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COVID Newsletters

Weekly update 10/28


It’s Thursday, October 28, 2021. Welcome to my weekly update.

New York City’s COVID positivity rate is now 1.41%, down from 1.66% 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 boosters– here.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee has recommended use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. If the FDA director and CDC agree with the panel, the nation’s 28 million children in that age bracket could be getting shots within 1o days (shots have already been purchased).

The Police Benevolent Association’s lawsuit against the City’s vaccine mandate was rejected by a Staten Island judge, so the Friday (10/29) deadline for City employees (not just police, but all remaining City workers, about 160,000 people) remains in place.


The NYC Dept. of Sanitation has postponed curbside organic waste pick-up in Community Boards 6 and 7 (East Midtown and the Upper West Side), which was set to begin next week, due to possible vaccine mandate-related staffing shortages at DSNY. Those CB 6 and 7 residents who have signed up have been notified by text.

(Curbside composting comes to community districts only when there’s enough interest. If you live in CBs 1–5 or 8–12, PLEASE sign up your building— and get your neighbors to, too! This map tracks sign-ups by community district.)

Alongside Borough Presidents of the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, I’m calling on the City to fully fund the nonprofits it will rely on to deliver meals to tens of thousands of homebound adults under an initiative that will replace the pandemic-driven GetFood program. These meals cost $11.78 to prepare, package, and deliver (according to providers’ independent consultants), but for some reason the City only wants to pay $9.58. Something’s gotta give, and we think it should be the City. Brooklyn Borough President Adams also wrote a letter objecting to the process.

Because the GetFood program has come to an end, staff from the Dept. for the Aging and the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy have been reaching out to all participants to discuss their ongoing food needs. Any enrollee who hasn’t been contacted will be automatically transitioned to the new “Recovery Meals” program, which begins Monday (11/1) and delivers seven meals a week. If you have any questions or issues, contact the Recovery Meals service center, which also opens on Monday:

Rob Snyder, the Manhattan Borough Historian (whom I appointed) is the winner of the “Archival Achievement” for his and the Gotham Center’s COVID-NYC Documentary Project as part of the New York Archives Week Awards from the Archivists Round Table. Congratulations to him, the Gotham Center, and all the other winners!

Early voting for the general election is available through this Sunday (10/31). Find your assigned early voting poll site at (it’s likely different from your Election Day polling place). You can even check the wait time at your early voting polling place. Early voting hours are:

  • TODAY, Thursday, 10/28 until 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

On Election Day (Tuesday, 11/2), polling places will be open from 6 am – 9 pm. Check for the location of your regular polling place here.

There are several opportunities to get involved with People’s Tech Assemblies, an ongoing virtual forum sponsored by my office, BetaNYC, and the Public Advocate’s office. Share collective ideas and questions on how technology can and will shape the future of NYC:

  • TONIGHT (10/28) at 6:30 pm: “Workshopping Housing Security,” register here

  • Fridays at noon through 11/12: Peoples’ Tech office hours, where you can ask questions about participating in assemblies, hosting events, or using the People’s Tech online platform, register here

  • Take the community survey

  • Contribute input about how tech affects other topics like justice, health, and safety

Four more weeks remain 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: 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: 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

The annual “Leadership Development” training series my office (MBPO) put together to better support community board members and the public at large has begun. The classes are free, but require registration at the links below. Everyone is welcome!

  • “Manhattan 101: An Introduction to our Borough and Our City”
    Led by Rob Snyder, Manhattan Borough Historian
    Manhattan is so dense and dynamic that you can lose sight of its long history. In a short lecture and discussion, Manhattan Borough Historian Robert W. Snyder will describe how big changes in labor and economics, immigration and migration, and the evolution of our island landscape have shaped our own time. We will devote special attention to how the latest Census data affected how we live and work. This cohort will then break into small groups to discuss what these changes mean for our neighborhoods.
    Monday, 11/8 at 6 p.m. Register here.

