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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 34,  Nov. 2, 2020   

"I feel so inspired by my fellow New Yorkers and their commitment to this thing called democracy."   
     -  A woman waiting in line on Oct. 24 for the first day of early voting in New York State 
WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.

COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of Nov. 1 at 2:06 p.m.
6,244,403 tested * 264,155 confirmed cases * 24,013 deaths
Go to for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19  
MASTHEAD PHOTO: With quotations from poets, playwrights, politicians and others, a construction fence surrounding the former Union Square Savings Bank on the east side of Union Square in Manhattan was turned into a giant mural for Black Lives Matter. Aug. 31 2020.(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
Nov. 3: ELECTION DAY! The polls in New York State are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

On Nov. 3, absentee ballots can be dropped off in a secured box at any polling location without waiting in line. If an absentee ballot is mailed, it must be postmarked no later than Nov. 3 and received by the Board of Elections no later than Nov. 10, however, the U.S. Postal Service has been significantly slowed because the current postmaster general ordered bulk mail sorting machines to be destroyed. If at all possible, take your absentee ballot to a poll or to a Board of Elections office rather than mailing it.

In Manhattan, the Board of Elections office is at 200 Varick Street, 10th floor.  Phone: (212) 886-2100. On Election Day (Nov. 3), the office will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you don't yet have an absentee ballot, you can go to a Board of Elections office on Nov. 2 or Nov. 3 and receive one. You can fill it out there and turn it in. Identification such as a driver's license will be required.

Conversely, in New York State you can vote in person if you've received an absentee ballot. (The rules vary from state to state.) This is what the New York State Board of Elections website says about this:

You Can Still Vote in Person if You Request an Absentee Ballot

Even if you request or cast and return an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person. The Election Law recognizes that plans change. The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site, on Election Day and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted.

Election Day transportation:

Ride-hailing companies and some community groups are offering free or discounted rides to the polls on Election Day.

Uber will offer 50% off rides to the polls on Election Day - up to $7 per trip. Lyft is offering 50% off one ride up to $10 to any polling location or dropbox using the code 2020VOTE. For the first time, this offer also includes Lyft's network of bikes and scooters in select cities.

On Election Day, Citi Bike operator Motivate and the city Department of Transportation will offer free day passes via the Citi Bike app. Day passes typically cost $12 and include unlimited 30-minute rides for 24 hours. To obtain a free day pass, enter the code "BIKETOVOTE" in the Citi Bike app.

Election Day food:

Pizza to the Polls, which got started during the 2016 election and put in a repeat performance in 2018, is again delivering free food for all to polling places with long lines. New York City is one of the 25 cities included in this program. For the 2020 election season, Pizza to the Polls has launched a food truck program in partnership with Uber Eats and restaurant partners such as Milk Bar, Shake Shack, and others. The food trucks are staffed with trained professionals who wear masks and gloves and are equipped with hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectant, and additional cleaning supplies.

Send reports of long lines to Pizza to the Polls via this website:

Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Downtown Post NYC's website ( is updated daily. That's the place to check  for urgent messages, breaking news and reminders of interesting events in and around Lower Manhattan. So be sure to look at the website every day, especially if you want to know about breaking news.

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Election Day is Nov. 3, 2020.  
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

On Oct. 23,  New York State Attorney General Letitia James, issued information on what activities are prohibited in or near polling places, and what to do if they occur. "Under state and federal law, it is illegal for anyone to intimidate, threaten, or coerce voters with the purpose of interfering with their right to vote," she wrote. "If you observe any prohibited conduct, immediately contact the Office of the Attorney General (OAG's) Election Protection Hotline by calling (800) 771-7755 or email Any incidents involving potentially dangerous conduct should be reported to local law enforcement immediately."

