I know this newsletter can be unwieldy; click on these anchor links to go straight to a section you’re interested in: News & Information // Useful items // Events 


It’s Thursday, December 29, 2022 and the new year is just around the corner. Let’s hope it’s… better! 

Katelyn Jetelina, in her fantastic newsletter, “Your Local Epidemiologist” reports that cases in New York are exponentially increasing due to a new variant that is circulating in the northeast, XBB.5.1, which has a 120% weekly growth advantage (each person infects two others). U.S. hospital admissions for those over 70 are climbing, and are at their third-highest since the start of the pandemic. 

Jetelina also had two great rundowns (she also runs a great Instagram: @your_local_epidemiologist): on Boosters for Kids Under 5 and on Long COVID. She summarized results—surprising to me—from four questions added to the U.S. Census Bureau’s ‘Household Pulse Survey’ in August, 2022: 

  • 16 million working-age Americans (age 18 – 65) have long COVID today. 
  • Of those, 2–4 million are out of work due to long COVID.
  • The prevalence of severe long COVID is unequally distributed across race/ethnicity and age.
Channel 13’s MetroFocus highlighted long COVID last summer, which re-ran Monday night this week (12/26). One of the guests, Diana Berrent, founded (also on Facebook) which provides education and resources for COVID patients and providers—connecting them with medical and scientific research efforts and helping with the national response. 

Meanwhile, since China’s leadership abruptly abandoned its hard-line “Zero COVID” policy two weeks ago after substantial protests, Covid Is Spreading Rapidly in China (NY Times). Jetelina describes it as a “humanitarian disaster”—estimates are between 5,000 and 10,000 deaths a day, and that’s before Chinese New Year is celebrated (at the peak in the U.S., we had 3,800 deaths per day). 

By dropping zero-COVID so quickly, without much warning or preparation, China’s hospitals and providers were caught unprepared; the result is the virus catching fire in a large, and largely unvaccinated, population overwhelming the medical system. Another result, Dr. Leona Wen writes, “The United States, and the rest of the world, should brace for the arrival of new variants.” That’s probably why the administration will now require negative COVID tests for travelers from China (but that doesn’t start for a week, starting 1/5). 

Bring Back Masks on Subway, Disability Advocates Say as Respiratory Diseases Surge (TheCity)

Meanwhile, on other disease fronts: Growing vaccine hesitancy fuels measles, chickenpox resurgence in U.S. (Washington Post) and Covid Isn’t the Only Reason Children’s Vaccination Rates Are Falling (NY Times Opinion): “Measles should not be taken lightly. The virus is highly contagious; according to the C.D.C., if one person has it, up to 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. It can live up to two hours in the air. One to three of every 1,000 children who contract measles die of respiratory and neurological complications.”

Boosters, tests and masks: Use this pre-built search (at for bivalent booster availability here in the 6th Council District. We still have plenty of free test kits and blue surgical masks available for pickup during business hours at my district office: 563 Columbus Ave. at 87th St., from 10 am – 5:30 pm. To order a free set of four test kits mailed to you, visit

News & information.

My statement in last week’s edition on the NYC retirees' health care mess garnered the lead story in this week’s edition of The Chief, the city’s civil service newspaper: “Retirees' Medicare fight has Council ally” (PDF).

This is what Upper West Siders do best—utilizing their networks to help others. Bike New York is seeking help on a project to provide asylum seekers with bicycles come spring, and they’ve already partnered with the City DOT and Office of Immigrant Affairs (and the Kryptonite bike lock people) to get this off the ground. Bike New York needs places to receive donated bikes and store them this winter so that Bike New York’s “Recycle a Bicycle” team can do needed repair and refurbishing.

Ideally, they're talking two or three locations spaced around town (Brooklyn or Queens, too) each with capacity for scores of bikes. If you have real estate contacts who can connect them with a currently-empty, safe, secure, and lockable space for, say, a 90 to 150-day period, please contact Jeremy Lockett at Bike New York: (Once there are locations, we'll be asking for your donations of used or broken bikes!)

