide free summer day camp to younger children, and summer employment to teenagers. “It has been announced that those programs will be cut starting July 1,” she says. “Cuts like these will have disastrous impacts on people’s lives and opportunities in the long term,” she expects, “and those impacts can last for generations.”
Ms. Leonberger stressed the importance of achieving equity and access in services as New York City — and the nation — strive to overcome COVID-19. “We need to be investing in the most important resources for communities that are most impacted by this crisis, which are disproportionately communities of color and those with marginalized identities,” she says. “The overriding priority must be to support every community equitably.”
As CRE helps the nonprofits for which it provides consulting services, “we try not to charge our clients,” she explains. “More than half of our services are free to those who receive them, because we raised funds from third-party donors to cover these costs.”
That support has been particularly relevant to nonprofits that are helping boost the response rate for the 2020 Census, where CRE has been training staff at nonprofits, helping them with education and outreach, and integrating those skills into their ongoing operations. During the current health crisis, she says, “this has been transformed into advising local community groups about how to deliver their services virtually, as much as possible.”
Ms. Leonberger has been at the helm of CRE since 2014, before which she was at Bloomberg Philanthropies on the Government Innovation team, heading up initiatives to promote public-sector innovation, such as the highly regarded Cities of Service project.
“That’s where I became so passionate about the power of local efforts to drive change,” she says. “The priorities of nonprofits and service groups are people, families, and communities. These groups live those values every day. So we, as a society, need to change how we think about them, and find ways to sustain organizations that do this work, and support them for the long term.”
Late for School
City Takes Possession of Space for New FiDi School, But Possible Delays Loom
Recent weeks have seen one small step forward for the new public school planned for 77 Greenwich Street, in the Financial District, and possible giant step backward.
In April, the City’s School Construction Authority (SCA) completed its formal purchase of the nine-story space that the elementary school will occupy at the base of a new condominium tower, currently under construction at a three-sided plot, bounded by Greenwich Street, Edgar Street, and Trinity Place. With a payment of $104 million, the City became the legal owner of the portion of the structure that will house 476 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The potential problem stems from the fact that the SCA has, since late March — when the pandemic coronavirus emerged as a full-fledged public health crisis — officially “paused” the 670 school building projects its has in various stages of construction, throughout the five boroughs.
The security in BPC 10280 are not wearing masks. Two female officers were walking up esplanade in front of Liberty House laughing, gabbering six inches from each other when my husband asked, shouldn’t you be in masks. They thought this was hysterical.
In downtown, the map shows three new cases for 10280. That is exactly where the runners and bicyclists coming from other parts of the West Side have been most lax in wearing masks and social distancing. Now we have the security who we pay taxes to patrol esplanade flouting rules.
I’m on verge of selling my apartment. I pay taxes to BPC to enjoy the esplanade but the rules are not enforced. Sunday on the esplanade was insane. Only 50% of people wearing masks.
Click here to watch the new family of Falcons living high above 55 Water Street.
We took a look in the late afternoon, around 5:30, and watched as dinner was served. (On the menu appeared to be a tiny rodent.)
A Fresh Perspective on a Fresh Start
Alliance Designates Digital Anthropologist to Document Downtown’s Rebirth
In early March, before the onset of the corona-pocalypse, the Downtown Alliance put out a nationwide call to recruit an Explorer in Chief, whose job it would be to spend June, July, and August documenting the experience of life in Lower Manhattan across a variety of media.
This invitation, which carried with it a monthly stipend, plus expenses, and free rent in the Financial District for the summer, drew more than 700 eager applicants from 40 states and more than 30 nations — all vying for a gig that was dubbed a “Dream Job.” In the weeks that followed, however, the pandemic coronavirus intervened, a life Downtown (as well as throughout New York) changed radically.
But the Alliance was unwilling to scuttle the project, and instead opted to shift its focus. As they combed through the entries, judges came upon the submission from a 23-year-old street photographer and social media savant from Brooklyn. A self-styled “digital anthropologist,” Josh Katz has drawn an audience of more than half a million followers across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, since uploading his first video at age nine. What really caught the eyes of the Alliance, however, was the work Mr. Katz had done since quarantine measures were imposed on New York.
Bianca Juarez’ appalling letter, (e.g., “The Well is Dry…”) is emblematic of the trumpian brand of “conservative” ugliness that has come frighteningly close to tearing this once-great and admired republic apart.
People are not “illegal” and referring to them in that disgusting fashion (as “illegals”) is bigotry, nothing less.
