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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 19,  May 17, 2020   

""Six thousand tests a day. We were going to try to do that and that sounded like a very ambitious goal. We then got to 10,000 tests a day, then to 15,000 tests per day, 20 thousand tests....We said we were going to try to double our capacity and everybody said, 'Oh, you're being too aggressive. You can't do it, you can't do it.'"
      -  Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing that New York State now has facilities capable of performing 40,000 COVID-19 tests a day 
WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.

COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of May 15 at 3:17 p.m.
631,759 tested * 187,848 confirmed cases * 20,476 deaths
Go to for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19  
MASTHEAD PHOTO: The U.S. flag flying at half mast near the Holland Tunnel air vent on the New York side of the Hudson River. On April 8, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff to honor those we have lost to COVID-19. He ordered that the flags remain lowered while New York is on pause. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2020) 

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
Our esteemed governor, Andrew Cuomo, who has become something of a national celebrity with his daily COVID-19 updates, has a dilemma. He has our state ramped up to do more COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing per capita than anywhere else in the world, and not enough of us are showing up to get tested.

Cuomo has the state pipelines ready to do 40,000 tests a day. He says there's no excuse not to participate. To prove how fast and easy it is, he had a doctor show up at his daily briefing today (May 17) with a swab to get a sample from the guv. The whole procedure took around one minute.

What might take longer could be finding a testing site and getting to it, but there, too, our governor has us covered. There's a website, fresh out of the box today, that's headed "Corona-19 Testing." It has a tab labeled "Find a Site Near You."

I tried it out and found three sites less than a mile away from where I live. Here's the website:

Cuomo says that soon there will be even more testing sites because New York State is partnering with CVS to enable testing in more than 60 CVS pharmacies located throughout the state. Each site will be able to conduct 50 or more tests a day.
The testing is open to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and to anyone who has had contact with someone known to be positive for COVID-19. It's also open to anyone who is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine, to people employed as health care workers, nursing home workers or first responders and to any essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working. As of today, anyone who would return to the workplace in Phase One of the state's reopening plan can be tested.

Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at (888) 364-3065. The COVID-19 website says that health care providers should authorize testing if someone is symptomatic or has a history of possible COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough and/or trouble breathing,  particularly if the person seeking testing is 70 years old or older, has a compromised immune system or has an underlying health condition.

Cuomo says that the testing is important not just for the information that it provides to the individual but also because it enables New York State to keep tabs on whether reopening activities are causing the number of COVID-19 cases to escalate. Cuomo has said repeatedly that at the first sign of escalation, the state will backtrack rather than risk the medical crisis and large number of deaths that confronted New York in March when it seemed as though the hospital system could be overwhelmed, leaving patients to die in hallways before they could be seen or treated. This was not just an imagined nightmare. This is what did happen in Italy and elsewhere.

Never again.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer
At his Covid-19 briefing on May 17, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted to show how fast and easy it is to get tested for the coronavirus so he had Dr. Elizabe th Dufort take a swab from his nose, a procedure that took less than a minute.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been delivering daily updates on the COVID-19 crisis as it affects New York State. On May 14, 2020, he announced that five of the state's 10 regions had qualified to begin to reopen for business after more than two months of being shut down.

May 15th at 12:01 a.m. was the witching hour when five of New York State's 10 regions partially reopened for business after having been shut down for more than two months in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The door was not flung open. It opened just a chink in what has been described as Phase One of the reopening process.

Each of the five regions had to demonstrate that it had met seven benchmarks established in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State and other health experts. Having done this they were permitted to resume construction projects and could allow retailers to reopen with curbside pick-up and drop-off or in-store pick-up only. Also permitted were the reopening of agriculture, forestry and fishing activities.

The five regions are Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley. Cuomo said that any of the state's other 10 regions that meet  the benchmarks by May 28th could join the original five in partial reopening. By May 17, the Capital Region and Western New York had met six of the seven benchmarks, only lacking enough people to act as contact tracers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that this was an administrative issue that would be rectified in the next few days, allowing these regions, too, to reopen.

The parts of the state that are not close to reopening are New York City, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson. In these regions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the stay-at-home order until June 13th.

