The popular 14th Street fruit vendor has reopened after a month-long COVID-19 closure.
Although food truck vendors have been deemed essential workers during the city-wide shutdown, the virtual elimination of street traffic has forced many to shutter their operations.
While the vendor at 14th Street and First Avenue didn’t want to give T&V his name or comment on his re-opening, local residents were quick to let us know he was back in business.
“He is a lovely man. The fruit is excellent and the price is right. Please let everyone know he has re-opened.” said one ST-PCV resident in an email.
With vendors reporting dramatic losses since the pandemic struck, some City council members have been lobbying for more support to help them survive.
“Street vendors across the five boroughs are reporting loss in sales of up to 80 percent,” said City Councilmember Margaret Chin who, along with seven other council members, has written to Mayor Bill de Blasio seeking help for those affected. “Street vendors are primarily low-wage immigrant workers who rely on busy streets in order to survive day to day,” said the letter to the Mayor.
The letter calls for urgent help for “frontline food workers whose needs are falling between the cracks of current city policy.”
Among the requests are a moratorium on license enforcement after several vendors reported being ticketed for failure to display mobile food vending permit.
“Instead of spending time on squeezing money out of immigrant workers … our city needs to create a comprehensive relief package that is inclusive of all types of businesses and workers, and that includes street vendors,”Council member Chin told Eater online website.
The Council members are also asking that outstanding tickets issued to vendors since January 2020 be waived and that street food vendors be included in any upcoming emergency relief funds for workers.
Michael H. Wiley, 102, of New York City, passed away peacefully in his sleep Sunday, April 19, 2020, nine days shy of his 103rd birthday.
He was born April 28, 1917 in Jamaica Estates, N.Y. to James and Anna Wiley and had four siblings: James, John, Mary Elizabeth and Dorothy. He married the love of his life, Mary Josephine McCabe on April 27, 1946.
Michael was predeceased by his wife Mary Jo and his siblings. He is survived by his three children: Joan M. Ponzini, Brian Wiley and Mary Elizabeth Wiley; his grandchildren: Caroline Ponzini, Elizabeth Barry and Patrick Barry; his great grandson Riley Ponzini Beck and many nieces and nephews.
Mr. Wiley was a life-long resident of New York City and for the last 71 years lived in Stuyvesant Town, where he was an original tenant.
He was a WWII Veteran serving in the Army’s 319th Bomber Group, 440th Squadron from 1942 until 1945.
He graduated from the Insurance Institute of America and upon returning home from the war, worked at Fireman’s Fund American Insurance Company where he was a large risk underwriter for many New York properties including Madison Square Garden and Broadway Theatres.
Michael was an avid golfer and loved playing at his favorite spot, Eddy Farm Hotel, on the Delaware River, where he also entertained the other guests with his piano playing and Irish tenor voice.
He was a huge fan of his beloved Yankees and could recite the lineup from 1929.
Michael was a man of great faith and attended mass daily at his two neighborhood churches, Epiphany and Immaculate Conception. He was a wordsmith and wrote a multitude of poems, one of which named Devotion, was published in the Salesian Collection.
Due to the current circumstances there is no viewing at Andrett Funeral Home. Mr. Wiley’s interment is Thursday, April 23,, 2020 at National Cemetery in Calverton, NY. A Memorial Mass will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is calling for relief for the United States Postal Service in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.
“I want to commend the brave men and women of the Postal Service for all they are doing in the midst of this pandemic,” Maloney said.
“The Postal Service is holding on for dear life, and unless Congress and the White House provide meaningful relief in the next stimulus bill, the Postal Service could cease to exist.”
Postmaster General of the United States Megan J. Brennan has said the service will “run out of cash this fiscal year” without federal help .
They anticipate a “$13 billion revenue loss directly to COVID-19 this fiscal year and a $54.3 billion additional losses over ten years,” according to Maloney’s office.
The Postal Service is made up of more than 31,600 retail locations and employs more than 650,000 people in the country.
A bipartisan Postal Service Board of Governors, appointed by President Trump, asked Congress to provide the Postal Service with a $25 billion emergency appropriations to offset coronavirus-related losses, $25 billion grant to fund “shovel-ready” projects to modernize the Postal Service, and access to $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority from Treasury.
Across the city, USPS is experiencing staffing shortages due to COVID-19, which is why many residents are encountering delays in mail delivery.
Postal carriers are rotating routes; if a carrier is not able to finish or start a specific route, another postal carrier will complete the route the next day to prevent more than a one-day delay in service.