These are among the prohibited activities:
 * Individuals or groups patrolling outside of polling places and trying to scare people out of the voting line;
 * Poll watchers inside a polling place aggressively challenging large groups of voters, leading to long lines, and creating false fears that voters may be illegally voting;
 * Poll watchers standing in the vicinity of privacy booths, standing in unauthorized areas, videotaping and/or photographing voters within the polling place, following or harassing voters in the polling place;
 * Individuals spreading false rumors or making false statements that there are negative consequences to voting; or
 * Individuals or groups displaying weapons or foreign military uniforms or other military paraphernalia outside of polling locations.
Behavior that has been found to constitute voter intimidation under federal law in the past includes:
 * Threats of violence;
 * Following voters to poll sites and speaking loudly about prosecuting them for illegal voting;
 * Civilians dressing as law enforcement officers and harassing voters at poll sites;
 * Economic coercion, such as threatening to boycott in response to an individual exercising their right to vote;
 * Threatening to evict someone for exercising their right to vote;
 * Patterns of baseless arrests and prosecutions in the vicinity of voter registration meetings; and
 * Publicly disseminating individuals' names and addresses, or "doxing," in an effort to vilify those individuals.
The guidance also clarifies that the following actions are prohibited under New York state law:
 * State and local employees interfering with or affecting the election;
 * A member of the United States armed forces preventing, or attempting to prevent, a voter from fully exercising their voting rights through force, threat, intimidation, or advice;
 * Groups of people organizing as private militias without permission from the state;
 * Open carry of handguns, or the possession of machine guns and loaded or unloaded assault weapons, as well as the use of firearms or other dangerous instruments to intimidate or harass;
 * Invading the privacy of a voting booth used by a voter; and
 * Requiring an individual to show photo ID in order to vote.

Additionally, the guidance emphasizes that media and press are allowed to film or take pictures of individuals in the polling place if they have written authorization from Board of Elections.

Blood Drive on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 6 River Terrace, noon to 6 p.m.
For information, call (800) 688-0900
To make an appointment, click here


A voter in Soho on Oct. 24, 2020, the first day of early voting in New York State.
(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2020)

With so many absentee ballots to be counted, it seems unlikely that we'll know definitively on Nov. 3 who won the presidential election, however we do know that early voting in New York State was a hit. Never before had early voting been allowed in a New York State presidential election. The polls for early voting opened at 10 a.m. on Oct. 24, 2020 and closed at 4 p.m. on Nov. 1. During those nine days, more than 2.2 million people voted in person. In addition, more than 1 million people returned absentee ballots for a total of around 3.3 million votes cast. That represented approximately 42 percent of the total votes cast in New York State during the presidential election of 2016.
Especially on the first days of early voting, the lines were long. Some people waited for hours to mark their ballots and personally insert them into a scanner to be counted. However, the mood was upbeat. "I feel so inspired by my fellow New Yorkers and their commitment to this thing called democracy," said one woman who had waited in the line at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Soho. On the first day of early voting, the line snaked around many blocks.  
In an article published on Oct. 24, The New York Times confirmed that what was happening at the St. Anthony of Padua polling site was not an aberration. "Tens of thousands of New Yorkers flooded polling places and waited hours in long lines on Saturday, the first day of early voting, with many saying that they turned out because of concerns that their ballots might not be counted if they tried to vote by mail," said The Times. "The hurdles for voters and poll workers on the first day of voting reflected the challenges of holding a contentious presidential election in the middle of a pandemic. But many people remained undeterred by the delays and the coronavirus, some waiting as long as five hours and some rushing to get in line before polls closed." ("Lines Stretch for Blocks as New Yorkers Turn Out for Early Voting," New York Times, 10/24/2020 (updated 10/26/2020).  
Elderly people and those with mobility and other physical issues didn't have to wait in line. Poll workers walked along the line to escort them to the front, where they were immediately taken inside to vote.  
People who simply wanted to deposit their absentee ballots in a secure ballot box rather than putting their ballots in the mail were also able to skip the line.  
Entrepreneur Robert Samuel, founder of Same Ole Line Dudes near the line at St. Anthony of Padua Church.
But for those obliged to wait, there was also an alternative. A few years ago, a man named Robert Samuel started a waiting-in-line business. He noticed that a lot of New Yorkers wait in line for hours for hard-to-get show tickets or for other reasons. He'll do it for you for a minimum of $45 for the first two hours and $20 for each additional hour. Rain, snow, sleet, hail, the blistering heat and humidity of a New York City summer? No problem. Mr. Samuels and his employees (now numbering around 28) are game.  
However, he seemed to have few takers on the first day of early voting. Most people seemed to have anticipated that something like this might happen. Many people brought books, food, beverages and folding chairs. Some people were having animated conversations with their line-mates. They seemed to be glad to be there. In fact, they seemed to be having fun. 
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer
A small part of the line at St. Anthony of Padua Church on the first day of early voting. 

