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COVID Newsletters

Manhattan weekly newsletter (5/3)


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



With the June 22 primary election less than two months away and Manhattanites still new to ranked choice voting, I’m hosting a virtual seminar about the new voting process next Tuesday (5/11) at 6:30. We’ll cover what the ballot will look like, how to rank candidates, and how votes will be counted. Register here.

Last week, Council Member Helen Rosenthal and I introduced the Storefront Bill of Rights, legislation that reforms the commercial lease creation and renewal process, simplifying it for tenants and landlords. I documented the need for these protections in my report “Saving Manhattan Small Business: A Roadmap for Recovery” and my September 2020 Broadway vacancy survey.

Important news for restaurants impacted by the COVID pandemic. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, passed as part of the American Rescue Plan in March, began accepting applications TODAY (5/3).

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.” Any Paycheck Protection Program payments made last year will be deducted from the total grant amounts.

The key facts: 

–This $28.6 billion fund is FIRST-COME, FIRST SERVED; 

–$5 billion of the total fund will be distributed only to businesses with gross receipts of $500,000 or less in calendar year 2019; 

–Chains of over 20 locations are ineligible.  

Here’s the link to the SBA’s RRF information page, including a sample application.

The federal Paycheck Protection Program deadline has been extended to Monday, 5/31. The NYC Dept. of Small Business Services has compiled an information page for applicants. View a list of eligible lenders here to begin your application, or call 888-SBS-4NYC.

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant portal is now open for  companies and nonprofits that operate live-performance venues, talent/management agencies, and others for up to $10 million in relief from the Save our Stages Act in the December stimulus bill via the U.S. Small Business Administration. Applicants can get help preparing their applications from the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services’ Curtains Up program. Applicants can apply for a SVO grant even if they’ve previously received Paycheck Protection Program loans (the PPP amount will be deducted from the SVO grant).



Applications are now open for an affordable housing lottery at WSFSSH at West 108 (141-145 W. 108th St.). Rents range from $456-1,510 for one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Apply through HPD’s Housing Connect portal.

Launching this August, the Bard Microcollege for Just Community Leadership will be an educational hub for formerly incarcerated people as faculty and students and will be the nation’s first tuition-free college dedicated to advocacy, arts, and sciences. Students will earn an associates degree by attending full-time, intimate classes at the Countee Cullen branch of the New York Public Library. Apply here.

Calling all West Side kids: Riverside Park camp applications are now open. The Multi-Sport Summer Camp is expanding north to new locations in Fort Washington Park, with basketball, soccer, and tennis for kids ages 4-14 (and for tennis, kids up to 16 years old are encouraged to sign up). Trailblazers, a new nature-based camp, features hands-on science experiments, group play and challenges, team building, nature exploration, and art. Need-based scholarships are available for both camps.

Riverside Park’s outdoor arts and culture festival, Summer on the Hudson, is back. Click the link above for the schedule of virtual and in-person events.

Schools are invited to join MS 131 in their “Stop the Hate Ribbons of Hope Campaign,” raising awareness of and supporting the movement calling for the end of violence and harassment against Asian Americans. Students can write their hopes and dreams on red, white, and blue ribbons to symbolize that everyone belongs in communities free of violence and harassment. Then, on Friday, 5/21, students can tie the ribbons to their school or home, take a picture, and send it to Schools can pick up ribbons from MS 131 (100 Hester St.) until Friday (5/7) at 1 pm.

Youth 14-21 years old are invited to join the NYPD Housing Bureau’s Youth Leadership Council. YLCs meet twice a month virtually and train with NYPD officers the first and third Tuesdays of every month, building life skills, leadership abilities, and physical fitness. Apply here.

Applications are due next Monday (5/10) for the Morgan Stanley Community Development Graduate Fellowship, a 10-month program for NYC graduate students in urban planning and policy. Fellows will work with Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development host organizations for 20 hours a week from September to June and receive a $20,000 stipend and other benefits. Apply here.

Applications close Sunday, 5/17 for the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute’s “Global Leaders” internship program, which places college students in Congressional and corporate legislative affairs offices. The internship runs from 8/23 – 12/14 and provides free housing on Capitol Hill and a monthly living stipend. Apply here.

Applications are now open for a scholarship to pursue a tuition-free New York Institute of Technology MA in Teaching for those interested in teaching STEM to grades 7-12. Learn more about the NYIT Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship here.

Apply for a job as a rain garden maintainer with the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection. They’re hiring full-time, seasonal (8-month) workers at $16.63/hour. Find the application by going to and searching for job ID #458227-Rain Garden Maintainer.

This is the last chance to apply for positions with The Pillars’ Community Response to Opioid Overdoses pilot program, which is hiring certified recovery peer advocates (full and part time) and community responders to public opioid overdoses (must be an East, Central, or West Harlem resident). Learn more here.

West Harlem artists: the West Harlem Development Corporation is holding a contest for a new logo design, awarding cash prizes to the top three winners. Submissions are due Monday, 5/31. Learn more here.

Midori & Friends is hosting a series of free, virtual, family-friendly concerts this spring. The list of concerts can be found here.

Save the date for the 47th annual Harlem Week, 8/8-15, promoting Harlem’s rich multicultural heritage and the arts, culture, religion, business, entertainment, and sports in the neighborhood.




Tonight (5/3) at 6 pm, join a virtual info session about the NYCHA “Resident Roundtable,” 30 NYCHA residents who will provide feedback on aspects of the Transformation Plan, such as lease enforcement, quality of life, safety, and communication between residents and NYCHA. Members will serve for two years and attend meetings, get input from neighbors, make recommendations on NYCHA policy and programs, and help implement the Transformation Plan. Applications are open through next Monday (5/10). Join tonight’s Zoom info session here, or call 646-558-8656 and enter 8159 9125 948#.

Tonight (5/3) at 6 pm, the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services kicks off its four-part virtual “The New Normal: Business Adaptation Workshop Series.” Workshop topics include diversifying income streams, bringing customers back, and keeping employees and customers safe. Click the title to learn more and register.

Through Wednesday (5/5), the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s 13th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival screens films promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. See the schedule here.

Tuesday (5/4) at 1 pm, take a free virtual tour of the Garment Center Business Improvement District with licensed tour guide Mike Kaback. Sunday (5/9) at 11 am, he offers a virtual tour of the Flatiron District. Email to register for tours.

Tuesday (5/4) at 3 pm, Manhattan Borough Historian Rob Snyder and CUNY’s Gotham Center host a virtual panel on how historians, archivists, and documentarians can respond to the pandemic, “COVID One Year On: What Have We Learned, What Comes Next?” Join the Zoom here.

Tuesday (5/4) at 4 pm, join me, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and other uptown elected officials for a virtual town hall about the newly expanded and renovated BMCC CUNY in the Heights location and how it can best serve the community. Register here.

Tuesday (5/4) at 6 pm, cosmetics mogul Leonard Lauder discusses his new memoir, “The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty,” during the next Hunter@Home. Register for the Zoom here.

The following Hunter@Home program is a virtual executive roundtable of trailblazing Asian American business leaders discussing “Stuck: Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder,” the new book by CUNY professor Margaret M. Chin. The talk is on Thursday (5/6) at 2 pm; register here.

Wednesday (5/5) at noon, webinar “The Steps to Financial Adulthood” covers financial principles like emergency funds, savings and expenses, credit card debt, tax withholding, investment allocation, retirement plans, insurance selection, and necessary estate documents. Click the title to register for the event, part of the New York Public Library’s Thomas Yoseloff Business Center “Money Matters” series.

Wednesdays at 5:30 through 5/19, the American Symphony Orchestra hosts free chamber music concerts in Herald Square Plaza (35th St. and Broadway). Click the link above for more information.

Wednesday (5/5) at 6 pm, Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s monthly virtual housing clinic covers “NYS Rent Relief (CERAP) Overview: What we know, and what we don’t know” with TakeRoot Justice and Goddard Riverside Law Project. Register here.

Wednesday (5/5) at 6 pm, uptown residents are invited to a virtual conversation with NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, part of the “Uptown Chat” series presented by WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Register here.

Thursday (5/6) at 5 pm, virtual lecture “What Americans Want from Reform” discusses calls for government reform, hosted by the NYU Institute for Public Knowledge. Click the title to register.

Thursday (5/6) at 5 pm, “Supporting Families of Students with a Disability in Fostering Student Independence during Remote Learning” is the topic of the weekly virtual “Parent Guide to Remote Learning” series from Rep. Adriano Espaillat and the NYC Dept. of Education. Register here.

Thursday (5/6) at 7 pm, State Senator Liz Krueger’s virtual town hall “Managing Debt” covers how to handle rent, utility, credit card, and medical debt and collection agencies. Click the title to register.

Thursday (5/6) at 8 pm, actress Rose Byrne hosts MAMAthon, a fundraiser for the Manhattan-based nonprofit Every Mother Counts, whose programs around the world help improve access to safe, respectful, and equitable maternity care. Click the title to register.

Next Monday (5/10) at 6 pm, the 11th Annual Clara Lemlich Awards for Social Activism honor five NYC women for their progressive work, in the spirit of 20th century labor activist Clara Lemlich. Register here for the virtual celebration hosted by LaborArts and the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition.