Showing posts with label Coronavirus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coronavirus. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Reports: Did SantaCon contribute to NYC's current COVID-19 surge?

Photo on Dec. 11 along Avenue A by Derek Berg

In recent days, several published reports have suggested that SantaCon, held on Dec. 11 in bars and venues in parts of Midtown and in the East Village, played a role in the current surge of positive COVID-19 cases in Manhattan. (It's also a topic brought up in the EVG comments.)

City Councilmember Mark Levine, chair of the Health Committee and Manhattan Borough president-elect, helped bolster this case when he tweeted Saturday about the high numbers in the city: "And yes SantaCon may partly be to blame."
In a story published Sunday, The Daily Mail noted, "The SantaCon surge: Covid cases in Manhattan QUADRUPLE in the six days since notorious costumed bar crawl." The article builds its case on the Levine tweet and other social media posts where people said they tested positive after attending the annual bar crawl that was postponed in 2020.

Here's more from The Cut at New York magazine from Thursday:
Last year, SantaCon was thankfully canceled due to the pandemic. This year, there's still a pandemic — not to mention a highly contagious variant spreading — but like many other holiday gatherings that now seem ill-advised, it happened anyway despite fears it had all the makings of a super-spreader event. And now, surprise: #santacon TikTok is flooded with people who attended and have since tested positive for COVID-19.

The Cut assembled a collection of the SantaCon-COVID clips on TikTok.  

Meanwhile, Business Insider also pointed the finger at SantaCon for this current uptick in a piece titled "The SantaCon surge has hit NYC" from Saturday.

Per their report:
[S]ince last weekend — which saw the return of SantaCon, NYC's biggest event of debauchery and drunken revelry — many a New Yorker's phones have blown up with texts from friends saying they'd been exposed to Covid. Positivity rates have doubled in the past three days, with cases in the city up more than 40 percent in one day, recording the highest one-day total since January 14. 
Later, the piece backs off a bit from the headline:
To be sure, SantaCon isn't entirely to blame for the Omicron wave. Companies have been holding in-person holiday parties and NYC nightlife has been back to normal for quite some time. Health restrictions, like mask mandates and social distancing, have been increasingly disregarded. 
In a post published yesterday at Bushwick Daily, three residents who tested positive and work at bars-restaurants in the East Village or Lower Manhattan blamed SantaCon for spreading COVID.

East Village bartender Iseult James told the site that "the event might have been a super spreader and is largely to blame for the uptick in positive tests. So now, instead of spending Christmas with her husband's parents in Fort Greene, the couple must stay at home."

As multiple news outlets have already reported, average daily case counts in New York City more than doubled over the week ending Dec. 17, according to the latest data available on the city's health department website. NYC is reporting a seven-day average of more than 7,200 cases per day, up from about 3,200 the week prior, a 127-percent increase.

According to the NYC Health site, neighborhoods including the East Village and Murray Hill, where SantaConners mingled on Dec. 11, have among the highest positivity rates in the five boroughs for the week ending Dec. 17. The citywide positivity rate is at 7.68 percent.
Here are the two zip codes that include parts of the East Village... 10009 had a positivity rate of 9.79 percent while 10003 had a rate of 11.81 percent (click on the image for more detail) ... 
The zip code encompassing Kips Bay/Murray Hill is at 11.14 percent ...
Of course, SantaCon participants or bar employees who have tested positive don't necessarily live in these zip codes. (Also, these zip codes also have high rates of fully vaccinated adults, above the city's 71 percent.)

Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio addressed the rise in COVID cases during a press conference yesterday.

"It's going to be a very challenging few weeks. But the good news is based on what our healthcare leadership understands, at this moment, we are talking about a matter of weeks," de Blasio said, as CNBC reported.  

The mayor went on to say that New Yorkers infected with omicron are experiencing mild symptoms so far, though many unanswered questions remain about the variant.

"We're going to see a really fast upsurge in cases; we're going to see a lot of New Yorkers affected by omicron," de Blasio said. "So far, thank God based on everything we've seen, the cases are milder than what we've experienced previously." 

Gov. Hochul reemphasized yesterday that there would not be any new shutdowns.

"It's not March of 2020. It's not even December of 2020. Just to keep things in perspective, it is milder than delta," Hochul said of omicron, per NBC 4. "We are avoiding a government shutdown because we now have the tools available to all of us — vaccinations, booster shots, masks — particularly for the variant we're dealing with."

