Restaurant Owners Optimistic Over Extension and Expansion of Outdoor Dining

BY Angi Gonzalez

Those visiting Ditmars Blvd in Astoria will be able to enjoy outdoor dining for the foreseeable future. That is now the case in Queens and across the city after Mayor de Blasio made a decision on the future of the open restaurants and open streets programs.

The news was a relief for Katherine Fuchs, the owner of the Thirsty Koala on Ditmars Blvd.

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City Health Officials Heckled While Laying Out Plans to Fight COVID-19 Clusters

BY Elina Tarkazikis and Alyssa Paolicelli
UPDATED 10:43 PM ET Sep. 25, 2020

The de Blasio administration faced pushback Friday as it urged the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens to join the Health Department in helping to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"I don't have to let nobody speak,” yelled Heshy Tischler, a talk radio host who heckled officials during a press conference broadcast by NY1. He claimed the city was exaggerating the outbreak and scapegoating the Jewish community.

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Students Who Most Need In-Person Instruction Are Among the Hardest to Serve Safely

BY Anna Lucente Sterling
UPDATED 10:10 PM ET Sep. 27, 2020

Sue Pugliese’s daughter, Michelle, loves to give out hugs. At her school on Staten Island, this doesn’t normally cause any issues. But now, that simple act could potentially escalate to serious punitive measures. It’s a fear her mother has with the new guidelines in place in schools across New York City as students returned this week for in-person learning.

“She’s going to go to school and you're not gonna let her hug you?” Pugliese wondered about her 19-year-old daughter with autism spectrum disorder. “She'll have fits and they’ll be calling 911 on her daily.”

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Families at Midtown Shelter Won't Be Moved After Settlement Reached

BY Courtney Gross
UPDATED 7:20 PM ET Sep. 25, 2020

NEW YORK — The plan to move homeless men staying at the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side to the Harmonia shelter in Midtown will no longer go through after a deal was reached Friday.

It’s been a long few weeks for the Bonanos.

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Theater District Restaurants Are Really Missing Their Usual Audience

BY Frank DiLella

NEW YORK - Sean Kent works as the front of house manager for Orso Restaurant in the Theater District. He got his start in the restaurant business more than 20 years ago as a server at Joe Allen, their sister location.

“The whole idea of New York shutting down three weeks prior to it happening seemed like almost impossible. We opened the day after 9/11, you know what I mean?” Kent said. Joe Allen is a restaurant row staple located on 46th street between 8th and 9th avenues. It has been serving the pre and post theater crowd since 1965 and is a well-known spot for industry insiders.

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What Industries Are Hiring In NYC Now?

BY Michael Herzenberg

NEW YORK - "COVID has been horrible," explained Raymond Martinez. He was a DJ. His work spinning at parties stopped as soon as the pandemic hit. He came to a jobs fair Thursday on the Lower East Side, hoping to find something to allow him to support his wife and three kids again.

“The uncertainly is terrible. Not knowing what our future is going to look like,” he said.

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Positive Coronavirus Test Announced at Staten Island School

BY Spectrum News Staff

A staff member at a Staten Island school has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter sent to the school community that was obtained by NY1.

The letter says anyone who has come into contact with the teacher will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

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City Threatens to Shut Down Private Schools, Businesses in Neighborhoods With Coronavirus Uptick

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — After several neighborhoods recently recorded upticks in coronavirus cases — and part of southern Brooklyn was designated a coronavirus cluster site as a result — the city warned it might need to shut down non-public schools and non-essential businesses if the situation doesn’t improve.

Starting Friday, the city will begin inspecting private schools in the affected neighborhoods and their adjacent zip codes, the city health department said. More enforcement staff will be deployed in these communities to ensure social distancing and other guidelines are being followed.

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Cuomo Says New York Will Determine if COVID-19 Vaccine Is Safe

BY Zack Fink
UPDATED 8:45 PM ET Sep. 24, 2020

President Trump has been pushing to roll out a vaccine for COVID-19 before he faces voters on November 3. That has raised alarm among critics, including Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Speaking Thursday, Cuomo accused the president of interfering with the work of the Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with ensuring the vaccine’s safety.

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How Hungry NYC Adults Can Still Get Free Meals Once Schools Reopen

BY Amanda Farinacci

NEW YORK — There are still no students allowed inside Port Richmond High School, but its front door is open to hungry residents as a hub site for the city's pick up grab-and-go meals.

Since the service began back in March, the Department of Education says it has given out more than 60 million meals at about 400 locations citywide — and that the offering will continue when students return to school buildings next week.

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Some Homeless Children Are Still Struggling to Get Online for School

BY Jillian Jorgensen

The city's 1.1 million public school students began remote learning this week, but without a good internet connection, Deborah De Booth's oldest daughter wasn't able to join them.

"My 16-year-old has not even started school yet because of this issue,” she said.

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How Is the Pandemic Impacting You? A New COVID-19 Survey Is Seeking Answers

BY Lydia Hu

“We have, as stated, predominantly Black and Brown people at this church,” said Mimsie Robinson, associate pastor of Bethel Gospel Church in Harlem. He’s dedicated most of his adult life to the church.

Robinson said many church members either got sick with COVID-19 or knew someone who did. Now during recovery efforts, he said some community members are struggling—they’ve lost jobs or loved ones. This would usually be a time when church members come together.