I inspected Tuesday night's 700-gallon diesel spill on W. 66th St. today (12/29), and attended an inter-agency meeting, where all the agencies involved described how they had it in good shape by this morning. Read more at the West Side Rag

Today (12/29) at 4:20 pm, at Housing Works’ Astor Place location, the first legal recreational marijuana sale in New York City will take place. 

Thursday, 1/18/23 at 10 am (moved from 1/12 at 1 pm), there will be a hearing on “Proliferation of Unlicensed Smoke Shops in NYC” held jointly with my Oversight and investigations Committee and the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection (chaired by Council Member Marjorie Velázquez) and the Committee on Health (chaired by Council Member Lynn Schulman).

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine has opened the 2023 Manhattan Community Board application period, now through 3/17/23. Current members who wish to serve another term must reapply.Community Boards provide New Yorkers with an opportunity to participate in local democracy and decision making, helping to shape the future of Manhattan. Community Boards touch every aspect of life: parks, sanitation, education, land use, and public health. (As Borough President myself, I appointed or reappointed hundreds to serve on Community Boards; I served on Community Board 7 myself back in the 1990s—I recommend it!) 


Antisemitism isn’t new. So why did 2022 feel different? (Vox)

In Museums About Horrors, Children Learn of the Heroes (NY Times) A new exhibit mentioned here, “Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark” designed for 9–12 year olds, is opening at the Museum of Jewish Heritage next Fall.

How to Help Migrants Seeking Asylum in New York City (TheCIty)

State Climate Council Picks Path to Lofty Green-Economy Goals (TheCity)

We Thought That We Would Never See — A Map of Every Parks-Department Tree! (West Side Rag)

NYC could lose 10,000 Airbnb listings because of new short-term rental regulations (NPR) 

I helped Met Council distribute food boxes today (12/29) to the formerly homeless veterans living in their W. 95th St. residence operated by Bailey House/Housing Works and Harlem United. Much thanks to the Sol Goldman Charitable Trust for this generous donation.

Useful items.

My office’s January virtual Housing Clinic is on the topic of “Succession Rights” on Wednesday, 1/11/23. Register at In addition, my District Office has a trained volunteer to assist with Senior Citizen and Disabled Rent Increase Exemption applications and renewals for those in rent-regulated units every Monday from 2–6 pm (but not on Monday holidays!). There’s so much demand for SCRIE/DRIE help that, starting in January, we’ll also have a representative from the City Dept. of Finance in the District Office once a month on Tuesdays who will also be able to assist. We will take calls at 212-873-0282 for appointments 10 am–2 pm on the second Tuesday of each month.

My bill to curb catalytic converter thefts by requiring a VIN number and copy of vehicle title when a converter is sold in the aftermarket will take effect in April: Local Law 123 of 2022.

NYCParks’ annual Mulchfest has begun! Through 1/8, you can drop your Christmas tree at the following sites on the West Side. Next weekend (1/7–8), New Yorkers can drop their tree at a chipping site (starred below), and actually watch the tree be chipped, and take home a bag of mulch. More information (and the full citywide list of 73 Mulchfest sites) at the link above.

  • Central Park West at 106th Street / Drop-off only
  • Central Park West at 65th Street / Drop-off only
  • *Central Park West at 81st Street and the bridle path / Chipping
  • *DeWitt Clinton Park at West 53rd Street and 11th Ave. / Chipping
  • *Inwood Hill Park, Isham Street and Seaman Ave. / Chipping
  • Morningside Park, West 123rd Street and Morningside Ave. / Drop-off only
  • *Riverside Park, West 83rd Street and Riverside Drive / Chipping

DSNY will also conduct curbside collections of Christmas trees for mulching and recycling Friday, 1/6 through Saturday, 1/14

Thursday, 1/5, 6–7 pm, virtual: Did you know that what you do in the kitchen affects the progress of climate change? The Residential Recycling and Reuse Committee of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board is offering a class covering:

  • Climate change and composting
  • Brown bins and rats
  • How to divert food scraps from trash in the kitchen
  • Why it’s important to reduce food waste
  • How to reduce food waste

Register here; a link for the class will be sent before the start date.

