The Briefly for February 19-20, 2021 – The “Cuomo Versus the World” Friday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: Pearl River Mart has a new home, where to go sledding, the greatest fictional NYC mayor, Amazon gets sued, Block-owned coffee shops, and more

Today – Low: 25˚ High: 34˚
Snow (1–2 in.) in the morning and afternoon.
This weekend – Low: 22˚ High: 34˚

• Ask An Epidemiologist: Should you wear two masks? Dr. David Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner and guy in all those commercials on Hulu, says two are better than one. (Caroline Lewis for Gothamist)

Farewell to Park Slope’s Mission Delores, a fantastic bar. (Jason Diamond for Grub Street)

17 spots to go sledding in New York City. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

A timeline of Governor Cuomo’s nursing home controversy. (Nick Reisman for NY1)

• Not everyone is fighting Governor Cuomo. Cuomo took $145 million from the MTA’s budget and they aren’t challenging it. Of the $145 million, $107 million is being taken from an operating fund that is supposed to be dedicated to fund mass transit. Cuomo has not stated the reason for removing the money from the MTA’s budget. (Dave Colon for Streetsblog)

• The Department of Justice and FBI are investigating Governor Cuomo’s administration over the nursing home issue. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

• Assemblyman Ron Kim has been criticizing Governor Cuomo for months about how Cuomo handled the state’s nursing homes. When Kim said Cuomo was “trying to dodge any incriminating evidence,” it resulted in the governor calling up Kim to let him know Cuomo would “destroy” him. (Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley for NY Times)

• Answering the question of who is Ron Kim? (Christine Chung for The City)

Pearl River Mart has found itself a new home at 452 Broadway, near Canal St. (Bowery Boogie)

• Gothamist held a vote for the greatest fictional mayor of New York City, using ranked choice voting, and the results are in! Mayor Lenny from Ghostbusters is the city’s greatest fictional mayor, who also has one of my favorite quotes in history about NYC: “Being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker’s God-given right.” (Jake Dobkin and Jen Carlson for Gothamist)

• Photos: 16 stunning photos of NYC landmarks blanketed in snow. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

• Where does Greenwich Village end? What are the boundaries of Bed-Stuy? How far So of Ho does SoHo extend? The fight over perceived neighborhood borders is heating up again. (Anna Ben Yehuda for Time Out)

• Interview: Did you watch us land on Mars on Thursday? Meet Vishnu Sridhar, a Queens boy who is the lead systems engineer for the SuperCam on the Mars 2020 rover. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

A look into keeping pigeons, a dwindling hobby in NYC. (Allie Conti for NY Times)

Coney Island will be able to reopen on April 9 at a 33% capacity, but if you want to get in, you must buy tickets in advance and wear face coverings, and the parks must conduct temperature checks and clean the rides frequently. (Rose Adams for Brooklyn Paper)

The city has new guidance for indoor dining, which includes limiting parties to 4 or fewer, wearing a mask whenever you are not actively eating or drinking, and more. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

“I’ve had to cancel counseling sessions to stand by metal detectors that children are required to go through, to monitor the hallways, or to “watch” a group of suspended students. I could fill pages with all the jobs I’ve done that have nothing to do with social work. The rationalization is that any type of human interaction automatically translates into “social work.” That’s because most people have no idea what a social worker does.”
– Vanessa Vélez, Nobody knows what a social worker does. That is hurting our students., for Chalkbeat

• Maps: How Covid-19 impacted internet speeds across the city. (Jameson Zimmer for Untapped New York)

Mount Sinai Health System has been canceling thousands of first dose vaccine appointments in the last few days due to low supply. (Caroline Lewis and Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

• Sections of Queens, Hunts Point in the Bronx, and East New York and Brownsville in Brooklyn had among the lowest percent of residents who have received at least one dose of a Cocid-19 vaccine. (Sydney Pereira and Jake Dobkin for Gothamist)

• Maps: Vaccine data by zip code. (Davin Gannon for 6sqft)

• The case against Amy Cooper, the woman who falsely called the police on a Black man in Central Park for “threatening” her, was dropped on Tuesday after she completed a therapeutic program that included instruction about racial biases. (Jonah E. Bromwich for NY Times)