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De Blasio to Furlough 9,000 Public Employees

BY Juan Manuel Benitez
UPDATED 7:31 PM ET Sep. 23, 2020

NEW YORK - Without billions in aid from Washington or Albany’s approval to borrow money, Mayor de Blasio is scrambling to find savings.

The latest announcement: about 9,000 managers in mayoral agencies and the Department of Education and non-union employees will be required to take a week off without pay between October and March next year.

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MTA Considers Borrowing Billions While Waiting for Federal Bailout

BY Dan Rivoli

MTA officials may borrow nearly $3 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank as hope for a bailout from Washington dwindles during the election season.

The borrowing, suggested by MTA board member Larry Schwartz, would be a short-term solution to a cash crunch due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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New Year's Eve Party in Times Square Will Be Virtual

BY Shannon Caturano

NEW YORK- The year of canceled or scaled-back events and virtual celebrations will continue to the very last day of 2020.

The iconic New Year’s Eve party in Times Square will go virtual this year, organizers announced Wednesday.

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How One Performing Arts School is Tackling In-Person Learning

BY Frank DiLella

NEW YORK - Six months ago, as COVID-19 shut down our entire city and ultimately the world, Jamie Cacciola-Price was just in the midst of helming the annual musical at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.

"Never did I think when we closed school last March, that we would be in a position of possibly sitting out another entire year. We were doing the musical "Hairspray" and we had to cancel our second weekend, which at the time felt like the biggest loss ever. And then we went straight into remote learning," said Cacciola-Price.

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Met Opera Cancels Entire Season, Eyes September 2021 Reopening

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK - In a blow to the performing arts world, the Metropolitan Opera on Wednesday announced it will be canceling its entire season.

Back in June, The Met announced that it would cancel its fall season and reopen this December 31.

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City Comedy Club Owners Want Answers From State on Reopening

BY Justine Re

NEW YORK - There wasn't anything funny about the rally at the New York Comedy club Tuesday. Comedy club owners have had it and desperately want some answers from the state so that they can reopen.

Emilio Savone, co-owner of the New York Comedy Club in the East Village, says he is all about being safe. He just wants to be able to make a living, too.

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City Declares Part of Southern Brooklyn to be Coronavirus Cluster Site

BY Gloria Pazmino

The city declared a coronavirus cluster site Tuesday after half a dozen neighborhoods recorded upticks in recent days, Department of Health officials announced.

Officials are referring to a rise in cases in Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst as "The Ocean Parkway Cluster” because of the especially rapid increases in rates there over the last three weeks. That cluster represents 20% of all new COVID-19 citywide in the past week.

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Parents Struggle to Plan as They Await Word on Learning Bridges Seats

BY Jillian Jorgensen

Mayor de Blasio promised to provide 100,000 free childcare seats at centers called Learning Bridges: places where children could learn remotely instead of at home, while their parents go to work.

But with the school year finally under way, many parents say they are still waiting to learn if their kids will get one of the coveted slots.

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Queens Doctor Spearheads Programs to Keep Relatives of COVID-19 Patients Informed

BY Lori Chung

As the head of the Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic at Elmhurst Hospital, Dr. Pilar Gonzalez understood the threat as the coronavirus began to spread in New York earlier this year. With relatives in hard hit Spain, she found the virus hitting close to home in more ways than one.

“It was the most challenging time that I've had in my life,” said Dr. Gonzalez.

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How to Differentiate Between Coronavirus and Allergy Symptoms

BY Aly Prouty

WISCONSIN— Flu season is looming in the not-so-distant future, and the pandemic appears to be here to stay, taking more than 200,000 U.S. lives since it began. But, that sore throat you had this morning might not be a result of the flu or coronavirus.

It could just be allergies.

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City Kicks Off Program to Help Working Parents Through Blended Learning

BY Roger Clark

NEW YORK - A room full of kids using laptops, with headphones on. It may appear that they are all in the same class at the same school, when actually; they are enrolled in different classes at different schools.

They are learning remotely in one location at the Commonpoint Queens Sam Field Center in Little Neck.

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High School and Middle School Students Left Waiting the Longest for in-Person Learning

BY Shannan Ferry

NEW YORK - Emilia Brusseau was counting down the days until she could go back to Bard High School Early College Academy.

She was disappointed the city delayed in-person learning for most students again and she’s bracing for more remote schooling from her Brooklyn bedroom. "I mean the first day of school is so important and you get your hopes up always to see your friends and you’re so excited and so for the second time it being pushed — it’s kind of like I’m being let down again,” she said. The junior was expecting to start in person learning this week with a blended schedule. Now that the city is making students return in phases, middle and high school students will be the last to go back. Brusseau’s mother, Rocio Fernandez, is angry her daughter is being forced to wait especially for 11th grade. "It’s the the year where they are going to dedicate themselves to get the best grades, as well as prepare exams to go to college. It’s a very important year,” said Fernandez. Sixth grader Amalia Marrone just started middle school at Bell Academy in Bayside, Queens. She is eager to start in-person learning, especially so she can meet her new classmates. She only knows a few people at her new school. "It was kind of hard hearing that we weren't going to go back because I really wanted to meet all my friends,” said Marrone. As for Brusseau she also misses the social aspect of school. Now she’s just hoping the schedule won’t be delayed again. "It just kind of feels like I never got away from what happened ‪on March 13th,” she said.” Middle and high school students are expected to return to the classroom ‪on October 1.

