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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 20,  May 22, 2020   

"Look at the Constitution! Tell me where it says you have the right to infect another person. You don't!"
      -  Gov. Andrew Cuomo on why New York State mandates mask-wearing in public  
WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here. 
COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of May 21 at 3:30 p.m.
726,176 tested * 192,840 confirmed cases * 21,003 deaths
Go to for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19  
MASTHEAD PHOTO: At the start of Memorial Day weekend, a cyclist heads into Hudson River Park. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2020) 

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
I started Downtown Post NYC six-and-a-half years ago. The first issue appeared on Dec. 16, 2013. In a "Welcome" letter, I announced that my intention was to write about Lower Manhattan - "its history, architecture, politics, parks, museums, marine environment, restaurants, shops, diversity and interesting people."

That's been more or less what I've done. In addition, from  time to time I've branched out with stories about other parts of the city, the state and even the world.

I hoped that Downtown Post NYC readers would find the newsletter useful and interesting. However, knowing that not everyone is interested in the same things, I tried to include a wide variety of subjects in every issue.

Now, I'm going to try something different. Each issue of Downtown Post NYC will be shorter than previously with two new articles at most plus one or two holdovers of articles from a previous issue that you shouldn't miss. You may find in any given issue that there's nothing that captivates you, but I hope you will keep reading to see what else turns up.

I also hope that you will let me know what you like and don't like so that I can make Downtown Post NYC responsive to your wishes and needs.

In between emailed issues, be sure to look at the Downtown Post NYC website, where I post breaking news and links to events of interest. During the pandemic and the lockdown, I've been keeping a running account on the website of some of the major developments as described by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his daily updates. When you read that list, you will be reminded of how much has happened in these past two-and-a-half months and when it happened.

Gov. Cuomo frequently remarks during his updates that it seems like an eternity since all of this started. When this is over, one way or the other, "We're not going to be the people we were the day before," he said recently. On another recent occasion he said, "This Covid-19 virus has changed the world."

That's true. Like it or not, we live in interesting times.
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.

HOW TO SUPPORT DOWNTOWN POST NYC: I made Downtown Post NYC free to subscribers so that no one who was interested in reading it would be excluded because of cost. Downtown Post NYC is largely supported by advertising revenue. In addition, some people have made contributions, which are much appreciated. For more information about how to contribute or advertise, email


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A man asked for donations from passers-by on their way to work, who mostly ignored him. Predictions are that unemployment will remain high in the post-pandemic economy.
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2015)

For people who applied in New York State for unemployment benefits and are still waiting for their first check, there's an explanation. The New York State Department of Labor is staggering under the flood of applicants. In all of last year, New York State paid out a total of $2.1 billion in unemployment benefits. In the last two months, the state has paid out more than $10 billion.
Nationwide, there were 38.6 million unemployment claims filed between mid-March and mid-May. An other 2.4 million workers filed last week.
New York State still has a backlog of 7,580 claims that were filed before April 22. Most of them are missing critical information without which they can't be processed, or are duplicates or abandoned claims. The NYS Department of Labor has tried to contact all of these claimants.
Examples of the needed missing information would include a Federal Employer Identification Number and address for the former employer or an applicant's Social Security number.
New York-based businesses are legally obliged to provide unemployed New Yorkers with the information they need to apply for benefits.
Another group of unemployment benefit applications from 20,801 New Yorkers have been processed but not paid because they lack federally mandated weekly certifications. By law, these certifications must be submitted before benefits can be released. The NYS Department of Labor has created a secure, online system that allows applicants to submit prior weeks' certifications that they had missed. The link is at 
In addition to the month-old backlog, some applications haven't yet been paid because they are going through final processing, which includes checking for fraud and identity theft. There are 15,831 claims in this category. They will either become payable in the next few days or be referred to anti-fraud specialists for review.  
The need to check for fraud is not just an annoying caprice. As an example of what has been happening elsewhere, The New York Times recently reported that "Imposters have used the stolen information of tens of thousands of people in Washington to fraudulently receive hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits." (" Hundreds of Millions in Bogus Jobless Benefits Paid Out," New York Times, 5/21/2020) 
While the job report for April was gloomy, the employment report for May is expected to be even worse.
Many of the jobs that have been lost won't be coming back. Macy's department store, for instance, which opened in New York City in 1858, had become the largest U.S. department store as measured by retail sales. It is among the many retailers that have furloughed most of their workers and closed all stores. Online sales have only partially compensated for the losses.
As states begin to reopen, economists are hoping that the labor market will improve by June, but there are no guarantees. For one thing, the reopening could cause an escalation in the number of Covid-19 infections. Right now, all bets are off.
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer  
For more information about the job market: "Many Jobs May Vanish Forever as Layoffs Mount," New York Times, 5/21/2020. For the complete article, click here


