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COVID Newsletters

Weekly update 10/14


It’s Thursday, October 14, 2021. Welcome to my weekly update.

New York City’s COVID positivity rate is now 1.97%, up from 1.76% last week. Those interested in diving more deeply into local COVID statistics can check the NYC Dept. of Health website or’s COVID tracker. If you’re not yet vaccinated, find a vaccine site– including those for approved boosters– here.

National forecasts by the CDC show a likely decline of COVID deaths and hospitalizations in the next four weeks. But experts say that increasing vaccinations are essential to avoid another surge this winter. The FDA is meeting today and tomorrow (10/14–15) to discuss boosters and child doses of vaccines; the CDC is expected to meet next week to ratify their decisions.

As of today, six million New Yorkers have now received at least one dose of the vaccine– that’s out of 8.8 million city residents (many of whom aren’t old enough to get vaccinated yet). One component of that milestone is the vaccine requirement for school employees, which has completely taken effect now and has been extraordinarily effective; but the Mayor still hasn’t announced vaccine mandates for police, fire, and other public-facing City employees, and I wish he would.

Reminder: It’s totally safe to get your flu shot and COVID vaccine at the same time. Find a flu shot clinic on the City’s vaccine finder; you can filter by insurance type, and if you don’t have insurance the NYC Health + Hospitals locations on the vaccine finder offer free shots. (I’m co-sponsoring a free drop-in flu shot clinic at Lenox Health Greenwich Village, 200 W. 13th St., 5th floor, this Saturday (10/16) from 10 am – 1 pm; Wednesday (10/20) from 1 pm – 4 pm; and Thursday (10/21) from 4 pm – 7 pm).


New York State’s absentee ballot application deadline has changed. The Board of Elections must receive your application by THIS MONDAY (10/18) as per new legislation passed in Albany (instead of a week before Election Day, a deadline set when the Postal Service was more…functional). Request an absentee ballot online here:

If you happen to miss the deadline, be aware that in-person early voting starts next Saturday (10/23). These are the hours for each early-voting day:

  • Saturday, 10/23 from 8 am – 5 pm

  • Sunday, 10/24 from 8 am – 5 pm

  • Monday, 10/25 from 7 am – 4 pm

  • Tuesday, 10/26 from 10 am – 8 pm

  • Wednesday, 10/27 from 10 am – 8 pm

  • Thursday, 10/28 from 10 am – 8 pm

  • Friday, 10/29 from 7 am – 4 pm

  • Saturday, 10/30 from 8 am – 5 pm

  • Sunday, 10/31 from 8 am – 4 pm

Look up your early voting site here: Learn more from this Gothamist story.

Come visit! This Saturday (10/16) is the first day of the annual Open House New York weekend, and my office will once again display our set of 200-year-old maps executed by John Randel– the first that plotted the 1811 “Commissioner’s Plan” establishing the Manhattan street grid from Houston St. to 155th St.

My office is the sole repository for these 92 individually hand-drawn and hand-colored panels, which will be assembled into a room-size (roughly 16’ by 60’) tabletop display so that map geeks and Manhattan-philes can examine every part.

Attendees will be able to register for a drawing for a digital print of the map of their home quadrant.

Join us this Saturday (10/16) from 10 am – 4 pm at the Municipal Building, 1 Centre St. (North entrance). Masks and proof of vaccination are required.

Find a full listing and description of the many OHNY sites here.

Congratulations to my press secretary, Aries Dela Cruz, for being honored as a rising star in NYC government and earning a place on City and State’s “40 Under 40” list.

My close friend Barbara Chocky died this week. She was a seminal figure in NYC’s feminist movement and also a longtime member of Community Board 8– fighting for affordable housing and defending the Upper East Side’s most vulnerable residents— and a person of great spirit. I will miss her dearly.

Her memorial celebration will be held this Sunday (10/17) at 4 pm at the Eleanor Roosevelt House (47 E. 65th St.); attendees must be vaccinated.

