The Coronavirus Crisis in the Community: Daily Downtown Updates

Relaxing on Pier 15 in the South Street Seaport. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Posted
Mar. 28, 2020

Below is a series of news briefs and short features, updated daily during the coronavirus crisis. Please share bits of news and helpful information for neighbors and businesses. No item is too small or “hyperlocal.” Write to me at carlg@tribecatrib.com.

Monday, June 1

Open streets, and street seats and social distancing space for small businesses are two of the topics on the agenda for the Tuesday, June 2, live remote meeting of Community Board 1’s Transportation and Street Activities Permits Committee, which begins at 6 p.m. and can be accessed here. The committee’s full agenda can be found here.


 

Mary Habstritt, director of the Lilac Preservation Project, the historic former lighthouse tender docked at Pier 25, gives a virtual program tomorrow on maritime navigation. She will talk about the constellation of floating flashing lights that keep waterway traffic moving safely, and what it takes to establish and maintain them. The presentation takes place at 11 a.m., Tuesday, June 2. Registration is $5 and can be made here.

Manhattan Youth is partnering with The Tutorverse, an online academic enrichment service, to provide self-paced classes and workshops, beginning this summer with 4th- through 7th grade-level math content. The classes are free with a donation to Manhattan Youth. More information will be available in the next couple of weeks, Manhattan Youth said in an announcement.

Sunday, May 31

Nassau Street resident Eric Greenleaf noticed that the morgue trailer that had been parked outside New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital on Spruce Street is no longer there. “Let’s hope it is gone for good,” he writes.

Saturday, May 30

"Ebb and Flow: Tapping into the History of New York City’s Water," an exhibit tracing the quest to bring fresh water to New York City, opened inauspiciously at the New York City Municipal Archives a week before the city closed down. 

You can now read this fascinating story online and see how the ambitious effort to bring clean water to the city's citizens was hampered by incompetence, poor decisions by local leaders and, most of all, the skulduggery of Aaron Burr, then the head of the State Assembly. 

The show is a collaboration with The Museum of American Finance, and can be seen when the Municipal Archives, at 31 Chambers St., reopens.

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“The weather should be IDEAL!” writes Don Thomas, who is recruiting volunteers for Tribeca Park, Beach and West Broadway, for Sunday, May 31, between noon and 3 p.m. “The perfect day to get your hands in the dirt and convene safely with your neighbors to spruce up our special park.” Bring work gloves if you have them, he adds.

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'It's very hard to reopen Tribeca's Kitchen, just as it was.'

With the passing of Tribeca’s Kitchen’s much beloved owner, Andy Koutsoudakis, who died on March 27 at age 59 from Covid-19, the future of the business now rests in the hands of his son, Andreas, 35. Koutsoudakis, a lawyer who represents restaurateurs and a close advisor to his late father, shared with the Trib his feelings here about taking over the popular eatery, and his plans for its future. 

Friday, May 29

“We are on track to reopen on June 8,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today. The city next week is expected to meet all the required metrics to partially lift restrictions which, he said, will restart construction, manufacturing and retail and put 400,000 people back to work. The “new normal,” Cuomo said, includes wearing masks and staying socially distant. “Remember that reopening does not mean going back to the way things were. Life is not about going back. Nobody goes back. We go forward.” 

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From her apartment in Tribeca’s Independence Plaza, artist Linda Stein has created a video, “Covid Story: An Artist Sheltered in Place on the 31st Floor.” She calls the work, which includes spoken word and collages inspired by her time at home, “a love-poem to New York,” that highlights how she is dealing with the pandemic from her 31st floor balcony. The video can be viewed here.

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“We normally cut 100 to 200 keys a day. Maybe now we cut one key a day. Sales are almost zero,” says Telestar Locksmiths owner Harry Santiago, in a Downtown Alliance profile of the Pine Street business. Santiago says the vast majority of his business is with management companies that oversee properties that are closed. “But there’s hope,” he says. “I know we’ll be back.”

Thursday, May 28

The reopening of New York City, with the many questions that surround it, is the subject of a virtual town hall this evening at 7 p.m. hosted by state Sen. Brian Kavanagh, whose district includes Lower Manhattan. Panelists are Dr. Jane Bedell, Assistant Commissioner and Medical Director of the city’s Department of Health, Jackie Bray, Deputy Executive Director, NYC Test and Trace Corps, Wellington Chen, Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership, and Marcus Book, MTA New York City Transit. The town hall will stream live, both via Kavanagh’s Facebook page, and via Zoom with the ID: 899 1343 4928.

Dolores D’Agostino, a longtime Battery Park City resident, is developing a “connection service” that links people who feel isolated during the pandemic with a “telephone partner.” The Battery Park City Seniors newsletter describes the goal as “develop[ing] a network of mutual trust and support, while respecting boundaries and personal privacy.” D’Agostino, who has more than 20 years experience working in services for the aged, can answer questions, provide more information, and link you with a “telephone partner” by calling her at 212-732-3091.

 

Fifty needy Holocaust survivors are receiving weekly free meals thanks to the executive chef and operator of the cafe at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, who is himself the grandson of survivors. 

During the pandemic, David Teyf, of the Madison and Park Hospitality Group, which is in charge of the museum’s Lox at Cafe Bergson, has been working with a small team to pre-package the kosher meals, then to personally deliver them to the survivors, identified by the non-profit Met Council as isolated and in need. The museum says it is also reaching out to other survivors to assess others who may be needy. 

Teyf, whose great-grandfather in 1920 began baking matzah in Minsk, is also arranging to deliver kosher meals to hospital workers around the city.

Each of Teyf’s grandparents were the sole survivors from their families. “I know that my grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors, are smiling down on me,” the chef said in a statement. “This is something I want to do to honor them and because it’s the right thing to do.”  

Wednesday, May 27

The city’s contact tracing program is expected to begin in earnest next week and Mark Levine, chair of the City Council’s Health Committee, said that he is “extremely worried” about the program’s success, deemed by Gov. Cuomo as essential before the city can reopen. “Right now when you walk around Lower Manhattan you have to assume you’re going to come in contact with people who are contagious,” Levine told Community Board 1’s remote meeting on Tuesday. “We are still in the crisis phase here. Contact tracing can change that.” But the program requires people who have tested positive for the virus to identify those who have been within 6-feet from them or been with for at least 10 minutes.

“You can tell that it’s a big dea,” Levine said “We’re asking a lot of people to trust to participate, to bear a personal burden even when its very tough. We’re asking people to answer personal questions about who they’ve been in touch with to a government worker. We’re asking people to stay at home and quarantine even on faith, even if they don’t know who potentially spread the virus to them.

“This is about protecting our families, our neighborhood, our cities,” Levin added, “and we need everyone to participate. 

Frequently asked questions about contact tracing can be found on Levine’s website here.

Explore Suzhou, China’s nearly seven-century-old Lions Grove Garden in a free virtual tour tomorrow, sponsored by the China Institute. The tour is led by Didi Pei, whose family had owned the garden from 1917 until the Communist takeover of China in 1949. (Pei is the son of famed architect I.M. Pei.) According to the China Institute, the ancient garden “demonstrates Chinese garden designers’ adept skills for synthesizing art, nature, and architecture to create unique metaphysical masterpieces.” The online tour takes place Thursday May 28, at 12 p.m. Register for it here.

Tuesday, May 26

Tomorrow, the Lower Manhattan-based New York Academy of Sciences presents a webinar on food security in the pandemic. “All that happens from farm to fork,” the Academy notes, “is complex and its ability to put food on our tables can be affected by the pandemic in countless ways.” Anna Herforth of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will moderate a panel that includes John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation, and Maximo Torero, Food and Agriculture Organization. The event takes place Wednesday, May 27, at 11:30 a.m. Go here for more information and to register.

Brookdale Battery Park City will be hosting a presentation on downsizing. The free Zoom event takes place today at 1 p.m. with Seriatim, Inc., an organization and inventory management consulting firm. They will explore topics such as how to decide what to throw away, sell or donate, and determining the worth of items. RSVP with Gail Hochfeld, ghochfeld@brookdale.com, and join by clicking here.

“New York’s Education System in the Coronavirus Pandemic” is the subject of a free webinar tomorrow with a panel that includes Betty Rosa, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, Sen. John Liu, chair of the Committee on New York City Education, Councilman Mark Treyger, the Council’s Education Committee chair, and Marsha Pollard, provost of Berkeley College. Viewers will be able to ask questions. The event, which takes place today at 2 p.m., is part of City&State’s webinar series and is sponsored by Berkeley College. Go here for more information and to register.

Monday, May 25

The tourists are gone now, but one way the city is bracing for their return is the proposed move of the statue “Charging Bull” from near Bowling Green to Broad Street, just south of the New York Stock Exchange. The plan, meant to eliminate the danger to pedestrians at the current location, is getting a big thumbs down from a Community Board 1 committee, as well as the statue’s artist, and residents living near the proposed site of the 7,000-pound tourist magnet. Read the story here.

Cha Cha, salsa, waltz, foxtrot, tango, rumba, swing. Free instruction in all seven ballroom dances is offered live through BatterDanceTV, with a different dance each day of the week, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. And you can catch up on what you’ve missed so far—or sample different classes—by going to the BatteryDanceTV’s YouTube channel here. (Scroll down for beginning classes.) No partner needed. You’ll find plenty of other interactive movement classes there as well.

Community Board 1’s live remote meeting takes place here on Tuesday, May 26 at 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 23

New York State just announced a new economic recovery loan program that assists small businesses (20 or fewer employees), nonprofits and small landlords with expenses such as inventory, marketing, and refitting for new social distancing when the PAUSE is ended. Pre-application for the New York Forward Loan Fund begins on May 26 at noon. Click here for more information.

Julie Matsamoto and Don Thomas, the volunteers who care for Tribeca Park, at Beach Street and Sixth Avenue, would like some help this weekend. They say stop by at any time between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. “Sunday looks ideal,” Matsamoto said in an email. “We have all the tools needed.  If you have a good pair of work gloves bring them along.  If not we have some. Wear a mask.  But that goes without saying.”

Friday, May 22

Tamid, the Downtown Synagogue, is raising funds for Food Bank For New York City with a Movement and Walkathon on Sunday, May 24. Participants (who don’t have to be Tamid members) report how much they walked or did “real movement” indoors. For every mile walked outdoors or 15 minutes of movement performed indoors, Tamid will donate $5 to the Food Bank. Complete instructions can be found here. Five dollars feeds one person for a day. Since March 15, the Food Bank has delivered over 5 million meals to the needy.

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Beginning tomorrow, May 23, eight blocks of Pearl Street, between Cedar and State Streets, will be closed to through traffic between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The closure, announced today by the Downtown Alliance, is in conjunction with the Department of Transportation’s Open Streets Program, a city-wide initiative to make 100 miles of roadway open to pedestrians during warmer weather. The Alliance will be responsible for placing and removing temporary barricades.

“As the city moves forward with recovery, we need to ensure that people feel more comfortable in public places,” Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin said in a statement. “We hope these first measures will help our neighbors make good use of this reclaimed roadway.”

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The non-profit Think!Chinatown presents “The Art of Storytelling in Chinatown: Behind the Stories,” a screening of Chinatown animated shorts, with a “behind-the-scenes look” at their creation. The free online event takes place Saturday, May 23 at 8 p.m. The short films provide a window into the lives of everyday Chinatown residents. As part of the screening, artists Yao Xiao and John Lee as well as storytellers Margaret Yuen and Jan Lee will be on hand for a Q&A session with the online audience. Go here for more information and to register for the event. The screening is in conjunction with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

 

Thursday, May 21

Musician Firas Zreik will give a virtual live performance on the Kanun, a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument, on Friday, May 22, from 12:30 to 1 p.m. The performance, which can be accessed here, is part of Arts Brookfield’s #BFPLatHome online programming. Zreik, an Israeli-born Palestinian living in Boston, has performed internationally as both Kanun player and musical director. Read more about him here.

