The Briefly for May 4, 2020 – The “Reviewing the Best and Worst Frozen Pizzas” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: The city tries open streets again, a brutal social distancing arrest caught on video, rent strikes take footing, 22 iconic dishes still available, and more

Today – Low: 44˚&nbspHigh: 65˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

You come across a cement fountain full of apples in a city park, what do you do? (EV Grieve)

The Times goes galaxy brain and asks “whether it will be even possible for riders to practice social distancing on a system whose core purpose is to carry throngs of people in confined spaces.” (Christina Goldbaum for NY Times)

Watch Steve “ESPO” Powers work on a mural on boarded-up windows in Soho. (Noah Shiedlower for Untapped New York)

A judge dismissed the New York State Nurses Association’s lawsuit against Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx demanding more protective gear and COVID-19 testing for health care workers, ruling that arbitration under a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the hospital was necessary. (Maya Kaufman for Patch)

Restaurant critics tackle the best and worst of NYC’s frozen pizzas. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

If you were playing the “I know where that was filmed!” game with the season premiere of Billions last night, you can check the answers with Billions’ NYC filming locations. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

A team of film and television set builder volunteers is building intubation boxes for local hospitals out of an IATSE union training workshop in Queens. The team of six has built 46 boxes so far, thanks to their time and a GoFuneMe account. (Ben Verge for Brooklyn Paper)

Evangelical Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse and their field hospital are leaving Central Park in two weeks as COVID-19 hospital admission is reaching “manageable levels.” (Sophia Chang for NY Times)

The field hospital is leaving, but that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. The city’s next focus should be on preventing a second wave, which is why the city won’t be lifting restrictions. (Brendan Krisel for Patch)

Videos are emerging of an absolutely brutal pair of arrests by the NYPD. While three plainclothes officers are arresting someone for marijuana possession while supposedly enforcing social distancing on Saturday, a fourth officer who was not wearing a mask or gloves brutally beat someone for standing too close. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

The Metropolitan Opera’s weekly streaming schedule has been released. (Adam Feldman for Time Out)

The connection between New York and Puerto Rico has always been special. This week, 16,000 pounds of fresh fruit and produce from Puerto Rican farmers arrived in the Bronx, which will be donated to community centers, senior citizens, and low-income families. (Ed García Conde for Welcome2TheBronx)

A touch of good news: Lenox Hill Hospital released its 1,000th COVID-19 patient on Thursday afternoon. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

Governor Cuomo made it official: No one is going back to school this school year. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

Each month calls for Governor Cuomo to take more action to provide real rent relief, not just displacing payments, will grow louder and the resources for tenants looking to form rent strikes in their buildings become more readily available. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

A guide to rare liquors being sold by restaurants and distilleries. (Leah Rosenzweig for Eater)

The Brooklyn funeral home that was stacking bodies in an unrefrigerated truck had its license suspended by state health officials. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

The New York Public Library released “Missing Sounds of New York” on Soundcloud and Spotify, an album of collected sounds that you might be missing from your life lately, like stumbling on an unwelcomed performance on the subway, or a party you weren’t invited to happening outside your window, or a loud bar. (Bill Pearis for BrooklynVegan)

The Physical Plant, a LIC nonprofit, put together “Dance Shorts,” a compilation of 16 dance videos that run together to make an 80-minute series. The Physical Plant is having a Facebook Watch party tonight to celebrate the release. (Michael Dorgan for Jackson Heights Post)

For $10,000, you can have Death & Co set up their bar in your home for five hours of drinking. This is, of course, redeemable after its safe for anyone to come to your home. They’ll bring the necessary glasses, booze, bartenders, and everything for a four-course dinner. It’s not just an outrageous purchase, which is it is, but 20% of the sales will go towards the bar’s emergency staff relief fund. (Bao Ong for Time Out)

The NYPD was forced to break up another funeral for a rabbi in Borough Park, Brooklyn. (NBC News)

