St. Vartan Park Garden Reopens to the Public after More Than 20 Years
CB6 Environment & Parks Committee Chair Kevin O’Keefe (left) and Board Chair Kyle Athayde Celebrate the opening of the St. Vartan Park garden after many years.
A little advocacy makes a big difference. Consider about 40 residents who gathered in Manhattan Community District 6 last year. Many were parents of local schoolchildren. The New York City Parks Department had released a preliminary plan for a multi-million-dollar playground redesign of St. Vartan Park. The community group assembled to collect feedback on the project. A parent leader at nearby P.S.116, Erica Rand Silverman, collected the group’s comments. She placed them in a memo to the Parks Department and copied Community Board Six.
Framed by East 35th and 36th Streets and First and Second Avenues, St. Vartan Park is an important destination for thousands of residents in the community. The park is where many of them meet after school and work, a stretch where youngsters have learned to ride bicycles and have developed other life skills. Although the park has long been regarded as a village green of sorts, there was a problem with its green. “The garden area in front of the comfort station is a very sore spot for families in the community,” Rand Silverman wrote in her memo. “All comments were in support of making that space usable for the community.” A small, fee-based Parks Department playgroup held dominion over the green space for the previous 20-plus years, however.
Local children enjoy the newly public green space in St. Vartan’s Park.
The garden is actually more a lawn, with a lot more grass than plantings. Although modest in size, the land is the most ample public green space in the East 30s. And in a district like this one–with the least amount of open space in the borough–every bit of public green space helps.
Last fall, when Kevin O’Keefe was appointed chair of CB6’s Environment & Parks Committee, he was tasked by Board Chair Kyle Athayde to identify opportunities to reclaim open space for the district. Mr. O’Keefe revisited Ms. Rand Silverman’s memo and put the Environment & Parks Committee on the case. The outgoing and incoming Community Board chairs, Molly Hollister and Mr. Athayde, lent their full support.
After investigating the matter, the CB6 Environment & Parks Committee called on the Parks Department to reopen the space for the entire community. This advocacy led to the Parks Department’s opening of the garden to the public starting last month on a trial basis, though CB6 is advocating for this space to remain open permanently. And since the garden’s opening, parents, students and other residents of our district have shared stories and photos to express their appreciation and enjoyment of the garden.
Check out the newly opened space and let us know what you think. Also, if there are green spaces in your neighborhood that are closed to the public, let us know. Our Environment & Parks Committee would be happy to investigate. If you’re interested in our district’s green spaces, please join us at a future Environment & Parks Committee meeting!
Baruch College’s 25th Street Plaza Officially Opens
Photo: Baruch College; Ribbon-cutting for the official opening of Clivner=Field Plaza on East 25th Street, between 3rd and Lexington Avenues. Former CB6 Chair Molly Hollister is second from left in the photo.
Last month, CB6 celebrated the opening of Clivner=Field Plaza, a pedestrian plaza at Baruch College on East 25th Street, between 3rd and Lexington Avenues. A project a decade in the making, Manhattan Community Board Six is happy that Clivner=Field Plaza is officially open for the public to enjoy. We offer congratulations to Baruch College, the New York City Department of Design and Construction, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the New York City Department of Transportation for bringing this project to fruition. In a district like ours that has the least amount of open space in the borough, Clivner=Field Plaza will offer Baruch College students and community members a wonderful place to sit and enjoy being outside. And if we’ve learned nothing else from living through a pandemic, it’s that our open spaces are of vital importance to our community and to communities everywhere.
The ribbon-cutting was attended by state and local officials, as well as many members of the Baruch College family. CB6 was represented by former Board Chair Molly Hollister and District Manager Jesus Perez. Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin acknowledged CB6 in his remarks and former Baruch President Mitchel B. Wallerstein recounted the advocacy of the Baruch College community at the various CB6 meetings where this project was discussed. And fittingly, the ribbon cutting took place almost ten years to the day that the initial resolution on this project was passed by CB6.
CB6 Meetings This Week
- Department of Sanitation Hiring Emergency Snow Laborers: The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is hiring paid emergency snow laborers to help DSNY clear snow from step streets, crosswalks and fire hydrants after winter storms. Learn more details here.
- Update on 161 Lexington Avenue: Several community residents have contacted us with questions about the status of the hotel at 161 Lexington at 30th Street. CB6 has spoken with the site operator, Project Renewal, and they inform us that they are ending their temporary shelter program at this site by the end of this year as planned. They confirm that they will cease all operations at the site entirely at that time.
- Landlord Applications for NYS Landlord Rental Assistance Program: Landlords can apply for the NYS Landlord Rental Assistance Program (LRAP), which can provide as much as 12 months of past-due rent for landlords whose tenants decline to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including cases were a tenant has left the rental property. Learn more about the program and apply here.
- NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Program: Tenants and landlords can still apply for ERAP. Learn more about the program and learn how to apply here.
