The Briefly for February 21-22, 2021 – The “Take the Tone Down” Sunday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: The NYPD loses another lawsuit over misconduct records, the Empire Station Complex plans, Brooklyn gets crabs, and more

Today – Low: 30˚ High: 34˚
Clear throughout the day.

• After a group of trans leaders called on Heritage of Pride (HOP) to hand over control of New York City’s Pride festivities to Black and Brown transgender individuals, a planned meeting between the two sides was cancelled — and a bitter controversy flared up. (Tat Bellamy-Walker for Gay City News)

Joe’s Pizza, Scarr’s Pizza and Uncle Mike’s Hometown Pizza are NYC’s favorite pizza places, according to Google Maps searches in 2020. (Anna Ben Yehuda for Time Out)

Indoor dining will increase in capacity on Friday, February 26 from 25% to 35%. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

• Now that he’s in deep shit with state and federal investigations into how his administration hid nursing home death numbers, the state’s legislature is about to strip him of his emergency powers, and public sentiment is turning against him, Governor Cuomo wants to “take the tone down.” (Christopher Robbins and Gwynne Hogan for Gothamist)

92% of NYC restaurants were either unable to pay some or all of their rent in December. 46% were able to pay some, 45% couldn’t pay any. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Farewell Jing Fong, Chinatown’s legendary Chinatown dim sum banquet hall, open since 1972. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

“Ghost kitchens have been meticulously engineered to be infinitely adaptable and fantastically efficient. The Wall Street Journal loves them. But what they really are is a trend that manages, triumphantly, to strip away all joy from the act of eating. They are devoid of every feature that makes restaurants great, and they are not, despite what the many, many headlines say, the true future of the restaurant industry.”
-Rachel Sugar, Ghost Kitchens Will Always Be Dumb, for Grub Street

• Pete Wells goes a bit behind-the-scenes on what it’s been like being a restaurant critic during a pandemic that has shattered all of our norms about eating outside (and sometimes inside) the home. It’s hard to remain anonymous when your name is on your delivery order. (Pete Wells for NY Times)

• Podcast: They’re more than just the front door to the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles’ home. Looking at the history of manhole covers. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

• Apartment Porn: Actress Sela Ward’s $5.8 million Soho loft, with 14-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, a deep soacking tub, whatever a smart toilet is, a 300-bottle wine fridge, and more. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

• A majority of Democratic candidates running for Manhattan District Attorney are promising to end the agency’s use of software from Palantir, whose invasive surveillance software has been seen as unreliable and rife with racial justice and privacy issues. (George Joseph for Gothamist)

• Manhattan DA Cy Vance added Mark F. Pomerantz to the Donald Trump criminal investigation team. Pomerantz has a history of investigating and defending white-collar and organized crime cases. (William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Jonah E. Bromwich for NY Times)

The NYPD’s secret misconduct records must be made public after a judge ruled against the Police Benevolent Association and other unions. This is the 50-a shielding law that’s been the focus of conversation for some time. The records have not been made public yet as Mayor de Blasio waits for clearance from the court about when the records can be released. (Greg B. Smith for The City)

A video shows an NYPD officer repeatedly punching a man as he’s held down on the ground at the South Ferry subway station during an arrest for allegedly smoking a cigarette on the platform on Tuesday. Is this what 500 more cops will look like in the subways? (David Cruz for Gothamist)

• How the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group, an anti-terror squad, became the city’s tool for cracking down on protests. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

• One day after signaling his plan not to enforce basic education standards within the community’s yeshivas Andrew Yang is the frontrunner for the ultra-Orthodox vote. Yang credits a month-long course on the Bible he took at a Westchester prep school as his reason for his stance. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

A focus on the City Council showdown in Coney Island. (Rose Adams for Kinds County Politics)

• Corey Johnson got out of the mayor’s race, but now he’s thinking about running for comptroller. (Jeffery C. Mays and Emma G. Fitzsimmons for NY Times)

• Podcast: Quanda Francis on her campaign for mayor. (Ben Max for Gotham Gazette)

• Maya Wiley, the former MSNBC analyst and legal counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio running for mayor, has the endorsement of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, The National Health Care Workers’ Union, which also endorsed Mayor de Blasio before he was elected. (Emma G. Fitzsimmons for NY Times)

• Congratulations Brooklyn, you have the lowest vaccination rates in the city. (Jake Samieske for Brooklyn Magazine)

Meet artist Devon Rodriguez, whose drawings of strangers on the subway is providing sparks of joy on his Instagram and TikTok accounts. (Will Gleason for Time Out)

KAWS: WHAT PARTY is coming to the Brooklyn Museum from February 26 – September 5. (Brooklyn Street Art)

RIP Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor of the Charging Bull statue. (NY1)

• Remember the Tribeca “bean” by Anish Kapoor, the creator of the Chicago bean, on Leonard St? It’s only partially built, half shiny bean, half plywood construction site. (Michael Young for New York YIMBY)

