Navy Hospital Ships Dispatched to New York and Los Angeles
The hospital ship USNS Comfort passes the Statue of Liberty on her previous operational deployment to New York, in the days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Two military vessels that carry not a single weapon or round of ammunition have been ordered to New York and Los Angeles to help deal with the growing headcount of patients needing hospitalization as a result of the pandemic coronavirus.
They are the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, and that prefix designation (rather than the USS, for “United States Ship,” usually seen on American military vessels) identifies them as “United States Naval Ships,” which means they are non-commissioned vessels — owned by the Navy, but largely crewed by civilians.
Operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Comfort and Mercy were both originally San Clemente-class oil super tankers, built in the 1970s. They were purchased by the Navy and converted to identical hospital ships (designated as Mercy-class) in 1984 and 1986, respectively.
At 894 feet long and more than 100 feet wide, each ship has a dozen operating rooms and more than 1,000 hospital beds. The plan is that neither ship will treat coronavirus patients (each has a limited number of intensive care suites), but both will instead be used to absorb non-pandemic patients from land-based hospitals, freeing up beds in mainstream facilities for more serious cases.
Comfort is based in Norfolk Virginia, while Mercy’s homeport is in San Diego. In addition to being dispatched to treat American military personnel wounded in combat during numerous campaigns over the last three decades, the ships have also embarked on dozens of humanitarian missions to relieve suffering after disasters, such as 2017’s Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
In fact, this will be Comfort’s second operational deployment to New York. On September 14, 2001, she arrived at Pier 92 on the West Side, to provide medical support to rescue and recovery efforts following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Niou Deal
Assembly Member Proposes Finance Reform as Funding Mechanism for Affordable Housing
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou: “When you go shopping in New York City, how much extra do you pay for sales tax? This transfer tax of one-half of one percent is less than one-sixteenth of what you pay. But it would raise billions for public housing.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that planning must begin immediately for how to rebuild the wreckage of the economy, once the health crisis brought on by the pandemic cononavirus has abated.
“We have to start to plan the pivot back to economic functionality,” he said during a press conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s west side, where he announced the start of construction on a temporary hospital. “You can’t stop the economy forever.”
Lower Manhattan Hunkers Down, as Coronavirus Crisis Grinds On
Multiple residents of Lower Manhattan have now tested positive for the pandemic coronavirus, including one tenant at Gateway Plaza in Battery Park City, who has been hospitalized and is breathing with the assistance of a mechanical ventilator, according to a range of sources with direct knowledge of the circumstances.
In a separate development, a resident of Battery Park City died on Saturday after plunging from the 16th floor of his building at 400 Chambers Street, in an apparent suicide.
On a more encouraging note, a teacher at P.S./I.S. 276 (also located in Battery Park City), who exhibited symptoms that warranted a test for coronavirus, has been confirmed to be free of the disease.
to let us know how you are managing during these trying times.
To the editor,
I went down to lower Manhattan on Monday to take photos of Pier 15 on the east side and Pier 25 on the west side for a photo assignment.
There was very little activity on the east side promenade. The west side looked like a normal day in paradise. People were out and about like nothing was going on. The amount of people around Pier 25 included families with babies in strollers, young kids were in the skateboard park, children in the playground and children and adults playing on the all purpose field. You also had hundreds of people walking, jogging and biking along the esplanade.
I tried to keep myself from everyone that came my way, saying to myself, “Do these people really take this situation seriously?” I fully understand that people need to get out and distract themselves from this unique situation, but hopefully now when they do go out, they will use their discretion when they approach these areas and see large groups of people and look for another location that doesn’t.
To the editor,
This following is a letter written by my 10 year old daughter. It was part of her online school at Pine Street School last week. All of her 5th and 6th grade classmates had to write one.
How are you?
Actually I don’t really care how you are doing. You must feel so powerful ruining people’s lives, making the whole world go crazy. Have you even heard of social distancing? Probably not. By the way, you know the people on this earth they don’t like you. They’re not your friends. They hate you.
Now let me tell you how I’m doing.
