22: Marilyn Monroe, Wegmans in Brooklyn, Measles Outbreak Update


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  • We looked at the city's number of measles cases last week on episode 21, and new numbers this week show that the outbreak continues to grow. Within the city, there have now been 498 total confirmed cases, and increase of 32 over last week, and in data from the CDC, the nationwide total is now at 839. A new school has been ordered closed this week for failure to follow the city health commissioner's public health emergency plan introduced last month. On May 13th, the city ordered the Yeshiva of Central Queens closed for failing to "exclude unvaccinated students for 21 days following a known exposure at the school." This is the 9th school closed by the city, and all others have since been allowed to reopen after modifying their practices to comply with the emergency plan.

    This outbreak is the worst the United States has seen since 1994, when the yearly total was 928 cases nationwide.

    In response to the ongoing outbreak of measles, the city has partnered with local (hut 'zu lah) Hatzolah emergency medical groups and the Maimonides Medical Center to make the measles vaccine available to the community, regardless of medical insurance or ability to pay. Various times and locations are available on a poster provided by the city that you can view online, or you can call 311 for more information or stop by the Hatzolah offices Boro Park, Williamsburg, or Flatbush.

    Within the city, Orthodox Jewish communities are hardest hit due to a combination of unvaccinated individuals and travelers returning from Israel, where there has been an outbreak of measles since last year. In the city health department data, Williamsburg has the highest total number of cases, at 379, and has added 20 new cases just in the previous week. The city has also carried through with restrictions outlined in an official health department declaration from last month, closing multiple schools and citing 98 individuals for failing to show proof of vaccination or to obtain a new vaccination. Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air as sick individuals cough or sneeze. The measles vaccination is included in MMR shots, standing for measles, mumps, and rubella, that contain a specially-weakened form of the virus that trains the body's immune system on how to defend against that virus in the future. For information on where to obtain a measles vaccination, call 311 or view information from the Department of Health at nyc.gov/doh.

  • 100 years ago on May 16, 1919 — Members of the "Russellites" religious sect living in Brooklyn receive reduced sentences after being charged with distributing anti-war materials.

  • 135 years ago on May 17, 1884 — P.T. Barnum leads a parade of 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge, which had opened just one year earlier

  • Wegmans supermarket comes to the Brooklyn Navy Yard on 7am on October 27th, when the 74,000 sqft store opens where Admiral's Row once stood.

  • An update to last week's deadly Harlem fire at the Frederick E. Samuel Apartments that claimed the lives of four children and two adults in the early-morning hours of May 8th. FDNY fire investigators determined the cause to have been an open flame on the stove, and that Andrea Pollidore had a habit of disabling the smoke detector while she cooked because it would begin to alarm so easily. A source told NBC4 that the stove was found in the "on" position, so it seems to have been left burning at some point that day and eventually fire spread late in the night, when smoke overtook the apartment before the family inside could escape. Killed in the fire were 4 y/o Elijah, 6 y/o Brooklyn, 8 y/o Andre, 11 y/o Nakyra, their mother Andrea Pollidore, and family friend 32 y/o Mac Abdularauph, who was previously reported as a step-son. A GoFundMe page has been set up by a family member to cover the funeral costs and has received over $40,000 in just six days.

  • 80 years ago on May 17, 1939 — The first televised sporting event takes place at Columbia University

  • 57 years ago on May 19, 1962 — Marilyn Monroe performs "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" as part of John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden

  • Mayor de Blasio held an announcement at Trump Tower on May 13th: In what was either a shortsighted location choice or an attempt to draw attention to a possible presidential run, de Blasio faced a cacophonous scene for his New York City Green New Deal press conference, with Trump Tower turning up the music in their lobby speakers and about a dozen protesters taking endless rides on the escalators behind the podium while carrying "Trump 2020" and "Worst Mayor Ever" signs. The city's Green New Deal plan would fine large buildings like Trump Tower for the pollution they emit, and buildings account for 70% of carbon emissions within the city.

  • 73 years ago on May 20, 1946 — A twin-engine military plane crashes into 40 Wall Street, killing all on board

A Great Big City has been running a 24-hour newsfeed since 2010, but the AGBC News podcast is just getting started, and we need your support. A Great Big City is built on a dedication to explaining what is happening and how it fits into the larger history of New York, which means thoroughly researching every topic and avoiding clickbait headlines to provide a straightforward, honest, and factual explanation of the news. Individuals can make a monthly or one-time contribution at agreatbigcity.com/support and local businesses can have a lasting impact by supporting local news while promoting products or services directly to interested customers listening to this podcast. Visit agreatbigcity.com/advertising to learn more.

AGBC is more than just a news website — Our fireworks page monitors the city's announcements of upcoming fireworks, lists them on site, and automatically sends out a notification just before the fireworks begin, so that you can watch the show or prepare your pet for the upcoming explosion sounds. Visit agreatbigcity.com/fireworks to see the full calendar!

Park of the day

  • Triborough Bridge Approach Triangle — A small piece of Parks property that contains one big road sign! This triangle at the corner of 93rd and FDR Drive is nicely landscaped and surrounded by a low, decorative fence, and inside is a large stone monolith that reads "East River Drive Triborough Bridge Approach". This marker is from the 1930s when both the East River Drive (FDR Drive) and the Triborough Bridge (RFK Bridge) were built and is giving drivers some very advance notice that this road leads to the bridge on-ramp at 125th Street, much like the green overhead highway signs do today.

Parks Events

Concert Calendar

Here's the AGBC Concert Calendar for the upcoming week:

  • Knuckle Puck, Citizen, Hunny, and oso oso are playing Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday, May 15th.
  • Yungblud is playing The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, May 15th.
  • John K. Samson and Shannen Moser are playing Rough Trade NYC on Wednesday, May 15th.
  • Architects, Thy Art Is Murder, and While She Sleeps are playing Brooklyn Steel on Thursday, May 16th.
  • Broken Social Scene is playing Webster Hall on Thursday, May 16th.
  • The Hold Steady are playing White Eagle Hall on Thursday, May 16th.
  • Cory Branan and Trapper Schoepp are playing Coney Island Baby on Thursday, May 16th.
  • Perturbator is playing Irving Plaza on Thursday, May 16th.
  • Meshuggah and The Black Dahlia Murder are playing Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday, May 16th.
  • Björk is playing The Shed at Hudson Yards on Thursday, May 16th.
  • Garbage, LCD Soundsystem, and Mercury Rev are playing Brooklyn Steel on Friday, May 17th.
  • The Dream Syndicate and 75 Dollar Bill are playing Mercury Lounge on Friday, May 17th.
  • Mr Twin Sister and Ava Luna are playing Warsaw on Friday, May 17th.
  • Tacocat and Sammi Lanzetta are playing Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday, May 17th.
  • Uniform, Blame God, and Wear Your Wounds are playing Saint Vitus Bar on Friday, May 17th.
  • Sidewalks and Skeltons is playing H0L0 on Friday, May 17th.
  • BTS are playing MetLife Stadium on Saturday, May 18th and Sunday, May 19th
  • Worriers and awakebutstillinbed are playing Baby's All Right on Sunday, May 19th.

Find more fun things to do at agreatbigcity.com/events.

Learn about New York

Here's something you may not have known about New York:


The extreme highs and lows for this week in weather history:
Record High: 99°F on May 19, 1962
Record Low: 38°F on May 19, 1976

Weather for the week ahead:
Light rain today through Thursday, with high temperatures rising to 82°F next Monday.

Intro and outro music: 'Start the Day' by Lee Rosevere — Concert Calendar music from Jukedeck.com

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