In this fourth week of COVID-19, many of us would normally be celebrating Passover and Easter with family and friends, but sadly social distancing forces us to celebrate these holidays in new ways, as many of our parents and grandparents have done during tough times. We hope that you are able to experience these traditions in your own way and toward that end we have included virtual Seders and Easter celebrations in our events calendar, which you can find here.
As you all know by now, Governor Cuomo has extended "New York on Pause" through April 29 requiring all non-essential workers to stay home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. While over 90% of Lincoln Square's businesses and cultural institutions are closed, we are so very grateful to those of you who have remained open to make sure that residents and others are able to buy food for pick-up and/or delivery. We also thank those of you who have not boarded up your storefronts, which reinforces the fact that Lincoln Square is only on a pause and we look forward to our businesses reopening. If anyone is contemplating boarding up windows, I would appreciate your reaching out to us first.
Our Public Safety Officers have reported long lines of people waiting to get in to Whole Foods Market on a daily basis, and no lines at Gourmet Garage. We wonder if you have not discovered Gourmet Garage -- you can visit them online or at the Lincoln Square location at 155 West 66th Street -- which has an extensive selection of food products. Our cultural organizations continue to expand their daily offerings to help you get through these isolating times. Most of all we want to thank those on the frontlines - the NYPD, the FDNY and EMT professionals, the Department of Sanitation workers, hospital employees, people who work in the food stores, and other essential workers, including our Clean Team and Public Safety Officers who are trying to maintain a sense of order in our streets.
We are proud of the fact that Lincoln Square has always been spotless and safe, and thanks to our workers that remains the case. Our Clean Team and our Public Safety Officers continue to provide essential services to Lincoln Square, with both teams currently working on modified schedules. Our Public Safety Officers are patrolling the district daily, monitoring the effect of COVID-19 on the neighborhood. In addition to their regular patrols of the district, they are also monitoring changes in operations to neighborhood businesses, analyzing the conditions of tree pits, reporting crosswalks that need to be repainted, and conducting regular counts of pedestrian foot traffic. I am pleased to report that in response to an earlier request, DOT has recently repainted seven crosswalks in Lincoln Square; and, crime remains down in the 20th Precinct for the week ending April 5. The data received from our officers point to pedestrian foot traffic being down approximately 80% last week, compared to the same time period in 2019. The decreased foot traffic has also led to significantly fewer trash bags (approximately 85% less than this time last year)being used by our Clean Team. Although there is less trash being generated with pedestrian traffic down, our Clean Team is busy disinfecting and wiping down street furniture daily and painting Broadway Mall barriers. Our beautification program is also moving forward into spring; our landscape company A. Bulfamante just completed our spring plantinglast week and the crew is in the district regularly, providing ongoing maintenance to our urban gardens. And, you can see that our tulips are starting to bloom. As the situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing, we will constantly be assessing the deployment of operations in the field, and will change and adjust clean and safe protocols in order to meet the needs of the district as well as to maintain a strong uniformed presence.
There are many who do not have regular access to food, including many of our older neighbors. We have included information in this eblast that provides some information on where one can get free or low cost meals. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus at 66th Street and Amsterdam Avenue is a food hub and anyone can go there and get three meals a day - no one will be turned away. Meal Hubs will operate for children and families from 7:30am to 11:30am, and for adults from 11:30am to 1:30pm, Monday through Friday.To find out where other food hubs are, click here.
Yesterday, we spoke to our friends at Goddard Riverside Community Center, and as a result of our conversation, Goddard has set up a dedicated direct link to their relief fund to support local families with emergency needs at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center, which is run by Goddard. The link is live, so you can give back to our community now! Contributions will be directed towards a family in need of food, medical supplies, transportation or other necessities due to COVID-19. CLICK HERE TO DONATE!
Finally, we have heard from a surprising number of you - our members and readers - with suggestions and thanks for being a community connector during these times. If your organization has an intranet of your own, if you think it will be useful, please forward our email along to them. We believe that we are in this together and the sharing of information and resources is one of the things we can do without catching COVID-19! For up-to-date information, please continue to visit our website at www.lincolnsquarebid.org. Again, our thanks to those on the frontlines - without them - where would we be!
On behalf of our Board, and our staff we wish you all a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter! And stay safe.