First, luckily I’m healthy. My parents are healthy, my nanny and her kids are healthy and my family is healthy but that still makes me worried. Listen Coronavirus – I’m a swimmer and all my swim practices and the pools are closed so what if I’m not the best swimmer I can be. Also as you know my family is healthy but who knows what can happen.
Next, I’m very sad because I love going to school. I know that’s weird but I do. I also like my classmates and my teachers. We were close and now we have to do online school and I’m not good with technology. And It’s not fun having to see my classmates online sometimes glitching. Also I miss my swim team friends who are a big part of my life.
Also, why now? You made my champion swim meets disappear. Now I have no more swim practice, no more school and next you could make me have no family. Again Coronavirus why now?
But this virus also has some benefits. You bring my family together and I finally understand the talks at the table. I get to be in sunshine because of you so you also bring some surprises. You also let me sleep in a bit longer and I get to take really good looks at my house. And surprisingly I also notice nature now just from looking at my window and I see all the bright colors.
Lastly, Coronavirus – I have two bugs and a wish:
It bugs me that you ruin everything around me and it also bugs me that you are causing people to die. I wish you would go away.
To the editor,
I’ve lived in lower Manhattan for almost 20 years. During that time, it has become an increasingly popular place to live, work and visit. And while it is far from being one of the loudest spots in NYC, as many residents know, there is a fair amount of “background noise” at virtually all hours: traffic from the West Side Highway, buses and delivery trucks passing thru the local streets, the occasional motorcycle, intermittent chatter of people walking around (from the hallways of my residential building and outside), skateboards and the kids who belong to them rumbling by, dogs being walked, comings-and-goings from nearby stores and the school across the street, in addition to ferries and other boats on the Hudson river, and helicopters overhead.
Tonight, as we ate dinner by an open window in our apartment (how is it already the first day of Spring??), my family and I paused at the same moment, looked at one another and whispered “listen” — the only sound to be heard was the chirping of birds, nesting in a tree that is several floors below our apartment. We sat, wide-eyed and silent, for several minutes — listening to a song that is more often heard in a suburban backyard than in the midst of one of the biggest cities in the world.
During the years that I’ve lived here, I’ve grumbled many times about how noisy the neighborhood has become, and how much I crave some quiet in NYC. I never thought about how or why that quiet would be delivered, nor did I ever really believe that my wish for quiet would be granted — and certainly not due to a global pandemic, with its new rules and awkward vocabulary: social distancing, sheltering in place, and self-quarantine.
The bird finishes its song, and the sound of a police siren in the distance breaks the beautiful yet haunting silence of this March evening. I exhale, and begin to clear the dishes from the table — telling myself that someday soon, it will be lively around here once again. The rhythms of life will resume, along with the accompanying noise of this amazing city — and when those familiar sounds return, I will no longer complain about it.
Battery Park City
Battery Park City’s parks are open for passive use
and solitary recreation only.
Governor Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to stay home
as much as possible.
Beginning Monday, March 23, for the safety of all parks users and help to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) is implementing the following measures:
BPC’s park lawns will begin opening on a rolling basis. When outdoors please be sure to practice good social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet apart from others. If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, please return another time.
To reduce density, BPC’s athletic courts, sporting fields, playgrounds, dog runs, and public restrooms are closed until further notice
BPCA Programs are canceled until further notice
The Community Center at Stuyvesant High School remains closed until further notice
Click here for additional guidance on how to protect yourself when enjoying the outdoors BPC Parks.
We appreciate your support and patience as we navigate this public health crisis together.
Repurposing of Rivington House Might Help Meet Need for Clinical Capacity Arising from Pandemic
Rivington House on the Lower East Side
A Lower Manhattan building steeped in controversy may become a lifeline for people infected by the pandemic COVID-19 virus. In a story first reported by Crain’s New York, Rivington House is being considered as a possible treatment site.
