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 March 5, 2020 – The “Are We Supposed to Be Freaking Out Yet?” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Two colleges close due to COVID-19 fears, the loudest borough in the city, 60,000 children owe late library fees, 30 excellent weekday breakfasts, and more

Today – Low: 40˚ High: 52˚
Clear throughout the day.

30 excellent spots for weekday breakfast. (Nikko Duren & Bryan Kim for The Infatuation)

Could New York be the first state to decriminalize sex work? There’s a bill working its way through the state’s legislature that could make it happen. (Arima Long for Kings County Politics)

How many people get a sandwich named after them and how many of those people get to eat that sandwich? Experiencing the Wayne Diamond at Russo’s Mozzarella and Pasta with Wayne Diamond himself. (EV Grieve)

A New York City public school teacher who vacationed in Italy during the February winter break is set to undergo testing after experiencing possible coronavirus symptoms after spending several days last week in a classroom with children before she showed any signs of potential infection. Remain calm. (Greg B. Smith and Yoav Gonen for The City)

The person with the third confirmed coronavirus case in New York state is a student at Yeshiva University, which closed its campus temporarily in upper Manhattan. (Jen Chung and Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

How are restaurants preparing for coronavirus? Following the city’s sanitary guidelines have become more important than ever. (Hannah Howard for Grub Street)

All your coronavirus questions answered. Okay, maybe not ALL of them, but it’s a pretty comprehensive list of questions. If you’re the person people turn to with questions about it, this is a good link to send the people asking you questions. (Jen Chung and Elizabeth King for Gothamist)

New York Law School closed its Tribeca campus after a student reported contact with the New Rochelle lawyer seriously ill with novel coronavirus. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

Here is how the city is stepping up its coronavirus prevention efforts. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

A brief note from City Council Speaker Corey Johnson about coronavirus. (Corey Johnson for The Brooklyn Reader)

Historic restaurant Gage & Tollner is ready to return to the city on March 15th. (Robert Simonson for NY Times)

No matter the changes, New York real estate can still be a mostly lawless place where brokers are willing to charge whatever they want for whatever they want before you get your keys. (Matthew Haag for NY Times)

9 buildings in the city that have lost their landmark status. (Noah Sheidlower for Untapped New York)

At the moment it’s a parking lot sitting atop the toxic leftovers of a 19th-century thermometer factory near the South Street Seaport, but it soon may be a 990-foot tall mixed use tower. (Caroline Spivack for Curbed)

The “Ladies Burger” at Long Island Bar in Cobble Hill, a single patty option of its Long Island Burger, is dead. The name is gone, but the single patty option lives on. (Luke Fortney for Eater)

14 ways to celebrate Women’s History Month in NYC. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Andy Kessler was an early pioneer of skateboarding in Riverside Park and on the Upper West Side, and Community Board 7 will name the Riverside Skate Park in his honor when it reopens in May. (amNewYork Metro)

Buckle up, no matter where you’re sitting. A new bill is headed to Governor Cuomo’s desk that would make it mandatory for seatbelts to be worn in every seat of the car. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

The story of how a living room turned into Lion’s Roar Karaoke House in East Williamsburg. (Lauren Vespoli for NY Times)

The Double Chocolate Cookie with Oat Ganache, “the greatest cookie” (Gothamist’s words, not mine), will be available in the city this month only. (Jen Carlson for Gothamist)

60,000 delinquent children have $15 or more of late fees at New York’s public libraries, preventing them from borrowing more books. The head librarians of New York, Queens, and Brooklyn public libraries asked the City Council to wipe out late fees for children altogether to get books back in the hands of children. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

A guide to prewar vs post-war apartments. (Localize Labs)

Congrats Brooklyn, you’re the noisiest borough in the city. (Beth Dedman for amNewYork Metro)

16 exemplary Chinese soup dumplings in NYC. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

Thank you to reader Emily for sending in today’s featured photo!

