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Good News For New York and The Broadway Community

Good News For New York and The Broadway Community

Photo by Karen Sabag

FIT alumni, with the support of SUNY, launched the New York State Chapter of Sew4Lives, a network of students, alumni, and faculty who have come together to produce hospital-grade masks for frontline workers across NY and beyond. To date, nearly 2,000 masks have been made and over 1,500 have been delivered.  The newly launched NY chapter is also helping other states and is spearheaded by two 2007 FIT Fashion Design alumni: designer, FIT adjunct faculty member Caroline Berti, and designer Karen Sabag. 

FIT students and alums have also created FIT Friends and Neighbors Masks. Currently an 800-person volunteer group and growing throughout the U.S. and Canada, this endeavor has been focused on making masks that can be used by front line workers staffing grocery stores and other essential businesses that have remained open during this pandemic. These masks are not hospital grade, and anyone can volunteer if they have access to a sewing machine. FIT has provided easy-to-follow instructions for those who are interested in participating. 

Crocs is trying to make it a little easier on those healthcare professionals by giving away free pairs of their shoes in daily giveaways.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Crocs said, “Our goal has always been to keep people comfortable in their own shoes and now, in the face of adversity, there are certain individuals who need that feeling more than ever.

“Crocs is donating a free pair of shoes (with free shipping) to healthcare workers on the frontline of COVID-19. If you’re a healthcare professional in need of our easy-to-clean, comfortable Crocs shoes, we’ve got you taken care of.”

If you’re a healthcare professional and you’d like to request a free pair of Crocs shoes, head to their website at 12 p.m. ET. As Crocs is experiencing a high volume of requests, they have daily limits on the number of shoes they can give away. Crocs says it can ship up to 10,000 pairs each day, so if the company has already met its limit when you check, head back to the website at 12 p.m. ET the following day to try again.

Stephanie Koleda gives backpack for the Street

Homelessness in NYC is at an all-time high, accounting for 14% of the nation’s homeless population. Nearly 71,000 people are living in NYC shelters nightly, including 22,511 children, up 82% from 10 years ago. That does not include the 5,000-plus men and women living on the street. Backpacks For The Street’s sends volunteers who delivers packs with food, necessities and COVID fighting tool. They also sit and chats with the homeless and listens to their stories about their lives. Many of the homeless feel invisible and helpless, a backpack full of food, toiletries and necessities is about hope and dignity. Their team members spend time with those in need, treating them with compassion and offering them solution-oriented help.

#StageOppsSubmission Opportunities Newsletter for Women in Theatre You can view #StageOppsApr20 online by clicking on the links below.

Brought to you by theWomen in the Arts & Media Coalition,and WomenArts
Project SubmissionsScript SubmissionsOnstageBackstageFundingResidenciesOther ResourcesCheck out our Funding Resources pages!

n response to the recent closure of theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation has announced its decision to reinvent the means by which it will distribute the funds for their 2020Idea Award for Theatre. This spring, the foundation will offer up to 40 emergency grants of $2,500 each to playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists who have had a full professional production cancelled, closed, or indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 closures. A total of $100,000 will be distributed to theatre writers. Eligible playwrights, composers, lyricists, or librettists can apply at this link. Writers who have had a professional production canceled should submit their name and proof of a professional show’s closure. (“Professional,” in this case, is defined as LORT, Off Broadway, or Broadway).  Each artist can only submit once, to ensure the fairest outcome. If there are more than 40 applicants, the Foundation will award grants by lottery, allowing them to give out the greatest amount of money directly into the pockets of the artists who have been most affected. With a submission deadline of April 14, The Foundation aims to make funds available to artists as quickly as possible, as many artists are already in dire need. The Bret Adams & Paul Reisch Foundation’s mission as a charitable foundation is to give money to writers to write plays with ‘big ideas.’ This year, our ‘big idea’ is our declaration that we must help those who have had productions cancelled,” says Bruce Ostler, V.P. and Board Member of The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation. “The economic model of theatre in the 21st century works much like it did in the 16th century, in that a playwright receives a percentage of the box office sales; without an audience, the box office receipts and royalty to playwrights dry up.  In no uncertain terms, the business of theatre today has ground to a shocking halt due to the pandemic. Playwrights are not salaried workers and therefore are NOT eligible for unemployment for a cancelled production.  That is the harsh reality of theatre today.”  Theatrical Agent Bret Adams and his partner Dr. Paul Reisch loved the theatre with great passion. As a theatrical agent, Bret shepherded the careers of many actors, writers and directors and designers, including Phylicia Rashad, Judy Kaye, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Sherman Helmsley, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Eve Arden, Christine Ebersole, Kathleen Marshall, Jayne Wyman, Andre DeShields, Kathy Bates, Susan H. Schulman, Jack Heifner, Philip McKinley and Robert Harling, among many others. After Bret and Paul’s passing, in 2006 and 2015 respectively, their eponymous foundation was created at their bequest. The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation champions visionary playwrights in their creation of expansive, illuminating, and idea-driven theatre.  Embracing diversity in all its forms, The Foundation encourages artists with fresh perspectives – particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds – to create idea-driven new plays and musicals reflecting on multivalent  themes including science, history, philosophy, gender, race, politics, sexual orientation, technology, religion, money, global warming, and medicine, among others. For more information, visit

The SBA’s Employee Retention Loan application form went live yesterday afternoon. The necessary weblinks are available in the below article. This will also be on our website, but for those interested in looking at this I thought we should get it out to you quickly.

