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 February 27, 2020 – The “Who is the Most Powerful Person in New York City?” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Staten Island’s rebellion against speed cameras, the F train is headed for construction, the Gowanus Canal cleanup, eating in Mott Haven, and more

Today – Low: 29˚ High: 43˚
Light rain in the morning.

Central Park has a turtle problem. The red-eared slider turtle, technically listed as an invasive species, is having its run of Central Park and muscling out the park’s other species of turtles. How did they get there? They’re usually pets who are abandoned in the park because they’ve grown to an unmanageable size, or their humans weren’t ready for a potentially 50+ year commitment to their new shelled friend. (Sarah Lewin Lebwohl for I Love the Upper West Side)

Video: See life in NYC from 1911 with this colorized and restored 4K footage. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

The 100 most powerful people in New York City. The mayor is #4, which seems high. No, I did not make the list as the person who runs The Briefly, maybe in 2021. (City and State)

Pedro Colon, 61, faces criminal charges after his bus hit Patience Albert, 10, and a 15-year-old boy on the corner of Wortman Avenue and Crescent Street in Brooklyn. The 15-year-old survived, Patience Albert did not. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

Get ready for over a year’s worth of construction on the F train to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. The 14+ month job will also add cell service and wifi to the tunnel, so the next time you’re imprisoned by the MTA underneath the East River, you’ll also have to endure someone making a FaceTime call at the same time. Work is slated to start sometime later this year. (Jose Martinez for The City)

It’s not time to freak out, but the coronavirus in the United States is “more of a question of exactly when this will happen” and not if, according to the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Here is how to prepare for coronavirus in NYC. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

The mayor has been requesting the CDC allow New York City labs to test for coronavirus and that passengers arriving in NYC be screened for it. (Robert Pozarycki for amNewYork Metro)

New York, as we know it, will no longer exist tomorrow. […] It’ll be the 1970’s all over again. People will get mean, the streets won’t be safe, graffiti everywhere, and movies will only cost three dollars.” -Tracey Jordan (30 Rock)

Here are NYC’s James Beard Awards semifinalists. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

First Lady Chirlane McCray is considering running for Brooklyn Borough President. People of Brooklyn, I implore you to stop electing anyone in the de Blasio family into any public office in New York City. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

A look back at the Depression-era shanty towns in New York City parks. (Lucie Levine for 6sqft)

The NYPD is investigating police union boss Ed Mullins, the head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. Mullins, who will never be accused of making the rational move, has taken to Facebook to declare “I WILL NOT BE SILENCED BY THE THREAT OF DISCIPLINE, NOW OR EVER!” This is a man who was quoted as saying “Ferguson Missouri was a lie,” declared war on the mayor, NYPD officers should stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with ICE and the list goes on. The investigation is to see if his views undermine his capacity as a sergeant, where he earns a salary of $133,524. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron upheld an August 2019 ruling that four towers planned for the Lower East Side Two Bridges development cannot move forward. The ruling says the land-review process was illegally bypassed and that 2,775 new apartments and 2.5 million square feet of new space does not qualify as “minor modifications.” (Michelle Cohen for 6sqft)

The MTA announced 1,800 planned job cuts on Wednesday, but hasn’t said where they are coming from or if they are part of the 2,700 job cuts announced in the summer. The agency is hoping to close the projected billion dollar plus deficit projected by 2023. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

Harvey Weinstein may never see the inside of Rikers Island to avoid “another Epstein incident.” (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

A look back on when Mayor Bloomberg wanted poor people to drink less soda. (Arthur Delaney for HuffPost)

Maybe Mayor Bloomberg should never have uttered “we treated our teachers the right way” during this week’s Democratic debate, because NYC’s teachers have the receipts. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

Amazon continues to rent buildings across the city, this time it’s a 300,000 square foot space in Middle Village, taking over the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s former space. (Bill Parry for amNewYork Metro)

The Trump administration can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities, according to a ruling issued on Wednesday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan, a break from three previous court rulings. NYC received about $4 million a year in law enforcement grants. (Annie Correal for NY Times)

The City Council will consider a package of bills aimed at limiting how much food delivery apps like GrubHub and Seamless can charge restaurants. (Jeffery C. Mays and David Yaffe-Bellany for NY Times)

Staging a Broadway should is tough, staging a Broadway show in Madison Square Garden for 18,000 students is tougher. (Julia Jacobs for NY Times)

Staten Islanders have been wrapping yellow ribbons around utility poles to indicate the presence of speed cameras. The argument of the Facebook group behind the effort is that the speed cameras are nothing more than a money grab from the city. (Amanda Farinacci for NY1)

Most elected officials in Staten Island won’t be participating in the island’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because the parade’s organizers will not allow Staten Island’s largest LGBT to march. Republican State Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Mike Reilly have announced they will be marching, perhaps making the political decision that Staten Islanders hate the LGBT community more than they hate bigotry in general. (Amanda Farinacci for NY1)

Here’s how the Gowanus Canal clean-up will proceed. (Pardon Me for Asking)

Where to eat in Mott Haven. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

Thanks to reader Camila for today’s featured photo!

The Briefly for September 26, 2019 – The “Nightmare NIMBY Neighborhood” Edition

The MTA’s $51.4 billion Captial Plan was approved, white New Yorkers are twice as likely to smoke marijuana, Facebook eyes the post office, and more in today’s daily NYC news digest

The Working Families Party is accusing Governor Cuomo of creating a conspiracy to destroy them for daring to run Cynthia Nixon against him in his last primary. (NY Times)

Andrew Cuomo and his longtime girlfriend Sandra Lee have the world’s largest display of LEGO art” with classics like Michaelangelo’s David, Degas’s Whistler’s Mother, Munch’s The Scream and Van Gogh’s Starry Night interpreted in LEGO starting this weekend at the New York Hall of Science. (Time Out)

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York State Attorney General Letitia James sued ICE over the arrests that have taken place outside of the city’s courthouses. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Screaming, propaganda, shoving, conspiracy theories about the Department of Transportation, and accusations of taking money from pedophiles, just another day in the NIMBY-nightmare neighborhood of Park Slope. (Streetsblog)

A peek inside Michael Cera’s new $2.4 million Bed-Stuy home. (Mansion Global)

93% of people arrested for marijuana possession in NYC are black and Latino, but white New Yorkers are twice as likely to have smoked marijuana than anyone else. (Patch)

Operation DUMBO Drop 2019 is a go. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

We are a month away from early voting in this year’s elections, so it’s time to start educating yourself about the five ballot questions. (Gotham Gazette)

The $51.4 billion MTA Capital Plan for 2020 – 2024 was unanimously approved by the MTA’s board and has the support of Mayor de Blasio, with a few strings attached. The city is expected to pay $3 billion towards the plan, but during the current 2015-2019 plan the city was expected to pay $2.66 billion, but only paid $790 million. (Streetsblog)

Facebook is eyeing 740,000 square feet of office space at the the midtown post office. (6sqft)

Photos: Inside a 19th-century paint factory, before it becomes luxury loft apartments. (Untapped Cities)

A gold coffin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be taken back to Egypt after the realization that it had been stolen. (Patch)

If you were at Paul Simon’s last show in Queens, I have some news for you. He’ll be part of Live From Here with Chris Thile on October 26. (Brooklyn Vegan)

Photos: Inside Long Island City’s new public library. (6sqft)

City schools were all set to have a one day work week this year on December 23, but logic has prevailed and students and teachers will get that day off as well, extending winter break from December 21 through January 2. (Patch)

If you’re a big fan of waiting in long lines to get food, Chinese rice noodle roll and congee restaurant Yin Ji Chang Fen has opened an outpost on Bayard St. (Gothamist)

If you define corruption as an illegal act that benefits an individual without punishment because of their office or position, the Brooklyn Borough President’s office is corrupt for their agreement with the Parks Department that allows officials to park wherever they feel in the park that surrounds Borough Hall without consequence. (The City)

Mapping the development boom transforming Crown Heights. (Curbed)

Hart Island’s been in the news a lot lately, today’s update is that there is a concern that it is running out of space as the city’s public burial grounds. Since the Civil War, over a million people have been buried there and in eight to ten years the city needs to find a new place to bury its dead. (6sqft)

As expected, the vape flavor ban is being challenged in court. (amNY)

The city’s grand plans to update and future-proof the Gowanus Canal cleanup have been killed by the EPA. (6sqft)

Enjoy 10 hours in Gowanus (but not in the Gowanus) with this guide. (Brooklyn Based)

It is a misdemeanor under the city’s Right of Way law to fail to yield to pedestrians or cyclists while making a turn after a state appeals court upheld the law as constitutional. (Gothamist)

Where to get drinks in the theater district. (amNY)