This month’s Manhattan Borough Board meeting is next Thursday (10/21) at 8:30 am. We’ll hear about the recent work of the Frank H. Williams Commission, an independent arm of the court system created to address racial and ethnic inequities. Register for the Zoom here.

Weekly sign-ups are open for my GrowNYC “Fresh Food for Seniors” program, where seniors pay $9 cash, a week in advance, to receive a bag containing a variety of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables that they pick up the following week. Sign-up dates and times vary per site– contact any site below for more details.

Upper West Side (in partnership with Council Member Helen Rosenthal)
Delivery dates: 10/20, 11/3, 11/17
Participating sites:

  • Goddard Riverside Senior Center (593 Columbus Ave. at 88th St., sign-up takes place at each pick-up from 1–3 pm, contact Shula or Rita below with any questions)

  • Project Find: Hamilton House (141 W. 73rd St., 212-787-7710)

  • NCJW Council Lifetime Learning (241 W. 72nd St., 212-687-5030)

  • Bloomingdale Aging in Place (212-842-8831)

  • Lincoln House Outreach (303 W. 66th St., 212-875-8958

Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and West Village (in partnership with Council Speaker Corey Johnson)
Delivery dates: 10/26, 11/9, 11/23
Participating sites:

  • SAGE (305 7th Ave., 15th floor, 646-576-8669)

  • VISIONS (135 W. 23rd St., 646-486-4444)

  • Greenwich House (27 Barrow St., 4th floor, 212-242-4140)

  • Encore Senior Center (239 W. 49th St., 212-581-2910)

  • Hudson Guild NORC (441 W. 26th St., 212-760-9800)

  • West Village Houses (642 Washington St., 212-255-2035)

For more information, contact:
Shula Warren Puder in my office at 212-669-2392 or
Rita Genn in Council Member Rosenthal’s office at 212-873-0282 or
Speaker Johnson’s office at 212-564-7757 or


There still aren’t enough sign-ups in Manhattan community districts to resume curbside organic waste pick-up in those areas, according to the NYC Dept. of Sanitation. So PLEASE, sign up your building for the Curbside Composting Program. I’m asking DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson to release outreach, enrollment, and program data so that we can do more effective promotion. My office is also connecting DSNY to building contacts, management agents, block associations, and community-based organizations. If you would like to help us do that, reach out at 212-669-8300 or

First-time homebuyers can now get up to $100,000 in assistance to cover down payments or closing costs thanks to the “HomeFirst” program from the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development. Eligible applicants can make up to 80% area median income (see an AMI chart here). The program also offers guidance on navigating the homebuying process. Contact one of the counseling agencies listed on this page to get started.

Gov. Hochul signed five new laws last week to help curb the opioid epidemic, including decriminalizing the possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes, and establishing an ​​online directory for distributors of Naloxone and other overdose reversal drugs.


Apply ASAP for a free job-training program for the construction sector from Building Skills New York. Participants receive three months of full-time training followed by coaching, resume prep, and job placement help. The hybrid in-person/virtual course runs from 10/16–12/23. Apply here.

Applications close Friday, 10/29 for artists and arts practitioners of African descent to apply to the Digital Evolution and Artist Retention Fellowship from the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. The fellowship gives participants a paid opportunity to connect, reflect, and strategize in a community of peers.

Applications close Friday, 11/12 at 5 pm for the 2022 Arts Center Residency on Governors Island from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. There will be three residency sessions of three and a half months. Eligible artists’ work must be concerned with the broader themes of equity and sustainability. Apply here.

Now through Monday, 11/8, watch the documentary “Finding Daylight,” which tells the 20-year story of two families as they rebuild their lives after losing loved ones on 9/11. You can watch it here, in partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice.


Weekdays from noon – 6 pm through next Thursday (10/21), visit the pop-up hydroponic urban farm classroom from NY Sun Works at 20 Astor Pl. Learn how they’re bringing hands-on science, sustainability, and climate education to 170+ schools while growing fresh vegetables right in their own classroom farm.

