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 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!

The Briefly for January 10, 2020 – The “Soho Karen was Arrested” Sunday AMA Edition

The latest NYC news digest: A first-person vaccine story, what’s news for NYC dining, Nicole Malliotakis votes against the election results, and more

Today – Low: 30˚ High: 40˚
Clear throughout the day.

Today’s digest is starting with something different. Today’s photo came from to reader Michele, who I asked to talk about her experience receiving the Covie-19 vaccine. If you’ve got your own story, please feel free to email it to thebriefly at gmail.com.

I’m an optometrist in NYC, and I was surprised how quickly I was able to get an appointment to get the Covid vaccine after I saw the announcement on nyc.gov that new slots had opened up for healthcare workers. I got an appointment the first week at a “pop up” clinic in a city government building in Manhattan, and the process was streamlined and efficient even though it had only been up and running for a few days. My site had appointments every 15 minutes, and I didn’t have to wait at any point in the process — initial screening/paperwork, vaccination station, post-processing (you sit for 20 minutes afterward to make sure you don’t pass out). Everyone working there was helpful and excited, and the entire experience was lovely. I asked the nurse if I could take a picture (like 900 people before me probably had) and he even suggested how I should stage it. After I finished my 20 minute post-vaccine chill period I saw a man ask two nurses if he could take their picture with his dog, and they were really sweet about it. The one thing I would say surprised me was that the nurse who gave me the vaccine said he hadn’t gotten it yet, though he was on the schedule to have it soon.

As promised, today’s digest is centered around a few Ask Me Anything questions I received from the readers of The Briefly.

Q from Katie: Hi Rob, Happy New Year! I hope 2021 is going okay so far. :) I had one (two) question(s) for your AMA, which I assume someone has already asked but just in case: what is your strategy for choosing articles to highlight? And my follow-up: how many articles do you usually read to get enough good ones for one email? Take care, be well, and all the other hopeful clichés for the new year.

In terms of a daily volume of links for a newsletter, it’s about 300-400 a day from 100 different sources. From there I usually narrow that down to about 50 before I start writing, and by the time I’m done writing it’s somewhere between 25-40. When I look through the news, I usually look for something that’s important, interesting, different, or time-sensitive. I’ve been writing The Briefly for a few years and have some idea of what the readers are most interested in (check out 2020’s top ten stories), so you’ll see something things pop up regularly like lists of restaurants, public art, ridiculous apartments, and things like that. I also tend to favor certain newsrooms when it comes to certain types of news. I love The City and have an immense amount of respect for their writers, I’ll trust Chalkbeat above all else for educational news, Gothamist is a regular favorite of mine for daily stories, and I have a deep love for the most niche blogs I can find like Urban Hawks and Laura Goggin Photography for their bird photos or The Q at Parkside, which has the smallest area of coverage of anything I regularly look at, and I really enjoy Mary Lane’s writing at New York Cliche. I’ve had a post from her saved since March 12 about how to get tickets to see Last Week Tonight and her experience seeing the show in person that I will eventually include.

Q from Brigid: Hey Rob! I’d love to know what your favorite NYC bridge is. Asking because I started an Instagram account where I post different bridges throughout the city (@brig.on.bridges) and would love an established New Yorker’s take on the best bridge in the city. Hope you and yours have a happy and healthy new year!

My favorite NYC bridge is going to be unexpected. It’s the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge! Let me explain why. The bridge was built in 1910 but rebuilt in 1983 and my father did the redesign for it. My father was a civil engineer and worked in NYC for nearly 50 years. I had known most of his work as being in the sewers, so having something above ground that he worked on has always been very special to me. If you were to tell me that a 60-foot bridge doesn’t count, I’d pick the Manhattan Bridge. It’s the best bridge to walk or bike over, and you can’t beat the views.

Q: NYC question just based on your time in the City since I’m always looking for ideas! What has been one of your favorite day activities around the City where you didn’t spend any money?

My favorite zero-cost activity in the city is a bike ride and a bike ride to Coney Island (I live in Brooklyn) is my favorite of all my bike rides. Coney Island is my favorite place in the city when it’s warm. I’m not someone who feels a strong need to spend money there because there’s so much people watching to do and things to see in general. If you’re willing to spend a few bucks on snacks, I recommend the bodega near the subway station on Stillwell Ave, where you can grab some cut up fruit and a drink and the sideshow is probably the best $10 you could spend for at least an hour of entertainment (plus it’s air-conditioned). I could walk around Coney Island for hours.

Most of the other ideas that came to mind are trips and long walks in and around parks. Challenge yourself to walk the length of Riverside Park, get lost in Chinatown, wander Flushing-Meadows Corona Park, find John Randel Jr.’s authentic survey bolt from 1811 in Central Park, walk through all the arches of Prospect Park, and lastly I’d always recommend taking a look at the skint on any quiet day, because there’s always something going on that’s cheap or free.

A few news bits to close out today:

Soho Karen, aka Miya Ponsetto, was arrested for falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealer her phone and tackling him in a Soho hotel. It was a bad week for this idiot, who decided to do a CBS This Morning interview that was so bad even her lawyer said she was embarrassed. She was arrested in California and brought back to New York. (Edgar Sandoval for NY Times)

Prince Street Pizza owners Frank and Dominic Morano are stepping down from day-to-day operations after accounts of racist comments made to customers on Yelp, Facebook, and Instagram. They aren’t removing themselves from the business, just from day-to-day operations. (Hannah Albertine for The Infatuation)

Now’s a good time to go wander around Chinatown because hundreds of paper lanterns were installed on Mott St with plans to expand. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

There is a silver lining to this winter, which is that the flu season only a fraction of what it was in years past. (Matt Troutman for Patch)

The Brooklyn Public Library is holding a contest to design a library card in celebration of Black History Month and will award the winning artist with $2,000. (Shaye Weaver for Time Out)

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tested positive for Covid-19. (Matt Troutman for PAtch)

Someone tied a confederate flag to the door of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust after the attack on the Capitol this week. (Jen Chung for Gothamist)2

Staten Island’s congress member and Republican Nicole Malliotakis voted against certifying the election results after the attack on the Capitol building. Malliotakis’s district will be redrawn by the state’s Democratic legislature after the 2020 Census. Don’t expect Malliotakis to hold that seat for long. (Clifford Michel for The City)

Photos: Thursday’s anti-Trump rally in Brooklyn. (Brian Braiker, photos by Statia Grossman for Brooklyn Magazine)

The Brooklyn Democratic Party passed a law that allows non-binary and transgender people to run for county committee seats. It seems ridiculous that it was necessary, but there was a gender quota in place before this. (Julia Kott for Greenpointers)

20 local chefs forecast what’s next for NYC dining. (Christina Izzo for Time Out)

Everything you always wanted to know about sex work (but were afraid to ask). (Brian Braiker for Brooklyn Magazine)