If Ms. Juarez believes that the “population shift” she predicts will be moving to the South and the Midwest will not encounter homeless persons or persons who need financial assistance, particularly in the current economic situation, she is living in an ugly corner of fantasy land.
Given her dissatisfaction with Governor Cuomo and the general status of rents and living conditions in New York, I want to be the first to personally invite Ms. Juarez to move anywhere she finds more fitting to her political and racist needs; it is clear that she is either unwilling to or incapable of contributing to making New York the vibrant, intelligent, beautiful and diverse place that drew most of her fellow New Yorkers to live here, the difficulties we may encounter in terms of high rents and occasionally unpleasant reality notwithstanding.
Very truly yours,
Denise A. Rubin
To the Editor:
re: Don’t Stand So Close… Or Else
(The BroadsheetDAILY May 11)
I found your piece in eBroadsheet very alarming. Alarming in terms of what the Mayor is doing (and not doing) to keep us safe in this pandemic.
I believe we need much more significant “open streets” to be safe in NYC. The contrast with other cities is remarkable. Not only are we New Yorkers not being given safe space to do our limited daily business and also exercise, but this city is doing virtually nothing to plan for the CarMaggedon we will face when more people return to work and many won’t want to use subways and buses.
I have three kids and live in Manhattan. At its simplest, there isn’t enough space for any of us to walk outside on cramped sidewalks, with social distance. Only slightly less urgent is what happens when they need to get to school. I would LOVE my 15 year old to bike to his school 17 blocks away. But cars make it too dangerous for him, even with a bike lane much of the way.
Why can’t we use this time to (re)build our transport infrastructure like so many others are. Manhattan is exceptional, but not in a way many people think. The size is tiny and busways, bikes and better pedestrian walkways are not just necessary but, to put it crudely, blindingly obvious. The 14th Street Busway showed us this. Buses Zip across in 20 minutes.
We need a major rethink and our current mayor just doesn’t get it. I would be happy to talk live if that would be of help.
Today’s Calendar of Events
“Citizen 865: The Hunt For Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers In America”
Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Join former Museum Director Dr. David G. Marwell (Mengele: Unmasking the Angel of Death) for a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Debbie Cenziper about her new book Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America. The conversation will follow with audience Q&A.
Passwords: Selections from Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution
This event spotlights the authors of two rare chapbooks, part of our ongoing Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution digitization project: Diane Burns and Bob Kaufman. Poet, musician, and Managing Director of the Poetry Project Nicole Wallace will present on Chemehuevi and Anishinaabe poet Diane Burns, and scholar and educator Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy will present on Beat poet Bob Kaufman.
NEWS FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS
OF THE BROADSHEETDAILY
Don’t Stand So Close… Or Else
Social Distancing No Longer Dependent Upon Voluntary Compliance
Over the weekend, two areas of the Hudson River Park became laboratories for an experiment in how to enforce the social distancing measures that public officials believe are necessary to help contain the spread of the pandemic coronavirus.
At a Friday press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Piers 45 and 46 (located along the Hudson River waterfront, near Christopher and Charles Streets, respectively) would be patrolled by NYPD officers, with orders to limit crowd sizes, and authority to issue summonses or make arrests, if they deemed necessary.
“Why are we doing this? Because it saves lives,” Mr. de Blasio explained.
Re: What Comes Next? Assembly Member Proposes Post-Pandemic New Deal
The BroadsheetDAILY May 4
The well is dry.
The middle class is sick of paying taxes in a city that caters to people with their hands out and illegals and trains that are filled with homeless.
After companies see how people can work at home, what companies would be stupid enough to stay in New York and pay high rents.? Seriously, who will stay?
After the pandemic there will be a population shift to the south and Midwest like no one has ever seen before.
The subways are disgusting The elderly were murdered in nursing homes by a governor who sent covid patients back rather than sending them to Jacob Javits.
Florida treated the elderly as most vulnerable and saved them. NYC is fast approaching Venezuela and Latin American countries where the Uber-wealthy ride around in limousines surrounded by hovels.
Policies like Yuh-Line Niou: drive the middle class out of NY.
Over this past weekend, the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center on Warren Street, distributed art supplies for kids and their families and masks for anyone who needed one.
Spreading the word that wearing a mask and social distancing is the best way to beating the pandemic, Bob Townley and his staff, donned their own masks as they distributed the bags of art supplies and masks to the community.
