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COVID Newsletters

Weekly COVID newsletter (7/7)


It’s Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

At press time,’s COVID-19 tracker shows Manhattan has 27,175 confirmed cases and 3,109 deaths; New York City as a whole has 214,371 cases and 23,218 deaths.

You’ll recall that last week, young Black artists Tijay Mohammed (“BLACK”), Sophia Dawson (“LIVES”), and Patrice Payne (“MATTER”), in what may be their first public art commissions, implemented custom designs within the lettering of “Black Lives Matter” painted on the asphalt of Centre Street in Foley Square (realized with the help of TATS CRU and Thrive Collective).

This Thursday (7/9) at 9:30 am– which is the 152nd anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment establishing equal protection under the law– I’ll be unveiling the official co-naming of Centre St as “Black Lives Matter Boulevard” downstairs from my office at 1 Centre Street.

Invited to speak are Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, Commissioner Gonzalo Casals of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and Commissioner Polly Trottenberg of the Dept. of Transportation. (Council Member Margaret Chin, whose district this is, was the co-sponsor of the co-naming.)

The artists will provide tours of their designs after the 9:30 am naming ceremony, just to the north of the new street sign (at Chambers and Centre).

Please come down for the ceremony and stay for a tour of the lettering (take a selfie, even!)– and grab some takeout lunch from a downtown or Chinatown restaurant. But don’t forget your mask!

Tomorrow is the start of my office’s partnership with the New York Public Library’s Summer Reading Program to offer free books for young people of all ages, from toddlers to high schoolers. Books will come in a free tote bag and include a summer reading guide, stickers, and a reading tracker.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020:

  • Taft Houses, 10:30 am – 11:30 am. 1730 Madison Ave @ 114th St.

  • Washington Houses, 12 noon – 1 pm. 1955 Second Ave. (betw. 100th – 101st Sts.), TA Room

Thursday, July 9, 2020:

  • Polo Towers/Rangel Houses,  10:30 am – 11:30 am. 159-15 Harlem River Drive

  • Harlem River Houses, 12 noon – 1 pm. 291 West 151 Street (between McCombs and 8th Ave), TA Room

Friday, July 10, 2020:

  • Vladeck Houses,  10:30 am – 11:30 am. 356 Madison St.

  • Jacob Riis Cornerstone, 12 noon – 1 pm. 80 Avenue D

Monday, July 13, 2020:

  • Grant Houses, 10:30 am – 11:30 am. 1295 Amsterdam Avenue  (@ 123rd Street), TA Room

  • St. Nicholas Houses, 12 noon – 1 pm. 225 W. 129 St. (between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass Blvds)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020:

  • Dyckman Houses, 10:30 am – 11:30 am. 3782 10th Ave. (Children’s Arts and Science Cornerstone)

  • Frederick Samuel Community Center, 12 noon – 1 pm. 669 Lenox Ave.

The City has postponed the annual tax lien sale again, and now will take place in September, 2020 (instead of August).

The lien sale is administered by the NYC Department of Finance, which sells properties that are behind on their property taxes, water and sewer charges, and other property charges. The agency sends out four warning notices to property owners starting three months prior to the sale, alerting them that the property is at risk of being on the lien sale list. More than 80 percent of owners pay the full amount owed, enter into payment plans, or obtain an exemption that removes them from the at-risk pool. DOF also advertises at risk properties and conducts extensive outreach to property owners at risk of having their liens sold, often partnering with community groups and elected officials to reach as many property owners as possible.

But during the pandemic, more properties than usual may be at risk. Property owners who are facing hardships making can get help from several existing DOF programs. These include exemption programs to lower the amount of taxes owed, standard payment plans, or a new Property Tax and Interest Deferral (PT AID) program, for those who qualify. DOF also provides a monthly property tax billing service to facilitate budgeting for property owners billed on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. More information on those programs can be found at

Today (7/8) the Mayor de Blasio announced that select Open Streets will become “Cool Streets,” –in neighborhoods vulnerable to heat-related health risks– with spray caps on fire hydrants, water fountains, and trees for shade cover. Find your nearest sprinkler hydrant, fountain, or tree-friendly street here; Manhattan will have four Cool Streets:

  • East 101st Street, from Park to Third Ave.

  • West 117th Street, from Morningside to Fifth Ave.

  • West 138th Street, from Lenox Ave. to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard

  • Edgecombe Avenue, from St. Nicholas Place to West 145th St.

Tomorrow (7/8) from 10 – 11 am, I’ll be joining the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association for “Reopening– What’s Ahead? A Q&A with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer,” a conversation for small business owners and community members on what awaits New Yorkers in the weeks ahead. Register here.

Tomorrow (7/8) from noon – 2 pm, the Upper Manhattan and Washington Heights Workforce1 Career Centers and NYCHA’s Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability (REES) program are hosting a job fair to recruit candidates for various positions in retail, security, maintenance, warehouses, and home health. Register here, or by calling (718) 289-8100. Before the event, you must email your resume to

Tomorrow and Thursday (7/8 – 7/9) at 7 pm, the Climate Museum is hosting Climate Speaks 2020, two evenings of performances of student writing to inspire action on the climate crisis. RSVP here.

Starting this week, the Whitney Museum is hosting Summer Studio, a series of free weekly online art classes for kids, teens and families. Learn more and sign up.

A reminder: the City’s Dept. of Transportation recently released an interactive citywide map of all Open Restaurants with seating on sidewalks and streets.

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.