News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 31, Aug. 4, 2020
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"I don't welcome a storm like this at any time, but I think the installation of Tiger Dams and the visible demonstration that these things are going to continue to happen shows that we have to focus on resiliency for New York City. We have to."
- Captain Jonathan Boulware, president and CEO of the South Street Seaport Museum commenting on the preparations in the South Street Seaport for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias
WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.
COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of Aug. 3 at 1:18 p.m.
2,714,499 tested * 225,964 confirmed cases * 23,550 deaths
Go to www.DowntownPostNYC.com
for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19
MASTHEAD PHOTO: Around one mile of inflatable Tiger Dams, a flood protection system, were installed on South Street between Wall Street and Catherine Slip, near the Brooklyn Bridge. Aug. 2, 2020 (Photo: Joanne Gorman)
This is a time of waiting. Parents are waiting to find out if their children's schools will reopen in September and if so, whether it will be safe to send them there.
People who lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic are waiting to find out whether Congress will be sending them additional stimulus and unemployment compensation checks that will enable them to put food on the table and pay their rent.
People with chronic health conditions and the elderly, who have been staying at home for months, are waiting to find out when they dare go out again, perhaps for a walk or for a trip to the grocery store.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is waiting for the U.S. Senate to pass a COVID-19 relief bill that includes $500 billion in unrestricted aid for the 50 states to apportion to local governments within their states and to state-funded services such as hospitals and schools.
The governors of other states are also waiting. The National Governors Association chaired by Maryland governor Larry Hogan (a Republican) with Cuomo (a Democrat) as vice chair issued a statement on July 29 that said "Goldman Sachs analysts assert that the measures that Congress has passed to date will cover less than half the expected state shortfalls, even when combined with state rainy day funds....Nearly every category of state and local revenue is experiencing pandemic-related losses."
Because of the pandemic, New York State alone will have a $14 billion revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year and a projected $16 billion shortfall in 2022. Cuomo has said that if money is not authorized by the federal government, his only option will be to reduce funding for hospitals, schools and local governments by 20 percent. He is waiting to issue a state budget.
And all of us in the New York area are waiting to see where and when Hurricane Isaias will make landfall and what our city will look like when he departs. The storm is expected to begin in earnest early this morning, Aug. 4. Of all our questions, that's the one most likely to get a timely answer.
Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Downtown Post NYC's website (www.DowntownPostNYC.com) 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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: On its Facebook page, Downtown Post NYC has been providing information about the time of Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings and how to access them. DPNYC has also been highlighting some of Gov. Cuomo's announcements concerning COVID-19 statistics, reopening of various parts of the state for business and executive orders. Go to Downtown Post NYC's Facebook page by clicking here
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A MILE OF INTERIM FLOOD PROTECTION BARRIERS
|On Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, workmen installed almost a mile of Tiger Dams along South Street between Wall Street and Catherine Slip, near the Brooklyn Bridge. (Photo: Joanne Gorman)|
New York City is holding its breath. After lashing Florida, weakening somewhat and then gaining hurricane strength in the Carolinas, Isaias is headed toward New York.
Based on projections from the National Weather Service, the city's Office of Emergency Management stated that Lower Manhattan was the most vulnerable place in the city. So it has been here that the OEM decided to roll out the orange carpet in advance of the storm.
The orange carpet is, in fact, a series of Tiger Dams laid end to end, almost a mile long. It runs from Wall Street to Catherine Slip near the Brooklyn Bridge. Each section is an inflatable tube that can be filled with water from a fire hydrant or other water source. Filled with water, each tube weighs 6,300 pounds. If necessary, the tubes can be stacked on top of each other.
The Tiger Dams connect to HESCO barriers - fabric lined, wire mesh cubes filled with compacted sand that have been placed strategically throughout the Seaport and elsewhere in the city on a semi-permanent basis. Sandbags protect the seams where the Tiger Dams meet the HESCO barriers.
Tiger Dams are billed as an Interim Flood Protection Measure. If they were installed throughout the city, it would take 72 to 96 hours to ready them for a storm. The more limited installation in Lower Manhattan took 48 hours. The work was done for the Office of Emergency Management by an outside contractor.