- New York City food service establishments may no longer provide single-use plastic beverage straws, except upon request, as of November 1, 2021. Additionally, food service establishments may no longer provide single-use beverage splash sticks or stirrers made of plastic. Click here for more information.
CB6 Looks to Reimagine Park Avenue Malls South of Grand Central
Just over a week ago, CB6 Transportation Committee Chair Gene Santoro was featured in an article from AM New York about reimagining the median of Park Avenue, between 34th and 39th Streets, into a walkway area. This median is currently closed off, but with the need for more open space in our district, the Transportation Committee is discussing ideas for opening up more spaces for pedestrians, including opening up this median.
If you join our Transportation Committee meeting in the coming months, we will talk more about this idea as well as others for making the area around Grand Central more pedestrian-friendly!
CB6 welcomes your feedback on turning this section of Park Avenue into a pedestrian walkway. To give your feedback, please submit comments in a short survey.
CB6 and NYU Langone October Event on Healthy Living in the Community
Last Wednesday, CB6 and NYU Langone held an event on Healthy Living in the Community. At the event, we heard from medical experts on what to know about cancer at every age as well as COVID-19 and tuberculosis. During the presentation on what to know about cancer at every age, attendees learned about behaviors that can lead to various kinds of cancer, the importance of cancer screenings, and what various kinds of cancer to get tested for at all stages of life. During the presentation on tuberculosis and COVID-19, attendees learned about how tuberculosis is still around us, and what can be done to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.
You can listen to last Wednesday’s Healthy Living Series event here.
Redevelopment Coming to the New Providence Women’s Shelter at 225 East 45th Street
The City’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) have unveiled a plan to sell a DHS-owned building at 225 East 45th Street to Project Renewal. Decades ago, this building was a convent and was later acquired by the City. Project Renewal has run this site as a single-adult women’s shelter for the past few decades. The site currently houses 130 single-adult women who are unhoused and have mental health concerns. As the City is selling off property they own, this sale is subject to the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), giving CB6 a chance to offer an advisory recommendation on the sale.
This project will demolish the existing building and in its place will be a new 21-story multi-use facility including: a 171 bed single-adult women’s shelter for women with mental health concerns and 130 new units of supportive/affordable housing. 78 of the units will be supportive housing for formerly homeless tenants (they will pay 30% of their income) and 52 units will be for low-income New Yorkers. As well, the ground floor will serve as a medical clinic to serve both the residents of the building and the larger community. There is currently a similar clinic on-site; however, to access it one has to go through the existing women’s shelter and as such it generally doesn’t serve more than those who live on-site (despite it being open to the public).
The proposed demolition and construction will take two years. During that time current residents will be relocated (ideally to permanent housing but if not, to a shelter that meets their needs).
The ULURP application certified today, so the public hearing on this matter will take place at the November 15th meeting of the CB6 Housing & Homelessness Committee. You can find meeting registration information on the CB6 website.
This project helps fulfill some of our most pressing district needs, notably the need for more affordable and supportive housing.
CB6 Office Closures this Month
- November 2nd (Election Day)
- November 11th (Veterans Day)
- November 24th-26th (Thanksgiving)
Even though the CB6 office is closed on these days, 311 will still be available. Additionally, if you have a service request issue, you can still reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will follow up with you after our office reopens.
Alternate Side Parking will also be suspended on November 1st for All Saints’ Day, November 2nd for Election Day, November 4th for Diwali, November 11th for Veterans Day, and November 25th for Thanksgiving Day. For a complete list of days when Alternate Side Parking will not be in effect in 2021, please view the suspension calendar here.
Finally, there will be no collection of trash or recycling on November 2nd for Election Day, November 11th for Veterans Day, and November 25th for Thanksgiving Day. Residents who would normally receive trash pickup on those holidays can put their trash on the curb between 4 PM and midnight the day of the holiday, and residents who normally receive recycling pickup on those holidays can put their recycling on the curb before the following recycling collection day.
It’s Heat Season. Here are Some Helpful Reminders from the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development
Heat season is underway. What this means is that your landlord has requirements on how warm to keep your building.
During the day, if the temperature is below 55 degrees, then your building is required to have indoor temperatures minimally at 68 degrees.
At night, your building is required to have a minimum indoor temperature of 62 degrees. Note that unlike during the day, there is no outside temperature requirement for maintaining this temperature at night.
What to do if your building does not meet temperature requirements
If you have issues with heat in your building, you should first be in contact with your building’s property management (the building owner, managing agent, or superintendent). If service is not restored after contact with your building’s management, call 311, visit 311 online, or use the 311Mobile app (on Android or iOS devices). Hearing-impaired tenants can file complaints through Touchtone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (212) 504-4115.
If you see no improvements after contacting your building’s management and 311, please reach out to CB6 by calling (212) 319-3750, emailing email@example.com, or filling out our get help form. Make sure to have your 311 number on you when contacting CB6.