Gov. Cuomo said that reopening is contingent on strict enforcement and daily monitoring of the seven benchmarks. These include a 14-day decline in total hospitalizations within the region; a decline in deaths; fewer than two new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, measured on a three-day rolling average; a hospital bed capacity that leaves at least 30 percent of the region's hospital beds available; an unused intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity of at least 30 percent of the total beds; diagnostic testing capacity sufficient to conduct 30 tests per 1,000 residents per month and a contact tracing capacity that meets standards set by the New York State Department of Health in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and Vital Strategies.

Businesses were chosen for Phase One of the reopening based on which were deemed most essential and concurrently posed the lowest risk of spiking new COVID-19 infections.

In Phase Two, professional services, finance and insurance businesses, retail administrative support and real estate/rental leasing businesses will be allowed to reopen.

Phase Three will unlock restaurants/food services and hotels/accommodations.

Phase Four will reactivate arts/entertainment/recreation and education.

Cuomo has emphasized that each region will be charged with ensuring compliance with state-mandated rules and with daily monitoring of the benchmark statistics. If any of the benchmark threshholds are no longer met, the region will go back on lockdown.

New York State is maintaining a publicly accessible website where the daily statistics pertaining to each region are posted. To see the Regional Monitoring Dashboard, click here.

The beach at Sandy Hook, New Jersey on a hot day in July. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching with its promise of warm days and summer fun, however the COVID-19 pandemic hovers over it like a shadow. The carefree days of summers past are not in the cards this year.

On May 15, the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware announced that state and local beaches and lake shores will open on Friday, May 22 - the first day of the Memorial Day weekend. The governors have adopted a regional approach to beach opening so that no one will be tempted to drive from one state to another in search of a beach.

The announcement from the governors said that beaches will be open at 50 percent capacity with strict rules in place to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.

No group contact activities including sports such as volleyball and football will be allowed.

Areas of social gathering will remain closed. These include designated picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions, arcades and amusement rides.

Social distancing measures for both employees and visitors will be enforced.

Masks must be worn by all employees and visitors when social distancing isn't possible.
Concessions will be closed.

The government entities enforcing these regulations must be sure that staff levels are adequate to achieve these measures and enforce crowd control.

City, town and county beaches may open on the same conditions subject to local government home rule. However, if local governments don't enforce the minimum rules outlined above, the governors said that the beaches will be closed by the state.

