Weekly update 10/21 – Gale Brewer

Linda Rider


It’s Thursday, October 21, 2021. Welcome to my weekly update.

New York City’s COVID positivity rate is now 1.66%, down from 1.97% last week. Those interested in diving more deeply into local COVID statistics can check the NYC Dept. of Health website or thecity.nyc’s COVID tracker. If you’re not yet vaccinated, find a vaccine site– including those for approved boosters– here.

Mayor de Blasio has (finally) issued an order to require vaccinations of all municipal workers (beyond the school employees and health care workers already mandated). This will apply to about 160,000 people, including NYPD and FDNY employees, who will need to submit their vaccine card by next Friday (10/29) at 5 pm. The fine print includes paying $500 to those who get vaccinated at City-run clinics; the municipal unions have called for this mandate to be negotiated under labor contracts.

This week the FDA approved boosters for the Moderna and J&J vaccines to be given six months after a Moderna second shot and two months after a J&J single shot; interestingly, the FDA approved the J&J booster for anyone age 18+ (the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are subject to more restricted age groups for boosters, although there’s reporting that indicates the FDA will lower the recommended age for healthy adults to obtain any booster to 40+ sometime later this fall).

The FDA also approved “mix and match” for the boosters, saying that it’s acceptable to get boosted with a different brand of vaccine than their initial shot(s).

NEXT week (10/26) that FDA committee will meet to consider policy on approving vaccines for emergency use for children ages 5–11; they’ll then send a recommendation to the CDC. The White House is preparing for CDC approval of child vaccines in November. The government has already bought enough child vaccines to inoculate the 28 million children in that age group (the vaccine comes in smaller vials and uses smaller needles) and will rely on pediatricians, pharmacies, and school and rural health clinics to distribute and administer them.

Did you know that one measurable barrier to vaccine acceptance is fear of needles? I didn’t until I read Zeynep Tufekci’s column this week. (I guess this means every time TV news shows a video of someone getting a shot, some people cringe.)


The annual “Leadership Development” training series my office put together to better support community board members and the public at large has begun. The classes are free, but require registration at the links below. Everyone is welcome!

  • “Working with Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Communities”
    Presented by the NYC Commission on Human Rights
    This session creates awareness that transgender New Yorkers face discrimination in all areas covered by the City Human Rights Law and that they must be treated with dignity and respect. The course will cover protections under the City Human Rights Law, briefly addresses federal and state law, and reviews in detail correct terminology when addressing the LBGTQI community.
    Wednesday (10/27) from noon – 1:15 p.m.  Register here.

  • “Manhattan 101: An Introduction to our Borough and Our City”
    Led by Rob Snyder, Manhattan Borough Historian
    Manhattan is so dense and dynamic that you can lose sight of its long history. In a short lecture and discussion, Manhattan Borough Historian Robert W. Snyder will describe how big changes in labor and economics, immigration and migration, and the evolution of our island landscape have shaped our own time. We will devote special attention to how the latest Census data affected how we live and work. This cohort will then break into small groups to discuss what these changes mean for our neighborhoods.
    Monday, 11/8 at 6 p.m. Register here.

  • “Human Rights Law & Protections Against Discrimination Based on Race & Color”
    Presented by the NYC Commission on Human Rights
    This session provides a historical context for race and color-based discrimination and how it has impacted the lives of New Yorkers, institutions, and the delivery of services and resources in NYC. This course educates participants on their rights and protections against discrimination under the Human Rights Law. Participants will analyze concepts related to race and color, learn about efforts and resistance to combat racism, and find ways to become the voices for social and racial justice.
    Friday, 11/12 from noon -1:15 p.m.  Register here.

There are several opportunities to get involved with People’s Tech Assemblies, an ongoing virtual forum to share collective ideas and questions on how technology can and will shape the future of NYC, sponsored by my office, BetaNYC, and the Public Advocate’s office:

  • Wednesday (10/27) at 6 pm: “Workshopping Infrastructure and Reimagined Streets,” register here

  • Next Thursday (10/28) at 6:30 pm: “Workshopping Housing Security,” register here

  • Peoples’ Tech Assemblies office hours, every Friday at noon through 11/12: ask questions about participating in assemblies, hosting events, or using the People’s Tech online platform, register here

  • Take the community survey

  • Contribute input about how tech affects other topics like justice, health, and safety

Reminder: Early voting begins THIS Saturday (10/23). Find your early voting poll site at findmypollsite.vote.nyc (it’s likely different from your election day polling place). Learn about the candidates and ballot questions in this voting guide from NYC Votes/NYC Campaign Finance Board.

