The Briefly for Valentine’s Day, 2020 – The “Your Plant Stylist Appointment is Coming Up” Weekend Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: 12 places to smooch your Valentine, Bloomberg tries to distract from his record with memes, the 27 top burgers, Trump vs NY rolls on, and more

Today – Low: 18˚ High: 34˚
Clear throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 30˚ High: 47˚

12 places to smooch on Valentine’s Day. (Lore Croghan for Brooklyn Eagle)

There have been no cases of coronavirus in New York City and despite this, the city’s Chinatowns are suffering. (Marina Fang for Huff Post)

A look forward on this frigid morning to the spring’s street festivals on the Upper West Side. (Mike Mishkin for I Love the Upper West Side)

For $2,000 someone will come to your home and style your plants. Welcome to the world of plant stylists. (Steven Kurutz for NY Times)

About half the adult population of the city, roughly 3.4 million people, spent one of the last few years living below the poverty line, according to a new report from the Robin Hood Foundation and Columbia University. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

Ready for a cocktail crawl? Here’s how to get it done on Atlantic Avenue. (Meredith Craig de Pietro for Brooklyn Based)

Michael Bloomberg’s forceful push into meme culture is being lead by Mick Purzycki, who is the CEO of Jerry Media, famous for stealing content without crediting the original creators. Can the people who brought you the marketing for the Fyre Festival distract us enough from the negative headlines and quotes from Bloomberg’s past? (Ashley Reese for Jezebel)

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Unlike the F train, I'll be there for you

The mayor signed a bill this week that will extend government-funded health care to families of all municipal workers, not just firefighters and police, who died in the line of duty or from 9/11 related diseases. (Todd Maisel for amNewYork Metro)

The annual tradition continues: Phil Collins Day is on Saturday. (Kate Hooker for Brooklyn Based)

The moment the state announced the end of brokers’ fees, rents jumped up about 6% across the board. Now that the fees are gone, it’s unlikely we’ll see a 6% drop back down. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

City Comptroller Scott String is calling for a Bill of Rights for NYC tenants to protect them from unscrupulous landlords. He has a proposal as well, including limiting security deposits to one month of rent, providing itemized statements of damage, a five-day gras period for late rent, requiring a court order for evictions, and much more. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

GZA played ‘Liquid Swords’ at the Blue Note Jazz Club in honor of the album’s 25th anniversary. (BrooklynVegan)

The top five potato dishes in the city, according to Robert Sietsema. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

The governor is making a new push for legalizing compensated gestational surrogacy with a campaign called “Love Makes A Family.” New York is one of three states that hasn’t legalized the practice. (Matt Tracy for Gay City News)

Real Estate Porn: Don Lemon is selling his Harlem condo. You can live like Don Lemon for only $1.75 million. The condo looks like a great place to get drunk on New Year’s Eve and make mistakes. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

The story of a meander and 14 photos of central Park Slope. (Lore Croghan for Brooklyn Eagle)

48 pictures of the beautiful Bronx. (Ed García Conde for Welcome2TheBronx)

Manhattan, we have to have a serious conversation. We know you’re not going to Brooklyn on the weekends, even if you need groceries and Brooklyn has the only Wegmans in the city. You want to veg out, binge the new season of Narcos and order some Seamless. That’s cool, because now Wegmans delivers to Manhattan. (Nikita Richardson for Grub Street)

In a literal quid pro quo, the president said if New York stops suing the president, the president will restore New Yorkers’ access to Trusted Traveler Programs programs. This ban happened the day he was acquitted after being impeached. Letitia James has filed 35 lawsuits against the federal government since January 2019. (Xeni Jardin for BoingBoing)

A look into the illegal, but welcome, underground of street car washers. (Sandra E. Garcia and Stephen Speranza for NY Times)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza came to a tentative agreement on a contract that gives increased pay and paid parental leave to principals and assistant principals. (Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech for amNewYork Metro)

Got furniture you want to get rid of but it’s too nice for the curb (note: nothing is too nice for @stoopingnyc)? Here’s where to sell used, vintage, and antique furniture in the city. (Zachary Solomon for StreetEasy)

Bronx City Council Member Vanessa Gibson is going to pay $5,000 for abusing her position on City Council to get out of paying a $50 ticket for driving while using her phone. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

A developer in Crown Heights was ordered to remove all construction equipment from the potential site of two 16-story towers after they were discovered violating a temporary restraining order. Activists have targeted the buildings as part of an anti-gentrification campaign lead by Movement to Protect the People. The group claimed the buildings would block sunlight for the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, but this has been refuted by the BBG and should not be confused with the 39-story tower that the BBG is actively campaigning against in its “Fight for Sunlight” campaign. (Ben Verde for Brooklyn Paper)

27 top burgers in the city. (Eater)

Thank you to my valentine Meg Blatt for today’s featured photo.

