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COVID Newsletters

Manhattan weekly newsletter (5/24)


Below is a round-up of events and announcements for Manhattan this week. Check your inbox Thursday for more COVID public health updates. (If you’re not yet subscribed, sign up here.)



The Section 8 housing voucher waitlist lottery closes Friday (5/28) at 11:59 pm. 15,000 lottery entrants will be chosen for the waitlist and offered a voucher to subsidize safe, decent housing as vouchers become available. See income eligibility limits here, and apply for the waitlist here.

In case you missed it, you can watch last week’s May Manhattan Borough Board meeting, where the NYC Dept. of City Planning presented on Zoning for Transit Accessibility. Watch it here.

Until 8/31, SUNY and CUNY students whose families make up to $125,000 annually can apply for tuition-free college through the NYS Excelsior Scholarship. Apply here (current Excelsior Scholarship recipients shouldn’t complete this application).

Earlier this month, Manhattan Borough Historian Rob Snyder facilitated a virtual forum about archival and documentary projects in response to COVID, “Historians Respond to Covid19” and the “COVID-NYC Documentary Project,” both borne out of a March 2020 meeting I hosted about historians, archivists, folklorists and documentarians exploring responses to COVID in New York. If you missed this month’s forum, watch it here.



Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) and Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) tenants can request an extension to submit an application or document if they have a disability or a physical or cognitive impairment. Fill out this form and send it to NYC Department of Finance, Attention: Rent Freeze Program, P.O. Box 3179, Union, NJ 07083. NYC Dept. of Finance facilitators can also help tenants request additional time. Contact a facilitator here.

Small business owners of color have until Thursday (5/28) to apply for the business consultancy program Growth Path from the Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund, a business advisory service connecting entrepreneurs of color with experts in marketing, finance, and human capital. Each cohort consists of 20 businesses and receives 40 hours of consulting from a local small business advisor. Apply here.

From 6/1-14, Chinatown small businesses can apply for a Welcome to Chinatown Longevity Fund grant for business recovery (utilities, rent, insurance, labor/wages) or business improvement (marketing, physical space improvements, operations, etc.). Applications are open from the 1st to the 14th of each month.

Artists are invited to apply for the NYC Public Artists in Residence Program, which embeds artists in City agencies for at least a year to propose and implement solutions to pressing civic challenges. See available opportunities with the NYC Depts. of Sanitation, Design and Construction, and Records and Information here. Applications close Sunday, 6/27 at 11:59 pm.

Tall ship Wavertree at the South Street Seaport Museum opens Saturday (5/29) through Sunday, 10/10. Free tickets can be reserved here.

Teens 13-16 can register for a free summer basketball league with the NYPD Patrol Services Bureau by visiting their local precinct. Also at a precinct, kids 12-17 can sign up for a summer mentoring and career development program.



Tonight (6/24) at 6:30 pm, public school families and staff are invited to a virtual forum with NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter, an opportunity to ask questions about schools reopening full time in the fall. Register here.

Tuesday (6/25) at noon, canvass local businesses with information about the City’s “Adopt-A-Basket” program, designed to help neighborhood litter baskets from overflowing, organized by Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the NYC Dept. of Sanitation. Meet at the NW corner of Bleecker St. and 6th Ave. Fill out this form to volunteer.

Tuesday (5/25) at 1 pm, author and urban planner Ann L. Buttenwieser discusses her book “The Floating Pool Lady – A Quest to Bring a Public Pool to New York City’s Waterfront,” about an adventure in the Louisiana bayou that ultimately resulted in a swimming pool in the Bronx. Click the title to register for the virtual talk, sponsored by the NYC Dept. of Records and Information Services/Municipal Archives.

Tuesday (5/25) at 6:30 pm, the New York City Multicultural Festival hosts a virtual watch party for Indonesian dance group Saung Budaya Dance. Stream on Facebook. Then at 7 pm, the group joins the New York Chinese Cultural Center to discuss their music and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Register for the virtual discussion here

Tuesday (5/25) at 7 pm, City Council District 9 (Central Harlem) candidates participate in the virtual “Greater Harlem Unite: Next Gen Candidates Forum Series,” hosted by the National Council of Negro Women Manhattan Section, the New York Branch of the NAACP, the National Action Network Youth Huddle, Strategy for Black Lives, and Educated Voter. Click the title (the first link) to register.

Tuesday (5/25) at 7 pm, non-profit youth and family services organization SCAN-Harbor hosts its 2021 Virtual Spring Gala. Students and staff will share their experiences during the pandemic, and what they believe are the next steps for communities in Harlem, East Harlem, and the South Bronx. Click here to register.

Wednesday (5/26) at 11 am is a free food distribution (fresh produce and shelf-stable groceries) at Lincoln Center in partnership with the Food Bank for New York City. There will also be a walk-up vaccine clinic (12+) on site from 8 am – 4 pm and then again on Thursday and Friday (5/27-28) from noon – 8 pm.

Wednesday (5/26) at 11 am, small business owners are invited to a cybersecurity webinar, “Protect Your Organization and Comply with Legal Obligations,” from Pace University’s Small Business Development Center. Click the title to register.

Wednesday (5/26) at 12:30 pm and Thursday (5/27) at 7:30 pm, join a virtual ranked choice voting training session led by Rank the Vote NYC and sponsored by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Click the hyperlinked dates above to register.

The NYC Dept. for the Aging (DFTA) is hosting a virtual “Chat with the Expert” series through the summer, and this Wednesday (5/26) at 1 pm, the topic is “The Costs in Medicare and the Help with Costs,” featuring representatives from DFTA’s Health Insurance Information, Counseling, and Assistance Program. Click the title to register or see upcoming chats.

Wednesday (5/26) at 6:30 pm, Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group’s virtual talk “The Sounds of the Outskirts” discusses understanding a community and its changes through sound. Join the Zoom here.

Thursday (5/27) at 6:30, current 6th graders are invited to a virtual open house for Hunter College High School. 7th grade admissions applications close Thursday, 6/17, and the entrance exam is Thursday, 6/23. Click the link above to register.

Thursday (5/27) at 7 pm, State Senator Liz Krueger hosts a virtual town hall, “Costs and Benefits: Healthcare and Nutrition,” covering healthcare options offered through the Affordable Care Act and the SNAP nutrition benefit program. Click the title to register.

Starting Friday (5/28) at 6:30 pm, the recording of Ballet Hispánico’s 50th anniversary celebration will be available for two weeks, featuring dance performances and celebrity guests. Watch it on YouTube, Facebook, or

Saturday (5/29) from noon – 3 pm, the Chinatown Business Improvement District celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, featuring activities, programs, and resources.

Sunday (5/30) from 2-4 pm is the “bKind bOne Unity Celebration in Recognition of Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month,” sponsored by a coalition of community groups. The celebration will be at Avenue B and 13th St.

Sundays at 2 pm through 6/13 is the 17th season of the Scandinavian Music Festival on the Billings Lawn of Fort Tryon Park.

Save the date for next Tuesday (6/1) at 6 pm– I’m co-sponsoring a virtual ranked choice voting town hall with Council Member Keith Powers and the NYC Campaign Finance Board. Register here.