The Briefly for January 19-20 – The “Lena Dunham and Bill de Blasio?” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: MTA delays fare hikes, Union Square plans to expand 33%, Mayor de Blasio drops another ball, MLK protests, and more

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

Another week, another broken promise from Mayor de Blasio. After he spent all summer painting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the city’s streets, the mayor’s “Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission” has done zero public work and hasn’t been mentioned since August. (Ethan Geringer-Sameth for Gotham Gazette)

The Times looks at five takeaways from the mayor’s race. (Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Jeffery C. Mays for NY Times)

Here’s a weird one. Someone is putting up flyers announcing the wedding of Lena Dunham and Mayor de Blasio on Valentine’s Day in Union Square. This seems somehow connected to the very weird Fiona Apple flyer from October. Congrats to the happy couple? (EV Grieve)

Photos: The new glass sculpture I dreamed a world and called it Love by Jim Hodges in Grand Central Terminal. (Nicole Saraniero, photos by David Regen for Untapped New York)

With Inauguration Day approaching, it’s a great time to remember that the nation’s first inauguration happened outside the Federal Hall National Memorial in the Financial District on April 30, 1789. The original bible George Washington placed his hand on is still in the building. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

A Martin Luther King Jr Day protest started at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and ended with the NYPD making dozens of arrests of peaceful protesters near City Hall. (Azi Paybarah for NY Times)

The NYPD is being sued by the state’s attorney general over its handling of protests over the summer because violence against protesters isn’t a bug in the system, it’s a feature. (Erin O’Brien for Bedford + Bowery)

Nicolas Moncada, 20, of Staten Island was arrested for his role in the January 5 insurrection. How did they know he was there” Because he posted a selfie of himself outside Speaker Pelosi’s office to Instagram. Neighbors describe his arrest as “like they were looking for a terrorist.” They were and they arrested him. (Elina Tarkazikis for NY1)


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The city’s graduation rate hit an all-time high of 78.8% in 2020. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

The MTA claims the driver of the bus that drove off an overpass refused a drug test, but the driver, whose jaw had been fractured in the accident, says a drug test was taken in the hospital. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

The Biden-Harris administration nominated Polly Trottenberg, the city’s former commissioner of the Department of Transportation, for Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation to work under Pete Buttigieg. (Stephen Nessen for Gothamist)

Foot traffic is down 70% year over year in Times Square. (Jake Dobkin for Gothamist)

Want to send someone some cheer? You can record a birthday greeting for Ray or Ray’s Candy Store, who turns 88 on January 25, to be a part of a Guinness World Record for “biggest video hug ever.” (EV Grieve)

The MTA is postponing their scheduled 2021 fare hike because, quite frankly, we’ve all had enough already. (Benjamin Kabak for Second Ave. Sagas)

The Union Square Partnership unveiled a $100 million plan for a car-free Union Square that would expand the park 33% into the surrounding streets. The plan will be officially presented on January 26. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

The public review process for the Gowanus rezoning has been temporarily halted by a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge over concerns that holding virtual meetings violates city law that requires public hearings. The lawsuit that halted the process asks that public hearings be held when it is safe to do so. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

The MTA is looking into temporarily reducing service on some subway lines because of worker shortages due to illness, retirements, and a lack of new hires. (Jose Martinez for The City)

Governor Cuomo is tired of the federal government’s shit and has asked Pfizer to sell vaccines directly to the state, which is possible because Pfizer is not a part of “Project Warp Speed.” (Lisa Finn for Patch)

Sunset Park’s South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will become an offshore wind assembly port for the state’s new offshore wind farms. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

Repairs of the Cherry Walk segment of the Hudson River Greenway, stretching from 100th to 125th St, are complete. (Streetsblog)

Gothamist gets giddy about Medan Pasar, a new Malaysian restaurant in the East Village. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)

What you need to know about the 2021 Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island borough president races. (Rachel Holliday Smith for The City)

Thanks to reader Francesca for today’s featured photo of Fort Tryon Park!

The Briefly for December 18-19, 2020 – The “Song For The Dumped” Friday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: Vaccine plans, you can’t pee indoors while outdoor dining, the best hot chocolate, a bobcat in the Bronx River, and more

Today – Low: 19˚ High: 32˚
Partly cloudy throughout the day.
This weekend – Low: 30˚ High: 40˚

A look at the state’s plan to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine to the general public. So far the state received 87,750 doses that are being given to healthcare workers. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

All New Yorkers will receive Covid-19 vaccines free of charge thanks to an order from Governor Cuomo, including the uninsured. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist)

Five takeaways from the first week of vaccines in NYC. (Joseph Goldstein for NY Times)