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Class Action Lawsuit is Amended to Allow NYC Indoor Dining at 50 Percent Capacity

BY Justine Re

QUEENS, N.Y. - Tina Maria Oppedisano is the owner of Il Bacco in Little Neck Queens. In August, She took a lead role in a class action lawsuit seeking $2 billion in damages from the state for refusing to allow indoor dining at restaurants.

"Most people are not in the restaurant industry and they don't understand 25 percent is not a victory. Twenty-five percent is a step in the right direction but not a victory,” Oppedisano said.

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In-Person Classes Begin for Some NYC Public School Students

BY Jillian Jorgensen

It wasn't the return Mayor de Blasio originally promised, but for the first time since March, some students had their first day of in-person school, making New York the first big city in America to do so—even if it comes with a big asterisk.

"This week, 90,000 kids will go back into classrooms between 3K, pre-K, and our special-ed classrooms in District 75. Next week, hundreds of thousands more,” de Blasio said at his daily press conference Monday.

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There’s No Hard Number on How Many Teachers Schools Will Need, de Blasio Says

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio says he doesn’t know how many teachers the city will need for its blended learning plans as the academic year begins for the nation’s largest public school system.

“I don’t blame anyone who finds this confusing. Because it is so multi-layered, it does not lend itself easily to a single hard number,” de Blasio told Inside City Hall Anchor Errol Louis on Monday evening. “But we’re also dealing with the fact that the numbers keep changing.”

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New Queens Medical Center Treats Coronavirus Patients Whose Symptoms Won’t Go Away

BY Alyssa Paolicelli

Dr. Marwa Eldik tested positive for COVID-19 in the middle of March. A little more than six months later, she is dealing with a new set of challenges in her recovery.

Dr. Eldik said that, before her diagnosis, she was a very active person, participating in different kinds of workouts regularly. Now, she experiences extreme fatigue and still has not gained back her full sense of taste or smell.

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Medical Refugee Stuck in U.S. for Nearly a Year Because of the Pandemic

BY Amanda Farinacci

NEW YORK — Aisha Jaiteh, 2, and her mother, Bintou Sonko, arrived on Staten Island back in November from Gambia.

They’ve been staying with the Global Medical Relief Fund, or GMRF, the not for profit that coordinated the complicated surgery that would correct Aisha’s club feet and hand.

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In-Person School Delays Send Parents Out of the Department of Education

BY Amanda Farinacci

Diana O’Brien says her normally shy daughter Lily flourished in kindergarten until her public school shut down because of the coronavirus, and remote learning began.

“There were a lot of tears and a lot of fighting between us and then having my son trying to jump off the window at the same time, you know. It was juggling everything as every mom was,” O'Brien says.

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MTA Has Given Out Masks, Not Tickets, to Riders Without Face Coverings

BY Dan Rivoli
UPDATED 4:33 PM ET Sep. 18, 2020

NEW YORK - MTA officials were able to get riders to mask up, without issuing any tickets, since the state on Monday instituted a $50 penalty against commuters who refused to cover their face.

Officers with the MTA's police department and Bridges and Tunnels agency were tasked with enforcing the mandatory face covering rule.

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Delaying School Openings Again, de Blasio Says He’s 'Very Confident' in New Plan

BY Emily Ngo

NEW YORK - A day after he once again delayed the reopening of most public schools, Mayor de Blasio on Friday couldn’t promise that his newest timeline would hold.

“So again, for those parents who are watching, you’ll guarantee that by October 1, all the public school students who want to be in school will be in school?” asked MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Willie Geist.

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Why Some Fear NYC Dining Surcharge Could Shortchange Recovery

BY Amy Yensi
UPDATED 10:31 AM ET Sep. 18, 2020

BRONX, N.Y. - Diners who had been limited to eating at home because of coronavirus restrictions are thankful outdoor dining is now an option.

“I’m in heaven. It’s beautiful. I like being here,” said Kevin Mason.

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Not All NYC Public Schools Will Reopen Monday, Mayor Says

BY Shannan Ferry , Jillian Jorgensen and Kathleen Culliton
UPDATED 9:11 PM ET Sep. 17, 2020

NEW YORK — The reopening of certain New York City schools will be delayed once again, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced just four days before in-school learning was slated to start.

"Real concerns have been raised by my colleagues," de Blasio admitted. "They acknowledged that real progress had been made, but not enough and more needed to be done."

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Fighting Food Insecurity in NYC Amid Pandemic

BY Shanel Dawson

Friday night marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and a celebration of the Jewish New Year. But many Jewish New Yorkers are wondering if they will have enough food to put on the table this holiday season.

2.5 million New Yorkers were already grappling with food insecurity before the coronavirus pandemic, and a new report from City Harvest says another 800,000 have been added to that figure in just the last six months.

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Brooklyn Quaker School Teachers May Strike Over 'Union Busting'

BY Kathleen Culliton

NEW YORK — Brooklyn Friends School teachers and staff could vote this week to authorize a strike as the progressive Quaker institution continues its efforts to disband their union through policy set by the Trump administration.

The recently unionized staff opened a strike authorization vote Monday after Head of School Crissy Cáceres refused to withdraw the school’s petition to the National Labor Relations Board proactively challenging the staff’s right to bargain collectively.

