coronavirus

“Essential” Construction Map Shows Greenpoint’s Building Surge Will Continue Through Pandemic

Construction will continue at 77 Commercial St. as “essential”

Last Friday, Governor Cuomo ordered all non-essential construction to cease to help stop the spread of coronavirus, but allowed for developments that include affordable housing to move forward.

Greenpoint’s coastal highrise construction sites will mostly continue through the pandemic according to a map released by the city on Friday.

The “Essential Active Construction Sites” map shows that work can proceed at 30 Kent St., 144 West St., 19 India St., 10 Huron St., 77 Commercial St., 1056 Manhattan Ave., 211 McGuinness Blvd. and Greenpoint Landing.

The map released by the city on Friday shows where construction is considered essential.

Concerned Greenpoint residents submitted photos and video over the past week of construction sites on the waterfront at Huron Street and at Greenpoint Landing, both of which appear to permitted to continue under the new guidelines. Continue reading

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Art at Home: Eckford Street Studio Offers Remote Classes

Staying creative at home might seem daunting: even in our silenced world, the noise of the news and our worries can defeat any artistic itch we’ve been meaning to scratch. Fortunately, Eckford Street Studio has some at-home remedies. Below, they outline some of their remote initiatives to keep your brush painting and your mind distracted:

Join us for Community Mondays!

We’ll be hosting class Mondays at 3 PM via Zoom while the studio is closed. Click here to download Zoom and set up your account for free!

Each week, we’ll ask you to RSVP by Sunday for that Monday’s class so we can share the meeting ID with you, as well as a lesson plan and a list of materials your child will need for the day’s project (don’t worry, we’re sticking to stuff you will likely have lying around the apartment). Activities are designed with students in grades K-5 in mind. Let us know if you’d like to receive a weekly email with more information, or click here to register for next week’s class!

As always, Community Mondays are pay what you wish. If you are able, donations of any amount are greatly appreciated and will go far in helping us keep our non-profit community art studio up and running while our doors are closed. Click here to make a contribution.

Tuesday night Figure Drawing is back!

Join us for Virtual Figure Drawing on Tuesday nights from 8-10pm! Enjoy the same professional models, experienced Eckford Street Studio facilitators, and creative community you’re used to, from the comfort of your own home!

Click here to register, and we will send you log-in information for our Zoom-based art studio! Please RSVP by Tuesday at 5pm to attend that night’s workshop.

With Eckford Street Studio’s doors currently closed, our non-profit studio is in a critical position. We suggest a donation of $22 to participate in Virtual Figure Drawing, to help us continue running programs like this one throughout the duration of the Coronavirus outbreak. Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated, and makes a great deal of difference.

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Vinnie’s Pizzeria Delivers Free Pies to Essential Workers

Vinnie’s Pizza is accepting donations to deliver free pizza to essential workers.

Vinnie’s Pizzeria (148 Bedford Ave.) is delivering free pizzas to essential workers during the coronavirus crisis and you can now donate a pie through their website.

The Williamsburg Pizzeria (we miss Vinnie’s Greenpoint) announced last week with an Instagram post that donations can be made through ChowNow for pies to be delivered to the people who are considered “essential” such as the workers at grocery stores, pharmacies, and hospitals

Lots of wonderful people have reached out to us asking how they can help essential workers in NYC during this crisis.  Think we figured out a way and this is how! Go to our website vinniesbrooklyn.com and order through ChowNow for pick up.  In the special instructions write DONATE  and every couple of days we will tally up the pies and bring them to a different group of essential workers and volunteers.  First up are the firefighters up the block.  Tomorrow we will bring them donations from you and us. If anyone has any suggestions of other Essential Workers (Doctors, nurses, people out in the trenches, volunteers etc) or people in need in the neighborhood that we can help out, please contact us! Appreciate everyone’s love and support in these crazy times.

So far Vinnie’s has delivered pies to: Continue reading

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Williamsburg Landlord Mario Salerno Waives Rent for Hundreds of Tenants Due to Coronavirus

Williamsburg landlord Mario Salerno is waiving rent for all of his tenants for April 2020.

Lifelong Williamsburg resident and landlord to hundreds of tenants, Mario Salerno announced on Monday that he will waive April’s rent for all of his residential and commercial tenants.

Salerno’s gas station and auto body shop at 451 Lormimer St.

Salerno who is 59-years-old was born on Metropolitan Avenue and his father started a gas station at 451 Lorimer St. in 1959, which his family still operates as Salerno Auto Body ShopContinue reading

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Greenpoint’s Construction Sites Are Still Bustling

Greenpoint Landing construction continued on Monday morning

New York hit the “pause” button on all non-essential business last week to slow the spread of coronavirus, and on Friday the directive from Governor Cuomo was extended to construction sites.

The temporary measure to halt all non-essential construction in NY follows similar measures taken in Washington state and in cities such as Boston.

Exemptions for the construction ban include the building of hospitals, homeless shelters, infrastructure and transit projects, emergency repairs, and perhaps most consequently for Greenpoint, affordable housing.

Local residents once-again reached out to Greenpointers on Monday morning with photos and videos of construction workers in close proximity at Greenpoint Landing and at 53 Huron St.

A man who lives near Greenpoint Landing called the police this morning as he watched construction workers on site: “They (the NYPD) claim they went there and it is essential work. I told them that they are not working on the affordable building yet. They are working on the tower,” he said, adding that the police must witness unsafe working conditions to enforce the order.

