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Untangling the Web: Floyd Protests, CoVid Pandemic, Unemployment & Crime

June 5, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nys Thursday afternoon I ventured out again to cover the ongoing George Floyd protests. This time I headed down to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn first, where George Floyd's brother went to speak. I missed the speech and the crowds too, as they had just departed across the Brooklyn Bridge, heading into Manhattan.

I took a subway into Manhattan and caught up with them as they came across the bridge, arriving just across the street from City Hall. After spending some time there, shooting video and photographs, I took another subway up into the Bronx where the looting had taken place on Monday night - as I wanted to see things for myself - as I no longer trust billioniare and corporate owned Tabloid TV news to report things in context.

Around 7.30 pm I headed back home, hoping like Cinderella, to make it home before the curfew took effect, even though as a journalist, I'm allowed to be out as an essential worker.

I'll have more on all of this posting as the weekend progresses, including photos and video for this story and the one below.

In the meantime, best wishes for a pleasant weekend.



George Floyd & Pink Floyd

Trying to Make Sense in a Senseless World

May 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysI watched the George Floyd protests unfold on the nightly TV newscasts for a couple of days before venturing out myself to see what I might learn. The protests began on Friday, May 29th in NYC, following the death of George Floyd, an African American who was asphyxiated, apparently due to a Minneapolis policeman holding a knee over George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes which was caught on video.

TV News Appears to Sensationalize More than Inform 

On Saturday night Fox News ran and reran the same footage multiple times of a car burning, seeming to hype and sensationalize the footage into a full blown ‘riot’. The a lot of the Fox footage was taken from the air, in a helicopter which they lease (reportedly) for millions annually, which again repeatedly showed video of the crowd below, which appeared to be mostly our men in blue. So given little good video, they talked about groups dallying into the police and back again – but really didn’t seem to have any video to support their claims. The next day Mayor de Blasio reported that there were no deaths and no serious injuries to members of the NYPD or the crowd. But there was some looting.

An NBC news account made the situation seem far more chaotic than it was by shaking the camera, providing the appearance of chaos. And so on.

More Photos & Video Coming Wednesday

Covering the George Floyd Protests in NYC from the Ground - Not from a Cushy Corporate Media Chopper   

The ‘crisis’ seemed to be more manufactured by the TV news, than by what was actually happening on the streets, which is why I decided I needed to cover this myself. Second hand TV news seems increasingly like garbage news, but before I could make such a claim, I had to see for myself.

Having grown up in a newspaper family, I’ve been watching the news and presentation of it all of my life, beginning with the Kennedy assassination, which my father made all of us watch as he said it was history in the making. Back then the news was owned by dozens, if not hundreds of independent newspapermen and broadcasters, so like social media, there was a variety of news presentations and you could pick from them.

Today large multi-billion dollar corporations control most of the news we see, and it seems their focus is largely centered around profit driven ratings instead of a fair and balanced presentation of the news. This is why they seem to hype, sensationalize and distort Americans’ perceived reality in order to keep them glued to the tube. And the hyping and sensationalizing is not getting better – it’s getting worse.

No longer can you turn on the TV to be informed, but rather to be scared, angered and far too often – to become disinformed.

View from the Ground in Search of the Truth in Manhattan NYC  

But thankfully, there is the internet, which is where you can find the truth – but you have to look for it.

So I ventured out Sunday night into Midtown Manhattan between the hours of 8 pm and 10 pm. I traveled to Times Square via subway. It was largely vacant and quiet, populated by groups of the NYPD, and isolated people walking to and fro.

So I then walked over to Bryant Park, which is where there was a scene the night before, and I had heard earlier in the day that there was to be some activity that night. Nothing. It was quiet and the park was closed.

So I ventured over to Grand Central Station, where I found the same. I asked one of the policemen there if anything was going on that night and he said yes, but in other parts of the city. I headed home to watch the nightly TV news presentation of what was going on.

So what did I see? I saw TV news at Times Square, from where I had just come. Again they had little footage, but said there were groups moving through the plaza. I began to wonder if these groups were doing it to get on the nightly TV news?

My Second Night Covering the George Floyd Protests  Manhattan

The next day I did a bit more homework and ventured out at 6 pm. I started my reconnaissance at Union Square Park where, again some of the looting the night before had taken place.

When I came up from the subway I noticed a group of nearly a dozen youths, dressed in hoods, with masks cloistered together. They warned me not to photograph them but I did anyhow. The photo will be shown after I rub out their faces, but they looked kind of tough, they carried no signs and if I were a policeman I would have shadowed them until they went home as I suspect they weren’t there to demonstrate.

In the park there were a few protesters chanting Black Lives Matter. The scene had some of the usual theatrics of Bryant Park, but with an edge or a purpose. I continued down 14th Street, heading west, where I photographed a few borded up businesses which were likely vandalized the night before.

The NYPD had a large presence with groups of police keeping a watchful eye, but like the drug policing prior to the methodical scientific policing of the 1990’s, it didn’t seem focused on weeding out the bad apples, like those I suspected when I came above ground.

Something that occurred to me is that a few bad apples can ruin things for everyone. Not just for the peaceful protesters, but also for police forces around the nation. It seems the good apples need to do more to keep the bad apples in check. A 17th century Irish English political philosopher, Edmund Burke said that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for [enough] good [wo]men to do nothing.”

 My Second Night Covering the George Floyd Protests Brooklyn

I then headed back underground into the subway and headed to McCarren Park in Brooklyn. As I neared the park, there were literally hundreds of people coverging on the park, where a George Floyd event was to take place.

When I arrived at the park it was populated with literally thousands of people. I arrived right about 7.30 pm and as I walked through the crowd, there was a pleasant applause … and then quiet.

All of the people descended to their knees, in what I could only describe as a Colin Kaepernick moment. But it wasn’t for a moment. The silence and the kneeling lasted a full half hour. I don’t think I have ever, in my decades long lifetime, recall seeing such a large crowd, stay so silent for so long.

It felt like a religious ceremony, but without any organized religion. It was a spiritual event, of people coming together, to register their dismay and disappointment and perhaps silent outrage at the state of affairs we find ourselves in today.

I looked around for the cameras, as this was a huge event. But there were none except those held by individuals. I looked up in the sky to see the Fox Fake News helicopter zooming in on us. But they were nowhere to be seen. No fires, no looting, nothing here to sensationalize, to distort, to corrupt to feed their angry, fearful masses.

A long, disciplined, powerful half hour of silence, a powerful statement made by literally thousands of people, didn’t make the fear-mongering nightly TV news that night.

If You Want Your Voice to be Heard it will Take More Than Showing up at a Protest     

We live in a democracy. We need to root out the bad apples from positions of power in government through voting, and halt the ratings at any cost reporting by the greedy corporate media by finding better - not bigger - news sources. And we, The People,   need to collectively weed out the bad apples abusing the police powers entrusted to them, while simultaneously holding those accountable who seek to exploit and desecrate the well-intentioned statements of millions, by breaking the law.

You and I both know that none of this will happen just by showing up at a protest. It can only happen if those outraged or dismayed, work with and through communal organizations, and by showing up at the ballot box fully informed – not disinformed. The good news is that the information is out there. The bad news is that much of it is not disseminated by those with the largest audiences.

I operate a small group of websites, so while this will be seen by many, but it will be seen by too few. To those who showed at McCarren Park last night, I want to thank you for your very powerful, Gandhi and Martin Luther King like statement.

They would be proud.

This report didn’t end as I intended when I started it. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is a 1973 album I still enjoy, that musically weaves themes of race, greed, life purpose and death into a poetically written and acoustically pleasurable experience.   


Unemployment Rises to 40 Million, Trump Fires FIVE Inspectors General Overseeing his Handling of the Largest Stimulus Bill in History & Life on the Ground in NYC

May 28, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.


corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nys

If things appear to be chaotic these days, that’s because they are.

America First - #1 in CoVid & Record Breaking Unemployment

Since the CoVid Pandemic began, new unemployment claims have risen by 40 million in the nation.  That’s out of an estimated American workforce of 158 million – meaning that 25% of Americans have lost their jobs since the pandemic began. 

The April unemployment was reported at nearly 15%, while the May unemployment report is expected to rise to in the neighborhood of 20% - 23%.  And according to the Federal Reserve, the  June numbers could come in a bit worse than May.  As a point of reference, during the worst days of the Depression, unemployment came in just under 25% before the American people fired Herbert Hoover.

 

Trump’s Litany of Distractions, Enabled by Network TV Boobcasts

But the Donald isn’t talking about the pain Americans are suffering from the pandemic, where over 1.7 million have been infected and over 100,000 have died.  Nor is he talking about the pain and anxiety that is being felt by the 40 million Americans who have lost their jobs.

Nor is he willing to talk about the firings of five Inspector Generals who had been charged with overseeing the integrity of the largest stimulus package in American history – funded by America’s babies and unborn children.  It’s like taking candy from a baby, only this time it’s money – and lots of it. 

The five Inspector Generals include one from  Health & Human Services, Department of Defense, State Department, Intelligence Community and the Department of Transportation.  Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Goebbels-like  propaganda machine - including his Fox News, Wall St Journal and NY Post appeared to support the firings. I wonder what Rupert's share of the predatory propaganda plunder is?         

So what is the Donald talking about, repeated nightly on the TV News broadcasts, who I’ve come to view as the great enablers, and now think of as the nightly news boobcasts ?  Anything else. 

This week the list of TV News amplified Trump outrages included: 1) Twitter exercising its freedom of speech by putting suggestions that Trump Twitter followers get off their lazy bums to click into fair and balanced information checks of the Donald’s disinformational tweets.  2) Prior to that Trump attacked the Governor of North Carolinafor following the CDC guidelines vis a vis reopening the economy.  The reason?  The Donald appears to want a jam packed media extravaganza at the Republican National Convention that was scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina in August.  3) Another of the shock jock president's distractions was his insinuation  that mail ballots are fraudulent – WHICH MIGHT COME TRUE IN November as Trump is replacing the outgoing Postmaster General with a Trump donor / businessman from North Carolina.    4) And the most incredulous of the distractions was Trump’s allegations having to do with MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough and a decade(s) old death of someone who worked for him.

 

Break Your Dependency on TV News – It's Time to Start Surfing

While the TV news broadcasts continue to endlessly repeat Trump's nonsense [it must be good for ratings], they distract themselves and the American public from the real stories of the day.  What are the real stories of the day?  Good question.  They are 1) the ongoing CoVid pandemic, 2) the incredible unemployment numbers and what is sure to be forthcoming economic fallout [it's official - we’re now in a Trump economy] and 3) Trump’s firing of FIVE INSPECTOR GENERALS who were charged with overseeing his Administration's management of the largest stimulus package in American history [$2.5 trillion], none of which was paid for by the current generation with either budget cuts or tax increases.   

If you want to know what’s going on, you have to get on the internet and inform yourself, because the nightly TV boobcast news is ratings driven - not driven by journalistic excellence.    Social media seems as reliable as the boobcast news - if only because you will get a range of opinions - unless of course, your surround yourself with ideologues on only one side of the information spectrum. 

Newspaper and magazine websites also generally seem to do a better job of reporting the facts than do most of the TV networks, as these outlets are staffed by journalists - not with ratings driven teleprompter readers who appear to hype gossip and endlessly repeat politicizations and sensationalist accounts as news, instead of providing their audiences with fact finding, contextualized reports that inform - not distort or distract.

 

Life on the Ground in NYC

I. Masks, Grocery Stores Hours & Lines & Heightened Interest in Biking

So I recently received a graphic about masks.  As you may know, the guidance surrounding masks changed from advising only those who may feel ill to wear them, to advising the general population to wear them. And now it seems the Donald has politicized, what is in essence, prudent health advice.  I will provide a graphic in the next post which visually shows why the early guidance was only for those feeling ill to wear them, but why it makes sense to wear them given that many people who are infected don't show symptoms for days . 

Another report I came upon discussed how a large group of singers caught the virus from a few hours of choir practice with an infected person.  It is believed that that transmission was largely airborne – coming out of the singer’s lungs,  sent into the air and infecting a large number of the people presen . 

Wapo.

And then there’s the guidance on surface transmissions.  Originally it was thought to that surface to person transmission was one of the primary means of transmission.  But that’s changing as they learn more.  Amidst all the uncertainty about changing guidance a few things are sure – 1) CoVid 19 spreads easily and quickly, 2) it’s a nasty disease and a killer to many and 3) caution is the better part of valor – meaning don’t take unnecessary risks for your own safety and for the safety of those with whom you interact. End of today’s science discussion.

And then there’s the periodic trips to the grocery store, wine store, laundromat, bank, post office, home improvement and other stores / chores. Everything still seems a bit of a hassle, although a lot less so than at the beginning of the month.

At the beginning of May, in my neighborhood there were probably somewhere between one in ten to less than a quarter of storefronts open.  And then even those stores that were open, had reduced their operating hours by significant amounts. 

By the end of this month, the number of storefronts open had grown to about half – although many of those open were only providing curbside deli / grocery pickup.  Many businesses had closed - not because of the government order – but rather because there just wasn’t enough / any foot traffic to make it worth the effort. 

As anyone who’s stepped outside lately knows, the foot traffic has picked up significantly, although it’s still not anywhere near what it was prior to the pandemic. And since Memorial Day, a number of businesses have again lengthened their hours – although most have not yet extended hours to their full operating capacity [meaning they’re not yet back to their pre-CoVid store hours]. But it is far better.  It has the feeling of a return to normal, even though it still falls far short of it.

In the early days of the pandemic [March] there was a run on toilet paper and canned goods and other essentials.  By mid April I noticed a run on things like beer and chips.  And today it seems most of the grocery store shelves are once again pretty fairly stocked.  I had to do some brand switching to fill my needs in March and April, and while I’m still using other brands or non-branded products, in most categories I use, I’m able to select the brands I favor.

I understand there’s been a significant increase in demand for bicycles as folks are likely planning to skirt the use of mass transit while the weather cooperates – not to mention get a bit of exercise.

 

II. Real Estate Sales Plummet, but Prices Hold & Stock Exchange Reopens Floor Trading

The real estate market took a gut punch in April, with the National Association of Realtors reporting that the sales in the Northeast region fell 52% year over year.  In May, things didn't look a whole lot better – at least not in NYC – as Property Shark reports that May to date sales are also trending down 53%.  But that compares to a drop of 62% year over year in NYC for April.  So things appear to be improving in the real estate market – albeit from a lightning quick crash. I suppose the good news for owners is that the prices remained fairly firm, as sellers held their ground and interest rates bounced along record lows at 3.15% for a 30 year mortgage.

 

On Tuesday, May 26th the New York Stock Exchange reopened on the floor trading by social distancing and temperature checking.

 

 III. Subway Zappings, Food Lines & the Census

The MTA has found what seems a more comprehensive way to sanitize the subways using devices which emit ultra violet light to kill the virus and other living organisms inhabiting the crevices of the subway infrastructure.  I haven’t ridden the rails myself since April, but one friend reports that while they’re not fully packed yet, they have gone from pretty empty, to fairly full [but not packed].

A May 19, 2020 report in Streets Blog said that on May 15th over 600,000 people rode the subway, which is the highest the ridership has been since the 676,000 on March 27th as the reality of the pandemic set in. As a point of reference, the MTA reports that on weekdays in 2019 about 5.4 million people rode the rails , while on the weekend, over 2.7 million people [on average] rode the subways . So that’s still only 12% of normal ridership, but up significantly versus the prior two months.

Given that fully 25% of people are out of work nationally, many around the nation and in NYC have taken to waiting in food lines to feed themselves and their families.  A number of charitable groups including the Catholic Charities of New York [www.catholiccharitiesny.org] have stepped up to help meet the challenge.  If you have a bit of extra cash, they accept donations, which they deploy to help fellow New Yorkers.

Lastly, the Census is underway in spite of most unusual circumstances.  On Wednesday, May 20th the Mayor informed us that the U.S. as a whole had achieved an estimated 59% participation rate, while NYC had only achieved an estimated 49% participation rate

This affects how much of our tax dollars we get back to help offset some of the education, healthcare, infrastructure, first responder and other expenditures associated with operating a large community such as ours.  There’s reportedly about $1 trillion at stake for the entire nation and it also affects how much representation we get in Congress.

So if you haven’t filled out the Census, take – literally – a few minutes to fill it out by clicking the ad below.  They say that this information is not shared on an individual level with any other agency in the nation.  So even if you’re not here legally and you don’t trust the government – at least try to make sure that everyone you know who was born in this country, or who has their papers in order, registers for the census. 

And don’t wait.  Do it now. Because these ads will be gone by June 1st.  And thanks.



CoVid Vaccine Update, Gauging Timeline for Return to the New Normal,   Economic Snapshot  & ...  

May 25, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nys

Memorial Day was a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures into the 70’s, and dry. Given the month of May is nearly over, I thought I’d do a recap of what has transpired during the month to gauge how far we’ve come and how far we have to go to return to the new normal.

Let’s start with a quick update on the CoVid virus itself. As we entered the month of May, new CoVid hospitalizations were running about 800 per day. As of Governor Cuomo’s last few reports, the number of new hospitalizations is running at between 200 – 300 per day. The net daily intubations have been running negative [meaning more people coming off than going on] for most of the last couple of months ranging from close to zero [meaning folks coming off intubations were about equal to those going on] to nearly 150 more coming off than going on.

As we exited April, NYC and NYS were closing the popup hospitals located primarily around the city, as the existing facilities were moving into a position where they were able to handle the sick patients entering the healthcare system. Overall both NYC and NYS have freed up a considerable amount of hospital and respirator capacity, so that most parts of the state will be economically open in the Phase I stage by this coming week – with the exception being NYC. NYC has met six of the seven metrics required to enter Phase I of the reopening of the economy.  The seventh metric is to free up enough hospital capacity [30% available capacity is the target] in order to reopen safely, according to the guidelines outlined by NYS Governor Cuomo.       

It’s important to remind folks that NYC, with a population of about 8.5 million, represents nearly half of the approximately 19.5 million population of NYS – and that we’re far more densely packed into a far smaller space than likely anywhere else in the nation. I mention this to help folks understand that we, in NYC, have the highest hurdle to transcend to move toward the new normal. But that said both the Mayor and the Governor believe that if the trends continue, NYC should be in a position to move into Phase I sometime within the first two weeks of June.

Phase I allows for construction, manufacturing and curbside retail to resume.

In prior reports we’ve identified the people most at risk of dying from the disease should they contract it. These folks still need to tread cautiously, as well as the folks who surround them, as no cure is in sight – regardless of what you may hear on the ratings-driven TV news or from a flailing president who oftentimes seems more concerned about the impact of the virus on his re-election chances, than on Americans’ health.

Scientists and pharmaceutical organizations around the world on working on numerous different therapies which may help speed recoveries. There are eight new vaccines that are in some stage of clinical trials, and a reported 110 vaccines in the works. The eight in clinical trials are only in the early stages of clinical trials, which are used to determine the efficacy and safety profile of a drug.

 

Is the ‘Real’ Donald 'Faking' News About a CoVid Vaccine?

If you listen to the blather of the bellowing Donald who constantly berates the ‘fake news’, you’d think a CoVid 19 cure is just around the corner. But hark back to a couple of months ago, to listen to what the Donald was telling Americans as the Corona Virus was getting underway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfGUpS5s7yA

As of this writing, over 1.6 million Americans have contracted CoVid 19 and nearly 100,000 Americans have died from it. Americans account for about 5% of the population of the world and account for about 30% of the reported CoVid cases and deaths. America is certainly first .

 

What do People with Vaccine Education & Experience Say?

The people who have been educated in the field of infectious diseases, and have experience in the field, say that a vaccine is AT LEAST A YEAR OR MORE AWAY. As I’ve published before, THE SHORTEST TIME IT EVER TOOK TO PRODUCE A VACCINE was in the 1950’s for polio, and that took four years. So that’s one pretty solid benchmark to keep in mind going forward.

If a vaccine killed just one in 500 people, that would amount to 660,000 deaths in a fully vaccinated populace in this nation alone. In a March 8, 2020 report in the New Yorker, John Shiver, the SVP of Global Vaccine Research & Development of Sanofi, a multi-national pharmaceutical company, said, "You certainly don’t want a vaccine that can make it worse”.

The public policy thinking is that we don’t want to give a vaccine to the nation’s population without properly testing it for both efficacy and safety. This is why the FDA has a rigorous set of rules surrounding the testing of drugs before they are released to the general public.

 

Expectations / Timelines for Obtaining a Trustworthy Vaccine

The New York Times posted a graphical Op Ed piece on April 20, 2020 that graphically depicted the data for new drugs that looked at various scenarios for shortening the timeline for drug testing, regulatory review and approvals and manufacturing. After reviewing the piece I came away with the conclusion that – based on historical records – we’re years away.

A March 8, 2020 piece in the New Yorker looked at some of the earliest vaccines out of the starting block for CoVid 19. One of the first steps in the process is reading the genetic map of the virus which the Chinese had done by January of 2020, and which they subsequently distributed. Relative to history, this was very fast. The New Yorker piece stated that,

"a covid-19 vaccine developed, licensed, and manufactured at a global scale in twelve months would be an unprecedented, remarkable, even revolutionary achievement.”

I suppose anything is possible, but for those of us on the ground, living amidst CoVid 19 on a daily basis, we need to stay focused on what is pragmatic and what is probable. So a vaccine isn’t likely or probable within the next year or so – and by most accounts - likely quite a bit longer. If a vaccine is found that is both efficacious and safe in less time – it will be akin to winning the lottery … great. But most of us don’t have the luxury of being able to live our lives banking on winning the lottery. An April 20, 2020 report in National Geographic starts with the second headline stating,

“Considering the history and science behind making these drugs, “a year to 18 months would be absolutely unprecedented ...”.

 

Reality Check: Why Getting a Vaccine Takes so Long

The bottom line is that you have to test vaccines / drugs to see how well they work in the general population. That requires recruiting numerous people willing to take the risk of being treated with an unproven vaccine or the risk of being treated with a placebo – meaning no protection. Then you have to put them in an environment where they are exposed to the virus so you can see how well they fare [immunity]. That may prove efficacy. Then you have to test the drug / vaccine in large enough numbers of the population to be able to measure the impact [its safety] on people with various health conditions and whether there are adverse interactions with other drugs.

A good example of what this testing can find is a recent study conducted on hydroxychloroquine – the drug ‘Doctor’ Donald has been promoting to treat CoVid 19, which is commonly used to treat malaria and lupus. According to an April 17, 2020 report by Reuters, a clinical trial in Brazil involving 81 patients was halted after eleven of the participants died. Of those who died, four were receiving low doses and seven were on high doses.

Assuming the same results for the U.S. population, if all Americans followed ‘Doctor’ Donald’s advice to take hydroxychloroquine to treat themselves for CoVid 19 - up to 44 million of them could die. You should know that this is a simplistic analysis - but the point remains valid - drugs need to be tested before releasing them to the general public or the ‘cure’ could be far more devastating than the cause or ‘condition’.

That’s the end of the science part of this report. The goal here is not to reduce any optimism of a revolutionary break through – but to temper that optimism with realism - so that you can properly prepare or steel yourself for the coming year(s).

 

When Do We Return to Normal? Gauging the Timeline Based on Institutional Announcements

A few institutions have provided what I consider benchmarks for our expectations of a return to the new normal.

Broadway Shows announced that they won’t be opening again until at least September. Various large universities have given mixed guidance for the Fall semester with NYU and Columbia University declaring their intent to re-open for in person classes as early as the Fall according to a May 19th report in the Gothamist. Governor Cuomo has not yet taken a position on schools reopening for SUNY and CUNY, but both Binghamton and Syracuse announced last Wednesday that they intend to open for in-person classes this Fall – although Governor Cuomo went public saying that it’s too early to know for sure.

Professional sports are expected to resume / begin practice and training at their facilities this week or next as the Governor just gave the green light within the past couple of days. Some professional sports teams may resume professional league play without in-person audiences as early as July.

And both the Mayor and the Governor agree that, assuming trends and progress continue, NYC should enter phase one of opening the economy in the first or second week of June.

 

A Slower Economy & The New Normal

Then there’s the economy. As our attention shifted from containing the virus and its impact on the healthcare system, we began to shift focus to earning a living again. This is our next great challenge, and it is complicated by the lingering threat of CoVid 19 and the limitations of what science can do for us as described above.

In early May, the Governor and the Mayor began collaborating to disinfect the subway on a daily basis, while transitioning the homeless to other quarters as the homeless had made the subway their home during the pandemic outbreak. This effort will help minimize the spread of the virus via mass transit, by which millions travel daily in normal times.

By mid-May the Governor had given the green light to several regions of NYS to re-open, yet said NY Pause was still in effect, even though by the end of the month, likely only NYC will remain closed [for reasons mentioned above as we’re half the state and we’re the most densely populated and trafficked NYS / USA region].

 

NYC Unemployment Losses Spike as does NYS & USA

By the end of April, the number of new unemployment claims nationally since the CoVid outbreak began in mid-March, had risen to 30 million. As of this post, that number now stands at 38 million. A May 24th report on CNN stated that Senior White House Economic Advisor Kevin Hassett told CNN that,

“… he thinks the unemployment rate, which hit 14.7% in April, may rise to 22% to 23% by May and edge up a bit in June before heading lower ...”

Given how badly New York City and New York State were hit - surprisingly - the economies of both were performing in line with the rest of the nation [unemployment-wise]. The unemployment rates for both NYC and NYS were in the neighborhood of 14.2% and 14.5% respectively. But these may statistics are believed to have undercounted the real picture, which as noted in the quote above, is expected to significantly worsen in May.

 

NYC Leisure & Hospitality Hardest Hit in NYS

According to the NY Department of Labor April 2020 report, the Leisure and Hospitality category was the hardest hit, losing 335,000 jobs - down nearly 72% from the prior year. This should come as no surprise, as NYC attracts some 60 to 65 million tourists per year. Tourism represents an average influx of 5.5 million people each month, who NYC can normally count on to spend some of their cash. But since mid-March tourists have not been a factor in our economy. In total NYC lost 885,000 jobs in April, down nearly 22% to about 3.2 million jobs in the private sector.

Airlines report that their traffic is down in the neighborhood of 90% +/- since the pandemic began in mid-March. I found it interesting that those figures are in line with the subway usage declines. These passenger losses affect NYC’s busy airports, many of the people they employed by both the airlines and the terminals, and related services. Our airports are also economic engines.

 

NYC Tenants, Landlords & Real Estate Mortgage Payments

In April and again in May, many people in NYC have missed their rent payments. Governor Cuomo put in place an eviction moratorium, which was extended through August 20th, and allowed tenants to use security deposits as payments until they can ante up the money at a later unspecified date. And many people have had to rely on food pantries to help them make ends meet. Long lines are reported at many of the pantries spread throughout NYC.

And to add to our economic woes, on a national level 3.8 million people missed their mortgage payments in April and another 1.6 million people missed their payments in May.

So, like the Corona Virus itself, the economic fallout will, in some measure, linger on indefinitely. The $2.5 trillion stimulus was meant to offset some of the losses, but as reported previously, the largest stimulus bill ever seemed crafted by a corrupt administration, as very wealthy people were given tax breaks which seemed not to have any real connection to the pandemic fallout. Trump also has since FIRED THREE INSPECTOR GENERALS, who would normally provide some transparency for what seems a lot of wasteful spending by the Republican president and his party, led by Senate Mouse Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But then the Democrats, led by New Yorker Chuck Schumer and Californian Nancy Pelosi, went on to ask for trillions more, because they did such a poor job of negotiating the first couple of stimulus bills, where it appeared the special interest gorged themselves at the public trough [to be paid for by America’s babies and unborn children], while the state and municipal governments – those most impacted by the virus - seemed to be left with scraps.

As an example of what happened while we were all watching the pandemic unfold, the richest 1% reportedly increased their wealth by nearly a half trillion dollars, while most of the rest of the population lost ground.

The same is true for industry sectors. Retail, restaurants, hoteliers and gaming industries were hit pretty hard. A number of large retailers declared bankruptcy including Neiman Marcus, Pier 1 Imports, J Crew, and J.C. Penney is reportedly in talks to be sold to Amazon, which is trading near an all-time high.

