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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


It’s officially fall, and the season brings changes to New York. The school year has gotten off to a nervous start for many city teachers and parents, but Governor Cuomo hopes to allay some fears with more details about the “COVID report card,” a website that will allow visitors to see the number of tests performed and cases at every school district in the state.

Meanwhile, contrary to what the president would like to believe, a coronavirus vaccine is not imminent. But when the time comes, Governor Cuomo is forming a panel of scientists, doctors, and public health officials who will review the safety and effectiveness of federally approved vaccines. While this panel will not play a role in the approval process, it could delay distribution if it determined that the vaccine was not safe.
And while more than 80 percent of New York’s coronavirus tests are coming back within 72 hours, the city is determined to improve. With that in mind, a lab dedicated to processing coronavirus tests formally opened on Thursday. The Pandemic Response Lab is located in the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences in Kips Bay, and aspires to shorten the wait time for test results to 24 to 48 hours. During a press briefing about the new lab, Mayor de Blasio also announced a design competition for an affordable test that can provide results in 15 minutes.

The new developments come at a time when all of us are looking forward to 2021, but New Yorkers will not ring in the new year in the usual way: The ball drop will take place, but not with crowds in attendance. All celebrations will take place virtually.

220 Central Park South has NYC's top 12 13 condo sales since COVID-19 began

220-Central-Park-South-01 220 Central Park South via Vornado Realty Trust
In January 2019, Ken Griffin's $238 million purchase at 220 Central Park South set a new record for the most expensive sale in the country. Less than two years later, the statuesque supertall reports another milestone: As CityRealty data shows, it is home to New York City's 12 most expensive apartment sales since the coronavirus pandemic. (Make that 13 - The Real Deal just reported news of a sale for $62.6 million, or $10,500 per square foot!)

Some of the high-selling units are located in the building's "Villa" portion, others are full-floor units in the "Tower" portion, and all entered contract well before the pandemic. The closings have come in over the past few months and proven a boon to developer Vornado Realty Trust. However, it remains to be seen how much longer this can last - according to an analysis conducted by The Real Deal, only a small fraction of units remains on the market.

Outdoor dining in NYC made permanent and year-round

Open-Restaurants-01 Who needs car traffic when we can have this? (Photo circa August 2020 via CityRealty)
As of today, New York City restaurants are still on track to reopen for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity on Wednesday, September 30, but that is not to say that the Open Restaurants outdoor dining program is on the way out. Quite the contrary - it kept getting extended, news of the 2021 start date was eagerly received, and Mayor de Blasio has just announced that it will be a permanent feature.

Ever since Open Restaurants began in June, the program has been welcomed by New Yorkers and embraced by restaurants as a way to bring back some of their staff and generate income. The program now includes 87 streets and nine pedestrian plazas.

“Outdoor dining has transformed New York City’s streetscape for the better” - Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of NYC Hospitality Alliance, and Robert Bookman, Counsel for NYC Hospitality Alliance

Some have expressed concern about how this will work in winter, but there is an answer for that: Restaurants will be permitted to put up partially enclosed tents over the outdoor dining areas, and electric heaters will be allowed. Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has called the program “a creative new vision of public space” and pledged to work with other city officials and restaurants to develop guidelines and roadway safety measures.

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, some observed that Paris’ iconic cafe culture came about in the wake of a cholera epidemic. Are we witnesses to the start of a new era for New York City?

"Floating Woman" installed in Hunters Point South Park

Floating-Woman-01 Floating Woman sculpture via Hunters Point Park Conservancy
On Thursday, September 24, "Floating Woman," one of sculptor Gaston LaChaise's most well-known works, was installed in Hunters Point South Park. The work was cast at the Modern Art Foundry in Astoria, and the Queens connection coupled with visibility from the East River inspired the location. It will be in Hunters Point South Park for one year.

"Floating Woman" is a sculpture of a buoyant, expansive woman. It was inspired by Mr. LaChaise's wife Isabel, who served as his muse and model, but was designed as a tribute to the power of all women. Mr. LaChaise has said of the sculpture, "What I am aiming to express is the glorification of the human being, of the human body, of the human spirit with all there is of daring, magnificence."

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