The Briefly for January 29, 2020 – The “Hell Freezes Over on the Brooklyn Bridge” Friday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: The State of the City, Covid-sniffing dogs, the BQE remains the BQE, ranking NYC sinks on Tik Tok, a Snowy Owl in Central Park, and more

Today – Low: 17˚ High: 23˚
Windy in the morning.
This weekend – Low: 21˚ High: 31˚

NYC’s Vaccine Finder. The site isn’t great, but provide links/phone numbers to specific locations. As of writing, the city has less than 67,524 first doses left before a new shipment arrives.

Birds! A meta-rare Snowy Owl was seen in Central Park, the first spotting of one in the park since December of 1890. (Jake Offenhartz and Jen Chung for Gothamist)

A majority of city voters support adding more protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, greenery, and spaces for children to play, even if it means sacrificing parking or space for vehicles. Also, the sky is blue. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

Hell has frozen over and the Brooklyn and Queensboro bridges are getting dedicated bike lanes by the end of the year. The Brooklyn Bridge bike lanes will take the place of one of the Manhattan-bound lanes of traffic, leaving the existing shared path above the road exclusively for pedestrians. The Queensboro Bridge lane will take over the north outer roadway. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

Video: Mayor de Blasio delivers his last State of the City address. (NYC Mayor’s Office)

In the address, the mayor outlines his theme for the speech, “A Recovery for All of Us,” including his pledge to vaccinate five million New Yorkers by June. (Emma G. Fitzsimmons for NY Times)

Covid sniffing dogs? Yeah, Covid sniffing dogs. (Fred Mogul for Gothamist)

A look at the human toll of the restaurant unemployment crisis during this never-ending pandemic. (Chris Crowley for Grub Street)

The mayor, full of unearned confidence, says that public schools will be open at full strength” in the fall. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

No one wants to hear this, but the fastest way to open up New York is to shut it down first. (Nick Reisman for NY1)


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A New Jersey man was caught on camera trying to set fire to a Queens restaurant called Ignited Restaurant & Lounge. (Chris Crowley for Grub Street)

The last link I’ll ever put in this newsletter containing analysis of Andrew Yang’s bodega video. (Andrew Silverstein for Grub Street)

Kal Penn, former member of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Kumar from the Harold and Kumar movies, endorsed Jimmy Van Bramer for Queens Borough President. (Allie Griffin for LIC Post)

The city created a $1 million, 280-page “vision plan” for making East Harlem resilient to climate change in 2017. It was completed in 2018. Like a magic trick, it has since disappeared. (Rachel Holliday Smith for The City)

A cheat-sheet to the Gowanus rezoning kerfuffle. (Brian Braiker for Brooklyn Magazine)

The Puppy Bowl is coming up on February 7, here are NYC’s five rescue pups headed for the big game. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Turns out the BQE didn’t stop being a giant turd because we’re in a pandemic. The mayor is “hopeful for help” from the Biden Administration when it comes to repairs. (Claude Scales for Brooklyn Heights Blog)

A city education panel early rejected a testing contract, temporarily stopping the controversial practice of testing incoming kindergartners for admission to gifted programs. How will the city’s gifted and talented programs move forward? 🤷‍♂️ (Christina Veiga for Chalkbeat)

Burgie’s, the new burger spot from Roberta’s, is now open (again.) (Kara Zuaro for Brooklyn Based)

Do you know the history of the railroad apartment. (Cait Etherington for 6sqft)

The City Council voted to approve legislation to create 4,000 new permits for street vendors in the city over the next decade and will create a separate law enforcement unit to oversee the street vending community. Opponents say that an increase in street vendors will drive business from restaurants. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

The Times Square Margaritaville resort is scheduled to open in the fall, including the only outdoor pool in Times Square. (Emma Alpern for Curbed)

The story of how Scott Green, a lifelong civil rights activist, was buried in a mass grave on Hart Island. (Corey Kilgannon for NY Times)

In the perfect metaphor, the barge full of dredged up black mayo from the Gowanus Canal fro the Superfund cleanup sank into the Gowanus. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

Did you attempt to vote in the 2016 election by text? You have Douglass Mackey to blame. (Nicole Hong for NY Times)