The airlines received a $25 billion dollar bailout in the form of grants [66%] and loans [33%]. So the American taxpayer anted up for the airlines and we, the public, seemed to get nothing back. The Donald had relentlessly claimed he was a great negotiator while running in 2016, and yet it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who seemed to be the toughest negotiator. She is working on a $9.7 billion bailout for German airline Lufthansa, but in exchange the public gets 20% of the airline stock and a poison pill to avert a takeover by a foreign / private entity trying to cash in on the public largesse. Hertz car rental also filed for bankruptcy.

Newspaper companies, which were already on the rocks, are also suffering. In 2019 about 3,400 journalists lost their jobs. Since the CoVid pandemic, 36,000 people working for newspapers [not just journalists so this is not an apples to apples comparison] lost their jobs or were laid off. Meanwhile the valuations on companies like Google and Facebook [who are eating newspapers lunch] are trading at [Facebook] or just below [-13%] their all time highs.

In several industry categories, the bricks and mortar players lost ground at an accelerating pace to the technology companies.  The same is true for many small businesses, which were already challenged by rising rents, limited pricing power.  And now CoVid may have delivered a death blow to many of them . According to the Small Business Administration small businesses make up 64% of new jobs, 49% of employment and 43% of payroll.  And they  are also an important factor in the lifeblood of most communities.

It’s going to be a changed and evolving landscape, so stay tuned.

Blog / Lifestyle & Miscellaneous More coming later this week.



Bronx Things to do - Memorial Day Weekend Bronx NYC | memorial day weekend bronx things to do memorial day weekend the bronx nyc
Bronx Things to do - Memorial Day Weekend Bronx NYC

Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend in the Bronx NYC

Things To Do in the Bronx Over The Memorial Day Weekend

May 14, 2020 / Things To Do Memorial Day Weekend Bronx NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

This page contains a few of the classical things to do in Bronx over the Memorial Day Weekend in normal times, as well as what's available during the CoVid pandemic. Go to the Things To Do section of this site for an enhanced list of options.

I know Memorial Day Weekend is fully a week away, but given it's such a changed landscape due to the CoVid pandemic, I thought you might want more time to think about how you're going to spend the weekend.

Weather. As of this posting the weather forecast is as follows. The Temperature highs will be in the low to mid 70's and the temperature lows will be around 60 all three days of the long weekend. There's a 20% chance of rain all weekend. Winds will range between 5 - 10 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 50% throughout the weekend. Click for an up-to-date forecast of Brooklyn Weekend Weather.

Be sure to check our Memorial Day Weekend things to do post mid afternoon Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. The photo at right was taken in May of a prior year at the Bronx Museum in the Concourse neighborhood.

 

Brief History of the Memorial Day Holiday in the Bronx

Memorial Day first started out as Decoration Day in Waterloo, New York on May 30, 1866 - a year after the Civil War - to honor those who fought in it. In the 1880's the day came to be known as Memorial Day.

According to a May 25, 2012 report in Time Magazine, ten states - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee also officially observe some version of a Confederate Memorial Day, sometime between late April and early June [in Texas it's in January]. It's been reported that unofficially most of the former Confederate states still commemorate it, but not without some controversy as to the former Confederate diaspora it's to honor their ancestors, while to the former diaspora of the slaves it seems a remnant of these states racist past.

About ten percent of the nation travels more than 50 miles over the weekend. Memorial Day differs from Veterans Day which is held on November 11th of each year. Veterans Day began by honoring those who fought in World War I which ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Both honor those who served in the U.S. Military. Veterans Day coincides with a similar holiday in Europe for the same reason, which is called Remembrance Day and Armistice Day.

 

Memorial Day 2020 Events in the Bronx

According to a March 27, 2020 report in Military News the U.S. Navy cancelled Fleet Week due to the CoVid pandemic. The annual celebratory week in NYC was originally scheduled to run from Wednesday, May 20 to Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Unfortunately this year attending Bronx street fairs - Bronx NYC, doesn't appear to an option due to the CoVid pandemic. That's not the only activity that will not be available to us, as visiting Bronx theaters, performing arts & art museums, and eating out at one of the Bronx restaurants NYC also won't be available come Memorial Day Weekend.

But things are slowly moving in the right direction. For example you can obtain restaurant food via delivery or carry out - we posted some of the restaurants performing this service as of Mother's Day in our Mother's Day Restaurants in the Bronx report.

Unfortunately shopping in the Bronx, will also be limited to groceries, pharmacies and home improvement stores [aka essential services], but local Bronx farmers markets are classified as an essential service, so that provides another outing option.

You can also go bicycling around the Bronx so be mindful to observe the rules of the road [click link]. The 5 Boro Bike Ride 2020 was cancelled and unfortunately could not be re-scheduled, so we'll all have to wait until 2021 [hopefully].

So there are some things happening right here in our favorite borough - the Bronx. Take your time to sort through what's available and start planning your weekend.

bronx things to do Bronx NYC

Bronx Public & Privately Run Parks

The Bronx has a number of New York City Parks, most of which will be open, including the restrooms which will be cleaned daily with disinfectants.

But the normal park service options aren't available during the CoVid pandemic. These include no barbeques, no team sports and both the public swimming pools and the playgrounds will remain closed. But the beaches will be open, although no swimming will be allowed and the beaches will only be open for limited periods - generally from 10 am - 6 pm. NYS public marinas are open for non-commercial activities.

New York City parks in the Bronx include the following.

South Bronx. Yankee Stadium & Mullaly Park in the Concourse neighborhood. Also Soundview Park along the Bronx River in the Soundview and Clason Point neighborhoods and Baretto Point Park in Hunts Point along the East River.

North West Bronx. Van Cortlandt Park is one of the most famous, as it has swimming facilities as well as a golf course and historic house from Revolutionary War times. This is located north of Norwood and Kingsbridge, and east of the Riverdale neighborhoods.

bronx things to do Bronx NYCCentral Bronx. The Crotona Nature Conservancy is located in the Claremont Village and West Farms neighborhoods.

Both the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens are non profits that are run independently, but receive government funding. The NY Botanical Garden is more closely reliant upon NYS funding, while the Bronx Zoo is reliant on NYC funding, but run by the Wildlife Conservation Society, an independent non-profit. As of this posting both institutions indicate that they will remain closed due to the CoVid pandemic, pending further notice.

The Bronx Zoo is across Fordham Road from the Bronx Botanical Gardens and also has one of the finest collections of live animals around. It's located in the Fordham Manor / Belmont neighborhoods. See photo above right.

The New York Botanical Gardens are also worth a visit as they have one of the finest collections of Darwin's original edition publications and a depth and breadth of flora that's hard to find. This is located adjacent to Belmont, Norwood and Bedford Park neighborhoods. See photo above right.

East Bronx. There's the Pelham Bay & Split Rock golf courses, where you will also find the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum. A bit south and east of there is Orchard Beach which overlooks Pelham Bay and Queens.

Click into the neighborhood / history section for a listing of Bronx public swimming pools. We'll be adding to the Bronx Parks NYC section sometime in the future.

 

NYC Public Golf Courses in the Bronx - Currently Closed due to CoVid 19

The Bronx has three public golf courses all are accessible via the MTA buses / subway. Mosholu and Van Cortlandt Park are located in the northern section of the Bronx, while Pelham Bay / Split Rock is located in the eastern section of the Bronx, not far from City Island.

Queens has four public golf courses, Brooklyn has two, Staten Island has three. Click here for details about Queens Golf Courses including maps and links to the operators' websites. And use the links below to see what's doing for Memorial Day Weekend in the other boroughs.

Click here to obtain information for a general listing of things to do in Bronx NYC. This events calendar is updated monthly with about 100 different Bronx fun / cultural events.

Click here to view the rest of our report of things to do Memorial Day Weekend in the Bronx.




Governor Cuomo to End NY Pause on 5/15 but ...

NYS Regions Must Meet Guidelines to Re-Open & While Some NYS Regions Qualify - We in NYC are Not Yet There

May 11, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAs of May 15th the NY Pause program put in place by Governor Cuomo in mid March will come to an end. NY Pause was essentially a state-wide lockdown of residents and businesses deemed ‘non-essential’. We’ll have been in lockdown for two months.

 

NYS Regions Must Meet the Following Guidelines Prior to Re-Opening

But once the statewide lockdown ends on Friday, regional / municipal lockdowns will continue until such time as each region meets seven guidelines outlined by the Governor. The seven metrics that a region must meet are a two week decline in: 1) total hospitalizations, 2) new hospitalizations, 3) hospitalized deaths, and must have a 30% available share of 4) hospitalized beds and 5) Intensive Care Unit beds, and must have testing capacity / implementation of 6) 30 people per thousand monthly, and 7) 30 contact tracers per thousand in alignment with being able to follow up on potentially infected people.

 

Mayor Seems to Think Early June is Possible for NYC & Other Fun Facts about NYS Primary, Alternate Side Parking, Plastic Grocery Bags & Open Streets

Mayor de Blasio said he doesn’t think NYC will meet the NYS required metrics until June. In the meantime know that …

The NYS presidential primary [& state elections] is back on for June 23rd per a ruling by a Federal Court Judge Analisa Torres. The presidential primary election had been pushed back from it’s original April 23rd date by Governor Cuomo. Following the postponement the NYS Board of Elections cancelled the presidential primary portion of the election when Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign. Former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang contested the NYS Board of Election decision, saying it deprived delegates / voters of their Constitutional right. The judge noted that the rest of the election was slated to continue, and Cuomo signed an Executive Order enabling anyone who wants to vote by mail may do so.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe plastic grocery bag ban enforcement by the Department of Environmental Conservation has been moved back to June 15th. It was originally scheduled to take effect March 1st but enforcement has been pushed back a couple of times in recognition of the challenges posed by the Corona Virus.

Governor Cuomo announced that any and all eviction proceedings have been delayed until August 20th, 2020.

The Governor announced on April 26th that the L train repairs had been completed six months ahead of schedule.

Alternate Side Parking is suspended through Sunday, May 17th BUT THEN RETURNS for the week of May 18 – 24, 2020 to enable a CLEAN SWEEP of the city. The Alternate Side Parking suspension then resumes from May 25th to June 7th at which time things may possibly start returning to the ‘new’ normal.

NYC Open Streets began this past weekend [May 9 – 10, 2020]. The plan opens up 40 miles of streets from 8 am – 8 pm for people to use for biking, walking and practicing recreational activities in a socially distanced manner. These streets are usually used by motorized vehicles. They plan to possibly do this for a full 100 miles of streets sometime in the future. Click this link to view the listing of the open streets in each borough.

https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/pedestrians/openstreets.shtml

Best wishes for a good start to your second week of May.



Bronx Mothers Day Restaurants - Bronx Moms Day Restaurants Bronx NYC | bronx mothers day restaurants bronx mothers day brunches mott haven mothers day bronx fordham university heights mothers day riverdale mothers day restaurants city island concourse belmont morris park parkchester bedford park melrose throgs neck mothers day restaurants bronx nyc
Bronx Mothers Day Restaurants - Bronx Moms Day Restaurants Bronx NYC

Bronx Mother's Day Restaurants - Bronx NYC

Mothers Day Restaurants in or near Mott Haven, Fordham, Port Morris, Concourse, Bedford Park, Norwood, University Heights, City Island, Riverdale, Melrose, Morris Park, Westchester Square & Parkchester Bronx NYC

May 9, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Restaurants / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 10, 2020. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and brunch or dinner are always welcome, as is any thoughtful gesture that provides some measure showing your appreciation of your mother or the mother of your children. After all, without mothers, we would all cease to be.

Normally it's best to book a restaurant reservation for Mother's Day brunch, as on Mother's Day in Manhattan, many restaurants are full. So if you're thinking about eating out at a restaurant this Mother's Day in Mott Haven, Fordham, Port Morris, Concourse, Bedford Park, Norwood, University Heights, City Island, Riverdale, Melrose, Morris Park, Westchester Square & Parkchester;; it's best to do your research early, and call ahead to book Mother's Day restaurant reservations - BUT this year reservations, per se, are not an option. But delivery and take out are.

It's best to book a restaurant reservation for Mother's Day brunch, as on Mother's Day in the Bronx, many restaurants are full. So if you're thinking about eating out at a restaurant this Mother's Day in Mott Haven, Fordham, Port Morris, Concourse, Bedford Park, Norwood, University Heights, City Island, Riverdale, Melrose, Morris Park, Westchester Square & Parkchester; it's best to do your research early, and call ahead to book Mother's Day restaurant reservations.

Mother's Day History - Restaurants In the Bronx

The origins of Mother's Day in the United States began with the efforts by Anna Jarvis in honor of her own mother. According to Wikipedia, Anna began the campaign in 1905 - the year her mother died - and in 1910 West Virginia was the first state to adopt it as a holiday. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Click this link to view a brief guide of Mother's Day restaurants in the Bronx where you will find links to Bronx restaurants we've visited in the past or have reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines.

We've identified over a half dozen Bronx restaurants that are doing take out / delivery on Mother's Day in the Bronx. Enjoy.




CoVid Back to Work NYC – Part III

Mayor & Governor Attempt a Balancing Act Worthy of the Flying Wallendas

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMay 3, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC CoVid 19 Special Section / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Well, at least we had a pleasant weather weekend. People were out and about again in greater droves than they have been in about a month and a half. It was just nice to stretch one’s legs, soak in a bit of sunshine and see people again … albeit at a social distance.

Looking ahead the Mayor and Governor are in a tight spot, as people’s economic needs begin to weigh heavily upon them, given a second month of rent and other payments have come due. Thus these two intrepid leaders need to work out a path to economic recovery, while not letting up on keeping the evil CoVid virus in check. My intent here is to add my two cents in hopes of stimulating dialogue and actions in that direction.

 

Putting Things In Perspective

Let’s start with what has happened this past week. NYS CoVid Hospitalizations had skyrocketed to about 19,000 the week of April 13th, 2020. By this past weekend they had fallen to about 10,000 – nearly half of the peak.

At the time the Governor and Mayor, with federal government assistance, had put in place plans to accommodate the skyrocketing infected numbers, which as of April 13th had hit 195,000 people in New York State and about 107,000 in New York City. Today the cumulative totals for New York State are 318,000 and for New York City 177,000.

 

Brief History Of How Covid 19 Started In NYC & NYS

The first person identified with the CoVid virus, was a Manhattan healthcare worker who had picked it up overseas. She tested positive or it became publicly known on March 1st, 2020. A week and a half later, on March 10, 2020, Governor Cuomo set up a containment area in New Rochelle where there was a significant outbreak. The Governor’s NY Pause – essentially shutting down non-essential business – began evolving shortly thereafter.

 

NY PAUSE - Mid March 2020

Within about a week – by mid March - New York City and New York State were on pause. At first all major events were cancelled, then any large gathering of 500 people or more, then gatherings of 50 people or more, and then even restaurants and bars were required to close. This tightening happened at breakneck speed. And of course the NYS and NYC public school systems and all private schools shut down at that time. Only essential businesses and services were allowed to continue operating.

Shortly after we all went on Pause in mid March, Governor Cuomo began daily press briefings, to keep the public aware of what was happening. I started tuning in daily by March 21st and by that time – only three weeks after the first tested positive - there were 46,000 cases in NYS and nearly 21,000 in NYC. By that time it was dawning on us all, that we were in real trouble.

 

Adding Healthcare / ICU / Hospital Capacity

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysIn the last half of March, the Governor and Mayor set to work to increase the city and state hospital capacity, as at the time the forecasts were daunting. Thus the Jacob Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan was outfitted to become a pop up hospital with capacity that began at 1,000, moved up to 2,000 and by the time they realized that the NY Pause was working, they had made plans to enable the Javits Center to accommodate 2,500 beds. As it was, just over 1,000 patients were treated there, as today hospital capacity is again available. This was staffed by the National Guard and federally employees. The last patient exited the Javits Center on Saturday, May 2nd, 2020.

Both the Governor and the Mayor called upon the federal branches of government to assist with managing the crisis, which is part was caused by their ignorance and slow and error-laden response. That’s another story for another time. Anyhow, a floating hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, was sent to aid New York City. The ship had about a 1,000 bed capacity, or about a 750 CoVid patient capacity [social distancing]. By the time the USNS Comfort departed, on Thursday, April 30th, they had treated less than 200 patients, as the NY Pause initiative had effectively contained the outbreak.

There were other facilities put in place which we covered as they were springing up. Click here to read our report of over a month ago about NYC and NYS increase hospital capacity in preparation for the growth of CoVid 19 cases.

 

Late March - Flattening The Curve

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAs we entered April things looked pretty bleak, except to me, as I was watching the growth in tested positives vis a vis the growth in testing. The two went up together, so I factored that into my growth expectations, while I imagine the experts were likely not discounting the growth rate for the growth in testing.

Click here to see our coverage of the flattening of the curve beginning March 31st.

By the end of that same week – the last week of March / first week of April – the Governor and Mayor were beginning to believe that the flattening had worked. This staved off some of the medium to worse case scenarios because the people of New York City and New York State took the threat of the CoVid crisis seriously and stayed home. Whew.

 

Managing PPE, Ventilators & Hospital Beds As Capacity Peaked

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThroughout the month of April we all watched as the city and state healthcare workers and institutions grappled with a full capacity load of patients who had an infectious, potentially life-threatening illness, and generally speaking the city, state and worst of all – the federal government was unprepared and flat footed in their response.

Thus we all learned about PPE or personal protective equipment and its lack of availability. We learned about the ICU or intensive care units and key equipment like respirators / ventilators. And we learned about how stressed the healthcare system was in managing through all of this.

The Governor and Mayor asked and received some federal help in the form of the docking of the USNS Comfort, which is a navy hospital ship and the staffing of a pop up hospital at the Javits Center. But the preparations to add hospital bed capacity didn't end there, as the Governor and Mayor ramped up a facility in Central Park in Manhattan and another at the USTA Center in Queens.

Meanwhile, back in the stay at home / self quarantines, the rest of us were dealing with social distancing, being caged in our homes, a few out of stocks in things like toilet paper, or we had to switch from our usual selection of branded products to whatever was in stock. But those annoyances were mild compared to what was to come.

 

Unemployment, Food Lines, Financial & Psychological Stress

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMany were and are facing food shortages and are financially strapped as they have no income and no savings. The rent and loan payments keep coming due, everyone still needs to keep the power on, and put food on the table – let alone deal with anything unexpected.

As of this past week, over 30 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance – and this is AFTER the government spent trillions keeping people on the payroll. Herbert Hoover, who presided over the beginning of the Great Depression, entered office with a 3.2% unemployment rate and left office four years later with unemployment at nearly 25%. The Donald entered office with an historically low unemployment rate of about 4%, and in the last report, the unemployment rate was about 19%.

I’ve noticed when I’m out reporting that a number of people are really on edge. So I advise folks proceed a bit more cautiously and patiently when out in public. The masks mandate really doesn’t help in this regard, as some folks have turned into uninformed mask enforcer vigilantes.

 

Stimulus Package - Robbing America’s Children’s Future

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo the federal government passed several whopping fiscal stimulus bills, where they borrowed trillions from the piggy bank of America’s children, to finance what seemed, in part, to be Donald Trump’s re-election plan. The Trump Administration doled out trillions in cash and sadly a good portion of it went to selfish interests, including some of Trump's own.

 

In another Trump first for bad behavior by an American President - the dispassionate Donald made desperate Americans wait a couple of extra days for the federal stimulus checks - so he could have his Treasury Secretary Mnuchin put the Trump name on the stimulus checks.

 

Meanwhile both the Mayor and the Governor are confronted with tough fiscal choices, as the city and state revenue has declined precipitously, as state and municipal expenses climbed due to efforts made to deal with the CoVid crisis.

 

Late April Things Improve

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo in the latter half of April we started watching the CoVid crisis slow down, as more people came off respirators than went on them [although enough of them also died on the respirators and continue to contribute to that declining number], and while people continued dying from CoVid, it was at lower and lower numbers. Both of these metrics are the lagging indicators.

But the leading indicators also began falling in the second half of April. The number of people who tested positive fell from a high on April 15th at less than 12,000, to a weekly rolling average of about 5,000 per day this past week [ending May 2nd]. And the hospitalization rate fell from about 19,000 on April 13th to about 10,000 today.

So all indicators are generally pointing in the right direction, and have been doing so for about two weeks. So why not get back to work right away? Because we have to open the city and state smartly or we’ll not just be back where we were – but possibly even worse - because the healthcare system and professionals have been working under duress non-stop for a month or more.

 

Getting Back To Work – Starting With Infrastructure

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysBoth the Mayor and Governor are working assiduously to get us back to work, but safely. How are they doing that? One of the first big steps is that effective May 6th, 2020 the MTA subway system is going to be closed down from 1 am – 5 am so that the subway cars can be sanitized.

If you think about the city [and state for that matter] as if it were a human, there’s no quicker way to spread a disease than by using the transportation infrastructure - most notably the subway. Conversely, it seems one of the quickest ways to contain a disease is to stop its spread via the transportation system / subway. Thus the collaborative and concerted actions of the Governor and the Mayor appear headed in that direction. Bravo.

Click here to see our report identifying the MTA subway system as a CoVid hazard.

Anyhow, by the beginning of May, the Governor confirmed that the public school system academic year would end online – not in the schools. Long lines continued forming at stores where masks are now required to enter. Banking and financial institutions have been overwhelmed with calls related to the fiscal stimulus checks as well as all sorts of people needing financial help. And this had to be done, while the banks shortened hours – some due in part to the many snafus by the Trump Administration in the handling of the stimulus bill execution because at least one computer system crashed and there were reportedly a myriad of a number of smaller snafus.

 

Many TV News Reports Seem about as Vetted as Social Media

People are staying up later as they don’t have to get up to shower and commute to work the next day, unless they’re an essential worker. So while free TV hasn’t been interesting in a long time - now, when it’s most needed - it seems to suck on an extraordinary level. And while many people have been able to collect their regular paycheck by telecommuting / teleworking, others must be feeling about as anxious as one possibly can – having no money, no work, behind in rent by one or two months, not sure if they have a job or will have a job, and to top it off no haircut in a couple months time.

So, not unexpectedly, with empty streets and people really hurting, some crimes have risen, but that’s not really unexpected ... is it?

 

The Future - Possible Therapies & Gauging the Economy

Start by Recognizing Covid is Likely Here To Stay for a While

So what does the future look like? Predicting things is at best a precarious science, but I’ve made a few observations, which I’d like to share.

 

I. The Tenuous Promise of a Warm Weather Cure

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysLet’s start with the first one - which quite honestly I’m not sure we can very accurately judge at this time – and that’s whether the Corona Virus will be with us for a long time to come.

Some folks thought that it would behave like the flu and disappear during the warmer weather. If that were the case, then why are Brazil and India, both WARM WEATHER NATIONS, ramping UP THE CURVE, rather than flattening or coming off the curve?

This should cause one to proceed slowly.

 

II. No Fairytales & No Magic Pill or Spray

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe other aspect of this are the proposed cures, therapies and vaccines. Sometimes watching the TV news it seems like the Wild West, where we hear from a plethora of TV news teleprompter readers, who don't seem to understand what it is they’re saying, seeming to repeat things without providing context and without verifying source facts.

I’ve reported on some of the proposed vaccines and therapies in a prior report – click here for CoVid therapies and vaccines. The gist of it is that while we are very technologically advanced, it takes a while not just to discover a molecular combination therapy, but quite a while longer to understand whether it works, why it works and whether it is safe for use on the general population. To ensure efficacy and safety, clinical trials are done to measure the potential impact on various vaccine recipients or patients, depending on their baseline health, as well as what other drugs they are taking.

Ironically in late April, an over the counter medicine, Pepcid, was reported as potentially helpful to treating the Corona Virus. A friend of mine reported that it had sold out online before I had even heard the news. That's how crazy things have gotten.

Science is not as easy as the Donald portrays it to be. You can’t just spray Lysol into your lungs to cure yourself [you'll poison yourself], and one of the drugs he’s promoted, Hydroxychloroquine, was tested in a Brazil clinical trial. In that trial the anti-malarial drug is believed to have triggered heart problems where patients died. Because of the deaths, they ended the Brazilian clinical trial.

 

Science isn't for Simpletons – Vaccines Take Time & So Do Therapies

So what are the real therapy options? One is a vaccine. But the fastest vaccine ever developed was for polio in the 1950’s and that took four years. Now drug development has come a long way – but it was over a half century ago that a vaccine was developed in such a ‘short’ period of time. So when people estimate it will take 12 – 18 months to gain access to a workable CoVid 19 vaccine, know that this is an optimistic scenario. Not that it can’t be done or someone won’t beat it – but the facts are four years for the fastest developed vaccine and that was 50 years ago.

And then there’s Remdesivir by Gilead Sciences. I’ve read conflicting reports. The Chinese were said to have conducted a clinical trial and it wasn’t successful. But the pronouncements and announcements by the Chinese government seem to be as unreliable as the Donald and Fox News. So maybe it doesn’t work, but Gilead is moving ahead with an FDA fast tracked clinical trial. Anecdotally one of the first patients in Washington state recovered using it. But a sample size of one doesn’t mean much per se, because we don’t know if that patient would have recovered anyhow. Clinical trials have control patients so one can determine the difference between treatment / no treatment.

 

Underlying Health Conditions – Vulnerable Populations In America

I did a quick analysis, to see how many Americans may have one of the UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS that makes them vulnerable to getting severely ill or dying from CoVid 19. I did this to get a sense of the complexity that has to be managed in finding an effective therapy or vaccine to combat the virus, AND also to gauge how many people are going to be at risk in the ‘new normal’ as we collectively resume our livelihoods. If large numbers of people are vulnerable to contracting the disease and dying from it, they're going to be a whole lot more cautious until some remedy is found.

Needless to say, the following statistics on the health of America are daunting. It’s easy to see why national opinion polls show that a large majority of Americans are interested in putting in place a public health program like Obamacare. The Donald failed to repeal and replace Obamacare. But he did work hard on the repeal end of it, as he made efforts to dismantle various aspects of Obamacare over the past four years.

Please note that in what follows, there is overlap among these groups, as the same person may have more than one of these conditions.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThere are 328 million Americans.

Of those, 127 million Americans [40% of the population] have some form of Cardiovascular Disease, of which 103 million have high blood pressure [2018 Heart.org] and of which another 24 million who have some other form of heart disease besides high blood pressure [2016 American Heart Association].

As for Respiratory Diseases, 25 million Americans have asthma [aafa.org which is the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America - circa 2016]. There are 34 million American adults [14% of adults] who are cigarette smokers, of which 16 million have a smoking related disease [2018 CDC.gov]. And these may be many of the same people, but there are 17 million Americans who are cancer survivors [2019 cancer.gov].

As for underlying health issues, there are another 70 million Americans who are obese, which includes 40% of U.S. adults [2016 Wikipedia]. Another 34 million Americans have diabetes - of which 7 million have not yet been diagnosed [diabetesresearch.org].

And lastly, as for compromised immune systems not related to what’s noted above, there are 1.1 million Americans who have AIDS [2016 HIV.gov] and there are 49 million Americans who are over the age of 65 [2016 ACI.gov - Administration for Community Living].

It’s probable that almost EVERY AMERICAN has family members, friends or business associates who has one or more of the underlying conditions. And for Americans with these underlying conditions, catching CoVid 19 could potentially be a death sentence.

So this has implications for the development of an effective vaccine and / or therapy - as clinical trials are designed to evaluate how things work in the general population to ensure that the ‘cure’ isn’t worse than the condition. But these underlying health conditions also have implications for how people will, and possibly should, move forward economically if they don't want to lose a loved one.


The Implications – Living With Risk & Managing It

The Flying Wallendas Tight Rope Act

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo, while what I've reported above is bad news, it’s better to be aware of it and deal with it, than to ignore it and suffer the consequences. The implications are that we can’t wait to defeat the Corona Virus before we return to work and play – so we have to manage it. That’s where the Governor and the Mayor have to do what the flying Wallendas were so well known – walking along a tight rope – where the consequences of failure are tragic.

