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)


If you walked into your version of American Idol right now . . . be it a board room, a courtroom, an operating room, a Broadway stage . . . would you rise to the challenge or crumble under pressure?

For the first time ever, Justin Guarini is revealing his secrets to achieving CORE confidence that have landed him on American Idol, six leading roles on Broadway, hosting and speaking gigs across the country, and so much more . . .

CORE Confidence is the art and science of developing 4 key skills in 4 key areas of your life so you can be more, do more, and give more than you ever dreamed was possible.

Want to possess the secret to CORE Confidence? Sign up for Justin’s 5-day free CORE Confidence Challenge starting on February 1st here!


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 5, 2021 – The “Thresholds? We Don’t Need No Stinkin Thresholds!” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: Moynihan Train Hall opens, the city is failing its vaccine rollout, the best new restaurants of 2020, NYC’s first baby of 2021, and more

Today – Low: 33˚ High: 41˚
Mostly cloudy throughout the day.

Slash came out in support of city renaming a portion of St. Marks Jimmy Webb Place. There is a change.org petition if you want to add your name in support. (Bowery Boogie)

The top new restaurants in the city in 2020 from writers, photographers, chefs, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, and elected officials. (Eater)

Video: Walking through the new Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station. (ActionKid)

Photos: Inside the new Moynihan Train Hall. (Sophia Chang with photos by Jake Dobkin for Gothamist)

Did you know that old Penn Station had a women-only waiting room? (Ephemeral New York)

Photos: The art of the new Moynihan Train Hall. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

This January marks 75 years since the shutdown of the City Hall Station. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

12 restaurants with heated outdoor dining in Queens. (Erika Adams for Eater)

There’s a new push to build a windmill farm off the shore of Sunset Park, spearheaded by Senator Charles Schumer, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. (Ariama C. Long for Kings County Politics)

Governor Cuomo has long said that if the city hits a 7-day 9% positivity rate for Covid-19, he would close the schools in the city. The city hit 9% and Governor Cuomo decided schools will stay open. (Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech for amNewYork Metro)

The more infectious UK strain of Covid-19 was found in New York state in Saratoga Springs. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

The city has only used 25% of its Covid-19 vaccine allocation. The mayor announced a goal of one million vaccinations by the end of January. That’s going to be a tough task considering the city has only administered 110k vaccines as of this morning. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

The Coney Island History Project launched a new podcast, Coney Island Stories Podcast. If you missed the opportunity to get the sand in your shoes this year, take a dip into some history. (Coney Island History Project)

Bird Alert! A bald eagle was spotted in Central Park. (Mike Mishkin for I Love the Upper West Side)

Meet the NYC queens on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. (Rose Adams for Brooklyn Paper)

The NYPD will file charges against “SoHo Karen,” who accused a Black child of stealing her phone and scratched and tackled him in the process. (Ishena Robinson for The Root)

City Sheriffs broke up three New Year’s Eve parties, including a 300 person karaoke party in Queens. (Michael Wilson for NY Times)

Farewell to Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse, closing after 47 years, but it sounds like they have plans of reopening. (EV Grieve)

Max Rose is not running for mayor, saving himself a quick L. (NY1)

The NYPD’s 73rd Precinct tried a radical experiment for five days in December in what could be a model for the future. They removed police officers and replaced them with community members preventing minor incidents. (Yoav Gonen for The City)

10 new public art installations in NYC for January. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams plans to appoint Cea Weaver, the campaign coordinator for Housing Justice for All, to the City Planning Commission. This would be one of thirteen seats on the commission. (Akiko Matsuda for The Real Deal)

Congrats to Ivett Rodriguez on the birth of her son Jaxel, the first baby in NYC to be born in 2021. (Robert Pozarycki for Brooklyn Paper)

Mayor de Blasio announced the there will be a special election on March 23 for the empty 11th and 15th City Council seats. (Alex Mitchell for amNewYork Metro)

This week is your last opportunity to own a piece of Gem Spa, the auction ends January 7. (Flaming Pablum)

Marine Park Democratic District Leader Lori Maslow resigned after a weird weekend Twitter rant against Chinese people. She’s since deleted her Twitter account. (Brian Braiker for Brooklyn Magazine)

A technical glitch that took down the NYC Department of Correction’s Inmate Lookup Service last month has left some incarcerated New Yorkers without access to their lawyers or families. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

State Senator Brian Benjamin is running for City Comptroller, the chief fiscal officer for the city, but The City has uncovered multiple phantom donations, including one from a two-year-old, to his campaign. Benjamin says that he will “return” the money. To whom? Not a great omen for someone who wants to oversee the city’s finances. (Clifford Michel for The City)

Six women have been assaulted at the Morgan Ave L Station since November. If you’re using this station, please be alert when you do. (Matt Fink for Bushwick Daily)

From the “No Sympathy” department comes this story from the Times on how difficult it is to find parking in NYC ever since car ownership soared this year. I used to live downstairs from a guy in Park Slope who never moved his car for street cleaning because, as he explained it, paying for every ticket you get because you don’t move your car is cheaper than paying for a spot in any garage in the neighborhood. (Christina Goldbaum for NY Times)

Be careful when crossing 1st Ave and 7th St, because the freshly prepared intersection is now the hole to some sinkholes. (EV Grieve)

Apartment Lust: An historic $4.4 million house in Park Slope’s historic district, complete with garage, two outdoor areas, a full bath in an unfinished basement, and four stories. (Susan De Vries for Brownstoner)

Know a restaurant that opened in 2020? Time Out is making a list. (Christina Izzo for Time Out)

Robert Sietsema’s 2020 in sandwiches. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

Thanks to reader Zlata for today’s featured photo!