The Lower East Side building (located at 45 Rivington Street, near the Williamsburg Bridge) served for decades as an HIV/AIDS care facility. But in 2014, the structure was acquired by real estate speculators, who paid a fraction of its market value, because a deed restriction that committed the building to use as a clinic. To read more…
NEWS FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS
OF THE BROADSHEETDAILY
Cases of Corona Virus Reported in Lower Manhattan
Two employees of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on Wednesday, leading that facility’s owner, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), to announce that it will shutter the building on Monday, March 23, moving to all-electronic trading. In a statement, ICE said, “the decision to temporarily close the trading floors represents a precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of employees and the floor community in response to COVID-19.” This statement did not acknowledge that two NYSE employees have been confirmed to be infected, nor did it specify when the Exchange might reopen.
In a separate development, a teacher at P.S./I.S. 276, in Battery Park City tested negative for the virus. (P.S./I.S. 276, like all New York City public schools, is closed until at least April 20.) To read more…
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…
A Lifeline for Mom-and-Pop Shops
Amid Coron-Apocalypse, City Offers Loans and Grants for Struggling Small Businesses
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has inaugurated a program to aid small businesses that have experienced financial hardship because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Firms with fewer than 100 employees, which have undergone sales decreases of 25 percent or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. The City’s Department of Small Business Services is also offering small businesses with fewer than five employees a grant to cover 40 percent of payroll costs for two months, to help retain employees.
Lower Manhattan Goes Quiet in Response to Corona Virus Pandemic
Tourists on Broadway and Wall Street
The local impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to widen over the weekend. Multiple new confirmed cases of infection were reported, including at the office of the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York (One Saint Andrews Plaza, next to Police Headquarters), the Hebrew School of the Jewish Community Project (146 Duane Street, between Church and West Broadway), and New York Law School (185 West Broadway, at the corner of Leonard Street). To read more…
Downtown Community Notices
Schools south of Chambers Street are distribution centers for grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches. Currently pickups for breakfast and lunch are from 7:30a to 1:30pm
The decision has been made to close Church Street School’s in-person programs at both onsite and offsite locations through the end of March, when we will reassess the situation. We are planning to initiate our online program offerings beginning Monday March 23rd, and you will hear more about that in the coming days.
Lisa Ecklund-Flores, PHD Executive Director, Founder
Church Street School for Music and Art
As news has developed, our leadership team has determined that the best course of action for the immediate future is the following:
Our community center is closed and all our offices are closed!
All our programs are closed until we figure this out.
Bob Townley, Founder and Executive Director
Fraunces Taven Museum
The Museum will be closed through March 30.
New York Public Library
After carefully considering a multitude of factors and the rapidly changing situation in New York City around novel coronavirus (COVID-19),all New York Public Library locations will be closed to the public through, at least Tuesday, March 31.
All late fees will be suspended and due dates extended during the closure period.
The Library is working to expand access to e-books and increase awareness of our vast array of online resources. All branches will be sanitized before they reopen.
Anthony W. Marx
President, The New York Public Library
Poets House is postponing all public programs scheduled throughout the rest of March. The library will be closed until further notice.
The decision was made to suspend March programs. We are setting up live-streaming options for programs moving forward and we already have online learning options for adult language and literature classes for our spring semester starting on April 6. Kids classes will follow.
South Street Seaport Museum will close to the public for at least two weeks.
National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian will close to the public starting Saturday, March 14. We appreciate your understanding at this time. The museum staff and I look forward to welcoming you back when we reopen.
Kevin Gover (Pawnee) Director
Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
The majority of our public programming, including the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art’s gallery hours,is posgtponed until March 31.
Lower Manhattan Property Values Catch the Flu
Wall Street’s Bear Market Extends to Condominium Prices
The pandemic Covid-19 virus and stock market meltdown are accelerating a trend that was already gripping Lower Manhattan: declining property values. The prices for condominium apartments Downtown peaked in late 2017, and have never since recovered their previous highs. To read more…
Child’s Play at the Battery
Local kids help break ground for the Battery Playscape
Joined by elected officials, Lower Manhattan leaders, and a couple of excited Downtown kids, the Battery Conservancy broke ground on March 12 for the Battery Playscape, an unusual playground for children of all ages and abilities. To open in Spring of 2021, the Battery Playscape will feature resilient design that evokes five geographical zones created when water shapes land: bluff, marsh, dune, meadow, and riverbed. Each of the zones will offer unique play elements, such as large granite slides; multilevel, interconnected playhouses, including an ADA-accessible treehouse; and an improv/puppet theater.