The great nonprofit DOROT is seeking volunteers for their annual winter volunteer event, Winter Package Delivery, on Sunday–Monday, 1/29–30. You'll deliver a bag filled with winter staples and treats, and stay for a visit or follow up with a phone call—sharing warmth and companionship with an older neighbor, and helping DOROT address social isolation and loneliness in our community. Click the link for more. 

The NYPL has opened applications for a free Small Biz Growth Accelerator course; the deadline to apply here is 1/17/23. The program starts Tuesday,1/24/23, 5 – 8 pm, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (455 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor) and is led by instructor Jimmy Newson, and includes  

  • Two 3-hour in-person workshop-style classes
  • Two additional virtual sessions for Q&A, workshop accountability, and peer networking
  • Strategic Planning Template
  • 5 Action Plan Workbooks
  • Financial Literacy Program
  • Accessibility Training Program
  • In-Depth Software demos

If you have kindergarten-age children (those born in 2018), you probably already know that kindergarten applications are open now. Sign up for 3-K, pre-K, and/or kindergarten admissions mailing lists at The DOE is making the kindergarten application the same for regular and gifted and talented programs; waitlisting will be available simultaneously for both kindergarten and G&T. Families will only be able to accept one offer at a time—but the G&T offers will be provided sooner, which will ease some stress. These are the remaining DOE virtual information sessions covering 3-K, pre-K, kindergarten, and G&T: 

  • 1/12/23, 6 – 7 pm | Arabic, Haitian Creole, Russian 
  • 1/26/23, 6 – 7 pm | Chinese (Mandarin), French, Urdu 
  • 2/1/23, 2 – 3 pm | Arabic, Haitian Creole, Russian 
  • 2/15/23, 6 – 7 pm | Bangla, Korean, Spanish  

There’s no difference in content among events—only in the languages interpreted. Each event will be hosted live online; check your email or visit the day before the first event to find the password and any other information you’ll need to join, as well as how to receive interpretation. Log onto Zoom at the event’s start time here. They’ll post a recording of the presentation in January.  


Over 30 videos recorded at the Brooklyn Book Festival last fall are now available online, including panel discussions with authors such as Mohsin Hamid, Esmeralda Santiago, Jacqueline Woodson, Marlon James, and Jennifer Egan. Panels include cooking with Matt Rodbard, memoir with Margo Jefferson, critical conversations with Bill McKibben and Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, and poetry readings by Victoria Chang. Emerging stars of Spanish-language literature are also featured. They can all be viewed from the comfort of home or as a group viewing party at neighborhood senior and community centers. 

The Civilian Complaint Review Board's Youth Advisory Council application is open to New Yorkers ages 10-18 years old; deadline to apply Tuesday, 1/31. Apply at this link. Video and audio statements can be submitted via link in the application's “Please describe why you would be an ideal member of the CCRB Youth Advisory Council” section. 

The Center for an Urban Future's 15th annual State of the Chains report has been released. Findings include: most national retailers in New York City still haven’t come close to reaching their pre-pandemic store levels. (November 2022 chain store count is 9.8% below 2019—782 fewer stores.) Overall, the city still has 34,700 fewer retail jobs than in February 2020, the month before the pandemic—a 10.2% decline—while nationally, retail jobs are up 2% during the same period. Click the link for the full report.

The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is a $8,000 unrestricted cash grant available to artists living in New York State (and/or an Indian Nation within state boundaries). They are currently accepting applications in the categories of Craft/Sculpture, Digital/Electronic Arts, Nonfiction Literature, Poetry, and Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts. Visit the link at New York Foundation for the Arts to learn more. Application Deadline is Wednesday, 1/25/2023 and successful applicants will be notified Summer, 2023. 

Nominations for the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards  are due Monday, 1/9/23. The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honor, the Moses Award is bestowed upon an outstanding individual in the field of historic preservation. Awards are given to projects that demonstrate excellence in the restoration, preservation, or adaptive use of historic buildings, streetscapes, and landscapes that preserve commercial, residential, institutional, religious, and public buildings. Only projects that are substantially completed during 2022 and located within the five boroughs of New York City will be considered. Books, other publications, and films are not eligible. If you have any questions please email Andrea Goldwyn at

The 2023 Open Streets application is now live; visit to access the application and to learn more about the program. If your Open Street plan is to launch on or before 6/30/23, apply by 1/31/23. If you plan to launch on or after 7/1/23, or for a school applying for the 2023-24 academic year, apply by 4/14/23. 

