The Briefly for February 19, 2020 – The “Rat, Roach, and Mouse Census of 2020” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: The East Village’s most resilient dive bar, Manhattan rents are the highest in the country, the best Italian restaurants in the West Village, and more

Today – Low: 29˚ High: 46˚
Clear throughout the day.

Another reminder to start bringing your tote bags around, because the plastic bag ban is coming. (Alyssa Paolicelli for NY1)

The story of The Hard Swallow, the East Village’s most resilient dive bar and its owners Sasha and Lee Lloyd. (Drew Schwartz for Vice)

A coalition of North Brooklyn residents and environmental groups are fighting to stop National Grid’s plan to extend a natural gas pipeline through Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

A census of rats, roaches, mice, and vermin. After a special “rat academy,” the NYCHA is ready to count its pests. (Greg B. Smith for The City)

The NYPL has released a list of its favorite 125 books of all time. They aren’t ranked, so you don’t get to brag that your favorite Harry Potter book is #1. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Luna Park and its Italian owner company Zamperla have been trying to kick Lola Star Souvenir Boutique off the boardwalk for a decade and they finally got what they wanted after raising the rent on the gift shop 500% and “negotiating” down to 400%. Zamperla doesn’t care about Coney Island the neighborhood, they only care about owning Coney Island and this is proof. (Rose Adams)

High Fidelity’s filming locations, listed. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

Do you operate an historic boat? Brooklyn Bridge Park would like to know if you want to show it off. (Davin Gannon for 6sqft)

Trader Joe’s is looking to expand on the Upper East Side in the former location of the Food Emporium under the Queensboro Bridge. (6sqft)

14 cozy bars to stay warm at all winter. (Lidia Ryan)

Congratulations to Manhattan for having the highest rents in the entire country for the month of January at $4,210. The national average is $1,463. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

Apartment Porn: Inside the newly listed $8 million and $18 million apartments of the landmarked Steinway Building. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

President Trump pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who was imprisoned from 2010 to 2013 on tax fraud and corruption charges. He accepted a quarter million dollars from a company tied to organized crime to renovate his apartment and lied to the Department of Homeland Security. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The MTA is boasting the best on-time performance since 2013 for January. Hidden in this article is the fun fact that congestion pricing will require federal approval, so that’s another fight we can all look forward to. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

What’s it take to be a “real” New Yorker? (Jessica Leibowitz and Jen Carlson for Gothamist)

FedEx and UPS receive over a thousand parking violations a day, but they’ll never pay the full price of the tickets they receive because they pay in bulk and at a steep discount, thanks to the Stipulated Fines and Commercial Abatement program. Offering an immediate discount on parking fines allows delivery companies to flout parking laws or clog the city’s street by parking illegally. The city’s attempted to update its double parking laws for trucks, but if these companies won’t pay for their violations what does it matter? City Councilmember Costa Consantinides put forward a bill to abolish the abatement program, but it’s stalled in committee. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

This is the headline: “Sexy Time for Tompkins Square Hawks” (Laura Goggin)

The New York City Planning Commission is looking into developing a 2.4 million-square-foot urban living complex close to the East New York, Brooklyn waterfront that includes 13 new buildings ranging in height from 2 stories to 17. (Gowanus Lounge)

The best Italian restaurants in the West Village. (Bryan Kim & Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

The Briefly for February 16, 2020 – The “Peanut Butter Bandit Needs to Be Caught” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Bernie Sanders gets the Bill de Blasio kiss of death, the cutest thing in the city, a 500% rent increase in Coney Island, the Amazon killer, and more

Today – Low: 36˚ High: 48˚
Clear throughout the day.

What’s open and what’s closed on President’s Day. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The Bernie Sanders campaign received the presidential kiss of death over the weekend: Bill de Blasio’s endorsement. De Blasio was, no doubt, looking for any excuse to leave NYC and jumped at the opportunity. (Gloria Pazmino for NY1)

The subway is ubiquitious in the city, but at some point it needed to be built. The latest photo exhibition at the New York Transit Museum shows how the subway was built. (Noah Sheidlower for Untapped New York)

Apartment Porn: For only $45 million, you can live like a Russian oligarch in the Plaza. The apartment used to be two separate apartments that were combined into one insane apartment covered in onyx and crystal. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

Someone needs to stop the Peanut Butter Bandit. The worst person in the city hit the A train once more with the gooey atrocity on the poles of the train early Friday morning. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

He helped kill the Amazon HQ2 deal, and now he’s set his sights on making sure nothing like the Amazon deal ever happens again. Michael Gianaris wants to reform how the city gives tax breaks to giant companies. (Erin Hudson for The Real Deal)

It’s like a normal store, but it only sells flutes. (Noah Sheidlower for Untapped New York)

JFK’s Terminal 4 will be getting a $3.8 billion makeover. (Erin Hudson for The Real Deal)

It’s 3:30 am on a Wednesday and you desperately want pierogis, where will you go? Behind the scenes at Veselka, the Ukrainian restaurant that’s been part of the East Village since the 50s. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

Despite early reporting, Governor Cuomo and President Trump’s meeting about the ban on New Yorkers from the Truster Traveler Program and giving the government access to New York’s DMV records was “productive,” but no solution was reached. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

Caroline Baumann didn’t resign as director of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum out of nowhere, she was forced out after an investigation into her wedding found she violated policy when it came to acquiring her dress and venue. The Smithsonian isn’t run by the government, but is partially funded by the government and has a similar conflict of interest policy. (Robin Pogrebin for NY Times)

The ax is finally falling, all Barney’s stores will close at the end of the month. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Only three restaurants in the city were closed last week by the Department of Health, but one of them is the city’s newest member of the 100+ point violation club. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

The NYC condoms have a new wrapper, but here’s something that’s a little confusing: The name of the wrapper design is the “NYC Legend XL.” While it sounds like this is the magnum of free condoms, there’s no indication if this is for your average or not-so-average New Yorker (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The man shot in the face by an ICE agent last week plans to sue the agency and is calling for an investigation of the incident. (Rose Adams for Brooklyn Paper)

Should the subway be free? According to City Councilmember Mark Treyger, the answer is yes. (Adam Thalenfeld for NYC Urbanism)

Black Lives Matter President Anthony Beckford is the latest to stand up in support City Councimember Mark Treyger’s call to make transit free to use. (Alex Williamson for Brooklyn Eagle)

He’s not alone. Meet the state’s assemblymember hopefuls who agree the fairest fare is no fare at all. (Dave Colon for Streetsblog)

Meet Pancakes, the Staten Island Zoo’s brand newborn sloth, the cutest thing in the city. (Matt Coneybeare for Viewing NYC)

The NYPD reportedly issued a subpoena to Twitter requesting access to the account of NY Post police bureau chief Tina Moore, citing the Patriot Act as their justification to try to find leaks within the department. The effort was lead by new police commissioner Dermot Shea. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

It’s like a grocery store, but it’s an art installation where everything is made from plastic bags. The Plastic Bag Store, from Robin Frohardt, will be viewable in Times Square on March 1, coinciding with the state’s plastic bag ban. (Howard Halle for Time Out)

A 14-year-old boy suspected of fatally stabbing a Tessa Majors to death in a Morningside Park robbery last December has been indicted on murder charges. (Robert Pozarycki for amNewYork Metro)

Rent increases are a part of life in the city, but a 500% rent increase is reprehensible. The Lola Star Gift Shop on the boardwalk in Coney Island faces a 500% increase in her rent from Luna Park and the company’s owner’s Zamperla. (Alyssa Paolicelli for NY1)

22 trendy restaurants you can still get into. (Hannah Albertine, Bryan Kim, Katherine Lewin, & Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader MG Ashdown for today’s featured photo!