“They are working in close proximity and they don’t have masks. The police told me they don’t have to. It’s hypocritical from the city. It is absolutely does not help the situation,” he said.

The Greenpoint Landing construction site was active on Monday morning.

Cuomo’s official “guidance for determining whether a business enterprise is subject to a workforce reduction under recent executive orders” lists the following rules for construction sites: Continue reading

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Local Grocery Stores Adjust to Social Distancing

Associated Supermarket (802 Manhattan Ave.)

Shopping for groceries during a pandemic can be a fraught experience while trying to maintain social distancing, and some grocery stores in Greenpoint are adjusting their procedures to protect customers and workers.

To slow the spread of coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends standing at least six feet from one another when in public. Grocery stores can quickly draw crowds during certain hours of the day and to help the flow of customers, crowd-control measures have been put in place at Greenpoint’s Associated (802 Manhattan Ave.) store.

A line is marked for customers at Associated (802 Manhattan Ave.)

Associated instructs customers where to stand with taped markers on the ground. A bright blue rectangle with the word “LINE” greets customers waiting at the front of the store, and markers show customers where to stand near the registers during checkout. Continue reading

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Cuomo Calls Off ‘Non-Essential’ Construction Statewide

Construction waste recycling worker Sean Ragiel takes a break in Times Square after working at a job site, March 24, 2020. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will freeze most construction statewide in response to the pandemic virus sweeping New York, after outcry from workers and word of COVID-19 cases on job sites around the city.

On Friday the governor will decree most residential and commercial building temporarily off limits, according to a spokesperson for Cuomo’s office. Infrastructure and transportation projects will be allowed to continue, as well as emergency repairs, hospital building and work on affordable housing.

Until now, construction work has been classified as essential, exempt from a state “pause” that ordered the shutdown of a wide swath of workplaces.

Cuomo’s shift followed a rush of protest from construction workers and their family members. Significant numbers had begun refusing to show up for work, sources said. Word traveled on Facebook among workers about positive cases on job sites and an electrician’s death.

Stephen Jozef, 57, who had been working on Google’s offices at 111 8th Ave., died from the coronavirus Monday, his daughter said. The electrician was last on the site on March 6, leaving because he grew ill.

The carpenters’ union local released a statement Thursday asking elected officials to limit jobs to “truly essential” construction. “Our members’ lives are at stake,” it said.

Cuomo’s move came as some construction sites around the city temporarily closed for cleaning after workers tested positive for COVID-19 — including prized Cuomo public works projects at Moynihan Station and LaGuardia Airport. Both projects will continue under the new guidance.

Some in the industry feared that their coworkers have not yet fully appreciated the threat of the virus as work was allowed to continue.

“They’re being led to believe it’s no big deal,” one steamfitter said. Continue reading

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Laid Off Greenpoint Sommelier Creates Nude Paintings of Friends While in Quarantine

Painting by Amanda Geller

After getting laid off from her job as a sommelier at a Manhattan restaurant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Greenpoint resident Amanda Geller turned to her paint brush set and began working on a series of nude paintings of her friends.

“It started out as a joke when I asked my friends in a group chat if they wanted to ‘send me their nudes’ for me to paint,” Geller said. “Now after five days I have had around 30 people send their pictures — some that I don’t even know.”

Prior to mass social distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses, Geller attended weekly figure drawing classes in the neighborhood. “I have received a lot of awesome feedback so far and have had the amazing opportunity to paint women of so many different body types,” she said, adding that she extends the invitation to the greater Greenpoint area.

Many of the women she has painted also work in the hospitality industry and have recently been laid off. “After the quarantine is over I plan to launch an online gallery showing and donate a portion of the proceeds to women in hospitality who have lost work due to the shutdown,” Geller said.

“Mostly the project is something fun during these crazy times that celebrates women and all types of beauty. A woman takes a nude when she is feeling sexy and fucking awesome and I love capturing that in a piece of art that they can show off and feel good about themselves.”

Read more of Greenpointers’ interview with the sommelier-turned-painter: Continue reading

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Basketball Hoops Removed From McCarren Park Court in Effort to Deter Groups

The McCarren Park basketball court (via Google Maps)

The basketball hoops came down Thursday morning in McCarren Park along with 79 other New York City courts to further deter groups from congregating and to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The basketball court at McCarren Park is now without hoops

“Social distancing is taking hold with New Yorkers — but we’re seeing some issues when it comes to basketball courts,” Mayor de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday. “If you want to go shoot hoops with your kids, that’s fine. But we can’t have pick-up games. If people don’t follow the rules, we’ll take hoops down.” Continue reading

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Construction Continues as “Essential” Work Worrying Greenpoint Residents

Construction workers at 29 West St. this week

As construction sites continue to bustle with action along Greenpoint’s waterfront, the state recommends that everyone stay inside to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

All non-essential businesses have officially paused across New York so that everyone can socially distance while overly burdened hospitals treat the influx of infected patients.

Nail and hair salons, clothing and record stores, and many restaurants have closed, but residential and commercial construction work remains essential according to the list of essential businesses released last week by Governor Cuomo.

Local residents began writing to Greenpointers last week about their concerns of the large groups of construction workers congregating and performing tasks side-by-side at work sites in the neighborhood. Continue reading

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