Onetime Presidential Contender and Liberal Firebrand Endorses Lower Manhattan Candidates
Erstwhile presidential candidate (and possible contender for the Democratic nomination for vice president) has thrown her support behind the reelection bids of U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler and State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou.
Progressive icon and prospective vice-presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren waded into local politics on Wednesday when she endorsed two elected officials representing Lower Manhattan in their bids for reelection.
In the U.S. Congressional race for the Tenth District, she announced her support for Jerry Nadler, saying, “his record shows that he doesn’t just know how to fight, he knows how to win. I’m honored to call Jerry a friend and someone I continue to work with on important legislation.” As chairman of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, Mr. Nadler was one of the leaders of the effort to impeach president Donald Trump last fall.
Mr. Nadler, shown hosting a remote, online meeting with constituents from his own during the quarantine imposed by the pandemic coronavirus.
Ms. Warren has also thrown her support behind State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, saying that, “from investing in infrastructure and public housing to ending predatory lending fines and fees, Yuh-Line leads the fight for change in Albany. At a time when important decisions for working families are being made at the State level, I’m proud to support her run for re-election.”
Ms. Niou responded, “Senator Warren’s fierce and principled leadership has inspired me since I was a young activist fighting predatory lending, combatting redlining practices, and working to close the racial wealth gap.”
Ms. Niou recently helped volunteers deliver to Lower Manhattan residents thousands of masks (and other personal protective gear) that she had helped acquire.
She continued that Senator Warren, “understands the importance of winning progressive victories at the local level as much as in Washington, and her planning and persistence is a model of smart, thoughtful leadership today. This pandemic has laid bare the ways that our systems continue to fail working families, from our public health system to our schools and housing. And it’s clearer than ever that we need bold, effective leadership to fight for the structural change we need. I’m ready to continue fighting for immediate relief for working families and small businesses and long-term investment in infrastructure, healthcare, and affordable housing.”
Downtown Alliance Expands Aid to Lower Manhattan Small Businesses
The Downtown Alliance is broadening the criteria for its Small Business Rental Assistance Grant, which aims to give away $800,000 in grants to help to local shops struggling with the economic contraction triggered by the pandemic coronavirus. Originally launched in April, the Grant program is funded with contributions from Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and the Howard Hughes Corporation, as well as $250,000 from the Alliance itself.
The expanded criteria for this second phase of the program include eligible businesses with gross annual revenues of up to $3 million, and which employ up to 30 employees. (The first round was capped at $1.5 million and 20 employees.) It will now also accept applications from storefronts within an expanded geographic catchment, covering everywhere south of Chambers Street. This is notable in that is exceeds the boundaries of the Business Improvement District (BID) that the Alliance oversees (roughly from City Hall to the Battery, between West Street and the East River), and to which it usually confines its initiatives.
As Downtown Businesses Ponder Reopening, Questions Arise about Getting Here
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) recently announced that it would begin partially reopening on May 26, but that it would bar from its headquarters any employees who used mass transit to get to the Exchange’s iconic building, on Broad Street. (The NYSE closed in March, when several employees were found to be infected with the pandemic coronavirus.)
Pursuant to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive orders 202.17 and 202.18, all people in New York are required to wear masks or face coverings in public, including when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles.
Check Your Screen to Get Screened
State Launches Online Map Showing Local Testing Facilities
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.
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
Downtown Connection Bus Still Operating,
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 shown, 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.
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.)
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.
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.”
878 – Syracuse is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.
1602 – Martha’s Vineyard first sighted by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold
1758 – 10 year old Mary Campbell was abducted from her home in Pennsylvania by Lenape Indians during the French and Indian War. While captive, she lived among the family of Chief Netawatwees in the Ohio Valley and was freed six years later in a famous release of captives orchestrated by Colonel Henry Bouquet at the conclusion of Pontiac’s War. Pontiac’s War was a united Indian effort to push the settlers back to the Atlantic but failed miserably. Mary Campbell was a child taken captive during the competition between Britain and France, an adolescent among
the Indians as they attempted to reassert their rights to the American landscape and a woman among colonists as they fought to free themselves of the British empire.
1819 – First bicycles (swift walkers) in US introduced in NYC
1846 – First steamship arrives in Hawaii
1881 – American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton
1927 – Lindburgh lands in Paris after first solo air crossing of Atlantic
1932 – First transatlantic solo flight by a woman (Amelia Earhart) lands in Ireland
1951 – The opening of the Ninth Street Show, otherwise known as the 9th Street Art Exhibition – a gathering of a number of notable artists, and the stepping-out
of the post war New York avant-garde, collectively know as the New York School.
1968 – Nuclear-powered sub USS Scorpion, with 99 men, reported missing and is later found at the bottom of the ocean off Azores
1969 – Robert Kennedy’s murderer Sirhan Sirhan sentenced to death: later commuted to life imprisonmnet
1972 – Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is damaged by a vandal.
2004 – Sherpa Pemba Dorjie climbs Mount Everest in 8 hours 10 minutes, breaking his rival Sherpa Lakpa Gelu’s record from the previous year.
1471 – Albrecht Durer, Nornberg Germany, Renaissance painter/print maker
1688 – Alexander Pope, London, English poet (Rape of the Lock, translation of Homer) (d.1744)
1780 – Elizabeth Fry, Quaker minister/prison reformer/nurse