Meet Sink Reviews, the Tik Tok account rating NYC’s sinks. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Photos: Okay, so here are a bunch of photos of NYC in the snow. Maybe this is cruel based on Monday’s weather forecast. (Will Gleason for Time Out)

What to know about the City Comptroller’s race in 2021. (Rachel Holliday Smith for The City)

Everything you need to know about the special elections in Queens and the Bronx, including what neighborhoods are included, candidates, dates, and what happened to cause the elections. (Claudia Irizarry Aponte for The City)

NYPD Officer Carmine Simpson was arrested on child pornography charges after requesting and obtaining sexually explicit photos and videos from at least 46 minors. Simpson is one of more than half a dozen officers from the NYPD that have been charged with sexual crimes against minors in the last two years. (Jonah Engel Bromwich for NY Times)

20 NYC spots with restaurant week deals. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

The Briefly for January 12-15, 2020 – The “No, You Don’t Gotta Say That” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: Vaccines available for group 1b, the best Thai restaurants, the High Line will be extended, Andrew Yang puts his foot in his mouth, and more

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

A list of who is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. Groups 1a and 1b are currently eligible. You can also call the vaccine hotline at 888-364-3065. (NYC.gov)

After failing to disburse more than half of the federal funding in a COVID-19 rent relief program, New York opened a new application window in order to hand out the remaining $60 million. The application closes at the end of January, so get moving. (Emily Lang for Gothamist)

Vice President for Manhattanville Development at Columbia University, Marcelo Velez, is accused of engaging in sex acts with a girl under the age of 13 inside his New Jersey home. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Sometimes you gotta say Heil Hitler” – Republican candidate for Staten Island Boro President Leticia Remauro is apologizing for accidentally saying the quiet part out loud during a video she posted online protesting the closure of Mac’s Public House. (Chris Sommerfeldt and Cathy Burke for Daily News)

The NYPD’s investigation into Deputy Inspector James F. Kobel, who oversaw the NYPD’s Equal Employment Opportunity Division, was using a pseudonym online to hide his racist posts in a police officer message board. Kobel, a coward, filed for retirement last week. (William K. Rashbaum and Alan Feuer for NY Times)

Nicole Malliotakis’ Bay Ridge office was greeted by hundreds of protesters over the weekend, showing her just how appreciated her opposition to certifying the election results is with her constituents. (Brian Braiker for Brooklyn Magazine)

An NYPD member is under investigation over accusations they participated in the attack on the Capitol. The mayor stated any city employee at the attack would be fired. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

William Pepe, a worker for Metro-North, “called out sick Wednesday to attend” the attack on the Capitol last week. He’s been suspended without pay pending an investigation. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

A look into the Home Alone group show at the ATM Gallery on Henry Street. (EV Grieve)

New York state is looking to enact a law that would fine food delivery apps for creating listings for restaurants without their written permission. GrubHub currently adds local restaurants without the restaurants’ permission when they see local “demand.” (Christopher Robins for Gothamist)

Lap dances, karaoke, and secret parties. The NYC speakeasies of Covid-19. (Mihir Zaveri for NY Times)

Real Estate Lust: Six bedrooms, a front porch, side porch, rear deck, a driveway, built-in 1899 $2.6 million house in Prospect Park South. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)


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Queens Public Defenders are attempting to unionize and their management is calling them a “mob.” (Sam Mellins for New York Focus, in partnership with The City)

Sammy Revelo, Retired NYPD Lieutenant, declared his candidacy for Bronx Boro President. (Nowrood News)

One advantage of having Community Board meetings virtually is that anyone can show up, like Chuck Schumer, who popped into a CB2 meeting on the day after the attack on the Capitol. Maybe he needed a break from everything happening that week. (Christian Murray for LIC Post)

Speaking of Chuck, here’s what his future as Senate Majority leader means for NYC. (Jesse McKinley and Christina Goldbaum for NY Times)

Video: Meet Violet Brill, a 16-year-old urban forager. (Daniela Sirtori-Cortina for Bedford + Bowery)