11 Black-owned wine shops across the city. (Hannah Albertine and Nikko Duren for The Infatuation)

A Park Slope Food Co-Op member started a GoFundMe to raise $10,000 to sue the organization, alleging racial discrimination. (Erika Adams for Eater)

• Move over lobster, here come the crab boils. (Ellie Plass for Bklyner)

The city will not test rising kindergarteners for admission to gifted programs, the education department announced Wednesday. Instead, students will be evaluated by their pre-K teacher or sign up for an interview. (Christina Veiga for Chalkbeat)

Black Seed Bagels is getting into pizza, but disappointingly there are no pizza bagels on the menu. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

The top 10 places to find the best pastrami in NYC. (Robert Sietsema for Eater)

The state’s plan for the 20-million-square-foot Empire Station Complex surrounding Penn Station was adopted by the board of directors of Empire State Development. The plan calls for five buildings over 1,000 feet tall, up to 1,300 feet. For reference, the Empire State building’s roof is 1,250 feet tall. The project is expected to be completed by 2038. (Vanessa Londono for New York YIMBY)

Five snacks to try across the city. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

The Briefly for February 16-18, 2021 – The “Because Whoopi Goldberg Told Me To” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: 22 hour subway service starts soon, drama in the bird community, the Soho Grifter is out, the oldest bars on the UWS, and more

Today – Low: 20˚ High: 44˚
Rain in the morning and afternoon.

22-hour subway service will start on 2/22, shutting down daily from 2-4 am. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

Nearly a quarter of New York City’s students with disabilities have not received all of the services they’re entitled to this school year, according to new figures that offer the most comprehensive picture yet of special education during the pandemic. (Alex Zimmerman for Chalkbeat)

The MTA got 25 celebrities to record Covid-19 PSAs for the subways. Finally New Yorkers will follow mask and social distancing guidelines because Michael Rapaport and Whoopi Goldberg told them to. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

• The seawall to protect Staten Island from another Hurricane Sandy was scheduled to be finished this year, but construction isn’t expected to be finished for another five years or more. Radiation from a 1940s landfill in Great Kills Park halted progress on the East Shore Seawall as the city, state, and federal governments fight over who”s responsible for getting rid of the radiation. (Clifford Michel for The City)

The Bronx is #2 highest risk in the country from natural disasters only behind Los Angeles. (Ed García Conde for Welcome2TheBronx)

• Green-Wood Cemetery wants your help to identify thousands of WWII soldiers buried at the cemetery. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

• Good question: What does the mayor of NYC actually do? (Brigid Bergin for Gothamist)

A look at how the roots of the NAACP run through Greenwich Village. (Joey Rodriguez for GVSHP)

• Video: Kissaki chef Mark Garcia makes 200-300 omakase to-go boxes every night. (Director Pelin Keskin for Eater)

• It’s not just your imagination, the city’s snowstorms have been getting worse. (Lydia McMullen-Laird for Gothamist)

• If you’re in the latest group of New Yorkers eligible for the vaccine, you’ve learned that the state’s vaccine website is utter garbage and can’t keep up with demand. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

The alleged subway stabber, Rigoberto Lopez, was arrested. (Ashley Southall for NY Times)

NYC’s bird watching community is feeling the pressure of popularity after getting a wider amount of interest form the general public in the last year. (Daniel E. Slotnik for NY Times)

• Anna Sorokin aka Anna Delvey, the fake heiress grifter convicted of grand larceny, is out of prison and working on a memoir and a TV show. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

Revel is expanding its service to electric bikes for a subscription cost of $90/month. you’ll get a pedal-assisted bike to use for as long as you’re a subscriber rather than their traditional model of looking for one on the street. (Julianne Cuba for Streetsblog)

9 indie Brooklyn bookstores to visit. (Emilie Murphy for Brooklyn Magazine)

• Governor Cuomo almost apologized, but still didn’t, for his administration’s actions that led to the Covid-19 nursing scandal. (Jesse McKinley for NY Times)

What it’s like to run a movie theater, the Cobble Hill Cinema, in a pandemic. (Red Hook Star-Revue)

Thanks to reader Lolita for today’s featured photo!

The Briefly for February 12-13, 2021 – The “Mayor of Flavortown for Mayor of NYC” Friday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: Indoor dining returns today, new vaccination sites, mayoral candidates want more power over the MTA, splurge-worthy takeout and more

Today – Low: 21˚ High: 29˚
Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 27˚ High: 37˚

• The annual Valentine’s Day tour of the Shit Tits in Greenpoint, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility, is going virtual. All the experience with none of the smell. of the city’s largest sewage plant. (Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner for Greenpointers)

• Forget the mayor of NYC. The Mayor of Flavortown is back in Manhattan. All hail Guy Fieri. (Erika Adams for Eater)

• Photos: Go back in time with this newly digitized library of photos of Central PArk in the 80s. (Jen Carlson for Gothamist)