Early voting hours:

  • Saturday, 10/23 from 8 am – 5 pm

  • Sunday, 10/24 from 8 am – 5 pm

  • Monday, 10/25 from 7 am – 4 pm

  • Tuesday, 10/26 from 10 am – 8 pm

  • Wednesday, 10/27 from 10 am – 8 pm

  • Thursday, 10/28 from 10 am – 8 pm

  • Friday, 10/29 from 7 am – 4 pm

  • Saturday, 10/30 from 8 am – 5 pm

  • Sunday, 10/31 from 8 am – 4 pm


The FDA has proposed a rule that will, hopefully, lead to more affordable hearing aids for millions with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, an estimated 38 million Americans, by creating a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids.

This is a common-sense reform of current regulations that are over 40 years old (long before the days of headphones and earbuds), which grant only licensed providers permission to sell hearing aids, which require a prescription, audiologist tests, and fittings that increase the cost to several thousand dollars. (That’s probably why hearing aids are not typically covered by Medicare)

This new regulation could improve a lot of lives by reducing what are called “barriers to entry” that include cost, easy availability, and the shame that some people of a certain age have when it comes to hearing loss. And opening up a large consumer market like this means manufacturers will compete and reduce even the current several-hundred-dollar cost.

Congress authorized over-the-counter hearing aids in 2017, after a scientific advisory committee in the Obama administration recommended the change in 2015. Here we are in the last quarter of 2021, and the FDA is now addressing this long overdue reform.

Learn more here, and follow the links on that page to comment on the FDA’s proposed rule change by 1/18/2022.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli created a new online tool to monitor spending of federal recovery aid and COVID relief programs in the state, including funds for excluded workers, childcare providers, emergency rental and homeowner assistance, and small business recovery.


I’ve heard about several job opportunities:

  • East Harlem youth nonprofit Concrete Safaris is hiring after-school assistant group leaders. Applicants must have one year of childcare experience, be vaccinated against COVID, and be able to ride a bike. Send your resume to [email protected].

  • The City Cleanup Corps is still hiring. Corps members wipe away graffiti, power-wash sidewalks, create community murals, tend to community gardens, beautify public spaces, and work with community organizations to clean their neighborhoods. See job openings here.

  • Students ages 16–19 who participated in 2021 SYEP can earn $3,375 over 17 weeks as an intern in the “Environmental Corps Work, Learn, and Grow” program. Apply by next Thursday (10/28).

  • The MTA is hiring full-time bus operators, who earn $23.84–$25.49 per hour. By Tuesday, 11/30 apply directly through job posting 99929 on the MTA Career Site.

  • Registration for the NYPD officer exam is now open through Wednesday, 11/3. Passing the exam is the first step to becoming an NYPD officer.

Before Medicare open enrollment ends on Tuesday, 12/7, seniors can get one-on-one remote counseling about how to select the best Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, sponsored by Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Call 212-218-0429 to schedule an appointment.

The Grand Central NYPL branch (135 E. 46th St.) has reopened for browsing and computer use, Monday from 11 am – 6 pm and Tuesday–Friday from 10 am – 5 pm.

Tomorrow (10/22) at 5 pm is the last day to apply to the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund, which aims to build the capacity of NYC nonprofits in recognition of the fact that organizations led by people of the community are best equipped to meet the needs of the community. Apply here.

East Harlem residents have until this Monday (10/25) to fill out the Center for Comprehensive Health Practice’s stakeholder survey so that CCHP can better meet the community’s needs. Complete the survey here.

Community-based organizations that can provide progressive solutions to respond to and stop attacks on vulnerable Asian New Yorkers can apply for grants of $15,000–$100,000 from the Asian American Foundation’s “Hope Against Hate Campaign.” Send applications to [email protected] by Tuesday, 10/26.

Learn everything you need to know about applying to 3-K, pre-K, and elementary school through the free InsideSchools+ online course “NYC Pre-K & Elementary Schools: A Primer.” The class is available in English and Spanish and is self paced. Sign up on InsideSchools+.

Nominations close Monday, 11/15 for the NYS Disability Rights Hall of Fame, which honors people who have helped maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, productivity, integration, and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society. Submit a nomination here.


I’m co-sponsoring a free drop-in flu shot clinic at Lenox Health Greenwich Village (200 W. 13th St., 5th floor) TODAY (10/21) from 4 pm – 7 pm and Monday (10/25) from 4 pm – 7 pm.

