The Briefly for December 20, 2019 – The “Do You Know About the Secret Pet Tree?” Weekend Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: The Inwood rezoning is killed in court, New York state’s $6 billion deficit, the city moves to kill its relationship with the Trump Organization, and more

Today – Low: 23˚ High: 33˚
Clear throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 27˚ High: 42˚

This weekend’s subway disruptions hit the 1, 3, 6, A, E, F, and Q trains. (Subway Weekender)

The story of the two menorahs claiming to be the world’s largest and why there can’t ever be a bigger menorah. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

13 places to find festive holiday decorations in the city. Do you know where to find the secret pet tree in Central Park? (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

Landlords are blaming the new rent laws on why they’re cutting back on apartment renovations. Or maybe it’s because landlords are always cutting back on apartment renovations? (The Real Deal)

The fourth annual Kwanzaa crawl is happening on the 26th with stops in Harlem and Brooklyn to celebrate the city’s black-owned restaurants and bars. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

Will less garbage cans in Prospect Park lead to people carrying their garbage out of the park? The Prospect Park Alliance will be trying a “carry-in, carry-out” policy modeled after the National Parks Service policy. (Colin Mixson for Brooklyn Paper)

The MTA tried a similar program for five years where garbage cans were removed form stations and riders were encouraged to carry their garbage out with them. It ended because the amount of track fires caused by trash doubled after the program was implemented. (Vincent Barone for amNewYork)

The MTA unveiled 68 subway stations that will be getting elevator upgrades as part of their 2020-2024 capital plan. Among the 68 are Broadway Junction, Woodhaven Boulevard, and Van Cortlandt Park-242 St. (Vincent Barone for amNewYork)

There are over 100 subway stations across the city where one or more entrance is “temporarily” closed, some since the 70s or 80s. Maybe it’s time to reopen some of these entrances? (Canaan Geberer for Brooklyn Eagle)

After a nine month renovation, the Astoria Boulevard stop on the N/W line reopened on Wednesday, but construction will continue as workers instal elevators, staircases, walkways, and more. (NY1)

Turns out Christmas is predicted to be warmer than average this year and more importantly, no snow. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

We will all wake up on January 1, 2020 sharing the state’s fresh $6 billion deficit. (Ross Barkan for Gothamist)

14 historic sites of the abolitionist movement in Greenwich Village. (Andrew Berman for 6sqft)

Video: Meet Hannah Gavios, who completed the 2019 New York City Marathon on a pair of crutches. (Great Big Story)

Governors Ball wants to move to Van Cortlandt Park the Bronx. (Ese Olumhense for The City)

Where to eat with a really big group. (Bryan Kim for The Infatuation)

Queens man impeached. (Victoria Merlino for Queens Eagle)

RIP Felix Rohatyn, “Felix the Fixer,” the man who saved NYC from financial collapse in 1975. (Bruce Nelan for Washington Post)

For a brief period of time on Thursday you could come across impeachment-themed postcards in the Trump Tower gift shop thanks to comedians Davram Steifler and Jason Selvig. They’ve done it in the past too, with Russian flags, Putin postcards, and KKK hoods. (Lee Moran for HuffPost)

For the second year in a row we are ending the year with less chain stores in the city than we started. The city overall is down 304 chains. (Kevin Sun for The Real Deal)

Terra cotta building facades have a history of disrepair and danger, from the death of Grace Gold in 1979 to this week’s death of Erica Tishman. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

Governor Cuomo’s Mother Cabrini statue has found a home in Battery Park City’s South Cove. The patron saint of immigrants will be across the harbor from the Statue of Liberty. (John Alexander for The Brooklyn Home Reporter)

Meet Athena Soules: The artist and co-founder of NYC Light Brigade, whose signs are shaping the image of New York’s resistance movement. (Paul Frangipane for Brooklyn Eagle)

The City Council appears to be ready to flush the Trump Organization, targeting city contracts with the Trump Organization at the skating rinks in Central Park and the Trump Golf Links in the Bronx. Both locations are underperforming and losing funds for city parks. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork)

The Heartland Brewery is on its last legs. Down to three locations, one in the Empire State Building and two in Times Square, the Empire State Building location is set to close next month with rumors of the last two locations closing following suit in 2020. (Erika Adams for Grub Street)

We better start getting used to seeing humpback whales in city waters, because they’re hanging out even in winter. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

One day people will look back at the 2019 trend of erecting plastic “igloos” outside in winter and laugh. We’re not there yet. (Adam Goldman for Time Out)

It’s in violation of the city’s paid sick law to require employees to find replacements when calling out sick, but that didn’t stop Starbucks from doing that for years. A settlement with the city is forcing Starbucks to pay $150,000 in restitution. (Kate Offenhartz for Gothamist)

How Jona Rechnitz, “a liar and a felon,” became a star witness after being arrested on corruption charges. (Jan Ramson for NY Times)

The Department of Transportation is hiring seven “apprentice highway and sewer inspectors” to inspect bike lanes and review road work done by contractors. Bike team, assemble! (Eve Kessler for Streetsblog)

A look back at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2019, a year spent trying to convince everyone they were wrong when they said no one wanted him to run for president and eventually he learned the truth and kept pushing until he had no money left and came home. (Gloria Pazmino for NY1)

The City Council and the mayor blew their own self-imposed deadline of the end of the year to reform the city’s property tax system. That’s politician-speak for “broken promise.” (Janaki Chadha for Politico)

Speaking of blown self-imposed deadlines, it looks like the NYPD won’t actually be encrypting their radios in 2020. (Todd Maisel for amNewYork)

A judge nullified Inwoods rezoning, finding that the de Blasio administration “failed to take a hard look” at how the land use changes will impact the neighborhood. (Caroline Spivack for Curbed)

Only two out of 28 yeshivas investigated by the city’s Department of Education were deemed to be providing an education “substantially equivalent“ to that given at secular public schools, according to the city’s report on the long-delayed investigation into failing yeshivas. (Madina Touré for Politico)

A straightforward guide to holiday tipping. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The best new restaurants of 2019. (The Infatuation)