The Briefly for January 21, 2020 – The “Go Back to Iowa, Go Back to Ohio” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: The pink gumball machine mystery has been solved, the secrets of the city’s oldest comedy barker, the true history of Central Park’s Great Lawn, and more

Today – Low: 21˚ High: 32˚
Clear throughout the day.

A longtime staffer to Assemblyperson Catherine Nolan and Long Island City resident, Edwin Cadiz, has been named the 2020 NAACP “Man of the Year.” (QNS)

The origin of the pink gumball machines that popped up around Manhattan and Brooklyn has been revealed. They were installed in promotion of Strokes’s drummer Fabrizio Moretti’s new project called machinegum. (Bill Pearis for BrooklynVegan)

“”Go back to Iowa, you go back to Ohio. New York City belongs to the people that were here and made New York City what it is,” is a fine thing for your local loon to scream on a corner, but not for Eric Adams, the current borough president of Brooklyn and mayoral hopeful in 2021. The comments came at an event in Harlem about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact, where more than a few speakers spoke about gentrification without weirdly xenophobic comments. He followed it up with “I’m a New Yorker. I protected this city. I have a right to put my voice in how this city should run.” (Gloria Pazmino for NY1)

Internal emails show that New York City’s special drug prosecutor has a database of police officers with potential honesty problems. Similar databases from the DA’s office from each of the five boroughs’ offices have been released thanks to Freedom of Information requests. (George Joseph for Gothamist)

Video: Inside Staten Island’s secret Chinese Scholar’s Garden. (ActionKid)

The Union Square Coffee Shop neon “COFFEE” sign was replaced with a Chase bank sign. (EV Grieve)

Apartment Porn: Go inside this $4 million custom build Williamsburg penthouse loft apartment. (Matt Coneybeare for Viewing NYC)

Gospel Missionary Baptist Church was booted from West 149th Street near Riverside Drive after a foreclosure sale, despite more than two decades in the neighborhood, thanks to a foreclosure sale due to unpair condo fees. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

89.5% of jaywalking tickets in 2019 went to blacks and Hispanics and the city’s politicians are taking notice of the seemingly racist enforcement by the NYPD. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

The home of “The Original Spaghetti Donut” is coming to Smith St in Brooklyn. (Katia Kelly for Pardon Me For Asking)

An interview with the New York Knicks’ Reggie Bullock about Pride Night at MSG and his LGBTQ activism since the murder of his transgender sister Mia. (Matt Tracy for Gay City News)

The city’s 30 most dangerous school zones for pedestrians and cyclists. (Emily Davenport for amNewYork Metro)

You know what’s better than camera enforcement of cars blocking bus lanes? Streets without cars. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

Video: Watch the day turn to night behind lower Manhattan in a time lapse. (Matt Coneybeare for Viewing NYC)

After two water main breaks in one week caused extensive delays across the MTA, the MTA announced they’ll be examining the infrastructure in hopes of avoiding similar situations in the future. They also put blame on the city for slow response times to the broken water mains. (Hannah Rosenfield for I Love the Upper West Side)

In praise of the long dessert menu. (Nikita Richardson for Grub Street)

The secrets of Pete Burdette, the elder statesman of the city’s comedy club barkers who always keeps a rubber chicken in his pocket. (Alex Taub for NY Times)

Central Park’s Great Lawn began its existence not as a place to exercise or relax, but as a symbol of crippling poverty during the Great Depression. (Sam Neubauer for I Love the Upper West Side)

Nightmare: Your AirPods Pro headphone falls out of your ear and down a sidewalk grate. What do you do? Here’s how to get them back. (Sandra E. Garcia for NY Times)

The best speakeasy-themed bars in the city. (Amber Sutherland-Namako for Thrillist)

The Briefly for January 9, 2020 – The “300 Defective Subway Cars and State of the State” Edition

Today’s daily NYC news digest: Legal weed, 12 bloody hours for pedestrians, the OMNY system is stealing fares, rent in Williamsburg hits an all-time high, the best bagels, and more

Today – Low: 32˚ High: 34˚
Clear throughout the day.

