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Man spent entire pandemic alone in five-star NYC hotel

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Man spent entire pandemic alone in five-star NYC hotel

Isolated in the lap of luxury, he watched the skyline go dark.

When New York City went into its COVID-19-induced lockdown in March 2020, the fire department announced properties were required to keep one person on-site in case of trouble. For Midtown’s five-star Chatwal hotel, that person became Robert Mallia, Crain’s reported.

Mallia was not the 76-room-hotel owner’s first choice, but when multiple other people passed on the gig out of fear or to prioritize their family, Mallia — a 36-year-old childless bachelor — volunteered.

“Having the chance to live in a building that you worked on is cool,” said Mallia, an architectural designer for the Dream Hotel Group, which owns a portfolio of Manhattan hotels including the Chatwal. “My apartment is quite modest compared to a five-star luxury hotel.”

In the 14 months he’s been living in Room 307, the space has at least become familiar.

“When weeks became months, I got used to my room, like in ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ ” he said. “I’m content in my cell now.”

Initially, though, it was quite the adjustment from his Long Island City apartment, which he still makes frequent visits to.

“At first, it was strange,” he said. “It was perfectly silent.”

With all 59 members of the hotel’s staff gone, Mallia has been responsible for cleaning up after himself. For food, he has mostly relied on takeout. 

“It’s nothing too glamorous, I’m afraid,” he said.

His daily schedule involves waking up at 5:30 a.m. and doing a variety of housekeeping: sorting mail, looking for leaks and other maintenance problems. Once a week, he flushes every toilet in the building; twice a month, he turns on all the showers and sinks for 10 minutes.

His only companions are a rotation of security guards and the building’s chief engineer, who makes weekly visits to confirm fire code compliance.

The owner’s other hotels have begun reopening this month, and the Chatwal will likely follow suit soon — good news for Mallia.

“I miss being at home,” he said. 

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COVID-19 contributes the biggest decline in US life expectancy in decades

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In this Tuesday, April 7, 2020 file photo, gravedigger Thomas Cortez watches as a refrigerated trailer is delivered to keep pace with a surge of bodies arriving for burials, mostly those who died from coronavirus, at the Hebrew Free Burial Association's cemetery in the Staten Island borough of New York.

The life expectancy in the US fell by about two years from 2018 to 2020, a decline blamed on the COVID-19 outbreak and the ripple effect the virus had on daily life.

Steven Woolf, who is from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and an author of the study, said a similar decline has not been seen since WWII, according to NPR.

“It’s a horrific decrease in life expectancy,” he said. 

The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, said the US had a much larger decrease in life expectancy in the timeframe than other high-income nations, “with pronounced losses among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations.”

Woolf pointed to several factors that contributed to the death that included “disruptions in health care, disruptions in chronic disease management and behavioral health crisis, where people struggling with addiction disorders or depression might not have gotten that help they needed.”

The average life expectancy in the US back in 2018 was about 79 and by the end of 2020 was about 77. 

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Crisis PR pro snags Trump Tower condo in all-cash deal

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Crisis PR pro snags Trump Tower condo in all-cash deal

Crisis publicist/reputation management pro Josh Nass paid $1.8 million for a Trump Tower pad in all cash deal — far less than the $2.3 million that the seller, Dalimar Assets Inc., paid for it in 2006.

The sale was first reported by OK Magazine and Nass did not use a broker. 

Nass’s new unit at 721 Fifth Ave. was once on the market for $4.3 million back in 2014. Its last asking price had been brutally slashed to $2 million.

The two-bedroom, 2½-bath unit is 1,477 square feet and it is directly below a unit that Melania Trump bought from the Trump Organization.

Nass already had ties to the building before he bought in it, as he once arranged a meeting for Russia’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, and Jason Greenblatt, who became President Trump’s Middle Eastern envoy.

The main bedroom comes with a large walk-in closet and a marble ensuite bathroom. There’s also a small chef’s kitchen, built-in sound, limestone floors and Fifth Avenue views.

Trump Tower prices were down during Trump’s presidency. In 2019, Vincent Gallo bought a unit for $1.47 million that had been asking $3.4 million in 2017. But now that the barricades are down, prices appear to be on their way up.

The purchase, Nass tells Gimme, is “not a bet on Trump.” Instead, he says, “It’s a bet on New York City’s comeback and Fifth Avenue and 56th Street being the center of the city and the world.”

The listing brokers are Leonel Piraino and Rafael Salas of Brown Harris Stevens. 

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Interstellar object was aliens’ spy ship

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Interstellar object was aliens' spy ship

Earthlings may not be the only beings gathering intel on other planets.

Harvard University astronomer Avi Loeb suggested that recent intelligence reports of unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP) maybe provide evidence to alien ships sent to spy on our homeworld.

There is “fresh scientific evidence that we are not the only intelligent species in the cosmos,” theorized Loeb in his op-ed published in the journal Scientific American.

The astronomer, who is known for floating far-fetched theoretical hypotheses, posited that an extraterrestrial civilization had implanted the Earth with sensors collecting info on areas of our galaxy hospitable to life, Futurism reported. He deduced that “Oumuamua” — our solar system’s first-ever interstellar object discovered in 2017 — was a reconnaissance craft dispatched to decipher the data.

The evidence for this is allegedly supported by the recent NASA investigations into clips of supposed UAPs, the most startling of which depicted Navy aircraft encountering objects flying at speeds and in directions not possible for human-made flight.

Linking the so-called “UFO” sightings to a fragment from a far-off planet might seem like a conspiracy theory. However, the astronomer surmised that the state-sponsored UFO investigations wouldn’t be made public if the objects posed security threats like spyware dispatched by China or Russia. As such, the sightings are either natural phenomena or extraterrestrial spacecraft, per the study.

He thought that Oumuamua, in particular, sported spacecraft-evoking characteristics, most notably a large flat shape capable of picking up the signals transmitted by the scout sensors. Not to mention that the implied abundance of Oumuamua-like entities is unreasonably large for an object of alleged natural origin, per the report.

However, Loeb thinks astronomers need to gather more data before we can confidently say that aliens are spying on us.

This celestial research “can be done by deploying state-of-the-art cameras on wide-field telescopes that monitor the sky,” wrote the astronomer. “The sky is not classified; only government-owned sensors are.”

He added, “By searching for unusual phenomena in the same geographical locations from where the UAP reports came, scientists could clear up the mystery in a transparent analysis of open data.”

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