Real Estate Weekly, in an article titled “Massive Spike in Apartment Sublets Fan Fears of NYC Exodus,” quotes a new survey from RentHop that shows Battery Park City experienced one of the city’s biggest spikes in new sublets, with a 160 percent increase for April.

The live remote meeting of Community Board 1’s Quality of Life Committee, tonight at 6 p.m., will have a presentation by the MTA on its subway cleaning program, and from the city’s Department of Health with a Covid-19 update. Go here to join the meeting.

Wednesday, May 20

Cheryl J. Fish, professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College and longtime Tribeca resident, will be reading via Zoom tomorrow from her new book of poetry, “Crater & Tower.” The work deals with her own processing of the traumatic events of 9/11 through a visit to the Mount St. Helens Volcanic National Monument 30 years after the catastrophic eruption. “Since the Covid-19 crisis, 9/11 has been referred to a lot in comparison.” she told the Trib. “Its ironic that my poetry book about the neighborhood and the way we responded to the terrorist attack, our trauma, our hindsight and reflection, seem very relevant now.” During the virtual event, fellow CUNY professor and poet George Guida will read from his book “New York and Other Lovers.” The readings begin at 7 p.m on Thursday, May 21. Those interested in attending should RSVP to tribecagal312@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link.


 

The Fraunces Tavern Museum presents a lecture by White House historian Lindsay Chervinsky on the creation of the first presidential cabinet and how it came to greatly expand the role of the president and the executive branch. Chervinsky’s book, “The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution,” is being published this spring by Harvard University Press. The free lecture takes place Thursday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m, with registration ending at noon that day. Go here to register.

Through its Volunteer Coordination Task Force, the city provides information to people under 50 who want to help those most affected by Covid-19. More information from the city on volunteering is here. And to learn about volunteer opportunities, go to the New York Cares website.

Tuesday, May 19

A Downtown Alliance profile of Lower Manhattan’s Engine 4/Ladder 15 touches on how things have changed for the firefighters during the pandemic. “It’s definitely a different feeling now,” Lt. John Leary is quoted as saying. “It’s a different feeling to walk into somebody’s apartment and wonder, Could they be a person who has COVID?”

The second cycle begins today for applications to the Tri-State Relief Fund to Support Non-Salaried Workers in the Visual Arts. Deadline is tomorrow at 11:50 p.m. The fund distributes one-time unrestricted grants of $2,000 each to freelancers in a wide variety of visual arts-related occupations. Go here for more information, and to apply.

Today, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and the Community Services Society’s Education Debt Consumer Assistance Program (EDCAP) gives a webinar on student loans. The remote presentation, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., will cover relief available through the CARES Act, repayment options, and how to avoid or get out of default. Glick is chair of the state Assembly’s Higher Education Committee. Register here. After registering you’ll receive an email about joining the webinar. For additional information, call Glick’s office at 212-674-5153.

 

Monday, May 18

Stuck inside but aching to do some gardening? Looking for the perfect indoor “green” project to do with kids? GrowNYC shows you how to create a mini-greenhouse in your home with egg cartons, Ziploc bags, plastic clamshell containers and plastic bottles. Check it out here.

It’s Trivia Tuesday from Brookfield Place tomorrow, May 19, at 7 p.m. Compete for prizes and test your trivia knowledge with @TeamThinkFast. The Zoom link is here. Meeting ID: 872 3744 6155, Password: BFPLatHome

 

On Tuesday, May 19, the city’s Department of Transportation will show the public its plan to relocate the statue Charging Bull from Bowling Green to a spot near the New York Stock Exchange. The presentation takes place at 6 p.m. at the remote meeting of Community Board 1’s Waterfront, Parks and Cultural Committee. Go here to join the meeting.

Around this time newbie anglers would be casting their lines into Hudson waters off Wagner Park with Battery Park City Park’s popular Go Fish program, with lots of other fish-themed activities included. Since that can’t happen this season, BPC Parks has put together what it’s calling the ultimate Go Fish virtual experience. The options include a special fish-themed Spotify playlist, a video that shows how to make a fish mobile from common household objects, and a “Discovery Zone Kit” of activities and resources to help kids learn about animal migration and the Hudson River environment.

Saturday, May 16

Community Board 1’s Environmental Protection Committee meets remotely on Monday, May 18, at 6 p.m., to talk about “Climate, Sustainability and Covid19,” Lower Manhattan resiliency, and other topics. Go here to join the meeting and here for the complete agenda as well as the agendas of other upcoming CB1 meetings.

A 7th grader from Battery Park City has gathered more than 1,700 signatures in an online petition that calls on the Department of Education to reverse its decision to replace numeric and letter grades for elementary and middle school students with more general evaluation classifications. “We have been constantly reminded that 7th grade is the most important year for us as students, as our grades this year affect our chances of getting into the high schools we want,” the petitioner, Jude Listanowsky, and two fellow students, wrote in an opinion piece for the Trib. “Now with no numerical grades to set students apart, and no 7th grade state test scores, we are wondering how high schools will recognize the performance and dedication of students.” Read the full opinion piece here

Friday, May 15

Lessons Learned: Principals Speak Out on Remote Learning, and Beyond

After two months of remote teaching, what have principals learned, and what can school communities expect when classrooms—it’s hoped—reopen in the fall? On Tuesday, principals in schools located in Community Boards 1 and 2, and two Department of Education officials, came together via Zoom to answer questions on the minds of many parents. The discussion took place during a joint online meeting of the Education Committees of CBs 1 and 2. Go here to see the story.

Each week the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council curates what it calls a “far flung cross-section” of artistic work and performance that you can find here. One of those offerings is “Mandalas for a Time of Quarantine,” by Deborah Adams Doering and Glenn Doering, who have created mandalas out of everyday objects. See the examples above and on Instagram @DOEprojekts. As a gift, the Doerings are offering to create a mandala image for you or a person you care about. They ask that you write to DOEprojekts@gmail.com with a note about how you hope to use the mandala image, and for whom. They will get back to you with a schedule.

The windows of the Downtown Community Center await your artwork. If you’re among those who picked up art supplies from the center the last two Saturdays (or have otherwise created work recently), Manhattan Youth says that tomorrow, May 16, between 12 and 1 p.m. is the time to bring it by for hanging. Masks and social distancing protocols will be observed.

Thursday, May 14

Singer-songwriter Jobi Riccio performs on Friday, May 15, at 12:30 p.m. as part of the Brookfield at Home series. Access it here. Riccio, whose songs are described as a meld of “classic country sounds with modern sensibilities,” is the winner of the 2019 NewSong Music Competition. 


 

Here’s a reminder that many Chinatown eateries, like Mei Chau’s Aux Epices at 121 Baxter St., above, are trying to keep their doors open and their struggling businesses alive with takeout and delivery. An updated directory of those businesses can be found here. Chau, who operated Franklin Station Cafe for many years in Tribeca, said her landlord has reduced her rent through July, but “if these three months I can’t even make it and pay the rent then I have to go,” she said.

Pets + Elders Together, a program that pairs seniors with pet companions and with “Pet Pros” who help with the pet’s care, is looking for volunteers as well as referrals to people over 60 who may need support. The program is a service of Search and Care, a non-profit of social workers, care managers, and other professionals who maintain contact with seniors by phone. During the pandemic, the organization says in a statement, “[we] will continue to provide them with services that they need to remain at home as safely as possible during this public health crisis.” Contact Robin Strashun, strashun@searchandcare.org for more information.

Wednesday, May 13

A new, half-mile bike lane on Broadway, between Murray and Morris Streets, will open this month, the Mayor’s office said today. Announced last November and described in detail here, the Broadway lane is part of a city-wide push this month to provide 12 more miles of streets to pedestrians and an additional nine new miles of temporary protected bike lanes to cyclists. The bike lanes around the city will be phased in over several weeks using barrels, signage, and other barriers, according to the Mayor’s office. “Now that warmer weather has arrived, New Yorkers will need more options to enjoy the outdoors at a safe, social distance,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.

Community Board 1’s Licensing and Permits Committee’s live remote meeting is tonight at 6 p.m. Go here for a list of applications under consideration, and here to join the meeting.

Tuesday, May 12

On Wednesday, May 13 at 4 p.m., Soho Photo Gallery presents a live-streamed talk and show of photographs by geologic photographer Joel Simpson, known for his unconventional landscape pictures. Simpson is the author of the 2019 Nautilus Gold award-winning book “Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of our Planet.” For registration, limited to 100 people, click here.

Chef Kian Lam Kho live streams a class in the art of handmade dumplings on Wednesday, May 13 at 4 p.m. The virtual class, offered by the Museum of Chinese in America, covers all you need to know to make dumplings at home, including hand-folding techniques, and achieving the perfect pan-sear. The ingredient list and detailed preparation steps will be sent out after registration, here. Filling ingredients need to be pre-measured and ready for the session.

Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal is sponsoring a webinar this evening, Tuesday, May 12, at 5 p.m., to help tenants whose landlords are not making repairs or cutting essential services. The webinar will focus on the services of JustFix.nyc, an online tool that can help tenants start legal action with the assistance of a lawyer while Housing Court is closed. Register in advance and include questions here.

CityMD Urgent Care, 138 Fulton St., now offers two forms of COVID-19 testing: the nasal swab test for the virus and the serum antibody blood test.  Go here for a list of criteria for receiving the tests and for other information.

Tribeca-based Battery Dance is expanding its extensive Battery Dance TV series of remote exercise and dance instruction to include classes for elementary school-age kids. Tomorrow and each Wednesday at 3 p.m. its All Kids Dance. Mira Cook leads an all-body and dance movement class. And each week, on Mondays and Fridays at 3 p.m., Hussein Smko teaches a new hip-hop style. Go here for the live streaming and a schedule of Battery Dance TV’s many other class offerings. 

Monday, May 11

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosts a virtual town hall on Tuesday May 12 at 6:30 p.m. on the topics of contact tracing, the role of technology and data, and privacy considerations during the next phase of Covid-19 recovery. Brewer will moderate a panel that includes Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Carrie DeCell of the Knight First Amendment Institute and Columbia University Law School, and Dr. Noemie Elhadad, from Columbia’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. Click here to join the town hall.

Pen Parentis is live casting what it calls a “Grand Slam Springtime celebration of books that feature rejuvenations and resistance.” The interactive event includes short readings and Q&A with authors Granville Wythe Burgess, Ted O’Connell and Gish Jen, and takes place on Tuesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. The discussion will be moderated by Christina Chiu, author of the new novel “Beauty,” and by Pen Parentis founder M. M. De Voe. Pre-registration here is required.

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On Tuesday, May 12, five principals, including Terri Ruyter from P.S./I.S. 276 and the Peck Slip School’s Maggie Siena, are scheduled to discuss “Learning and Planning for Fall 2020” during a joint meeting, via Zoom, of Community Board 1’s and 2’s Youth Committees. The meeting begins at 5:30. Register for it here. For the full agenda (this item is listed as third and estimated to begin at 6:30), go here.

Saturday, May 9

A hamburger (or veggieburger) may not be the number one pleasure you’ve been missing these days. But if you’ve had a hankering for one, the Downtown Alliance can help. They’ve just put out a list of 10 eateries in Lower Manhattan that serve burgers for pickup and/or delivery. Find it here.

 

Manhattan Youth handed out free face coverings today at the Downtown Community Center, with Moises Cordero (above), director of the organization’s elementary school after school program, in charge of the giveaway. Manhattan Youth also handed out art supplies for projects to be displayed in the Community Center window.

