Gale Brewer’s News Friday, April 24, 2020 COVID Update

April 24, 2020

It’s Friday, April 24, 2020. Ramadan Mubarak, to all those celebrating.

At press time,’s COVID-19 tracker currently shows Manhattan has 17,803 confirmed cases and 1,805 probable deaths; New York City overall has 141,754 confirmed cases and 15,411 likely deaths.

Good news for NYCHA residents. In the early days of the pandemic shutdown, FreshDirect offered to deliver hundreds of 10-lb food boxes each weekday to residents in each of the five boroughs. My staff and I arranged with tenants’ associations at Manhattan NYCHA developments to distribute that food, at a rotating list of sites, to families in need.

That 30-day project ended last week, but I reached out to Kathryn Garcia, the NYC food “czar,” and her team has now contracted with FreshDirect to continue those deliveries starting this Monday (4/27). I’m deeply appreciative Commissioner Garcia and her staff were able to continue the deliveries on a week-by-week basis.

Dr. Rob Snyder, our Manhattan Borough Historian, writes:

Ellen Noonan (an NYU professor and Director of the Archives and Public History Program at New York University) has created a great new web site that is an outgrowth of our April 2 historians’ Zoom meeting. She’s compiled all the known projects and initiatives documenting the COVID-19 pandemic in one place:
It’s a tremendous public service for New York and the world.

This Sunday’s (4/26) American Idol will broadcast the 20 performers singing from their homes, and in response to votes from the audience, ten contestants will be eliminated. Manhattan’s own “Just Sam,” Samantha Diaz, a Douglass Houses resident has made the final 20– but now we can all do our part to make sure she sticks around into the top 10!

Watch the show Sunday at 8 pm on ABC – while it’s airing, vote for Sam online here, on the American Idol app, or by texting the onscreen contestant code to 21523. You can vote 10 times on each platform!

A correction to yesterday’s (4/23) newsletter: we were mistaken to say that it was the last day to request an internet-enabled iPad from the Dept. of Education for home learning. It was actually only the last day to request to receive one in April; parents can continue to complete the form and will receive their iPad delivery in May.

On Tuesday (4/28) at 6:30 pm my office, Manhattan Community Board 4 and Housing Conservation Coordinators are hosting a virtual forum, “Tenant Protection & Housing Security during COVID-19 Pandemic.” Register here to ask questions in the Zoom meeting or watch it live on CB4’s YouTube channel.

On Wednesday (4/28) at 6:30 pm, I will be moderating a virtual town hall on “Bridging the Digital Divide during COVID-19,” a discussion of potential solutions for the many disparities in technology laid bare by this pandemic. Partners include the Columbia University School of Social Work, BetaNYC, the West Harlem Development Corporation, Silicon Harlem, and Community Board 11. Panelists include Silicon Harlem’s Clayton Banks, Dr. Desmond Patton of the School of Social Work, Nilsa Orama of Community Board 11, and Noel Hidalgo from BetaNYC.

I testified via Zoom today before the Council’s Transportation Committee in support of legislation to expand pedestrian space on 75 miles of city streets to enhance opportunities for social distancing. Read my testimony here.

Yesterday, Gothamist reported that the NYPD has found an ‘uptick’ in domestic violence murders during the COVID shutdown. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; we cannot let this pandemic make us any less mindful of the danger many of our friends and neighbors could be in. That’s why this April, as I do every year, I am helping plan the annual Denim Day rally in support of survivors of sexual violence– which will be held virtually this year.

Join us from your home anytime on April 29th for the 10th Annual Denim Day NYC! I am proud to support this initiative along with the Mayor’s Office to End Gender-Based Violence and 40 organizations. We’ll join together online as a community of survivors, advocates, and allies in order to work toward a future free of sexual violence and sexual assault. Show your solidarity with the movement by wearing denim on April 29th. Stand with us at

Thanks to all who joined our second Uptown Arts Call, in partnership with the Arts and Culture Committee of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. If you couldn’t make it, watch the recorded conversation here.

The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center is looking for volunteer callers to help update their 59 Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guides. These guides are essential to helping keep communities informed on everything from soup kitchens to farmers markets to available resources for families depending on the SNAP and WIC programs. If you are interested in volunteering, please email with the subject line: “Volunteer for Food Resource Guides.”

Today (4/24), the Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra started their #VCORPHEUSFESTIVAL, a two-day online festival hosted on The Violin Channel’s Facebook page. The festival will feature Orpheus musicians in living room concerts, fun videos from their homes, informative Q&As, and full broadcasts of Orpheus concerts.

Tonight (4/24) at 7 pm, watch Whitney Screens, an online screening of Clarissa Tossin’s video art piece Ch’u Mayaa from the Whitney Museum. They’re also hosting an Artmaking from Home event tomorrow (4/25) at 3 pm, with a class on “The Power of Pattern”: drawing from the works of Rosie Lee Tompkins and Miriam Schapiro.

