State Launches Online Map Showing Local Testing Facilities
The State Department of Health’s online map of test sites shows three facilities in Lower Manhattan at which patients can be screened for the pandemic coronavirus.
On Sunday afternoon, the State Department of Health launched on online map specifying the locations of more than 700 facilities throughout New York where testing for exposure to the pandemic coronavirus is available. These testing sites can process up to 40,000 patients per day, and are currently operating well below their capacity.
The DOH website also emphasizes, however, the no one should simply show up at one of these facilities and ask to be tested. Instead, eligibility for coronavirus testing is being prioritized, based on the following criteria:
• Individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus), or with a history of symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, and/or trouble breathing) — particularly if the individual is 70 years of age or older, has a compromised immune system, or has an underlying health condition
• Individuals who have has had close (i.e. within six feet) or proximate contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19
• Individuals is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine
• Individuals employed as a health care workers, first responders, or other essential workers who directly interact with the public while working
• Individuals who are slated to return to their places or work or business during Phase 1 of the reopening
For individuals meeting any of these criteria, testing is free of charge.
1) Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Harbor and Tributaries Study Federal Funding – Resolution
2) Battery Park City Authority Resiliency Deployables – Presentation by Battery Park City Authority*
3) Review of Decorative Elements for BPC Ball Fields Resiliency Project – Presentation by Gwen Dawson, BPCA Vice President of Real Property & Debbie Addison, Director of Planning and Project Management
4) Lower Manhattan Resiliency Projects – Update & possible resolution
5) Climate, Sustainability & COVID19 – Discussion
6) 250 Water Street Brownfield Cleanup Program – Report
2) Metropolitan Transportation Authority Subway Cleaning Program – Presentation by Leah Flax, Government and Community Relations, MTA New York City Transit
3) Water Street Reconstruction (Postponed Indefinitely by The City of New York)
4) COVID-19 Update – Presentation by Pauline Ferrante, Office of External Affairs, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
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.
The Downtown Alliance’s Downtown Connection bus is New York City’s only free circulator bus service, and it’s still running every day during the New York City pause. Serving 36 stops around the perimeter of Lower Manhattan, the Downtown Connection runs in both directions between Battery Park City and the Seaport District. The bus will return to its normal route along Warren Street when construction is completed in June.
To adhere to social distancing guidelines, all bus capacities have been reduced 50% and all passengers are required to wear face masks to board. The bus is being kept extra clean with deep cleanings at night and regular wipe-downs during the day. Downtown Connection Driver Carlisle Gibson (pictured) takes pride in helping riders take care of their needs during a difficult time. “You see a lot of folks fending for themselves,” he noted. “They appreciate us.”
If you need to get out of the house to run necessary errands, the free bus — which you can spot easily with its bright red color — is here to help. Hop on and off as often as you’d like — just remember to wear your mask. Buses run from 10a to 7:30p, with an average of 10-minute intervals on weekdays and 15-minute intervals on weekends. To see the route, click here.
Eyes to the Sky
May 18 – 31, 2020
Summer stars rise as winter stars set. Venus and Mercury meet this week
Summer Triangle rising with the Milky Way, pictured here as a red band., Deneb, in the northeast, marks the left corner. May 19 at 10:45 p.m.
Diagram Judy Isacoff/Starry Night
One month before summer solstice, which occurs on June 20, we find two of summer’s brightest stars rising above the east-northeast skyline as twilight deepens. Foretelling the summer season, Vega, third brightest star in northern skies at 0.00 magnitude, rises in the northeast while less bright Deneb, 1.25 m, appears to the lower left of the blue-white beacon. (The brighter the star, the smaller the number.) Deneb is the furthest star from Earth visible with the unaided eye.* About two and a half hours after sunset, Altair, 0.75 m, rises in the east, joining Vega and Deneb to complete the Summer Triangle, one of the most prominent star patterns in northern skies.
Today, May 18, sunset is at 8:10. The sun sets about a minute later every evening for the rest of the month. Civil twilight begins about half an hour after sundown; nightfall, or astronomical twilight, two hours after sunset.
As the Summer Triangle rises in the east-northeast, the last of the great stars of the Winter Circle set in the west-northwest. Most prominent among them, Procyon, 0.37 m, sets before midnight and Capella 0.06 m, after midnight this week. The Gemini Twins, Castor, 1.56 m, and brighter Pollux 1.15 m, are poised above and between Procyon and Capella.
With the naked eye or the aid of binoculars, forty-five minutes to one hour after sunset. Diagram courtesy EarthSky.org
Now, to the fleeting drama that is the piece de resistance of all celestial events this week. Dazzling planet Venus, -4.31 m, and comparatively dim planet Mercury, -0.86 m, are celebrities among the bright stars of the Winter Circle all week. But both planets are following close to the setting sun, so locating little Mercury low to the west-northwest skyline might require the aid of binoculars. A clear view to the western horizon is of the essence.
Capella, not shone, is located to the right and above Mercury. Bring binoculars to aid in search for Mercury. Diagram courtesy EarthSky.org
This Thursday, the 21st, Venus and Mercury coincide in closest approach to each other, an exciting event known as conjunction. Be aware that sunset is at 8:12 on the 21st; Mercury sets at 9:49 and Venus at 9:56. Study the diagrams to guide your enjoyment of Venus’ final days as Evening Star in spring 2020.
Rate of Infection Among Lower Manhattan Residents Continues to Decline
A total of 723 residents of Lower Manhattan (among 2,891 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 14).
Downtown Nonprofit Leader Fears for Future of Vital Sector
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Alliance Throws a Lifeline to Lower Manhattan Small Businesses
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.