Community Board Landmarks & Preservation Committee Meeting Tonight
1) 74 Leonard Street, extension of existing elevator bulkhead to provide 6th Floor elevator access – Resolution
2) 84 South Street, application for NYC Parks Department Concession – Resolution
3) 75 Broadway, application for glass window replacement – Resolution
4) 180 Water Street, application for restoration and development of the existing Seaport District memorial light tower – Resolution
Rate of Local Infections Continues to Decline
A total of 703 residents of Lower Manhattan (among 2,400 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). These numbers are current as of Thursday afternoon (May 7).
Gateway Tenants Say Thanks for Being There During the Tough Times
Tenants at Gateway Plaza, Battery Park City’s largest residential complex, have partnered with their landlord to raise tens of thousands of dollars to thank staff members for keeping the facility running during the pandemic coronavirus.
The project began in April, when a group of residents came together and launched a GoFundMe page, asking neighbors to contribute to a fund that would be distributed among Gateway employees. Within two weeks, the GoFundMe page had accumulated more than $25,000.
Community Leaders Partner with Food Charity to Feed Downtown Residents in Need
In the best of times, some 1.4 million New York City residents chronically suffer from what is called “food insecurity.” But these are not the best of times. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has shuttered stores, isolated the elderly and handicapped in their homes, and posed multiple other challenges for those whose grip on daily sustenance was already tenuous before the onset of the crisis. To read more
‘The Doctor Told Me My Chances Were 50-50’
A Widely Admired Community Leader Recalls Her Life-and-Death Battle with COVID-19
Daisy Paez, a Lower East side activist who has served for years as a local District Leader, is a universally revered matriarch among Downtown’s political and community family. She recently returned from more than a month of hospitalization, during which she nearly died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the pandemic coronavirus.
“It felt like somebody just snatched me from my life and threw me into this horrifying ordeal,” she recalls. “In the beginning, I remember hearing how people would get really ill, and that if you had a cough or a high fever, you needed to see a doctor. But I was fine. Then, in the last week of March, I started feeling sick. I went to the CityMD urgent care facility on Delancey Street, and they gave me a flu test, which came back negative. They also gave me a test for COVID-19, and told me the results would be available in about five days.”
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.
What Comes Next?
Assembly Member Proposes Post-Pandemic New Deal
Yuh-Line Niou, who represents Lower Manhattan in the New York State Assembly, is pushing for a comprehensive package of legislation to address a broad range of needs that are expected to follow the ongoing crisis sparked by the pandemic coronavirus.
The 25 bills she is sponsoring include measures to help with joblessness, housing affordability, healthcare, childcare, and rising poverty rates, as well as tax reform that seeks to relieve the burden on low-income individuals and small businesses, while raising revenue from people and firms with the resources to pay more.
Alliance Throws a Lifeline to Lower Manhattan Small Businesses
Jessica Lappin, Downtown Alliance president: “There is not one storefront business in New York City that has been spared by COVID-19. Every one of them is struggling. We are stepping up to do what we can to help stores keep their lights on.”
The Downtown Alliance is launching a new program to help storefront businesses in Lower Manhattan, via which it plans to give away $800,000 in grants.
The Small Business Rental Assistance Grant program aims to offer immediate help to shops currently providing vital services to residents and essential workers in Lower Manhattan during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and is funded with contributions from Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and the Howard Hughes Corporation, as well as $250,000 from the Alliance itself.
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. To read more…
Where the Sidewalk Forfends
Data Scientist Finds That Downtown Footpaths Impede Social Distancing
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. 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.
1946 – Robert Jarvik, surgeon/inventor (Jarvik 7 artificial heart)
1952 – David Byrne, Dumbarton Scotland, rock guitarist/singer (Talking Heads-Burning Down the House)
1610 – Henry IV, 1st Bourbon King of France (1572, 89-1610), murdered at 56
1643 – Louis XIII, King of France (1610-43), dies at 41
1918 – James Gordon Bennett, Jr., American newspaper publisher (b. 1841)
1919 – Henry John Heinz, founder of the H. J. Heinz Company, dies at 74
1940 – Emma Goldman, US anarchists/feminist/author (Living My Life), dies
1993 – William Randolph Hearst, US newspaper magnate (Pulitzer), dies at 85
1998 – Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor, dies at 82
Downtown Hotel Business May Be an Enduring Casualty of Pandemic
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. To read more…
how to care for your pet during the COVID-19 Pandemic
‘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. To read more…
New Amsterdam Market returns in virtual format, as a service to the growing community of purveyors, distributors, producers and other small businesses who are creating regional, sustainable, regenerative, healthful, and equitable food systems.