News and events in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 35, Nov. 17, 2020

"My wish for you
Is that you continue
To be who and how you are
To astonish a mean world
With your acts of kindness
To allow humor to lighten the burden
Of your tender heart
In a society dark with cruelty
To let the people hear the grandeur
Of God in the peals of your laughter
To let your eloquence
Elevate the people to heights
They had only imagined"
    - The beginning of a long poem by Maya Angelou called "Continue: A Poem"


Letter from the Editor: To be continued
Poets House suspends operations indefinitely
Dine Around Downtown: Cooking at Home Edition
Bulletin Board: Tenant Resource Fair; Web application for social services
Calendar: November in Lower Manhattan's museums

COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of Nov. 16 at 1:35 p.m.
7,149,079 tested * 283,341 confirmed cases * 24,136 deaths

13.9 percent (compared with 3.5 percent in September 2019).
Net change: 10.4 percent.

Go to for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19 

MASTHEAD PHOTO: Reading poetry at Poets House during “Poem in Your Pocket” day. April 21, 2016 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Yesterday we received the sad news that Poets House in Battery Park City is closing indefinitely because of the financial fallout from Covid-19.

Poets House was a treasure — a place with comfortable chairs where you could read quietly and not notice the hours slip away. A place with sunset views of the Hudson River. A place where people sat at long tables and studied or wrote. A place with thousands of books near at hand that might tempt you to pick one up and discover something you never knew before. A place with art on the walls. A place where children could discover poetry and write their own. A place where adults could take classes from master poets. A place where lectures always ended with an invitation to stay for wine and cheese, or seltzer water and cheese for the abstemious. A place where everyone was welcome.

Maybe not enough people appreciated it until it was too late. That's often the way.

Poetry seems more essential now than ever. Poetry can vividly express what we've been feeling but haven't known how to say.

At the beginning of this issue of Downtown Post NYC, I quoted the beginning of a long poem by Maya Angelou that I printed out and have hanging next to my desk. It urges us to continue with courage, gratitude and compassion. If Poets House were still open, you could go there and read the rest of the poem. But of course, it's on the Internet. Here's a link to it, if you're interested.

You haven't heard much from me in a long time, although I have been updating the Downtown Post NYC website and Facebook page regularly. But I haven't felt well enough to write the newsletter.

Each issue of the newsletter takes an enormous amount of work and barely brings in enough money to cover out-of-pocket expenses, much less labor. This is discouraging but I am going to try to continue: there are things that I've wanted to tell you about. I hope you will find them useful. It would mean a lot to me if you would let me know, one way or the other.

As you may have noticed, the newsletter looks different than it did previously. The company that I use for formatting and distribution discontinued the template that I had been using ever since I started Downtown Post NYC almost seven years ago. This new template is cumbersome and badly designed. It took me three times as long to get this issue out as it would have done previously. I will have to solve this problem. I plan to try. To be continued.

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.

Downtown Post NYC on Facebook: 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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Poet Forrest Gander giving a lecture at Poets House. July 21, 2011
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Poets House, an oasis of serenity in Battery Park City with a 70,000-volume poetry library and windows overlooking the Hudson River, announced yesterday that it will suspend operations indefinitely, effective immediately. Poets House has succumbed to budgetary problems caused by Covid-19. The Poets House Board of Directors hopes that the library will be able reopen late in 2021 once the pandemic is under control and Poets House has reconfigured its operations.

Poets House was founded in 1985 by two-time Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz and by legendary arts administrator Elizabeth Kray. For a long time, it was located in SoHo however in 2009 it was granted a long-term lease, good until 2069, by the Battery Park City Authority and moved to Ten River Terrace.

Robert Kissane, chairman of the Poets House Board of Directors said that Poets House is facing "an unprecedented moment" in its history. The Board elected to suspend operations "in order to withstand what we all are facing and ensure that the organization and its collections survive.”