How New York City’s delivery workers survive snowstorms. (Jasmine Fernandez for NY City Lens)

• Amazon tried to block it with a lawsuit of their own, but Attorney General Letitia James is suing Amazon over the company’s failure to provide safety measures for its NYC workers during the pandemic. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

• Barstool Sports is 100% garbage and founder Dave Portnoy is a piece of human shit. I hold these opinions for reasons outside of Portnoy calling New Haven the pizza capital of the world. The Coney Island Blog makes the (correct) argument that the best pizza int he world is made in Brooklyn. (The Coney Island Blog)

• Check out BKFoxx’s new mural for the Year of the Ox in Chinatown at Dr. Sun Yat Middle School on Eldridge and Hester. (Anna Ben Yehuda for Time Out)

• The State Liquor Authority has begun to crack down on obvious violations of the rules of outdoor dining, suspending the liquor licenses of nine restaurants and bars. Most suspensions appear to be as a result of fully enclosed outdoor dining structures. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

• Real Estate Lust: A $2.3 million Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights with two outdoor spaces and three fireplaces. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Governor Cuomo has gone back to the drawing board on his marijuana legalization bill after being widely criticized for his last attempt over not doing enough to address communities hit hardest by the war on drugs and still criminalized offenses in ways that would disproportionally impact people of color. (Caroline Lewis for Gothamist)

Where to find a work from home snack break in the East Village. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

• New York region’s subway system is the worst for air pollution in the Northeast. We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re #1! Suck it, Boston and DC, you can’t keep up with our air pollution in the subways. Maybe after reading this I’ll keep wearing a mask on the subway forever. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Overanalyzing Andrew Yang’s Instagram meals because sometimes we need a break from criticizing the stream of dumb things this guy keeps saying in public. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

28 Black-owned coffee shops in NYC. (Hannah Albertine and Nikko Duren for The Infatuation)

The Briefly for January 10, 2020 – The “Soho Karen was Arrested” Sunday AMA Edition

The latest NYC news digest: A first-person vaccine story, what’s news for NYC dining, Nicole Malliotakis votes against the election results, and more

Today – Low: 30˚ High: 40˚
Clear throughout the day.

Today’s digest is starting with something different. Today’s photo came from to reader Michele, who I asked to talk about her experience receiving the Covie-19 vaccine. If you’ve got your own story, please feel free to email it to thebriefly at gmail.com.

I’m an optometrist in NYC, and I was surprised how quickly I was able to get an appointment to get the Covid vaccine after I saw the announcement on nyc.gov that new slots had opened up for healthcare workers. I got an appointment the first week at a “pop up” clinic in a city government building in Manhattan, and the process was streamlined and efficient even though it had only been up and running for a few days. My site had appointments every 15 minutes, and I didn’t have to wait at any point in the process — initial screening/paperwork, vaccination station, post-processing (you sit for 20 minutes afterward to make sure you don’t pass out). Everyone working there was helpful and excited, and the entire experience was lovely. I asked the nurse if I could take a picture (like 900 people before me probably had) and he even suggested how I should stage it. After I finished my 20 minute post-vaccine chill period I saw a man ask two nurses if he could take their picture with his dog, and they were really sweet about it. The one thing I would say surprised me was that the nurse who gave me the vaccine said he hadn’t gotten it yet, though he was on the schedule to have it soon.

As promised, today’s digest is centered around a few Ask Me Anything questions I received from the readers of The Briefly.

Q from Katie: Hi Rob, Happy New Year! I hope 2021 is going okay so far. :) I had one (two) question(s) for your AMA, which I assume someone has already asked but just in case: what is your strategy for choosing articles to highlight? And my follow-up: how many articles do you usually read to get enough good ones for one email? Take care, be well, and all the other hopeful clichés for the new year.