Karl Wallenda was an acrobat / tightrope walker. He began his notoriety in Madison Square Garden in 1928 when he walked the tightrope without a net underneath to catch him, as the net had been lost in transit. For fifty years he walked the rope until he took a misstep in 1978 and fell to his death. Let us hope we’re so lucky, as he was 73 at the time and that was 50 years of walking that rope.

Anyhow, back to Cheyenne.

So CoVid 19 is probably here to stay for a while, and it's likely we’re not going to have access to a therapy for a while [although it’s always possible]. So we can’t afford to wait for CoVid 19 to go away before we get back to work. Thus, we have to manage the health risks of returning to work - prior to the virus eradication and prior to having access to a workable therapy - as we all need to feed and shelter ourselves.


CDC Workplace Guidelines

So the CDC guidelines include things like stay at home if you’re sick, cover your mouth when you cough, social distancing, wash your hands, and keep the surfaces you touch regularly clean. The CDC has issued some workplace guidelines which you can review using this link - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html

I scanned about half or more of the articles – some of which were industry specific like for food processing plants and grocery stores, while others were a bit more generic. I didn’t see anything specific for restaurants, bars and other retail outlets.

 

Local Businesses Improvise

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMany local employers have taken the initiative to proactively protect their workers. A few weeks ago my local grocer set up plastic see through barriers at check outs, provided their employees with masks, and within the past couple weeks started requiring all customers to start wearing masks about a week ago and limited the number of people in the store at one time. I also saw this at my local pharmacy. A friend of mine told me that his temperature is checked with a no touch device before he is let into shop.

Governor of New Jersey has started outlining guidelines for restaurants, mandating social distancing by limiting restaurant capacity to 25% of the old normal. Given we're heading into the warmer weather he is also working to enable restaurants to serve outdoors in order to expand restaurant capacity [CHECK].

 

Law - Define Workplace Safety Guidelines so Employers & Employees Know What is a NEED to Have vs a NICE to Have

I think they should consolidate the learning into easier to understand / implement key points. And they might want to figure out what is required by law, versus what are recommended guidelines, so the lawsuits don’t start flying after this settles down.

 

Testing Issues & Limitations

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThere’s been much debate about testing. Quite simply it ‘s a mess. There are over a hundred tests on the market at present, but only eight of which have received some sort of FDA approval. Hence many tests are reportedly showing both false positives [you have it] and false negatives [you have it but the test says you don’t].

Testing was one of the many early failures by the Trump Administration as they shunned using the World Health Organization test, so they could make America First. They were successful in some measure as America is #1 worldwide in CoVid infections and deaths.

After that delay, the Trump Administration CDC made their own test and sent it out, but it was flawed, so they had to recall it and try again. Now they continue to tell Americans that anyone who wants a test can have it [still not completely true but it's not the lie it was a few weeks ago]. What they don’t tell you is that while you can get a test, they don’t have enough reagents to actually process the test, so you can't get your results back ... least not quickly.

The reagents situation is likely to be fixed in the very near future, as they should be able to ramp test reagents production to full scale. But for many of the tests, the accuracy of them is still an unknown, as only eight of over 100 tests on the market were approved by the FDA.

I think more testing will help, but I don’t see it as the pancea that others seem to think it is. I think you have to go at the CoVid 19 virus on a number of fronts, which also includes public education, and an added effort vis a vis human-to-human and human-to-surface interactions.


Managing Expectations - At Risk Populations Vis A Vis Covid 19

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysGiven the above guidelines, which are likely to be in place for a while, we need to recalibrate our economic expectations. This affects most everything.

Let’s start by reviewing the number of people in the at risk populations – meaning people who could actually lose their lives if they catch CoVid 19. As I pointed out above, it’s not a short list.

Given these vulnerable people could actually lose their lives if they contracted CoVid 19, how likely do you think they are going to resume their normal activity / spending? My guess is that these folks aren’t as likely to get together for dinner or drinks, or go on trips or vacations, or big weddings or funerals, or many cultural events until things settle down.

Big parties and events are likely going to be socially distanced / managed affairs, and vulnerable CoVid populations [people with underlying health conditions outlined above] are less likely to attend, and rightfully so. They’re going to have to proceed cautiously, as they risk their own mortality ... and people around them, who love and care for them, should proceed with caution as well.

 

Simple Chores have Become a Big Pain in the Ass

Then there’s the social distancing. Everything has become a big pain in the ass. Going to the grocery or liquor store requires wearing a mask and waiting in line to get in, going to the bank where hours have been shortened and personnel aren’t available has become frustrating, going out of the house where every time you leave you have to don a mask and everytime you return you have to wash your hands, and possibly wash whatever you picked up, and so forth, has made life a lot less pleasant.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo the CoVid pandemic is going to put a damper on things for a while, possibly a long while. Thus, we must adjust our economic expectations. Right now a whopping 30 million plus Americans are out of work. Even Herbert Hoover didn’t hit these high numbers before he lost his job as U.S. President when the Great Depression swooped in.

Many of the unemployed may be out of a job for a long while. Restaurants, hotels and travel will do less business because of social distancing, and cautious vulnerable populations staying close to home for a while. Autos and gas are likely to suffer as people will likely move around less. Many tenants have not been able to keep up with rent, and many home owners are having trouble keeping up with mortgage payments. Many incomes have been reduced as businesspeople adjust their cost structure to line up with with reduced business revenue.

Because for the past couple of months we've been preoccupied with the CoVid 19 virus itself, I'm not sure the full effect of the economic impact of CoVid 19 has set in. The $2.5 trillion in stimulus should buffer things, as it represents a proportionate share of economic loss during the time we've been and are likely to be locked down, but there was plenty of pork in those bills that wasn't necessary - like the tax break for real estate people like the Donald.

 

Financial Fallout - The $2.5 Trillion Stimulus Seemed Corrupt

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe economic implications of the CoVid 19 pandemic will begin to creep into the financial industry calculus, as expectations are recalibrated. Many categories of business like hotels, restaurants and bricks and mortar retailers, strapped consumers credit card debt, small businesses, tenants and possibly even some over leveraged landlords are going to have trouble climbing out of this hole. It's possible, and maybe even likely that many simply won’t make it, which has further implications. In economics it's called the multiplier effect, which is essentially a ripple effect.

Real estate may even take a hit as tenants can’t afford to pay rent, while mortgage and business defaults refocus banking efforts on managing / limiting exposure. Hence, in spite of low rates, folks may not want to make a huge investment or take on risk in these uncertain times, while all levels of government will be contending with their gaping deficits, which has implications for cutting government spending and the possibility of raising some taxes. Again, there will be a ripple effect through other segments of the economy.

 

And while the rank and file folks suffer, the Donald gave the airlines a big bailout, and he is reportedly considering a bailout for the fossil fuel industry.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysI'm so sorry that I’m notcheery here. But thinking through these things helps one prepare for the future. Forewarned is forearmed. I don’t think the new normal – which is that we’re living in uncertain times – has yet to sink in as we’re only now beginning to look at grappling with the economic fallout.

Even if the virus subsides, which it seems to be doing, the grey clouds surrounding it will keep things dampened for a while. This is in spite of the trillions of dollars in stimulus, as well as the trillions of dollars in liquidity that the Federal Reserve has reportedly pumped into the financial system. Many health professionals are concerned that next fall could be chaotic as the flu season returns ... possibly in tandem with CoVid 19 ... and again straining the capacity of the healthcare system.

While the trillions of dollars helped, it seemed loaded with pork and corruptly managed. The Donald fired one of the watchdogs overseeing the federal stimulus package spending. Hence, because of that, I am not sure that all this money will solve our problems this time.

Absent effective leadership at the top, state and municipal government officials must balance the risks of good economic health with public health, while simultaneously balancing our civil liberties with our safety. This is no simple balancing act, as the flying Wallendas well know.

Good leadership helps, and that is what both NYC and NYS seem to have right now. Unfortunately on the national level we seem to have come up really short.

 

FYI – Schools Remain Closed, Evictions Suspended thru 7/1, MTA Cleaning Effective Mid Week, Slowly Opening Economies

Governor Cuomo confirmed / announced that NYC and NYS Public school systems are officially closed through the academic year. He also said that any eviction proceedings would be suspended through June.

Mayor de Blasio announced that Alternate Side Parking has been suspended / extended through May 14th. And that City Streets II would go into effect by Monday, if not before, to provide added open space for folks. Few took advantage of it last time, but perhaps things have changed.

Sanitizing the MTA subway was a good start toward preparing us for a return to work and play. The CDC guidelines for workplace safety help too, but it seems they're not done as they need to simplify the guidelines for public consumption and add categories like restaurants and bars.

Some of the small business efforts like taking no touch temperatures and socially distancing store cutomers seem intelligent and likely will become a part of the new normal. The NJ Governor’s plan to start re-opening with parks seems a cautious way to gauge how well people are going to fall in line on the social distancing guidelines, while monitoring the CoVid 19 testing numbers, before opening up other categories of activities.

The NJ Governor’s plan to limit restaurants to 25% of capacity, while providing expanded outdoor space seems like a good managed work / play resumption move. Airlines have started requiring passengers to wear masks. Both of these strategies are already in place at my local grocery store, where we wait in a line outside to be let in and must wear a mask.

I think the government needs to do a better job of focusing people’s attention to stepped up cleaning efforts [not included in many CoVid ads by Drs. Oxiris Barbot (NYC) and Howard Zucker (NYS)]. But that said, the last time I visited the pharmacy, the cleaning products section had been pretty well emptied, so many folks have already figured this out on their own.

A Final Word for this Monday, May 4th, 2020

Life is full of risk. People get sick and die every day. Sickness and death are a part of life.

And while I worry greatly about those I love who are at greater risk, the whole of society can’t wait until this threat goes away, or shut down again if another one arrives. So we all have to do what we can to protect those at risk by being mindful of the virus / germs, and doing our best to mitigate the spread of them, and manage our interactions with vulnerable people. And on the other hand, we also have to begin moving forward, albeit carefully, cautiously while monitoring the health implications our economic progress.

Best wishes for a good start to the first week in May.



Many Bronx Farmers Markets are Open

Farmers Markets are Essential Businesses, Provide Fresh Food & a Nice Outing

bronx farmers markets bronx green markets bronx bx nycMay 1, 2020 / Bronx Shopping / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Last weekend, on Saturday, I ventured out to enjoy the beautiful weather. I was not alone, as for the first time in a month and a half there were a number of people moving about the neighborhood.

I headed down to the farmers market to see what that looked like under the new normal. The food looked fresh, and there was plenty of it - although this was in mid morning.

The experience wasn't much different than what you'd expect. People wore face masks and there were lines created by social distancing. I was glad to see that farmers markets are essential businesses, as it augments a strained food supply chain, and provides folks with an opportunity to get out of the house in about as safe an environment as you can get. Here's a link to the dates, times, locations and selection of the 2020 Bronx Farmers Markets.

I can't say people were smiling, not just because their faces were covered by masks, but there's been a gradual mood deterioration as we pass the second rent due date of the CoVid pandemic. Many people aren't standing in the farmers market social distancing line, but rather standing in food pantry lines. And for many, their economic fates are up for grabs, as we collectively try to navigate our way back to work. Many believe that economic activity is likely to be dampened by the CoVid pandemic for some time to come.

On the bright side, the Governor and the Mayor announced plans to begin daily sanitization of the MTA subway system beginning Wednesday, May 6th. The plan is to close the terminal stations of the subway lines from 1 am to 5 am, daily - providing shuttle buses to and from the last stop for passengers. And then, in those four wee hours of the morning, the NYPD and NYC social services will swoop into clear out the homeless population that has started making the subway their new home. It seems a good and humane plan.

Sanitizing the subway lines should go a long way toward preparing us to get back to the new normal by helping to dampen - if not eradicate - the transmission of the CoVid virus. This collaborative effort by both the Mayor and the Governor will help all of us to get back to work and play. So things are moving in the right direction, albeit not at a viral pace.

Have a nice weekend. The weather is going to be in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. And no rain, but some clouds.


Through Wind, Snow, Rain, Sleet & CoVid - Education Goes On

Or … the Wild and Whacky World of Online Learning in the Age of CoVid

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 27, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

 

As we anxiously await the return to the new normal, being bombarded by repetitious daily TV newscasts, the Donald’s Daily Disinformation Show, and what seems Rupert Murdoch’s unending propaganda in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox News, there are a few bright spots, but you have to look for them.

I thought the migration from school classrooms might be one of them, so I set out to find out what that experience felt like to both educators and students at the elementary, high school and college levels. As I interviewed only two students and two teachers, this is an anecdotal report about the migration from classroom to computer.

The mass migration began the week beginning March 9th, 2020. College students around the nation, including the CUNY and SUNY systems, were told their classes were being discontinued and they were instructed to pack their things and return home. By the start of the next week, beginning March 16th, NYC public elementary and high schools were also closed. Private schools more or less closed their doors in tandem with the public schools.

During that week of disbandment, the world of education began a mad scramble to figure out how to continue the education process – without classrooms, schools and interpersonal contact. This was not a mean feat.

Nonetheless, educators scrambled, ramped up to speed using interactive platforms like Zoom and Google Hang Out, which includes Google Meet & Chat, and Google Docs. The educators also started figuring out how replace lectures and moderated classroom discussions by using videos and presentations / documents.

Based on the four interviews I conducted, it seems there wasn’t any one formula used, but rather a whole slew of different approaches. Teachers used more different approaches to online learning – depending on not just the subject matter, but also the audience - the class.

 

College Professor’s Experience Migrating Online

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThomas Bolin is a religious studies professor at a small liberal arts college. He teaches three classes – one is about American Evangelicalism, which examines the changing face of religion in America. He teaches two classes of Ancient Wisdom, which examines Biblical, Roman and Egyptian philosophies. This course ends with each student creating their own personal philosophy.

Professor Bolin said he started by taking a technology inventory of his students including computer and internet access. The real technological issue wasn’t access to devices as nearly everyone has a smart phone and computer but rather access to internet with enough bandwidth at the times needed.

After he’d completed the technology inventory, he set out devising a teaching game plan. To that end he began developing videos, which he posted so that the students could access asynchronously – meaning on their timeframe. His reasoning was that as some of his students lived in different time zones, and some had issues accessing high speed internet at home because of shared bandwidth and devices, this would enable all to keep pace with their classroom peers.

He said he receives a slew of student emails after each video post, which he answers personally. He said he also checks in with each of his students at least once per week.

Professor Bolin also said that he began creating reading guides for many of the assigned readings to initiate interaction, circular discussions and he paired student to interact.

I asked him if he was working more or less these days. He said more … that the five day week had become a continuous stream of seven day weeks … that work filling his days has become like gas filling a room.

He noted that it’s far more difficult to tell how plugged in each student is to the subject matter. He said that it was likely for that reason that Princeton went to Pass / Fail when they initiated the migration from in class to online. He opined that in spite of the additional work he’s had to do, the students were likely getting a reduced educational experience. And hence, he reasoned, the pass / fail is a means of acknowledging the reduced expectations.

I’m paraphrasing but he said something like, “Education is learning about and through community, interpersonal interactions, which ultimately lead to growth. That’s not something that can be well replicated online.”


Manhattan College Student’s Experience Migrating to Online Learning

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysI then checked in with Lily, a college sophomore at a northeastern liberal arts college, to get a sense of the online learning experience from the student perspective. Lily was taking a wide variety of humanities and social science classes including Philosophy, Political Science, International Relations, French Narratives and one focused on the Linguistics of the Silk Road.

Lily’s school made the decision to send students home the week beginning March 9th and it sounded like they knew the semester was over for the school year. The students had a week to move out and get ready to continue classes online about a week later.

Some of her classes were given via Zoom at the pre-scheduled times, continuing online the program they’d planned for the classrooms. But others were done as described by Professor Bolin, where materials and lectures were delivered asynchronously so the students could access the content on their schedules.

The Zoom classes are lectures with student / teacher interactive capability. The teacher can call on students to participate while online and students can raise their hands in Zoom to be recognized for comments and questions. For a couple of her classes, she’s had to give presentations online.

Assignments given as per usual and most are reading based. The students turn in their assignments online and she also took an exam online. It was done live over the course of one and a half hours. The exam was not multiple choice, but rather an open book using short answers and two essays.

Lily said she was struggling to get her work done and oftentimes leaves things for the last minute – something she had not while in attendance in person at school.

She noted that there’s no separation between relaxation and studying. So there’s a loss of motivation and it’s easy to get distracted. She told me that, the “Perceived amount of infinite time makes you want to do less”. This seemed to echo Professor Bolin's sentiment about gas expanding to fill a room.

And she misses her peer group interactions, as she would be talking about her studies with her friends at school. But now, with social distancing, there’s less to talk about events wise with friends.

Lily told me that her school had moved to pass / fail grading. She said that not being graded diminishes the incentive to perform, because even if you do perform, you’ll never know how well you did. She said, “Pass / Fail is an option for tuning out”.

She told me that if this continues into the Fall, many of her friends say they will consider skipping a semester or two until the teaching comes back to the classroom.

 

NYC High School Sophmore’s Experience Migrating to Online Learning

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysEthan is a sophomore at an NYC high school. He’s taking Algebra II, Conceptual Physics, British Literature, Spanish and World History II. It’s amazing to me how sophisticated the high school curriculum is, which I hear a lot of parents saying too, as they’re being asked to assist in educating their children.

His school ended during the middle of that fateful week beginning March 9th. His school had a spring break coming, so they kept the break and classes resumed on schedule, online, in the same time period they would have if CoVid 19 had not swept the city.

Ethan’s class schedule was reduced to Mondays and Wednesdays. The other three days the teachers are available for one on one interactions. I asked him if he’d taken advantage of the increased one on one teacher access and he said not really.

Ethan’s school uses Google Hang Out as the electronic teaching platform, but they supplement the platform with others as well. The classroom days are filled with live lectures as well as chalkboard type presentations.

One of the websites they use is called Kahoot, which is a game based learning platform where the users can create pop quizzes with social interaction via multiple user chalkboards. Another website Ethan mentioned was QuizLet which uses a flash card method for various subjects that are created by the users to aid students learning in a manner not unlike the paper flashcards of way-back-when. I was told that this website is a very useful aid in preparing for tests.

Ethan said he was not quizzed in class like prior to the CoVid classroom to online migration, but that his homework load had increased. He said he’s working harder, but less efficiently which seemed to echo Professor Bolin’s remark on the teaching side. They’re both putting in more effort, but getting less productivity out of it.

As a high school student, one of the things Ethan misses most is the social interaction with his peers. He said before the CoVid outbreak he would get up in the morning and get moving along with the rest of the city. He would use mass transit, walk, enter the school where the student body was milling about and then enter a classroom for face to face with the teacher and his fellow students.

Now he gets up, sometimes he doesn’t even get dressed and takes his first class in his pajamas. Then he sits in front of the computer pretty much all day watching his classes online. There’s little variation and little stimulus and he misses the social interaction. He told me that he goes to class, watches Netflix, and does his homework all in same spot. And that he doesn’t like it.

He said he doesn’t interact with his friends as much since the CoVid shutdown, because there’s less to talk about that’s not the same, and you don’t have the shared everyday experiences of being in the same place at the same time.

The homework is largely the same. Except for Math and Physics the homework is done on the Khan Academy website. The Khan Academy is full of videos and short learning tools that help educators teach and students learn.

Ethan said that he wishes he was still in school. He said the online experience was dissatisfying. He noted that the lack of social interaction was hard to live with, and that it was also hard to learn when you’re attending just two classes per week. It’s also frustrating because Ethan said he and his fellow students will have to catch up on what they missing now, after this pandemic is all over.

 

Elementary School Teacher’s Experience Migrating to Online Learning

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMegan Bolin is an elementary school reading specialist in a small private school in the Midwest. Her job is to work with kids who have trouble reading and writing English through what she calls interventions. Most of the work she does is one on one and it’s with kids who are not at the top of the socio-economic ladder.

While the school ensured all kids had computers, many of them don’t have access to internet hookups. Some have parents who are working in essential services and take their internet with them, leaving the kids without internet access during the day. So while they could possibly find a place near a local library or Starbucks to do their homework, in pragmatic terms it’s not realistically feasible.

Hence, as a result of the CoVid shutdown, Megan informed me that many of these kids have sort of fallen off the grid, as they’re struggling to keep up with their regular classes – let alone trying to keep up with an interventionist / extra course.

But for those who are in a position to keep their learning progress moving, Megan uses Google Meet. She works with the kids mostly one on one and using a combination of video and text documents, works with the kids in real time on developing their language skills.

She said that while she was working with a smaller student population, she found herself putting in the same hours. Her school has continued teacher meetings too, as they have found it beneficial to share their experiences and the different approaches they’ve been using to keep the kids engaged. The efforts are a mix of videos, games, quizzes and challenges.

She said the uncertainty of the first announcements, with an indefinite return to school date, lead to an approach of keeping things fresh, so that pending their return to school, they could pick things up again. But once it became clear that there wasn’t to be a return to school this year, she began focusing on moving the kids ahead to where they need to be by year end.

Given the mostly one on one interactions by Megan with kids, of the four folks I interviewed, she seemed most optimistic about what could be achieved via online learning - with a big asterisk for those who in essence drop out because of technological and online schooling limitations / complications.

Regardless of the grading system the schools of the other interviewees changed to, grades likely play less a role in what Megan teaches – reading / language fluency [seem to be more a concern at the college level]. And since the classes are live one-on-one sessions [or two to five at most] – it’s hard for the students to wrangle out of the work. But because of the technology limitations, only about half as many students will benefit.

So what does it all mean? It means that teachers are doing the best they can, but they acknowledge that it’s far from optimal. The students also seem to appreciate what they once had via attending class with in person teachers.

All of them - both teachers and students - said they missed school and were looking forward to a return to normal.

 

Pink Floyd’s ‘We Don’t Need No Education’ & 'The Wall'

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysIn 1979 the British rock group Pink Floyd came out with a new album entitled The Wall. The album was in part, the personal expression of two of the bandmembers' experience growing up. The Wall is described in Wikipedia as,

"... a rock opera that explores Pink, a jaded rockstar whose eventual self-imposed isolation from society is symbolized by a wall ..."

We Don't Need No Education is one of the tunes on the album. It wasn't a protest song against education, per se, but rather the rocker's issues with an individual strict teacher. He describes his negative experience with his teacher as another brick in the psychological wall he had built around himself.

I mention this because during the CoVid crisis we're all sort of building walls around our lives, as we wait for this pandemic to end, in relative walled isolation.

Building walls instead of bridges isn't good for most of us. The world was built on bridges - the exchange of ideas, the trade of goods and services, and the transference of art and culture. We do need education, but We Don't Need No Education does have a good rhythm and a message obscured by its language. I suppose one might say that's because the rocker's learning experience failed him ... but it takes two to learn ... an educated and thoughtful teacher and a receptive and intelligent student. And one of the things we're learning from the CoVid pandemic is that it seems generally to help when there's a real human connection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAe_w9a_IN8



CoVid Crisis – Back to Work Part II

Jury Rigging / Do It Yourself Methods to Get Back to Work

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 24, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

NY Pause Continues Through May 15th Pending an Update

First a couple of announcements were made the past couple of weeks which hint at when we will begin returning to the new normal. With hospitalizations declining / stabilizing and intubations and new positives declining, Governor Cuomo extended NY Pause to May 15th, which keeps open essential businesses, but closes the non-essential businesses until such time as there’s enough slack in the healthcare system / hospitals to accommodate any sort of resurgence in Corona Virus patients that may occur as a result of the re-opening.

Governor Cuomo told the Donald NYC and NYS wouldn't need the USNS Comfort any longer, as the emergency crisis has subsided. As noted in an earlier report, the build out at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was put on hold, pending a more definitive direction in the CoVid hospitalization numbers. The photo above shows a retailer temperature screening customers before they enter the store [photo credit Dantanyan].

 

Large Public NYC Events Cancelled thru May

Biggest Events in June Aren’t Likely to Occur & NYC Public Pools will Likely Remain Closed Through the Summer

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAs mentioned previously, Mayor de Blasio seemed to think that the NYC public school system will remain closed through the end of this school year. The Mayor also said that large public gatherings won’t resume until at least June 1st, and even after, that the three largest public events in NYC in June [the Israel Parade, the Puerto Rican Parade and the Gay Pride Parade in both Manhattan and Queens] aren’t likely to take place this year - but no final decision has yet been made. Other large public events including street fairs and other parades will not take place through May and there will be an update before then about what happens beginning in June.

The Mayor also said that NYC public pools will likely not open this summer because of the challenges of keeping people socially distanced / safe from the spread of the Corona Virus. Also, the Plastic Bag ban enforcement was pushed back to May 15th some time ago. As of this report, that enforcement date still stands, but like so much related to the CoVid 19 crisis, the date could be extended further. And the special election for Queens Borough President was cancelled and will be held in tandem with the NYS primary and general election. Lastly, the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks are still planned, but like everything this Spring, is still subject to change.

 

Proms, Moms, Grads & Dads Days Likely to be Personal - Not Public - Events

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysUnfortunately for this years prom class of juniors and seniors in high school, and elementary, high school and college graduates around the nation – the celebrations are likely to be online or very, very small. It doesn’t have to be any less meaningful, and maybe made even more so, because of this unique moment in time. The same is true for Moms and Dads, whose special days arrive in May and June respectively. Mothers Days were oftentimes a time to venture out to eat, but this year is more likely a time to order in, while Dad’s Day was a unique men’s shops opportunity, which could still happen – albeit under the pall of a strained economy and finances.

And the 50th Earth Day passed us by without much fanfare owing to the distraction of the Corona Virus.

The rest of this report focuses on what we can do to begin the journey back to the new normal, recognizing that the Corona Virus is likely with us for some time to come.

 

Origination of the Virus Spread – Sick People & Coughing

People can become infected with the Corona Virus without knowing for days. The incubation period is estimated to be between one and fourteen days, before someone realizes they may be sick. During this time they could potentially infect other people or leave droplets, the agent carrying the virus, on surfaces or in the air where the virus can remain active for up to a day [air] or three days [smooth hard surfaces] assuming the right temperature [cooler].

So there are three elements to the origination and spread. One element is the fountain of infection, which is the dry cough. Hold your arm to your face to stop spreading droplets, and if you feel ill, stay home.

 

Testing is Ideal, but Temperature Taking Might be a Good Jury Rig

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThis is the second element is to identify and isolate those who are ill as quickly as possible. The government wants to be able to test everyone so they can identify and isolate infected people. But the catch is that tests won’t be available in the bulk required, to reactivate the economy in some sort of timely manner.

 

So what to do? Jury rig. Some retail outlets are taking people’s temperatures before letting customers in the stores. One of the signs of illness, besides the dry cough, which is one of the primary means of transmission, is a fever. If you identify people with fevers and separate them from the herd, you’re going to reduce the infection rate by separating the ill folks from the rest of the herd as early as possible.

Various states and other government entities have developed an online quiz to use to self screen any symptoms you may have to help you determine whether it's possibly CoVid. Here's the link to the NYS online screening page which you can copy and paste into your browser bar - https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-testing.

 

To Mitigate the Spread, We Need to Raise the Bar on Hygiene & Cleaning Regimens

And the third element is the means of transmission, meaning through the air and through droplets on surfaces, which are touched by other people. The key here is the use of masks when in close quarters – but this has a downside as people fiddle with their masks and thus are touching their faces more than they would without them.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAnd the other piece of this is cleanliness and sanitation of surfaces – especially in highly trafficked public areas like the subway, doorknobs of office and residential buildings and so forth.

When I was younger, our family maintained a far more aggressive cleaning program than I have practiced ever since. Before every meal we had to wash our hands, and after every meal we washed the counter tops, the table and the dishes. Every week we scrubbed the floors, cleaned all of the sinks, toilets and tubs / showers. Every week we vacuumed, swept the areas around the entrance to our home, shook the rugs where people cleaned their feet prior to entering our home. And I recall one time after quickly washing my hands and wiping some of the dirt on the towel – my Father correcting me – telling me to WASH my hands and then use the towel to dry them, not use the towel to clean them. And I still recall some of the housewives at a town social gathering talking about washing the walls. I reckon [but don’t know] that procedure might have originated in influenza times.

I think we all need to return to these higher cleaning standards, if not indefinitely, at least for a while.


