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 February 21, 2020 – The Weekend “Real Villain was New York City the Whole Time” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: The Trump vs Cuomo plan could derail congestion pricing, an insane amount of amenities in Bushwick, the best brunch in the city, and more

Today – Low: 29˚ High: 35˚
Clear throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 32˚ High: 52˚

How good is your math? Lucky Deli in the Bronx is giving away one item to anyone who can answer math questions. There’s a GoFundMe for people who want to see this continue on. (Anna Ben Yehuda for Time Out)

Who was the villain in the taxicab medallion crisis? NYC. New York City is to blame for the crushing debt that thousands of cab drivers face in order to pay for their medallions. The state’s attorney general’s office is suing the city for $810 million for fraud, unlawful profit, and other violations of state law. The $810 million would go to the taxi drivers. (Winnie Hu for NY Times)

Photos: Restoration is on way at the New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

Governor Cuomo isn’t confident the federal government will approve the state’s congestion pricing plan, which is supposed to generate $15 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s overhaul plan. The Trump administration is already looking for every possible way to punish New York, so why not this next? (Dana Rubenstein for Politico)

The new target in New York for the Trump administration is making exporting cars from New York nearly impossible. The federal government is stating that without access to the state’s DMV records, they can’t verify vehicle ownership. This is, of course, more bullshit from the Trump administration as it tries to find ways to punish the state for passing its Green Light Law, which gives undocumented immigrants the right to get a driver’s license and also blocks federal agencies from accessing the DMV databases. (Annie Correal for NY Times)

When it rains in NYC and the sewers are filled with rain water, most of the city’s sewage is flushed into our waterways. More than 20 billion gallons of our bathroom waste is released into our waters annually. The city has a plan to deal with this, but their plan doesn’t even deal with 3% of the total combined sewage overflow. (Nathan Kensinger for Curbed)

An interview with Shoshanah Bewlay, the new executive director of New York state’s Committee on Open Government on the challenges of a three person staff inside the entire state government, Andy Byford’s resignation letter, her background, and more. Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

How many amenities are too many? A bowling alley, a pool, a mini golf course, a rock climbing wall, a gym, open air plazas, murals, a dog park, and the list goes on. Just some of the amenities in a Bushwick “city within a city” apartment complex. With nearly anything recreationally you can think of inside the complex, you have to wonder how much the people who live there will be contributing tot he neighborhood’s economy? (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

Harlem photographer Shawn Walker’s collection of over 100,000 photos dating back to 1963 will be made public in the Library of Congress. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

We are a lucky city that we are getting a second Scarr’s pizza location, even if it’s in at the Midtown food hall Le Whit. (Erika Adams for Eater)

21 in 21 is trying to seat at least 21 women on the city council in 2021. The organization will be endorsing 35 candidates for the 2021 election. (Ayse Kelce for Queens County Politics)

If a judge of 17 years and Yale-educated attorney can’t navigate the Queens Surrogate’s Courts and have been in limbo for over a decade, what change do any of the rest of us have? This highlights the absurdity of electing surrogate judges, who rarely ever provide information beyond their names. (Ross Barkan for Gothamist)

Apartment Porn: See Anne Hathaway’s $3.5 million Upper West Side apartment. (Valeria Ricciulli for Curbed)

The Department of Transportation announced on Wednesday the Queens Blvd bike land would be completed this summer. The mayor, in front of a crowd, demanded that agency reconsider its plan. Polly Trottenberg, the DOT commissioner who made the announcement, was appointed by Mayor de Blasio. Does he know that he’s supposed to be running this city? He’s certainly not leading it. (Julianne Cuba for Streetsblog)

The mayor was speaking in Forest Hills, where he was met with protestors outside, and inside he was as welcome as Mayor Bloomberg on a democratic primary stage. He was booed the moment he stepped into the town hall meeting. (Max Parrot for QNS)

Video: How the city’s stop signs are made. (Matt Coneybeare for Viewing NYC)

Here’s what you need to know to be ready for the plastic bag ban on March 1. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

The law passed in April of last year, and city lawmakers say the city isn’t ready to ban plastic bags. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The NYPD say they will start removing some of the 82,000 people in their DNA database who have never been convicted of a crime. Advocates say this doesn’t go far enough and the city needs more oversight and to ban unregulated DNA collection by the NYPD. (Edgar Sandoval for NY Times)

Like the Mona Lisa’s eyes, One Manhattan Square is always shining a reflection of the sun back at you. (Jen Carlson for Gothamist)

Transit Workers Union Local 100 wants to make spitting on an MTA employee punishable by a year in jail. In their defense, spitting incidents were up 35% in 2019 from 2018. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

Fines from the plastic bag ban add to the feat of death by 1,000 for small businesses in the city. The mayor is looking to reduce fines on small businesses by 40% by eliminating “outdated and ridiculous rules that no longer apply,” giving $100 million back to mom and pops across the city. (Todd Maisel for amNewYork Metro)

Despite zero coronavirus cases in the city, Sunset Park is suffering. (Alex Williamson for Brooklyn Eagle)

The Inheritance, the two-part play about gay culture and the legacy of AIDS, is set to close March 15. (Michael Paulson for NY Times)

A “muddled, self-conscious, pretentious, humorless, dizzying, bewildering mess.” What is the show? The West Side Story revival. (Matt Windman for amNewYork Metro)

CatVideoFest is a 70-minute cat video complication that is playing at Nitehawk Cinema and the Alamo Drafthouse. Ticket sales will raise money for two rescue organizations. Finally, a cat based movie experience people will enjoy. (Noah Singer for The Brooklyn Home Reporter)

