Great daily newsletter

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and her staff publish a daily newsletter that’s must-read for community members. Topics include Arts, Food, Loans & Grants, Education, and Volunteering and also highlights health news.

To signup visit and below, please find a recent edition.



It’s Thursday, April 2, 2020.

At press time, the Johns Hopkins COVID case tracker currently shows New York City has 47,065 active cases and 1,397 deaths.

Yesterday, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a first round of data on the geographic distribution of COVID-19 cases, and the NY Times has graphically mapped out the statistics: A Month of Coronavirus in New York City: See the Hardest-Hit Areas  Scroll to the bottom of the story, and you’ll see they’ve charted the zip codes for New York City, ranked by the raw quantity of cases. The cases-per-thousand count shown in a second column is a number that will become more relevant as time passes. (If you want to “cut to the chase” and see results for YOUR zip code, once you have the Times story open you can search within your web browser by hitting control-F on your PC (or command-F on a Mac) and entering the zip in the pop-up box.)

Tomrrow, Friday April 3, the city will STOP accepting applications for the NYC Employee Retention Grant Program at 5 p.m. Businesses seeking assistance can instead access the NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund and the federal SBA Disaster Loan Fund. And businesses and organizations can also apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through the SBA. Columbia University Neighbors has more useful information on their website.

SInce, tomorrow marks the begnning of applications for that Paycheck Protection Program, at 12 noon the Jewish Federations of North America is sponsoring a Zoom conference on the process of applying for those new PPP loans which are available to nonprofit organizations in the CARES Act. There is $350 billion available to companies and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees; the Mayor describes this funding as first-come, first-serve!  Register here for the 12 noon call and they will send a meeting/participant ID, I think:
Here’s a sample paycheck protection program application form that may be helpful (PDF)

The U.S. Small Business Administration confirmed yesterday that business owners who have already applied for its Economic Injury Disaster Loansw MUST REAPPLY using a revamped website:

Don’t forget tomorrow, Friday, April 3 at 3 pm, my office will join with the Arts and Culture Committee of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance to convene a special Zoom conference for locally-based arts and culture organizations, independent artists, galleries, and venues to discuss managing the impact of COVID-19.  Here is more detail on the call and call-in directions.

This Saturday, April 4, is the deadline to apply for $10,000 grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps, administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and funded by Verizon. LISC is a non profit organization that’s provided financing for thousands of affordable housing units and runs economic development programs in low and moderate income neighborhoods. Applications must be submitted by Saturday, April 4, 2020, at midnight. Here’s the link to the application: You’ll need your organization’s tax ID to begin the application, and eligibility is based on accurate and complete submission (including uploading required documents). Email for questions or information.

Virtual Seders are the thing this year (next year in person!).

-The Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan will be hosting three free virtual seders: a program for families with school-age children on April 8 from 4:30-5:30 pm ; and on April 9, the 2nd Annual Queer Seder (7-9pm) along with an Israeli-style seder (8:30-10 pm). For more details and resources visit the link above.
“Sayder Live”, Lab/Shul’s (Virtual) 2nd Seder is taking place on April 9 from 7-9 pm.
-Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is hosting a free (Zoom) Seder on April 8 starting at 6:30 pm; more details here.
-Temple Emanuel is livestreaming their free Congregational Seder, starting at 5 pm on April 9 on their website linked above and on their Facebook page.
Jewish Women’s International is hosting a virtual seder on April 9 from 8 – 11 pm.
-The 92Y is hosting a free digital Community Seder on April 9, starting at 7:30 pm.
-The Actors Temple, Congregation Ezrath Israel, is streaming their Community Seder on April 9 at 6pm via Zoom. See their website for more details.
-Romemu is hosting two nights of free virtual seders, learn more here.
-And City Winery’s Downtown Seder will go live two days before Passover, on Monday, April 6 at 6 pm.

The City launched the Help Now Portal this week to connect New Yorkers who need help to resources on employment, benefits, seniors, food security, NYCHA residents, mental health, and education– and to also give those who want to GIVE help a way to do so.

The City of New York is seeking businesses with the ability to quickly source and/or make medical supplies and other products needed to support the City’s coronavirus response. If you are a supplier or distributor with access to a stock of ready-made supplies to sell, please complete this form:
If you are a manufacturer and able to create new products from scratch, please complete this form:

Gov. Cuomo has issued several Executive Orders designed to reduce public density and slow the rate of transmission, together known as “New York State on PAUSE.”  But not everyone has gotten the message. That’s why the PAUSE Enforcement Assistance Task Force hotline has been set up, where individuals can file complaints regarding the operation of non-essential businesses or gatherings 24/7 through an online form or by calling 1-833-789-0470. These complaints are reviewed for completeness, accuracy, and applicability under the orders, and then referred to local authorities.
—The MTA is suspending Times Square Shuttle subway service; the 7 train provides similar routing, although on a less-frequent schedule.

The New York Academy (PDF) and Center for Urban Future have compiled ideas and resources on supporting older adults through the coronavirus.

Jazz at Lincoln Center is offering all-new programming at its JAZZ.ORG portal.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has created a social media campaign called #CongressSaveCulture to help all nonprofit cultural institutions get more aid from the federal government. For example, Congress could change the tax code so that whole donations could be tax deductible, which could improve cash flow by billions of dollars for institutions nationwide.

The Carnegie Corporation and Bloomberg Philanthropies have created the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund which provides a pool of $75 million to help small and mid-size arts organizations with interest-free loans. Organizations must be NYC-based, have an annual operating budget of under $20 million, be a 501C3 in good legal standing, and have a track record for robust service to the people of New York. For more on donating to, or receiving help from, the consortium fund go to NYCommunityTrust.Org.

In NON-virus related news, the legislature and the Governor reached a tentative budget agreement. There are two notable transportation items: e-bikes and e-scooters were legalized, with some small exceptions (i.e., a ban on ‘scooter share’ services in Manhattan and on e-bikes and e-scooters on the Hudson River Greenway); and the MTA will be allowed to divert funding from its capital program to its very stressed operating budget.

Yesterday brought some good news with the announcement that MTA’s former East Midtown headquarters at 341-347 Madison Avenue will be redeveloped, and that the project would provide an estimated $1 billion for the MTA’s capital budget. By prioritizing funds for public transit, as well as including infrastructure improvements, this proposed redevelopment observes one of the major tenets of the East Midtown Rezoning and it will undergo ULURP.

Also in transportation news, a federal judge yesterday ruled that the MTA’s often-inoperable elevators do not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. I’m disappointed with the court’s decision, and had hoped that the MTA would be held accountable for infringing on the rights of hundreds of thousands of disabled and senior New Yorkers.

Politico reports that the Democratic National Committee is postponing the party’s presidential convention in Milwaukee from July 13 to August 17, the week before the Republican Party’s convention.

Harlem’s Patch is publishing a simple “open-or-closed?” directory for Harlem  businesses. Here’s their story on how to get listed:

Charter/Spectrum cable (which has a large footprint in Manhattan) is expanding the eligibility for its 60-day free offer for internet and wifi to include educators (K-12 teachers and college/university professors) who do not already have a Spectrum account. Contact Spectrum at 1-844-488-8395 to sign up (but prepare for a wait!). A free self-installation kit will be provided to new student and educator households.

Thursday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Rangel Houses, Polo Houses, and Harlem River I & II. (Each weekday FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations which my office helps coordinate with NYCHA tenants’ associations.) It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

I hope you’re finding these newsletters helpful. Please forward them to whoever you think would find them helpful. And keep sending me useful links!  Feel free to call me with any urgent problems or concerns: (212) 669-8191.

Stay Safe,