The Briefly for January 26, 2020 – The “Isn’t A Dessert Bagel Called A Doughnut?” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Andy Byford’s replacement pushed for the 500 subway cops, a $20,000/month apartment in Nolita, our hero Jane Jacobs, where to eat in Staten Island, and more

Today – Low: 44˚ High: 50˚
Rain and windy overnight.

State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican, is asking the Trump administration to try to kill congestion pricing. Malliotakis, of course, represents Bay Ridge and Staten Island. (Alex Williamson for Brooklyn Eagle)

An interview with Dermot Shea, Mayor de Blasio’s new republican NYPD Commissioner, who won’t say if he voted for Trump in 2016. (Jeff Coltin for City and State)

Meet Efren Andaluz, the artist who painted the Kobe and Gianna tribute mural near the Barclays Center. (Kimmy Dole for Hiplanta)

Andy Byford’s temporary replacement is someone who led the push for more subway cops, MTA board member Sarah Feinberg. Her focus while on the board has been quality of life issues and homelessness. Feinberg oversaw the Federal Railroad Administration when a series of explosive oil train derailments and deadly commuter railroad crashes made headlines during the Obama administration. (Stephen Nessen, Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

See hundreds of pieces of Seneca Village artifacts online through the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission website. (Gabe Herman for amNewYork Metro)

Brooklyn Public Library’s University Open Air kicks off this week, offering 25 college-level courses for free from an international staff. (Colin Mixson for Brooklyn Paper)

The city has health with the homelessness crisis like it’s something to be managed, not solved. Can NYC actually fix its homeless crisis? (Valeria Ricciulli for Curbed)

Photos: Inside Porto Rico, opened in 1907 and one of the city’s oldest coffee stores. (Noah Sheidlower, Photos by Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

A dessert bagel? (Juan Vidal for Grub Street)

If you drop something on the subway tracks, don’t try to get it yourself. Two people have been hit by the 6 train at Astor Place this week while trying to get something that dropped onto the tracks. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

On his way to jail after his rape conviction, Harvey Weinstein was re-routed to Bellevue Medical Center with heart palpitations, pain, and high blood pressure. Once he’s discharged, he’ll be headed to Rikers Island. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

Looking for a bit of green for your apartment? The 10 best plants for apartment dwellers. (Rebecca Paul for 6sqft)

Apartment Porn: A $20,000/month 3,175 square foot rental in Nolita. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

Amazon could buy the former Lord & Taylor building from WeWork for $1 billion. (Alexandra Alexa for 6sqft)

A look back at the birth of The Committee to Save the West Village, led by Jane Jacobs, who history has proven to be the hero compared to Robert Moses. (Ariel Kates for GVSHP)

Photos: Inside the “morgue” of The New York Times. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

Goodbye Burger Heaven, after 77 years the Upper East Side diner is closing and going to diner heaven, blaming “delivery culture” on its demise. (Chris Crowley for Grub Street)

The MTA is moving forward on purchasing nearly 1,000 “open-gangway” subway cars. (Michelle Cohen for 6sqft)

& Sons is a new ham bar in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Wait, a ham bar? (Nikita Richardson for Grub Street)

Alligators in the sewers of New York City? Here’s the truth. (Corey Kilgannon for NY Times)

Governors Island has an opening date for the summer: May 1. (Collier Sutter for Time Out)

RIP Michael Hertz, designer of the current subway map. (Neil Genzlinger for NY Times)

Salt Bae’s new burger restaurant, like the Salt Bae himself, seems like a giant joke that isn’t funny. Recently his parent company has been sued for sexual harassment and wage theft. (Erika Adams for Eater)

Where to eat in Staten Island, which Eater calls “a low-key culinary paradise.” (Claire Elisabeth for Eater)

“Saddest moment of my week, watching it roll onto the track seconds before the train pulled up.”

Thank you to reader Maiya for today’s featured photo and sad story.