In ST-PCV, management is urging anyone waiting to receive an emergency delivery, to contact the office.
According to the USPS, 230 postal employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
The new president of The New School community has kicked off his term with a donation to the University’s student emergency assistance fund.
Dr. Dwight A. McBride is the university’s ninth president.
An accomplished academic and author who most recently served as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Emory University, President McBride also joins The New School faculty as a University Professor.
He succeeds Dr. David E. Van Zandt, who concludes his service after nearly a decade as president.
His arrival comes at a time of unexpected and unprecedented challenges for the world and higher education stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. He is immediately focusing on both The New School’s short-term response and the planning to ensure the university’s resilience for the longer term.
Recognizing the significant personal and financial stress students are experiencing in the wake of the coronavirus, President McBride has made a personal, lead pledge of $100,000 to the university’s Student Emergency Assistance Program.
The program provides short-term financial support to students with specific urgent needs, focusing in these times on needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recent weeks, New School trustees, alumni, faculty, and staff have all stepped up to support the fund.
“I am honored and excited to join The New School’s extraordinary community of scholars, artists, designers and thought leaders,” said President McBride.
“One of my immediate goals is to bring the university community together during this difficult time and signal our primary commitment to our talented and dedicated students.”
Dr McBride was previously Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Emory University, where he also held the position of Asa Griggs Candler Professor of African American Studies, Distinguished Affiliated Professor of English, and Associated Faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
He has also served as Dean at Northwestern University, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago and served on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh.
He received his BA in English with a certificate in African American Studies from Princeton University, and both his MA and PhD in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.
New York City tenants living pay-check to paycheck have run out of cash after five weeks in corona virus stasis.
But mayor Bill de Blasio said that a rent strike isn’t the answer to their problems.
“There’s too many folks trying to keep their buildings going,” he said on WNYC’s Brian Leherer show. “A lot of smaller landlords in particular, if they don’t have any income they are not going to be able to keep their buildings going and then you have a bad situation for everyone.”
Instead, he said tenants and landlords need to strike a balance and urged the state to come up with a plan as soon as possible.
“We have been pushing the state to allow the use of security deposits that would immediately free up money tenants could use to pay rent. We’ve been pushing the state to come up with a plan that if you are unable to pay rent then you don’t have to until you have income back and then you pay on a payment play to repay over time.
“All of those changes are needed and the state needs to act.”
Tenant group calls for a city-wide rent strike are also being denounced by landlord groups as one way to make a bad situation worse. “This is a chaotic time and the last thing we need is more chaos, which is what will happen with a massive rent strike,” said Jay Martin, executive director of Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP).
The two groups are facing down as the city grapples with the devastation being wrought by COVID-19, a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 14,000 New Yorkers and the jobs of over 10 percent of the workforce.
According to the New York department of Labor, 791,840 have made unemployment claims since mid-March and the projected unemployment rate is expected to hit 16.4 percent by July.With no relief in sight, many low-income New Yorkers are appealing directly to Governor Andrew Cuomo to cancel rents for every one of the 5.4 million renters in the city, two-thirds of the population.
Over the years, we have been saying we are one pay-check away from being on the sidewalk. Not it has really happened,” said Winsome Pendergrass, a Housing Alliance organizer and Brooklyn renter who took part in an online press conference with tenants, advocates, and housing leaders on Thursday, April 16.
The groups are calling for a collective rent strike to begin May 1. They want New Yorkers who can’t – and who won’t – to join in a collective action aimed at forcing Governor Cuomo to cancel rent for the duration of the coronavirus epidemic.
Among the speakers were Donnette Leftord, an undocumented Flatbush mom of three who was running her own cleaning service until the outbreak began. She said she wouldn’t pay her $1,700 rent next month even if she could.
In quarantine since one of her cleaning clients contracted the virus, Donnette said she was making $408 a week before the outbreak.
“My rent is $1,600,” she said. “I also have lupus medication to buy and food. Rent is important to me, but there is no way I can pay rent going forward when I am unemployed.” Although she didn’t qualify for the government’s $1,200 stimulus check, Letford noted, “In my calculation, a family in New York cannot survive on $1,200 for 10 weeks. It’s impossible.”
Queens nanny Guadalupe Perolta said she was encouraging her neighbors to join the May 1 rent strike after her landlord turned a deaf ear to letters and a petition asking him to help tenants in distress. “He sent us a response saying he understood, but the tenants still need to pay on May 1. He said he has expenses and utilities to pay.”