Today (10/14) until 10 pm at 135th St. and 12th Ave. is the Uptown Night Market, featuring 40+ local food and merchandise vendors, live performances, and a COVID vaccine and testing site, organized by the MASC Hospitality Group and West Harlem Development Corporation.

Join the People’s Tech Assemblies to give input about technology and the topics your community cares about, sponsored by my office, BetaNYC, and the Public Advocate’s office:

Click the workshop titles above to register. If you can’t join, take the community survey or contribute input about other topics like justice, health, and safety.

Tonight (10/14) at 7 pm is a night of art, joy, and resilience during “The Collection Vol 2: Isolation & Connection,” a virtual presentation of stories, music, poetry, film, and visual art. Click the title to register.

Tonight (10/14) at 10 pm on PBS (channel 13), watch “Coogan’s Way,” the documentary about the iconic and beloved Washington Heights pub.

What’s “forest bathing”? Check out Summer on the Hudson’s schedule to find out about that and other free events in Riverside Park, including fitness classes and concerts. —

The Battery Urban Farm (off of State St. in lower Manhattan here) has a packed week of events:

  • Saturday (10/16) from 9 am – noon is “Family Farm Volunteer Day.” Projects include planting, weeding, spreading mulch, and harvesting. Click the title to register.

  • Saturday (10/16) at 2 pm is a medicinal plant ID walk in the farm’s native perennial gardens to learn more about each plant’s properties and traditions. Register here.

  • Wednesday (10/20) at 4:30 pm is a farming workshop about the crops and practices that can help keep your garden producing all winter long. Register here.

Saturday (10/16) from 10 am – 2 pm, help plant daffodils, crocuses, and alliums at Stanley Isaacs Playground (96th St. and FDR Dr.), hosted by Green and Blue Eco Care.

Saturday (10/16) at 11 am, Lincoln Center launches the fall season of its free, virtual “Passport to the Arts” program for children, teens, and adults with disabilities and their families. Saturday’s session is an adapted dance workshop with American Ballet Theatre; see the full fall schedule here. Register here. Lincoln Center also offers a free performance-based program specially designed for people with dementia and their caregivers. Register here.

Saturday (10/16) from noon – 5 pm at the Arts Center at Governors Island is the final monthly edition of the “Take Care” series with open studios with LMCC’s artists-in-residence, a poetry workshop, and a printmaking workshop. Register here with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Saturday (10/16) from 1–4 pm is a family day filled with crafts, games, carnival booths, and face painting in St. Catherine’s Park (1245 1st Ave. at 68th St.), sponsored by Council Member Kallos and the NYC Parks Dept. Register here.

This weekend, attend two free concerts at FDR Four Freedoms State Park (on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island):

  • Saturday (10/16) at 3 pm: a jazz piece created in honor of the park and its architect, Louis Kahn; register here

  • Sunday (10/17) at 5:30 pm: an 11-piece tango-jazz fusion orchestra and tango ballet dancers; register here

Sunday (10/17) from 11 am – 2:30 pm, get a free bike helmet and fitting at StuyTown Playground 9 (1st Ave. Loop Rd. btwn 16th–18th St.), sponsored by Council Member Keith Powers.

Sunday (10/17) from 11 am – 3 pm, the “Green Activist New York Fest” features young climate activists, hands-on environmental educational activities, eco-conscious local vendors and artisans, and live music outside the Museum of the City of New York (1220 5th Ave. at 103rd St.). Click the title to register.

Monday (10/18) at 6:30 pm, virtual talk “Names of New York” explores the history behind the naming of Upper West Side streets, neighborhoods, parks, and bodies of waters, hosted by the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group. The Zoom link will appear on this page in advance of the talk.

Tuesday (10/19) from 9 am – 6 pm, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright is hosting a Pfizer booster and Moderna third-shot vaccine clinic at her office (1485 York Ave. at 78th St.). Sign up here or by calling 212-288-4607.

