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News from Gale Brewer

Weekly COVID newsletter (8/6)

Friends,

It’s Thursday, August 6, 2020. Welcome to the weekly edition of my COVID newsletter. 

At press time, nonprofit news site TheCity.nyc’s COVID-19 tracker shows Manhattan has 30,799 confirmed cases and 3,147 deaths; New York City as a whole has 226,914 cases and 23,563 deaths. There were 333 new cases citywide yesterday, August 5, while last Wednesday, July 29, there were 312, a rise of 7%.

 

COMMENT

There is a lot of news on the Census front. Manhattan’s current Census completion rate is 56.4% (while in 2010 we achieved a final response rate of 66.2%, almost ten points higher); New York City as a whole is currently at 54.8%, and finished with 64% in 2010. 

That’s why it’s so worrisome that the Census Bureau has announced that they will end their collection efforts one month early, on Sept. 30, and deliver results to President Trump before the end of the year– despite announcing last spring that they needed more time, not less, and would report by April 2021 (and despite current data that shows a demonstrably lower-than-typical completion rate so far nationwide: At least 60 million Americans have not yet responded). 

My staff and I prepared a recap of actions taken by the Administration to distort the Census for this edition– from attempting to add a citizenship question to the Census form (which the Supreme Court quashed), to adding more political employees to the Census staff (showing that the White House was trying to influence the outcome of the count), to issuing a patently unconstitutional order to remove undocumented immigrants from the Census count

But today the NY Times published an editorial (“An Incomplete Census Hurts Everyone. Including Trump.”) which begins: 

The Census Bureau hasn’t offered a clear explanation for its decision this week to bring an early end to the decennial enumeration of the nation’s population, but the reason is clear enough: The Trump administration doesn’t want a complete count, as the law requires. 

Their editorial does the best job I’ve seen summarizing the outrageous attempts to cheat by this Administration, encapsulated by the cutting short of data gathering, which most affects hard-to-count urban areas like New York. 

For my part, I’ve been persistent in working to ensure a complete count in Manhattan. My office organized the “Make Manhattan Count” committee last fall, bringing together community partner groups to conduct outreach to encourage completion (I even got the NYC Emergency Management Dept. to text every city cell phone with a “do your census!” message in April!). And Gov. Cuomo has just released funding for nonprofit organizations to help us expand those efforts, in advance of the new Sept. 30 deadline. 

On June 26, my office mailed 137,651 postcards by first class mail (so it would be forwarded to those who have decamped to locations outside the city) to residents of 49 of the lowest-performing census tracts in Manhattan, encouraging them to complete their census forms. Next week, I’ll be mailing almost 140,000 more cards to another batch of low-performing tracts. 

(You can view completion rates by state, county, city or census tract levels at this map created by CUNY, using daily completion rates as reported by the Census Bureau.)

I strongly support The New Yorker’s employee union in their protracted negotiation for a fair contract. My mother gave me a New Yorker subscription when I was nine– the mailing address continues to refer to me as “Miss”– and I read it every week. I urge editor David Remnick and publisher Condé Nast to afford their union employees due process when it comes to their employment. 

 

NEW FACTS/INFO

Today I’m launching a friendly competition to find the most creative outside dining arrangements at Manhattan restaurants. 

We’re looking for beautiful or innovative set-ups. Send me an email with photos of top contender(s) attached to info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov by Sept. 1, with the subject line “Dining Contest” (be sure to include the restaurant’s name and address in the email!).

The City’s Open Restaurants program has allowed expanded dining options outdoors during the pandemic, which has reconnected New Yorkers with their favorite restaurants (and generate sorely needed revenue). This expansion has livened streets with unique outdoor dining set-ups.

Anyone can submit (restaurant owners, patrons, passersby). We’ll select winners across Manhattan, and I’ll be sure to eat at some of the most exciting ones this September with some of the winning submitters.

Check out this new interactive map of COVID-19 and antibody testing sites in Manhattan compiled by my great team of summer interns.

Active and retired municipal employees can now manage their NYCERS (NYC Employees’ Retirement System) accounts from the new NYCERS app

Bicycle Utopia NYC has an interactive map that highlights Open Streets, Open Restaurants, bicycling information and arts and culture opportunities.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Today Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order extending the eviction moratorium another 30 days, until Sept. 4; he says he’ll keep extending it as long as the pandemic continues.

Next Wednesday (8/12) at 10 am, the NYS Assembly and Senate will hold a virtual public hearing to review the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and communities. Oral testimony is by invitation only, so complete page 3 of this form by this Sunday (8/9) to be asked to testify.

Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to donate plasma, which is used to treat critically ill patients across the country. Donate at a NY Blood Center location. Eligible donors can give convalescent plasma up to eight times in a three-month period.

The NY Public Library has opened two new Grab & Go branches: Riverside Library (127 Amsterdam Ave.) and Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library (203 W. 115th St.). Find more locations and learn about Grab & Go.

The City’s new NYC Housing Connect website makes finding and applying for an affordable home faster and easier.

If your SNAP or Cash Assistance benefits are scheduled to expire Aug. 31 or later, re-certify them now to keep receiving benefits.

Don’t forget the $420 Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) cards, scheduled to be sent to families of public school students. For families who already have EBT, the amount will be added to the existing accounts; if not, they will be sent a card in the mail (look for the envelope!). If you don’t need those benefits, you can share those benefits with food-insecure families. Find out more at sharemypebt.com.

These organizations supporting Upper Manhattan small businesses have been a lifeline: 

Apply now for Citizens Committee for NYC’s Neighborhood Business Grants of $5,000 – $10,000, which support small businesses. 

Small businesses, nonprofits and residential landlords can apply for a loan through the NY Forward Loan Fund. Check eligibility requirements and apply now.

Apply by Sept. 29 for Manhattan Arts Grants from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. 

Sign up now for Fresh Air Summer Spaces, supervised outdoor programming for kids. Manhattan sites are in Harlem and Chelsea.

Now until Sept. 15, the City’s Dept. of Buildings is offering to inspect business signage at no cost and without penalty. Small business owners can take advantage of these inspections and avoid issues later by bringing their signs up to code now if any deficiencies are found. Call 311 for an appointment.

This Monday through Aug. 31, there will be night and weekend service changes on the 4, 5 and 6 lines while the MTA replaces old track switches. Get details here: new.mta.info/projects/replacing-switches-union-square

Learn about this weekend’s F train service changes due to tunnel inspections here.

The renovated 181st St. A station elevators opened this week (a month ahead of schedule) and the elevator replacement at the 190th St. station begins Aug. 29.

 

EVENTS

Saturday (8/8) at 10 am, join me at the NY 13th Congressional District’s weekly cleanup. Meet at 207th St. and Broadway. RSVP to espaillat@mail.house.gov. 

Saturday (8/8) at 10 am, Harlem Business Alliance hosts a coaching session for small businesses led by volunteers from Harvard Business School. RSVP to jsewellj@wharton.upenn.edu with any questions.

Saturdays noon – 9 pm through Oct. 31, Amsterdam Ave. between 97th – 110th St. will be closed to cars and turned into Manhattan’s longest Open Street; see the list of which restaurants will be participating as Open Restaurants here.

Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm, livestream Theater for the New City’s “LIBERTY Or JUST US, A City Parks Story,” an oratorio that honors NYC parks for being sites of activism. This weekend’s performances will pay tribute to Manhattan’s Abe Lebewohl Park and the Central Park Bandshell. Watch on the Theater’s website or Facebook page.

Sunday (8/9) at 4 pm, learn about Harlem’s architectural history during “Harlem Renaissance 100 Virtual Salon: – Architecture as Identity: Harlem’s Colonial Inspired Style,” presented by Morris-Jumel Mansion, Harlem One Stop and the Harlem Cultural Collaborative. Click the webinar title to RSVP.

Monday (8/10) at 6 pm, join Getting Out and Staying Out for a webinar, “Invest: Creating Opportunities for Justice-Involved Black and Brown People in the Workplace.” Click on the title to register.

Tuesday (8/11) at 6 pm, New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital continues its virtual lecture series with “Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?” Next Thursday (8/13) at 1 pm, NYP will host another virtual lecture, “Injury Prevention: Newborn to Three Years.” RSVP for both to Chl9090@nyp.org.

Wednesday (8/12) at 6 pm, SHARE Cancer Support will host its virtual uterine cancer support group for women of African descent.

Next Thursday (8/13) at 10 am, the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services will host a webinar in Chinese about reopening guidelines.

Join the NY Transit Museum for a virtual ride through NY’s mass transit history. Enjoy virtual group visits, digital discussions and online exhibits.

FreshDirect deliveries continued this week at NYCHA developments all across the borough. We canceled Tuesday’s deliveries due to Tropical Storm Isaias but made extra deliveries Wednesday. Thank you to my staff and local Tenants’ Associations for all your help on this amazing project.

 

Stay Safe

Categories: News from Gale Brewer