In terms of a daily volume of links for a newsletter, it’s about 300-400 a day from 100 different sources. From there I usually narrow that down to about 50 before I start writing, and by the time I’m done writing it’s somewhere between 25-40. When I look through the news, I usually look for something that’s important, interesting, different, or time-sensitive. I’ve been writing The Briefly for a few years and have some idea of what the readers are most interested in (check out 2020’s top ten stories), so you’ll see something things pop up regularly like lists of restaurants, public art, ridiculous apartments, and things like that. I also tend to favor certain newsrooms when it comes to certain types of news. I love The City and have an immense amount of respect for their writers, I’ll trust Chalkbeat above all else for educational news, Gothamist is a regular favorite of mine for daily stories, and I have a deep love for the most niche blogs I can find like Urban Hawks and Laura Goggin Photography for their bird photos or The Q at Parkside, which has the smallest area of coverage of anything I regularly look at, and I really enjoy Mary Lane’s writing at New York Cliche. I’ve had a post from her saved since March 12 about how to get tickets to see Last Week Tonight and her experience seeing the show in person that I will eventually include.

Q from Brigid: Hey Rob! I’d love to know what your favorite NYC bridge is. Asking because I started an Instagram account where I post different bridges throughout the city (@brig.on.bridges) and would love an established New Yorker’s take on the best bridge in the city. Hope you and yours have a happy and healthy new year!

My favorite NYC bridge is going to be unexpected. It’s the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge! Let me explain why. The bridge was built in 1910 but rebuilt in 1983 and my father did the redesign for it. My father was a civil engineer and worked in NYC for nearly 50 years. I had known most of his work as being in the sewers, so having something above ground that he worked on has always been very special to me. If you were to tell me that a 60-foot bridge doesn’t count, I’d pick the Manhattan Bridge. It’s the best bridge to walk or bike over, and you can’t beat the views.

Q: NYC question just based on your time in the City since I’m always looking for ideas! What has been one of your favorite day activities around the City where you didn’t spend any money?

My favorite zero-cost activity in the city is a bike ride and a bike ride to Coney Island (I live in Brooklyn) is my favorite of all my bike rides. Coney Island is my favorite place in the city when it’s warm. I’m not someone who feels a strong need to spend money there because there’s so much people watching to do and things to see in general. If you’re willing to spend a few bucks on snacks, I recommend the bodega near the subway station on Stillwell Ave, where you can grab some cut up fruit and a drink and the sideshow is probably the best $10 you could spend for at least an hour of entertainment (plus it’s air-conditioned). I could walk around Coney Island for hours.

Most of the other ideas that came to mind are trips and long walks in and around parks. Challenge yourself to walk the length of Riverside Park, get lost in Chinatown, wander Flushing-Meadows Corona Park, find John Randel Jr.’s authentic survey bolt from 1811 in Central Park, walk through all the arches of Prospect Park, and lastly I’d always recommend taking a look at the skint on any quiet day, because there’s always something going on that’s cheap or free.

A few news bits to close out today:

Soho Karen, aka Miya Ponsetto, was arrested for falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealer her phone and tackling him in a Soho hotel. It was a bad week for this idiot, who decided to do a CBS This Morning interview that was so bad even her lawyer said she was embarrassed. She was arrested in California and brought back to New York. (Edgar Sandoval for NY Times)

Prince Street Pizza owners Frank and Dominic Morano are stepping down from day-to-day operations after accounts of racist comments made to customers on Yelp, Facebook, and Instagram. They aren’t removing themselves from the business, just from day-to-day operations. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

Now’s a good time to go wander around Chinatown because hundreds of paper lanterns were installed on Mott St with plans to expand. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

There is a silver lining to this winter, which is that the flu season only a fraction of what it was in years past. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

The Brooklyn Public Library is holding a contest to design a library card in celebration of Black History Month and will award the winning artist with $2,000. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tested positive for Covid-19. (Matt Troutman for PAtch)

Someone tied a confederate flag to the door of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust after the attack on the Capitol this week. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)2

Staten Island’s congress member and Republican Nicole Malliotakis voted against certifying the election results after the attack on the Capitol building. Malliotakis’s district will be redrawn by the state’s Democratic legislature after the 2020 Census. Don’t expect Malliotakis to hold that seat for long. (Clifford Michel for The City)

Photos: Thursday’s anti-Trump rally in Brooklyn. (Brian Braiker, photos by Statia Grossman for Brooklyn Magazine)

The Brooklyn Democratic Party passed a law that allows non-binary and transgender people to run for county committee seats. It seems ridiculous that it was necessary, but there was a gender quota in place before this. (Julia Kott for Greenpointers)

20 local chefs forecast what’s next for NYC dining. (Christina Izzo for Time Out)

Everything you always wanted to know about sex work (but were afraid to ask). (Brian Braiker for Brooklyn Magazine)

The Briefly for December 8-10, 2020 – The “There is Pizza and There is Everything Else” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: The Staten Island mess continues (with video), Pearl River Mart’s flagship is closing, a look at West Farms in the Bronx, and more

Today – Low: 33˚ High: 38˚
Mostly cloudy throughout the day.