If you’re a non-procrastinator and doing your 2022 taxes now, it’s worth knowing that the deadline to apply for a $150 NYC property tax rebate has been extended to 3/15/23 for homeowners who couldn’t apply by the 11/15 deadline due to an extenuating circumstance. If your property is your primary residence and your adjusted gross household income is $250,000 or less, you may be entitled to a property tax rebate. If you think you qualify, visit:

The City DOT has released its 2023 Alternate Side Parking calendar at this link (PDF). 

The Grace Institute provides women with free workforce training and placement support in administrative and healthcare roles. Information sessions for their Administrative Professionals (AP) Program and Patient Service Representative (PSR) Program will be held 1/11/2023, 1 - 2 pm, and 1/23/2023, 5 - 6 pm


Thursday, 1/5/23, 4 – 5:30 pm, virtual: educator training session for City Parks Foundation’s “Green Girls Empowered by ING” curriculum. Intended for educators and community programmers, this training will explain the lesson format and how the curriculum integrates STEM, experiential learning and youth development concepts into each lesson. 

Friday 1/6 is the deadline to register for Tuesday 1/10’s “Admissions One Stop” event held by SUNY’s Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center (at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, 163 W. 125th St). There are six hour-long sessions—10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, and 4 pm, 5 pm, and 6 pm—where prospective SUNY students can learn about free programs, get help applying online, schedule an admissions exam, and get answers to questions on the spot. Pre-registration is required; each session will start promptly (arrive early!), and a negative COVID PCR test or COVID-19 vaccination required to attend. Click the link to RSVP. 

Sunday 1/8, 1 pm, NY Society for Ethical Culture Adler Hall, 2 West 64th St: ‘One With the Current’ (free eventbrite tickets here). Special performance of Daniel Damiano’s solo play: A North Carolina husband and father accompanies his childhood friend on a fishing trip during the pandemic, but the events that ensue will change his life forever. Directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby. More info at the title link. (Ethical Culture also has other arts and culture events listed at their calendar here and continues their Good Neighbor Initiative which collects and distributes food to food-insecure neighbors.)

Tuesday, 1/10/23, 12 noon – 1 pm, virtual: Storytelling Workshop: “Shark Tank” Style. In part two of this webinar series, three volunteers will pitch their stories in a “Shark Tank”-style session. Communications experts from the NonProfit Help Desk will provide real-time feedback, helping participants refine their key messages to tell stories that are differentiated, compelling and consistent. The experts will offer practical advice on how to apply storytelling strategies to each organization’s communications channels as well as possible media targets for their stories. Listen in to be inspired and see how the advice might apply to your organization.

Thursday 1/12, Lincoln Center: The New York Jewish Film Festival opens with “America”  by Ofir Raul Graizer, in Hebrew with English subtitles; Q&A with Ofir Raul Graizer after the screening. The festival continues through 1/23. Complete schedule at the festival link above. 

Thursday, 1/12, 6 – 7:30 pm, virtual: “What to know about RSV” presented by Lenox Hill Greenwich Village and cosponsored by State Sen. Brad Hoylman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, B.P. Mark Levine, and me, along with Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Danny O'Donnell, Linda Rosenthal, Assembly Member-elect Tony Simone, and Council Members Shawn Abreu and Erik Bottcher. 

Quirk of the week: Artificial Intelligence is no longer going to do things to the way we live—it already is. ChatGPT is worth playing around with (you’ll need to set up an account). Maybe we’ll have it write and edit next week’s newsletter!

                                             Stay Safe, 
P.S. If you were forwarded this newsletter from a friend, sign up for your own subscription here!

P.P.S. If you have a problem or concern going forward, please contact me at, or call (917) 685-8657, or contact my Council district office at (212) 873-0282 and
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District Office: 563 Columbus Ave., NY, NY 10024 (212) 873-0282
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