• Remember when the NYPD started babysitting Christopher Columbus statues across the city? Well the NYPD are still babysitting these statues ten months later. (Jose Martinez for The City)

Construction will begin in the spring on Gansevoort Peninsula, Manhattan’s first public beach. The park will be built off Little West 12th St. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

• In a surprise to everyone, New York concert venues and arenas can reopen on February 23. Each venue’s safety plan needs to be reviewed by the state, everyone needs proof of a negative PCR test within 3 days of the event, and venues that hold over 10,000 will have a maximum capacity of 10%. (Anna Ben Yehuda for Time Out)

How NYC’s bars and restaurants are preparing for today’s return to indoor dining. (Rachel Sugar for Grub Street)

“We’re grateful to be able to provide our guests with a slice of hope through an experience as simple as dining out. We welcome indoor dining not only as a lifeline for our business, but also as an opportunity to safely bring our customers a little more normalcy in these very abnormal times.”
– Simone Tiligna, co-owner of Sola Pasta Bar, Why I’m Opening My Restaurant for Indoor Dining in NYC for Eater

“One wonders why Cuomo can’t wait a little longer for more vaccines to come online, instead of conducting such a grand social experiment on a group of staffers who have disproportionately struggled during the pandemic. Latinx folks, for example, have suffered COVID death rates that are nearly double those of white New Yorkers.”
– Ryan Sutton, Cuomo’s Reckless Return to Indoor Dining Values NYC Restaurants Over Lives, for Eater

The top two affordable neighborhoods in NYC are Parkchester and Bedford Park in the Bronx. (Ed García Conde FOR Welcome2TheBronx)

• 2021 will be the year of legal marijuana in New York state? Maybe. Governor Cuomo and Democrats in the legislature can’t get on the same page when it comes to legal weed. (Caroline Lewis for Gothamist)

• The NYPD announced that it is ready to relinquish that responsibility to another city agency. The City Council is already debating stripping the NYPD of that responsibility as part of a package of bills aimed at police reform. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

• The New York state Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Bevelyn Beatty and Edmee Chavannes, two anti-abortion protesters, accusing them of repeated “obstructive, threatening, harassing, and violent activity” at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Manhattan. Their behavior has continued through the pandemic without wearing masks. (Brooklyn Eagle)

• Turning away eligible people, poor communication, lack of translators, impossible appointments, navigators who can’t navigate. The Citi Field mass vaccination site is a Mets-level disaster. (Caroline Lewis for Gothamist)

• Starting at some point next week, 188 Walgreens sites, 75 Rite Aid sites and five Costco sites will have vaccinations available (in limited quantity). (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Vaccine stories from restaurant industry pros who’ve managed to get appointments range from ‘easy-peasy’ to ‘total shitshow.’ (Jennifer Joan Nelson for Brooklyn Magazine)

Three pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites are set to open in northeast Queens, in Bayside, Jamaica and South Richmond Hill for Queens residents. (Jenna Bagcal for QNS)

Three small vaccine dispensary sites came online in the Lower East Side this week at community centers, public housing complexes, and cultural centers which will eventually lead to dispensaries opening at all 33 NYCHA Senior Housing Developments. (Elie Z Perler for Bowery Boogie)

• Covid-19 vaccine providers can start redistributing second doses if someone doesn’t get their second shot within the 42-day timeframe, including moving unused doses from long-term care facilities. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

• The federal government increased New York’s vaccine allocation by 5% this week, making the new allocation “inadequate plus 5%.” (Matt Troutman for Patch)

• Andrew Yang has declared a new enemy: eternal sidewalk scaffolding. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

• The mayoral race looks to AOC. (Katie Glueck for NY Times)

• In the eternal battle between the city and state, some mayoral candidates have begun talking about changing the balance of power of the MTA’s board to give the city a bigger say over the MTA. (Dave Colon for Streetsblog)

A look at Scott Stringer’s transportation plan, including more bike lanes, more pedestrian zones, reforming parking rules, reducing parking placards for city employees, more buses, and reducing community boards’ ability to block street safety projects. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

Here are the Republican candidates running for mayor. (Juan Manuel Benitez for NY1)

• Brownsville’s Betsy Head Park officially reopened to the public last week after a $30 million renovation. (Jake Samieske for Brooklyn Magazine)

Everything you need to know about buying your first home in NYC. (Jordi Lippe-McGraw for StreetEasy)

• Interactive Map: Explore New York City’s Black history with the Landmarks Preservation Commissions “Preserving Significant Places of Black History.” (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

• A new state mandate will ensure health insurance companies in New York must immediately cover fertility treatments for queer couples. (Tat Bellamy-Walker for Gay City News)

What does NYC’s Public Advocate do? (Afia Eama for Gothamist)

• Real Estate Lust: A $6.5 million Noho loft with huge, arched windows overlooking Broadway, 10-foot-long fireplace, 20 feet of closets in the main bedroom, and more. (Dana Schulz for 6qsft)

A guide to splurge-worthy takeout. (Emily Wilson for RESY)