And thanks to the Government Relations staff for watching and keeping us up to date with new information and usable links to save time!

At press time, the Johns Hopkins COVID case tracker currently shows New York City has 46,300 active cases and 1,139 deaths.

Here’s the link to view the archive of Monday’s “virtual” Education Town Hall that was missing yesterday.

This Friday, April 3, 2020, at 3 pm, my office will join with the Arts and Culture Committee of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance to convene a special teleconference for locally-based arts and culture organizations, independent artists, galleries, and venues to discuss managing the impact of Covid-19. The Friday teleconference will be held via ZOOM on Friday, April 3, 2020 at 3 pm.Here is more detail on the call and call-in directions. (corrected link).  If you’d like to help promote our call on your social networks, please use this shortlink:

Today is Census Day 2020, and since I don’t believe that we in government should ask anyone else to do something we ourselves aren’t willing to do, I’m proud to announce that my staff has achieved a 100% response rate to the 2020 census questionnaire! 

I’ll confess I got a little nudge-ey with them, because the funding and policies that flow from the Census is crucial to New York City and State. Our city is notoriously hard to count, and this year could be particularly difficult since the draconian immigration policies of the Trump Administration came into force.

But the fact is that Census responses can’t be used for any purpose other than tallying up population– it’s the law. And no enumerators will be knocking on doors today. So, please, if you haven’t yet done so, take the time to fill in your form at
As of today, New York County (which is Manhattan) has achieved a 30.2% repsonse rate, according to the real-time results the Census Bureau posts at its census tracker website.  Other compliance rates for city, state and nation:
Bronx  28.0%
Kings   26.1%
Manhattan  30.2%
Queens   27.1%
Richmond  32.5%
New York City  28.0%
New York State  33.1%
U.S.A.  38.4%

If you are able, please avoid grocery shopping in the next few days and make space for our neighbors who are on SNAP and WIC to buy food. The beginning of the month is when many public assistance benefits come in; with children staying home, families’ food supplies may have depleted more quickly, making grocery shopping at the start of the new month a necessity rather than a preference. Please also be mindful of your own shopping and avoid choosing items tagged with WIC labels unless absolutely necessary.

Tomorrow at 12:15 pm, Rob Snyder, our official Manhattan Historian (and professor at Rutgers), is convening a Zoom meeting for a wide-ranging conversation about how historians can study, document and analyze the pandemic. “Our discussion will be grounded in New York City, but of course we will explore how the city fits into our state, region, nation and world,” Snyder tells me.  The Zoom meeting will be at and the meeting ID is: 281 509 628 (use that for the participant ID as well).  Or you can dial in for audio only at (646) 876 9923 using those same IDs.  

(Rob also sent me this link to a NY Academy of Medicine piece on the “Germ City” exhibit that was at the Museum of the City of

You know the projection that President Trump is using that calculates between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths by the time the pandemic is over?  The predictive model was developed by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Their website,, shows the curves we are all trying to flatten, and their New York page will be fascinating to any data geeks you know. 

The ASPCA has established a pet food distribution center in New York City in partnership with the Petco Foundation, Blue Buffalo, and PetSmart Charities to provide dog and cat owners free access to crucial food and supplies, including kitty litter.  To keep in line with social distancing guidelines, food and supplies will be available by appointment only. Pet owners should call the ASPCA Pet Food Distribution Helpline at (800)738-9437 to request an appointment. This includes dog and cat supplies only, and distribution is subject to eligibility and availability. Open to residents of New York City; no same-day appointments; one-hour window for pick-up, don’t come early and call if you’re running late; bring a photo ID and be prepared to carry supplies!  (DON’T bring pets!)

The NYC Office of Nightlife has extended the deadline for its COVID-19 Impact Survey for nightlife businesses, workers and freelancers. If you work in NYC nightlife, please complete the survey by Friday April 3rd so that the Office of Nightlife can best represent you and your needs. Available in 10 languages. Survey link:

Wednesday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Taft Houses. (Each weekday FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations which my office helps coordinate with NYCHA tenants’ associations.) It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need. 

The New York Blood Center has this news: 
-Their blood centers are no longer accepting walk-in customers; instead, you must make an appointment. 
-If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in giving plasma, please email your information to

I hope you’re finding these newsletters helpful. Please forward them to whoever you know who would find them helpful.  And keep sending me useful links!  Feel free to call me with any urgent problems or concerns: (212) 669-8191. 

                                                      Stay Safe, 


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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