Calling landlords “vicious” and “wicked” Pendergrass said a moratorium on rents was an unrealistic goal given than most low-income New Yorkers would take years to pay back over $4,000 in rent.
“They [landlords] are going to come hunting for us to take us bodily out of our home,” said Pendergrass. “It’s their building, but it’s our homes and we are asking Governors Cuomo to cancel the rent.”
And Uber driver Leana Melendez predicted a wave of evictions if the governor fails to take action. “When they do life this [eviction moratorium] there will be massive evictions because there’s no way for them to get the money.
“I have a neighbor whose rent is $2,000. Where is she going to get $6,000 at the end of this? People are desperate and I stand in solidarity with people that cannot pay their rent and my building [565 West 62nd Street] is going on rent strike.”
Cea Waver of Housing Justice for All, who also took part in the video conference, said to date the groups have enlisted 2,166 renters from around 1,100 apartments for the rent strike. They groups have set up a website at bit.ly/cantpaymay
Meanwhile, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) has called on landlords and tenants to work together during the crisis.
“While ‘rent strikes’ are getting a lot of attention among the media, online and with certain lawmakers, the on-the-ground reality is that apartment residents, in partnership with multifamily owners and operators, are meeting their rent obligations,” said Doug Bibby, President of NMHC.
“Despite the very real economic challenges we all are facing, we are finding that most residents are paying rent, especially when owners and operators work with them by offering payment plans, waiving late fees and other approaches to help those affected by the outbreak.
“In fact, just this week the NMHC Rent Payment Tracker found that 84 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by April 12.”
A frontline healthcare worker is urging ST-PCV residents to do their part for the COVID recovery and stay indoors.
The worker last week wrote to management distressed about the number of people gathering in the Oval.
“These same people who are outside just hanging out in big groups and not following directives, clap at 7 p.m. to “thank healthcare workers” for the work we do,” she wrote.
“People are supposed to stay inside their homes, not be hanging outside in groups that are clearly not part of your household.”
The letter prompted management to issue a reminder this week of the strict new guidelines imposed by the city on social distancing and mask wearing.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that New York residents who violate policies will receive a summons and fines ranging from $250 to $500.
Beginning Monday, the New York Police Department began conducting spot checks to ensure social distancing.
Team sports are banned, tennis courts and soccer fields will have their nets taken down if people continue to gather there, and many basketball hoops have already been removed.
“If you ignore the order … we’re going to have to fine you. We’re going to give people every chance to listen and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” de Blasio said.
In an email to residents, ST-PCV manager Rick Hayduk said he received an emotional plea from a healthcare worker who walks through the Oval on her way to and from the hospital.
“There’s obviously a lot of emotion in her note as she’s experiencing the impact of disobeying governmental directives,” said Hayduk.
“I don’t think the appeal could be made any better or by a better person. Please, stay at home, social distance when you have to leave for an essential task and with the Governor’s new mandate, wear a face covering.” Hayduck said Public Safety and Security trying to enforce both wearing face coverings and social distancing, have been facing a growing number of “confrontational situations.”
He added, “Despite this, trust they will continue to enforce the mandates. But, please take personal responsibility for this mandate and understand, it’s your neighbor, that at-risk senior, that special needs person or that healthcare worker you could be impacting.”
The ST-PCV Tenants Association also issued a reminder.
“It’s no joke: over 10,000 are dead in NYC — and in our community too. Who’s next? Nobody wants to get sick, but too many people are not following safety protocols,” said the TA in an eblast. “If Public Safety asks you to social distance yourself, don’t push back. We depend on them, and they’re doing their job.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered the shelter in place order for New York until May 15.
New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has launched a biweekly series of online workshops to expand access to available resources, services, and business opportunities for small businesses and minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) impacted by COVID-19.
The Comptroller’s Office will provide presentations via Zoom on a range of topics including financial resources from the federal, state, and City government as well as the private sector, and current business opportunities within City and State procurement.
Interpretation services will be available in 12 different languages including American Sign Language, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.
“During this difficult time, we want to make it as simple as possible for M/WBEs and small business owners to navigate available resources and access business opportunities,” said Comptroller Stringer.
“Our multilingual webinar series ensures that businesses have easy access to a one-stop-shop for the most up-to-date and critical information. M/WBEs and local businesses are essential to our economy and identity as a city, and we will do everything in our power to help our small business community rebuild stronger than ever before.”