The Briefly for December 11, 2020 – The “Rats Run This Chipotle Now” Friday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: A raccoon is saved, the world’s largest menorah, the headless Santa, Andrew Yang weighs his options for mayor, NYC’s iconic food, and more

Today – Low: 43˚ High: 53˚
Clear throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 39˚ High: 57˚

A deep dive into the Art Deco works of Ralph Walker. (Jeff Reuben for Untapped New York)

Service on the E and M lines will be rerouted between Christmas and New Year’s Day between Roosevelt Avenue and West 4th Street from 5 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 26 to 5 a.m. on Monday., Jan. 4. (Allie Griffin for Jackson Heights Post)

A guide for first-time buyers of co-ops in NYC. (Ann Lien for StreetEasy)

Video: The city still has our love for our trash panda overlods. Check out this raccoon rescue from the ledge of a building in Tribeca. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

The rats may be slowly taking over the city from the raccoons. A Chipotle in the Bronx have been taken over by rats, who have been biting the staff and eating the avocados. (Luke Fortney for Eater)

The voters in New York City chose to utilize ranked-choice voting with a referndum in 2019 election, but that isn’t stopping the City Council from speaking out against it, calling it voter suppression. (Brigid Gergin for Gothamist)

Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo; the co-chairs of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Adrienne Adams and I. Daneek Miller; and Councilmembers Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Farah Louis, and Robert Cornegy, a candidate for Brooklyn borough president, along with 10 community organizations are suing to stop ranked choice voting. (Brigid Bergin for Gothamist)

A little Christmas horror anyone? the headless Santa of Rite-Aid on 1st Ave. (EV Grieve)

Welcome Chaun Donovan to the packed list of mayoral contenders. Donovan served under Mayor Bloomberg as the head of housing and under President Obama as the head of HUD and OMB. (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

Andrew Yang is still weighing his options when it comes to running for mayor. (Sally Goldenberg for Politico)

We had our first snowfall of the season this week. It’s time to ask the usual question this time of year: Will we have a white Christmas this year? (Adam Nichols for Patch)

How to send a letter to Santa. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Pizza is NYC’s most iconic dish, according to the people who answered the Time Out Index survey. (Christina Izzo for Time Out)

Donald Trump’s childhood home is up for sale and you can still swoop in and create NYC’s largest public toilet because the fundraiser trying to buy the home for $3 million only raised $125. (Sarah Maslin Nir for NY Times)

Where to east in Bushwick. (Olivia Laskowski for Eater)

Winter is coming. Well, it already snowed once. 15 things New Yorkers do to prepare for winter. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Brooklyn Assembly Member Robert Carroll has one of the worst ideas of the year, and this year has been full of awful ideas. Taxing every delivered package by $3. Thanks, McLovin. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Along with taxing every delivered package in the city, there’s also talk about killing unlimited MetroCards. (Benjamin Kabak for Second Ave Sagas)

Happy Hanukkah to all readers celebrating. The world’s largest menorah is on display outside the Plaza Hotel. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

McSorley’s doesn’t change much. Say hello to Teresa Maher de la Haba, the first female bartender, representing one of top five changes in the bar’s history. (Molly Wilcox for Bedford + Bowery)

Pat Kiernan’s contract with NY1 is now at the center of the lawsuit by five of his female colleagues over gender and age bias. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

I’m a sucker for a very specific list. The best West Village & Tribeca restaurants on Caviar. (Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

New York representatives Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin are on the list of the 106 Republicans that refuse to accept reality. Neither represents the city. (Stephanie K. Baer for BuzzFeed News)

Apartment Porn: Unfortunately you missed out on this $57 million duplex penthouse on W 57th with Central Park views, four bedrooms and five and a half baths. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft)

Some more good news? There was a humpback whale spotted swimming in the Hudson River. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

There aren’t many surprises in NYC’s top Google searches of 2020. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Here’s where all the surprises are: Dredgers found two cars at the bottom of the Gowanus. (Katia Kelly for Pardon Me For Asking)

January 19 is the official start of the Gowanus rezoning. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

Photos: Who doesn’t love a good holiday window? (Ben Yakas for Gothamist)

NYC filming locations for HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

Where to find some fancy latkes for Hanukkah. (Erika Adams for Eater)

Data Visualization: Comparing the coverage of the subway vs the replacement buses, overlaid with racial and occupational data. (@julestrainman)

The statue of Christopher Columbus in Downtown Brooklyn appears to be on borrowed time. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

Robert Sietsema’s 15 best dishes of 2020. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

Thanks to reader Zlata for today’s featured photo from the Hudson Yards!