Bits & Bytes
The Paris Café on South Street has closed. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Paris Café has closed: Over the last 147 years, many a pint has washed down many a good meal at the Paris Café, the historic restaurant and bar at 119 South St. But though the owner of the café, Peter O'Connell, brought the café back from near total destruction after Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, O'Connell couldn't weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 3, he posted a farewell note on the Paris Café's Facebook page addressed to "all our wonderful patrons and friends."
O'Connell went on to say "Through no fault of anyone but the outbreak of this virus we are unable to forge a way forward that makes economic sense. We had no option but to close our doors. Hope springs eternal and perhaps with a change in the economic climate we may find our way back." 
Many people hope so. The Paris Café was more than just another restaurant. When Henry Meyer opened a hotel at the corner of Peck Slip and South Street in 1873, he installed a restaurant on the first floor. Ten years later, the Brooklyn Bridge opened just across the street, and guests stood on the hotel's roof to watch the festivities.  
Superstorm Sandy nearly washed all that history away. The storm left 11 feet of water inside the Paris along with a tangle of broken furnishings and supplies covered with muck and oil. The restaurant's hand-carved bar, dating from 1873, was badly damaged.  
But O'Connell was not one to give up. He invested $800,000 to bring the Paris Café back to life with new wiring, plumbing and floors and other improvements. After months of work, the good times at the Paris resumed. 
An immigrant from County Meath, Ireland, O'Connell's been through rough seas before. Giving up is not in his nature. He concluded his Facebook posting by saying, " Our friendships will remain strong and when the grey skies clear we will meet and be renewed."  
A Running List of NYC Restaurants That Have Permanently Closed During the COVID-19 Crisis,,5/15/2020. "While many restaurants in New York have shut down for the duration of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a sizable group has been forced to shutter permanently as the industry contends with colossal losses to the tune of billions of dollars," says "Among those that have closed are decades-old neighborhood stalwarts like Keith McNally's Lucky Strike, along with some newer establishments like Randall's Barbecue on the Lower East Side. This may just be the beginning of permanent closures, however, as rent and utility payments continue to mount in the coming months. There's also no word yet from the state or city governments on when restaurants will be able to reopen, and what that return will look like." For the complete article, click here
COVID-19 affecting children: For weeks now, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been holding a daily press briefing to report on the latest statistics and developments in New York State's war against the COVID-19 virus. At his press briefing on May 8, Gov. Cuomo said that "There is much about the coronavirus we still don't understand. A disturbing new development is a serious illness affecting children, known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome. The illness is potentially linked with COVID-19, and it has features that are similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome."
When Cuomo first mentioned the rare illness affecting children from the age of one into their early 20's, there had been 73 reported cases in New York State. By a week later, 119 suspected cases had been reported in New York State. Now medical professionals in 20 states and in Washington, D.C. are investigating this illness. More than 200 cases are confirmed or suspected in the United States. The disease has also been reported in the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. Three children in New York State are known to have died from the inflammatory syndrome.  
In most cases, the children had been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had tested positive for its antibodies. However, it can take three weeks or longer for antibodies to develop after a COVID-19 infection so the absence of antibodies is not conclusive as to whether the child had COVID-19 or not.  
Gov. Cuomo said that the New York State Department of Health is investigating.
At the request of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), New York State is helping to develop the national criteria for identifying and responding to COVID-related illness. The State Department of Health is also partnering with the New York Genome Center and Rockefeller University to conduct a genome and RNA sequencing study to better understand COVID-related illnesses in children and the possible genetic basis of this syndrome. 
In the meantime, New Yorkers should seek immediate care if a child has:
* Prolonged fever (more than five days)
* Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids
* Sever abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
* Change in skin color - becoming pale, patchy and/or blue
* Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly
* Racing heart or chest pain
* Decreased amount of frequency in urine
* Lethargy, irritability or confusion
Fleet Week canceled: Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Navy has canceled 2020 Fleet Week New York, previously scheduled for May 20 to May 26.  
Rear Adm. Charles W. Rock, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, said that the decision to cancel this year's New York Fleet Week was necessary "to help mitigate further spread of the virus." The last time FWNY was canceled was in 2013 because of budget shortfalls due to sequestration. Currently there are no plans to postpone or reschedule the event to a later date this year.

Now in what would have been its 32nd year, FWNY is the city's celebration of maritime services. The week always includes free public ship tours, military displays and performances, and military helicopters landing at public schools and parks.

New York horse racing and car racing resume: Get ready to place your bets. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that horse racing tracks across the state and Watkins Glen International Racetrack will be allowed to open without fans beginning June 1st. In the coming week, the state will issue guidelines as to how they can safely reopen.

The state's three largest thoroughbred horse racing tracks are Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga. Located in Saratoga Springs, the Saratoga race track opened in 1863 and has hosted the Travers Stakes, the oldest major thoroughbred horse race in the country, since 1864. Aqueduct race track, which is in New York City, opened in 1894. Belmont Park on Long Island has been in operation since 1905. Other race tracks in New York State are Vernon Downs, Saratoga Equine Sports Center, Monticello Raceway, Finger Lakes Race Track, Buffalo Raceway, and Yonkers Raceway.

Watkins Glen International is an automobile race track near the village of Watkins Glen, New York, at the southern end of Seneca Lake. It was formerly the home of the Formula One United States Grand Prix among many other races including the World Sportscar Championship, Trans-Am, Can-Am, NASCAR Cup Series, the International Motor Sports Association and the IndyCar Series.

The first Watkins Glen Grand Prix took place in 1948 on a 6.6-mile course over local public roads. At first, the races passed through the heart of town with spectators lining the sidewalks, but after a car careened off the road in the 1952 race, killing a seven-year-old boy and injuring several others, the race was moved to a wooded hilltop outside of town. The original 6.6-mile course is listed in the New York State register and National Register of Historic Places as the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Course, 1948-1952.

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

An NYC ferry on the South Brooklyn route. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

Since May of 2017, NYC Ferry's blue-and-white boats have been darting around New York harbor. Currently six routes span 60 nautical miles with 21 landings. The ferries serve the Lower East Side, South Brooklyn, Rockaway, the East River, Astoria and Soundview, with connecting buses in the Rockaways and midtown Manhattan. A one-way fare costs $2.75, the price of a ride on the subway.