Tonight (4/24) from 7 – 8 pm, the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden is hosting a virtual opening reception for a piece by Sandra Fernandez titled Movement, Migration and Home; the piece is a beautiful work that depicts Manhattan as a literal cultural patchwork, with colorful segments stitched together by the paths people from all over the world take to reach our city. Access the reception on Zoom here, with Meeting ID: 731-2357-4447.

Tomorrow (4/25) from 1 – 2:30 pm, Tenants and Neighbors is hosting their annual meeting online via Zoom, with the theme “Rallying for Tenants’ Rights and Justice in the Midst of Covid-19.” Register online here, or call in at (929) 436-2866 with Meeting ID: 616-636-6635.

Tomorrow (4/25) from 1 – 4 pm, the Metropolitan Opera streams an “At Home Gala” on their website with virtual performances by over 40 artists. The program will then be available to stream on until Sunday at 6:30 pm.

Tomorrow (4/25) at 8:00 pm, the Metropolitan Playhouse presents a virtual reading of Bronson Howard’s 1878 comedy OLD LOVE LETTERSWatch here.

Tomorrow (4/25) at 9 pm, The Flea Theater is launching SERIALS: ONLINE!, a virtual version of their long-running weekly episodic show. View all-new plays, streamed live on their Instagram and Youtube pages.

On Sunday (4/26) at 4 pm, the Africa Center is hosting a discussion with Orange is the New Black actress Uzo Aduba on her portrayal of Shirley Chisholm in the new FX show Mrs. AmericaWatch online or stream on Instagram @TheAfricaCenter.

On Sunday (4/26) at 4 pm, join Jazz Power Initiative for Latin JazzPowerON, an online live-streaming concert event featuring StringBeans with bandleader Annette Aguilar; bandleader Steven Oquendo with his Latin Jazz All Stars; and Rumbamena Dance Company dancer/choreographer, Ximena Salgado.

On Monday (4/27) at 2 pm, celebrate National Tell A Story Day with a digital storytelling workshop from, a project of the NYC Dept. of Records.

Every Monday from 2 – 3 pm, the New York branch of the National Council of Jewish Women is hosting a Coping with COVID-19 Virtual Support Group, led by Letitia Maun, LMSW. Contact Letitia to schedule a pre-registration phone call at or by calling (646) 884-9471.

On Monday (4/27) from 3 – 4 pm, join the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health for their HarlemCounts! Census 2020 Virtual Town Hall to discuss strategies to combat a census undercount. Register here.

My staff takes the content from these newsletters and classifies them into five roundups of each day’s news, available on the front page of my website. Just click the relevant blue box to stay up to date on the latest arts performances, volunteer opportunities, webinars, and other available resources.

NYC & Company has compiled Virtual NYC, an ongoing and comprehensive list of virtual cultural offerings by local organizations, sorted by interest (i.e. Family Friendly, Performing Arts, Attractions, etc.). They also have a form to submit upcoming events and experiences and add to their expanding list.

Even as we all do our best to contain the spread of COVID-19, it’s important that we know what testing centers are available if we’re experiencing symptoms. Here are the ones in Manhattan I know of, with information on how to get an appointment:

  • SOMOS Community Care (2360 Amsterdam Ave M1). Call (888) 364-3065 to make an appointment.

  • Sydenham Family Health Center (264 W 118th St). Open to walk-ins for swab testing Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm, but encourage visitors to call and make an appointment at (212) 932-6500.

  • Gouverneur Health COVID-19 Testing Center (277 Madison Street). Call (844) 692-4692 for more information.

  • One Medical Manhattan COVID-19 Testing Center (417 W 35th St in Hudson Yards). For appointments at sites run by One Medical, call 1-888-ONEMED1 or visit their website and use code NYCCARE30.

The nonprofit West Side Federation for Senior & Supportive Housing has issued a broad call for support: a drive for everything from volunteer support, to potential vendor connections, to donated foodstuffs, activity books, and technology. Click here to learn more and lend a hand.

The New York Peace Institute is offering online mediation services free of charge for families and workplaces struggling to manage conflict during the pandemic. Access their onboarding form here.

For those in need of help in the burial of a loved one, the Human Resources Administration (HRA) is providing funeral assistance and payment of expenses for qualifying individuals. Learn moreSee the application here (PDF).

Politico published an interesting piece yesterday about the unorthodox ways the Census Bureau is reaching out to Americans. It turns out that the Text Out the Count campaign we’ve been promoting here is part of those efforts. Click on “Text Out the Count”  to join one of the virtual “text banks” being held daily.

Please forward these newsletters to anyone you know who would find them useful, or have them subscribe to my enews here or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.

And please do call me with any urgent problems or concerns: (212) 669-8191.

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