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation is offering personal help to look through their archives of over 65 million documents to research your family’s history if they came through Ellis Island. The documents are available online for free, but the help costs $30. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

This is why we can’t have nice things. Green-Wood Cemetery opened its gates for extended hours to help ease the stress of always being around the living, and a small percentage of people have violated the cemetery’s rules, which could cause the cemetery to close. (Ben Verde for amNewYork Metro)

The city’s first wave of open streets kicks off this week and it seems as stupid as possible. Of this month’s 40 miles of streets to open up, 7 miles of open streets were open this weekend. 4.5 miles are inside parks and 2.7 miles are adjacent to parks. What’s the point of adding open streets next to a park? (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

The NYPD and the Department of Transportation are doing their best to walk back their comments about needing “a legion of cops” to man the barricades. That and running coverage from Streetsblog of the first weekend of open streets. (Streetsblog)

22 restaurants still offering iconic NYC dishes. (Carla Vianna for Eater)

Thank you to Katie for today’s featured photo! Hello Katie’s mom!

The Briefly for March 13, 2020 – The “How Does A Strip Club Fight COVID-19?” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: COVID-19 in NYC, the secret gardens of the Upper West Side, new restrictions on gatherings, Broadway is closed, there are no more pro sports, and more

Today – Low: 40˚ High: 66˚
Light rain in the morning and afternoon.
This weekend – Low: 35˚ High: 55˚

Video: Four of six candidates for Queens borough president debated at Queens College on March 9. (Angélica Acevedo for QNS)

The Palm steakhouses have been owned for 93 years by the family that launched them, but they have sold to the company that owns the Rainforest Cafe in a $45 million deal. (Serena Dai for Eater)

360° Video: From the top of Edge NY’s outdoor deck. (Action Kid)

The Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge raised $60,000, which was distributed to multiple community organizations, including the New York Aquarium, the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Island USA, the Coney Island History Project, Coney Beach Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers, New York State Marine Education Association, New York City Parks Foundation, the Coney Island YMCA, and Parachute Literary Arts. If you ever wondered “why does anyone do that?,” this is the benefit of having a wild idea on January 1. (John Alexander for The Brooklyn Home Reporter)

The title is 12 buildings that should be brought back, but if you’re looking to explore some of old New York’s masterpieces, here are 12 of them. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

The Bronx Brewery in planning a second location in the East Village on Second Ave between 3rd and 4th. The location should be opening in the fall with a brewery, live music, and a kitchen with “special guest” chefs. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

The best restaurants in the West Village, because we’re not all going to be making all of our own meals in perpetuity. (Bryan Kim, Katherine Lewin, Hillary Reinsberg, & Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

Conor McGregor donated $1 million to the first responder Steven Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation to make good on a 2018 promise. (amNewYork Metro)

If you’ve got plans to binge the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you might ask yourself, “If I were her friend, where would I live?” and also “Could I afford it?” Here are your answers. (Localize.City)

The secret gardens of the Upper West Side. (Mike Mishkin for I Love the Upper West Side)


I won’t list things that are closing but assume that everything, everything pro sports and everything Broadway, is canceled or postponed unless you explicitly hear otherwise, with the exception of city schools, the Queens borough president election, and the census. Before going anywhere or doing anything, please call and confirm.

The state’s public emergency health plan has two prongs: reducing the spread and treating the infected. “There is no end date.” (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

Video: The mayor’s press conference about the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday afternoon was somber and reassuring at the same time. If you have the endurance to watch over 90 minutes, the video is available. (NBC News)

The Archdiocese of New York announced it was closing all of its elementary schools for at least a week and would reassess the situation on March 20. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

Early voting in the Queens borough president’s race starts on Saturday. Is the city ready for its first coronavirus election? (Ben Brachfeld for Gothamist)

Subway ridership is unsurprisingly down 18.65% from a year ago as as many people as possible are staying home. (Dana Rubinstein for Politico)

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah are joining most daytime shows in filming without studio audiences moving forward. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

I got a text from a friend yesterday that the school nurse for their school was out and one of their students was displaying signs of a fever and coughing. He told me his school didn’t have a backup plan aside from sending the student home immediately.