Bits & Bytes

In response to looting and arson following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the NYPD set up barricades blocking pedestrian and some vehicular traffic around 19 of Manhattan's 22 precincts including the First Precinct on Ericsson Place. Additional barricades were placed on surrounding streets. However despite protests from community boards and from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the barricades remained in place for a long time after the looting and arson had ceased. Now the NYPD has embarked on a dialogue with the community to reform and "reinvent" the police, as mandated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 
"Inside Frenchette's Bread- and Pastry-Filled Takeover of the Arcade Bakery Space in Tribeca,", 10/19,2020. "When baker Roger Gural - the owner of famed, hidden Tribeca bakery Arcade - decided he was going to retire and shut his shop in the summer of 2019, chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson reached out with a proposition," says "The duo behind hit Tribeca brasserie Frenchette, just a short walk away, had been serving Gural's bread at their restaurant since it opened, and wanted to carry his legacy forward now that he had decided to step away. ...Enter Frenchette Bakery, located inside the same space at 220 Church Street, between Worth and Thomas streets... Nasr and Hanson have maintained much of the look of Arcade, though the seating along the corridor the bakery is located in is currently unavailable due to the restrictions on indoor dining." For the complete article, click here.

"Owner Of The Strand Says The Next Few Months Will Determine Its Fate,", 10/23/2020. "In late March, as hundreds of New Yorkers were dying every day from the coronavirus, and the city entered a long period of lockdown, New York's most famous bookstore announced that it had to choice but to lay off the majority of its staff. Eventually, like many other small businesses, The Strand began to reopen, first with curbside pickup, then with a lower occupancy inside their iconic Broadway location," says "But according to The Strand's owner, Nancy Bass Wyden, revenues have declined around 70 percent-nowhere near where they need to be to support the 69 workers she still employs. In an open letter, Wyden told her customers that 'the next few months will determine the future of The Strand,' and that 'we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there's a vaccine.'" For the complete article, click here. 
"Chinatown Museum Gets $3 Million After Fire Threatens Its Archives," New York Times, 10/9/2020. "For the Museum of Chinese in America, this year has been one disaster after another," says The New York Times. "In January, a fire ripped through the upper floors of the Chinatown building that held the museum's archives, endangering roughly 85,000 artifacts. Then the coronavirus pandemic, which had prompted a surge in anti-Asian harassment, also shut the museum down for months. But in late September, Nancy Yao Maasbach, the museum's president, got a call with some good news. It was from the Ford Foundation, which told her that the museum had been chosen to receive a grant - part of a new initiative, organized by some of the nation's most prominent philanthropists, to provide pandemic relief for arts organizations run by people of color. The amount, the museum learned this week, is $3 million, which represents more than an entire year's budget for the small institution...The grant will be disbursed over four years, and will first go toward conserving and repairing the portions of the collection that were threatened in January's fire." For the complete article, click here
"Owner of Regal Cinemas is closing its U.S. theaters, with 40,000 jobs at stake," New York Times, 10/5/2020. "The plight of the entertainment industry deepened on Monday as the British company Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas in the United States, said it would temporarily close all 663 of its movie theaters in the United States and Britain. The move was expected to affect 40,000 employees in the United States and 5,000 in Britain," The New York Times reported. "The chain had reopened in parts of the United States and Europe over the summer, but about 200 theaters, mostly in California and New York, have been shut since the pandemic began in the spring....The company said it could not entice viewers back without a pipeline of new films. The news came after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced on Friday it would push back the release date of the latest James Bond film, 'No Time to Die,' to April from this fall - the second time its release date has been delayed because of the pandemic." Among the Regal properties is the Regal Battery Park, located at 102 North End Ave. in the Conrad Hotel. For the complete article, click here

Disaster Loans & Grants 
Unemployment Assistance - available for W2 and Schedule C clients
Mandated additional sick pay and associated tax credit
Paycheck Protection Program;  Extended tax loss carry-backs