In praise of Andrea Stewart-Cousins’s ability to get the New York legislature on the same page. (Bill Mahoney for Politico)

The fire that destroyed the Middle Collegiate Church also displaced 22 women from a single women’s shelter next door. (Cydney Pereira for Gothamist)

Pearl River Mart’s flagship store has “no other choice but to shut down” due to pressure from an unforgiving landlord. (Elie Z. Perler for Bowery Boogie)

President Obama has ruled that New York pizza, also known as pizza, is better than Chicago-style pizza, which is also known as Chicago-style pizza. (Christina Izzo for Time Out)

Just over seven years ago John Stewart gave us this rant about Chicago deep-dish pizza. (The Daily Show)

Ghouls get Covid-19 too, as Rudy Giuliani tested positive. (Tim Moran for Patch)

55% of the FDNY is unwilling to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Their union is defending their right to refuse. (Dean Moses for amNewYork Metro)

In June, the mayor announced he would end solitary confinement in the city’s jails after getting recommendations “in the fall.” The mayor has once again set a deadline for himself and appears ready to blow it. (Rosa Goldensohn for The City)

A look at the history of how New York City became a stoop town. (Ephemeral New York)

Putting West Farms in the Bronx into focus, the epicenter of the city’s economic crisis where one of four workers is out of work. (Winnie Hu, Juliana Kim, Jo Corona and Amr Alfiky for NY Times)

Senator Schumer paid Arlene’s Grocery a visit in support of the Save Our Stages Ace in congress before Arlene’s potential closure on February 1. (Elie Z. Perler for Bowery Boogie)

An NYC-themed holiday gift guide. (Untapped New York)

The state’s legislature is ready to make another attempt at a pied-à-terre tax in 2021. (Oshrat Carmiel for Bloomberg)

Sharp eyes in the East Village will spot Marvel’s ‘Hawkeye’ filming this week. (EV Grieve)

It seems ridiculous that NYCHA residents in Coney Island would be demanding repairs from Hurricane Sandy, but here we are. (Rose Adams for Brooklyn Paper)

Governor Cuomo announced that regions of the state that reach 90% hospital capacity would face new shutdowns. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

The governor also warned that indoor dining in NYC could be shutdown by next week based on the city’s rising hospitalization rates. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

Video: Watch Bruce Springsteen & Bleachers play “Chinatown” on the roof of Electric Lady recording studio. (Bill Pearis for BrooklynVegan)

The winner of the seventh annual Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design installation program is “Point of Action” by Studio Cooke John that’s meant to evoke the feeling of seeing other New Yorkers from a distance, which is something we’re a little familiar with now. (Bill Gleason for Time Out)

Photos: This year’s Dyker Heights Christmas lights (Collier Sutter for Time Out)

Did you know that New York City is unable to lower the speed limit on its roads? It’s strictly a state responsibility right now, but State Senator Brad Hoylman is looking to change that with new legislation. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Confessions of an orthodox Jewish drug dealer. (Aaron Lefkov for Brooklyn Magazine)

Photos and Video: Birds? Birds. Check out the brightly-colored Western Tanager seen in Chelsea.

Video: Watch Danny Presti, manager of the dumbest bar in all of New York City, who says he “did nothing wrong” drive away with a New York City Sheriff on the hood of his car while being arrested. (Lydia Hu for NY1)

Video: Watch Pete Davidson dunk on Staten Island’s Covid-19 protests on Weekend Update. (SNL)

The mess over Mac’s Public House exposed the Mason-Dixon line in Staten Island. (Clifford Michel for The City)

The city’s most festive outdoor dining set-ups for the holidays. (Christina Izzo for Time Out)

Thanks to reader Alex for today’s featured photo from Dyker Heights where it “wasn’t very crowded (yet) and most people wore their masks.”