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Historic Bronx Library Becomes Food Pantry to Help Feed the Borough's Hungry

BY Roger Clark

There's a line around the block outside of the Huntington Free Library and Reading Room in The Bronx. It's a building that has been serving the public for more than 125 years, by providing a place to read and learn and gather. The tradition of service continues, albeit in a different form, as volunteers get food to Bronx residents who are struggling to feed their families.

"You know people are scared, a lot of people still aren't working, it keeps them up at night,” said Nilka Martell, a library board member and the founder and director of the organization Loving the Bronx.

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The Delayed Bar Exam Leaves 2020 Law Graduates Struggling to Survive Financially

BY Justine Re

NEW YORK - After graduating from law school last spring, Mariam Chubinidze just wants to take the bar exam. Passing the test would make her a more attractive hire at a law firm, and she needs to pay back more than $200,000 in students loans.

“That’s my biggest worry right now: I don’t know when I’m gonna have the traditional full-time job; I don’t know how I’m gonna be making payments every month,” Chubinidze said.

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The Village Temple Goes Virtual for High Holiday Services

BY Frank DiLella and Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK - When Diana Fersko started her new role as senior rabbi at The Village Temple back in July, not only did she have to balance the challenges of a new job but she was tasked with figuring out how to conduct High Holiday services amid a global pandemic.

"In normal times, the High Holidays are celebrated with a packed sanctuary. You're literally sitting next to somebody who's sitting next to somebody very closely packed in, in a room. And it's very powerful," said Senior Rabbi Fersko.

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Last-Minute Changes to Blended Learning Leave Parents Fuming

BY Jillian Jorgensen

A first day of school unlike any other: students reporting to their laptops instead of their classrooms. Meanwhile, many of their parents were fuming following revelations their kids will get much less live instruction than they expected.

"When the information dropped our jaws dropped,” Deborah Alexander, co-president of the Community Education Council for District 30 in Queens, an advisory group of parents, said. The city Education Department initially promised that students opting to alternate between attending school and learning online from home -- a plan called blended learning -- would get some amount of live interaction with their teachers every day they studied remotely. But Tuesday night, as first reported by NY1, the department quietly walked back that promise, informing principals that schools were no longer required to offer any live remote teaching to those students if they didn’t have enough staff to do so. "Who makes an announcement at 9:30 at night, right?" asked Adriana Aviles, president of the Community Education Council in District 26 in Queens. Aviles enrolled her children in blended learning. Because of how it is being implemented at their school, her kids are supposed to be in classrooms just five days this month. She is hopeful her school will be able to continue offering live instruction on the days her children are remote. But at many schools around the city, the new, relaxed rules mean students may go days at a time without real-time interaction with teachers. "It’s a bait and switch, I don’t even know what to call it anymore. I think it’s just a disaster,” Aviles said. The Education Department is imposing the new rules to ease a shortage of teachers to staff remote and in-person learning simultaneously. Although they appeared together at a news conference Wednesday morning, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza didn't even mention the massive change until pressed by a reporter. "We're going to be transparent with families and let them know that this will be, some of your education remotely will be asynchronous. And that can still be very rigorous assignments,” he said. But parents like Deborah Alexander say the DOE has been anything but transparent and should have known they didn't have the staff for the plan to work long before the start of school. Instead, the change was announced hours before the school year. "I hate to use the word lie because it’s extremely, it’s a charged word, but how do you feel it’s anything else when it is not my job to count teachers and children in a room it’s their job, but I counted and knew this could not happen, so they must have known,” she said. “The alternative to them not knowing is that they knew and they lied, or they didn’t know which means they're not all that good at their job.” When her children logged on Wednesday to meet their classmates and teachers remotely, they were as happy as she had seen them since March. "That live connection, even if it’s for an hour a day and even if it’s only over a computer, it’s everything to them,” she said.

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Concerned About Safety, Teachers at Bronx School Work Outside

BY Angi Gonzalez

Wednesday 's weather was nice, but that wasn’t why teachers at the Taft School Campus in the Bronx opted to take their work outside - at least, not according to one math teacher.

“UFT passed out a checklist for ventilation and to make sure it’s safe for teachers and students to return, and the building did not meet that requirement. So teachers don’t feel safe, and they are working outside,” the teacher said.

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Homeless Hotel Controversy Takes Center Stage in Mayoral Race

BY Zack Fink

While she is still undeclared as a mayoral candidate, Maya Wiley, former de Blasio administration official and civil rights activist, is weighing into one of the most divisive debates in the city - the housing of homeless men in hotels on the Upper West Side. It represented Wiley’s first big stance as a potential candidate. “We are one community of concern. Though none of the Lucerne are us, we are all New Yorkers, they must stay! We must have public safety that includes their safety,” said Wiley. Homeless residents were moved to the hotel in late July. Two other nearby hotels have also been occupied by homeless individuals, part of an effort to lessen the density in the shelter system and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. But Upper West Side residents complained, arguing too many homeless New Yorkers were moved into a small square block area too quickly and without notice. They also began documenting more crime in the neighborhood. “For Maya Wiley to weigh in on the homelessness issue on the Upper West Side, which tends to be a highly participatory district, and series of districts when it comes to municipal elections, I think it’s her way of taking a bold stance,” said Christina Greer, professor at Fordham University. Adhering to complaints and the threat of a lawsuit from Upper West Side residents about the Lucerne, Mayor de Blasio announced that the nearly 300 residents here would be moved to a hotel in Midtown. But that and all other moves were put on pause after reports that the city was displacing homeless families at the Midtown location to make way for those staying at the Lucerne. The political hot potato nature of the men’s fate took another turn when City Council Speaker Corey Johnson confirmed a report from over the weekend by our partner, the Queens Daily Eagle, that his office intervened after complaints from the community. The homeless residents were first staying at a hotel in the speaker’s district before being moved to the Lucerne. Although Johnson denies he helped facilitate the move.