The webinar series is part of the Comptroller’s M/WBE University, a year-long series of workshops designed to increase access to contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) and ensure all New Yorkers have an equitable chance to earn business from the City’s multi-billion dollar procurement budget.
Webinar sessions for small businesses and M/WBEs impacted by COVID-19 will be held every Tuesday and Thursday starting Thursday, April 16 through Thursday, May 14.
To RSVP, email email@example.com. Interpretation services must be requested upon RSVP at least two days before each session.
For additional assistance navigating City procurement opportunities and resources, business owners can make an appointment with the Comptroller’s Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Arts Club (NAC) has announced the launch of “NAC @ Home,” a new online program series.
While the Club is temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis, this series continues to fulfill the NAC’s mission to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts.
“NAC @ Home” offers online performances, artist talks, workshops, and more.
All programs are free with registration. For a full schedule and registration details, visit nationalartsclub.org.
Upcoming “NAC @ Home” programs include:
Fashion Q&A: Supermodel Carol Alt (pictured top) on Thursday, April 16, 3 p.m.
Enjoy a conversation on fashion with supermodel and author Carol Alt.
Alt is one of the most successful models of all time. Almost immediately after entering the industry she was featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, and went on to be a favorite for magazine covers appearing in more than seven hundred magazines including Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, and Playboy, who gave her the high accolade of ‘Most Beautiful Woman in the World’.
Alt was also referred to as the ‘Next Million Dollar Face’ by Life Magazine.
At Home with Jewelry Expert Frank Everett on Saturday, April 18, noon.
Jewelry expert Frank Everett answers your questions…from home.
Everett is Vice President, Sales Director for Sotheby’s Jewelry. In his role, Frank participates in arts-related events and exhibitions throughout the United States.
He managed the 2019 exhibition ‘IN BLOOM: a Selling Exhibition of Floral Jewels’ and he oversaw the jewels offered in The Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon which achieved $43.8 million in 2014.
This program is presented in partnership with Gem X.
Fashion Victims: Germ Warfare. Tuesday, April 21, 3 p.m.
Join the NAC for a conversation on the history of clothing and contagious disease with fashion historian Dr. Alison Matthews David.
Dr. Matthews David is a historian of dress and textiles, focusing on the 19th and early-20th century fashion, accessories and material culture. Her work intersects with multiple areas including medical history, criminology, and occupational health.
Her creative work includes fashion curation, and launched the journal Fashion Studies with her co-editor Dr. Ben Barry in 2018. She is the author of Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present among other books.
Christine Coulson, Author of Metropolitan Stories. Tuesday, April 28, Time TBA
Author Christine Coulson discusses her novel Metropolitan Stories. Described as a “surreal love letter” to the private side of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Metropolitan Stories unfolds in a series of amusing and poignant vignettes in which readers discover larger-than-life characters, the downside of survival, and the powerful voices of the art itself.
The result is a novel bursting with magic, humor, and energetic detail, but also a beautiful book about introspection, an ode to lives lived for art, ultimately building a powerful collage of human experience and the world of the imagination.
Jazz Pianist Jon Weber, Thursday, May 7, 1 p.m.
Pianist Jon Weber performs an intimate jazz concert from his home. Weber has recorded and toured all over the world, winning numerous honors for performance and composition—scoring extensively for television since 1987. Weber is a consummate post-bop musician with a lithe technical ability and an ear for complex harmonic compositions.
For a full list of events or to learn more, please visit nationalartsclub.org.
A New York woman is proving how one person can make a difference after launching an effort to help hospital workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anna Azvolinsky created a meal service that’s now served over 2,000 meals from 13 restaurants at seven local hospitals.
“Virtually overnight, the lives of our brave doctors, nurses, and EMTs have been completely transformed by COVID-19,” said Anna.
“By providing nutritious meals delivered directly to hospitals, we are caring for medical professionals’ health and showing we appreciate the absolutely vital work they do to help keep the rest of us safe.”
The movement began when Anna was quarantining with her family at her Upper East Side home and found seven N95 masks in her basement.
After making a few calls, she wound up donating the masks to the ER department at Mt. Sinai West.
She then asked the hospital workers how the community could help. The response: good meals, meals the staff doesn’t have time to cook at home or order during their shift.
That night, March 30, with the help of her husband Joel and his business partner Ryall, Meals4Heroes.org was up and running and collecting donations.
The idea is simple: Meals4Heroes partners directly with the ER and ICU departments at local NYC hospitals.