You can find information on vaccines and boosters via the city at this link. Find a city-affiliated testing site here.  

Monday, December 20, 2021

These East Village businesses are temporarily closing as COVID cases continue to climb

--Updated12/22: In a good sign, several of the businesses that decided to close this past weekend have reopened. Updating the list below--

The rise in COVID-19 cases across NYC alongside the spread of the new omicron variant made its presence known to local businesses and residents over the weekend. 

In recent days, several establishments either closed because of infection among their staff or due to possible exposure to someone who had tested positive. For instance, Mister Paradise, the cocktail bar at 105 First Ave., closed for the weekend after positive test results for some employees...
Yellow Rose on Third Avenue and Academy Records on 12th Street were among other businesses to announce a temporary closure due to positive test results. 

The Brant Foundation, showing a solo exhibition of new works by Julian Schnabel, abruptly closed "out of precaution" on Saturday here at 421 E. Sixth St. ...
Others taking a cautionary approach included Hearth at 403 E. 12th St. ...
Here is a partial list of other East Village businesses that either decided to amend their operating method or close...

• All The Kings Horses at 521 E. 12th St. has closed until further notice. UPDATED: They reopen on 12/21 with limited hours and no indoor dining

AuH2O Shop, 84 E. Seventh St., closed yesterday and will not reopen until after Christmas. "We're very sorry to people looking to pick up online orders or last-minute gifts, but we thank you for understanding the need to keep our staff and everyone safe." 

Azaleas, the women's boutique, limited their hours and the number of patrons allowed inside the shop at 140 Second Ave. 

• Beauty Bar, 231 E. 14th St., will be closed until at least Dec. 31.

Bluestockings, the activist bookstore and café at 116 Suffolk St., is now only open for pickup orders and coffee and pastries to go. 

• Boris & Horton, the dog-friendly cafe on Avenue A at 12th Street, closed for the weekend, stating on Instagram: "The health of our employees, guests, and community is our number one priority." UPDATED 12/22: They are back open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Copper Still, 151 Second Ave., plans to reopen on Dec. 26.

The Film Anthology Archives, 32 Second Ave., canceled yesterday's screenings and those scheduled for tonight and tomorrow. Per a statement: "Having already planned to close for the holidays from Dec. 22-Jan. 6, we hope to return as scheduled on Jan. 7."

• Josie's, 520 E. Sixth St., like its sister bars Mona's and Sophie's, will be closed at least until after Dec. 25.

Kindred, 342 E. Sixth St., is closed to at least Dec. 28.

The Hard Swallow, 140 First Ave., will reopen on Dec. 27.

The Immigrant, 341 E. Ninth St., has closed until Dec. 26.

Metrograph, the cinema at 7 Ludlow St., is closing its theaters and commissary until Dec. 25.

Mona's, 224 Avenue B, has shut down through Dec. 27.

• Now Yoga at 61 E. Fourth St. has suspended in-person classes, pivoting back to online sessions for the remainder of the year. 

O'Hanlon's, 349 E. 14th St., is shutting down until Dec. 26 to give its staff time off to get tested and to deep clean the bar.

Otto's Shrunken Head, 538 E. 14th St., closed after service last night. The bar plans to reopen on Jan. 5.

Phebe's, 361 Bowery, announced it will be closed for the next week. 

Ruffian, 125 E. Seventh St., plans to reopen on Dec. 27.

SMØR, the Nordic cafe at 441 E. 12th St., suspended indoor dining, serving food and drinks outdoors and for takeaway and delivery. 

• Sophie's, 507 E. Fifth St., is closed now with hopes of reopening after this holiday week.

For fatigued owners, employees and residents, the closures have prompted unpleasant flashbacks to March 2020, when businesses announced short-term closures due to the rising cases of coronavirus... only to be shuttered for months after then-Gov. Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close during the PAUSE. 

In recent days, both Mayor de Blasio, who has less than two weeks left in office, and Gov. Hochul have reportedly said another NYC lockdown won't be necessary. "Getting vaccinated, getting the booster and wearing a mask are critical to avoiding getting seriously ill from COVID-19, so don't take a chance," Hochul said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the scramble for testing continues. Long lines await people anxious for peace of mind before traveling in the days ahead or attending holiday get-togethers with friends or family. The Mayor has promised more testing sites early this week

Starting today, the NYC Test & Trace Corps, in partnership with the NYC Health Department and NYC Care, will distribute 500,000 rapid antigen self-testing kits and 1 million KN95 masks through community-based organizations across the city. It's not clear where these might be available in the East Village. 