“My office has worked to address neighborhood concerns that have come up after so many people had been moved in so quickly. The community Board had some concerns about the selection of that block," Johnson said. Now that they are out of his district, Johnson, also a potential 2021 mayoral candidate, says he believes they should stay put. “I do not think moving the men out of the Lucerne is the right thing to do.” An attorney for the Upper West Side residents who want the men removed from the Lucerne says he is confident the mayor will honor his commitment and move them out by the end of the month. But according to the city, all moves have been put on hold, at least for now.

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For Spring/Summer 2021, Coronavirus Forces Designers to Find New Ways to Show Their Collections

BY Stephanie Simon and Debora Fougere

There are those few minutes before a runway show at New York Fashion Week when the excitement builds to a crescendo. Crowds pour into the front of house, squeezing onto too-small benches, while photographers jockey for even a couple of inches of space on rammed risers. Backstage, models, makeup artists, hair stylists and dressers push to put finishing touches on looks that have taken months to create and have about 12 minutes to make an impression. Social distancing is the last thing on anyone’s mind.

That was then, this is now. COVID-19 has pressed pause on the insanity of the traditional runway shows, forcing designers to find new ways to showcase their collections and grab the attention of buyers, customers and the fashion press. It hasn’t been easy.

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Pandemic Forces Jewish New Yorkers to Change How They Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

BY Rocco Vertuccio

NEW YORK - Congregants packing the pews, joining as one community in prayer, is how Rosh Hashanah is usually celebrated at the Park Avenue Synagogue. Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove is saddened this will not be possible this year because of COVID-19. “It’s going to be a loss. We are doing everything we can to engage with our community virtually to by way of learning by way of prayer by way of making outreach," said Rabbi Cosgrove.

The Park Avenue Synagogue, like many congregations in the city that are part of the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism, will live stream their High Holiday services Saturday and Sunday instead. Orthodox Jews are forbidden from using electronics on the sabbath and major Jewish holidays, so Orthodox congregations like the Park East Synagogue will not be streaming services. The synagogue usually gets about a thousand people for these services, no more than 100 will be allowed this year because of COVID restrictions. Most congregants will worship in smaller gatherings at home. “A famous rabbi said God is where you let him in. This is especially true this year. So the answer this year to our members is look, we’ve been through terrible times, thank God we are alive and we are here to tell the story and you’re going to make your home into a mini synagogue, “ said Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky. The blowing of the shofar, or ram's horn is one of the most significant rituals during Rosh Hashanah. It’s used as a call to repent. Because sounding the shofar potentially can make virus particles airborne, congregations will perform the ritual outside . Temple Emanu-El, a reform synagogue, pre-recorded it, allowing congregants to listen online. Each sound of the horn even more significant this year. “One of them sounds like whaling, crying. Certainly this past year has heard too much of that. Second of the notes almost sounds like an alarm clock that reminds us that the world is a broken place we need to stir ourselves to repair it," said Rabbi Joshua Davidson. Jewish leaders say however their congregants worship, they need to have faith, their prayers for a better future will be answered. “We’re putting our trust in God, that what was was. That’s last year that’s the past we look forward we’re looking forward to a new bright year, a year of blessings,” said Shimon Hecht, a rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jacob in Brooklyn.

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Blended Learning Students No Longer Required to Get Live Teaching on Remote Days

BY Jillian Jorgensen
UPDATED 11:16 AM ET Sep. 16, 2020

NEW YORK - Students who opt to return to city schools in-person part time will no longer be guaranteed live instruction on the days they’re learning remotely from home, a last-minute shift aimed at helping alleviate a massive staffing shortage faced by public schools trying to roll out so-called “blended learning.”

But the change is likely to frustrate some families. Some students in more crowded schools already will only be able to attend in person once a week. Without live instruction on their remote days, they could spend four days a week without any real-time interaction with their teachers.

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School in Flatbush Temporarily Closing Due to Two Positive Coronavirus Cases, Officials Say

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 11:37 PM ET Sep. 15, 2020

NEW YORK — One day before remote learning begins — and less than a week before students are set to return to school in person — a Brooklyn school will close for at least 24 hours Wednesday after two staffers tested positive for coronavirus, the city Education Department confirmed.

Two staffers at P.S. 139 in Flatbush tested positive for the virus within the past seven days, prompting the closure. The Education Department said a positive COVID-19 case was reported to it Friday and it notified the school community. The department said a second person tested positive Tuesday.

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Brooklyn Officials Slam Mayor's Decision to Transfer Homeless from Hotels

BY Courtney Gross

The mayor’s decision to move homeless men and women out of hotels has divided the Upper West Side, angered residents of Long Island City, and now residents of Brooklyn are involved too.

“We are saying that is not level-headed thinking,” said Councilwoman Inez Barron on Tuesday. "It disrupts families that have been here.”

