The Briefly for February 9-11, 2021 – The “Indoor Dining is Back on Friday” Tuesday Edition

The latest NYC news digest: New vaccine eligibility, the MTA’s cruelty on display, Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers called into question, the best pizza in NYC, and more

Today – Low: 21˚ High: 34˚
Overcast throughout the day.

• There is a new list of people eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. If you are someone with cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, severe obesity, obesity, certain heart conditions, sickle cell disease, pregnancy, liver disease and neurologic conditions, people with immune systems weakened by HIV and immune deficiencies, asthma, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease or is using of immunosuppressive medications, you are eligible for the vaccine on February 15. You must provide a doctor’s letter or medical information proving your eligibility. (Brooklyn Eagle)

TurboVax finds the latest vaccine appointments from 43 city and state-run administration sites in the NYC area. Think of it as the website the city or state never created. (TurboVax)

• There’s also a Twitter account that tweets availabilities. (@turbovax)

• Here’s the story behind TurboVax, which was created by Huge Ma, a software engineer at Airbnb. (Sharon Otterman for NY Times)

• The state’s legislature gave Governor Cuomo emergency pandemic powers about a year ago, but now the question is for how long? (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

Indoor dining will now return at 25% capacity on Friday instead of Sunday, as Governor Cuomo originally announced. (Tanay Warerkar for EAter)

Citi Field will open as a mass vaccination site on Wednesday morning. Citi Field’s appointments will be set aside 50 percent for drivers with TLC licenses and food delivery workers and 50 percent for Queens residents. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)

• Even with the announcement of Citi Field, the system for booking appointments is difficult to navigate and there is heavy confusion at vaccination sites over eligibility, leaving restaurant workers out in the cold before Friday’s return to indoor dining. (Josefa Velasquez for The City)

• Despite months of talk about vaccine equity from Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, vaccine inequity is very much here. (Sydney Pereira and Jake Dobkin for Gothamist)

• Welcome to another virtual Fleet Week. (Raanan Geberer for Brooklyn Eagle)

• Victor Rivera, the chief executive of the Bronx Parent Housing Network, one of the largest operators of homeless shelters in New York City, was accused of sexual abuse and financial impropriety. 10 women, including homeless women staying in his organization’s shelters, had accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Rivera also used his nonprofit, the Bronx Parent Housing Network, to enrich himself and his family. He faces a criminal investigation and has been fired from the non-profit. (Amy Julia Harris for NY Times)

The city’s middle schools will return to in-person classes, grades 6-8, on February 25. Not all schools will be opening up for full-time in-person classes. Teachers are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. (Eliza Shapiro for NY Times)

• A 64-year-old woman was killed by a truck driver in Times Square on Saturday afternoon. The driver was not charged. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog)

NYC’s first plant-based community fridge is up and running outside Overthrow on Bleecker St. (EV Grieve)

• “Hi Jeremy Benches were removed from stations to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them. ^JP” The MTA says this response on Twitter was “posted in error.” Despite stating the tweet was posted in error, the MTA hasn’t corrected the reason why the benches in the 23rd St station were removed. (Bronx Times)

FEMA will help pay for the funeral and burial of COVID-19 victims whose families can’t afford the expenses. Families seeking to file for the coverage will need documentation, such as a death certificate or obituary, to verify the person died. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced the news on Monday. (Reuven Blau for The City)

The 20 best pizza places in NYC, according to The Infatuation. Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop makes the list but Paulie Gee’s doesn’t and New York Pizza Suprema’s inclusion in these lists always surprises me, but for the neighborhood around Penn Station, it can’t be beat. (Hannah Albertine, Nikko Duren, Bryan Kim, Katherine Lewin, Hillary Reinsberg, Arden Shore, and Matt Tervooren for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Flo for today’s featured photo!

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)


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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 24-25, 2020 – The “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Switch Parties” Sunday Edition

Today – Low: 26˚ High: 34˚
Clear throughout the day.