The Battery Playscape is designed by BKSK Architects and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, and is located across from the SeaGlass Carousel. On March 12, three-year-old James Callegari and his one-year-old friend Cecilia Petrilli, helped shovel dirt at the construction site. “James didn’t want to stop shoveling!” noted his mom Angela Callegari before she whisked him off for a thrilling ride on an iridescent fish in the SeaGlass Carousel.
Photos courtesy Angela Callegari
Eyes to the Sky
March 16 – 29, 2020
Find Orion and tell “Globe at Night”
March 16, through next Tuesday, March 24, when the moon is dark, known as new moon, there will be only morning crescents during the early hours before sunrise. This period is optimum for stargazing and for contributing in a small but significant way to astronomical research. Astronomers need eyes in the field all over the world to learn about stargazing conditions beyond their observatories – including hearing from cities. This is an easy and enlightening assignment. It can be fun to share with family and friends, too.
Church Street School of Music and Art could not have made it to its 30th birthday without the support of families like the Kleimans of Battery Park City. This year, in celebration of 30 years of music and art making, the school honored the Kleiman family on March 10 at its annual fundraiser, The Event.
CB1 Mulls Tolling Plan, While Albany Feuds with Washington
Dr. Betty Kay: “The bottom line is tolls must generate $1 billion per year. The idea is to encourage people not to bring their cars in.”
A recent meeting of the Transportation Committee of Community Board 1 became the forum for a heated discussion about the merits of the congestion pricing plan that is slated to bring tolls to vehicles entering Lower Manhattan (including those of residents) as soon as next January. To read more…
Due to the COVID19 Pandemic, the cruise ship industry has cancelled cruises through the middle of April and possibly longer.
The Staten Island Advance reported that a 2-year-old tested positive for the virus while aboard the Norwegian BLISS, above. The vessel left New York on Tuesday and will linger off Bermuda for the time being.
Today In History March 25
The Concorde’s cruising speed for optimal fuel consumption at an altitude of 60,000feet (18Kmeters) was 1,338 milesperhour 2,154 km/h or just over March 2
708 – Constantine begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1584 – Sir Walter Raleigh renews Humphrey Gilbert’s patent to explore North America
1609 – Henry Hudson embarks on an exploration for Dutch East India Co
1655 – Christiaan Huygens discovers Saturn’s largest satellite Titan.
1807 – First railway passenger service began in England
1811 – Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from the University of Oxford for his publication of the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism.
1851 – Yosemite Valley discovered in California
1882 – First demonstration of pancake making in a NYC Department store
1916 – Women are allowed to attend a boxing match
1937 – It is revealed Quaker Oats pays Babe Ruth $25,000 per year for ads
1944 – RAF Flight Sgt Nicholas Alkemade survives a jump from his Lancaster bomber from 18,000 feet over Germany without a parachute; his fall was broken by pine trees and soft snow, and he suffered only a sprained leg
1946 – 1st performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “Ebony Concerto”
1954 – RCA manufactures first color TV set sized at 12.5″ screen at $1,000
1961 – Sputnik 10 carries a dog into Earth orbit; later recovered
1970 – Concorde makes its first supersonic flight at 700mph/1,127kph
1990 – Fire in illegal NYC social club, kills 87
1133 – Henry II, King of England (1154-89)
1867 – Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mt. Rushmore
1881 – Béla Bartok, Hungary, composer/pianist (Concerto for Orchestra)
1911 – Jack Ruby, killer of Lee Harvey Oswald (d. 1967)
1934 – Gloria Steinem, Toledo Ohio, US feminist/publisher (Ms Magazine)
1947 – Elton John, aka Reginald Kenneth Dwight
1918 – Claude Debussy, French composer (Iberia/La mer), dies in Paris at 55
1973 – Edward Steichen, photography pioneer dies at 93