The Briefly for February 3, 2020 – The “Dropping the Ball, Not the Groundhog” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: How NYC became “Gotham,” Governor Cuomo’s ego pushed Andy Byford out, the mayor ignoes his BQE panel, the best restaurants in Sunset Park and more.

Today – Low: 41˚ High: 51˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

16 places to celebrate Black History Month in NYC. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Interested in changing your political party affiliation before the June primaries? Act quickly, the deadline is February 14th. (Samar Khurshid for Gotham Gazette)

Staten Island’s Chuck the Groundhog didn’t see his shadow on Sunday morning, which means that an early spring should be on its way. At least no one dropped him. (Adams Nichols for Patch)

Let’s never forget when Mayor de Blasio murdered Staten Island Chuck by dropping him on Groundhog’s Day. Chuck died a week after the drop. (Abby Ohlheiser for The Washington Post)

The City Council has taken the reigns on leading the city, due to the oiler vacuum left behind by Mayor de Blasio’s complete lack of projected strength as the leader of the city. (Joe Anuta for Politico)

11 days before volunteers participated in an annual count of the homeless sleeping on the city’s streets, the mayor’s office attempted to misrepresent the actual number by attempting to find more beds for the homeless. (Mirela Iverac for Gothamist)

Mayor de Blasio is walking away from his own “expert” panel’s central recommendation for fixing the BQE because he believes the disproven fallacy that eliminating lanes of traffic adds to congestion, instead of actually reducing it. (Julianne Cuba for Streetsblog)

Here’s how “induced demand” works, a concept known since the 60’s: “on urban commuter expressways, peak-hour traffic congestion rises to meet maximum capacity.” (Benjamin Schneider for CityLab)

The city is going to start enforcing the law when it comes to overweight trucks on the BQE, per the panels suggestion. (Mary Frost for Brooklyn Eagle)

One thing’s for sure, we have less than five years if the city doesn’t do something about the BQE. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

The governor has been attempting to avoid political controversy sticking to him by assigning the most difficult problems to commissions and panels. Think back his sudden swooping in to present the L train shutdown. He assigned the problem to a panel who gave the alternative. Here are his current panels: Medicaid Redesign, Traffic Mobility, Climate Action, Digital Marketplace Worker Classification, and Public Campaign Finance. (Fred Mogul for Gothamist)

The story of how Governor Cuomo’s oversized ego made it impossible for Andy Byford to stay on a President of New York City Transit Authority. (Jim Dwyer for NY Times)

If you enjoy yelling at the MTA, they’ve added more pubic feedback meetings about their redesigned bus network in Queens. (Bill Parry for QNS)

After a horrifying case of animal abuse was uncovered at a Manhattan pet store, a bill in the state legislature would ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across the state is gaining support. The bill would ban the sale from stores, but not from breeders. (Sarah Maslin Nir for NY Times)

The city’s first suspected case of coronavirus is being investigated at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. This is no reason to panic. (Robert Pozarycki for amNewYork Metro)

A second and third case of coronavirus are already being investigated. Still no reason to panic. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

While coronavirus is on your mind, you should be worrying about the flu. his year we face a double-trouble scenario where it’s possible to get sick more than once during flu season. Two strains are hitting, so your chances of getting sick have doubled. The death toll from the flu this season is already at 10,000. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

Where to eat sushi omakase for under $125. (Lorelei Yang for Eater)

“When you build high, folks will jump” were seven words included in an ArchDaily review of Vessel. Unfortunately on Saturday night, those words were proved true when a 19-year-old man committed suicide by jumping from the structure. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

The city’s had a goal of planting 20,000 new trees every year, but has only managed to plant less than 1/3 of that lately. The Department of Parks and Recreation points to the rising costs of planting and maintaining trees. (Len Maniace for amNewYork Metro)

Hiram Monserrate was expelled from the state’s senate in 2009 for committing domestic assault in a horrifying story. In 2012 he plead guilty for illegally using money from a nonprofit he controlled to support a run for senate and has only paid back $8,400 of $79,000 in restitution for stealing public funds. He’s trying to make a political comeback. (Vivian Wang for NY Times)

Would you live in Bay Ridge? Localize lays out a case with eight reasons to move to Bay Ridge. (Localize Labs)

The story of Taste of Persia leaving Pizza Paradise just took a turn. Saeed Pourkay, chef and owner of Taste of Persia is accusing that Pizza Paradise stole his recipes shortly after his restaurant was forced out of Pizza Paradise. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

