An alarming viral trend on Staten Island


Weather: Keep an umbrella handy: the rain can get heavy in the afternoon. High to low in the mid-1970s.

Parking on the alternate side: Suspended today for Veterans Day.

Not long ago, New York was trying to contain clusters of virus cases in parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Now health officials have new hot spots on their hands on Staten Island.

According to city data, two Staten Island neighborhoods had the highest seven-day average positive viral test rates in the entire city. Tottenville was 5.74% on Tuesday and Great Kills 5.04%.

Staten Island’s overall rate was also above the city average – 3.38%, compared to the city’s 2.31%.

And on Tuesday afternoon, the state also released a disturbing figure: Its overall positivity rate had risen above 3%, if only slightly.

[How New York City’s conservative bastion became a virus hot spot.]

If those numbers continue to rise, the city could once again shut down some businesses and stop in-person learning in public schools.

I asked my colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Town Hall bureau chief for The Times, specifically about the surges on Staten Island. Here’s a edited version of our conversation:

Q: When did cases start to increase in Tottenville and Great Kills?

A: Mayor Bill de Blasio first identified Staten Island as an area of ​​concern last week, November 5th. On Tuesday, he stepped up the response by hosting a “Day of Action,” when dozens of volunteers visited the ferry terminal and shopping malls asking residents to get tested and hand out masks.

Do we know what causes the increase in infections?

City officials did not say what specifically caused the rise in Staten Island, but did speak to some of the city-wide factors. The restrictions are causing some fatigue and more people are spending time indoors as we get closer to winter conditions.

On Tuesday, they said about 10% of cases were related to travel, 5% to large gatherings and 5% to collective care centers like retirement homes.

In the vast majority of cases, they don’t know how people got infected, but they’ve reminded New Yorkers to do the simple things we’ve been doing for months: wear a mask, stay away socially, wash their hands. hands and get tested.

What could this mean for the rest of New York?

The mayor says New York City is on the verge of having a full-blown second wave of the virus. If Staten Island and other neighborhoods continue to see an increase in cases, authorities could close schools, eliminate indoor meals and revert to other tougher restrictions.

The mayor says we can still make a difference, but people need to be more careful. To Staten Island, he sent 75 volunteers and staff to travel around the island to raise awareness.

Jennifer Schuessler of The Times writes:

The question persisted on the edges of Alexander Hamilton’s pop culture ascendancy: The $ 10 founding father, celebrated in the musical “Hamilton” as a “revolutionary manumission abolitionist,” slaves?

Some biographers have approached the matter cautiously over the years, often in footnotes or passing references. But a new research paper released by the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany, New York, offers the most striking case to date.

In the article, titled “Like a Hateful and Immoral Thing”: The Hidden History of Alexander Hamilton as Ensave, “Jessie Serfilippi, historical interpreter at the mansion, examines letters, account books and more. documents. Her conclusion – about Hamilton, and what she suggests is wishful thinking on the part of many of her modern admirers – is straightforward.

“Not only did Alexander Hamilton enslave people, his involvement in the institution of slavery was essential to his identity, both personally and professionally,” she writes.

Hamilton was married into the powerful Schuyler family in 1780. Slavery was common among the elite in New York State, and the Schuylers were among the largest slave owners in their area, with over 40 people enslaved to the Albany mansion and other estate over the years.

[Read more about the paper, which finds overlooked evidence in letters and Hamilton’s own account books indicating that he bought, sold and personally owned slaves.]

Joanne Freeman, a history professor at Yale and editor-in-chief of the Library of America’s edition of the Hamilton writings, said detailed evidence remains to be assessed. But she said the paper was part of a welcome reconsideration of what she called the ‘Hero Hamilton’ narrative.

“It is fitting that we take Hamilton’s status as an assailant into account at a time that makes us realize how vital it is for white Americans to take into account – seriously – the structural legacy of slavery in America, ”she wrote in an email.

It’s Wednesday – do your research.

Dear Diary:

I was a stranger in New York with a few hours to kill on a bright spring afternoon. After a walk in Central Park, I found an empty bench and opened a book.

After a few minutes, a well-dressed woman, old enough to be my mother, stopped in front of me.

“I see you appreciate a good book,” she said. “Do you also like a game of Scrabble?”

I said I did. She sat down and opened a portable Scrabble set. The game was on.

We got to know each other by playing. As I expected, she beat me easily in several fast games.

A retired medical researcher, she posed some of the longest words I’d seen in my time playing Scrabble, words with Zs, Xs and Qs that made her score soar and that j was unable to argue.

After a few hours, we parted ways like old friends. I often think of this lovely woman and smile when I do.

– Barry Waronker

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