A look back to 1947, when NYC vaccinated six million people against smallpox in less than a month. (John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro for NY Times)

The city has been singing the chorus to Ben Folds Five’s “Song For The Dumped” to a number of vendors who either didn’t deliver on PPP goods or canceled orders to the tune of over half a billion dollars. (Michael Rothfeld and J. David Goodman for NY Times)

The mayor’s office updated their guidance for restaurants and bars with outdoor dining and it includes the rule that patrons are not allowed to use the indoor bathrooms if you are dining outdoors. I’ve asked this before, but where the hell is Ariel Palitz, this city’s “night mayor,” when it comes to bullshit like this? (@nycmayorcounsel)

What does it take to keep a restaurant open in 2020? Here’s insight from Littlefield and Parklife co-owner Julie Kim on the monumental effort it has been to follow the state and city’s rules and keep the experience positive for patrons. Yes, this is where I hosted pop-culture trivia for most of this year. (Julie Kim for Brooklyn Based)

Kudos to Honey Badger, the restaurants in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, for using its outdoor dining area for a holiday market when the restaurant is closed during the day. (Ben Verde for Brooklyn Paper)

Coney Island Creek is being evaluated to become a possible Superfund site. (Rose Adams for Brownstoner)

A new tunnel to Grand Central Terminal is open, one of Grand Central’s long-hidden tunnels, from 150 E 42nd St, across 42nd from the Chrysler Building. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

Forget the barred owl, there’s a new hot bird in the city. Say hello to Central Park’s long-eared owl. (Mike Mishkin for I Love The Upper West Side)

Eataly is paying almost $2 million to settle a labor lawsuit that alleged Eataly was “failing to pay wages for all hours worked due to a policy of time shaving,” “failing to provide proper wage and hour notice,” and “failing to provide proper wage statements.” (Chris Crowley for Grub Street)

The luckiest traffic agent in the city was hit by a tractor-trailer and pinned underneath in Astoria. Miraculously, she was taken to the hospital for back and neck pain, but no other injuries. (Michael Dorgan for LIC Post)

Get yourself ready, because the mayor is talking about a full city shutdown after Christmas. (Allie Griffin for Sunnyside Post)

The one exception to all of the mayor’s talk about a full shutdown of the city? Keeping school buildings open. The teachers’ union isn’t supporting that idea, calling a move to keep schools open during a “shelter-in-place” scenario “irresponsible.” (Alex Zimmerman for Chalkbeat)

The Ferris wheel that was supposed to be built on Staten Island is taking center stage for city council hopefuls. Get ready for every failed project and waterfront to become a debate point in 2021 as the entire city council is up for re-election. (Clifford Michel for The City)

One shortage we didn’t expect to see is Christmas trees. Turns out when everyone is in their own homes for Christmas, the city needs more trees. (Daniel E. Slotnik for NY Times)

Video: An eerily quiet walk through Chinatown, Soho, and Washington Square Park. (ActionKid)

New Year’s Eve is going literally virtual this year, with a VNYE app that uses galleries and augmented reality to put you in a Times Square full of art. Plus you don’t have to wear a diaper to take part, so it’s kind of a win. (Nicole Saraniero for Untapped New York)

Apartment Lust: A $1.4 million Carroll Gardens two-story apartment with an astounding amount of open space and natural light, one of the weirder bed situations I’ve come across, and a roof deck. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

More than 100 New York LGBTQ groups have issued an open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to sign a law before next week making all public single-stall restrooms statewide open to people of all genders. (Tat Bellamy-Walker for Gay City News)

A best of the borough shopping guide for Queens, as voted by the QNS readers. (Robin Khatsernov for QNS)

Looking for something unique on New York’s Eve? How about sleeping in a geodesic dome on top of the NASDAQ building in Times Square for $21? The dome is complete with a welcome message from Mariah Carey, a $5,000 shopping spree on Fifth Age, an indoor art lounge, a private chef for dinner, and cheesecake from Junior’s. Better rush, it’s first-come, first-served when it becomes available on December 21 at 9am. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Got cabin fever? A pandemic winter bucket list. (Meredith Craig de Pietro for Brooklyn Based)

There were sightings of a bobcat in the trails along the Bronx River, which is a good sign for the health of the waterway and very cool, but also stay away from large cats if you see them. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

The rollout of ranked-choice voting will continue after a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order. (Emily Ngo for NY1)

Video: Watch Xi’an Famous Foods prepare its biang biang noodles and perfectly coat them in their homemade chili sauce. (Matt Coney Beare for Viewing NYC)

Industry City announced three massive new heated outdoor space with four open sides in its courtyards. (Dozier Hasty for Brooklyn Eagle)

You think your Zoom calls suck? Thanks to a complete inability to organize themselves, the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s first membership meeting lasted 13 hours long and included a vote where the total votes exceeded the total number of members. Great job you guys. (Kevin Duggan for Brooklyn Paper)

Bookmark This: Where to go sledding in NYC after it snows. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

10 ways you know you’re a real New Yorker during a snow day. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

Photos: Snow rats, sledding, and winter scenes from NYC. (Ben Yakas with photos by Scott Lynch for Gothamist)

The best hot chocolate in the city. (Nikko Duren for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Michael for today’s featured photo! I don’t usually use photos of faces, but look at the joy!