Mitigate the Critical Mass of Virus Required to Become Infected

To become infected and sick, one needs to be exposed to a ‘critical mass’ of the virus. This will differ from person to person and is dependent on the means of transmission. Healthcare professionals, if they didn’t wear protective equipment, could potentially be exposed to significant amounts of the virus while treating sick people. But for the rest of us, the exposure, while seemingly ubiquitous, is far less available in critical mass.

To avoid any sort of Corona Virus build up / exposure, one can mitigate the amount they are exposed to by maintaining an active cleaning regimen that clears away virus and bacteria from those surfaces most often touched.

Let’s say you pick up some Corona Virus on a routine basis on the subway, or off a counter top at an active institution, at an ATM machine or a doorknob at your place of work or elsewhere. Let’s assume with each encounter it’s a critical mass which you then distribute to your cell phone, your keys, your doorknobs, your light switches, your TV clickers, your computer keyboards and mice, and so on.

Once distributed you wash your hands and then pick it back up the next time you touch the surface. And you keep touching these surfaces until you get sick. Or you could routinely wash / sanitize these surfaces thus reducing the likelihood you’ll pick up a critical mass and fall ill.


Isolate the Known Vulnerable Populations

Since this Corona Virus is relatively new, there is likely still a lot we do not know about it. But conversely, the world has gone to work to quickly ramp up the learning curve to better understand what we’re up against.

What we know is that it appears primarily to be a respiratory illness – but that’s not all. Recently physicians have noticed that it also wreaks havoc with the cardio / pulmonary system [your blood vessels and heart], causing blood clots in the brain [strokes]. At least one physician who identified this problem said that he has begun to provide patients with blood thinners even before such symptoms start manifesting themselves.

Other health conditions of the patients having the greatest difficulty beating the virus include hypertension, diabetes, obesity and compromised immune systems from other health conditions like cancer and AIDS, as well as from age.

One report I saw noted that there’s been a significant reduction in heart attack [-25%] and stroke [-20%] patients. The theory is that they don’t want to go to the hospital for fear of catching CoVid 19. The healthcare professional interviewed opined that they thought it riskier to stay home with one of these two conditions than the risk of catching CoVid in a hospital.

 

Death Rates, Serology & Testing

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysScientists and governments are trying to figure out the death rate of CoVid 19. If you look at the reported numbers by Google / Wikipedia for the Corona Virus, it shows 904,000 people infected and 51,100 deaths, leading one to compute a 5.6% death rate, which is very, very high.

Government officials and scientists believe that the death rate may be overstated, as those with light symptoms may not have been tested and hence not included in the tested positive count, which would significantly reduce that death rate. Governor Cuomo had a study done whereby the group his folks tested showed a death rate 10 times lower than what is shown above.

A Democracy Now report noted that these studies have not undergone a rigorous peer review and that there may be issues with the serology of the tests which yield false positives – thus possibly inflating the number of people the tests indicate already had the virus. So it seems it’s still too early to really know what the death rate is.

 

Ongoing Dialogue Regarding Vulnerable Populations

The early demographic information indicates that ethnic minorities and men are most vulnerable to catching and dying from the disease than their numbers in the general population would suggest. The reasons for this remain unclear [like most things about this new threat].

There are a number of possible explanations for this. One seems to be that minorities are far more clustered in the urban areas, and hence represent a higher percentage of urban populations and far lower percentages of whole state populations – and the cities have been hardest hit because that’s where people are in closer contact / exposure.

Another explanation is that minorities and men [?] represent larger numbers of essential workers who are out on the line every day. And another explanation is that there is more limited healthcare access and education to members of the ethnic communities.

Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo took steps to set up more testing facilities in minority communities.


Looking to the Summer – Will Warmer Temperatures Halt the Spread?

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThis is a difficult question to answer because the Corona Virus is new. But if we look around the world, there are other warm temperature nations – like India and Brazil – which are on an upward trajectory and both of these nations have significantly warmer temperatures than the U.S.

So the answer to this one is that we really don’t yet know, which should be disturbing.

So that’s the Corona Virus update, with a few suggestions on how we can get back to work. Continue educating people to stay home if ill and to cover their mouths while coughing. Take temperatures of folks entering more closed spaces. Continue with the hands washing, but step up the messaging on cleaning homes and offices. Definitely step up the cleaning of the subway which now – on the improved plan – is still only cleaned every three days and quite honestly, given the ridership is down 90% plus – it doesn’t look like it. Isolate vulnerable populations.

And keep researching the death rates, the demographics and what impact seasonality may or may not have. Lastly there are a number of drugs being worked on, with Remsedivir looking the most promising, while the one Trump is touting – Hydroxychloroquine – looking dangerous due to heart complications.

Have a good weekend. We’ll have more soon.



Back to Work Part I: Understanding the CoVid 19 Enemy

Review SARS-CoV-2 Characteristics – Function & Contagion

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 17, 2020 / / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

As noted in my last report, we’ve moved from emergency management to crisis management. That is simultaneously the good news and the bad news. I expect the crisis in one form or another will be with us for some time to come. But forecasting what the future looks like is at best a precarious endeavor.

Everyone is now trying to figure out a way back to the new normal, which means living with a incurable virus in our midst, until such time as therapies, cures or vaccines are found and proven to be successful.

So what does the path forward look like?

The image at right was created by Brooklyn artist Craig Ward of bacteria he collected on the subway and made into artistic renditions.

 

Governor Cuomo Begins Sketching a Back to Work Plan

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysFor starters Governor Cuomo extended NY Pause through May 15th. NY Pause is the directive to close social gathering places and venues, schools and non-essential businesses. Within the past week Mayor de Blasio said the NYC Public School system would not reopen this school year.

Governor Cuomo laid out a sketch of a conceptual plan, which likely came from one of the consultant groups, as it looked a lot like the growth share matrix devised by Boston Consulting Group. The growth share matrix was designed for companies to use to evaluate the businesses they are in, to determine whether to continue investing in them or to begin cashing out of them. The divisions in high growth businesses that are profitable are the ones to keep backing, while the companies in the low growth low profitability businesses are the ones to sell, close or grind out every last dollar.

Governor Cuomo’s matrix axes [plural for axis] has high and low infection rates along the y axis and more essential / less essential along the x axis. The more essential and less potential infection the quicker you’re back to work. The less essential and the higher the potential infection, the longer before you’re back to work.

 

Trump’s ‘Plan’ to get America Back to Work

Meanwhile, back at the White House, the Donald outlined what he called a plan to get America back to work. This is a summary of an ABC News report of the plan. They reported that the Donald’s three step plan includes:

  1. Doing mostly of what we’re already doing: social distancing, telework and shelter in place for vulnerable populations. Additionally pave way for an opening of smaller venues with sanitation and social distancing in place, and allow elective surgeries as hospital capacity becomes available. This step assumes a downward trajectory of infections and testing for those infected and healthcare workers.
  2. Opening non-essential services like bars, gyms and larger venues can open with moderate social distancing and sanitation in place.
  3. Returning back to the new normal.

 

Getting Back to Work – Start with the Science

The first place to start in getting folks back to work is with a review of the science of viruses in general, and the Corona Virus in particular. This should provide clues to how to keep this beast in check until the bright scientific minds of the world come up with a cure and / or vaccine.

 

Short Course on Viruses from Wikipedia

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysViruses are organisms, which have many properties similar to life like genes, but since they do not have some of the key life components – such as cell structure, their own metabolism or the ability to replicate without a host. Thus they are not considered living entities, but rather agents “… living at the edge of life …”. Wikipedia also says that there are 5,000 known species of viruses, which live in any and all ecosystems, and that there are millions of viruses on the planet.

Wikipedia also describes what a virus is when not replicating itself inside a host cell. They state,

“… viruses exist in the form of independent particles, or virions, consisting of: (i) the genetic material, i.e. long molecules of DNA or RNA that encode the structure of the proteins by which the virus acts; (ii) a protein coat, the capsid, which surrounds and protects the genetic material; and in some cases (iii) an outside envelope of lipids…”

 

Viral Agent Transmission - On Surfaces, in the Air & Older People

Thus virions are the vehicle for viral transmissions and as current studies of the Corona Virus indicate, the virions of CoVid 19 can remain operational for up to three days on some surfaces. Keep this factoid in mind, as its implications for ridding the nation of the virus is key, as it implies we all need to step up our cleaning regimens.

Also note that the reason older people are more prone to dying from viral infections, is that older people’s cell walls diminish in size and strength as people age. Thus the cells of older people are more susceptible to viral infections as the virion can more easily penetrate and replicate within an older person – and like a computer virus – bring the whole system crashing down. Keep this in mind as it has implications as to who should be quarantined / protected.

There are six phases to a viral infection. They are: 1) attachment to a host, 2) penetration of a cell, 3) uncoating which releases the virus, 4) replication, 5) assembly [which can be mutations] and 6) release [explode the cell wall or replicate with the cells].

 

Virus Category – SARS, MERS & CoVid 19

SARS – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, CoVid 19 – Corona Virus 19 and the common cold all come from the same family of viruses. This viral family, Corona Viruses, is believed to date back thousands of years and is carried by birds and bats. The Corona Viruses were named as such for their ‘crown’ like appearance, which has some connection to the fact that they’re RNA viruses.

 

Two 21st Century Viral Originations From China, the First Since Xi Jinping Became Dictator

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSince the turn of the millennium, two of the major viruses named above appeared to have originated in China. According to a Wikipedia chart on the 2003 SARS virus, China had the lowest mortality rate. This leads one to ask the conspiracy question of whether Xi Jinping’s China is developing selectively targeted bio warfare agents that have gotten out of control. It seems a fair and important question – but it’s a question not a statement.

The other options are that China managed containing and mitigating the virus better than the other nations that caught it. Or that the Chinese government did a Rupert Murdoch style Fox Fake News, and published only what they seem to want folks to know, possibly omitting key facts to aid their narrative.


CoVid 19 is Now Called SARS-CoV-2 – A Flu Variant

The Corona Virus or CoVid 19 has been renamed to SARS-CoV-2 and it's described as an influenza variant. Thus it seems logical to look to the flu for guidance regarding SARS-CoV-2 transmission, which must be mitigated in order for us to safely return to work.

The flu can be transmitted in three ways: 1) direct contact with an infected source, 2) indirect transmission by touching a surface that has the organism and 3) aerosol transmission.

The Atlantic did a good early story on this vis a vis whether to wear masks on April 1, 2020 entitled “The Corona Virus Airborne. Should We All Wear Masks?”. But the New England Journal of Medicine just completed a study which they published on April 16, 2020 [yesterday] which compared / tested for the Corona Virus which is now being called SARS-CoV-2. You can look both of these up and read them for free.

 

Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission

A March 23, 2020 Washington Post report says respiratory viral agents infect and replicate in three areas – the nose, throat and lungs. A virus like CoVid 19 can replicate itself 10,000’s of times and within days by millions. A person may become symptomatic after a day or two, but can also become contagious at that time or before.

The spread of a respiratory virus like CoVid 19 comes from droplets from within the lungs, which can be transmitted directly onto someone, or become airborne, or left on a surface. On smooth surfaces CoVid 19 can last up to three days, while on cardboard it lasts an estimated day. If it is frozen, it can reactivate when it thaws since it’s not an organism per se [see above].

The April 16, 2020 New England Journal of Medicine report pretty much confirms the what was published in the Washington Post story above.

The Aerosol Debate & Masks / See the Atlantic report. See NE Journal of Medicine report. Coming later Monday.

 

SARS-CoV-2 - Therapies & Cures

Vaccines aren’t likely for 12 – 18 months, assuming things go well. It’s important to put a caveat here as the virus mutates as it’s replication process co-opts / intertwines with the host cell. That’s how scientists were able to trace the origin of the Corona Virus into the U.S. through Europe.

There are other potential palliative techniques.

One is using the blood plasma of people who have had the virus, in order to make use of the antibodies their immune response system created. The theory is that this would jump start or aid someone's immune system in combatting the virus.

Another is antibody testing, which is used to determine whether someone has contracted the virus, and their immune system defeated it. When this is the case, one presumably has an immunity to the virus, at least for a while, and can safely return to work. This technique has been used for over a century but with "varying results and limitations" says Scott Koepsell of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

And Hydroxychloroquine which has been promoted by Trump who reportedly has or is rumored to have a small interest in the company that makes it. A clinical trial of this in Brazil was stopped due to its potential negative impact on people’s hearts / conditions, after eleven people died of heart complications. A man in Arizona reportedly self medicated using chloroquine phosphate in a CoVid related case and then died. His wife did too, and was reported in critical condition.

One of the most promising drugs appears to be Remdesivir created by Gilead Sciences. The drug was originally targeted to combat the Ebola virus which quickly faded away. While it has not been approved for use, the Chinese apparently used it with some success to combat CoVid 19. A Febuary 5th, 2020 Time Magazine report states,

"...While Gilead’s experimental drug isn’t licensed or approved anywhere in the world, it is being rushed into human trials in China on coronavirus patients after showing early signs of being highly effective."

Remdesivir was used to treat the first Washington State CoVid 19 case, and succeeded. Stay tuned while many of the world's leading biotech firms pursue a therapy / cure.

 

Containment & Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAt present therapies and cures elude us, so we have to fight the virus with containment & mitigation efforts. Containment is done by quarantining people either known or suspected to have the virus - or conversely – by quarantining people with high risk profiles in order to protect them from a potentially fatal illness.

For example, a number of members of the NYPD and MTA were unable to report to work while the crisis was raging, not necessarily because they had the virus – although some did and some died of it – but most because they had come into contact with someone who did have it, and thus they were quarantined in order to prevent any further spread of it.

People are also encouraged to self-quarantine in their homes, or within certain rooms in their homes if living with others - if they have it or believe they have it, in order to stop the spread of it, as it’s easily transmitted. Governor Cuomo showed a chart showing the range of rates of transmission [0.9 - 1.2] in his April 16th press briefing. Those numbers are centered around one - which means every infected person infects either more than one [1.2] which accelerates the spread, or less than one [.9] which corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysmeans the spread of the virus is being dampened. We were at 1.2 around or shortly after the NY Pause program began and now we're at .9 which means we're back on top of it. But it's not over because it's still being spread.

Another tool in the kit when you don’t have a therapy, cure or vaccine is to employ mitigation efforts. These include things like social distancing – keeping six feet away from people, washing your hands, wearing a face mask, upping your cleaning regimen and testing and isolating people as quickly as you can after they've become infected.

The Trump Administration, for the past month or so, has laid false claim to asserting that anyone who wants a test can get it. But, even a month after the outbreak, this is still not true.

 

Getting Back to Work Using Science

Follow social distancing, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and rinse, STEP UP YOUR CLEANING REGIMEN [this is not emphasized enough], and don’t touch your face before washing your hands. Quarantine the elderly and people with impaired immune systems and / or health issues. Wearing a face mask is now required when in close contact with others – but pay heed to where your hands have been since last washed while putting on, taking off or fiddling with the mask [it is for this reason that I think urging folks to wear face masks is bad advice].

 

Getting Back to Work - SARS-CoV-2 – Test & Isolate

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe key to getting back to work is to quickly identify [testing] and isolate those with the virus. Governor Cuomo has highlighted testing as one of the key ingredients of a return to the new normal. But in spite of what President Trump says, there aren’t enough tests available to do full population testing in New York State – let alone the nation.

New York has by far tested more of its population than anywhere else in the nation. And yet in New York State which has the highest testing rate in the nation, we’ve only tested between 2% – 3% of the population over the course of the past month. At this rate it would take three years to test the entire population of New York state. But work is afoot for an easier test with a faster read out, so stay tuned on this one.

There’s also been talk about contact tracing – whereby after one tests positive, the government would seek out those with whom the subject was in close contact. They’ve done that in countries in Asia, but many believe that’s not likely to go over well here, as it is considered a violation of privacy.

So what can we do now? Absent the tests, people can mitigate the spread by making sure they cover their mouths when coughing and trying not to cough in public. They can stay home when they feel ill. They can continue to social distance. They can wash their hands and step up their home cleaning regimen to sanitize or at least wash frequently used surfaces.

 

Getting Back to Work - SARS-CoV-2 - Clean the MTA

In the public sphere start with the public transit system [see photo at the beginning of this story done by a Brooklyn artist showing the bacteria he collected on the subway].

I’ve highlighted this in prior reports. Millions of New Yorkers use the subway on a daily basis. Just as there is no quicker way to move large masses of people around town, there is no quicker way to spread a viral agent than on public transit. The cleaning regimen of the subway system must be raised, and I would say – based on my frequent ridership of it – raised significantly. You clean up the subway system – really clean it and then regularly keep it clean daily – and you probably have won half the battle [along with other measures like social distancing, hands washing & cleaning in place except the store closings].

At least 59 MTA workers have died from SARS-CoV-2. That doesn't seem a coincidence.

We’re fortunate in that the warmer weather is here so more people can commute via bicycle or walking.

 

Getting Back to Work - Clean, Clean & Clean Some More

And at all places of business up the cleaning regimen especially for door knobs, light switches, table and desk tops, computer keyboards and mice, cell phones, tv clickers and all hard and smooth surfaces where the little SARS-CoV-2 might lie in wait.

Be advised that there's new information being published by the scientific / medical community nearly daily as we learn about the CoVid 19 virus which as mentioned above, is now technically called SARS-CoV-2.



Cuomo, de Blasio & YOU have been doing Great

New Yorkers Appear to Turn Corner on the Corona Virus Crisis

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 12, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I hope you had a good Easter / Passover weekend.

Based on what I observed, albeit with very limited movement and anecdotally, New Yorkers appeared to stay at home, self isolating over the holiday weekend.

This sort of compliance with government guidance is what has enabled us to stem the spread of the - at times lethal - Corona Virus. And the levelling happened none too soon, as parts of the NYC hospital system were operating at full capacity - and in some cases over capacity.

Most of the metrics for the virus have been levelling off or even going down, while the only positive metric - daily discharges - continues to rise.

We appear to be transitioning from emergency management, to crisis management, and government officials are now even beginnning to look ahead at transitioning us back to what will be the new normal.

 

NYS & NYC New CoVid 19 Cases Level - Even Show Signs of Falling

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNew CoVid 19 cases in NYS were down fairly sharply yesterday, based on the numbers presented by Governor Cuomo. But the drop may be due to weekend reporting discrepancies. In any case the number of new cases appears to have levelled off in both New York state and in New York City.

The key statistics that the Governor and the Mayor have been closely monitoring include new and net hospitalizations, new and net admissions to the Intensive Care Unit, and new and net intubations aka use of respirators. As you can see from the graphs, all have been falling. This data was collected from the Governor's daily press briefing, as well as from other media outlets such as the New York Times, on the days when the Governor didn't present all of the key metrics in his press briefing.


Riding the Rails During the CoVid Pandemic in NYC

Observations of a Blogger While Covering the CoVid Story

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 9, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I've been covering the CoVid Pandemic since it began in NYC, starting in the first half of March. At first my attention was focused on the closures by the Governor and Mayor as they began shuttering social events, social interactions and ultimately the economy.

It wasn't long before I shifted my attention to the growing numbers of people testing positive for the Corona Virus in NYC and NYS. This was followed by photographing the efforts by the NYC Mayor and the NYS Governor to build out additional healthcare capacity, to accommodate the projected growth of sick people, resulting from the spreading pandemic. They had a very limited time frame to complete this build out, before the influx of new Corona Virus patients overwhelmed the existing NYC and NYS healthcare capacity.

Most recently I've turned my attention to the economic hardships currently being borne by New Yorkers, particularly in small businesses and the folks working in essential services.

I've witnessed many people thanking the folks working in essential services - including healthcare, public transit, grocery and pharmacy outlets, and first responders - and I want to add my own thanks for all of the work they do, to keep the rest of us moving.

The photo above was taken about a week ago. A little bit of natural beauty helps keep things in perspective.

 

Reporter Travelogue - Startling Beginning With Closures

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThis is a travelogue about riding the MTA rails, along with essential workers, to do my part by providing independent first hand reports and context regarding what's happening here in NYC vis a vis the Corona Virus pandemic. Most of what I report is either not reported by the sensationalist, ratings-driven TV network news, or it's diminished in their reported accounts because it's contextual - not shocking.

The pandemic first hit my radar while I was covering a theater event at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. At that time I first heard that the Governor had started instituting surprising - and what at the time seemed draconian - measures designed to stymie the growing tide of CoVid 19 infections. In short order these actions were followed by the Mayor and it included shutting down restaurants and non-essential services.

The photo at right shows shuttered businesses along Court Avenue in Brooklyn during the NYC CoVid lockdown.

At the moment these governmental measures appear to be working, but I suspect maintaining discipline during the Passover and Easter holidays will be challenging. Afterall we have now spent over a month in communal isolation. But if people don't comply with the guidance provided by government officials, the pandemic will quickly resurge, and lengthen the time before we can all get back to the new normal. The Governor cited several examples from around the world including Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Influenza pandemic of 1918 in the U.S..


NYC Hospitals Operating at Capacity, CoVid 19 Curve Flattening, BUT ...

The Next Battle is to Stay Disciplined to Avoid a Resurgence

Will New Yorkers Comply during Passover & Easter Week?

April 6, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMany NYC Hospitals are reportedly operating at full capacity, and in some cases operating at capacity plus.

The good news is that the supply chain of personal protective equipment [PPE], respirators and gowns has been holding - albeit on a tight supply. And there are still anecdotal reports, generally by the alarmist TV networks, that indicate there are a few spot shortages. If true, these shortages are the result of distribution issues, rather than any out-of-stocks by the city and state.

Nonetheless, the needs for protective gear and life saving equipment remain high priorities for both the Governor and the Mayor, as the supply chain is on a tight turnaround and the CoVid pandemic continues, albeit at a slackening pace, in the city and parts of the state.

The good news, as previously reported, is that we may be approaching the apex. The social distancing appears to have thwarted the worst case scenario, and may even have contained the spread from reaching the middle case scenario.

But the danger persists.

The chart at right shows the daily CoVid deaths stabilizing. But a number of the morgues are over capacity, and some of the bodies reportedly had to be stored in refrigerated trucks, which are affectionately referred to as mobile morgues.

 

The Real Challenge this Week is Getting Through Passover & Easter without Breaking the NYC & NYS Healthcare System

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAnd the real test of it comes this week as both Passover and Easter come to play, when people generally come together to celebrate these traditional religious holidays.

To discourage people coming together in large numbers the Governor doubled the fine for violations of social distancing from $500 to $1000. Cuomo also extended the non-essential store closure policy for another two weeks - through the end of April.

In the Governor's daily press conference, he called upon local law enforcement to give tickets to people regardless of their religious affiliation, if they violate the call for social distancing. In doing so, Cuomo noted that not only are those who gather in such a manner putting themselves and their communities at risk, but they are also adding to the pandemic crisis, by putting first responders including FDNY, the NYPD, the MTA workers and the NYC / NYS Healthcare system workers at risk. A risk, which in many cases, ends up in death.

And given the hospital / healthcare system is operating at full capacity, if people start to break formation and begin disregarding the government social distancing guidance, they could potentially tip the balance of what seems a well managed pandemic crisis, into an all out disaster.

The chart above shows some good news, whereby the NYS daily CoVid hospitalizations are exceeded by the number of CoVid patients leaving the hospital. Remember - these numbers are driven up or down by our behavior as a whole community.


CoVid Testing Now Widespread, Growth Continues but doesn't Accelerate, Severe Cases Appear to be Levelling

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysApril 4, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

It's been a while since we've had much good news. At right is a graph shown by Governor Cuomo at a press conference today. Over the past week or so, Andrew Cuomo appears to be moving toward one of the more optimistic scenarios. He expects that we may POSSIBLY hit the Apex sometime next week.

Mayor de Blasio also seemed focused on the immediate needs of next week, but the Mayor has not yet adjusted his long term view of what's needed. Perhaps the Mayor hasn't yet received 'the memo'.

 

New Daily Discharges Exceed New Daily Hospitalizations

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysAs you can see from the graph presented at right, the daily discharges at hospitals now exceeds the number of new daily admissions to the hospitals. Obviously that's a good sign, as more capacity is being freed up, as is being committed, providing breathing room for the entire system, which has been under some significant stress the past week or so.

Now be advised, the Network TV personalities are paid on the basis of their ratings performance - not keeping you properly and contextually informed - which is why you've been hearing that the sky is falling these past couple ofweeks.

To be sure, some hospitals that are under great duress. Elmhurst Hospital in Queens has been one of them, and I've heard, but haven't visited, Mount Sinai in Queens and Jacobi in the Bronx. But other hospitals aren't making the news because they're operating just fine. So bear in mind when you watch TV news you aren't necessarily getting the full picture - you're getting the ratings driven network TV news picture.

The bubbleheads on TV news seem to be paid on how well they read teleprompters, not on their intellectual or journalistic acumen.


NYC Curve Appears to be Flattening, NYS Numbers are Still Rising

Hospitalizations, ICU Patients, Intubations & Discharges

April 2, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Well, there seems to be some good news, and Governor Cuomo has started hinting at it in his daily CoVid press conferences. A week ago, the Governor was talking about NYS hitting the apex of the curve in 21 days, which is in late April. This week the Governor started hinting that we may hit the top of the curve within the week. The Mayor, meanwhile has been saying that next week could be the start of the apex / wave.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMy assessment differs from both the Governor's and the Mayor's. And while it's based on information provided by the Governor, I'm drawing a different, more optimistic conclusion. Part of that may be that I haven't been able to talk to anyone from the Governor's office who knows precisely what's in / not in the numbers the Governor has been providing. And it's also worth noting that both the Governor and the Mayor don't have the luxury of planning for the optimistic scenario.

 

Assumptions for the Analysis in this Report - Beware the Hype & Distortions of Anecdotal Reporting

Assuming the numbers hold and New Yorkers' behavior holds, NYC may have already hit its apex of the CoVid pandemic. Note that those are big assumptions, but they're assumptions based on current numbers and behaviors.

As I am sure you can appreciate, that's good news, as some NYC hospitals had reached their capacity in terms of beds and / or Intensive Care Unit beds with / without respirators. But while maxing out the capacity at some of the eleven hospitals that are run by the NYC Health & Hospital System - like Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and possibly Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx - it is not true for the privately run hospitals that represent a significant portion of the medical infrastructure of NYC. One exception may be Mount Sinai in Astoria, Queens which today was reporting that they're handling a lot of CoVid patients.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOn Monday afternoon, March 30th, I spoke very unofficially to professionals from both Mount Sinai and also at Memorial Sloan Kettering - both in Manhattan - who told me at that time, that the operations at both of these hospitals were pretty much functioning somewhat normally.

So I think it's important for people to bear in mind, a shortage or over-capacity in one hospital, doesn't mean there's a shortage system-wide. The flip side of that coin is that we may have more capacity and supplies than is needed - but it might not be available in the places where it's most needed.


The CoVid Curve Appears to be Flattening

Growth in Daily Hospitalizations & ICU Patients Appears to Slow

March 31, 2020 / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS / NYC Neighborhoods / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Please note I tried to contact the Governor's Office for comment on this and have not yet heard back from them. I know they're busy, and we're not from the MainStream Media.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysNearly three weeks ago, Governor Cuomo issued an order for social distancing, by initially limiting social gatherings to fifty people or less. Mayor de Blasio supported the move that same day. As such most of the cultural venues in New York City suspended normal operations and events pending further notification or some future date. That was nearly three weeks ago.

That action was subsequently followed by further actions, limiting social gatherings to ten people and eventually just immediate households. On March 15, 2020 Mayor de Blasio issued an order asking bars and restaurants to close their doors except for deliveries / take out. That was more than two weeks ago.

A week ago while I was out photographing the empty, eerie NYC landscape, I noticed somewhat casually that somewhere between 10% - 25% of retail outlets were still open in Manhattan / Queens. Just a few days ago, while making another sweep through a couple of neighborhoods, the percent of those open had dropped to ghost town levels of 10% and less.

The bad news is that there's been a near stop to 'non-essential' life here and that there's an economic reckoning most folks are facing tomorrow on April 1st as bills come due.

