Weather: Temperatures are expected to soar into the low 90s today before dipping into the mid-70s tonight.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sept. 6 (Labor Day).
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new incentives Wednesday for New Yorkers getting vaccinated, and shared research on rising Covid-19 case rates in the city.
Mr. De Blasio acknowledged the concern over breakthrough cases during a news conference, but pointed to city data showing that only 0.33 percent of fully vaccinated New Yorkers have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. At 96.9 percent, he said, unvaccinated people account for the vast majority of all the city’s Covid-19 hospitalizations.
Mr. De Blasio said that 75 percent of adults in New York had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. As of Wednesday, more than 10.5 million vaccine doses had been administered in the city.
“New York City is showing the entire nation what it looks like to get people vaccinated,” Mr. De Blasio said.
A new incentive for children
In an effort to increase vaccinations among young people ahead of their return to school in the fall, Mr. de Blasio announced a new incentive: Starting this week, children 12 and up who receive their first dose at one of three city-run sites co-sponsored by SOMOS Community Care and Marvel Entertainment will receive an exclusive limited-edition comic book, “Avengers: We Are Resilient.”
The book tells a story of the Avengers, frontline health care heroes and a Latino family uniting to distribute information about vaccines to build trust within Black, brown and Latino communities. Participating sites are in Times Square, Maria Hernandez Park in Brooklyn, and 368 E 149th St. in the Bronx.
“Captain America started out as a skinny kid from Brooklyn, OK?” Mr. de Blasio said. “Skinny kid from Brooklyn becomes a superhero. You, too, all my young viewers, you too can become a superhero if you get vaccinated.”
“Covid is like Thanos,” Mr. De Blasio went on, referencing the main villain in the most recent “Avengers” films, “out to hurt millions of people around the globe.”
Most of the city’s positive Covid-19 diagnoses are unvaccinated
Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, repeatedly urged people to get vaccinated, citing city research showing those who are unvaccinated are at far greater risk of infection and hospitalization.
“In the most recent weeks, people who are unvaccinated are 13 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who are fully vaccinated,” Dr. Chokshi said. “And they are at least three times more likely to be infected.”
From The Times
And finally: The Grand Prospect Hall’s new owners file for demolition
The Times’ Ashley Wong (hey, that’s me!) writes:
For almost 40 years, New Yorkers knew the Grand Prospect Hall by one simple phrase: “We make your dreams come true!”
Now, the dreamland may soon be demolished: The new owner of the building, an iconic Victorian banquet hall, has applied for it to be torn down, public records show.
Purchased by Michael and Alice Halkias in 1981, the Grand Prospect Hall became famous for its campy, low-budget television commercials, which were set to soaring orchestral music and featured the couple throwing out their arms and making their signature promise. So popular were the ads that they were spoofed by both “Saturday Night Live” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
But the venue took several major hits during the coronavirus pandemic, beginning with the building’s closure in March 2020, followed by the death of Mr. Halkias that May from complications of Covid-19.
Understand Vaccine and Mask Mandates in the U.S.
- Vaccine rules. On Aug. 23, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and up, paving the way for an increase in mandates in both the public and private sectors. Private companies have been increasingly mandating vaccines for employees. Such mandates are legally allowed and have been upheld in court challenges.
- Mask rules. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July recommended that all Americans, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public places within areas experiencing outbreaks, a reversal of the guidance it offered in May. See where the C.D.C. guidance would apply, and where states have instituted their own mask policies. The battle over masks has become contentious in some states, with some local leaders defying state bans.
- College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden.
- Schools. Both California and New York City have introduced vaccine mandates for education staff. A survey released in August found that many American parents of school-age children are opposed to mandated vaccines for students, but were more supportive of mask mandates for students, teachers and staff members who do not have their shots.
- Hospitals and medical centers. Many hospitals and major health systems are requiring employees to get a Covid-19 vaccine, citing rising caseloads fueled by the Delta variant and stubbornly low vaccination rates in their communities, even within their work force.
- New York City. Proof of vaccination is required of workers and customers for indoor dining, gyms, performances and other indoor situations, although enforcement does not begin until Sept. 13. Teachers and other education workers in the city’s vast school system will need to have at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 27, without the option of weekly testing. City hospital workers must also get a vaccine or be subjected to weekly testing. Similar rules are in place for New York State employees.
- At the federal level. The Pentagon announced that it would seek to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for the country’s 1.3 million active-duty troops “no later” than the middle of September. President Biden announced that all civilian federal employees would have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel.
New Yorkers who held their weddings, birthday parties and other events at the Grand Prospect Hall over the years expressed surprise and devastation over the building’s future demise.
Laura Burns, 52, and Peter Sharoff, 49, chose it as their wedding venue after attending Ms. Burns’ grandmother’s 95th birthday party there. Her grandmother told stories of how she and her friends would go to the Grand Prospect Hall in the 1920s and dance into the wee hours.
“You walk inside, and immediately you cannot decide — is this the most wonderful, almost St. Petersburg-like glamour you have ever seen?” Mr. Sharoff said. “Or is it the most awful, kitschy, tacky place you have ever seen?”
It’s Thursday — make your dreams come true.
Metropolitan Diary: Good first date
I was on a very good first date in Riverside Park, but I had to meet friends near the Museum of Natural History.
Since I was new to New York, my date gave me directions to the nearest train station. We hugged goodbye, and I started to walk toward West 110th Street, glancing down every 30 seconds at Google Maps.
As I was walking, I heard someone driving down the street yell, “Hey!”
I pretended not to notice.
“Hey! Hey, you!”
Now other people were looking at me. Oh no.
Reluctantly, I turned my head to see a young man in a van. He stopped at a red light beside me.
“Come here,” he said.
I complied. He was grinning.
“She likes you,” he said.
“It’s all in the body language,” he said.
I stood there, perplexed.
“That woman you were with, giving you directions,” the van man said. “She likes you. I could tell.”
I cracked a smile.
“Thanks, man,” I said. “That’s good news.”
“No problem,” he said. “We’ve got to look out for each other.”
The light changed and he drove off. I continued walking, this time without looking down at Google Maps.
— Ben Cohen
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.