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Blind Factory Worker Beats Coronavirus and Overcomes Obstacles

BY Clodagh McGowan

QUEENS, N.Y. - Cornell Williams is the lead porter at Alphapointe in Richmond Hill, Queens. It’s a sprawling plant, which manufactures everything from mops for the federal government to face masks for the military.

Williams said it took him a month to get the lay of the land when he began working there about five years ago.

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NYC Rushes To Hire School Nurses Days Before Students Return

BY Kathleen Culliton
UPDATED 5:12 PM ET Sep. 15, 2020

NEW YORK CITY — Disorganization plagues the city’s efforts to hire about 400 public school nurses, with more than 100 still needed days after Mayor Bill de Blasio suddenly delayed reopening city classrooms, sources and officials said.

New York City Health + Hospitals had only hired 272 out of 379 nurses needed to fill empty positions in 1,400 school buildings as of September 3, a union source told NY1.

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City Launches First Tourism Initiative Since Pandemic Began

BY Roma Torre
UPDATED 4:20 PM ET Sep. 15, 2020

For the first time since the pandemic began in March the city is launching a tourism initiative with hopes of revitalizing New York's struggling economy and stimulating travel within the five boroughs.

The city unveiled "All In NYC: Neighborhood Getaways" Tuesday morning, offering more than 250 deals across the five boroughs, with more being added each week.

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Six Students in NYU Dorm Test Positive for COVID-19

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK - A couple of weeks into the academic year and six NYU students from the same dorm already have tested positive for COVID-19.

Those students were all residents of the freshman dorm Rubin Hall.

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Teachers Union Head Not Sure Schools Will Actually Reopen Next Week

BY Spectrum News Staff

Public schools are scheduled to reopen next week, but the head of the teachers union said he does not expect that to actually happen.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew told NY1 the lack of staffing and problems with building ventilation are creating obstacles with starting in-person learning.

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NYC Doesn't Need To Hire More Teachers, Mayor Says

BY Kathleen Culliton

NEW YORK — New York City likely will not hire the 8,000 teachers which city union leaders argue are needed to make blended learning work, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

"We've had a rigorous process to get that right," de Blasio said of the 2,000 additional teachers the Department of Education had hired as of Monday.

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As Runway Shows Go Virtual, the Venues That Once Hosted Them Sit Empty

BY Debora Fougere

NEW YORK - Since 1993 and the founding of “7th on Sixth”, designers have gathered every February and September under what was for years literally a tent, first in Bryant Park, then in Lincoln Center, to present their spring and fall collections to an excited gaggle of buyers, the fashion press, a few scattered celebrities and, eventually “influencers”, bloggers and whoever was lucky enough to grab a golden ticket, an elusive invitation to a runway show.

Well, nothing lasts forever. 7th on Sixth was sold to IMG, and, in 2015 New York Fashion Week was forced to pack up those tents and hit the road in search of another venue big enough to provide multiple runways and a common area that could serve as a sort of bazaar, hawking sponsors’ products, from cosmetics to free booze. But this is New York City and space is a commodity, meaning dozens of designers had to seek venues outside the now more metaphorical “tents”, the large-ish studio spaces that became the hub of Fashion Week. And plenty of venue owners were more than happy to oblige. One of them was Pier 59 Studios, a part of the Chelsea Piers complex along the Hudson, at 18th Street. Founder and CEO, Federico Pignatelli, knew he had a space that ticked all the boxes. “It is a unique space,” he said, sitting out COVID in his native Italy. “It’s really large, open, with high ceilings. When I saw the space I understood that it had tremendous potential.” Pier 59 boasts 110,000 square feet of customizable photography and multi-media studio space that easily could be used for runway shows and presentations, with plenty of room for backstage areas and hair and makeup rooms. It’s a bare-bones space, absent the overpriced cafes and pop up hair salons, but with a bar and restaurant and a celebrated outdoor deck overlooking the river. And the clients came running. For the Fall/Winter 2020 shows back in February, Pier 59 hosted 30 shows with more than 10,000 attendees. So, you would think that the loss of the fashionista crowd, at least for the September shows, would have Pignatelli fretting. Actually, not so much. “Not at all,” he says, “because the studios that we have, the spaces that we are not giving up for Fashion Week we are renting for the production of advertising campaigns. In fact, we’re making more money than we did with fashion shows. We are renting our spaces to clients we had to say no to in the past because of Fashion Week.” And, he says, some designers have been using the space to shoot their virtual shows, presentations and the “look books” they will send to buyers and editors. But for the photographers who pack the risers season after season, there are mixed emotions for a nearly all-virtual Fashion Week. Theano Nikitas has been traveling to New York from her Maryland home for 15 years to cover the shows. For the past several seasons she’s been shooting for Zuma Press Wire Service, which provides photos to a host of national and international outlets. “At the end of every Fashion Week I wonder if I really want to come back the following season, “she said. “The work is exhausting and you spend more time waiting for a show to start than actually shooting it. Sleep and food don’t come easy. And there’s always the jostling for the coveted center spot on the riser.” But she does keep coming back, “because, despite everything, shooting runway is exciting and fun, as well as an opportunity to make a few dollars.” Roy Anthony Morrison, a 10-year veteran of the “pit”, what the photographers call the riser at the top of the runway, says there were signs that things were changing long before the pandemic. “It has become a lot harder to get access,” he said. “Credentials and invitations from designers and PR companies have become harder to get. Many veteran photographers who used to get credentials are no longer granted them. Preference is now given to major media outlets.” Anton Brookes, who has been shooting Fashion Week for more than a decade, agrees that access to the shows was dwindling, as was the opportunity to sell professional photos. And, he says, that’s probably by design. “IMG has its own photographers, and they also have a relationship with Getty Images, which is a major supplier of Fashion Week photos” he says, “they would be just as happy to be the only ones who sell images. So independent photographers have had to work harder for a spot on the riser. COVID might just give them the excuse they need to exclude other outlets from the shows they control.” Morrison agrees that COVID-19 may have forever changed the game for the hundreds who have filled the risers, snapping as fast as they can as the models make their way down the runway. “I can’t imagine going back to the old setup any time soon,” he said. “Being packed on a riser jammed up against 100 people isn’t going to work anymore.” Pier 59’s Pignatelli, who also founded The Industry Model Management, says, in fact, he believes Fashion Week had already lost a lot of its luster. “We are very happy to have contributed to Fashion Week but the shows which were a glamorous thing to have are not as glamorous as in the past. There is far less money to spend on fashion shows as there was, so it is not as economically viable as it used to be. There is not as much work for the models and modeling agencies out there either. Fashion Week was already changing.”

