Wednesday, 1/26: FREE Masks and Test Kits Available at Gale Brewer’s Office Starting at 5PM

District 6 City Council Office. Photograph by Jeff French Segall.

By Jeff French Segall

On Wednesday, January 26th, at 5 p.m. until supplies run out, City Council Member Gale Brewer’s team will be giving away FREE at-home COVID testing kits and KN95 masks in front of her District 6 office at 563 Columbus Avenue, between 87th and 88th Streets.

Each mask package contains 5 masks. (Limit one mask package per person.) Each FlowFlex test kit contains one test. (Limit two test kits per person.) For further information, contact the office at 212.873.0282 or

WSR reached out by text to CM Brewer for the details of the giveaway, and to find out how it feels to be back in the district in the face of such distress and so many challenges. One thing she’s doing is preparing the office to provide constituent services.

I love being in the 563 Columbus Ave District Office! We have painted the walls and are cleaning and upgrading the floors, all with professionals from the neighborhood. So many people sent or brought flowers and plants as a welcome back, and friends bang on the window or wave as they walk by! I am very appreciative. West Siders and others have found us, and we try to answer all calls and emails.

The killings of Officer Rivera and Officer Mora have shocked and saddened us all. I was at Harlem Hospital with Mayor Adams and others just after the horrible murders, and I saw officers from our precincts. They need our support. We are living in tough times regarding public safety, affordable housing, job security, schools, small business, and other issues. I look forward to working on these challenges with a community and people I adore and respect.


NEWS, OUTDOORS | 8 comments | permalink
    1. Disappointed neighborhood says:

      What mask and covid tests?? They were unprepared. They completely finished giving away masks within 3 minutes after 5pm. People went in the cold to get masks because front line workers are not able to get the masks they need. There are so many people that refuse to wear a mask and cough in our faces. But when we try getting mask to protect ourselves they completely run out of masks within 3 minutes. This was very disappointing. Never have I seen anything like this before. This felt like a publicity stunt to get a few pictures and say screw you to all the people that went out in the freezing cold. Very disappointed.

    2. Neighborhood says:

      LIES!!! This was a publicity stunk. They finished giving masks 2 minutes after 5pm.

    3. Botwain says:

      Arrived at 5:45 today 01.26.2021. Office doors were locked. No masks, test kits, or even a sign on the door explaining that they ran out, only 45 minutes after the event began. Did anyone here obtain these items? Was there an event or did I just arrive too late?

      • Lisa V says:

        What a disaster. My friend who relies on a walker to get around got there at 5.04 – nothing. She should apologize and explain.

      • Caylie says:

        Yup. I walked one mile roundtrip in frigid temps to get masks for my elderly parents who are both in their 90s. Arrived at 5:15pm to be told that they had already run out of the 1000 masks and 300 testing kits. They told us that they began giving out masks before 5pm and, since the line was already around the block, many people in line did not get anything. My guess is that they likely held aside masks and kits for friends/family and then gave out any remainders. Very disappointing to arrive 15 minutes past the announced distribution time on a cold night to be told 1000 masks had already been distributed.

      • Neighborhood Observer says:

        Many people arrived early, expecting to wait until 5 for the distribution to begin. At about a quarter to five, Gale and her two assistants, realizing the temperature was 27 degrees, felt badly for the shivering masses standing outside, so they opened the doors and began handing out the materials. The line was long, stretching around the 88th street corner. Several hundred people were there, and in twenty minutes time, all those who had arrived early went home with their test kits and masks. Gale was so apologetic and upset that she had run out and promised that for the give-away next month, she would request far more supplies than the city had supplied her with. Even the ones who had waited in vain saw how upset she was and thanked her for her efforts. If she’s guilty of anything, it was for being too compassionate. The outpouring was simply beyond her or her staff’s expectations.

        • Caylie says:

          I sincerely appreciate the details in your post, Neighborhood Observer. I must have arrived shortly thereafter. One of Gale’s assistants jotted down our email addresses with a plan to notify us once additional masks arrived. While I don’t expect them to notify us by email, I didn’t realize we’d have to wait one month. Thanks again for the details. I wish the masks were available individually instead of 5 in a packet as there would have been 5000 masks received.

          • Huh says:

            These are meant to be disposable masks but even if you reuse them, you only get a few extra days. Giving out one at a time is not realistic.
            There will never be enough of these items at a free giveaway. It’s a shame that we’re in this situation, but it’s not realistic or fair to complain about someone giving out masks but not having enough for everyone. Was she supposed to magically get 100,00 masks and tests?
            For those complaining that they started the giveaway early and ran out early: the people who got them were already waiting and still would have gotten them while you didn’t. That would have happened if they started at 4:55 or 5:05, too. What was the point of waiting even longer in the cold? Seems like most of the people in line were seniors so it was the kinder thing to do.