Esquire’s list “100 Restaurants American Can’t Afford To Lose” includes 12 NYC restaurants, including Proto’s Pizza, Keens, Bar Tabac, and nine more. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Prismatica, an immersive art installation consisting of 25 rainbow-like prisms between 39th and 40th streets. The installation is by RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3. (Will Gleason for Time Out)

A supervisor for the NYCHA certified an apartment lead-free, but it was never actually inspected. Now a child has lead poisoning. (Greg B. Smith for The City)

“We live in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. And so, like, can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment, and then trying to do work yourself?” –Andrew Yang actually gave that quote to the Times about spending most of his time outside of New York City while he’s thinking about running for mayor of New York City. (Katie Glueck for NY Times)

14 hours later, Andrew Yang was on the defensive while all the other mayoral candidates saw an opportunity to pounce. (Katie Glueck for NY Times)

The city’s Independent Budget Office says that jobs won’t bounce back until at least 2024, but the state and city’s budget hole initially predicted wouldn’t be as bad as predicted. (Greg David for The City)

Dr. Fauci told the conference of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals that live concerts could return “some time in the fall of 2021,” depending on reaching herd immunity. (Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan)

We are not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021” -WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan. (Science Alert)

Interview Emily Gallagher started her term as a state assembly member representing the state’s 50th district. (Julia Kott for Greenpointers)

“Why is New York spending so much money on giant waiting room/malls that all have nowhere to sit? And what does this say about how we’ve chosen to treat our public spaces and transit infrastructure? Must we make every public space so inhospitable to the people using it or can we find a better way?”
-Benjamin Kabak, Some thoughts on Moynihan Train Hall and designing public spaces with nowhere to sit, for Second Ave Sagas

The High Line will be extended to connect to the new Moynihan Train Hall. The $60 million project does not have an expected completion date yet. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

If you’ve got the bitcoin, you could be the new owner of Hellcat Annie’s Tap Room and Scruffy Duffy’s on Tenth Avenue. Two bars for 25 bitcoins, which works out to be about $862k. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

Every business is Schrödinger’s cat during the pandemic. Despite rumors to the contrary, Economy Candy is still alive. (Elie Z. Perler for Bowery Boogie)

Sorry Upper West Side crafters, Michael’s on Columbus Ave is closing. (Mike Mishkin for I Love the Upper West Side)

The governor’s State of the State address (watch the 43-minute speech here) is an outline to “win” the Covid war, but not without a lot of help from Washington. (Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní for NY Times)

Mayor de Blasio will likely be remembered for two terms of broken promises. In July he promised to accelerate his “affordable” high-speed internet plan for public housing and low-income areas hit hard by the pandemic. IT’s been six months and the city has not made a single deal on the initiative the mayor has been talking about since 2013. (Reuven Blau for The City)

The best Thai restaurants in NYC, if you’re ready. (Hannah Albertine, Nikko Duren, Bryan Kim, and Arden Shore for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Francesca for today’s featured photo!

The Briefly for December 13-14, 2020 – The “Second Wave” Sunday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: Indoor dining shuts down on Monday, stay the night at FAO Schwarz, a Manhattan sushi delivery guide, Mayor de Blasio makes a threat, and more

Today – Low: 41˚ High: 60˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

Tonight is the peak of the Geminid meteor shower for those in the darker areas of the city with “relaxed” eyes with up to 120 meteors per hour. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

Rendering: A look at the giant apartment complex coming to Coney Island, complete with roof pool, in the old Gargiulo’s Restaurant parking lot of.

The Tompkins Square Park Holiday tree is lit. (EV Grieve)

The state’s pension fund will divest from many fossil fuels in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040. (Anne Barnard for NY Times)

Looking for an interesting place to spend a night in the city? You can Airbnb FAO Schwarz for a night. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

Here’s an explanation of the NYC Sheriff’s office, because if you’re confused about the distinction between the NYPD and the NYC Sheriff, I don’t blame you. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

A guide to the Victorian mansions of Flatbush. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

Two officers lied in paperwork and in court about their arrest of a Black Lives Matter protester in 2016. Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s office cleared them of perjery. (Nick Pinto for Gothamist)

Where to go ice skating in Brooklyn this winter. (Jessica Parks for Brooklyn Paper)

