- Gale Brewer - https://www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov -

Weekly update 9/30


It’s Thursday, September 30, 2021. Welcome to my weekly update.

New York City’s COVID positivity rate is now 2.21%, down from 2.48% last week. Those interested in diving more deeply into COVID statistics can check the NYC Dept. of Health website [1] or thecity.nyc’s COVID tracker [2]. If you’re not yet vaccinated, find a vaccine site here [3] (including boosters).


My Fresh Food for Seniors program is back this fall! Seniors can order a mixed bag of fresh produce grown by New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania farmers, sourced by GrowNYC [4]. Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Helen Rosenthal are my longtime partners in this initiative.

The process is simple: Seniors pay $9 cash a week in advance for a bag containing five to six varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables they pick up the following week. Registration has already begun; sign-up dates/times vary per site– contact each site for more details.

Upper West Side 
Sign-up dates: 10/13 (for 10/20 delivery), 10/27 (for 11/3), 11/10 (for 11/17)
Participating sites:

Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and West Village
Sign-up dates: 10/5 (for 10/12 delivery), 10/19 (for 10/26), 11/2 (for 11/9), 11/16 (for 11/23)
Participating sites:

For more information, contact:
Shula Warren Puder in my office at 212-669-2392 or swarren@manhattanbp.nyc.gov [5]
Speaker Johnson’s office at 212-564-7757 or speakerjohnson@council.nyc.gov [6]
Rita Genn in Council Member Rosenthal’s office at 212-873-0282 or rgenn@council.nyc.gov [7]

Join us this Monday (10/4) for the opening reception of the “Welcome Back” art exhibit in my office’s Maggi Peyton Gallery, displaying artwork created during and related to the pandemic from artists across Manhattan. To attend the opening at 1 Centre St., 19th Floor South, from 5–7 pm, please RSVP to events@manhattanbp.nyc.gov [8]. Proof of vaccination and masks are required.

Wednesday (10/6) at 6 pm is the next virtual hearing about the MTA’s proposed congestion pricing plan (this article [9] from The City explains the plan). The MTA is accepting testimony from people living and/or working in Manhattan on 61st St. and above; register to testify or request accommodations here [10]. The hearing can be watched via this Zoom link [11]. (The hearing for people south of 61st St. was last week– watch it here [12].)

On another front, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority will hold a congestion pricing public information outreach meeting for environmental justice next Thursday (10/7) from 6–8 pm. Registration is required [13] for those who want to speak; click that link to register online or call 646-252-6777. The meetings will be livestreamed at new.mta.info/project/CBDTP [14].

TODAY (9/30) is the last day to respond to my Manhattan Arts Survey [15], which gives artists and organizations an opportunity to share experiences with relief, reopening, and pandemic recovery efforts. We welcome recommendations for how City resources can better support work in the arts. Respond at bit.ly/MBPManhattanArtsSurvey [15]. If you have questions, contact Natalie Espino at nespino@manhattanbp.nyc.gov [16] or 212-669-2258.

Save the date! Saturday, 10/16 is the first day of the annual Open House New York [17] weekend, and we will once again display our set of maps executed by John Randel– the first that plotted the 1811 “Commissioner’s Plan,” which established 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, tabletop display, roughly 16 feet by 60 feet, so that map geeks and Manhattan-philes can examine every part. Manhattanites who live in each map’s quadrant will be able to register for a drawing for a digital print of the map.

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

A full listing of OHNY sites and descriptions will be available next week at ohny.org/weekend/plan-your-weekend [17].

Here’s our map display from OHNY in 2018:


Courts have now lifted [18] restraining orders on the vaccine mandate for NYC Dept. of Education employees; those employees now have until tomorrow (Friday, 10/1) at 5 pm to submit proof of vaccination to this portal [19] or be placed on unpaid leave starting Monday (10/4). (There’s solid evidence that mandates are working [20] to increase vaccination rates.)

Unvaccinated public school students in grades 1-12 can sign up for a chance at free school-based COVID testing by filling out the form on their NYC Schools Account [21] or by downloading this form [22] and bringing it to the school; each week a random 10% of eligible students will be tested.

Many of those vaccinated with two Pfizer shots more than six months ago are now eligible for a third “booster” shot. Find out your eligibility and the nearest vaccine site here [23].

Congratulations to Columbia University, selected by the City to be the home of the new Pandemic Response Institute [24].

Last week, I was informed by the Department of Sanitation that there aren’t enough sign-ups in Manhattan community districts to resume curbside organics pick-up in those areas. So PLEASE, sign up your building for the Curbside Composting Program [25]. 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 info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov [26].

Next Friday (10/8) is the last day to register to vote for the November 2, 2021 general election. See how to register in person, by mail, or online here [27].

