Council Member and Advocacy Group Petition for Funds and to Suspend Most Enforcement Actions Toward Food Carts
Street vendors, who are mostly ineligible for benefits like unemployment or health insurance, have recently suffered losses of more than 80 percent of their usual revenue.
As the pandemic coronavirus continues to grip New York, one cohort of the Downtown community is experiencing a heightened level of distress, according to City Council member Margaret Chin and a non-profit advocacy group based in Lower Manhattan.
Mohamed Attia, director or the Urban Justice Institute’s Street Vendor Project (based at 40 Rector Street), says that, “ninety percent of the Street Vendor Project’s members are low-wage immigrant workers who rely on busy streets in order to survive day to day. Without a safety net to fall back on, they are forced to continue to work, risking their health and well-being in the process.”
Mr. Attia (himself an immigrant from Egypt, who worked for nearly a decade selling hot dogs, halal chicken with rice, and smoothies from a street cart) adds that, “as primarily immigrant small business owners and workers, street vendors are ineligible for government support, such as paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, or even most loans and grants offered to small businesses, making an already dire situation critical. Many are left with fear and confusion as to how they will support themselves and their families in the coming days.”
This is made worse by ongoing enforcement campaigns that target street vendors. The Street Vendor Project alleges that fines against its members are continuing, in spite of the increasingly desperate circumstances street vendors are facing.
Ms. Chin notes that many vendors have recently suffered sales losses of more than 80 percent of their usual volume. “While I’m thankful that the City’s new emergency grant program will provide some relief to small businesses,” she says, “it’s disappointing that once again, street vendors are left on their own. We know that the catastrophic economic fallout of this crisis is felt by everyone, but the continued multi-agency enforcement against street vendors compounds on the stresses and record losses confronting them.”
“I urge the City to re-evaluate its priorities,” she continues. “Instead of spending time on squeezing money out of this vulnerable immigrant workforce, we must create a comprehensive relief package that is inclusive of all types of businesses and workers. And that includes street vendors.”
Ms. Chin is calling upon the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to ensure workers who are employed by food cart or truck owners (regardless of immigration status), are eligible for any upcoming emergency relief funds for workers, and suspend enforcement actions against for any violations that do not significantly impact public health and safety. She is also asking City Hall to waive outstanding tickets (issued since January), as vendors will be unable to work for the foreseeable future, and make the children of vendors eligible for the childcare plan for frontline workers currently being operated within public schools by the Department of Education.
Mr. Attia has also set up a COVID-19 Street Vendor Emergency Fund, which aims to provide relief payments of $200 to as many of the organization’s 2,000-plus members as possible. For more information, or to donate, please browse:
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. To read more…
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.” To read more…
Going to the Mattresses
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.
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. Learn more about COVID-19 athttps://coronavirus.health.ny.gov or by calling (888) 364-3065.
Necessity Is the Mother of Intervention
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 read more…
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 26
Othmar Ammann with Robert Moses.
Ammann’s contributions to New York City are the Bayonne, George Washington,
Triborough, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, and Verrazzano-Narrows.
1780 – First British Sunday newspaper appears (Brit Gazette & Sunday Monitor)
1812 – Earthquake destroys 90% of Caracas Venezuela; about 20,000 die
1871 – Paris Commune founded
1910 – US forbids immigration to criminals, anarchists, paupers and the sick
1943 – First woman to receive air medal (US army nurse Elsie S Ott)
1945 – Japanese resistance ends on Iwo Jima
1945 – US 7th Army crosses Rhine at Worms
1953 – Dr Jonas Salk announces vaccine to prevent polio[myelitis]
1958 – US Army launched America’s third successful satellite, “Explorer III”
1970 – 500th nuclear explosion announced by the US since 1945
1974 – Romanian communist party names party leader Ceausescu president
1991 – Fuel pipe explodes under 58th street & Lexington Ave
1997 – Thirty-nine bodies found in the Heaven’s Gate cult suicides.
1999 – The “Melissa worm” infects Microsoft word processing and e-mail systems around the world.
1999 – A jury in Michigan finds Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man.
2012 – Canadian Film maker, James Cameron, becomes the first person to visit Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth in over 50 years