Downtown bulletin board

The Downtown Alliance first installed solar-operated "big belly" trash cans in Lower Manhattan in 2014. Recently, in an effort to make sure that regular and Covid-19-related medical supplies end up in the trash and not on the curb, the Alliance placed 42 more of these trash bins along pedestrian-friendly streets and walkways. (Photo: ©Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Updated New York State travel ban: On Oct. 31, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced changes in the regulations affecting people traveling into New York State. The new regulations reflect the fact that Covid-19 cases are surging across the United States. Remarkably, New York State, which once had more C-19 cases than anywhere else in the nation, now has the third lowest incidence of positivity of the 50 states, only bested by Maine and Vermont, both of which have smaller populations and are less densely settled. Gov. Cuomo is trying to keep Covid-19 from spreading in New York State as it has elsewhere.
In response to the problem, New York State initially created a list of states based on positivity metrics that would trigger a 14-day quarantine on anyone traveling to New York State from one of the states on the list. But now that Covid-19 is so widespread, a list no longer makes sense.
Working with global health experts, New York State has developed a new policy. The experts suggested shifting to a testing policy. The quarantine list has been scuttled and replaced by a rule that states that anyone who has been in another state for more than 24 hours before coming to New York State must have tested negative within three days prior to arriving in New York and must have proof of that negative test. 
"Once you arrive in New York, you must quarantine for three days and then can take a test on the fourth day and if the test on the fourth day says you are negative, then God bless, you're released from quarantine," the governor said. "If the test says you're positive, then you remain in quarantine." 
Anyone who chooses not to get tested will remain in quarantine for 14 days. 
This new rule goes into effect on Nov. 4 and applies to visitors from every state except for those that border New York State, namely New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut. These states are exempted for practical reasons. Many people live in one of these states and work in one of the other ones necessitating daily or at least frequent travel between them. Non-essential travel between these states and New York State is strongly discouraged. 
The new rule goes on to say that New Yorkers who travel outside of New York State for fewer than 24 hours must fill out a traveler information form when they enter New York State and take a Covid-19 test four days after returning. A positive test would generate quarantine and contact tracing.
Coastal storm evacuation information: The Office of Emergency Management wants New Yorkers to know that coastal storms, which include hurricanes, nor'easters, and tropical storms, can cause severe flooding, strong winds and heavy rain. Strong winds and high waters can create hazards such as falling trees, downed power lines, flying debris, and loss of heat, water and power. Be prepared and keep yourself and your family safe by using these tips.
    ◦    Know Your Zone: Areas of the city subject to storm surge flooding are divided into six evacuation zones (1 through 6) based on the risk of storm surge flooding. The City may order residents to evacuate depending on the hurricane's track and projected storm surge. Use the Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder or call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) to find out if your address is located in an evacuation zone. If you live in an evacuation zone, have a plan for where you will go if an evacuation order is issued for your area. For the Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder, click here.     
Eviction moratorium extended: On Sept. 28, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended New York State's Tenant Safe Harbor Act through Jan. 1, 2021 to protect additional residential tenants from eviction if they are suffering financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Executive Order extends the protections of the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to eviction warrants that existed prior to the start of the pandemic. 

On Oct. 20, Cuomo signed an Executive Order extending the state's moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions and foreclosures through Jan. 1, 2021. This measure extends protections already in place for commercial tenants and mortgagors in recognition of the financial toll the pandemic has taken on business owners, including retail establishments and restaurants. The extension of this protection gives commercial tenants and mortgagors additional time to get back on their feet and catch up on rent or their mortgage, or to renegotiate their lease terms to avoid foreclosure moving forward.    
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets: There are Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets in Tribeca (at Chambers and Greenwich Streets) and at Bowling Green, City Hall, the Oculus and the Staten Island ferry. GrowNYC asks that shoppers wear a face covering inside the market space and maintain a six-foot distance between themselves, Greenmarket staff, farm stand employees and other customers. Dogs and bicycles should be left at home.

Click here for a list of the fruits and vegetables now in season.

Most of the Downtown Post NYC bulletin board listings are now on the Downtown Post NYC website. To see the bulletin board listings, click here.


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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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