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 January 30, 2020 – The “So Many Non-Coronavirus Ways to Die” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Krispy Kreme is coming back to NYC, impeachment cakes, the NYPD wrote more moving violation tickets to cyclists than truck drivers in 2019, and more

Today – Low: 33˚ High: 38˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

12 contenders for a NYC subway mascot. (Ben Yakas with illustrations by Matt Lubchansky for Gothamist)

The Lunar New Year Chinese Temple Bazaar in Queens was canceled over coronavirus fears, despite New York having no confirmed cases. (Joseph Goldstein and Jeffrey E. Singer for NY Times)

Worried about Coronavirus? Don’t be. The flu killed 5,000 Americans in the first two weeks of the year. (Buzzfeed)

If you live in NYC, you can request a Department of Transportation bike corral by filling out a form, even for a residential building. (@jeffnovich)

The NYPD issued more moving violations to bicyclists than truck drivers in 2019. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

In reaction to the Clearview AI mess with the NYPD, State Senator Brad Hoylman proposed legislation that would outright ban on biometric technology use by police on a city level, a bill is being pushed that would require the NYPD to disclose every surveillance tool it employs. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

The city collectively passed a ballot measure to expand the power the Civilian Complaint Review Board has to oversee the NYPD. In response, the NYPD is suing the city to prevent the change from happening. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The Harlem neighborhood that Langston Hughes praised in 1944 is still one of the ‘best-kept secrets in New York.’ But it’s not quite as affordable as it once was. (Aileen Jacobson for NY Times)

According to Mayor Bloomberg, New York City “isn’t trying to be the lowest-priced product in the market.” Now the city is full of empty luxury apartments, because oligarchs don’t have the same kind of money that they used to. (Cory Doctorow for Boing Boing)

Krispy Kreme is coming to Times Square with a 24 hour 45,000-square-foot store and it’s bringing five more NYC locations with it. (Bao Ong for Time Out)

What happened with Fairway in Red Hook? According to their landlord private-equity ruined the store. (Eddie Small for The Real Deal)

15 places to find vaulted Gustavino tiles in the city. (Shirley Mgozi Nwangwa for Untapped New York)

Should New York public schools teach climate change? Wait, climate change isn’t taught in New York schools? (Scott Enman for The Brooklyn Home Reporter)

Hey, did you buy a lottery ticket and not check it? Two Take 5 tickets were sold and they’re each $29,249 winners. Go check your pockets. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

The Alamo Drafthouse in lower Manhattan was supposed to open in 2018, then it was supposed to open in 2019, now it’s been postponed until summer of this year. (Bill Pearis for BrooklynVegan)

It’s been ten years since it was declared a superfund site, but the long-awaited cleanup of the Gowanus Canal officially has a start date, and it’s in September. (Devin Gannon or 6sqft)

The city paid Childrens Community Services half a billion dollars to provide homeless services since 2017, but there’s only one problem. It appears that the nonprofit doesn’t exist. (Nikita Stewart for NY Times)

Someone’s been spotted stealing the Spotted Pig’s pig. (Serena Dai for Eater)

The website for The Villager, one of the media brands inside the Schnepps empire, has been eaten by amNewYork Metro. The Villager was already the home for The Villager, Chelsea Now, Downtown Express, and Manhattan Express. Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate. (Elie Z. Perler for Bowery Boogie)

Brooklyn bakery Butter & Scotch sent 53 sheet cakes to Washington with various messages to encourage Republican senators to allow John Bolton to testify int he impeachment trial of Donald Trump. (Nikita Richardson for Grub Street)

Dozens of Rise and Resist members grouped themselves at Grand Central during the peak of rush hours, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday night, for a vocal demonstration, sparked by the impeachment proceedings on speed and lack of witnesses. (Gabe Herman for amNewYork Metro)

Brooklyn may seem like a liberal’s paradise, but politics within the borough’s Democratic party is becoming less transparent as leaders voted to hold fewer meetings and restrict member-driven resolutions. (Rose Adams for Brooklyn Paper)

The famous hot chocolate from City Bakery is getting a second life with founder Maury Rubin’s The Wonderbon Chocolate Co. (Emma Orlow for Time Out)

The team behind Brooklyn Bazaar is bringing a new restaurant within McCarren Park inside the restored bathroom building. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

The most beautiful interiors in New York City, mapped. (Amy Plitt for Curbed)

Nothing says “punk rock” like a limited edition pair of Doc Martens with the CBGB logo stamped on them. (BrooklynVegan)

After the Knicks shit the bed (again) on Wednesday night, the entire Garden broke out in a “sell the team” chant aimed at team owner James Dolan. The Knicks are 13-36 and have had a using record 16 if the last 19 seasons. (Dan Bernstein for The Sporting News)

Video: A look at People and Animals Living Safely (PALS), a non-profit that provides a safe space for human and animal victims of domestic abuse. (Matt Coneybeare for Viewing NYC)

The MTA has big plans for 2020, which include work on making nine subway stations ADA compliant, spending a billion dollars on signal upgrades for the A, C, and E lines, improving the 7 and F tunnels, station improvements along the J and Z lines, and working on extending the Q train to 125th St. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

Shaun Donovan, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, is planning to run for mayor of New York. (Danielle Muoio for Politico)

The City Council is imagining the future of Rikers Island, with an emphasis on creating renewable energy and a waste water treatment plant is a possibility. (Gloria Palzmino for NY1)

There are 1,400 buildings whose facades have been determined to have major structural problems and are a serious threat to pedestrians, hundreds with no protections for pedestrians. Those buildings have racked up $31 million in unpaid fines from the city. (Matthew Maah for NY Times)

39 holiday happy hour deals in NYC. (Eater)

The Briefly for January 23, 2020 – The “Hipsters Have Left the Neighborhood” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: MSG hasn’t paid propoerty tax in 37 years, Mayor de Blasio’s homeless strategy is failing, the best Brooklyn bars with fireplaces, and more

Today – Low: 33˚ High: 45˚
Mostly cloudy throughout the day.

