Mayor provides updates about coronavirus at Bellevue

Mayor Bill de Blasio hands out fliers regarding COVID-19 preparedness in Union Square last Monday. (Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Mayor Bill de Blasio and health officials provided updates about the city’s response and approach to the coronavirus at Bellevue Hospital on Tuesday, with the mayor noting that the city is working to keep the public informed but emphasizing that information has been changing rapidly.

“I think we can all say with coronavirus we have rarely seen a situation that started with people not even understanding the disease to begin with because it was brand new – that’s been the whole international community, the medical community,” de Blasio said. “We’ve all had to learn by doing and our understanding of the best approaches keeps evolving, so you will hear change because the information is changing. But we are still in the middle of a fight right now.”

The mayor also emphasized that while the government is working to protect New Yorkers and prevent the spread of the virus, residents can help with their own actions.

“Everyone has to participate from those basic things, washing your hands, hand sanitizer, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze onto the kinds of decisions we make in our life, starting with being very sensitive to the vulnerable people,” he said. “We have seen this over and over again. It’s very consistent all over the world.”

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Stuy Town resident making Shakespeare easy

(From left to right) Actors Tommy Walters, Benny Salerno and Ethan Fox with director Catherine Lamm (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Longtime Stuy Town resident and theater director Catherine Lamm wants to make the Bard accessible for even the most Shakespeare-averse, with a new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Players Theatre debuting on March 12.

Lamm said that this is the first Shakespeare play she’s done that’s so playful and “loose” and she’d like to direct others to be as accessible to theater-goers who might be Shakespeare-phobic, although she said the format likely wouldn’t work as well with some of the more serious plays.

“This is very playful and very interactive and I don’t think it would work for Julius Caesar, but it would work for the comedies,” she said.

Lamm said that she’s seen probably over 100 productions of the play, including a hip-hop production at Edinburgh’s theater festival that used only a small amount of the original text and a lot of their own interpretation.

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Letter to the editor, Mar. 12

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Questions about Blackstone’s agreement

1. Why doesn’t the expiration of J-51 allow Blackstone to deregulate the remaining stabilized apartments, if they leave 5000 affordable, per the agreement with NYC? (But which 5,000 will they choose?)

2. Who does this deregulation effort really affect, other than long term tenants? Market rate tenants get very little benefit from stabilization. Frankly, it feels like market rate tenants are subsidizing others. I believe stabilization started for good reasons, but that too many folks are just plain greedy.

3. Why don’t Roberts tenants, who not only received money, but had their rents “frozen/managed” till 2020, have to abide by that agreement and return to “normal,” which might mean destabilization in some cases? They signed an agreement, didn’t they?

Name withheld
Stuyvesant Town