Policy

Policy

Photo of NYCHA vaccination site at Nostrand Houses in Brooklyn by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

New York City on Thursday launched an effort to vaccinate homebound seniors by going door to door at select residential buildings. With this week’s arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires a single shot and remains stable in a regular refrigerator, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the vaccine will “revolutionize” the city’s fight against the coronavirus. Teams deployed by the FDNY started vaccinating seniors in Co-op City in the Bronx on Thursday and will move to Brighton Beach on Friday.

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Policy, Technology

Screenshot from the city’s Vaccine Finder website

Making good on its word, the NYC Health Department overhauled the city’s COVID vaccine scheduling portal to include real-time appointment availability. Previously, Vaccine Finder listed all providers but did not specify availability, meaning users would have to spend time filling out multiple registration forms just to be told there were no vaccines.

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Art, Events, Policy

Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash

After being closed for over a year, events, arts, and entertainment venues can reopen at a limited capacity next month. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that as soon as April 2, live performance venues will be able to open indoor spaces at 33 percent capacity or up to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of a negative coronavirus test prior to entry, capacity can increase to 150 people indoors and 500 people outdoors, according to the state.

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affordable housing, Policy

Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

A state lawmaker introduced legislation this week that would allow New York to buy financially distressed commercial buildings and convert them into housing for low-income and homeless New Yorkers. The Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act, sponsored by State Sen. Michael Gianaris, includes the purchase and conversion of office buildings and hotels that are up for sale, as the Wall Street Journal first reported. The proposed legislation comes as commercial districts and tourist hubs have yet to recover fully from the impact of the coronavirus and as the housing crisis, particularly in New York City, continues.

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Policy, Top Stories

The mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium opened in February for Bronx residents only; Photo: Don Pollard / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York this week will start administering the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine during overnight hours at three state-run mass vaccination sites, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday. Vaccine hubs at the Javits Center, Yankee Stadium, and the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse will distribute the single-dose vaccine, which was granted emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration over the weekend, to eligible New Yorkers starting this Friday, March 5. Appointments will open at 11 a.m. on Wednesday for vaccinations at Yankee Stadium and 8 a.m. on Thursday for the Javits Center and the Fairgrounds.

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Bronx, Policy

Photo by David L Roush on Wikimedia

New York City this week will open a mass coronavirus vaccination site at Co-op City, the world’s largest housing cooperative. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced the site will start vaccinations for eligible New Yorkers on March 4 at the Bronx development, which is home to over 15,300 apartments across 72 buildings. “Communities felt deep, deep losses from the coronavirus in the Bronx,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “The Bronx is too often overlooked. We can’t let that happen.”

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Featured Story

City Living, Features, opinion, Policy

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Nearly a year into the pandemic, decision-making in our cities has taken center stage. Locally grown proposals by council people, small business owners, and neighbors have proven the ability to cut through red tape and innovate quickly to solve problems. Outdoor dining structures and pedestrian-only streets were implemented at a rate thought impossible before. At the same time, top-down mandates about public safety and use of funds have been at best called into question, and at worst, completely fumbled. Slow action and political quibbles have left many critical decisions out of public hands.

In the face of many more important decisions to come about our city, it is high time to address a challenge that has plagued us long before the pandemic — the lack of substantial public input into big decisions.

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Policy

A screenshot from VaccineFinder on 2/25/21 at 10:31am

Finding a vaccine appointment in New York has not been easy, to say the least. Providers are scheduling through various websites, most of which require you to fill out a pre-screening form every time you want to check availability. So unless you get lucky or are able to sit behind the computer all day, it can feel like a daunting process. That’s why here in New York City, a local software engineer built a website called TurboVax that updates all availabilities in real-time. I personally have used this site to schedule for friends, and it’s a life-saver. What about everywhere else, though? VaccineFinder, a CDC-backed website run by epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children’s Hospital, is hoping to create a “centralized online portal where the public can search for nearby vaccination locations with doses on hand,” according to the New York Times. But is this really feasible?

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City Living, Policy

COVID-19 testing site sat the Highbridge Recreation Center in Manhattan on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office via Flickr

report released on Monday by the NYC Department of Health shows that 6.2 percent of new COVID cases in NYC are the  B.1.1.7 variant (more commonly known as the UK variant), an increase from 2.7 percent in January. The estimate is based on 45 identified variant cases of the 724 specimens sequenced the week of February 8-14. The week prior, it was actually 7.4 percent. On their website which has been updated to include data on variant cases, the NYC DOH says that the UK strain is “more transmissible than other variants and may cause more severe illness.”

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Policy

Photo of the Wollman Rink by bekhap on Flickr

Two ice rinks in Central Park that are operated by the Trump Organization will now remain open for the rest of the season instead of shuttering early as originally planned. The Trump Organization announced it would close Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink on Sunday after city officials requested the company cease operations on February 26, ahead of the contract’s April expiration. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the termination of the agreements with former President Donald Trump’s company for the ice rinks and two other city concessions following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In a reversal, the city on Sunday said the rinks can stay open for the remainder of the season.

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