Video: Watch the full State of the State Address. (NYGovCuomo on YouTube)

An overview of homeless funding, small business tax cuts, a “Restore Mother Nature” bond, and other proposals that could come from the speech. (Kathryn Brenzel for The Real Deal)

With the state legislature being in firm control of Democrats in 2019 and making real progress on Cuomo’s agenda, the governor was forced to find new material for this year’s speech. (Politico)

The state failed to legalize weed in the summer of 2019, could 2020 be the year? The governor called it an ethical imperative to legalize it. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

During the speech, Cuomo called for labeling certain hate crimes as domestic terrorism, which is punishable by life in prison. (Zack Fink for NY1)

The governor is calling to end the “fraud” of the gig economy, comparing gig economy corporations to sweatshops and legislation could re-classify independent contractors as employees, similar to the recently passed (and challenged) California law. (Dana Rubenstein for Politico)

The Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, mentioned in the speech, would pump $3 billion into resiliency efforts across the state, city included. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork)

Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill that independent pharmacists said would protect them and patients against health care middlemen causing higher fees. The governor cited higher fees and anti-competition concerns in his message. (Gabe Herman for The Villager)

Governor Cuomo wants to ban repeat sex offenders from the subway. How? No one has an answer to that question and this is the second year in a row he’s expressed that desire. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

The MTA pulled nearly 300 brand new-but-faulty subway cars from their tracks overnight on Tuesday for “repeated issues.” The cars represent 4.5% of the MTA’s fleet. These are the same cars that the MTA paid $600 million for and only received 18 on time and have since cost the city $35 million in repairs and $300 million in lost labor. (Kathleen Culliton for Patch)

The OMNY system celebrated its 5 millionth payment, but there’s more to this story. It seems that some scanners have been double charging unwitting riders. As riders scan their MetroCards, the sensitive scanners pick up the near field signal and also charge their credit cards. In order to fix this on an iPhone, disable “Express Transit Card” in your Wallet and Apple Pay settings. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

In a very MTA moment, someone managed to jump a turnstile in the middle of an OMNY press conference. (Bowery Boogie)

The MTA is being sued by Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (yeah, it spells STOP) to get information about a camera in the Times Square station installed to deter fare evasion. STOP believes the MTA is deploying facial recognition technology, but the MTA denies any facial recognition. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

46% of families living below the poverty line do not have broadband internet access as home. To alleviate this, the mayor announced an Internet Master Plan. It’s low on details, but the idea is the city will partner with private providers to expand the current infrastructure. (Adam Nichols for Patch)

The LaGuardia AirTrain situation is a complete mess. If the AirTrain moves forward, it will be Governor Cuomo’s sheer force of will, and not what is the best actual option. (Benjamin Kabak for Second Ave Sagas)

Ever sine the L train shutdown was shutdown, rent in Williamsburg started creeping up and are now 26.7% higher and have hit an all-time high of $3,675/month. (Valeria Ricciulli for Curbed)

The city witnessed a 12 bloody hours as four pedestrians were killed or critically injured. A man was killed but he driver of a bus in Midtown, a 10-year-old boy and his mother were hit by a garbage truck and the boy was killed by the driver, and a 68-year-old woman was killed by the driver of a cement truck in Borough Park. 122 pedestrians were killed in 2019, up from 105 in 2018. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

Mulchfest continues through January 11, so bring your Christmas trees to one of the 67 drop-off sites across the city to participate. (Gabe Herman for The Villager)

The best momo (Himalayan dumplings) in the city, ranked. (Joe DiStefano for Grub Street)

Phots: The vintage typewriters of the closed to the public Bankers Club on the 40th floor of the Equitable Building. (Michelle Young for Untaped New York)

2019 seemed like the year for Universal Healthcare in New York state. What happened? (Ross Barkan for Gothamist)

Stop buying books on Amazon and borrow them from the library. An arduous task, I know. Use Library Extension to make it easier, the Chrome and Firefox extension will tell you what books and audiobooks are available at the nearest libraries to you. Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Book Culture, the beloved book shop on the Upper West Side, suddenly closed due to owed rent payments. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

Here’s a different kind of “world’s tallest.” The 707-foot tall 270 Park Ave is about to become the tallest building to be intentionally razed. chase has decided it wants a 70-story building there instead, nearly twice the height of the old building. (Elizabeth Kim for Gothamist)

Renderings: See inside Peak, the 101st-floor restaurant coming to Hudson Yards. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Another food hall is opening in Midtown. Take a look at the 12,000 square foot Urbanspace, which will include Roberta’s Pizza, LoLo’s, Call Me Pasta, City Tamale, an Eisenberg’s sandwich shop, and more. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)

Brooklyn Public Library’s Sheepshead Bay branch reopened Tuesday after a five-month closure. (Jessica Parks for Brooklyn Paper)

Is the city’s healthiest neighborhood Midtown? (Emily Davenport for amNewYork)

Meet Dena Cooper, the artist transforming Alexander Jackson into Harriet Tubman on $20 bills. (Scott Enman for Brooklyn Eagle)

A look at The Duplex, the city’s longest running cabaret bar. (Dawson Knick for GVSHP)

The finest bagels of NYC, mapped. (Eater)

How the city’s bagel union fought off a mafia takeover. (Jason Turbow for Grub Street)