Curbside Composting’s Return to our District has been Postponed
Just two weeks ago, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) announced that curbside composting would at long last be returning to Manhattan Community District 6. Due to staffing shortages at DSNY, however, as unvaccinated municipal employees have been placed on leave, the start of this program for our district has been postponed.
In the meantime, if your building is not yet signed up, click here to sign up or learn more.
Con Edison Special Services and Accommodations
With the winter season approaching, Con Edison is offering special services to residents that depend on life-support equipment so that in the event of an emergency or power outage, Con Edison can reach you. Con Edison is requesting the addresses and contact information of users of life support equipment, even if they do not have a Con Edison account. If you or someone in your household use life- support equipment please contact Con Edison. You can learn more by calling 1-800-752-6633 or visiting the Con Edison website to see a full list of the special services and accommodations they are currently offering.
FAIRER (Fines and Interest Reduction Enabling Recovery) Program for Environmental Control Board (ECB) Judgements
The City of New York now has a temporary program which enables you to pay a reduced amount for eligible Environmental Control Board judgments. If you have unpaid ECB judgements that are eligible for this program, you may be able to save up to 75% and have the penalties and interest associated with your judgements waived. Learn more about the program here.
Though some events are still online, there are still plenty of community events you can participate in, including:
- NYC After the Election, Hosted by the New York Public Library – Thursday, November 4th from 7 PM to 8 PM
- Union Square Flu Shot Community Clinic – Wednesday, November 10th at 10 AM
- 13th Precinct Community Council Meeting – Tuesday, November 16th at 6 PM
We update our community events page regularly and list any events that may be of interest to residents of Manhattan Community District 6.
|Visit our community events page regularly!|
Gridlock Alert Days are days that the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) designates as the busiest traffic days of the year. DOT advises that you take public transportation, walk, or bike to get around on these days.
These are the Gridlock Alert Days coming up in November, as well as the beginning of December:
- Thursday, November 18th
- Friday, November 19th
- Tuesday, November 23rd
- Wednesday, November 24th
- Wednesday, December 1st
- Thursday, December 2nd
- Friday, December 3rd
Core Four COVID-19 Prevention Strategies:
- Stay home if sick, tested positive for COVID-19, recently traveled, or if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Wear a face covering when outside your home (whether indoors or outdoors).
- Keep six feet of distance from people who are not members of your household.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly.
All New Yorkers 12 and older are eligible. However, please note that anyone between the ages of 12 and 17 can only get the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for people ages 18 and older.
All New Yorkers 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated at City-run walk-in vaccine sites. Go to on.nyc.gov/walkupvax to learn where you can get a walk-in vaccine.
Any New Yorker who wants an at-home vaccine can get one. You will have your choice of which vaccine you want (Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, or Pfizer). Fill out this form to request an in-home vaccination.
Some groups are eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot. You can read more information and see if you are eligible here.
Many New Yorkers are eligible for booster shots. Read more about the difference between getting a third dose and getting a booster shot here, and read more about booster shot eligibility on the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website.
Staff and patrons of indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment are required to show proof of having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Acceptable forms of proof include:
- Your physical vaccine card
- The State’s “Excelsior Pass” app
- The City’s new “COVID Safe” app, where you can store a picture of your vaccination card (download for iOS or Android devices
- Information from the NYC Health Department’s Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR), which collects New Yorkers’ vaccine records. There, you look up your vaccination record if you have lost your vaccine card. (They state that it’s impossible to get a replacement card at this time.)
Visit the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s website on vaccinations to get more information on the vaccines.
Click on the image below to find out where you can get a vaccine appointment.
People who receive their first vaccine dose at a City-run site can get a $100 pre-paid debit card. As an alternative to the $100, you can select one of a number of other potential perks, such as a 10-ride pass on the NYC Ferry, Statue of Liberty tickets, and Brooklyn Cyclones tickets!
Vaccine Myths and Facts:
Vaccination rates are higher in Community District 6 than in many other parts of the City. However, it is important that we know how to address vaccine hesitancy among our friends and neighbors, regardless of where they live. If you have a neighbor or friend who is hesitant about the vaccines, there are several resources that you can turn to so that you are well-informed about the vaccines yourself when talking with them:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s page on the myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccines
- The New York State Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions page on the COVID-19 vaccines
- The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene page on COVID-19 vaccine facts
Getting a COVID Test in Community District 6
New York City has a searchable map through which you can see where you can get a COVID test. Note that some of the testing sites on this map may charge for testing. You can view the map here.
If you want a free COVID test, NYC Health + Hospitals offers free testing at hospitals, health centers, and pop-up locations across the five boroughs, including at Bellevue Hospital, which is in Community District 6. No appointment is necessary! Find all NYC Health + Hospitals testing sites here.
Additionally, those who are 65 and older or are immunocompromised can schedule a free at-home COVID test. You can find more information about the program here.