Absentee ballot applications are now available here [28].

Early voting for the general election itself will be available from 10/23–31 (see hours and locations below). You can only go to your assigned early voting site here [29].

You can also find your Election Day (Tuesday, 11/2) polling place here [29].

Early voting hours:

If you sign up to be a poll worker, you could earn up to $2,800 if you work the nine days of early voting and the day of the general election. Translators are also needed in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, and Bengali. No experience is necessary; you are even paid for training. Apply here [30].

High school seniors can apply to be a non-voting member of Community and Citywide Education Councils, the governing body for school districts (roles and responsibilities info here [31]). See eligibility requirements and apply here [32].

The NYC Racial Justice Commission [33] is empowered to propose changes to the NY City Charter. New Yorkers are invited to complete their survey to provide input to the Commission on the changes to the NYC Charter that would have the greatest impact on the lives of BIPOC New Yorkers. Submit your survey here [34].


Parent University [35] is an online education portal from the NYC Dept. of Education which offers free, pre-recorded and live, online courses in adult education, arts, early childhood education, enrollment, health and fitness, multilingual learners, parent leadership, remote learning and technology, school buildings and operations, and special education. This short video tutorial [36] explains how to create an account.

Help keep the city clean by joining the Adopt a Basket [37] program from the NYC Dept. of Sanitation. DSNY will provide plastic liners, a collection schedule, and a local DSNY contact. When the basket is ¾ full, remove the liner, place it next to the basket, and insert a new liner. Click the link above to enroll.

Registration is open for grades 2–12 virtual reading and math tutoring from Hearts of Gold [38] and the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan [39]. Students will receive free 40-minute tutoring sessions at least two times a week from 10/4/21–5/20/22. Register here [40].

Enrollment is now open for free job training programs in custodial maintenance and health and office administration, run by workforce development nonprofit Strive [41]. The custodial training begins Friday, 10/22 and lasts 10 weeks; the administrative training begins Friday, 11/19 and lasts 12 weeks. Join a virtual info session [42] to learn more and enroll: Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 am, Zoom meeting ID 951 5238 1566.

The heroic but little-known story of maritime rescue workers evacuating people from lower Manhattan on 9/11 is the topic of Manhattan Borough Historian Rob Snyder’s interview [43] with Jessica Dulong about her new book, “Saved at the Seawall: Stories From the September 11 Boat Lift [44].”

Low-cost broadband ($15–$20/month) is available from Spectrum Internet Assist [45] to households without internet that receive benefits under the National School Lunch Program or the Supplemental Security Income program (must be 65+). Apply here [46] or by calling 833-267-6094.

Spectrum and many other internet providers are also participating in a new temporary federal stimulus program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit [47]. Low-income households may be eligible [48] to subscribe to a program that saves up to $50 a month on internet service. Apply here [49] or by calling 833-511-0311.

There are still openings and need-based scholarships left for Every Voice Choirs’ after-school singing programs [50], open to ages 7–16. Enroll here [51] or email programs@everyvoicechoirs.org [52] to request a financial aid application.

Submissions are now open for the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security National Climate Resilience Prize “Cooling Solutions Challenge.” [53] Innovators can win up to $50,000 for finding new ways to better protect people at risk of heat-related illness or death during extreme heat events or other disasters. Apply [53] by Tuesday, 12/7.


Check out the “Movies Under the Stars [54]” schedule to catch a free outdoor movie this week, sponsored by the NYC Parks Dept.

Tonight (9/30) at 7 pm, virtual town hall “Supporting Your Child’s Emotional Wellness: Adolescent Mental Health During COVID-19 [55]” explores how to identify signs and symptoms of emotional distress, and how to support your child and use available resources to build emotional resilience. Click the title to register for the event, hosted by State Senator Liz Krueger.

Friday (10/1) from 9 am – 5 pm at 100 Centre St., room 1013 is a pop-up COVID vaccine site for City employees, sponsored by the NYC Dept. of Probation. Anyone vaccinated here can receive a $100 debit card or other perks [56].

Friday (10/1) from 3–5 pm on Dyckman St. (near Payson Ave.), join me for “Off-Broadway in the Boros,” featuring performances from “STOMP,” band Yasser Tejeda and Palotre, the Hell’s Kitchen Happiness Krewe, and dancers Luis Salgado and Company, sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

Friday (10/1) at 5 pm at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, White Wave Dance [57] performs “iyouuswe II,” a piece challenging audience members to examine how they relate to themselves and others. Reserve a ticket here [58].

Saturday (10/2) from 9 am – 3 pm, the 5th annual Youth and Police Building Bridges [59] partnership walk and resource fair features a unity walk, community resources, face painting, raffles, music, and entertainment. The walk begins at W. 166th St. and Audubon Ave. The resource fair will be at the 145th St. and Riverside Dr. entrance to Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park.

