Helping in Times of Crisis…Countering COVID-19

It has affected everyone.  The Alliance for Downtown New York’s President, Jessica Lapin recently articulated this sentiment when she said:

“There is not one storefront business in New York City that has been spared by COVID-19. Every one of them is struggling. We are stepping up to do what we can to help our stores keep their lights on.”

The Downtown Alliance was set up in 1995 in an attempt to “enhance the quality of life in Lower Manhattan.”  This is exactly the time it is probably needed the most.

Now, the organization is working on a program that will help storefront businesses in Lower Manhattan.  Through this it will offer grants worth up to $800,000.  Known as the Small Business Rental Assistance Grant this will help shops that have been providing essential services to local residents and workers, it has been funded with significant contributions from: Brookfield Properties, the Howard Hughes Corporation and Silverstein Properties. The Downtown Alliance has also given a contribution of $250,000.

Kindness in Times of Corona

In these distressing times it’s sometimes quite wonderful to see just how incredible community members can be toward each other.  True it’s very difficult, challenging and potentially incredibly depressing but there are also so many positive things happening everywhere and in Below 14 communities, we have seen many such cases.

Delancey Street Seafood restaurant Grey Lady is using this opportunity to show kindness and consideration to the local community.  Chef Tadd Johnson spent an entire week preparing 30 gallons of different types of soup to give out to those in need in the community.  Together with its sister eatery Canary Club, these “protein and produce” bursting soups have been made in three delicious flavors: broccoli-cheddar, potato-leek mushroom and seafood chowder.

When we used to walk around the Lower East Side we may have seen the odd looking posters…what are they?  They are perhaps CovId-19 art, photos of people kissing while wearing surgical masks as a general call for doing this together, getting through as a nation, and holding on while the world takes a breath (inside) during the pandemic.

The Act of Love is a street art campaign created by Arina Voronova who explained:

“While scientists are working on finding a cure for the virus, we, humans, can only spread love and support each other.”

There are around 500 posters but an additional 500 will be distributed around New York in the coming days.  Another goal of the project is to make people aware of Asian American discrimination during these days.

People to See, Places to Go

Downtown Manhattan is always hopping with activity. Today, Glittering Places of Detroit Concert is happening at the Roseville Public Library on Gratiot Avenue, Roseville starting at 6:30 p.m.  You will be privy to a wonderful show about the critical role Detroit had in the development of Jazz.  Performed by vocal artist Pam Jaslove, there is music, a slide show and so much more.  It’s a great opportunity for the entire family to learn about the 1920s Jazz Age.

Two days from now the Chesterfield Township Library on Patricia Street is hosting a Marvels of Motion program between 2 and 2.45pm.  Mad Science will present the event which will discuss Newton’s three laws of motion in action.  This is set to be a real hands-on experience for the whole family, featuring competitions, physics education, sports and real experiments.

Next Tuesday at 6pm take the whole family and head back to Roseville Public Library for Up the Lazy River journey.  Use your imagination and try to see yourself on Tashmoo – a sidewheel steamboat – going from Toledo, starting in Detroit.  Take a trip back in time and look at the lighthouses that have disappeared over time as well as other attractions from the early 20th century that we can still see but have basically faded.  Learn all about the SS Tashmoo.

Cutting Congestion in Manhattan?

Congestion in Manhattan has long been a huge problem.  But now, part of that may be eliminated, at least to a certain extent.

With two modifications being made in the New York City Charter, the Department of Transport is anticipating a spillover into Manhattan’s traffic issue.  A month from today, those commercial vehicles that double park for 20  minutes or more will be fined.  This will be in Chelsea, Midtown Manhattan and neighboring areas.

The way the law currently stands is that such vehicles are permitted to double park so long as they do not block the only lane.  Also, the Department of Transport has now mandated that the streets (First through Eighth Avenues between streets 14th through 60th)   that do not allow for deliveries between 7am to 7pm  will be expanded to 12th Avenue.

Meatpacking District: “Watch Out”

Doyle & Doyle has had a presence in New York’s Meatpacking District for two decades now. Specializing in vintage and antique jewelry, the sister-run store also offers house designs.  And of course, as a jewelry store, they sell watches.

But now the Meatpacking District is about to get two new stores with a complete focus on watches: Audemars Piguet and Rolex, both of which have just signed a lease very near each other in the neighborhood, one at Gansevoort Street and the other near to Soho House.

Other jewelry stores (which sell watches) locally include: Tempvs Fvgit (which specializes in vintage watches including Rolex and also sells US- and Swiss-made watches);  Tissot (a maker of luxury Swiss watches founded in Switzerland in 1853); Tourneau 3 Bryant Park (a store that sells name-brand watches as well as pre-owned watches) and G-Shock Soho Store.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Christmas in New York City.  The lights, the tinsel, the sheer magic in the air.  As authoress Alex Flinn so eloquently put it: “This isn’t a fairy tale. It’s New York City.” It’s not hard to see – even now a few weeks before Christmas – that New York is getting into the swing and spirit of the festive time.

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market opened last week and visitors have been privy to nearly 150 vendors selling their wares. Organized by Urbanspace their press release states that the event is now:

“Deemed one of the most elegant and beautiful places for holiday shopping, the market will showcase a large collection of unique gift options ranging from art and jewelry to décor and home goods from local artisans and designers.”

Enjoy food and drinks from The Baking Bean and Fries + Beer, Jicama: California Street Food and more.

Over at the Magic Hour Bar on Moxy Times Square roof, check out the very first Pink Holiday Playground. Featuring 12,000 pink lights.  Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director explained that the idea was to be “chic and sexy” offering a $26 Snow Globe Cocktail and $100 Pink Dough Pie among other menu items.

Recent Visits to Madison Square Garden

There have been a few interesting visitors to Madison Square Garden recently. Here we look at two with quite different roles in society:  US President Donald Trump and Dead & Company.

A warm reception greeted Donald Trump as he went to watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship (Mixed Martial Arts) in which Jorge Masvidal fought Nate Diaz.  Approximately 20,000 people were in the audience.

Another more recent visitor to the neighborhood was Dead & Company who was joined by Maggie Rogers at Madison Square Garden.  Rogers joined them on the first set, at the penultimate song, trading vocals with Bob Weir on Friend of the Devil. Other performers that night – 1st November – included Micky Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.

“Uniting Manhattan Through the Celebration of Public Art”

In an effort to bring art to Manhattan to unite the region, a spectacular mural can now be found at Third Street/Poyntz Avenue corner.  Thanks to Renato Perrieria and Douglas de Castro – two artists from Brazil – public art is being brought to the region. Bicecleta Sem Freio painted a large mural curated and produced by JustKids as part of the Incite MHK program that seeks to celebrate its people through art.

One tourist who was in the area admiring the local architecture who saw the art, Moshe Victor Keinig said:

“There is something so special about using art to bring harmony, peace and unity to a community.  Incite MHK emerged a few years ago from a group of local community members who wanted to bring Manhattan together via the arts. 

Keinig – who is visiting New York from Israel right now – feels that this would be a wonderful initiative in his country too.  He added:

“I would love to bring something like this back to Israel.  Enjoying art is just such a great non-political way to bring people together.  And we have some extremely talented artists back home.  It would be great for our country’s image around the world as well.”

Assistant Director of MHK Community Development Chad Bunger said that the event – revealing this new art – was an incredibly special, emotive experience, that he really enjoyed sharing with his family.  It gave him much pride knowing that “something like this [was] pulled off for the community.”

Since it was also hailed as a “team effort,” how much more appropriate would it be for a country like Israel, Keinig concluded.