Monetary donations received through Meals4Heroes are used to buy individual meals for all of the healthcare workers during a shift (typically between 30 and 50 people) from local restaurants (not national chains).
“The donations make twice the impact as they help feed our frontline healthcare workers who are in the hospitals around the clock tending to patients and support our local restaurants to help them stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Anna.
Anyone can help by making a donation online to meals4hereoes.org. You can also sign up to sponsor a hospital, volunteer with the team and launch a program in your city.
To find out more, visit meals4hereoes.org.
Local Business Improvement Districts have joined forces to advocate for urgently-needed relief to save the city’s small business community.
“As the heartbeat of New York City’s neighborhoods, small businesses create jobs and make our neighborhoods’ commercial corridors vibrant,” said James Mettham, executive director, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership BID. “A resilient and comprehensively supported small business community will be essential to New York City’s recovery from this unprecedented crisis. The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership stands with other industry leaders in calling for these urgent relief measures to save small business.”
The Partnership has joined with prominent New York City industry leaders in restaurants, nightlife, retail, real estate, economic development and tech to ask the state for more local help.
With hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers out of work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has outlined four key policies to resuscitate ailing small businesses and revamp the economy.
The policies entail direct financial assistance for rent and mortgages for the duration of the shutdown, extending business interruption insurance to cover the COVID-19 pandemic and converting sales tax collection into cash grants for small businesses.
The Blueprint to Save Small Business is being presented in a letter (attached) to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and other elected leaders in New York.
● INSURANCE: Business interruption insurance claims related to COVID-19 should be required to be paid, or a specialized business recovery fund should be established to promptly pay claims to businesses required to close (or limit their operations), by government order. When necessary, the federal government must provide the insurance companies appropriate assistance.
● Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Amend the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act to allow the loan to be forgivable if businesses hire back needed staff at a minimum of six months after they fully reopen; allow a larger allocation of the money to be used for rent or other expenses; and, expand the stimulus funding so it is available over a longer period of time, so businesses who do not immediately apply can still obtain funding. Also, require all participating banks to accept, review and qualify applications from any small business without requiring existing accounts or loans. If these amendments are not made, the PPP will not help countless businesses that need stimulus funding.
● SALES TAX: We recognize the State and City of New York face significant budgetary constraints, nonetheless, we recommend investigating the fiscal implications of converting restaurants, nightlife establishments and retail stores’ sales tax collection into grants. These small businesses need an injection of cash to help them survive during the COVID-19 emergency. Since these monies are on hand, converting (and/or reverting) the sales tax collection into a grant, will help small businesses immediately with needed cash flow, and will stimulate economic activity.
● RENT AND MORTGAGES: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, businesses and property owners face significant challenges. The majority of businesses in New York City have been mandated by the government to close (or limit their operations) and many therefore cannot pay their rent. Property owners have financial obligations including property taxes, mortgages, maintenance, and capital improvements – much of which is paid for by the rent from businesses. While we recommend that commercial tenants and property owners make arrangements per their circumstances to help both parties weather this crisis, we recognize that realistic terms may not always be available. Therefore, we recommend a government backstop be provided during this emergency. These government programs could include direct federal financial assistance, rent and mortgage forbearance, and/or a property tax deduction for landlords who provide rent concessions to their tenants. The group comprises the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, NYC BID Association, New York City Hospitality Alliance, NYS Latino Restaurant, Bar & Lounge Association, New York State Restaurant Association, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Tech:NYC Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).
Beloved Stuyvesant Town porter Zacarias De la Cruz has died from COVID-19.
Mr De la Cruz worked at the property in various capacities for 21 years, most recently as a porter in Peter Cooper Village.
Mr De la Cruz and his wife Zobeyda, also a porter, were well know in the community and were featured in an issue of Neighborhood Stories last year.
He is survived by Zobeyda, and their two grown children.
The couple, both from Miches, Dominican Republic, met while living here in NYC. They both worked at Swingline’s factory (staple company) in Queens.
When Swingline moved its factory to Mexico, they did not want to relocate. Instead, they waited for their union to place them in new roles. The union reached out to them both at the same time and told them to interview at StuyTown, on the same day, and both were hired.
In their 30 years together, they never worked apart.
Zac was the porter for buildings 4 & 511 Peter Cooper. Zobeyda works for 276 and 278 1st Ave Loop and Zac’s sister has been working at the property for 11 years.
Mr De la Cruz ran a non-profit in the DR to help local children and the couple had planned to retire there.
