Hotel offering rapid COVID-19 tests to customers hosts packed rooftop parties
Ravel Hotel in Long Island City is in hot water after facilitating a number of raucous weekend parties at its rooftop pool lounge, Gothamist reports. People flocked to the rooftop after it opened on June 25, in part because it was advertising rapid COVID-19 tests for all customers before entry. Once inside, the social distancing measures appeared to be extremely relaxed — many customers were filmed not wearing masks and standing in crowded quarters around the pool lounge.
The rapid testing was billed by the hotel as creating a “safe haven” for partygoers, but Gothamist reports that the process, called the Abbott tests, has been called into question by the FDA and other experts in the field for its rates of inaccuracy in detecting the virus. The medical partner that the hotel works with to administer the tests has also come under fire for overcharging lab fees for COVID-19 testing in the past. Ravel’s tests cost customers $35 with insurance and $50 without insurance, and some people had to wait as much as an hour and a half for their results before being able to enter the lounge.
The hotel’s co-owner, Seth Levine, told Gothamist that Ravel has “never guaranteed that what we’re doing is a 100% effective thing.”
An official from the mayor’s office told the publication that the city is following up with the hotel owners to ensure that they are in compliance with social distancing guidelines, and the city’s Office of Nightlife confirmed that they also fielded complaints from Ravel and are in touch with the operators about the situation.
In other news
— Crowd-favorite Greenpoint pizzeria Paulie Gee’s is offering takeout for the first time in six years.
— A new Bronx nonprofit group raised $50,000 to lend financial support to looted shops along Fordham Road, but owners say they have yet to receive any of the cash.
— Grocer Trader Joe’s is opening up a new location in Long Island City in early 2021.
— Chef JJ Johnson’s acclaimed fast-casual rice bowl shop Fieldtrip is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Saturday with the introduction of a new bowl of jerk lamb meatballs with calico rice salad, according to a restaurant spokesperson. The restaurant will also be handing out free ice cream from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. today.
— A sprawling outdoor plaza is launching on Arthur Avenue starting this weekend, stretching from East 188th Street to Crescent Avenue. 25 restaurants from Bronx’s Little Italy neighborhood are participating in the outdoor dining plaza, including Emilia’s Restaurant, Enzo’s of Arthur Avenue, and Mario’s Restaurant.
— Thai restaurant Bangkok B.A.R. is launching an eight-course outdoor dining menu this month for $69 to be served in one of the courtyards at Industry City, a sprawling food hall and retail center in Sunset Park. The menu includes dishes like Yum Pla Dok Foo, crispy fish wafers paired with mango salad, and Pla Muk Yang, grilled squid with a seafood sauce. The dinners are offered on Thursday and Friday nights throughout July.
— An existential crisis: