The Briefly for February 21-22, 2021 – The “Take the Tone Down” Sunday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: The NYPD loses another lawsuit over misconduct records, the Empire Station Complex plans, Brooklyn gets crabs, and more

Today – Low: 30˚ High: 34˚
Clear throughout the day.

• After a group of trans leaders called on Heritage of Pride (HOP) to hand over control of New York City’s Pride festivities to Black and Brown transgender individuals, a planned meeting between the two sides was cancelled — and a bitter controversy flared up. (Tat Bellamy-Walker for Gay City News)

Joe’s Pizza, Scarr’s Pizza and Uncle Mike’s Hometown Pizza are NYC’s favorite pizza places, according to Google Maps searches in 2020. (Anna Ben Yehuda for Time Out)

Indoor dining will increase in capacity on Friday, February 26 from 25% to 35%. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

• Now that he’s in deep shit with state and federal investigations into how his administration hid nursing home death numbers, the state’s legislature is about to strip him of his emergency powers, and public sentiment is turning against him, Governor Cuomo wants to “take the tone down.” (Christopher Robbins and Gwynne Hogan for Gothamist)

92% of NYC restaurants were either unable to pay some or all of their rent in December. 46% were able to pay some, 45% couldn’t pay any. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Farewell Jing Fong, Chinatown’s legendary Chinatown dim sum banquet hall, open since 1972. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

“Ghost kitchens have been meticulously engineered to be infinitely adaptable and fantastically efficient. The Wall Street Journal loves them. But what they really are is a trend that manages, triumphantly, to strip away all joy from the act of eating. They are devoid of every feature that makes restaurants great, and they are not, despite what the many, many headlines say, the true future of the restaurant industry.”
-Rachel Sugar, Ghost Kitchens Will Always Be Dumb, for Grub Street

• Pete Wells goes a bit behind-the-scenes on what it’s been like being a restaurant critic during a pandemic that has shattered all of our norms about eating outside (and sometimes inside) the home. It’s hard to remain anonymous when your name is on your delivery order. (Pete Wells for NY Times)

• Podcast: They’re more than just the front door to the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles’ home. Looking at the history of manhole covers. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

• Apartment Porn: Actress Sela Ward’s $5.8 million Soho loft, with 14-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, a deep soacking tub, whatever a smart toilet is, a 300-bottle wine fridge, and more. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

• A majority of Democratic candidates running for Manhattan District Attorney are promising to end the agency’s use of software from Palantir, whose invasive surveillance software has been seen as unreliable and rife with racial justice and privacy issues. (George Joseph for Gothamist)

• Manhattan DA Cy Vance added Mark F. Pomerantz to the Donald Trump criminal investigation team. Pomerantz has a history of investigating and defending white-collar and organized crime cases. (William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Jonah E. Bromwich for NY Times)

The NYPD’s secret misconduct records must be made public after a judge ruled against the Police Benevolent Association and other unions. This is the 50-a shielding law that’s been the focus of conversation for some time. The records have not been made public yet as Mayor de Blasio waits for clearance from the court about when the records can be released. (Greg B. Smith for The City)

A video shows an NYPD officer repeatedly punching a man as he’s held down on the ground at the South Ferry subway station during an arrest for allegedly smoking a cigarette on the platform on Tuesday. Is this what 500 more cops will look like in the subways? (David Cruz for Gothamist)

• How the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group, an anti-terror squad, became the city’s tool for cracking down on protests. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

• One day after signaling his plan not to enforce basic education standards within the community’s yeshivas Andrew Yang is the frontrunner for the ultra-Orthodox vote. Yang credits a month-long course on the Bible he took at a Westchester prep school as his reason for his stance. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

A focus on the City Council showdown in Coney Island. (Rose Adams for Kinds County Politics)

• Corey Johnson got out of the mayor’s race, but now he’s thinking about running for comptroller. (Jeffery C. Mays and Emma G. Fitzsimmons for NY Times)

• Podcast: Quanda Francis on her campaign for mayor. (Ben Max for Gotham Gazette)

• Maya Wiley, the former MSNBC analyst and legal counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio running for mayor, has the endorsement of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, The National Health Care Workers’ Union, which also endorsed Mayor de Blasio before he was elected. (Emma G. Fitzsimmons for NY Times)

• Congratulations Brooklyn, you have the lowest vaccination rates in the city. (Jake Samieske for Brooklyn Magazine)

Meet artist Devon Rodriguez, whose drawings of strangers on the subway is providing sparks of joy on his Instagram and TikTok accounts. (Will Gleason for Time Out)