The good news is that I've been tracking the numbers provided by Governor Cuomo and the curve does appear to already be flattening. The Governor has hinted at this by noting that the hospitalization rate had gone from doubling every 2 - 3 days at the outset a few weeks ago, to doubling every six days as of about a day ago.

But the good news goes beyond that. A couple of days ago, the Governor changed what numbers he was releasing to the public.


It's a Corona Virus Weekend NYC III

CoVid 19 Pandemic Continues to Keep Life in NYC & NYS on Hold

The Following Includes a Compendium of Closures & Expected Activity Resumption Dates [Subject to Change]

Updated March 29, 2020 from 3/27/20 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysWeather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's Friday, dropping to 50 on Saturday and rising a bit to the mid 50's on Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid to high 40's all weekend. There is an 80% - 100% chance of a half inch of Rain on Saturday mid to late afternoon [3 - 5 pm] and a bit more than a half inch early Sunday morning [before 7 am]. Winds will be 5 - 10 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be rise from the mid 20% range Friday, to 60% Saturday and 80% Sunday. Click for NYC Weather.

MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

The photo at right shows a man in Bryant Park last weekend enjoying a rare moment of solitude in the middle of a very densely populated city during the CoVid 19 shutdown.

 

On Thursday, March 26th, I headed toward CitiField to photograph it on what was supposed to be opening day. Major Leaugue Baseball was to begin that day with the Mets playing Washington at home, while the Yankees were to play Baltimore away.

 

Elmhurst Hospital is the Epicenter of Queens, which is Epicenter of NYC, which is Epicenter of NYS, which is Epicenter of the America

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOn my way I stopped to visit Elmhurst Hospital which had been labeled the CoVid epicenter of Queens that same day. Queens had become the epicenter of NYC by reporting the most cases in the city, and New York City is the epicenter of NYS, which is the epicenter of the U.S.

I visited Elmhurst Hospital just as they had closed the testing tents, which ran from 6 am - 4 pm. I spoke to one of the healthcare professionals there, inquiring as to whether they thought that there had been an overreaction to the spreading virus.

I was told that the virus was new, mutating, very contagious, and more lethal than the flu - so it should be taken seriously and managed in accordance with the general health risks it poses. Within the prior 24 hours thirteen people had died at Elmhurst Hospital.

On the subway the number of people wearing masks over their faces had grown significantly. I also noticed, for the first time, that a number of people were also wearing plastic gloves. Not long from now, everyone will be wearing Hazmat suits.

Well, at least it was easy to get a seat, and even easy to maintain the social distancing.

The photo above shows the testing tent outside of the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Thursday. In the prior 24 hour period 13 people reportedly died.

 

Small Businesses Have Closed or are Closing - Nothing's Moving

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysOn my way home I stopped at a few small businesses I generally frequent. One had completely closed its doors for the past couple of days because business had been softening. I imagine staying open just wasn't worth the effort and expense. Another small business had shortened their hours, as business there had also softened, but there was still business moving. And at the third place I stopped, the owner told me they were going to close for a while, until things started moving again, as there just wasn't much / any business moving.

When I arrived at my own personal self quarantine station - which I used to think of as my apartment - I flipped on the tube. There in front of me were so many people, talking endlessly and saying so, so little. So I turned it off to restore a sense of calm.

What follows is a compendium of some of the major closings and announcements made over the past couple of weeks, as well as the anticipated time they plan to resume activity, but all subject to change.

The photo at right shows the business district on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights Queens during the middle of the day. As you can see, most businesses had closed.


CoVid - The Virus Everyone is Talking About

Ghost Town: One of Every 200 New Yorkers has been Tested

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMarch 23, 2020 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Last weekend I headed into Manhattan to take a few photos of what I expected to be a ghost town. While some folks were moving about - relative to normal activity - Manhattan seemed empty. With this report are a few of the photos. I'll include more of them in the upcoming weekend update.

I've also been fairly closely following Governor Cuomo's daily press briefing. The numbers, as mentioned in my last report, that I've been keeping a close eye on are the number of infections vis a vis the number of tests completed. The reason for this is that I have not yet heard anyone explain how they can truly ascertain the transmission rate, without being able to separate out the growth in the number of people who have tested positively, from the growth in the number of people they have tested.

 

NYC & NYS CoVid 19 Testing Metrics vs Infected Numbers

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysSo I put together a chart, in which I had to make a few estimates using the data the Governor provided, as I had not captured all of it. Friday, March 20, 2020 is the starting point, where Cuomo reported 32,427 tests completed in NYS, of which 44% or 14,386 were completed in NYC. At that time there were 7102 and 4408 infected in NYS and NYC respectively, which means that 22% of those tested in NYS were infected, while 31% of those tested in NYC were infected.

In the briefing today, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 there were an estimated [my copy of Cuomo's NYS total number was unreadable] 94,289 tests completed in NYS, of which 41% or 38,390 were completed in NYC. At this time there were 25,665 infected in NYS, of which 14,904 of the infected were found in NYC. This translates to 27% of those tested in NYS being infected, while 39% of those tested in NYC were infected.

What does this mean? Actually since this virus is new, we don't really know for sure. What we do know is that about 26,000 people in NYS are infected, of which 15,000 of them live in NYC. And, according to Cuomo on Monday, the testing per capita in NYS is higher than anywhere else in the world including South Korea [see fact check correction below].


It's a Corona Virus Weekend NYC II

Even more than Last Week, the Corona Virus Pandemic Shuts Down NYC

* March 20, 2020 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / Corona Virus in NYC & NYS CoVid 19 / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

* Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the mid 70's on Friday, dropping to 50 on Saturday and the mid 40's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid 40's on Friday, dropping to the mid 30's Saturday, rising a bit to the high 30's on Sunday. There is a 40% chance of a minuscule amount of Rain on Friday afternoon, for which the peaking probability is at 5 pm. Then no rain for the rest of the weekend, but cloudy Saturday morning. Winds will be 10 - 15 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to the mid 40% range for the rest of the weekend. Click for NYC Weather.

* MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

 

A Racist President Applies a Demagogue Label to CoVid

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysUnfortunately we have a president, who oftentimes makes situations worse, because of his ignorant and childish behavior. The Donald seems to be trying to label the Corona Virus the China virus and quite frankly, is doing more to confirm some of the labels given to him - like he's a racist - than convincing anyone other than his Fox 'News' toadies - to go along with his not-helpful-in-addressing-the-CoVid-crisis ploy.

It seems that our babyman president, won't even act like an adult, even in the midst of what appears to be the world's worst pandemic in this millenia.

A demagogue is

"a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument."

 

MTA Sanitizes Subway Cars and Buses

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysThe NYC MTA moves between four and six million people daily. That's a mind boggling figure when you think about it. But last week ridership began falling significantly. And by this week, about a million or more people, had found some other way to get around, or were staying home. Thus the MTA is seeking federal funding to the tune of about $4 billion to help it shore up the lost revenue. And the ridership reductions are expected to continue for a while.

The MTA stepped up its cleaning regimen effective March 3, 2020. It now santizes its subway cars and buses on a rotating schedule every three days. Have the subways ever been so clean? In spite of the effort folks are still encouraged to practice social distancing meaning keeping six feet apart from others when possible. Anyone who is ill is asked to stay home.

The photo above right shows a placard on the subway, artistically depicting the diversity of our city. We live at the crossroads of the world, which means we are both the beneficiaries of that intellectual and cultural diversity, but also carry risks which are associated with that openess, because of our societal exposure. Like everything in life, we must strive to find the right balance of cultivating our openess, while managing and minimizing the associative risks. Data, science, education and discipline can help us strike the right balance.


It's a Corona Virus Weekend

This Weekend Many Events Cancelled & Many Institutions Closing Doors for a Couple of Weeks due to the Corona Virus Pandemic

corona virus nyc covid 19 nyc nysMarch 13, 2020 / NYC Social Issues / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's on Friday, dropping to the high 50's on Saturday and low 50's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be around 40 on Friday & Saturday, dropping to the low 30's by Sunday. Rain is in the forecast for Friday ONLY, likely gone by 11 am. It will be cloudy later in the day on Saturday only. Winds will be 15 mph on Friday, dropping to between 5 - 10 mph for the rest of the weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to about 40% for the rest of the weekend. Click for NYC Weather.

MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

The photo at right shows some folks riding the subway this week who've taken the precaution of wearing surgical masks to prevent getting infected by the Corona Virus - see details below.

 

Corona Virus - A Brief History of Growing Awareness

The Corona Virus outbreak was first reported by the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan in China.

By January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo called a NYS State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what at the time was the Corona Virus epidemic, as there was a rapid spike in the number of reported cases in NYS. At the time NYC had reported about a dozen known cases.

On March 10, 2020 Governor Cuomo ordered a quarantine of a neighborhood in New Rochelle.

On March 11, 2020, Mayor de Blasio followed suit, and declared NYC in a State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what was called a pandemic by the World Health Organization on the same day.

And today, March 13, 2020, last but not least, Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency in the United States in order to accelerate the nation's slow response to the evolving public health crisis.

 

Corona Virus Precautions - Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

By now you'd have to be blind, deaf and mute not to have heard that you should thoroughly wash your hands and not touch your face without having cleaned your hands.

In a March 11, 2020 report, the Sacramento Bee, which is a well respected news outlet run by McClatchy Newspapers, informed us that the National Institute of Health conducted a study that shows that the Corona Virus can remain alive for up to three days on some surfaces under the right conditions.

As such you should also step up your cleaning practices, specifically with respect to things and places that you touch regularly - like the TV clicker or your mouse and keypad and cell phone and keys.



Democrats Choice: A Stuttering Biden or An Intransigent Bernie?

Most Folks Don't Know that Biden has a Stuttering Handicap which is Why he doesn't do so Well in Debates & his 'Circumlocution' Remedy is Likely the Primary Cause of his Verbal Gaffes

Most Sanders Supporters Probably Haven't Taken a Look at Sanders' Record of Accomplishment which During his 29 Years in Congress is Comprised of his Leadership on Only Three Passed Senate Bills - Two of Which were Naming Post Offices

job biden stutters joe biden stutterer bernie sanders legislative records bernie sanders intransigenceMarch 9, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / National Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

 

This past week, as we all watched the Democratic race for the presidency unfold, we witnessed a bit of history. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s incredible comeback from what seemed like a campaign on life support, ended with him sweeping the south and decisively winning victories in most of the states up for grabs on Super Tuesday.

 

Biden’s Coalition – The Moderates, The Working Class & The Realists

But like all victories, Biden didn’t do it alone. Biden first received a boost via the endorsement of Congressman James Clyburn only days before the South Carolina primary. On Monday, Amy Klobuchar ended her campaign and endorsed Biden, followed shortly that same day by Pete Buttigieg, who had ended his campaign a day earlier. And Beto O’Rourke reappeared, to throw his support behind Biden in Texas.

job biden stutters joe biden stutterer bernie sanders legislative records bernie sanders intransigenceAs a result, Biden became the front runner, eclipsing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders following Biden’s electoral sweep on Super Tuesday.

One might say that this demonstrates the biggest difference between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Joe has been able to bring many of his former challengers into his tent, while Bernie Sanders has not.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Bernie Sanders. I think he has great integrity, he is a strong advocate for the working class, and he has clearly demonstrated that he has an admirable talent for running an organization during his two presidential bids.

But the difference between Sanders and Biden is that Sanders appears to be a purest … an ideologue … someone who does not compromise. And people who don't compromise can make great thought leaders, but they rarely - if ever - make great leaders.

 

Great Leaders Know How To Compromise & That’s How They Get Things Done

Leaders need to make compromises in order to get things done. They generally don’t get everything they want because vested interests will do everything in their power to thwart them when they try. So what real leaders do, is stake out the next evolution, by moving the ball a bit forward, hoping that someone else will pick it up at a later date and move it forward again.

  • CLICK here to read the rest of our report on Joe Biden is a Stutterer & Bernie Sanders Legislative Record. The report includes: 1) a synopsis of an Atlantic report whereby a journalist who has a stutter followed Biden on the campaign trail and shared his insights with us, 2) a look at Sanders legislative record by another reporter writing in the Washington Post, and 3) a Case Study in leadership regarding moving the nation forward through compromise.

Bronx Things To Do This Weekend

This Weekend Some Events Cancelled & Some Institutions Closing Doors for a Couple of Weeks due to the Corona Virus Pandemic

bronx things to do bronxMarch 13, 2020 / Things To Do Bronx / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the high 60's on Friday, dropping to the high 50's on Saturday and low 50's by Sunday. The temperature lows will be around 40 on Friday & Saturday, dropping to the low 30's by Sunday. Rain is in the forecast for Friday ONLY, likely gone by 11 am. It will be cloudy later in the day on Saturday only. Winds will be 15 mph on Friday, dropping to between 5 - 10 mph for the rest of the weekend. The Humidity will be around 70 on Friday dropping to about 40% for the rest of the weekend. Click for Bronx Weather.

MTA / Public Transit / Click here for the MTA Weekender.

The photo at right shows some folks riding the subway this week who've taken the precaution of wearing surgical masks to prevent getting infected by the Corona Virus - see details below.

 

Corona Virus - A Brief History of Growing Awareness

The Corona Virus outbreak was first reported by the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan in China.

By January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo called a NYS State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what at the time was the Corona Virus epidemic, as there was a rapid spike in the number of reported cases in NYS. At the time NYC had reported about a dozen known cases.

On March 10, 2020 Governor Cuomo ordered a quarantine of a neighborhood in New Rochelle.

On March 11, 2020, Mayor de Blasio followed suit, and declared NYC in a State of Emergency in an effort to get out ahead of what was called a pandemic by the World Health Organization on the same day.

And today, March 13, 2020, last but not least, Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency in the United States in order to accelerate the nation's slow response to the evolving public health crisis.

 

Corona Virus Precautions - Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

By now you'd have to be blind, deaf and mute not to have heard that you should thoroughly wash your hands and not touch your face without having cleaned your hands.

In a March 11, 2020 report, the Sacramento Bee, which is a well respected news outlet run by McClatchy Newspapers, informed us that the National Institute of Health conducted a study that shows that the Corona Virus can remain alive for up to three days on some surfaces under the right conditions.

As such you should also step up your cleaning practices, specifically with respect to things and places that you touch regularly - like the TV clicker or your mouse and keypad and cell phone and keys.

 

Corona Virus Transmission by Air

And that same National Institute of Health Study also showed that the virus could remain alive in the air for a few hours. This discharge would have to come from an infected person, most likely with a cough, but I reckon just talking and breathing could do it too.

This is why scientists recommend we keep some distance - some six feet - from one another. Especially people coughing and that is why ill people are advised to remain home until they feel better - so that they don't infect the rest of us. But that said, infected people may take between two and fourteen days to show signs of the illness and thus realize it. The median incubation period for the Corona Virus is five days, 98% of the people who contract it show signs by 12 days, so by 14 days it is believed that those who have contracted the Corona Virus will show it. This is why most places have been shuttered for two weeks at a minimum.*

Some say masks won't necessarily prevent infection, because the masks aren't built to filter out the micro organisms one might inhale and the masks are not tightly fastened to the face. They may be correct, but the masks can't hurt and may reduce what you breathe in. There's a secondary problem with the masks in that some folks have been hoarding them, making it more difficult for health professionals who are working on the front line of this crisis, to obtain them.*

The disease is believed to be highly transmittable, with conflicting reports on whether it is more or less transmittable than the flu. Live Science, states that it's more than two times more transmittable than the flu, while another source says it's not as transmittable as the flu. This discrepancy may be due to the fact that there are two strains.*

 

The Corona Virus is Potentially Lethal - but Skews Older

bronx things to do bronxAt present, it is estimated to have a 2.3% death rate versus something like a 0.1% death rate for the flu. So that means it's over 20 times more lethal than the flu, and at present without any existing cure nor vaccine. Which is why there's so much concern.

But that said, to put this in context, a March 7, 2020 Live Science report informs us that,

" ... So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 100,000 illnesses and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that's nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... "

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that the risk for people varies according to age, as it is believed people who are ill, have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems are most likely to die from the disease - see chart at right.

 

Living Your Life in the Age of the Corona Virus

So, as part of the NYS State of Emergency both the Governor and the Mayor are in agreement that all events of 500 or more people are presently banned. Governor Cuomo also issued an order to close CUNY and SUNY effective March 18, 2020 for the rest of the semester.

The Mayor and Governor have decided to keep the primary and secondary public school system open, but advise anyone who is not feeling well to stay home. While tests reportedly show that children can contract the disease as easily as adults, you can see by the chart above, that children don't die from it at anywhere near the same rate as older people. I know - not dying from a disease - isn't exactly comforting.

But, unlike better resourced students attending private institutions, the students attending public school aren't as able to 'go remote' and conduct classes and homework electronically. Another part of this equation is that many of these students' parents aren't in a position to stay home with them [the collateral damage being having 1.1 million school age children, many unsupervised, roaming around NYC during a pandemic], and many of their parents are critical to the healthcare, educational, law enforcement, fire and emergency response and transportation infrastructure. Lastly many public school kids don't have a home, and the public school lunch program is the one place where they can obtain a healthy meal.*

I've provided the above information to help folks better understand the complexiities the Governor and Mayor are dealing with in making these decisions. And this doesn't include how badly the small business entities are getting hit, which closing things only makes worse. This affects them paying the rent, paying their employees - all of whom have to make ends meet ... somehow.

 

Things to Do This Weekend in the Bronx?

Not much really. Here's a link to the things to do in the Bronx last weekend, which contains a number of web addresses, should you want to look for yourself, but most institutions are taking the position of exercising an abundance of caution and thus have closed.

 

Bronx Things To Do, Farmers Mkts & Street Fairs

March 2020 - Click here for reports about Bronx holiday events & markets and Bronx farmers markets, Bronx things to do and Bronx street fairs.

Click here for free summer movies in the Bronx, free summer theater in the Bronx and free summer concerts in the Bronx. Click for details of New Years parties in the Bronx or here for Bronx shopping venues and restaurants in the Bronx.

Also see Friday & Weekend Events above.

 

MOSTLY DONE. ASTERISKED events above have NOT been updated.

* On Tuesday, March 3rd, from 6.30 - 8 pm there's a Book Club at the Bronx Art Space at 305 East 140th Street #1 in the Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx. The book being discussed is A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley. The event is hosted by One Book One Bronx which

"... seeks to resuscitate the beauty of reading, restore the intimacy of books and culture, and create a space that mines the cultural narratives of Bronx neighborhoods ..."

That seems as ambitious as it is laudable [free / literature / www.bronxartspace.com].


Bronx Irish Pubs Bars Restaurants in Woodlawn Heights near Yonkers | bronx irish pubs woodlawn heights bronx irish restaurants bronx irish pubs bars restaurants near Yonkers st patricks day parade bronx nyc usa
Bronx Irish Pubs Bars Restaurants in Woodlawn Heights near Yonkers

Bronx Little Ireland in Woodlawn Heights

A Visit to Woodlawn Heights is a bit like a Trip to Ireland

March 10, 2020 / Things To Do Bronx / Central Bronx Neighborhoods NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

In preparation for St. Patrick's Day, I took a long ride north on the #2 subway line to 233rd Street in Wakefield. I then headed west on 233rd Street down a long hill, over the Bronx River Parkway, and into Woodlawn Heights. Woodlawn Heights is nestled in north of Woodlawn Cemetery and east and south of Van Cortlandt Park and it's also south of and adjacent to Yonkers and west of Wakefield.

As I entered the Woodlawn Heights neighborhood, walking north along Katonah Avenue, I felt a bit as if I'd been whisked away to Ireland. Of course there were Irish bars and pubs that lined the street, but there was also an Irish grocery store. And I imagine if I had more time to spend, I'd find other related gems. But today I was on a mission to scout out a few Irish pubs in anticipation of the Yonkers St. Patrick's Day Parade which happens a week from Saturday on March 21st. Be advised there are two other Bronx St Patricks Day Parades this Sunday, March 15th in Throgs Neck and in Eastchester the details of which you'll find by clicking the link above - along with suggestions for Bronx Irish pubs and restaurants.

It was a quiet Sunday night and the neighborhood was fairly quiet as most are wont to be on a Sunday night. I started my journey by stopping at John Mulligan's Fireside Pub. And lo and behold it wasn't long before standing in front of me was John Mulligan himself.



Bronx St Patricks Day Bars, Irish Pubs & Restaurants in the Bronx NYC | nyc bronx st pats day bars irish pubs restaurants bronx nyc st pats day throgs neck city island morris park mott haven norwood kingsbridge fieldston van courtlandt bronx irish pubs restaurants bars bronx irish restaurants bronx nyc
Bronx St Patricks Day Bars, Irish Pubs & Restaurants in the Bronx NYC

St Pat's Day Bars & Irish Pubs & Restaurants in the Bronx

Bronx St Pat's Day Pubs, Irish Bars & Restaurants On St. Patrick's Day in the Bronx Neighborhoods of Throgs Neck, Kingsbridge, Fieldston, Bedford Park, Mott Haven, Norwood, Woodlawn Heights, Westchester Square [near Morris Park], Middleton Pelham Bay [near City Island], Williamsbridge and one in Yonkers

February 25, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods NYC / Bronx Restaurants NYC / St Patricks Day Parade Throgs Neck Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

St. Patrick's Day is upon us once again and it's time for one and all, regardless of genetic history, to don their green clothing and head out to the Irish bars for a pint of ale or to the Irish restaurants for some down home Irish fare ... or something like that.

This report is about some of the Bronx Irish bars and restaurants that have survived the test of time, and likely a might bit ... more. The Irish pubs include Irish bars and restaurants from Throgs Neck, Kingsbridge, Fieldston, Bedford Park, Morris Park, Mott Haven, Norwood, Woodlawn Heights, Westchester Square, Middleton Pelham Bay [near City Island], Williamsbridge and one in Yonkers.



Bronx Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Events Bronx NYC | things to do presidents day weekend bronx nyc things to do mott haven concourse fordham belmont van cortlandt park riverdale bedford park melrose hunts point parkchester westchester square schuyler throgs neck bronx presidents day weekend events bronx nyc
Bronx Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend - Events Bronx NYC

Presidents Day Weekend Things to do in the Bronx NYC

Things To Do in the Bronx over the Presidents Day Weekend

February 10, 2020 / Things To Do Bronx NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Presidents Day Weekend Weather. The Temperature highs will be in the mid 30's on Friday, dropping to the high 20's on Saturday and rising into the 40's on Sunday and Monday. The temperature lows will be in the low teens Friday, the mid 20's on Saturday, rising into the 30's Sunday and Monday. Precipitation - There's a small chance [30%] of a small amount of precipitation [way under an inch] later Sunday and early morning Monday. Winds will be around 15 mph Friday, dropping into the single digits for the rest of the long weekend. The Humidity will be in the high 30% range on Friday & Saturday, rising to about 60% on Sunday and Monday. Click for Bronx Weather.

The image at right shows Wave Hill, where President Theodore Roosevelt spent a couple of summers. Wave Hill is a horticultural enclave and Teddy Roosevelt was an American Conservationist. I imagine if alive today, Roosevelt would certainly being doing whatever he could to combat climate change.

Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the performance of our current presidents and legislators, and how they stack up against their historical peers. And in that reflection it's worth asking ourselves what we've done to contribute or detract from the national conversation.

Brief History of Presidents Day Holiday in NYC

bronx things to do presidents day weekend bronx presidents day weekend events bronx nycA day commemorating Lincoln's birthday was first passed in Buffalo, New York in the early 1870's. Presidents Day originated as Washington's Birthday which was a holiday narrowly prescribed for federal government offices in Washington, D.C. in 1879. The holiday was dedicated to honoring the memory of the first American president, George Washington who was born on February 22, 1732.

In 1885 the holiday was expanded to include all federal government offices around the nation. In 1951 there was a push to create a Presidents Day holiday [vs a George Washington's birthday holiday] to include President Lincoln whose birthday is February 12, 1809 and was also celebrated by localities, but it didn't pass.

In 1971 the holiday was moved off of George Washington's birth date to being the third Monday in February. Thus while it never falls upon Washington's birthday 2/22, the official name of the holiday remains Washington's Birthday. But today, most folks refer to it as Presidents Day and to recognize the presidents who honored the U.S. Constitution and served the interests of the people.



Bronx Valentines Day Restaurants - Bronx Romantic Restaurants Bronx NYC | bronx valentines day restaurants bronx valentines dinners mott haven valentines day bronx fordham university heights valentines day riverdale valentines restaurants city island concourse belmont morris park parkchester bedford park melrose throgs neck valentines day restaurants bronx nyc
Bronx Valentines Day Restaurants - Bronx Romantic Restaurants Bronx NYC

Bronx Valentines Day Restaurants - Bronx NYC

Valentines Day / Romantic Restaurants in or near Mott Haven, Fordham, Port Morris, Concourse, Bedford Park, Norwood, University Heights, City Island, Riverdale, Melrose, Morris Park, Westchester Square & Parkchester Bronx NYC

February 5, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Restaurants / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Valentine's Day is less than two weeks away. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and dinner are always welcome treats, and / or some thoughtful gesture that shows that the lady [or man] you're with, still means a lot to you.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice at a romantic Bronx restaurant on Valentine's Day, and sometimes it's difficult to make them for the weekend preceding Valentine's Day. So if you're thinking about doing something this Valentine's Day for dinner in or around the Mott Haven, Fordham, Port Morris, Concourse, Bedford Park, Norwood, University Heights, City Island, Riverdale, Melrose, Morris Park, Westchester Square & Parkchester neighborhoods; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.

Valentine's Day History - Romantic Restaurants in the Bronx

The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It's believed to have been named after Saint Valentine who was apparently a Catholic martyr who died over 1500 years ago. Today the holiday is not associated with religion so much as flowers, candies, cards and romantic dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and quite a mischief maker.

Click this link to view a brief guide of Valentine's Day restaurants in the Bronx / romantic restaurants Bronx NYC where you will find short descriptions or links to Bronx restaurants we've visited in the past or have reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Enjoy.



Closure of Rikers Island Moves Another Step Forward

In Oct 2019 NYC Council Designated Neighborhood Jail Locations in Four Boroughs

Community Board One in Astoria Only Approved the Closure of Rikers Island

rikers island closing rikers island correctional facility history rikers island development astoria queens rikers island hunts point bronxJanuary 26, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Politics / Bronx Politics & Government / Queens Buzz NYC & Bronx Buzz NYC.

A week ago, on Tuesday, January 21st I attended the Community Board One meeting at the Astoria World Manor where the board was asked to approve the closing of the Rikers Island Detention Facility effective sometime before the end of the year 2026.

The photo at right was taken from an airplane while landing at LaGuardia in a prior year. Rikers Island Correctional Facility is a stone's throw away from LGA.

 

Queens Community Board One in Astoria Votes on Rikers Closure

The presentation consisted of two slides. One highlighted the social / moral blight that Rikers Island had become. The second slide simply proposed the request in very limited terms - the closing of Rikers Island and the conversion of it to a ‘public place’. The presentation to the Committee was done by a team lead by Dana Kaplan, Deputy Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

So please note that the Community Board had no role in the placement of neighborhood jails, nor did they sign off on anything that may become of Rikers Island going forward. They only approved the closing of the Correctional Facility and the allowance of use for it as a "public place".

I spoke with CB1 District Manager Florence Kolouris after the meeting about what exactly that meant. She told me that there isn’t any definition, per se, given for public place – but a couple of examples of prior public places include Lincoln Center, Fort Totten and Queens Borough Hall.

The Community Board approved the measure with a recommendation that CB1 be kept in the loop throughout the closing process, including any demolition. Plenty of questions followed regarding what would become of the 400 acre island. Nothing concrete was proposed at this time, but the audience was assured that any changes would have to come through the Community Board via the ULURP process [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure].

 

The Bronx & Queens - Rikers Island Community Jurisdiction & Prison Population

rikers island closing rikers island correctional facility history rikers island development astoria queens rikers island hunts point bronxIt’s worth noting that technically Rikers Island is a part of the Bronx – not Queens – even though the only road traveling onto the island originates in the Astoria / East Elmhurst neighborhoods of Queens. In addition to Queens Community Board One, Bronx Community Board Two, representing the Hunts Point neighborhood, also has influence over the island. Since the Dinkins Administration in the 1990's, there's been a floating barge facility that's docked in Hunts Point, that is considered a part of the Rikers Island Correctional Facility.