In an email to residents, management said, “StuyTown and our team will never be the same. We are eternally grateful for everything you did for us. We will miss you. Rest in peace Zac; our loss is heaven’s gain.”
Since the outbreak began, StuyTown Property Services has been notifying tenants when residents test positive for COVID-19.
General manager Rick Hayduk has asked residents to notify management if anyone in their household tests positive.
In addition to extra cleaning in building where cases are reported, management has taken additional measures to be prepared for COVID-19, including installing hand sanitizers in all buildings, screening staff for illness, screening residents who call for repairs, closing playgrounds and other measures.
Management also has a direct line of communication with senior-level administrators at Mount Sinai so that they have the most up-to-date information in order to keep the community informed.
“This is new ground for all of us and the health of the community is on my mind and in my heart, as we do our best to navigate this ever-changing situation. Individuals, families, and communities need to strike a balance between vigilance and the need to go on living our lives,” Hayduk said in an email.
“This is hard to do but essential. Our neighbors each have different perspectives, and when we can be supportive, whether that is a reassuring word or thoughtful action, we should take the opportunity.”
“Ghost Trees” will appear in Madison Square Park next June. (Rendering courtesy of Pace Gallery)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Madison Square Park Conservancy announced on Tuesday that artist Maya Lin will design the 40th public art commission for the park, set to debut on June 8, 2020. The new “site-responsive” installation will focus on the impact of climate change on woodlands around the world. The piece, titled “Ghost Forest,” will take the form of a grove of spectral cedar trees sourced from the surrounding region, and will be presented in contrast to Madison Square Park’s existing tree line.
Lin worked with the Conservancy to source dead trees from the tristate area, including from the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, which is a site that has suffered severe deprivation. The Atlantic Cedars that will be installed as part of the piece were afflicted by extreme salinization during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 as a result of flooding and salt-water inundation, and were slated to be cleared to encourage the regeneration of surrounding trees.
Lin’s piece takes its name from the natural phenomenon of “ghost forests,” which are tracts of forestland that have died off as a result of climate change, due to sea-level rise and salt water infiltration. Lin frequently addresses climate change in her work and this installation will serve as a call to action for the public visitors who pass through the park on a daily basis.
The installation intends to emphasize the grim reality of this naturally-occurring phenomenon to the public in a dense urban environment and encourages viewers to consider natural practices that can help restore and protect the ecosystem.
Alba Howard, Ashley Campbell, Natalie Gruppuso and Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak organized the lemonade stand in front of the First Avenue store over the weekend to raise money for non-profits helping migrant children at the southern border. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Local moms joined a national effort to raise money for migrant children by holding a pop-up lemonade stand in front of Ibiza Kidz on First Avenue last weekend, raising $2,200 over two days. In addition to the money from the sales, an anonymous Stuyvesant Town resident boosted the tally by donating $1,000 on Sunday.
The event, organized nationally by Lawyer Moms Foundation, encouraged kids and families throughout the country to host lemonade stands to raise awareness for the separation of migrant children from their families at the southern border and to raise money for the Rio Grande Valley Rapid Response and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense).
This is the second year that the foundation organized the national event and technically the second year that Stuy Town moms and other local parents have contributed, although when East 24th Street resident Natalie Gruppuso set up shop on the sidewalk along First Avenue outside Stuy Town, they were booted out by Public Safety only about an hour after opening.
Gruppuso is the program manager for the all-volunteer-run non-profit NYC Mammas Give Back, which primarily offers assistance to mothers throughout New York City, but which got involved in the national event over the weekend, working with Stuy Town resident and Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak to hold the event at the First Avenue store.
Marchers from Achilles International participate in the parade. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Disability Pride Parade celebrated five years this past Sunday, with participants marching from Madison Square to Union Square on Broadway. The parade featured members of the disability community, as well as activists and advocates, marching in costume and decorated wheelchairs.
Jazz pianist Mike LeDonne created Disability Pride Day in 2012 in honor of his daughter, Mary, who has a rare syndrome called Prader-Willi. LeDonne ran Disability Pride NYC as a nonprofit for four years before organizing the first parade on July 12, 2015, the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The parade on Sunday culminated in a festival in Union Square with booths featuring representatives from local non-profits and various city agencies offering services to New Yorkers with disabilities. Representatives from the Department of Transportation were showcasing the agency’s newest program, which is surveying the city’s pedestrian ramps and corners and mid-block crossings and pedestrian islands. The agency is prioritizing the completion of pedestrian ramp installations and upgrades pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.