A major overhaul to the city’s property taxes could fundamentally shift the tax burden from low- and moderate-income homeowners to wealthy neighborhoods. A panel has been at work on the proposal since 2018, but mayors have attempted to tackle the subject for over a quarter century. The plan wouldn’t result in higher tax revenues. (Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Matthew Haag and Jeffery C. Mays for NY Times)

The mayor is optimistic about getting the reforms done. “This is something I believe can and will be done during my administration.” (Janaki Chadha for Politico)

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams says if elected to be mayor, he would regularly carry a gun. (NY1)

What’s the history behind New York’s nickname “Gotham?” (Noah Sheidlower for Untapped New York)

A truck driver killed a Bushwick cyclist while making an illegal U-turn in Williamsburg on Jan. 30, marking the first cyclist death of 2020. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

There’s a video showing how Pedro Lopez was killed, and it is shocking. Despite killing Lopez, the driver of the truck was not issued a ticket and the NYPD’s comment about it was there was “no criminality suspected.” (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The Department of Environmental Protection has reversed course and will fill the Jerome Park Reservoir basin in the Bronx. Previously the plan was to keep the basin empty. (Jason Cohen for Bronx Times)

Friday night’s “FTP” protests called for free public transit, an end to the harassment of the homeless, vendors and musicians in the subways, and full accessibility for people of all physical abilities throughout the transit system. The protest gathered at Grand Central Terminal at 5pm to maximally disrupt the evening commute and spread out from there. (Nick Pinto for Gothamist)

The Meatball Shop’s Lower East Side flagship location will be closing this weekend. (Bowery Boogie)

The best restaurants in Sunset Park. (Bryan Kim for The Infatuation)

The Briefly for January 16, 2020 – The “Most Important Story Today: Our Mayor’s Dumb Bagel Order” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news update: A look at the propsoed Rock Center renovation, a guide to donating in NYC, the impeachment features a Queens vs Brooklyn fight, and more

Today – Low: 23˚ High: 49˚
Light rain in the morning.

The story of how Anne Carroll Moore successfully banned Goodnight Moon from New York’s Public Libraries for 25 years. (Dan Kois for Slate)

National Grid is digging a natural gas pipeline that runs through Bushwick and Williamsburg and connects to Maspeth. People are predictably angry. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

New Jersey tried to claim it has the best bagels. Stick to Bon Jovi and Springsteen, jerkwads. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

I don’t go out of my way to call Mayor de Blasio an idiot, even if 100% of respondents from The Briefly said they don’t think he’s doing a good job, but I can’t resist here. Our idiot mayor took to Twitter to declare the best bagel in New York is a toasted wheat bagel with cream cheese. Excuse me? Toasted wheat? What else would you expect from someone who eats pizza with a fork and loves the Red Sox? (Chris Crowley for Grub Street)

Here’s the best part of the “idiot mayor orders bagel for idiots” story. The very specific bagel he is referring to, toasted wheat with cream cheese from the Bagel Hole in Park Slope is not possible to get at the Bagel Hole. The Bagel Hole does not toast bagels or even own a bagel toaster. The mayor deleted the offending tweet. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

While were on the subject of politicians with bad bagel orders, let’s not forget Cynthia Nixon’s abomination of a bagel order. (Whitney Filloon for Eater)

The Parks Department needs to remove and move nearly 15,000 tons of lead-contaminated soil from the Red Hook ballfields. Where will it go? Concrete is being recycled in the city and the rest is being hauled off in trucks to a landfill in Falls Township, PA. (Helene Stapinkski for NY Times)

Governor Cuomo was in Puerto Rico this week to survey the damage done by the series of earthquakes that have plagued the island. This is a task that would any normal president would be doing, but we do not live in normal times. (Anna Gronewald for Politico)

The A/C/E lines have been approved for a signal upgrade, which should start later this year with the signals replaced from Columbus Circle to High St by 2025. (Mary Frost for Brooklyn Eagle)

The Onion: Top 10 things to do in New York City. (The Onion)

The Parks Department had plans to renovate Fort Greene Park, but the New York Supreme Court has decided that the 30-acre landscape would not be subject to a redesign or the removal of 83 mature trees until a proper environmental impact review is conducted. (Sydney Franklin for The Architect’s Newspaper)