Currently there are an estimated 7,000 plus inmates on Rikers Island. At its height, in 1991, Rikers Island held an estimated overcapacity inmate population of nearly 22,000. By the time the facility is to be closed in 2026, the inmate population is expected to have declined to between 3,000 and 4,000.

The photo at right shows the Rikers Island Correctional Facility which will be closed by the end of 2026.


Bronx Little Italy Neighborhood & Arthur Avenue in Belmont Bx | bronx little italy bx arthur avenue bronx italian neighborhoods bronx shops restaurants arthur avenue bx
Bronx Little Italy Neighborhood & Arthur Avenue in Belmont Bx

Bronx Little Italy, Savor the Flavor

Bronx Little Italy Still Has Some Old World Charm

January 21, 2020 / Belmont Neighborhood Bx / Bronx Shopping NYC / Bronx Restaurants NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

The past couple of years I've had the opportunity to spend some time in Bronx Little Italy which is located in the Belmont neighborhood in the central Bronx. The neighborhood is just south of Fordham University and the New York Botanical Gardens and just west of the Bronx Zoo, so it's well positioned to accommodate visitors to these attractive destinations. But most of the traffic in Bronx Little Italy still comes from within the neighborhood itself, the surrounding Bronx neighborhoods, and from the greater NYC metro area neighborhoods, into which the descendants of Belmont Bronx Italian families had moved.

The heart of Bronx Little Italy runs along Arthur Avenue south of East Fordham Road / 189th Street to East 184th and Crescent Road. It also expands a bit east and west, along 187th and Crescent Road, but the epicenter is along Arthur Avenue. Arthur Avenue was named after Chester Arthur who was the 21st President of the United States [1881 - 1885].

 

Brief History of Little Italy in the Bronx

bronx little italy bronx arthur avenue belmont bx bronx little italy shops shopping restaurants dining bx little italyThe Belmont section of the Bronx was once owned by the Lorillard family, who were wealthy tobacconists in the 1800's. Some of their cigarette brands included Salem, Kook and Winston, which were among the top selling cigarettes, back when it was fashionable to ingest cancer causing agents in such a manner. They named the area Belmont, which means beautiful mountain, as the neighborhood is comprised of hilly areas. In the late 1800's, as the Gilded Age ended, the Lorillard estate was broken into segments and sold off by the heirs.

According to Wikipedia the first wave of Italian immigrants starting coming to America following the unification of Italy in 1861 and ran for the latter part of that century. The second wave of Italian immigrants came between the turn of the 20th century [1900] and ending around the time of the beginning of WWII [1938 - 1940]. Many Italians flocked to the Bronx, and Arthur Avenue in the Bronx became a center of Italian food and culture. And it's been that way ever since.

One of the main attractions on Arthur Avenue is the Arthur Avenue retail market, which was founded in part by NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. LaGuardia was of Italian and Jewish descent and a reformer, who promoted the market as a means of moving street vendors off the street and inside, as outside vending was somewhat unsanitary and believed to be a health issue.



Bronx Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend - Events Bronx NYC | things to do martin luther king day weekend bronx nyc things to do mott haven concourse fordham belmont van cortlandt park riverdale bedford park melrose hunts point parkchester westchester square schuyler throgs neck bronx MLK day weekend bronx nyc
Bronx Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend - Events Bronx NYC

MLK Day Weekend Events in the Bronx NYC

Things To Do in the Bronx over the Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 14, 2020 / Things To Do Bronx NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will range between 30 and 40 throughout the three day weekend. The temperature lows will be in the low 20's throughout the weekend - except on Saturday when the low will be in the high 30's. Rain or Snow is forecast on Saturday, but NOT on Friday, Sunday & Monday. Winds will range from 10 - 15 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 50% throughout the weekend, except on Friday when it will be in the low 30% range. Click for Bronx Weather.

Click here for Bronx Buzz - things to do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in the Bronx.

Brief History of Martin Luther King Holiday in NYC

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist Minister who became the leading voice for African Americans' non-violent civil rights movement beginning in the mid 1950's through to his assassination in 1968. In 1983, the third Monday of every year was set aside to honor Martin Luther King for his service to the nation. The third Monday was chosen, as it was the nearest Monday to the anniversary of King's birthday, which was January 15, 1929.

Martin Luther King Day has grown to take on an even larger meaning, as it is oftentimes referred to as a day on, versus a day off. Organizations around the city and nation have used the day to call people into action to address the needs of the community through volunteering and service.

Martin Luther King Holiday Special Events in the Bronx NYC

On Saturday from 10 am - 4 pm the Food Bank of NYC is organizing an event entitled Done in a Day from 10 am - 4 pm at 355 Food Center Drive in the Hunts Point neighbohood of the Bronx. The program attracts volunteers who will give some of their time for the Food Bank projects.

On Sunday from 4.30 - 7 pm the New Life Rehobeth Church at 1375 Mace Avenue in the Bronx is hosting a movie with dessert for the whole family and it's free.

On Monday there's an MLK Day of Service from 9 am - 4 pm at the Riverdale Y at 5626 Arlington Avenue in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx. The day of service attempts to tackle various social and community problems.

On Monday from 10 am - 2 pm the East Bronx IPC [Episcopalian / Anglican] invites folks to attend their MLK Day of service and social gathering at 781 Castle Hill Avenue in the Bronx. They collect donations for scholarships, some of which I believe are awarded on that day [unconfirmed].

On Monday, January 20, 2020, there's a Community Interfaith Service at Trinity Baptist Church to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 808 East 224th Street between Barnes & Bronxwood Avenues beginning at 10 am. All are welcome but please rsvp at 718.590.3989 or email smalave@bronxbp.nyc.gov. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to be in attendance.


Things To Do MLK Day Weekend in the Bronx NYC

Things To Do in the Bronx Over The Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 20, 2019 / Things To Do in the Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

bronx things to do MLK day weekend bronx martin luther king day weekend nyc

Bronx Museums & Cultural Institutions - Things To Do over the Martin Luther King Holiday Weekend

Bronx is home to two great institutions borne in pursuit of preservation and understanding the natural world around us - the New York Botanical Gardens and the Bronx Zoo. A segment of the Enid A. Haupt Observatory at the NY Botanical Gardens is shown in the photo at right.

The Bronx Zoo is located at at 2300 Southern Blvd near the Belmont, Fordham Manor, West Farms, Pelham Parkway and Allerton neighborhoods of the Bronx.

The New York Botanical Gardens is located at at 2900 Southern Blvd near the Norwood, Fordham, Belmont and Allerton neighborhoods of the Bronx.

Bronx Historical Sites / Bronx History - Things To Do over the Martin Luther King Day Weekend

The Bronx have a number of historical sites which are open to the public on weekends, and sometimes weekdays. The Bronx Historical Society is located in the Valentine-Varian house at 3309 Bainbridge Avenue at 208th Street in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx. The Valentine-Varian house is the oldest remaining farmhouse in the borough and second oldest house, dating back to 1758. The Bronx Historical Society hosts a number of exhibits as well as an array of programs throughout the year.

There's also the Van Cortlandt House in Van Cortland Park, which is a beautiful colonial home of one of the Dutch settlers. It was built in 1748 and is the oldest house in the Bronx borough. It is located at Broadway and West 246th Street in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx at the end of the #1 subway line.

The Bartow Pell Mansion is also worthy of a visit. It was erected in 1836 and is a Greek revival architecture style home - one of the last of that area / era. The Bartow Pell Mansion Museum is pretty active in its programming which includes cultural and historical. It is located at 895 Shore Road, across from the golf course in Pelham Bay Park.

And there's Wave Hill in Riverdale. It's the site of beautiful gardens overlooking the Hudson River. They offer regular programming including concerts, garden walks in the better weather and talks. It is located at 649 West 249th Street in the Hudson Hill section of the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx.




Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as NYC Mayor

This Contains the Part of Bloomberg's Record You Won't See in His Ad Campaign

michael bloombergs record as nyc mayor mike bloomberg accomplishments mike bloomberg record mayor nyc record of mayor bloomberg while mayor nycDecember 16, 2019 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I started reporting for Queens Buzz in the second half of 2007, in anticipation of the website opening in 2008. At the time, politics wasn't in the docket. But over time, as I watched government and political events unfold, I couldn't ignore the huge gap between what was happening - versus what was reported to be happening.

Thus over time I began reporting on NYC, NYS and eventually national politics, doing in-depth research along the way, so that I could provide our readers with a fresh point of view, based on facts and knowledge, with scant pandering to the politicial spin.

While I only began tuning into NYC politics as a reporter during Michael Bloomberg's third term, I had picked up information about him prior to that as an aware NYC resident / voter. My first glimpse into Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-democratic tendencies came about in 2004, during the Republican Presidential Convention, when Bloomberg appeared to illegally lock up people protesting the wars and policies of then president George W. Bush. But before I delve into that aspect of Bloomberg's performance, I want to highlight a few others.

 

Disdains Democracy: Overturns Mayoral Term Limits

michael bloomberg mayor bloomberg corruption bloomberg record as nyc mayorIn 2008, just a year before former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was about to be term limited out of the Mayor's Office, he convinced the NYC City Council to override the plebiscite that term limited his time in office as the Mayor.

Thus Michael Bloomberg sought and won a third term - which he essentially bought - by funding his campaign with nearly $100 million of his own money, to defeat an relatively unknown candidate, retiring City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Thompson was not given much support by the Democratic Party in that election, likely because they didn't believe he would do anywhere near as well as he did, and they were competing with a billionaire who could / would and did greatly outspend the competition. The final vote was 50.7% for Bloomberg and 46.3% for Thompson.

 

Did Former Mayor Bloomberg Override Term Limits in Order to Cash In NYC's Municipal Real Estate Holdings?

The deals on the Bronx Terminal Market, Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South & Flushing Meadow Corona Park were all begun in 2007. So were the two multi-billion dollar [each] subway line extension projects - the Q and the #7.

All of the real estate developments and the two major subway infrastructure projects seemed to greatly benefit one person - Stephen Ross and his privately held Related Companies. Stephen Ross went from not being counted as a billionaire at the beginning of Bloomberg's Mayoralty, to becoming the richest real estate developer in New York City within a couple of years after he took office.

It's worth noting that Bloomberg's net worth during this period shot up too. And that Bloomberg LLP, the company he founded, also operates in NYC and is also privately held.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Real Record as Mayor

The Real Record of Mike Bloomberg's Accomplishments as Mayor - Doubling of Homelessnes, Taxpayer Funded but Privately Owned Luxury Apartments, Massive Public Land Giveaways to Friendly Developer, Massive Public Transit Spending Benefitting Same Developer, Privatization / Profitization of Many Public Schools, Failure to Negotiate with Unions, City Time Scandal & Racist Stop N' Frisk Policing Program

The report includes:

michael bloombergs record as nyc mayor mike bloomberg accomplishments mike bloomberg record mayor nyc1) HOMELESSNESS: Bloomberg had a horrendous record on homelessness which broke all records & doubled during his Mayoralty.

2) AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Bloomberg sold the public on funding 'affordable' apartments that rented for $48,000 per year. These were publicly funded but privately owned apartment units that Bloomberg sold to the public as 'affordable' in order to gain passage of the bills authorizing them.

3) PUBLIC LAND GRAB. Four huge real estate developments appeared to be given to Stephen Ross & Related Companies which are now worth billions. The public lands reportedly sold for $1 apiece include Hudson Yard, Hunters Point South and the still pending Flushing Meadows Corona Park development. I'm not sure but Bronx Terminal was also transferred in a sweet deal to the real estate developer Stephen Ross & Related Companies.

4) PUBLIC SPENDING BENEFITTING FRIENDLY DEVELOPER. Bloomberg pushed two subway line extensions that seemed to disproportionately benefit Stephen Ross & Related Companies. The subway line extensions were 1) the #7 subway line extension that supported Stephen Ross & Related Companies Hudson Yard development and 2) the Q subway line extension which greatly enhanced the value of Stephen Ross and Related Companies Upper East Side properties.

5) PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Bloomberg's privatization of a significant portion of the NYC public school system which appeared to tear apart the NYC public school system by enabling for profit private charter schools, disproportionately favoring Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy, to recruit the best students of the NYC public school system, while leaving the rest behind in the hands of the public and unions;

6) UNION BUSTER? Bloomberg's failure to sign a single major union contract during his 12 year administration and the

7) GIULIANI / BLOOMBERG CORRUPTION. City Time corruption scandal.

8) RACIST POLICING POLICY. Presided over racist Stop N' Frisk policing policy.

CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the part of the Mike Bloomberg's record of Mayor. The part of the Bloomberg record you won't see in his $33 million ad campaign to convince Democrats to vote for him. Billionaire Bloomberg, like the billionaire President, seems to have an inclination to distort the truth.


Bronx New Years Eve Parties - Bronx New Years Even Restaurants & Bars New Years in the Bronx NYC | bronx new years eve parties bronx new year eve restaurants bronx new years eve celebrations diners restaurants cafes new years bronx NYE bronx nyc usa
Bronx New Years Eve Parties - Bronx New Years Even Restaurants & Bars New Years in the Bronx NYC

Bronx New Years Eve Parties & NYE Restaurants Bronx

New Years Eve Parties in Mott Haven, Port Morris, Melrose, Fordham, Concourse, Parkchester, Bedford Park, Belmont, University Heights Neighborhoods in the Bronx

December 29, 2019 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Holiday Events / Bronx Events & Things To Do / Bronx Restaurants NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

New Years Eve occurs on a Tuesday this year. It looks like the celebrations begin as early as the weekend before winding down for the year.

While New Years Eve is one big party, it's important to keep in mind, that like St. Patrick's Day, all the amateurs come out to play [it's not just the Irish who are out on St. Patrick's Day]. So some measure of caution is advised and you have to be careful.

Click here to read more about our round up of New Years Eve parties in the Bronx - New Years Eve restaurants Bronx.



Bronx Holiday Events & Things To Do & Bronx Holiday Markets | bronx things to do holidays bronx xmas events bronx christmas tree lightings bronx hannukah menorah lightings bronx kwanzaa candle lightings bronx holiday events bronx holiday holiday things to do bronx nyc
Bronx Holiday Events & Things To Do & Bronx Holiday Markets

Bronx Holiday Markets / Bronx Holiday Events & Things To Do

Bronx Holiday Shopping, Bronx Christmas Tree Lightings, Bronx Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, Bronx Kwanzaa Candle Lightings & Bronx Holiday Markets

Updated December 29, 2019 from 12.8.19 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Holiday Events / Bronx Events & Things To Do / Bronx Shops & Shopping / Bronx Buzz NYC.

The holidays are a special time of the year. In ancient times there were harvest celebrations to give thanks and enjoy the bounty of the year after a long season / year of work.

There were also winter solstice celebrations to commemorate the end of the darkening of the skies. Many cultures celebrate with a festival of lights, and in Christian cultures the holidays are marked with holiday lighting, tree lightings, candle lightings - as well as the celebration of giving through the most well known and most generous man in the world - Santa Claus.

Meanwhile, back in the Bronx we celebrate in a number of ways, which carry on some of these ancient traditions. The following provides the dates / times / locales and some details regarding many of the various Bronx holiday celebrations and Bronx holiday markets for folks to enjoy between now and the end of the year.

Click here to read our report about Bronx Holiday Markets / Bronx Holiday Events & Things To Do NYC.



NYC Marathon Coming Through the Bronx

New York Road Runners 49th NYC Marathon on Sunday

bronx things to do bronxOctober 29, 2019 / Bronx Things To Do NYC / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

The New York Road Runners / NYRR is hosting its 49th NYC Marathon on Sunday. The NYRR was founded in 1958 and has been organizing the NYC Marathon since 1970. The proceeds from the race go toward the programs of the runner non-profit. They report that the NYRR serves 670,000 people, of which 250,000 are youth, annually.

There are plenty of festivities this week surrounding the affair. Some are held at the NYRR Run Center [NYRR headquarters] at 320 West 57th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan, while others are held at the NYC Marathon Pavilion in Central Park at 67th Street and Central Park West, near the Tavern on the Green in Manhattan.

The other pre-race activities [see location addresses above] include a discussion on Tuesday about the NYC Marathon Book Club from 6 - 8 pm at the NYC Marathon Pavilion. On Wednesday there's a forum of Celebrity Charity Runners who talk about why they are running at the NYC Marathon Pavilion from 7 - 8 pm. On Thursday evening between 6 and 7 pm the NYRR presents the awards for the NYRR Hall of Fame inductees at the NYC Marathon Pavilion. On Friday at the NYRR Run Center there's an NYRR Running History Tour which runs from 10 - 11.30 am.

The pre-race festivities culminate the Saturday evening before the race, when there's an early dinner [3.30 - 8.30 pm] for the runners at the NYC Marathon Pavilion that is prepared by the chefs from Tavern on the Green. They call it the Marathon Eve Dinner. It has a sort of holiday ring to it.

NYC Marathon Times, Route & Statistics to Beat

Statistics 2018. According to the NYRR.org website, in 2018 there were 52,813 runners, from 129 countries, their average run time was 4.40 [hours.minutes] and they raised $40 million for charity. This year there are a number of primarily TV game show celebrities running to raise money for charity.

According to Wikipedia, in 2018 records for participation were broken, yet again, with 30,669 men and 22,143 women participating. The fastest runs times were approximately 2.05 [hours.minutes] for men and 2.20 [hours.minutes] for women.

NYC Marathon Organized at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island

As you can imagine, organizing the 52,000 plus runners in the NYC Marathon, is an annual logistics feat. The NYRR has organized the race into four Waves. Each Wave begins at a different time. Within each Wave there are three Start Times which are color coded green, orange and blue. In addition to three different start times for each wave, there are six different Corrals, A through F, where runners gather to be released into the race during their wave and start time.

NYC Marathon Start Times 2019

The NYC Marathon begins at 8.30 am at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. From there over 52,000 runners departed last year, and the race continues to grow in popularity. The first group to begin the race are in the wheelchair division, followed by the handcyclists. These two groups depart between 8.30 am and 8.52 am.

The next group departs at 9.10 am and it comprises the professional women competing for the title. They are followed a half hour later, at 9.40 am, by the professional men. It is at this time [9.40 am] that the first wave kicks in, with its three start times. The second wave begins at 10.10 am, the third wave begins at 10.35 am and the fourth and final wave begins at 11 am.

NYC Marathon Best Guess Viewing Times

The 16 mile mark of the 29 mile NYC Marathon is at the Queensboro Bridge. That's a bit more than halfway. If you divide the average run time of 4 hours and 40 minutes, to get 2 hours and 20 minutes, you can figure out - depending on which wave / start time your loved ones are in, roughly when they'll be at the halfway mark. And then you can add to that time if you're viewing in Manhattan, or subtract from that time if your viewing in Brooklyn, or be there at the start time if you're on Staten Island. For the Bronx adding three hours to their start time should give a good proximation of when they'll be coming through Mott Haven.

NYC Marathon Route 2019

The NYC Marathon had originally circumvented Central Park, but it quickly outgrew that locale.

Staten Island NYC Marathon Route. The route used today has been in place for a long time, possibly decades. It starts at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, crossing the Verrazzano Bridge.

Brooklyn NYC Marathon Route. The NYC Marathon travels along 4th Avenue through most of southern Brooklyn, then taking a short turn eastward on Lafayette in Downtown Brooklyn, before resuming the northern trek along Bedford Avenue through Williamsburg into Greenpoint, where the course jumps onto Manhattan Avenue at McCarren Park.

Queens NYC Marathon Route. The next step is across the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City Queens, where the NYC Marathon zigs west to Vernon Blvd, marches north along Vernon Blvd, and then 44th Drive and 21st Street before crossing the Queensboro Bridge.

Manhattan NYC Marathon Route. In Manhattan the NYC Marathon travels north along First Avenue.

Bronx NYC Marathon Route. The NYC Marathon route traverses the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Port Morris and then Mott Haven neighborhoods of southern Bronx. The NYC Marathon then heads west along 135th Street to 138th Street in Mott Haven and turns south heading back through Port Morris, over the Madison Avenue Bridge to Manhattan.

Manhattan NYC Marathon Route. In Manhattan the NYC Marathon travels south along 5th Avenue and into Central Park at 125th Street coming down inside the park to end at the NYC Marathon Pavilion.

Whew. I'm plum tired out just cataloguing the route, let alone running it : )

** LINK. Here's a link to the NYC Marathon route map. Enjoy.


2nd Annual NYC Pizza Festival in Bronx Little Italy

The 2nd Annual NYC Pizza Fest in the Bronx was a Sequel that was Hit

October 21, 2019 / Bronx Restaurants / Bronx Things To Do / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

The 2nd Annual NY Pizza Festival was held on the weekend of October 5th & 6th in Bronx Little Italy in the Belmont neighborhood near Fordham University. The festival was held over the weekend attracting thousands to the area to come sample some of the best pizza in New York City and surrounding area ... and there was even a pizza maker from Naples in Italy who had come for the event. I'll have more at a later date, but in the meantime you can sample some of the atmosphere and see some of the gourmet pizza served at the event.


Fordham Road Food Festival

Video & Short Report on the Fordham Road Food Festival

October 1, 2019 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Parades / Bronx Buzz NYC.

This video provides a good look at the entertainment, games, crowds and food available at the Fordham Road Food Festival last Saturday. We'll add more to this report in the future.

 


Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade 2019

Video & Short Report on the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade

September 22, 2019 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Parades / Bronx Buzz NYC.

This video provides a good look at many of the performances included in the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade. We'll add more to this report on Monday.

 


Boogie on the Blvd by the Bronx Museum

September 16, 2019 / Concourse Neighborhood Bronx NYC / Bronx Things To Do NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC

The Bronx Museum hosted Boogie on the Blvd last weekend. The following video shows a bit of a prior Boogie on the Blvd in the Bronx, along with some clips of other Bronx Museum programs and events over the past couple of years.


Central American Independence Parade After Party in the Bronx

September 11, 2019 / Claremont Village East Tremont & West Farms Neighborhoods Bronx / Bronx Events NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

I attended the Central American Independence Parade after party in Crotona Park in the Bronx on a Sunday a couple of years ago. Last Sunday 9/8/19 the event returned and there were food stalls selling various delicacies representing the cuisine of many of the nations that make up Central America - but primarily the Honduras. There were also shopping opportunities for arts, crafts and cultural objects, as well as clothing.

On Sunday the parade started on a somber note, departing at 12 noon from East Tremont Avenue & Southern Blvd, which is the site of the Happy Land Fire Memorial, where in 1990 about 100 people lost their lives - mostly Honduran Garifuna people who were celebrating carnival. The parade celebrates Central Americans, most notably the Honduran Garifuna, and winds its way down Boston Road, and then Charlotte Street to Crotona Park East - ending between Crotona Avenue and Claremont Parkway.

Bronx Central American Independence Parade After Party in Crotona Park Bronx

At the after party in Crotona Park there was main stage set up not far from the Crotona Park amphitheater located along the southwest corner of Indian Pond. The amphitheater was built with stone seating embedded into the landscape and is reminiscent of the ancient amphitheater ruins at Delphi in Greece, but it wasn't used by the event organizers. On the main stage there were numerous musicians, dancers and performers, who entertained the crowd, and representing many Central American nations - but as noted above - mostly from the Honduras.

The video below captures some of the flavor of the Central American Independence Parade after party in Crotona Park in the Bronx a couple of years ago. Enjoy.


Corpus Christi Monastery in the Bronx

bronx monastery hunts point nycJune 19, 2019 / Hunts Point Neighborhood Bronx / Bronx History NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Imagine my surprise when I happened upon a monastery in the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx. The better I get to know the Bronx, the more surprises I find ... like an archeologist peeling away the layers and finding yet another series of layers that begin to tell the tale of one of the most misrepresented boroughs in NYC.

The Corpus Christi Monastery is located at 1230 Lafayette in the Hunts Point neighborhood. Only a little placard, posted on the monastery grounds wall, tells you what lies within.

The photo at right shows the Dominican monastery located in the Hunts Point Neighborhood of the Bronx.

 

The monastery was completed in 1891 according to Wikipedia. The NY Times reports that it's located only four blocks away from the infamous Fort Apache the Bronx. And yet within the cloistered walls, there's a serenity that likely hasn't changed much over the past century and a quarter.

bronx monastery hunts point nycThe photo at right, showing the Corpus Christi Monastery in the Bronx, was collected by the Museum of the City of New York and dated circa 1920.

The monastery is inhabited by the Dominican nuns who practice a contemplative life. They came to the Bronx in the 1880's by invitation of Father Corrigan who wanted a community of the contemplative in the Bronx. Today the monastery is the oldest monastery of the Dominican Order in the United States. An April 28, 2016 CBS report noted that the monastery is in need of donations for repairs, which they were hoping to complete for the 800th anniversary of the order in May of 2016 ... but it looked like they weren't going to reach their goal.

On Sundays about 50 members of the community join the contemplative nuns in attendance at the church for mass.


The Hunts Point Fish Parade

Coming to a Bronx Barretto Park Near You

bronx things to do bronxJune 11, 2019 / Hunts Point Neighborhood Bronx / Bronx Parades NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the 15th Annual Hunts Point Fish Parade. The parade returns this year on Saturday, June 15th.

The Hunts Point Fish Parade is a community parade, celebrating the history and ongoing revival of the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx. The parade begins at Hunts Point Riverside Park, which is periodically used as a landing and / or launching point by the Bronx River Alliance. The Bronx River Alliance is a green kyaking, canoeing and sailing organization, that conducts many of its events along the Bronx River.

The Hunts Point Fish Parade is organized by the Point Community Development Corporation - or Point CDC - which is a non-profit dedicated to the cultural, economic and youth development of the Hunts Point neighborhood. To that end they march down to Barretto Point Park, which is a recently refurbished NYC Park that has something of an incredible view looking south along the East River into Manhattan and Queens.

bronx things to do bronxIn Barretto Park I found a number of tables set up, many of which last year contained political candidate information, but also information on healthy eating and exercise, generally tied to local organizations within the community offering such products and services. There were basketball games held in the park, as well as impromptu pick up games being played by some of the children, and down along the waterfront there was entertainment by a number of different local groups.

I'll try to post a bit more about this later today / this week. But again note that the 16th Annual Hunts Point Fish Parade is on Saturday, June 15th, with the parade registration beginning at 10 am, the parade beginning about 11 am - both at Hunts Point Riverside Park. And the parade ends at Barretto Park, where the festival begins at 12 noon and runs until a quarter to 5 pm.


St Anthony Festival in Bronx Little Italy

Next Week the Bronx Little Italy Festival of St. Anthony Returns to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Belmont Neighborhood of the Bronx

June 4, 2019 / Belmont Neighborhood of the Bronx / Bronx Restaurants NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

bronx feast of st anthony our lady of mount carmel church belmont neighborhood arthur avenue bronx little italy bronx feast of st anthony videoNext week on Wednesday, June 12 from 6 pm to 10 pm - The Feast of St. Anthony. begins in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. It's the 113th annual Feast of St Anthony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at 627 East 187th Street. The festival includes a number of religious and church services, beginning on Wednesday and ending on Sunday with a procession that begins at 5 pm. The general public is welcome to attend the church services as well as the Italian flavored festival in the Little Italy section of the Bronx, located just south of Fordham University, adjacent to Arthur Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx.

The St. Anthony festival includes rides, games, raffles, food and entertainment every night. We attended last year and put together a short video to give you a sampling of what rides and games to expect when you attend, which has been posted below. The food is not really shown very much in the video, but is a bit in the report, but it's generally a mix of Italian, Latin and grilled fare.

Festival Location / Hours. The festival runs from Wednesday, June 12th through Sunday, June 16th and the hours are Wed & Thurs from 6 - 10 pm / Fri until 11 pm, Sat from 2 pm - 11 pm / Sun from 2 pm - 10 pm. The festival is located in the triangle of streets along Cresent and Arthur Avenues & 187th Street in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx [along East 187th street from Arthur to Beaumont Avenue, and along Crescent from Cambreleng to Belmont Avenue].

It's free to walk around but you'll need to pay for the rides and food, but they're competively priced.