Kids ages 8+ are invited to audition for the free year-round musical theater program from TADA! Youth Theater. No previous training or experience is needed to join this youth ensemble. Auditions are today (10/21) until 6 pm for kids 8–18 and Friday (10/22) from 6:15–8 pm for kids 12–18. Sign up here.

Tonight (10/21) at 6 pm, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute hosts a virtual talk dedicated to Black poetry and the oral traditions of the African diaspora. Watch it here.

This is the final week to check out free NYC Artist Corps events, performances, and programs (it ends Sunday, 10/24). See the schedule here.

Friday (10/22) from 11 am – 3 pm is a health fair at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building (163 W. 125th St.), offering free blood pressure, diabetes, vision, and HIV screenings; dental and podiatry check-ups; medication consultations; healthy eating advice; and “Stop the Bleed” trainings, hosted by Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Saturday (10/23) at 10 am, plant daffodil bulbs at and help clean the south end of the mall at 138th St. with the Broadway Mall Association, part of New Yorkers for Parks’ Daffodil Project. Register here.

Saturday (10/23) from 10 am – 3 pm, people 12+ can get vaccinated or get a Pfizer booster shot at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center (415 E. 93rd St.).

Saturday (10/23) from 11 am – 3 pm, get screened for U.S. citizenship eligibility by CUNY Citizenship Now! legal staff via Zoom. The staff can advise on eligibility, citizenship for children, fee waivers, and red flag issues (arrests, child support, selective service). For an appointment, call 646-664-9400 or 212-652-2071, or text 929-334-3784.

Saturday (10/23) from 11 am – 4 pm, enjoy a tea party, writing workshop, music, and an origami class at Maggie’s Magic Garden (1574 Lexington Ave. at 100th St.).

Saturday (10/23) at noon, “La Celebracion” is a virtual storytelling program in honor of Latinx heritage month, hosted by Yaffa Cultural Arts. Join the Zoom here.

Saturday (10/23) from noon – 3 pm is the 31st annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, now held in the East River Park Amphitheater.

Saturday (10/23) from noon – 4 pm at 23rd St. and 5th Ave. is a free concert featuring 20+ musicians celebrating “Tin Pan Alley Day” and the official landmark designation of Tin Pan Alley, where American popular musical was born on W. 28th St. Register here.

Saturday (10/23) from noon – 5 pm, meet cats and dogs looking to be adopted from Animal Care Centers of NYC during the Nordstrom block party at 225 W. 75th St.

Saturday (10/23) and Wednesday (10/27) at 1 pm, Landmark High School is holding an open house for prospective 9th and 10th graders (351 W. 18th St., 4th floor). Register here.

Saturday (10/23) from 1–4 pm in front of 250 W. 129th St., St. Nicholas Houses residents are invited to vote on how NeighborhoodSTAT/the Mayor’s Action Plan should invest $30,000 in the development to improve quality of life and safety.

Saturday (10/23) at 2 pm, join Inwood Art Works’ workshop “Cultural Understanding Through the Arts” at Muscata Marsh in Inwood Hill Park. Click here for more information.

Saturday (10/23) at 7 pm, join a virtual house party hosted by Clark Center, featuring DJs and excerpts from their collection of “Expressions: Black Lives Matter – An Arts Collaboration.” Register here.

Monday (10/25) from 10 am – 1 pm, I’m co-sponsoring a free flu shot clinic at the Fulton Community Center (119th 9th Ave. at 18th St.) with Senators Brad Hoylman and Robert Jackson, Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal and Dick Gottfried, and Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Appointments are required; call 212-633-8052 or email [email protected].

Monday (10/25) from 10 am – 2 pm is a resource fair about infant safe sleep practices in the Union Settlement Community Garden (237 E. 104th St.), hosted by East Harlem Community Partnership and the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.

Monday (10/25) at 6 pm, join a virtual discussion about architect Emery Roth, the Hungarian-Jewish immigrant who designed many of the definitive NYC hotels and apartment buildings of the 1920s and 1930s. Register here for the event, hosted by Village PreservationLandmark West!Historic Districts Council, and Friends of the Upper East Side.

Monday (10/25) at 7 pm, the virtual “Tenement Talk: Clairvoyant Housewives of the Lower East Side” explores the neighborhood’s rich history of psychics, palm readers, and fortune tellers in the early 20th century, hosted by the Tenement Museum. Click the title to register.

Take a free lifeguarding course with the West Side YMCA. The required pre-test is Tuesday (10/26) from 10 am – 3 pm (email [email protected]) to register. The lifeguarding course itself is Wednesdays 11/3–12/15 from 3–8 pm. Participants must be 16 or older.