There are currently 54 of the city’s zip codes with a Covid-19 test rate over 10%. Remember when Governor Cuomo said he was gonna lock down areas that hit over 4%? (Sharon Otterman for NY Times)

The number of the city’s elementary schools and classrooms that are closed keep rising. (Jessica Gould for Gothamist)

Bill O’ Reilly and Rudy Giuliani have radio shows in NYC? Yup. After failed Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis bought the station in 2019 they pivoted to right wing talk. (Azi Paybarah for NY Times)

New Yorkers United for Change is trying to change the 1.6 NYC million Republicans’ voter registration to Democrat because rather than build viable candidates that appeal to the city’s population, they’ve decided “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” (Clifford Michel for The City)

2021 Election: Who’s running for mayor? (Rachel Holliday Smith for The City)

Franklin Ave’s Crown Heights community space Public Assistants is facing eviction so the landlord to make room for a gourmet supermarket. (Ben Verde for Brooklyn Paper)

In 2019, the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office quietly purchased software from Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition company. Critics argue Clearview AI violates rights by using photos from social media and image searches without knowledge or consent. (George Joseph for Gothamist)

The new NYPD discipline rules will make chokeholds a fireable offense will apply to all future chokeholds. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

Meet the couple walking a marathon every day for a year. Yes, they’re from Bushwick. (Raanan Geberer for Brooklyn Eagle)

Documentary: The story of how artists, organizers, and neighbors all came together to reclaim their streets with Bed-Stuy’s Black Live sMatter street murals. (Mustache)

The 31-story building above the old J&R Music World sold for $140 million. (Rich Bockman for The Real Deal)

Sarah Jessica Parker misses restaurants “so much it hurts.” The more interesting part of this piece about what she ate from January 14 through 18 is Matthew Broderick’s bean obsession. (Chris Crowley for Grub Street)

Don’t let the real estate lobby convince you that casinos in Manhattan are a good way to raise tax revenue, because the data doesn’t support that. Most of the state’s “gaming revenue” comes from the lottery. (Christopher Robbins for Gothamist)

Be wary of “NY Forever,” a PR campaign dressed up with celebrities, but funded by NY’s real estate trade association, Goldman Sachs, and co-founded by Ivanka Trump’s public relations adviser. (Norman ODer for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report)

New York City Restaurant Week is back for winter as NYC Restaurant Week To Go with 571 restaurants, all offering specials for $20.21. (Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner for Greenpointers)

Farewell to the original Big Gay Ice Cream location in the East Village. The company isn’t closing, just the location. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater)

A look at Bellucci Pizza, a new pizza spot in Astoria with a pedigree that runs through Rubirosa and Lombardi’s. (Scott Lynch for Gothamist)

Museum of Natural History is displaying the Subway Garnet for the first time in 40 years in the Mignone Halls of Gens and Minerals. If you’re looking to impress your friends, you can tell them that the garnet was found when exhumed during the sewer excavation and it was renamed later. I guess it depend on your friends if they’ll be impressed by that. (Stephanie Simon for NY1)

The Hunts Point Produce Market strike is over with an agreement to a minimum 70-cent-per-hour raise in the first year, eventually rising to a $1.85 bump by the third year. (Claudia Irizarry Aponte for The City)

The Bernie meme has materialized in real life. You can find it in the East Village. (EV Grieve)

2,600 New York City public school students have completely dropped off the radar this school year, according to a Department of Education at a City Council hearing last week. The students are “still being pursued.” (Sophia Chang for Gothamist)

Video: The history of the Times Square Toys “R” Us. (Defunctland)

In praise of the rise of NYC’s flour tortillas. (Luke Fortney for Eater)

Video: Walking over Washington Bridge, NYC’s most confusing bridge. (ActionKid)

6 NYC rooftops with outdoor heating lamps. (Nikko Duren for The Infatuation)

Thanks to reader Lindsey for today’s featured photo!