We also wrote a short report on the Festival of St. Anthony near Arthur Avenue in Little Italy in the Bronx, which you can read by clicking the prior link.



Orchard Beach Opens for Season

Bronx Beach in Pelham Bay Park Opens for 2019 Summer Season

May 27, 2019 / Orchard Beach Bronx Neighborhoods / Things To Do Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Orchard Beach opened over the Memorial Day Weekend. The 1.1 mile beach is open from 10 am - 6 pm, at which time there's a lifeguard on duty. Swimming is prohibited when a life guard is not on duty.

It's located at the southern end of Pelham Bay Park, which you can easily drive to where parking is $8 during weekdays and $10 on weekends. You can also get there via bicycle or a combination of taking the #6 subway to the last stop which is Pelham Bay Park and then taking the #12 bus to Orchard Beach. If you're interested in dining, City Island is nearby and you can take the #29 bus there or walk / cycle as it's about a mile.

Orchard Beach in the Bronx has free shower, changing and bathroom facilities. You can also barbeque there.

The video below shows one of many entertainment events at Orchard Beach over the summer, which we'll have more on as the summer arrives.


 


The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

Wandering Along an Architectural & Construction Marvel

bronx things to do bronxMay 14, 2019 / Highbridge Neighborhood Bronx / Bronx History NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

I came upon a pedestrian walk way while exploring the Highbridge neigbhorhood in the Bronx. I soon found it was called the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail and that a stone aqueduct, completed in 1842, lie beneath the smooth level walk way I was making my way along.

When I returned home, I found a whole history of the Old Croton Aqueduct and the positive impact it had on New York nearly two centuries ago, and it was designed and built so well, that it continues to play a role in many New Yorkers' daily lives.

The photo at right shows the pedestrian trail that runs atop the Old Croton Aqueduct in the Bronx.

I'll have more later today about the history and the impact of the Old Croton Aqueduct. Along with the history, you'll learn quite a bit about the history of popular locations today in both the Bronx and Manhattan.


Video Tour of the Bronx Zoo - Photos of Bronx Zoo on the Bronx Buzz | bronx zoo video tour bronx zoo photos bronx zoo in nyc bedford park belmont neighborhoods near the bronx zoo nyc
Video Tour of the Bronx Zoo - Photos of Bronx Zoo on the Bronx Buzz

Video Tour of the Bronx Zoo with Photos

The Bronx Zoo Provides an Enjoyable Learning Experience

April 30, 2019 / Belmont Neighborhood / Bronx Things To Do / Bronx Buzz NYC.

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Bronx Zoo. Tickets to the Bronx Zoo aren't cheap as admission is $40 / $35 / $30 or you can obtain a year long membership pass for three adults and four children for $210. On Wednesdays, you can make a voluntary donation or even be admitted free, but you have to pay for admission to special exhibits. It's worth mentioning that the Bronx Zoo is far too big to really 'do' in one day.

bronx zoo bronx things to do bronx zoo nycThe Bronx Zoo sits atop 265 acres and is run by a non-profit environmental conservation organization, the Wildlife Conservation Society. While the official address of the Bronx Zoo is 2300 Southern Blvd, there are three other entrances to the park - one at Southern Blvd at Bronx Park South, another at Bronx River Parkway and Pelham Parkway and the one through which I entered, the Asia Gate, at 180th Street and Tremont Avenue. For most New Yorkers using public transit, the Asia Gate is your best bet via subway as the #2 & #5 subway train stop at 180th Street is only a block away.

Although the base entrance fee is free on Wednesdays, the park asks for additional charges to gain admittance to special exhibits, of which there are at least eight. The special experience exhibits include: 1) the Bug Carousel, 2) the Congo Gorilla Forest, 3) the Nature Trek, 4) the Jungle World, 5) the Butterfly Garden, 6) the Zoo Shuttle, 7) the Wild Asia Monorail and 8) the Children's Zoo. I visited only one of them, Jungle World, as to 'do' one of them properly, I recommend allotting about an hour or more of time.

The Jungle World is one of the first special exhibits accessible from the Asia Gate.




Mediums of Exchange at Lehman Art Gallery

Two Site Art Exhibit Explores the Role of Money in Society

bronx things to do bronxApril 9, 2019 / Bedford Park Neighborhood / Bronx Art Scene / Bronx Buzz NYC.

There's an art exhibit entitled Mediums of Exchange that opened at the Shirley Fiterman Art Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in Tribeca / Downtown Manhattan on January 31st, 2019 and ended March 30th. But it was a two site / two part art exhibit, with the second site opening in the Bedford Park neighborhood of the Bronx at the Lehman College Art Gallery on February 9th and which runs through May 4th, 2019.

It's a group show, that showcases 35 artists, most if not all of whom I believe are NYC based [unconfirmed]. And the exhibit explores the role of money from a social, psychological and economic point of view. On Wednesdays there are artist talks beginning at 5 pm. I am currently in the process of trying to find out if the artist talks are held every Wednesday or only periodically [ad hoc] and then how late the gallery stays open on those evenings, because the Lehman Art Gallery is normally open from 10 am - 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday.

I hope to post more about this exhibit at a later date. The image above was taken from the Lehman Art Gallery in the Bronx.


Daughters of the Stone

The Tale of 5 Generations of Afro-Caribbean Women

bronx things to do bronxApril 2, 2019 / Bronx Neighborhoods - Concourse / Bronx Culture & Literature / Bronx Buzz NYC.

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to attend a book talk by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Central Bonx neighborhood on the Concourse.

The Andrew Freedman Home is worth the trip in itself and it was a rare treat to hear a distinguished author in such a distinguished setting. But I was not alone in savoring the moments.

The room was full, mostly of women, many of whom likely were of some Puerto Rican or African descent, and they had come to learn more about their shared past as described by one woman who had fictionalized some of the history of five generations of her family.

I'll have more later today on the Daughters of the Stone by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa at the Andrew Freedman Home on Friday, March 15th.


NYS Rent Regulations up for Renewal

NYS Assembly and NYS Senate to Strengthen, Renew or let Expire NYS Rent Regulation Laws

queens things to doMarch 19, 2019 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Government & Politics / Queens Buzz NYC.

On Saturday I attended an event discussing the upcoming legislation pending in the NYS government in Albany concerning NYS rent regulations. Currently about 2 million of the 8.5 million people who live in NYC will be affected.

The primary topic of the event was MCI or Major Capital Improvements, which is a loophole in rent regulations that allows landlords to initiate projects within their buildings and then pass along the project costs to their tenants, in such manner as to provide the landlord with an incremental revenue increase that lasts into eternity, and which encourages landlords to get creative in originating projects in an effort to raise the rents of their regulated apartments at an accelerating speed in order to grow the monthly rent beyond the legal limit of regulation.

What happens then, is that a significant number of longstanding tenants in regulated housing, are priced out of their homes and neighborhoods. Some of the displaced tenants even become homeless. This is why homelessness nearly doubled under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg - who looked the other way as NYS rent regulations were being renewed.

The event was held in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, where hundreds - if not a thousand - people came to particpate in the discussion.

I'll have more on this at a later date.


Bronx St Patricks Day Bars, Irish Pubs & Restaurants in the Bronx NYC | nyc bronx st pats day bars irish pubs restaurants bronx nyc st pats day throgs neck city island morris park mott haven norwood kingsbridge fieldston van courtlandt bronx irish pubs restaurants bars bronx irish restaurants bronx nyc
Bronx St Patricks Day Bars, Irish Pubs & Restaurants in the Bronx NYC

St Pat's Day Bars & Irish Pubs & Restaurants in the Bronx

Bronx St Pat's Day Pubs, Irish Bars & Restaurants On St. Patrick's Day in the Bronx Neighborhoods of Throgs Neck, Kingsbridge, Fieldston, Bedford Park, Mott Haven, Norwood, Woodlawn Heights, Westchester Square [near Morris Park], Middleton Pelham Bay [near City Island], Williamsbridge and one in Yonkers

February 25, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods NYC / Bronx Restaurants NYC / St Patricks Day Parade Throgs Neck Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

St. Patrick's Day is upon us once again and it's time for one and all, regardless of genetic history, to don their green clothing and head out to the Irish bars for a pint of ale or to the Irish restaurants for some down home Irish fare ... or something like that.

This report is about some of the Bronx Irish bars and restaurants that have survived the test of time, and likely a might bit ... more. The Irish pubs include Irish bars and restaurants from Throgs Neck, Kingsbridge, Fieldston, Bedford Park, Morris Park, Mott Haven, Norwood, Woodlawn Heights, Westchester Square, Middleton Pelham Bay [near City Island], Williamsbridge and one in Yonkers.



Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. - Bronx State of the Borough Address - Bronx NYC | bronx borough president ruben diaz jr state of the bronx borough address 2019 bronx state of the boro address ruben diaz jr nys senator chuck schumer bronx nyc
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. - Bronx State of the Borough Address - Bronx NYC

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr Unofficially Announces Mayoral Candidacy

Bronx Borough President Diaz Delivers Borough Address 2019

February 21, 2019 / Mott Haven Neighborhood / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Politics & Government / Bronx Buzz NYC.

I stepped inside the auditorium, at Samuel Gompers Career and Technical Education High School in Mott Haven, just as the National Anthem began. Eden Augustine from the Bronx High School of Science sang the anthem last year and this year it was xyz from H.E.R.O High. The H.E.R.O. stands for Health, Education & Research Occupations.

The Principal of the school, Kristen Cahill Garcia, stepped out onto the stage to say a few words. She noted that Samuel Gompers CTE High School had closed in 2015 and re-opened that Fall as three schools: 1) H.E.R.O. High, 2) a New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II, and 3) Mott Haven Community High School which is a transfer school for older students. She went on to say that while things have been progressing in a positive direction – there’s still more work to be done.

Senate Minority Leader Schumer Gives Introductory Remarks

The next speaker, was a surprise guest, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senator Schumer mentioned how he was trying to help with affordable housing and getting more train stations added for commuters in the Eastern neighborhoods of the Bronx. He talked about how we are stronger when we are united, and that the Bronx seems to be united, in spite of the fact that so many of its denizens come from somewhere else. He finished by complimenting Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on his leadership.

Bronx President's State of the Borough Address Well Attended

And the last of the ‘warm up remarks’ was given by a Bronx Borough President's Office staffer [Communications Director John DeSio?] who called off a very long list of people in attendance including: Bronx City Council members, NYS Senators, NYS Assembly members, NYC government officials, people representing federal and state government officials, a few Brooklynites, and high ranking Bronx Borough officials like the head of the NYPD in the Bronx and NYC Parks Department in the Bronx and others. He continued on, mentioning folks from non-profits including a number of people representing higher learning institutions in the Bronx such as ruben diaz jr state of the bronx borough ruben diaz bronx state of the borough 2019 bronx soutb 2019 bronx nyc ruben diaz jrHostos, Monroe and Bronx Community Colleges, members of the leadership teams at Jacobi Hospital and Lincoln Medical Center, and Bronx cultural organizations like the NY Botanical Gardens, the Bronx Museum, the Bronx Council for the Arts, and lastly, but not least, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and several Bronx union chapters like the Bronx Carpenters Union and Bronx Electrical Union. This is not a complete list but it’s a pretty good summary without the full detail.

Not in Attendance - Ruben Diaz Sr?

Notably absent from the list, was NYC Councilmember Ruben Diaz Sr., who made his way into the news with a comment about gays last week – click here to read a short report. I reckon Ruben Diaz Sr.’s absence was probably best for both of them, as they seem to have a good relationship, even though they’re different from one another.

We were treated to a short, entertaining video featuring the Bodega Boys, who reportedly just signed with Showtime for a program at 11 pm on Thursdays. The Bodega Boys started a podcast that put them into the big time. Kind of like how Cardi B started posting videos on YouTube, which went viral and made her into the top billing name she is today.

In the video there was an ‘unofficial announcement’ of Ruben Diaz Jr.’s plans to run for NYC Mayor in 2021 [see photo still from the video above].



Bronx City Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr Creates a Stir with Remarks about Gays & Loses Chairmanship | bronx city council member ruben diaz sr nys senator ruben diaz sr bronx government bronx politics bronx nyc
Bronx City Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr Creates a Stir with Remarks about Gays & Loses Chairmanship

Ruben Diaz Sr.'s Comments on Gays

NYC City Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr. Creates Stir & Loses Chairman Post

February 15, 2019 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

The photo at right shows Ruben Diaz Sr at Ruben Diaz Jr's State of the Borough Address in 2018. This week or so, New York City Councilman Diaz opened his mouth and stuck a cowboy-sized boot in it, declaring that City Hall was, "... controlled by the homosexual community ...". The statement cost Diaz his NYC Council Chairmanship, and the NYC Council then voted 45 - 1 to punish him, following an investigation.

Diaz Sr isn't doing his son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, any favors, as his son has been rumored to be contemplating a run for Mayor in 2021.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr tweeted that his father's remarks were antagonistic, not inclusive nor respectful of our diversity, and that his father should apologize. Thus far Ruben Diaz Sr has refused to do so. Diaz, a former minister, ought to pay heed to the Bible, which in the Book of Proverbs tells us that, "Pride goeth before the fall."



Bronx Valentines Day Restaurants - Bronx Romantic Restaurants Bronx NYC | bronx valentines day restaurants bronx valentines dinners mott haven valentines day bronx fordham university heights valentines day riverdale valentines restaurants city island concourse belmont morris park parkchester bedford park melrose throgs neck valentines day restaurants bronx nyc
Bronx Valentines Day Restaurants - Bronx Romantic Restaurants Bronx NYC

Bronx Valentines Day Restaurants - Bronx NYC

Valentines Day / Romantic Restaurants in or near Mott Haven, Fordham, Port Morris, Concourse, Bedford Park, Norwood, University Heights, City Island, Riverdale, Melrose, Morris Park, Westchester Square & Parkchester Bronx NYC

February 5, 2020 / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Restaurants / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Valentine's Day is less than two weeks away. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and dinner are always welcome treats, and / or some thoughtful gesture that shows that the lady [or man] you're with, still means a lot to you.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice at a romantic Bronx restaurant on Valentine's Day, and sometimes it's difficult to make them for the weekend preceding Valentine's Day. So if you're thinking about doing something this Valentine's Day for dinner in or around the Mott Haven, Fordham, Port Morris, Concourse, Bedford Park, Norwood, University Heights, City Island, Riverdale, Melrose, Morris Park, Westchester Square & Parkchester neighborhoods; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.

Valentine's Day History - Romantic Restaurants in the Bronx

The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It's believed to have been named after Saint Valentine who was apparently a Catholic martyr who died over 1500 years ago. Today the holiday is not associated with religion so much as flowers, candies, cards and romantic dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and quite a mischief maker.

Click this link to view a brief guide of Valentine's Day restaurants in the Bronx / romantic restaurants Bronx NYC where you will find short descriptions or links to Bronx restaurants we've visited in the past or have reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Enjoy.



Who was Louis J. Heintz?

Joyce Kilmer Park Statues Contain a bit of Bronx History

louis j heintz statue photos joyce kilmer park bronx nycJanuary 29, 2019 / Concourse Neighborhood / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Last Fall I attended a gathering at the Bronx Museum where the Chairman of the NY Federal Reserve gave a speech about the economy. He had come to Bronx to take the pulse of things here, as much as or even more than to spread the word about what the Federal Reserve was doing, as - at the time - things were going quite well.

After the meeting I walked back to the subway at 165th Street and Jerome Avenue near Yankee Stadium. On my way, I walked down the Grand Concourse which runs north / south through the center of the Bronx. Alongside the Grand Concourse, immediately north of the Bronx Borough Hall, there's a beautiful park that provides a welcoming spot for one to relax and enjoy a beautiful day, which it was.

As I took in the day, watching the kids play on the northwest end of the park, and older folks sitting on the park benches a bit further south, I started noticed one of the beautiful statues standing stately in the park near the southwest corner. I photographed the statue and researched the man it honored when I returned home. The statue, shown at right, was of Louis J. Heintz.

 

Heintz & the John Eichler Brewing Company of Claremont Neighborhood in the Bronx

eichler brewing company photos bronx nycLouis J. Heintz lived a very short life as he was born in 1861 and died in 1893. He was of German descent and worked in Eichler Brewery at 169th Street, between Fulton and Third Avenue in what is today the Claremont neighborhood. The John Eichler Brewing Company was run by Heintz's uncle. The John Eichler Brewery opened in 1865 and remained in business - save during the Prohibition [1920 - 1933] - until in 1947, The John Eichler Brewing Company discontinued operations. In the 1880's Louis J. Heintz became the President of the Brewers Board of Trade of New York and became a respected businessman.

 

The photo above right shows the Eichler Brewing Company which was featured in the book entitled Images of the South Bronx published by Arcadia Publishing. And shown below is an Eichler Brewing Company beer label, which was probably from the Prohibition given its low alcohol content.

eichler brewing company photos bronx nycHeintz's uncle, John Eichler, was born in Bavaria in 1829. In 1858, having learned the brewing trade, before emigrating to America. He worked for the Turtle Bay Brewery for a few years, before forming a brewery which bought the Kolb Brewery in 1865, which he transformed into John Eichler Brewery. In 1888 Eichler formed the company into a stockholding company, because his health was failing. John Eichler died in 1892. As mentioned above, the company continued until it was purchased in 1947, by which time it had become one of the largest breweries in New York City, producing a half million barrels per year.

 

New York City Annexes Southern Bronx 1874 / Eastern Bronx 1895

New York City expanded the boundaries of the city in 1874 by annexing the southern areas of the Bronx including Kingsbridge, Morrisania and West Farms. Later, in 1895, the East Bronx was added while expanding the city's boundary. And in 1898 the area that is today modern day Queens, the city of Brooklyn and Staten Island were all added to comprise what is today the five boroughs of New York City. Each borough is a separate county of New York State.

Louis Heintz Becomes Bronx Street Commissioner

eichler brewing company photos bronx nycFollowing the annexation of the Bronx as part of New York City in 1874, the people of the Bronx found their street development lacking. In 1889 Heintz began advocating for a position managed independently in the Bronx, to pave and manage the streets. Heintz became the first Bronx Commissioner of Streets in 1890, after gaining agreement starting a year earlier that such a position was needed in order to have the Bronx streets paved.

Heintz died shortly after falling ill, following attendance at President Grover Cleveland's inauguration which was held on March 4, 1893. Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. Prior to becoming President he was the Governor of New York State and the Mayor of Buffalo.

The photo at right shows the Eichler Mansion at 169th Street and Fulton in the Claremont neighborhood of the Bronx which was featured in the book entitled Images of the South Bronx published by Arcadia Publishing.

The statue of Louis J. Heintz was cast in 1905 and dedicated in 1909.

Sources: OldBreweries.com, Wikipedia.org, NYCGovParks.org, FindaGrave.com, BronxMall.com and Images of the South Bronx [a book by Arcadia Publishing].


NY Botanical - The Bronx Garden of Eden

An Array of Enticements for World Travelers & Locals in NYC

bronx things to do bronxJanuary 15, 2019 / Bedford Park Neighborhood / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Things To Do / Bronx Buzz NYC.

A week ago I headed up to the New York Botanical Garden to view the Holiday Train Show and experience their famous Bar Car Nights. It was a Saturday and the program began around 7 pm. I walked from the subway and arrrived about 8 pm, so I had plenty of time to look around, since it went on until 10.30 pm.

I entered at the western gate along Southern Blvd and walked along the winding path, heading to the pavilion where there were food vendors, a fire and an ice sculptor. Along the path of the Garden Way there were dancers from American Circus Theatre performing slow moving pieces that highlighted the body as form in motion. I paused at the Christmas tree, which was postcard perfect and the sight of numerous photo taking sessions, before heading up to the Pavilion.

The Pavilion is tucked just inside the NY Botanical Gardens southern gate. Local food vendors were tucked in along the walls and a railing in a U shape, with a fire burning in the middle of it. The food vendors are generally participants of the Bronx Night Market, and thus may change from week to week. The Bronx Night Market which is a seasonal pop up market in the Fordham neighborhood.

This week the food vendors were Kernelicious from the Fordham neighborhood serving gourmet popcorn, City Tamale from the bronx things to do bronxHunts Point neighborhood serving Mexican food, Barbeque on a Stick from Long Island City in Queens serving Homestyle Filipino barbeque on a stick, and The Fried Kitchen who are caterers from Port Morris serving fried chicken. They were also serving wine and beer, where a line had formed.

I watched an ice sculptor from Okamoto Studio NYC ply his trade, as it appeared he had nearly completed a sphinx-like cat. Behind him there was the NY Botanical Garden Pine Cafe and beyond that a long separate room, where a couple of local musicians were entertaining a fairly large crowd with some American tunes from the 20th century.

Finally, I was ready to visit the famed Holiday Train Show, which was situated inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The Conservatory is "a stunning example of Victorian-style glass house artistry" and worth a visit by itself. The building was inspired by the Royal Botanic Garden in London and took three years to erect, completed in 1902. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is used to house the Holiday Train Show during the holidays and the Orchid Show in the Spring.

Visitors from around the world come to visit the NY Botanical Gardens, to see the Conservatory, as well as forest that bronx things to do bronxthe Botanical Garden has tried to keep intact since prior to the Revolutionary War in the late 1700's. It's a highly challenging preservation task, given the NY Botanical Garden is situated in one of the largest cities in the world, where winds bring unwelcome vegetational visitors, and pollution doesn't make things any easier.

Inside the Haupt Conservatory I found the Holiday Train Show. The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show is also worth a visit on its own, but the Bar Car Night program allows you to satisfy your curiosity on both of these attractions, at the same time. The Holiday Train Show began 27 years ago in 1991.

A film showing how the New York Botanical Holiday Train Show had been constructed was shown at the entrance. This was followed by tables and elevated train tracks where the trains seemed to soar past us. But the real treat lie in wait, as we entered the Conservatory where the lush green vegetation was used as the environment for the trains and associated structures. Overhead, literally dozens of feet above us, were the paned glass windows of possibly a century ago.

bronx things to do bronxPeople were milling about, enjoying the ambiance, the train show detail, and each others' company. While it was early January, the holiday spirit remained intact. I spent a fair amount of time taking it all in before I headed back to the bar, where another group of folks were milling about enjoying the social ambiance. On my way out I passed by some NYBG carolers who had created a chorus of visitors singing some well known holiday tunes. The last Bar Car Nights of the Season was January 12th, but it will return in mid November of this year. And the Holiday Train Show runs one more week, ending Monday, January 21, 2019.

Tickets cost $38 for non-members and $28 for NYBG members. P.S. They also have a restaurant called the Hudson Garden Grill in the Ross Conifer Arboretum, which is between the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and the western Southern Blvd Gate. It's open daily from 11.30 am - 6 pm, but they vary the light and full menu based on weekdays / weekends.

Scroll down to view a video of the Bar Car Nights at the NY Botanical Gardens, including the Holiday Train Show.


Bar Car Nights at the New York Botanical Garden

January 5, 2018 / Bedford Park Fordham Central Bronx Neighborhoods / Holiday Things To Do Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

This is a short video capturing the various entertainment offerings included in the NY Botanical Garden Bar Car Nights program over the holidays. There was music, an outside fire surrounded by presumably Bronx restaurateurs' offerings, an ice sculptor performing his art, dancers and singers caroling and performing, and the holiday train show in the Enid Haupt Conservatory, which is worth the trip all in itself. Next Saturday is the last night of this program until next Fall.


NYC Marathon Runs Through the Bronx

Since 1976 the NYC Marathon Has Run Through the Bronx

November 13, 2018 / Mott Haven Neighborhood / Bronx Sports / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

On November 4th, 2018 over 52,000 runners traversed the lower part of the Bronx borough. The Bronx is part of a 26 mile long course that's been used by the NYC Marathon for a long while.

According to Wikipedia the current race configuration was first outlined and used in 1976. Wikipedia also reports that the NYC Marathon is the largest marathon in the world. The NYC Marathon originated in 1970, running around Central Park, but picked up so much interest that it was expanded just six years later to its current five borough course.

Literally tens of thousands come out to watch the runners traverse their neighborhoods. And the locals are joined by likely tens of thousands more, who come to cheer their runners onward. The spectators come from all over the nation and all around the world. It's a very festive day / weekend and the city is packed with visitors.

Generally the NYC Marathon weekend officially begins in Central Park with official festivities, the configuration of which has been evolving over the years. The race is generally sponsored by a large national or multi-national company, which uses the event promotionally to create awareness around their brand name. I've noticed that recently the branded promotional merchandising of items appears to have expanded significantly.

This year I covered the NYC Marathon in Brooklyn, but below is a video I shot in the Bronx in 2017, but didn't post. It's still a short, fun one and a half minute watch. Enjoy.


Pregones Theater in the South Bronx

The Bronx is Hitting its Stride as one of NYC's Great Cultural Centers

October 22, 2018 / Concourse Neighborhood Bronx / Music Dance & Theater Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Last summer the Pregones Theater or Teatro Pregones hosted a block party in tandem in the Concourse neighborhood with Lincoln Center Out of Doors. The recognition by Lincoln Center for the quality of Pregones Theater programming, shows just how far Teatro Pregones has come in earning the respect of one of the nation's most elite cultural centers. But this is nothing new for the Bronx these days.

Since gaining recognition for Rap and Hip Hop, the Bronx became known for its music, art and culture. Rap is said to have begun starting in 1973 when the first known hip hop party was thrown by DJ Kook Herc at 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the nearby Morris Heights neighborhood in the Bronx.

The Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were organized in the mid 1970's by John Saddler who took the name of Grand Master Flash. One of the Furious Five members, Keef Cowboy, is credited with coming up with the name hip hop. In 1979 The Sugar Hill Gang's Rappers' Delight reportedly brought Rap and Hip Hop into the mainstream. And in the following three decades, Rap and Hip Hop went mainstream, with rappers and hip hop artists emerging from all around the nation and all around the world.

In 2015 Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, known as Cardi B, emerged as a national artist, after a few of her videos went viral. In 2017 Kardi B put out a single, Bodack Yellow, that quickly rose to #1. I went to listen to it on Youtube and it uses an Arabian theatrical motif, where Kardi B talks about dancing. Kardi B was formerly a strip club dancer and she rapped about how she doesn't need to dance for 'you' anymore. Once a poor nobody with some looks and talent, Kardi B became a rich and famous somebody almost overnight. Her video has received 668 million views.

Within the same month, Boogie wit da Hoodie , whose birthname is , put out an album, The Bigger Artist, that also went to #1. That video received 21 million views. Thus, these two artists - along with a number of others, moved the Bronx back into the limelight of Rapper / Hip Hop culture.

The reason I mention all of this, is because as you watch the video below, you'll notice the rich cultural poetry, and emerging sense of theater, emanating from two of the guest performers I saw that day. Pregones Theater / Teatro Pregones continues to host other talented artists throughout the year in both Spanish and English ... and if the block party is any indication ... far beyond these two languages alone.


Pizza in the Bronx - New York Pizza Festival near Arthur Avenue in Belmont | new york pizza festival belmont neighborhood bronx nyc italian neighborhoods bronx italian restaurants bronx arthur ave pizza in the bronx ny pizza festival photos video
Pizza in the Bronx - New York Pizza Festival near Arthur Avenue in Belmont

New York Pizza Festival in the Bronx

1st Annual NY Pizza Festival in Bronx Little Italy was a Success

October 7, 2018 / Belmont Neighborhood & Arthur Avenue / Bronx Restaurants / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

It was a warm, humid afternoon as I made my way north to the Arthur Avenue section of the Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx. I was on my way to the first annual Pizza Festival hosted by the Belmont BID [Business Improvement District] in the Bronx Little Italy.

As I made my way east from the subway and began to enter the neighborhood, I began to feel the transformation of entering another world. Visiting Bronx Little Italy on Arthur Avenue had never felt like this before. Perhaps it was the laziness of a Saturday afternoon in the Fall, or possibly the increased pedestrian traffic associated with the Pizza Festival, but Arthur Avenue looked great in all of its Italian splendor.