Tuesday (10/26) from 2–6 pm is a City resource fair, where you can meet with City commissioners and senior staff to address all your questions and concerns, including, quality of life, public health, and safety at the Police Athletic League Harlem Center, (441 Manhattan Ave.). There will also be a pop-up vaccine clinic on site.

Tuesday (10/26) at 3 pm is my weekly virtual Manhattan Vaccine and Recovery Task Force meeting, sharing excellent information about the pandemic and New York City’s reopening. To join the Zoom, email [email protected]. You can watch archived meetings here.

Tuesday (10/26) at 6:30 pm at Gibney Studios (280 Broadway), watch a free open rehearsal of the new play “Threads,” which explores what brings people together and the process of letting go. Click here to reserve a seat.

Wednesday (10/27) is Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez’s annual senior summit. From 9 am – 1 pm, visit the Union Settlement Community Garden (237 E. 104th St.) for a resource fair. Then from 2–4:30 pm, the summit goes virtual with online workshops about COVID, vaccines, elder abuse, safety, and mental health. Join the Zoom here.

Wednesday (10/27) at 5 pm, webinar “Ida Recovery Webinar: Navigating Insurance Claims after the Hurricane” features leading insurance attorneys who will address insurance coverage, the claim preparation process, dealing with insurance denials, and available grants and aids, hosted by the City Bar Justice Center. Click the title to register.

Wednesday (10/27) at 6 pm, health experts hold two virtual discussions about tuberculosis vs. COVID and what you need to know about cancer at every age, part of Community Board 6 and NYU Langone’s “Series on Healthy Living in the Community.” Click the title to register.

Wednesday (10/27) at 6 pm, experience a virtual sound meditation where you’ll be “bathed” in the sound waves created by wind chimes, brass, and frosted crystal singing bowls, hosted by City Artist Corps grantee Son Chung and mental health awareness nonprofit Darkness Rising. Register here.

Next Thursday (10/28) from 4:30–7 pm is a superhero-themed costume parade starting at 119th St. (btwn Park–Lexington Ave.), hosted by the NYPD 25th Community Precinct Council.

Next Thursday (10/28) at 6 pm is a virtual panel about services and gaps for people who are seriously mentally ill, specifically those who are unsheltered, hosted by Community Boards 4 and 5 (covering most of Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and Midtown). Register and submit your questions here.

Next Thursday (10/28) at 6 pm, NYPD PSA 5 hosts a community discussion about public safety, quality-of-life concerns, and community-police relations at the PSA 5 precinct (221 E. 123rd St.). PSA 5 covers NYCHA developments in East Harlem and South Central Harlem.

Next Friday (10/29) and Friday, 11/4 from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, tenant lawyers, tenant advocates, and tenants are invited to a virtual training program about right to counsel, hosted by the Housing Justice Leadership Institute at New York Law School. Register here.

News Clippings

‘Lurching Between Crisis and Complacency’: Was This Our Last Covid Surge?
By Emily Anthes, NY Times, Oct. 14, 2021

NY Pediatricians Group Calls For Requiring Fully Approved COVID-19 Vaccines For State’s Schoolkids
By Sophia Chang, gothamist.com, Oct. 15, 2021

Fully vaccinated travelers can come to the U.S. even if their doses are mixed, authorities say
By Paulina Firozi, Washington Post, O.t, 17, 2021

The coronavirus is still mutating. But will that matter? ‘We need to keep the respect for this virus.’
“In recent weeks, scientists who closely monitor the virus have said it still appears to have plenty of room to evolve… Scientists are tracking dozens of ‘sublineages’ in the delta line of viruses, each with a slightly different array of mutations. One of those sublineages has spread with unusual speed in the United Kingdom recently and is gaining attention from researchers.”
By Joel Achenbach, Ben Guarino, and Aaron Steckelberg, Washington Post, Oct. 18, 2021

Your coronavirus questions, answered: Which dose of the vaccine will be right for ‘cusp kids’?
By Lindsey Bever, Washington Post, Oct. 19, 2021

COVID vaccine makers brace for a variant worse than Delta
Companies are updating vaccines and testing them on people to prepare for whatever comes next in the pandemic.
By Emily Waltz, Nature, Oct. 20, 2021

Mixing covid vaccines? What you need to know about mix-and-match booster shots.
By Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, Oct. 21, 2021

As always, get in touch if you have a problem or concern we can help address: 212-669-8300 or [email protected].
Stay safe.

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