Friday, May 8

Pandemic Can't Prevent These Volunteers from Sprucing Up Local Parks

Visual respite is still to be found in local parks this spring. And for three of those small green spaces, Tribeca Park, Duane Park and Finn Square, the work of volunteers who lovingly care for them has not flagged. “The garden could care less whether there’s a pandemic,” said Julie Matsumoto, who helps to maintain Tribeca Park. Read the full story here.

On Saturday, May 9, Manhattan Youth will distribute masks to those who need them. The mask giveaway takes place at 12:30 p.m. at the Downtown Community Centre, 120 Warren Street.

Writer Sara Larsen and performance poet and scholar David Larsen read from their works on Saturday, May 9, at 5 p.m. Their appearances are part of the Segue Reading Series, a weekly live online series in collaboration with Tribeca-based Artists Space. Sara Larsen’s books include “Merry Hell” (Atelos), “All Revolutions Will Be Fabulous” (Printing Press), and most recently “The Riot Grrrl Thing” (Roof), described as a “polyvocal exploration of punk and poetics.” David Larsen’s verse translations from Classical Arabic into the literary press won an  Academy of American Poets Translation Award. Go here to sign up.

The city’s Small Business Services offers daily webinars on a range of topics for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Go here for a schedule.

Thursday, May 7

Brookfield Place presents a live performance by singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and spoken word artist Celisse Henderson, tomorrow, May 8, at 12:30 p.m. @BFPLNY Instagram Live. 

Tonight at 7 p.m. State Sen. Liz Krueger and Lisa Furst, LMSW, host “Our Mental Health: The Impact of COVID-19 On Our Emotional Wellbeing,” a virtual town hall. The live event will stream here on Krueger’s Facebook page.

And on the critical issue of mental health, PEARLS (Programs to Encourage Active Rewarding Lives) is a free program of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. They ask: “Do you know a senior who seems sad all the time?” If that is someone you know—or if it’s you—they offer a free in-home program for people over 60 who are feeling depressed. PEARLS mental health workers help identify the problem and then connect the client with social and physical activities that can help improve their mental outlook and quality of life. Call 718-888-6884 to refer a person for screening. And go here for more information.

Wednesday, May 6

A virtual town hall on help and resources available for freelancers, co-hosted by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilman Brad Lander takes place Thursday, May 7, at 6:30 p.m. The event features representatives from Legal Services NYC, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Community Voices Heard. Register here.

How will the needs for office space change as a result of the remote work that’s become the norm during the pandemic? What other changes to the workplace might be affected? Crain’s New York Business hosts “How COVID-19 Will Change NYC Real Estate,” a webcast discussion with a panel of real estate professionals on Thursday, May 7 at 4 p.m. Go here to register.

Governors Island’s reopening, scheduled for May 1, is of course delayed until further notice. But many of its offerings are now available online through a new hub for digital content, programs and resources. Governors Island at Home is a link to arts, culture, history, environmental science and more, with new content added weekly. Governors Island at Home also includes contributions from the Billion Oyster Project's STEM-focused Remote Learning Resources, MoCADA Digital and their Resources for Kids, GrowNYC's Virtual Teaching Garden, New Art Dealers Alliance member galleries on Artnet, and NYC Audubon's Digital Resources and Activities, plus a series of birding videos by the Audubon’s  volunteer wildlife monitor, Cathy Weiner. “With Governors Island at Home, we’re delivering a much-needed connection to the beauty of the park in springtime and our diverse programs, right into the homes of New Yorkers,” Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee meets remotely tonight at 6 p.m. The South Battery Park City Resiliency Project (rendering above) is among the items on the agenda. Go here to join the meeting, and here for the full agenda.

 

Explore the 300-year history of 54 Pearl Street (today’s Fraunces Tavern Museum and Restaurant), Manhattan’s oldest standing structure. Tomorrow, May 7, Mary Tsaltas-Ottomanelli will talk about the building’s significance to the American Revolutionary era and efforts to restore and preserve it. The free Untapped New York virtual tour begins at noon. Click here for registration, which includes a free two-month membership to Untapped New York. 

Tuesday, May 5

Soho Photo Gallery has just the right (online) show for the season, and for the times. “Botanicals” is the title of group exhibition that presents the work of seven photographers who approach the subject of flowers and plants in myriad and often unexpected ways. The show is here until May 16.

 

LMHQ, the Downtown non-profit work, meeting and event space, hosts virtual events today and tomorrow aimed at helping viewers manage their work life during the pandemic. Today at 12 p.m. is a workshop titled “Cultivating Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty,” with Rose Chan Siow, founder and principal of the employment consulting firm Scout. Click here for more information and to register. On Wednesday, May 6 at 10 a.m.. Lisa Pertoso, founder of Follow the Fear, a company that provides professional development trainings and coaching, will lead “How to Stay Creative in Quarantine.” Get more information and register here.

Monday, May 4

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is the featured guest tonight, May 4, during the Downtown Independent Democrats’ Virtual Happy Hour. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and Brewer is expected to join around 7:15 p.m. RSVP here to receive the Zoom meeting details.

Through its “Artist in Residence” online concert series, Tribeca-based David Gage String Instruments (DGSI) is supporting musicians hit hard by recent gig cancellations and postponements. On Tuesday, May 5, at 7 p.m., Molly Healey, cellist, violinist guitarist and singer, performs her original music live on the DGSI Facebook page.

Sunday, May 3

For those curious about the number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in their zip code or others, here’s where you can find the city’s daily breakdown.

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Tribecan Randy Hardy let us know about a “truly uplifting” but highly odd sight he took in on Friday, May 1. Did anyone else see it? Let us know (carlg@tribecatrib.com). He wrote: “While talking on my landline at the window of our third floor apartment facing West Broadway, suddenly coming down West Broadway was a man riding a large brown horse!  He was fully decked out in sheepskin, the jacket had fringe on the sleeves.  He had a brown beard (same color as the horse), and was wearing a black cowboy hat.  Carrying a large American flag on an aluminum pole, as he passed the Odeon, he looked up, saw me, and we exchanged thumbs up greetings. I hope someone else in the neighborhood saw him and was able to get an image.

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Saturday, May 2

During todays balmy weather, Rockefeller Park was for many the perfect place to claim a patch of green and catch some sun after weeks spent indoors.

Every Sunday at 9 a.m. and repeated at noon, Tribeca-based Battery Dance hosts half-hour conversations with dancers and choreographers from around the world, led by Battery Dance founder Jonathan Hollander. Tomorrow’s talk, “Creating Art During Times of Social Change in Eastern Europe,” features artists from Poland and Hungary, and Cesar Beltran, former U.S. diplomat to those countries. At 2 p.m., Hungarian choreographer Gerzson Peter Kovacs conducts a class in Hungarian Folk dance. The free programs take place here at Battery Dance TV.

Through the pandemic, the Met Council continues to maintain its services to victims of domestic violence, daily between 8 a.m. and midnight. Those needing help can call 212-453-9618 and leave a safe number for a return call by a social worker. Or email family@metcouncil.org. For other urgent help, the Met Council operates a COVID-19 Crisis Center Help Line at 212-453-9539, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday, May 1

Downtown Independent Democrats is launching a fundraising initiative to supply personal protective equipment to high risk groups, including essential workers, seniors in care facilities, homeless New Yorkers and others in high-risk groups. Every $10 donation, the club says, supplies a two-week supply of items for one person. The program is a collaboration with The Covid Foundation. Tax deductible donations can be made here. People who want to volunteer to assemble and distribute the packages can email ppe@didnyc.org.

The New York Road Runners wants to get your whole family in shape, without running—or even going outside. Check out the club’s “Virtual Challenges,” led by Olympian Jenny Simpson. Complete five activities weekly throughout May to meet the NYRR Challenge. Find them here.

Each Saturday this month at 10 a.m., children are entertained by a different performer, a live virtual version of the Saturday Morning Show at Brookfield Place. Tomorrow mornings show features “Sing Along Amy.” On Instagram live @bfplny.

Free COVID-19 testing is now available to the community on a walk-in basis at Gouveneur Hospital, 227 Madison Street, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Priority is given to people over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions that could put them at additional risk from a serious illness. (A person who answered the phone at the number below said that people who do not fit the at-risk conditions could be turned away if the testing is busy.) For more information call 1-844-692-4692. Gouveneur is one of the city’s eight Health and Hospital Corp. hospitals that is now offering the test on a community wide basis.

Thursday, April 30

Join the South Street Seaport Museum’s virtual sea-music sing-along on Sunday, featuring members of the sea chantey singing group, New York Packet. The free virtual chantey sing takes place this Sunday, May 3, from  2 to 4 p.m. Sign up here on Saturday, 24 hours before the event, to get the Zoom link.

“When we sing these songs today—some old, and some updated with up-to-the-moment lyrics—we celebrate our connection with our maritime heritage and also with the community we create enjoying home-made music together,” the museum’s senior director of program and education, Sarah Norwitz, said in a statement.

A month after it arrived, the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort, with its roughly 1,000 hospital beds, departs the city. First intended to free up local hospitals by handling non-COVID-19 patients, the ship received so few of them that it was reconverted for the treatment of people sick with the virus. But with the opening of the makeshift hospital at the Javits Center, the ship was deemed to be no longer needed.

Tonight, from 7 to 9 p.m., state Sen. Brian Kavanagh hosts a virtual town hall meeting that will cover housing issues and resources for small businesses. You can submit your questions in advance and register here.

The City Bar Justice Center provides a free remote legal clinic for entrepreneurs and small business owners suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. Clients receive a 45-minute video or phone-based consultation with a volunteer lawyer. Go here to fill out a form and request an appointment.

Wednesday, April 29

“If you want to add a kids’ song online for all those staying home—here’s my song,” writes longtime Tribeca resident Diane Lapson, who sent us this music video called “The Color Green.” Lapson wrote the song back in the late '80s, recorded and co-produced it a few years later and only last week, holed up in her apartment, turned the recording into a video for Earth Day. “I figured it would cheer people up so I am finally sharing it,” she said.

Make artwork that’s important to you now. That’s what Manhattan Youth is asking of community members of all ages. On Saturdays, beginning this Saturday, May 2, between 12 and 2 p.m., they will be handing out bags of art supplies from tables outside the Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St. Works can be dropped off on Saturdays at the same time, for display on a rotating basis on the center’s windows. Staff will be wearing gloves and masks and practicing social distancing, and they ask participants to do the same. Those who can’t pick up supplies or drop off artwork can photograph their pictures and email them to Susan Kay at susan@manhattanyouth.org.

Artists are invited to gather for a virtual Happy Hour tomorrow, April 30, from 2 to 3 p.m. Sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, the afternoon get-together is meant to give artists across all disciplines a chance to build a sense of community, share coping strategies, and just talk. Go here to register.

The Downtown Alliance today announced an $800,000 cash grant program for storefront small businesses that provide essential services to residents and workers in Lower Manhattan during the coronavirus crisis. Business can start applying to the Small Business Rental Assistance Grant program on Friday, May 1 at 9 a.m. Go here for more information and to apply.

Individual grants of $10,000 will be given to small businesses as direct payments towards their April and May rent. “Essential” is defined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s PAUSE order of May 22. The program is supported by Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and the Howard Hughes Corp. 

There is not one storefront business in New York City that has been spared by COVID-19. Every one of them is struggling,” Alliance President Jessica Lappin said in a statement. “We are stepping up to do what we can to help our stores keep their lights on. We know there are a number of landlords trying to work with tenants, and we hope all property owners will be as flexible and creative as they can be at this challenging time.