However, like all other forms of public transportation in New York City, the ferries have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the New York State PAUSE began on March 22, ridership on the ferries has decreased by around 90 percent.

A modified ferry schedule was introduced on March 23. Additional service changes will begin on Monday, May 18. Temporarily on both weekdays and weekends, NYC ferry service will end at approximately 9 p.m.

At the same time, the Lower East Side, South Brooklyn and Soundview routes will be permanently reconfigured to allow NYC Ferry to serve all existing landings at a lower cost. All riders will still have connections to the job hub at Wall Street. Corlears Hook riders will have additional direct connections to job hubs in Sunset Park and Red Hook.

The Stuyvesant Cove landing will be served by the Southview route. The Corlears Hook landing will be served by the South Brooklyn route. Although the parking lot near the Rockaway ferry landing will be permanently closed, free street parking is available nearby.

NYC Ferry had previously announced expansion plans, which are still in place. During 2021, the ferries will begin to serve Staten Island and Coney Island and will travel further into the Bronx.

Essential workers are riding the ferries daily. Riders who aren't traveling for an essential purpose are discouraged from using NYC Ferry. All riders are asked to observe social distancing and to always leave six feet between themselves, other riders and crew, both at the landings and on the boat. They are also asked to wear face coverings and to use the NYC Ferry app instead of paper tickets to help decrease touchpoints. For more information about ferry routes and schedules and to purchase tickets, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
  In order to protect visitors and the volunteers who staff the historic lighthouse tender, Lilac, the ship will not open for the 2020 summer season. Lilac is a retired Coast Guard cutter that carried supplies to lighthouses and maintained buoys from 1933 to 1972.  USCGC Lilac is America's only surviving steam-powered lighthouse tender and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The ship is moored at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. For more information about the Lilac and her history, click here. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Register to vote: June 23, 2020 is the date for the New York State primary election.
In order to vote for a candidate in the primary election, you must be registered to the political party for whose candidate you wish to vote. People who are registered as Independents can't vote in the primary election. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order to ensure New Yorkers can vote by absentee ballot in the June 23rd elections. Click here to find your poll site and/or to register to vote by mail.   Click here to register to vote.
For answers to frequently asked questions, click here.
Voting by mail in New York State: To apply for an absentee ballot, click on the link below and type in your name, address and date of birth. Check the "temporary illness" box to indicate that the coronavirus is the reason you're applying.
The early voting period begins on June 13 and ends on June 21.

New York City needs blood donors: The New York City Blood Center has sent out an SOS that states that "the need for blood has rebounded to pre-COVID-19 levels but the blood supply is dangerously low. Donors can call 800-933-2566 for information or schedule an appointment online." The New York City Blood Center is one of the largest independent, community-based, non-profit blood centers in the United States. For more information, click here.

Online driver's license renewals: You must pass a vision test when you apply for a driver's license or apply to renew your license. The test must show that you have visual acuity of at least 20/40 (based on the Snellen Visual Acuity Scale) in either or both eyes, with or without corrective lenses. You can take a vision test at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or your vision test results can be submitted to the DMV electronically. The DMV has recently announced that eye tests are now allowed from any doctor or optometrist's office that is open, not just those normally approved to submit to the DMV directly. For generalinformation about driver's license renewal, click here. For more information about the vision requirement and forms, click here.

United States Census 2020 is hiring: The 2020 U.S. Census will require a massive effort to document everyone in the country. The U.S. government is hiring census workers with a promise of "great pay, flexible hours, weekly pay and paid training." The jobs include census taker, recruiting assistant, office clerk, and supervisory staff. Applications can be made online at For more information, call 855-JOB-2020.

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.

calendar CALENDAR
Spotlight: Manhattan art museums online 

A painting by Julie Mehretu, "Epigraph, Damascus," was in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum called "An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney's Collection, 1940-2017." Although this exhibition closed three years ago, this painting is among thousands that the Whitney has made available on line.
  (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Before the coronavirus chased most of us indoors and museums closed for the forseeable future, I had spent many contented hours at the Morgan Library & Museum, constructed in and around J.P. Morgan's house at 225 Madison Ave. Among the last things I saw there was an exhibition called "The Drawings of Al Taylor." I had seen photographs of some of Taylor's drawings before I ambled into the gallery housing the exhibition. From the photographs, I hadn't expected to like the drawings particularly. I thought that a few minutes devoted to Mr. Taylor would be enough. I was wrong about that. I was delighted and ultimately entranced by his quirky point of view, his humor and his graphic prowess.

