The Briefly for January 19-20 – The “Lena Dunham and Bill de Blasio?” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: MTA delays fare hikes, Union Square plans to expand 33%, Mayor de Blasio drops another ball, MLK protests, and more

Today – Low: 32˚ High: 40˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

Another week, another broken promise from Mayor de Blasio. After he spent all summer painting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the city’s streets, the mayor’s “Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission” has done zero public work and hasn’t been mentioned since August. (Ethan Geringer-Sameth for Gotham Gazette)

The Times looks at five takeaways from the mayor’s race. (Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Jeffery C. Mays for NY Times)

Here’s a weird one. Someone is putting up flyers announcing the wedding of Lena Dunham and Mayor de Blasio on Valentine’s Day in Union Square. This seems somehow connected to the very weird Fiona Apple flyer from October. Congrats to the happy couple? (EV Grieve)

Photos: The new glass sculpture I dreamed a world and called it Love by Jim Hodges in Grand Central Terminal. (Nicole Saraniero, photos by David Regen for Untapped New York)

With Inauguration Day approaching, it’s a great time to remember that the nation’s first inauguration happened outside the Federal Hall National Memorial in the Financial District on April 30, 1789. The original bible George Washington placed his hand on is still in the building. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

A Martin Luther King Jr Day protest started at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and ended with the NYPD making dozens of arrests of peaceful protesters near City Hall. (Azi Paybarah for NY Times)

The NYPD is being sued by the state’s attorney general over its handling of protests over the summer because violence against protesters isn’t a bug in the system, it’s a feature. (Erin O’Brien for Bedford + Bowery)

Nicolas Moncada, 20, of Staten Island was arrested for his role in the January 5 insurrection. How did they know he was there” Because he posted a selfie of himself outside Speaker Pelosi’s office to Instagram. Neighbors describe his arrest as “like they were looking for a terrorist.” They were and they arrested him. (Elina Tarkazikis for NY1)


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The city’s graduation rate hit an all-time high of 78.8% in 2020. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

The MTA claims the driver of the bus that drove off an overpass refused a drug test, but the driver, whose jaw had been fractured in the accident, says a drug test was taken in the hospital. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

The Biden-Harris administration nominated Polly Trottenberg, the city’s former commissioner of the Department of Transportation, for Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation to work under Pete Buttigieg. (Stephen Nessen for Gothamist)

Foot traffic is down 70% year over year in Times Square. (Jake Dobkin for Gothamist)

Want to send someone some cheer? You can record a birthday greeting for Ray or Ray’s Candy Store, who turns 88 on January 25, to be a part of a Guinness World Record for “biggest video hug ever.” (EV Grieve)

The MTA is postponing their scheduled 2021 fare hike because, quite frankly, we’ve all had enough already. (Benjamin Kabak for Second Ave. Sagas)

The Union Square Partnership unveiled a $100 million plan for a car-free Union Square that would expand the park 33% into the surrounding streets. The plan will be officially presented on January 26. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

The public review process for the Gowanus rezoning has been temporarily halted by a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge over concerns that holding virtual meetings violates city law that requires public hearings. The lawsuit that halted the process asks that public hearings be held when it is safe to do so. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

The MTA is looking into temporarily reducing service on some subway lines because of worker shortages due to illness, retirements, and a lack of new hires. (Jose Martinez for The City)

Governor Cuomo is tired of the federal government’s shit and has asked Pfizer to sell vaccines directly to the state, which is possible because Pfizer is not a part of “Project Warp Speed.” (Lisa Finn for Patch)

Sunset Park’s South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will become an offshore wind assembly port for the state’s new offshore wind farms. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

Repairs of the Cherry Walk segment of the Hudson River Greenway, stretching from 100th to 125th St, are complete. (Streetsblog)

Gothamist gets giddy about Medan Pasar, a new Malaysian restaurant in the East Village. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)

What you need to know about the 2021 Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island borough president races. (Rachel Holliday Smith for The City)

Thanks to reader Francesca for today’s featured photo of Fort Tryon Park!

The Briefly for February 4, 2020 – The “NYPD’s Very Not Nice 69 Million Dollar Cost” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: The race to contain the coronavirus, Cuomo may use eminent domain to renovate Penn Station, the best new restaurants in Brooklyn and more

Today – Low: 38˚ High: 56˚
Possible light rain overnight.