Tuesday, April 28

The city announced today that it has established Covid-19 Pet Hotline meant to ease concerns of pet owners during the crisis, as well as connect callers to resources such as subsidized emergency veteran care, and food and supply distribution services. Help is also available to people whose pets need a higher level of care. The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 877-204-8821. 

Covid-19 Pet Hotline, coordinated by the city Emergency Management, is a collaboration between city agencies and nonprofits. “Pets and service animals are a part of our family, and we want to alleviate any concern associated with having to take care of these family members during these trying times,” Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said in a statement.

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will live stream a reading of poems from her books “American Sunrise” and “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,” tomorrow, April 29, at noon. The reading, coming from Tulsa, Okla., is part of Poets House Presents, a series of 10-minute readings by poets, live streamed on Twitter, and posted on Poets House’s archive, Facebook and YouTube on Wednesdays and Fridays at noon.


 

Six jets from the Navy’s Blue Angels squadron soar in formation over the Hudson River during a ceremonial flyby, just after noon today, honoring healthcare workers on the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The noon flyby also included six jets from the Air Force’s Thunderbird squadron. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Community Board 1’s remote full-board meeting is tonight at 6 p.m. To join online, click here. To phone into the meeting, dial 1-408-418-9388 access code: 719 888 229. The agenda is available here.

Monday, April 27

The Tribeca gallery Sapar Contemporary, like others, is closed these days. But artists, if they can, keep doing what they do, and the creators represented by Sapar Contemporary are no exception. Here are links to short video views of three of its international artists at work: Uuriintuya Dagvasambuu in Mongolia, Saule Dyussenbina in Kazakhstan (see her delightful animation of the above work here), and Uthman Wahaab in Nigeria. Other featured artists include; Poonam Jain, India; Marela Zarias, based in New York but quarantined in Mexico; Bruno Miquel, Brazil; and Kristof Kintera, Czech Republic.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28, Brookdale Battery Park City, the senior residence, offers an online chair yoga class that anyone can join. Here is the direct Zoom link. They request an RSVP to Gail Hochfeld at ghochfeld@brookdale.com.

Applications for Small Business Administration loans reopen today at 10:30 a.m. To help owners prepare, the Downtown Alliance provides a list of documents and information that banks may require. There’s also a link to the SBA’s application form, which may be in addition to the bank’s own form. The Alliance also has an updated list of grant, loans and assistance programs. Last week, Congress voted to allocate an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants.

Saturday, April 25

Rep. Jerrold Nadler hosts a virtual town hall for small business relief on Monday, April 27, at 6 p.m. Appearing with Nadler is the New York district director of the Small Business Administration, the head of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the director of the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center. Join the town hall (via Microsoft Teams) by clicking here and submit questions ahead of time here.

“Breath, Stretch and Move with Miss Yvonne” is a free weekly Zoom exercise class from Third Street Music and Dance School with videos you can return to at any time. The classes are aimed at older people or anyone who wants to get every part of the body moving in a low intensity way that’s easy on the joints and helpful for balance. Miss Yvonne goes live on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m. Click here to sign up or watch her latest exercise video.

Friday, April 24

Challenges of Remote Learning: An Interview with P.S. 234 Principal Dana Rappaport 

This week the Trib interviewed Dana Rappaport, principal of P.S. 234 in Tribeca, for her perspective on remote learning for her school. She spoke to us by phone from her home in Brooklyn, where she has been working. (Scroll down to see interviews with Spruce Street School principal Nancy Harris on March 31 and P.S. 89 Principal Ronnie Najjar on March 21.)

You only had about three days to prepare for remote learning. What sorts of issues were you trying to resolve?

What was important to me was that we think about each grade as well as the whole school. A kindergartner has a different level of independence than a 5th grader. So the way we constructed the [non-live] Google Classroom instruction versus the live teaching depended on the grade.

We also thought about morning class meetings. If you’re in kindergarten your family might also have a second or third grader. So we tried to stagger the morning meetings in case parents didn’t have multiple devices to work on. You might have a device for an older kid. But who has a device for a kindergartner? And we knew that parents were also going to be working remotely and have to give priority to their work. We also made a commitment to record any live meetings so that if a parent with their child couldn’t look at it til 5 in the afternoon, they could still participate on a given day.  

Because of a directive from the Department of Education, schools have had to stop using Zoom for live teaching and transition to Microsoft Team or Google Meet. Was it an easy transition? 

No! Not at all. But we’re working with it. That’s the thing about our staff. Even if there are glitches, even if it’s hard, they’re going to work their way through it. Today was the second day on Google Meet and it was already a little better than the first day.  Children have to mute and unmute themselves and when you’re five years old it doesn’t always work. But it’s fine for a 10-year-old.

I know parents are really worried about their kids, and we want to make sure we’re doing the best we can. The live instruction is important in terms of connection and the Google Classroom is important in terms of being able to give kids independent practice and content and we have to do it in combination. 

Can you gauge how the kids are progressing?

There’s no way that remote learning and learning in school can be the same. You can’t equate the two. I don’t even think you should try, although we are trying. I think that assessment isn’t going to be the same either. It’s really hard. The teachers are doing the best they can. They review work. They comment on work. They’re doing small group instruction. They’re doing individual instruction. Nobody learned how to remote teach, so we’re trying to figure this out. And remote teaching was never designed for children this young, either. But we are using the best practices that we know about in order to do everything with the children. Deliver instruction, assess them, check in on them, all of it.

What is your day like?

I probably start my day…I don’t even want to tell you when I start my day. I’m waking up early. My sleep cycle is not great. I look through any emails that have come in and get an overview of things, and then by 9 when the teachers start doing their live instruction, the assistant principal and I spend time going from classroom to classroom just like we would do if we were in school. It’s the only way that I can gauge how things are going. I do this not because I’m observing the teachers so much as I’m looking for best practices that we can share across the teams of teachers. And we’ve found a lot of them.

(Rappaport went on to list a mind-numbing number of video conference meetings that she attends, some daily, others weekly or bi-weekly, with the assistant principal and  parent coordinator, teacher “teams” from different grads, the PTA presidents, office staff, paraprofessionals, the district office and more.)

I look at the Google Classrooms to see what’s being assigned and the different kinds of work that kids are doing so I can get a sense of how remote learning is going. Then I do follow-ups to any of the meetings that we had. 

Sometimes I’ll take a break and take a walk and then come back and do more work. The days are long. But I work really long hours when I’m at school, too. 

Are you more exhausted than when you’re at school?

Yeah, because I feel like it never ends. It’s different. First of all I’m not a person who is accustomed to sitting all day. It’s not the way I work. I spend a lot of time at school going to classrooms and being present aroun the school. I don’t spend so much time in my office.

What are the special challenges for the teachers?

They are working extremely hard. They’re trying to figure out not just how to deliver content but how to connect with kids and how to assess children. We’re throwing all of these new learning curves at them all of the time. But they’re quick. They have figured out ways to record lessons; is it better to record a read-aloud or do a read-aloud live. And how do we check in on the social-emotional side of children, and how do we do that in a large group lesson? Fortunately, my staff is pretty tech savvy. They’re willing to try new things, and if it doesn’t work they figure out a way to make it work. But it’s really exhausting. That’s why I meet with the teachers every week. Right now I feel like it’s my job to check in on them and make sure they’re ok.

Have you started thinking about what it’s going to be like next September?

By December, principals are already thinking ahead to the next school year. The thing that’s different here is that we can only plan so far ahead because you don’t know what’s coming. So you learn to live with a little bit of uncertainty while trying to prepare as best as you can. So I have a plan, but I have to be ready to shift plans. I have plan A, B, C, D and Q. And it will probably be plan Z.

How is this experience changing you as an educator?

I’ve been thinking about how the digital world can help us more in education. For example, if you have lessons that are recorded, kids can preview or review their learning. And it’s a way for kids to work at their own pace and differentiate instruction in a very powerful way. So I’m trying to take from this experience what can have a positive impact on our educational life when we get back to school. I also feel that I am communicating more with the parents. And as part of that communication there needs to be just so much empathy. It’s not something I didn’t do before but I feel like the need is so much more acute now. 

We’d like to hear from you—parents, students, teachers and school leaders—about your experiences with remote learning. Please write to carlg@tribecatrib.com.

Thursday, April 23

The Downtown Alliance profiled one of its Downtown Connection bus drivers, Carlisle Gibson, who commutes to his job from Pennsylvania. With his and the other free Connection buses still running on a regular schedule, “You’ll see four of our buses before you’ll see an M22 or an M9,” he said. Read more here.

Brookfield Place is bringing a bit of itself into homes with revolving content via Brookfields Instagram page, with recipes, trivia, home fitness classes, entertainment from past performances at Brookfield Place, and more. Trivia is via Zoom. Go here for a schedule and more information.

“Special Education During COVID-19: Understanding the Current Educational Environment for Children with Disabilities During These Uncertain Times” is the topic of an online parent forum this evening from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. It is hosted by the Citywide Council on Special Education. Join the meeting via Google Hangout, or call in at 1 (929) 324-1317, PIN: 326 073 316#.

Wednesday, April 22

DCTV, the non-profit documentary education and production center in the landmark former firehouse on Lafayette Street, is adapting to the times with online workshops and screenings. Go here to see DCTV’s offerings of much-discounted classes, as well as online “office hours” for individualized help. Low-cost and pay-what-you-want screenings of documentaries listed here can be viewed during 48- and 72-hour periods, with part of the proceeds benefiting DCTV. (For a real diversion, don't miss Best of CatVideoFest.)

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Many of Chinatown’s restaurants are still offering take out, some providing delivery, and the neighborhood’s food markets remian open for shopping. Chinatown NYC, in association with the Chinatown Partnership, Chinatown BID and Small Business Services, posts a lengthy list of Chinatown food providers. Go here to see the list of eateries and here for markets.

You don’t have to be a member of the Downtown Independent Democrats to virtually attend the club’s membership meeting this evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with guests Comptroller Scott Stringer and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. They will be giving their perspectives on the impact of Mayor de Blasio’s recently released budget proposal, and its $2 billion in cuts. RSVP here to get Zoom details.

Tuesday, April 21

“Off the Wall is the title of the group show at Tribeca’s R&R Company, open for virtual viewing until April 29. The wall works by artists Wendell Castle, Dana Barnes, Rogan Gregory, Jeff Zimmerman and the HAAS Brothers are of varying mediums but all are described by the gallery as inspired by organic forms and nature. Start your visit here.

“TIME for Kids,” along with its “TIME Edge” for middle schoolers, is helping to provide students with grade-appropriate reading tied to current world events.  (And was there ever a better time?) For the remainder of the school year, it is making its digital library free. Go here to sign up.

Taste of Tribeca’s GoFundMe campaign, which feeds frontline medical personnel while supporting struggling local restaurants, is running out of funds, Taste organizers say. Now down to “our last few thousand dollars,” they are sending out an appeal for additional donations to keep the food flowing through next month. So far they have raised more than $60,000, paying for more than 5,000 meals from 10 Taste of Tribeca restaurants. The food has been delivered to 11 city hospitals, two Tribeca firehouses, the NYPD’s 1st Precinct and the Department of Sanitation’s Manhattan District 1. If nothing else comes in, we’ll have to pause next week,” said Taste co-chair Bettina Teodoro. Here is where to donate.

Monday, April 20

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam related to the coronavirus pandemic, the fraud can now be reported to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, either by email, fraudcomplaints@dany.nyc.gov, by phone at 212-335-8900 or message 347-463-2198 on WhatsAp.

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Today, Dave Johnson from Poets House begins a second free video series in his poetry workshop, 10-10-10, that’s 10 poems in 10 days beginning at 10 a.m. Each morning Johnson reads and discusses a poem, then invites viewers to write a poem of their own, inspired by the featured work. New videos are posted daily to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Go here to see an anthology of poems written by viewers of the first series.

