N.Y. Today: Unvaccinated, and on unpaid leave

What you need to know for Tuesday.
Anna Watts for The New York Times

It's Tuesday. It's Election Day in New York. We told you everything you need to know here, here and here, so you know all about it. Now it's your turn.

Day 1 of a vaccine mandate

Mayor Bill de Blasio's vaccine mandate for municipal employees took effect on Monday. About 9,000 workers did not comply and were placed on unpaid leave, as hundreds of firefighters called in sick in what appeared to be an organized protest.

But de Blasio said that no firehouses had been closed and that the Fire Department was responding to calls as rapidly as usual. And except for more than a few sore arms and new vaccination cards, it appeared just another day at the office — or on the streets, chasing crime suspects, collecting garbage or inspecting buildings.

"We're not seeing disruptions to any city services," de Blasio declared. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that placing unvaccinated officers on unpaid leave for failing to comply — 34 total — was having "literally no effect on service at this point."

In all, about 6 percent of the city's 378,000 workers remained unvaccinated on Monday, officials said. That included the 9,000 who went on unpaid leave for not getting at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by the time they were due at work on Monday. Another 12,000 have applied for religious or medical exemptions.


Since the deadline was announced on Oct. 20, more than 22,472 city employees have gotten their first dose. Union leaders asserted that there would have been more compliance if the city had given workers more time.

But some public health experts said the mandate did not come soon enough. Denis Nash, a professor of epidemiology at the CUNY School of Public Health, said that the mandate "should have happened a while ago."

"This helped move the needle a lot for some city agencies," he added.

De Blasio said 77 percent of the city's firefighters had been vaccinated, up from 58 percent on Oct. 20. He also said that 88 percent of those working in the Emergency Medical Services division were now vaccinated, up from 61 percent.


But Daniel Nigro, the fire commissioner, said medical leaves had "spiked up" in the last week, "and we know that's related to protests against the mandate." He said that 700 people had sought medical leave every day in the last week, 500 a day more than usual, a jump he called "completely unacceptable." But he and de Blasio said firefighters who reported for duty had taken up the slack.

Representative Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican who represents Staten Island and part of South Brooklyn and opposed the mandate, said that multiple fire engine or ladder companies had been taken out of service in her district because of staff shortages over the weekend and into Monday. The firefighters' union said that unvaccinated firefighters from an engine and ladder company in the Bath Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn had arrived for work on Monday and had been sent home.

Malliotakis also said that personnel were being moved around to keep firehouses open. "No matter what shell game the mayor is playing, the reality is these firehouses are short-staffed and not operating at full capacity, and it's putting the public at risk," she said.


It's going to be a mostly cloudy Election Day with temps in the mid-50s and a chance of light showers in the afternoon. In the evening, expect more clouds and temps dropping to the low 40s.



Suspended today (Election Day).

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Maria Baranova

For this play, the place is the thing

"Tammany Hall" is a play about the once-notorious Manhattan Democratic Party organization. It takes place in some of the once-smoke-filled rooms where things happened — where political bosses doled out favors and handpicked candidates. And where, according to the creators of "Tammany Hall," the mayor who put a lot of the roar in the Roaring Twenties was rumored to have had a love nest.

"If we were movie directors and were scouting a location," said Darren Lee Cole, a creator and director of "Tammany Hall," "we'd wind up right fortunately right where we are, in this actual building."

The building, at 15 Vandam Street, was originally the Huron Club, an outpost of the Tammany organization until the 1940s. The last of the Tammany bosses, Carmine De Sapio, got his start there in the days when Tammany operatives handed out ice before refrigerators could do the job, coal before oil and gas were commonplace and judgeships when there were vacancies at the courthouse. Since the 1990s, the building has been home to the SoHo Playhouse, of which Cole is the producing artistic director.

"Tammany Hall" is an immersive production, so the cast leads the audience through the building, with the action unfolding along the way. Cole shares the creator and director credits with Alexander Wright, who has long experience with productions like the long-running London show "The Great Gatsby," staged as if it were a party at Jay Gatsby's mansion. Wright was the adapter and director; he was also the writer and director of an immersive stage production of "The Wolf of Wall Street" in 2019.

For "Tammany Hall," he and Cole made the most of the love nest possibilities. "Into the famous boudoir," Cole said as he led the way into a little suite on the top floor.

"Tammany Hall" presents it as a trysting place for James J. Walker, the dapper, openly on-the-take mayor who was involved with a Jazz Age showgirl named Betty Compton. "It was sort of an open secret, which was interesting for the sensibilities of 1929 that the mayor of New York City, married, would have a very illicit affair with a known Broadway actress," Cole said. (Walker eventually resigned as mayor after a corruption investigation, and he and Compton left for France, where they married in 1933.)

"Tammany Hall" also takes account of Walker's a reputation as a clotheshorse. "He had a tailor situated in this room," Cole said, "and he never went anywhere until he was totally dressed to the nines." Walker sometimes wore four or five suits a day, Cole said, and used the suite as a changing room.

"Tammany Hall" opens tonight, recreating another election night — 1929, when Walker defeated Fiorello LaGuardia. Wright called it "the beginning of the fall of Rome for Tammany Hall," as he looked around the room and smiled.

"I couldn't tell you another building where we could do this in," he said.

What we're reading


Not him

Dear Diary:

It was winter 2005, and my brother and I were driving across town through the Upper West Side with my father.

As we turned the corner at 81st Street and Amsterdam, my father thought he spotted Michael Richards, Kramer on "Seinfeld," walking down the street. My brother and I were kids at the time, but we had grown up watching the show.

Excitedly, my father slowed down, and my brother rolled down the window.

"Hey, are you Kramer?" he yelled.

Moments later, he pulled back into the car with a dejected look on his face.

"Well," we said, "what did he say?"

"No," my brother replied, "he said he's Frasier."

— Doria Leibowitz

Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.

Melissa Guerrero, Jeffrey Furticella, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at nytoday@nytimes.com.

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