The Briefly for November 20-12, 2020 – The “Rockefeller the Owl” Friday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: The school building shutdown, how restaurants may be impacted, Dupree G.O.D. turns himself in, the best Brazilian restaurants, and more

Today – Low: 47˚ High: 61˚
Clear throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 42˚ High: 61˚

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree has arrived and holy shit, it’s very sad. (Brian Kahn for Gizmodo)

How sad? Crews were seen adding extra branches to the tree to make it look less 2020. (Nicholas Rice for People)

The only good part about the tree is the tiny owl that hitched a ride in the tree and was rescued after being discovered. It’s a good owl. (Jen Carlson for Gothamist)

Rockefeller the Owl joins Central Park’s Barry the barred owl as this year’s hot duck. (Lisa M. Collins for NY Times)

Okay, so school buildings are shut down and all learning is now remote because the city hit the 3% threshold set by the mayor, right? (Christina Veiga with contributions from Alex Zimmerman for Chalkbeat)

There is currently no school reopening plan yet. (Jillian Jorgensen for NY1)

But some preschools are still open. Nonprofit and private-operated pre-K can remain open, but in education department buildings, pre-K is closed. (Christina Veiga for Chalkbeat)

Wednesday was a confusing day if you were paying attention to the news. In the middle of a press conference by Governor Cuomo, the mayor announced schools would close on Thursday. We are past cute with these two politicians who can’t see eye-to-eye and we are at a dangerous moment if they can’t get on the same page. (Emily Ngo for NY1)

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo says that if the city’s positivity rate hits 3%, new restrictions will hit the city’s restaurants, businesses, gyms, hair salons, and houses of worship. According to the state on Wednesday, the positivity rate was 2.5%. (Elizabeth Kim and Christoper Robbins for Gothamist)

The state says the positivity rate was at 2.5% on Wednesday, the city says 3.0%. A look at why the city and state report different numbers and it’s not, as Governor Cuomo put it, “a difference of opinion.” (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

While the city is closing all school buildings, indoor dining remains open. Why? The mayor controls the closing of school buildings, the governor controls the closing of everything else. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

There were 11,000 restaurant positions added in the city in October, and over 100,000 jobs have been regained since March. A 3.0% in the state’s positivity rate could upend that progress. (Greg David for The City)

“I don’t think it’s if the city is going into an orange zone, it’s a when the city’s going into an orange zone.” The mayor isn’t optimistic about our chances of staying under 3.0% in the state’s eyes. (Noah Singer for Brooklyn Eagle)

The governor announced new yellow zone micro-clusters in Mott Haven, Parkchester, and Highbridge in the Bronx, and Astoria, Jackson Heights, and Woodside in Queens. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

A new bill from the City Council would allow restaurants to charge a 15% Covid-19 surcharge if they pay their staff a minimum wage of $15. A law last month allows restaurants to charge a 10% surcharge. (Erika Adams for Eater)

The MTA says without federal support, the sky will be falling. For the MTA, the sky falling looks like a 40% cut in subway service, a 50% cut in the LIRR and MetroNorth, and cutting 9,367 jobs. (Christina Goldbaum for NY Times)

The City Reliquary, a museum of city artifacts, is fighting to stay open with a new membership program. (Keira Wingate for Bklyner)

Apartment Porn: I’ll be honest, this might be the most jaw-dropping apartment the city has. A three-level penthouse in Billionaires’ Row will be up for auction at the end of the year at 150 Central Park South. Five beds, five and a half baths, and four terraces with Central Park views. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

A billionaire is teaming up with a real estate developer to put up a billboard in hopes to inspire New Yorkers into believing that New York isn’t dead. Are you ready to be inspired by Jerry Seinfeld and Miki Naftali’s billboard? (Erin Hudson for The Real Deal)

Opponents of the city’s billion-dollar East Side Coastal Resilience project begun putting posters across the neighborhood calling Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Carolina Rivera “destroyers” of East River Park. (Elie Z. Perler for Bowery Boogie)

Remember the eco-yogi slumlords of Brooklyn? They’re being sued by the city of New York for violating eviction law, for tenant harassment, and for construction and code violations. (Bridget Read for The Cut)

Need a refresher? The Eco–Yogi Slumlords of 1214 Dean Street, Brooklyn. (Bridget Read for The Cut)

The fastest places to get a COVID-19 test in NYC. (Collier Sutter for Time Out)

Meet the luckiest woman in NYC. She was pushed onto the subway tracks with a train arriving at the station and survived by ducking under the train. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Photos: Inside the new glass dome atop Union Square’s Tammany Hall. (Dana Schulz, Photos by Christopher Payne for 6sqft)