A week-long series of virtual events in celebration of Earth Day in Battery Park City begins today. Hear a remote poetry talk, watch a film screening and panel discussion, get ideas on “zero waste craft ideas. “I invite everyone to celebrate Earth Day safely this year as we continue to cultivate the next generation of environmental stewardship,” Authority president and CEO B.J. Jones said in a statement. Go here for the schedule.

Nisar Quraishi, 73, Longtime Tribeca Physician and Virus Victim, 'Gave His Life for What He Loved'

In the hinterlands of 1970s Tribeca, Nisar Quraishi was the urban version of a country doctor, a much needed internist serving the fledgling residential neighborhood. And for the next 37 years, as Tribeca grew into a vastly different place, the doctor continued his general practice there, first in a ground-floor office of Independence Plaza, then at 303 Greenwich St.

It was not until 2013, when Quraishi started to “slow down,” as his son Zahid said, that he left, joining NYU Langone at Trinity on lower Broadway. Still, he kept an apartment in Greenwich Court, and rented out what had been his office.

‘He wasn’t willing to part with Tribeca even when he joined NYU,” Zahid said over the phone. “I think he always wanted to be connected to the community. He always spoke very fondly of the area and he never considered moving his practice somewhere else.”

Quraishi, who lived in New Jersey, was continuing to see patients this month at NYU Langone when he himself was infected by the coronavirus. He died from complications of the disease on April 11 at age 73.

Go here for the full obituary.

Saturday, April 18

Deborah Miller Catering, 9 Mott St., tells us they have launched a campaign called Cater Because We Care that donates discounted meals to hospitals and first responders in New York City and the Tri-State area during the COVID-19 crisis. The campaign follows a “tremendous loss of business” with the cancellation of corporate meetings and events. “Any individual who wants to help can donate a certain monetary amount, and we would allocate the funds to meals being prepared for the following day,” co-owner Lauren McGeough said in a statement. Go here to donate.

Those who are out and about in Battery Park City these days can’t miss the big banner reminders not to be, posted by the Battery Park City Authority. Photo: BPCA

Friday, April 17

Bags and bags of toys, more than 300 toys were transported today from Boomerang Toys in Tribeca to children in a homeless shelter at 104th Street and Broadway. It was the first delivery made possible by a fundraising campaign that’s bringing some fun to needy children while helping to pay the store’s bills. Boomerang Toys has joined two other toy stores in the campaign, called Shelter & Play Toy Drive, in conjunction with Homeless Services United.

Once her store was forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, owner Karen Barwick said, “We had all these toys and what are we going to do with them? There are people in need, let’s just give them away. But we can’t even pay for them ourselves. So we came up with this idea. And it feels good to just be able to do something.”

Go here to make a donation.

The Department of Sanitation announced today that beginning May 4 the city’s curbside composting program will be suspended, but there continues to be no change to its other curbside collection programs, including trash and mandatory recycling.

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Here’s a reminder that Fulton Stall Market, the non-profit public marketplace at 91 South St. that supports local farmers, is open and stocked with meat and poultry, including turkey sausages, a wide variety of frozen heat-and-serve take-out meals as well as home-made baked goods and soups. Open Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its a good idea to call first, 212-349-1380, to make sure they have what youre looking for.

Thursday, April 16

Though you can only visit it virtually, a group show of artworks, called “Color,” might be just the thing for the moment. It’s the vibrant 14-artist exhibit from Tribeca’s Hal Bromm Gallery, now online here at Artsy.

There is a load of technology companies that are now offering their services for free to help small businesses with their remote work during this time. They can be found at the Open for Business Hub.

Kings Pharmacy Survival Threatened by Bank Snafu

As the federal funds that could save Tribeca’s Kings Pharmacy quickly ran dry, the store’s pharmacist and co-owner, Jones Chan, has waited and fumed, unable even to apply.

Chan is holding onto his 20 employees despite a loss of at least half his business, hoping for a loan from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. As an incentive to prevent layoffs, the federal program promises to forgive the loans if workers are kept on the job for eight weeks. But Kings Pharmacy’s bank, Capital One, like other banks, require applications to be uploaded to a dedicated website. But the website had yet to function. (Businesses can’t directly apply to the government.)

Today, with Capital One’s portal still unable to accept Chan’s application, the fund was depleted.

Go here for the complete story.

 

Linda Buongermino, a longtime Tribeca resident, sent us this photo she calls “Rainbow of Hope.” She wrote: “This past Monday night at 7pm I was on my terrace, like many others, to clap for those on the front-lines. As I turned to the left I saw the most glorious Rainbow that seemed to be bursting out of a cloud. I knew I had to capture it. At any other time it would have been a lovely picture of a rainbow, but because it was during the CV pandemic and at 7pm, it has so much more meaning.”

Wednesday, April 15

The China Institute offers free Mandarin lessons for learners of all levels, every Monday from 12:30 to 1 p.m. The lessons are taught via Zoom by the Institutes head of school, Shenzhen Liao. You can watch a video of the first group session here and sign up here for the April 20 online class.

For businesses with 15 or fewer employees that are struggling to apply for the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program or other federal disaster emergency relief loans, free help is available from Columbia University law professor Tim Wu and a group of Columbia law students. Email columbiappp@gmail.com.

“Coping with COVID-19: A Conversation for Small Businesses” is the topic of a live panel presentation tomorrow, April 16, at 11:30 a.m., on commercial tenant issues, applying for the CARES Act, and how to prepare to restart your business, with questions and answers. Go here for more information and to register. Panelists include Andrew Flamm from the Pace Small Business Development Center, tenant attorney Samuel J. Himmelstein, and accountant William Skody. The program is presented by the NoHo BID and SoHo Broadway Initiative.

Tuesday, April 14

Those living and working on Manhattan’s Lower West Side have easy access to a great view of the Hudson and the Jersey City/Hoboken skyline. But the vista of Lower Manhattan from New Jersey is downright spectacular. You can watch it stream here day and night, in real time, with EarthCam. The view shown above is from yesterday.

Over the next two weeks, the city will be transitioning its home delivery meals program for seniors to the GetFoodNYC program. If you are not already registered, call 311. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer reports that the GetFoodNYC team is working on problems such as building access and dietary restrictions. She says that those who are having trouble receiving the meals should email her at info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov with “senior food” in the subject line.

Garous Abdolmalekian, an acclaimed and widely translated Iranian poet, reads at noon tomorrow, April 16, from his new book, “Lean Against This Late Hour.” Abdolmalekian’s reading, from Iran, will be streamed on Twitter and include a discussion of his work. The poet’s appearance is part of “Poets House Presents,” a series of 10-minute readings on Twitter Wednesdays and Fridays. On Friday, April 17, poet Timothy Liu, in Woodstock, NY, reads four poems from his book, “Let It Ride.” The readings also are posted on Poets House’s archive, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Monday, April 13

Given the pandemic’s gut punch to the economy, what is the future of 2 World Trade Center, Silverstein Properties yet-to-built 82-story office tower at 200 Greenwich Street? Silverstein CEO Marty Burger told The Real Deal, “I don’t think it should change 2 World Trade too much.” As for when construction could start, “It really depends on when we can find the financing for it or that first big tenant or first two tenants.” Plans for construction hit a standstill in early 2016 after expected anchor tenants News Corp. and 21st Century Fox pulled out of a deal to move there.

How will the COVID-19 crisis impact already struggling Chinese restaurants in the future, and can they be saved by tech-based delivery services, and by us? Tomorrow, April 14, at 1 p.m., the China Institute offers “Take Out Trials: Lessons from the Chinese Restaurant Frontlines,” a virtual program via Zoom and on the phone. Go here for more information and to register.

With technical know-how and a 3D printer, Pace University Professor Richard Kline, shown at right, is helping to protect healthcare workers during the COVA-19 crisis. Kline, a professor in the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, joined the volunteer group NYCMakesPPE and took on the task of printing a face shield frame design they were working on. Kline so far has printed and shipped 60 frames, onto which other volunteers will attach the plastic shields they are making, and then distribute them. “It’s gratifying to have found something concrete I can do to help out in a small way during these troubling times,” the professor said in a statement.

 

Sunday, April 12

Spring comes to City Hall Park, with its colorful magnolia trees, and few people to enjoy it.

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Beginning tomorrow, April 13, the Department of Education will no longer allow the use of Zoom as part of its online teaching and will be switching to Microsoft Teams. Go here for information on how to use Microsoft Teams.

Saturday, April 11

Tribeca-based photographer Donna Ferrato is best known for the photographs of her neighborhood and earlier documentary work on domestic violence. For years she has been raising money for Sanctuary for Families, the largest provider for victims of domestic violence, whose services, she says, will be needed even more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ferrato is selling Tribeca prints for $100, plus shipping, with proceeds going to Sanctuary for Families. Go here for more photos and information.

Gregory Sheindlin, a lawyer and Battery Park City resident, has brought together three experts—an ICU nurse, emergency room doctor and resident-doctor—for an informative and wide-ranging Zoom panel interview on the local COVA-19 crisis from the perspective of health care workers on the frontlines of the battle to save lives. The 1-hour video can be seen here.

Friday, April 10

In honor of nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, the documentary “The American Nurse” is being streamed here for free. The 2014 film, directed by Carolyn Jones, brings to the screen five nurses from different specialties, highlighting the commitment and compassion of the profession.

The New York primary and special elections are not until June 23, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, all New Yorkers can vote absentee, and it’s not too soon to apply for a ballot. Go here to get an application form, to be printed out and returned with a postmark no later than June 16.

Small business relief during COVID-19 is the subject of a virtual town hall on Monday, April 13, with a panel of experts on hand to discuss and answer questions about resources and relief opportunities as a result of the crisis. Go here to submit questions in advance and to tune in at 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Peter Panayiotou Dies, Owner of Tribeca's Gee Whiz

Peter Panayiotou, co-founder and owner of the restaurant Gee Whiz, a Tribeca institution, died on April 5. The family gave the cause as complications of severe pneumonia, which led to heart and kidney failure. 

Panayiotou’s death, at age 65 in Mt. Sinai Hospital in Queens, came just nine days after his long-time former Gee Whiz partner, Andy Koutsoudakis, succumbed to COVID-19. The two Greek natives opened Gee Whiz in 1989 and remained partners there until Koutsoudakis opened Tribeca’s Kitchen some 25 years later.

“It was shocking to us that both Andy and him passed away,” said John Scott, a longtime Tribeca resident and president of the Independence Plaza Senior Center. “It was unbelievable.”

Read the full obituary here.

Thursday, April 9

A waitress, newly unemployed after Tribeca’s Square Diner closed, is still keeping busy serving others. The Post reports that Shakeyra Stewart is shopping, packing and delivering food for homebound residents in her Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “Helping feels good,” she told the Post. “Like there’s meaning to your life. I’m doing okay, but I can see the other people around me [are struggling].”

Check for updates to programs geared to providing financial relief from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The city’s Small Business Services has listed the following as worthy of a look: The U.S. Small Business Administration's loan resources guide; Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advances (this is an application); Paycheck Protection Program; SBA Express Bridge Loan; and SBA Debt Relief.

Birds, bugs and other non-human residents can’t respond to the 2020 Census, so the Battery Park City Authority is asking you to help with a count of its own. The neighborhood’s 36 acres of parks and public spaces are home to many critters, including more than 100 species of migratory birds, and the Authority is asking the public to aid in its Wildlife Census—while socially distancing, of course. It just requires recording your observations for 10 minutes in a quiet location of your choice. Photos are also welcome. Go here for the survey.