When Superstorm Sandy roared through New York City on Oct. 29, 2012, the Seaport was one of the places that was hardest hit. Next to the South Street Seaport Museum's 1885 cargo ship, Wavertree, is a sign showing the high water mark from Sandy. It was four feet above the level of the pavement.
Hurricane Isaias is not expected to roll in with that much water, but it is expected to bring stronger and more sustained winds than Sandy.
Deanne Criswell, the city's Commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management, said at a press conference on Aug. 3 that the city was expecting "only a moderate amount of storm surge"- somewhere between one and two feet - for which the Tiger Dam barriers would be protective. In addition, Criswell said, "We're expecting a large amount of rain and we know that we're going to have flooding citywide because of this rain." She said that much of the city would see two to four inches of rain, but in some areas there could be as much as six inches of rain.
The sustained winds are expected to be 35 to 50 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 70 miles per hour. Criswell said that the expectation was that the city would be subjected to fierce winds for from three to six hours. However, she said, that could change. "This storm has changed in intensity since we've been watching it," she said.
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer
STANDING WATCH THROUGH THE NIGHT, A CREW FROM THE SOUTH STREET SEAPORT MUSEUM GUARDS THE MUSEUM'S HISTORIC SHIPS
|The South Street Seaport Museum's 1885 cargo ship, Wavertree. |
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
In the South Street Seaport, four men are standing watch through the night to protect the South Street Seaport Museum's historic ships and landmarked inland properties.
"We've done this before," said Captain Jonathan Boulware, president and CEO of the museum. "This is a lesser event than Sandy. We know that already."
He said that the ships were "pretty well set up and what we're expecting are maybe 60 knots of gust. But in fact I think our ships are really ready for that gust."
Three of the South Street Seaport Museum's ships are not in the Seaport right now, leaving the lightship Ambrose, the cargo ship Wavertree and a work barge that need to be
"We're going to take the awning down from the poop deck of Wavertree because that's not going to like 60 knots," Boulware said, "and we're going to have people here 24 hours just as we did during Sandy so I feel pretty good about the preparation for the ships."
However, he added, "One of the challenges about the East River is that it is a very difficult body of water to accurately predict in terms of storm surge and that's because it's connected to three other major bodies of water - the Atlantic Ocean, the Long Island Sound and the North River. And you have the compounding factor of rain and then you have tidal and wind-driven bodies of water. And so the East River is the bottleneck for all that."
Boulware said that "Right now the models are showing that the peak of the tide will be [Aug. 4] probably around twenty hundred. Another complicating factor here is that we're just coming off of the lunar tide. It will be two days after the full moon and that means the tides have higher highs and lower lows. There will be a storm surge. Whether it's a high amount or a tiny amount remains to be seen but it also matters a great deal where that comes in the tide cycle. If that comes at low water, it's just going to look like we didn't have a particularly low tide. If it comes at high water, then whatever it is is going to be added to what is already an astronomically high tide and that's when the HESCO barriers and Tiger Dams will be functioning."
Boulware said that putting barriers along the East River is complicated."Designing exactly where they go is super-complex," he said, "because there are, for example, storm drains that drain the water from the streets into the river and they function equally well at bringing river water up into the street and so the barriers have to be on the land side of those things but also have to be on the river side of other kinds of infrastructure." He said that's part of the reason why the barriers zigzag their way along the East River waterfront. "It will be interesting to see if there are any vulnerabilities in that mile-long protection barrier," he said.
During Sandy, Boulware recalled, the ships sustained little damage but the museum at 12 Fulton St. was knocked out. "Obviously we are better protected by having a surge barrier in place," he said, "but the basement of the museum was flooded before the streets were even wet during Sandy and that's because Lower Manhattan is very porous."
He said that there could again be water in the basement of the museum's Fulton Street premises. "What was probably happening [during Sandy] was that the water level was pushed up by the raised water level in the East River and the Hudson River," he speculated. "It could also have been lateral flow of water through old water pipes, the various ganglia of the city. The HESCO barriers are only going to stop water that's flowing across the surface. Water that can manage to travel under the barriers - they're not going to have any effect on that."
Regardless of what happens, Boulware believes that erecting the Tiger Dam barriers was the right call. "It may be that there will be no water that those barriers have to keep out but boy, this is a good excuse for a test," he said. "There's every justification for it and I'm glad they're there.