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Not Be Live, Mayor Says

BY Spectrum News Staff , Kathleen Culliton and Shannan Ferry
UPDATED 11:44 PM ET Sep. 14, 2020

NEW YORK — There won't be a live Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

Concerns about novel coronavirus spurred organizers to move the iconic celebration online, the mayor said.

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The Group That's Helping New Yorkers Stay Sober During the Pandemic

BY Kristen Shaughnessy

Tom Shanahan is almost ten years sober. Exercise became his outlet in recovery. He's climbed Mount Kilamajaro, Mount Rainier and to the base camp of Everest.

This summer, he and others in recovery created Sober Active NYC, offering workouts once a week in Central Park, followed by a 12-step meeting.

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Queensbridge Houses Leader Slams Mayor for Opening 'Homeless Hotels' in Neighborhood

BY Courtney Gross

It’s a river away from the fight on the Upper West Side, but leaders at the Queensbridge Houses say the neighborhoods share something in common.

“We went to sleep, woke up the next day and we had all these different human beings in our community,” said April Simpson Taylor, the leader of the Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association.

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Mayor Promises 2,000 More Teachers, But Principals Say It's Not Enough

BY Jillian Jorgensen

Students return to classrooms in one week, and principals are scrambling to find enough teachers to educate them.

"The DOE agreed to a plan that everyone knew we would not be able to staff and here we are now, five days out, four work days out, from having the students actually come into the building and this plan can’t be staffed,” said Mark Cannizzaro, principal of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals.

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Tips for Landing a Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic

BY Roma Torre

NEW YORK — The coronavirus pandemic has threatened the job security of tens of millions of Americans, and in the city more than 2 million New Yorker's lost their jobs. As we navigate this new normal together, we know many New Yorkers may be struggling to find work.

NY1 Anchor Roma Torre spoke with Blair Heitmann, a career expert with LinkedIn, about the different ways you can keep your resume fresh while seeking new employment in this pandemic.

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PS 139 Teachers Rally After Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

BY Lindsay Tuchman

Summer vacation is finally ending for the city's 1.1 million public school students. Remote learning begins Wednesday, in-classroom instruction next Monday. “I’m excited but I also don’t feel safe going back to school," said student Will Wohlsen. Wohlsen, who is entering fourth grade at PS 139 in Flatbush, went to his school Monday to support his teachers; they're rallying because they too are worried about starting in-person learning next week after they say a staff member tested positive Friday for COVID-19.

With the support of their union and parents, the teachers expressed their concerns with the department of education.

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New York Sports Club Owner Files for Bankruptcy

BY Lori Chung
UPDATED 7:47 AM ET Sep. 15, 2020

NEW YORK - It has locations dotted all throughout the city but now New York Sports Clubs shows signs of vulnerability as it's parent company seeks bankruptcy protection.

It likely means more uncertainty for New Yorkers looking for a place to work out as Town Sports International files for Chapter 11, blaming losses on the pandemic.

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City to Bring in 2,000 Additional Teachers This Fall

BY Kathleen Culliton

The city will bring in about 2,000 teachers to meet the increased staffing demands of the blended learning system, Mayor de Blasio announced on Monday.

De Blasio declined to provide specific numbers about where the teachers would de deployed, but said only a couple hundred out of 1,600 schools needed one or two more teachers.

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These Face Coverings Spark Joy, for a Good Cause

BY Roger Clark

Leave it to artist and designer Stuart Freeman to create a mask that could possibly double as office attire. But he has a lot more in his bag of tricks, so to speak.

It's part of a collection of 42 limited-edition facial coverings on display at the Kikkerland Store in the West Village. The Lower East Side native and designer of fashion accessories and products uses a variety of materials.

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Brownsville Dreams Of Safer Streets

BY Leisha Majtan and Kathleen Culliton

Brownsville is strong, but Brownsville is frightened. Gun violence is tearing Brooklyn's 73rd Precinct apart.

So far this year, 19 people have been murdered, an increase of more than 70 percent compared to last year, and 86 people shot, almost double the 2019 rate, according to police.