In a free webinar Friday afternoon, April 10, health and fitness expert Betty Wong Ortiz shares strategies for staying well at home—physically and mentally—during this time of social distancing. Presented by the Museum of Chinese in America, the one-hour live stream on Zoom begins at 4 p.m. and is moderated by MOCA president Nancy Yao Maasbach. Go here for more information and to register.

Wednesday, April 8

Here’s where you can observe Passover virtually, along with other Downtown celebrants.  

• Tamid, the Downtown Synagogue, will be celebrating tonight at 6 p.m., via Zoom, for 30 minutes of song and the Passover story. Go here for more information.

• Tribeca Synagogue’s virtual model seder is tonight. Check the calendar here for information.

• JCP will celebrate the first night on Thursday, April 9 at 6 p.m. with Rabbi Deena. When it’s time, go to JCP’s facebook page here.

Free one-hour dance classes are given at noon weekday by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. Go here for more information. The company’s website describes Nai-Ni Chen as a dancer and choreographer who crosses cultural boundaries, reflecting her vision as an American artist with roots in Asian culture while influenced by cultures from around the world.

For seniors, AARP hosts a “Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall” on Thursday, April 9 at 1 p.m. Experts will take questions not only about staying physically healthy but also will address concerns over “how stress, uncertainty, fear, and lack of control are negatively affecting people and contributing to depression.” Call 855-274-9507 toll-free or listen to a live stream of the town hall. Go here for more information and links to previous Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls. You’ll also find tips on avoiding coronavirus scams.

Tuesday, April 7

Politico questioned the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial plan, approved by the City Council, to close Rikers Island. The roughly $8 billion plan is to build new jails in four boroughs, including a jail tower on White Street. “We are facing an unprecedented global crisis, and right now we are focused on saving as many lives as possible,” de Blasio spokeswoman Avery Cohen told Politico. While we are doing everything we can to mitigate damage, disruptions to the City’s budget and longer term projects will be inevitable.” Feyer said the city is counting on Federal funds to pay for the plan, which has resulted in law suits in three boroughs, including Manhattan.

For seniors, AARP hosts a “Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall” on Thursday, April 9 at 1 p.m. Experts will take questions not only about protecting yourself from the virus and staying physically healthy, but also will address concerns about “how stress, uncertainty, fear, and lack of control are negatively affecting people and contributing to depression.” Call 855-274-9507 toll-free. Or listen to a live audio stream. Go here for more information and links to previous Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls. You’ll also find tips to avoiding coronavirus scams.

Beginning on Friday, April 10, self-employed people and independent contractors can apply for forgivable loans that pay for up to eight weeks of payroll costs and more. Small business owners and sole proprietors were eligible to begin applying on April 3. The federal Small Business Administration, which administers the program, encourages potential borrowers to apply as soon as possible due to a funding cap. Go here for more information.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, which includes its Lower Manhattan Hospital at 170 William St., suggests how you can support the physical and emotional well-being of its healthcare workers, either with monetary or in-kind donations. Go here for more information. You can also show your appreciation by posting a message on social media with the hashtags #HealthCareHeroes and #NYP.

It’s called Yoga for Kids, but these days just about anyone could use the indoor exercise and relaxation methods led, for free, by Peggy Leder of Tribeca’s Shanti Yoga. Find it via Facebook here.

Monday, April 6

In addition to Tribeca restaurants that are helping feed frontline medical personnel through Taste of Tribeca’s GoFundMe campaign (see the April 4 item below), other eateries with delivery and take-out also are helping to keep health-care professions well fed. The Downtown Alliance is keeping track of them here.

Let children’s librarians help you entertain the kids. Each weekday the New York Public Library presents a librarian-led storytime on video. Today’s offering, read by Lauren Wren from the Melrose branch in the Bronx, is “Octopants,” written by Suzy Senior and illustrated by Clair Powell, and “Who Wet My Pants,” by Bob Shea, illustrated by Zachariah OHora. The library also offers “At Home Storytime Guides” that help with your own story readings.

 

Walking into a Soho Photo Gallery group show on White Street always promises a welcome sense of discovery. And that’s no less true now, with the gallery temporarily closed. The current show, which opens online today, includes offerings for a range of photographic testes, from Jen Kiabas powerful “Burdens of a White Dress,” her response to being raised in the Unification Church and its forced arranged marriages, to Bruce Wodder’s “Parked, a series of vintage cars in varying roadside locales and states of condition/decay. Artists also include Ronald Aguilar, Elisabeth Atay and Rosalie Frost. The show is online here through April 25.

Sunday, April 5

The 81 Leonard Gallery in Tribeca is, of course, closed these days. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get inside and literally roam around to see Meir Srebriansky’s exhibition, “Age of Resin.” On view until April 30 through the Eazel platform, the artist’s series of sculptural mixed media paintings and works on paper can be viewed as if you were wandering about the gallery, alone and at your leisure. Left click the mouse and you travel through the space; use the scroll wheel and move within touching distance of a work. Click on a dot to read about it. 

The victim of two major fires that destroyed his work and nearly took his life, Srebriansky began working anew, this time exploring resin and creating this new exhibition, mounted just before the gallery was forced to close.

Saturday, April 4

Taste of Tribeca organizers quickly pivoted from their disappointing cancellation of the annual fundraiser for two local schools to a GoFundMe campaign to feed frontline medical personnel and first responders with cuisine from struggling local restaurants. And it’s paying off. The campaign as of today has raised more than $42,000, in just six days, towards its $50,000 goal. The campaign aims to feed 100 hospital workers a time, at $10 per person. Next week, the staff of Lower Manhattan Hospital as well as Ladder 8 on North Moore Street and the 1st Precinct will be treated to fare from local eateries. Here’s where you can go to contribute.

The temporary closing of restaurants and other businesses in the Howard Hughes Corp.’s Seaport District has led to the layoff of 316 workers, according to the developer’s filing with the New York State Department of Labor, and earlier reported by Bisnow. Among the Seaport businesses closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are the retail center 10 Corso Como, restaurants The Fulton, Malifu Farm and Cobble&Co, and the Sarah Jessica Parker shoe store.

Artist Michael Langensgtein sent us this image he created, along with the following note: Thank you for your article about Andy Koutsoudakis. I made this image in honor of Andy, who I will never forget. The popular Tribeca restarauteur died in Friday, March 27, after contracting the coronavirus.

The Department of Education is now making free meals available Monday through Friday to adults as well as children at schools it has designated as “meal hubs. Some sites in Lower Manhattan where meals can be picked up—three at a time—include Stuyvesant High School, 343 Chambers Street, P.S./I.S. 276, 55 Battery Place, and P.S. 130, 143 Baxter Street. The meals are available to children and families from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and for adults from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There is no eating on premises. Go here for a complete list of locations in the city.

Friday, April 3

The New York Foundation for the Arts lists sources of emergency grants to artists in financial need.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 4, is the deadline to apply for $10,000 grants to small businesses in urgent need of funds. The grants are administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and funded by Verizon.

Hyperalergic is posting resources for artists of all disciplines who are looking to share their work or find grants and paid opportunities.

Is that construction going on near you really essential? Now you can find out with the Department of Buildingss new interactive map and list of “essential and emergency construction sites” during the COVID-19 pandemic. “To help keep New Yorkers safe during these uncertain times, we will be out in force to confirm non-essential sites have been closed down, and essential construction work continues in a safe manner,” DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said in a statement, adding, “Anyone breaking these rules should expect stiff enforcement—we simply cannot afford to continue business as usual.” The DOB said the map will be updated daily.

Today at 5 p.m. the city stops accepting applications for the NYC Employee Retention Grant Program. Businesses can also seek assistance from the NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund and the federal SBA Disaster Loan Fund.

Thursday, April 2

Who says coloring is just for kids? Color Our Collections, an initiative of the New York Academy of Medicine Library, gathers very grown-up and unconventional coloring content from libraries, museums, archives and other cultural institutions from around the world and shares the images for fee downloading. Even if you’re not tempted to pick up a crayon, you’ll appreciate the craftsmanship and cultural breadth of these entertaining archival illustrations. The picture at right is from “Beadles Dime Song Books, 1869, in the collection of Northern Illinois University.

Farm.One is the Tribeca-based hydroponic indoor vertical farm that normally furnishes high-end eateries with micro greens, edible flowers and rare herbs. Now the grower finds itself “with a lush, verdant farm full of aromatic and flavorful plants, in a city almost completely void of restaurant customers,” Farm.One’s Paige Carter tells us.  As a result, they’ve launched store.farm.one, offering their products for home cooking, with contactless delivery or contactless pickup from their Tribeca store, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Downtown Independent Democrats says you can remain connected and informed by joining its virtual Happy Hour on Monday, April 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. You don’t have to be a member. RSVP here to receive Zoom meeting details. The club’s Happy Hours have been held in person on the first Monday of the month, but for now, they say “you will have to provide your own bar.”

The Battery Park City Seniors chair yoga class, which normally meets at Asphalt Green, will be available to all tomorrow morning, April 3, at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom. Follow teacher Jason on your computer, tablet or cell phone in your home. Here is the link to join the meeting. The meeting ID number is 729 797 684.

Wednesday, April 1

Whether you’re a dog owner who wants to bring a bit of joy to an emotionally struggling homebound person, or you or someone you know could use some virtual canine companionship, the American Kennel Club has a service for you. The AKC PupPals Program, says the Club, “provides people in need of uplifting with a message from a canine friend.” For dog owners who want to create videos of their pets, or those who wish to receive them—it could be for you or for others—go here for more information.

 

          •

All programming for GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden on Governors Island is cancelled into May. So the staff has created a Digital Teaching Garden, with plant facts, updates on things being grown, and how to start your own indoor garden. 

The staff of Service Programs for Older People (SPOP) are working remotely, but they are still providing mental health services for people over 50 who are in isolation. If you need services for yourself or another person, email intake@spop.org.

Tuesday, March 31

Like everyone whose family members live at Brookdale Battery Park City, Amy Schumer can’t visit her dad in person. So today she came by with her son Gene, stood outside, and waved to him as he watched from the window. The sign says: Grandpa! We Love You!


 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Visiting dad

A post shared by @ amyschumer on

This might be just the time to visit the Fraunces Tavern Museum, if only virtually. The museum is featuring an online tour of “Valuable,” its exhibit of the eight most precious objects in the museum’s collection, “chosen for their varying values within the making, history, preservation and interpretation of American culture.” The accompanying text highlights meaningful features of each object and their significance to American history. (Shown here is a slipper that belonged to Martha Washington.)

 

Remote Learning, a Downtown Principal's Perspective

Note: The Trib is periodically checking in with Lower Manhattan principals, parents and students about their experineces with remote learning. (See the March 21 interview with P.S. 89 Principal Ronnie Najjar.) Below is our interview with Principal Nancy Harris of the Spruce Street School, who we spoke to last Friday. 

Principal Nancy Harris's video morning greeting to Spruce Street students on the fourth day of remote learning.

What have you learned from the first week of remote teaching?

On a practical level we’ve learned how much coordination and flexibility with schedules there needs to be because there are so many families in our school with multiple children, and adults working from home. We’ve also learned the importance of having a class meet at least once a day [via Google Classroom and Zoom]. That has been really powerful. And I get to drop in on a lot of those and to see the kids all seeing each other and seeing their teacher and having some sense of normalcy. It actually feels more normal than I would have thought.

What about kids who don’t have the technology at home?

When the building was still open one of my assistant principals and my guidance counselors spearheaded technology distribution at our building and were able to distribute many Chromebooks to anyone in our school community who needed them. For families that are still without a device we’re trying to connect them with the citywide survey for distributing the iPads. I’ve renamed my attendance team the student outreach team. My guidance counselors are thinking about being detectives so we can track down every student and see what they need.

What is your day like?