The Briefly for Valentine’s Day, 2020 – The “Your Plant Stylist Appointment is Coming Up” Weekend Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: 12 places to smooch your Valentine, Bloomberg tries to distract from his record with memes, the 27 top burgers, Trump vs NY rolls on, and more

Today – Low: 18˚ High: 34˚
Clear throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 30˚ High: 47˚

12 places to smooch on Valentine’s Day. (Lore Croghan for Brooklyn Eagle)

There have been no cases of coronavirus in New York City and despite this, the city’s Chinatowns are suffering. (Marina Fang for Huff Post)

A look forward on this frigid morning to the spring’s street festivals on the Upper West Side. (Mike Mishkin for I Love the Upper West Side)

For $2,000 someone will come to your home and style your plants. Welcome to the world of plant stylists. (Steven Kurutz for NY Times)

About half the adult population of the city, roughly 3.4 million people, spent one of the last few years living below the poverty line, according to a new report from the Robin Hood Foundation and Columbia University. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Ready for a cocktail crawl? Here’s how to get it done on Atlantic Avenue. (Meredith Craig de Pietro for Brooklyn Based)

Michael Bloomberg’s forceful push into meme culture is being lead by Mick Purzycki, who is the CEO of Jerry Media, famous for stealing content without crediting the original creators. Can the people who brought you the marketing for the Fyre Festival distract us enough from the negative headlines and quotes from Bloomberg’s past? (Ashley Reese for Jezebel)

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Unlike the F train, I'll be there for you

The mayor signed a bill this week that will extend government-funded health care to families of all municipal workers, not just firefighters and police, who died in the line of duty or from 9/11 related diseases. (Todd Maisel for amNewYork Metro)

The annual tradition continues: Phil Collins Day is on Saturday. (Kate Hooker for Brooklyn Based)

The moment the state announced the end of brokers’ fees, rents jumped up about 6% across the board. Now that the fees are gone, it’s unlikely we’ll see a 6% drop back down. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

City Comptroller Scott String is calling for a Bill of Rights for NYC tenants to protect them from unscrupulous landlords. He has a proposal as well, including limiting security deposits to one month of rent, providing itemized statements of damage, a five-day gras period for late rent, requiring a court order for evictions, and much more. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

GZA played ‘Liquid Swords’ at the Blue Note Jazz Club in honor of the album’s 25th anniversary. (BrooklynVegan)

The top five potato dishes in the city, according to Robert Sietsema. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

The governor is making a new push for legalizing compensated gestational surrogacy with a campaign called “Love Makes A Family.” New York is one of three states that hasn’t legalized the practice. (Matt Tracy for Gay City News)

Real Estate Porn: Don Lemon is selling his Harlem condo. You can live like Don Lemon for only $1.75 million. The condo looks like a great place to get drunk on New Year’s Eve and make mistakes. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

The story of a meander and 14 photos of central Park Slope. (Lore Croghan for Brooklyn Eagle)

48 pictures of the beautiful Bronx. (Ed García Conde for Welcome2TheBronx)

Manhattan, we have to have a serious conversation. We know you’re not going to Brooklyn on the weekends, even if you need groceries and Brooklyn has the only Wegmans in the city. You want to veg out, binge the new season of Narcos and order some Seamless. That’s cool, because now Wegmans delivers to Manhattan. (Nikita Richardson for Grub Street)

In a literal quid pro quo, the president said if New York stops suing the president, the president will restore New Yorkers’ access to Trusted Traveler Programs programs. This ban happened the day he was acquitted after being impeached. Letitia James has filed 35 lawsuits against the federal government since January 2019. (Xeni Jardin for BoingBoing)

A look into the illegal, but welcome, underground of street car washers. (Sandra E. Garcia and Stephen Speranza for NY Times)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza came to a tentative agreement on a contract that gives increased pay and paid parental leave to principals and assistant principals. (Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech for amNewYork Metro)

Got furniture you want to get rid of but it’s too nice for the curb (note: nothing is too nice for @stoopingnyc)? Here’s where to sell used, vintage, and antique furniture in the city. (Zachary Solomon for StreetEasy)

Bronx City Council Member Vanessa Gibson is going to pay $5,000 for abusing her position on City Council to get out of paying a $50 ticket for driving while using her phone. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

A developer in Crown Heights was ordered to remove all construction equipment from the potential site of two 16-story towers after they were discovered violating a temporary restraining order. Activists have targeted the buildings as part of an anti-gentrification campaign lead by Movement to Protect the People. The group claimed the buildings would block sunlight for the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, but this has been refuted by the BBG and should not be confused with the 39-story tower that the BBG is actively campaigning against in its “Fight for Sunlight” campaign. (Ben Verde for Brooklyn Paper)

27 top burgers in the city. (Eater)

Thank you to my valentine Meg Blatt for today’s featured photo.