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Around Brooklyn: Coney Island testing center reopens

May 7, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Coney Island testing center reopens

The city has reopened a Coney Island COVID-19 testing site more than a month after closing the center because of a lack of protective equipment, according to the Brooklyn Paper. The Ida G. Israel Community Health Center, located on West 19th Street near Surf Avenue, offers free tests to walk-in patients Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. People of age 65 or older or with pre-existing conditions are given priority for testing. The center services walk-ins only and offers language services for non-English speakers, the Brooklyn Paper said.

Fort Greene nursing home now has highest death rate

The Phoenix Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Fort Greene, which offers a luxurious environment for its short-term patients, now has the highest nursing-home death rate in Brooklyn, according to Patch. Fifty-four patients died from coronavirus at the home. Cobble Hill Health Center, which once led in the number of coronavirus deaths, is now number two. A statement by Phoenix management read, “We ourselves have continued to accept COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals to allow room and resources for those newly diagnosed.”

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Flatbush bar vandalized with ‘stay closed’ graffiti

When the manager at Rusty Nail, a recently opened bar at 1701 Foster Ave., Flatbush, went near the business recently, they found that the words “Stay Close” (presumably “Stay Closed”) had been spray-painted in black on two of the outside walls. Owner Kathie Lee, who also owns Sycamore Bar and Flower Shop and The Farm on Adderley, says that security tape shows that the graffiti was done by two men. Local police have been contacted, according to Bklyner.

With limited testing sites, many look outside Brooklyn

While the city wants to ramp up COVID-19 testing, its capacity now remains about 30,000 a week, according to BK Reader. That is why Dr. Mason Pimsler, a former Brookdale Hospital doctor, says residents who want testing sooner than later should consider looking outside the borough. He says many of his former patients have followed him to Long Island because they’re finding it a challenge to get tested in the city. Pimsler called the city’s instructions for getting tested “very convoluted,” and added that “The masses of people are not getting straight information about where they can or can’t go.”

Cobble Hill’s only remaining cobbler

For more than 25 years, Michael Davidov has fixed neighborhood residents’ shoes and handbags on Smith Street between President and Union streets, according to Pardon Me for Asking, a blog serving Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. Now, however, the coronavirus pandemic may mean a permanent closure without the community’s help. Davidov has started a GoFundMe campaign. In part, he says, “We have been working in this neighborhood for nearly three decades, made it through 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis and insane rent increase, but this one is hitting us by far the most.”

City may turn some senior centers into COVID testing sites

The de Blasio administration is considering converting some senior centers into COVID-19 and antibody testing locations, but some center managers are worried about the safety of their employees and elderly clients. The School Construction Authority has sent staff over during the past few days to check out some of the city’s 249 centers, according to THE CITY. All the centers were closed in mid-March, but some sites are being used to cook for home delivery while other centers are located in senior housing complexes.

Actors organize drive for frontline workers, small businesses

Some famous Brooklynites are uniting to help raise money and support for frontline workers and small businesses in Brooklyn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Actor Jeffrey Wright helped organize the Brooklyn for Life initiative, according to PIX11. It started as “Operation Pizza,” in which Vito Randazzo, owner of Graziella’s Italian Restaurant at 232 Vanderbilt Ave., invited customers to order pizzas for delivery to the staff at the The Brooklyn Hospital Center. Then Michael Thompson, owner of Brooklyn Moon Café on Fulton Street, joined in offering delivery of his food. To donate, visit

Artists decorate walls of Domino Park

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, a group of local artists are filling the walls of Domino Park with pictures of essential workers. “There are postal workers, there are nurses and doctors,” said Joe Matunis, a teaching artist at Las Muralistas de El Puento, a neighborhood art collective. “But we are also going to be seeing grocery workers and musicians.” Matunis told amNewYork that he initially thought of the idea because he had three upcoming projects canceled. He initially reached out to the Domino Park Conservancy about painting a mural, but the group decided that Las Muralistas should hang portraits over panels so that the art could remain intact after the project, amNewYork said.

Director’s brother defends infamous body storage

After the license of the Andrew Cleckey Funeral Home in East Flatbush was pulled for storage of dead bodies in moving trucks, officers continued to investigate the incident. On May 4, sheriff’s deputies said that conditions had “vastly improved” and the few bodies that were still in the home were properly accounted for. A man who identified himself as the brother of funeral director Andrew Cleckey told amNewYork that his brother had been “dragged through the mud,” and blamed crematoriums for the tremendous backlog of bodies at the site. “It’s fake news,” he said, adding that “nobody knew what to do” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Several Downtown streets to close for pedestrians

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that a small stretch of Downtown Brooklyn will close to most vehicular traffic for eight hours a day, giving more space for Brooklynites who wish to go outside. The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership will close Willoughby Street between Pearl and Lawrence streets, Pearl Street from the Fulton Mall to the Marriott Hotel and a block of Lawrence Street between the Fulton Mall and Willoughby Street. The streets will be closed to through traffic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, while still allowing emergency vehicles, local deliveries, and pickups or drop-offs, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

$4.25 million sought for Heights brownstone

An 1850s brownstone in Brooklyn Heights with a wood-burning fireplace is now for sale for $4.25, according to Brownstoner. The home, at 37 Schermerhorn St., was built in 1852, and by the 1890s was a boarding house. It’s now a two-family home. The current listings focus on the lower unit, which includes the fireplace, several bedrooms, a U-shaped kitchen, a dining room and at least one full bath. In the back, a garden is enclosed by brick walls. The property hasn’t changed hands since the 1970s.

Colton, others deliver food to Coney hospital

Assemblymember William Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst-Bath Beach-Dyker Heights), accompanied by members of the United Progressive Democratic Club and the owner of Ciao Pizza and Pasta, delivered hot food to Coney Island Hospital on May 6. “Thank you to Angelo, the owner of Ciao Pizzeria and Pasta at Bay Parkway and 71 Street in Brooklyn, for your generosity. You have repeatedly made hot meals donations to our hero police and firefighters and to our health care heroes in the Coney Island Hospital,” said Colton.

Cornegy delivers meals to Kingsbrook Med Center

Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (D-Bed-Stuy-Crown Heights) yesterday partnered with Nick’s Lobster House to deliver box lunch meals to health workers at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. Cornegy has recovered from his own battle with COVID-19 and personally wants to support all those frontline workers battling this crisis. “The challenges COVID-19 poses require mobilizing in support of the health care workers who serve us all. These workers are on the front line of this battle against a virus that has already caused so much anguish in our shared communities,” he said.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.

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