Poets House had been successful, until now, in keeping its entire staff at full salaries and benefits throughout these difficult months. "Dwindling emergency funds and a difficult fundraising environment necessitated these actions," said the Poets House press release announcing the suspension of operations. "The organization will use its limited reserves to pay staff severance and vacation pay."

Simultaneously with this announcement, Lee Briccetti, the executive director of Poets House for over 30 years, announced her retirement in 2021. Briccetti and long serving Managing Director Jane Preston had already begun succession planning. They will stay on temporarily to ensure a seamless transition and manage strategic alliances.

Lee Briccetti said, “We will use this time to reflect on the extraordinary history of Poets House and reevaluate the organization’s future trajectory, especially in light of the new times in which we now live. Poets House has been a central part of my life for the past 30 years. There is nothing quite like it in the literary realm, and we must do all we can to ensure that it remains alive and vibrant.”

Poets House and its world-class poetry library has always been free and open to the public. It has presented live programs, workshops, and exhibits that have long embraced inclusivity and diversity. When it reopens, its emphasis is expected to be on core library services — a goal articulated in its 2019 long-range plan and interrupted by COVID. Poets House had already begun to digitize its collection of chapbooks, an extraordinary archive of small, handmade and limited-run books. These frequently represent the first appearance in print of some of the country’s greatest poets.
Lee Briccetti, the executive director of Poets House for more than 30 years, during Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 24, 2014. Briccetti will retire in 2021. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Dine Around Downtown, 2020 Cooking At-Home Edition
For 19 years, Dine Around Downtown was one of the culinary highlights of Lower Manhattan's spring and sometimes also, of the fall. Dozens of downtown restaurants would sell modestly priced samples of their wares from tents set up on what was long called Chase Manhattan Plaza at 28 Liberty St. In 20013, the real estate was acquired by a Chinese investment firm called Fosun. The name of the plaza changed, but Dine Around Downtown continued until this year, when Covid-19 did it in. No crowds allowed. But the Alliance for Downtown New York, one of the sponsors of Dine Around Downtown, was not to be deterred and created Dine Around Downtown: Cooking at Home Edition.

The Downtown Alliance enlisted James Beard Award-winning chef and New York Times-bestselling author Rocco DiSpirito as emcee for a Zoomed series that has been taking viewers behind the scenes of some Lower Manhattan restaurants where they can watch stellar chefs effortlessly working their culinary magic and ask questions. Viewers are provided with the recipes being demonstrated and are encouraged to try their hand at replicating what they see, posting photos of their plates on Instagram and tagging #DineAroundAtHome and @downtownnyc. There's a prize for this effort. The apprentice cooks could win a personal 30-minute cooking class with the featured chef.

The series launched over the summer with America's first fine dining restaurant, Delmonico's, and has since been followed with episodes featuring Gnoccheria, Taïm, Temple Court, Benares and Casa Taqueria. All previous episodes are available on YouTube.

Although the series is free, viewers are asked to contribute to a charity designated by each participating restaurant or to a fund for the restaurant's employees, who have been hard hit by reduced hours of work and restaurant closures during the pandemic. Contributions are voluntary.

Dine Around Downtown: Cooking at Home returns for a holiday special on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 4 p.m. featuring Seamore's executive chef Rob Eggleston making a holiday salmon roast. The limited series has also confirmed a new season starting in late January. Registration is open at

Tenant Resource Fair; Web application for social services
USCGC LILAC is a museum ship owned and operated by the non-profit Lilac Preservation Project and is on the National Register of Historic Places. As of Nov. 16, America's only surviving steam-powered lighthouse tender, is not at her usual berth on Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. She is spending a week at Caddell Dry Dock and Ship Repair on Staten Island. Among other things, her propellers are being lifted off the Buoy Deck where they have been stored since 2003 and are being set aside for repair, and her fuel tanks are being cleaned. Much of the work is being underwritten by Caddell's, by Miller's Launch, which donated towing services to move the ship, and by Coast to Coast, which is servicing the tanks. But there will be additional costs.

LILAC is seeking donations to cover these expenses and a hoped-for move to an industrial berth for the winter where more restoration work can be undertaken. Lilac Preservation Project is a 501(c)3 public charity and all donations are tax-deductible. For more information about how to donate, click here.
Tenant Resource Fair: On Nov. 23 — the Monday before Thanksgiving— Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's office is cosponsoring a virtual Tenants Resource Fair with the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development and local elected officials. Learn about tenant protections during the COVID-19 pandemic, including ongoing protections for seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and those in rent-regulated apartments. Also learn more about the City’s affordable housing lotteries using the “Housing Connect” portal. Time: 6 p.m. Free. Click here to register for the Zoom meeting. (To download the Zoom application for Windows, MacOS, Android or iOS click here).

New web application helps NYS residents find needed social services: A new web application, "Find Services," unveiled on Nov. 16, 2020 will help New York State residents find social services that can assist with such things as rent payment, food, heat, medical care and other needs. The web application starts by asking a series of questions aimed at narrowing the field of possible services. After answering the questions, users are provided with a ranked list of potential services along with a description so that they can decide if a given service is right for them. They also receive information on how to apply.

The application is for anyone in need, whether or not they have ever had to ask for social service assistance before. In announcing "Find Services," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "Covid-19 has caused unprecedented demand for social services in New York including families and individuals who have never relied on social services before. This new web application, the result of a public-private partnership, will provide New Yorkers with a user-friendly, stigma-free resource to get the assistance and relief they need."

The web application was developed at no cost to taxpayers in collaboration with To access the application, click here.

Emergency food assistance: There are an estimated two million people (representing one-quarter of New York City's population) who currently don't have a reliable source of food. Anyone in need of emergency food assistance can call the NYC Emergency Food Line at (866) 888-8777. Among the food resources for New Yorkers are more than 200 Meal Hubs across the city where any resident can get three free "Grab and Go" meals a day. No reservation or identification is required. The Meal Hubs are open from Monday to Friday for families from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and for adults from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For information, text NYC FOOD to 877-877 or click here. People who need food delivery assistance can call 311 or go to on the web. Eligibility for this free service depends on there being no member of the household who can go out and get food because they are at increased medical risk or homebound and no neighbors or family members who can help. The applicant must not be receiving meal assistance from another provider and also must be unable to afford meal or grocery delivery.

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.
Many 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
Spotlight: November in Lower Manhattan's museums
"Conscience Point," which opens the National Museum of the American Indian's annual Native Cinema Showcase, is about the Shinnecock Indian Nation of Long Island and their efforts to protect their land and to fight for the tribe's community, heritage and home.

National Museum of the American Indian

Nov. 18-Nov. 27: The National Museum of the American Indian's annual Native Cinema Showcase celebrates the best in Native film. Screenings and conversations provide a forum for engagement with Native filmmakers and stories from indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and Arctic. The online program is free. For schedule and more information, click here.

The showcase opens on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. with "Conscience Point" about the Shinnecock Indian Nation of Long Island and their efforts to protect their land and to fight for the tribe's community, heritage and home. For more information, click here.

Fraunces Tavern Museum

Nov. 19: The Fraunces Tavern Museum presents "Hamilton: Man, Myth, Musical...Mensch" — a talk by Robert Watson via Zoom about Alexander Hamilton's Jewish roots. Time: 6:30 p.m. Free, but donations are appreciated. To sign up, click here.

Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

Nov. 19: Some of the first Jews in North America lived in what is now Lower Manhattan. "Pioneers, Remembering the First Jews in America" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, will tell the story of these early Jewish settlers. They formed communities in New York, Rhode Island, Georgia, and elsewhere and became the foundation for close to 370 years of American Jewish life.

Join the Museum, American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot, and The Jewish Heritage Alliance for this special Thanksgiving program. Time: 2 p.m. Free, but donations are appreciated. For more information and to register, click here.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer
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