So I took my time walking south along the Avenue to Crescent Street where the festival was being held. There were plenty of people out and about, enjoying the afternoon in the neighborhood, and Arthur Avenue had dressed up to impress, showing its charm as a competitive alternative to the more touristed Little Italy in Manhattan.

ny pizza festival bronx new york pizza festival photos & video italian neighborhoods bronx italian restaurants belmont neighborhood bronx photosWhen I arrived at Cresent Street there were blocks of small white tents lined up along one side of the street. A large but dispersed crowd was milling around many of the booths, even though I had arrived around 4 pm, well past the opening at noon.

I made my way past the entertainment to get a closer look at the pizza makers, their ovens and their wares. Making pizza looked to be a fairly simple process for these pros. The Belmont BID website said there were about 34 pizza makers from NYC who were there to compete for the attendees' interest and sales.

I began talking to some of the pizza makers, who seemed to be having fun. I caught up with Mayor de Blasio midway through the festival. He was surrounded by a lot of the pizza makers and / or the NY Pizza Festival attendees, and there seemed to be a bit of back and forth and picture taking and what not. So I took a few photos too, before moving on to Gino's Pizza.

  • CLICK here to read the rest of our report about the NY Pizza Festival Bronx including a short video of the event.




Doc Film Center in the Bronx

Film Based Cultural Center Attracts Eclectic Group for presentation of Carlos Villalon’s Coca: The Lost War on Drugs

doc film center melrose movies in the bronx cinema film bronxSeptember 24, 2018 / Melrose Neighborhood Bronx / Arts & Film in the Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

In July I visited the Doc Film Center in the Bronx to attend a new film by Carlos Villalon about the failed war on drugs. I arrived as it was getting dark, disembarking from the #5 train at the HUB at 3rd Avenue, 149th Street and Willis in the neighborhood of Melrose. I walked north a couple of blocks and took a left, coming upon the Doc Film Center which is housed in a three story building that looks to be in the neighborhood of a century old.

The HUB at 3rd Avenue, 149th Street and Willis / Melrose Avenue intersection was once referred to as the Times Square of the Bronx. It is still a fairly robust shopping district during the daytime, but after hours when the stores close, it has a sort of abandoned feel. I went in knowing that the crime rate in the Bronx, like the rest of the city, is down significantly versus prior years.

In the past five years, according to the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, the murder rate for the entire Bronx has been below 100. This is in a borough that is home to 1.471 million, so the murder rate is below 1 murder for every 14,710 people in the Bronx. It’s worth adding that a third of Bronx murders are from gang related violence, which sometimes includes collateral damage.

 

Architecture Near the Hub in Melrose: 1900 - 1930

melrose neighborhood bronx architecture bronx near hub melrose neighborhood bronxThe NYPD has been having some good success in taking down gangs in Bronx as well as NYC. In March of 2016, they reportedly completed the biggest bust in the Bronx, capturing 89 gang members. There are numerous places in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are far more dangerous, but Bronx historically has been given the worst reputational rap, and that impression, while changing, still lingers. I attribute it to LOCAL TV NEWS COVERAGE, which seems to PRIMARILY report crime stories when covering the Bronx.

As I walked to the Doc Film Center I observed the architecture around which I found myself surrounded. The Hub heyday was back in the early 1900’s running into the 1930’s when the Great Depression hit. Thus many of the buildings in the area are from that time period, which to me, is what I’ve come to think of as New York classical architecture and building. They made them quite well back then, as America was flexing its economic strength.

Inside the Doc Film Center I walked along the wooden floors to a large room with incredibly high ceilings, like what you would expect to find in a high school gym. There were chairs lined up looking toward the front of the building where the speaker had already begun his presentation.

What followed was a journey into the drug wars. As Carlos Villalon took us on a journey through the South American jungles, into Coca: The Lost War on Drugs …


Feast of St Anthony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Belmont near Arthur Avenue in the Bronx | feast of st anthony our lady of mount carmel church belmont neighborhood bronx nyc italian neighborhoods bronx italian restaurants bronx
Feast of St Anthony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Belmont near Arthur Avenue in the Bronx

Feast of St Anthony in the Bronx

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Celebrates the Feast of St Anthony in the Arthur Avenue & Belmont Neighborhood of the Bronx

September 18, 2018 / Belmont Neighborhood Bronx / Things To in the Bronx / Bronx Restaurants / Bronx Buzz NYC.

 

Around the beginning of the summer I had the pleasure of attending the 112th annual Feast of St Anthony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at 627 East 187th Street in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. The affair began on Wednesday June 13th and ran through Sunday, June 17th.

I arrived on a Saturday at the triangle of streets joining Cresent Avenue, Cambreleng Avenue & 187th Street in the Little Italy section of the Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx. I shot some video capturing some of the rides, games, raffles, food and entertainment, which was present every night of the fair.

 



Bronx Farmers Mkts, Street Fairs, Member Events Calendar

* Click here for reports about Bronx street fairs, Bronx farmers markets, Bronx shopping venues and restaurants in the Bronx.

* Click here for free summer movies in the Bronx, free summer theater in the Bronx and free summer concerts in the Bronx.


Pregones Theater La Casita Block Party

Pregones Theater Hosted the La Casita Block Party of Poets, Musicians & Artists & a bit of Pregones Theater History

August 6, 2018 / Concourse Neighborhood / Bronx Theater / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

bronx things to do bronxOn Sunday I made my way over to the Pregones Theater in the Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx. Pregones is located at 575 Walton Street, only a couple of blocks from Hostos College and the Post Office in the Bronx. Today was their annual block party, the origins of which, date back to the early 2000's. Pregones Theater moved to this location on Walton Street in the Concourse neighborhood in 2005.

It's worth mentioning that Pregones Theater has been serving the Bronx community of actors, actresses, producers, directors, playwrights and their audiences for nearly four decades. Pregones was started in 1979 and recently [2015 - 2017?] merged with another theater company, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, to become the cultural institution that it is today.

The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater began in 1967 and helped give birth to the careers of Raul Julia and Miriam Colon, and recently merged with Pregones. Today Pregones Theater / The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater has venues in both Bronx and Manhattan.

As I arrived I noticed their colorful psychedelic house, the Casita, erected as the backdrop for the stage where performers would take flight to delight the audience. It was around 4 pm and a poet, I know it, was speaking, sweet talking, sugary, short arias of verbalized visuals whose acoustical imagery was as stimulating and winding as a quick jazzy beat. Too fast, to fully comprehend, the details of which lie within.

bronx things to do bronxI remember a subway ride, some history, a street scene, but you really had to be there to get the full gist. You missed. But they'll be back next year and they have numerous performances throughout the year.

Along the sidewalks vendors were selling unique - possibly Bronx made, clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, pottery, purses, knapsacks, paper products and other little finds, many of which you might be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

I stepped inside the theater to check it out. It's a well kept, spacious theater, with seating for somewhere between 50 to 100. And a hall of fame showing accolades for performances and performers of years past.

The folks were friendly and it was definitely an artsy, eclectic and friendly crowd. There were also folks there from Lincoln Center Out of Doors, who in part sponsored the block party performances. And Pregones Theater / The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater also performed down at Lincoln Center on Saturday, August 4th at 12 noon in Hearst Plaza, as part of their relationship with Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

By the way, 'pregones' in Spanish, means 'cries' in English. But nobody was crying today.

Hasta luego.


The Puerto Rican Parade NYC

Tens of Thousands of Puerto Ricans Celebrate Their Culture

puerto rican parade nyc photosJune 11, 2018 / Upper East Side Neighborhood / Harlem Neighborhood / Manhattan Parades NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Puerto Rican Street Fair Spanish Harlem

One thing you could never accuse New York Puerto Ricans of, is a lack of pride in their cultural roots. On Saturday there was a huge street fair in Spanish Harlem, lasting most of the day, along a nearly 20 block stretch of Third Avenue between 103rd and 122nd streets in east Harlem.

 

East Harlem used to be the destination for Puerto Ricans coming to New York. And while there's still a large Puerto Rican community there, I think there may be an even larger community in the central Bronx whose Borough President is Ruben Diaz, whose father, NYC City Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr. came from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. So while some of the population may have moved, Puerto Ricans came from around the city and far beyond, to congregate on Saturday and Sunday, and the bask in the atmosphere of their cultural roots.

 

Puerto Rican Parade on the Upper East Side Manhattan

116th street fair spanish harlem street festival st fair east harlem spanish harlem photosThere was food, shopping, music, entertainment and dancing at the street fair on Saturday, and minus the food and shopping, the music, dancing and entertainment were also on display at the huge Puerto Rican parade in Manhattan on Sunday. Numerous floats as well as marching groups of dancers and musicians and social groups joined together to make the parade one long display of Puerto Rica's eclectic mix of African, Latin and American cultures.

 

American Puerto Ricans call themselves Boricuas and everything else is just Bochinche [gossip]. We'll delve more deeply into the Puerto Rican community in Manhattan and the Bronx as time passes.

 


NYC Landlord Harassments Continue

NYCCM Helen Rosenthal Hosts Housing Clinic to Inform Renters of Their Rights

manhattan things to do nycMay 29, 2018 / Upper West Side Neighborhood / Manhattan Real Estate / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

On Wednesday, May 25th I went to the Goddard Riverside Community Center on Columbus Avenue at 88th Street to attend a housing clinic designed to inform renters of their rights.

***The following introduction is based on prior research done by me, and was not information provided at the housing clinic. I'll let you know when I segue out of my preamble and into the housing clinic.***

Over the past decade landlords appear to have become increasingly aggressive in trying to wriggle out of NYC and NYS rent stabilization regulations, that govern the rental payments under which about two million New Yorkers live.

It is my understanding that the government contributed land and / or financing to build or repair the buildings governed by NYC / NYS rent stabilization laws in exchange for the pricing rights on rent stabilized units. Many of the new landlords who have acquired rent stablized buildings, may possibly be in violation of approaching their business contract(s) in good faith, as the definition of good faith according to Wikipedia is:

"In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith, so as to not destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract. It is implied in every contract in order to reinforce the express covenants or promises of the contract. A lawsuit (or a cause of action) based upon the breach of the covenant may arise when one party to the contract attempts to claim the benefit of a technical excuse for breaching the contract, or when he or she uses specific contractual terms in isolation in order to refuse to perform his or her contractual obligations, despite the general circumstances and understandings between the parties. When a court or triar or fact interprets a contract, there is always an "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing" in every written agreement."

What is at stake, throughout the city, is literally hundreds of millions and more likely billions of dollars in - rental benefits or rental income streams - depending on which side of the struggle you're on. The landlords appear to be trying - using the torturtous side effects of construction including noise, health risk dust [inhalation], privacy loss and apartment functional loss - to wrest away the billions of dollars of rental pricing rights benefits from tenants to be pocketed by the landlords themselves. Given the high dollar value of what's at stake - including people's homes - this seems like attempted grand larceny, especially in cases where landlords are breaking the law to achieve their goals.

This will be continued at a later date. Including the segue into the information provided by the Housing Clinic to inform tenants of their rights.

Tenants' Rights March & Rally - June 14th Midtown at 4.30 pm

P.S. There's a March & Rally scheduled for June 14th, beginning at 4.30 pm, at the NY Public Library at 5th Avenue and 40th Street. They plan to march to Governor Cuomo's office at 3rd Avenue and East 41st Street. For details contact info@realrentreform.org or call 212.979.6958. All but one of the No IDC NY senatorial candidates have been invited to participate, and there's a possibility that NYS gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon will be there too - as this seems to coincide with her reasons for challenging Governor Cuomo.


Islamic Fashion in the Bronx

Bronx Islamic Clothing Store for Sale

May 21, 2018 / Parkchester Neighborhood / Bronx Neighborhoods / Holidays in the Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

bronx things to do bronxIn early May I traveled to the Parkchester neighborhood, to visit one of the Bronx newest Islamic clothing stores, Islam Fashion. With Ramadan only a couple of weeks away, the store proprietor was busy making preparations as Ramadan is the holiest month of the year - and just as during the holidays for Christians, it is also a very social time of the year.

The store, Islam Fashion, was started in the late 1990's [circa 1998] by an enterprising Egyptian immigrant, Mohamed Zohny, who I had met in Queens about a decade ago. Mohamed is one of those legendary entrepreneurial immigrants that one hears about - that keeps the American dream alive - both here and abroad.

Mohamed Zhony - Egyptian American Entrepreneur

Mohamed rolled the dice and immigrated to New York in 1979, at the age of 37, having left a position working at one of the airports in Egypt. When he arrived, he began working in a Lebanese restaurant washing dishes. Three years later in 1982, risking the savings he made from dishwashing, Mohamed started a falafel food truck at 51st Street and 5th Avenue.

Starting an Entrepreneurial Business on the Midtown Manhattan Streets

bronx things to do bronxFor fourteen years Mohamed made falafels out of his food truck and one might say he became a bit of a falafel food truck legend. He was photographed and written about in several glossy magazines, including one where he had his photo taken by famous photo journalist Lou Bopp.

Perhaps my favorite account of Mohamed at this time was the following in the 'Grub' section of a popular NYC magazine.

"Falafel stands abound … [at] Rockefeller Center … during lunchtime. Naturally they run the full gamut of barely edible to scintillatingly delicious. Second place for the title of best falafel is Zohny who has a cart on the corner of 5th Avenue and 51st Street. Not only are his falafels moister and fuller than the competition, but he has also developed falafel assembly into an art. It's a spectator sport to marvel as Zohny choreographs his falafel preparation like a wind-up doll. He can make the chick pea balls while dropping lettuce and tomato and heating the pita bread."

In 1996 then Mayor Rudy Giuliani started making changes to the rules governing traffic and food carts, so Mohamed decided to exit the business. Within two years, Mohamed had embarked on a third adventure, again investing his savings to purchase and then sell Islamic clothing on the Upper East Side on what I understood to be a sort of person-to-person basis.

Opens Islam Fashion Clothing Business in Manhattan with Stores in Brooklyn, Queens & the Bronx

bronx things to do bronxWithin another two years, in the year 2000, Mohamed signed a lease in Brooklyn and opened an Islamic clothing store there. Nine years later he opened a second store in 2009 in Astoria, where I met him. He's done a bit of advertising on Queens Buzz over the years and I have always found Mohamed to have a friendly smile on his face.

During this time I have had the opportunity to watch him do a bit of business here and there, buying and selling Islamic clothing in his shop. He would invite sellers to sit down for tea, chat and haggle a bit about quality and price, and then settle on a price and complete the deal. It felt like time traveling into Egypt in the space of a few minutes.

In recent years Mohamed, now 75 years old, has begun winding down ... at least a bit. He closed his Brooklyn store due to rising rents, and moved his Astoria store to Parkchester just last year - again due to rising rents. He opened in Parkchester a few months ago and has begun building yet another retail business. Even to this day Mohamed greets the public with a welcoming "Salam Alaikum", which in English means "Peace to you".

Islam Fashion is located at 1701 White Plains Road at Van Nest Avenue in Parkchester. Mohamed is now in the hospital and plans to sell his business. If interested you can reach him via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/islamfashioninc/

I hope and pray that Mohamed has a speedy recovery.


Arthur Avenue - Little Italy in the Bronx

Arthur Avenue Still has Multi-Generational Family Businesses

bronx shops shopping arthur avenue shops bronxMay 15, 2018 / Belmont Neighborhood in the Bronx / Arthur Avenue Restaurants Bronx / Bronx Things To Do / Bronx Buzz NYC.

A bit over a week ago I headed up to the Arthur Avenue restaurant section of the Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx. Throughout most of the twentieth century, Arthur Avenue was a densely populated Italian section of the Bronx, full of Italian restaurants, shops and Italian culture. By the early 21st century, where we are now, many of the Italians had moved out into the suburbs or into other parts of the city - but that said there's still a very strong Italian presence, including some of the multi-generational Italian family businesses.

Arthur Avenue is more than a destination for those seeking Italian culture in the Bronx, as Fordham University is only blocks away. Oftentimes Fordham students can be seen milling about in the cafes, restaurants and shops, alongside long time residents from the neighborhood. I've come to view the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, founded in 1940, as sort of the epicenter or hub of Arthur Avenue.

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia reportedly spearheaded the development of the Arthur Avenue Retail Market while he was Mayor in an effort to incent the popular, low-priced, but somewhat unsanitary, street pushcart businesses to move in off the streets. The Arthur Avenue Retail Market was, in some measure, one of the early malls, where various independent vendors sold their wares.

Within the same block and blocks, there are also many Italian retail businesses that have survived the economic vagaries of time. Among them is ...

More to come, including photos, later this week.


Port Morris Real Estate Development

The Bronx Neighborhood of Port Morris is Experiencing a Real Estate Development Renaissance

May 7, 2018 / Port Morris Neighborhood / Bronx Real Estate & Business / Bronx Neighborhoods / Bronx Buzz NYC.

bronx things to do bronxLast Sunday I went exploring two of the neighborhoods in the south Bronx. This report will focus on Port Morris, which is at the southern most end of the Bronx and is found along the Harlem River and the East River.

Port Morris has a long storied history, dating back to colonial times. Given its proximity to Manhattan [just over the Harlem River] and accessibility via the East River and Harlem River, Port Morris was geographically well positioned to be one of the great waterfronts. In fact one of the Morrises had this in mind in an earlier period and planned to make Port Morris competitive with the New York City Harbor and the Lower Manhattan docks. But alas it was not meant to be.

In the mid to late 1800's the piano making business was one of the biggest manufacturing industries in New York City. Piano factories lined the East River in Astoria and in the Bronx. By the mid 1900's the piano business was on the decline, being replaced by radio, television and the like as the primary source of home entertainment.

By the late 20th century the southern Bronx was in decline, but many of the old manufacturing buildings of a bygone era still remained. By the early 21st century southern Bronxians began to witness a growing interest in the Port Morris and Mott Haven neighborhoods due to an evolving business, social and economic climate in New York City.

I'll post more on Tuesday, May 8th.


5 Boro Bike Ride Returns Sunday

Bike New York Organizes NYC Bike Ride & Bike Expo New York

5 boro bike ride nyc new york bike expo nycApril 30, 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Bronx Neighborhoods / Queens Neighborhoods / Brooklyn Neighborhoods / Staten Island Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

This story includes information about the upcoming 5 Boro Bike Ride on Sunday, as well as the Bike Expo New York which precedes it on Friday & Saturday in Red Hook. As of this report, the temperatures are expected to be in the 60's and the chances of rain appear slim. But bear in mind that the forecast probability of 20% chance of rain last Friday, turned into rain on Saturday evening, so check the weather as we get closer in.

 

Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Ride Route

Since 1977, every first Sunday of May, Bike New York has organized and promoted the 5 Boro Bike Ride. The ride begins in lower Manhattan, sweeps northward across the Harlem River Bridge to the Bronx, circles back across the Third Avenue Bridge to Manhattan, where it begins its southward trek crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Queens, heading south to Brooklyn after a quick stop north to Astoria Park, and then comes down past the Brooklyn Navy Yards, continuing southward along the west side of 5 boro bike ride nyc new york bike expo nycBrooklyn, to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge where it crosses over to the Fort Wadsworth neighborhood in Staten Island before terminating in the St. George neighborhood at the Staten Island Ferry.

 

Proceeds from Non-Profit New York Bike Ride go Toward Sustainable Transportation Efforts

The now famous bike ride was capped at 32,000 riders I believe sometime in the 1990’s, where it still stands today. One report noted that the 5 Boro Bike ride is one of – if not the largest - non-profit bike rides in the nation. The proceeds go to Bike New York programs which are designed to teach people about sustainable transportation, most notably bicycle riding and bike maintenance and safety. Another report noted that the NYPD had considered [don’t know the outcome] charging the organization $1 million for erecting, maintaining and terminating road closures during the New York 40 mile family-friendly bike ride.

 

Bike New York Bicyclist Outreach in all Five NYC Boroughs

Bike New York has offices in all five NYC boroughs. In 2015 their cyclist safety and bike maintenance programs reached 15,000 New Yorkers. And they are the organizers of the Bike Expo New York being held at Pier 12 in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday [see details in rest of this story].


Nature's Wonders at Wave Hill in the Bronx

Historic Wave Hill in Riverdale Overlooks the Hudson River

north bronx neigborhood west bronx neighborhood bronx neighborhoodsApril 23, 2018 / Riverdale Neighborhood / Bronx Parks / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Wave Hill is a 28 acre estate, in the western section of the Riverdale neighborhood in the Bronx, overlooking the Hudson River. The estate was built in 1843 by William Lewis Morris, a lawyer, to accommodate his large family. Morris was a descendant of one of the Bronx and America's founding families, which included a 17th century colonialist who migrated here following the Cromwellian Wars in Britain, a contributor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a vast land holding family in the Bronx.

Wave Hill evolved over the years, starting as a Georgian Revival home, but later converted to a Victorian manor by Publisher William Henry Appleton [1866 - 1869]. Appleton purchased a section of the estate from Morris's heirs following his death.

President Theodore Roosevelt [1870 - 1871], author Mark Twain [1901 - 1903], Italian Conductor Arturo Toscanini [1942 - 1945], and the British delegation to the UN hosted John Foster Dulles, Konrad Adenauer and Queen Elizabeth [1950 - 1956] over numerous summers there. The Wave Hill of today includes what was once two estates, which were merged by Financier turned Conservationist George W. Perkins in 1903. Perkins added the greenhouses and the second house of the estate which I believe [unconfirmed] was called Glyndor. It burned in the early 1920's and was replaced by a smaller Glyndor II, completed in 1927. Wave Hill was inherited by daughter Dorothy Woosley Freeman and her husband Edward.

Wave Hill was donated to New York City in 1960, designated a New York City Landmark in 1966, added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1983 and added to the Riverdale Historic District in 1990.

In 2011 Wave Hill closed for two years for renovations. In 2013 it reopened, with enhanced facilities that included upgrades to the Sally and Gilbert Kerlin Learning Center where family art projects are conducted, and enhanced lighting and sound [2014] in the Amour Hall which is host to musical performances. A new space, the Sarah and Geoffrey Gund Theater was added where lectures are held and films are shown and the cafe was expanded and the dining room renovated.

Today all areas are used to accommodate public programs, many of which include a fee, and many of which are free with admission. Local artists, musicians and performers are oftentimes showcased. We periodically post their events on the weekends, so stay tuned.

Sources for this story include Wikipedia.org / LivingPlaces.com / WaveHill.org.


Click here for reports about Bronx holiday events and here for Bronx holiday markets.


south bronx neighborhoods mott haven melrose concourse longwood port morris hunts point morrisania highbridge parkchester neighborhoods bronx neighborhoods bronx buzz nyc

Bronx Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend - Events Bronx NYC | things to do martin luther king day weekend bronx nyc things to do mott haven concourse fordham belmont van cortlandt park riverdale bedford park melrose hunts point parkchester westchester square schuyler throgs neck bronx MLK day weekend bronx nyc
Bronx Things To Do Martin Luther King Day Weekend - Events Bronx NYC

MLK Day Weekend Events in the Bronx NYC

Things To Do in the Bronx over the Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 14, 2020 / Things To Do Bronx NYC / Bronx Buzz NYC.

Weather. The Temperature highs will range between 30 and 40 throughout the three day weekend. The temperature lows will be in the low 20's throughout the weekend - except on Saturday when the low will be in the high 30's. Rain or Snow is forecast on Saturday, but NOT on Friday, Sunday & Monday. Winds will range from 10 - 15 mph all weekend. The Humidity will be around 50% throughout the weekend, except on Friday when it will be in the low 30% range. Click for Bronx Weather.

Click here for Bronx Buzz - things to do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in the Bronx.

Brief History of Martin Luther King Holiday in NYC

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist Minister who became the leading voice for African Americans' non-violent civil rights movement beginning in the mid 1950's through to his assassination in 1968. In 1983, the third Monday of every year was set aside to honor Martin Luther King for his service to the nation. The third Monday was chosen, as it was the nearest Monday to the anniversary of King's birthday, which was January 15, 1929.

Martin Luther King Day has grown to take on an even larger meaning, as it is oftentimes referred to as a day on, versus a day off. Organizations around the city and nation have used the day to call people into action to address the needs of the community through volunteering and service.

Martin Luther King Holiday Special Events in the Bronx NYC

On Saturday from 10 am - 4 pm the Food Bank of NYC is organizing an event entitled Done in a Day from 10 am - 4 pm at 355 Food Center Drive in the Hunts Point neighbohood of the Bronx. The program attracts volunteers who will give some of their time for the Food Bank projects.

On Sunday from 4.30 - 7 pm the New Life Rehobeth Church at 1375 Mace Avenue in the Bronx is hosting a movie with dessert for the whole family and it's free.

On Monday there's an MLK Day of Service from 9 am - 4 pm at the Riverdale Y at 5626 Arlington Avenue in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx. The day of service attempts to tackle various social and community problems.

On Monday from 10 am - 2 pm the East Bronx IPC [Episcopalian / Anglican] invites folks to attend their MLK Day of service and social gathering at 781 Castle Hill Avenue in the Bronx. They collect donations for scholarships, some of which I believe are awarded on that day [unconfirmed].

On Monday, January 20, 2020, there's a Community Interfaith Service at Trinity Baptist Church to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 808 East 224th Street between Barnes & Bronxwood Avenues beginning at 10 am. All are welcome but please rsvp at 718.590.3989 or email smalave@bronxbp.nyc.gov. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to be in attendance.


Things To Do MLK Day Weekend in the Bronx NYC

Things To Do in the Bronx Over The Martin Luther King Day Weekend

January 20, 2019 / Things To Do in the Bronx / Bronx Buzz NYC.

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Bronx Museums & Cultural Institutions - Things To Do over the Martin Luther King Holiday Weekend

Bronx is home to two great institutions borne in pursuit of preservation and understanding the natural world around us - the New York Botanical Gardens and the Bronx Zoo. A segment of the Enid A. Haupt Observatory at the NY Botanical Gardens is shown in the photo at right.

The Bronx Zoo is located at at 2300 Southern Blvd near the Belmont, Fordham Manor, West Farms, Pelham Parkway and Allerton neighborhoods of the Bronx.

The New York Botanical Gardens is located at at 2900 Southern Blvd near the Norwood, Fordham, Belmont and Allerton neighborhoods of the Bronx.

Bronx Historical Sites / Bronx History - Things To Do over the Martin Luther King Day Weekend

The Bronx have a number of historical sites which are open to the public on weekends, and sometimes weekdays. The Bronx Historical Society is located in the Valentine-Varian house at 3309 Bainbridge Avenue at 208th Street in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx. The Valentine-Varian house is the oldest remaining farmhouse in the borough and second oldest house, dating back to 1758. The Bronx Historical Society hosts a number of exhibits as well as an array of programs throughout the year.

There's also the Van Cortlandt House in Van Cortland Park, which is a beautiful colonial home of one of the Dutch settlers. It was built in 1748 and is the oldest house in the Bronx borough. It is located at Broadway and West 246th Street in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx at the end of the #1 subway line.

The Bartow Pell Mansion is also worthy of a visit. It was erected in 1836 and is a Greek revival architecture style home - one of the last of that area / era. The Bartow Pell Mansion Museum is pretty active in its programming which includes cultural and historical. It is located at 895 Shore Road, across from the golf course in Pelham Bay Park.

And there's Wave Hill in Riverdale. It's the site of beautiful gardens overlooking the Hudson River. They offer regular programming including concerts, garden walks in the better weather and talks. It is located at 649 West 249th Street in the Hudson Hill section of the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx.




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Farmers Markets & Street Fairs in the Bronx

bronx street fairs bronx street festivals bronx March 24, 2019 / Bronx Farmers Markets / Bronx Street Fairs / Bronx Buzz NYC.

A few Bronx farmers markets might be open year round, but most of them are seasonal. Some of the seasonal Bronx farmers markets will begin opening in the Spring of 2019, with the rest of them opening no later than the first couple of weeks in July of 2019. Click here to view the schedules of many of the farmers markets in the Bronx.

Bronx street fairs, on the other hand, are entirely seasonal. Some of them hit the streets as early as April 2019. The number of Bronx street fairs rises during the late spring and continues through the dog days of summer [July / August], including into the late part of the Fall. By the end of November the Bronx street fairs go on hiatus, with a few returning as early as April. Click here to view a full schedule of the Bronx street fairs.


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Click here to view our report about Bronx Halloween parties NYC and Bronx New Years parties NYC.


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