I’ve decided I want to start the school day similar to how I start every morning, by greeting the whole school. Normally I stand there at 7:50, I open the doors, I say good morning to everyone as they come in. So each morning I record a video message and post it for the whole school community. It keeps my routine going but also I hope it keeps some sense of normalcy. So if people choose they can see me first thing, welcoming them to the day and setting the tone and intention for the day. I’ve learned some new tricks on how to video record and how to post. I’m doing it on my laptop, sitting at my kitchen table. And then it’s a variety of video meetings throughout the day. And phone calls. I talk to my assistant principals constantly. We check in with teacher teams. I visit any live class meetings or teaching opportunities that I can. I also communicate a lot with other principals across the district, trying to share best practices, trying to troubleshoot things, trying to learn all the intricacies of how life in school translates to now. I brought my work laptop home so I have two different laptops, I have my phone, I have this whole station, so one device is always charged when I need it, and I’m always available. 

What are you still trying to figure out?

Some of the biggest question marks that are still outstanding are things like promotion, graduation, Regents exams. We’re having a lot of district-wide conversations to talk about things like grading because if we are able to construct our policies, we want to do them in unison with colleagues, not in isolation. I’m trying not to do too many things in isolation because I don’t want to be superseded by city-wide policy when they catch up.

What are you hearing from the teachers?

The teachers are great. Everyone is looking for reassurance that what they’re doing is enough. Many of our teachers have young children of their own or they have parents that they take care of or families that they’re worried about. So I think everyone on my teaching staff is trying to manage this new reality. To be a teacher, and especially a teacher at my school, you tend to be a very efficient, perfectionist Type A and that’s a very hard mindset to keep right now because so much is changing. So they’re trying to do their best, but they’re very concerned about not being able to juggle it all. To do everything that they used to do. 

How are the middle schoolers handling this?

Hands down our middle schoolers are much more disoriented and they feel so lost without coming to school. The beauty of being a young child is that you have this obliviousness and innocence about the world. And even if you hear what’s going on you don’t really process it in the same way. Middle schoolers and adolescents understand the world in ways that are more similar to adults. They don’t have the skillset to process it but they feel things really deeply. And for them their social network is everything. So to not have their normal sense of who they are is really jarring. They really love school. Kids who we didn’t hear from much in our middle school, they are participating more and handing in more work and are more engaged. Maybe they appreciate [coming to school] after it’s gone. Middle schoolers are sometimes harder to deal with but it also makes them more like us. And that’s hard for them. 

How will things be different for you when regular school eventually resumes?

There are things that we’ve learned now that we can keep doing going forward. Virtual meetings will have a place in our school and we’ll offer family flexibility to join meetings that they weren’t able to be a part of, or staff will connect in ways that we hadn’t thought of. So I do see possibilities that maybe will make certain experiences better.

Monday, March 30

The Navy hospital ship Comfort sailed up the Hudson this morning (photo above), on its mission to relieve the overwhelming demand on city hospitals that are treating COVID-19 patients. The ship, to be docked at Pier 59 in Manhattan, is equipped with 1,000 beds, a medical laboratory and 12 operating rooms, and carries 1,000 Navy officers. Patients with non-COVID-19 illnesses will be treated there.

Sunday, March 29

A Beloved Tribeca Restaurateur Is Virus Victim

The coronavirus has taken the life of a longtime Tribeca restaurateur, known to many for his warm, welcoming and cheerful spirit. Andy Koutsoudakis, 59, the owner of Tribeca’s Kitchen on Church Street, died on Friday in Richmond County Medical Center. Before opening Tribeca’s Kitchen, his restaurant on Church Street, in 2014, Koutsoudakis was the owner with Peter Panayilotou of Gee Whiz, a Tribeca institution opened by the pair in 1989.

“My dad found the spot in Tribeca. Everybody told him he was crazy,” his son Andreas said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “What are you doing down there? There’s nothing over there. It is such an indicator of how he did  things.”

“As the neighborhood was being built around them,” he added, “they were already there.”

Read the full obituary here.

 

Soho Photo's exhibition for March and April is now online. The show includes photographs by John Cusodio of lone objects, towers, monuments, statues, isolated within the landscape, Robert Kalman's photos of people in Tompkins Square, Anne Burlock Lawyer's nude portraits of an older woman, and BT Kim's barely visible photos of faces.

The Taste of Tribeca may be cancelled this year, but its community spirit is still strong. The organizers have launched a GoFundMe page to support both local restaurants and medical workers on the front lines of the cornonavirus crisis. The money raised will buy food from local restaurants to feed entire shifts of the emergency room at New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital.

Church Street School for Music and Art is now offering online music lesson classes for kids, teens, adults and families. Packages of four, eight and 12-lessons are available for all levels and instruments. For more information, email Toby at tobywine@churchstreetschool.org.

Saturday, March 28

Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC) is partnering in a virtual event on Thursday, April 2, that focuses on economic relief programs for small businesses related to the impact of COVID-19. Experts from the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and Ramona Cedeno, founder and CEO of FiBrick Financial Services, will share information on emergency financial assistance. The event is co-hosted by Dig Down Media and Women.nyc. Go here for more information and to register.

As many are learning, the “togetherness” of coronavirus self-isolation can lead to family conflicts. If it feels serious, the New York Peace Institute can help. It’s offering free telephone-based mediation and conflict coaching services for people in Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more information, go here.

What if your pet gets sick and you can’t leave the house? Can COVID-19 be spread from people to animals? Animal Care Centers of NYC offers valuable advice here for pet owners or those who would like to adopt a pet during the coronavirus crisis.

Friday, March 27

Tribeca-based Battery Dance is going live with free dance classes and programming for the general public. With the cancellation of its dance classes in the public schools and a scheduled tour of Nigeria, Battery Dance launched Battery Dance TV, with company staff leading a variety of movement offerings from their apartments. There are stretching and conditioning exercises in the morning, classes in contemporary dance and short video performances in the afternoon and evening ballroom classes. Go here for the schedule.

“For 45 years, we have explored the power of dance as an art form and a means for social impact and connection,” Battery Dance executive director Jonathan Hollander said in a statement. “We are not going to stop now.

Below, Battery Dances Mira Cook in a one-minute performance from home. Each day a new short dance video will be offered on Battery Dance TV.

The city announced today that loans are available for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees that can show they have decreased revenues of at least 25 percent are eligible for loans of up to $75,000 to help retain their employees and stay afloat. Applications to the Small Business Continuity Fund can be found here. There are also COVID-19 resource fact sheets available at nyc.gov/COVID19biz.

Police visited Pier 25 yesterday as part of the NYPD’s enforcement of social distancing. Police Commission Dermot Shea wrote on Twitter: “We’ve visited hundreds of restaurants, parks, & other spaces this week – by foot, by car, & by air. What we’ve seen so far…is nearly 100% compliance. NYers working together (from 6 feet apart) to help stem the spread of #COVID19. Thanks, NYC – we’ll get through this together.”

Thursday, March 26

City Harvest needs volunteers to help pre-pack produce and pantry packs for distribution to its partner agencies and Mobile Markets. The organization says it has added protocols to ensure the safety of its volunteers, as well as clients and staff. During this time, volunteers must be under the age of 50. Go here for more information.

Many residents and workers who lived in Lower Manhattan during 9/11 continue to find it difficult to visit the September 11 Museum. If you’re one of them, the museum—now closed—offers virtual visits to not only its extensive archives but also its programs on a host of subjects. Take a look here.

 

What’s the appropriate way for a food take-out business to indicate where customers should stand for safe social distancing? Not how they do it at the Shake Shack in Battery Park City, according to this customer, who took her complaint to Instagram. We’re reposting it, with captions and slight editing by us. She asked not to be identified here.

Wednesday, March 25

For the past week, the 150 residents of Brookdale Battery Park City, many in their 90s, are “self isolated,” as Brookdale calls it, with meals delivered to their doors and staff checking on them several times a day by phone. But on Tuesday, Brookdales’s resident programs director Whitney Glandon broke the doldrums by leading the staff downstairs in a spirited pop-up dance for residents to enjoy from their windows upstairs.

Shimmying while holding signs that, together, read, “WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER,” the troupe performed first outside one side of the building, then the next; their audience encouraged to do some moves of their own. 

“We’re following all the rules, but just trying to bring a little bit of laughter. Something fun for the residents,” said Glandon, who leads Brookdale’s movement classes. 

Carol Rubin, 81, said that when it was all over the effect was lasting. She said that she and an aide, Nahtenin Karamoko, did a little dance. Even Carol’s husband, Arnold, joined in from his chair.

“How can you not respond to that,” Rubin said. “After it was over Whitney made me feel, hey, she can do this. I want to do it, too.”

Tuesday, March 24

Julie Menin, former chair of Community Board 1 and the city’s current director of the census, tweeted that her father, 84, is showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

Tonight’s Community Board 1 full board meeting can be attended remotely. There will be comments by members of the public, limited to one minute each, from 5:55 p.m. to 6:05 p.m. Sign up by 5 p.m. Click here for instructions. And here is the agenda.

Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Church Street School for Music and Art in Tribeca posts “new art and music pieces and resources. Today’s art, including the three pieces shown here, are by the late Susan Duncan who for many years was on the school’s staff. “It is our hope that [the pieces] will lighten your spirit, keep you entertained, and remind you of the power of the arts in these uncertain times,” writes Lisa Ecklund-Flores, the school’s co-founder and director.

TIME for Kids will be supplementing at-home learning with grade-specific editions from kindergarten to 6th grade. A complete collection of all 2020 editions of TIME for Kids, plus its financial literacy magazine for children will be online for free. The featured issue at launch provides a special report on the virus outbreak and how it is affecting the country, including schools. Go here for more information.

Tommy Keane let us know that Tribeca’s Nancy Whiskey Pub has set up a GoFundMe page for the bar’s staff.  “So the next time you open a bottle under quarantine or take a shot while working from home, consider throwing a few dollars towards our staff here at the Nancy Whiskey,” the pub writes on its page. Write to us about other fundraising campaigns for laid off Lower Manhattan workers and we will post it.

Monday, March 23

The Museum of Jewish Heritage offers virtual programs on Tuesday and Wednesday. On March 24, Helen Epstein reads from “Franci’s War: A Woman’s Story of  Survival, the Holocaust memoir of her mother, Franci Rabinek Epstein, followed by an online discussion. And on Wednesday, March 25, Yiddish scholar Anna Shternshis gives an interactive lecture about Yiddish humor during World War II. She tells the story of what Soviet Jews found funny, and why, during this dark period of Jewish history. Both events can be joined by going here.

You can still support your favorite dining spots if they are open for delivery. But how much should you tip, given these extraordinary times for restaurants and their delivery workers? The Downtown Alliance has tips on tipping. And they give very good reasons for being very generous, tipping up to 50% of the bill.  Along with that advice, they note, “In the age of coronavirus, paper money is a real germ-spreader, so tip on your credit card if you can.

There are no blood drives now taking place Downtown, but if you know people who live near one of the three New York Blood Centers uptown, here is where they can go to help replenish the diminishing reserves: the Grand Central Donor Center at 200 Park Ave.; Port Authority Midtown Donor Center, 625 8th Ave.; and the Upper East Side Donor Center, 310 East 67th St. An appointment can be made here. According to the Center, 75 percent of its incoming blood supply was interrupted when schools, businesses and religious institutions closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bed Bath & Beyond announced that its stores will close starting today, and will remain closed until April 3. The store says it will be open online and will be allowing returns up to 240 days from the date of purchase.

The Battery Park City Authority announced today that its parks, like Rockefeller Park, above, have begun reopening on a rolling basis for “passive use and solitary recreation only.” But athletic courts, sports fields, playgrounds, dog runs and public bathrooms remain closed. BPCA programs and its community center at Stuyvesant High School also remain closed.