"I don't welcome a storm like this at any time," he added, "but I think the installation of these Tiger Dams and the visible demonstration that these things are going to continue to happen shows that we have to focus on resiliency for New York City. We have to."
Bits & Bytes
PARTY BOAT ARRESTS; NEW YORK STATE TRAVEL ADVISORY
"Arrests Over Illicit Party Boat With 170 Guests Cruising Around N.Y.C.," New York Times
|At a press briefing on Aug. 3, Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed his anger and dismay that a party boat had cruised New York harbor packed with guests in illegal and dangerous defiance of the State's mandatory social distancing rules.|
, 8/2/2020. "The Liberty Belle, a riverboat with four bars, three outdoor decks and space for 600 guests, has been touted by its operators as a 'favorite venue' of New Yorkers who hold parties, fund-raisers and other trendy events on the water," The New York Times reports. "But now it has become yet another symbol of reckless socializing during the pandemic: The boat was used on Saturday to host a party with more than 170 guests, violating state and local social-distancing rules, according to the New York Sheriff's Office. Even though the outbreak is mostly under control in New York, city and state officials are expressing growing alarm about the dangers posed by social gatherings where people violate the public health rules imposed to slow the transmission of the coronavirus." For the complete article, click here
New York State travel advisory: As of July 28, 2020, the New York travel advisory now includes 34 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico where the C-19 virus is surging. Whether you're coming into New York State by airplane, train, car or any other way you MUST fill out a form issued by the State Department of Health IF you are traveling from a state with significant community spread of the Covid-19 virus. You must also self-quarantine for 14 days.
Anyone caught without filling out that form or breaking the quarantine risks a $2,000 fine and mandatory quarantine.
The current list is as follows: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Delaware; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Iowa; Idaho; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Mexico; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; Washington; Wisconsin.
In addition to travelers, New York State residents who visited any of these locations and stayed for more than 24 hours must also fill out the form and self-quarantine for 14 days.
A travel enforcement operation at airports across the state ensures that travelers are following New York State's quarantine restrictions. Enforcement teams requesting completion of the New York State Department of Health traveler form are stationed at Port Authority and regional airports to meet arriving aircraft at the gates as passengers disembark.
This form is being distributed to passengers on flights to New York State. For an electronic version of the Department of Health travel form, click here.
Travelers who leave the airport without filling out the form will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete a mandatory quarantine. "Once we get the forms, we follow with a random checks," New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Downtown bulletin board
RESTAURANTS SET UP ON OPEN STREETS IN FIDI; PRE-LICENSING DRIVING COURSES NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE; PARKING REGULATIONS
The Fraunces Tavern Restaurant at 54 Pearl St. will reopen on Aug. 1 for outdoor dining. It has been closed since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
(Photo: ©Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Fraunces Tavern Restaurant reopens: On Saturday, Aug. 1 the Fraunces Tavern Restaurant at 54 Pearl St. reopened to the public for outdoor dining. The restaurant will serve popular items from its lunch, brunch and dinner menus between noon and 11 p.m. daily, with tables socially distanced on the Pearl Street side of the building. Over 400 whiskeys, signature cocktails and 130 craft beers and ciders will be available. For more information, call (212) 768-1776.
Open Streets: Restaurants in FiDi: The Alliance for Downtown New York, the nonprofit business improvement district for Lower Manhattan, is participating in the Department of Transportation's Open Streets: Restaurants program, in partnership with several area restaurants.
Pine Street from Pearl Street to William Street and Pearl Street from Broad Street to Hanover Square have been closed to traffic to accommodate in-street outdoor dining. The closures run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The program will continue through Sept. 7.
Crown Shy and Black Fox have operations on Pine Street, and, on Pearl Street, the Fraunces Tavern Restaurant as well as the Porterhouse Brew Co are open. In the coming days more restaurants on these streets may take advantage of the program.
The Downtown Alliance is responsible for placing and removing barricades to close the street to traffic each day. The restaurants are responsible for setting up and breaking down seating and serving areas as well as for maintaining cleanliness and appropriate social distancing.