One of my favorite things when walking around the city is to look for pieces of history that have outlived the people who built them. The New York Sun clock on Broadway between Reade and Chambers outlived two incarnations of the newspaper. Fun fact: I worked for The New York Sun during its last year from 2007 to 2008 and would pass this clock every day on my way to work. (Ephemeral New York)

Earlier this week, rapper Dupree G.O.D. jumped on top of a B26 bus with a flame thrower and began… throwing flames. It was a part of filming a video for a song, but no one on the bus knew they were in a music video. He turned himself in to the NYPD on Wednesday. (Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan)

What to expect when you’re expecting the Gowanus Canal to be cleaned up. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

The 15 best Brazilian restaurants in NYC. (Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Zlata for today’s photo from Central Park!

The Briefly for October 25 – 26, 2020 – The “Vote or Die” Sunday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: Early voting is open, the best Vietnamese food in the city, dredging the Gowanus, Mayor de Blasio’s legacy of failure, and more

Today – Low: 50˚ High: 56˚
Light rain in the evening and overnight.

The best restaurants near NYC’s early voting locations. (Hannah Albertine and Nikko Duren for The Infatuation)

Early voting is open, now let’s talk about the legality of ballot selfies. (Valeriya Safronova for NY Times)

Speaking of early voting, it started across the city on Saturday and there were lines everywhere. Nearly 100,0000 voted on the first day of early voting, more than in all of 2018’s early voting. (David Cruz and Jen Chung for Gothamist)

On Friday, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan to recruit hundreds of city workers in a matter of days to join an “Election Observer Corps.” He has not recruited a single person, nor has he trained anyone. By contrast, AG Letitia James, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and the head of Common Cause NY, Susan Lerner, already have 600 statewide volunteers who have been training for weeks for the election and have been monitoring polling sites already. Seems like the mayor could have endorsed this effort instead of announcing a new one less than 24 hours before early voting began. (Brigid Bergin for Gothamist)

We will have hundreds of additional cops in uniform citywide who will be at the ready should they be needed.” -NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, who maybe doesn’t realize that having a larger NYPD presence during an election may only serve to make things worse. (Danny Lewish for Gothamist)

This is the same NYPD whose union endorsed President Trump. (NBC New York)

Photos and Video: A Barred Owl hanging out. (D. Bruce Yolton for Urban Hawks)

Video: The Animal Care Centers rescued a pig from a Brooklyn backyard. (Anna Quinn for Patch)

The city sells off unpaid property debts on a regular basis. The sale of debt was the subject of a Last Week Tonight program from a few years ago. While it raises money for the city, it also encourages foreclosures and the displacement of lower-income homeowners. This year’s tax lien sale has been postponed multiple times and City Council members are pushing to eliminate the program altogether. (Peter Senzamici for The City)

The EPA will begin dredging the Gowanus Canal mid-November. At the bottom of the canal sits a very thick and very old layer of tar, human poop and if the rumors are true, a few dead bodies. (Red Hook Star-Revue)

Video: No questions asked about how these daredevils found their way to the roof of the GE Building, which is closed to visitors, but the views are spectacular. (svvvk on YouTube)

State officials have pulled a controversial proposal that would have allowed non-lawyers to oversee special education complaints in New York City. The proposal was first made in January. In the 2019-2020 school year, the city had 10,797 complaints, 96% of New York state’s complaints. Each complaint is legally supposed to be resolved in under 75 days, but NYC’s cases take 259 days on average. The penalty for such a failure? Nothing. These students deserve better. (Reema Amin for The City)

Interview: Meet Brenda Suchilt, the Newtown Creek Alliance’s new horticulturist. (Billy McEntee for Greenpointers)

Apartment Porn: A $12.75 million Cobble Hill townhouse with a vineyard-like garden that’s bigger than almost every bar with outdoor space, gated parking, and two wine cellars. One wine cellar? Please. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

The best Vietnamese restaurants in NYC. (Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

The secrets of the new Greenpoint public library. (Will Gleason for Time Out)

The number of young children in NYCHA housing at risk of lead exposure is three times greater than previously thought, according to Bart Schwartz, the federal monitor overseeing the NYCHA. The city certified the number at 3,000 two years ago. The number is 9,000. Poisoning the children of the city will likely end up high on the list of Bill de Blasio’s legacy as mayor. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Speaking of Bill de Blasio’s accomplishments and legacy, the city is headed for the highest level of traffic deaths since the mayor took office, the third straight year of rising deaths, completely erasing any and all progress he could claim as part of his own Vision Zero program. This year includes two months of zero traffic fatalities due to the pandemic, it’s hard to imagine how high the body count would be without it. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The TWA Hotel has just reopened its pool-cuzzi and Runway Chalet at JFK airport. The pool purifies itself every 30 minutes and is kept at a cozy 95 degrees. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

A look at the new public art available across Brooklyn. (Keira Wingate for Bklyner)

Three bars within the zoned shutdown areas in Brooklyn and Queens had their liquor licenses temporarily suspended for throwing illegal indoor parties. 30 Fantastic Bar in Sunset Park, Da Mikelle Palace in Forest Hills, and Wise Bar & Grill in Sheepshead Bay. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

Before you feel bad for The Strand posting they may close (Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan), let’s look a little deeper. The Strand fired union workers while accepting $1-2 million of PPP loans (Labor Notes) Owner Nancy Bass Wyder, who is married to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, purchased $115,000 in Amazon stock in April and made an additional purchase of up to $200,000 in June. (Ed Lin for Barrons) The Upper West Side location was met with protests. (Carol Tannenhauser and Kate Koza for West Side Rag) On a micro scale, buying at The Strand instead of your neighborhood bookstore is no different than buying from Amazon.

On a micro scale, supporting The Strand over your neighborhood bookstore is akin to buying from Amazon instead of locally.

At this point, let’s celebrate that NYC isn’t the rattiest city in America. Los Angeles and Chicago are worse than we are and you take the wins where you can get them. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

Times Square really wants you to visit. Their latest ploy to get you to the one place you never want to visit is the Taste of Times Square Week, which runs through October 30 and offers a $35 prix fixe menu at 20 different restaurants with an appetizer, main and dessert. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

The Shed in Hudson Yards has reopened with a solo exhibition by artist Howardena Pindell called Rope/Fire/Water, which explores the historical traumas of America, namely slavery, racism, and white supremacy. (Monika Hankova for Untapped New York)

An examination of how New York’s slavery history is still present all over the city. (Zachary Kussin for Untapped New York)

The Green-Wood Cemetery is hosting a Dia de los Muertos celebration all this week. (Dozier Hasty for Brooklyn Eagle)

The best Mapo Tofu in the city. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Michael for today’s featured photo.

The Briefly for September 27-28, 2020 – The “Indoor Dining Returns, Outdoor Dining Becomes Permanent” Sunday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: 600k kids return to school this week, the mayor announces future announcements, the best new burgers in the city

Today – Low: 68˚ High: 76˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

Video: In case you were wondering, the NYPD’s tactics have not changed in the face of months straight of protests throughout the city. This was the scene last night in the West Village as the NYPD swarmed protesters on 6th St after the “Celebration of Art Of Protest” in Washington Square Park (FreedomNewsTV)

The NYPD ended its training program for officers to de-escalate encounters with people in a mental health crisis. The future of the program is in limbo. (Gwynne Hogan for Gothamist)

Indoor dining returns this Wednesday in NYC. Here’s how restaurants are preparing. Keep in mind, not every restaurant will be taking part. (Rachel Sugar for Grub Street)

Outdoor dining is now permanent. Here’s everything to know about the city’s permanent outdoor dining plan. (Erika Adams for Eater)

Coronavirus anxiety and depression have hit NYC, as a new study says 44% of New Yorkers are feeling anxiety about the virus and 36% felt depressed since the start of our PAUSE. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

How will the city’s souvenir shops survive the pandemic without tourists? Maybe they won’t. (Carson Kessler for The City)

Good news for you if you’re someone who has been collecting your compost since the city’s collections stopped in March. Compost drop-off locations return to six Greenmarkets. (Tequila Minsky for The Villager)

The American Museum of Natural History fired Mark E. Siddall after the museum found that he had sexually harassed and bullied a graduate student who was doing research under his supervision. (Julia Jacobs for NY Times)

Tourist helicopters are back to annoy city dwellers and, in a surprising twist, they’re coming from Jersey. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

Next year’s city-wide elections will be ranked-choice. I’ve linked to this explainer video multiple times already, so when city officials and candidates argue that we’re not ready for a new voting system, you can tell them to go to hell. (Clifford Michel for The City)

Home sales are surging on Brooklyn. Tell that to the next person who bemoans how many people are leaving the city for the suburbs. (Stefanos Chen for NY Times)

Dianne Smith has a new installation titled “Styling: Black Expression, Rebellion and Joy Through Fashion” that pays tribute to Black women who shape and redefine what it means to be stylish. The location? Nordstrom at Columbus Circle. This is the first full-scale art exhibition at the location. (Roger Clark for NY1)

The MTA is set to run out of money before 2021 and will likely be forced to borrow money to survive. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

When someone vandalized the A train tracks last week, Rikien Wilder was there to clear some of the items thrown on the tracks and tackle the vandal as they tried to get away. The MTA showed their appreciation for Wilder’s heroics with a free year of subway rides. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