“If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, please return another time,” the BPCA said in a statement.

The Metropolitan Opera continues to stream previous performances. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s “Live in HD” series can be streamed for free on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. the following day. Today, you can see Tchaikovsky’s passionate Eugene Onegin until 6:30 p.m. The great Renée Fleming stars as Tatiana, who falls in love with the worldly Onegin, sung by Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Valery Gergiev conducts.

Wagner Week starts tonight at 7:30 p.m. Check the schedule on the Met website.

According to the city’s new directive, “Playgrounds run by the Parks Department remain open to provide children with solitary, active recreation. It is critical to practice social distancing among people who do not live in the same household while playing on the playground. Playgrounds will be monitored by the NYPD and Parks Enforcement officers, and new signage will warn parents and guardians to maintain social distancing among children. Over the next week, the Parks Department will evaluate compliance and adopt more stringent rules if needed.

Sunday, March 22

Beginning tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., and for the next 10 days at that time, poet and playwright Dave Johnson from Poets House Online will be leading a 10-minute video poetry workshop. Watch all 10 and, as Johnson says, you’ll have 10 new poems. Watch it here.

At the New York Stock Exchange, volatility is about more than plunging share prices. Starting tomorrow, the exchange trading floors will be temporarily closed, and fully electronic trading will begin when the market opens. “The decision to temporarily close the trading floors represents a precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of employees and the floor community in response to COVID-19,” NYSE said in a statement. 

Last week, a member of the trading floor and a NYSE member tested positive for COVED-19 during a routine medical screening of all workers before they entered the building, according to the statement.

The BBC offers “Five Ways to Work Well from Home.” And they’re good. Tip Number One: Get dressed.

 

Saturday, March 21

Since last Tuesday, teachers and principals have been preparing for the unprecedented challenge of instructing students remotely during the coming weeks, beginning on Monday. Via email, we asked Ronnie Najjar, principal of P.S. 89 in Battery Park City, what that effort has been like at her school. 

What have you and the teachers at P.S. 89 been doing to prepare for remote learning, and what materials and technical support were you given? 

It was tough going in the beginning since we only had three days to work together and for grade teams to collaborate about the work and instructional tools they want to roll out. We are using Google Classroom which is a familiar platform for our 4th and 5th graders so the learning curve wasn't as steep for those teachers and eventually for their students. However, to use such a platform for the younger grades forced us to shift the paradigm and consider what would be both engaging and appropriate for young children. The teachers reviewed a host of online resources, and a prototype that Teaching Matters created just for the DOE, to include all content areas each day. We plan to infuse all of our enrichment classes throughout the week so students will be engaging in science, art, music, dance and phys ed in some capacity. In addition, students with special needs need to have mandated services provided via tele-therapy in speech, OT, PT and Counseling. There are definitely a lot of balls in the air but the teachers are each other’s greatest resource and they lean on each other so beautifully. It makes me so proud to see the community of staff come together to make this work.

What has been most challenging? 

I think the challenging part is maintaining a sense of community among the students, which they so sorely miss. Teachers have already planned to create a space for some face to face time, videotape some read alouds and share photos of each other to keep the classroom community alive. 

For all of us this happened so suddenly and that can be jarring for young children and their families. Our counselor is reaching out to all families with some guidance, tips, and resources to help them manage their own feelings and the feelings of their children.

What is important for parents to know and expect as this program is rolled out over the next week?

I think parents need to understand that Remote Learning will not be an exact replacement for face to face instruction and intimate connection with the teachers and other classmates on a daily basis. We will do our best to make the work and activities engaging and inclusive, and make sure that the children know that their teachers are still involved in their lives. We are not keen about having students spend hours in front of a screen which is why we are infusing a variety of activities to get children reading, creating art, moving their bodies, exploring some new things, sharing what's been going on in their lives. It's going to be a little bumpy at the start to learn on a digital platform but I know my teachers have been working hard to design a program that is appropriate for each age group.

Tribeca’s Greenmarket was open today, with a new protocol. Only the sellers touched the produce before purchase. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

In an effort to support local restaurants and their staffs, Taste of Tribeca has compiled a list of eateries, to be revised and expanded, which remain open “in some capacity,” or are simply offering gift cards, starting with Taste participants. “When all of this is over,” the organizers say on their website, “we will need our restaurants to be able to turn on their lights and open their doors, and secondarily we also hope that when we re-launch Taste of Tribeca, that they will be able to join us.

For now, Tribecas Bowery Mission at 90 Lafayette St. is still open, with the demand for food growing and expenses rising, reports Religious News. Volunteers may no longer be able to help out, but donations are being requested to cover the increased need. 

Friday, March 20

Beginning on Saturday, March 22, the GrowNYC Greenmarkets will be closing down its food scrap and clothing collections until further notice. But the markets will remain open.

Battery Park City resident Cora Fung sent us this photo of the eerily empty Oculus. Send us your photos (carlg@tribecatrib.com) that help tell the story of Lower Manhattan in this time of the pandemic. 

Boy's Life has some great stuck-at-home projects for kids, using materials mostly found around the house. Among the 25 is our favorite, slime-making. And here, the Department of Education lists a ton of educational materials (many actually fun) to supplement kids' remote learning.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced that as of yesterday the city has inspected 8,150 businesses and religious institutions for adherence to rules mandating closures, and found “overwhelming compliance.” Only six violations were issued.

The Downtown Alliance has compiled this list of eight markets in Lower Manhattan that deliver to your door. Store hours and service areas are included.

Thursday, March 19

LMHQ (Lower Manhattan Headquarters), the non-profit workspace on Broadway, is closed. But it is posting a page of resources for jobs and gigs, volunteering opportunities, and information on government relief. You can also add to the list if you have suggestions.

A movie a day keeps the anxiety away. Thats the motto of the Tribeca Film Festival that each day is offering a free short from its archives. As a special thank you to the brave people staying home and doing their part to help keep our community safe, the festival writes, Tribeca is proud to present an online series of Tribeca shorts, with a new film rolled out at 11 a.m. each day for a moment of entertainment and refuge in a world unknown. Go here for todays short, So You Like the Neighborhood, starring Tony Award nominee Sarah Stiles. And here is the homepage for the later selections.

Wednesday, March 18

An officer in the 1st Precinct in Tribeca tested positive for the coronavirus and another 17 officers are being monitored for flu-like symptoms, according to 1010 WINS. The station also reported that 31 officers have called in sick in the last few days. A source at the 1st Precinct declined to comment on the report. An NYPD spokesman, who first told the Trib that a statement would be sent out on the report, later wrote in an email that We are not releasing this information.

Do you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19? New-York Presbyterian Hospital, with a Lower Manhattan branch at 170 William St., provides visits with one of their doctors through the hospitals virtual urgent care service. It can be accessed here between 8 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week. The doctor will determine whether you need to come in to be evaluated. The hospital emphasizes the importance of telling them your symptoms before going to your doctor or the emergency room.

Raymond Pizzaro from Barnes & Noble Tribeca writes that the store is open and adjusting its hours, now from 10 p.m. to 7 p.m., with the cafe open for take-out and the store otherwise open for business as usual (except for cancelled store events), with some seating removed. The community has been comng in for workbooks for the kids, activity kits and board games. We are reordering every day to replenish stock, he said. For quick transactions, he added, order online and then pick up at the store. It takes about 45 seconds.

Poets House is closed but its workshops can be found online. In the meantime, they stress the balm of poetry in a crisis and are asking for you to share the poems that get you through hard times, via Poets House Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. In this time of emergency, poetry has a role to play—to help us hear each other and comfort each other,writes Lee Briccetti, Poets House executive director. Poetry will help us build strength from the inside.

Tuesday, March 17

The city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection announced an emergency rule that makes price gouging illegal for any items that are used to limit the spread or treatment of the coronavirus. The agency is encouraging consumers to file a complaint at nyc.gov/dcwp, or call 311, if they believe they were overcharged. “Now is the time for us to come together, not take advantage of each other for a profit but we continue to hear about and see empty shelves and price gouging, DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas said in a statement.

Beginning tomorrow, March 18, reservations will be required for New York Citys municipal offices. For reservations at the DMV, go to dmv.ny.gov.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is now sending out daily “Covid-19 News” updates. Go here to sign up.

McNally Jackson is offering free shipping within New York City on orders over $50. As the Downtown Alliance points out, this is a good time to support independent booksellers and “escape” at the same time. They make some great reading suggestions.

Monday, March 16

The Battery Park City Authority announced that beginning today its programming, including the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School, is closed until further notice. All Authority offices will remain open. 

New York Cares is in need of volunteers and information on digital orientation can be found here.

Zucker’s Bagels is offering “no contact delivery” of what they describe as “individually-wrapped foods and meals…boxed and made by sandwich pros wearing gloves that are changed between every meal.” www.zuckersbagels.com

Sunday, March 15

Councilwoman Margaret Chin announced that her office is “fully shifting to a telecommuting structure” but can be reached by phone at 212-587-3159. The announcement notes that all senior centers are closed with the exception of food pick-up and delivery. 

The Downtown Alliance has posted a list of places in Lower Manhattan where people can get urgent medical care. They note: “It is recommended to hold off going to the ER unless you’re having trouble breathing or feel like your temperature is spiking.

Organizers of the Taste of Tribeca publicly announced that they will be cancelling their May 16 event. If it’s deemed safe, a modified Taste of Tribeca may still take place at the end of the school year, or before the start of the next one, they said. See the story.

Matt Abramcyk owns five bars and restaurants in Tribeca employing 160 people, and when we spoke to him on Sunday he was preparing to close all but one, Smith & Mills on North Moore Street, as a point of contact for his staffs. “At the end of the day we understand that the only way to be a citizen of the world is to close because thats the only way we’re going to get beyond this thing,” he said. Uncooked food would go to City Harvest and food banks, he noted.

Asked what help he would like to see from the government, Abramcyk said: “Obviously I’d like to get money that doesn’t have to be paid back that makes up for the lack of government planning and thought,” he said. “But if we have to pay the money back, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be an uphill battle.

Saturday, March 14

Residents of Independents Plaza had a party of appreciation planned for their doorman, Eustace Edwards, who is retiring at the end of March after more than 40 years on the job. But we decided not to have a large gathering. We will present him with a gift instead,” writes longtime tenant Diane Stein.

Ron Silver, owner of Bubby’s in Tribeca, talked to the Trib before the city mandated that restaurants must close, but he said he was expecting it. In the meantime, he said, our main thing is keeping our employees and community safe. Doing whatever needs to be done.” And trying to stay solvent. 

“Honestly, what I’m doing is paying vendors and employees. I’m not going to pay my Con Ed bill right now. Or my rent. Or my taxes.” 

He added: “It feels like to me there are a bunch of weird promises being tossed around but if you’re not wise about paying your bills, you could really get caught short with cash.”

“Tonight is Saturday night and we’ve never seen my restaurant like this,” Tony Kavaja said, scanning the dining room of L’Angelo, the Tribeca Italian restaurant at Duane and Greenwich Street, where every table but two sat empty. “This is the best day on a normal week, but because of what’s going on, I’ve never seen the restaurant this slow, even on a Monday.”

“I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he added. He was, of course, right. This was a day before the city edict that restaurants must close.

Friday, March 13

The September 11 Memorial & Museum was among the many institutions that closed this day. “As part of the fabric of the city, we recognize our responsibility to operate in the best interests of the millions who live, work and visit here,” it said on its website. The 9/11 Memorial also announced that it was cancelling its annual 5K Run/Walk and Community Day on April 26.

As a result of the disastrous economic impact from the COVID-19 crisis, the city is offering businesses with fewer than 100 employees zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 and direct cash grants.