New Brooklyn bars and restaurants to check out this winter. (Jennifer Indig for Brooklyn Based)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents continued to arrest people in and around New York courthouses in 2019, flouting a state directive to curtail such operations, according to a new report from the Immigrant Defense Project. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Photos: Buzz-a-Rama is the city’s last slot car raceway. Run by Frank “Buzz” Perri, Buzz-A-Rama is open on the weekends in Kensington from September through June. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

The IDNYC program is now making cards available in braille and have added new perks for cardholders, including more free one-year memberships to cultural institutions and free admission to the Queens Botanical Garden on Wednesdays. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

Congrats smokers, New York is the most expensive state for smokers. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

Video: Watch Christmas trees go from curb to mulch. (Matt Coneybeare for Viewing NYC)

The state’s Board of Elections are considering buying a new system of voting machines that are less secure than our current systems, expensive, and can’t handle a ranked choice voting election, which we will see in the city in 2021. (Brigid Bergin for Gothamist)

A guide to drinking and buying natural wine. (Hannah Howard for Grub Street)

Here are the eight candidates for Queens borough president that will be on the ballot on March 24: Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Costa Constantinides, Donovan Richards; former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; former Assistant District Attorney Jim Quinn, police reform advocate Anthony Miranda, William Kregler, Danniel Maio, and Dao Yin. (Allie Griffin got Jackson Heights Post)

The city effectively deregulated a so-called “play street” located outside of a Park Slope middle school earlier this month, eliminating recreational space for students in favor of placard parking for teachers and faculty. In an even more incompetent move, the city claims the special designation of “play street” was revoked in 2014, but no one removed the sign until a few weeks ago. (Ben Verde for Brooklyn Paper)

What should you do if you one across a seal? It may seem like a weird question in New York City, but this week there have already been three seal sightings reported across the city. First and foremost, don’t approach it. Are you some kind of marine mammal expert? You’re probably not. Call the New York Marine Rescue Center’s 24-hour hotline (631-369-9829). (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

Spring cleaning is coming soon. A guide to donating your clothes, furniture, books, and electronics. (Valeria Ricciulli for Curbed)

Renderings: See the proposed renovations to Rockefeller Center. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

The Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center has been replaced by a giant peacock. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

Renders: The Hudson Yards shared renderings of the next phase of development in an attempt to dispel rumors of plans to build a wall to separate the Western Yards from the rest of us plebes. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries from Brooklyn will serve as the house managers for the impeachment hearings in the Senate, setting up a Queens vs Brooklyn battle on a federal level. (Paula Katinas for The Brooklyn Home Reporter)

Video: A walk from Wall Street to Downtown Brooklyn. (ActionKid)

A panel appointed by Mayor de Blasio and others intends to propose a public-private partnership to bailout thousands of taxi drivers trapped in exploitative loans that could cost as much as $500 million. (Brian M. Rosenthal for NY Times)

A look inside Brownie’s Hobby Shop, one of the city’s last true hobby shops. (Amanda Fairinacci for NY1)

Chief Martine Materasso is the first woman to lead the NYPD’s Bureau of Counterterrorism. (Jeanine Ramirez for NY1)

Some answers, not satisfying ones but they’re still answers, about what the hell is going on with Grand Central’s lack of accessibility. (Shumita Basu for Gothamist)

20 stellar jewish delis. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

The Briefly for January 9, 2020 – The “300 Defective Subway Cars and State of the State” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Legal weed, 12 bloody hours for pedestrians, the OMNY system is stealing fares, rent in Williamsburg hits an all-time high, the best bagels, and more

Today – Low: 32˚ High: 34˚
Clear throughout the day.

Video: Watch the full State of the State Address. (NYGovCuomo on YouTube)

An overview of homeless funding, small business tax cuts, a “Restore Mother Nature” bond, and other proposals that could come from the speech. (Kathryn Brenzel for The Real Deal)

With the state legislature being in firm control of Democrats in 2019 and making real progress on Cuomo’s agenda, the governor was forced to find new material for this year’s speech. (Politico)

The state failed to legalize weed in the summer of 2019, could 2020 be the year? The governor called it an ethical imperative to legalize it. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

During the speech, Cuomo called for labeling certain hate crimes as domestic terrorism, which is punishable by life in prison. (Zack Fink for NY1)

The governor is calling to end the “fraud” of the gig economy, comparing gig economy corporations to sweatshops and legislation could re-classify independent contractors as employees, similar to the recently passed (and challenged) California law. (Dana Rubenstein for Politico)

The Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, mentioned in the speech, would pump $3 billion into resiliency efforts across the state, city included. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork)

Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill that independent pharmacists said would protect them and patients against health care middlemen causing higher fees. The governor cited higher fees and anti-competition concerns in his message. (Gabe Herman for The Villager)

Governor Cuomo wants to ban repeat sex offenders from the subway. How? No one has an answer to that question and this is the second year in a row he’s expressed that desire. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The MTA pulled nearly 300 brand new-but-faulty subway cars from their tracks overnight on Tuesday for “repeated issues.” The cars represent 4.5% of the MTA’s fleet. These are the same cars that the MTA paid $600 million for and only received 18 on time and have since cost the city $35 million in repairs and $300 million in lost labor. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The OMNY system celebrated its 5 millionth payment, but there’s more to this story. It seems that some scanners have been double charging unwitting riders. As riders scan their MetroCards, the sensitive scanners pick up the near field signal and also charge their credit cards. In order to fix this on an iPhone, disable “Express Transit Card” in your Wallet and Apple Pay settings. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

In a very MTA moment, someone managed to jump a turnstile in the middle of an OMNY press conference. (Bowery Boogie)

The MTA is being sued by Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (yeah, it spells STOP) to get information about a camera in the Times Square station installed to deter fare evasion. STOP believes the MTA is deploying facial recognition technology, but the MTA denies any facial recognition. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

46% of families living below the poverty line do not have broadband internet access as home. To alleviate this, the mayor announced an Internet Master Plan. It’s low on details, but the idea is the city will partner with private providers to expand the current infrastructure. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

The LaGuardia AirTrain situation is a complete mess. If the AirTrain moves forward, it will be Governor Cuomo’s sheer force of will, and not what is the best actual option. (Benjamin Kabak for Second Ave Sagas)

Ever sine the L train shutdown was shutdown, rent in Williamsburg started creeping up and are now 26.7% higher and have hit an all-time high of $3,675/month. (Valeria Ricciulli for Curbed)

The city witnessed a 12 bloody hours as four pedestrians were killed or critically injured. A man was killed but he driver of a bus in Midtown, a 10-year-old boy and his mother were hit by a garbage truck and the boy was killed by the driver, and a 68-year-old woman was killed by the driver of a cement truck in Borough Park. 122 pedestrians were killed in 2019, up from 105 in 2018. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

Mulchfest continues through January 11, so bring your Christmas trees to one of the 67 drop-off sites across the city to participate. (Gabe Herman for The Villager)

The best momo (Himalayan dumplings) in the city, ranked. (Joe DiStefano for Grub Street)

Phots: The vintage typewriters of the closed to the public Bankers Club on the 40th floor of the Equitable Building. (Michelle Young for Untaped New York)

2019 seemed like the year for Universal Healthcare in New York state. What happened? (Ross Barkan for Gothamist)

Stop buying books on Amazon and borrow them from the library. An arduous task, I know. Use Library Extension to make it easier, the Chrome and Firefox extension will tell you what books and audiobooks are available at the nearest libraries to you. Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Book Culture, the beloved book shop on the Upper West Side, suddenly closed due to owed rent payments. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

Here’s a different kind of “world’s tallest.” The 707-foot tall 270 Park Ave is about to become the tallest building to be intentionally razed. chase has decided it wants a 70-story building there instead, nearly twice the height of the old building. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

Renderings: See inside Peak, the 101st-floor restaurant coming to Hudson Yards. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Another food hall is opening in Midtown. Take a look at the 12,000 square foot Urbanspace, which will include Roberta’s Pizza, LoLo’s, Call Me Pasta, City Tamale, an Eisenberg’s sandwich shop, and more. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)

Brooklyn Public Library’s Sheepshead Bay branch reopened Tuesday after a five-month closure. (Jessica Parks for Brooklyn Paper)

Is the city’s healthiest neighborhood Midtown? (Emily Davenport for amNewYork)

Meet Dena Cooper, the artist transforming Alexander Jackson into Harriet Tubman on $20 bills. (Scott Enman for Brooklyn Eagle)

A look at The Duplex, the city’s longest running cabaret bar. (Dawson Knick for GVSHP)

The finest bagels of NYC, mapped. (Eater)

How the city’s bagel union fought off a mafia takeover. (Jason Turbow for Grub Street)