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.

[Read the latest on Covid-19 and the Delta variant.]

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.”

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.”

Hochul Picks State Senator Brian Benjamin as Lieutenant Governor

Houses of Worship Struggle Back, and Tread Lightly on Vaccines

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.

The building was sold in June this year as part of a $30 million 12-property deal to Angelo Rigas, a contractor, through the company Gowanus Cubes LLC, public records show.

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.

Dear Diary:

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.

“She what?”

“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.

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at

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