COVID-19 is showing is just how woefully unprepared our school nurse situation is. The city plans on hiring enough nurses to distribute one in each building by today, but these nurses will be contractors with the city and as a result will be unable to access students’ medical records. Not an ideal situation for making medical decisions. (Jessica Gould for Gothamist)

When people stop showing up to a senior center like the Open Door Senior Center over COVID-19 fears, it doesn’t mean they aren’t in need of a meal. How do you provide a meal to someone staying home in fear? ( Gabriel Sandoval and Claudia Irizarry Aponte with additional reporting by Josefa Velasquez for The City)

If we’re all going to be seeing more of the inside of our apartments more, maybe it’s time to tackle some of those long-standing projects we’ve been thinking about. The story of how Lauren Rothman was unable to change to a different apartment, so she changed her apartment. (Lauren Rothman for Curbed)

The state’s finances are based on economic growth, which means the next fiscal year, which starts on April 1st, is completely screwed by COVID-19, which will have years of ramifications for the state. (Fred Mogul for Gothamist)

Advocates are worried undocumented New Yorkers will be scared to seek medical help for COVID-19 symptoms. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

No matter what you heard early in the day on Thursday, the child who self-reported as having COVID-19 in the Bronx does not have the illness and the school they attended will be open on Friday. The school system may explore a “summer school model,” with a limited shutdown. (Sophia Chang, Jessica Gould, Yasmeen Khan for Gothamist)

There’s gonna be a lot of beer that goes undrank and a lot of corned beef that goes uneaten on St Patricks Day. (Erika Adams for Eater)

No gathering of more than 500 people can happen in New York and the legal capacity of just about everywhere has been cut in half. In addition, the mayor said that MSG and the Barclays Center should be expected to be closed for months. (Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan)

Restaurants will have to reduce their capacity by 50% as part of the new preventative measures put in place. The mayor re-iterated while outlining the new policy that this could be a six0month health crisis with a longer economic recovery period. The city is offering no-interest loans, but this crisis is going to be absolutely apocalyptic for the city’s restaurants, which already operate on slim margins. (Serena Dai for Eater)

A longstanding New York trade organization representing restaurants is calling for the state to offer tax breaks and cap food delivery service fees — in addition to a host of other requests, as the industry prepares for drastic economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. (Erika Adam for Eater)

Alex Jones, a human backflowing sewer pipe and conspiracy theorist, was selling toothpaste, creams and several other products that claim to treat or prevent and cure COVID-19 on his website. Attorney Letitia James immediately sent him a cease and desist. (Noah Higgins-Dunn for CNBC)

How does a strip club like FlashDancers handle an outbreak like COVID-19? (Tribeca Citizen)

The Briefly for March 12, 2020 – The “Why is Mayor Bill de Blasio So Hated?” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Expect six months before we return to pre-COVID19 normalcy, the best of Midtown East, Modell’s says goodbye, Harvey Weinstein is off to rot, and more

Today – Low: 46˚ High: 49˚
Light rain in the evening and overnight.

The census begins today. Last time around, the city’s participation rate was 62%, compared to the national average of 76%. With as much effort the city and state have put into marketing the census, it’s gonna be mighty embarrassing if we maintain that low rate. (Alex Williamson for Brooklyn Eagle)

Why is DeBlasio so hated? (AskNYC)

Rapist and rotting ghoul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison. His layer had previously said that he may not outlive any sentence over five years. May he live a long life to experience every single day of that sentence. (Jen Ransom for NY Times)

Even Harvey Weinstein’s own body hates him, as he was hospitalized again with heart problems and chest pain. Let’s all hope he’s got great doctors because he has at least 23 years minus a day to live. (Dean Meminger for amNewYork Metro)

RIP Modell’s, who will be liquidating all of its stores starting Friday. The company is pointing to an unusually warm winter as the final nail in the coffin. If you gotta go to Mo’s, make sure it’s soon. (Crain’s)