KAWS: WHAT PARTY is coming to the Brooklyn Museum from February 26 – September 5. (Brooklyn Street Art)

RIP Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor of the Charging Bull statue. (NY1)

• Remember the Tribeca “bean” by Anish Kapoor, the creator of the Chicago bean, on Leonard St? It’s only partially built, half shiny bean, half plywood construction site. (Michael Young for New York YIMBY)

11 Black-owned wine shops across the city. (Hannah Albertine and Nikko Duren for The Infatuation)

A Park Slope Food Co-Op member started a GoFundMe to raise $10,000 to sue the organization, alleging racial discrimination. (Erika Adams for Eater)

• Move over lobster, here come the crab boils. (Ellie Plass for Bklyner)

The city will not test rising kindergarteners for admission to gifted programs, the education department announced Wednesday. Instead, students will be evaluated by their pre-K teacher or sign up for an interview. (Christina Veiga for Chalkbeat)

Black Seed Bagels is getting into pizza, but disappointingly there are no pizza bagels on the menu. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

The top 10 places to find the best pastrami in NYC. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

The state’s plan for the 20-million-square-foot Empire Station Complex surrounding Penn Station was adopted by the board of directors of Empire State Development. The plan calls for five buildings over 1,000 feet tall, up to 1,300 feet. For reference, the Empire State building’s roof is 1,250 feet tall. The project is expected to be completed by 2038. (Vanessa Londono for New York YIMBY)

Five snacks to try across the city. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

The Briefly for February 16-18, 2021 – The “Because Whoopi Goldberg Told Me To” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: 22 hour subway service starts soon, drama in the bird community, the Soho Grifter is out, the oldest bars on the UWS, and more

Today – Low: 20˚ High: 44˚
Rain in the morning and afternoon.

22-hour subway service will start on 2/22, shutting down daily from 2-4 am. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

Nearly a quarter of New York City’s students with disabilities have not received all of the services they’re entitled to this school year, according to new figures that offer the most comprehensive picture yet of special education during the pandemic. (Alex Zimmerman for Chalkbeat)

The MTA got 25 celebrities to record Covid-19 PSAs for the subways. Finally New Yorkers will follow mask and social distancing guidelines because Michael Rapaport and Whoopi Goldberg told them to. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

• The seawall to protect Staten Island from another Hurricane Sandy was scheduled to be finished this year, but construction isn’t expected to be finished for another five years or more. Radiation from a 1940s landfill in Great Kills Park halted progress on the East Shore Seawall as the city, state, and federal governments fight over who”s responsible for getting rid of the radiation. (Clifford Michel for The City)

The Bronx is #2 highest risk in the country from natural disasters only behind Los Angeles. (Ed García Conde for Welcome2TheBronx)

• Green-Wood Cemetery wants your help to identify thousands of WWII soldiers buried at the cemetery. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

• Good question: What does the mayor of NYC actually do? (Brigid Bergin for Gothamist)

A look at how the roots of the NAACP run through Greenwich Village. (Joey Rodriguez for GVSHP)

• Video: Kissaki chef Mark Garcia makes 200-300 omakase to-go boxes every night. (Director Pelin Keskin for Eater)

• It’s not just your imagination, the city’s snowstorms have been getting worse. (Lydia McMullen-Laird for Gothamist)

• If you’re in the latest group of New Yorkers eligible for the vaccine, you’ve learned that the state’s vaccine website is utter garbage and can’t keep up with demand. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

The alleged subway stabber, Rigoberto Lopez, was arrested. (Ashley Southall for NY Times)

NYC’s bird watching community is feeling the pressure of popularity after getting a wider amount of interest form the general public in the last year. (Daniel E. Slotnik for NY Times)

• Anna Sorokin aka Anna Delvey, the fake heiress grifter convicted of grand larceny, is out of prison and working on a memoir and a TV show. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

Revel is expanding its service to electric bikes for a subscription cost of $90/month. you’ll get a pedal-assisted bike to use for as long as you’re a subscriber rather than their traditional model of looking for one on the street. (Julianne Cuba for Streetsblog)

9 indie Brooklyn bookstores to visit. (Emilie Murphy for Brooklyn Magazine)

• Governor Cuomo almost apologized, but still didn’t, for his administration’s actions that led to the Covid-19 nursing scandal. (Jesse McKinley for NY Times)

What it’s like to run a movie theater, the Cobble Hill Cinema, in a pandemic. (Red Hook Star-Revue)

Thanks to reader Lolita for today’s featured photo!