Al Taylor "Hanging Puddles" 1992
For instance, a painting called "Hanging Puddles" (1992) exemplifies Taylor's way of playing with what we believe to be true based on our experience and propels it into an alternate universe. Hanging puddles? But puddles are wet and can't hang. Here they do, and they also cast shadows. I was equally taken with drawings based on pet stains, each of them named so as to identify the culprit who deposited them. In some of Taylor's drawings, tin cans dangle from strings that couldn't possibly support them in the world with which we're familiar, and so on.

There's nothing like coming face to face with art but that isn't possible right now. However museums have opened their doors online to give us a different kind of experience -  an abundance of narrated online exhibition tours, curator lectures, videos and thousands of exhibition images. On Wednesday, May 20 at 3 p.m., for instance you can view Al Taylor's work during a virtual walk-through of the exhibition with Isabelle Dervaux, Acquavella Curator of Modern & Contemporary Drawings, and Lindsey Tyne, Associate Paper Conservator, who put the Al Taylor exhibition together. Tickets are free but reservations are required. To register, click here. For more information about The Morgan Connected, click here.

Here are some other links to Manhattan art museums whose prodigious collections, now viewable online, will keep your dance card full.

The Whitney Museum at 99 Gansevoort St. specializes in American art. The Whitney has a collection of more than 25,000 works, all of them viewable online. In addition, the Whitney is offering a variety of special programs ranging from live screenings of video art to art history lessons and artmaking classes taught by the Whitney's educators. For more about the Whitney at Home, click here

Every Friday, the Whitney is featuring special screenings of video works recently brought into the collection, all by emerging artists. All screenings are live-streamed from Vimeo, beginning at 7 pm.

On Friday, May 22, see three films by Rachel Rose: Lake Valley, Everything and More, and Palisades in Palisades. Lake Valley (2016) collages images taken from nineteenth-century children's books with new hand-drawn animations to tell a fictional story about the formation of selfhood. Everything and More (2015) explores the existential experience of sensory disembodiment in outer space, combining footage filmed in a pool that simulates zero gravity for astronauts in-training, with handmade immersive liquid abstractions. The voice of David Wolf, a NASA astronaut, can be heard describing his perceptions of Earth and space to the artist. Palisades in Palisades (2014) uses a remote control lens and a trompe-l'oeil editing technique to connect footage of a girl standing by the Hudson River in the Palisades Interstate Park with various moments in the history of that specific site. For more information about the Whitney's special screenings, click here.

The Frick Collection at 1 East 70th St., is one of the world's outstanding art museums. Nothing in the collection is less than a masterpiece. The art work was purchased by Henry Clay Frick who was born in 1849 in western Pennsylvania. He came from a family of modest means and was a sickly child with little formal education. However he was shrewd and saw opportunities in the manufacture of coke, which was needed to make steel. By the age of 30, he was a millionaire. When he built a house for himself and his family on Fifth Avenue at 70th Street, he had it designed specifically as a showcase for his art. He 
King Philip IV of Spain by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish, 1599-1660) 
intended that it would become a museum after his death, which occurred in December 1919. The Frick Collection's online presence includes interactive views of each of the museum's rooms, images of each object in the collection and a film about Frick's life. (To see it, click here.)
Online conversations focused on one or more works of art led by Frick educators, take place weekly and are very popular. On May 27 at 5 p.m., the subject of discussion will be Rembrandt's self-portrait. Registration opens on May 20 at 12 p.m. ET. To register, click here.    
An online series from the Frick that requires no reservations is called "Cocktails with a Curator." These take place on Fridays at 5 p.m. and revolve around one painting in the Frick collection. You will have to make your own cocktail, but the Frick provides a recipe. The next "Cocktails with a Curator" will take place on May 22 and will focus on a painting of Spain's King Philip by Velázquez. The Frick's chief curator, Xavier F. Salomon, will be your host. For more information about this series and how to watch it, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

For more calendar listings, go to the Downtown Post NYC website. Click here.


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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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