The Briefly for December 1-3, 2020 – The “New York City’s Least Wanted” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: The city’s new test time wait “tool,” AOC for mayor?, the plan to reopen schools, a food gift guide, Times Square is sad, and more

Today – Low: 35˚ High: 53˚
Possible drizzle in the morning.

The city launched a Covid-19 test wait time tool for Health + Hospitals test sites. Don’t get too excited. It’s a PDF that updates every 15 minutes, but as of writing this, it was still showing yesterday’s wait times. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

400 idiots were found in a party in Manhattan at 3 am on Saturday by the city’s Sherrif, who broke up the party. (Mihir Zaveri for NY Times)

The Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home’s funeral director’s license was revoked. This is after dozens of decomposing bodies were found in trucks outside of the funeral home at the height of the pandemic. (Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura for NY Times)

The MTA was scheduled to receive the first of its new open gangway design cars this year, which won’t be happening due to a supply-chain slowdown. The first of the new cars are expected sometime next year. (Jose Martinez for The City)

Governor Cuomo laid out five strategies to prevent overwhelming the state’s hospitalization system. Hospital capacity, testing, keeping as many schools open as possible, limiting small gatherings, and getting a vaccination program ready. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

New York’s least wanted. Accent: Fake Posh. Eyes: Dead Behind. Married to Slenderman? Yes. (@TGLNYC on Instagram)

Being envious of a realistic apartment in a video game may be something that is uniquely New York. (Charles Pulliam-Moore for Gizmodo)

6sqft selects food gifts from 21 NYC restaurants and shops. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

I love the idea of secret tunnels and passageways existing throughout the city, like the abandoned passageway between the Hotel Roosevelt and Grand Central Terminal. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York)

Roberta’s Pizza is closed, as a number of workers contracted COVID-19. (David Cruz for Gothamist)

What’s one way to make viewing the Rockefeller Christmas tree worse during a global pandemic? How about a bunch of rules and needing tickets to see it? I appreciate the idea, but this underscores just how much this year is the worst. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)

InThe Coney Island Polar Bear Club has canceled the January 1st swim. (Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan)

In better news, SantaCon is also canceled. (Holly Louise Perry for Bowery Boogie)

Laying out the unlikely case for AOC for mayor in 2021. (Amba Guerguerian for The Indypendent)

Andrew Yang is still considering a run at the mayorship. (Sally Goldenberg for Politico)

Arlene’s Grocery may be forced to close on February 1. They’re looking to raise $80,000 on goFundMe to stay open. (Elie Z. Perler for Bowery Boogie)

“They’re not going to enforce their own laws. Obviously, we’re not seeing the enforcement around precincts, especially some of mine, where police vehicles are parked everywhere, blocking crosswalks.” The City Council is fed up with the NYPD treating sidewalks like their own personal parking lot. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro)

Middle and high school buildings across the city will not reopen for in-person learning until 2021 with no specific date announced. Elementary and younger will reopen on December 3 and the city will lose the 3% threshold that got us into this mess in the first place. (Reema Amin for Chalkbeat)

Also in the “not for a while” category is congestion pricing, which the MTA now says may not be happening until 2023. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Former UCB employees launched The Squirrel Comedy Theater with an aim towards inclusivity after UCB’s closure in April. Right now you can find them streaming on Wednesday and Thursday nights on Twitch. (Bill Pearis for BrooklynVegan)

The NY Times has discovered that if Times Square is empty, it’s pretty depressing. (Corey Kilgannon for NY Times)

An ode to New York City’s elevated trains. (Joy Masoff for Untapped New York)

A look at why eviction filings are up, despite the eviction moratorium. (Beth Fertig for Gothamist)

The chief executive of the New York Road Runners, the nonprofit behind the NYC Marathon, will step down in the face of allegations that he fostered a toxic and racist work culture. (Jake Offenhartz for Gothamist)

A manhole cover of a mysterious origin. The city’s history still has questions we can’t answer. (Ephemeral New York)

Updated: The ultimate Manhattan delivery guide. (Hannah Albertine, Nikko Duren, & Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Francesca for today’s featured photo of Harlem at dawn!