Saturday (10/2) from noon – 3 pm at 620 Columbus Ave. (btwn 90th-91st St.), shred your documents for free, hosted by Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, State Senator Robert Jackson, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

Saturday (10/2) from noon – 4 pm at the Jacob Riis Amphitheater (E. 7th St. btwn Avenue D–FDR Dr.), NYCHA Wald and Riis Houses residents are invited to the Henry Street Settlement Jobs Plus [60] Block Party, featuring community resources, a live dj, games, and a double Dutch match.

Saturday (10/2) from noon – 4 pm in White Park (170 E. 106th St.), the “Art of Healing Festival” remembers victims of gun violence and explores creative arts as a means to heal, featuring youth art activities, music, food, and giveaways, sponsored by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Saturday (10/2) from noon – 6 pm outside the Met Museum [61] (5th Ave. and 82nd St.), the “MetFest [62]” block party features family-friendly fun like art activities, stilt walkers, and a double Dutch showcase.

Saturday (10/2) from 12:30–4 pm, the virtual 9th annual Literacy Across Harlem March is a community-wide, intergenerational celebration of reading and writing hosted by literacy organization TotalEducationNow [63]. There will be a virtual tour of reading-related Harlem landmarks and resources and special guest author readings of their books about Harlem. Watch on Instagram Live [64].

Saturday (10/2) from 1–4 pm, a family day at John Jay Park [65] (FDR Dr. btwn E. 76th–78th St.) features crafts, carnival booths, inflatables, face painting, and an obstacle course, hosted by Council Member Ben Kallos and the NYC Parks Dept.

Sunday (10/3), anyone 12+ can get vaccinated at two drop-in pop-ups hosted by Altagracia Faith and Justice Works [66]Community Healthcare Network [67], and Stop the Spread [68]:

Sunday (10/3) at 11 am on 10th Ave. btwn 47th–48th St., help plant daffodil bulbs (part of the 9/11 Daffodil Project Memorial [69]) or volunteer for a community clean up with the Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion [70]. Sign up here [71].

Sunday (10/3) at 2 pm, join a free, virtual sea shanty and maritime music sing-along, hosted by the South Street Seaport Museum [72]. Register here [73].

Tuesday (10/5) 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 info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov [26]. You can watch archived meetings here [74].

Wednesday (10/6) at 8 am is a virtual info session about jobs for community members [75] related to the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, hosted by the NYC Dept. of Design and Construction. Register here [76].

Wednesday (10/6) at 1 pm, virtual panel “Election Administration Matters: Spotlight on Board of Election Reform [77]” discusses the BOE, proposed legislative amendments for reform, and how to get involved in the process. Click the title to register for the event, hosted by Women Creating Change [78].

Wednesday (10/6) from 4–7 pm, I’m co-sponsoring a free drop-in flu shot clinic [79] at Lenox Health Greenwich Village [80] (200 W. 13th St., 5th floor vaccine center).

News Clippings

Is The Worst Over? Models Predict A Steady Decline In COVID Cases Through March [81]
By Rob Stein and Carmel Wroth, NPR, Sept. 22, 2021

Moderna chief executive sees pandemic over in a year [82]
By Reuters, Sept. 23, 2021

New Guidance on Booster Shots Gets Ahead of the Science [83]
By Megan L. Ranney and Jeremy Samuel Faust, NY Times Opinion Guest Essay, Sept. 24, 2021

We Did the Research: Masks Work, and You Should Choose a Surgical Mask if Possible [84]
By Jason Abaluck, Laura H. Kwong and Stephen P. Luby, NY Times Opinion Guest Essay, Sept. 26, 2021

Air Filtration and UV Disinfection Greatly Reduce Viruses in Hospital Wards [85]
(The pre-print study referenced is here [86].)
By Alex Tabarrok, MarginalRevolution.com, Sept 27, 2021

Pfizer starts later stage trial of oral drug to prevent coronavirus infections [87]
Pfizer said Monday that it has started a Phase 2/3 study to test the effectiveness of its oral antiviral drug for preventing infection for those who have been exposed to the coronavirus.
By Paulina Firozi Washington Post Sept. 27, 2021

Pfizer vaccine for kids may not be available until November [88]
By Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press, Sept 28, 2021

Side effects from third dose of vaccine similar to those after second dose, new study shows [89]
By Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, Sept. 29, 2021

Analysis: Increasing evidence suggests vaccine mandates work quite well [20]
By Aaron Blake, Washington Post, Sept. 29, 2021

As always, get in touch if you have a problem or concern we can help address: 212-669-8300 or info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov [26].

Stay safe.