Here’s someone trying to find the silver lining in the clouds of Century 21’s closing in Bay Ridge. (Jessica Parks for Brooklyn Paper)

It’s a renters market, the Times gives some advice about how to negotiate with your landlord. (Ronda Kaysen for NY Times)

On August 23, 1974, John Lennon claims he saw a UFO outside Midtown East apartment. (Dave Lifton for Ultimate Classic Rock)

The apartment that John Lennon was living in, and saw the UFO from, is now for sale for $5.5 million. It’s a 4,000 triplex and it’s also where the iconic John Lennon “New York City” photo was taken. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Maybe you’ll see your own UFOs after purchasing the apartment because UFO sightings are up in New York. At 184 sightings, we’ve already exceeded the 151 sightings total for 2019. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

The asshole of the week is Heshy Tischler, who crashed a press conference about the uptick in Covid-19 cases in the Ocean Parkway Cluster without a mask and denying the existence of the virus, causing the press conference to be cut short. (Aidan Graham and Meaghan McGoldrick for amNewYork Metro)

“There’s rampant COVID denialism and misinformation abound in the community. People are not getting tested and are refusing care even when sick. This is deeply distressing.” Three men from Orthodox communities died from Covid-19 last week at Maimonides Hospital. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

Bill de Blasio held a press conference announcing that he will hold future press conferences about the city’s “rebirth.” I’d argue the city’s rebirth starts on election day 2021 when we pick a new mayor. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The mayor bowed to pressure from Upper West Siders to remove 300 homeless men from a temporary shelter. Then he took that decision back. Then he took that decision back and removing the 300 homeless New Yorkers from their temporary shelter and move them to another shelter in the Financial District in a move being called “the pinnacle of cowardliness.” Most politicians reveal their true selves once they are no longer up for re-election. I guess the mayor is showing us all who he really is. (Jake Offenhartz and Gwynne Hogan for Gothamist)

The mayor’s pledge to close Rikers Island is falling apart. (Caroline Spivack for Curbed)

Thanks to a federal judge’s ruling, you have until October 31 to fill out your census information. The Trump administration had tried to shorten the deadline to September 30 and the city is woefully behind on people filling it out. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

John Burns, a longtime friend of the mayor and first deputy commissioner at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, resigned under fire after an investigation found he mistreated a female employee and created a hostile workplace. (Reuven Blau for The City)

Photos: A first look at Eataly’s honey-themed rooftop restaurant. (Bao Ong for Time Out)

It’s a fantastical idea: The Mandragore would use half of Roosevelt Island to build the country’s tallest building and the world’s tallest “carbon sink” that would actually reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the city and generate energy with wind turbines and solar panels. (Collier Sutter for Time Out)

Miles Morales: Spider-Man, coming for the PlayStation 4 and 5, uses Harlem as its setting, a rare location for a digital depiction of New York City. (Charles Pulliam-Moore for Gizmodo)

The six best new burgers in the city. (Hannah Albertine, Nikko Duren, & Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

Photos: Check out the new bike-based cargo delivery vehicles you’ll be seeing around the city soon. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

What’s your subway station number? An interactive subway map that gives you a ranking as a New Yorker based on every subway station you’ve ever been to. (My score was 152, giving me the title of “NYC Lifer”) (The Cleverest)

10 great places to see on a Brooklyn Greenway bike ride. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

Photos: Inside the secret train track hidden in the depths of Grand Central Terminal. (Emily Nonko for 6sqft)

Restoration work on the Empire State Building’s Art Deco spire is complete, giving the building’s “hat” its original silhouette. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

The mayor announced 9,000 furloughs of managers and city employees not under union contracts. The unlucky 9,000 will be laid off for five cays between October and March. The mayor’s looking to save a billion dollars to prevent 22,000 layoffs and these furloughs will save $21 million. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Among these 9,000? The Department of Education announced furloughs for superintendents and other non-union management will be furloughed. Perfect timing as schools are reopening. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

70 staff members as IS 51 in Staten Island are in quarantine after a teacher tested positive for Covid-19. (Amanda Farinacci for NY1)

In a reversal of education department policy, city teachers will now be allowed to work remotely if they are teaching students who are learning from home, according to a new agreement reached Friday between the city and the teachers union. Seems weird they’d be forced to come to a school building to teach remote students, right? (Alex Zimmerman for Chalkbeat)

Here’s what you need to know about K-8 students returning to schools this week. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

The secret patios of NYC, where you can eat and drink away from the street. (Hannah Albertine & Bryan Kim for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Zlata for today’s featured photo from The Edge!