Is this the year that Albany passes marijuana legalization or… oh god I just can’t keep doing this. It’s been over a year with this story and every stupid pun has already been made. Up in smoke. Gone in a puff. High time to blahblahblah. Bottom line, can Albany get it done? (Peter Rugh for The Indypendent)

While the CDC is doing the testing for coronavirus, there is a team of scientists in New York racing to help contain the outbreak. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

Here’s what we know about the coronavirus in New York so far. (Joseph Goldstein for NY Times)

New York City medical labs can’t run their own diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus only the CDC’s offices in Atlanta can run the tests and results take 36-48 hours. Mayor de Blasio is asking to change that. (Mary Frost for Brooklyn Eagle)

The NYPD cost the city a very not nice nearly $69 million dollars in lawsuits in 2019. Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Reports of “subway surfing” increased in 2019, MTA figures show, though transit officials say the toll of those wild rides is likely even higher and deadlier than statistics indicate. (Jose Martinez for The City)

Things aren’t great for the real estate industry right now, but if you look at who’s running for mayor, things are looking worse. (Kathryn Brenzel for The Real Deal)

Shaun Donovan, former Obama housing secretary and candidate for mayor, gets the NY Times treatment. (Aziz Paybarah for NY Times)

Are you one of the 1,128 New Yorkers that are in JR’s latest 53-foot mural in Domino Park? The mural is in conjunction with an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, titled “JR: Chronicles.” Scott Enman for Brooklyn Eagle)

Everything you need to know about steam heat. (Zachary Solomon for StreetEasy)

The history of how the New York Public Library got its start downtown. (Andrew Berman for 6sqft)

Can art survive Long Island City’s gentrification? (Malique Morris for Queens Chronicle)

Just when the city was about to ban plastic bags, it seems that a loophole may allow stores to hand out plastic bags as long as they’re thicc. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

13 notable NYC projects designed by black architects. (Tanay Warerkar for Curbed)

Take a tour of Michelle Williams’s Brooklyn real estate empire. (Mariela Quintana for StreetEasy)

As a part of Governor Cuomo’s plans to redevelop Penn Station, he’ll need to find a way to acquire two full city blocks between 30th and 32nd and between Seventh and Eight Avenues. He could end up using eminent domain to get the land. (Eddie Small for The Real Deal)

A look at the Tenderloin neighborhood, before it was razed in 1904 to make way for the original Penn Station. (Ephemeral New York)

Speaking of Penn Station, Monday afternoon saw another commuting meltdown with only one tunnel for Amtrak and NJ Transit in operation crossing the Hudson. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

10 new public art installations not to miss in February. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

The award for most radical stance goes to the “Students Speak Out: Cops Out of Our Schools and Subways” protest. The students in the protest are calling for the abolishment of the NYPD, a free subway system, and a fully funded and free CUNY system. (Amanda Salazar for Kings County Politics)

Williamsburg’s East River State Park will be renamed after the gay liberation movement leader Marsha P. Johnson, the first state park named in honor of an LGBTQ person. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The Great Canoe in the American Museum of Natural History moved for the first time in 60 years, which was a split feat of engineering and spirituality. The canoe will be the centerpiece of a newly renovated Northwest Coast Hall in 2021. (Jennifer Vanasco for Gothamist)

Minerva Zanca, a principal in Queens, just cost the city over a million dollars for being a racist. She deliberately targeted black teachers and assistants with “racist insults and retaliation.” (Jay Connor for The Root)

PETA, who has always been on the right side of morals but displaying it in the most insufferable ways, put up a sign protest the Iditarod in Seward Park. Yes, protesting a dog sledding race in Alaska by installing a sign in front of the statue of Togo in Manhattan. (Gabe Herman for amNewYork Metro)

We’ve been able to assume why, but we won’t know why Andy Byford resigned without seeing his resignation letter. Release the Byford letter, you cowards! (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The Baby Yoda mural at the top of the Second Ave F stop is no more, as “Gritty City Style” has taken over the wall. (EV Grieve)

The NYPD is working its hardest to create boogeymen to overturn recent bail reforms, including leaking cherry-picked stories and statistics to the press (mostly the Post and the Daily News, I’ve stopped including any stories from the Post and the Daily News’ paywall makes it difficult for me to link to regularly). Legal experts are urging caution whenever coming across an obviously sensationalized story and give the reforms a chance to work. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

80% of Bronx subway stations will have OMNY by the end of February. (Ed García Conde for Welcome2TheBronx)

The Parks Department is closing a portion of the Riverside Park bike trail for two months between 110th and 125th Streets for repairs and are offering no detour for bike riders. Bike riders, as you might imagine, are pissed. (Julianne Cuba)

An updated hit list of the best new restaurants in Brooklyn. (Hannah Albertine, Nikko Duren, Bryan Kim, & Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

The Briefly for August 6, 2019 – The “Absolutely Unbelievable Story of A French Bulldog” Edition

The Union Square Tech Hub broke ground, the most rat-infested neighborhoods, a vigil turns into a mass shooting, a beaver in the Hudson, and more in today’s daily NYC news digest.