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$300 Lost Wages Assistance Payments Start Next Week

BY Alyssa Paolicelli

NEW YORK — Andrea Wales lost her job as a stage manager in March when the production she was working on was halted because of the coronavirus.

She has been collecting unemployment benefits ever since.

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City Pauses Transfer of Homeless Families at Shelter in Midtown

BY Courtney Gross
UPDATED 7:58 PM ET Sep. 11, 2020

NEW YORK — As Guadalupe Fernandez-Soberon told her story, tears fell from her eyes.

“We are human beings,” she told NY1. “We are poor, but we are still human beings and our lives matter. We feel like we are human cargo.”

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Bronx School Temporarily Closes Due to Positive Coronavirus Cases, Officials Say

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — For the first time, a New York City school has closed — albeit temporarily — due to a positive coronavirus test as teachers and staffers prepare for the start of the upcoming school year, the city education department confirmed Friday afternoon.

P.S. 811 in the Bronx will be closed for at least 24 hours due to two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days. Education officials did not confirm if the staffers who tested positive were teachers.

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Clinical Hypnotherapist Provides Strategies for Coping With the 9/11 Anniversary Amid the Pandemic

BY Nina Godfrey

NEW YORK — The anniversary of 9/11 is a very difficult day for many New Yorkers, and the pandemic has likely amplified the magnitude of the emotions many of us feel. Making matters worse, hugs and other acts of physical comfort may not be possible right now.

Amy Arvary, a Master Clinical Hypnotherapist, spoke with NY1’s Roma Torre and acknowledged that all aspects of life have changed, “and that includes how we mourn, how we celebrate, how we move through our regular day,” she said.

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9/11 Survivor Shares How He's Handling the Pandemic

BY Cheryl Wills and Rebecca Greenberg
UPDATED 11:16 PM ET Sep. 10, 2020

The city and the nation will pause to mark the 19th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks Friday. Nearly 3,000 Americans perished on that day in 2001 and thousands more have succumbed to 9/11-related illnesses.

Now, many survivors are facing yet another threat: the coronavirus pandemic. Uniformed Firefighters Association lawyer Nick Papain and retired firefighter Rob Cerra tell NY1's Cheryl Wills how they're coping during this uncertain time.

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Teachers' Union Boss: 16 Teachers, in 16 Different NYC Public Schools, Test Positive for Coronavirus

BY Jillian Jorgensen
UPDATED 6:55 PM ET Sep. 10, 2020

At least 16 teachers in 16 different schools have tested positive for coronavirus as they prepare for the start of the school year in New York City public schools, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew confirmed Wednesday.

Mulgrew, who has been vocal in his criticism of the city’s education plan for the upcoming school year, sounded the alarm bells about its ability to keep teachers safe.

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Food Distributors Prepare for More Orders as State Allows Indoor Dining

BY Roger Clark

The trucks roll out of the US Foods distribution center in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, all night and into the early morning hours, bound for their restaurant customers in the five boroughs.

The food distribution giant sells 400,000 types of food and supplies, and expects orders to increase as indoor dining returns to the five boroughs on September 30. US Foods' history in the industry runs deep, too, with more than 150 years providing quailty serivce.

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'I Don’t Want Them to Close': Shoppers React to Century 21 Bankruptcy Filing

BY Jeanine Ramirez
UPDATED 4:45 PM ET Sep. 10, 2020

Shoppers waited for the doors to open at Century 21’s flagship store in Lower Manhattan Thursday morning, unaware the retail chain had just filed for bankruptcy.

“I’m really surprised," said one customer. "I feel so sad because I used to shop in the store for many years."

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De Blasio Says 2% Infection Rate Should Trigger Indoor Dining Pause

BY Bobby Cuza

Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration "expressed our real thoughts and concerns” prior to the state’s announcement that indoor dining will resume later this month — and he called for rolling back the move if the city sees a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday that restaurants could begin operating indoors at 25 percent capacity beginning September 30. The Mayor said high-level discussions between the city and state had been going on for weeks, and that the city "took a very conservative position."

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How Close Are You To COVID-19? Contact Tracing App Assesses Personal Pandemic Risk

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — When it comes to assessing our risk for COVID-19, Po-Shen Loh says a lot of us are driving blind: We don’t have much of an idea of how immediate the risk is, and most contact tracing efforts focus on alerting people who have already been exposed.

With his contact tracing app, NOVID, Loh hopes to give people “headlights” to look ahead and see how many degrees of separation they are from a positive case.

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TELL NY1 YOUR CORONAVIRUS STORY,
IN YOUR OWN VOICE

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have fallen sick from the coronavirus and the death toll keeps rising. Jobs have been lost, storefronts shuttered, hospitals overwhelmed. And many New Yorkers have seen their own lives changed in deeply personal ways.

NY1 wants to hear your story, in your own voice, to use in a future podcast. 

Tell us what is going on in your family, your job, your neighborhood. What are your daily struggles and your daily joys, your quiet fears and your hopes for the future?

Send us a voicemail, voice memo, or a video to YOURSTORYNY1@CHARTER.COM or leave a message at 212-379-3440. 

Make sure to tell us your first name and your neighborhood. If you’d like, let us know how to contact you. 

LOCAL RESOURCES
Symptoms

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The CDC believes symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

(Source: NYS DOH)