The Briefly for Match 9, 2020 – The “Herald Square Smells Like A Toilet For A Reason” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: The latest on COVID-19, the nuanced argument around the NYPD’s possible manipulation of crime data, RIP Marnie the Dog, the hottest lunch spots, and more

Today – Low: 50˚ High: 66˚
Clear throughout the day.

I’m going to be breaking up The Briefly’s coverage of COVID-19 for a while. The coronavirus-related news will be at the bottom of the digest, so if you want to avoid reading about it, you may.

Because 2020 isn’t already weird enough, we are experiencing the earliest spring recorded in the last 124 years. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

Photos: Inside The Nature of Color, a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. (Michelle Young with photos by Mickey Blank for Untapped New York)

This week’s “Ask the MTA” features this amazing statement: “I am a consistent daily rider of the R-W trains at Herald Sq-34th Street. Every single day I smell urine.” They go on to ask what the MTA is doing about it, with an answer from Germaine Jackson, the group station manager that boils down to “we’re trying.” (amNew York Metro)

I have some bad news for the person who wrote that question. Herald Square has smelled like a toilet for years. In 2016, it was discovered that literal raw sewage was leaking onto the subway tracks from a building nearby. There has been nothing online in the remaining four years if it has been fixed. Maybe someone ought to look into this? (Nathan Tempey for Gothamist, 2016)

10 secrets of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

If you’ve got millions upon millions of dollars to spend on real estate, please invest in The Briefly and also know that condo sales have begun in the revamped Waldorf Astoria. (C.J. Hughes for NY Times)

Henry Vidal, a veteran NYPD Manhattan officer, was arrested on Friday morning for allegedly assaulting his fiancée in Harlem. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Janelle Monáe will headline Pride Island 2020. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

Eleven Madison Park on Madison Avenue was voted the second-best restaurant in America. Only Chicago’s Alinea was considered better. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

Mayor de Blasio denies that the NYPD has been manipulating crime stats to justify supporting a rollback of criminal justice reforms, but the truth is way more nuanced. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

Attention nerds! Nitehawk Cinema in Park Slope is hosting free D&D nights on the second Wednesday of each month. (Bill Roundy for Brooklyn Paper)

How the hell did a handgun end up inside the federal Metropolitan Correction Center? Federal investigators searching for the gun also found phones, narcotics, and homemade weapons. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

New York Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams was arrested on Thursday night for allegedly bringing a handgun through LaGuardia Airport. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

A look at Granville and Pierre Pullis, two men who documented the birth of the city’s subways. (Jessica Leigh Hester for Atlas Obscura)

360 Video: From the 102nd flood observatory of the Empire State Building. (Action Kid)

Ram-dom is popular in NYC’s Korean restaurants following the success of Parasite, even if it isn’t technically a Korean dish. (Luke Fortney for Eater)

RIP Marnie the Dog, the adorable fixture at NYC’s indie rock shows after 18 beautiful years. (Bill Pearis for BrooklynVegan)

It’s a 3D replica of Manhattan that took over 1,000 hours to complete, and you can see it in the window of the base of the Empire State Building. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

It’s been 10 years from the start of the Gowanus Canal cleanup, here’s where it stands. (Brooklyn Eagle)

After the news spread of a Woody Allen memoir being published at Hachette Book Group, the same publisher of Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill, employees staged a walkout of their midtown offices. On Friday the company announced “We stand in solidarity with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault,” and it would not publish the Woody Allen book. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

Workers removed 2,000 boxes from 70 Mulberry St, the former home of the Museum of Chinese in America’s archives. The monumental task of saving the archives will take a long time, with the city working since the January fire to get the building to a place where the archives could safely be removed. (Todd Maisel for amNewYork Metro)

Who likes to party? According to the number of 311 complaints, Brooklyn likes to party. It also likes to complain about parties. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

A history of activism in Washington Square Park. (Adam Thalenfeld for NYC Urbanism)

The celebrities who call the Upper West Side home. (Michele Perry for StreetEasy)

Twelve teenagers are now under arrest in connection with the beating and robbery of a 15-year-old girl in Brooklyn last week. All of them are charged with robbery and gang assault. (NY1)

Thai Diner, Babs, and Doma have been added to Eater’s 13 hottest lunch spots in NYC (Eater)


Q&A with a CDC disease detective that is investigating NYC’s coronavirus cases. (Gwynne Hogan for Gothamist)

The mayor is talking tough about how the city’s schools being prepared to take the threat of coronavirus seriously, but school staffs tell a very different story. (Jessica Gould for Gothamist)

Why can’t we just close the city’s schools? Because they double as social service centers for hundreds of thousands of poor students. (Eliza Shapiro for NY Times)

The New York Blood Center’s staff is taking precautions and your blood is still needed. The New York Blood Center is asking organizations not to cancel blood drives. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

The Gap’s Tribeca offices are closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Everyone will be working from home for the meanwhile. (Tribeca Citizen)

Classes are canceled on Monday and Tuesday’s at Columbia University in a pre-emptive move after a someone in the university’s community was quarantined for exposure to the coronavirus. Residence halls are open, but all events and gatherings on campus have been canceled. (Neil Vigdor for NY Times)