The $3.2 million revamp of Woodside’s Little Bush Playground is set to start next month and should take about a year to finish. (Michael Dorgan for Sunnyside Post)

The Chelsea Hotel renovations continue to be an utter mess. Work has stopped because the building did not qualify for a Certificate of No Harassment with multiple tenants complaining about unlivable conditions dating back years. (Michelle Cohen for 6sqft)

Governors Island announced its free programming for the 2020 season, which starts on May 1. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

May we all be lucky to have birthday parties half as wild as 87-year-old Ray from Ray’s Candy Store. (Bob Krasner for amNewYork Metro)

Sometimes you don’t even have to go outside to birdwatch. (Mike Mishkin for I Love the Upper West Side)

Crown Heights has a new vegan Ethiopian restaurant in Ras Plant Based. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)

The number of families in shelters each night was 46 percent higher last year than it was in December 2009, and one out of every 100 babies born in the city was brought to a shelter, rather than a permanent home. Needless to say, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio did not earn high marks on The Coalition for the Homeless’ annual report. (Janaki Chadha for Politico)

“I can now proudly call myself an NYC housing lottery winner.” One person’s story of how they won the lottery. (Kim Turner for StreetEasy)

Frank’s Cocktail Lounge in Fort Greene has been the backdrop to a changing neighborhood since the 1950s, and on April 10 of this year, that comes to an end. (S.E. Blackwell for East New York News)

Photos: A first look from the observation deck of Edge. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

The lone Yelp review gave it four stars, but still called it “crack head city.” KN Mi Delicia Bakery and Coffee Shop in Mott Haven was part of a drug ring and multi-state 14-person arrest, with a raid finding $50,000 cash and bags stuffed with what is suspected to be heroin and cocaine. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

Brooklyn Democratic Party’s leaders have endorsed Councilmember Donovan Richards for Queens borough president. (Alex Williamson for Brookly Eagle)

The city is beginning to experiment with, get this, actual dumpsters for businesses that will be set on the street to remove trash bag mountains that pile up on our sidewalks. It’s almost like the sidewalks should be for people to walk on, not for businesses to store trash on. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

26 excellent Midtown East bars and restaurants to try. (Alexandra Ilyashov for Eater)


Six months. According to the mayor, that’s how long the fight against COVID-19 will take before things return to normal again. Get ready for the worst summer ever. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on restaurants will be akin to a major natural disaster. (Serena Dai for Eater)

Restaurants, open-air markets, and catering companies are expected to take a hard hit, Grub Street takes a look at how businesses are preparing to support their hourly staffs if at all. (Chris Crowley for Grub Street)

“We’re not in a position where we can rely on the CDC or the FDA to manage this testing protocol.” -Governor Cuomo. New York will start contracting 28 private labs to help administer coronavirus testing for New York residents. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

Daytime talk shows filming in New York will be forgoing live studio audiences during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Kimberley Richards for HuffPost)

SUNY and CUNY schools will halt in-person classes for the rest of the semester, beginning on March 19. The dorms won’t be closing and classes that are impossible to hold remotely will still be held. (Niedzwiadek and Madina Touré for Politico)

Coronavirus fears may jeopardize the election process, which requires candidates to collect up to thousands of signatures of supporters. This may lead to the governor altering election law, as he did following Superstorm Sandy. (Max Parrott for QNS)

If you’re healthy, you should still consider dining out. The virus is not transmitted via food or drink. (Serena Dai for Eater)

An usher for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Six” has tested positive for COVID-19. Both theaters underwent a deep clean, the shows are continuing, and the usher is now in quarantine. (Michael Paulson for NY Times)

Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is officially canceled. (Todd Maisel and Robert Pozarycki for amNewYork Metro)

How to help during the coronavirus outbreak. (Azi Paybarahf or NY Times)

A big thank you to reader Taina for today’s featured photo, taken in Red Hook.