Tuesday (10/19) from 10 am – 1 pm, get a free flu shot at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center (250 W. 65th St.), hosted by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. Call 212-873-6368 or email to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday through Thursday (10/19–21), Hudson River Park’s SUBMERGE Marine Science Festival showcases local wildlife, harbor habitats, and river health, celebrating the city’s coastal waters and bringing marine science to life. Click the link above to see the schedule of in-person and virtual events.

State Senator Liz Krueger hosts her annual senior fair this week (all virtual). Register here for any of the sessions (watch through the Zoom link emailed to you or on Facebook):

  • Tuesday (10/19) at 2 pm: “Exercise, Nutrition, and Meditation”

  • Wednesday (10/20) at 2 pm: “Pets are Family”

  • Thursday (10/21) at 2 pm: “Arts, Continuing Education, and Technology”

Tuesday (10/19) at 3 pm is my weekly virtual Manhattan Vaccine and Recovery Task Force meeting, sharing excellent information about the pandemic and New York City’s reopening. To join the Zoom, email You can watch archived meetings here.

Tuesday (10/19) at 6:30 pm, virtual forum “Remote vs. In-Person Working: What You Need to Know” features experts from academia and human resources in the private sector during Community Board 8’s Women and Families Committee meeting. (CB 8 covers the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.) Register here.

Wednesday (10/20) is the virtual ADAPT Community Network 2021 virtual summit about accessing services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, featuring experts on topics such as benefits, housing, entitlements, support for a loved one, and advocating for funding services. Register here.

Wednesday (10/20) at 10 am, a virtual workshop from disability nonprofit YAI explains eligibility and access to services through the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. The webinar is open to people with developmental disabilities, parents, family members, caregivers, and professionals. Register here.

Next Thursday (10/21) at noon, virtual discussion “Half of U.S. parents may not vaccinate their youngest child against COVID” talks about parental acceptance of COVID vaccination for children based on results from national and NYC surveys. Click the title to register for this event, hosted by the CUNY-SPH – Harlem Health Initiative.

Next Thursday (10/21) at 6 pm, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute hosts a virtual talk dedicated to Black poetry and the oral traditions of the African diaspora. Watch here.

News Clippings

How to Use Rapid Home Tests (Once You Find Them)
By Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times Well Newsletter, Oct. 7, 2021

Answers to Your Questions About Covid Vaccines and Kids
By Tara Parker-Pope and Dani Blum, NY Times Well Newsletter, Oct. 7, 2021

‘Naively ambitious’: How COVAX failed on its promise to vaccinate the world
By Olivia Goldhill and Rosa Furneaux, and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Oct. 8, 2021

Moderna, Racing for Profits, Keeps Covid Vaccine Out of Reach of Poor
By Rebecca Robbins, NY Times, Oct. 9, 2021

Pfizer will vaccinate entire city in Brazil as part of study.
By Adeel Hassan, NY Times,  Oct. 10, 2021

A COVID Serenity Prayer
By Lucy McBride, The Atlantic, Oct. 10, 2021

If You’ve Had Covid, Do You Need the Vaccine?
By Apoorva Mandavilli, NY Times, Oct. 12, 2021

Past Pandemics Remind Us Covid Will Be an Era, Not a Crisis That Fades
By Gina Kolata, NY Times, Oct. 12, 2021

Boosters Are Complicating Efforts to Persuade the Unvaccinated to Get Shots
By Jan Hoffman, NY Times, Oct. 12, 2021

J&J COVID-19 shot gets better boost from Moderna or Pfizer in NIH study
By Carl O’Donnell, Reuters, Oct. 13, 2021

People who received a J.&J. vaccine may be better off with a Moderna or Pfizer booster, a study finds.
By Carl Zimmer and Noah Weiland, NY Times, Oct. 13, 2021

As always, get in touch if you have a problem or concern we can help address: 212-669-8300 or

Stay safe.