New York

Here's How You Can Donate Blood in New York

The State of New York is facing a blood emergency. Here's how to help.

Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Donating blood is easier than you think. It can take you only one hour to save three lives.

The State of New York is currently facing a blood emergency, the New York Blood Center recently announced. Due to the recent spike in travel-both because of spring break and regular holidays-NYBC welcomed 6,000 fewer blood donors compared to earlier this year, AMNY reports.

According to NYBC, all blood types are low in storage.

“This time of the year always tends to be difficult for the blood supply, with school spring breaks and increased travel making blood donations less of a priority. These factors are now coinciding with increasing COVID cases and a potential fifth wave of the pandemic,” Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Executive Director at New York Blood Center said according to AMNY. “One blood donation has the ability to save up to three lives. We highly encourage all who are able to donate today to help New Yorkers who need it most.”

If you want to learn more about donating blood in NYC, here’s our guide-based off of NYBC’s rules-to help you navigate the subject more easily.

Who can donate blood in New York?

There aren’t many eligibility restrictions to become a blood donor. However, the few rules that apply are very important and should be followed carefully.

According to the NYBC, you can donate blood if you are at least 17 years old (or even 16 with a written consent from a parent or legal guardian, the template of which you can download here). In addition, you also have to weigh at least 110 pounds, and you need to be in good health. It’s important to note that donors between the ages of 16 and 18 are subject to additional height and weight restrictions.

Donors who are 76 or older can continue donating blood as long as they meet the eligibility criteria, and they must submit a physician’s letter allowing them to donate once they reach their 76th birthday. If they don’t present the physician’s letter, an NYBC medical director will assess their health and eligibility at each donation.

Some preexisting medical conditions or medications might preclude you from donating blood, and they divide in permanent and temporary. Permanent conditions that don’t allow you to ever donate blood include: ever testing positive for HIV, ever having had hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or hemophilia, and having had certain types of cancer. Most medications fall under the temporary category, which also includes getting a tattoo. Per the NYBC guidelines, if you received a tattoo in New York State, you must defer from donating blood for three months.

In addition, men who have sex with other men, even if they use protection or are in monogamous relationships, cannot donate blood until three months after their last sexual encounter. This will preclude many gay and bisexual men from donating blood at all, although each person’s individual circumstances can differ.

For a list of all conditions, you can visit this page.

What is the donation process like?

The donation process is fairly straightforward, and it doesn’t require many precautions.

On the day before your donation, you should try and hydrate your body by drinking a good amount of water, which will help with the fluid loss of the next day. The night before your donation appointment, you can eat salty snacks for a better donation experience, and you should get a good night’s sleep. When you wake up in the morning, a good and balanced breakfast is advised, as well as hydrating right before your appointment. Once you’re done donating, you can take a multivitamin with iron to help with the iron loss your body just endured.

When you show up to your NYBC appointment, you’ll be asked to fill a form with your contact information, and you’ll need to answer some questions about your medical history, medication usage, and recent travel.

Next, a technician will check your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, and will take a drop of blood from your finger to analyze the hematocrit level. If you’re cleared to donate, you’ll be directed towards one of the center’s bed, and a specially trained technician will draw your blood or any other component you’re registered to donate.

The donation process only takes 10–12 minutes, and, in a standard donation, you’ll be able to donate less than 1 pint of whole blood. If you think that the average adult has 8–12 pints of blood in their body, that’s not much-and one pint gets replaced by your body fairly quickly.

Once you’re done, you can give yourself a nice pat on the shoulder and relax. The refreshment area at the NYBC will have snacks and beverages for you to enjoy. Usually, NYBC recommends donors to wait around for 10–15 minutes before leaving, and it advises against lifting, pushing heavy objects, or engaging in strenuous exercise for 4 to 5 hours after donating.

How often can I donate blood and other types of cells?

According to the NYBC guidelines, you can donate whole blood every 56 days, or up to six times a year.

To donate automated red cells (Alyx) you need to meet specific minimum height and weight requirements. If you meet them, you can donate the cells every 112 days, or three times a year.

Platelets donors can show up to their platelets donation appointment up to 24 times a year, while those wishing to donate plasma can do so every 28 days.

For a complete list of guidelines about the frequency and type of donation, you can visit this page.

Where do I sign up to donate?

If you want to make an appointment at a blood drive, you can call 1-800-933-2566 or you can visit the NYBC website.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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