Madison Square Garden has gone 37 years without paying a single cent of property taxes, not paying the city over half a billion dollars of taxes in that time. James Dolan, awful musician and owner of MSG, is a major contributor to Governor Cuomo which makes it unlikely that the governor would change the deal. (Neil deMause for Gothamist)

Why do I mention he’s an awful musician? Listen to this garbage he wrong about being friends with Harvey Weinstein. (JD & The Straight Shot)

A new exhibit in Chelsea Market looks at life inside the Hotel Chelsea’s apartments, featuring work from Colin Miller’s “Hotel Chelsea: Living in the Last Bohemian Haven.” (Gabe Herman for amNewYork Metro)

Taco Chulo in Williamsburg is closing on March 1, blaming the closing on “the hipsters leaving and going to Bushwick.” (Tanay Warekar for Eater)

Is Fairway closing all of its stores? Depends who you listen to. (Chris Crowley for Grub Hub)

Vegans, despite what you’ve heard, are people too and sometimes they want a good junk food burger. (Ryan Sutton for Eater)

Another look at the subway cars of the future, which will start to be brought unto service later this year. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

About 75% of you answered that you think you’ll never own a home in the city, for those of you who think you might, here are 8 great city starter homes. (Amy Plitt for Curbed)

Mayor de Blasio’s new strategy to help the homeless, giving them the option between going to a homeless shelter and be given a summons or engaging with outreach providers, isn’t working. 60% of homeless New Yorkers chose to get a summons instead of accepting services. Instead of helping the homeless, we’re punishing them. (Mirela Iverac for Gothamist)

A dead homeless man was found on the D train following a report of an unconscious man on the train and instead found a dead man covered in maggots. The police do not suspect foul play. (Anna Quinn for Patch)

RIP John “Butch” Purcell, the “Mayor of Stuy Town.” (Gabe Herman for amNewYork Metro)

Brooklyn’s 8 best bars with fireplaces. (Scott Enman for Brooklyn Eagle)

What should happen to Jeffrey Epstein’s “cursed mansion” on the Upper East Side: The Frick should buy it. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

The Gowanus Souvenir Shop, which has been a real thing for quite a while now, is closing at the end of the month. (Katia Kelly for Pardon Me For Asking)

Electric bike and scooters could become legal in New York on April 1, if Governor Cuomo’s budget passes as expected. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

The governor intends to assemble a task force to assess the conditions of employment in the gig economy and present findings with the intention of voting on legislation by June 1. Cuomo’s previously compared the gig economy to sweatshops. (Anna Gronewold for Politico)

DeliverZero is food delivery with a twist. If you don’t return the packaging the food was delivered to be recycled, you’ll be charged extra. It’s currently available in 8 restaurants. (Nicole Davis for Brooklyn Based)

Here are the finalists in the 2020 City of Dreams Pavilion Design Competition for Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island. (Michelle Cohen for 6sqft)

NYC & Company wants you to get out of your apartment for the NYC Winter Outing, which started on Monday, runs for three weeks, and combines NYC Broadway Week, NYC Restaurant Week and NYC Must-See Week. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

The Bronx Zoo’s Name A Roach program is back for Valentine’s Day. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Five Democrats Socialist primary challenges are using the worry about the state’s pre-trial criminal justice reforms to stake out a position to the left of Democrats who have been considering a repeal to push additional ideas like restricting the use of solitary confinement, legalizing marijuana, and decriminalizing sex work. (Alex Williamson or Brooklyn Eagle)

The Mini Brooklyn Flea Record Fair was announced for February 8 & 9 at the Winter BK Flea. (Bill Pearis for BrooklynVegan)

You never know where Justin Bieber will show up, looking for gluten-free pizza. (Jenna Bagcal for QNS)

It’s Pod Save Astoria week at We Heart Astoria, focusing on a different podcast originating from Astoria every day. Today’s podcast is “We’ll Be Right Back” with Astoria locals Kevin Ross and Brian Dean. (Claire Leaden for We Heart Astoria)

The Triboro Line, which would connect Bay Ridge to Astoria to the Bronx, is one tiny step closer to becoming a reality. It has miles to go, but each step forward is still progress. (Ed García Conde for Welcome2TheBronx)

Transit Workers Union Local 100 are also in support of the project. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

Video: This video game parody of Hudson Yards was both very funny and also the most perplexing thing I’ve seen in a long time. (Ethan Gach for Kotaku)

Video: Say hello to a belter kingfisher, which is a bird, on Randalls Island. (D. Bruce Yolton for Urban Hawks)

The best soups and stews you can get in the city. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)