If you never stepped inside CBGB, this virtual version of the club from 2006 will be the closest you’ll ever get. Yes, it includes the bathrooms. (Alex at Flaming Pablum)

DCLA and Borough Arts Council funded artist and cultural organizations, venues, or institutions to be able to utilize public outdoor spaces for ticketed events and performances starting on March 1 thanks to a new Open Culture bill passed by the City Council. The maximum charge for a program will be $20. This will be the first ticketed live entertainment legally allowed in the city since March 2020. The Open Culture program is an extension of the Open Restaurants, Open Streets, and Open Storefronts programs. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

If you’re feeling like you just have to get out of the city for good, may I suggest Topeka, Kansas, which will pay you $10,000 if you are a remote worker and move there. There are many cities that will pay you to move there. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Kathleen Casillo was charged with reckless endangerment after she drove her sedan into a crowd of ICE protesters in Murray Hill on Friday, sending six people to the hospital. Casillo says she panicked and hit the gas when protesters were banging on her car. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

It seems New Yorkers got an early jump on buying Christmas trees this year. (Caroline Lewis for Gothamist)

If you’ve had your usual Christmas plans canceled, this year presents a great opportunity to shake things up and join the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Don’t lie, you’ve loved following this year’s bird news. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Max Rose, fresh off a defeat for Congress, filed paperwork to run for mayor. (Rose Adams for Brooklyn Paper)

The Google Doc of holiday light displays, that everyone could edit as they please, from Time Out has been updated into an interactive map. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

The Manhattan sushi delivery guide. (Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)


The city is well beyond its thresholds for new hospitalizations, the 7-day average of new cases, and the 7-day rolling positivity average. “This is clearly a second wave in New York City” -Mayor de Blasio. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The governor has shut down indoor dining in the city (again) starting Monday the 14th, thanks to an increase in every single Covid-19 metric the state and city have established. (Michael Gold for NY Times)

Eight hospitals in the city have reached more than 90 percent fullness in their ICUs. Flushing Hospital in Queens is at over 100% capacity. (Anna Quinn for Patch)

Only 1.4% of the state’s Covid-19 spread comes from restaurants and bars, but that number doesn’t specify between indoor and outdoor dining. 73.84% of COVID-19 cases spread through private gatherings. (Erika Adams for Eater)

The reactions from restaurant owners ranges from sad, but understanding, to absolutely delusional. (Christina Izzo for Time Out)

“Anyone who thinks that their privilege puts them ahead of other people in greater need, that’s not going to happen in New York City.” -Mayor de Blasio. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

An ultra-Orthodox synagogue in Williamsburg seems to have broken social distancing rules for the last time. The mayor stated this week that the city will “move to shut down the building once and for all” after a funeral on Monday brought hundreds of people into the building with no masks. The article threads the needle between the recent Supreme Court case the state lost about religious gatherings and the rules that are still in place regardless of the lawsuit. But also this is a threat coming from Mayor de Blasio, who regularly ignores his own deadlines and threats. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Staten Island’s Mac’s Public House liquor license has been suspended, finally. It was one of 23 city businesses whose licenses were suspended last week. (Robert Pozarycki for amNewYork Metro)

The Brooklyn Monarch is also on the list of businesses whose liquor licenses were suspended after city sheriffs broke up a party with nearly 400 people inside. (Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan)

Congrats to Gravesend, which has the highest Covid-19 positivity rate in the city. (Anna Quinn for Patch)

The city clarified when outdoor dining can remain open during snow and when snow removal is happening. When a Winter Operations Advisory is given, outdoor dining will stay open, but during a Snow Alert, outdoor dining will close. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

How scientists are tracking the flow of the city’s Covid-19 outbreak, using your poop. (Corey Kilgannon for NY Times)

A day in the life of a contract tracer. (Fred Mogul for Gothamist)

Find your public school’s Covid-19 testing rate online. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

The New York City Board of Health passed a measure extending the order for total mask compliance at every school in the city, not just public schools for students, staff, and faculty. Yes, before this order, there was no enforcement of masks in non-public school buildings. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

Thanks to reader Francesca for today’s featured photo of Fortitude, the NYPL lion, dressed for the season, and the pandemic.