The Union Square Tech Hub, formerly the PC Richard & Son near Union Square, broke ground on Monday to cheers for new jobs and jeers that Union Square may soon resemble midtown. (amNY)

25,000 bees were removed from the Staten Island Ferry terminal in St. George. The NYPD’s beekeeping unit relocated the hive. If you come across thousands of bees, don’t spray them with anything and don’t call 311, call 911. (NY Times)

Meet Winston, a French bulldog who accidentally jumped off a six-story window, smashed through the sunroof of a car below and LIVED! Winston is staying at the vet for observation but has no broken bones. (Gothamist)

Mayor de Blasio says Bernie Sanders would have won the 2016 election, does this embracing of Bernie mean the mayor is ready to stop spending his weekends in Iowa? (Politico)

The Brooklyn Navy Yard hit a milestone 10,000 jobs for the first time in half a century. While it may never see it’s World War II peak of 70,000 jobs, they are expecting to see 20,000 by 2021. (amNY)

Driverless cars have arrived in NYC, but they’re only inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard as shuttles, operating in a one-mile loop to and from the ferry terminal for free. (NY Times)

Which neighborhoods are the coolest in the city? Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, and the Upper West Side. Strictly speaking, in those neighborhoods, tree cover provides the most shade and absorbs the most heat, making them the “coolest.” (Curbed)

The best Greek restaurants in the city. (The Infatuation)

De Blasio steps in it again. The city purchased a cluster of buildings in April for $173 million, which appraisals showed a value between $50 million and $143 million. De Blasio owns two houses in the city and the mortgages on those homes come from the brother of one of the people who sold the city the overpriced buildings. Par for the course for our failing presidential candidate of a mayor. (Curbed)

The Dogspot “pet harbors” aka “dog jails” pilot program in Brooklyn passed City Council. These are the little locking windowed air-conditioned jail cells for dogs to sit in while you go into a store. It’s a step up from leaving your dog tied up and unattended like your best furry friend is a bike. (Bushwick Daily)

Meeting, James Turrell’s skyspace installation at MoMA PS1 is open after having its unobstructed view of the sky marred by construction at the buildings where 5Pointz was in Long Island City. (Gothamist)

For those of the spooky persuasion, Halloween is less than 100 days away. For those inside the haunted house industry, it’s already time to get to work. Take a look inside the construction of the Bane Haunted House in Chelsea. (amNY)

Eight crypts and catacombs in the city, some spooky, some scary, some tourist attractions. (Untapped Cities)

What do Prospect Heights and Central Harlem South have in common? They’re the two neighborhoods with the most rats per square mile in the city. (Patch)

How cold do you want your ice cream? How about “liquid nitrogen cold?” Four Winters, a new ice cream shop in Queens, is using liquid nitrogen to create “instant ice cream.” (NY Times)

It’s a midtown sidewalk showdown between a business improvement district and food cart owners. Food cart owners are accusing midtown developers are accusing the BID of intentionally putting flower planters and bike racks where their carts usually stand in an attempt to get rid of them. (amNY)

Hart Island, the city’s mass gravesite where over one million New Yorkers have been buried since the Civil War, operated by the Department of Corrections and inmates are paid $1 per hour to bury bodies, is finally getting a post-Hurricane Sandy restoration. Erosion has caused the shoreline to disappear and as a result, human remains were exposed. (Curbed)

Add this to your list of travel nightmare scenarios. A woman was locked underneath a Peter Pan coach bus with the luggage on a bus bound for Boston. The police arrested the Peter Pan employee that allegedly locked her in. (amNY)

Part of the deal that allowed the Atlantic Yards to be developed was that 2,250 affordable apartments would be built by 2025. At the current rate of construction, developer Greenland Forest City Partners looks like it’ll be missing that deadline. (The City)

A beaver was spotted in the Hudson River, hanging out and doing beaver things. It’s been a while since the city’s seen wild beavers, but the beaver is the official state animal and the city was pretty much founded on the fur trade, but this little guy is safe from that. (Gothamist)

The lawsuit preventing 14th St from becoming a busway has already cost commuters an additional year’s worth of delays. (amNY)

A vigil in Crown Heights became a public mass shooting when four of the people holding the vigil were shot early Monday morning. All the victims are in stable condition. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Agrilus 9895 is a new species of beetle discovered in Green-Wood Cemetery and is a relative of a species of beetle in Europe but unique to Brooklyn. (Atlas Obscura)

Where do food industry pros go when their shifts are over? A list of late-night locations. (amNY)