MIDTOWN, Manhattan — As vaccination rates continue to drop, New York City is making new efforts to get more people to get COVID-19 shots.
However, some incentives may not work as well as intended, and could even cause confusion for some of the people the city intends to help.
A case in point was visible at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. That’s where the city’s latest program to increase vaccination numbers was housed, as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at his daily briefing.
He was joined remotely by New York Knicks veteran standout Allan Houston, who now works in the front office of the storied franchise.
“We’ll be entering anyone and everyone into a raffle who gets vaccinated, [for] tickets to Wednesday night’s playoff game,” Houston said.
The prize, worth more than $200 in the resale market, was available on Tuesday at a specific Knicks-affiliated location, which the mayor announced.
“A vaccination site right in front of MSG,” he proclaimed.
The problem was, however, that there was no site in front of The World’s Most Famous Arena on Tuesday.
As a result, some fans ended up at a different vaccination site. In the MSG/Penn Station complex, there are two — one run by the City of New York, the other, run by the state health department.
The latter site is located in Penn Station, below street level.
There, PIX11 News encountered some Knicks fans who’d thought they were in line to be entered into the Knicks playoffs tickets raffle. They were not. The state vaccination site gives out free 7-day MetroCards, or two LIRR tickets to everyone who gets a shot.
It’s a guaranteed incentive, rather than a chance at one, like the Knicks playoff ticket drawing.
Finding the vaccination site where it was offered was a challenge. Police officers who were asked for directions by PIX11 News didn’t know where it was.
After some searching, it became apparent that the vaccination site, which was open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., is inside the MSG complex, far from the street. It’s at the Pennsy Food Hall, and will also be open this Thursday, as well as next Tuesday and Thursday, June 1 and 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.