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COVID Newsletters

Weekly COVID newsletter (6/4)


It’s Thursday, June 3, 2020.

At press time,’s COVID-19 tracker shows Manhattan has 25,237 confirmed cases and 2,933 deaths; New York City as a whole has 201,806 cases and 21,688 deaths.

The police violence against protesters last night — NOT looters– who were violating curfew… troubling? Horrifying?  Council Member Keith Powers tweeted this video:

…which has, less than a day later, clocked 11 million views.

So it was definitely troubling to hear both the Mayor and the Governor, in their morning briefings, claim to not know about that video and others like it.

I completely understand the concept of a curfew. I completely oppose property damage. But I also completely oppose bodily harm to protestors. Those goals should not– must not– be mutually exclusive.

And I don’t think law enforcement has grasped the effects of their aggressiveness; do they expect to impose the curfew indefinitely, to a population that has no jobs, or classes, or places to be the morning after? Do they expect this to just sputter out of its own accord? What exactly is the ‘end game’?

It should be clear, by now, that we are dealing with a largely new situation. One that cannot be fully managed using old tactics– some of which are the very kinds of tactics that people are protesting.

I don’t have a solution (I’m open to your ideas).

But I think I’m asking the right questions.

On a related front, it’s particularly troubling that Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance is seeking to suspend bail rules on those arrested this week– many of whom have not even seen a Judge yet– and lock them up in the demonstrably deadly COVID environment of Riker’s Island. And a (Spanish language) report from Univision that the FBI is… interviewing (interrogating?) those arrested about their views on anti-fascism, if true, is just beyond the pale. The Bill de Blasio I knew wouldn’t allow that.

Peace at any cost is not peace.

Tonight (6/4) in just a few minutes at 5:30 pm, I’ll be hosting the fourth Uptown Arts Call, with topics including proposed FY21 city funding for arts institutions. Co-sponsored by the Coalition of Theatres of Color, the Arts and Culture Committee of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. Register here.

Tonight (6/4) from 6 – 7 pm, I’ll be joining WEACT for one of their Uptown Chats online events, where I’ll be talking about some of the issues that matter most to Northern Manhattanites and taking questions. Register here.

Tonight (6/4) from 6 – 8 pm, I’ll be co-sponsoring a Pandemic Tenants’ Rights Virtual Town Hall with Council Member Ben Kallos and other local, state, and federal elected officials from Manhattan. Attorneys will be available to provide additional information and  answer questions. RSVP online or call (212) 860-1950.

Tonight (6/4) the New York Urban League is hosting their fifth virtual town hall titled “Beyond the Classroom: Resources and Support for Virtual Learning.” Tomorrow (6/5) they will host a conversation as part of their yearly The State of Young Black New York Conference, on “The New Way Forward” for health care, housing, police relations, and the Census.

Tonight (6/4) from 7 – 10 pm, the Apollo Theater is hosting a “Let’s Stay (In) Together” online concert and benefit featuring performances from Kool & the Gang, Gary Clark Jr., Michael McDonald, Ray Chew, DJ Reborn and others, with special appearances by Dionne Warwick, Teddy Riley, Doug E. Fresh, Roy Wood Jr. and more. The concert will stream free on, but you can also RSVP in advance.

Tomorrow (6/5) at 4 pm, Children’s Aid NYC will be hosting a town hall for teenagers to share their perspectives on the protests and police-community relations. Join the call here, or with Meeting ID: 848 7839 5434 and Password: 4cKrXS.

Tomorrow (6/5) at 4 pm, the Congressional Black Caucus is hosting a virtual town hall with national civil rights leaders titled, “Living While Being Black in America.” Click on the title to register.

Tomorrow (6/5) at 12:15 pm, I’ll be joining DOROT for “Fifty Years Ago on Broadway: A celebration of the year 1970,” featuring a lecture of the same name from author and actor Ron Fassler. Don’t worry, no performances from me; I’ll be on the call to share details on how to vote in the primaries on June 23. Register here.

Next week 6/8 – 6/12), the State is setting up two more pop-up testing sites (which will replace this week’s sites in Upper Manhattan:

  • St. Cecilia’s Parish, 125 East 105 Street. Monday – Friday, 11 am – 7 pm. To make an appointment, call (833) 422-7369.

  • Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service. 475 East 115th Street. Monday – Friday, 11 am – 7 pm. To make an appointment, call (833) 422-7369.

The Testing Project, a public health advocacy group, has created a list of all the free testing sites in Manhattan (Google Doc). The City and State refer people to this map tool from Castlight Health.

NYC Emergency Management is looking to expand its inventory of cooling centers for vulnerable New Yorkers to visit during heat emergencies with proper social distancing. Eligible centers must:

  • Be free and open to the general public

  • Have air conditioning

  • Have enough space for visitors to sit while maintaining social distance

  • Have restrooms and water

  • Accessible

  • Staffed

  • Cleaned and disinfected regularly

If you or someone you know can offer a facility that meets these criteria, to be used as a Cooling Center this summer, please complete this survey.

Today (6/4), I testified in support of plans to allow outdoor dining for our city’s struggling restaurants on DOT Open Streets and in parking spaces in front of businesses. I proposed these two solutions over the last several weeks, and I’m pleased the administration has heeded my calls– and look forward to working with businesses on ensuring this program is a major success.

The NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene has released a short survey to help clarify messaging needs for different NYC communities about COVID-19 and contact tracing.

Today’s FreshDirect delivery was made to Rangel Houses. From there, the 500 10-lb food boxes were distributed to Polo Grounds and Harlem River I & II Houses with the help of my staff and the local Tenants’ Associations.

Please forward these newsletters to anyone you know who would find them useful, or have them subscribe to my enews here or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.

And please do call me with any urgent problems or concerns: (212) 669-8191.