Hearth photo by Lola Sáenz

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Testing, testing

As you are likely well aware, the rise of COVID cases in the city has spurred lines for testing as people prepare to travel for the holidays... or simply just want to get tested.

There have been social media reports (#CityMD) of 2-3 hour waits at CityMD. (The above photo is from this morning around 8 as the line outside the 14th Street CityMD outpost stretched halfway down the block between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.)

Some knowledgeable/trustworthy sources online have reminded people about free city-run test sites. Find that list here. And this site has the wait times for NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 testing locations. And here's a list of free mobile testing units. You'll have to travel a little bit for this — none of the locations are in the East Village.

The city is reportedly expanding testing sites, distributing masks and giving away at-home test kits... though, as many people have pointed out in news articles on this winter surge: 20 months in, it shouldn't be so difficult to get a test. (And this article at The City reports: "De Blasio Shut Down 20 City-Run COVID Testing Facilities Ahead of Omicron Surge.")

Also: The city's Vaccine Command Center is here.... the COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine Finder is here.  

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Tonight, the city will honor the 30,000 New Yorkers who have died from COVID-19

Photo of the COVID-19 memorial on A and 10th from April 11. 

Tonight at 7:45, the city will pause to mark the one-year anniversary of the first reported COVID-19 fatality in New York City. As Gothamist reports, 30,031 people have died from COVID-19 in New York City — 25,147 deaths categorized by the city as confirmed, and 5,027 considered probable. 

The City has more on this evening's memorial event here.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The last of the COVID-19 memorial has been removed from the corner of 10th and A

The last piece of the COVID-19 memorial that has been on the southeast corner of Avenue A and 10th Street since March 26 is gone.

In recent weeks, only the memorial — titled "Beacon of Hope" — atop the brick column remained. This was after someone vandalized the work once again a few weeks back. (This happened multiple times in the spring.)

It was originally erected in honor of Edd Conboy, a licensed therapist and director of social services at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, who died on March 20 of a stroke. He was 69. His brother Jim, an East Village artist, created the memorial after his family was unable to hold a funeral in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The memorial continued to evolve this spring to honor those who died during the pandemic.

[April 13]

[June 11]

Saturday, May 23, 2020

[Updated] At the COVID-19 testing site at St. Brigid

[Dr. Yomaris Pena]

As noted last week, Somos Community Care opened a temporary COVID-19 testing site behind the former St. Brigid School at 119 Avenue B between Seventh Street and Eighth Street. This testing site, under the guidance of Dr. Yomaris Pena, is just open through this coming Tuesday.


Updated 5/26

Th temporary COVID-19 testing site has been extended by a few more weeks.

The site also has new hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. As EVG contributor Stacie Joy reports, walk-ins are still possible but they would prefer that you make an appointment. Somos reps also promised better staffing of the phone lines. (Several readers reported that they couldn't get through to make an appointment.)


EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by for a test. Here's what she had to say about it:

The entire process was quick, free or covered by insurance, and relatively painless. Two phlebotomists were there to take blood — both were very good and kind. Nasal swab COVID testing is available too.

Antibody test results in about 48 to 72 hours, delivered by phone. All in all, a good experience. No appointment necessary, although I had one. You will need ID.

[The phlebotomists]

You enter on Avenue B between the school and the rectory...

Free lunches are available as you leave ... along with free face masks...

Here's the number for an appointment: 1-833-766-6769. The site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. [Updated: I just went by at 12:30 and it was closed.]

Friday, May 15, 2020

Steven Hirsch's CoronaLand

["First Responders" 8" x 6" Pencil On Paper]

East Village resident Steven Hirsch is well-known for his courthouse photography as well as documentary work.

During the COVID-19 PAUSE, Hirsch turned his attention to a new medium: drawing.

"I started doing them when the virus started. It seemed like a time to start doing something different considering the world flipped upside down in a week," he told me. "The virus seemed like the only thing that made sense to draw since my work is autobiographical. I try to draw one a day."

He shared a selection of his work... you can find more here.

["Waiting To Get Tested" 8" x 6" Pencil On Paper]

["Masks" 8" x 6" Pencil On Paper]

["PPE" 8" x 6" Pencil On Paper]

["Covid-19 Splat" 8" x 6" Pencil On Paper]

["Lungs" 8" x 6" Acrylic and Pencils On Paper]

["Waiting To Get Tested" 8" x 6" Pencil On Paper]

["Killer Hornets" 8" x 6" Pencil and Acrylics On Paper]

["Trader Joes" 8" x 6" Pencil On Paper]

Thursday, May 14, 2020

This East Village resident discusses getting an antibody test

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

It’s just after the 7 p.m. Clap Because We Care for essential workers when I am able to meet with East Village resident Alex Cobus, NYU adjunct faculty and administrator (associate director of career services), to talk about her experience getting tested for the COVID-19 antibodies.

Walk us through the process of getting the antibody test. How did you schedule it? How were you selected for testing? Where did you go?

I received two separate emails both offering the test. One was from my primary physician, and the second was from NYU Langone. My doctor is affiliated with NYU Langone, so I have an account with their online platform, LabFinder. I clicked on them both, and the one via NYU Langone was just easier and it allowed me to choose the exam with my primary physician.

Before I could schedule the appointment, they asked a brief series of questions. Each question was about if I had experienced a COVID-19 symptom in recent history — fever above 102 degrees, aches and chills, etc.

I answered no to all, except the final screening question, which was if I had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. A coworker of mine at NYU Wagner had tested positive shortly after we started working remotely, and we had been in contact, so I answered yes. I suspect, but don’t know that my positive answer to this last screening question qualified me for the exam.

My primary physician is in Midtown, so I decided to take a Lyft just to ensure that I got there safely and on time. I haven’t gone anywhere, except the occasional walk for my health, so it was a bit strange to go so far and see other neighborhoods. The route along Second Avenue was pretty quiet despite the great weather, so I decided that I would walk home after the exam.

What does the antibody testing entail? What was the process like from beginning to end?

Upon arrival, the front desk was staffed with three people, when there are normally five or six. They all wore proper masks and gloves and checked me in right away. They took my temperature right there with an ear probe. Then I sat in the waiting area. There were a handful of other patients waiting and all wearing masks themselves, and it appeared they too were there for the antibody test.

I don’t recall any explicit social-distancing guidance in the waiting room, but we all kept at least six feet apart around the room, and they clearly didn’t schedule many people to come in at once. There were four of us at most in a room that could hold about 20.

Then, just like any other visit, I was called back to an examination room where they explained the first part of the exam, which was a series of blood pressure tests taken on my arm, just like I usually have. But they also took a reading at both ankles, also with a cuff, and they attached electrodes to the soles of my feet.

Then they took my blood pressure in all areas in three different positions: lying down on the examination table, sitting up on the table, and then standing for which they removed the electrodes on the soles of my feet.

And for some of the blood pressure readings, they had me perform different breathing tests. I was asked to inhale and exhale deeply several times and these were timed. I had never done these breathing exams before, other than when the doctor asks one to breathe while listening to your lungs with a stethoscope.

To be honest, I started to wonder at this point if they had made a mistake and were giving me the wrong exam. I confirmed this was part of the antibody test and we continued.

Then I waited for the doctor to arrive when he explained next steps and asked if I had any questions.

Will you need to repeat this testing again if you are negative? When will you get your test results?

I will get the results via the LabFinder portal. The doctor explained to me that there is an approximately 10 percent chance of a false-positive or false-negative. So, regardless of the result, it's not 100 percent. But since I don’t think I contracted COVID-19, that will influence any decision to retake at some point.

Were you also tested for COVID-19? Did you think you may have had the virus or been in contact with someone who was ill?

They didn’t test me for the virus, and I don’t think I have had it. Like many others, I did have a terrible cold right before Christmas and that went through our entire office. While it was a terrible cold/mild flu, I didn’t experience the typical COVID-19 symptoms.

But since I was in contact with someone who did test positive, it’s possible I was exposed. We work in the same office and she tested positive mere days after we were all instructed to start working from home, so she potentially exposed many of us before becoming symptomatic.

What’s the experience been like? What prompted you to get the testing?

Now that it’s done, the experience was fine, save for the gruff lab technicians who didn’t bandage me well, and my bandage leaked — highly unusual and the least of my concerns.

I decided to get it for a number of reasons. First, I was simply curious. I had potentially been exposed by a positive-testing coworker, and potentially from just living in New York, one of the epicenters of the virus. If I did have the antibodies and could support research and/or a vaccine, then I have an obligation.

Moreover, I have the privilege of health insurance and access to the test. Those were powerful reasons to get the test. And I know the tests aren’t 100 percent conclusive, but I assume I’ll take it again at some point, and together it may be conclusive down the road. Finally, after feeling a bit helpless for so long, it felt good to do something!


Since this interview, Alex received the results, and they were negative. This is some language that accompanied the results that may provide some helpful context:

Negative results do not rule out SARS-COV-2 infection, particularly in those who have been in contact with the virus. Follow-up testing with a molecular diagnostic should be considered to rule out infection in these individuals. Results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-COV-2 infection or to inform infection status. Positive results may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-COV-2 coronavirus strains such as coronavirus hku1, nl63, oc43, or 229e.

I asked Alex how she felt about the results.

I feel unsurprised, and maybe a little disappointed, but not really.

I tried imagining my response for each outcome and realized that since there was a chance the results were incorrect, that it would require a follow-up exam to confirm.

If I had ever experienced symptoms, AND tested positive, then it would be more likely that I had had it. But I still have some indication that I most likely haven't contracted it before, and I hope that my exam contributes to a larger body of knowledge about the virus in NYC. I'll discuss with my doctor about any next steps.

Sunday, April 26, 2020


As seen on 13th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B...

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Where residents can get a free meal during the week

Any hungry East Village resident in need of a free meal during the COVID-19 outbreak can pick one up at one of several local public schools.

The city has been offering free grab-and-go meals for any resident Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. since the beginning of April.

Per the NYC Department of Education website: The Meals Hubs will operate for children and families from 7:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m., and for adults without children from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (There is no need to prove residency or bring any other form of ID.)

Local schools offering free meals include:

• P.S. 19 Asher Levy, 185 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street

• P.S. 64, 600 E. Sixth St. at Avenue B

• P.S. 63/the Star Academy, 121 E. Third St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue

The meal features an assortment of sandwiches or wraps, a vegetable, piece of fruit and milk. (There's a daily menu here.)

At P.S. 64, where Stacie Joy shared these photos, only two people are allowed inside at a time — one at the food baskets and one downstairs waiting.

Need something to read? Book Club now making local deliveries via bike messenger

[Image via @bookclubbar]

Book Club, currently closed to in-store customers due to the COVID-19 crisis, is still active behind the scenes with fulfilling online orders.

Now, the shop on Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B is offering free deliveries via bike messenger to all of Manhattan as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens. In stock titles will be delivered same or next day by co-owner Nat Esten, the East Village resident who runs Book Club with his wife Erin Neary.

Check out their website for more details.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Updating: Here's a map of what's open in the East Village

A volunteer effort led by the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC) along with residents Perry Leung and Paul Gale has created an interactive map of what's open in the neighborhood during the COVID-19 crisis. (The site is designed by Zhi He of BetaNYC.)

The map includes telephone numbers, links to delivery and Instagram, and business-specific details (like local discounts and contactless pickup options). There's also information, confirmed via phone, about whether 13-plus supermarkets in the East Village accept SNAP/EBT and have immunocompromised hours/senior discounts.

The rest of the data comes from several EVG posts (like this one and this one) along with fact-checking calls and Instagram research done by the volunteers.

Moving forward, EVIMA will help the group maintain the accuracy of the existing data, and expand the number of businesses included on the map.

If you are a business owner and want to add or edit your information, then please fill out this form here. Find more details at this link.

And now the map...

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A football-sized cocktail to go option on 3rd Avenue

As seen outside Bar None on Third Avenue between 12th Street and 13th Street... $20 for a to-go cocktail served in a football-sized container with an easy-sipping option... keep the container, and a refill is $15 ...

Friday, April 17, 2020

The annual Dance Parade will be online in 2020

[Photo from 2019 by Stacie Joy]

Mayor de Blasio announced this morning that the city is canceling concerts, festivals and all other nonessential events through May — and perhaps even June — in an effort to reduce coronavirus infection rates.


De Blasio said this means the cancellation of the Brooklyn Half Marathon, which had been scheduled for May 16, and SummerStage in Central Park, which had been scheduled to begin June 22. Such events, he said, go “against everything that we need to do to fight back the coronavirus.” He’s also weighing whether to keep public beaches closed, saying “I can’t see” opening them up yet because the outbreak isn’t contained.

Among the cancellations: The Dance Parade, which sees St. Mark's Place as a main route, and the subsequent Dancefest in Tompkins Square Park. The 14th annual Dance Parade was scheduled for May 16. Organizers have replaced it with the Dance Without Borders Virtual Parade. More details on how this will work are forthcoming, per organizers.

This also means there won't be a 44th annual St. George's Ukrainian Festival on Seventh Street on the third weekend of May. There hasn't been an official announcement about this just yet.

In other news from yesterday, the Mayor says that it's unlikely that city pools and beaches will open this summer.

"If things evolve we’ll assess our options going forward, but I can't project it now because it wouldn’t be safe to project it now," he said during his morning presser.

And ICYMI yesterday: Gov. Cuomo announced the extension of New York's shutdown of nonessential businesses to May 15.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Someone vandalized the COVID-19 memorial on 10th Street and Avenue A

[Photo from April 11]

In recent days someone vandalized the COVID-19 memorial on the southeast corner of Avenue A and 10th Street that arrived on March 26 (first reported here).

It was originally created in honor of Edd Conboy, a licensed therapist and director of social services at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, who died on March 20 of a stroke. He was 69. His brother Jim, an East Village artist, created this after his family was unable to hold a funeral in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The memorial continued to evolve to honor those who have died during the pandemic.

In an Instagram post, Jim Conboy noted that someone destroyed part of the memorial and took the styrofoam sculpture, titled "Transfiguration," that stood atop... He called this act "senseless."

Anonymous East Village restaurant owners distribute meals to neighbors in need

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

“Do we have a plan?” I ask, as I walk in to the restaurant. “Not really,” I am told, “Let’s wing it.” I nod.

I’m at a local restaurant with the family who owns it and wishes to stay anonymous. The family has prepared home-cooked meals for East Village homeless folks and we’re about to set out to feed hot meals to people on the street who may need them.

I’m curious how it will work. I grab my camera as the family loads up their vehicle, puts on masks and gloves (and smiles), and head out.

We stop at several locations around the neighborhood and are successful in getting supplies to people. The pads and tampons are well received especially. I’m touched that they are included in the supply packets offered.

After all the meals and supplies are distributed, I talk with the volunteers about their experience and reasoning behind this undertaking.

What prompted the idea to prepare these meals to feed those most vulnerable in the neighborhood?

My husband and I are local restaurant owners, and although we’ve been doing business in the neighborhood for decades, we have never had so many people come into the restaurant asking for food.

We immediately felt the shift in the air as the talk of shutting down the city seemed inevitable. They deemed us an essential business, but most of the neighborhood around us (temporarily) closed and the streets vacated as people hunkered down to begin their shelter-in-place.

The very first day a woman in need came in crying, unable to get food or medicine for herself or her daughter. She kept repeating over and over and over “...this is terrible, this is terrible, this is terrible.” And the need among those living on the street has only escalated from there. People are scared and confused — and hungry. And, she’s right — it’s terrible.

How did you decide what to make and how best to package it?

We wanted to make a home-cooked meal that was comforting, so we decided on a simple boxed lunch with chicken, rice, roasted carrots, corn muffin and a chocolate brownie. The box made for an easy handoff with minimal contact. And, we threw in a new pair of socks...because clean socks make everybody feel better.

Have you ever done anything like this before?

No, not exactly like this. Over the years whenever we have extra food from catering or fundraisers, we’d donate it to the Catholic Worker on First Street.

What was the experience like? What were some of the reactions you received and how did it affect you?

It felt like a drop in the ocean. I think most were surprised that we were offering a full meal. The mention of chicken and roasted carrots seemed to cause a lot of excitement. Everyone was very grateful. I almost felt ashamed that such a simple gesture could spark such good cheer. It was incredibly humbling.

Do you have any suggestions for others interested in doing something similar?

I really don’t have specific suggestions. Just remember, a small gesture of kindness can go a long way. We just have to follow our hearts and be vigilant in our efforts to help the most vulnerable people in our community. And long term? Please vote. Let’s do better going forward.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Masks now required to enter Sunny & Annie's

Sunny & Annie's, one of the last 24/7 delis remaining open, is now asking that customers wear a mask to enter their corner space on Sixth Street and Avenue B...

Danny & Louise, who shared these photos, did see staff turn away someone for not having a mask on when entering the deli.

On April 2, Mayor de Blasio urged New Yorkers to wear face coverings, such as cloth masks or bandanas, when going out in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19.


Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that he will issue an executive order requiring all New Yorkers to wear masks or mouth and nose coverings when they are in public.