A jogger in Hudson River Park (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2020)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes in sticking to the facts when it comes to knowing what to do to overpower the COVID-19 virus and the facts tell him that wearing a mask in public works. Day after day on his daily COVID-19 briefings, he has been posting statistics showing that first responders - doctors, nurses, EMS workers, firefighters, transit workers, prison corrections officers and police - have a lower rate of coronavirus infection than the general public. He attributes that to their conscientiously wearing masks and other personal protective equipment.

"The mask is not just a social symbol," Cuomo has said. "It works. But you have to wear it."

Despite the urgency of this message and the frequency with which he repeats it, Cuomo could see that not everyone was toeing the line. So, at the urging of one of his daughters, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, he launched a contest to create a public service TV advertisement on the theme "Wear a Mask New York." The contest, which was shepherded by Ms. Cuomo, elicited more than 600 entries.

Five finalists were selected and posted at To date, more than 92,000 people have voted for their favorite video. New Yorkers can vote for the winning ad until Monday, May 25. The winner will be announced on May 26 and will be used as a public service announcement.

Gov. Cuomo said at his press briefing on May 22 that all of the ads will be screened. He said they were all amazing and showed "real talent."

Cuomo also said that wearing a mask isn't optional. It's mandatory in public settings such as public transportation "or anytime you are in public within six feet of another person...You don't have a right to infect another person. You don't."

Perhaps in reference to the protests that have erupted in other states when their governors mandated social distancing and mask-wearing, Cuomo concluded by saying "Look at the Constitution! Tell me where it says you have the right to infect another person. You don't!"

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his daughter, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, at a press briefing on May 20, 2020 when the governor discussed the "Wear A Mask New York" public service ad contest that he asked his daughter to oversee.

The beach at Sandy Hook, New Jersey on a hot day in July. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Memorial Day weekend is here 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.

Downtown bulletin board

Voters at a Lower Manhattan polling place. (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.

Contact tracing phone calls: If you test positive for COVID-19, a Contact Tracer will connect you with the support and resources you may need to quarantine, such as help getting medical care, child care, groceries or household supplies. The Tracer will work with you to identify anyone you've been in contact with over the past 14 days to trace and contain the spread of the virus. Those contacts will in turn hear from a Tracer via phone and text.
People who have come in close contact with someone who is positive are asked to stay home and limit their contact with others. By staying home during this time, IF you become sick yourself, you won't have infected other people. That's how we stop the spread. In the meantime, testing, medical and quarantine support will be arranged.
Privacy is a top priority of the Contact Tracing Program. Your name will not be released to anyone. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as a private medical record. A Contact Tracer will never ask for your Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers or any other financial information.
If you get a call from a Tracer, your caller ID will in most cases say "NYS Contact Tracing." If you get a call, answer the phone. Answering the phone will keep your loved ones and community safe and will allow New York State to continue moving forward in its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Pearl Street joins Open Streets program: Starting on Saturday, May 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., an eight-block stretch of Pearl Street between Cedar and State Streets will become part of the Open Streets Program. This is a City-wide initiative to make a total of 100 miles of roadway available for public use in the warmer weather.

Most vehicle traffic will be blocked by temporary barricades installed by the Alliance for Downtown New York, which is working with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the project. During the Open Streets hours, no through traffic will be permitted. Local deliveries, pick-ups and drop-offs, necessary city service vehicles, utility vehicles and emergency vehicles will be the only vehicles allowed.

The DOT is providing signage that explains social distancing requirements and requests slower vehicular travel speeds.  Pedestrians and bicyclists using the roadbed along Pearl Street must maintain social distancing of at least six feet and wear a face covering in public.

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.

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


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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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