She hears it every night precisely at 7:00 PM.
But tonight, she was running late for her shift and talking on her phone as briskly as she was scurrying to confront what is left of “The Beast” inside New York Presbyterian Hospital. She and her colleagues – and those of us shouting our thanks at her from balconies, windows & the street - have managed to put this son-of-a-bitch of a virus on the run and bend it with the authority of a blacksmith pounding hot steel to a more desired shape.
“If you’re going through Hell, keep going,” Winston Churchill supposedly said.
For sure, we took that advice in New York. Some of us stayed here but kept going, grinding away in what now is recalled as an exhausting attempt to keep some shreds of the familiar life in the Great City close. But as a friend who left, returned for a few days recently but left again said, “Lou, I could not stay. It’s too heartbreaking.” Many left town to flee far away from what appeared to be Hell. The Epicenter is either the worst place to be or, for some, the only place to be. It depends on your core and your love of your town. You can leave it and still love it. I understand. I just have a hard time grasping or respecting it.Read more
We are living in this pandemic era of COVID19. We are all wary of the public realm. Spatial distancing is the new normal. Urban designers, planners and architects are all scratching their heads about what to do both in this rescue and recovery phase and what the reimaging phase might look like with limited resources available after this protracted period of economic decline.Read more
It seems appropriate that the USS Comfort shoved off and left New York Harbor a hero and forever a part of the New York legend. It was also right that she left us in the damp, misty fog that engulfed the harbor and the city that day. She did leave behind a black swan, which she could not do anything more about. That is left up to us. Rain or shine, the Pandemic is still very much walking my streets and riding my beloved Q train like a hungry ghost and mass murderer who seems ready to appear at any moment in any household, apartment or CVS checkout line to devour.
Today, Sunday, is a spectacular day. But another strange one. There was no church and even God seems to be at home trying to figure it out. But I believe the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City when they say that the steady decline in new COVID cases and deaths has not happened because this virus is tiring. On the 64th day after the City of New York hung a “Closed for Business” sign, 789 new cases entered our hospitals and 280 New Yorkers died. And as the USS Comfort cuts through smoother waters on her way back to home port, the long trailer serving as a morgue in nearby Lennox Hospital is still double-parked right there. Alternate side of the street rules are not in effect.
Educational systems around the world are struggling to provide online learning to students who can no longer gather in schools. The challenges range from equipping and training teachers to teach online and adapting course materials to the availability of technology and connectivity, especially for low-income families.
We spoke with Rhonda Kadish, Community Relations Manager for the City of Hudson, about that two-time Top7 Intelligent Community’s learn-at-home strategy.Read more
Since COVID came to town, I notice things when I wake up in the morning with an intensity and a clarity that wasn’t there weeks ago. When I look outside of my window, the “worldly dust,” as the Dali Lama once called it, has vanished. I see with terrible clarity. Everything seems illuminated. I have had these moments before. Twice. Both times Death was near and the illusive veil was pierced for me.
What do I see now? The parking garage attendant in a short sleeve shirt waiting for a car to pull in. Bright sunlight. Tulips in front of the Imperial House apartments.
Looking out of my window the world seems normal. There are no viruses flying around with spikes like those animated red balls with the nasty warthog look that the news shows concoct. Yes, there are people being put into refrigerated trucks each day at Lennox Hill Hospital, but you would not know the truck’s cargo unless you knew the truck as it rolled past.Read more
On Good Friday the number of deaths in the state of New York totaled 7,067. By Easter Sunday morning the number was over 9,000. Today there are over 10,000. Each number is greater than the entire population of the village in rural Upstate New York where I was born, and where my ancestors are buried. I thought about that – and the fact that my street fruit vendor did not have her mask on yesterday when she sold me food – and I woke in the middle of the night sweating and nauseous.
Lyons, New York is 40 miles east of the City of Rochester, where ICF held its Smart21 Conference in October in what feels like another era. If there was any good on Friday, when we are reminded that if there were no Cross there would be “no Crown” to gather around, it was the report that for the fourth day in a row, the rate of new COVID-19 cases was lower. The field hospital at the Javits Center is more lightly populated with patients than we feared. New York is using data to manage the crisis, but the crisis remains deep. But we are managing. The curve is levelling. Our healthcare workers are worn to the bone like infantry soldiers on a Pacific jungle island in World War II. They have emerged as heroes – as heroic as the First Responders of 9/11 – and they continue to come from states like Kansas to be here to fight for us.
“Blessed are you when men hate you and ostracize you and insult you and scorn your name… be glad in that day.”
You discover your real friends in the time when you are unwanted by all others. You must naturally go to them then and petition them. There’s an old joke that goes like this, “A woman wants to know who loves her more, her boyfriend or her dog. So, she puts them both in the trunk of her car for 3 hours. When she opens the trunk her boyfriend jumps out first and starts to curse and scampers away, terrified. The dog, however, is grateful. It jumps out happily and begins to lick her face.”
Understandably, no one is particularly fond of loving New Yorkers these days in a way we are used to being loved. Certainly no one wants us to escape from New York. We are in our own trunk. While we typically standout in a foreign city because of a preponderantly higher percentage of wealth, ideas and enhanced vocal chords, no city in the USA is keen to give New Yorkers refuge in this brutal hour.Read more
There is battle underway in New York. With the virus surging toward its peak I am starting to feel like I am living through something akin to what I know of “The Blitz” in the early 1940’s in England, during World War II. A terrifying reign of terror, coming relentlessly at me with no conscience, is what I am feeling. I watch as brave people hold the line and others try to contribute as best they can. People are emerging to whom we owe much. Doctors for sure. Also the delivery guys, most of them Mexican, on their padded bicycles; the cashiers at Citarella and Food Emporium markets. My doormen Javier, Willie, Larry and Tom. Yeah, I am under siege, and the only weapons are a healthcare system renowned for the quality of its research and advances in the most exciting areas of science. But we also have a community hospital system and its challenges, as the world is seeing, are profound. We are also armed now with extreme civic cooperation and access to the rest of the world online. These are useful, but they are inadequate for the real job ahead.
Most of the sirens in my neighborhood tonight carry gasping COVID-19 patients to overcrowded, understaffed ERs at New York Presbyterian and Lenox Hill hospitals. There are medical tents rising in Central Park, although I have not seen them. My brief walk along the avenue revealed only the pink blossoms of the trees celebrating the arrival of Spring. Both hospitals are within walking distance of my apartment (located next door to Trump Palace). We learned a few nights ago that the head of the NY Police Department’s Anti-Terror Department is in Lenox Hill with the disease. And this morning we learned that Harlem-based Detective Cedric Dixon (48 years old) passed away as had one of my favorite playwrights, Terrence McNally.Read more
In this conversation, ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla discusses COVID-19 with Dublin, Ohio CIO Doug McCollough.