Pre-licensing driving courses now available via distance learning: Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) licensed driving schools can now conduct distance learning pre-licensing courses. Using technology such as Zoom, WebEx, Go to Meeting and Skype, these five-hour courses must be delivered live, in real-time, by a school's Pre-Licensing qualified instructors, with interaction between instructors and students. Students must pre-register and present their learner's permit so the school can identify the student, ensure that the student is eligible to take the course and record the student's information as listed on the permit. For more information, contact the DMV Driving School Unit by clicking here or by calling (518) 473-7174.
New York State Covid-19 poster:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo commissioned a poster to document the first 111 days after the Covid-19 virus surfaced in New York State. The poster is for sale ($14.50 plus shipping and handling). To buy a copy, click here
Alternate side parking
: Alternate side parking regulations resumed from Aug. 3 to Aug. 14. They will suspend for Aug. 15 and Aug. 16, and resume from Aug. 17 to Sept. 5. Under the summer rules, if a side of a street has an ASP sign showing multiple days, street cleaning regulations will be in effect on that side of the street only on the latest day of the week posted on the sign.
The 9/11 is now open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily with Virtual 9/11 Memorial tours daily. The Museum remains closed. For more information, click here
Museum of Jewish Heritage fundraising campaign:
Museum of Jewish Heritage employees have set up a fundraising campaign to help former coworkers: A team of employees remaining at the Museum of Jewish Heritage has established a mutual aid fund to assist their colleagues who are now facing unemployment, heightened food insecurity, and the inability to pay rent. Funds raised will be distributed equally among staff affected by the job terminations and hour reductions. The goal is to raise enough money to give each of these colleagues $2,000 to help them pay their bills as they transition to unemployment.
The fundraiser states that "Your gift will help almost 40 people transitioning to an uncertain future know that there are people in the world who care and who will help. A contribution of any amount will make a big difference to many. We have also set up a Resource Page to support our colleagues' search for new employment. Click here
to share job postings that you find. If you have a connection to a job or place of work, please consider leaving your contact information in the Google Doc to serve as a point of introduction or reference for our colleagues affected by the terminations."
To contribute to the GoFund Me campaign for Museum of Jewish Heritage employees who have been laid off or whose hours have been reduced, click here. Staten Island ferry timetable
: The Staten Island Ferry went back to pre-COVID rush hour service as of July 6, offering rides every 15 minutes between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Additionally, 20-minute service is offered between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and between 3:50 p.m. and 4:50 p.m.High Line reopening
: The High Line reopened to the public on July 16
from noon to 8 p.m. daily after temporarily closing in March to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The High Line, working with NYC Parks, has issued visitation protocols to ensure that visitors can maintain social distancing in full accordance with city guidelines. All visitors must enter the High Line at Gansevoort Street and will be able to go as far north as 23rd Street. There are free, timed-entry passes available. Apply for them by clicking here.
Museum of Jewish Heritage planning September reopening: The Museum of Jewish Heritage at 36 Battery Place in Battery Park City is making plans to reopen in September on a three-day-a-week schedule.
Metropolitan Museum of Art planning August reopening: The Metropolitan Museum of Art is planning to reopen its Fifth Avenue location (1000 Fifth Ave.) on Aug. 29. There has been no word yet about the Cloisters reopening. The Met Breuer, formerly the Met's third location, is now permanently closed. When the Met reopens, days and hours will be reduced and the museum won't have tours, talks, concerts or any other events through the end of 2020. The Met, which closed on March 13, had to lay off 80 employees and faces a budget shortfall of approximately $150 million.
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.
How to report police abuse:
If you witness police abuse in person or see footage on social media, you can file a complaint with the City's Civilian Complaint Review Board at nyc.gov/ccrbcomplaint
or (800) 341-CCRB.
New York State Attorney General James, who is conducting an investigation of the George Floyd protests, asks that any information, including visuals, be shared with her office as they proceed with that investigation. Email: email@example.com
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 2020census.gov/jobs
. For more information, call 855-JOB-2020.
Register to vote: If you are not yet registered to vote, you can get registered so that you can vote in the general election, which will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, absentee ballots were made available for people to vote in the June 23 primary election. It is not yet known whether absentee ballots will be widely available for the Nov. 3 election. If they are available, it will be necessary to reapply, even if you did receive an absentee ballot to vote in the primary.
For answers to frequently asked questions about voting, click here.
For the partial results of the June 23 primary election, click here. (Absentee ballots are still being counted.)
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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