The Briefly for January 31 – February 1, 2021 – The “Indoor Dining Returns to NYC” Sunday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: The City Council works towards reforming the NYPD, Restaurant Week To Go is extended, the end of the renter’s market, Lunar New Year, & more

Today – Low: 26˚ High: 29˚
Snow overnight.

Due to Monday’s snow storm all Covid-19 vaccination appointments are being rescheduled, in-person classes are canceled, some food distribution and childcare programs are canceled, and the city’s Code Blue emergency cold weather plan is in effect. The National Weather Service is predicting 17 inches of snow with wind gusts up to 50 mph. (John Del Signore for Gothamist)

An illustrated guide to what it’s like to give the Covid-19 vaccine. (Julia Rothman and Shaina Feinberg for NY Times)

Raise your hand if you’re surprised that white New Yorkers have received a disproportionate amount of vaccine doses. No hands? Just checking. (Sydney Pereira, Jake Dobkin, and Nsikan Akpan for Gothamist)

Believe it or not, hundreds of candidates for the June primaries are still required to collect signatures in-person, creating a democratically-mandated super spreader event. The state’s legislature put a bill together to lower the number of signatures required, which Governor Cuomo hasn’t signed yet. (Brigid Bergin for Gothamist)

Interview: Loree Sutton on running for mayor. (Ben Max for Gotham Gazette)

Indoor dining will return to the city at 25% on Valentine’s Day. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

NYC Restaurant Week To Go was extended three additional weeks until February 28, overlapping past the re-opening of indoor dining. (Erika Adams for Eater)

The boogeyman of NYC is “if you do that, people will leave the city.” The latest person to invoke the boogeyman is Andrew Yang, saying if the city scraps its gifted programs, families will leave the city. Critics say the people with the ability to leave the city are middle-class white families and protecting the program is akin to protecting those families over others. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

The City Council is one step closer to taking the NYPD out of traffic enforcement and investigating crashes, handing that off to the Department of Transportation. It’s part of the Council’s 12-part agenda which includes many other police reforms. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

Included in the reform package: Ending qualified immunity for NYPD officers who commit misconduct, giving the City Commission on Human Rights the power to investigate police officers with a history of bigotry, Giving press credentialing to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services instead of the NYPD, Creating a new task force to handle mental health emergencies, and more. The reform package answers Governor Cuomo’s call to submit a plan for police reform before April 1 or risk losing state funds. (Christopher Robbins and Yasmeen Khan for Gothamist)

Always read the plaque. Like this one on Pearl Street marketing the site of the city’s first printing press. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

If you hated the “everything is cake” memes, Double Chicken Please on the Lower East Side is selling ice cream that looks just like a hot dog. (Anna Ben Yehuda for Time Out)

I felt proud of myself after making a batch of chocolate chip cookies last night. Patrick LaMarca’s 4AM CANDY CO. is putting me to shame with these over the top, massive gourmet peanut butter cups available for order. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Photos and Video: The 75th anniversary of NYC’s World War II victory parade. (Abby Gweon for Untapped New York)

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez vacated 262 warrants related to prostitution charges last week, stating he’s aiming to remove the negative consequences for individuals. There’s a much larger conversation to be had about prostitution in New York, but I haven’t seen an article that properly communicates the nuanced problems with the state’s latest efforts. Please feel free to send me links to educated arguments on this. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

If you’ve ventured out to Red Hook and looked behind the (former) Fairway Market, you’ll find a trolley car. Here’s a brief history of how that trolley got there and how it’s connected to the secret tunnel under Atlantic Ave, and the modern (failed) attempts at a Brooklyn-Queens trolley. (Brooklyn Eagle)

William Pepe, the MTA employee arrested in connection to the Capitol insurrection, has been connected to the Proud Boys by the federal government. Pepe continues to be suspended without pay from the MTA. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

Who’s running for Queens borough president? Get yourself educated ahead of the June primary. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

A federal judge is appointing a monitor to oversee the city’s special education complaint system, since the city has failed to live up to its side of a 2007 lawsuit requiring the education department to provide services or payments to families within 35 days of receiving a hearing officer’s order. (Alex Zimmerman for Chalkbeat)

Get your leases signed now, because there are some early indicators that the renter’s market could be at an end. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

42 date spots with outdoor heat lamps. (Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

Mets fans rejoice! The new owner of the Mets managed to not Mets things up when it came to the GameStop stock. There was a worry that Steve Cohen’s support of Melvin Capital would require him to take funds away form the team, a very Mets situation indeed. (Joe Pantorno for amNewYork Metro)

The Lunar New Year is on Friday. 7 restaurants with Lunar New Year specials. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)