Mayor Bloomberg in 2011 said that New York City has “virtually no discrimination” and “virtually no racial problems.” A lot has changed since 2011, a year when 700,000 people, more than half of them Black, were stopped by police. (Sarah Ruiz-Grossman for HuffPost)

What to see right now in the city’s art galleries. (Jillion Steinhauer for NY Times)

What to drink at the city’s newest cocktail bars. (Nikita Richardson for Grub Street)

The best brunch in the city? Balthazar, according to The Daily Meal. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

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

The Briefly for January 8, 2020 – The “Crime is Down but Murder is Up” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Is de Blasio’s common sense acutally common sense, the best restaurants, Stevie Nicks headlines Gov Ball, the NYPD ends the “which seat” meme, and more

Today – Low: 22˚ High: 42˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

Te state denied a Chinatown landlord’s request to install a fingerprint scanner at the entrance in a rent-regulated building, citing privacy concerns. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

There are 700 Seke language speakers on Earth, the language indigenous to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, 100 live in NYC, and half of them live in one building.(Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura for NY Times)

Despite rises in hate crimes and murders, NYC’s crime is at an all-time low. (Emily Davenport for QNS)

A 15-year-old was charged with the murder of Juan Fresnada, 60, who was killed during a Christmas Eve mugging in Morrisania for a single dollar in the Bronx. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

Even with the rise in murders as a percentage, the actual number of murders is when lower compared with past eras. (Edgar Sandoval for NY Times)

Mayor Bill de Blasio says that his directed NYPD crackdown on delivery workers’ electric bikes isn’t based on data and numbers. It’s based on “common sense.” There are a lot of people whose common sense the city may trust, but Bill de Blasio ain’t on that list. 0.07% of vehicular crashes in the city, 31 in 2018, were caused by electric bike riders. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

The city’s attempts to rezone Bushwick look to be at a stalemate. Bushwick’s City Councilperson Antonio Reynoso has pushed back against the city, limiting the number of new apartments he’ll consider at 2,000 and all affordable. This isn’t a new story, as Inwood successfully fought off a rezoning effort and the Sunset Park/Industry City rezoning also appears to be headed for defeat. (Kevin Sun for The Real Deal)

Everything you need to know about affordable housing: applying, getting in, and staying put. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

It’s a seven-course VR meal, but it’s served while you wear a VR headset. This isn’t some experience in a Bushwick art studio, it’s presented by the James Beard Foundation. (Daniel Modlin for Grub Street)

Ken Friedman is leaving The Spotted Pig following an attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. He also agreed to pay $240,000 and 10% of his profits for the next decade to the 11 staffers who accused him of misconduct. (Serena Dai for Eater)

The Meadowlands Arena closed in 2015, but it’s still standing and found a second life as a production facility. NBC is renting out the arena through March while it films Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector where the Nets and Devils once played. (Seth Berkman for NY Times)

The last night at Tad’s Steakhouse in Times Square, one of the last vestiges of old Times Square. (Untapped New York)

Photos: The anti-war rally in Times Square. (The Villager)

After experiencing what Fifth and Sixth Avenues could be without cars or trucks, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilperson Keith Powers have requested a meeting to discuss keeping the traffic restrictions permanently. (Michelle Cohen for 6sqft)

An ode to Taste of Persia, which is closing at the end of the month. (Max Falkowitz for Grub Street)

Woodland, a Park Slope bar and restaurant closed after its liquor license was revoked by the state. Woodland’s famous black brunch wasn’t enough to save it from hundreds of complaints including noice and customers urinating on the streets, a stabbing on December 22. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

Governors Ball’s headliners for 2020 are Stevie Nicks, Solange, & Miley Cyrus. A full lineup is expected this week. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

Paw It Forward is a non-profit that walks dogs for free for the elderly, ill, and disabled in Long Island City and is expanding to Rego Park, Forest Hills, and the West Village. (Kristen Torres for LIC Post)

Video: A narrated walk on 9th Ave from 14th to 34th. (ActionKid, YouTube)

Governor Cuomo wants to ban repeat and high-risk sexual offenders from the MTA. (Robert Pozarycki for amNewYork)

A minor mistake paying for a busied can cost you $100. (Elizabeth Brico for Talk Poverty)

The MTA released a map of OMNY enabled stations for January of 2020. (MTA)

The NYPD will start including hate crimes in its Compstat crime-tracking system. (Paula Katinas for The Brooklyn Home Reporter)

Photos: The giant dogs of the Upper West Side. (Sara Lewin Lebwohl for I Love the Upper West Side)

The NYPD have thoroughly ended the which seat is best meme. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

If you actually get mail in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, congrats on the mail you actually receive. According to a recent audit, these neighborhoods are plagued with delivery issues, including failure to secure valuable items, inadequate safety measures in residential buildings, delayed mail, and mail that never arrives. (Scott Enman for Brooklyn Eagle)

Photos: Three Kings Day parade in Williamsburg. (Rose Adams with photos by Caroline Ourso for Brooklyn Paper)

White supremacy posters have popped up in Bay Ridge, linked to a neo-Nazi group which was formed after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Members of these groups usually attempt to stay anonymous for fear of being outed as the worst people on earth, but these geniuses uploaded a video of themselves doing a banner drop over the Belt Parkway in Bay Ridge and the NYPD is investigating. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The Infatuation updated its best restaurants in NYC list with the addition of Noods n’ Chill, Bar Bête, Banty Rooster. (The Infatuation)

Noods n’ Chill is a new Thai food restaurant in Williamsburg, not just a rude suggestion on Tinder. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)