  • “Human Rights Law & Protections Against Discrimination Based on Race & Color”
    Presented by the NYC Commission on Human Rights
    This session provides a historical context for race and color-based discrimination and how it has impacted the lives of New Yorkers, institutions, and the delivery of services and resources in NYC. This course educates participants on their rights and protections against discrimination under the Human Rights Law. Participants will analyze concepts related to race and color, learn about efforts and resistance to combat racism, and find ways to become the voices for social and racial justice.
    Friday, 11/12 from noon – 1:15 p.m.  Register here.


I’ve heard about several job and training opportunities:

More New Yorkers should take advantage of this great but little-known NYC government resource: free mediation by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). I’ve personally seen it succeed. Check out their excellent neighbor/business mediation program, MEND NYC.

Governor’s Island is now open year-round (it used to close for winter at the end of October). The ferry schedule will be updated at the beginning of November. Seniors, kids 12 and younger, NYCHA residents, IDNYC holders, and military service members ride the ferry for free. (Proposals have been submitted in response to a call for proposals to create a “Climate Solutions Center” on Governor’s Island; read this story from Rachel Holliday Smith in today.)

Get free drop-in computer/printing access, tax prep help, public benefit support services, and leadership development trainings at Harlem Children’s Zone Community Pride (2037 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. at 122nd St.), Monday–Friday from 9 am – 5 pm.

Small theaters can apply to three grant programs through this one application from the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York. The three grants are the NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund, the Strengthening NYC Theatres Grants, and the New York City Small Theatres Fund. Applications close Tuesday, 12/14 at 5 pm.

Learn everything you need to know about applying to high schools through the new, free InsideSchools+ online course “Applying to NYC High Schools: 2021-22.” The class is available in English and Spanish and is self paced. Sign up on InsideSchools+.

Online auditions are open for “Amateur Night at the Apollo,” the legendary, weekly talent competition for singers, dancers, comedians, rappers, spoken word artists, variety acts, and musicians. Those selected from the online audition have the opportunity to perform on stage during the competition and could win up to $20,000. Audition here.

Dancers of all skill levels are invited to submit a 10-second video of a dance showing off how, what, when, with whom, and why you celebrate as part of Mark DeGarmo Dance’s “Global Dance Circle” video. Email dance videos to and include your name, Instagram handle, location, and a short description of yourself.


Today’s (10/28) costume parade at 119th St. and Park Ave. sponsored by the NYPD 25th Precinct’s Community Precinct Council has been canceled.

Tonight (10/28) at 6 pm is a virtual panel about services and gaps for people who are seriously mentally ill, specifically those who are unsheltered, hosted by Community Boards 4 and 5 (covering Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and most of Midtown). Register and submit your questions here.

Tonight (10/28) at 6 pm, NYPD PSA 5– covering  NYCHA developments in East and South Central Harlem– hosts a community discussion about public safety, quality-of-life concerns, and community-police relations at the PSA 5 precinct (221 E. 123rd St.).

Lots is happening at Brookfield Place (230 Vesey St.):

  • Tonight (10/28) at 6:30 pm – “Food for Thought: Dating Real Talk” discusses dating and relationships in the COVID era with dating experts at Hudson Eats

  • Through Sunday (10/31) – visit “Memento Mori,” an interactive, augmented reality installation with larger-than-life skeletons in the Winter Garden

  • Through Friday, 11/12 – “Photoville, Signs of Your Identity” is an ongoing project that documents the legacy of coercive assimilation policies in Indigenous communities. Portraits are hung in the Winter Garden Gallery.

  • Tuesdays through 12/15 at 6 pm – trivia at Hudson Eats

Tonight (10/28) at 6:45 pm is a webinar about the COVID vaccine, employment, and reasonable accommodations, hosted by the National Action Network. Join the Zoom here (meeting ID 836 4846 5548, password legalnight).

