October in NYC was great except…


…I’m vaccinated but I live in Florida and don’t have a Covid vaccine passport

Sharon and I spent a few days in New York City last week; we hadn’t been back to NY since before the pandemic.

Yayoi Kusama cropped 1 Yayoi Kusama 201611.jpg
Yasoi Kasumi

 We visited the Yasoi Kusama installation at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. It was spectacular. For those of you who don’t know Kusama’s work, she’s a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan.

The next day we went to the Brooklyn Museum to see two special exhibitions, “The Obama Portraits Tour”

and “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams.”

Both were incredible. And the Brooklyn, which I visited at its Children’s branch each year on an elementary school trip, has become a world class museum with exhibitions, permanent and touring, which make it a must-see visit when in NYC.

We also had some great meals. At Dirty French in the Lower East Side, at Clinton Street Bakery for a breakfast that included, if you can believe this, eggs benedict on latkes (can’t get any better than that), at Lamia’s Fish Market, the wonderfully eclectic seafood restaurant in the East Village, at Sarashina Horii, the New York branch of a Japanese soba restaurant that dates back to 1789, and of course, at Katz’s Delicatessen, which opened in 1898, a relative newcomer compared to Sarashina Horii, but where the motto continues to be, “Send a salami to your boy in the army.” Finally, before we left for the airport (and a normally 45-minute ride that took over an hour and a half (Holland Tunnel –– “Fugedabouit”), we stopped at Yonah Schimmel (a relative baby, born in 1910) for the obligatory take-home knishes.

But this post isn’t about what we saw, what we ate and how much traffic there is in New York. It’s about this:

At every place we went in New York City we had to show two things before we were granted entry: a government issued ID and proof of completed Covid vaccinations. These were required at the Botanical Gardens, at the Museum and at every restaurant we patronized. No ID and vaccination proof, no entry. Sorry Governor DeSantis!

But here’s the thing. No one complained. No one pushed back. No one argued. Everyone simply and civilly complied. Experiencing and watching this, I was simultaneously gratified and in awe.

There was one thing that wasn’t gratifying, however. Every time I was asked for my “papers” I had to dig into my wallet to fetch my, now very dog-eared, paper vaccination certificate. Most of my fellow customers, if they had received their shots in New York State, pulled out their smartphone, opened up their Excelsior Pass app and, presto!, their vaccination information, which was stored on New York State’s database, popped up for instant access.

Fearing that if I had to keep pulling that paper certificate out of my wallet (yes, paper…laminating them is not appropriate as boosters and perhaps even more boosters will have to be added…) one of two things would happen. It would become illegible or, I’d lose it, I did the next best thing – scanned my ID and card on to another app, “NYCOVIDSAFE,” which while not linked to a database, would allow me to keep my not so pristine Covid card as safe as possible.

So, here we are, almost ¼ into the 21st Century, living in what is supposed to be the most technologically advanced country in the world, and most of us are rummaging through our wallets, purses and pockets for a rapidly deteriorating piece of paper, a piece of paper that in the current environment, might be the most important one we possess.

I’m going to stop here. But I’d like you to do me a favor. New York State’s Excelsior Pass app is, in the more popular vernacular, a Covid Vaccination Passport. Please tell me why this passport, this pass, is not a universal thing. Please tell me why DeSantis, Abbot, that South Dakota lady governor (I didn’t want to waste any time looking up her name; frankly it isn’t worth it) and just about every other GOP governor is so vehemently against it. I want to hear from you because, believe it or not, after seeing how successfully it worked in New York and how pleasantly compliant everyone was, I’m at wit’s end; I need some help.

Post comments on the site. Email me at tedblock@around-the-block.com. But let me know your thoughts. I’ll include them in a follow up post.

Thanks in advance. And also, apologies to all you readers down here in Delray Beach. The knishes are all gone!

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

2 thoughts on “October in NYC was great except…

  1. Hi Ted, maybe Mickey has responded but just in case. We have had an interesting series of actions and inactions surrounding vaccines since we arrived in Israel.

    We got a PCR in Morocco, both negative. Had a PCR when we got off the plane in Israel, then went Maayan who had arranged Anti-body tests for us. My anti-body results arrived a couple hours later. Great results but they lost Mickey’s sample, no results. Israelis must have a green card in hand or on iPhone to get into restaurants (works great) so we made copies of our COVID cards , had them laminated and kept our passports with us for ID. Worked like a charm. No hassle anywhere. Israelis don’t mind showing card or phone app. It’s genius. Works!!!

    The glitch for us is that you have to stay in quarantine for a week unless you can prove you also have antibodies and they check to see if you are complying. We weren’t, we went to see Maayan again the second day here. The authorities called Haim to see if we were behaving. He lied for us. Sooooo, typical Israeli maneuver, he called the health department explained that his guests were medical people from the US had three shots and were PCR beg, one had hi antibodies and the other was going to get the blood drawn again and get this: over the phone Rachela ask us , “ do you swear that you had three shots of vaccine in the states and your PCR was – “. We said yes and she said fine and emailed us a letter which we carry , saying we are cleared to not quarantine for a week. This could never happen in the states. We are just too backwards. We went back to the lab and had the antibody test for Mickey and he has a nice titer level.

    In two days we have to have another PCR. So we can come home.

    I think we should consider having a Zoom so we can tell you and the Pratt’s about out trip. We did some archeological visits under the City of David and the Kotel that haven’t been opened to the public yet. Mind blowing.

    Okay, I think that was more than you wanted to read.

    Loved hearing about your trip to NYC.

    How is Lindsey!!

    Love, Toni

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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