If you’ve got a trip booked and you have some kind of insurance, double-check the policy. Most don’t include pandemics. The state hasn’t allowed “cancel for any reason” policies in over a decade, but new guidance is allowing them to be some bi insurance companies and travel agents. The policies are costly and only offer a partial refund, but if you have to book your trip this is likely better than nothing. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

New York is in a state of emergency. Governor Cuomo declared it on Saturday, which gives the state the ability to speed up hiring workers at health facilities and the purchase of supplies. Of the state’s 4,000+ who have been asked to self-quarantine, about 2,300 are in New York City. (Jesse McKinley and Edgar Sandoval for NY Times)

Amtrak’s Acela service between New York and Washington, DC will be suspended beginning Tuesday and through Memorial Day. (Robert Pozarycki for amNewYork Metro)

After days of advocacy from the governor, the FDA expanded COVID-19 testing to Northwell Labs, New York’s first facility to conduct testing. The tests are manual, with the facility only able to process 75-80, automated testing has not been approved yet. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s Sunday mass looked very different this week, with pardoners having to bring their own books, hand sanitizer at the alter and peace offerings from a distance. Cardinal Timothy Dolan wants churches to take precaution, but remain open. (Alyssa Paolicelli for NY1)

If you need a laugh during this time of very serious news all the time, the mayor has asked New Yorkers to avoid “packed” subways. It is very obvious that the mayor does not take the subway with any regularity. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

“For anyone worried about using public transportation, I can assure you that the MTA has taken aggressive and proactive steps to ensure the safety of our 8 million daily customers and our valued employees who keep it running.” (Pat Foye, CEO and Chairman of the MTA for amNewYork Metro)

If it gives you any inner peace, here is a photo of a man sanitizing a city bus. (MTAPhotos on Flickr)

The city will be giving grants to businesses with under five employees up to $6,000 to help them maintain employees in the face of economic hardship. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

Video: Times Square wasn’t in an “I am Legend” scenario over the weekend, but it’s not remotely business as usual . (Patrick Mulligan and Yoonji Han for NY City Lens)

Global pet adoption are at a standstill because of COVID-19. Pets that would be brought from abroad to New York to be adopted aren’t finding the lights or volunteers to make the trips. (Christine Chung for The City)

The Briefly for January 25, 2019 – The “25% Faster Than Slow is Still Pretty Slow” Edition

Weekend subway change, Dunkin owns the city, a beer to pair with the L train, the Gowanus Canal flushes its sewage tanks, the 2021 elections, and more.

Here is a complete list of trains with no service changes or disruptions this weekend: G, L and Q. Everyone else? Better check the trains before you go anywhere. (6sqft)

The mayor wants to increase bus speeds by 25%. The average speed of an MTA bus is 8.4 mph. (Metro)

The Gowanus Canal cleanup is changing designs slightly from a pair of tanks to into a tunnel to catch the sewage flowing from Park Slope. Rather than two 6 million gallon tanks, it’ll be a one half mile long tunnel 150 feet underground that will hold 16 million gallons of Poop Slope. (Curbed)

The MTA board met to vote on a fare hike for March and they… opted to delay the vote. A fare hike seemed all but certain until the Governor announced that he is opposed to the fare hike. (NY Times)

311’s technology was put into place in 2003 and it hasn’t been updated since. That all changes this July. (Gotham Gazette)

A tale of two states. New York is split on the plastic bag ban, government sponsored health care and congestion pricing, but are unified in support of giving the police the authority to remove guns from violent people, legalizing marijuana and raising the age to buy cigarettes and tobacco from 18 to 21. (Legislative Gazette)

People are already entering the 2021 race for city comptroller. Early candidates are City Council Members Brad Lander and Helen Rosenthal. (Gotham Gazette)

This is a new reason for a subway delay. (@NYCTSubways)

Visualizing income taxes in NYC in 2018. (r/dataisbeautiful)

You find $90 on the ground on the subway. What do you do? (NY Times)

Take a look at the new Amtrak space in Moynihan Train Hall/the new Penn Station. (6sqft)

The third victim in the Sheepshead Bay Seaport Buffet hammer attack died. The alleged attacker was inspired by a movie about Chinese men mistreating women. (NY Post)

“Nice charter schools you got here. Shame if something happened to them.” The city’s school chancellor has some vague threats for charter schools. (NY Post)

Finally, the perfect beer to pair with trying to figure out the new L train closures. (Bedford + Bowery)

City Councilmember Ydanis A. Rodriguez is calling on the NYPD to put cases of confiscated electric bikes on hold, calling them biased against working people. (Metro)

The city is mobilizing the new NYPD unit aimed specifically at cars in the bus lane. Moving violations are up 612%. (Curbed)

The number of chain stores in Manhattan decreased in 2018, but one neighborhood bused that trend in a major way: The Lower East Side. Also a quick bit of trivia: Dunkin Donuts has the distinction of being the chain with the most locations in the city with 624. (Bowery Boogie)

Noticed the Shen Huen posters everywhere? So has Reddit. (r/NYC)

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