Tonight (10/28) at 7 pm, State Senator Liz Kreuger’s virtual town hall “Looking Out for Each Other: Bystander Intervention Training” equips participants with verbal and behavioral de-escalation strategies to intervene non-violently to disrupt hate violence or hate speech. Click the title to register.

This Friday (10/29) and next Friday (11/4) from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, tenant lawyers, tenant advocates, and tenants are invited to a free virtual training program about right to counsel, hosted by the Housing Justice Leadership Institute at New York Law School. Register here.

Friday (10/29) from noon – 4 pm is a free flu shot clinic at 106th St. and Amsterdam Ave. hosted by Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell and Ryan Health. To secure a spot, call 212-866-3970 or email Drop-ins are also accepted.

Friday (10/29) at 3 pm, catch a free concert featuring jazz artist Blue Dahlia at Ruppert Park (91st St. and 2nd Ave.), hosted by the NYC Parks Dept. and Council Member Ben Kallos. Register here.

Friday (10/29 at 6 pm) and Saturday (10/30 at 2 pm and 6 pm) is a free production of “Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars” from the Pied Piper’s Children Theatre of NYC on the Audubon Terrace of the Hispanic Society (Broadway btwn 155th–156th St.).

Saturday (10/30) from 11 am – 5 pm, Halloween celebration “Treats in the Streets” features sweets, games, activities, live music, and a dog costume contest, hosted by the Meatpacking District.

Saturday (10/30) from noon – 2 pm is a fall harvest festival featuring a pumpkin patch, live music, a seasonal cooking demonstration, and a tour of the Hort’s greenhouse at Riverbank State Park (145th St. and Riverside Dr.), hosted by the Horticultural Society of New York. Costumes are encouraged, especially monsters, ghouls, insects, or bugs.

Saturday (10/30) from noon – 4 pm, the “Art of Healing Festival” unites the community against hate and explores creative arts as a means to heal, featuring youth art activities, music, food, and giveaways on Hester St. (btwn Essex–Ludlow St.), sponsored by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Saturday and Sunday (10/30–31) from 1–4 pm at Pier 16, kids can decorate pumpkins and participate in a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt on the Wavertree and Ambrose ships at the South Street Seaport Museum. Register here.

Saturday (10/30) from 2–5 pm, the “Roosevelt Island Halloween Harvest Extravaganza” features pumpkin painting, costume struts, music, dancing, and giveaways, hosted by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation in Southpoint Park.

Saturday (10/30) from 3–6 pm, the “Sutton Spooktacular Celebration” features a kids’ costume parade, a dog costume parade, a magician, a DJ, a clown, and giveaways, hosted by the Sutton Place Parks Conservancy (enter at the cul-de-sac on E. 57th St.).

Saturday (10/30) at 3 pm, watch an excerpt of an opera about English King Henry VIII’s second wife, “Anna Bolena,” presented by dell’Arte Opera Ensemble in Isham Park (215th St. and Bruce Reynold’s Way). If you can’t make it in person, watch on Instagram.

Sunday (10/31) from 11 am – 3 pm, the free “Uptown Games” is a spook-tacular afternoon of fun, games, and track and field events for kids at the Fort Washington Armory (216 Fort Washington Ave. at 168th St.). Children in grades 1-8 who live or go to school in Washington Heights, Inwood, or Harlem are eligible to participate– register here.

Sunday (10/31) from 2–6 pm, trick or treat on the Open Streets at Pleasant Ave./118th St. and 101st St./Lexington Ave., hosted by Uptown Grand Central and Council Member Diana Ayala.

Sunday (10/31) at 6 pm, Abingdon Square (Hudson St. and W. 12th St.) features a jack-o-lantern patch— bring your carved pumpkin to add to the display– and trick-or-treating, hosted by the Abingdon Square Conservancy.

High schoolers are invited to join the Row New York high school crew team. Interested athletes should apply and then attend one of the open houses at 3579 Harlem River Dr. (must attend all four afternoons of each open house):

  • Open house 1: November 1, 2, 4, and 5 at 4:30 pm

  • Open house 2: November 8, 9, 11, and 12 at 4:30 pm

Monday (11/1) at 2 pm, faith organizations are invited to a virtual seminar about religious tax exemptions, including how to apply and maintain their nonprofit tax exempt status, hosted by Bricks and Mortals. Simultaneous Urdu interpretation will be provided. Complete this eligibility survey before registering. Then, register here.

Wednesday (11/3) at 11:30 am, webinar “Employer Opportunities to Promote Parents’ Mental Health” discusses strategies that employers can implement to support parents in their workforce, hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health. Click the title to register.

Wednesday (11/3) at 3 pm is a cultural medallion dedication ceremony to honor the life and work of renowned playwright Terrence McNally, hosted by the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center at 29 E. 9th St. Performers Tyne Daly and Brian Stokes Mitchell are scheduled for the program.

Wednesday (11/3) at 6 pm is a virtual town hall on the history of Afro-Latinx identity and culture, and their invisibility and erasure in New York City dance, hosted by DanceNYC, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, and Ballet Hispánico. Register here.

Next Thursday (11/4) at 11 am, faith leaders are invited to a virtual conversation with the Hon. Jonathan Lippman– chair of the Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform— about the efforts to close Rikers Island, hosted by the New York Board of Rabbis. Register here.

Next Thursday (11/4) at 5 pm is a virtual Medicare enrollment presentation by the Medicare Rights Center, answering questions about eligibility, open enrollment, costs, and cost-saving programs. Register for the event here, hosted by Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

News Clippings

Endemic Covid-19 Has Arrived in Portugal. This Is What It Looks Like.
Portugal, with one of the world’s highest coronavirus vaccination rates, recently lifted many restrictions in a cautious return to normality
By Eric Sylvers, Wall St. Journal, Oct. 24, 2021

Here’s What You Need To Know About Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine For Kids Under 12
The dose for younger children is one-third the size for adults and is more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic infections.
By Theresa Tamkins and Dan Vergano,, Oct. 26, 2021

When vaccinating kids, does weight matter? Your questions about vaccines for children, answered.
By Christina Caron, NY Times, Oct. 26, 2021

We Need to Plan for a World Where Covid Never Goes Away
By Katherine Eban, NY Times Guest Essay, Oct. 27, 2021

Merck will share its formula for its Covid pill with 105 poor countries.
By Stephanie Nolen, NY Times, Oct. 27, 2021

Moderna says shot for children ages 6 to 11 shows promising results
By Lateshia Beachum, Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2021

Where Are All the At-Home COVID Tests?
Why rapid antigen tests are still scarce weeks after Biden promised more at-home testing.
By Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine, Oct. 27, 2021

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get a fourth coronavirus shot
Officials recommend that those who qualify wait six months after their third dose to go in for the additional jab.
By Lena H. Sun, Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2021

A new feature on the iPhone allows users to add a verifiable coronavirus vaccination card to the Apple Wallet app and store test result records in its Health app.
By Adela Suliman, Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2021

Effect of early treatment with fluvoxamine on risk of emergency care and hospitalisation among patients with COVID-19: the TOGETHER randomised, platform clinical trial
“Another cheap drug (an SSRI!) shows great effectiveness against hospitalization in a randomized trial.” (Zeynep Tufekci,
The Lancet, Oct. 27, 2021

New U.S. cases down 60 percent from peak of latest surge driven by Delta variant
By Andrew Jeong, Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2021

Why Puerto Rico leads the U.S. in COVID vaccine rate — and what states can learn
By Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR, Oct. 27, 2021

Who Had Covid-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Cases?
By Aliza Aufrichtig and Amy Schoenfeld Walker, NY Times, Oct. 28, 2021

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